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Grove Opener

A trio of parties--with the proceeds going to charities--marked last weekend’s opening of the Grove, L.A.'s newest mega-mall adjacent to historic Farmers Market at 3rd Street and Fairfax Avenue. The warmup started midweek with a Nordstrom reception to benefit Childrens Hospital of Los Angeles and continued to an event at Maggiano’s Little Italy Restaurant to benefit the Heart Fund at Cedars Sinai Medical Center.

But the big bash--with fireworks, a performance by tenor Russell Watson and the unveiling of “The Spirit of Los Angeles,” a bronze sculpture of two dancing angels, created by De L’Esprie--was held the night before Friday’s public opening. For the gala, tables, covered in citron cloths with centerpieces of white roses, were arranged along the main thoroughfare. There, Regency Club chefs served chicken Wellington and white chocolate mousse with raspberries to more than 1,800.

Grove developer Rick Caruso and his wife, Tina, hosted the gala, which netted $450,000 for the National Institute of Transplantation. Heavy traffic had L.A.'s finest on swarm, and a drastic plunge in the temperature kept the bartenders scurrying. One early arrival, Chuck Reed, was spotted pleading with a Banana Republic staffer to unlock the door and sell him a sweater, which Reed wore all evening with the security sensor attached. KTLA weatherman Mark Kriski, who emceed the festivities, told the shivering crowd, “If you want to boo me, now’s the time; go ahead.” They did.

Patt Diroll

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Scripter Awards

The Scripter Awards Dinner, sponsored by the Friends of the USC Libraries, was back in its old digs on campus last weekend. After an 18-month face lift, Doheny Memorial Library was reopened in October. Its Italianate reading room with the long tables, where legions of Trojans have scratched their initials and stashed their gum for 70 years, had been home to the ceremony since Marjorie Lord Volk and Glenn Sonnenberg established the event 14 years ago to honor the best adaptation of a book to the motion picture screen. Author Sylvia Nasar and screenwriter Akiva Goldsman took home this year’s laurels for “A Beautiful Mind,” the portrayal of tortured mathematical genius John Nash. Volk’s daughter, actress Anne Archer, and “Mind” co-stars Paul Bettany and Josh Lucas presented awards. In accepting hers, Nasar praised Goldsman’s ability to tell the story of a brilliant mind affected by schizophrenia. “Akiva let the audience see the world through Nash’s eyes,” she said.

Gavin MacLeod emceed and veteran comedy writer Hal Kanter served as grand master. Special guest included Scripter award nominees Helen Fielding, author and co-screenwriter of “Bridget Jones’s Diary” and Rob Festinger, co-screenwriter of “In the Bedroom.” Also there were Scripter committee chairman Al Ruddy; Joan Jani-Mimms, who chaired the event; Sue Femino, Friends president; Katherine L’Amour; Virginia and Si Ramo; Del Reisman; Susan Babcock; Kacey and Peter McCoy; Terry Stanfill; Donald Gibbs; Bob Sattler; Elaine and Ken Leventhal; Bonnie and Richard Cook; Joanne and Montgomery Fisher; the newly engaged Tari Susan Hartman and Jason E. Squire of USC’s Department of Cinema and Television; and Veta and Jerry Campbell, dean of the USC Libraries, who announced that the event raised $100,000 to help “ensure that USC will never be at a loss for words.”

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P.D.

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Luminaires in Pink

The main lounge on the first floor of the California Club was bathed in “surprise pink” lighting for the Luminaires’ annual fashion show to benefit Doheny Eye Institute at the USC School of Medicine. “My father and my uncle must be rolling over in their graves,” muttered one amused member as he watched 300 women establish a beachhead in this one-time male enclave. Even the lounge furnishings had been moved to accommodate a runway for the first fashion show ever staged there, a parade of spring/summer designs by Escada.

“It wasn’t so long ago that this was off-limits to an unescorted woman,” recalled Alyce Williamson, who co-chaired the March 13 event. Following the show, Luminaires president Sonia Hathaway led the way to the dining room, where florist Tommy Farmer continued the all-pink theme with arrangements of tulips in tall crystal vases; a meringue basket filled with pink strawberry mousse topped off the asparagus soup and lobster salad.

A few guys did brave the crowd--Cheryl Craft, a professor at the Keck School of Medicine at USC, brought along her colleagues Stephen Ryan, dean of the school, and doctors John Irvine and Eugene de Juan.

Bobbie Galpin and Kelsey Hall also co-chaired the benefit, which raised $100,000.

P.D.

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Barry in the Night

Performing at the Grove of Anaheim, easy-listening icon Barry Manilow crooned mega-hits such as “Mandy” and his new release, “Turn the Radio Up,” during a benefit concert put on by KOST-FM on behalf of the American Heart Assn. The “Love Songs Live” production helped raise $10,000 for the association’s community education programs.

“Thanks for coming to this special show,” Manilow said. “But where are we? When KOST said they had a special evening planned, I didn’t know we were going to be in beautiful, downtown Anaheim.”

Actually, he liked the 1,200-seat venue (the Grove is the former Sun Theatre) and added, “You know I like intimacy.” Actors Harry Hamlin and Lisa Rinna were among guests attending a preconcert reception held in the facility’s Terra Rosa Room. Their favorite Manilow hit? “‘I Write the Songs,’” they chimed.

Guests at the March 14 concert included Bob Greenberg, chairman of the Orange County division of the American Heart Assn.; Stephen Lazar; Stephanie Ross; Karen Sharp; Ginny Carpenter; and Peter Bastone.

Ann Conway

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Viennese Feast

Celebrating a three-day concert run by the Vienna Philharmonic at the Orange County Performing Arts Center in Costa Mesa, members of the Philharmonic Society of Orange County attended a European-style gala netting $100,000 for the group’s musical education programs for children.

Held at the Four Seasons Hotel in Newport Beach, the black-tie benefit attended by about 300 guests featured a classic Viennese feast--goulash soup, mushroom strudel, roulade of beef and chestnut bombe. John W. Benecke and Mary Kay VanderMolen were co-chairs of the March 16 event. Guests included Dean and Kaly Corey, Donald and Karen Evarts, Gary and Tricia Babick, Deirdre and Doug Smith, Fred and Eva Schneider, Sharon McNalley, Pat and Bill Podich, Barbara and Bill Roberts, Michelle Rohe, and Martin and Elaine Weinberg.

A.C.

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Olive Crest

Philanthropist Virginia Knott Bender of Newport Beach received the Vision for the Children Award at a benefit for Olive Crest Homes and Services for Abused Children attended by 850 guests on March 16 at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim. Actress Sela Ward was also honored at the gala, which raised $350,000 for the organization’s programs. Proceeds will be used for the operation of Olive Crest’s 20 residential homes in Orange County and its foster family and adoption services. John Driscoll was event chairman.

A.C.

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Coming up:

* Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) will receive the Julius Award at the USC School of Policy, Planning and Development’s 20th annual “Ides of March " dinner Monday at the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel. Tickets, $500. Call (213) 740-9213.

* Elton John will be honored at “An Unforgettable Evening,” to benefit Cedars-Sinai Research for Women’s Cancer on Tuesday at the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel. Tickets, $1,000. Call (310) 996-1188.

* Town and Gown of USC presents its annual spring scholarship fashion luncheon on Tuesday at the Regent Beverly Wilshire. Tickets, $85. Call (818) 882-4081.

* The Junior League of Los Angeles will honor Andrea Van de Kamp and Carol Mancino at “In Concert With Los Angeles,” its annual benefit gala April 1, at the Regent Beverly Wilshire. Tickets, $250. Call (323) 957-4280.

* The 2002 Music Center Spotlight Awards Gala and Dinner saluting 12 young Southland performing artists will be April 2 at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. Tickets, $300. Call (213) 202-2246.

* The Footlighters present their 63rd annual cabaret ball, “We Light the Way,” to benefit Footlighters Child Life Center at Harbor UCLA Medical Center and A Place Called Home on April 4 at the Regent Beverly Wilshire. Tickets, $200. Call (310) 277-5813.

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Information for Social Circuits can be directed to Patt Diroll in Los Angeles or Ann Conway in Orange County. Diroll is at pattdiroll@earthlink.net; Conway at ann.conway@latimes.com, or (714) 966-5952.


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