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Benefits and fundraisers

Cirque du Soleil benefit for One Drop and Heal the Bay; FIDM gala; Van Cleef & Arpels jewelry line.

October 25, 2009|Ellen Olivier

Finding the party was a cinch. Guests merely had to follow the "blinking noses" from the Big Top to the Santa Monica Pier.

Heather Graham said she'd never been to a party with acrobats. Indeed, jugglers, stilt-walkers and all manner of exotic creatures mingled with guests last Friday at La Soiree, the opening night benefit for Cirque du Soleil's newest show, "Kooza."

Some came for the circus; others for the cause. But no matter the reason, the evening raised an estimated $250,000 each for Montreal-based One Drop, which was launched by Cirque founder Guy Laliberte and supports access to clean water for all people, and Heal the Bay, which protects Southern California's coastal waters.

Paramount Chief Executive Brad Grey named the contortionists as his favorite act, while his daughter Emily declared hers to be the high-wire walkers.

"I am honored to be here in the company of Cirque du Soleil," said Julia Louis-Dreyfus, a benefit co-chair along with Russell Martin of the Dodgers. Louis-Dreyfus is a Heal the Bay board member; Martin, a One Drop ambassador.

Pierce Brosnan lamented the state of the ocean. "I've been living in Malibu 29 years, and each year, I've watched the ocean become more polluted."

Also inside the tent were France Chretien Desmarais, daughter of Canada's former prime minister, Annette and Peter O'Malley, Heal the Bay board member Brian O'Malley with Katie Cameron, astronaut Julie Payette, Geena Davis, Neil Patrick Harris, Djimon Hounsou, Jon Favreau, Elisabeth Shue, Don Cheadle, Kelsey Grammer, Amy Smart, Minnie Driver, Dylan McDermott and Ed Begley Jr., who called the show "amazing" and declared he would return with his daughter.

FIDM gala

At the Oct. 17 preview of "High Style: Betsy Bloomingdale and the Haute Couture" at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising in Los Angeles, Bloomingdale surveyed the exhibition of her jeweled, feathered and embroidered gowns. "It's not the same world anymore," she said.

Her gaze landed on a silver lace confection designed for her by James Galanos. "I wore that to a ball in Paris," she said with a smile.

Stylish as ever in an orange taffeta Dior gown from 1985, Bloomingdale greeted family members and friends over cocktails, including designers Galanos and Nolan Miller, as well as Lois and Buzz Aldrin, Barbara Davis, Iris Cantor, Veronique Peck, Kathi Koll, Wendy Stark, Gabrielle and Christophe Choo, Laurie and Paul MacCaskill, Susan Niven, Allison Speer, Marcella Ruble, FIDM Chief Executive Tonian Hohberg, and exhibition designer Horacio Avila.

Sparkling event

"I am Irish," Roma Downey said. "When the rain comes, it's like a good friend come to visit."

Certainly this month's rains were a welcome boost to the state's general health, but the clear skies, which followed two days of downpours, came as a great relief to organizers of California Reverie. The seaside launch of Van Cleef & Arpels' new jewelry line took place al fresco at the Malibu home of Liane and Richard Weintraub.

As musicians played, guests perused the cases of gem-encrusted palm trees, poppies and other symbols of California's beauty.

Over dinner, Chief Executive Stanislas de Quercize announced a contribution to the Center Dance Arts, which supports Dance at the Music Center, and as the evening's finale, fountains shot skyward to the tune of "Good Vibrations." In no way a minor touch, the company responsible, Wet Design, also created the musical fountains at the Bellagio in Las Vegas.


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