Big Bay Club Doings at the 40-Year Mark

It has been 40 years since the Balboa Bay Club threw open its portals on 13 acres of Newport Beach’s sweetest property.

In the 4 decades since, prominent locals have made the private club their playground and so have stars such as John Wayne, Clark Gable, Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall.

Tonight, the club ballroom will become a veritable culinary scrapbook when 400 of its members celebrate at a ‘40s-priced, $40-per-couple anniversary splash. Among food stops: a ’57 T-Bird booth where the club’s famous “power burgers"--the same juicy numbers served up on the beach each summer--will be delivered by carhops on roller skates and baron of beef doled out by hippies hanging out by a Lovebug. Mr. Bay Club himself, Bill Ray--club owner and board chairman--will make the first cut on a 10-foot birthday cake.

Also on the guest list: Monica and Tom Deemer, club president; comedian Joey Bishop and his wife, Sylvia; Charlene and Hans Prager; Ann and Bill Lusk; Lynn and Clement Hirsch, and Pat and Alan Rypinski.


Puttin’ on the Ritz: Members of the Performing Arts Center board will convene at the Ritz-Carlton in Rancho Mirage this weekend for their annual planning retreat. Among those up for the ritzy getaway: Susan and Timothy Strader, who will toss a reception for the group on Saturday night in their Morningside home; Renee and Henry Segerstrom, Center board chairman; Judy Morr, Center manager, and her husband, Thomas Kendrick, Center president, and board members Floss Schumacher (with husband Ed) and Roger Johnson (with Janice), chairman of Western Digital.

Better Luck Next Time: A broken valve spring was the culprit when Steven Bren placed 17th out of 27 starters at Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey last Sunday.

“He had engine problems from the start,” said Steve Diulo, a sponsor of Bren. “He would have finished eighth or ninth if he’d had a motor.” Rooting for his 28-year-old son in the pit: Irvine Co. Chairman Don Bren and Dan Gurney.

With a little luck, and a lot of money--$200,000 Diulo estimates--young Bren will be able to compete in the Marlboro Challenge in Miami on Nov. 6, the final race on the 1988 Indy circuit. “The race has a lot of potential for corporations who want to advertise,” said Diulo. “It will run on ABC. We’re looking for sponsors.”


Starry, Starry Night: Ever wonder how a gala store opening is born? The bash that christened Black Starr & Frost jewelers at South Coast Plaza on Sunday night began with a faded golf shirt. A very faded golf shirt. “My husband, Cecil, was leaving the house to play golf one day,” said Kathryn Wright, mastermind of the bash for the Center Stars, a support group of the Performing Arts Center. “And I took a look at his faded red shirt and told him: ‘That’s disreputable. You can’t wear that!’ ” The same day, the Lemon Heights resident set out for Nordstrom in search of a shirt in a tomato shade, and, as shoppers will do, ended up in a trance at the new jewelry store.

Before store managers could say lapis lazuli, Wright invited them to the Center Club in Costa Mesa. “Have you considered having a grand opening?” she asked them over a dazzling lunch.

And before Center Stars knew it, the Beluga and the Stolichnaya, the Chardonay and the veal birds, the scampi, and the to-swoon sweets were on the table and a tres chic opening was in progress. About 100 dressed-to-kill guests attended. And while everyone absolutely flipped over the jewelry (one amethyst-faced watch, in particular), they all wanted to know: Who was the gate crasher, the man with the Louis Vuitton satchel crammed with vintage timepieces?