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Bettina's Take: LACMA Opening of Ray's Restaurant and Stark Bar

Ben Walker Mamie Gummer

With the Oscars only a few days away, the buildup parties in L.A. are going full throttle. On February 22, Graydon Carter gave a cocktail at LACMA for Wendy Stark to celebrate the opening of Ray's Restaurant and Stark Bar, which is named after Wendy's father, legendary producer Ray Stark.

The Renzo Piano–designed restaurant is airy, inviting—a place you'd want to visit regularly.

"Renzo wanted to make it into a piazza, a fantastic public space, with the lamps looking on like a temple of light," said CEO and director of LACMA Michael Govan, referring to the awe-inspiring Chris Burden lampposts at the museum's entrance.

Actor Julian Sands agreed wholeheartedly: "This is the place!" he said with enthusiasm. Added Sands' wife, Evgenia Citkowitz, "The combination of high culture and food is unbeatable."

Wendy Goldberg, whose husband, Leonard, produced Unknown, the current No. 1 thriller starring Liam Neeson, was also charmed by the space: "It's adorable, it's so festive!"

A beaming Wendy Stark was the perfect hostess to guests such as Minnie Mortimer and Steve Gaghan, Betsy Bloomingdale, Danna and Ed Ruscha, Diane von Furstenberg and Barry Diller, Jacqueline Bisset, Mary Hayley and Selim Zilkha who enjoyed cocktails and hors d'oeuvres created by Patina Catering.

Beautiful stage and film couple Mamie Gummer and Ben Walker held court with a small group. Walker was a force on Broadway as the lead in Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson. "I'm now working on Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. It's a movie based on the Seth Grahame-Smith book. We start shooting in three or four weeks," said the charismatic star, who pointed out that it's yet another project with a historical reference.

I didn't know Lincoln hunted vampires, but that's not a problem for me. With Walker starring, I'll be glad to go along for the ride.

Photo: Ben Walker and Mamie Gummer at the LACMA opening.