Scene & Heard: At the Hollywood Bowl, the picnic basket as status symbol

So what if 21st century concert-goers are unlikely to pack picnic baskets with fine china, linens and candelabras. When the L.A. Philharmonic launched its summer classical season, the great Los Angeles social tradition of dining at the Hollywood Bowl continued in style.

"It's L.A.," said Lakers owner Jerry Buss, in his pool circle box. "As long as any of the L.A. landmarks were here, the Hollywood Bowl was here. It goes back with Grauman's Theatre and Angels Flight."

Kate Edelman Johnson — whose license plate reads "K2BOWL" — said she grew up going to the Bowl with her father, producer Louis Edelman, and her mother, Rita. "My mother used to bring her butler," Johnson said.

Alyce Williamson said these days she usually orders dinner from the Bowl's official caterer. And, though she too remembers when "everybody tried to outdo everybody else," she said she appreciates today's experience, which includes large-screen concert projections. "It's great that you can now see the conductor from the front too."

Sharing his box with actress Shea Curry, director Garry Marshall recalled a different history — his filming scenes from "Beaches" and "Dear God" on the Bowl's stage.

Seated nearby, Fred Sands said of his pool circle box subscription, "I'm going to die with it." (Sands' wife, Carla, serves on the Philharmonic board.)

As the sun went down on the July 6 event, Philharmonic President Deborah Borda paid tribute to Ernest Fleischmann, the former executive vice president and managing director who died in June. She reminded the audience of his many contributions to the Hollywood Bowl, which included introducing "the novel idea of fireworks" and insisting LAX change flight patterns to reduce noise during concerts.

She said "Lacrymosa" from Mozart's Requiem had been added to the program in his honor, saying, "Just maybe he'll see it from up there tonight."

Natural History Museum gala

Guests were encouraged to "mingle with the mammals" for the July 7 gala reopening of the 1913 Beaux-Arts building of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County in Exposition Park. An estimated 670 museum supporters came to enjoy cocktails beside the bones of a fin whale and view the new exhibition, "Age of Mammals," covering 65 million years of evolution and including the impressive Simi Valley mastodon, which roamed the L.A. area 20,000 years ago.

"Many of the objects are local," said Paul Haaga, museum board chairman. "It's fun to think that these gigantic things were once walking down what is now our streets, or where there is now a golf course or shopping center."

Haaga came with four generations of his family, including wife Heather, father-in-law Daniel Sturt, children Blythe and Paul III, daughter-in-law Catalina and grandchild Sienna, to celebrate the newly renovated Haaga Family Rotunda, renamed in honor of the family's $5-million contribution. Haaga is vice chairman of Capital Research and Management Co.

Event co-chairwomen Lynn Brengel and Diane Naegele welcomed, among others, Gayle and Ed Roski, Paige and David Glickman, Joan Payden, Janet and Michael Fourticq, Victoria Chapus, Sarah Meeker Jensen, Angie and Tom Thornbury, Amanda and Nick Stonnington, actors Michael York and Peter Rini, and former Gov. Pete Wilson, who called himself "an enthusiastic fan."