For Immediate Release:
La Jolla, CA, August 3, 2008 – Las Patronas hit on all sixes last night — a swanky Speakeasy attracted dolls and daddies from near and far. Puttin’ on the Ritz seems to come easily to these gals, and they outdid themselves with their 62nd Jewel Ball.
The 1920s roared once more at the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club. The club’s “Old Black Goose,” a 1915 Packard, was one of several vintage cars setting the stage out front. The Hotel Del Coronado’s original 1927 Cadillac limousine provided a touch of elegance. Lance Hayes brought both his 1927 Star and 1929 Durant. Ralph and Connie McNeil lent their 1927 Packard, and Ralph McQuoid provided his 1930 Pierce Arrow. Dick Kurtz didn’t want to miss the fun; he brought his 1936 Ford convertible sedan. A strategically placed, genuine paddy wagon let everyone know the coppers were on the scene keeping order in case anyone had a beef.
Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin showed up, as did a variety of character actors from Christian Community Theater, who played their parts to perfection. Studio m/michael spengler photography’s flashbulbs popped as couples canoodled for the cameras in front of the cars.
Inside, guests could indulge nearly any whim. A glittering nightclub (rivaling Europe’s most luxurious and Manhattan’s most deco) pulsated with seemingly illicit excitement. Young mafia torpedoes rubbed shoulders with high society in an ornate room of rich red velvet, where marble columns supported a ceiling of stars. Dazzling chandeliers enhanced the stars’ twinkle. From terrace seating, the “smart set” overlooked a spectacular view of New York’s cityscape.
Fat Cats in high hats sipped fruity concoctions in one of two exotic zebra lounges while enjoying appetizers from Roppongi and sushi from Café Japengo; the well-heeled enjoyed a beautiful silent move theater in rich, burled wood, adorned with gilded silver. That stage, with its requisite red velvet drapery, was flanked by two swings with two swingers swinging. At the end of the pool, on an elevated stage, surrounded by an art deco marquee, a quintet of musicians and a singer played traditional 1920’s American jazz melodies during the cocktail hour.
Dinner, provided by Hyatt Regency La Jolla, delighted all diners. The meal began with exotic microgreen and butter lettuce in a radicchio cup and orange segments, with asparagus lemongrass vinaigrette; followed by filet mignon with traditional Périgueux reduction, Boursin mashed potatoes, carrots and green beans ending with a dessert of Tres Leches with strawberry sauce and blueberries, and assorted truffles. As the meal was served, everyone enjoyed a floorshow featuring dancers in authentic costumes performing the elegant tango, Charleston, swing, and tap dances.
The flappers loved music and marathon dancing — Speakeasy featured plenty of both. A 26 piece band from NRG set the mood with Gershwin hits such as Rhapsody in Blue and other flapper era favorites, including Five Foot Two, Charleston, and Kitty from Kansas City. As the evening progressed, NRG expanded the evening’s time warp to delight fans of the Big Band Swing Era, early Rock and Roll and ever popular, easy-to-dance-to disco hits.
The 50 members of Las Patronas who worked tirelessly for nearly a year to resurrect the Speakeasy spirit enjoyed every minute of the party they planned and produced. “Everyone comes together to do what they can to ensure this event succeeds,” said Jewel Ball Chair Caroline Nierenberg. “Leading this team of dedicated women has been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me. However, this night really celebrates our beneficiaries – those dedicated to helping San Diego’s most deserving.”
This Speakeasy was more than a gin joint: the Las Patronas dames host their annual soirees to raise funds for the betterment of San Diegans. Each of the past five Jewel Balls has raised more than $1 million. Of the nearly 80 non-profit organizations receiving Las Patronas funds, fourteen will receive major grants (more than $20,000) from proceeds raised this year. Major beneficiaries include: A Reason to Survive, Burnham Institute for Medical Research, Christian Community Theater, Diversionary Theatre, Friends of Vista Hill, La Jolla Historical Society, La Jolla Music Society, Moores UCSD Cancer Center, Salvation Army – Senior Dining and Social Centers, San Diego Habitat for Humanity, San Diego Hospice and Palliative Care, San Diego Opera Association, Scripps La Jolla Heart Center at Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla, and UCSD Shiley Eye Center.