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RSVP / The Social City : All Roads Lead to New Museum

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Whoosh. Whoom. It’s all revving up for the June 9 gala invitational opening of the Petersen Automotive Museum on Los Angeles’ Miracle Mile at Wilshire and Fairfax. Robert E. Petersen, chairman and founder of Petersen Publishing, and his wife, Margie, have donated $15 million to launch the $40-million project--pride of the Natural History Museum of L.A. County.

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L.A. and the Car: Exhibits intertwine 20th-Century Los Angeles and the car. Expect a full-scale 1920s gas station (emissions?) and a Laurel and Hardy movie scene depicting their Model T crushed by South-Central trolleys. Proceeds of the opening party will benefit the museum and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

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Can’t Miss: The Huntington Library’s “The Blue Boy Ball” diamond anniversary Sept. 17. Tiffany & Co. vice president John S. Petterson saluted co-chairs Mary Lou and George Boone of San Marino at a Tiffany party on Rodeo Drive.

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Won’t Miss: L.A. ALIVE!--the always-spectacular Music Center auction--is set for June 4 at Green Acres, the historic Harold Lloyd estate in Beverly Hills. Audrey and Arthur Greenberg hosted the kickoff reception at their magnificent Brentwood home. Chairwomen were Dody Booth, Clarice Ellis and new Music Center board member Joni Smith.

Center president Shelton Stanfill noted that L.A. ALIVE!, chaired by Joy Fein and Chantal Skibinska Kilroy, will benefit more than 1 million children at 1,240 musical events. Dinner co-chairs are Sandra Ausman, Gail Barrett, Teran Davis, Mary Hart, Darrien Iacocca and Yvette Mimieux Ruby.

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Bach at the Beach: First Cut, support group for the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, announced “Bach Is Back” July 23 at the Beach Club. Patina catered a preliminary soiree at Escada Boutique with Lynn Brengel and benefit chair Carlotta Keely.

Art and Gardens

In the first event at the Richard Nixon Library & Birthplace since the former President’s funeral, philanthropist, art collector and horse devotee Joan Irvine Smith opened “Reflections of California: The Athalie Richardson Irvine Clarke Memorial Art Exhibition.” Included are 41 California Impressionist artists of the early 20th Century. Some 90 staying for lunch, including Peter and Mary Muth, Hubert and Louise Perry and John Taylor, heard her laud her late mother, often referred to by Nixon as “The First Lady of Orange County.”

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In the crowd: Orange County dynamos Judie and George Argyros. He is chairman of the Legacy of Peace campaign to endow the library with $20 million.

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And, speaking of California Plein Air art, Jean Stern, director of the Irvine Museum (which Joan Irvine started) will lecture on California Impressionism at 11 a.m. today at the Decorative Arts Study Center in San Juan Capistrano. It’s part of the Capistrano Antiques and Garden Show sale.

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Only a few drops of rain fell on the most sensational garden tour in Los Angeles--the Friends of the Robinson Gardens affair--which drew 800 to a showcase of five private gardens, including Rick and Fabienne Guerin’s Beverly Hills estate.

“The best year we’ve had,” said Ann Fields, exalting Friends president Jan Billings, honorary chairwoman Margie Petersen and garden tour co-chairwomen Jayne Wilson and Susan Genter. The $80,000 raised will enable Friends to restore earthquake damage at the Robinson Gardens Beverly Hills estate. Donors lollygagged through gardens, stopping at the Robinson estate to lunch lavishly on Patina’s pasta and to buy up at garden boutiques.

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Prominent Southland members of the Garden Club of America flew to Honolulu for the club’s national meeting. The president of the Pasadena Garden Club, Alyce Williamson, and Western zone chairwoman Veva McKee were among those touring the famous gardens of Paul and Fredrica Cassiday on Diamond Head and the Manoa Valley estate of Samuel and Mary Cooke. Delegates also had an opportunity to see the newly dedicated Harrison Chandler education center at the Tropical Botanical Gardens on Kauai.

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Then it was back to Pasadena for the “Arabella Garden” flower-arranging exhibit at the Huntington Library, where Marion Haines chaired the show and Cici Williamson won Best of Show from judges. Patty Burschinger was party chairwoman, with assistance from Judy McLaughlin, Martyn Belmont, Susan Seidel and Marilyn Brumder.

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Orchids--from the private gardens of Marion Malouf--were opulent for the National Arts Assn. 25th Orchid Ball honoring John Raitt at the Beverly Wilshire.


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