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Schwarzenegger turns out for after-school program he helped launch

Also: L.A. Ballet’s Balanchine opening night.

February 28, 2010|Ellen Olivier, Special to the Los Angeles Times
  • Gov. Schwarzenegger poses with the evening's three honorees: former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Henry Cisneros, left, Sabrina Kay and Todd Wagner.
Gov. Schwarzenegger poses with the evening's three honorees: former… (Ron Murray / )

The After-School All-Stars — a tax-exempt group founded by Arnold Schwarzenegger in the early 1990s to provide tutoring, recreation and other programs for poor children — has now grown to provide after-school programs for 81,000 middle and high school students at 450 campuses around the country.

And Schwarzenegger continues to support the organization. Speaking at the Feb. 18 "Reaching for the Stars" gala at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, he said, "I will always be part of raising the money … organizing and helping the committee and promoting it nationwide."

Among the guests who awaited the governor for picture-taking: "Twlight's" Nikki Reed. "I grew up in a single-parent home," Reed said. "I know what it's like. This way, kids have something creative to do after school instead of running amok."

Co-chaired by Paul Wachter, chief executive of Main Street Advisors, and Frank Baxter, former ambassador to Uruguay, the dinner grossed $700,000 and drew nearly 600 guests, including political figures, business leaders and celebrities, such as Sharon and Gray Davis, the former governor; former L.A. Mayor Richard Riordan; Vintage Capital Group Chairman Fred Sands; and actors Tom Arnold, Tia Carrere, Lou Ferrigno and David Spade. Honorees were Todd Wagner, chief executive of 2929 Entertainment; Sabrina Kay, chief executive of Fremont College; and Henry Cisneros, former U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

Wagner said that after he and his partner sold their company,, to Yahoo, he heard about the After-School All-Stars and remembered thinking, "That's exactly what I want to do. Let's not reinvent the wheel."

With "Extra" host Mario Lopez as the night's emcee, Wagner, Cisneros and Kay each took the stage to accept their awards. Among her other goals, Kay said that she didn't want to "disappoint ‘the terminator.' "

Dance maestro

The Feb. 20 opening-night performance of "Balanchine — See the Music, Hear the Dance" by the Los Angeles Ballet came with a bonus for ballet fans. In addition to a cocktail reception at UCLA's Freud Playhouse, guests got to watch a warm-up class and then had a sneak peek at "In Balanchine's Classroom," a documentary-in-the-making about the choreographer.

"This is a really important film because it shows Balanchine as a teacher," said Colleen Neary, who, along with Thordal Christensen, is an artistic director at L.A. Ballet. And she has firsthand experience. Neary not only danced under Balanchine's direction at the New York City Ballet, but she was also among those chosen as a "répétiteur" to carry on his legacy.

In the courtyard, beneath the heat lamps, as servers passed mini-burgers and filet mignon in potato-filled martini glasses, executive director Julie Whittaker said the company reaches out to Los Angeles by performing in varying venues. The Balanchine program, for example, appears next on March 6 in Redondo Beach, and the season's last production, "New Wave LA," will run May 15-30 in Redondo Beach, Glendale and Santa Monica.

Present were Lynda and Stewart Resnick; Kathleen and Chip Rosenbloom (majority owner of the St. Louis Rams); Lori and Michael Milken; Bari Milken and Fred Bernstein; Melissa and Chad Oman; Andrea Breslin Jaffe; Jennifer Bellah Maguire and Stephen Maguire; and Linda Duttenhaver and Peter Atherton.

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