REDCAT Gala 2012

Edgar Arceneaux, Charles Gaines, John Baldessari, Ann Magnuson, Joey Arias Among the Creative at the REDCAT Gala 2012


“Great artists change our world,” said Mark Murphy, REDCAT executive director, as he closed ceremonies at the Mar. 17 annual Gala. “You’re 20 times richer for being around creative people,” he concluded, repeating the words of one of the night’s honorees, Stanley Grinstein.

An acronym for the Roy and Edna Disney CalArts Theater, REDCAT is the downtown gallery space and cutting-edge theater of the California Institute of the Arts.  And more than a few creative types were on hand to pay tribute to artist Edgar Arceneaux, arts supporter Roger Wacker of Credit Suisse; architect Elyse Grinstein and Stanley Grinstein, co-founder of the acclaimed printmaking studio, Gemini G.E.L.

Yet more artists: Charles Gaines and John Baldessari presented awards. Ann Magnuson – an actress, iconic nightclub entertainer and performance artist – acted as the night’s emcee.

“Don’t we all love a gala?” Magnuson asked, in welcoming the crowd, calling the affair, “an excuse to take your furs out of storage, your diamonds out of the safe deposit box… get your hair done… and pick out a gown from your favorite atelier.”

In deference to St. Patrick’s Day, many further brightened their looks with green ties, cuff links, scarves, shawls or jewelry.

Though they didn’t opt for green, the team of “Two Serious Ladies” – a.k.a. Eve Fowler and Anna Sew Hoy  – maintained the artistic spirit of the venue in their unconventional décor by hanging giant lighted spheres from the ceilings, covering tables in polka dot cloths and topping the tables with jeweled bananas, lipsticks, toy horseshoes, dice and stone pyramids.

For the night’s entertainment, Joey Arias sang in drag. Arias is a cabaret performer, who has – among other things – channeled Billy Holiday in nightclubs, toured with Basil Twist and starred in Cirque du Soleil’s “Zumanity” as the “Mistress of Seduction.”

During CalArts president Steven Lavine’s turn at the podium, the CalArts president complimented guests on their courage for braving the year’s first downpour to attend, noting that often “Angelenos forget how to drive as soon as the first water comes down.” And for those who hadn’t already heard the news, Lavine told the crowd that Newsweek’s online presence, “The Daily Beast,” recently named CalArts the no. 1 college for artistic students.

“I don’t ordinarily give much credence to rankings like that,” Lavine said, “But this time they’re surely right.” Giving reasons, he said, “Everything at CalArts is geared not to some abstract idea about a curriculum. Instead it’s about the concrete activity of fostering every individual student at his or her own creativity, finding their own direction, and helping them make their way into careers they dream about.”

Neda and Tim Disney and Catharine and Jeffrey Soros co-chaired the event. The Free Range Orkestar led the processional to dinner; Chris Holmes of Ashtar Command was the night’s DJ; and the Kitchen for Exploring Foods served up the endive salad, grilled flatiron steak and an extravagant dessert bar that spilled over with lemon and raspberry tarts, ginger-cream cookie sandwiches, mini-pecan bars, chocolate bouchon cakes and my personal favorite – chocolate-covered strawberries.


Top photo: Artist John Baldessari, right, came to present an award to Elyse and Stanley Grinstein; Joey Arias, left, performed in drag at the REDCAT Gala 2012

Second photo: From left, CalArts president Steven Lavine, Janet Sternburg, Aileen Adams and Geoffrey Cowan; Adams and Cowan served on the REDCAT Gala 2012 committee

Third photo: Gala co-chairs Neda and Tim Disney – REDCAT is named for Tim Disney’s grandparents, the Roy and Edna Disney CalArts Theater

Fourth photo: Co-chairs of the REDCAT Gala 2012 Jeffrey and Catharine Soros

All photos on this page by Stefanie Keenan, courtesy of REDCAT



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REDCAT Gala 2012

Published Mar. 18, 2012 – Ellen Olivier, Society News LA