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Originally published March 11, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified March 11, 2007 at 3:01 AM

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PONCHO: Not just a thing to wear

The PONCHO Invitational Fine Art Auction draws enough of a younger, and attractive, crowd that professional dating coach Alma Rubenstein...

Seattle Times columnist

The PONCHO Invitational Fine Art Auction draws enough of a younger, and attractive, crowd that professional dating coach Alma Rubenstein reportedly encourages her clients to volunteer there. You never know where you might meet someone, right? And with good taste in art, to boot.

Alas, it's not a date auction, but art that's for sale at this annual fundraiser, which took place last Saturday night at Pier 66, with assorted guests.

"Frida Kahlo's here, and she looks healthier than she has in years," remarked a bemused guest upon passing the unibrowed impersonator. Also in attendance: Andy Warhol and a typically attention-hogging Salvador Dali.

The dress code appeared to be "with a sense of humor"; I saw a gentleman wearing plaid pants and a polka-dot tie. And here I was wondering if cowboy boots were too funky for a swanky PONCHO event.

"There's a lot of people I don't know," observed art curator and longtime PONCHO board member Margery Aronson, "and that's great, I think."

ON HER WAY into the fourth annual Go Red for Women Luncheon at the Sheraton Seattle Hotel, emcee Jean Enersen heard me confess that I had nothing red to wear, as requested on the invite. "Here, you can wear this," said the KING-TV anchor, pulling off her fancy crimson scarf and draping it over my shoulders.

I respectfully declined the scarf, but regretted it when confronted with a ballroom of 700 attendees smartly dressed in red — including celebrity chef Kathy Casey, Northwest Asian Weekly publisher Assunta Ng, Total Experience Gospel Choir director Pat Wright, and Seattle Times President Carolyn Kelly, who had stopped me earlier that day in the hall to ask, where was my red? However, I did my best to make up for my fashion faux pas by eating only the red things on my plate: strawberries from the spinach salad, and raspberries from the chocolate dessert. I left hungry, but it was for a good cause — the Feb. 28 event raised about $250,000 for the American Heart Association.

MISCHA BARTON'S entourage formed a receiving line of sorts at the Bellevue Nordstrom store last Saturday afternoon, where the erstwhile Marissa Cooper made an appearance on behalf of Keds, for whom she is a spokeswoman. I had 10 minutes in a green room with the actress, and our interview went something like this: Me: "So, did you watch the last season of 'The O.C.'?" Mischa: "No."

She warmed up considerably, however, when the conversation turned to shoes. "Audrey Hepburn wore Keds," she informed me, "and Marilyn Monroe, in the '50s. ... It's an iconic brand." So what does Mischa Barton wear with her Keds? A creamy designer minidress under a Juicy coat with big gold buttons, and chipped black nail polish, natch.

The actress, who just completed two films, had jetted into Seattle after catching the Christian Dior runway show in Paris. Jet lag or no jet lag, she cheerfully signed autographs and posed for pictures with a couple hundred cellphone-wielding fans in the shoe department for two hours.

SEATTLE CITY COUNCIL President Nick Licata and his wife were among those celebrating the opening of the new SIFF venue at McCaw Hall on March 1. The state-of-the-art, 400-seat and very blue cinema is located in the previously underused Nesholm Family Lecture Hall space. Its official debut screening was "The Earrings of Madame de ... ," a 1953 film by Max Ophüls, which gave way to thunderous applause. Afterward, the party continued at Purple Wine Bar, where revelers deemed it the "Night of Jubilee."

Girl About Town appears every Sunday in Northwest Life. Pamela Sitt: 206-464-2376 or psitt@seattletimes.com

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