The 27th annual Circle 1000 Founders' Brunch Celebration unfolded April 28 at the Island Hotel Newport Beach. The event welcomed actress and author Jamie Lee Curtis as keynote speaker at the morning confab that attracted a sold-out audience dedicated to supporting the Hoag Family Cancer Institute. An impressive $900,000 was raised on a Monday morning in Newport Beach, bringing the total funding raised over 27 years since the organization's founding by community activist and breast cancer survivor Sandy Sewell to more than $15 million. Curtis arrived in Newport Beach sporting a pink neon pageboy-cut wig, which was a bit shocking to some of the more conservative women in attendance. The actress set the record straight as she took the microphone at the Island Hotel.
The long and short of the story is that the wig belonged to a 10-year-old cancer patient named Katie Westbrook. Curtis was in the Midwest speaking to a group when she was taken to the hospital to meet Katie, who was wearing the pink wig. Katie removed the wig to reveal that she had taken a marking pen and written on the top of her bald head, "Jamie Lee Curtis rocks!" The introduction set the tone for a whimsical off-the-cuff address by Curtis, which essentially painted the picture for the crowd that life can be really tough and unfair, but it is in each of our powers to try to beat the odds. Curtis quoted the Talmud, stating, "The Talmud teaches that you don't see things that way that they are…you see things the way you are." Continuing on, Curtis shared with her audience another aspect of her philosophy: "Ask yourself, when you look at your life, two things: Did I learn to live wisely? Did I learn to love well?"
The 27th Circle 1000 event was chaired by Beth Knapp and began with an invocation delivered by Arden Flamson, another of the original Circle 1000 founders. Also addressing the overflow crowd was Burton Eisenberg, MD, representing the Grace E. Hoag Executive Medical Director Endowed Chair of the Hoag Family Cancer Institute. In addition to his duties at Hoag, Eisenberg is a professor of surgery at the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center. In the crowd supporting the event were Hoag Hospital Foundation President Flynn Andrizzi, joining donors and VIPs including Hoag President and CEO Robert Braithwaite, Hoag Hospital Foundation Board Chairman Roger Kirwan, Kerry Barth, Lin Auer, Vicki Booth, Mary V. Buckingham, Nora Jorgenson Johnson, Gini Robins, Ginny Ueberroth, Margaret and Tom Larkin, Jackie Glass, Janet Curci, Sally Crockett, Sandy and Allan Fainbarg, Florence Fainbarg, Leslie Miller, Sandra and Ron Livingston and Bill and Helen Close.
A spectacular spring luncheon
The Southern California Spring Garden Show, in its 25th year at South Coast Plaza, arguably one of the most spectacular in recent memory, is considered the biggest and most lavish on the West Coast. The four-day show, which closed April 27 in Costa Mesa, featured some 75 garden/lifestyle vendors, many of whom set up incredible displays featuring work by landscape architects, designers and horticulturists. In addition, the presentation featured some 30 seminars and book signings by nationally recognized garden professionals and authors, including special guest John Gidding, architect, designer and host of HGTV's show "Curb Appeal." Gidding officially opened the Spring Garden Show, joining Sunset Magazine associate editor Johanna Silver and other distinguished speakers sharing insider's tips with Southern California garden lovers.
Following Gidding's opening remarks, the handsome TV host joined South Coast Plaza exec Anton Segerstrom, the official host of the show, for a spectacular indoor/outdoor luncheon created by the talented folks at the Pottery Barn and set up in the front window of the retail store facing the crowd. A creative table setting showcasing the absolute latest trends in patio dining décor awaited special guests, including Beverly Hills doyenne Lorna Berle, wife of the late comedian Milton Berle, Huffington Post columnist, dining critic and man-about-town Jay Weston along with Pottery Barn executives Mark Allen, Tricia Egebakken and Kevin Reedy. The luncheon was catered by Executive Chef Seakyeong Kim from the Charlie Palmer dining room with floral décor designed by White Lilac. Guests dined on chilled ginger carrot soup and Charlie Palmer's famous blackened Scottish salmon cobb salad. Wine pourings included the Napa Valley's Schramsberg Brut Rose 2010 and the Tim Busch family's Trinitas Cellars Chardonnay 2011.
A Second Harvest fundraiser
Charlie Palmer steps up to the plate once again for the OC community, opening his bistro at Bloomingdale's South Coast Plaza to host the South Coast Plaza Summer Food and Wine Event. This annual event, which is near and dear to the charitable heart of South Coast Plaza, began in 1985 and has raised more than $2 million for Second Harvest Food Bank over the past three decades. More than 20 well-known wineries are set to pour their best vintages, accompanied by a wonderful selection of tastes from the Charlie Palmer kitchen. The May 15 gathering kicks off at 6 p.m. Tickets are $100 in advance and $125 at the Charlie Palmer door. To learn more and to purchase tickets please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (949) 653-2900, ext. 131.
THE CROWD runs Fridays. B.W. Cook is editor of the Bay Window, the official publication of the Balboa Bay Club in Newport Beach.