PRINCE CHARLES AND CAMILLA — THE ROYAL OCCASION
San Francisco was the final port of call for Prince Charles and his bride, Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall (née Camilla Shand) on their goodwill U.S. tour.
Why San Francisco? Perhaps Northern California reflects the prince’s passion for organic food, sustainable agriculture and environmental issues. The heir to the British throne has been farming organically since 1985 on his estate at Highgrove.
He and the duchess visited Martin Luther King Middle School in Berkeley and admired their Edible Schoolyard program founded by famed chef Alice Waters (Chez Panisse) and principal Neil Smith. The program teaches students to grow and prepare their own organic veggies, learning about “the preservation of our land and the future of our place on this planet,” Alice explains.
One of the original organic advocates, Waters also catered an exclusive black-tie dinner, in honor of the royal couple,which drew plenty of Silicon Valley titans at the new M.H. de Young Memorial Museum in Golden Gate Park.
The guest list was impressive: British Ambassador to the United States, Sir David Manning and Lady Manning, British Consul General Martin Uden and his wife Fiona, financier Richard C. Blum, Honorary Consul General to Nepal and Mongolia and husband of Sen. Dianne Feinstein, and investor Paul Pelosi, husband of Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi.
Among the other notables were Apple’s Steve Jobs with wife Laurene; Joan and David O’Reilly, CEO of Chevron; Sandy and Paul Otellini, CEO of Intel; Helen and Charles Schwab, CEO of Charles Schwab; Doris and Donald Fisher, Chairman of GAP; Akiko Yamazaki and husband Dr. Jerry Yang, co-founder of Yahoo! Inc.; Nancy and Larry Probst, CEO of Electronic Arts; Howard Prien, CEO of Chiron; Margaret and Matthew Bannick, President of eBay International; Jonathan Schwartz, President of Sun Microsystems; Google’s co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page; Michael Moritz of Sequoia Capital; and Nan Tucker McEvoy, granddaughter of M.H. de Young.
Mayor Gavin Newsom was accompanied by Kimberly Guilfoyle Newsom. Since then, the couple has divorced and everyone’s been asking, “What’s the story?” The couple married in 2001 when handsome Gavin was a member of the SF Board of Supervisors and Kimberly, an SF Assistant DA (who’s as gorgeous as the DA’s portrayed on TV). Three years later, he was elected Mayor and sworn in with Kimberly at his side.
Busy and successful careers took them in opposite directions. So after an amicable, year long separation (which kept everyone wondering for months), their divorce was finalized in February. Friends are wishing them both well.
For an evening’s fun, Charles and Camilla and about 400 others (including moi) attended a performance of the late Steve Silver’s Beach Blanket Babylon, the long-running, campy revue produced by his widow, Jo Schuman Silver, at Club Fagazi in North Beach. “It’s a hilarious spoof of pop culture with a storyline about Snow White searching for love … one show-stopping number after another…with spectacular costumes and outrageous gigantic hats,” giving new meaning to ‘madcap.’ Security was tight and the paparazzi were held at bay across the street behind police barricades.
Naturally, one of the skits was tailored to Charles and his bride; Snow White singing special lyrics to “Some Day My Prince Will Come.” Sparing no one, “My Cheatin’ Heart” spoofed former President Clinton, the crowd went wild for a “Governor Schwarzenegger” in black leather, and “Paris Hilton” sang a parody of “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.”
The finale, featuring a hat crowned by a wedding cake that opened to reveal Buckingham Palace with photos of the Royal nuptials, left the prince chuckling.
Most amusing was former Secretary of State (Reagan admin) George Shultz and his wife Charlotte Shultz (California and SF Chief of Protocol), who dressed as Superman and Wonder Woman to take part in the merriment.
To everyone’s surprise, His Royal Highness mingled casually with the crowd. Charlotte, a true Texas charmer, took the Windsors around and introduced them to practically everyone.
On a requisite stopover in the wine country, the Royals lunched with Robert and Margrit Mondavi, our Napa Valley royalty.
Then, they headed north to the Point Reyes Station Farmers’ Market showcasing organic farming where Amy and Warren Weber conducted a private tour of their 40-acre Star Route Farms in Bolinas. Marin aspires to be the first all-organic county in the nation where 50 percent of the land is agricultural.
Charles and Camilla also met with Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown (former Governor of California) and his wife, Ann Gust Brown, (yes, Jerry finally married). The two couples rode the Coast Guard cutter, Tern, from Oakland to San Francisco – remember Charles is a Royal Navy man.
And so the Royals ended their visit to the USA. Having charmed all who were fortunate to meet them, we sincerely hope they return, post-haste.
SERGE SOROKKO AND THE CHEVALIER DES ARTS ET LETTRES
Continuing our international theme, French Consul General Frederic Desagneaux bestowed the Chevalier (knighthood) des Arts et Lettres upon Russian-born collector and gallery owner Serge Sorokko.
Serge’s stylish wife, Tatiana, a former Russian model turned editor at Harper’s Bazaar, and his lovely daughter, Katya, stood proudly by his side in the Consul’s residence.
Created by the French Minister of Culture, the Order of Arts and Letters recognizes individuals making outstanding contributions to the arts and literature.
Serge is in good company! Other notable recipients include Jackson Pollock, William Faulkner, Celine Dion, David Bowie, Jessye Norman, James Joyce, Richard Meier, and Robert Redford.
Some other San Franciscans who won the award were romance novelist Danielle Steele and de Young Museum director Harry Parker.
The Sorokko Gallery was established
downtown in 1984 and features modern, post-war and contemporary international artists, like Francis Bacon, Howard Hodgkin, Sol Lewitt, Antoni Tapies, and Andy Warhol.
“L’Ordre,” of course, was especially grateful for Sorokko’s promotion of French artists, such as Paul Rebeyolle, Roget-Edgar Gillet, and Jacques Doucet.
Afterwards, the party reconvened for an extravagant feast in the private dining room of Campton Place Hotel. In a nod to whimsy, an enormous Eiffel Tower ice sculpture complemented the unique architectural flower arrangements by floral designer Susie Brown that graced each table.
Elegant calligraphy by New Yorker Bernard Maisner artfully announced the menu, which began with parsnip soup with chanterelles and white truffle oil followed by a slow-poached Maine lobster paired with a 2002 M. Choosier Ermitage Blanc Cuvee de l’Oree.
The main course was herb-roasted Millbrook Farms venison “rossini” with organic seasonal vegetables accompanied by a 1997 Mouton Rothschild and for dessert a chocolate fantasy served with a 1997 Chateau Tirecul Cuvee Madam.
The newest chevalier was toasted with French champagne, GH Mumm Cordon Rouge and a bottle was autographed by the guests to commemorate the “knight.”
On hand to celebrate were SF Mayor Gavin Newsom with his then wife Kimberly Guilfoyle; Assemblyman Mark Leno; California Supreme Court Justice Ronald George and his wife Barbara, member of the California Arts Council.
Also joining in the accolades were actor Peter Coyote and wife Stefanie, SF Film Commission Pres; author Diane Dorrans-Saeks; foremost video art collectors Pam and Dick Kramlich; de Young Museum’s Ghislain d’Humieres; philanthropist James Schneider and Barbara Brookins-Schneider; and a gang of friends from Paris and Moscow.
Greek-born couturier James Galanos, adored by Tatiana and Nancy Reagan and moi (why didn’t I hold on to all my Galanos gowns) and Susan and Alan Camden flew in from Los Angeles.
A New York contingent included couturier Ralph Rucci, who designs under the Chado label, and who, in 2002, was the first American since Mainbocher to be invited by Paris’ Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture to parade his exquisitely cut clothes.
Serge Sorokko and Assemblyman Mark Leno Rucci also exhibits his abstract paintings at the Sorokko gallery. Showing another side of his many talents, Ricci’s hand-painted gowns – a collection called “homage” to Cy Twombly’s four seasons – recently dazzled the crowds at Fall Fashion Week.
In a show of support, the Sorokkos, Guilfoyle and Galanos attended the showing of the Chado/Ralph Rucci that collection in New York, in the front row next to chic Amy Fine Collins. Galanos quipped “I flew in from LA just to see Ralph’s show…we’re good friends and I admire his work.”