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On the Move

July 21, 2002|Ann Conway

After years of living it up at the Concern Foundation's annual Block Party at Paramount Studios, supporters were introduced to a new venue: The Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles.

"Following Sept. 11, Paramount closed the studio to major public events," explained Beth Goldsmith, executive director of the foundation that has raised $25 million for cancer research since it was founded in 1968.

Not to worry. Following the food-and-fun format it has used for more than two decades--restaurant stations, casino, dancing and a sprawling silent auction--the "Road to a Cure" benefit July 13 drew 2,500 guests and netted a record-setting $1.3 million.

What the event lost in glam, it made up for in dazzle: On view were 150 classic automobiles housed in the 300,000-square-foot facility on Wilshire Boulevard that was once Orbach's department store.

Armed with appetites and a desire to stamp out the disease that has touched many of their lives, guests sipped cocktails served up by celebrities--among them, Daphnee Duplaix, who has a role in Steven Spielberg's "Catch Me If You Can"--and sampled fare from restaurants including Lawry's the Prime Rib, Factor's Famous Deli and Cafe Santorini.

Robert Thom, a survivor of colon cancer, was recognized at the event for his community leadership and fund-raising on behalf of the foundation. Including a personal donation of $250,000, Thom has helped raise $400,000 for the organization during the past year. "I like Concern because 90% of the money raised goes to research," said Thom, who attended the benefit with his wife, Diana.

The foundation has a sole purpose, said president Rick Powell: "Find a cure and put an end to cancer."

On the scene were event co-chairs Derek Alpert, Julie A. August, Wendy Bachelis, Mitchell Baker, Todd Elliott, Steve Freed, Rebecca Golden and Robert Goldman. Also attending: Rhonda Fleming, Robert Ahmanson, Jack Gilardi, Frank Mottek, Joyce and Larry Powell, Jackie and Stan Gottlieb, Bill and Patti Bloomfield, Bill and Dana Schwartz, Myrna and Stanley Zimmerman, and Ed Blinn.


Palate Pleasers

In a first for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the historic William Randolph Hearst-Marion Davies Estate will be featured in its Art of the Palate dinner party series.

The Spanish-Mediterranean-style digs owned by Nataalia and Leonard M. Ross is frequently the site of formal affairs. "I like elegant gatherings where everyone dresses up the way they do in Europe," Nataalia Ross said during a museum reception at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills that feted hosts of the Sept. 26-28 fund-raisers.

The Rosses will welcome 40 guests into their Beverly Hills home for a $1,000-a-ticket, black-tie dinner, followed by dancing in their Deco Room. The richly appointed residence has served as a backdrop in films such as "The Godfather" and "The Bodyguard." The estate "combines a little bit of history with a little bit of Hollywood," Leonard Ross said.

The biennial benefit will showcase 53 dinner parties in homes and special venues throughout Los Angeles, with guests paying an average of $400 to attend. Proceeds will go toward museum exhibitions and community outreach programs.

The series marks the "fifth time the museum's 12 support councils have joined forces," museum chairman Walter L. Weisman told the crowd. "Last time we raised more than $700,000."

Also attending the July 10 reception where guests cruised a gourmet buffet underwritten by the Peninsula--Peking duck, sushi, blinis with salmon and caviar--were Linda and Maynard Brittan, who will host a $400-per-person dinner at the Venice showroom of California contemporary artist Billy Al Bengston. "We're doing a five-course sit-down catered by Joe's of Venice," said Linda Brittan. "And besides Bengston, an old friend, architect Frank Gehry will be a special guest."

Guests included actress Thora Birch ("American Beauty," "Ghost World"), who plans to attend the series' $100-per-ticket Young Collectors Dinner Party at the Forum, G. Ray Hawkins and Michael Kohn galleries.

"I go to the museum all the time," said Birch. "I'm a card-carrying member of LACMA."

Also on the scene: Palate co-chairwomen Judy Henning and Georgina Rothenberg.


Art Prize

Capturing the crystalline light of a summer morning on the coast, artist Ken Auster won first place and $5,000 at the Lincoln Plein Air Painting Invitational benefiting the Laguna Art Museum and the Laguna Plein Air Painters Assn. Fifty artists from around the country participated in the competition held July 8-12. On July 13, the artists joined 400 art lovers at the museum for a gala dinner and preview sale, netting $209,000.

The win marked the second time Auster has taken the top prize. "Do I like this invitational? I'd better!" the Laguna Beach artist said as he stood next to his Impressionistic oil titled "Rare Morning Light."

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