Scene & Heard: MLA Partner Schools honor Frank Marshall and Kathleen Kennedy at L.A.’s Promise Gala

There was quite a range of talent at L.A.'s Promise Gala, held Tuesday at the Century Plaza. Tom Lennon and Ben Garant of " Reno 911!” did the opening number, Natasha Bedingfield sang and Tom Cruise presented an award from the MLA Partner Schools to Frank Marshall and Kathleen Kennedy. The honorees’ combined credits include “ET,” “Jurassic Park,” “Raiders of the Lost Ark” and the “Bourne” trilogy.

MLA works with schools in South Los Angeles to help provide an atmosphere in which students want to learn and gives them a college-ready education.

“It’s the organization that should be honored,” Marshall said. “If we don’t have kids who have an education, we’re all going to go south. A good education is good for the economy and society and everything we do.”

The dinner netted nearly $1 million, with event chairs including Peter Chernin, Ann Gianopulos, Kathy and John Kissick, Marina Berti and Stephen Prough, Jessica Harper and Tom Rothman, Kevin Sharer, and Cindy and Sheldon Stone.

BritWeek Gala

Richard Branson was in the mood for California to applaud Britannia. Speaking at the April 22 BritWeek Gala at the Beverly Hilton, the founder of the Virgin Group announced: “We are as close as brother and sister and we should celebrate that fact.”

As guests sipped champagne amid a display of premium airline seats, BritWeek President Nigel Lythgoe said the three-week showcase of British-California connections in sports, entertainment, business and other areas has expanded to Orange County and San Francisco.

“We are slowly taking your country back, bit by bit,” said Lythgoe, noted for producing “So You Think You Can Dance” and “American Idol.”

Former British Consul General Bob Peirce, chairman of BritWeek, called California “a land of opportunity within the land of opportunity.” He added “There is no cynicism about new ideas here — even if they sound a bit off the wall.”

Gala proceeds went to Virgin Unite and Save the Children, the latter represented by charity advocates Victoria Beckham, Morgan Freeman and three Shriver siblings: Mark, managing director of U.S. programs, Robert and Maria.

P.S. Arts Gala Preview

Having designed the entryway to the L.A. Antiques Show at the Santa Monica Airport, interior designer Martyn Lawrence Bullard couldn’t let a volcano stop him from getting to the April 21 Gala Preview for P.S. Arts.

Stuck in Rome, with no planes departing, his eventual journey required a 19-hour cross-Europe drive and a ferry to eventually catch a flight to L.A. “I landed an hour and a half ago,” he said, telling his tale as guests began arriving to peruse the antiques.

The event netted $115,000 for P.S. Arts, which brings arts education into public schools. Board President Maria Bell said the group raises $2.5 million annually to fund art programs in Southern and Central California. Bell is co-executive producer of “The Young and the Restless.”

Patrick Herning, Julia Sorkin and Christine Weller chaired the evening with hosts including Courteney Cox, Jennifer Meyer, Cameron Silver, Dita Von Teese, Maria Bell, Kimberly Brooks, Elizabeth Stewart and Kelly Wearstler.