In our fair city, the crape myrtles, jacarandas, oleanders and jasmine add perfumy sensual flair to the flowering oaks, the breeze-blown palms, the leafy sycamores and the stately eugenia hedges. Who can resist alfresco? It’s the pizza (and the piece , too) de resistance to social folks’ entertaining.
Classical: Doing it outdoors recently were Joan and Frank Thompson in Pasadena. They hosted an elegant musicale on their acoustically perfect terrace with Los Angeles opera stars Suzanne Guzman and Daniel Ebbers. Then came the sit-down dinner for 70 on their grassy front lawn.
And Calypso in Mood: Around the corner, good neighbors Fran and Rob Lynch kindly canceled a calypso steel band they had hired for their Caribbean Evening. They thought vibes might waft over to the Thompsons’ space and spoil their opera. But, the cottons were swaying and the pina coladas were flourishing around the Lynch pool. And, later, the Lynches moved about 80 onto their front green for a seated dinner around brilliant cloths spiked with palms fronds in the shadows of the San Gabriel Mountains. The party didn’t break till past midnight.
Summery Siesta: Of such is the Southland’s summer. At the Thompsons, toasts came in dozens celebrating Dr. Frank Thompson’s birthday. Because the Thompsons actually are celebrating his birthday today at Irvine Cove, the early dinner caught friends off guard. But innovative types such as Joe Coulombe, Art Pizzinat, John Maechling and Sue Femino have vibrant minds and are never at loss for accolades. Special friends from Atlanta, Bob and Ann Holder (he’s co-chair of the Atlanta Organizing Committee for the Olympics in 1996), flew in for hugs and kisses.
Private, but Fund Raising: Julio Iglesias has been thrilling audiences for children’s fund-raisers since he became involved with UNICEF in 1989. This month, after a Greek Theatre concert, Esther and Tom Wachtell opened their Hancock Park home till midnight, inviting those who contributed $200 toward Iglesias’ cause--children of Mexico and El Salvador.
Splash: At the party for artist-New Mexico rancher Bruce Nauman, whose show opened last week at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Joan and Fred Nicholas were standing near their London house guest, theatrical agent Eric Flackfield, when, splash, Eric inadvertently plunged into host Dan Melnick’s Beverly Hills pool. Flackfield and Melnick agreed the misstep was cooler than battle--they met in Africa during World War II. At the party Richard Koshalek, with his wife, Betty, was getting compliments on his new five-year contract as museum director.
Moving Along: Peter W. Mullin, chairman and CEO of Management Compensation Group Inc., has been elected to the five-member board of trustees of the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens. He succeeds Marion (Mrs. Earle M.) Jorgensen, who has been elected Trustee Emeritus. Mullin is also the newly elected chair of Occidental College (his alma mater) and is serving as chairman of the Music Center Foundation . . . And the St. John’s Hospital and Health Center Foundation trustees, revving up for fund raising after the devastation of the Jan. 17 earthquake, have elected four prominent trustees--James P. Birdwell Jr., Charles R. Lande, Madeleine Paulson and Donna F. Tuttle, according to Waldo H. Burnside, trustees president.
Elsewhere on the Social Circuit
* Benefit chairwoman Carlotta Keely could have buried her head in the sand with embarrassment when her name was pulled for the plush bag of goodies from Rodeo Drive merchants raffled at “Bach Hits the Beach--the Sequel!” Of course, the beach is where the kids were--buried in sand, making sand castles while the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra played Bach, Mozart, Handel, Vivaldi and a Henry Mancini medley as the finale in twilight at the Beach Club. Because Suzanne Rheinstein and Pat Rauth slaved over the sales of raffle tickets, the First Cut group headed by Lynn Brengel will be able to provide music appreciation for 9,000 schoolchildren.
* Summer highlights: Robert H. Halff, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art trustee who has promised 40 major modern and contemporary works to the museum, was honored at a dinner at LACMA . . . Polly Goodan and Missy Chandler hosted a reception at the Goodan home for Ph.D. Michael Tobias, whose latest book is “World War III: Human Population and the Biosphere at the End of the Millennium.”
* The Shakespeare Festival/LA took over Chadwick School in Palos Verdes to present “The Comedy of Errors,” directed by Ben Donenberg; other performances are scheduled at Citicorp Plaza, Grand Hope Park in Downtown and Descanso Gardens . . . The majestic and tranquil Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills will be the site for two more Beverly Hills Symphony concerts on Aug. 21 at 4:30 p.m. and Sept. 18 at 3:30 p.m., both directed by Bogidar Avramov . . . Del Mar Racetrack social types will be cooled to ocean breezes Aug. 13, marking calendars in red for the $1-million Pacific Classic in Del Mar.
* The 14th annual Beverly Hills Charity Car Show will show off more than 300 classics and racing cars today at Beverly Hills High School . . . Banning Residence Museum volunteers hosted their “Summer Sociable” at Banning Residence last week . . . UCLA Fowler Museum of Cultural History celebrated Persian arts at a family day . . . Important jazz musicians will be on hand for the fourth annual Pasadena Jazz Festival that Ambassador Performing Arts will present on the flower-decked fountain plaza and in the Ambassador Auditorium, Aug. 6-7.
* They got to the root of the matter, no one would leaf until the work was done and they boughed to generous support. That was the Garden Party group of 14 at the History Center in Pasadena. Merry volunteers Richard Nevins, Alice Front Kennedy, Marjorie Dickinson, Mary Lois Nevins and Ken Patton spent a cheerful three hours planting azaleas, ferns, jasmine and ivy.