This event was very different than the previous dinner and tour that Los Angeles World Affairs Council held at the fascinating Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena.
The Venetian Masked Gala was held at the beautiful and historic Riviera Country Club in the Pacific Palisades. Guests arrived looking extra glamorous in their dresses and venetian masks as they enjoyed the plush surroundings, nibbling on delicious appetizers with a cocktail in hand. I photographed the guests by the enormous fireplace and the beautiful Christmas tree which was so high it almost touched the ceiling!
The guest speaker, Eddie Izzard arrived during the cocktail hour and I was lucky enough to be introduced to him before he joined the guests. I remember him from my college days when he compered a regular local comedy evening called “Screaming Blue Murder” at the very beginning of his career. He’s come a very long way since then and is now one of the most famous comedians in the world. I couldn’t help but notice his painted finger nails – they were shiny red, but his ring fingers had the British Union Jack and the European Union on them! I was determined to get a close up shot of them…
After everyone had enjoyed their dinner in the sumptuous ballroom of the Riviera Club, it was time for the “best mask” judging. This must have been tough to call as the standard was so high, but I am pleased to say that I during the cocktail hour I had taken portraits of the winners!
Next it was time for the speeches. Reene Montagne from NPR came on stage to give a short talk and proceeded to introduce Eddie. Everyone was so excited to hear Eddie’s speech – this was different to his normal stand up comedy appearances after all – a very different crowd and venue. He somehow managed to discuss serious topics in a humorous way, and incorporated his nails into the speech! If you get a chance to go to see Eddie’s stand up routine, do go – you won’t be disappointed!
After dinner, it was time for the dancing to begin. The music was wonderful, and perfect Rusty Frank and her team of expert dancers. For me, it was a trip down memory lane watching these incredible swing and linty hoppers. I used to go three times a week when I lived in Santa Barbara and it was good to be reminded how great these dances are. They make everyone smile!
Enjoy the photographs and come along to the next LAWAC event!