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Kudos, Salvos to Standouts of Social Year

Time to toast the movers and the mavens, the shakers and tres chic- ers--to remember the triumphs and disasters, the puffery and poignance, the wit and unconventional wisdom that they brought to Orange County social life in 1985.

And summarily, in summa , to give kudos and salvos where kudos and salvos are due:

Decorating Triumph: To Kathy Hurwitz, responsible for centerpieces featuring ceramic toucans and parrots perched atop ferns, for palm trees and balloons and for the silk butterflies clinging to the cloth napkins, each a different color, at “Bossa Rio,” a fund-raiser for Cystic Fibrosis. “I would have done monkeys swinging on vines for the ceiling,” said Hurwitz in her New Jersey twang, “but there was a wedding in here till 4 o’clock.”

Decorating Disaster: To Charles Paap, whose decorations at the Pacific Symphony’s Viennese Ball included 320 votive candles, and, set out as party favors, little chocolate grand pianos, each in its own box and protective tissue paper. “Somebody just pushed the box over a little bit,” reported eyewitness Diane Sterling, “and the tissue went up like that ! Firemen arrived on the scene within moments.

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Choice Words, Well Chosen:

- To Frank Hall, senior vice president of Hoag Memorial Hospital. Speaking at a meeting of county fund-raising executives, Hall lamented the business community peer pressure routinely used to sell tickets to honorary dinners. What’s been lost, he reflected, is “philanthropic intent . . . an honest and sincere desire to solve a social problem.”

- To Tony Moiso, speaking, ironically, at an honorary dinner where he received the Red Cross Spirit Award: “Listen, all you really have is your family and friends,” he said. “All the rest is b.s.--riding around in limos and all that stuff--you know, like Willie Nelson said, ‘My wants in life are few/But a Lear and a limo will do.’ ”

- To 81-year-old comedian Bob Hope, on being made an honorary Marine brigadier general at the Hotel Meridien in Newport Beach. “So what’s next? King?”

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Looking Good: To supporters of the Orange County Performing Arts Center. The planned opening is a mere nine months away.

Looking Bad: To all those supposedly culturally upwardly mobile cosmopolites who aim to fill the 3,000 seats of the Center but who left Chapman’s auditorium half empty for a recital by mezzo-soprano superstar Marilyn Horne.

Looking Through Rose-Colored Glasses: To Tom Riley, county Board of Supervisors’ chairman. After touring the $1.2-million Easter Seals Design House in Laguna Hills, he blithely quipped, “Just another average evening in an average home in the fabulous 5th District.”

Not So Kind to Animals: To Dee Trujillo, Queen of Carnaval, the Royal Exotic Swan, at the “Carnaval in Rio” benefit for the Performing Arts Center. More than one of several live white doves were run over by the train of the Queen’s dress. “Smothered by gold lame!” exclaimed one guest.

Party Animals--Individual: To Isabel Greenwald, for her creativity and spontaneity. She replaced the earrings she originally wore to the Huntington Harbour Philharmonic Grand Marshall Ball with the luminescent green fire rings from beneath the salad plates.

Party Animals--Group: To the Cancer Ball Internationale Committee. Pre-party parties have become de rigeur . This year, the committee added a post- party party: They took over Le Chardonnay in Irvine for the night and thanked their major donors with caviar, gravelox and beef Wellington.

Party Squirrels: To the Spur and the Rose Committee, which took the opposite tack. “We cut out the benefactors’ luncheon, cut out the press party and cut out the patroness table luncheon,” reported Sherman Library and Gardens advisory board member Ann Wells. “We just net that much more.”

The Zen of Party-Giving: To SCOOPP, for its July 4 “No-Benefit Benefit.” Nobody was encouraged to come, everybody complied, and the South Coast Organization of Planned Parenthood raised $14,000.

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Party Poopers: To the guests at the New Year’s Eve Investors Ball one year ago at the Ritz-Carlton who made off with more than half the Pierrot doll centerpieces sans silent auction bid; proceeds from the centerpieces would have benefited cystic fibrosis research.

Demented Vision: To David Hayes, whose fashions were shown at a luncheon for Childhelp USA. “Stop worrying about the lousy car payments,” he said, “Forget it! Get yourself beautiful, and you can have five cars! That’s what made America great, right? Right!” (Wrong.)

Model of the Year: To the Most Rev. John Steinbock, auxiliary bishop of Orange, who modeled at the Gentlemen’s Haberdashery Extravaganza. He wore a golf outfit featuring plaid slacks that fashion commentator Kitty Leslie imagined “even God could see.”

Mr. and Ms. Elusive: To Irvine Co. Chairman Donald Bren and Jennifer McKay, who nevertheless managed to be effusive hosts to all save the press at the Irvine Ranch Roundup.

Hard to Swallow: To Neiman-Marcus fashion director Colleen Espinosa, for her Cystic Fibrosis Guild fashion show, “NUVO etc.” The super-elegant lunching women found it far easier to swallow their salades nicoise than the pattern prints in fluorescent yellows and lime greens, oversized shirts and earrings and tight stirrup pants.

Easy to Swallow, Hard to Digest, but What a Great Aftertaste: To the organizers of the Orange County African Relief Fund, who sponsored a $2,500-per-couple dinner at Antoine in Newport Beach featuring pigeon salad with cepe mousse and foie gras, medallions of lobster, roast lamb with endives and truffles and mocha mousseline, all to benefit the starving in Ethiopia.

Opening Hoopla, Rivers of Bubbly: To the Hotel Meridien, for its City of Lights meets Tinsel Town festivities featuring laser lights, smoke machines and a bevy of eloquent dignitaries who, however, were done in by the architecture of the atrium. “Nobody can hear the reverberations for the speeches!” observed Charlie Hester.

Ironies:

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- To whoever decided to serve the chocolate-dipped strawberries with individual liqueur-filled syringes at the Restaurateur Society dinner--which happened to benefit diabetes research.

- To Mr. Blackwell. Noting the importance of laughing at ourselves, he suggested to one luncheon guest who volunteered for his fashion critique that she pad her bra--which he and the woman proceeded to do with napkins off the tables. The affair was sponsored by Reach for Recovery, a support group for mastectomy patients.

Irony of Ironies: To only the Lord knows. Two weeks before the Multiple Sclerosis Dinner Auction, it was diagnosed that auction chairman Claire McNair had MS.

Insights: To Marvin Hamlisch, who asked a crowd of 700 doctors and their wives how they came up with the name Anaheim Memorial Hospital. “You think maybe they lost the first 4,000 patients?”

How Quickly We Forget: To Martin Feldman, guest at a dinner for St. Joseph Hospital. “How are the babies? What babies? Oh, those babies,” said the man who delivered the Frustaci septuplets.

Wine Tasting in the Liver Ward: To Irvine Marriott Hotel for its boxing for the handicapped benefit. Almost All Bases Covered: To the Rev. Robert Schuller. At a dinner celebrating his 30th anniversary of ministry, Schuller received blessings from the supreme pontiff Pope John Paul II; our pontificator on the Potomac, Ronald Reagan, and the Rabbi Herschel Brooks. Although listed in the program, Pope John III was in fact not among those sending his apostolic good wishes--his office ended in AD 574.

Quote of the Year: To Rose Smedegaard, sharing a bit of wisdom with Bari Tulving at the Opera Ball Patron Party. “You’ve never lived until you’ve lived years earlier than you did,” she said.

Runner-Up Quote: To publicist Lee Solters, sizing up a basset puppy at the Interval House auction. “Same dog as last year,” he commented wryly, “he hasn’t eaten a word.”

There’s a Message in There Somewhere: To Wade Roberts, director of the Sherman Gardens, who explained on a tour of same that society garlic (appropriately or inappropriately, depending on your point of view) smelled bad. “It’s the worst,” he said.

When Eras Collide: To 97-year-old Catherine Richter, who became a board member of the Laguna Beach Museum of Art in the ‘20s. At the museum’s recent ground breaking, she eyed a robot making its way to the parking lot with owner Corey Huffman.

“Aren’t we living in a queer age?” she asked.

You bet. Happy 1986.


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