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Social Circuits

Raising Money Amid Art, Wine and Oysters

October 11, 2002|ANN CONWAY | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Traipsing across a strip of asphalt disguised as a garden terrace--fresh sod studded with ochre-colored flagstones--hundreds of art lovers entered Barker Hangar at Santa Monica Airport for the benefit opening of the Los Angeles Art Show.

Diane Keaton, Billy Dee Williams and Vin Scully were a few of the 600 guests who sipped fine wines and sampled appetizers as they cruised exhibits that ranged from spare black-and-white sketches by Henri Matisse to generous Technicolor canvases by David Hockney. One eye-catcher at the recent event: an art installation by Evan Sugarman in which a microphone caught the sound of water dripping from a pod of orchids suspended above a pyramid of soil. "I like it; it makes me feel peaceful," said guest Jeff Cohen. "But I don't like the smell of the dirt." The event raised about $40,000 for the Music Center's Spotlight Awards program for aspiring high school visual and performing artists.

Downing Hama Hama oysters-on-the-half-shell while standing up--wine glasses, handbags and art catalogs in hand. Impossible. "Just slurp 'em down," a cook from Ocean Avenue Seafood told hungry guests.

Center Launch

Bejeweled and bow-tied, hundreds of theater buffs celebrated the opening of South Coast Repertory's new Folino Theatre Center at a gala netting $430,000 for its annual fund. Launching Orange County's social season, the recent "Light the Night" benefit featured the first illumination of the $19-million Costa Mesa facility designed by noted architect Cesar Pelli. "We have created an instrument," Pelli said of the building that houses the Segerstrom and Julianne Argyros stages. "The art of playing the instrument is what this [gala] is all about." SCR trustee Sue Stern was gala co-chairwoman.

For giving the theater $10 million--the largest single donation in its history--SCR presented Emulex Corp.'s Paul Folino and his wife, Daranne, with a DeBeers 24-karat gold hourglass filled with 2,000 tiny diamonds. "Now that's a timepiece," whispered one wide-eyed guest.

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