Maybe there are just two kinds of people in the world: Italians and those who want to be Italians.
Oh, yes, also Italians who are going to bring home an Oscar tonight, which is what the Italian and Italophile crush at Madeo’s restaurant celebrated Friday night.
“In the Olympics they say what counts more than winning is to take part in the game,” announced Rinaldo Petrignini, the Italian ambassador who had flown in from Washington for the party. “Here I say that what counts is to win.”
The evening, hosted by the ultra-charming Italian Consul General Alberto Boniver and his beautiful wife, Susie, celebrated “everything Italian,” and indeed some celebrated Italians were spotlighted. From the heavily nominated “The Last Emperor” were director Bernardo Bertolucci, editor Gabriella Cristiani, art director Ferdinando Scarfiotti and cinematographer Vittorio Storaro.
Likening his nominee-laden entourage to the Italian soccer team, Bertolucci said, “If we don’t get some award, we can’t go back to Italy.”
The party was wonderfully Italianate, joyous despite the overflow crowd and apparent lack of plan for seating or schedule. There was a fabulous risotto and talk about--what else--Italy. The honored guests wound up in the restaurant’s back room, joined by Francis Coppola and Marlee Matlin and a lot of cigar and cigarette smoke.
The guests were as eclectic a mix as the art in an Italian duomo , where one might find Fra Angelicos, Baroque altar pieces and a St. Anthony statue with a light-up halo. In the party mix: Oscar nominee Sean Connery (who stood outside signing autographs after the fete, a real star), Valerie Perrine, Dennis and Terry Stanfill (she is Italian), Nick and Felisa Vanoff (the elegant Felisa’s family is from Calabria), Jolene and George Schlatter, Angie Dickinson, Dani Janssen chatting with James Farentino, Juan Alvarez with the hyper-rich Victoria and Isaac Oberfeld (their Acapulco home is considered the house to stay in).
Michael and Pat York had spent several months in Italy last year while he was working on “The Secret of the Sahara” for Italian TV. York said they rented a villa outside of Rome and arrived to find five servants--but no phone, since the mistress of the house was refusing to pay an 18-million lire phone bill.
When their friend, Giovanni Volpe of the famous Venetian family, heard of their plight and their inability to get the service reinstated, he solved it--in a typically Italian way. He drove his car to the villa--and left it there. Complete with its car phone.
Ciao. And bravo!
NOW THAT’S HYPE--The Publicists’ Guild held its 60th annual luncheon Friday. Among those honored: film producers (“Beverly Hills Cop”) Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer. We’d love to know who from Paramount Pictures did the release on the duo--a classic, really. Two choice passages, both referring to their salaries: “That puts Simpson and Bruckheimer past such notable Hollywood money makers as Steven Spielberg.” (That’s Spielberg plural, no doubt.) And, “As Axel Foley, Eddie Murphy may have careened past the huge homes that Simpson and Bruckheimer each own in Beverly Hills. Their hits have made each wealthy enough that they no longer need the paycheck.”
OH, YES--Bravo to the Los Angeles Library Assn. Their invite “requests the pleasure of your company at the Stay Home and Read a Book Ball.” That’s right. Just send in a check--$25 makes one a “paperback donor,” and it goes up to $1,000 for a “shelf donor.” It all supports the Children’s Reading Program--and that’s the kind of party none of us can afford to miss.
INNOVATIVE RECEPTION--Ray Remy, the president of the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, and Judy Miller, the president of the Trusteeship (that’s the organization made up of high-ranking women from various fields) will jointly host a reception for the head of information for the Soviet Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
That’s Gennady Gerasimov, who is also the chief spokesman for Mikhail Gorbachev, and the event will be April 19 at the Bank of America. This really marks a new public face on the Trusteeship, which brings together women from business, politics, show business and philanthropy.