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Jaywalking in L.A.!

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celebrating on Rodeo Drive
Celebrating 'Rodeo de los Caballos' on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills photo by Jay W.

The first event in the year-long celebration of the city of Beverly Hills' 100th anniversary took place on Sunday with the "Rodeo de los Caballos (Gathering of the Horses) on Rodeo Drive. I remember when I first came here in the 50s, there was a bridle path from Sunset down Rodeo Drive, which lasted 'til 1965. I kind of miss the small village feel of those days

Bette Midler as Sue Mengers
Bette Midler as Sue Mengers, coming to the Geffen Playhouse. photo by Geffen

I was probably Sue Menger's oldest friend in California, having known her since she was a 17-year old secretary at the William Morris Agency in New York. She fell in love with my partner, Hilly Elkins, so I then got to see her close-up. Even then she was an irrepressible personality, courageous, fearless and funny. The iconic super-agent, who died here in 2011, is the subject of the upcoming play, "I'll Eat You Last," starring Bette Midler, which is coming to Westwood's Geffen Playhouse on Dec. 3rd. It was a sold-out hit in New York, and will certainly sell out again here in its limited three-week run. Written by John Logan, it is a wildly funny, piercing look at the fabulous girl and her star clients (Barbra Streisand, etc.), so I suggest you try for tickets now!....

Philanthropists Peter and Merle Mullin
Peter and Merle Mullin at the opening of the Mullin Plaza at St. John's Hospital. photo by Jay.

Philanthropists Peter and Merle Mullin celebrated the opening of MULLIN PLAZA at St. John's Health Center in Santa Monica, a stunning garden at the wonderful hospital. My two friends give so much unheralded to so many causes. Bravo!...My recent Huffington review of HAKKASAN BEVERLY HILLS seems to have provoked a bit of controversy. I guess my comments about Beverly Hills people eating Chinese food at a restaurant financed by an Arab Sheik's oil money struck a nerve. Yes, it is a spectacular place, and Albert Charbonneau is an amazing general manager, so I suggest you visit to see for yourself. (Those lovely women in their tight, short black dresses don't hurt either). The Peking Duck with caviar is $288, but it deliciously serves several....Sandra Bullock as a stranded astronaut in "Gravity" is excellent, but it is a role which many competent actresses could have played, as opposed to Cate Blanchette, who is so magical in Woody Allen's "Blue Jasmine" that no one else could have done it. My money is still on her for the Best Actress Oscar...and, rough as it may be, I hold a brief for "Twelve Years a Slave" as the best picture I have seen this year. Extraordinary, powerful and moving, it should capture the Best Picture award, but Acadamy voters seemed a little squeamish at the screening...
sony
I think Cate Blanchette has a lock on Best Actress for "Blue Jasmine" photo by Sony Pictures

Hamburger Hamlet's Harry Lewis
The late Harry Lewis, co-founder of Hamburger Hamlet, was celebrated recently by his two sons, Adam and David, who still run "Kate Mantilini"..

Two of my favorite restaurateurs, Vinnie Dotolo and Jon Shook, of Animal, Cooking With Friends, and Trois Mec fame, have owned the builder on Fairfax across from Animal for several years. It housed a Damiano Mr.Pizza until rcently, when the boys took it back and, collaborating with architect Jeff Guga, are building a new concept restaurant and office structure there. My guess it will be a unique steak-and-seafood emporium...Want a romantic weekend here in California? Visit the Justin Vineyards & Winery in Paso Robles. They have opened a sensational guest house - JUST Inn Suites - and new tasting room, with a restaurant attached which I hear is sensational. Try and book the ISOCELES SUITE, named for their most famous wine. Go to www.justinwine.com for more info....One of my favorite food charity events is the L.A. Loves Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation, which just had its 4th annual event at the Culver Studios and raised some $540,000 for childhood cancer reseach and support. Some 1,700 people enjoyed the food of over 40 famous chefs from all over the country. Kudos to Chefs Suzanne Goin (Lucques, AOC) and David Lentz (Hungry Cat) , wife and husband team, along with Caroline Styne, who organized it again. My favorite dish: Adam Perry Lang's wildly delicious beef short ribs. He's lookin for a permanent home and I will help him anyway I can...
wolf anf stan
Chef Wolfgang Puck talks with my brother, Stan, at 30th anniversary of Chinois-on-Main.

Just finished reading a new book, "My Mother, My Father, and His Wife Hortense," by Princess Dialta Alliata, a weirdly wonderful tome about three Italian women, a grandmother, mother and daughter, who are deeply involved in a lawsit against my alma mater, New York University, over a splendid Tuscan art estate worth a billion dollars. It's interesting, highly erotic in part, and all true. Get a copy at Amazon and see what I mean...I had never heard of Wholistic Dermatology until I met an attractive woman doctor, Dr. Julia Hunter, who practices it in BeverlyHills to great success for her many patients. I suggest you check out her website, www.juliathuntermd.com to see what I mean. Amazing products and astonishing results...