Kathleen Duncan, left, Cara Leonetti Esposito, Angie Harmon and Carol… (Robert Rooks )
"What a Pair!" organizers Jody Price and Ruth Stalford paired up with "the beer chicks," Christina Perozzi and Hallie Beaune, and the Library Alehouse in Santa Monica on Tuesday for a class in "Beer Pairing 101." "What a Pair!" is an annual musical revue, slated for Sept. 25, that features celebrity duets and benefits breast cancer research at the John Wayne Cancer Institute.
Over a seven-course dinner, Perozzi and Beaune, authors of "The Naked Pint: An Unadulterated Guide to Craft Beer," gave a course-by-course description of the different styles of beer — explaining why, for example, Allagash White beer goes with ricotta cheese and Rodenbach beer complements chocolate.
Beaune talked about the rising popularity of sophisticated beers and gastropubs, which she defined as pubs that offer quality beer and food. Yet despite their desire to introduce people to craft and artisanal beers, Perozzi said, "We don't want the wine-ification of beer. We want beer education to be casual and fun."
No doubt the group on the pub's back patio enjoyed the night, all the way through to the ice cream floats with Coconut Porter beer. "There's a whole world of beer floats out there," Beaune said.
Price said the beer-pairing class gave supporters a chance to bond and helped build awareness for the upcoming revue, which has raised $2 million over the last nine years. The dinner also gave the project a boost, as Alehouse manager Thomas Kelley said 15% of the day's sales would go to the cause.
This year, 36 celebrities are scheduled to sing in the revue, including Conchata Ferrell, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Anne Heche, Marissa Jaret Winokur, Jo Anne Worley, Melissa Manchester, Brooke Elliott, Kate Levering and Davis Gaines.
Chrysalis and Children's Institute were the chosen beneficiaries of Nordstrom's Grand Opening Gala at Santa Monica Place late last month, but supporters of the two groups got a few perks as well. They received a peek at the new store and saw Michael Bublé live in a mini-concert.
More than 1,500 people turned up Aug. 25 for the $100-a-ticket soiree, with proceeds going to Chrysalis, which helps the homeless get jobs, and Children's Institute, which works to help prevent child abuse and heal families.
Guests were treated to buffet stations, full bars filled the aisles and a Champagne "bubble bar" sat between the lingerie and active-wear departments.
For those interested in more visible fashions for fall, models stood on pedestals by the escalators, not moving a millimeter as they posed as mannequins.
Pete Nordstrom, the company's president of merchandising, welcomed the crowd and introduced Bublé, who quipped, "It's a dream come true for me to sing in a mall like this." He then belted out several of his hit tunes.
Cara Leonetti Esposito, a member of C.H.I.P.S. (Colleague Helpers in Philanthropic Service, which supports Children's Institute), explained that the charity started planning its proposal to Nordstrom more than a year ago.
"I felt honored to be part of this," said Esposito. "One of the best parts was getting to know the women from Chrysalis. Now they come to our events and we go to theirs."
Esposito, Kathleen Duncan and Carol Ann Hess served as co-chairs, with Angie Harmon as honorary chair. Other C.H.I.P.S. were Stephanie Booth, Lucinda Mariscal, Christine Wayne, Marni Pozil and Kathy Thompson. Chrysalis members included Susan Harris, Jill Baldauf, Quinn Gilpin, Susan Landsman and Donna Maccabee.