Malibu Seen

CFA President Ellen Weitman and Guild events Vice President Linda Beisswanger put some spice into the Center for the Arts. Photo by Janet Laird/TMT


It was like a romantic night in old Madrid as Pepperdine University’s Center for the Arts threw a magical Spanish-themed fiesta. Chicly dressed Pepperdine fans were serenaded by classical guitarists playing Spanish favorites as they gathered by the tile fountain and under the palms at the breathtaking estate of Debbie and Steven Weiss.

They went all out on the fashion front with loads of Spanish flair. Accents included fabulous fringe, ruffled shirts and amazing embroidery as well as Spanish combs and floral adornments in elegant updos.

Hard working CFA prez Ellen Weitman looked like a Spanish beauty in her cherry red silk frock and matching flower. Linda Beisswanger was nursing a tennis injury, but even an ace bandage couldn’t detract from her stunning hot pink multitiered gown. Christina Carmel could have given Penelope Cruz a run for the money, going all out in a dramatic black gown, opera length gloves and an extraordinary boa made of exotic plumes. Even guys got in the spirit with Michael Zakian sporting cobalt blue with an eye-popping polka dot bow tie.

The buzz was all about the evening’s entertainment, a private concert by the famed Gipsy Kings. “I’m so excited about this event,” said Weitmen, “but more importantly, I am excited about all the good we do.”

After plunking down their final bids on the silent auction, guests made their way to the tennis court turned makeshift stage. The crowd tucked into a gourmet feast of hearts of romaine with a chopped vegetable montage and black angus pot roast topped off by a decadent double chocolate cake. Tables were done up in Spanish tones with arrangements of blood red roses and black ostrich feathers.

In addition to Spanish fans, there were touching thank you letters from the visiting school kids who enjoyed a once-in-a-lifetime experience at Pepperdine. Over the past 17 years the Center for the Arts has helped introduced more than 200,000 kids to the arts. “The children come wide-eyed,” Ellen Weitman explained. “Many have never seen the ocean or a college campus, let alone a ballet or jazz concert. The program can be life changing for these children, bringing them a much needed glimpse of beauty and inspiration.”

When it comes to its annual fundraiser, CFA goes all out on the entertainment front. Previous performers have included everyone from Malibu pop princess Olivia Newton-John to swinging Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. But tonight belonged to the Kings. After Jack Scalia brought in some big bucks at the live auction, revelers hit the dance floor to salsa under the stars.

They grooved the night away enjoying another fab Pepperdine fling while helping to entertain, inspire and education kids at the same time. Fantastico!