Kluges' Party Proves That Yes, There Is a Virginia

Some people weren't quite sure why they were at the Bistro Garden Wednesday night. No, no, that's not right. Everyone knew why they had come: They had been invited by John and Patricia Kluge, and he happens to be very, very rich, having what Forbes magazine says are assets of $2.6 billion. So the only thing was, some people weren't quite sure why the Kluges were having this particular party.

It was simple, really. Patricia Kluge has decided to spotlight Virginia as a wonderful place to make movies and celebrate films. She's signed up both the University of Virginia and Virginia Gov. Gerald Baliles to ensure that it will happen, via a weeklong film festival next October.

The party had more than its share of brand names. The still-beautiful-after-all-these-years Warren Beatty makes any party a brand-name event. (He's from Virginia, and, along with his sister Shirley MacLaine will be honored during the October '88 shindig.) Then there were the usual gaggle of moguls--the dapper Barry Diller (20th Century Fox), the even more dapper Tony Thomopoulos (United Artists), and the slightly rumpled Mike Medavoy (Orion), along with his very sleek wife, Patricia Duff Medavoy.

As Patricia Kluge explains it (and this should send social climbers on both coasts scurrying for their calendars) the festival will kick off with a weekend celebration. Since the extraordinary Kluge estate, Albermarle (the size of a Balkan nation and probably the greatest private construction since the 1920s), is close at hand, it's a good bet that those stars attending the October fest will get a show that will ga-ga even Hollywood.

Partying were Jack Lemmon, director George Stevens Jr. and his daughter/assistant Caroline. "This is my governor," said Stevens, who just finished filming an NBC five-hour miniseries in Virginia with star Lemmon. In "The Ballad of Mary Phagan," he had used Baliles in a bit part--and made very sure, he said kiddingly, that the governor did not end up on a cutting room floor.

Other stars arrived--Donna Mills with John Emerson from the City Attorney's office--and that must be a hot romance, because the paparazzi said they shot the couple four times in the last week. Motion Picture Assn. President Jack Valenti was busy saying hello (he must know more people than anyone in the U.S.A.) and stopped to chat with Lili and Richard Zanuck.

Lemmon had tales of woe about the construction of his two-bedroom Malibu house. "Get me a job," he insisted to Pat Medavoy, saying the cost was astronomical. "I checked with Peter O'Malley and Dodger Stadium didn't cost as much."

Outside, awaiting the arrival of his true love Barbara Rush, Warren Cowan lined up for a picture with his partner Henry Rogers. "I posed on the left," Cowan confided afterward. "That means my name goes first in the captions."

HO, HO, HO--If you think the jingling sounds you hear signal just the approaching holiday season--think again. They also announce the return of Jingle Bear, who is making his second visit to the Broadway here--with a happy stop by California Medical Center. Jingle Bear shared his first birthday with children in the hospital--all part of his and the Broadway's attempt to spread the holiday spirit around. The Broadway has contributed $10,000 to Retinitis Pigmentosa International--and has lent Jingle Bear to lead the search for a permanent home for the RP Wonderland program (named for Stevie Wonder). RP Wonderland will be housed for the time being at the California Medical Center--giving information, referrals and visual-device assistance to RP sufferers. That should brighten the holidays--that, and the giant Jingle Bear who danced his way down the hospital's halls, handing out smaller cuddly versions and lots of season's greetings.

DINING OUT--House Majority Whip Tony Coelho (D-Merced) was hosted by Democratic State Chairman Peter Kelly Wednesday night--tasty dinner at Jimmy's and a tasty take, because the majority of the 40-plus people paying $1,000 for the honor were largely newcomers as money givers.

Coelho almost achieved a feat unknown among professional politicians, giving a short after-dinner speech, deftly covering his programmatic bases and then sitting down. Only thing is--for $1,000 people want to ask questions. So it was close to an hour later when the dinner wrapped up.

What was discussed? Well, in one answer, Coelho managed to cover the following topics: "Homelessness, sickness, the Jesuits, insurance, the draft, child prostitution, drugs, Gorbachev, freeways, the presidential election, ethnicity, housing, education, immorality, children and the question of possession by the devil." You had to be there. Also to see the new Peter Kelly, who after 17 years shaved his mustache. "It's supposed to take years off," he said, "But once you do it, there's no where else to go."

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