Gary Hart Pays Visit to L.A.'s Veteran Mender of Images

Former Sen. Gary Hart quietly jetted to Los Angeles this week on his search for a way back into the public limelight. On Monday, he sought the advice of Norman Brokaw, the superagent and image-making whiz who co-chairs the powerful William Morris Agency. Brokaw is no stranger to mending broken politicians and their images, especially by helping in the book-publishing field and arranging controlled appearances on TV shows. Among Brokaw's clients are former President Gerald Ford, former White House Chief of Staff Donald Regan, presidential candidate Alexander Haig and beyond-being-President Armand Hammer.

As for Hart, the word from the career-building Brokaw was that it was just talk, no contract yet--but if Hart wanted to revamp his image and resuscitate some semblance of his political career, Brokaw's office would be a smart place to hang his hat. Hart's close friend, Beverly Hills developer Al Gersten, said he "brought old friends together" by setting up the meeting with Brokaw. Gersten also remains active in raising money to repay Hart's campaign debts. The former Democratic presidential candidate was reportedly set to meet Tuesday afternoon with press agent Lee Solters, who manages the public images of folks like Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand and Marvin Davis (and who is frequently credited with satisfying the wishes of publicity-shy clients). Although Hart's schedule was far from public, the meeting was set to follow a lunch with attorney John Emerson--he had been Hart's deputy campaign manager and Monday started back to work at Manatt, Phelps, Rothenberg & Phillips.

FOOD IS ART, ART IS FOOD--And it's a great evening when the two meet. Ask the supporters of the Woman's Building and the Women's Culinary Alliance. They put on the first ever joint benefit at the Four Seasons Sunday night. Sampling--Camelion's Marsha Sands and her friend Marion Beckerman, John Welbourne (who said he was there "because I like women and I like food"), political consultant Steve Smith with restaurateur Michael Nicola. Yummy foods like Patout's Shrimp Remoulade, Mary Macucci's Along Came Mary's Sweet Chili Pasta, City Catering's Basque Bean and Sausage Salad, Camelion's Elka Gilmore introducing the Barbecued Goat from the soon-to-be-opened Horny Toads, Andrea Bell and Jean Brady's to-die-for brownies from L.A. Celebrations, and a lavish Seafood Extravaganza from Lydia Shire and the Four Seasons. (The hotel picked up almost all the cost of the events over the food donated by each restaurant--and thus the party cleared $15,000, which is not bad for a first time out.) Credit for the evening goes especially to Gilmore and to Hermine Harman for chairing the event. An event like this--set to be repeated next year--deserves to draw a big crowd.

HEDGING BETS--Yes, political consultant Joe Cerrell did help presidential hopeful Rep. Dick Gephardt plan his recent swing, and also gave some advice to Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis. This week, he scheduled Tennessee Sen. Albert Gore. But Cerrell's making no commitments yet, since his former practice of signing on early is "how I elected President Lloyd Bentsen and President John Glenn." . . . And, in the how-quickly-they-forget category, former President Jimmy Carter and his wife and co-author Rosalynn dined alone in the Bordeaux Room of the Beverly Wilshire last week, on sea bass followed by two scoops of ice cream for the former President . . . Another a deux couple brought down the house Friday night, even at usually blase Morton's. Nothing like having La Liz and George Hamilton sitting together along the wall. It was a hot night for celebs, with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver stopping by to say hi, then being joined by "Spaceballs" Rick Moranis. Oprah Winfrey hosted another table, while nearby Jane and Marc Nathanson and Joan and Marco Weiss talked about trips they'd like to take this summer.

SCRATCH THAT DELI--"I just couldn't come to terms. And I have a superstition; if I start something with somebody, I don't finish it with somebody else." That's what New York's Carnegie Deli owner Leo Steiner told The Times' Ruth Reichl. So, for all hopeful investors in the planned exodus to Bev Hills that involved Marvin Davis, just get back in line at Nate 'n' Al's. Steiner said: "I think the area is phenomenal for a good New York deli . . . most of the inhabitants know what good deli is."

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