Symposium Explores Assassination’s Impact On Dallas

The idea that, ever since the 1963 assassination here of President John F. Kennedy, the city of Dallas “has been struggling for redemption,” as commentator Lee Cullum put it, seemed to be at the heart of a symposium presented on Saturday, November 2, by the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture in partnership with The Dallas Morning News.

Morning panel

Morning panel*

The daylong gathering at the South Side Ballroom, titled “Understanding Tragedy: The Impact of the JFK Assassination on Dallas,” attracted about 500 attendees. They listened to a morning “plenary” session including the observations of more than 15 prominent writers and scholars, then to a luncheon presentation by New Yorker staff writer Lawrence Wright, who grew up in Dallas, followed by a conversation between Wright and Jim Lehrer, executive director of the PBS Newshour. Lehrer was a reporter for the The News and then the Dallas Times Herald from 1959 to 1966.

Later, attendees could choose among four “Focus Forums” and roundtables on ways the assassination affected journalism, religion, arts and the humanities, and politics. Participants in these individual discussions included former DMN reporter Hugh Aynesworth; author Bill Minutaglio; writer and editor Richard Rodriguez; Rev. Zan Holmes, pastor emeritus of St. Luke Community United Methodist Church; Institute co-founder Dr. Gail Thomas; Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings; and Margaret Spellings, president of the George W. Bush Foundation.

Dr. Larry Allums addressing the morning audience

Dr. Larry Allums addressing the morning audience*

During the morning plenary session, Dr. Larry Allums, the Institute’s executive director, said he hoped the day would be part of a “cleansing process” for the city. Thomas said Dallas has not wanted to “own the shadow of the assassination.” Then she added, “A friend told me, ‘Don’t talk about the darkness, the shame.’ That’s been our problem.” Another participant in the morning session, Dr. Frederick Turner of the University of Texas at Dallas, had a different view. He said that Dallas had accepted blame for Kennedy’s killing, because “in some way it matched something that Dallas acknowledged about itself.”

Photo credit: Jeanne Prejean

Laura Leppert Rallies The Daughters Of World War II As Veterans Day Approaches

Laura Leppert (File photo)

Laura Leppert (File photo)

There’s no greater evangelist for the Daughters of World War II group in Dallas than Laura Leppert, the nonprofit’s president and co-founder. The wife of former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert comes alive talking about sacrifices made by members of the Greatest Generation, especially those living in North Texas.

Just now Laura is excited about the Daughters’ event, scheduled for Monday, Nov. 11, called “Heroes Among Us: A Tribute to WWII Veterans Luncheon,” at the Hilton Anatole.

With Ebby Halliday serving as honorary chair and an honorary committee including the likes of Maurine Dickey, Mary Poss and Gloria Campos, the two-hour luncheon will honor retired Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Lawrence F. Snowden and James Leavelle, who served in the U.S. Navy.

Gen. Snowden was involved in the capture of Saipan and in the assault on Iwo Jima. Leavelle, a Pearl Harbor survivor, was the Dallas police detective who was handcuffed to Lee Harvey Oswald when Oswald was shot and killed by Jack Ruby.

Native Texan Robert Bearden, a paratrooper and German POW during World War II, also will appear at the luncheon as a “surprise guest” and sign copies of his memoir, To D-Day and Back.

Sponsorship opportunities for the event include $3,000, $5,000, $10,000 and $25,000 levels. Laura is expecting as many as 400 at the luncheon, which is free to all World War II vets.

Roger Nanney’s AT&T PAC Chairman’s Dinner Got In The Swing Honoring Bess Enloe, Caren Prothro And Deedie Rose

Deedie Rose, Caren Prothro and Bess Enloe*

Deedie Rose, Caren Prothro and Bess Enloe*

Their second annual Chairman’s Dinner on September 16 at the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House capped a busy day for the people who run Dallas’ AT&T Performing Arts Center. Earlier in the day the PAC board of directors had held its annual meeting, voting to make three of its most prominent directors—Deedie Rose, Caren Prothro, and Bess Enloe—the board’s first-ever lifetime trustees.

The dinner in the C. Vincent Prothro Lobby of the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House also was a sort of bittersweet one for PAC Chairman Roger Nanney. While it marked great success for the Center—it just finished its second straight year in the black financially—it also marked Nanney’s final year as board chair. A search committee is looking for his successor.

Don and Ellen Winspear*

Don and Ellen Winspear*

While guests including Sarah and Ross Perot Jr., Adriana and Guillermo Perales and Ellen and Don Winspear prepared to enjoy a three-course feast by Wolfgang Puck Catering, Nanney and PAC CEO Doug Curtis threaded through the Prothro Lobby, greeting those at the exclusive gathering of directors, major donors and sponsors and supporters like old friends.

Roger Nanney*

Roger Nanney*

“It’s been great fun to see the Center become as successful as it has,” said Nanney, who’s been on the board since 2002 and was first elected chairman in 2010. “We raised the money, built the buildings, and then had to start up a new business. We learned how the place needs to operate. We’ve had a stable management team, and the venues are creating more revenue opportunities than we could have imagined.”

That’s important, he stressed, because it’s hit attractions like “The Book of Mormon” and the “Seinfeld” show that support the PAC’s resident companies including the Dallas Opera, the Texas Ballet Theater and the Anita N. Martinez Ballet Folklorico. Nanney’s thoughts on leaving the chairman’s post? “I’ll be a part of this forever,” he replied.

Sara and Chris Peck and Doug Curtis*

Sara and Chris Peck and Doug Curtis*

Not far away, meantime, Curtis, who is the PAC’s longest-serving employee as well as its chief executive, said he was surprised by how quickly the Center had become successful. So how does one do that? “With good business practices and sticking to your principles,” Curtis said. “We’ve been disciplined with our annual budget, and we’ve had to be nimble,” since not every PAC offering can be a “Book of Mormon.”

However, Curtis added, significant challenges remain. The Center needs to “broaden” its reach to more people in North Texas, he said, and, most importantly: “We still have some money to raise to pay for the buildings.” A capital campaign will begin soon to address that, he said, and he hopes it will be a short one.

Dinner*

Dinner*

Later, guests like Jeanne Marie Clossey, Marnie and Kern Wildenthal, and Lynn and Allan McBee finished their meal (black kale and spinach salad, seared halibut) by heading for a sliced-to-order pie bar from Emporium Pies. As the diners lined up for their desserts, many were swaying to the lively, soul-pop presentation of Motown classics by the band Cuvee.

Dance floor*

Dance floor*

As the evening began winding down, we asked Caren Prothro and Bess Enloe their thoughts about being named PAC lifetime trustees. “I’m flattered and honored,” Enloe said. But “it’s kind of a ‘sentence’ too.” Agreed Prothro, laughing: “They’ve ‘sentenced’ us to more work!” Then the PAC grande dame turned serious. “What an honor it is,” Prothro said. “It feels like the Center’s momentum, everything, is going in the right direction.” And this momentum, she added, will only help the Dallas community, especially its corporate community, realize the importance of becoming even more involved in the arts.

* Photo credit: Carter Rose

Lawmaker Updates Family Place Members On Domestic-Violence Legislation

No shortage of good information about The Family Place was provided last Wednesday, when the nonprofit’s Family Place Partners held its general membership meeting at Judy Rowan’s handsome home.

About 40 people turned out for the luncheon get-together, where members of the Family Place volunteer/financial-partners arm listened raptly to a variety of updates by Development Director Melissa Sherrill and others. For example, they heard that for the upcoming annual Partners Card shopping fundraiser (October 25-November 3), Galleria Dallas will be contributing $5 per Partners Card sold through a Galleria Dallas retailer. They also learned more about the group’s September 26 Texas Trailblazers Awards luncheon, which will feature Cynthia Lowen, who wrote and produced “Bully,” a pioneering documentary about bullied children.

State Rep. Justin Villalba and Judy Rowan

State Rep. Jason Villalba and Judy Rowan

But the real star of the Sept. 4 meeting was State Rep. Jason Villalba, who showed up to deliver a report on domestic violence measures that were considered by the state Legislature. Introduced by Gay Donnell, community education chair for Family Place Partners, the Dallas-born Republican from District 114 was the perfect person to deliver such a report, since he authored or had a hand in no fewer than five pieces of domestic-violence legislation, mostly in concert with Democrats.

However, Villalba said, these were not “ideological bills … [because] I’m a bipartisan kind of guy.” Domestic violence “affects everybody,” he added—not just disadvantaged people south of the Trinity River.

Of the five bills the freshman legislator described, one passed. S.B. 1360, which Villalba helped carry in the House, relates to witness tampering in cases involving family violence. Effective on Sept. 1, the new law stiffens penalties for anyone convicted of intimidating a witness in such cases. Villalba said this is important because, without the victim’s testimony, prosecutors have a tough time prosecuting alleged batterers.

Less successful in the past session were Villalba’s efforts to, among other things, put together a registry database of domestic-violence offenders, and to pass a “three-strikes” bill for repeat offenders. Some of the unsuccessful measures died for lack of time or were opposed for their “unintended consequences,” Villalba explained—obstacles he’ll work to overcome in future legislative sessions.

Dallas Symphony Orchestra Gala After-party Revealed With Anna-Sophia Van Zweden Returning At The Helm

Surrounded by a collection of Samurai art inside the Ann & Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Museum, Anna-Sophia van Zweden told a crowd of 70 on June 5 that she would return for the fourth straight year to chair the after-party following the Dallas Symphony Orchestra AT&T Gala.

Anna-Sophia van Zweden and Anne Stodghill

Anna-Sophia van Zweden and Anne Stodghill

“This year will be even more amazing than ever,” said Anna-Sophia, the daughter of DSO Music Director Jaap van Zweden. Once again Lucy Wrubel will spin the tunes for the after-party, she said, and Anna-Sophia’s friend Capera Ryan has agreed to serve as the event’s honorary chair. The 2013 DSO AT&T Gala and after-party will be held September 28 at the Meyerson Symphony Center. The gala’s highlight will be a performance by the Grammy Award-winning soprano, Renee Fleming, with Jaap van Zweden.

Samurai armor

Samurai armor

Hosted by Jose Reyes, the June 5 gathering in the museum above the Saint Ann Restaurant & Bar also included brief talks by the DSO’s Nick Weege—he said the Vivaldi Patron Circle, the orchestra’s young professionals group, had grown 25 percent in the last year—and Anne Stodghill. Anne, who’s chairing the AT&T Gala with her husband Steve, who was in Los Angeles for an American Film Institute event, said they’re still working on “design concepts” for the big ball.

Besides the opportunity to view the fascinating collection of Samurai armor assembled over 25 years by Anne and Gabriel Barbier-Mueller, the June 5 event also featured the performance of a short, two-movement piece with a Japanese theme by Jeff Hood, a cellist with the DSO.

Maj And Larry Hagman Brought Together The Starpower Including Linda Gray And Lee Majors For The 2013 A.W.A.R.E. Luncheon

Inside the beautiful North Dallas home of Pam and John Borders on Thursday, April 4, you could almost feel the excitement building for the 2013 A.W.A.R.E. Luncheon & Auction that would take place the next day. You might call the Borders’ patron party a teaser before the main event—the big, annual, mid-day fundraiser at the Hilton Anatole for the Greater Dallas Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. 

John and Betty Crawford

John and Betty Crawford

There were stars of commerce and show business at the Borders house, after all, from Maryellen and Ron Spears of AT&T and Betty and John Crawford of DowntownDallas Inc., to WFAA Daybreak host Ron Corning, actor/playwright Anthony Wilkinson and actress Linda Gray, who would star at Friday’s luncheon.

Becky Prince, president of the Greater Dallas Chapter of the Alzheimer’s group, came up to Corning and said, “I watch you every morning.” Wilkinson said he was looking forward to the opening of his second off-Broadway show, My Big Gay Italian Funeral, in New York on June 1. It’s a sort of sequel to Anthony’s long-running My Big Gay Italian Wedding.

Gray, meantime, had showbiz on her mind as well—namely, the fate of the Dallas remake she’s starring in on TNT as Sue Ellen Ewing, the wife of J.R. Ewing, played of course by the late Larry Hagman. The cast had just “wrapped” the show’s second season and was waiting for word about a third, Linda said. After enjoying the city of Dallas during filming, she added, she was looking forward to resting and seeing her family on her “ranch” in L.A.’s Valley area. Her cat is also looking forward to the ranch, she laughed: “He’s in the condo here, and hasn’t had a mouse in six months!”

Kay Hammond, Ron Corning, Linda Gray, Carmaleta Whiteley and Anthony Wilkinson

Kay Hammond, Ron Corning, Linda Gray, Carmaleta Whiteley and Anthony Wilkinson

Then, during brief remarks, Patron Party Chair Carmaleta Whiteley reminded attendees about the serious purpose of the A.W.A.R.E. luncheon, pointing out that Alzheimer’s has the “highest cost” of the major ailments. “Cancer and heart disease are the biggest killers, but families with Alzheimer’s, and society, pay approximately $215 billion a year on care for loved ones,” Carmaleta explained. “Another recent study said that one in every three people will suffer from dementia. That is why it is so important that you are here tonight, and have contributed to the care and research for this horrible disease.”

Faith and Lee Majors

Faith and Lee Majors

Some 850 attendees took Whiteley’s words to heart the next morning at the Anatole, where luncheon guests perused the silent auction items and chatted just outside the Chantilly Ballroom. Ramona Jones seemed tired after a frenzy of recent activity, for causes including the Dallas Arboretum, the Salvation Army, and the Eye Ball for UT Southwestern. Patricia Will, president and CEO of Belmont Village Senior Living, was up from Houston and excited about the company’s new Turtle Creek facility, which will open this summer. Jack Jacobs was complaining about being one of the few men at the luncheon. “About every five minutes another one goes by,” he muttered. But there was another man close by Jack, and quite the “hunk” at that: Lee Majors, the actor who starred in TV shows like The Fall Guy and The Big Valley. Majors, who was accompanied by his wife Faith, an actress and model, said he’d just appeared on Dallas with Gray and was here because his mother died of Alzheimer’s, among other reasons.

Sally Bos, Myron Martin  and Laura McClung

Sally Bos, Myron Martin and Laura McClung

Then it was time for the lunch (spring vegetable and goat cheese tart, braised chicken and pearl onions, fresh asparagus, chocolate strawberry shortcake) and the program, which was introduced by Corning of Channel 8. “There is no place in the country where they have more pre-events [for charity affairs] than Dallas,” Ron marveled as an icebreaker. “You could literally almost have Alzheimer’s and never forget that there’s another event!”

Next Corning brought on Kay Hammond, the 2013 A.W.A.R.E. president, and Laurie Kidder, the 2013 luncheon chair. After Becky Prince said the luncheon had raised more than $13 million for Alzheimer’s research since its inception, singer Rudy Gatlin of the Gatlin Brothers—he is Hammond’s former son-in-law—sang the invocation. Rudy was joined at the end of the prayerful tune by Sam Harris, the singer and actor who got his start on Star Search.

The title of Linda Gray’s talk was “Remembering Larry Hagman and Honoring Maj Hagman.” (The Swedish-born Maj, Larry’s widow, has had Alzheimer’s for several years.) Recalling stories, showing video clips, and describing photos from Hagman’s life that were displayed on the room’s giant screens, Gray told of the close, mutually respectful relationship that she and Larry shared for 35 years.

“Linda is my best friend—the perfect woman,” Hagman said of Gray in one clip. “She is the greatest leading lady a man could ever want.” Gray returned the compliment: “It was as if we were married in other lifetimes.”

Linda and Maj—married to Hagman for 52 years and the “rock” of his life—called each other “wife,” Gray recalled with a smile. Maj was strong and feisty and kept it all together, she said, “because, basically, Larry was 5 years old!”

Maj was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2008, Linda said, “and it’s very challenging to be with her now.

“My mother had early Alzheimer’s, but my mom always remembered me,” Gray went on. “Once when we were driving in the car she told me, ‘I’ve found this wonderful thing.’ ‘What is it?’ I said. ‘Depends. I have one on right now, and I’m peeing.’ I said, ‘That’s just great.’ She said, ‘I have another one in my purse. Why don’t you pull over and put one on so you can drive and pee?’ ”

After bringing down the house with that story, Gray concluded her talk on a serious note: “Steve Jobs once said that we were all put here to make a dent in the universe. So I say to all of you: Look inside. What kind of a dent in the universe would you like to make? Whether it’s volunteering … or contributing … or giving love to someone in need.”

April 3 Round Robin: Connected City, Bigs And Day At The Races

Wednesday was a busy evening for Dallas nonprofits, with gatherings held for causes ranging from improving city parks to helping children in need.

Connected City

At the NYLO Dallas South Side hotel, more than 150 people turned up to hear plans outlined for the new Connected City Design Challenge. A joint project of the City of Dallas’ CityDesign Studio and the Trinity Trust Foundation, the challenge is an open call for urban design strategies to connect downtown Dallas with the Trinity River Corridor Project.

Mary Suhm, John Scovell and Gail Thomas

Mary Suhm, John Scovell and Gail Thomas

With attendees ranging from foundation CEO Dr. Gail Thomas and Dallas City Manager Mary Suhm to businessmen like Garrett Boone and John Scovell, the event celebrated a process that will include two idea streams: a professional stream and an “open” stream.

Brent Brown

Brent Brown

According to CityDesign’s Brent Brown, each of three professional design streams will be awarded $50,000 for their ideas, while four finalists in the open stream will receive $5,000 each. Larry Beasley, a top urban planner, will serve as chief curator for the competition, whose deadline for submissions is Sept. 19.

Said Thomas: “This is the most important project Dallas has ever attempted to return the city of Dallas to the river.”

Big Brothers, Big Sisters

Trammell S. Crow

Trammell S. Crow

Over at the Crow Collection of Asian Art, meanwhile, Trammell S. Crow was hosting a reception for Big Brothers Big Sisters Lone Star. Lone Star is the nation’s largest BBBS agency, with operations stretching from Abilene and Dallas to Houston and San Angelo. Tammy L. Richards, who was about to mark her 6-month anniversary as president and CEO, said Lone Star serves 10,000 children with one-to-mentoring.

Reuben Howard

Reuben Howard

One of them—Reuben Howard, the agency’s Little Brother of the Year—told about 50 attendees how he had been inspired by his Big Brother, Drew Swedlund, to become more active at school and to apply to Harvard, which has now accepted him. Drew spoke next—“I should have gone first, because Reuben was so good,” he joked—and explained that he and his wife came to love Reuben “just like he was my real brother.”

Donna and Herb Weitzman and Ana and Don Carty

Donna and Herb Weitzman and Ana and Don Carty

The agency also presented awards to longtime BBBS supporters Donna and Herb Weitzman and Ana and Don Carty. Don, a former chairman of the BBBS national board, said, “It’s hard not to have passion for this cause when you hear stories like” Reuben’s and Drew’s. Donna told how Herb had procured and donated office space for the group locally, and now is looking to do the same in Houston.

Among those attending the reception were Ed Okpa, Marti Carlin, Dr. Joy Macci and Bill Wallace, and Carmaleta Whiteley and James Schackelford.

Day At The Races

Gay Waltrip Donnell and Laurie Sands Harrison

Gay Waltrip Donnell and Laurie Sands Harrison

Across town at the beautiful home of Laurie Sands Harrison, more than 100 people showed up for the patron party for the fifth annual Day at the Races benefiting the Lee Park Junior Conservancy.

Jose Reyes and Michelle Scott

Jose Reyes and Michelle Scott

Honorary chair for the May 4 Kentucky Derby event is Laurie’s mother, Caroline Rose Hunt, while Michelle Scott and Jose Reyes are co-chairs. Gay Waltrip Donnell, president and CEO of the Lee Park & Arlington Hall Conservancy, explained that funds raised will go to develop Lee Park and for the conservation and preservation of Arlington Hall. According to Reyes the event’s fundraising goal is $50,000, and “it looks good right now.”  

This year the organizers are expecting 500 people for the party at Lee Park and Arlington Hall. It will feature a Derby Hat contest, entertainment by lounge singer Ricki Derek, and a silent auction. Several of the auction items were on display Wednesday night, including six Baccarat Vega Martini Glasses and eight Pickard Signature Monogram Dinner Plates.

The Races

The Races

 

Ashley Judd Reveals Childhood Problems That Haunted Her Into Adulthood At Appetite For Advocacy

Ashley Judd

Ashley Judd

Actress Ashley Judd, 44, was standing in a meeting room at the PlainsCapital Bank headquarters, talking to 100 people about childhood abuse and healing Tuesday evening. Judd, whose sister Wynonna and mother Naomi are both country-music stars, recalled realizing in her late 30s that having been neglected as a child—and raped as a teenager—had taken a toll she couldn’t shake.

“I was one of the highest-paid women in Hollywood, but I didn’t know it. Something inside me was off,” Judd told the hushed crowd. “I just felt crazy, because child abuse is crazy-making. I was also sick and tired of being sick and tired. Then I realized … there is help.”

Judd was at the PlainsCapital building in connection with her Wednesday appearance as keynote speaker for the sixth annual Appetite for Advocacy Luncheon, benefiting the Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center. The mission of the center, a collaborative effort of public and private agencies, is to improve the lives of abused children.

Ronnie Berg and Carla Cline

Ronnie Berg and Carla Cline

PlainsCapital’s Ronnie Berg—co-chair of the luncheon along with Carla Cline—was hosting the Tuesday party for Judd, who’d toured the DCAC facility earlier in the day and was pleased with what she’d found. During her brief remarks she recounted some of her own journey from childhood grief to healing in praising the center: “There are a lot of levers that can be pushed to help children get help,” she said. At DCAC, she added, “all those buttons can be pushed in one place.”

If Berg was the perfect host Tuesday evening, he seemed to be everywhere the next day at the DCAC luncheon in the Sheraton Dallas Hotel. Pausing between greeting guests at the pre-lunch reception, the bank exec said 1,100 were expected for the event, up from 1,000 last year. While last year’s luncheon had raised $275,000, he added, this year’s goal was $400,000, and he felt confident it would be reached with the help of underwriting chair Mary Blake Meadows and Mary Black, the raffle chair.

Mary Black

Mary Black

Across the room, meantime, guests like Tanya Roberts, Dee and D’Andra Simmons and Cheryl Hall were chatting and comparing notes. Retired lawyer Don Templin was with his wife, U.S. Attorney Sarah Saldana, who’d brought some of the prosecutors from her office who work with DCAC. Ruth Altshuler was looking forward to the April 25 opening of the George W. Bush Presidential Center, though she was uncertain whether Papa George H.W. Bush would be well enough to attend.

Following a welcome by emcee Scott Murray, DCAC president and CEO Lynn M. Davis told the luncheon crowd that his group had served more than 2,400 people last year. Then Reade Quinton, M.D., was given the Lt. Bill Walsh Award, Jim Pasant received the Ruth Sharp Altshuler Award, and the time came to hear the keynote talk by Judd.

Picking up on themes she’d outlined at PlainsCapital the night before, the actress called herself a “lost child” who was left to live entirely on her own in the 10th and 11th grades, and was raped twice at age 15. The reason she’s alive and healing now, she said, was because of the “angels” in her life, including her grandparents and a trusted neighbor woman. She also underwent treatment for her unresolved childhood grief at the Shades of Hope Treatment Center, near Abilene, in 2006. After having been “so choked on my own pain and ashamed of my own shame,” she said, Shades of Hope “gave me a safe place to fall apart.”

In the end, Ashley said, DCAC too offers an “inspirational, soulful place” for abuse victims that is “absolutely a national model.” A familiar cry of abused children everywhere, the actress concluded, is their plaintive plea: Where is everybody? “Today it’s so good to stand in this room” and realize that you’re right here, Ashley said passionately. “You’re suiting up—and showing up—for children who are being hurt.”

Patricia And Curtis Meadows Are Feted At Virginia Chandler Dykes Leadership Award Luncheon

Texas Woman’s University has experienced remarkable growth and success recently. And the Virginia Chandler Dykes Leadership Award luncheon is where the school lets everyone know it each year. The 11th annual luncheon, which honored Patricia and Curtis Meadows on February 21, was no exception.

With a crowd of nearly 400 on hand at the Belo Mansion and Pavilion, the award’s namesake, Virginia Chandler Dykes, announced that the event had raised more than $300,000 for TWU scholarships. TWU has grown 85 percent since 2001, she went on, with a fall 2012 enrollment of more than 15,000 at the Denton, Dallas, and Houston campuses—and the biggest freshman class in TWU history.

Patricia Meadows, Virginia Chandler Dykes and Bob White

Patricia Meadows, Virginia Chandler Dykes and Bob White

Cracked Bob White of presenting sponsor Bank of Texas: “I wish the bank would have the kind of growth you did, Virginia.”

Ebby Halliday Acers

Ebby Halliday Acers

White’s remark brought appreciative chuckles from the audience, which was enjoying a delicious meal including herb-dusted filet beef, mashed potatoes and asparagus, and milk-chocolate mousse. Among the attendees were Kay Weeks; Caroline Rose Hunt; TWU regent Mary Wilson; Sue Bancroft (a platinum table sponsor with her husband Christopher); Veletta Lill; and Ebby Halliday. A member of the Luncheon Advisory Committee, the remarkable Ebby was preparing for another milestone birthday (No. 102, on March 9) and a March 5 “pancake breakfast” celebration for company employees and others at Southfork Ranch. (Proceeds from the birthday event will benefit the Ebby Halliday Elementary School in southeast Dallas.)

TWU Chancellor and President Dr. Ann Stuart paid a touching tribute to Virginia’s husband James Dykes, who passed away in January, and then brought on Myrna Schlegel, who received last year’s Leadership Award along with her daughter Kimberly Schlegel Whitman.

Caroline Rose Hunt, Virginia Chandler Dykes and Myrna Schlegel

Caroline Rose Hunt, Virginia Chandler Dykes and Myrna Schlegel

Myrna, in turn, introduced Patricia Meadows, who has served the Dallas community as a consultant, civic appointee, board member and advocate for the visual arts. “We see a roomful of doers and achievers,” Patricia said during her brief talk. “Any one of you could have received this award.”

Ann Stuart and Curtis Meadows

Ann Stuart and Curtis Meadows

She gave way to Curtis, an attorney who’s Of Counsel to Thompson & Knight LLP and a former president of the Meadows Foundation. Curtis began with a smile: “Lawyers have to have a few more words than that.” Calling Patricia “a fearsome defender of the vulnerable,” he recalled how his parents had given him a “good foundation” stressing the importance of family, faith and community.

Then he added: “My father said, ‘Son, I’ve given you a good name. Don’t mess it up!’ ”

The luncheon also honored four graduate students from all four TWU colleges as recipients of scholarship funds. They were Steven M. Gerardi, College of Health Sciences; Lisa L. Ferguson, College of Nursing; Jill Bellomy, College of Professional Education; and Elodie Singer, College of Arts and Sciences.

Paws Cause Paused To Celebrate SPCA Fundraising Patrons At Komali

Jocelyn White and Don and Stacey Kivowitz

Jocelyn White and Don and Stacey Kivowitz

Stacey and Don Kivowitz, honorary Co-chairs of the March 3 “Paws Cause Goes Hollywoof” benefit at Sambuca in Uptown, are united in their love of animals.

That was clear last Tuesday night at Komali restaurant, where about 50 people gathered for the “Hollywoof” patron party.

Standing on a raised platform at the end of the bar, Don told the crowd how the couple has adopted five pets, partly because of Stacey’s extra-sympathetic attitude:

“Stacey sees an animal on the street, and says, ‘What’s wrong with that animal?!’ ” Don teased with a laugh.

His wife didn’t seem to mind. Taking the mic from Don, Stacey proceeded to laud Abraham Salum, Komali’s chef and owner; the SPCA’s spay/neuter programs; and James Bias, president of the SPCA of Texas, who was also in the house.

Bias “is ushering in a kinder, gentler era of animal welfare,” Stacey smiled, “right here in our own backyard!”

Loud applause broke out but, by this time, you got the feeling the party-goers would have agreed with about anything.

Jody Dean and  Fiona Pestell

Jody Dean and Fiona Pestell

Among them were Tanya Roberts; SPCA of Texas board chair Jocelyn White and her husband Kim Seal; Diane and Hal Brierley, en route to a performance of Anything Goes at the Winspear Opera House; and Fiona Pestell with radio star Jody Dean.

Jody reported having talked recently with deejay legend and stroke victim Ron Chapman, who told him, “I always wanted to sound like Dick Clark, and now I do.”

Jane Arrington, Andie Comini, and Cassie Evans are Co-chairs of next month’s “Hollywoof” event, whose special guests will be Dancing With The Stars All-Star winner Melissa Rycroft and her husband, Tye Strickland.

The evening fundraiser will benefit spay/neuter and other programs at the SPCA of Texas Village Fair Clinic. Monies raised will help provide more than 12,000 free and low-cost surgeries and 15,000 health and wellness treatments there this year.

 

Steve Martin Breaks Records At The Bishop’s Gala But Doesn’t Get Handy At Grip-And-Grin Session

The annual Bishop’s Gala benefiting Catholic Charities of Dallas Inc. is always a stellar event, offering a first-rate dinner and top-flight entertainment. And, this year’s 15th annual Gala, held on Saturday, February 2, was no exception.

Headlined by actor and comedian Steve Martin, the event at the Hilton Anatole attracted more than 1,200 people and, before the first drink was even poured, had already exceeded its underwriting goals.

Megan and David Martinez

Megan and David Martinez

At a pre-dinner reception in the Wedgewood Room, event chairs Megan and David Martinez were beaming like proud parents. Not far from them, Bishop Kevin Farrell was pleased as well.

Bishop Kevin Farrell

Bishop Kevin Farrell

“This is probably one of the largest Catholic events in the city of Dallas,” Farrell said. “It is wonderful to see so many Catholics and non-Catholic people come out to support charitable causes. Of course, there’s a great tradition of that in Dallas. … It’s a city where I’m continually amazed by the large number of people who support philanthropic events such as this.”

Those doing so Saturday at the Hilton included Mary and Mike Terry, the honorary co-chairs; Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings; country-music legend Charley Pride; and Charlene Howell representing Rosewood Properties, which bought two tables.

Mary and Mike Terry

Mary and Mike Terry

The excellent dinner, which started promptly at 7:25, consisted of lobster bisque soup en croute, sliced beef tenderloin served on a bed of wilted spinach with wild mushrooms sauce, creamy polenta with crispy pancetta bacon grilled asparagus and baby carrots and frozen chocolate macadamia nut souffle with caramel sauce and chocolate dipped strawberry. 

At 8:15 it was announced that $7,000 had already been raised via texting alone. (When it comes to money-raising, Dallas Catholics, bless ’em, leave no stone unturned.) Then it was time for the traditional game of Heads or Tails, followed by a live auction.

As the 11 items—and the big bucks—began adding up, although ever-so-painstakingly-slowly, at least one guest grew antsy. “I’m turning into a pumpkin here,” she cried as item No. 7 was being described. “I should have had another drink!”

Finally, though, it was time for the last item—a meet-and-greet session with Steve Martin himself, and a chance to buy one of his trademark banjos. Suddenly Martin himself appeared on the raised wooden auction stage, making with his quips: “Thank you, dear, great job,” he said to the emcee. “I hear you’re just out of prison, so that’s very exciting.” Then: “If you buy the banjo and practice for 50 years, you can play a song like this,” before breaking into an upbeat bluegrass tune. (Maria and Tim Machelski bought one of the banjos.)

Steve Martin

Steve Martin*

The comedian and actor’s presentation, which started at 9:50 and lasted for nearly an hour, was titled, “Why I Did Standup, and Why I Quit.” Seeming to read from a prepared script, Martin offered a straight-line, often melancholy review of his career as a stand-up comic, starting with his birth in Waco and the family’s relocation to Los Angeles five years later.

From the beginning, Martin explained, his comedic style was quirky and off-the-wall. A typical opening line: “Good evening. I’m Steve Martin, and I’ll be out here in a minute.”

Early on he worked at Knott’s Berry Farm and Disneyland, where he heard one of his co-workers say, “Excuuuse me for living”—which would later morph into Martin’s famous catchphrase, “Excuuuuuse me!”

He learned magic and trick roping, believe it or not, and discovered that he had one useful quality: naivete. He also learned the importance of originality, and the fact that that the “audience loves it when tricks don’t work.”

In college, Martin studied philosophy and came to apply a philosophical concept to comedy: The idea that “everything can be examined.”

He vowed never to steal bits from anyone and realized that as a result, he would have to write all his own material. “I decided my act was going to go avante-garde,” Martin said. “I had no idea what I meant.”

He wondered, “What if I created tension and never released it?” In other words, there would be no “set up,” as in traditional comedy, and no punch lines. When a Variety reviewer said of his show, “Somebody should tell Steve Martin that the jokes are supposed to have punch lines,” Martin recalled thinking, “He got it!”

Steve Martin

Steve Martin*

Steve’s unusual approach landed him jobs writing for TV’s Smother Brothers comedy hour. He became a “full-blown hippie, except for the drugs,” and played a bill with Ann-Margret in Las Vegas, where Elvis told him, “Son, you have an oblique sense of humor.”

Johnny Carson laughed uproariously at Martin’s act on the Tonight show, and he became a national sensation with bits like “Let’s get small” and “Rambling guy,” as well as “King Tut” and “Wild and Crazy Guy,” from Saturday Night Live.

His stand-up crowds grew, from 2,000 in Dallas to 6,000, then 15,000, then 22,000, then 29,000. But as the crowds swelled, Martin recalled, he grew tired from the constant pressure “not to let people down.” He felt like “my shelf life” was expiring, so he determined to transition to a movie career. “I was exhausted, physically and intellectually,” Martin said. “I felt my act had dead-ended … And I never did stand-up again.”

And with that, Steve Martin’s presentation was over.

Steve Martin

Steve Martin*

Back in the Wedgwood Room a little later, at a previously scheduled, 20-minute meet-and-greet with the star of the evening, a gentleman tried to make himself heard over the excited chatter. He was explaining something about “hands.”

Martin was affable enough as people lined up to have their photos taken with him. But evidently several had not heard the shout-out about Steve and hands. Simply put, he doesn’t shake anyone’s hand. So, as guests approach with an open hand, the white-haired VIP had to shake his head and explain that he just doesn’t do that.

Then the grip-and-grin session slowed to a halt as organizers tried to decide who should be next. Steve looked a little perturbed, and asked the event photographer why they couldn’t just keep the folks moving along. But all too soon the 20 minutes were up—and the wild-and-crazy guy had left the room.

* Photo credit: Jeanne Prejean

 

Clayton Kershaw And Others Hit The Message Out Of The Park At Voice Of Hope Dinner

Ed and Michele Franklin and Clayton Kershaw

Ed and Michele Franklin and Clayton Kershaw

Memo to Dallas nonprofit leaders: If you’re going to present a panel discussion as part of your benefit event, it helps to have someone like former Highland Park High School baseball star Clayton Kershaw as a member of the panel. Voice of Hope Ministries found that out Jan. 31, when it held its 30th anniversary celebration and included Kershaw, now a standout pitcher with MLB’s Los Angeles Dodgers, on its after-dinner panel.

Attracted by the charismatic Kershaw and his fellow panelists—Amelia Earhart Learning Center principal Andrea Nelson, and Dr. Jim Denison, a former pastor of Park Cities Baptist Church—about 300 people turned out for the charity dinner at Dallas’ Belo Mansion.

Kershaw and his wife Ellen (she’s the daughter of event host committee members Leslie and Jim Melson) were among the first—and the most popular—to show up at the VIP reception. Among those jostling to chat with Clayton were Caroline Rose Hunt, Billie Leigh Rippey, and Michele and Ed Franklin. Ed is in his ninth year as president of Voice of Hope Ministries, a Christian community center which helps inner-city families in West Dallas. The group operates with an annual budget of about $850,000, Franklin said, and has been a Crystal Charity Ball beneficiary several times.

Kenny and Lisa Troutt

Kenny and Lisa Troutt

Crystal’s Robyn Conlon was spotted in the reception crowd, as were Lisa and Kenny Troutt—they were the sponsor-party hosts—and Terry and Robert B. Rowling. Patti Flowers and Kathryn Warren were event co-chairs.

Robert and Terry Rowling

Robert and Terry Rowling

Following dinner and a wonderful performance by the Children’s Choir of Greater Dallas, guests were treated to a discussion about community service with Kershaw (the so-called “Voice of Service”); Denison (the Voice of Faith); and Nelson (the Voice of Education). Ray Nixon served as the panel moderator.

Kershaw shared several baseball anecdotes, including one about how he put on a teammate’s jersey by mistake during his first appearance at Dodger Stadium. But he also described traveling with Ellen to poverty-stricken Zambia, in Africa, where the couple has built an orphanage. That experience, Clayton added, “makes me think how much we can do here, too.”

Nelson, meanwhile, talked about the importance of “giving” to the children that she  serves at Amelia Earhart: “It has to be a beacon in West Dallas; it has to be a place where students are loved and respected. Many of the children don’t have a positive adult role model.” And Denison bemoaned how God is treated more like a “hobby” in our culture than a king: “We have 247 million professed Christians in the United States today. What if they all announced, we will eradicate poverty!”

After making some lengthy closing remarks, VoH board chair Mike Doramus was asked how much money the event had raised. “Our donors didn’t want to give dollar figures,” he said. “But you can say we exceeded our goals with the number of donors, and with the number of new donors. Fifty percent of the money came from new donors.”

 

Hotel ZaZa Celebrates Its 10th Anniversary With Socialites And Sparkling Types For The Great Create

Allan McBee was sitting in the crowded lobby at Uptown’s Hotel ZaZa Saturday night, waiting on his wife, Lynn, and an old friend. Lynn would be joining Allan at the boutique hotel, which was celebrating its 10th anniversary with a blowout party, after attending a performance of the Joffrey Ballet at the Winspear Opera House. The friend would be coming from American Airlines Center, where hockey’s Dallas Stars were kicking off their abbreviated 2013 season against the Phoenix Coyotes.

Daniel Anderson and Natalie Solis

Daniel Anderson and Natalie Solis*

Saturday all roads in Dallas seemed to lead to the ZaZa, which was decked to the nines to welcome more than 1,200 guests including KDFW’s Natalie Solis and Daniel Anderson. With tents, contortionists, a tarot-card reader, festive sparklers, a photo booth, gourmet canapés, free-flowing booze, and two deejays—Lucy Wrubel in the covered-pool area and Mr. Best in the “disco” ballroom—the party at the boutique hotel started early and rocked on into the wee hours, like 2 a.m.

Wren and Benji Homsey

Wren and Benji Homsey

“It’s our way of thanking all the people for the last 10 years,” Benji Homsey, president of Z Resorts Management & Development LLC, said loud enough to be heard over the din in the packed Dragonfly restaurant. The ZaZa has a “cult following” that includes everyone from rock and fashion stars to investment bankers, he said. In addition to its ZaZas in Dallas and Houston, Homsey added, the company will break ground on a third hotel in Austin later this year. Down the road it’s also eyeing the San Francisco, Southern California and New York markets, among others.

The charity beneficiary of Saturday’s bash was The Great Create, which will be held at the Nasher Sculpture Center in April. Wrubel was the tie-in, as she and her husband Steve, along with Megan and Brady Wood, will be chairs of the Nasher event, which benefits the museum’s youth education programs.

Dwight Emanuelson, Brooke Hortenstine, Hillis Emanuelson, Claire Emanuelson

Dwight Emanuelson, Brooke Hortenstine, Hillis Emanuelson, Claire Emanuelson*

Saturday night, though, was really all about the partying. Down in front of the covered pool, where Lucy was spinning club tunes, those enjoying the evening included JB Hayes and her neighbor Nadia Williams, who’s new in town from Florida. Across the way, Mike Wyatt and Dwight Emanuelson were threading their way through the crowded throng, cracking jokes. And Kate Rose Marquez

Kate Rose Marquez and Valentina Burton

Kate Rose Marquez and Valentina Burton

was having her tarot cards read by psychic entertainer Valentina Burton (“they call me the fortune teller of Dallas”).

So, what was Valentina’s verdict? “In a nutshell, she told me that 2013 will be a year of fun, and that good things are coming my way,” Kate Rose said. “She also said that I’m finally going to get something that I’ve been waiting for, for a long time.”

What’s that? “I don’t know!” Kate Rose replied with a puzzled look.

Lynn and Allan McBee*

Lynn and Allan McBee*

Meanwhile, Allan McBee had met up finally with Lynn and with Allan’s pal from the Stars game. That game had been a sellout, and had included fans like former Stars owner Norm Green and Don Carty. Allan’s friend reported a happy ending at the AAC, with Dallas edging out Phoenix 4-3. Then he went back to partying.

* Photo credit: Jason Acton

Bids And “Babes” Like Ruth Buzzi And Houstonian Carolyn Farb Bring Museum Of Biblical Art To New Heights

Carmaleta Whiteley and Carolyn Farb

Guests at Wednesday’s 8X8 Holiday Exhibition and Auction at the Museum of Biblical Art may have been surprised to see Dr. Carolyn Farb, the Houston philanthropist and socialite, serving as co-chair of the event, along with Donna and Herb Weitzman.

Donna Arp Weitzman and Scott Peck

But, they shouldn’t have been. Farb has been a supporter of the Dallas museum for several years. She first visited it when she came to see her friend Vladimir Gorksy’s “Tapestry of the Centuries,” a monumental historical work whose Joan of Arc figure was modeled after Farb herself.

“I was amazed by what they had to offer,” Carolyn said of the museum on Wednesday, as she personally welcomed many of the evening’s 400 guests.

JD Miller

When planning for 8X8 began, Farb confided, “I thought I could help”—and she did. Besides lending ideas for the invitation’s design, she invited three of the participating artists: JD Miller, Ruth Buzzi, the former “Laugh-In” comedian, and Ruth’s husband Kent Perkins. (Buzzi and Perkins live on a ranch outside Fort Worth.)

Founded by Jeff Levine, the 8X8 fundraiser brought together artists, benefactors, and galleries to celebrate the Biblical significance of the number 8. The number symbolically represents the Hebrew word for life, and 8X8 represents “a doubly blessed life.”

Carrying out this theme, 100 artists created special works celebrating Christmas and Chanukah, with each piece measuring just 8 inches by 8 inches. The small pieces were offered in a silent auction, and Louis Murad conducted a live auction for some larger works.

Ruth Buzzi

Among the latter were offerings by JD Miller—he worked on the painting, live, at the event—Buzzi (a photographic work called “Ranch Hopping”), Perkins

Patricia Meadows and George Tobolowsky

(an acrylic titled “The Eyes Have It”), and George Tobolowsky (a big metal sculpture he called “Kosher Hanukah Menorah”).

Katy and Lawrence Bock and Janie and David Condon

With attendees in the house including Katy and Lawrence Bock, Janie and David Condon, Nora and Bob Hogan, Patricia Meadows and hostess Carmaleta Whiteley, Dallas artist and collector Edith Baker was honored with a special presentation. For good reason, too; Baker was instrumental in building up the museum’s art collections.

When all was said and done, all 100 of the 8X8 pieces were sold, with a portion of the proceeds going to the biblical museum’s exhibition and educational programs. And at least four of the big pieces found buyers in the live auction, including the ones by Buzzi, Perkins and Miller, as well as a bronze sculpture by Gib Singleton.

Can somebody say, “Amen”?

Funds Were Skye (Brewer) High At Ralph Lauren For Leadership

Skye and Bill Brewer*

When she’s not running major charity events and he’s not winning high-stakes lawsuits, Dallas’ Skye and Bill Brewer like to spend time in East Hampton, on New York’s Long Island. Their hangout is just 20 minutes or so away from Montauk, where fashion designer/business executive Ralph Lauren has a beach home. The Brewers’ son Will, now 23, worked at the Lauren store in East Hampton for awhile, and the Brewers and Lauren have come to know each other better and better over time.

Which goes a long way toward explaining why Skye and Bill found themselves at the Ralph Lauren store in Highland Park Village last Sunday. As they have for four years, the couple was helping raise money for the Bickel & Brewer Future Leaders Program, an academic and leadership development program benefiting nearly 200 students in the Dallas Independent School District.

Cookie decorating upstairs at Ralph Lauren

Sponsored by the Bickel & Brewer Foundation—Bill is a named partner at B&B—the FLP pairs up DISD with private schools Greenhill, St. Mark’s, Hockaday, and the Episcopal School of Dallas. DISD students in grades five through 12 spend time on the campuses of the private-school partners, where they receive special tutoring in subjects like math, technology, and leadership.

Greeting an estimated 200 old and new friends Sunday at Ralph Lauren, which was donating 15 percent of the store’s sales proceeds to FLP, Skye said the program has made a big difference for a number of its young participants. More than 40 FLP grads have received nearly 140 college acceptance letters over the last four years, plus almost $3 million in scholarship offers.

They’re also attending some prestigious universities, she added, including Amherst College, New York University, and The University of Texas at Austin.  

* Photo provided by the Bickel & Brewer Leadership Foundation

Executives In Action Breakfast With Charles Duhigg Plus Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

There were Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups set out at every place-setting Thursday for Executives In Action’s “Business Smarts, Caring Hearts Book and Breakfast” fundraising event at the Fairmont Hotel.

The symbolism was simple, explained Andrea Sutcliffe, executive director of the group, which pairs up senior executives in transition with nonprofits needing leadership help. “Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups” are so good because they consist of a blend of chocolate and peanut butter, Sutcliffe told the breakfast guests. Similarly, “nonprofits and executives, together, are amazing.”

Executives in Action, founded in 2009 by husband-and-wife team Ashlee and Chris Kleinert, has now matched hundreds of executives with hundreds of nonprofits seeking assistance with specific projects. Among the charitable organizations receiving help: Girls Inc., Heroes on the Water, the Dallas Children’s Theater and the North Texas Food Bank.

That EIA has struck a chord in the community was demonstrated by Thursday’s attendance. According to Chris, who’s president and CEO of Hunt Consolidated Investments, they were expecting about 150 to turn up, initially. But then they got 300 RSVPs.

Ashlee Kleinert, Charles Duhigg and Chris Kleinert

Some of those attendees, no doubt, were lured by the prospect of hearing keynote speaker Charles Duhigg, a New York Times reporter and author of the best-selling book, “The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life and Business.”

Duhigg didn’t disappoint.

Introduced by former Dallas mayor Tom Leppert, who served ably as the morning’s emcee, Duhigg delivered a fascinating talk about how businesses and individuals have achieved success by transforming habits.

Whether you’re establishing a regular exercise routine or leading a billion-dollar company like Alcoa or Starbucks, the reporter explained, turning positive “willpower” into a regular habit is the key to achievement and excellence.

“Identify your keystone habits and stick a lever in to change them,” Duhigg advised. “Give the community this tool, and it will help it be a better community.”

Presenting sponsors of the “Business Smarts, Caring Hearts” breakfast were the Kleinerts and Nancy Ann and Ray Hunt, who are Ashlee’s parents.

The Cooper Institute’s Illuminating New Perspectives Dinner Celebrates And Benefits From Dr. Kenneth Cooper Devotees

If there was a theme to The Cooper Institute’s “Illuminating New Perspectives” event Tuesday at the Belo Mansion, you might say it was “achieving excellence.”

Dr. Charles Sterling, Ross Perot Sr. and Dr. Kenneth Cooper

Certainly the institute founded by Dr. Kenneth (“The Father of Aerobics”) Cooper has attained excellence since its establishment in Dallas in 1970. The event recognized the 30th anniversary of Fitnessgram–the nation’s most respected fitness-assessment tool–and its founder, Dr. Charles Sterling.

It also honored the Perot International Youth Data Center, which has earned prominence tracking health-related information on children worldwide. And keynote speaker Nando Parrado, who survived a fatal plane crash in the Andes mountains 40 years ago, explained how the key to surviving that crash was “achieving excellence” (without actually knowing it at the time), plus a good measure of luck.

Nando and Veronique Parrado and Troy Aikman

The 500 guests were primed to celebrate these pinnacles of achievement from the get-go. At the crowded, pre-dinner reception, Dr. Cooper chatted with Troy Aikman, the evening’s honorary chairman, while Nancy Dedman stopped Ross Perot in his tracks. “Are you going to make a speech?” Nancy asked him. “Yes,” Ross answered teasingly. “But, it won’t be more than an hour or two long.”

Barbara Durham, Carol Seay and Pam Denesuk

Lyda Hill breezed through in one of her trademark orange outfits. Jody Grant was talking intently with Dr. Gerald Turner, not far from the socializing Toni Brinker, Caroline Rose Hunt, Ramona Jones and Billie Leigh Rippey. (“I was Dr. Cooper’s second patient,” Billie Leigh was saying.) Meantime event Co-chair Barb Durham was huddled with Co-chairs Pam Denesuk and Carol Seay, who was asked whether the evening had met its fundraising goal. “Oh, hell yes,” Carol replied. “Well over it!”

Following a meal of salad (lettuce, toasted walnuts and honey-roasted pears); roasted chicken with fingerling potatoes, haricot verts and carrots; and chocolate molten cake, Dr. Cooper took to the stage to praise Perot—“the most disciplined man I know”—and his $2 million contribution for the data center. The center’s international data currently includes children from India, Korea, Norway, Bulgaria, Haiti, Canada, and China, which is using a Chinese version of FitnessGram.

It was the Chinese data that Perot focused on during his brief talk, calling the focus “the most beneficial thing we can do to improve relations” between the U.S. and China. Educated Chinese people can recognize 8,000 different characters, Perot said, while “I do 26 letters and 10 numbers, and I’m wiped out! … We don’t want the Chinese as an enemy.”

After leading a rousing, British-style “three cheers” for Dr. Sterling and other scientists attending the dinner, Perot gave way to keynoter Parrado, who’d been inspired by Ken Follett’s book “On Wings of Eagles,” which recounted Perot’s role in rescuing two EDS employees held as hostages in Iran. The keynoter also credited Dr. Cooper for Parrado’s ability to survive the Andes crash because, as a player on the Uruguayan national rugby team, he and the team had used Dr. Cooper’s fitness tenets to train.

Nando Parrado

In an overlong but gripping presentation, Parrado described in dramatic detail the harrowing crash and how he and 15 of teammates, who’d never even seen snow before, survived 72 bitterly cold days and nights in the high mountains, until their eventual rescue. Among the key points he made:

–The crash of the airplane carrying 45 passengers happened because the plane’s pilot made a mistake, “just like lawyers” and other professionals make mistakes.

–The rugby team captain quickly took charge, helping construct a “wall” for shelter and bucking up everyone’s spirits.

–After a few days the survivors had no food nor water—they ate snow and ice instead—and knew after 10 days that the search for them had been called off. (One of the party had found a transistor radio.) With no gloves, hats, or other cold-weather gear the nights were like “sleeping in a refrigerator,” and the only heat they had was “the breath of the guy on top of you.”

–All they had to eat was “the dead bodies of our friends.” If that shocked the audience, Parrado said, “Humans get used to horror very easily. … That’s hell … [but] you have to peel away the veneer of civilization to survive.” He likened the cannibalism to “donating organs. … We were the most advanced donors in history.”

Nando Parrado

–After an avalanche killed still more of the crash survivors, Parrado and two others decided to try to hike for help. (One of them would soon return to the crash site.) “We couldn’t stop, or we would die,” he said. Once it took them 14 hours to climb 40 yards. After walking some 70 miles and reaching three “false” summits, on the eighth day of their trek they were spotted by a man on horseback, who eventually summoned helicopters for the rescue of the 14 survivors they’d left behind.

The information “I will give you tonight will allow you to think in a different way,” Parrado had said when his talk began, challenging the audience. “How would you have reacted” in such a situation?

Talk about illuminating new perspectives.

Photo credit: Holt Haynsworth

London-based Eva Rothschild’s “Why Don’t You (Dallas)” Opens At The Nasher Sculpture Center

Food trucks outside the Nasher Sculpture Center

At 6 p.m. last Friday, the street in front of the Nasher Sculpture Center was closed to traffic. Instead of cars there were food trucks and ambling pedestrians, part of the big Dallas Arts District After Dark Block Party.

Inside the sculpture center, another sort of party was happening: a sneak peak at the new installation by London-based artist Eva Rothschild.

Called “Why Don’t You (Dallas),” Rothschild’s piece is basically a series of boldly striped, aluminum-like pipes—they resemble giant drinking straws—joined together to snake up and down and all around the museum, “defining” the space in a new way.

Jeremy Strick and guests

Rothschild, an approachable woman with a pixie haircut, said she’s worked with sculpture on a similar scale before, and with stripes, but that she’d never combined the two.

Eva Rothschild

For inspiration she visited the Nasher twice, made some models, and then began “Why Don’t You” about 18 months ago, she said. But she really worked in earnest on the installation, which can be broken down into maybe 100 separate pieces, since February.

While the artist greeted guests amiably near the Nasher entrance, guests like Howard Hallam and Maxwell Anderson chatted it up with museum director Jeremy Strick.

Nancy Nasher was also breezing through, much impressed. “It’s fun, dynamic, alive, brilliant,” Nancy said of Rothschild’s work. “It’s unlike anything else she’s ever done.”

Meantime, guests were beginning to wander out to the rear gardens, where drinks and hors d’oeuvres were being served and a big bandstand had been set up. After 8, the museum’s Julius Pickenpack said, they were expecting 4,000 or 5,000 to troop through as part of the museum’s Art ‘Til Midnight series, in conjunction with the block party. Picnic blankets would be spread out on the lawn, he said, and two bands—Bravo, Max! and The O’s—would be taking the stage.

Rothschild’s “Why Don’t You (Dallas),” which opened officially the following night, will continue at the Nasher until January 20 as a part of the “Sightings” series.

Purses With A Purpose Had Designer Names Raising Funds For Consumer Credit Counseling Services Of Dallas

Michael Kors bag

Over at Samuel Lynne Galleries in the Design District, more than 200 items were up for auction at the Purses With A Purpose event Tuesday, benefiting Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Greater Dallas. Among them: beautiful bags by Beijo, Gianni Bernini, Anne Klein and Michael Kors.

In addition to the purses were jewelry and services, as well as a wine pull.

Since it was filled to the gills with females, it was only appropriate that Pinky’s, the all-gal valet service, was hustling vehicles. And hustle they were. The doors had hardly opened and the lineup at the check-in was backed up all the way.

Under the direction of Kathaleen Bauer, chair of the volunteer host committee, the third annual Purses event aimed to raise $80,000, up from about $65,000 in 2011 and $34,000 the year before. The proceeds go toward CCCS’s community outreach and financial-education efforts for low-income women.

Sherry Maffia and Deborah Ferguson

There’s no doubt there’s a need. CCCS served 73,000 clients last year, two-thirds of them women. Many have been struggling with long-term unemployment, mortgage delinquencies or home foreclosures in the wake of the Great Recession. One CCCS client is 62-year-old Sherry Maffia, who was interviewed in front of at least 150 Purses guests by NBC 5 morning anchor Deborah Ferguson.

Maffia, an administrative assistant who lives in Carrollton, said she’s been working to pay off $15,000 in debt she incurred over five years. She wasn’t out spending lavishly, but trying to pay off her mother’s funeral bill and take care of a mentally-disabled brother, among other things. Thanks to the help of CCCS counselors, Maffia said, she should be debt-free by December.

Sherry’s story was also making headlines nationally that night, as she was the subject of a TV report by CBS’s Scott Pelley.

Photos by Jeanne Prejean

Meal For The Minds Offered Plenty to Chew On

Edible auction item

Every year, the Meal for the Minds fundraising luncheon presented by Metrocare Services is highly anticipated. Maybe it’s the event’s unique Edible Auction—a silent auction featuring beautiful cakes, cookies, cupcakes, and other treats from Dallas’ top bakeries—that makes it so.

Or perhaps it’s Art Focus, another silent auction and art sale offering the likes of colorful and original paintings and greeting cards. Then there’s the featured speaker, who always seems to deliver an inspiring and compelling talk.

Wednesday’s 2012 Meal for the Minds at The Belo Mansion, attended by a crowd estimated at 275, did not disappoint. It hardly could have, what with star emcee Steve Blow, columnist for The Dallas Morning News, and keynote speaker Kim Stagliano. An accomplished editor and author (All I Can Handle: I’m No Mother Teresa), Kim is the mother of three daughters with full-blown autism.

Her talk, titled “I’m No Mother Teresa: Who Is? A Glimpse into a Life Raising Three Daughters with Autism,” was a gripping tale of her challenges and triumphs as a parent, and how communities can support families raising children with special needs. It was a message that struck a chord, since Metrocare Services is Dallas’ largest nonprofit provider of mental and behavioral health services to those with conditions including depression, asperger’s and autism. The latter is said to affect 1 in 88 children, mostly boys by a factor of 4 to 1.

Jean Obert, Kim Stagliano and Lanora Potts

Before the luncheon began, Kim chatted amiably with Jean Obert, the luncheon chair, and Lanora Potts, president of the Metrocare Auxiliary. The auxiliary, a group of 145 volunteers, served as host for the luncheon. Last year the event raised $50,000 for Metrocare’s work, and this year the organizers were hoping to reach $60,000.

Blondes vs. Brunettes Take Their Fundraising To The Hilton Anatole’s Gossip Bar And Trade In Sneakers For Stilettos

This year, the group that puts on the annual Blondes vs. Brunettes powder-puff football game has an ambitious fundraising goal: $275,000. And it has it for a good reason. Hitting that goal, you see, would put the benefit for the Greater Dallas Alzheimer’s Association over the million-dollar mark in funds raised since the game began five years ago.

Greer Fulton, Lee Batson, Erin Finegold and Roxanne Rodriquez

So, Blondes vs. Brunettes Dallas has been pulling out all the fundraising stops this summer. And, it looks like they’ve been paying off. Going into Saturday night’s BvB Auction Night at the Gossip Bar at the Hilton Anatole, BvB President Erin Finegold said the group already was $20,000 ahead of last year’s pace.

Stephanie DeRosso

They were expecting a total of about 150 people to turn up for Saturday’s auction, and by 8 p.m. it looked they might get it. While club music thumped over the sound system, scenes from previous BvB games were flashing across three big flatscreen TVs. Meanwhile, guests downed Bud Lights—Bud’s an event sponsor—and cocktails, munched on “light bites,” posed for pix in the Have A Blast! Photo booth, and jostled past each other checking out a primo array of silent-auction items.

Among them: A UT football helmet signed by Colt McCoy; five nights at the Hyatt Regency in Cancun; three days in Port Aransas; Harley-Davidson paraphernalia; a weekend deer hunt in Bosque County; and a baseball autographed by Nolan Ryan. And—because this was for Blondes vs. Brunettes, after all–don’t forget the signed Playboy poster of uber-blonde actress Pamela Anderson!

Caroline Terry

According to Finegold and auction co-chair/BvB board member Caroline Terry, the money-raising goal for this year’s auction was $10,000. That was up from the $7,500 that was rung up last year, when the event was held at the Amanda Dunbar art studios. This year, “all the players and coaches used their contacts” to bring in items, said Terry, who was assisted by her co-chair, Caroline French. One family friend of BvB, for example, donated their beach house; the mother of a player gave the deer hunt.

Nissan Next

Besides moving the auction this year to the Gossip Bar—the hotel donated the space, the cocktails and the food—the BvB crew also was enjoying a new sponsor Saturday night: the Nissan NEXT. Some of the Nissans, Finegold said, will be on display at the big football game, which is scheduled for Saturday, August 11, at the Cotton Bowl.

Ron Acord and Elisabeth Gorman

It’s the excitement surrounding next month’s game, of course, that had everyone talking. Over in one corner of the Gossip Bar, Diane Louie–the mother of Blonde running back Elisabeth Gorman–was saying how two of Elisabeth’s friends would be coming in from California just to watch the game. Across the way, meantime, Elizabeth and her date Ron Acord were enjoying chatting with friends.

Holly and Parker Aldredge

And, last year’s surprise Brunette victory over the Blondes (after a string of Blonde wins) was still top of mind. Asked which team would win this year’s rematch, Blondes’ Co-captain Holly Aldredge immediate responded, “The Blondes!,” without hesitating.

Katie Hicks

Asked the same question, Brunette co-chair Katie Hicks seemed a little less sure. “I think we have a chance to win,” Katie said carefully. “We like the taste of winning.”

Oh, how much did the auction raise? Did they make their goal of $10,000?

You obviously underestimate the BvB’s. They took in $13,000 for the night’s haul.

Who’s Who Gather at Daseke Home to Learn About DSO’s AT&T Opening Night Gala

Don Daseke, Holly Reed and Brad Beaird

There couldn’t have been a more spectacular setting to announce plans for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra‘s 2012 AT&T Opening Night Gala than the new home of Barbara and Don Daseke, who chaired last year’s gala. The Dasekes’ Addison abode, all tall glass windows and gleaming teak wood, on April 25 attracted about 80 party-goers eager to hear about the September 8 fundraiser at the Meyerson Symphony Center.

Jennifer and Coley Clark

Among them were a who’s who of Dallas’s arts aficionados, including Rebecca and Ron Gafford, Margot and Jim Keyes, Joel Allison, Holly Reed of AT&T and Brad Beaird, Pat and Charlie McEvoy, and Barb and Steve Durham. And, the guests weren’t disappointed. Gathered in the Dasekes’ spectacular living room, the back yard’s giant trees looming just beyond, they learned that Jennifer and Coley Clark would chair the September gala, and that renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma would be the special guest.

Jaap van Zweden

David Hyslop, the DSO’s acting CEO, got the ball rolling by taking the microphone and saying, “It’s been a helluva year!” He mentioned nailing down a new contract with the musicians’ union, as well as Jaap van Zweden‘s honor by the Musical America directory, which named Jaap its 2012 Conductor of the Year.

The maestro followed Hyslop to the mic, cautioning modestly that “what we do as a conductor is just bring out what is in the orchestra.” Jaap added wryly about the statuette he received for the honor: “It’s a little statue, and you will be a little disappointed when you see it.” As a result, he and DSO board chairman Blaine Nelson joked, they have had a larger copy of the award made that eventually will go on display at the Meyerson.

Turning to the AT&T gala, van Zweden disclosed that Yo-Yo Ma will play the Schumann concerto and the New World Symphony by Dvorak. Then Jennifer and Coley took center stage. “We are honored,” Coley said. “Of course, I didn’t really know how much work this was going to be!” Later, the couple said the September ball will have a “Parisian” theme, and that Anna-Sophia van Zweden and Katherine Perot Reeves and her husband Eric will co-chair the after-party festivities, “to bring in the young people.”

Glamour, Commerce, Ideas and Icons Mix at the Sixth Annual Dallas International Film Festival

Lisa Immordino Vreeland

Toward the end of a Q&A session at the Angelika Film Center with director Lisa Immordino Vreeland, whose new documentary about fashion icon Diana Vreeland had just been screened, the first-time moviemaker was asked when the film’s soundtrack might be available. “I don’t know,” admitted Vreeland, a tall, willowy brunette who’s married to Diana’s grandson. “I guess it’ll come out on DVD. I’m new to all this!”

Vreeland’s frankness — and her top-drawer film about the legendary editor of Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue magazines — seemed to typify the first few days of the sixth annual Dallas International Film Festival, presented by the Dallas Film Society. As always the festival has been an intriguing mix of glamour and spontaneity, fascinating new films of all stripes, and up-close, unscripted glimpses of the people who make them.

Take Thursday’s Opening Night Gala presentation at the Majestic Theatre, for instance. Before the screening of Liberal Arts, a thoughtful flick starring the likes of Zac Efron, Elizabeth Olson, and Josh Radnor, there was a Red Carpet parade outside on the Majestic sidewalk that had a little something for everyone.

Drew Waters

Austinite Mark Potts, who directed Cinema Six, a low-budget (less than $100,000) film about aimless guys working at a family-run movie theater, said he was here not only to show the film, but to shop his next project. Actor Drew Waters (Friday Night Lights) was talking up Cowgirls ‘N’ Angels, a family-friendly adventure about rodeo in which he plays a “broken-down rodeo clown.” The role wasn’t too much of a stretch for him, Waters explained, since he was actually on the rodeo circuit, participating in “bull and bare” (bull-riding and bareback-bronco riding) events for four years on the East Coast.

Gina and Scott Ginsburg

Then there were the businesspeople who were funding the festival. Among them: Arthur E. Benjamin, back for his third year at DIFF, and Gina and Scott Ginsburg, whose Boardwalk Auto Group Volkswagen Dealers are the 2012 presenting sponsor. The Ginsburgs are movie buffs who’ve been involved with DIFF and other local film festivals for 12 years, Scott said. So why is VW being featured, when he sells other, more upscale autos as well? “VW has an excellent product line,” Scott replied. “It’s among the fastest-growing lines in the world and, with our new factory in Tennessee, the Passat is made right here in the United States.”

Michael Cain, Karla and Leiner Temerlin

The next day still more festival sponsors — and officials — turned up at the Hotel Palomar for the exclusive annual Chairman’s Luncheon. The guests included Janis Burklund of the sponsoring Dallas Film Commission, film society board members Ellen Winspear and Don Stokes, former DIFF chairman Michael Cain, and festival patriarch Leiner Temerlin and his wife, Karla. While a video screen behind them played continuous snippets of various DIFF films, Lynn McBee, film society board chairman, and Lee Papert, the group’s president and CEO, gave brief, graceful welcome talks. And everybody chit-chatted about — what else — film.

Allan and Lynn McBee

Four days later, Winspear was among those in the audience for a screening of the much-anticipated Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel. Fast-paced and visually compelling, the film is the first feature-length documentary look at Vreeland, a visionary legend who revolutionized journalism as well as fashion with her outsized, original point of view.

The movie features vintage photos and TV and film clips, as well as no fewer than 45 “talking heads,” including fashion designers like Manolo Blahnik, actress Ali McGraw and models Lauren Hutton and Penelope Tree. Vreeland, who died in 1989, “saw things in people before they saw it themselves,” says designer Diane Von Furstenberg. In one telling clip, which has Vreeland addressing the idea of a story about her life, she tells interviewer George Plimpton: “I don’t give a damn what’s in it, as long as it sells. I’m as practical as Bloomingdale’s.”

Lisa Immordino Vreeland and Peter Simek

That practicality, as well as her creativity and positive outlook, make Vreeland an excellent contemporary role model, director Lisa Immordino Vreeland said after the screening. The message is “to believe in yourself — to know that you can live beyond any possible dreams,” Lisa said. “Have faith in yourself.”

Then the filmmaker, who’s currently working on another project about another, unnamed “visionary woman,” was off to be interviewed by Peter Simek of the FrontRow arts website, at Dallas’ West Village. Diane Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel will be shown again today at the Angelika at 7 p.m. Thursday afternoon, Lisa Vreeland will be at the Forty Five Ten clothing boutique, signing copies of her book by the same name, beginning at 5.

And the Dallas film festival beat goes on.

Young Masters’ Work Is Feted At Dallas Museum Of Art

Olivier Meslay, a senior curator at the Dallas Museum of Art, looked out Tuesday afternoon on the DMA concourse, which was crowded just then with high-school students, their parents, and their friends noisily enjoying the 14th annual Young Masters Exhibition.

“I am very surprised by the quality of what we can see here,” said Meslay, who previously worked at the Louvre in Paris. “It is amazing that these children learn so quickly and are so good.”

The 53 works hanging on the DMA wall were amazing, indeed. A panel of judges selected them from more than 650 pieces created and submitted by Advanced Placement students in studio art, art history, and music theory in North Texas.

The students were participating and competing in the nonprofit O’Donnell Foundation’s “Creating Schools of Excellence in Fine Arts Incentive Program,” which solicited works of art, original essays and original four-minute music compositions from 12 local high schools.

Kinar Ohanian, Bob and Yeran Ohanian and Lena Ohanian

One of the talented students was Lena Ohanian, from Plano West Senior High School. Her exhibited studio-art work, called “Pipes,” was done with tempera paint, and then overlaid with India ink to emulate rust and shadow.

While Lena posed for photos with her piece and her proud family, Maxwell Anderson, the DMA’s new Eugene McDermott director, acknowledged the excitement associated with exhibiting one’s work in a museum. “It’s always nice to see your art on the wall,” Anderson said, adding puckishly, “if it’s the right wall.”

Edith O’Donnell, who founded the Young Masters program, said its purpose is to “celebrate creativity, and to recognize and stimulate outstanding artistic expression in high school students. We believe creativity is the foundation for great art, great science, great literature, and great discovery.”

During a private reception, and just before a ceremony in which a number of awards were given out to the top Young Masters, Edith O’Donnell’s husband –Highland Park-reared philanthropist Peter O’Donnell Jr. — said the program started by his wife had begun bearing fruit.

“There’s a lot to be said for staying power. Winning a place in the exhibition is very prestigious for these students, and the program is making a dent,” he said. “They’re not just dragging themselves to school. They’re going there to compete — and to win!”

The exhibition of student work continues through April 8 at the Dallas Museum of Art.