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Catherine Bigelow

The Party Line

In spite of the invitation's ominous admonishment ("Dinner, Finger-pointing, Denials, Live Auction and Immediate Resignations"), it was all peace, love and Obama down at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts last week where Artists Ball 7: The New Party '08 won a decisive victory in the fight for your right to party -- as well as access to and support of great local artists and art.

Big Bang, Pt. 2

On the 700th-plus day, following years of fundraising, underground garage battles, tons of earth moved for construction and the construction itself, the relocation of a gazillion species, hours and overtime in preparation, 30-plus welcoming events, three major galas and a mile-long line of anxious visitors on opening day, California Academy of Sciences Director Gregory Farrington surveyed this verdant kingdom and declared it was good.

And then, hopefully, went home and took a nap.

Especially as the Big Bang gala on Thursday at The Academy was a humdinger of a party.

Clean and Green

A book party celebrates Sloan Barnett's Green Goes with Everything

The Wine Baron's Ball

COPIA Toasts the late Robert Mondavi and Napa Valley Vintners

Cups, and wallets, ranneth over at the St. Regis Hotel on Saturday where COPIA: The American Center for Wine, Food and the Arts held its inaugural Wine Baron's Ball and Auction.

The evening honored the late Robert Mondavi, vintner and maverick innovator, who is credited with firmly establishing Napa Valley wines on the map of world-class wine-makers and in the tasting notes of oenophiles, everywhere.

Amy Tan's Bone-tingling Opera

Run! Don't walk, to purchase ducats for the San Francisco Opera production of The Bonesetter's Daughter, based on the best-selling book by beloved local author Amy Tan. That is, if any tickets (through Oct. 3) remain.

"I'm liking this a lot," enthused SF Opera patron Robert Mailer Anderson, with a slice of wry. "Imagine, a modern work. Here, in San Francisco."

A Walk in the Park

It was mom (and dad's) night out last Friday in Golden Gate Park where supporters of the San Francisco Parks Trust gathered for a gala on the grand veranda of the dazzling Conservatory of Flowers.

Clear-walled tents retained the flower-rific view for these gala-goers while keeping the thickly flowing fog at bay. Guests warmed themselves by wandering through the steamy delights inside the august and historic Conservatory, in addition to supping and snacking on the McCall Associates bountiful buffet which featured such fun "family-style" foods as mini-triangles of grilled cheese served with a demitasse of soup.

Mod Squad

A new kid's in town this weekend (Fort Mason's Herbst Pavilion) at the debut of SF20, a show and sale featuring exquisite decorative arts and furniture showcasing 20th Century design.

Like the set of "Mad Men" come to life, a swinging preview party kicked things off Wednesday. And glamorous guys and dolls, decked in their hipster finest, ravenously raced from booth to booth snapping up the jazzy one-of-a-kind kit.

Big Bang: Major donor dinner at the new California Academy of Sciences

Most succinctly, Doris Fisher uttered the adjectives on the tip of every patron's tongue at the Celebrate Leadership dinner last night at the new California Academy of Sciences .

"Fabulous!" "Amazing!" "Fantastic!" enthused the philanthropist and arts patron.

The 154-year-old Academy deserves all those superlatives and many, many more. Perhaps even some 484 million more. Which is the dollar amount (outside of new universities, the largest ever private capital campaign in the West) this group of 300 deep-pocketed (500K-and-up) donors raised to get the Academy up and running after sustaining irreparable damage from the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake.

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