Songwriter Hal David hosted a cocktail reception to celebrate the L.A. launch of "High Rise Low Down" by Denise LeFrak Calicchio, Eunice David and Kathryn Livingston at the Peninsula Beverly Hills Hotel.
The book gives an inside look at the secrets of New York's fancy schmanciest high-rise apartments names names and dishes the scoop about inhabitants who have been allowed in and others who've received a thumbs down (among them, Elizabeth Taylor, Madonna, Joan Crawford, Mike Wallace, Barbra Streisand and Richard Nixon).
Some of the insider knowledge came from LeFrak Calicchio of the Manhattan real estate LeFrak family, and Eunice David, wife of Academy Award-winning songwriter Hal David. Of course there are devious dealings and scandalous battles galore. Livingston added historical details, architectural references and personal accounts.
Enjoying the nibbles and schmoozing were celebs Sally Kellerman, former Governor Gray and Sharon Davis, Michelle Lee, Steven Bochco and Marilynn and Monty Hall.
Better With Age
The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra kicked off its 70th anniversary in December with a 12-concert festival in Israel, and concluded its 70th anniversary celebration with two performances at Walt Disney Concert Hall on Feb. 5 and 6.
On Feb. 5, conductor Zubin Mehta led the orchestra in Beethoven's Leonore Overture No. 3, Schoenberg's Verklärte Nacht and Berlioz's Sinfonie Fantastique. On Feb. 6, marking his debut at Walt Disney Concert Hall, Lorin Maazel took the helm with Mendelssohn's Hebrides Overture and Italian Symphony, Tchaikovsky's Romeo and Juliet Overture/Fantasy and Ravel's Daphnis and Chloe, second suite.
The concerts were sponsored by the American Friends of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. Ilene and Stanley Gold and Helgard and Irwin Field, Journal board chair, co-chaired the gala dinner following the event at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion Feb. 5.
Seen happily enjoying the strains of Beethoven were Sherry Lansing, William Friedkin, Frank McCourt, Margo and Irwin Winkler and Sonia and George Segal.
Jews and Christians United
The Rev. Jim Tolle, senior pastor of The Church on the Way in Van Nuys; Shimon Erem, founder and president of Israel Christian Nexus (ICN); and Rabbi Isaac Jeret of Congregation Ner Tamid in the South Bay were among those who spoke before a group of members and supporters of ICN at Nessah Synagogue Feb. 7.
Jeret had just returned from a visit to Israel and Bethlehem, where he was the first rabbi to address a Palestinian Christian church.
"If you want to know what the world will look like in the future, look at Bethlehem and other places Christians are being forced to vacate by Muslims," he said. "Our greatest challenge in the 21st century is the plight of the Christians in Muslim lands."
Tolle told the group that his father inspired his commitment to Israel and the Jewish people: "When I was a child, my father read me the passage in Genesis when God tells Abraham, 'I will bless those who bless you.' I have spent my life loving the Jewish people."
Erem reiterated ICN's belief that the work of Christian Zionists is vital to the survival of Israel. Broaching the subject of Iran, Erem received applause as he repeated what he'd told government officials at the White House during a recent visit.
"No glove of diplomacy, unless it's filled with the fist of power, can ever be meaningful," he said.
Honor for Nature
The Jewish community received a warm reception at the 22nd annual Santa Barbara Film Festival during its 10-day run from Jan. 25 to Feb 4.
A highlight of the festival was the presentation of the Sir David Attenborough Award for Excellence in Nature Filmmaking to director Davis Guggenheim and Al Gore for their Academy Award-winning documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth."
Before receiving the award from director James Cameron, Guggenheim and Gore participated in a Q-and-A with cinematographer Mike deGruy.
They discussed the filmmaking process; the world's recognition of global warming; and their fathers, director Charles Guggenheim and former Sen. Al Gore, Sr., who had worked together on a campaign documentary in the 1960s.
The festival also featured documentaries about Shoah survivors, most of which were were followed by Q-and-As with the filmmakers and survivors.
Dan Katzir's "Yiddish Theater: A Love Story," about New York's Lower East Side Yiddish theater world, portrays the late Zypora Spaisman and her colleagues as they attempted to keep their company alive during the eight days of Chanukah in 2000.
Jon Kean's "Swimming in Aushwitz" tells the stories of six survivors -- Eva Beckmann, Rena Drexler, Renee Firestone, Erika Jacobi, Lili Majzner and Linda Sherman -- who didn't know each other while at Auschwitz-Birkenau, but come together years later to discuss family, faith and the camp.
The film "Henry" documents Dr. Henry Morgentaler, a Canadian abortionist, Holocaust survivor, womanizer and crusader as he reflects on his life and actions.
The Jewish Federation of Greater Santa Barbara and UCSB presented "Video Portraits of Survival: Volume Two," which contains stories of Santa Barbara survivors and refugees of the Shoah.
-- Sara Bakhshian, Contributing Writer