The event: The Omega watch and jewelry company and Vanity Fair joined astronaut Buzz Aldrin Wednesday for a casual bash celebrating the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, which took place July 20, 1969. The party was at the Sheats-Goldstein House in Beverly Hills, designed by noted architect John Lautner more than 50 years ago with a definite space-age vibe. Fittingly, the event benefited the MAK Center for Art and Architecture.
The crowd: A moon-walker on that first landing, Aldrin greeted a turnout thick with space enthusiasts, including “Breaking Bad” creator Vince Gilligan; actors Sergio Harford of “Extant,” Grey Damon of “Star-Crossed,” Teo Halm of “Earth to Echo” and Perrey Reeves of “Entourage”; model Beverly Johnson; TV personality Shaun Robinson; art consultant Esther Kim Varet; architects Frank Escher and Ravi GuneWardena; LACMA in-house architect Priscilla Fraser; arts advocate Bettina Korek; communications consultant Lyn Winter; MAK programs coordinator Adam Peña; MAK programs manager Anthony Carfello; Vanity Fair Associate Publisher Mary Connelly; and Jean-Claude Monachon, Omega’s vice president of product and customer service.
The scene: Guests trod on a photograph of the footsteps of the astronauts to reach a panoramic view of the lights of Los Angeles atop the tennis court turned party venue, complete with displays of a moon rock and Omega’s new Speedmaster Professional Apollo 11, a limited edition wristwatch patterned after the one Aldrin wore to the moon.
Photos of the moon landing lined one wall, and for anyone desiring a good look at outer space, Bob Noss of Astronomical Journeys brought his high-powered telescope. Tours of the historic poured-concrete and glass house were also available.
Quotes of note: “I’m a big space fan, and it was a real honor to meet [Aldrin],” Gilligan said, recalling how his girlfriend, Holly Rice, once stood in line at a book signing for more than an hour to get an autographed copy of one of Aldrin’s books for him.
“I’m old enough to have lived through the moon landing, but not old enough to remember it," added Gilligan, who was only 2 years old in 1969. "That’s the only time in my life I’ve wished I were older.”
Harford, who plays an astronaut opposite Halle Berry in “Extant,” said he's ready to go to the moon or Mars if space travel becomes readily available. “Sign me up. I’m there,” he said. “After meeting Buzz, I feel like I got a little of his energy and his mojo.”
The astronaut: In the midst of multiple appearances every day for two weeks in locales as far away as Germany, Aldrin turned up in a tie printed with Apollo, Gemini and Mercury mission patches and said he hoped for a Mars landing within two decades.
“What is needed is a specific commitment to pioneer ‘permanence’ on Mars,” he said. “That can come on the 50th anniversary. We won’t land then, but the president can make a commitment then.”
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