Dodge Unveils New Space With Kitschy Party

After a dinner celebrating the college’s new facility, guests retired to rooms decked out in super theme-y, retro decor.

February 14, 2007, 12:00 AM EST

Dodge College launched its new facility with a lavish gala dubbed the “Premiere.”

Dodge College’s new facility opening party Dodge College of Film and Media Arts at Chapman University Saturday, 02.10.07, 7 PM to 1 AM
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Who says that big-money premieres are just for Hollywood movies? The Dodge College of Film and Media Arts at Chapman University hosted a black-tie gala dubbed the “Premiere” to celebrate the opening of the college’s 76,000-square-foot facility, complete with a 500-seat theater, two soundstages, and high-tech classrooms for film education. Longtime Chapman supporter and event chairwoman Twyla Reed Martin oversaw the evening, which kicked off with a V.I.P. reception at which guests sipped cocktails, nibbled on crab cakes, caviar, and lobster crisps with parmesan cheese, and watched models show off the latest Escada line.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger started off the formal presentation. ThenCourtney B. Vance presented the inaugural Dream Maker award to his wife, Angela Bassett, and Virginia Madsen received the first Art of Film award.

A three-course dinner followed in a gauzy white tent with a live band in the center and silent TV screens showcasing old movies. Guests noshed on baby caviar potato bruschetta, butternut-squash cappuccino, pan-roasted pheasant with a champagne wild-mushroom vinaigrette reduction, chocolate hazelnut cake with Frangelico, and two featured wines from the Francis Coppola Diamond collection.

Once appetites had been sated, four theme areas kept the party going. A Film Noir room featured soothing jazz, plenty of dark corners and black chairs for private interludes, plants lit with a deep blue glow, and circa-1974 posters on the wall from Playboy. Those uncomfortable with the quiet tête-à-tête ambiance could escape into the livelier rooms; in one, beach balls bounced around the floor, a big band played contemporary music (complete with classic backup singers in frilly pink dresses), lounge chairs and umbrella tables lined the walls, and bartenders wore Hawaiian shirts. A Western room featured straw on the floor and a grand player piano; a wagon wheel, barrels, bartenders in cowboy hats, and a rocking horse just outside the door completed the atmosphere. A Cadillac couch sat outside the sitcom-inspired room, in which 50’s-era TV sets aired such shows as I Dream of Jeannie, a jukebox played classic tunes, and a combination of retro-diner and family-living-room furniture completed the look.

Saks Fifth Avenue provided $100 gift certificates for guests, which the valets left in people’s cars for them to find as they drove away.

Laura Horwitz

Posted 02.14.07

Photos: WireImage (dining room, Film Noir room)

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