Seen, Heard, Said -- About Town


BALLET BALL: It may still be November, but the Pacific Northwest Ballet's annual Nutcracker Ball launched the holiday season with a festive gala Friday at the Four Seasons Olympic Hotel, raising $100,000.

Chairman: Jackie Fluke solicited 21 corporate sponsors. Fluke is to the ballet what Pam Anderson was for last week's Seattle Repertory Theatre gala, a powerhouse of philanthropic connections.

Attending: 337 in a dazzling array of holiday finery, sequins, beaded gowns, a cloakroom full of furs, Marsha Rich Hatch in a black Ungaro, Louvette Fowler in a blue, beaded Bob Mackie.

The show: As guests arrived at the hotel they were greeted by dancers dressed as a nutcracker, cavalry and mice. At the end of the cocktail hour, the mice and the nutcracker dueled on the balcony above the Spanish Ballroom foyer. The victorious nutcracker then led the way into the dining room.

Observations: From the stairs, a group of hotel guests watched the show, among them Joy Herman, president of Ohio's Toledo Ballet, which will have its ballet fund-raising gala in two weeks.

``This is marvelous. There's a feeling that the whole city supports the ballet here,'' she said.

The decor: There was a spectacular 20-foot Christmas tree in the foyer, hand-painted tablecloths and hand-painted banners in the Maurice Sendak motif, great urns of fruit, feathers and tinsel on the tables, cedar boughs woven through with white lights, the work of Janet Brelsford and Candi Baransky's Superscenics, Bellevue. It was also the product of decorations committee chairwomen Kathleen Taylor (husband Dave runs Frederick & Nelson) and Hilda Mang, (husband Bob is the Bon Marche), a department-store merger of sorts.

Predictions: Superscenics are going to be the hit of the Seattle party circuit, says Sharon Streissguth, new ballet board member.

Best things: ``Seeing all the things people are wearing,'' says Deanna Myers, a ballet student who was a member of the cavalry; nutcracker party favors.

Food: ``Stahlbaum Strudel,'' crab, smoked salmon and horseradish sabayon; ``Orange Brook Pond,'' a consomme of chicken with fried cabbage pasta and caraway crepes; ``Candy Meadow Lane,'' sorbet of crab apple with winter pansies; ``Mouse King's Fancy,'' filet of beef with Veal Black Pepper Mousse and burgundy glaze.

While the orchestra played ``White Christmas,'' waiters served chocolate Christmas trees, wreathed in cotton-candy snow.

REPUBLICAN RITES: Palm Springs Mayor Sonny Bono cruised into the refined College Club white-shirt, dark-suit Republican crowd in a beam of camera light.

The more than 200 attending the Young Men's Republican Club of King County dinner, Wednesday, were divided into two camps - those raised on ``I Got You Babe,'' and those who pretended the decade or so of long-hair, bell-bottoms and ``The Beat Goes On'' was something from an alien, organically grown, sprouts-tofu-and-granola cosmos: Berkeley.

But there he was, the former prototype of the free-love generation turned Republican and hobnobbing with the white-shirt crowd, campaigning, of sorts, for the U.S. Senate.

``Reagan broke the actor barrier into politics,'' said Rob McKenna, a white-shirt, Perkins Coie attorney and card-carrying Republican. ``Sonny's been in a lot of disaster films.''

Film disasters?

``I thought it would have been more interesting to have seen Cher,'' said Marilyn McKenna, self-proclaimed political independent. ``Cher is probably not a Republican. No, in fact, she couldn't be. No Republican would show his belly button in public.''

The McKennas, both 28, she's a public-relations employee for Microsoft, were raised on the ``Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour'' of the '70s.

``Remember how they had those big lights with their faces on them?'' Marilyn McKenna asked.

``We were just talking about Chastity just the other night,'' McKenna added.

Just then Sonny drifted by in his beam of light, blue shirt, red tie, gray silk suit. He could have been selling used Fords.

Why the Republican party, Sonny?

``It's more entrepreneurial. I like that a guy like me that's poor and never went to school can get involved in capitalism, money and investments,'' Sonny, 55, said.

``I'd like to be a U.S. senator. When you're there (in Washington D.C.) you feel that heart beat.''

And the beat goes on.