Malibu Seen

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Malibu's Roma Downey grooves with legendary music man Van Morrison at the Wilshire Ebell Theater

PARTIES OF THE YEAR

From a jazzy soiree at the tasty, new hotspot Terra to a disco ‘do at Guido’s, Malibuites celebrated the New Year in style. With party favors and confetti in hand Malibu Seen ushered in 2008 and took one last look at sizzling hot celebrations of the year gone by.

‘WILDE’ NIGHT IS CALLING

Even a monsoon couldn’t keep us from an intimate evening with the legendary Van Morrison. Charlize Theron, Roma Downey, Mark Burnett and David Foster were just a few of the illustrious locals who braved a massive downpour and made their way down to the Wilshire Ebell Theater for Oscar Wilde: Honoring Irish Writing in Film.

Sponsored by the U.S. Ireland Alliance, there were honors for Van and his many musical contributions, as well as for Oscar winner William Monahan, who penned the gritty mob flick “The Departed.”

After tucking into a lavish gourmet spread and sipping specialty drinks like the Wilde Mojito, the gang grooved to a private concert courtesy of Van the man. It was a marvelous night for a moon-dance and dance we did to a medley of mega-hits like “Brown Eyed Girl,” “Stand by Me” and “Crazy Love.”

FRENCH TWIST

The Los Angeles Philharmonic played it chic and magnifique as it kicked off its 2007-08 season at Walt Disney Concert Hall. Classical loving locals Eli Broad and Ginny Mancini joined Hollywood heavyweights like Jack Nicholson, Diane Keaton and Michael York for an evening of music and magic. Famed conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen wowed the crowd with selections by Berlioz and Ravel, with a little Puccini thrown in for good measure. Songbird RenĂ©e Fleming received a standing ovation before the well-connected crowd headed for an elegant open-air party palace on Grand Avenue. Celeb Chef Joachim Splichal whipped up a royal French feast while we were serenaded with classic French chansons like “I Love Paris” and “La Vie En Rose.”

A LEG UP

When you’re Robin and Elliot Broidy you don’t have to go to the Music Center to see the American Ballet Theater. You bring the Music Center and American Ballet Theater to you, or more precisely, to your tennis court. The couple hosted an outstanding private performance and an equally exquisite dinner at the posh Bel-Air digs.

We were treated to selections from “Sleeping Beauty,” “Gopak” and “Don Quixote” before enjoying into a tasty dinner of miso glazed wild king salmon courtesy of Wolfgang Puck. Robin’s al fresco dining room was almost as breathtaking as the ballet with dramatic jet-black tablescapes and 4,000 blood red roses. The unforgettable evening raised more than $320,000 to help fund new ballet productions at the Music Center in March.

MAKING A SPLASH

There were A-listers a plenty as Liane Weintraub hosted a dance-themed shindig of her own. Demi Moore, Ashton Kutcher, Nicole Richie and Sylvester Stallone joined locals Jane Seymour, Minnie Driver and Kenny G amid the classic pink and green confines of the Beverly Hills Hotel. DJ Max Chipchase kept the vibe up beat and groovy while the world-class Aquartistes made waves with a special performance in the hotel pool. Liane called the event a coming-out party for her beloved Center Dance Arts organization, and hopes to make it an annual fundraising affair.

READ ALL ABOUT I T

A few months later, Liane presided over a pool party of a different kind. She opened the doors of her opulent ocean themed pool house to benefit the Los Angeles Public Library. It felt like being transported back into a lavish feast in Pompeii amid the frescoed walls of sea creatures, chandeliers festooned with nautilus shells, mirrors made of starfish and the image of flickering candlelight captured in the vast reflecting pool.

We also got the lowdown on modern art thanks to guest of honor and noted collector Adam Lindemann. Liane’s delicious do was one of 55 stylish soirees that featured prominent writers and celebrities at some of the city’s poshest pads and most spectacular hideaways.

HOT TO TROT

It seemed like nothing was hotter in ’07 than “Dancing with the Stars.” That’s why Nancy Davis turned up the heat at her annual Race to Erase MS fundraiser with some of the hit show’s biggest names. Stacy Keibler, Drew Lachey and Lisa Rinna vamped it up as celebrity models at the flashy Tommy Hilfiger fashion extravaganza, while guys put down bids on racy wheels like a 2008 Ferrari. David Foster pulled out all the stops when it came to the evening’s entertainment. The Goo Goo Dolls, Earth Wind and Fire and diva Donna Summer belted out hit after hit, bringing the crowd to its feet. Nancy has worked tirelessly to make MS a thing of the past and she waltzed away with another $2.5 million toward making her dream of finding a cure come true.

GOOD VIBRATIONS

Surf-loving celebrities, A-list aqua lovers and prominent politicians helped Heal the Bay celebrate 22 years of coastal clean up at its splashy Bring Back the Beach Ball at the Barker Hangar. The outdoor cocktail lounge was transformed into a magical seaside setting complete with serious sand castles, bouncy beach balls, colorful umbrellas, cozy picnic tables and Heal the Bay flags flapping in the breeze. Legendary Beach Boy Brian Wilson took the crowd down memory lane with golden oldies like “Surfer Girl,” “Sloop John B” and, of course, “California Girls.”

WINGING IT

Mandeville Canyon was all-aflutter as the Chrysalis organization put on its annual Butterfly Ball. With Patrick “McDreamy” Dempsey, Eric “McSteamy” Dane, Ellen Pompeo, T.R. Knight and Kate Walsh mixing with the crowd, it almost looked like a scene from “Grey’s Anatomy.” Tom Cruise stopped by to present this year’s Chrysalis Award before Mary J. Blige and Jennifer Hudson left us rocking in the aisles. The bash raised a whopping $1 million to help the homeless through its job training and vocational programs.

From culture, to medical research to education, 2007 was a record-breaker that raked in millions and made us proud.

So here’s to great causes and lots of good cheer wishing us health and prosperity throughout the New Year.