Malibu Seen: Parties of the year!

Light My Fire

LA Opera opened its 2012/13 season with the company premiere of Giuseppe Verdi’s “The Two Foscari,” starring general director Plácido Domingo. The famed opera star performed his 140th role for the LAO and celebrated his 45th season in Los Angeles. The splashy production was conducted by music director James Conlon. 

Taking a cue from the fire breather who appears in the opera’s carnival scene, the opera launched its new season with a gala dubbed “Ignite!” Guests, including Malibu’s hard-working board chair Marc Stern and his wife Eva, arrived on the red carpet and joined fellow locals like designer Sue Wong and Eli and Edythe Broad. The festivities began with a cocktail reception and seated dinner for 320 guests on the Music Center Plaza. Guests were welcomed into a red and orange-draped outdoor environment designed by Special Occasions Event Planning. 

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Then it was show time and opera lovers were in for a treat. 

After the performance, the “Ignite!” theme continued with an after-party for 430 guests, featuring fire dancers from Zen Arts, fire pits, a s’more station, and dancing on the Music Center Plaza. 

The event raised more than $1.5 million for LAO. 

Miles of Smiles 

Supporters of Operation Smile, like Malibu’s Roma Downey and Mark Burnett, Brooke Burke-Charvet and husband David Charvet, stepped out in style at the 30th Anniversary Smile Gala at the Beverly Hills Hotel. 

Roma’s involvement goes back to her “Touched by an Angel” days. She and Mark co-chaired the event. 

Stars graced the red carpet and then headed inside for a VIP reception, special gourmet dinner and awards presentation. They were welcomed by master of ceremonies and “Access Hollywood” host Billy Bush, who has also been involved in Operation Smile for many years. 

Smile Ambassadors Roma and Mark presented the Universal Smile Award to Brooke and David. 

Operation Smile co-founders Dr. Bill and Kathy Magee handed the Founder’s Circle Award to Julia and Stephanie Argyros, Krista Jajonie and Daneia Sanadiki. The award recognizes supporters who have made outstanding contributions as a family or group. 

One of the evening’s biggest highlights was the surprise announcement of a $1 million gift by Julia Argyros bringing the total raised to more than $2 million. Now that would put a smile on anyone’s face! 

Walk Like an Egyptian

It was a blast to the past as the California Science Center hosted its annual Discovery Ball with legendary Egyptian queen Cleopatra as the guest of honor. 

From sustainable farming to superheroes, the center has put on a lavish bash with an educational and inspirational theme for the past 13 years. This year’s gala showcased the west coast premiere of “Cleopatra: The Exhibition.” 

Guests entered a time machine and traveled back to the days of old Egypt. The setting was a bustling marketplace in ancient Alexandria. Vendor stalls provided the backdrop for food and beverage stations with decorative wares for sale. After sampling some Middle Eastern treats, guests got a sneak peak of the center’s new exhibit. 

Then, there was festive parade and a lavish feast fit for a queen. Dinner took place on Queen Cleo’s opulent barge. 

After dinner, guests cut loose at the Midnight at the Oasis Nightclub or caught an IMAX screening of “Mysteries of Egypt.” 

Fight to the Finish

In keeping with tradition, Malibu’s Linda Thompson turned heads at the Annual Race to Erase MS fundraiser at the Century Plaza Hotel. Linda was a dream in tangerine as was her host, MS survivor and advocate Nancy Davis. Nancy welcomed her well-heeled crowd to a super splashy event, themed “Glam Rock to Erase MS.” 

As guests took their seats for dinner they were treated to an eye-popping fashion show featuring styles from the Andy Hilfiger Andrew Charles Rock ‘N’ Roll Collection in addition to a presentation of the Authentic Icon Collection, inspired by American Idol. 

Celebrity fashion show models included Spencer Boldman, Diana DeGarmo, Shannon Elizabeth, Clementine Ford, Taylor Hicks, Kendall Jenner, Kylie Jenner, Jacob Lusk and Ace Young. 

They saved the best for last with legendary Stevie Wonder performing some of his greatest hits including, “Come Let Me Make Your Love Come Down,” “Higher Ground,” “Easy On Yourself,” “Isn’t She Lovely” and “Superstition.” 

The evening raised a whopping $1.8 million to make MS a thing of the past. 

How Spectacular! 

Designer mom Victoria Beckham looked posh as ever in her head turning ensemble and proud hubby and soccer star David looked just dashing as they posed with their beautiful brood at the 27th Annual Sports Spectacular at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza. 

More than 1,600 VIPs, sports legends, entertainers, business, civic and community leaders were on hand to support and raise funds for children suffering from genetic birth defects. Sports Spectacular raised $1.3 million at this year’s event and has raised more than $22 million to benefit the life-saving work of the Cedars-Sinai Medical Genetics Institute over the years. Now, that’s the start of a great New Year! 

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