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'Los Angeles: Portrait of a City' party at Crossroads of the World

November 29, 2009|By Ellen Olivier
  • 'LOS ANGELES': Publisher Benedikt Taschen signs the new photographic book at a celebration attended by the likes of David LaChapelle and Jerry and Linda Bruckheimer.
'LOS ANGELES': Publisher Benedikt Taschen signs the new photographic… (Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles…)

Standing beside the faux cruise ship at the Crossroads of the World, Hollywood's landmark office complex with a 55-foot tower and globe that has been spinning since 1936, Diane Keaton spoke of her love for L.A.

"People malign this city, but what we have here architecturally is unlike anything in any other city," said Keaton, who hosted the Nov. 19 launch of "Los Angeles: Portrait of a City," along with the book's publisher, Benedikt Taschen, Vanity Fair and Fendi.

As author Jim Heimann autographed his photographic celebration of L.A., 450 guests from the Los Angeles Conservancy mixed with celebrities and cultural icons straight from the book's pages, including Hugh Hefner, Kelly Lynch, Gabrielle Union, David Hockney, Bret Easton Ellis, David LaChapelle, real-life "Gidget" Kathy Kohner Zuckerman and model Peggy Moffitt, famous for posing in 1964 in Rudi Gernreich's topless swimsuit.

Linda and Jerry Bruckheimer turned up in time for the 12-piece mariachi serenade. Linda, a board member of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, expressed concern for the city's endangered landmarks, which include Santa Anita Racetrack. "L.A. is our home," she said. "We care about the city."

Filmmaker Michael LaFetra said of the conservancy's mission: "In a nutshell, we are trying to increase awareness of L.A.'s built environment and protect its most meaningful buildings." Taschen's own home is architect John Lautner's flying-saucer like Chemosphere, seen in the classic "Body Double" and other films.

Historian Kevin Starr and Los Angeles Times Book Editor David L. Ulin also contributed to the book.

A far-from-silent auction

Friendships formed on "Dancing With the Stars" don't always end with the eliminations, as evidenced by the dancers who came to applaud one of this year's stars, Melissa Joan Hart, when she and Janice Arouh, a vice president at Crown Media, which owns the Hallmark Channels, received 2009 Woman of Achievement awards at the Hollywood Bag Ladies Luncheon to benefit Lupus LA.

Far from the usual award ceremony, the Nov. 18 event at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel came complete with a Versace fashion show and a silent auction of 200 handbags. On scene were Lupus LA chairman Adam Selkowitz of Waterfall Films, Rosanna Arquette of "Northern Lights," Jaime Presley of "My Name Is Earl," Phill Lewis of "The Suite Life on Deck," Jesse Metcalfe of "Desperate Housewives" and four of Hart's former dance competitors: Olympic swimmer Natalie Coughlin and professional dancers Chelsie Hightower, Anna Trebunskaya and Edyta Sliwinska.

"I don't know why this is called a silent auction. It's anything but silent," said event host Dorothy Lucey of "Good Day LA," referring to the sound volume generated by 575 guests caught up in the bidding.

Co-chairwomen and sisters Michelle Kaye and Claudia Resnikoff, along with their mother, Marianne Berman, filled 14 tables. The net proceeds, which reached $250,000, will be going for research to prevent, treat and cure the autoimmune disease, which remains little understood.

As honoree Janice Arouh put it, "Most people don't know anything much about lupus except that they don't know anything much about lupus."

Following the awards, Hart -- formerly the star of "Sabrina, the Teenage Witch" -- confessed that she hadn't been so nervous since she danced on TV. "After I finished my first dance, I felt great. Then 30 seconds later, I came up against the judges and everything changed," she said. "I don't think anybody is meant to take such pressure."

By contrast, the only pressure at this luncheon was to outbid other guests.

You go, girls!

The media was the message at the Girls Inc. Los Angeles Celebration Luncheon, which honored five leaders in the entertainment industry for creating positive, empowering messages that inspire girls to reach their full potential.

"We all grapple with issues of self-esteem, whether we're 14, 24 or 34," said Shaun Robinson of " Access Hollywood," the day's host and author of "Exactly As I Am."

More than 300 guests, including Amber Stevens, Dilshad Vadsaria and Spencer Grammer of "Greek," and Nicki Micheaux of "Lincoln Heights," came to the Beverly Hills Hotel on Nov. 16 to cheer honorees Jane Fleming of Amber Entertainment, Kate Juergens of ABC Family, Jennifer Nicholson Salke of 20th Century Fox Television, Alex Schwartz of DreamWorks Animation and Ligiah Villalobos of JalapeƱo Films.

Ellen Goldsmith-Vein of the Gotham Group, Tracy Katsky of Nickelodeon, Thomas Lynch of the Tom Lynch Co., Katherine Pope of Chernin Entertainment and Girls Inc. board member Robin Schwartz served as co-chairpersons.

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