The Party That Never Panned Out

Two groups of people missed out on the fun at the much-anticipated Mr. Chow party Wednesday night: Group A, those who were not invited, and, Group B, those who showed up.

The guest list was like a Chinese menu--a selection from Column A, some from Column B. There were a few brand names--Arnold Schwarzenegger, Audrey and Billy Wilder, producer Doug Cramer. But the lightish turnout sat at the few flowerless tables in a brightly-lit tent behind Michael Chow’s Beverly Hills restaurant and waited, and waited and waited for the party to happen. It never seemed to.

Stars like Nick Nolte, Joan Collins, Victoria Principal and, unbelievable as it may seem, Mick Jagger were invited and expected. Not surprising, because Mr. Chow’s in London is a major jet-set and theatrical hangout. But they didn’t show.

There were some hearty attempts to have a good time. The perpetually beautiful Patricia Duff Medavoy and her now spiffed up mogul husband, Mike, talked politics with Cramer, agent Fred Spector and Pam Robinson Spector. Cesar Romero sat with Lee Minnelli nearby.


The optional black-tie party celebrated Chow’s design of the new Armani boutique, but major figures from Armani’s Milan operation were not present. “This was Michael’s deal,” one Armani person explained. Armani’s West Coast person Wanda McDaniels (with her producer-husband Al Ruddy) was there, as well as New York Armani’s Cathy Campinile.

Guests (many in formal gear, although the host himself eschewed black-tie) got to wander through the restaurant with the tables removed, go down a narrow hallway into the tent, and, if they were lucky, grab a seat at one of the dozen tables lining the walls. There were no hors d’oeuvres, paper napkins set the ambiance and the wait in the one buffet line produced a plate with one soft-shell crab, three vegetable dumplings, a few pieces of bok choy, a slice of duck and several braised shrimp. A plea for a second crab brought a firm “no” from the server.

A fast appearance by Dennis Hopper produced flashbulbs. Tommy and Shelby Chong also posed.

Michael and Kim McCarty talked about the opening of their Rattlesnake Club in Washington late in the year, and several people pointed out the presence of Lacey Newhouse, pretty and proper in a white silk dress and spectacles.


But the gaggle of public-relations people had disappeared before 10 p.m., a sure sign that things were winding down. There was a hope that some of the missing guests were coming after a screening. “As soon as Dian Fossey gets put away by the apes, maybe people will start to show up.” But the time of the screening of “Gorillas in the Mist” came and went--so did the guests.

SMALL AND SELECT--We know that Swifty and Mary Lazar’s parties at Spago are usually massive events. But they did a swell one Wednesday night--and kept it small. It was happy birthday Janet de Cordova. Her husband, Freddie; Connie Wald and playwright Leonard Gersche, along with Barbara Lazaroff, gave the birthday girl a “wonderful time.”

FOREIGN INTRIGUE--Now author-actress Joan Collins is in the detective business. About 2,000 copies of her soon-out book, “Prime Time,” were sent to England before the postal strike.

Somehow they were stolen from Euston Station and are now turning up in bookstores. So Collins had her chauffeur make the bookstore rounds, trying to track them down. And if this sounds like a plot from “Dynasty” . . . .


UPCOMING--"Gorillas in the Mist” premieres at the Universal City Cineplex Odeon on Monday to benefit the Digit Fund and the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Assn. The film’s star, Sigourney Weaver, is the evening’s honorary chair and Betty White Ludden is the benefit chair. . . .

Joan Borinstein hosts a reception honoring Robert C. Weiss as the incoming chairman of the Scopus Society of American Friends of Hebrew University tonight at her home. . . .

Friday, the United Jewish Fund Campaign kickoff is set for a luncheon at the Four Seasons. Past chairs set to attend include S. Mark Taper, Joseph Sinay, Ed Sanders, Ozzie Goren, Bram Goldsmith and Stanley Hirsh. . . .

Monique and William Back host the Mission Doctors Auxiliary at a reception Sunday honoring Dr. Herbert Sorensen and Dr. Stephen Brewester and his wife, Jane.