Hollywood Beat, July 16, 2009


Hollywood Beat, July 16, 2009
John Wayne Cancer Auxilary’s Odyssey Ball, Nancy Nankin, Dame Edna’s First Last Tour, Return of the Extravaganza of the Senses


Odyssey Ball – John Wayne Cancer Auxiliary

Writer, Producer and Actress Bonnie Hunt felt right at home at the Odyssey Ball, benefiting the John Wayne Cancer Institute Auxiliary. Bonnie was formerly an Oncology nurse at Chicago’s Northwestern Memorial Hospital, and she was honored to receive the True Grit Humanitarian Award for her support and raising funds to cure this indomitable disease.

Bonnie, who earned Entertainment Weekly’s title of Best Talk Show Guest in America, can be seen every weekday on her own nationally syndicated talk show.  True Grit, of course, was the title of John Wayne’s famous flick, and to keep in the spirit, there is also a “Duke” award (Wayne’s nick-name), which this year was presented to philanthropists Donna and Harvey Rosen.

The theme of this year’s black tie gala was return to the Supper Club, and vocalist extraordinaire Steve Tyrell crooned with great charisma.  We were very impressed with Dancing With the Stars pros Edyta Sliwinska and Alec Mazo, who brought a touch of elegance and class to the stage.  Seems that the gals from this show have the best bodies on the planet…guess I’d better join Arthur Murray’s Dance Salon ASAP.

A special presentation was made to Donald L. Morton, M.D., Chief Melanoma Program, and Director of Surgical Oncology at St. John’s Hospital in Santa Monica.  Over $1 million was raised to establish a special unit in his honor for research, treatment and care in the field of cancer medicine.  


Actor Patrick Wayne (Son of the late John Wayne) with Honoree, Actress Bonnie Hunt


Dancing With the Stars Pros – Alec Mazo & Edyta Sliwinska, who performed at the event.


Dame Edna (My First Last Tour)

The Center Theatre Group presented Dame Edna “My First Last Tour”, a meditation on gender and post election trauma” starring the irreverent and very talented Dr. Barry Humphries, as “The Dame”. Looking soigné in her purple beaded gown, with hair to match, Humphries alter ego was in fine form, and she had the audience eating out of her finely manicured hand.

As usual, she plucked unsuspecting guests out of the audience, and teased them without mercy.  We note that one of her “victims” was Producer Ava Fries, who proved to be a good sport indeed.  We all laughed our heads off at the opening montage, which opened the show, and kept it up until the finale, when she tossed her gladiolas to her “possums” as she calls her devoted fans.  How could I not like a “lady” who is glitzier than me?

Don’t miss Dame Edna, when no doubt she will produce “My Second Last Tour”, No end in sight for this raucous royal! 


Dr. Barry Humphries (Dame Edna's alter ego), Actor Martin  Sheen, &  Humphries wife, Elizabeth Spencer at opening night of Dame Edna – My First Last Tour.


Columnist Marci Weiner, Dame Edna & Actress Brenda Dickson ("The Young & The Restless")


Nancy Nankin – Fourth Life as a Painter

Nancy Nankin, former runway model, performer in the San Francisco Opera, and vineyard owner has taken on her fourth life as an admired artist. The San Francisco socialite held her first exhibition in Los Angeles at the Rebecca Molayem Gallery on elite Robertson Boulevard, which benefited children’s art charities.  The VIP cocktail reception attracted a gaggle of gorgeous gals including Brenda Dickson (The Young & The Restless), Jody Babydol Gibson, author of Secrets of a Hollywood Super Madam) and TV cast members of Beverly Hills 90210, including Meagan Tandy.

Coincidently, several actresses who starred with the late David Carradine were in the gallery, when word came in that he had just died in Thailand.  They were Sybil Danning, (Amazon Women on the Moon) Louise Moritz (Cuba – opposite Sean Connery), and Bai Ling, (Chinese actress who starred in Red Corner) who probably attends more events than moi.

Others enjoying the sumptuous buffet and fine wines included TV personality Shadoe Stevens, Spago co-owner, Barbara Lazaroff, David Streets, Celebrity Art Consultant, and Francesca Hilton, Zsa Zsa Gabor’s dauntless daughter. As for the paintings, Nancy portrays subjects as diverse as a small village street in China, to the stunning ware in the window of a jewelry shop in London.  As Edward Lozzi, her PR pro states, “Nancy’s paintings have heart and soul.  They speak to the people.”


Sybil Danning with the late David Carradine


Actress Sybil Danning with Artist Nancy Nankin, (posing in front of one of her magnificent paintings)


Pr Pro, Edward Lozzi, with Francesca Hilton (daughter of Zsa Zsa Gabor & aunt of Paris Hilton)


The Saban Free Clinic’s “Extravaganza of the Senses” returns on July 18th

As the health care crisis continues to escalate, Los Angeles area young professionals are doing their part by organizing the 12th Annual Extravaganza for the Senses to raise vital funds for The Saban Free Clinic (formerly The Los Angeles Free Clinic) which provides free medical care of the uninsured and the working poor.  On Saturday, July 18, 2009 at 20th Century Fox Studios, the Extravaganza will attract 2,000 guests who will sample food and wine, participate in a silent auction and enjoy music by DJ Scott Silva as they mingle beneath the stars.  One of the Clinic’s largest fundraisers, last year’s sell-out event raised more than $200,000 to help provide free health care and social services to those in need.

More than 100 wineries and 40 Los Angeles-area restaurants donate fine wine and food for the event, which is presented by The Wine House and the New Friends of The Saban Free Clinic, a group of young professionals who volunteer to help raise funds for the Clinic.  One hundred percent of the proceeds go directly to the Clinic.

General admission tickets are $80 (beginning July 1st, they go up to $100) and VIP tickets are $200 (beginning July 1st, they go up to $225), which includes free valet parking, early entry in the event and admission into the exclusive VIP lounge.  The admission cost includes unlimited samples of food and wine, complimentary massages, mystic readings and henna tattoos.  Tickets can be purchased now at www.thesabanfreeclinic.org/extravaganza or by calling (323) 330-1670.


As a television personality, guest speaker, newspaper reporter and columnist and one of the social arbiters of Los Angeles, Marci Weiner has touched every aspect of entertainment journalism. She has appeared as guest reporter on TV shows including Joan Rivers shows, Eye on LA, and the USA Network. In addition, she has hosted her own segments on Soap Talk, Hollywood Style and Hotline after Dark. You may contact Marci for info and invitations at [email protected]