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George Christy Talks About Taverna Tony, Mark Zuckerberg, Giorgio Armani, Marilyn Monroe and More!

David Bohnett

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Beach scenesters gather afternoons and twilight time at Taverna Tony along the Pacific Coast Highway to belly up at the bar and listen to the live swinging music a la Grecque before savoring Tony “Corfu” Koursaris’ Mediterranean cuisine, always fresh and nicely priced and judged by experts as our healthiest food.  None of those artery-clogging choices at this popular hangout for Jim Cameron, David Geffen, Ron Meyer, Cindy Crawford, Barbra Streisand (who took over the restaurant for her 70th birthday).  Maestro Tony serves just the right amount of too much, and you’ll be impressed when staffer Cesar Jimenez and the waiters snap fingers and dance with abandon.

Inviting a tableful of Pretty Young Things in barely-there dress to join him during the Memorial Day weekend, celebrity hairstylist Yuki Takei, based at the Christophe Salon in Beverly Hills, ordered Tony’s delicious Greek Feast for his ravenous friends who’d been sunning and swimming.   In her beach bag, one beauty pulled out The New York Times Styles Section with its “Facebook’s Royal Wedding” feature by Laura M. Holson and Nick Bilton.   About Facebook billionaire Mark Zuckerberg and pediatrician bride Priscilla Chan, who loves cooking — a lemon ricotta pizza’s her specialty.     Honeymooning in Rome, they were snapped by the paparazzi eating Big Macs at the Spanish Steps.

“Who knew that Mark and Priscilla met while waiting in line for the bathroom at a Harvard frat party?  Eleven years ago,” piped one PYT.    Another described Priscilla’s $4,700 wedding dress by Claire Pettibone, whose Website exploded after the news.

Priscilla and Mark live in their $7 million dollar residence in Palo Alto.  Truth is that Priscilla wasn’t an easy catch.   After hooking up, they split, both seeing others.  Mark wanted back, with Priscilla insisting on “negotiating terms for getting back together.”   That they would not live together, and Mark “would spend at least 100 hours of private time and take her on at least one date every week.” Plus, two weeks abroad every year — they’ve since traveled to China, Mumbai and Dubai.

Speaking of China,  reports reveal that Giorgio Armani just posted a 45 percent  gain in  sales there last year, and that the Armani empire opened 100 more stores in 2011.   The economy’s crying in U.S., Greece, Italy, Spain, Germany, etc., while China’s dancing on the moon.  Armani’s hundreds of stores around the world remain hugely profitable, with twelve factories at full throttle and a work force of 6,000 employees.

Forbes magazine estimates Armani’s worth at $7.2 billion, and that he may be the most knocked-off designer in the world.   He’s also opened hotels in Milan and Dubai, with Marrakech being next.  He has nine homes, and is the empire’s creative and executive director.  Insiders promise more to come.

Spring isn’t over, summertime’s around the corner, and friends of the Los Angeles Philharmonic were talking of autumn and the annual gala on September 27 at the Walt Disney Concert Hall.   LA Phil’s chariman David Bohnett, president Debra Borda and gala co-chair Joan Hotchkis welcomed LA Phil’s philanthropists at the Bel-Air estate of Lynn Booth.

As Debra was describing the hot-ticket program, enthusiasm reigned with Lennie and Bernie Greenberg, Carol and Warner Henry, Jane and Michael Eisner, Ginny Mancini, Larry Schmitt, Soraya and Younes Nazarian, Joyce Rey, John Emerson, Blue Ribbon’s new president Carla Sands.   Lennie Greenberg introduced guests to Manhattan’s classical music PR titan Mary Lou Falcone, who represents LA Phil conductor Gustavo Dudamel, the orchestra, Renee Fleming, etc.

Debra revealed the evening will be themed around ballet and modern dance inspired by great music.  Last year’s all-Gershwin tribute with jazz artist Herbie Hancock performing raked in an unheard-of $6 million.

So, on September 27, how do you top ballet superstar, the devilishly handsome Roberto Bolle starring in Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake?  Followed by the intricate dance in John Adams’ Nixon In China, when President Nixon and wife Pat are invited in their breakthrough visit by Mao Tse Tung.    Then, a robust rousing finale of sailors hoofing to Leonard Bernstein’s New York, New York from the 1944 Broadway and film sensation On The Town.    Debra Borda and David Bohnett agreed that, yes, Tinsel Town’s long gone from being a pioneer town.

Marilyn Monroe’s birthday is today, June lst (born 1926), and  Playboy’s presenting a Marilyn Monroe Film Festival at Grauman’s Chinese Theater from tonight through June 7th.    Marilyn was Playboy’s cover girl for its first issue in December 1953 that included her iconic nude photographs by Tom Kelley.  Opening film is Some Like It Hot, $10 admission, with a party at the Hemingway Lounge.   The other six films will be screened nightly for $5 at the Chinese 6.

“I used to go to Grauman’s Chinese Theater, and try to fit my foot on a celebrity impression,” Marilyn once confessed. “It really meant a lot to me …that anything is possible.   Almost.”

Congratulations to our friend Alan Horn for being named chairman of Walt Disney Studios, beginning June 11.  Alan’s exciting news is the talk of the town.

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