Steve Webber and Craig Hunter check out the boards at the Wild Brunch bash.

Animal lovers herded their way up to Jay Griffith’s breathtaking Malibu estate to support the fine folks at the California Wildlife Center. It was all part of the annual Wild Brunch, which raised funds to help our local critters in need.

The organization provides care for hundreds of sick and injured animals every year. It’s been a busy summer for the marine mammal emergency response team. The kind-hearted clan of volunteers came to the rescue of dozens of sea lions on Malibu beaches, not to mention a flock of helpless birds who were saved after a mysterious spill covered them in gobs of goo.

“We had hundreds of them in the first few days following the spill,” Executive Director Susan Eastman said. “We cleaned them up and gave them fluids and were able to save more than 100 birds over a two-day period.”

Locals mingled on Jay’s well-manicured lawn, sipping a bit of bubbly and savoring fresh corn gorditas and fontina and pear quesadillas while an acoustic band serenaded them with Fleetwood Mac tunes. Mayor Andy Stern was among those checking out the silent auction items, which included items such as killer surfboards, Bakelite bracelets and Picasso prints. And what would a wildlife auction be without a few ways to pamper the pets back home? The brunch bunch plunked down bids on posh dog carriers, custom water dishes and orthopedic doggie beds. You could even commission a colorful oil portrait of your favorite canine or kitty.

After a lip-smacking veggie spread and an afternoon of entertainment overlooking the Pacific, revelers made their way home with groovy gift bags packed with soothing nature CDs and super-natural beauty products. On the way out, they received words of thanks from the organization and its hard working critter crew. “We take care of these animals who would not survive without us,” Victoria Harris said. “And that’s a very rewarding experience.”


The music returns to Walt Disney Concert Hall on Sept. 29 as the Los Angeles Philharmonic kicks off the season with its grand opening night gala. Classical music buffs will be in for a treat with a program that features some of the best of Ludwig von B. It’s a special presentation of Beethoven through words and music that includes a performance of the Emperor Piano Concerto No. 5. Esa-Pekka Salonen leads the way with Evgeny Kissin at the ivories and Malibu’s Ed Harris at the microphone. So break out the tux and strike up the band!