Nothing So Fair as the Book Fair

Times Staff Writer

It’s spring. And thoughts turn to--books and benefits? Yup. Perhaps the most innovative new benefit is the Music Center’s Book Fair, to be held in conjunction with the Mercado on June 7 and 8. Kicking it off, a tea at Neiman-Marcus in Beverly Hills on April 29, hosted by N-M’s John Martens. There Book Fair co-chairs Joyce Rosenblum and Marco Weiss announce details of the “Celebration of California Writing” seminar series to be held at the same time as the fair.

Barrels for books at Vons grocery stores, at six Robinson’s stores and at the Music Center have produced a bonanza of more than 200,000 volumes. Getting credit for the idea is Michael Newton, the past president of the Performing Arts Council. And getting the monetary credit from the sale of the books will be the Music Center’s Education Fund, Weiss pointed out. “It is not a glamorous event, but people have been wonderful,” he said, with a reminder that the Education Division last year involved 300,000 students, 11,000 educators and 91 school districts in achieving their goal of making the arts available to everyone.

The successful response both by publishing companies and individuals means that Los Angeles will probably see the Book Fair as an annual event, Rosenblum said. She said dozens of volunteers are currently sorting and pricing the books in the warehouse donated by Lockheed Corp. Let a thousand volunteers bloom.

ALL ABOARD--It’s a war out there on the freeways--a war of signs. Several months ago, the diamond-shaped signs announcing “Baby on Board” or “Child in Car” began appearing with regularity. Somehow the warning that a youngster was present was supposed to make other drivers more careful. But wait--there’s a rebel born every minute. Signs sighted this week on the Hollywood Freeway include: “Chow in Car,” “Big Baby on Board,” and, on a Porsche, “Child in Trunk.”


MOVING ON UP--Bonita Granville Wrather, the longtime honorary chairman of the American Film Institute Associates, is becoming the chairman of the board of the American Film Institute. So her longtime associates and friends got together at Max au Triangle Tuesday to send her merrily on her way. Associates President Patricia Barry was back from her “soaping” in New York to make a pretty speech and help with the presentation of a crystal gavel. On hand, Ava Dexter Ostern and Polo Miller (they chair AFI’s International Film Society), Sybil Goldrich, Roz Rogers and Jackie Monash.

ONLY IN L.A. ADJACENT--When is a restaurant not a restaurant? When the clientele insists that it be more--like the center of beachside intellectual discussion. That’s why the third-in-a-series of “afternoons” at Tony Bill’s 72 Market Street had aviator-inventor Paul MacCready, the father of human-powered flight, discussing his inventions Saturday before dozens of film makers, artists, and others munching on guacamole sandwiches. MacCready, who won the $100,000-plus Kramer Prize for building a man-powered plane capable of sustained flight, disavowed any intellectual reasons for starting out on his quest: “I didn’t care if it was fun, or meaningful or historically significant. I just had to win the prize.” Next up in the series are the Mums, a theatrical ensemble described as a mini-circus. Appearing April 26.

YET MORE FIRSTS--Frank Sinatra will lecture at Yale University on April 15, in an appearance sponsored by Yale’s Career Services Department. It will be an “informal dialogue” between Sinatra and author Sidney Zion, focusing on his “professional career, his motivations and ambitions” . . . John Huston, Arthur Hill, Tyne Daly Brown, Shelley Fabares and Steve Guttenberg are among the 24 actors who’ve taped public-service announcements on behalf of Amnesty International, the Nobel Prize-winning human rights organization. The spots will be aired as part of Amnesty International’s celebrating of “25 years of effective work on behalf of prisoners of conscience all over the world.”

LA-DI-DA--It’s the look of chic spring, with pastel green and pink invites to a Spago Sunday Brunch. But wait--this is a political shindig. Spago’s Barbara Lazaroff and Wolfgang Puck join with Ira Distenfield to host the April 27 $500-a-pizza-eater fund-raiser for the Bradley for governor campaign . . . The Craft and Folk Art Museum hosts its Great Chefs Dinner May 3 at Max au Triangle in Bev Hills. Chairing the annual event are Rusty Farrell and Diana Munk. . . . It’s now goodby, a “Farewell to Halley’s Comet” party at Griffith Observatory April 29. For the $40 ticket, a guest gets a last good look at the comet, a dessert buffet and a one-year membership in Friends of the Griffith Observatory. The party is a “thank you” to the observatory, which has hosted large crowds since the early fall arrival of the comet.


ONCE AGAIN--Last year it was a massive sellout. And indeed the tickets for the first day at Sen. William Campbell’s annual Conference on Women, April 14 at the Anaheim Hilton and Towers, are all sold out. But there are still some spots for the Monday night banquet, with Phyllis Diller, and for the Tuesday session, including a lunch with Olympian Wilma Rudolph. Today’s the last day to register.

THANK YOU, BEV HILLS--Ellen Byrens was very clear about it. “The Maple Center is important of course, because there are people in Beverly Hills who need help and the Maple Center is the one entity that helps everyone.” The Maple Center provides counseling and advice for teen-agers, single parents, the elderly, everyone. So, to thank the underwriters of Maple Center’s ’85 “Gala Gala,” a lavish spread was hosted by Jean Leon at his La Scala restaurant. Byrens presented Leon with an engraved silver wine cooler as a token of the center’s appreciation of his efforts over the past years, then joined her good buddies Sid and Francis Klein, Henry and Sedge Plitt, Ruth and Alan Berliner, and of course, Berny Byrens over some Beluga caviar and Tattinger Champagne. Chatting it up around the tables were Joe Tilen, the Maple Center prexy, Sybil Brand with Cesar Romero and Toni Corwin.