Its spectacular white shell gleaming in the evening light, the Hollywood Bowl shined as brightly as the artists being honored at its second annual Hall of Fame Gala.
"If you want to hear true surround-sound, this leafy glade is still the place to be," Academy Award-winning actor Kevin Spacey told the thousands of spectators who came to watch Marilyn Horne, Stevie Wonder, Bonnie and John Raitt and the Monty Python comedy troupe--represented by Eric Idle--inducted into the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame. "On this stage have been the world's greatest performers ... 80 years, 10,000 concerts."
Hall of Fame presenters included Robin Williams (who, upon spotting Idle's python-print suit, quipped, "Aren't you the Komodo dragon who bit Phil Brownstein?"), Jeff Bridges, Smokey Robinson and John Williams.
People who'd paid a minimum of $200 to attend the launch of the bowl's summer concert series and support Music Matters--the children's educational programs of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Assn.--lived it up at a '50s-inspired pre-concert "beach-bash" reception and then dined on gourmet fare in bowl boxes festooned with pots of orange marigolds.
After sweeping down a sea-blue carpet, the 1,200 gala-goers received lifeguard whistles as they entered a beach scene replete with sandcastle, Woody station wagon, coconut oil-slathered sunbather and a lifeguard holding court above the bar.
Sipping bubbly and apple martinis, guests cruised a picnic buffet arrayed with homemade potato chips and mini peanut butter and jelly, tuna, Reuben and grilled cheese sandwiches.
"This is fun, different," said chef Joaquim Splichal, who, besides creating the beach fare, oversaw the preparation of the gourmet repast--lobster, salmon, strawberry shortcake--that gala-goers savored under the stars.
On the boom box: tunes by the Beach Boys that had actress Marilu Henner's two sons, Nicky, 7, and Joey, 5, "dancing to eight songs in a row with a beach bunny," she observed, laughing.
Gala proceeds of about $500,000 from last weekend's event will be used for music programs that include school partnerships, seminars and concerts for L.A.-area schoolchildren, teachers and parents.
Guest list: gala chairman Anthon S. Cannon Jr.; concert producers Charles F. Gaytonand Wayne Baruch, and his son, Brandon Baruch ; gala premiere patrons Curtis S. and Priscilla Tamkin ; former Gov. Pete Wilson and Gayle Wilson; Garry Shandling; Berry Gordy; and Esa-Pekka Salonen.
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