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Thanks a Million, DARE Donors

Kudos, kudos, kudos to all who planned, staged, performed, labored, donated. It was a glorious DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) benefit Tuesday night at the Beverly Hilton, an example of what occurs when people with talent and good intentions cooperate. Almost $1.2 million was netted. The positive vibes will produce millions more.

Who gets credit? In no particular order: Glenn Levant, DARE’s executive director; dinner chair Bruce Meyer; party chairs Jayne Levant and Helen Mars; the night’s honoree, businessman Greg Penske; Nathan Shapell, president of DARE America; Michael Schwab, chairman of DARE California; Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Sidney A. Thompson; auctioneer Robert Abell; Gov. Pete Wilson, who introduced Penske; singer Lisa Guerin; comic-singer Scott Record; the emcee, comedian Byron Allen; the Vocals a La Carte, and the DARE children, who riveted the audience with their joyful song.

In the audience: entertainer Michael Jackson, Michael Milken, Bruce Jenner, Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top, Parnelli Jones, Peter Mullin, Dick Newman, Dist. Atty. Gil Garcetti, Bram Goldsmith, Raylene Meyer and Roosevelt Grier. After the gala, the Meyers and Mullin raced over to Richard Riordan’s mayoral election watch.

What started in 1983 with 10 Los Angeles police officers taking a message to classrooms against drug use has grown into a program that has touched 25 million children in 250,000 classrooms in 50 states and 14 countries.

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SHOWY: “I think we have a hit on our hands . . . a feast for the eyes,” said Linda Seiter. It was adulation for the Pasadena Junior Philharmonic Committee’s Showcase House of Design, which premiered Saturday evening.

A crowd of 500 had just walked through the perfectly manicured lawns and rooms of the 1910 English Tudor-Craftsman mansion designed by Fernand Parmentier.

And now they were partying at the nearby Ritz-Carlton Huntington, dining and exerting energy on the dance floor before the exhausting hours to come as they oversee thousands who will tour the House to see how decorators do it so effortlessly.

Plaudits were numerous for benefit chair Betty Rossiter; interior co-chairs Mona Mapel and Cindy McNeish; exterior co-chairs Kay Quinn and Kathy Martin (in a wheelchair after breaking her ankle at a benefit meeting), and premiere night chairs Paddy Grant and Christina Varner.

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In the crowd: Davis and Patty Pillsbury; Shannon Seiter and Jonathan Williamson (who will wed June 12); Gordon and Liz Anderson; Times Mirror Senior Vice President Dick Schlosberg and his wife, Kathy; Lorna and Dick Wallen; Jane and Kris Popovich; Collette and Frank Switzer, and Frank and Betsy Ulf.

LIBRARY FANTASY: The Central Library doesn’t reopen until October, but Disney Channel fans, celebrating the channel’s 10th anniversary, had the first view Sunday of the newly renovated West Lawn. Trees and shrubs have appeared over recent weeks in what was a construction mess.

As only Disney can, the smiles were turned on--Mickey’s, Donald’s, Beauty’s, even the Beast’s. Disney Channel President John Cook and his wife, Diane, joyfully joined with Disney’s Michael Eisner and his wife, Jane, for the festivities.

When Eisner cut the four-tiered cake, the first piece fell apart, but that didn’t mar the happiness of city librarian Elizabeth Martinez or the crowd that included Carolyn and Chuck Miller, whose children Candy and Mandy couldn’t get enough of the popcorn and charades.

Prominent in the crowd: producers Dorothea and Daniel Petrie; John Welborne, and chef Joachim Splichel, whose Patina catered the ethnic foods and yummy creme brulees under white umbrellas.

EXCELLENT: Gosh, it was pure Hollywood. Richard Edlund, winner of four Academy Awards (for visual effects), accepted the accolades as honoree for the Center for Excellence in Education gala Tuesday evening at the Beverly Hilton Grand Ballroom.

Gov. Pete Wilson and his wife, Gayle, in a short black dress, center President Joann di Gennaro, and dinner chair Robert Daly praised the center’s work--scholarships for brilliant students--and netted $200,000. No one beamed more than Edlund’s fiancee, Rita Kogan, who was in the audience holding a Manila envelope.

When the event was over, Edlund and Kogan, wearing a Claude Montana navy-blue chiffon pantsuit, marched up to the penthouse L’Escoffier.

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A marriage license came from the Manila envelope, and the two were married by di Gennaro. Said Edlund, “We had been looking for an opportunity to do this, and this seemed like fun.” Champagne toasts, of course, followed.

STAR: Former U.S. Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney is star of the Ides of March dinner for the USC School of Public Administration next Tuesday at the Regent Beverly Wilshire.

He’ll be the centerpiece for several other social fetes. But, for the Ides dinner, Bank of America Chairman Richard Rosenberg, dinner co-chairs Henry Hwang (president of Far East National Bank) and Angelo Mozio (president and CEO of Countrywide Credit Industries) are revving up to give Cheney the Julius Award at what is usually one of the most saucy, fun evenings of the year--all in the name of raising scholarship funds.

LEGENDARY ALICE: Los Angeles’ legendary collector extraordinaire Alice O’Neill Avery (dollhouses, antiques, baubles) is honorary chair for the third annual Capistrano Antiques Show and Sale on May 6 benefiting Orange County’s Decorative Arts Study Center.

Antique collectors and party lovers will converge that evening for the opening planned by Newport’s Elana Donavan and Jackie Franks. They’re bringing in Tony Rose from Palm Springs for the music. England’s Nina Campbell, the Duke and Duchess of York’s decorator (Rod Stewart’s, too), will fly in to lecture and talk about her new book on designer Elsie de Wolfe.

NOSTALGIC: The Los Angeles Free Clinic hosted the debut of “Jesus Christ Superstar” at the Universal Amphitheatre in 1973.

It will ditto that opening when the musical returns to the Universal on May 25 in celebration of the theater’s 20th anniversary.

On the hard-working committee: Dr. Howard C. Mandel, Jeffrey Best, Alan Hymowitz, Linda Johnson, Diane Kitayama, Rikki Ladenheim and Ludy Levy. Tickets are $200.

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