Promising the Moon at Gardens Benefit

Times Staff Writer

Friends of Robinson Gardens president Melinda Winston and Patty and Ed Turrentine and Dale Shumate are promising it will be the most "moon-nificent" August Moon Party ever. Over lunch the other noon, they discussed the capis shells tucked in "save the date" pre-invites which arrived a few days ago noting their party Aug. 1. The moon will be full, and they'll be going all out--with live white birds in Philippine bamboo cages entwined with orchids and ivy--to outdo the late Virginia Robinson whose legendary August moon party celebrating her birthday was a grand-style tradition.

She and Harry Robinson built their home above the wheat fields of Los Angeles in 1911, and the official deed reads "first residence of Beverly Hills."

The Robinson Estate, a majestic example of Beaux Arts architecture, includes 6.5 acres of unique plant specimens, and the gardens are listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

The Friends hope to raise $75,000 to restore the concrete balustrades of the main residence and guest pavilion. Already, since their founding in 1983, the Friends have funded a replacement roof for the residence and guest pavilion, refurbished the front courtyard, and restored the historic central mall, adding a sprinkler system.

Quite a bit of the goal is expected to come from Bridget Martens' recently mailed patrons letters.

KUDOS: It's hoped that the black-tie gala grand opening hosted by the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles honoring the Associates of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center raises more than $750,000. The purpose of the event was to launch The Associates, the donors who have made significant commitments to the center. Among notables dining on Lydia Shire's four-course dinner were the Henry Plitts, the Sanford Sigoloffs, Marcia Weisman, the Joseph Bentleys, Phyllis Morris, and the Robert L. Spencers.

INNOVATIVE: Last year it was "Raj Embassy." This year it's "Gala Italia" for members of the Pasadena Guild of the California Institute for Cancer Research at UCLA. The William Rockwells in Pasadena will be hosts in their gardens July 26. Eighty volunteers including Anna MacDonnell, Penny Bianchi, Liz Morrow, Gwen Cheesewright, Julie Pizzinat, Biji Wilcox and Maggie Jagels are planning a "midsummer stroll through Borghese West," including a Romanesque gateway, auction and strolling musicians. Italian dignitaries lending pizazz will include Italian Consul Gen. Alberto Bonivar and Signor Angelo Scroppo of Alitalia Airlines. This afternoon Virgil and Mary Frances Russellwill host an informal garden party at the home of Adam and Penny Bianchi to get in the mood for the benefit.

MALIBU FUN: Blake Edwards and Julie Andrews host a benefit dinner at their Malibu home June 27 to celebrate the eighth anniversary of Operation California, the international relief agency. After actor Marjoe Gortner leads the celebrity auction and pianist-singer Michael Feinstein performs, some 300, including Ed Asner, Cassey Kasem, Alana Stewart, Grant Tinker, John Tunney and Daphne Zuniga, will dine al fresco. The Edwardses were instrumental in the original Operation California flight to famine-ravaged Cambodia in 1979. Now, Operation California boasts more than $50 million worth of medicines, food and emergency aid donated to countries suffering from disasters.

JONES-INGELS: Affiliates of El Nido Services honor Shirley Jones and Marty Ingels with a luncheon June 24 at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. The program will include a presentation on "Suicidal Children: How Can We Help?" by Dr. Barry Goldstein of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Ilene Gold and Ruth Shacknove are staging "El Nido Goes Hollywood."

50TH ANNIVERSARY: A few months from now Pepperdine University celebrates its 15th year at the Malibu campus and its 50th anniversary in higher education. There's to be a three-day Golden Jubilee Celebration, with a black-tie dinner at the Beverly Hilton, a communitywide church service and Sunday picnic, and an academic processional and convocation. Pepperdine will be sending a series of 15 anniversary post cards leading up to the celebration Sept. 19-21.

A FIRST: Supposedly, for the first time in the 54-year history of Laguna Beach's "Pageant of the Masters," a charitable organization has bought out an entire evening's performance. The AIDS Services Foundation/Orange County's "A Pageant for Life" night will be a black-tie affair July 17 with cocktails and dinner preceding the show. Comedienne Martha Raye has been guest of honor at two cocktail parties kicking off the fund raising this week, one at Ron's in Laguna restaurant and the other at the Los Feliz home of Dr. Joseph Carberry.

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