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That Old Feeling of Joy and Money

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

The Scene: Monday’s benefit premiere of Universal and the Bubble Factory’s “That Old Feeling” at the Cineplex Odeon. It’s Bette Midler’s movie and the Divine Miss M was joyful. “It’s a beautiful night,” she said. “I get driven around in a car. I got a new outfit. I come and everyone is looking happy. I feel like I got the keys to the kingdom.”

Who Was There: Midler; co-stars Dennis Farina and Gail O’Grady; director Carl Reiner; producer Bonnie Bruckheimer; writer Leslie Dixon; plus 1,000 guests including Tom Selleck, Jimmy Smits, Barbara Hershey, Penny Marshall, Frankie Avalon, Rob Reiner, Dennis Franz, David Permut, Sid Sheinberg, Mark Johnson, and studio execs Edgar Bronfman Jr., Howard Weitzman and Casey Silver.

The Venue: An over-the-top, Latin wedding-themed party was done by Ambrosia with a torrid nine-piece band, conga line dancing, wedding cakes and enough pink tulle to redecorate the Liberace museum. The affair took place in the rambling building now called the Century Club. The locale’s past incarnations include Sen~or Pico, Hy’s, Princess and Trips. As one guest said, “It’s been everything but successful.”

Quoted: “It’s a sex farce,” said Midler of the film. “You don’t see them too often anymore. There’s something about this country. You’ve got films where they beat you up, slice your head off and put you in a wood chipper, but a little innocent sex drives ‘em nuts.”

Money Matters: More than $200,000 was netted for the Westside Children’s Center and the Children’s Action Network. “With welfare reform kicking in, the need for money is greater than anybody’s ability to raise it,” said Lorraine Sheinberg, who co-chaired with Lezlie Johnson. “There are going to be a lot of invitations to a lot of fund-raisers in the mail.”

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Competing Attraction: Across from the theater at Harry’s Bar, Pen West was holding its annual International Imitation Hemingway Competition. Though Charlton Heston and Ray Bradbury were on hand, it generated a fraction of the media attention the premiere got. “It’s that old feeling of being upstaged again,” said Pen West president Eric Lax. “All we have is Ernest Hemingway.”

Overheard: “You know what the five scariest words in Hollywood are?” asked a veteran of Hollywood benefits. “ ‘It’s all taken care of.’ That’s when you know you’re screwed.”


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