Think about this--have you ever heard anyone utter a negative word about Smokey Robinson? I think not. I was pondering that the other night (and people think I have too much time on my hands!) and I realized that Smokey is possibly the only universally-loved person ever.
I’ve had the good fortune to meet him three times prior to his Foundation dinner at the Beverly Hills Hotel the other night, and he’s been equally gracious to me every time. This one was no exception. He’s so lovely that he makes me feel like he’s actually happy to meet me! And he’s that way with everyone. What a special human being.
In the program, he wrote that “…our mission is to financially support educational programs and organizations that provide college scholarships to qualified candidates.” To that end, this year’s recipients are Gabrielle and Matthew Simmons, the children of Randy Simmons, the LAPD Special Weapons and Tactics Officer who was killed in the line of duty earlier this year. They were invited onstage to talk a little about their educational hopes and dreams. It’s nice to see such good kids nowadays.
That was the important part of the evening. But now to the fluffy parts. The event was held in the beautiful Crystal Ballroom, possibly so-named for the stunning center-of-the-room giant chandelier, made-up of dozens of amber-hued crystal flowers. It cast a light so perfect that Smokey thought that I was actually beautiful! I just may move in there.
We started off with a generous, celeb-gifted silent auction. (We got to “Shop Around.”) My most-coveted item was a framed presentation of original film cells from “The Wizard Of Oz.” How special is that?!
There was a lovely appetizer buffet on the adjacent outside patio for those of us who walked the red carpet. It was light, perfect and much appreciated, with mini quiches and pizzas, grilled vegetables, hummus, and couscous. It totally held us over till the even-more-delicious dinner.
My table had a revolving door of celebrities: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who looks about 3 decades younger than his 61 years, original Motown recording artist Brenda Holloway, who looked stunning, Maria Conchita Alonzo, who mentioned that her career is on the upswing (giving hope to the rest of us!), and my favorite actor, the hilarious (and still-looking-great) Ray Buktenica of the beloved series’ “Rhoda,” “Life Goes On,” and “House Calls,” to name a few.
Also among the crowd, I saw Howard Hewitt (from the group Shalamar) and Butterscotch, an interesting beat-boxer who was discovered on “America’s Got Talent.” (In a brutally honest moment on the show, Sharon Osbourne told her to “Stand up straight, Mrs.!” She seems to have taken the advice.)
They were set to perform, which I was really looking forward to, but after dinner, there was a very long un-silent auction, and unfortunately, many of us (who had been there for four hours at that point) had to depart. I hated missing the music, which was sure to be great, but I had to get home to write this review! See the lengths I go to for the entertainment of my loyal readers?
Though having my picture taken with fabulous Smokey Robinson had me almost too excited to eat, the Beverly Hills Hotel food is too incredible to ignore. The salad was fashioned to look like a giant cabbage, with leaf-upon-leaf of different greens. Our lightly breaded chicken breast was pre-sliced and was absolutely melt-in-your-mouth.
But the piece de resistance was the dessert trio: double-decker chocolate mousse cake topped with fresh raspberries, a dollop of whipped cream in raspberry sauce, and a chocolate cup filled with a sorbet of indiscernible flavor, but perfect nonetheless. The servers were on top of it all, and kept the wine flowing throughout the evening.
This beautiful night was a wonderful way to make us all aware of how blessed we are, and achieved their goal of spreading the message that we all need to “Give Back.”
And when it was all over, I was so sad that I cried “Tears Of A Clown.” (And Mr. X added, “I Second That Emotion.”)
Smokey Robinson Foundation www.smokeyrobinsonfoundation.org
The Beverly Hills Hotel 9641 Sunset Blvd. 310-887-2777 www.thebeverlyhillshotel.com