Art rock star Dale Chihuly‘s time in Dallas for his exhibition at the Dallas Arboretum had art lovers quivering with delight. The 70-year-old, glass sculptor, whose devotees can quote chapter and verse of his life and works, from the loss of sight in his left eye to the reason that he no longer personally blows glass, was ushered around town non-stop for pre-opening-day festivities. Just a couple of events included:
THURSDAY, MAY 3
Among his many stops, Dale made an appearance at Dee Wyly‘s for mega patrons to dine, meet, greet and get autographs from Dale in the estate’s library where a piece of his work was also on display. Clad in a dark suit and turquoise blue shirt (remember that for later), he admitted that the heat of Texas was rather memorable. It was even more so on this occasion. According to Dee, whose bright orange jacket matched the Chihuly piece in the library perfectly, the mansion’s A/C was acting up.
Ironically, the glassed-in atrium was cool. Perhaps it was the colorfully wrapped cafe tables that set the mood.
Ah, as delicious as the library was, the dining room was where Wyly chef Darren McGrady proved to be the “Foodie Chihuly.” Surrounding the huge floral centerpieces was an array of silver platters with roast beef tenderloin bruschetta, lump crab cakes with smoked paprika aioli and smoked salmon lollipops sculpted into miniature Chihuly artworks. At the head of the table was a replica of Chihuly at Kew Garden in London that was good enough to eat. . . literally.
Every now and then, Darren would poke his head out of the kitchen only to be embarrassed by all the praise that guests heaped on him.
In the foyer Chihuly Dallas: The Gala in the Garden Chair Kaki Hopkins stood on the stairs and recognized honorary dinner chairs Vera and Bob Thornton, honorary gala chairs Margaret Crow and Caroline Rose Hunt and Brian Shivers, who in addition to being chairman of the Arboretum board is “more importantly, our wine chair!”
She then introduced Dale, who made it quick saying he had been in town several years ago and got to know Dee. Regarding his current visit to Dallas, he said, “I’ll just thank you for having Leslie (Jackson, his wife) and myself out. . . The show looks great; the crew did a wonderful job; and this is a nice party. Thank you very much!”
Then he was off to another event.
FRIDAY, MAY 4
Evidently everyone but Dale got the memo requesting that Chihuly Dallas: The Gala in the Garden guests wear black, white or black/white. Nothing was mentioned about shades of grey. . . or even shade.
Despite rumors of possible storms in the far off regions, the sun shone brightly especially on the
Arboretum grounds making the colorful Chihuly sculptures dazzle and sizzle. It also resulted in guests getting a little hot under the collar. No, not that hot under the collar. Rather, the reception in the Scott K. Ginsburg Family Plaza seemed to feel like that experiment done by every kid. You know. . . the one where a magnifying glass directs a beam of light onto dried leaves resulting in a blaze. The ladies fared so much better in their lightweight gowns with a touch of sunscreen under their makeup.
The vast majority of gents respected the word gala to the “T” opting for the tuxedo look and simmered within their starched shirts, cummerbunds, vests and jackets. When asked why he didn’t just take off his jacket, one fellow smiled bravely and admitted that his shirt was already too drenched.
Thinking ahead Janis Coffee wearing her fav gold-cross necklace by Tiana provided husband Roy with fashion advice to survive the evening. “I told him to wear a pretty shirt because he would want to take the jacket off.”
On the other hand, some found interesting ways of working within the black-and-white spectrum while not sweating as badly as others. Mike Leger and John Christ in white dinner jackets and black T-shirts admitted they opted for the look because they “knew it was going to be outside.”
Bob Sypult took an entirely different approach to his ensemble. Yes, he also sported a white dinner jacket, but added formal black walking shorts with dark dress stockings.
The definite accessory of choice for the early evening pre-dinner gathering was without a doubt sunglasses. Maybe it was glare coming off of the Chihuly artwork in plaza.
Dian and Don Malouf arrived bearing gifts. Seems they had met Dale in Tyler back in 2000 when they gave him a glass Japanese float. To add to his collection, the Maloufs were going to present him with another float but one with a barnacle on it.
While the guests like the Hunts (Caroline Rose, Nancy and Barbara), Arlington Mayor Dr. Robert Cluck, Nancy and Rick Rome, Susan and Jerry Carlton, Frankie and Gerald Horn, Mary Jalonick, Lyda Hill and newlyweds Lynn and Peter Dauterman filled the plaza in preparation for dinner on the lawns of the Arboretum, Dale was quickly whisked into air-conditioned Rosine Hall unbeknownst to most.
What was that? Had Dale not gotten the memo? He was wearing a turquoise blue shirt along with his paint-splattered shoes. Say, didn’t that shirt look a lot like the on he wore the night before? Well, it is his fav color, so he probably has a dozen of them. We know he has at least two.
Here he chatted with Brian Shivers, Louise Griffeth and Anne Logan. When asked how he was holding up in Texas heat, Dale said, “It’s not too bad. I haven’t had to get out in it too much. I wouldn’t want it to get much hotter.”
Dale, trust us. You might want to take a pass on attending Fourth of July celebrations here.