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L.A. librarian to dine with American Ballet Theatre star

June 30, 2009 |  7:00 pm

Marcelo In November, Culture Monster reported on "Pointe, Click & Bid," American Ballet Theatre's holiday fundraising auction, which allowed dance enthusiasts the opportunity to bid on ballet experiences such as weekend packages with performance tickets, signed pointe shoes and photos, and the chance to be part of the show as a stage manager or an onstage extra.

Gifts, with starting bids ranging from $100 to $5,000, also included the possibility of dining with ABT stars. Because the company is based in New York City, most of the dinner dates were planned for Manhattan. But one was available in Los Angeles, with Brazilian dancer Marcelo Gomes, scheduled in conjunction with ABT's July 15-18 performances at the Music Center.

And we are happy to report that Gomes' eager companion for the July 16 dinner will be David Tulanian, downtown resident and children's librarian at the Los Angeles Public Library. Dancer will meet librarian at the Blue Velvet Restaurant Lounge (Culture Monster can't help but be intrigued by the strawberry and basil cannoli, a dessert offering).

Bidding for the dinner started at $1,000; the lucky Tulanian was the highest bidder at $1,100.

Winner "I ended up literally bidding at the last possible minute!"  the enthusiastic Tulanian reports in an e-mail with all appropriate exclamation points. "What happened was, I think I must have typed in the wrong password, so I had to re-enter my password three or four times!  With literally seconds to spare (before the auction ended), I placed the high bid and won. What a thrill!"

Even with the $1,000-plus price tag, Tulanian says the meeting is easily worth it. "I am a dance aficionado, so I wanted to give a little something back to the community for the many hours of joy that I have received from seeing these incredibly talented artists," he writes. "... I am a big dance fan and, in the world of dance, Marcelo is like a rock star! ... Some people will probably read this and think that I am extravagant, but to me I would much rather do something like this than blow the same amount of money on a couple trips to Vegas. What fun is that?"

Adds Tulanian of Gomes: "The way he moves his body and is somehow able to make extremely difficult dance moves appear almost effortless ... wow, I would love to be able to do that.

"Who knows, maybe in my next life, right?"

-- Diane Haithman

Top photo: Marcelo Gomes performing the title role in "Othello." Credit: Nancy Ellison from her 2008 book "In Classic Style: The Splendor of American Ballet Theatre." Bottom photo: David Tulanian. Credit: From David Tulanian.