With a glitzy purple and silver crown elegantly tipped back over white curls, Ethel Travis was the queen beet Monday night.
From Chicago to New York, Tucson, Ariz., to Newport Beach, the 97-year-old traveling socialite and philanthropist, former ballerina, fashion buyer and artist could have celebrated her birthday just about anywhere.
Instead, she chose the Blue Beet on the Balboa Peninsula.
When venue owner Steve Lewis asked Travis what she wanted the band to play, she replied: "Play me something hip." She was hinting at her energy and passion for life, qualities her friends say she exudes everywhere she goes.
"I don't feel like I'm 97," Travis said with a laugh while accepting a hug and birthday card from one of the many friends who came to celebrate the night with her.
Although she moved to Newport Beach from Tucson six years ago, a full room of people, ranging from a teenager to guests in their 90s, gathered Monday night.