Yuppie Puppy Becomes Real Party Animal

The next time the cares and travails of this weary world prompt you to throw up your hands and moan, "It's a dog's life," consider the case of Tootsie.

Tootsie, a four-footed connoisseur of the finer things who belongs to public relations man Rich Wise, celebrated her first birthday Saturday. Never one to do things modestly, Wise made sure that this winsome hound was feted in style; 300 guests showed up at the duo's Mission Beach digs, laden with gifts and birthday wishes.

Tootsie, who was honored a year ago at a puppy shower given by Wise, is fast growing accustomed to the social whirl. You might even say that, socially speaking, Tootsie is on a roll.

A true pooch of the 1980s, Tootsie was very much the yuppie puppy, graciously greeting her guests at the entrance to the tent Wise had had erected over his front yard. Dressed to the canines in a red sequined sheath, Tootsie looked quite the party animal, an orchid tucked teasingly behind one floppy ear, and a couple of balloons coyly tethered to her collar.

The guests, as was proper, made much of the mutt. Among the first arrivals were Dodie and Doug Garner, who brought a present of 300 pounds of newspaper, neatly stacked and tied with a bright red ribbon; Dodie indicated that it was the sort of gift Tootsie might want to save for a rainy day.

Another early arrival, Alma Spicer (Bill was there, too), marched straight up to the pup, scratched her under the chin, and cooed, "Oh, isn't she an adorable puppy!" Tootsie howled with delight at the compliment.

Wise, whose public relations stunts are legendary (the rubber ducks he mailed out in a promotion some years back still can be found on many desks around town), made sure that his guests went to the dogs in style. The buffet was graced by bags of Puppy Chow and a life-size fire hydrant carved from ice; the mantle was carpeted with Tootsie Rolls, and a bone carved from Styrofoam was stuck with several hundred Tootsie Pops. Cookies were shaped like bones, the bits of ice that cooled drinks were shaped like bones--you get the idea.

For entertainment, the Wise VCR carried a nonstop program of puppy videos (no fooling), and the stereo repeatedly played such canine classics as Patti Page's immortal "How Much Is that Doggie in the Window?" and Elvis Presley's "Hound Dog."

As the party progressed, it became clear that the friendship between Wise and Tootsie transcends the usual master-mutt relationship. You might even call it puppy love, based on Wise's remarks.

"Tootsie is like a little kid, she's lots of fun," he said. "I love her--she's a man's best friend."

The Charity Ball is built around dancing, and A Night in Monte Carlo is dedicated to glamour. The annual Heart 'n Hand Ball, however, has come to be known as a party of grand entrances.

Held Saturday at its traditional venue, the San Diego Hilton, the 13th annual Heart 'n Hand Ball followed the theme set in the past by titillating its 350 guests with a party-opening gag that 'em oohing and aahing and begging for more. In years gone by, chairmen have driven into the room in miniature fire engines and full-sized Rolls-Royces; one year, a former chef who had just had surgery was wheeled in on a gurney, and the next year, the same chef and his bride recited their marriage vows before the rather surprised gathering.

The tradition continued this year, if toned down a touch. When the house lights dimmed, a cloud (actually steam produced by chunks of dry ice) began pouring through a heart-shaped arch, and as the darkening mists swirled and eddied, out stepped honorary chairman Jim Davis, followed by the hotel's catering director, James Cutfield. Davis was applauded as man of the hour, as indeed he was--the crowd included 140 of his personal guests.

Davis' purchase of 10 tables helped the largely underwritten function raise nearly $80,000 for its beneficiary, Lakeside's Home of Guiding Hands, a residence for learning-disabled people. As always, the home's residents constructed the party favors, which this year were red ceramic hearts filled with bouquets of fresh flowers. The hearts paid homage to the ball's traditional Valentine's Day theme.

Kathy Curran chaired the Heart 'n Hand Ball, with assistance from a committee that included Allan Frostrom, Ray and Norma Johnson, Dan and Joy McLauchlin, Jim and Irmtraud Bass, Alice Zukor, Chester and DeOra Davis, Belinda Bales, Jane Gabrielson, Robin Swanson, Joanne Lotzgeselle, Mary Montoya, Edward Dahlkamp, Dora Place and Eleanor Lasiter.

The San Diego Museum of Art was host to about 250 of its President's Circle and Friends support groups at a reception last Thursday that previewed the institution's newest exhibition, "Modern German Masterpieces from the Saint Louis Art Museum." Among the guests of honor were Dr. Klaus Rupprecht, deputy consul general at the consulate of the Federal Republic of Germany in Los Angeles, and Walter Steidle, vice president of the sponsoring May Department Stores Co.

The tone of the crowd was generally hushed as it issued from the exhibit gallery to the Rotunda reception area; nearly half of the works are by Max Beckmann, whose view of a world savaged by war was inspired by his homeland's fate in World War I. Most works were bequeathed to the St. Louis museum by department store magnate Morton D. May, who became a friend and patron of Beckmann's in the late 1940s.

According to Steidle, many of the works were last seen in San Diego in 1962, when the May Co. opened its store in the Mission Valley Center.

Among guests at a small dinner given later in the museum's Sculpture Garden were Rupprecht; Steidle and his wife, Elaine; Michele Mason; Joan Gosewich; St. Louis Museum Director James Burke, and Hermann Zilligens, West German honorary consul in San Diego.

Chicago Symphony Orchestra Director Sir Georg Solti swept into the lobby of Boathouse Grill to a glissando of applause last week after his visiting symphony's well-received performance the same evening at Symphony Hall. About 200 members of the sponsoring La Jolla Chamber Music Society's Celebrity Circle were on hand to toast not only the maestro but also their own good fortune at being able to secure fine music for the usually dark hall.

(Solti's popularity was increased by an impromptu gesture made at the beginning of the performance of works by Haydn and Mahler. The gesture, a spirited rendition of the "Stars and Stripes," was offered as congratulations to San Diego's Stars & Stripes crew on their victory over the Australian defenders of the America's Cup the previous day. Solti's interest in the yacht race was piqued, as things turned out, by chamber music society director Geoff Brooks, who passed out Stars & Stripes posters to the musicians shortly after they arrived in town.)

Among the guests were Brenda Baker and Stephen Baum. Baker was clutching a Solti recording of "Tosca," which the conductor had awarded her after she took him and his wife, Lady Valerie, on an afternoon tour of the San Diego Zoo.

Also present were Susan and Donald Newell, Anne and John Gilchrist, Maureen and Dick Gibbons, Karen Winston, Anthony and Lisa Zolezzi, Michele and Paul Ellingsen, Joan and Irwin Jacobs, Liselotte and Mike Terkel, Nancy and Ross Rudolph, Teddie and Jules Pincus, Peggy Preuss, Ewa Robinson, Barbara Walbridge, and Marie and Merrel Olesen.

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World
69°