A Renaissance at the Rebuilt Biltmore

Times Staff Writer

Sunday night, a lot of downtown moved up. Like Mayor Tom Bradley: "Queen Elizabeth elevated me--from a knight to a baron." Like the thousand or so folks who kept moving up from their tables to hit the groaning boards of goodies. And most especially like the Biltmore Hotel, celebrating its reascendancy as a renaissance beauty. There was a plethora of good spirits. The normally staid downtown types got right into the courtly feeling, as Queen Bess and her cohorts swirled through the lavishly outfitted public rooms of the Biltmore (which, as we all know, was built in 1921 with a vision of the elaborate architecture of the Renaissance). Children's Museum director Jack Armstrong and his wife, Bonnie, in full regalia, joined the likes of Councilman John and Margaret Ferraro and Councilman David and Sylvia Cunningham, Adrienne and Maurice Hall, First Interstate's Steve and Christie McAvoy, Community Redevelopment Agency Commissioner Dolly Chapman, the Windsor's Ben Dimsdale, Cynthia Maduro Ryan with her hubby, Robert, and stopped to chat with Westgroup vice chairman Chuck Lande (Westgroup owns the hotel) and Kathy and Lou Moret. (The party was like a homecoming for Kathy, who spent years with Councilman Gil Lindsay, who represents downtown.) In the Crystal Ballroom, Westgroup chairman Pat Colee listened as his wife, Diane, discussed with her sister, Undersecretary of Commerce Donna Tuttle, that buttermilk was used to clean and preserve the painted ceiling. Hubby Robert Tuttle had to stay back east, so he missed the party, including the champagne that finished it off with just the right touch.

SPICE OF LIFE--That's what Variety Clubs are, and it's a spicy party that the Variety Club "Big Heart" Community Achievement dinner has in store April 6. Yummy Warren Beatty will be doing the emcee honors, as Columbia Pictures president and CEO Guy McElwaine gets the award. Jerry Weintraub is one of the honorary dinner chairs, along with Bruce Corwin, who's also president of the board of directors. (We're thrilled that Bruce's entree into the baseball world with his Palm Springs Angels hasn't diminished his philanthropic activities.) Proceeds from the Big Heart Awards Dinner go to support continuing projects--including the local Sunshine Coach Program. And didn't we see one of the new Sunshine Buses at MacLaren Hall on Saturday? Variety Club is everywhere--and will be at the Century Plaza for the dinner . . . Young Variety of Southern California (that's the younger generation of Variety Club supporters) holds it first "Easter Party" on March 29. The party is a reunion for children who attended the Camp Ronald McDonald for Goodtimes, a camp for youths stricken with cancer. It all takes place at Cheviot Hills Park.

TOP TOTAL--Kudos to the supporters of the Downtown Women's Center, who took part in Sunday's Walk-a-Thon and raised more than $150,000. That cash will come in handy since the new Residence on Skid Row gets dedicated May 1. Kudos also to the May Co. since department stores usually open the doors of their new outlets with a fancy party for a few or an underwritten benefit. Instead, to celebrate the opening of May Co. at Seventh Market Place, Jim Watterson sparkplugged the Walk-a-Thon--and his company helped make downtown a better place for everyone.

ONE LAST TIME--Friday and Saturday mark the end of an era, as the World's Largest Rummage Sale goes on for the last time. Sponsored by the Pasadena Auxiliary of Boys Republic, the sale will be at the old Home Laundry Building--and 100,000 items are promised.

ANOTHER ONE LAST TIME--The '60s statement--"The student leaders of today are the student leaders of tomorrow"--just might prove true. At least on the weekend of April 4, when student activists from the '30s through the '60s meet at Cal State Long Beach for a reunion of the American Student Union and the 25th anniversary of Students for a Democratic Society.

NEW EMPLOYERS--Jeanette Sassoon, wife of the charming Vidal and seen around town in some of the most original outfits since Barbara Eden in "I Dream of Jeannie," is more than just a pretty midriff. She's getting very good reviews for her singing style with the group Bravin, seen and heard recently at Madame Wong's West . . . Nancy Pelosi and Associates have affiliated with Ogilvy & Mather, a Washington-based public affairs and communications company.

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