One of the best excuses for missing your own party I ever encountered was years ago at scientist/investment manager/engineer Dennis Tito’s manse. The host couldn’t make it because he had paid more than $20 million to be a space tourist and, at the time of the party, he was on the International Space Station. Iconic dancer/singer/actor Ben Vereen had a pretty good excuse for missing the March 12 Los Angeles Ballet Season 10 Gala at the Skirball (he was one of the honorees, along with W.M. Keck Foundation’s Robert Day): He was filming Fox’s TV remake of The Rocky Horror Picture Show (he’s Dr. Everett Scott). Colleague Debbie Allen presented the award to his daughter Karon Vereen Davis, artist and cofounder of the Underground Museum.
“To dance is to be powerful,” Allen began. “To demand time and space. To give the beauty of the world a stage. As much as [Vereen’s] legacy is already somewhat etched in stone, he’s still in the making. That is what’s exciting.”
While Vereen was off doing the Time Warp, the rest of us were privy to a gorgeous fashion presentation of Los Angeles Ballet dancers in Monique Lhuillier gowns, each representing a past season of the ballet company, followed by a performance of their world premiere Don Quixote. Guests then began singing for their supper, donating $25,000 a pop for dancer scholarships. The company, however, is still in need of a permanent theater. Who has deep pockets?