Dance Guild Builds on Lewitzky Dream

Times Staff Writer

The Dance Gallery Guild is pirouetting into action with Bella Lewitzky’s concept and dream--a dance institute with a theater, a school of choreography, plus a dance library of rare books--about to come true in downtown Los Angeles. Groundbreaking is set for later this year.

Last week, the message was “Tuck it in,” as Bullocks Wilshire brought the guild members and actress Barbara Bain, guild co-founder, to the landmark Wilshire Boulevard store for the American premiere of the fall 1989 Genny collection. On show were tight skirts with black-and-white houndstooth, tiger motifs and splendid brocades. The fashions were straight from Ancona, Italy, with BW store manager Michael O’Keefe, Bullocks Wilshire and I. Magnin (southern region) group vice president Ann Stordahl, buyer Terri Howard and senior vice president Wilmer Weiss of San Francisco cluing in the couture-conscious crowd--Marilyn Gillfenbain, Lenny Steinberg, Judy Leach, Patti Amstutz, Yvonne Cazier, Judy Henning, Judy Leach, Beverly Thrall, Elaine Caplow.

Now, all toes turn to the opening night of “Gala Abend” in celebration of the West Coast debut of the Frankfurt Ballet, presented at the Wiltern Theatre by the Dance Gallery on June 6-7. It’s directed by American artistic director William Forsythe. According to Barbara Bain, the presentation marks the inauguration of the Dance Gallery’s international presentations program.

Assuring success are co-chairs Herbert Ross and TV producer Douglas S. Cramer, ballet devotees. Consul General Leopold Siefker, Federal Republic of Germany, will be honorary chairman.


BIG GIFT: Las Madrinas launched its 55th year of support for Childrens Hospital of Los Angeles by announcing a gift of more than $500,000 to the hospital. President Sally Keon, vice president Janice Carpenter and other officers, including CeCe Baise, Kathy Rose, Tally Mingst and Leah Coulter, are confident the gift will inspire other gifts and help Las Madrinas meet its goal of $3 million to the Las Madrinas Program of Molecular Pathology.

Thus, membership chairman Joyce Stuart and member Ann Matthiessen were among those leading nine new Las Madrinas members on a tour of the molecular pathology laboratories and through the infant and surgical wards, stressing the psychological and emotional health of patients as well as their physical problems. It all made for provoking conversation later at Sally Keon’s Hancock Park home for the newly inducted: Susan Armistead, Cheryl Baker, Jane Campbell, Jane Gosden, Kathy Le Roy, Alison Luckman, Susan Miller, Belinda Walker and Clare Webb.

REAL WORLD: Talk about a hot ticket: The Craft and Folk Art Museum’s Primavera ’89--the Black and White Ball set for Friday at the Beverly Hills Hotel--has been sold out for weeks, thrilling chairman Margery Mercer. The dinner honors Wayne Ratkovich, the developer noted for refurbishing the Wiltern Theatre. He’s also going to be the developer of the new Craft and Folk Art Museum tower to be constructed on Wilshire across from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

A highlight of the party will be the raffling of a fiddleback ebony/maple rocking chair crafted by Sam Maloof and valued at $15,000. On the committee, too, are George Harb, Kathleen Maguire, Edith Wyle, Lillian Berkowitz and Lyn Johnstone.


MIDAS TOUCHES: The Pepperdine Associates dine and celebrate the completion of Pepperdine’s Wave of Excellence Campaign and a net of $100 million on May 25 at the Beverly Hilton. Campaign co-chair Leonard H. Straus will announce the accomplishment; president David Davenport will speak on the institutional challenges ahead. . . .

Pacific Asia Museum is boasting a new support group--the Pacific Asia Museum Associates (those who give $10,000). Stanley O’Connor, Asian art expert and professor at Cornell University, addresses new members May 22 at Caltech’s Athenaeum. Chairman George A. Brumder has announced that directors of the museum’s Associates include Dorrie Braun Poole, Alexander Mallace, Bruce S. Ross, Suzanne Haney Foster, Elly Nordskog, Al Simon and Dr. Richard Kroop.

The dollar isn’t all, though. For $40 the museum will welcome the public to “A Taste of Asia,” its second annual food, wine and brew festival next Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. in the museum’s parking lot and courtyard. Pacific island music, Japanese taiko drummers and Korean dancing will complement epicurean fare and cooking demonstrations.

FLORIADE II: Phineas Banning could never have imagined his residence in Wilmington could be so glorious back in the days when he was bringing wagon trains into the Southland, opening the harbor and building railroads.

But then, today’s Southern California floral artists are amazing: David Jones, William Hansen, Harriet Ghormley, Milo Bixby and Steven Miedecke bedecked the three-story house, officially now the Phineas Banning Residence Museum, for last weekend’s Floriade.

On black-tie opening night, 500 strolled on the bowling lawn, explored the exhibits of flora and “fauna” (topiary animals) and viewed the house, which was adorned as a birthday cake and newly painted white. It literally gleamed, and basking in the glory were so many who work to keep the museum the jewel it is: Nancy Banning Call, Phoebe Vaccaro, Kathy Rose, Deb McAbee, Jane Campbell, Donna Gibbs, Kate Regan, Nancy McCullough, Bette McLaughlin, Betty Field.

Old society abounded: At least 11 Bannings, Bitsy and Dick Hotaling, Patti and Pat Doheny, Laura Lee and Bob Wood. Architect Leo and Grega Daly flew in from Washington. Rita and Ross Barrett came on the bus chartered for 20 by Henry and Carolyn Singleton.

Fleur Cowles was honorary chairman with Chuck Yeager, who regretted because of his wife’s illness. The indefatigable Fleur is doing three books--"The Best of Flair” (Abrams), a revival of her biography of Salvador Dali and “The Lives and Times of the Rose” (both Harper & Row). More in the crowd: Schuyler and Deborah Hollingsworth, Fred and Sue Christie, Alice Avery, Pamela and Shannon Clyne, Bruce and Jean Juell, Richard and Diane Mogan, Arthur and Merril Park, Pauline Naftzger, Russell Dymock Smith, Catherine and Richard Krell, Richard and Pat Lucy.


FAREWELLS: To San Marinans Mardee and Peter de Wetter, moving to El Paso, Tex., honored by Elaine and George Rothell and Bobbie and Ralph Jones at a dinner. . . .

To Bill and Noel Newhard, hosting an aloha luau at Madame Wu’s Garden, marking Bill’s retirement from Transamerica Life and their move to Oahu.

KUDOS: To the new presidents--Cynthia Yost, the Luminaires of the Doheny Eye Institute; Gloria Arrasmith, the National Charity League Los Angeles chapter; Melissa Alsabery, the Junior Charity League; Dorothy Schoenfeld, St. John’s Hope Guild; Brian Weinstock, San Fernando Valley chapter of American Friends of the Hebrew University.

And plaudits to Fred Schiller, playwright and screen/TV writer, who was awarded the Austrian government’s Silver Honor Cross at a reception hosted by Dr. Franz Cede, Austrian consul general; to Marilyn Doran, director of the 41st Coronet Debutante Ball; to Ginny Mancini, former vocalist with Tex Beneke, named Woman of the Year for the marathon Women’s Luncheon of Sportsmen’s Club for the City of Hope. (Held on four consecutive days at the Beverly Hilton, the marathon brought in $325,000.)

And more plaudits: To Patricia Pillsbury, trustee of the Almansor Center (for children with learning disabilities); to Sybil Brand, honored by the Friends of the Beverly Hills Pops at a black-tie 87th birthday party at the Beverly Wilshire; to the International Women’s Forum to Russia delegation, off on a glasnost experience--members are Barbara Casey, Sue Laris, Harriett Wieder, Judy Miller and Celia Torres.

And to the five new Fellows of the Historical Society of Southern California--Neal Harlow, David Lavender, Richard Lillard, Esther McCoy and Lawrence Clark Powell, saluted at the Caltech Athenaeum.

DOUBLE KUDOS: To Isabelle and Leonard Goldenson, who founded the national United Cerebral Palsy organization in 1949. Through their leadership it has become a major health organization. They were saluted at a tribute dinner at the Annenberg Center at Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage chaired by Howard Marguleas. Goldenson was also the founding father of ABC.

ESCALATION: Hundreds of orchids from the gardens of Marion Malouf graced tables for the annual Orchid Ball for the National Arts Assn. at the Beverly Wilshire. Up front were ball chairman Ruth Le Sage, president Christine Hoffman and the distinguished honorees, Charles and Harriet Luckman, introduced by Ralph Edwards. . . .


The UCLA School of Medicine is $200,000 wealthier after 820 attended the Aesculapians Ball at Twentieth Century Fox. The affair was hosted by Chevy Chase, entertained by Billy Crystal, planned by Barry Diller, Michael Eisner and Michael Ovitz. . . .

Jim and Dorothy Meyler of Temecula hosted brunch to welcome his sister Eve Craig, emigrating from Los Angeles. . . .

Nearly 40 members of St. John’s Hospital and Health Center Epicurean Society dined on Lombardy cuisine at Valentino’s, among them Dr. Blake Watson, Dr. George Hummer and Dr. William Hummer. Downing five courses, too, were Ann Brooks, Linda Hartwick, James Hesburgh, Steaven K. Jones Jr., Anne Lannan, Vahe Simonian and Betty Williams.

PERSONALITIES: Sir Terence Conran, knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for his contributions to British design and retailing, will fly in to host an upper-crusty tea party for the ribbon-cutting ceremony of the first West Coast Conran’s Habitat home furnishings store. Los Angeles’ newly appointed British Consul General Reginald Holloway expects to make the occasion his public debut here. . . .

The Los Angeles chapter of the American Jewish Committee will honor contemporary art collector/patron Marcia S. Weisman with its first Cultural Heritage Award on May 25 at the Beverly Hilton. Former Gov. Edmund G. (Pat) Brown is dinner chairman, assisted by Bernard Briskin, Bernard Greenberg (a major part of the art collection of his wife Lenore’s late parents, the Taft Schreibers, was given to the Museum of Contemporary Art last week) and Donald Simon.

UPSCALE: The Freedom Foundation at Valley Forge (L.A. chapter) hosts its 25th Silver Anniversary Ball on Friday at the Century Plaza Tower. President Joan Koll and ball chairman Dorothy Raye and founder Jeanne McDonald will be waving the flag. . . .

Henry Mancini will be honored with the Golden Score Award by the American Society of Music Arrangers on Monday at the Century Plaza. . . .

The City of Angels Hospice in Hollywood reaps profits from the benefit performance of Meredith Willson’s “The Unsinkable Molly Brown” starring Debbie Reynolds and Harve Presnell on Tuesday evening at the Terrace Theatre in Long Beach. . . .

Barbara Gallup, co-author of “The Complete Book of Topiary,” is booked by Marla Carter and Susan Kranwinkle for a benefit Tuesday for the Los Angeles State and County Arboretum. A $75 reservation buys a ticket to a workshop to create a topiary turtle, then luncheon (turtle soup?).