Tuesday, March 4, 2008

San Francisco Social Diary

Authors and Kidney Foundation officials at the annual San Francisco Authors Luncheon, sponsored by the National Kidney Foundation of Northern California and Nevada.
By Jeanne Lawrence

Dede Wilsey opened her grand Pacific Heights home for the Ballet Auxiliary to honor the Grand Benefactors and Benefactors alike for their support for the San Francisco Ballet’s 75th Diamond Gala.

More than 200 guests attended the elegant cocktail reception. Wilsey along with Party Chair Angelique Griepp planned a festive and vibrant evening creating even more excitement for the Ballet’s program this year.

Everyone is especially waiting for the The New Works Festival that is touted “as the culmination of a spectacular season of celebration.” The festival runs from April 22 through May 6 and will feature 10 world-premieres choreographed by 10 world-renowned choreographers.
Dede Wilsey, Count VanDerlinden D'Hust, and Yurie Pascarella
Angelique Griepp
These choreographers are Julia Adam, Val Caniparoli, Jorma Elo, Margaret Jenkins, James Kudelka, Mark Morris, Yuri Possokhov, Paul Taylor, Stanton Welch, and Christoper Wheeldon.

Among those seen in the glamorous mansion rooms were Artistic Director Helgi Tomasson with his wife Marlene, board member, since 1969, Lucy Jewett, Gala Chair Jean Larette; Gala Dinner Chair Rosemary Baker; Co-Chairs CEO Pamela Joyner and  JamesHerbert with his wife Cecilia’ Ballet Auxiliary President Marie O’Gara Lipman; Ballet Association Director Glenn McCoy; Dancers, Nicolas Blanc, Pascal Molat and Aubert Vanderlinden, Ballet patron Ann Fisher, Gail de Martini, Merrill Kasper, and Yurie Pascarella.
Frank Kawalkowksi, Marlene Thomasson, Daru Kawalkowski, and Helgi Thomasson
Jean Larette, Glenn McCoy, and Marie Lipman
Rosemary Baker, Glenn McCoy, and OJ Shansby
Cecilia and Jim Herbert
Fred Giuffrida and Pamela Joyner
Gail De Martini and Meryl Casper
Jim Schneider and Barbara Brookins Schneider
Marissa Mayer and Zachary Bogue
Lucy Jewitt and Nicolas Blanc
Dr. Jeff Hays, Genevieve Molat, and Pascal Molat
Ann Fisher, Count VanDerlinden D'Hust, and Jan Zakin
Jennifer Caldwell and John Fisher
Dede Wilsey and Marie Lipman

Almost 1,300 booklovers attended the annual San Francisco Authors Luncheon, sponsored by the National Kidney Foundation of Northern California and Nevada.

For the last 19 years – since its inception – the honorary chairs have been designer and philanthropist Ann Getty and author Amy Tan.

Tom Brokaw with Elaine Petrocelli, owner Passages book store
Amy is known for writing best-sellers like The Joy Luck Club, The Kitchen God’s Wife and The Bone Setter’s Daughter – for which she has written the libretto for a new American opera version slated for the Fall ’08 season at the SF Opera.

Tyler Hofinga, an executive with Salesforce.com, has chaired the luncheon for the last 10 years. With such committed chairs, it’s easy to see why this power luncheon is such a success.

The seven authors honored this year included former NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw presenting latest tome Boom!: Voices of the Sixties Personal Reflections of the '60s andToday; Diane Ackerman and her latest – The Zookeeper's Wife: A War Story; Michael ChabonThe Yiddish Policemen's Union: A Novel, and Judy SierraMind Your Manners.

Local gal Lisa See spoke about her most recent book, Peony in Love, (author of Snow Flower and the Secret Fan) as did Harlan Coben, author of The Woods.
Group shot of presenting authors
Radio host Michael Krasny, usually the emcee, is taking a turn at the other side of the microphone for a change, presenting his Off Mike: A Memoir of Talk Radio and Literary Life.
Brian Copeland, KGO radio talk took over as emcee. Copeland, too, is an author of Not a Genuine Black Man: Or, How I Claimed My Piece of Ground in the Lily White Suburbs.

Over a luscious luncheon, each author addressed the gathering for 15 minutes, making for a very enlightening day.
Author Diane Ackerman with Michael Krasny local KQED radio host
Authors Harlan Coben, Amy Tan, and Tyler Hofinga

Nob Hill philanthropist Deborah Strobin recently backed her first theatrical production Curvy Widow, co-produced and written by her friend, New Yorker Bobby Goldman and directed by Scott Schwartz. “Who’s going to say no to Bobby,” Deborah laughed.

The one-woman comedy is set for a 7-week limited engagement (until March 9) at the Post Street Theater and stars 57-year-old Cybill Shepherd. Shepherd’s credits includeThe Last Picture Show, Taxi Driver, Daisy Miller, and Golden Globe Awards for TV’s Golden Globe winner TV’s Moonlighting and Cybill.

Loosely based on Goldman’s life, the plot focuses on a fifty-something businesswoman and widow and her foray into the weird world of internet dating. The show’s enticing teaser says it all, “A wildly funny comedy about the misadventures of one woman’s online search for love, relationships ... Sex."
Cybill Shepperd and Deborah Strobin
Bobby Goldman
And who wouldn’t love what Goldman said to Mercury News’ reporter Karen D’Souza. “I’m a short, stubby Jewish person being played by Cybill Shepherd…it’s a girl’s dream. I’m being played by a shiksa goddess. It’s my first play, and I got Cybill Shepherd. Hot damn!”

By the way, Bobby’s late husband was author and playwright James Goldman, Academy Award winning screenwriter of the 1968 film The Lion in Winter, starring Peter O’Toole and the late, great Kate Hepburn. Bobby knows the theater world well. 

To celebrate the play’s opening, Strobin threw a dinner for 24 in the private room at Tommy Toy’s Cuisine Chinoise where the guests feasted on a gourmet Chinese banquet – fit for an Emperor – such as Minced Squab "Imperial” and Wok Charred Prawns with Chinese Five Spice. In the same month, Deborah celebrated again, but this time it was for the February marriage of her son, Mark Strobin to Christina Zaka at Stanford University.
Sydnie Kohara and George Leplant
Denise Hale and Cybill Sheppherd
Bobby Goldman and Larry Goldfarb
Wendy Paskino and Frank Jordan
Sally and Warren Debenham
Denise Hale
Deborah Strobin and Bobby Goldman
Hi-Dive Café and “The Point” Spring Art Walk

On evening strolling down the Embarcadero – the roadway along San Francisco Bay – I noticed the Hi-Dive Café that I’ve passed hundreds of times. This night I decided to check it out.
Once a real waterfront dive located on Pier 28, it has been refurbished while still retaining its old atmosphere. There I noticed a group of champagne drinking artists celebrating an “Off the Point” wrap party for a recent exhibition.  

These artist have studios at the former Navy Base at Hunters Point Shipyards. Commonly called “The Point," it is one of the largest art communities in the country with over 300 studios.
Artists Scot Velardo, Steve Falbo, Zannah Noe, and Michael Yocuum
Outdoor Public Art on Embarcadero
More art
Twice a year – fall and spring - there are the Open Studios weekends when the artists ‘show and sell’ their work.  Painter Zannah Noe is the organizer for the upcoming spring event which is open free to the public. Last year more than 5,000 people checked it out.

This year’s Spring Art Walk is scheduled for May 11, 12, and 13 – maybe I’ll see you there. For more information, go to www.springopenstudio.com.
Zannah Noe, Scott Velardo, and Paul Gibson
Scott Velardo and Zannah Noe
Marguerite Brown
Carol Jessen
Kristiana Spaulding
Marc Ellen Hamel and Eileen Downey
Tiffany Smith and Petra Duffo
Photographs by Drew Altizer; Thomas Gibbons; Zabrina Tipton

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