Kimberly Emerson, Florence Sloan, Liane Weintraub and Angelina Kwong get festive at the Music Center. Photo by Howard Pasamanick Photography

Culture vultures turned out in force for an opening night performance by the Beijing Modern Dance Company at the Music Center. The stage was stark with just a few simple rafters, the production ambitious and edgy with a decidedly dark, Orwellian flavor. Despite being dressed in trench coats, suits and ties, the dancers moved in ways that Britney Spears might only dream about. Definitely different, the production featured selections from Pink Floyd’s classic “The Wall.”

Afterward, locals like Liane Weintraub and Christine Conway sauntered upstairs where the top floor of the Dorothy Chandler was transformed into a sleek Shanghai nightclub.

The entrance was graced by models decked out in full Chinese regalia sporting opulently embroidered silk kimonos and headdresses worthy of the Rose Parade. Massive arrangements of cherry blossoms towered above hundreds of flickering white votives. A large opium bed divided the dining and dance areas and the tables were draped in tangerine silk topped with stylish centerpieces of lotus and bamboo.

As we chowed down on tasty Chinese fare served in cute, little takeout containers with wooden chopsticks, it was time for the reviews. Many called the performance a unique treat, even those who don’t go in for this sort of thing. “I’m not big on modern dance,” Christine Conway whispered. “But I really, really liked this. It was different.” The performance also got a big thumbs up from former District Attorney Gil Garcetti. “Fantastic,” he said while raising his glass. “But I’ve always been a big dance lover.” Who knew?

The Beijing Modern Dance Company’s limited engagement was another welcome addition to this year’s Dance at the Music Center season.

The evening kicked into high gear when the local DJ started spinning everything from the ’70s to Sinatra, giving dance lovers a chance to bust a few of their own moves before sailing off into the night.


Prime Time princess Jennifer Garner and her “Alias” TV dad, Victor Garber, hit a high note at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. The two crooned Stephen Sondheim love songs at the 13th annual Night at Sardi’s fundraiser. The audience included Jen’s number one fan. Her honey, Ben Affleck, discretely slipped in a side door to check out his sweetie’s vocal virtues.

The glitzy gala was a mix of Hollywood stars both old and new. Veteran actor Burt Reynolds arrived with shapely Jessica Simpson. The two are back from Louisiana, where they just wrapped the upcoming film version of “The Dukes of Hazard.” The celeb lineup also included Angie Dickinson, Sharon Lawrence. Lesley Ann Warren and Wisteria Lane’s most popular persona, Teri Hatcher. The evening raised awareness as well as some big bucks for the Alzheimer’s Association.