Malibu’s hostess with the mostess, Liane Weintraub was back in action presiding over the opening-night bash for the Dance Theater of Harlem at the Music Center. The sold-out show received a standing ovation and numerous curtain calls. Afterwards, dance lovers made their way upstairs to the posh confines of the Founder’s Room for a lively post-performance party. There, they sipped champagne, snacked on canapés and marveled over the evening’s best moves.

Dancer Paunika Jones made a flowery fashion statement with a huge white orchid in her up-to-there hair. Alicia Graf sported an elegant Deco-inspired number, while Sonny Robinson went for comfort all the way.

Now that the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the L.A. Master Chorale have moved into their new digs at Disney Hall, these talented dancers were all too happy to step into the spotlight at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. Weintraub and her Center Dance Association have a busy season ahead of them. Their dream is to bring world-class dance to Los Angeles, and at this point they seem to be getting off on the right foot.


A return engagement will be one of my favorite things at this year’s Oscar show. Let’s face it, when it comes to celluloid shtick, no one does it better than Billy. Mister Crystal has agreed to host the 76th Annual Academy Awards on Feb. 29, so get ready for a good one.

As for the movies, it’s a mixed bag. Blockbusters like “Lord of the Rings: Return of the King” and “Master and Commander” will be pitted against dark horses like “Seabiscuit” and “21 Grams.”

Crystal, meantime, is busy prepping for his eighth turn at the Oscar podium. Even though he rarely disappoints, the veteran comic cops to a case of schpilkes. “It’s a big show and it’s a big responsibility,” he says. “The whole world is watching, and the whole world is a tough room.”


Speaking of tough, it’s also time for that most dubious of Tinseltown distinctions, the Golden Razzie Awards. Unlike the Oscars, Razzie gives us the best of the worst. This year’s mega-flop “Gigli” is on a roll. The Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck flick picked up nine nominations, including Worst Picture, Worst On-screen Couple, Worst Director, Worst Screenplay, Worst Supporting Actor and Worst Supporting Actress. Other celluloid offenders included “The Cat in the Hat” and “Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle.”

At this point, the J-Lo and Bennifer bomb is clearly the one to beat. “I’m sure all the twaddle about their personal lives played a part,” Razzie Founder John Wilson said. “But ostensibly, we’re talking about their on-screen performances. This is an embarrassingly bad movie, and unfortunately, it’s not even a fun bad movie.” Ouch! Where’s Roger Corman when you need him?

The Razzie winners will be announced on Feb. 28.