The wildly colored dragon slithered over the red carpet leading from Madame Wu’s Garden to the red-and-white tent that covered part of the parking lot. The sound of the drums was deafening.
No, it wasn’t another Chinese New Year celebration. This time co-chairs Madame Sylvia Wu and Mrs. Richard Wolford plus UCLA Chancellor Charles Young, Chinese Consul General Gao Younian, Chinese-American astronaut Dr. Taylor Wang, Sheraton Hotel’s Joe Guidice, the Coca-Cola Bottling Co.'s Lucille Boswell, Barbro Taper, Jean Coleman, hotelier Peter Sun, and Mario Machado and Nancy Kwan, who were acting as masters of ceremonies, were all gathered along with about 300 other guests to help promote the Beijing Self-Study University in China. It was founded in 1981 but it’s a school without a campus and without a permanent staff. Given the status of university just last July, further financing is needed to continue and expand its mail-order curricula, President Shi Zong-Shu said. Shi made his speech in Chinese, which was translated into English by Peter Sun.
Sunday night, Helen Wolford handed Shi a check for $25,000 (proceeds from the dinner) and Madame Sylvia Wu and her husband King added theirs for $10,000. In turn, Madame Wu received an honorary degree from the university and Helen Wolford was named to the university’s board of directors. And since it was the restaurant’s 25th anniversary, Bee Lavery, Mayor Tom Bradley’s chief of protocol, presented the Wus with the mayor’s proclamation (Sunday became Madame Wu Day). Santa Monica Mayor Christine Reed presented the Wus with a commendation from her city, and California’s Secretary of State March Fong Eu had special scrolls for the four chefs.
The distinguished gathering included UCLA Dean and Mrs. Ray Orbach, Nat Dumont with Maureen Womack (he hosted a table that included Terry Moore), Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Chairman Jack Atwood and his wife Lupe, June and Fred MacMurray, Grace and Merrill Lowell, the Vernon Underwoods, the Franklin Shaffners, Dick Wolford, Terry and Dennis Stanfill (they arrive in Peking today), Mary Anita Loos with Jay Allen and Bantam Books’ Charles Bloch and Grace Bechtold, Merle Kingsley, Steve Konow, the Harry Volks, Herbert Boswell, Steve and Maureen Tobia, Dale and Charles Snodgrass, the Maurice Harwicks, Ray and Doris Ramey, Philip Salet, Sachi and Larry Irwin, the Robert Kramers, Eric Marx, Mike and Betty Noling, the Delbert Wongs, Peggy Parker with Walter Grauman.
And quite a few more like Kathy and Chris Matsumoto, the Lester Korns, Senegalese Consul and Mrs. Joseph Bolker, Abe and Muriel Lipsey, Berny and Ellen Byrens, Monterey Councilwoman Lili Chen, Monterey Park Mayor Rudy Peralta, Raoul Aglion, the Howard Allens and the Wus’ sons Patrick and George. Happiest of all were Dr. Marcus Wong and his wife Ann, who won the door prize--round-trip tickets for two on Singapore Airlines to Peking and Singapore, a week’s stay at the Great Wall Hotel and spending money.
Monday night the chefs from Peking were back at their woks preparing a similar banquet for the KCET Associates.
“Say si !” took the place of the more familiar “RSVP” on the invitations Gladyce and David Begelman sent out for their autumn moon fiesta. A lot of people si - si ‘d and Saturday night the Begelmans’ patio was full of would-be senors and senoritas.
Gladyce greeted guests wearing a white Mexican wedding dress and lots of turquoise beads. David wore a double-breasted jacket and no tie. And around them were children--Gladyce’s daughter Beth and her husband James de Woody, the artist, and their son James III and Gladyce’s son William Rudin and his wife Ophelia.
Candy Spelling wore the tightest white jeans in existence. On her they look good. Aaron Spelling had his pipe in mouth at all times, even when conversing in a trio with the
host and former partner Leonard Goldberg, who is ultra thin these days. Suzanne Pleshette wore a flamenco suit (like a male dancer’s) and a flower in her hair. “ Ole ,” she shouted as she spotted pals Ruth Berle and Tina Sinatra. Suzanne’s husband Tom Gallagher had shaved off his mustache.
Milton Berle, looking fine after his June bypass surgery, is going out on the road again. Rona Barrett and Bill Trowbridge had been to two weddings that day. Ava Ostern and Chuck Freis were back from a wedding on one of those bateaux that circles the island of Manhattan. Ava and Chuck laughed about their own wedding (maybe soon?)--especially after they’d both consulted the psychic working in the patio.
After indulging in Parties Plus’ assortment of Mexican hors d’oeuvres (empanadas, grilled corn cakes, ceviche) and the lime or peach margaritas, everyone scrambled for tables where the floral (and cactus) centerpieces rose out of beds of sand. And spotted here and there on the buffet line for the breast of chicken, rib-eye steak, sea bass hash and the finale--creme brulee in a tostada dribbled with chocolate--were: Irving and Mary Lazar, Carol and Walter Matthau, Freddie and Janet de Cordova, Wendy Goldberg, Sandra Moss with Lew Hyman, Jay and Annabelle Weston (he was accepting compliments graciously on his restaurant newsletter), Morgan Mason with Belinda Carlisle, Jerry and Jane Weintraub, Tony and Cristina Thomopoulos, Pamela Mason with daughter Portland. A few missed dinner, but got there in time for the Mexican hot chocolate and cafe au lait: Tichi and Art Kassel (they’d been to an Emmy dinner earlier), Dr. Arnold Klein, Motown’s Suzanne Le Mat.
The Social Scramble: Venice is boiling with activity, and most of it is bubbling around the Hotel Cipriani. Just imagine this cast--Princess Margaret, Princess Caroline of Monaco and Princess Ira von Furstenberg who was all over Monte Carlo earlier in the season. Plus a few choice no-titles like Nancy and Henry Kissinger, Nolan and Sandra Miller, Jim and Shirley Sherwood (he owns the Cipriani plus the Orient Express and a few other enterprises), and London’s Billy Hamilton.
Red Letter Days: This evening, when the Los Angeles-Berlin (West) Sister City Committee and Consul General Gunter Joetze host a cocktail reception at the consul’s home for members of the Deutsche Oper of West Berlin.
Tonight at the Beverly Hilton, where Judge Manuel Real receives the Jewish National Fund’s Tree of Life Award. Atty. Gen. Edwin Meese III is the guest speaker and Marshall Manley, who received the same award last year, is dinner chairman.
Tonight in New York, where Preston R. Tisch, president of Loews Corp., and Loews Hotels President Robert J. Hausman and executive vice president Jonathan M. Tisch and a raft of Moet Hennessy executives celebrate the opening of the Regency Hotel’s 540 Park restaurant with a lavish “champagne splash.”
Friday night, when Torie Steele and Aldo Pinto celebrate the opening of the Krizia boutique in Beverly Hills with friends over dinner at Mr. Chow’s.
Sept. 20, when Mayor and Mrs. Tom Bradley, the L.A. City Council and the Task Force for Los Angeles Africa Relations honor Peter S. Mmusi, minister of finance and development planning for the Republic of Botswana, at a reception held in Getty House, the mayor’s official residence.
Sept. 23, when Raymond W. Rossi, III throws a cocktail reception for Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole at New York’s Vista International Hotel.
The Love Beat: Peter Samuelson, executive vice president of Interscope Investments (Panavision, the Montage Computer Corp.) and president of the Starlight Foundation (the foundation grants the wishes of terminally ill children), and Saryl Hirsch, an accountant and business manager in the entertainment industry, plan to marry Jan. 5.