Malibu Seen

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George Hamilton makes the Concern block party a golden affair. Photo courtesy of the Concern Foundation

CONCERNED CITIZENS

There’s nothing like digging in for a good cause, and when it comes to appetizing encounters the Concern Foundation knows how to put on one tasteful do. The backlot at Paramount Studios was the site of a feeding frenzy as hungry hordes dug into their pockets and piled up their plates to benefit Concern.

This year’s theme was “exploring ancient lands and hidden treasures” and there’s no place like the Paramount prop room if you happen to be in need of a few extra sphinxes, sarcophaguses, hieroglyphs, columns and palms to perk up your party. Festive pink and silver balloons loomed overhead and the tables were dressed in eye-catching shades of ruby red and amethyst with pieces of eight, plaster relics, and shiny gold and purple baubles.

A jazzy five piece combo jammed up a storm on Delancy street while the scent of exotic flavors filled the air. From cupcakes to caviar, the affair featured dozens of restaurants offering LA’s best eats. It was an amazing mixed bag on the food front and no taste went unattended. Fogo de Chao grilled up the gaucho, way serving up delectable morsels of chicken wrapped in bacon and juicy filet mignon. Caribbean kitchen Cha Cha Cha spiced things up with jerk chicken sandwiches, guava and pineapple quesadillas, and grilled corn slathered in tangy garlic butter.

Bar Hayama was on a roll laying down a massive sushi spread filled tender albacore, yellowtail and spicy tuna. Next door Susan Kelly was providing pours of her biodynamic viognier wine. “There are no pesticides or herbicides,” she explained. “We work with the seasons, the way the vines face the sun and the moon. We really work with the environment and you can taste the difference.” It was a cut above around the corner where Lawry’s and the Grill on the Alley carved up perfectly prepared roast beef sandwiches with zingy horseradish, of course. The vibe was kick back casual on this steamy summer’s day-so humid that even without the fake brownstone facades all around you felt like you were at a sweltering BBQ in Brooklyn.

Malibu Seen’s Bev Hills high school pal Derek Alpert now serves as the hard-working president of Concern and presided over the evening’s festivities. (One minute they’re driving 1972 Toyotas and listening to Cat Stevens, the next they’re raising millions-who knew?) Perennially tanned man George Hamilton took the stage as celebrity auctioneer helping to sweeten the pot. One package included dinner with the Coppertone kid himself and the low down on how to get that golden glow. Gene Rosenfeld was the night’s other star, lauded for his civic leadership and being a longtime friend of Concern.

The annual block party raised a whopping $1.5 million for cancer research and will pay the salaries of 48 young cancer researchers who, without Concern, would not be able to continue their work. Thanks Derek, for a delicious job well done!