It is time to celebrate mothers, as Mother’s Day on May14th is the day set aside to do so. My mother passed on 12 years ago, and I cherish all the wonderful, loving memories she gave me throughout my life. Our Mother’s Day story in this issue features Isabelle Villaseñor, whose mother demonstrated unconditional love her entire life and gave her the example to raise her own two daughters. And, it doesn’t stop there, as she continues to nurture her seven grandchildren.
“Enter a World of Pure Imagination…Expect the Unexpected” was Orange County School of the Arts’ theme for its 30th Anniversary Gala at Hotel Irvine, and the 200 students who entertained delivered! It was a thrill-packed evening, with net proceeds reaching a cool $1 million. Emeritus Board members were the honorees.
Olive Crest’s St. Paddy’s Day Celebration rocked the house on March 17th at Newport Beach Country Club, with a sold-out crowd of 336 eager to celebrate the Irish holiday. The festive affair showcased an Irish band, whiskey sampling, and fun prizes and auction items, helping raise $200,000 for Project Independence.
Laguna Art Museum’s popular art auction, themed “California Cool,” drew 350 art lovers to enjoy, purchase and bid on the works of more than 100 California artists. Together with a silent and Bonhams-orchestrated live auction, as well as a Fund-A-Need campaign benefiting LAM’s K-12 children’s education programs, proceeds reached $366,000.
The Hutchins Consort featured The G Burns Jug Band in a performance featuring ragtime favorites at Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club, where 107 Hutchins’ supporters gathered for dinner and an auction. The $41,000 netted supports the octet, who perform on violins designed and built by Dr. Carleen Hutchins. Photography Ann Chatillon
Table for 10, orchestrated by KM Productions for deserving nonprofits, held its 11th annual culinary extravaganza for a sold-out crowd of 350 gourmands at Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort & Spa in Dana Point. More than $300,000 was divided between Vocational Visions and The Teen Project. Photography Bob Hodson, Tony Lattimore
ABT premiered its whimsical ballet, “Whipped Cream,” choreographed by Artist-in-Residence Alexei Ratmansky with marvelous sets and costumes by pop-surrealist Mark Ryden, at Segerstrom Hall to delighted packed houses. The post-performance party at South Coast Plaza’s Jewel Court wowed the taste buds with its out-of-this-world desserts. Photography Doug Gifford
It turns out that Isabelle was introduced to McDonalds in 1967, when at age 21 she married Pat Smith, who with his parents eventually owned and operated stores in Artesia and San Clemente. After Dolorys and Jack Smith passed away by 1976, Pat and Isabelle opened a store in San Juan Capistrano, later selling it before an amicable divorce in 1981. Pat sold the San Clemente store and got out of the business and Isabelle bought the original store in Artesia in 1981. She was a woman in the business when there were very few women owners, and she had not been involved in running the business, as she was busy raising their daughters. It was a challenge. In 18 months, however, she increased sales 121%, eventually moving on to build stores in Cypress and Norwalk, two stores at John Wayne Airport and purchase two stores in Lake Forest. She also bought and sold two stores in Cerritos along the way.
Defining moments in one’s life can come at any time. For Ken Ketner, a long-time Newport Beach resident and businessman, his defining moment began years ago when he was a young child.
“I suffered a debilitating bone disease and my parents had limited resources, so they turned to Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles for help. The care I got was beyond what words could describe,” Ketner says.
Ketner was named Easter Seal Child of the Year and became a spokesman for the organization at a very young age. He recalls that was his first effort trying to give something back for the kindness that was shown to him in a time of need.
cIn homage to visionary philanthropist and retailing legend Henry Segerstrom, the documentary film, “Henry Segerstrom: Imagining the Future,” was premiered for an impressive cadre of 300 guests at the Directors Guild of America’s New York Theater recently. Following the private screening, Cartier pages ushered guests to a champagne dinner at the Weill Terrace Room, Carnegie Hall, with featured remarks by Macy’s Inc. Chairman and CEO Terry J. Lundgren and a performance by world-renowned soprano Renée Fleming. The décor featured dramatic bouquets of white orchids and a chocolate sculpture of Segerstrom Center for the Arts, featuring Richard Serra’s “Connector” sculpture. Segerstrom’s widow Elizabeth Segerstrom and the Segerstrom family, South Coast Plaza, Carnegie Hall, WNET and PBS SoCal were presenters of the film, which is a PBS SoCal production, orchestrated by Executive Producer Maria Hall-Brown.
In homage to visionary philanthropist and retailing legend Henry Segerstrom, the documentary film, “Henry Segerstrom: Imagining the Future,” was premiered for an impressive cadre of 300 guests at the Directors Guild of America’s New York Theater recently. Following the private screening, Cartier pages ushered guests to a champagne dinner at the Weill Terrace Room, Carnegie Hall, with featured remarks by Macy’s Inc. Chairman and CEO Terry J. Lundgren and a performance by world-renowned soprano Renée Fleming. The décor featured dramatic bouquets of white orchids and a chocolate sculpture of Segerstrom Center for the Arts, featuring Richard Serra’s “Connector” sculpture. Segerstrom’s widow Elizabeth Segerstrom and the Segerstrom family, South Coast Plaza, Carnegie Hall, WNET and PBS SoCal were presenters of the film, which is a PBS SoCal production, orchestrated by Executive Producer Maria Hall-Brown.
“I was a one-man band,” Sam Goldstein says of launching Art of Dining for the Newport Harbor Art Museum (now known as Orange County Museum of Art), in 1987.
“I was on the museum’s acquisition committee, and we needed money to buy art, so I established a fundraiser that would divide the proceeds between acquiring art and the operating fund,” he says.
The result was Art of Dining, which Goldstein named, and which is celebrating its 30th anniversary on May 20th.
It takes a village–and, in this case, a large circle of wonderful friends. That is how it all began 30 years ago. Circle 1000 is a philanthropic endeavor benefiting the Hoag Family Cancer Institute. The program was first developed to raise awareness and help the Hoag Family Cancer Center Institute to flourish. The inspiration behind the impactful program is Newport Beach resident and breast cancer survivor Sandy Sewell, who proudly founded Circle 1000 in 1987. Her idea was to gather a group of friends who would contribute at least $1,000 annually, and each friend was tasked with asking her own circle of friends to also participate.
Crunch! The grilled bread crackles between my teeth. The toast’s charred exterior gives way to a springy sourdough center. Served beside it are succulent pieces of uni bursting with the essence of Santa Barbara’s salty ocean waters. For this starter, each diner is in charge of constructing his or her perfect bite. We take turns slathering the scorching hot bone marrow on top of the charred sourdough. Let me not forget to mention that we crowned the bites with whole pieces of uni. The chilled seafood component dances with the marrow’s unctuous fatty flavor. It tastes like beef-flavored butter punctuated with briny bursts from the cold uni. Following that savory dish is the homemade angolotti pasta with rich brown butter and salty Parmesan cheese. The delicate pockets encase a smooth, creamy squash filling. It is apparent that Twenty Eight no longer serves just Chinese food. There’s a new chef at the helm and the menu reflects his love for simplicity.
Historically, celebrations of mothers and motherhood can be traced back to the ancient Greeks and Romans, who held festivals in honor of the mother goddesses Rhea and Cybele. While versions of Mother’s Day are celebrated throughout the world, traditions vary depending on the country. In Thailand, for example, Mother’s Day is celebrated in August on the birthday of the current queen, Sirikit. In Ethiopia, families gather each fall, as the rains dissipate, to sing songs and eat a large feast as part of Antrosht, a three-day celebration honoring motherhood.
I was born in Manhattan and my mother, a native Californian, logged more than four decades in New York. So, it was with great curiosity that we, together with my 10-year-old daughter, decided to explore a downtown neighborhood located at the narrow tip of the island that spans from the East River to the Hudson River. Locals have started referring to this area as “ the new New York,” as opposed to the rest of the city, now, somewhat derisively, dubbed “Old Manhattan.”