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Oscar Fans Put On a Show of Their Own at Shrine

Times Staff Writer

Oscar show producer Allan Carr would have been proud of some of the folks gathered for hours outside the Shrine Auditorium Wednesday.

Although most of the more than 3,000 star-gazers jamming the grandstands outside the theater’s entrance had come to catch a glimpse of the glitzy 61st annual Academy Awards festivities, some made efforts to embody the glamour themselves.

In front-row bleacher seats, three San Franciscans came decked out in elaborate period costumes a la “Dangerous Liaisons,” and two young women spent the sunny day in shorts, only to don blue evening gowns just before the stars began making their entrances up the red carpet.

Cindy Skurzynski, 32, said she chose to wear a midnight-blue formal and to freshly curl her hair in honor of the show’s emphasis on glitz this year. She also raised a glass of something bubbly for the occasion.

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“We’ve got to make it fun, make it worthwhile,” Skurzynski said.

“We’re set, man, we got make-up, we got everything,” said her friend, Cathy Hammerton, 35, of Huntington Beach.

Skurzynski, a paralegal from Huntington Beach, said the pair thought about wearing costumes but opted instead to dress like the secretary played by Melanie Griffith in “Working Girl.”

“I identify with Melanie Griffith, yes I do,” Skurzynski said. “Working Girl” was also the only one of the nominated films that the pair had seen.

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They arrived Tuesday afternoon and staked out their turf--front-row bleacher seats, for which they were offered $100. No sale. Not after spending the night on the narrow bleachers, “holding onto a pole so we wouldn’t fall off.”

Two men dressed in drag--"Dangerous Liaisons” style--pronounced themselves members of “Allan Carr’s fan club.” Saying they represented a group called “Come Out Hollywood,” the men--accompanied by a woman who called herself the Scarlet Harlot and was dressed in red 18th-Century finery--had arrived at 6 a.m. and spent most of the morning gussying up.

“You can’t be too fabulous,” said one of the men, who identified himself as Sister Chanel 2001.

In previous years, the trio had made a practice of coming to Oscar shows dressed as nuns with the moniker, “Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.”

Some of their fellow spectators agreed that the promise of a return to star-studded glamour had enticed them there.

Sandi Stratton, who had been celebrity-gazing at the Oscar show for 20 years in a row, said she was particularly excited this year because the emphasis would be on “my era. That’s the best part. I look forward to it being very glamorous, very sophisticated.”

Junior high school principal Max Fraley, 53, of Costa Mesa, said he came to see the stars for the same reason--and also because it was the first time that spring break coincided with the Oscars.

A half dozen middle-aged women were less glamorous, but original--outfitted in khaki safari gear and toting stuffed gorillas. One carried a sign that read: “Sigourney: Win One for the Gorillas.”

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