LACMA 50 Year Anniversary Gala, Los Angeles, California

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Los Angeles has made a giant leap when it comes to Museums in the last 20 years and LACMA (www.lacma.org) stands on top of my list with it’s amazing transformation from a mediocre, local museum, to an international leader, especially when it comes to contemporary art. LACMA is the largest art museum in the western United States; it attracts nearly a million visitors annually and holds more than 120,000 works spanning the history of art from ancient times to the present. The super charismatic Michael Govan, the latest LACMA director, has done an amazing job raising a gazillion dollars to bring this museum to it’s current place among the best in the art world.

The evening starts at home trying to stuff myself into a very slender cut Dolce & Gabbana tuxedo that could definitely be one size larger to accommodate my recent weight gain. As they say: You can’t squeeze a ten pound sausage into a five pound bag! Anyway… it’s time to Uber (www.uber.com) my fat ass to the museum. The arrival on Wilshire Blvd is very glamorous and definitely sets the tone for the evening; the entrance is lined with hundreds of Valet guys and girls in red and black uniforms. After checking in, we are ushered though the amazing installation “Urban light” by the artist Chris Burden, through the press line with armies of paparazzi, over the long corridor lined with black-tied waiters serving Krug Grande Cuvée Champagne and into the Bar Lounge.

These kind of events bring out the crème de la crème of the art world, and this one has them all, including: Hitoshi Abe, Doug Aitken, Frank Gehry, Mark Grotjahn, Alex Israel, Toba Khedoori, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Ed Ruscha, Paul Schimmel and Firooz Zahedi. after an hour of mingling, Michael Govan finally announces the opening of the exiting new exhibit followed by dinner and show in the main pavilion. Thanks to the enormeous generosity of benefactors such as Jane and Marc Nathanson and Lynda and Stewart Resnick, LACMA’s new exhibit boasts pieces by Damien Hirst, Roy Lichtenstein, Julian Schnabel, Frank Sa, Hans Memling, Giambologna, François Boucher and Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres.

 

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Robert Kass being silly at the “Urban Light” sculpture, by Chris Burden

 

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Red carpet entrance lined with servers serving Krug Grand Cuvée Champagne

 

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The arrival cocktail Lounge

 

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Robert Kass and the fabulous Irena Medavoy

 

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Robert Kass

 

I am a guest of my dear friend Eugenio Lopez who not only is one of the most important collectors of contemporary art in the world, but he’s also a generous benefactors to the arts at large and to the most important museums in Los Angeles. At the table are all of Eugenio’s friends, including the fire-cracker art dealer Esthella Provas, Veronica (one of Eugenio’s good friend and curator at his Mexico City Jumex Museum) and Priscilla (curator at the Museo de la Bellas Artes in Mexico City). Noticeably missing is out host Eugenio, who is tied up in New York at another event…literally!

The evening topic at the tables is clearly art, which happens to be one of my favorite subjects, being as I am a frustrated artist at heart; but the highlight of the evening must be the surprise performance of the one and only Seal! This is a pretty stuffy room but as soon as Seal takes over, it is finally a party! Running into my wifey Loree Rodkin, is also a treat; she never seems to miss a good party…how does she do it! Among the dancing guests there are a slew of celebrities including: Julie Bowen, Jim Carrey, Laura Dern, Will Ferrell, Armie Hammer, Dustin Hoffman, Anjelica Huston, Liev Schreiber, Seal, Barbra Streisand Naomi Watts and our city leaders, Mayor Eric Garcetti and former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

 

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LACMA Dining Room

 

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Place setting

 

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Robert Kass and Raphael Tessier

 

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Surprise performance by the one and only Seal

 

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Seal

 

The Cinderella moment has come and I must leave this beautiful evening to go home and pack; tomorrow I am off to Mexico City for a one month South America trip that will be sure to bring some amazing experiences. If I don’t get kidnapped by the Mexican cartel, you’ll be sure to hear from me soon!!

Good night!

 

Formula E USA debut: Long Beach California

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I’m a big fan of Formula 1 Racing so when my dear friend Giorgio Veroni told me a few years ago that he was getting involved in the new Electric racing car business, I was intrigued. Through the years I learned more and more about Formula E Racing from Giorgio and after its world debut in Beijing last year (which sadly, I was not able to attend), Formula E has arrived in Long Beach California!!!! (http://www.fiaformulae.com)

I haven’t been in Long Beach since I was tricked into visiting the Queen Mary 20 years ago, when I just moved to LA from Switzerland. It was so boring I wanted to stick needles in my eyes…let it sink!!! The second time I got tricked into going to Long Beach, it was to board a helicopter to the: “Ohhh sooo exiting island of Catalina”…equally as uneventful as the old, crusty boat. I swore I would never go back to Long Beach, but today, I’m exited and open minded. I’m so curios to experience Formula E  (as in electric my dear possums!) But most of all, I’m thrilled to spend some time with the man of the hour: Giorgio Veroni and his extraordinary wife Tamara Beckwith, which happens to be one of my best friends for many, many years. I get picked up at 11am by my stunning blonde date: Celesta Hodge; who arrives to my home in her shiny Audi R8 (a perfect choice for this day…BTW). The 45 minutes ride turns into just 20 minutes thanks to Celesta’s diabolic driving skills; I just sank my nails into the dashboard and held on for dear life. The event was so well organized and so very chic…as only Giorgio could do! After arrivals we were treated to a lovely luncheon under a tent in 120 degrees fahrenheit and soon after we got to visit the pits where all the different teams hold their racing cars. We got to talk to the different team sponsors and drivers…all of which gorgeous (must be a pre-requisite to be a race car driver)! After a few hours of cocktails and pleasantries  we are ready for the race. We are ushered to the “Emotion” private VIP bleacher right at the start line and off they go!!!! The experience is just as intense as formula 1, minus the deafening sound of combustable engines. I will say, it took a little time to adjust to the super quiet electric cars, but eventually it was a thrill!!!! The handsome Brazilian Nelson Piquet with The China Racing Team won the race after just under an hour and the French Jean Eric Vergne came in second for the Andretti Race team.

 

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The Invite

 

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Robert Kass and the girls: Tamara Beckwith Veroni, Lady Victoria Harvey, Celesta Hodge and Vivi Veroni

 

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In the Renault Pit

 

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Lawrence Bender, Celesta Hodge and Tommy Alastra with friend

 

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The Virgin Pit (sounds inappropriate)

 

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On the grid before the race starts

 

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With my darling Tamara Beckwith Veroni and the beautiful Vivi Veroni

 

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My gorgeous blond date Celesta Hodge

 

The second part of this special day is the sit-down dinner Gala and after party at the iconic Chateau Marmont (www.chateaumarmont.com) in West Hollywood…definitely more up my alley! Just enough time to go back home, recover from the 15 champagne glasses and 1 cheese square I had for lunch and off I go! The Chateau Marmont is an LA landmark; a symbol of coolness, debauchery, chicness and lots of fun… an absolute celebrity mecca. Don’t bother trying it out…you can’t get in unless you’re famous, super rich or devastatingly gorgeous (don’t ask me how I get in…). The evening starts off with cocktails in the medieval style main lobby of the hotel. The room is filled with well dressed beautiful people (must be European) and the customary list of celebrities, among which: the always brooding Adrian Brody, Leonardo di Caprio, who is a major voice for 0 emission transportation and…me!

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The lobby of the Chateau Marmont

 

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Beautiful outdoor dining

 

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The “Rush” table

 

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My table with both #1 and #2 winners of the race: Piquet and Virgne

 

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With my “Hermano” Eugenio Lopez and snack

 

Finally dinner is served! All the large tables were named after a racing movie such as: Rush, Fast and furious…you get the shtick! I was seated at Giorgio and Tamara’s table with both the winner of the race Roland Piquet and the runner up Jean-Eric Vargne and his beautiful girlfriend who was next to me. I spent the entire dinner talking to the Swedish beauty, who’s name escapes me, until I started getting dirty looks from her French boyfriend. I re-directed my focus to the lovely Anna Mathews, seated across from me, to avoid a global scandal. Around midnight, dinner ends and the after party begins; this is when I usually start shining, but sadly, after being ON since 11AM, I was just out of fuel!!! The new round of exited guests started arriving, I waited for my dear friend Eugenio Lopez, hung out a little and finally staggered out of the party in hopes to reach my bed without passing out on the way from complete exhaustion. The next day was Easter Sunday and, unlike Jesus, I was not able to resurrect…I was in bed the whole day!