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QUIETLY DOES IT . . .

Author: MARK PATRICK
Date: 10/01/1988
Words: 856
          Publication: Sun Herald
Section: Tempo
Page: 140
OUR Bicentennial year seems to be getting underway somewhat quietly - on the social front at least. So many of the stars of the Sydney scene are still away on holiday - obviously gathering their strength for what promises to ultimately be a hectic year.

But it was fun up north at Hayman Island last weekend relaxing by the biggest pool I've ever seen.

I spotted two Saudi Arabian princes - one of them, dressed in white, was the seriously rich Sultan of Brunei - complete with bodyguards. Also there was Christie Hefner, daughter of Hugh, the preppy and stern president of Playboy.

BACK around the traps on Tuesday night we trekked off to the Holdsworth Galleries in Woollahra for what turned out to be a monumental exhibition of four very varied artists.

The star was Clifton Pugh whose collection of oils (the 33 hanging had all been sold at prices ranging from $1,200 to $25,000) were titled Leda and the Emu.

The works have been collated into a book with a very moving poem by Pam Blaski relating the mythical tale of an emu who fell in love with a very large-breasted beauty called Leda. It is, of course, taken from that famous European tale, Leda and the Swan.

Derryn Hinch had on his new hat as publisher that night. He'd flown from New York specially for the launch but his actress wife Jackie Weaver had stayed in the Big Apple as Derryn was afraid that Clifton, who dedicated the book to her, might want to paint her in the nude!

The other artists showing were Cedric Emanuel, whose line drawings of local scenes were getting a lot of attention, Chiara Goya and Charles Billich.

Then we hit Elizabeth Bay House for the launch of Vogue's Bicentennial Arts Guide in association with the Arts and Entertainment section of the Bicentenial Authority.

A glossy mag, it covers all the major artistic events going on throughout the year and there are in-depth stories on opera, ballet and theatre. A must for all those intent on having a cultural year.

Those hoeing into huge wooden baskets of Chinese savouries included Mr Vogue, chairman Bernard H. Leser, very casual in beige suit and rubber-soled lace-ups, with Voguettes Eve Harman, June McCallum, Gail Heathwood (who did most of the hard yakka on the book), Lesley Wild and Christina Zimpel.

Also there: guru of the dance set Graeme Murphy, guru of the Oz designer set Jenny Kee, Lady (Primrose) Potter, who looked stunning in figure-hugging floral crepe de chine frock with a discreet pearl or two, Peter and Adele Weiss, whose Bicentennial collection of products has nearly sold out (watch out Ken Done), cigar-chomping maestro of the Art Gallery Edmund Capon, who's still raving about his new role as TV star after his stint in China working on a documentary for the BBC, Grace Bros Bob Dalziel and John Sainty and the evergreen Gough Whitlam.

DRESSING up for first nights in January is certainly not de rigeur.

The audience at the opening of the macabre musical Sweeney Todd at Her Majesty's on Wednesday was a mixed bunch in anything from jeans and open-necked shirts to the odd glittery number. Fashionable it was not.

A rather more elegant crowd fronted up at the Opera House next night for the Australian Opera's season of Mozart's enchanting The Magic Flute. Enthusiastic first-nighters included arts patron Claire Dan, Dr Michael Kennedy, Senator Bronwyn and Alan Bishop, Lady Cassidy and her QC son Derek and Mary and Preston Saywell.

HOME and Away, Seven Network's newest series, is a humdinger. It's based on the torment of a family (adopted and of a wayward nature) whose dad loses his job in the big smoke and to keep the family together buys a rundown caravan park in fictitious Summer Bay (it was filmed, by the looks of it, at North Palm Beach).

My favourite character was Milko, an invisible friend of one of the brats.

The launch was at Palm Beach's newest restaurant Flamingo's on Wednesday night. It's a wondrous spot with sweeping views over the ocean. We spent a lot of time sipping mango daiquiris and leaning over the balcony checking out the local talent which had assembled to gawk at the stars.

During the coconut-dipped stuffed chicken with curry sauce, there was a condensed preview of the show. Afterwards, speeches patting everyone concerned on the back and bagging another new soap about to start on another network.

Those from Seven included general manager Allan Tyson in serious suit, Glen Kinging, director of programming, in lightweight resort suit, Alan Bateman, director of production and the bloke who conceived the idea for the show, and stars Vanessa Downing, Roger Oakley, Justine Clarke, Alex Papps, Peter Vroom, heart throb model/actor Greg Benson and the diminutive Nicolle Dickson.

 
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