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Nutcracker’s Magic Due

The Nutcracker Gala at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion of The Music Center will be magical, just like “The Nutcracker” ballet opening the same night--Dec. 18.

Gala chair Patricia Kennedy and gala founding chair Ruth Shannon promise to transform the Grand Hall of the Pavilion into an all-white glittering Land of Snow. Floral designer David Jones will lend professional panache, assisted by vice chairs Joan Burns, Donna Kamin, Elizabeth Hirsch, Susan Rothenberg and Suzanne Tennenbaum.

Details will be divulged at a thank-you luncheon today at the California Club feting major benefactors and the dinner committee.

DEJA VU: “It was like old home week,” said Bob Tuttle, director of presidential personnel during Ronald Reagan’s second term.

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He and his wife, Donna, Reagan’s deputy secretary of commerce, hosted nearly 200 at their Bel-Air home for cocktails. The party was from 6 to 9 p.m., but guests stayed on until nearly 11.

“Behind each guest,” said Tuttle, “was a poignant story of how we struggled and worked together.” Among the guests were former U.S. Atty. Gen. Ed Meese and his wife, Ursula, now living in Washington; former Secretary of the Interior Bill Clark and his wife, Joan, who split their time between their San Luis Obispo ranch and a home on the Irish Sea; Jean Smith of San Marino, widow of the late U.S. Atty. Gen. William French Smith; former Reagan Chief of Staff Ken Duberstein and his wife, Sydney.

Bob Tuttle, noting that Duberstein “shepherded through” the recent confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, also revealed that Duberstein said it was the most difficult task of his career. At the party, Gov. Pete Wilson and his wife, Gayle, “stayed a long time,” he added.

More reminiscing was done by Virginia Tuttle, whose late husband, Holmes, was an early member of Reagan’s Kitchen Cabinet; Ariana and Mike Huffington of Montecito; Bob and Donna Tuttle’s two young daughters, Tiffany and Alexandra; Ginie and Henry Braun; Secretary of the Navy Larry and Marilyn Garrett; U.S. Commissioner of Customs Carol Hallett; former White House deputy chief of staff Mike and Carolyn Deaver, and Bill and Sally Seidman (he’s former chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.).

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DOUBLE UP: After former President Richard Nixon and his wife, Pat, left the Reagan Library festivities, they headed for Yorba Linda, where they took their second peek ever at the Richard Nixon Library & Birthplace. The last time they visited was in July, 1990, when more than 50,000 attended the dedication.

Library foundation president William Simon, escorting Tonia Donnelly of Los Angeles, hosted an early evening reception for 80 at the library. The directors intend to continue to operate the Nixon Library as a privately funded entity, unlike the Reagan Library.

Among those in the crowd were former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Bob Finch and his wife, Carol; George and Judie Argyros; Caroline Ahmanson; Herb and Marge Klein; John Lusk; Arnold Schwarzenegger; Gene and Jackie Autry; Dr. Arnold Beckman, and Gavin and Ninetta Herbert. Also there were Nixon close friends Jack and Helene Drown and Bob and Dolores Hope and Milan Panic.

Later Nixon shook hands with 250 library docents and volunteers at a second reception.

The day before, former First Lady Lady Bird Johnson visited the Nixon Library with Henry and Renee Segerstrom to oversee planting of the Lady Bird Johnson orange hybrid tea rose near Pat Nixon’s burgundy floribunda.

VERVE: Two days before the Performing Tree Junior Committee’s Masquerade Ball, only 250 reservations were booked.

Although the invitation to the event in Santa Monica’s Arboretum Warehouse clearly stated $25 for early reservations and $30 at the door, about 300 opted for $30 at the door.

Co-chairmen Jafer Patterson, garbed as a pirate, and Michael Halle, a monk, hailed the mostly 20s-aged crowd, an assortment of costumed skeletons, gangsters, molls, vampires, witches and jesters. Partygoers warmed up to a Russian band, then rocked until 2:30 a.m. to Beatles tunes. The Juniors, who formed about two years ago, schedule social events twice a year. Their goal is to raise funds for arts in public schools.

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Party chair Suzanne Smith borrowed props like caskets and skeletons from Disney, her former employer. More in the crowd: Shelley Dickerson, Dave Severino (who came as a 6-foot baby), Rob Lowe, Catherine Ruffing, Joan Lennartz, Jonna Smith, Cecelia Kouma, Noel and Dan Janney, Kris Thabit, Dominic Sandifer and Cory Thabit (dressed as a Simpson with hair he stiffened with egg whites. Yuk.).

PAST PERFECT: Pat York was honored at The Bistro by her friends Deborah Raffin and Michael Viner for her new book “Going Strong.” . . .

New Yorker Charlotte Moss addressed Virginia Robinson Gardens Foundation friends, giving an illustrated talk on decorating with an English look. The best-dressed crowd at the Four Seasons ballroom hooked on to every word: Vicki Corbell, Patsy Austin, Phoebe Vaccaro, Lucy McBain, Suzanne Rheinstein, Lucy Toberman, Betty McDonald, Lynn Brengel, Kate Regan.

KUDOS: To Jack Haley Jr., who chaired the Hollywood Entertainment Museum’s Legacy Awards gala. . . .


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