Wednesday, September 24, 2008

An Evening in Pasadena!

One of the best things about living in Los Angeles is that there are so many events to attend throughout the year. As we know, there are many events centered around the opening of a movie, the premiere of a TV show, or the opening of a new chi chi restaurant but there are also many events centered around charitable giving in the arts and medicine. Recently, I was fortunate enough to attend a benefit for Lineage Dance Company, their Gala Event.

I never have any problem getting dressed in black tie when it’s for a good cause, and this event was well worth it. Benefits are often stodgy, low energy affairs with a silent auction and a dinner. Lineage brilliantly chose to have the opposite. Instead of the event being held in a hall at some five star hotel, their Gala was held on the roof of the Pasadena Museum for California Art. The weather in the Sounthland is the perfect balance right now for entertaining outside in the evening; women in sleeveless dresses won’t be cold and men in tuxedoes won’t be hot. Which reminds me, you know when women are wearing little more than lingerie then complain about being cold? "But you don't understand," they tell you. Just gently remind them that they’d never be cold while wearing a suit, ask Fran Liebowitz. Or Diane Keaton. But I digress.

The cocktail portion of the evening was fun and allowed people to mingle with old friends and make new ones. Being in Pasadena immediately makes everything much more relaxed than in Hollywood or Beverly Hills, patrons have far less ego going on and you can actually get to know one another. They even hired a high school student to play piano, and he played the hell out of some Beethoven!

Next up was a live performance by the Company. I’ve been to a few Galas specifically for dance companies that only showed filmed performances [City Ballet? What?] or chose to not have a performance at all, but a fashion show [Atlanta Ballet! Again: what? I guess you can do what you want when you’re the longest continually running Ballet Company in the country, huh?] Not only was it a nice change to see a live performance, but in an intimate space. We all were so close to the action that not only could we hear the dancers breathing, but could feel the breeze as they would fly past us. This particular performance was the World Premiere performance of Lineage’s Quasi una Fantasia and is set to the Beethoven sonata of the same name. Most know it as his Moonlight Sonata, and was choreographed by artistic director Hilary Thomas. Fantasia’s choreography showed a strong ballet base, but carried a much more athletic and contemporary feel. It was in a word, fantastic. I can’t wait until their next performance to go, check them out on youtube.

After the performance was the auction and then the dinner. The auction was fun – it’s always strange to be buying things in such a polite and mannerly way in public. It's very olde worlde, patiently waiting for the next paddle to be raised. This was no screaming match/fistfight kind of auction, these were theatre patrons. But, it did kick in as people all of sudden decided that they simply must to go to Hawaii and everything becomes fun and lively.

Having dinner after the performance and auction may have been the smartest choice of all. Whenever I have been to benefits with auctions and performances, they always happen after dinner is finished when food is digesting and people get sleepy which is never a catalyst for buying expensive things. Having dinner after everything takes the pressure off the evening, you’ve already bought stuff! You can just relax and get to know the people at your table and not feel bad when you get up for a second cupcake. There’s not much worse than slyly taking a second gingerbread cupcake and having the auctioneer think you signaled him to buy that bejeweled necklace that used to be owned by Gloria Swanson. It happens!

Most of all, the best part about events like this is knowing that you’re giving back to the community in a way that was important to you as you grew up. It’s fulfilling in a way that nothing else is and I highly suggest remembering what you loved to do as a kid and see if there’s a way that you can help bring that to kids growing up now, especially if it has anything to do with art and/or music. We make things happen!

© 2008 MD TOTAL all rights reserved.

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1 comment:

JZ said...

I was also at the Lineage Gala and really appreciate this descriptive write up. Keep up the good work everyone!