County's Movers and Shakers Head to L.A. to Stir Things Up

They called the event "The Other Side of the Curtain" when members of the Angels of the Arts, a support group of the Orange County Performing Arts Center, day-tripped to Los Angeles last week to schmooze with Placido Domingo at the Mark Taper Forum.

Was the pun intended? (After all, Angelenos do have a way of saying we Orange County folk attempt to thrive behind the "Orange Curtain.")

The Angels thought not. They were invited backstage at the Forum for a behind-the-scenes peek at opera (Domingo is the artistic consultant for the Los Angeles Music Center Opera), and then they dined sumptuously with the L.A. Center's Blue Ribbon Committee in the Grand Hall of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. . . .

The truth is, lately there has been a whole lot of Los Angeles day-tripping going on by local movers and shakers. For example, Willa Dean Lyon of Coto de Caza has been heading north because she is serving on the Music Center's committee for the gala opening of the "Phantom of the Opera."

And Emerald Bay's Ginny Ueberroth is co-chair of the Music Center event that will send a flock of very high-profile couples, including Ginny and Peter Ueberroth, to the grand opening of David H. Murdock's new luxury resort, the Lodge on the island of Lanai, Hawaii. The occasion? One of the glamour packages planned to help celebrate and benefit the Center's 25th anniversary in September.

(The price tag is a heady $25,000 per couple. Helping Ueberroth are Arianna Stassinopoulos Huffington, author of that scorching tome "Picasso: Creator and Destroyer," and Gloria Holden, wife of world-class polo player Glen Holden. The three-day spin will include boating, scuba diving, golf--one of Ginny's passions--and kick-back dinners as well as ultra-dressy ones. Also signed up for the social hang 10: Caroline Leonetti Ahmanson, Annette and Peter O'Malley and Lee and Walter Annenberg.)

And Robert and Beverly Cohen, owners of John Wayne's former Newport Beach digs, are chairing the salute to Wallis Annenberg--daughter of Walter Annenberg--on May 31 at the L.A. Hilton. The fete will benefit the Sephardic Hebrew Academy in Los Angeles. The Cohens--owners of half-interest in the Four Seasons hotel in Beverly Hills--received the academy's salute last year.

The celebrity lineup for the event includes James Stewart as tribute chairman, Ali MacGraw as mistress of ceremonies and Joan Rivers as toastmistress. Proceeds are expected to exceed $600,000 (and yes, a few tickets are still available at $250 each).

Wallis Annenberg, according to Rabbi Baruch Kupfer--executive director of the academy and a near-and-dear of the Cohens--is a woman who cares about "helping perpetuate Jewish culture and tradition." (On the business side of things, she has sat for years on the editorial board of TV Guide, founded by her famous father and sold in November to Rupert Murdochfor a cool $2.8 billion.)

By the way, the Cohens have been having hard times with their new yacht, the 120-foot P'zazz. The couple had planned to christen the Seattle-based boat with a bash in February and take it on a maiden voyage to Mexico. But no such luck. "We cracked our engine," Beverly wailed recently. "We had to pull the whole boat apart, put in a new engine, carpeting. . . ." The plan now is to christen the yacht in Cabo San Lucas this month when friends of the Cohens such as Vidal Sassoon, Carol Connors and Burt Bacharach fly down for a 3-day fun fest.

The P'zazz was recently photographed for Showboat Magazine. A 10-page spread will appear in the May issue. Also freezing the luxury yacht on film recently was Architectural Digest magazine. The yacht is a pistol. For starters, each bedroom is equipped with its own steam room. . . .

Smoke gets in your eyes: Mark Twain summed up lovers of the leaf when he said: "If I cannot smoke cigars in heaven, I shall not go." Well, the 60 cigar worshipers who joined forces at the Ritz-Carlton for a smoker last night felt as if they had hit cigar heaven. After a champagne reception in the Monarch Bay courtyard, followed by a five-course dinner in the ballroom, the men--resplendent in black-tie--assembled for cigars in the library. But these were no 10-cent cigars. These were pricey Davidoffs, Dunhills and Arturo Fuentes--two dozen boxes of them. "Smoking a good cigar is like drinking fine wine," explained Ritz-Carlton manager Henry Schielein. "One has to develop a taste. Different leaves come from different areas. The Havanas are illegal now, so we get them from Honduras, the Canary Islands, the Dominican Republic, Brazil. . . ."

Schielein was careful not to inhale the smoke. "That's what makes it fun," he said, confessing he puffs an average of five cigars daily. Among locals joining Schielein were Maj. Gen. D.E.P. Miller, commanding general at El Toro, and Claes Andersen, owner of Hotel Laguna.

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