Barry S. Glaser, Kim Devore Glaser and John Hines at the Ciprini luncheon in Venice, Italy. Photo by Mary Hillard


Mamma mia! Malibuites turned out in force in Italy for fun, sun and celluloid at the annual Venice Film Festival. Oscar-winning nice guy Tom Hanks and mega-director Steven Spielberg were among the famous faces making the rounds on the world’s most magical lagoon. The terrific twosome was there to plug its latest project “The Terminal.”

You may have seen the flick a few months back at the New ‘Bu Theater, but what you might not know is that the seemingly far-fetched tale has more than a shred of truth. It was actually based on the story of a real-life traveler who ended up stranded at Charles De Gaulle Airport in Paris for years. Mon Dieu!

Other fabulous festivalgoers included “Collateral’s” Tom Cruise, who worked the crowds alongside co-star Jada Pinkett Smith. Capt. John Travolta buzzed in on his very own private plane, blonde beauty Scarlett Johansson seemed to be everywhere and Spike Lee and Denzel Washington looked right at home. Also looking very much at home was acting vet Al Pacino, who just completed filming his next role as Shylock in the upcoming “Merchant of Venice.” It was hard not to get star-struck amid this frenzy of fame at the ritzy Cipriani Hotel. Even guests were agog over boyish Brit Jude Law.

It all wrapped up in grand style on the Grand Canal with a series of splashy bashes and an advance screening of “A Shark’s Tale” at Piazza San Marco. Magnifico!

But the film festival wasn’t the only game in town. Historians, high-rollers and other VIPs descended on the city for the glorious Save Venice gala. The lively week-long do combines art, education, glitz and glamour to raise badly needed funds to preserve and restore the city’s greatest treasures. To help in the cause, we were treated to a sneak peak of the sumptuous La Fenice Theater, which the group helped rebuild after a disastrous fire, followed by an equally sumptuous and delicious feast by Do Forni restaurant in the courtyard of the Dodge’s Palace. For added drama, mother nature provided an electrifying show of thunder and lightening before clearing up just in time for an evening stroll.

Longtime locals Laurel and Walter Karabian sponsored a delectable luncheon at the Armenian Monastery on the island of San Lazzaro, Count and Countessa Pisana Deciani hosted a wonderful afternoon at their private Villa and Francis Keeping serenaded appreciative fans at the Granai.

There was no better way to top it all off than with an exquisite black tie ball amid a sea of candle-lit Venetian chandeliers, 18th Century gilt mirrors and Tiepolo frescos at Palazzo Pisani Moretta. After non-stop binge of bellinis, incredible cuisine and culture, we staggered home savoring all the flavors of La Serenissima filled with memories to last a lifetime.