The Trusteeship Goes Public in National Women's Forum

Times Staff Writer

Those interested in power, please note. Last week's first (and organizational) meeting of the National Women's Forum in Phoenix means that the L.A. forum is suddenly not quite as private as it might like.

Members in the regional women's forums, which started several years ago, are heavy hitters in business, academia, the professions, government, athletics, arts. Or, as one local woman leader put it: "A lot of drop-dead women." The L.A. forum--called The Trusteeship--was almost unknown, even though its roster contained dozens of brand-name women. One member describes its efforts as "semi-private." Another longtime Trusteeship organizer said that any member who discussed the group was out--sort of Talk and Walk.

But that apparent urge for privacy didn't apply with other forums across the country. Now that the national umbrella group has been formed, such privacy will be hard to maintain.

The stated purpose of the forums: "To allow women to meet informally to exchange ideas and information in an atmosphere of collegiality."

Susan Davis of the D.C. Forum was elected president, and she'll host the next such meeting, in Washington next fall.

What's the cost of those houses in Beverly Hills--the old, used ones that people buy just to tear down and build new, bigger ones? "I'm embarrassed to tell you," said Jane Nathanson of Alvarez Hyland & Young, herself seller of one of the first B.H. houses that went for $1 million, years back. "A two-bedroom, 1920 shack in the 500 block (the block north of Santa Monica Boulevard) would go for maybe $500,000." Then the buyer bulldozes it and builds a new one, perhaps to sell for $1 million or more. In the 800 block, the block below Sunset, "people are buying them for $2 million and trying to sell the new ones for $6 million." It's all relative.

The letter to Congress being circulated by "Falcon Crest's" Robert Foxworth and his associate, Sally Dinsmore, says its signers are "firmly opposed to any renewal of covert aid funding . . . (and) that attempts to destabilize the elected government of Nicaragua . . . offends American principles." Among those film-industry notables signing up early were Allan Burns, Richard Dreyfuss, Blake Edwards, Paul Mazursky, Ned Beatty, Tyne Daly, Georg Sanford Brown, Michael Douglas, Robert Greenwald. The letter won't be sent until the postponed debate on Nicaragua takes place, after the April congressional recess.

"The Times of Harvey Milk" is nominated for an Oscar for best documentary, and it has won that category in the New York Film Critics ratings. But the film, about the assassinated San Francisco supervisor, is still $40,000 in the hole. So Linda Lavin, Michelle Lee, "Poltergeist's" Zelda Rubenstein and Jonelle Allen will be part of a benefit next Friday at the Variety Arts Theatre.

Is there no privacy? In what is certainly a first for network television, the "Today" show will tape "celebrity fittings" at Bullock's Century City on March 23. Getting fitted--Jane Seymour, Phyllis Diller, Michelle Lee and Drew Barrymore, all models for the Young Musicians Foundation Fashion Show and luncheon March 28.

Two ways to catch former Democratic National Committee Chairman Charles T. Manatt debating current GOP Chairman Frank Fahrenkoff: Pay $250 a pop for a lush dinner at the Beverly Wilshire on April 9 for the National Issues Forum, an annual program benefiting Pitzer College's scholarships. Or cough up $12 for lunch at Taix and the same duo earlier that day. Clever Joe Cerrell pulled it off for his Public Relations Society of America.

Billboards might be banned from the nation's interstates. But now they will follow folks into the sky. Starting in June, that is, when fliers from at least 10 major airports will look out their windows and see giant billboards painted on the roofs of airport-adjacent flattop buildings. The ad campaign is for "The Stuff," a new thriller from New World and Larry Cohen--a simple story about a dessert that sweeps the world, yet no one knows the ingredients. It's a captive audience of millions, nervously clutching their armrests and waiting for the little lights to go off. Helicopters are right now scouting locations. Only in America.

More dessert notes: In the ongoing pursuit of pleasure-without-punishment, Los Angeles will soon get a no-cholesterol, soy-protein ice cream, McQueen's Natural Dairy Free Frozen Dessert--even in a Chocolate Chocolate Fudge.

Don Gevirtz, chairman of Foothill Finance, is the one Southern California name that turned up on the newly formed Democratic Leadership Council. Chaired by Missouri Rep. Dick Gephardt, the group is independent of the Democratic National Committee. Gevirtz said although Gephardt and his staff are "probably assessing the possibility" of the congressman's presidential chances, the new council would not be a forum for that race. It will be a "principal organ of policy for the Democratic party . . . giving moderate Democrats that are committed to economic growth a major influence," Gevirtz said. Another California member: Nancy Pelosi, the San Franciscan who lost to Paul Kirk in her bid for Democratic National Committee chairman.

Look for local "lesser known and minority arts programs" to line up at the California Community Foundation after an announcement from the National Endowment for the Arts next week.

IN THE MOVIES: Burt Lancaster today, shooting a public announcement at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, promoting the Music Center and the Music Center Unified Fund.

D.C. homeless activist and hunger-striker Mitch Snyder, in town to "get acquainted with Hollywood." His host: Chuck Fries, the producer of a film about the controversial Snyder.

At Jane Fonda's Workout, in the advanced classes, isn't the punk exerciser--in black tennis shoes and black shorts--Madonna?

Sen. Alan Cranston's recent big dinner grossed about $250,000. On April 4, a trio from Manatt Phelps--Mickey Kantor, Tom Phelps, John Emerson--will try to increase the coffers with a smaller dinner effort for about 100 supporters.

WELCOME TO L.A.: Rabbi A. James Rudin, national director of interreligious affairs for the American Jewish Committee. To participate in an all-day observance next Thursday of the 20th anniversary of Nostra Aetate, the Vatican II document redefining the relationship between Catholics and Jews. The day is sponsored jointly by the local AJC and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese. Cardinal Timothy Manning will also participate.

Also, Democratic Sen. Chris Dodd of Connecticut for a breakfast hosted by Sheldon Andelson on March 25.

OUT OF TOWN: GOP big-time fund-raiser Keith Coplen leaves for Europe late this month--for a yearlong break.

Carter Hawley Hale veep Donald Livingston (a former copy boy at the Oakland Trib) to D.C. for the annual white-tie Gridiron Club dinner.

Two inter-ethnic mixes: A St. Patrick's Day party at Ma Maison, albeit with French food. "Do I look like I would serve Irish food?" queried Paddy Terrail. And, of course, the upcoming Passover Seder at Spago, organized by Barbara Lazaroff. Where will they hide the pizza?

Lunching--Mr. Bipartisanship, Jerry Weintraub, with Atty. Gen. John Van de Kamp and his aide, Barbara Johnson, at Hillcrest. Also, at a different table, Marvin Davis and Barry Diller with someone who looked a great deal like newspaper czar Rupert Murdoch.

This week's graduation celebration for the after-school class at the Center for Early Education--the Center for Early Etiquette for 5- to 7-year-olds--was set to include tea with Mom and Dad at Trumps. And they say Los Angeles has no class.

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