By Jenny Peters
It was an exciting early October weekend in Southern California, as the Longines Masters galloped into the Los Angeles Convention Center for its second year of world-class equestrian competitions; meanwhile, Jane Fonda headed up the coast to Santa Barbara, to accept the Santa Barbara International Film Festival’s Kirk Douglas Award for Excellence in Film at a glittery fundraising gala.
The Longines Masters spanned four days, from October 1-4, 2015, with indoor show-jumping competitions held each day, culminating on Sunday with the Longines Grand Prix and its purse of $450,000. German rider Marco Kutscher took home that prize, riding Van Gogh, while Hannah Selleck (one of the many daughters of famous Americans who rode – her father is Tom Selleck) grabbed the $38,000 Canadian Pacific Grand Prix.
The VIP side of the massive ring boasted luxurious white-linen tables set for eight guests each, where top-notch sponsor Champagne Barons de Rothschild’s delicious, top-shelf Brut and Rose poured freely all weekend as lavish meals created by Michelin-starred chef Yves Mattagne satisfied even the pickiest appetites. The spectacular Rose, a blend of mostly Chardonnay sourced from the main Côte des Blancs crus (Avize, Cramant, Mesnilsur-Ager and Vertus) of France’s Champagne region, made watching the gorgeous horses and their riders take breathtaking jumps even more fun – and the celebrity spotting, too.
There was Bruce Springsteen, along with wife Patti Scialfa, encouraging their daughter Jessica Springsteen to ride hard; Bill Gates urging on daughter Jennifer; Steven Spielberg and Kate Capshaw cheering for their gal, Destry Spielberg; and Michael Bloomberg egging on his daughter Georgina. Other famous fans on hand included Kaley Cuoco (who also rode and won the Pro-Am charity event on Saturday), Tony Hale, Denise Richards, Jean Claude Van Damme, Camilla Belle and many others.
The Longines Masters celebrated sold-out days on Saturday and Sunday, so it seems it’s becoming a mainstay of the three-city competitive riding competition, as Frederic Mairesse, CEO of all three events sponsor Champagne Barons de Rothschild, hopes. “The Paris Longines Masters is huge,” he said, “and Hong Kong is drawing more and more people. It’s definitely becoming a popular event here in Los Angeles, too, which we are very happy to see.”
Further up the coast on Saturday, October 3, the ever-popular Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) held their 10th annual fundraising gala to a packed house. The festival happens every February; the presentation of the Kirk Douglas Award for Excellence in Film leads up to the big event and is a big event all on its own.
This year, Jane Fonda received the award for her impressive body of work in the cinema; the two-time Oscar winning 77-year-old star looked sleek in a lacy green Elie Saab jumpsuit and brought two of her actress pals – Elizabeth Banks and Diane Lane — along for the fun.
“Just like this festival, Jane’s career is the bomb!” exclaimed Elizabeth Banks from the podium in the ballroom at the pretty Bacara Resort, then added, “Jane is a true Hollywood legend and a walking celebration of femininity and power.”
The Hollywood legend got well into the spirit of the evening, which was sponsored by Hennessy in honor of its new 250 Collector Blend, a limited-edition cognac just released in celebration of the brand’s 250th anniversary. That gorgeous quaff is a limited edition, which explains why the packed ballroom (and Fonda herself) were served the lovely Hennessy Paradis Imperial (which sells for $2,999 per bottle) in order to toast the actress, who promptly shot the whole glass in one fell swoop. She could afford to drink it quickly, as Hennessy presented her with a personally engraved bottle of her own.
And as Jane Fonda accepted her Kirk Douglas Award for Excellence in Film from Diane Lane, she saluted Douglas, who sent her a taped congratulation.
“I hope I am having cocktails when I am 98, just like Kirk Douglas!” she laughed. Or a sip of that Hennessy, which only gets better with age, too.