Malibu Seen

Lauren Bacall, Larry Gelbart and Veronique Peck attend a Literary Odyssey Dinner. Photo by Howard Pasamanick


Celebrities, socialites and scribes celebrated the written word at this year’s Odyssey Dinner to benefit the Los Angeles Public Library. The festivities took place at 53 mansions, estates and seaside villas from Pasadena to the Pacific coast. Philanthropist Wallis Annenberg, screen legend Lauren Bacall and music maker Hal David were among the movers and shakers mixing it up with best-selling authors.

Several dinners took place in Malibu, including one at the home of Kim and Michael McCarty. Their 18 guests got a chance to admire the couple’s eye-popping collection of contemporary art before sitting down to dish with Bon App├ętit’s editor in chief.

Renown landscape architect Jay Griffith hosted a laid-back gathering at his expansive ocean-view home. Early birds arrived before sundown for a stroll along Jay’s breathtaking grounds. Before a roaring fire, literary lovers sipped chardonnay with guest author Mona Simpson, who penned “Off Keck Road” and “Anywhere But Here.”

There were more than a few Simpson fans in the crowd, including the host who designed the author’s garden. “When I got the job, I figured I should read one of her books,” Jay explained. “I couldn’t put it down and now I’m Jonesing for another.”

After a casual feast of roasted chicken, grilled salmon and penne arrabiata, the guests marveled at JG’s impressive collection of 1960s Blenko glass.

Griffith’s woodsy ranch-style home is filled with vessels of every imaginable shape, size and color. There are Blenkos as large as Sparkletts bottles and Blenkos as small as jelly jars. There are sleek cone shapes in amethyst and sexy freeforms in royal blue. At the center of it all is a school of enormous Blenko fish in shades of emerald, sapphire and aquamarine.

Jay is proud of the gleaming collection which he began amassing five years ago on a whim. Back in the day, the glass pieces went for as little as ten dollars. “It’s not like that anymore,” Jay explained. “Now the prices are absolutely coo-coo.” The evening ended with an informal question and answer session and a round of Jay’s famed brownies and blondies.

From Jay’s cozy get-together to Judith and Steve Krantz’s lavish Bel Air bash, the Odyssey Dinners always add up to a memorable evening. The innovative fundraisers took in a record amount for the Los Angeles Public Library’s New Information Technologies Fund. Now that’s something to write home about!