A Bollywood extravaganza launched an entertaining even-ing for a worthy cause, the ninth annual Lupus LA Orange Ball. It was a tough act to follow, but stunning “CSI Miami” star Eva La Rue was up to the task and took over as mistress of ceremonies. Eva was there for a personal reason, as she revealed that her long-time friend and publicist is battling Lupus. “It touches so many lives. I’ve see how someone is changed by this devastating disease. I’m here to support my friend and those who dream of a cure.” On that note, she extolled the praises of Dr. Daniel Wallace, Lupus LA founder and medical advisor. Welcoming everyone was the organization’s hard-working executive director Linda David, who thanked Chairman Adam Selkowitz.
There was more entertainment by singer Toni Braxton. The Grammy-winning “Unbreak My Heart” songbird not only performed on stage in the Beverly Wilshire ballroom, she also went out into the audience to croon to the wonderful Lupus supporters up-close and personal. She cuddled record producer David Foster, and then sat on tunesmith Carole Bayer Sager’s lap! (Sager has collaborated on renowned love songs, including the mega-hit “That’s What Friends Are For.”) But it was her talent for philanthropy that put her in the spotlight at the Orange Ball, where she received the Founder’s Award from her music-making friend Foster. He made mention of Sager’s new passion for painting “beautiful, jaw-dropping visuals,” which benefit many causes. Sager mentioned that her dear friend producer Lauren Shuler Donner (last year’s honoree) has Lupus, “so I am honored to follow and raise awareness.”
The audience caught on to the Bollywood-themed opening number when the Loop Award recipient was announced. The head of Fox Searchlight Pictures, Nancy Utley was the force behind the Oscar-winning “Slumdog Millionaire,” as well as “The Wrestler,” “Juno,” “Little Miss Sunshine,” and many other acclaimed films. Looking more like a teenager than a 34-year-old actress-producer-director, Drew Barrymore made the presentation to Utley, who she called her boss and a dear friend. Barrymore joked about Nancy giving her the green light to direct her first film “Whip It!” But then Barrymore got emotional. “It’s mind blowing that Nancy has done so much while battling Lupus (for 18 years). She is incredible,” Drew said with tears in her eyes.
A rousing live auction brought plenty of laughs, thanks to comic actress Lisa Ann Walter (“Bruce Almighty,” “The Parent Trap”) and her knack for whipping the crowd into a bidding frenzy. Who else was there to help raise funds for research to prevent, treat and cure the autoimmune disease? Lots of beautiful ladies with big hearts: Sheila E, Maria Conchita Alonso, Sofia Milos and Gretchen Wayne, plus Justin Chon, Adam Selkowitz, Phil Lewis and Cristian de la Fuente.
Elsewhere around town, Hollywood’s top illustrator, the late Bob Peak was called “the father of modern movie posters.” And now his work, spanning three decades, goes on exhibit for a month at Gallery Nucleus (gallerynucleus.com) in Alhambra, beginning Saturday, June 6. Bob’s proud son Tom says his dad was “the peak of perfection when it came to illustration.” Indeed, with memorable classic movie posters to his credit for more than 130 films, including “My Fair Lady,” “West Side Story,” “Camelot,” “Apocalypse Now” and five “Star Trek” features. Peak changed the face of movie advertising by injecting vitality and vibrant colors into his work. Tom lives with his father’s art work at his Toluca Lake home, but now art lovers can view the iconic collection during the “Bob Peak, One Man Show” at the gallery. It’s a bit of Hollywood history to enjoy.