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Joan Mangum’s Society Scene—L.A. Ballet Gala Honors Jenna Dewan-Tatum, Derek Hough and Adam Shankman

L.A. Ballet Artistic Directors Thordal Christensen and Colleen Neary. Photo by Ryan Miller/Capture Imaging

Posted: Tuesday, March 13, 2018 – 12:14 PM

Founded by Artistic Directors Thordal Christensen and Colleen Neary, Los Angeles Ballet (LAB) commemorated its 12th year with a gala at The Beverly Wilshire.  This year’s celebration inaugurated the Industry Excellence Award for significant contributions to the arts.  The evening’s honorees were dancer/actress Jenna Dewan-Tatum, dancer/choreographer Derek Hough, and producer/choreographer Adam Shankman.  The celebration was emceed by Mark L. Walberg, along with a featured excerpt of LAB’s anticipated production of Swan Lake. Co chaired by Leslie Kavanaugh and Kirsten Sarkisian, honorary gala co-chairs were Sharon and ex-Gov. Gray Davis, Marlyn and Robert Day, Christine and Dr. Gabriel Chlu, Linda La Kretz-Duttenhaver, Ghada and Ray Irani, Lori and Michael Milken, and Dr. Richard Merkin.

Among the many guests… Sofia Carson, Brad Goreski, James and Kimberly Van Der Beek, Emmanuel Chirqui, Mark Ballas, Nigel Lythgoe, Lawrence Bender, Ryan Kavanaugh, Glorya Kaufman, Anita Ann Kohl… plus, plus plus.

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A star-studded host committee, Oscar nominees and presenters, along with some of the most powerful industry influencers came together Saturday for the 16th annual “Night Before” party to benefit  the Motion Picture & Television Fund (MPTF). Funds raised during the evening will be used to support MPTF in providing social services and financial assistance to the entertainment community, as well as its renowned retirement community and innovative programs for seniors and those who care for them. The organization impacts thousands of people each year who have committed their lives to a career in entertainment. The evening raised $5 million last night, totaling just over $80 million in the event’s history.

The 2018 host committee included a lineup of the industry’s most elite talent, including Amy Adams and Darren Le Gallo, Tanya Haden Black and Jack Black, Mary J. Blige, Kate and Jaron Varsano, Greta Gerwig, Allison Janney, Sharon and Richard Jenkins, Brie Larson, Margot Robbie and Tom Ackerley, Sam Rockwell, Saoirse Ronan, Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith, Octavia Spencer, Meryl Streep, Pauletta and Denzel Washington, Rita Wilson and Tom Hanks, and Reese Witherspoon and Jim Toth.

Some of the many guests (I can’t put them all in) included Angela Bassett, Gary Oldman, Amy Brenneman, David Foster, Adrien Brody, Heather Graham, Kobe Bryant, George Clooney, Laura Dern, Lou Diamond Phillips, Michael Douglas, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Jason Ritter, Frances Fisher, Ray Romano, Peter Fonda, Kate Beckinsale, Jamie Foxx, Tony Goldwyn, Joe Manganiello, Tony Hale, Julianne Hough, January Jones, Viola Davis, Ashley Judd, Michael Keaton, Heidi Klum, Samuel L. Jackson, Judith Light, Camryn Manheim, Patrick Stewart, Eric McCormack, Frances McDormand, Katherine McPhee, Helen Mirren, Derek Hough, Kumail Nanjiani, Reid Scott, Alicia Silverstone, Sofia Vergara and Christopher Walken.

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The American Cancer Society’s Cal Spirit 33 Kicked off its annual Food & Spirit Fundraiser at the stunning hilltop home of Ellie Kanner in Pacific Palisades. Guests overlooked the Pacific Ocean while eating delicious, crafted hors d’oeuvres by the group’s Culinary Chair Jason Fullilove, chef/owner of Barbara Jean on Melrose Avenue. The afternoon gathering marked the launch of teamwork for the Cal Spirit 33 Volunteer Leadership Committee in preparation for the event with top LA restaurateurs and California vintners on Sunday, July 15, at Sony Studios in Culver City.

The volunteer event chairs Joy and Roger Davis (of Centric Capital Advisors, LLC) gave an impassioned overview about their reason for fighting cancer. Joy was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer on Valentine’s Day 2002 when she was nearly eight months pregnant with her son Clayton. Her husband Roger was her primary caregiver during the grueling 18 months of treatment including surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. “We could not have survived this diagnosis without the research of The American Cancer Society, and are involved because we want others to have the successful treatment too.”

Honorary chairs of the annual event are Sherry Lansing and Phil Rosenthal. The event will feature live entertainment, silent and live auctions, and samples of the Southland’s finest cuisine.

Tickets and tables to California Spirit 33 are $200 per person and may be purchased online at

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Congrats to my former neighbor Danny DeVito, who was presented with the Italian Republic’s highest civic honor, The Order of Merit.  It was given to him by the Italian Consul General Antonio Verde, coincidental with him also  receiving the Jack Valenti–L.A. Italia Legend Award which is presented in the name of the late MPAA head to an outstanding Italian-American who has made significant contributions to the entertainment industry.


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