The Crowd: 2 kids attract doting crowd to their first birthday party on Newport’s Back Bay

Richard and Marilyn Moriarty, Ruth Ann Moriarty celebrating the birthday of kids Winnie and Evie, both wearing daisy chains.
Richard and Marilyn Moriarty, Ruth Ann Moriarty celebrate the birthday of the kids, Winnie and Evie, at Richard’s Newport Beach Winery on the Back Bay.
(Ann Chatillon)

The nation’s birthday was not the only big July birthday party. In Santa Ana Heights, Newport Beach, overlooking the Back Bay, a birthday celebration unfolded attracting both high society and regular folks turning out honoring the 1-year mark for two lively girls, Winnie and Evie.

Hosts Richard and Marilyn Moriarty spared no expense for their girls, providing a gourmet luncheon, open bar and even booking the popular ‘70s band Honk to entertain. Local big shots in attendance included the Moriartys’ neighbor Jim Gildewell and pals Les Shelly, Doug Tugg and Bob Greb.

Special guest of honor was Richard Moriarty’s stunning mother, Ruth Ann Segerstrom Moriarty (99 years young). The vibrant older sister of Orange County’s late visionary business leader and cultural icon Henry Segerstrom was the ultimate good sport at her grand-goats first party as Winnie and Evie pranced to the music of Honk.

The birthday girls Winnie and Evie dance to live music performed by Honk.
Birthday girls Winnie and Evie dance to live music performed by Honk during their celebration.
(Ann Chatillon)

“Richard’s kids are different from mine. Richard is a man of the earth; he and this property are magical, and I enjoy his homemade wine,” commented Glidewell. The Moriarty property on the Back Bay includes animals and a local vineyard and exhibition facility which has been the location of many social and charitable events over decades.

It seems the Crowd for this last Saturday in July is taking on a decidedly animal birthday theme. The Santa Ana Zoo recently threw a bash celebrating their famous local ring-tailed lemur Issac’s 35th birthday.

Believed to be the oldest living ring-tailed lemur in the U.S., Issac resides in well-cared for territory with his daughter, Jesse, born in 2015. Among the most endangered primates in the world, Issac and Jesse are at home with some 260 animals cared for at Santa Ana Zoo.

Isaac, the Santa Ana Zoo's ring-tailed lemur celebrates his 35th birthday.
Isaac, the Santa Ana Zoo’s ring-tailed lemur celebrates his 35th birthday.
(Jill Sanders)

Local humans wishing to support the animals, and the conservation and educational outreach of the zoo can get involved directly by supporting “Animals Depend on People Too” (ADOPT). Visit

A wild and wonderful jazz evening under the stars unfolded this month, only human animals on stage and sitting on the grass at Newport’s Hyatt Regency Hotel. It was all for High Hopes Brain Injury Program, a non-profit which finds its mission in the rehabilitation and retraining of people who have been harmed by brain injury. Celebrating 46 years of service to the community, the jazz concert is one of their principal fundraisers.

It is also a serious and passionate labor of love and personal commitment for the stars of the show Eric Marienthal and Rick Braun, who have fronted the event year after year. The sold-out performance attracted some 600 music lovers raising more than $100,000 for High Hopes.

Eric Marienthal and Rick Braun perform at summer concert benefiting High Hopes.
(Sheri Determan)

The VIP crowd enjoyed a dinner provided by the Tulsa Rib Company pre-concert with the amazing jazz performance of a much-respected local jazz trio led by pianist Ron Kobayashi. Grammy and Emmy award-winning musician Gordon Good served as emcee joining Mark Desmond, director/instructor and developer of the High Hopes Brain Injury Program.

Following cocktails and dinner, Marienthal took the stage and opened the show with “Street Dance” from his 1994 album, then into “Two in One,” “Lee Ann,” as well as his hit “Compared to What” and then paid tribute to the late Chuck Lobe’s “Cotton Club”. Marienthal started his professional career in 1980 with famed New Orleans trumpeter Al Hirt then became a member of the Chick Corea Elektric Band. He recorded five albums with Corea and won two Grammy Awards. Marienthal has performed with artists such as Elton John, Barbara Streisand, Stevie Wonder, David Lee Roth and many others.

Marienthal’s special guest was trumpeter Rick Braun, who entertained the crowd with “Cadillac Slim,” “Hollywood and Vine” followed by a Wilson Pickett song, “634-5789.” The set ended with the crowd on their feet singing along with a medley of “Groovin,” “Just My Imagination” and “Grazin’ in the Grass.”

Matt and Olivia Barbiasz attend Eric Marienthal and Friends Concert.
Matt and Olivia Barbiasz attend the Eric Marienthal and Friends Concert that raised over $100,000 for High Hopes Brain Injury Program.
(Sheri Determan)

One of the major summer dining extravaganzas will return Aug. 29 post pandemic year 2020, on behalf of Make-A-Wish Orange County and the Inland Empire. “Table for 10,” the culinary adventure invites 10 lucky patrons to a one-of-a-kind dinner prepared and served by one of O.C.’s most celebrated chefs.

This August, 33 of the best of the best will each host a “Table for 10,” creating a dining experience par none. The evening is set to unfold at the beautiful alfresco courtyard of Bowers Museum, Santa Ana. For more details contact Meghan von Behren at or (714) 573-9474 Ext. 231.

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