Alexandra Cousteau, Ed Bagley, Eve Kornyei, Fisker Karma sedan, Hemisphere catamaran, Jacques Cousteau, Jeff Goldblum, Jr., Mildred Snitzer Orchestra, Morgan Freeman, ocean conservation, ocean management, Oceana, protect the oceans, Renee Olstead, saving the oceans, SeaChange Summer Party, Ted Danson, The Kitchen for Exploring Food, Tricia and Michael Berns, Valarie Van Cleave
I’ve attended every Oceana SeaChange Summer Party, and this year’s fifth annual soiree with its breathtaking sunset and moon-lit ocean settings at a private coastal estate in the hills of Laguna Beach was another delight. The event always brings a contingent of celebrities who are passionate about protecting the oceans. Mingling with guests were repeats Ted Danson, Morgan Freeman, Ed Begley, Jr., and Dennis Haysbert, with a smattering of new faces, which included Aimee Teegarden, Beverly D’Angelo, Sarah Shahi and Steve Howey, Rachael Harris, Jenna Ushkowitz, Graham Phillips, and Bella Thorne. Also returning was Jeff Goldblum, who brought his band, the Mildred Snitzer Orchestra, to entertain. Goldblum invited actress/singer Renee Olstead of The Secret Life of the American Teenager fame, to sing with the band, and her rendition of At Last, made famous by Etta James, was awesome!
The elegant party for 400 guests began with an upscale silent auction on the mansion’s terraces, with The Kitchen for Exploring Foods serving scrumptious tray-passed hors d’oeuvres (loved the rice cake with beef carpaccio, spicy Thai sauce and wasabi cream!) and delicious libations. The top-notch dinner, also catered by The Kitchen, was served at sea green mini-sequinned table tops on the expansive sea-side lawn, with pedigreed oceans’ advocate and Oceana Senior Advisor Alexandra Cousteau presiding as mistress of ceremonies. She shared vignettes of her storied family, especially her grandfather Jacques Cousteau, who taught her to dive when she was seven and who stressed to her the importance of being a steward of the oceans.
SeaChange co-chairs Valarie Van Cleave and Eve Kornyei welcomed everyone and thanked chair emeritus Julie Hill as well as sponsors and underwriters for their support, which ultimately netted more than $900,000 for the largest international advocacy group working solely to protect the world’s oceans. Longtime supporters Tricia and Michael Berns were honored along with South Coast Plaza as ocean champions, with the plaza’s Executive Director of Marketing Debra Gunn Downing accepting the honor. The live auction saw some lively bidding, with the seven-day Caribbean voyage on the world’s largest recreational catamaran, Hemisphere – a donation facilitated by super-yacht specialist Burgess – going for $160,000, while the 2012 Fisker Karma sedan, introduced by Henrik Fisker himself, sold for $107,500.
Die-hard partygoers capped the evening dancing under the stars at the Post Party Lounge, with guests departing with an exclusive Neiman Marcus crystal votive and memories of an amazing evening for a worthy cause.
Photos by Ann Chatillon, Bob Hodson, Ryan Miller, Tom Vickers