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Originally published May 20, 2013 at 7:19 PM | Page modified May 21, 2013 at 12:30 PM

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Much ado about things at SIFF GALA

At the SIFF opening-night gala, Lynn Shelton talks about her devotion to Seattle, and Joss Whedon encourages being a fan of his. Meanwhile, on the Eastside, Luly Yang shows her collection in a magical cat condo.

Seattle Times staff columnist

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You look at director Lynn Shelton and think, “Why is she behind the camera?” Girl’s a stunner.

But a bit of a shy one, too.

The director of the upcoming “Touchy Feely” tried to avoid the red carpet at the Seattle International Film Festival gala the other night, but neither I nor “Art Zone” host Nancy Guppywould allow it.

So Shelton swung a leg over the velvet rope and withstood the flurry of clicks.

It was the one time that Seattle seemed out of Shelton’s comfort zone. This is her place to make movies. The L.A.-based producers of “Touchy Feely” didn’t get that and were ready to shoot there or in Atlanta, she told me.

“But I told them, ‘You don’t understand! I have a crew!’ My tried-and-true family of collaborators,” she said, cinematographer Ben Kasulke among them. “Movies are all about relationships, in front of and behind the camera.”

The gala highlight was the premiere of Joss Whedon’s “Much Ado About Nothing,” which he loaded with his own crew and filmed at his Santa Monica mansion. Just another night at Joss’, if you’re into iambic pentameter.

Whedon & Co.’s arrival made the red carpet a raucous one, so when cast member Nathan Fillionstopped to talk, it was a little hard to hear, but we soldiered on, noting that this was his first stab at Shakespeare, and would he like to do more?

Fillion directed his answer to the carpet. I’m sorry; what was that?

“ ‘Hamlet,’ ” he repeated, sternly. “Maybe you’ve heard of it?”

Much kinder was his co-star, Alexis Denisof, who was enjoying a bit of a homecoming. He grew up on Capitol Hill and went to Seattle Country Day School on Queen Anne Hill.

“My first thoughts and dreams of becoming an actor happened here,” Denisof said.

And while the city has changed since he left, one thing must remain the same.

“Dick’s Drive-In, God, please don’t let that go,” he said. “That will be the nail in the coffin.”

At the after-party, I saw publicist Janet Wainwrightbeside a cluster of people holding iPhones in the air: Whedon was at the center of it.

“I am just observing people lusting after him,” Wainwright told me.

“That is the perfect word,” said a woman beside me, before launching into Whedon’s IMDB profile: “Went to Wesleyan, third-generation TV writer, script-doctored a whole bunch of stuff. Was set to direct a Wonder Woman movie before it tanked. The Superman movie before it went in another direction.”

Suddenly, Whedon was standing beside her. I snapped a pic of them on her iPhone and told him this woman knew everything about him. He didn’t find that, uh, creepy, did he?

“They’re fans,” he insisted. “I want to have fans.”

Helping Mary’s Place

You go to enough fundraisers and listen to enough “asks,” and you start to ask yourself: Is there something more beyond filling out the donation form and — admit it — keeping the pen?

Fredda Goldfarb asked herself that question about Mary’s Place, where homeless women and children find refuge and community while their lives stabilize.

At the nonprofit’s annual fundraising lunch at Fisher Plaza the other day, Goldfarb explained the origins of what is now known as “The Breakfast Club.”

Every week, when she meets with a group of friends for spiritual studies (Catholicism, Buddhism, you name it), they all bring boxes of cereal and cartons of milk, then take turns delivering it all to Mary’s Place, where affordable cornflakes, while appreciated, get a little old. Especially for the kids.

Seven of them took their first steps at the shelter — one of them the day of the luncheon. Something to think about.

Besides Goldfarb, Mary’s Place gets big support from Fawn Spadyof Dick’s Drive-In, which delivered a box of burgers and shakes when the emergency night shelter opened in December; and JJ McKay, who asked his table guests to bring bottles of hot sauce — a luxury the clients rarely get to enjoy.

First lady Trudi Insleesaid she is “working, working, working,” and has turned her focus to the issues of human trafficking, homelessness and domestic violence.

She’s also put in a community garden on the grounds of the Governor’s Mansion. Very soothing. And very Michelle Obama.

Wright way to walk

There are catwalks, and there are catwalks.

Arlene Wright , who allowed Seattle designer Luly Yangto hold a fashion preview at her Kirkland condo the other night, showed me several features of the spacious spread.

Along with the R. David Adams-designed garden and water features (there used to be koi, until the herons started feasting on them) was a within-the-walls walkway for Wright’s three cats, including a “balcony” in almost every room.

A curiosity, to be sure, but it couldn’t distract from Yang’s new “Absoluly” collection, which included an organza tea dress that looked like a wearable Monet, and another dress accented with what Yang called “upside-down martini glasses” on the hips.

“It’s called ‘Cheers,’ ” said Yang, who couldn’t stop smiling.

On my way out, I took one of the laminated brochures for this One Carillon Point place. It’s listed with Sotheby’s for $4.2 million. Bring your restless, voyeuristic felines.

Nicole Brodeur’s column appears Tuesday and Sunday. Reach her at 206-464-2334 or nbrodeur@seattletimes.com.

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About Nicole Brodeur's Names in Bold

On Tuesdays, I tell you about my travels through some of the week's social and philanthropic events — not just the ones for the swells, but those for work-a-day folks who care about making this region move and improve. 206-464-2334

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