Frontiers Of Flight Museum Gala Had Some High-Flying Types On Board

Got this report from the field about the Friday, April 11th mega fundraiser gala,
Not For Self But For Country for the Frontiers of Flight Museum with some extremely heady headliners including Gala Chair Gina Ginsburg. The poor gal is running non-stop nowadays having just been the honorary chair for the Dallas Arboretum’s Mad Hatter’s Tea.

Scott and Gina Ginsburg and Marianne and Roger Staubach*

Scott and Gina Ginsburg and Marianne and Roger Staubach*

Oh, why the interest by Gina in the museum. In addition to appreciating STEM, she also understands the nuances of flight. After all the girl is a commercial jetl pilot.

But back to the gala coverage:

Patrick Walsh*

Patrick Walsh*

“The Frontiers of Flight Museum Gala was not just a time for ceremonial grandeur featuring stellar performances by honor guards, drill teams and musical entertainment by Oscar-contending composers, but according to one Dallas philanthropist it was also a time to celebrate for a good cause. That’s because Gina Ginsburg served as Chair of the Frontiers of Flight Museum Gala, Dallas’ premier event to celebrate accomplishments in aviation, on Friday, April 11. Ginsburg led the charge to generate awareness and support of the gala which benefits the education of the next generation of aviators and astronauts through the Museum’s incredible Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) programs that reach more than 10,000 students each year.

Jan Collmer and Ross Perot*

Jan Collmer and Ross Perot*

“The gala’s 2014 George E. Haddaway Award co-honorees were Admiral Patrick Walsh (Ret.) and former Navy officer Roger Staubach were recognized for their service and achievements in the United States Navy and their lifetime contributions and service to their communities. The awards ceremony highlighted the evening with Ross Perot serving as the guest presenter. Meredith Land, KXAS-TV NBC-5 news anchor, served as the emcee.”

The guest list (Ebby Halliday, Jan Collmer, Cheryl Sutterfield, Scott Ginsburg, Marianne Staubach, Ralph Hall, Dot and Walter Cunningham, Calvin Spann, Gwendolyn Spann, Anne-Marie Evans, Chris Irwin, Jeff Widenhofer and Hugh McElroy) was pretty impressive, too.

Photo credit: Jeff Hall

Art Ball Auction Item #2: Parisian Tour

Next on the list of the Art Ball’s package is a trip to France’s Paris. Oh, but you’ve been to Paris a dozen times. In fact, you probably considered it a suburb of Dallas. But this Paris is one that you’ve never seen. In fact, few if any will be able to tell the tales that the winner of this package will bring back. Don’t forget to take along your cameras. This one deserves so much more than iPhone shots.

Parisian Tour* (Value: $33,553)

Leon Andre Talley, Anna Wintour and Karl Lagerfeld*

Leon Andre Talley, Anna Wintour and Karl Lagerfeld (File photo)

After December’s Métiers d’Art, Dallasites felt like they had earned their master’s degree on Coco Chanel. One of the Coco subjects that kept popping up was Mademoiselle’s 31 Rue Cambon apartment. It is where the late Stanley Marcus first met her. She entertained clients, world leaders and the international set like Dali, Stravinsky and Giacometti.

Thanks to the 2014 Art Ball committee, the winner of this package will have a private tour of the luxurious apartment.

But, of course, there’s more. So much more.

There’s also a private tour of the Musée Bourdelle with its 500 magnificent marble, plaster and bronze pieces of artwork. Afterward there’s lunch with Museum Director Amelie Simier. It was originally the studio of sculptor Antoine Bourdelle, and includes his works including 21 studies of Ludwig van Beethoven plus Bourdelle’s personal collection of works by Eugène Delacroix and Auguste Rodin.

But it’s not all indoor touring. Oh, please. This is an Art Ball package. Imagine a full day of cruising the Seine for up to 12 guests on the yacht Petrus III with yummy delicacies and wines. As for lunch, it will be at a famous guingette. Perhaps one that you’ve seen in a Renoir? And as the day winds down, you’ll sup on board the Petrus with the lights of Paris providing the backdrop.

Mandarin Oriental Paris**

Mandarin Oriental Paris**

During the stay in Paris, home will be a deluxe room for two at the Mandarin Oriental.

American Airlines **

American Airlines **

Round-trip, business-class airfare for two will be provided by American Airlines.

Bid now or at the night of the ball, but bid!

* Compliments of Mandarin Oriental Paris, Patrick Esquerre and American Airlines
** Photos provided by the Dallas Museum of Art’s Art Ball

Award-Winning Actress Sally Field Makes New Friends At New Friends New Life’s Wings Luncheon

There were those who had seriously thought about locking down tickets for the New Friends New Life’s Wings luncheon on Friday, April 11, featuring Sally Field. But they got really busy and put it off. Major oops! By the time they tried to get a place, it was way too late. What a loss!

Because everyone in the Anatole’s Khmer Pavilion gained a new best friend forever in the diminutive, award-winning actress.

With more than 50 years under her waistband, Sally faced a new challenge — the VIP reception, where a legion of fans lined up around the Carpenter Ballroom and out into Atrium I for the patron party and a photo opp.

Sally Field and her New Friends New Life friends

Sally Field and her New Friends New Life friends

The big problem was Sally. Every photo opp became a sincere handshake and a beyond “howdy-do encounter.

[Editor’s note: In a time when Botox is facial soup du jour and plastic surgeons are on retainer, Sally is a beaut. Sure, she had gained 25 pounds for the role of Mary Lincoln in Lincoln, but on this day she was slim, trim and truly natural with a line here and there.]

Too soon the chimes gonged and the multitudes headed to the Khmer. Perhaps because of her size, Sally somehow managed to slip through the crowds pretty much unnoticed. Once at her table she explored her goody bag like any guest. She examined each of the Mary Kay hand products quizzically. Someone told her “that stuff really works.” She gave it all a second look.

Debbie Foster, Sarah Saldana and David Brown

Debbie Foster, Sarah Saldana and David Brown

While Sally was checking MK out, NFNL Board Chair Pat Schenkel arranged to have U.S. Attorney Sarah Saldana photographed with Dallas Police Chief David Brown and Assistant Chief Deputy Debbie Foster.

Alan and Lee Ann White and Michael Fowler

Alan and Lee Ann White and Michael Fowler

Finally when everyone, including Honorary Co-Chairs Lee Ann White and Michael Fowler, Alan White, Ashlee and Chris Kleinert, mother-daughter teams (Annette Simmons with Amy Simmons, Lana Andrews with Natalie McGuire), Robin Bagwell, Jan Osborn, Amara Durham, Nancy Best, Sharon McCutchin, Jimmie Westcott, Creighton Webb, Terry Van Willson, Dr. Hugh McClung, Pete Schenkel, Gail Turner, Laura McClung, was seated, Chief Brown gave the invocation, Luncheon Co-Chairs Pat McEvoy and Angela Nash welcomed all and NFNL Executive Director Katie Pedigo made a “Call to Action.”

Pat Schenkel, Byron Fassett and Gerald Turner

Pat Schenkel, Byron Fassett and Gerald Turner

After lunch was served, Pat and NFNL Advisory Board Chair Gerald Turner presented “Protect Her Awards” to Sgt. Byron Fassett, Nancy Ann Hunt and U.S. Attorney Saldaña.

Nancy Ann Hunt

Nancy Ann Hunt

Then Gary Cogill and Sally took their places on stage for a chat that focused on her career. It became apparent that Sally touched all the generations in the room. From the 1960’s Flying Nun, 1970’s Sybil and Norma Rae, 1980’s Places in the Heart, Murphy’s Romance and Steel Magnolias, 1990’s Mrs. Doubtfire and Forrest Gump and 21st century’s Lincoln.

During his introduction, Gary attributed only two Emmys to Sally, while she held up three fingers [Sybill in 1977, ER in 2001 and Brothers and Sisters in 2007] trying to silently correct him from her table. But he made up for it by having hunky KTVT sportscaster Babe Laufenberg drafted from the audience to escort her to the stage. To this she quipped, “I don’t ever recall being escorted by ‘babe’.”

Sally Field

Sally Field

Regardless, Gary did an excellent job of covering as many areas of interest as possible within the time restraints:

  • The subject of Meryl Streep came up. Sally suggested that each award-winning actress had taken different roads to their places in Hollywood hierarchy. While Meryl had been studying acting at Vassar and the Yale School of Drama, Sally grew up in working-class family and on the little screen at the age of 19. Eventually she studied with Lee Strasberg and became a “method” actor.
  • She told how during her early days doing TV sitcoms (Gidget in 1965 and The Flying Nun in 1967), it was indeed difficult for women to make the transition from TV to the big screen. Sure, there had been James Garner, Clint Eastwood and Steve McQueen, but for a female. . . really tough.
  • Julia Roberts in Steel Magnolias — Director Herbert Ross gave Julia rough treatment. The ensemble of veteran female actors including Sally, Shirley MacLaine and Dolly Parton warned him to “back off. He would then look at us before he would say anything to her.” According to Sally, “One time Dolly just got him.”
  • Tom Hanks —She described working with Tom Hanks as the “wonderfulness of working with Tom Hanks and (director) Robert Zemeckis.” Throughout their working relationship, she had played his love interest (Punchline), as well as his mother (Forrest Gump) ranging from a young mom to an elderly one.
  • Sally Field

    Sally Field

    Getting the role of Mary Lincoln — It was the last question because of the length response, but no one regretted it one iota. She told in finite detail how over the years of preparing the movie, director Steven Spielberg had wanted her for the role of Abraham Lincoln’s wife. The original plan was for Liam Neeson to play the role of Lincoln. But the try-out reading missed the mark. Neeson had just lost his wife Natasha Richardson a month before and he was a “walking around zombie. We did the reading and you barely hear him. My heart was dying for him.” But as Sally said, “I ate him alive. But what can I tell you? He, consequently, dropped out of the film.” Time passed and Daniel Day Lewis was brought on board. Sally knew there would be problems. It was an age thing. Abraham Lincoln was 56 and Mary was 47 during the time period of the movie. When the movie was to be produced, Daniel was 55 and Sally was 65. Translation: Sally would have to be playing almost 20 years younger than she actually was. She fought for it saying, “I am Mary.” The first test had Steven apologetically calling Sally two days later and saying it just wasn’t going to work. However, the next morning he called her back saying he had thought about it and sent the tape to Daniel, who said he wanted me to meet her. It was decided she and Steven would meet in New York City “for coffee” with Daniel, who would be flying in from Ireland. Sally was willing to go anywhere to discuss the possibility. Then a call came in asking if Sally wanted to have hair and makeup people? Her response: “For coffee?” They said, “Oh, we didn’t tell you? We’re going to do a test.” According to Sally, “Daniel flew in from Ireland for the day because he felt that Steven needed to see him and I [sic] together on film.” When the test took place, she was seated in a high-back chair and Daniel was across the room among a group of “faceless people”. She sensed that “Daniel was heading toward me. I could sense people going away. And I slowly turned to look and there was my wonderful Mr. Lincoln ambling toward me with his hat and his beard and his totally whole demeanor. I didn’t rise until he was here standing next to me. I stood up and gave him my hand and he kissed it. I said, ‘Mr. Lincoln.’ He said, ‘Mother.’ That’s what they called each other. And I could feel a hush in the group of people . . . and I leaned my head into his chest and whispered “Thank you, thank you.” He kissed the top of my head and said, ‘My honor.’”

It was the perfect way to end a perfect lunch.

Time’s Awasting If You Want To Hear TV’s Dr. Drew At The Women’s Auxiliary of Nexus Recovery Center Spring Luncheon Tuesday

Dr. Drew Pinsky*

Dr. Drew Pinsky*

Tuesday there will be a doctor in the house for the Women’s Auxiliary of Nexus Recovery Center Spring Luncheon. The doc will be TV’s Dr. Drew (aka Dr. Drew Pinsky) and the house will be the Anatole. Anyone who has seen Dr. D on television, knows that he’s been through the drill on addiction with everyone from “regular” folks to celebrity boldfacers, like Daniel Baldwin, Jeff Conaway, Brigitte Nielsen, Gary Busey, Mackenzie Phillips, Dennis Rodman, Leif Garrett, Eric Roberts and Sean Young to mention a few.

If you have had experience in dealing with addiction, whether firsthand or with a near-and-dear, or if you suspect that someone in your life might be dealing with such a crippling issue, hop to it and make plans ASAP to attend. There are just a few tickets left for the getting.

Luncheon Chair Jane Geisse has arranged for Sally and Forrest Hoglund to serve as honorary chairs. As you probably know, Forrest is fresh off of receiving the Linz Award.

* Photo provided by Women's Auxiliary of Nexus Recovery Center

Round Robin April 10: Thrift Studio Preview Party, Wings Patron Party And Crystal Charity Ball Advisory Board Reception

And the beat went on Thursday, April 10. Starting early in the morning at the Family Gateway announcement breakfast at the Omni and then hopping over to the Dallas Arboretum for the Mad Hatter’s Tea, the day should have ended to rest up for the upcoming weekend. But, no! Dallas fundraising was just warming up for an evening of more activities throughout the area.

Thrift Studio Preview Party

The doors for the Thrift Studio Preview had hardly opened for the Dwell With Dignity month-long pop-up shop when the place was packed.

John Phifer Marrs and James Campbell

John Phifer Marrs and James Campbell

As cars lined up to get into the valet queue, the crowd including Joyce Fox, John Phifer Marrs, James Campbell, Erin Mathews, Richard Graziano, Meredith Hite, Kim Bannister, Jennifer Clark and Matthew Simon) inside was cozy. So cozy that at times it was hard to wander through the vignettes of furnishings available for sale.

But wait! A “Sold” tag here. A “Sold” tag there. So many of the items were already bearing that four-letter word.

Jan Showers

Jan Showers

Not to worry. Founders Lisa Robison and Kim Turner and their team of volunteers had a boundless amount of couches, tables, beds, etc. all ready to replace the purchased things. Among the designers showcasing were last Fall’s Thrift Studio Honorary Chair Jan Showers, Julio Quinones + Culp Associates, Mecox, Sarah Pickard + Robert Allen Design, Swoon and Tompkins Lloyd Interiors + David Sutherland Showroom.

Julie Lloyd, Jane Parker and Clair Tompkins

Julie Lloyd, Jane Parker and Clair Tompkins

The Thrift Studio is open Tuesday through Saturday until May 10. It’s free to visit, but it’s hard to leave without a purchase.

Wings Patron Dinner

Member of the Best collection

Member of the Best collection

If the Perot Museum had a satellite location, it would be Nancy and Randy Best’s Preston Hollow estate. No, there aren’t any interactive sports nor fracking exhibitions. Better than any of that, and Randy proudly showed it all to Wings’ patron dinner guest of honor Sally Field, who was to be the keynote speaker at the next day’s New Friends New Life fundraising luncheon.

Sally Field and Randy Best

Sally Field and Randy Best

On the second floor of the Best mansion was a museum of artifacts that made Harlan Crow’s collectibles look downright contemporary: Rocks, geodes, coins, wall plaques of fossils, life-sized figures of earliest forms of mankind.

As Sally leaned over one of the glass cases, Randy pointed an item out saying, “The Egyptians were just nomads. They collected these things.”

The petite Field wearing glasses could have been mistaken for a high schooler on a field trip.

In addition to taking in every inch of the museum, she chatted with every one of the 50 guests. It was as if she were here to stay and wanted to get to know her new neighbors.

Lee Ann White, Sally Field and Michael Fowler

Lee Ann White, Sally Field and Michael Fowler

Among the folks that Sally met were Laura McClung, Honorary Co-Chairs Lee Ann White and son Michael Fowler, April Box Chamberlain and her husband John, Alan White and Ashlee Kleinert, who had just added a fourth truck to her Ruthie’s Rolling Cafes. Ah, more grilled cheese sandwiches!

Angela Nash

Angela Nash

Luncheon Co-Chair Pat McEvoy and husband Charles reported that their new puppy Santiago (aka Sonny) was away at puppy boot camp. . . Co-Chair Angela Nash looked picture perfect despite having ripped her dress earlier in the day. No problem. She simply sewed it up with time to spare.

After a fabulous dinner in the ground level, it was an early evening. The group had to re-group in time to join the 1000+ for the Wings VIP reception and lunch at the Anatole the next day.

Crystal Charity Ball Advisory Board Reception

Don and Robyn Conlon and Heather and Todd Furniss

Don and Robyn Conlon and Heather and Todd Furniss

The Crystal Charity Ball Advisory Board was honored at Heather and Todd Furniss’s Highland Park Home. It seemed like so many of the guests had had a full night of “must-attend” events, but they saved this one for last to relax and catch up.

Karen Hughes

Karen Hughes

Equest Chairman of the Board Emily Hargrove was juggling Tony Cointreau’s Saturday talk for the Dallas Institute, arrangements for the Equest Triple Crown Gala on May 3 and supporting husband Miles’ movie on The Starck Club premiering at the Dallas International Film Festival. . . Gigi Potter Salley reported that the family home was scheduled to undergo some major renovations. . . Kathy and Richard Holt were asked how they met. It was in college. In what class? Psychology.

Once again Melissa Macatee was called upon by CCB Chair Robyn Conlon to whistle the crowd (Norma Hunt, Karen Hughes, Patti Flowers and Tom Swiley, Alicia Wood, Jan and Fred Hegi, Angie and Kevin Kadesky and Peggy and Dan Meyers) together in the den. Many of the gentlemen were highly impressed by the power of the plucky pucker.

Angie and Kevin Kadesky

Angie and Kevin Kadesky

Robyn thanked the advisory board, the seven 2014 beneficiaries and Kent Eastman, whose Capital One underwrote the evening.

Speaking of banking and big numbers, Robyn reported that the 2014 goal was a whopping $5,127,886 and added, “I am not going to be the first ball chair to not fund them (the beneficiaries).”

Art Ball Auction Item #1: Balenciaga Cape

To kick off the countdown of over-the-top luxury items up for bid at the Art Ball benefiting the Dallas Museum of Art is a true work of art for the couture lovers.

Balenciaga Cape* (Value $27,000)

Balenciaga jacket*

Balenciaga cape**

The legendary Cristóbal Balenciaga was the role model for countless 20th century couture designers. Christian Dior once declared Cristóbal to be “the master of us all.” His lines were dramatic resulting in the creation of the balloon skirt, tunic dresses that evolved into the chemise dress and “what is considered to his most important contribution to the world of fashion: a new silhouette for women” in the 1950’s. By the 60’s he was exploring the use of heavier fabrics, intricate embroidery and bold materials. While his clients ranged from the Duchess of Windsor, Bunny Mellon, and Marella Agnelli to Jackie Kennedy, his protégés included Andre Courreges, Emanuel Ungaro and Hubert de Givenchy. According to Vogue, “He always insisted that only women of strong character would wear Balenciaga: One such intense and devoted client was the eminent stylist Countess Mona Bismarck; when the designer retired in 1968, it was said she mourned by cloistering herself in her room for three days.”

Hearkening back to his early days as a young designer, the Spanish-born designer presented a spectacular evening mantelet in the winter of 1964. To celebrate this legendary coat, the House of Balenciaga has meticulously researched the original fabrics and the design and incorporated today’s manufacturing techniques. Ah, but they’ve added materials that the master himself would have relished. The results? A tulle base that is knit with chenille — a small chenille knot to the tulle and a larger chenille with metallic yarn inside. Throughout the jacket are small groups of iridescent sequins hand-embroidered together. The collar, sleeves and edges of the jacket have faceted bead details.

Get online or prepare to wave your paddle when the bidding starts for this true couture treasure. Even Countess Bismarck would have left her room to get this darling.

* Courtesy of Balenciaga
** Photo provided by the Dallas Museum of Art

MySweetCharity To Kick-Off Art Ball List Of Auction Items Available Online And At The Gala

With the Dallas Museum’s Art Ball less than two weeks away, a lot of the talk has focused on the event’s auction. Ball Chair Gina Best and her team decided to open it up for all to participate.

How did they do that?

First, they had Heritage Auctions come on board.

Then they arranged to have the items posted online, as well available for bids the night of the Saturday, May 3rd fundraiser.

Finally, they assembled the OMG most incredibly delicious trips, clothes and gems to raise eyebrows and money. But then, what would you expect when Skye Brewer and Roz Colombo were put in charge of searching the world for the finest of the finest?

Starting Monday, MySweetCharity will post an item a day for your consideration.

In addition to the 10 goodies listed on MSC, there are even more that can be found online now!

Court and Kameron Westcott (File photo)

Court and Kameron Westcott (File photo)

Sorry to report that tickets for the gala are fleeting, so don’t wait. This one with John Legend headlining and Stephane Pompougnac DJ-ing at the after-party chaired by Chart Westcott and Kameron and Court Westcott is going to be the talk about town.

Winds Of Change Blew Through Mad Hatter’s Tea Blending Classical With Comical For The Women’s Council Of The Dallas Arboretum

Oldtimers recently recalled the first Mad Hatter’s Tea at the Dallas Arboretum way back when. The very prim and proper party was held on the terrace of the Dallas Arboretum’s Camp House with a regatta of sailboats parading on White Rock and a mini-symphony playing nearby. Even Stanley Marcus was present to add to the class and elegance of the day. It was an occasion when sipping, chatting and enjoying the lake’s breeze was a stellar way to support the Arboretum.

Ah, but that was many, many years ago. Since then the Arboretum fundraiser has been moved to the Ginsburg Plaza and Rosine Hall on the other side of the DeGolyer Estate. The regatta has been replaced with an indoor fashion show. A seated luncheon is served instead of a simple tea. And in keeping with the Mad Hatter’s theme, a touch of unpredictableness has been provided thanks to the addition of a hat contest.

In recent years, some felt that the competition and creativity had gotten a wee bit over the top, so to speak. There was actual talk of some judges hijacking other judge’s decisions. Classic looks were being upstaged by chapeaus that would have impressed Tim Burton. The live auction had gotten a bit saucy. But, heck, that was part of the charm and giggle-factor of the day.

Lisa Loy Laughlin and Bettina Hennessy

Lisa Loy Laughlin and Bettina Hennessy

This year under the leadership of Women’s Council of the Dallas Arboretum President Bettina Hennessy and Event Chair Lisa Loy Laughlin, a calming down was in place. Why, the vary theme “A Serenade to Style” seemed reminiscent of that first tea.

Even Mother Nature appeared to be in an obliging mood as she got her testiness out of the way the previous weekend for the Final Four. On Thursday, April 10, the sun was shining and it seemed so perfect for adorable spring sundresses. The luncheon tables were set up in open tents with marvelous centerpieces that featured motorized butterflies. Lisa laughed about the area birds that had been fooled by the fluttering critters and had tried to snatch them up.

Ah, but a touch of Mad Hatter still prevailed. As guests arrived, a sweep of breeze developed into gusts of wind, forcing the guests to clutch their hats. Just as one woman got out of her car, her hat whooshed away across the driveway only to be run over by another vehicle.

Once inside the plaza, the division of styles was obvious.

There were the classic beauties like

Gina Ginsburg

Gina Ginsburg

  • Wide brimmers — Honorary Chair Gina Ginsburg’s elegant sun hat smacking of Chanel, Lynn Dealey and Adrienne Pedigo in white with black hats with bouquets of flowers, Carmen Godwin and Sharla Bush in very similar flirty, floppy white hats (Sharla added an arrangement of flowers as an added touch), Bettina’s going understated in a beige and white classic, Vicki Ingram’s hat from Neiman Marcus, Judy Birchfield’s and daughter Belinda Birchfield’s matching jeweled and flowered hats and Yvonne Crum’s purple hat from Mockingbird Florist.
    Carmen Godwin

    Carmen Godwin

    Sharla Bush

    Sharla Bush

  • Fascinators —Lisa’s (“I went online”) Kate Middleton inspiration, Susan Cooper’s two hats-in-one, Marisa Howard’s black and white with a huge pink peony, Elva Furstenberg’s turquoise feathered hat by Cressida of London and Sharon Gleeson (“I bought mine at the store”).

And then there were the more whimsical like

  • Faye Briggs

    Faye Briggs

    Faye Briggs’ glittering and colorful feast of cupcakes, teacups and a beaded white rabbit that weighed more than the diminutive philanthropist. Daughter Pebble McKenzie, who will be getting married in September, went the opposite extreme with a pale pink-and-white cloche.

  • Clare Chaney’s Carmen Miranda with bananas, grapes and pineapple,
  • Terry Irby’s nearly 100 tulips and butterflies
  • Kunthear Mam-Douglas’s own creation that boasted a yellow rose theme
  • Jennifer Joyce’s topper promoting her company-sponsored table — “Fidelity”
  • LeeAnne Locken’s being encased in a rainbow of faux flowers. There were times, when the wind picked up, that it appeared that LeeAnne would be kiting over White Rock. She admitted that at times outdoors she thought was going to be the “Flying Nun” but then “hunkered down.”
  • Joani White with a fishbowl inside a birdcage. The goldfish was so embarrassed that s/he swam at the bottom of the bowl.
  • Anne Stodghill’s true tribute to Alice in Wonderland that nearly took off with a gust of wind

But the two that created the most talk belonged to Jill Rowlett and Steve Kemble.

Steve Kemble

Steve Kemble

In the days leading up to the event, Steve had advised friends via Facebook that he would be “missing” this year. No one could believe that the sassy Mad Hatter vet would not attend the event. Well, he did show up, only he was indeed missing. With his head inside a Texas-sized milk carton, his face peered out of an opening under “Missing.” On the side of the carton was “Arboretum Dairy Farm.” But even Steve was surprised at his brilliance when someone noted that the DeGolyer estate had indeed been the site of a 44-acre dairy farm before being purchased by the family in the late 1930′s.

Then there was Jill Rowlett and her frogs. Some might not have noticed her Kathrine Baumann purse. The reason? That ginormous Kermit with banjo that was on top of her head. Due to the commotion of guests and photographers trying to get to her, most weren’t able to hear Kermy’s playing his favorite tune.

According to Jill, “My hat was made again this year by Nicolas Villalba. I have many Muppet figures of every shape and material since our autistic son, Michael, loves them so. They are his friends. He even speaks in phrases from the videos! Starting with the song ‘The Rainbow Connection,” and a table full of Kermit’s, this hat grew….and grew. It’s as though Nicolas takes an idea, gives it steroids, and finds a way to build it perfectly!  From my running water fountain hat last Mad Hatters to Kermit singing Rainbow Connection, he can include movement and sound if my neck can stand it! Kermit had a speaker connected through blue tooth to my phone playing Rainbow Connection.

“It was great fun and an honor to pay tribute to Michael’s best friend!”

Lynn Dealey and Shane Walker

Lynn Dealey and Shane Walker

As guests took their places in Rosine Hall for the fashion show of Diane von Furstenberg, Escada and Lela Rose designs, some “outstanding” hats created a slight problem. One gal bent over the shoulder of Shane Walker‘s very top topper and asked him if he could remove the standout creation. It was blocking the view of those behind him.

Jocelyn White

Jocelyn White

Emcee Jocelyn White explained that she was going to handle the duties alone. Seems that announced co-emcee Ron Corning was unable to participate, due to circumstances beyond his control. Joce admitted that he was going to be very missed. . . especially when it was time for the live auction.

Then Jocelyn explained that when Lisa and Bettina “were planning this year’s wonderful day for you, they wanted to find a voice for their feelings about the magnificence of these three-and-half acres (A Woman’s Garden). This is truly sanctuary, serenity that all of you with your dollars and participation are helping to sustain. So, let’s reflect on all this glory around us with these gentle words sung by the lovely Nereida Garcia, who is a soprano who has performed in the United States, the United Kingdom and all across Mexico.”

Shoe adjustments

Shoe adjustments

The fashion production by Jan Strimple commenced almost flawlessly. One little model had shoe issues. Seems the stilettos were a tad too big for her feet and, halfway down the runway, she had to adjust her right shoe. Alas, by the end of the runway, she was forced to stoop down and fix the other heel. For her efforts, she got applause of appreciation. Who in the audience didn’t sympathize with her?

Then it was time for the live auction of seven items that had been collected by Jocelyn’s goddaughter Jacque Kennedy. Being a trooper, Joce worked to get the bidding up. She got so involved in the action that she ended up providing the winning bid of $1,000 for a private garden consultation by Michael Shoup of antique Rose Emporium.

Then it was time for the contest results. Each of the judges had his/her own category to judge.Michael Faircloth, Patti Flowers, Gary Riggs, Sam Ratcliffe and Clarice Tinsley

  • Heidi Dillon — My Favorite Things: Chic Couture,
  • Michael Faircloth — The Yellow Rose of Texas: Most Elegant,
  • Patti Flowers — Most Creative Use of Botanicals,
  • Sam Ratcliffe — Do Re Mi: Most Creative Use of Natural Materials,
  • Gary Riggs — Over the Rainbow: Most Colorfully Flamboyant,
  • Clarice Tinsley — Tip Toe Through the Tulips: Most Whimsical,
  • Maxine Trowbridge — Best of Show: Integrity of Design and
  • Janine Turner had to bow out due to a personal situation, so Clarice picked up an additional category —Edelweiss: A Vintage Look

In the past, categories had been announced ahead of time to allow guests and, in some cases, their hat designers to focus their creations. However, this event ain’t called Mad Hatter’s for nothing. By the time the judges were on stage to announce the winners, some had been adjusted and/or added. Instead of seven categories, there were eight. And then at the very end of the presentation, Jocelyn announced that she had added an additional category: Gentlemen Only.

LeeAnne Locken

LeeAnne Locken

The day’s winners were

  • Over the Rainbow: Most Colorfully Flamboyant — Faye Briggs
  • My Favorite Things: Chic Couture — Jewel Williams
  • The Yellow Rose of Texas — Carmen Godwin
  • Edelweiss — Libby Zoerner
  • Joani White

    Joani White

    Tip Toe Through the Tulips — Joani White

  • Do Re Mi — Julia Pavlova Kanaan
  • Most Creative Use of Botanicals — LeeAnne Locken. According to sources, it “seems like Patti Flowers changed the category she awarded, from ‘…. use of Natural….’ to ‘…. use of Botanical…’ LeeAnne Locken’s ‘hat’ was not made from natural materials, but it was striking and definitely deserved an award. It was created by Andre Yabin-Binzario Couture.”
  • Gentlemen Only — Shane Walker
  • Best of Show — Jill Rowlett
Jill Rowlett

Jill Rowlett

As Jill walked from the back of the room to the stage, Kermit with banjo towered over the other hatted heads. As she left the stage and started down the stairs, she just barely looked down to see just where the steps were. With that Kermit appeared to be headed for the lap of Gina, who was seated front and center. But after her tip of the hat two years ago, when her for-real fountain hat splashed the front row, Jill quickly recovered, Kermit stayed atop his perch and Gina remained calm, cool … and frogless.

For more photos, check the MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: 2014 Mad Hatter’s Tea

Terry Irby

Terry Irby

With Easter weekend just ahead, it seems like a perfect time to show off the hats that appeared at the 2014 Mad Hatter’s Tea on Thursday, April 10, at the Dallas Arboretum. While organizers had hoped that decorum would rule the day, some of the guests just got it in . . . or rather, on their heads to be maddening.

Kunthear Douglas

Kunthear Douglas

Check the two pages of pictures on the MySweetCharity Photo Gallery for proof that a little insanity isn’t such a bad thing.

JUST IN: Matthew Perry To Headline CARE’s 30th Breakfast

Before everyone takes off for a Good Friday weekend, good news is coming. The latest is the 30th anniversary breakfast for CARE (Chemical Awareness Resources & Education).

Matthew Perry*

Matthew Perry*

First, everybody’s “friend” Matthew Perry will be the featured speaker for the Monday, November 3rd event at the Omni Dallas Hotel.

Known to most for playing Chandler Bing on “Friends,” the Emmy- and Golden Globe-nominated actor has made it his mission to help others battle the disease of addiction. In addition to spreading the word about a battle that he undertook, he has also “opened a sober living home for men called the Perry House, which is committed to help men recover through a twelve-step program and meditation.”

Breakfast Chair Shirley Cohn has even more in store for the fundraising/awareness building event. She has arranged for the ever-adorable Ellen and Clayton Kershaw to serve as honorary co-chairs.

According to Shirley, “We are thrilled to welcome the entertaining Matthew Perry and Ellen and Clayton Kershaw, as we celebrate the 30th anniversary of CARE. This annual event is crucial to supporting the mission of CARE and its programs that serve those within our community suffering from drug and alcohol dependencies. We hope you will grab your friends and join us for this special morning!”

Talk about a home run!

Suggestion: This news is so very hot that it’s not even on CARE’s website yet. So call 214.526.8986 or email for your tickets starting at $150 per person and sponsorship opportunities pronto. Space will be limited and demand will be great.

* Photo provided by CARE

Round Robin April 9: Friends Of Wednesday’s Child And Crystal Charity Ball New Members Luncheons And Pre-Art Fair Reception

There are rare occasions when Mother Nature takes heart and blesses Dallas with moments of gloriously fabulous weather. Wednesday, April 9, was such a day. Perhaps the old girl was trying to make up for the previous weekend’s nasty weather. Hello, Final Four weekend!

Taking full advantage of the day were the following events:

Wednesday’s Child Luncheon

Cachet Weinberg and Sharon McGowan

Cachet Weinberg and Sharon McGowan

Friends of Wednesday’s Child Luncheon Chair Cachet Weinberg actually was worried that the day’s perfection of blue skies and user-friendly temperatures was going to hurt the luncheon attendance. What if folks decided to enjoy the outdoors as opposed to the fundraiser at Union Station?

How wrong she was!

Ke'onte Cook and Gloria Campos

Ke’onte Cook and Gloria Campos

After all, there were two big reasons to celebrate — the 30th anniversary of the Friends of Wednesday’s Child program and recently retired WFAA anchor Gloria Campos, who has been the on-air face of the program. There was no way not to attend the event, if you had even a hint of a connection with the program that provides remarkable opportunities for North Texas foster children.

Libby Hunt

Libby Hunt

As guests like Adam McGill and Nancy Hunt arrived, other VIP types like Honorary Chair Libby Hunt, her husband David, her folks Sharon and Mike McCullough, Nancy Carter and siblings Caroline Rose Hunt and Herbert Hunt had already gathered in the Frisco Room. Gloria was having a quiet conversation with Wednesday’s Child grad Ke’onte Cook.

Clad in a beige silk suit, Gloria laughed holding a flute of champagne that now that she was retired, she could actually have a glass of the bubbly at lunch.

The luncheon in the Great Hall revealed a story about Cachet that many didn’t realize. In a video presentation, it was learned that she is “from an abusive home, emotional and physical. She was taken out of the house when she was 8 and put in various foster homes. Finally when she was 15, she was adopted. Cachet said she learned to make something of her life and use it to give back to others. That’s what she’s doing now.”

Darlene Ellison

Darlene Ellison

Speaker Darlene Ellison‘s presentation was also powerful. She  was “divorced and one day drove by her ex-husband’s house and saw police cars everywhere. The FBI talked with her and told her that her ex was one of the main organizers of a group of men that ‘loved’ boys and had been involved in that group since before they were married. He went to federal prison. The message she gave was about how she had to set the example of how to cope for her children to survive emotionally and learn how to cope with this news and circumstance themselves.”

She summed it up: “My favorite saying is, ‘She saw the light at the end of the tunnel and then she became that light for others.’ Everyone in this room has an opportunity to be that light. Everyone in this room has the opportunity to be the light and help these children see the light.”

Crystal Charity Ball New Members Luncheon

Unlike typical fraternity harrassing pledges, the Crystal Charity Ball gals celebrate their newbies with style and grace. For the class of 2014 (Tiffany Divis, Gail Fischer, Amy Hegi, Leigh Anne Haugh, Angela Nash, Mary Martha Pickens and Lauryn Gayle White), it was lunch at the Carolina Herrera salon in Highland Park Village.

Amy Hegi, Gail Fischer, Mary Martha Pickens, Lauren Gayle White, Leigh Anne Haugh, Tiffany Divis and Angela Nashs

Amy Hegi, Gail Fischer, Mary Martha Pickens, Lauren Gayle White, Leigh Anne Haugh, Tiffany Divis and Angela Nashs

The question pre-event: How were you gonna fit all the newbies and vets for a meal and fashion show in the slender salon?

Really!

Heck, this was a Carolina Herrera production. Down the main aisle was an eon long white-clothed table with vases of perfect white roses positioned down the center.

But the chairs were placed facing away from the table. Oh, on second thought, how smart! It allowed the CCB guests to watch a CH fashion show. No wonder Herrera is the name repeated time and time again at galas and on society pages.

Lunch table

Lunch table

But before the fashions commenced, it was necessary to call the membership to order. The chatter was so great that it was hard to imagine how to get the guests’ attention. No chimes nor clinking glassware was going to do the job. Showing true leadership with a wink attitude, 2014 CCB Chair Robyn Conlon literally dragged Melissa Macatee midway in the salon and said, “Whistle.” The diminutive Melissa, who had looked a bit bewildered up to this point, followed the boss’s orders.

Now, if you’ve ever experienced a Melissa Macatee whistle, your hearing has never been the same. Just imagine what the New York-based Herrera ladies, who were in attendance, reported back to headquarters about how a call-to-order is achieved. This ain’t the Big Apple. It’s the Big D.

Immediately the local ladies took their seats, while the New Yorkers appeared ready to see cattle stampede outside.

After Robyn and 2015 CCB Chair Michal Powell welcomed the group, the new CCB members were formally introduced by their “sponsors.” It was obvious that the 2014 class was pretty stellar. Alas, Amy Hegi was tagged forever as “Precious” thanks to Elizabeth Gambrell’s description.

Herrera model

Herrera model

Herrera model

Herrera model

Herrera model

Herrera model

Then it was time for the show. With fur trim, wools, Herrera hostess gowns and trains leading the parade of models on the catwalk, even the accessories earned comments and second looks. Example: the dangling earrings that looked like someone had strung up red fuzzy caterpillars.

Just moments after the show, the ladies turned their chairs 180 degrees, had lunch from Gill and ramped up the chatter level again.

But the lunch and talk was brief because the ladies had appointments to keep. Alas, the breezy day got to one adorable cutie in a short silk dress. Just as she was within a yard of her SUV, she got sideswiped by a gust of wind. Up went her skirt all the way reminding some of Marilyn Monroe’s legendary scene. Don’t bother asking who she was. We ain’t into namedropping.

Cocktails & Flautas

Jack Geary

Jack Geary

By the evening the winds had toned down, resulting in absolute perfection for Elizabeth Robertson’s “Cocktails & Flautas” party honoring Jack Geary and Dolly Bross Geary. The couple, who have Jack Geary Contemporary in New York City, were in town for the Dallas Art Fair.

Jack and Dolly had visited the Dallas and Fort Worth art scene (the Nasher, DMA, etc.) during the previous days and said the Art Fair had grown, becoming both very eclectic and international. The Elizabeth-Geary connection was made 35 years ago when Elizabeth’s son Searcy Ferguson met Jack in Southampton.

Jack admitted that on his wish list is to add a Dallas contemporary artist to his collection of clients like Michael Sagato, Andy Hall, Ceyda Aykan, Vadis Turner, Federico Cattacneo and Ayse Wilson.

Robertson living room

Robertson living room

Speaking of collections and pieces of art, Elizabeth’s home was spectacular, both inside and out. Only the day before, the rains had put in jeopardy the possibility of the outdoors entertaining around the new outdoor fireplace. But evidently Lady Elizabeth has connections with Mother Nature, and everything fell into place just hours before the guests like Margaret McDermott, Kelli and Jerry Ford and Joanne Stroud arrived.

Elizabeth Robertson showing off Hannah Ferguson bracelet

Elizabeth Robertson showing off Hannah Ferguson bracelet

Looking at the fabulous gardens, one couldn’t help but think they had been transported to Southampton. Inside the exquisite blending of textures, magnificent colors and collectibles appeared to be straight out of “Architectural Digest.”

Allison V. Smith and Barry Whistler

Allison V. Smith and Barry Whistler

Nathan Burke

Nathan Burke

While art power couple Allison V. Smith and Barry Whistler were chatting with Dolly, and Elizabeth’s daughter-in-law Hannah Ferguson was taking compliments about her jewelry designs that can be found at Korshak, flautas were indeed being made in the kitchen, and out on the street Nathan Burke had his oven in overdrive making Superfly Pies. Parked just a couple of cars away from the oven was Elizabeth’s show-stopping vintage Mercedes convertible with the license plate reading: “SBetty”. Too bad she couldn’t have had the plate done in Elizabethan Blue.

Vintage Mercedes convertible

Vintage Mercedes convertible

JUST IN: Eight New Members Added To TACA Board

Eight new members of TACA’s Board of Directors were just revealed.

Jill Tananbaum and Sky Brewer*

Jill Tananbaum and Sky Brewer (File photo)

Drum roll. . . Joining present board members Shannon Brame, Barbara Daseke, Kemp Sawers and Ed Tauriac will be Megan Bowdon, Skye Brewer, Pete Chilian, Dawn Carney Grove, Ann Margolin, Jay Oppenheimer, Dawna Richter and Jill Tananbaum.

Leading this performing-art loving board will be Chair Nancy Carlson, Vice Chair of Grants Tara Lewis, Vice Chair of Programs Zannie Giraud Voss, Treasurer Marsha Cameron and Secretary Ann Hobson.

If you don’t know who the newbies are, you can find out after the jump!

[Read more...]

Individual Tickets For John Wayne Film Festival Are Now On Sale

Individual tickets for the John Wayne Film Festival just went on sale. Sponsorships blew out the door as fast as tickets for the Academy of Country Music Awards. If you love John Wayne, you just knew that would happen.

Whether your preference is Red River, North To Alaska or anything John Wayne-ish, you are definitely gonna want to be part of the festivities starting Thursday, April 24, with screenings at the luxurious LOOK Cinemas.

Well, OMG! If you splurge and get with the action, you can celebrate with a heck of a lot of Wayne-type action. Yahoo, baby!

And you’ll be in very good company, including American Film Institute President/CEO Bob Gazzale along with the Wayne family members.

Ethan Wayne, Greg Brown and Marisa Wayne (File photo)

Ethan Wayne, Greg Brown and Marisa Wayne (File photo)

For the opening-night festivities on Thursday, The Quiet Man will be shown with special guests Patrick Wayne, Melinda Wayne Munoz, Ethan Wayne, Marisa Wayne and Anita Swift. Dad gummitt, Maureen O’Hara and The Duke made such a twosome.  Afterwards the crowd will party at Gilley’s Dallas with Pat Green in charge of the entertainment.

On Friday, it will be four screenings of Wayne movies (The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, The Green Berets, The Searchers and The Comancheros) with a Texas Gala at 3015 Trinity Groves with the Robert Lee Kobb Band.

Ann-Margret (File photo)

Ann-Margret (File photo)

Saturday night four more screenings (Rio Bravo, The Alamo, True Grit and The Train Robbers) will be followed a “gala” party with Hunter Sullivan handling the entertainment. Oops, did we mention that a certain red-haired legend by the name of Ann-Margret just may be on hand?

But there’s still more! On Sunday, The War Wagon and Red River will be shown.

The festivities will benefit the John Wayne Cancer Foundation thanks to Tri-Chairs Anne and Steve Stodghill and David Hale Smith.

Please, oh, please leave the fancy duds at home. Think boots and jeans and just a subtle touch of bling. Okay, the bling doesn’t have to be too subtle, “pilgrim.”

Round Robin April 8 (Part II): KidneyTexas Runway Report Kick-Off Party And Salvation Army Fashion Show And Luncheon Reception

After a brief recovery from the Tuesday, April 8th luncheons, it was time to hit the road again for an evening of fashion show kick-offs and patron parties to raise funds for KidneyTexas and the Salvation Army.

KidneyTexas Runway Report Luncheon & Style Show Kick Off Party

Ramona Jones

Ramona Jones

Over at Tootsies, about 75 partygoers gathered to pump up enthusiasm for the September 23rd KidneyTexas Runway Report Luncheon & Style Show at Brook Hollow Golf Club. While a jazz trio played bouncy standards like “I Love Paris” and “When Sunny Gets Blue,” kickoff-party guests including Carol Seay, Renee Winter, Emilynn Wilson, Andrea Alcorn, Fran Cashen and Ramona Jones prepared to enjoy a mini-runway show featuring Tootsies frocks on KidneyTexas volunteers—plus one game young man, Blake Settle, who was wearing a shirt from Pockets Menswear.

Fran Cashen, Renee Winters and Andrea Alcorn

Fran Cashen, Renee Winters and Andrea Alcorn

He was the son of Karen Settle, the luncheon chair. Proud mama Karen was seen huddling with KidneyTexas President Jolie Humphrey while, not far away, Cara Stone was getting ready for the runway show under the watchful eye of Nerissa von Helpenstill, the Tootsies manager.

Emilynn Wilson, Rachel Cowlishaw and Patricia Cowlishaw

Emilynn Wilson, Rachel Cowlishaw and Patricia Cowlishaw

Also on hand was Patricia Cowlishaw. Her granddaughter Rachel Cowlishaw handles the “modern” department of the Dallas operation of the Houston-based retailing operation.

Funds from the Sept. 23 event will benefit the Baylor Health Care System Foundation, Children’s Medical Center of Dallas, National Kidney Foundation-Camp Reynal, and UT Southwestern Medical Center.

Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary Fashion Show & Luncheon Reception

Kathie King

Kathie King

Carol Seay was a busy woman Tuesday. No sooner was she spotted at the KidneyTexas do than she turned up, Zelig-like, at the magnificent home of Kathie and Randy King. The occasion? A fete for the Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary’s 2014 Fashion Show & Luncheon, scheduled for Monday, May 5 at Brook Hollow Golf Club. Carol was among 160 who showed up at the Kings’, who’d opened up their house for Salvation Army events twice before.

Guests had hardly departed their cars before hearing, “Wait til you see this house!” With its cobble tile roof, simply perfect floorplan, curved doorways, designer colors, fabulous textures, two outdoor fireplaces, pool and guest quarters, the property takes up two lots in Highland Park. Kathie, whose left foot had undergone surgery earlier in the year, reported that the house was the result of a marvelous working relationship with architect/builder Tony McClung. The way that Kathie talked, Tony should be negotiating peace in the Ukraine.

Kathie and Randy King's home and putting green

Kathie and Randy King’s home and putting green

When asked if the Kings had a dog, Kathie laughed, saying, “We have a putting green surrounded by AstroTurf.” Evidently, that was the one concession she made for Randy.

Holly Forsythe and Denise Wolford

Holly Forsythe and Denise Wolford

Speaking of dogs, award-winning animal advocate Holly Forsythe had just arrived from a Greg Abbott fundraiser at Gene and Jerry Jones’ estate. Holly revealed that she was thrilled to learn that Republican State Representative candidate Chart Westcott was “very pro-active in closing puppy mills.”

Gina Jones

Gina Jones

After enjoying drinks and hors d’oeuvres inside the dramatic manse, guests including Denise Wolford, Anne and David Caruth, Vicki Howland, Dee Wyly and Jill Rowlett moved outside to listen to brief remarks by the pool from Capt. Michelle Mathews, who will soon be earning her major’s stripes. They also heard that Chair Gina Jones had arranged for former First Lady Laura Bush and her daughters Barbara Pierce Bush and Jenna Bush Hager to serve as honorary chairs for the event. Jan Strimple will produce the fashion show, which is in its 23rd year and has raised more than $7 million for the Salvation Army so far.

Michelle Matthews

Michelle Matthews

Come rain or shine, this fashion show/sell-a-thon is a traditional home run. It’s an opportunity to add to your collection of killer outfits, while raising funds for the Salvation Army.

The Divine Miss M Is Coming For A Chat

Dallas is starting to look like the stopover for award-winning women. Sally Field last week for the New Friends New life “Wings” luncheon. Diane Nyad will be at the Appetite for Advocacy Thursday. And on Thursday, May 1, Bette Midler (aka The Divine Miss M) is headed in this direction for the Woman to Woman Luncheon.

Bette Midler*

Bette Midler*

Bette’s been getting standing ovations since the 60’s and has only gotten better and better. Gone are the days when she and a young pianist by the name of Barry Manilow performed in the Continental Baths and “built up a core following.” In addition to having an incredible voice, she also had a reputation for interacting with the audience. It was the release of “The Divine Miss M” that shot her to national fame with such hits as “Do You Wanna Dance?”, “Friends” and “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy”.

And, of course, it didn’t hurt that she made a stupendous hit with a night-show host by the name of Johnny Carson. It would be years later that Bette would be his last guest and bring him to tears with “One for My Baby.”

And then there were movies like The Rose, Down and Out in Beverly Hills, Ruthless People, Outrageous Fortune, Beaches, The First Wives Club, etc.

Still the music continued along with TV, still more movies and a collection of awards and nominations. As recently as the 2014 Academy Awards, she receive a SO from the heady crowd singing “Wind Beneath My Wings.”  It was a perfect example of how unlike other singers, she doesn’t upstage the beauty of the lyrics and music. She is the spotlight and does it with grace.

Okay, so all that is well-known among the legions of Miss M fans.

But there is another side to her that is not in front of a mic nor on a soundstage. She’s been there for those in need of her support.

She’s also taken on duties as an advocate for non-profit organizations like the revitalization of “neglected neighborhood parks in economically disadvantaged neighborhoods in New York City.” In addition to rolling up her sleeves and getting down and dirty for the parks, she founded the New York Restoration Project that also “offers free in-school and after-school environmental education programming to students from high-poverty Title I schools.”

If you’ve ever seen Bette in concert, you know she commands, charms and creates memories. You walk away from the experience thinking, “I know her and I like her for her honesty and her. . . I can’t describe it, but I just like her.”

But for the May 1st event, she will be without the costumes and the back-up singers. It will just be Bette, you and the fundraising guests of Jewish Family Services.

Event Co-Chairs are Linda Garner, Beth Konig, Sheryl Pidgeon, Laurie Platt and Cindy Ray Yablonsky.

Honorary Chairs are Rebecca Baker, Jeanne Fagadau, Dot Hayman and Mildred Oppenheimer.

Tickets are now available online. Don’t miss this one. Come the afternoon of May when everybody is talking about Bette, you’re going to be really an unhappy camper if you take a pass.

You know someone is watching us.

* Graphic courtesy of Jewish Family Services of Greater Dallas

Round Robin April 8 (Part I): Linz Award, Cherish The Children And Just Say “Yes!” Luncheons

Tuesday, April 8, was one of those days that poets write about. The skies were magnificent with just enough clouds to break up the all blue look. The temperatures were so friendly that new spring clothes made their seasonal debut without fear of needing a pashmina. It was almost as if Mother Nature realized that the day would be filled with countless fundraising activities and she’d better cooperate.

Due to the number of events, the day’s Round Robin is broken into two posts — daytime and night-time. Thank you for bearing with the MSC team.

85th Annual Linz Award

85th Linz Award program and friend*

85th Linz Award program and friend*

Attendees at the VIP reception before the 85th annual Linz Award luncheon at the Omni Dallas were a virtual who’s who of Dallas civic leadership. From Ruth Altshuler and Jennifer Sampson to Walt Humann, Caren Prothro, Laura Johnson, Kate Newman, Bea and Walt Humann, Pat Patterson, Dolores Barzune, Susan McSherry, Carol and Don Glendenning, Margot Perot, Bobby Lyle, Erle Nye, Margaret Keliher, Kern Wildenthal and Luncheon Chair Sandy Ammons, the group was beyond stellar. Then again, what would you expect at an event honoring Forrest Hoglund, the man who raised more than $185 million toward construction of the Perot Museum of Nature and Science and one of the most respected civic leaders in Dallas?

Ruth Altshuler, Margot Perot , Lyda Hill and Caren Prothro*

Ruth Altshuler, Margot Perot , Lyda Hill and Caren Prothro*

“We love the Hoglunds,” Paige McDaniel of Community Partners of Dallas was saying, referring to Forrest and his wife Sally Hoglund. “They give to every nonprofit in town. And, they really care. They’ll call and ask, ‘How’s it going?’ That’s why you see so many agencies here today.” Not far away, Forrest was basking in congratulations from, among others, Lyda Hill, Lee Jackson and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst. How did he feel, being chosen for the prestigious Linz honor? “I’m surprised,” Forrest replied. Really? “Well, you know,” he went on, “everybody else does all the work, and I get the credit!”

David Dewhurst*

David Dewhurst*

Inside the ballroom, where 700 had gathered for a luncheon of garden spinach brie en croute, petit filet of beef, seasonal vegetables, and chocolate or key lime pie desserts, SMU President Gerald Turner reviewed the history of the Linz Award, which is presented annually by the Zale Corp. and the Dallas Morning News. Turner pointed out that Hoglund represents the “rock chop [University of Kansas] Jayhawk” contingent in Dallas. “But, due to a twinkle in his eye named Kelly, SMU is a close No. 2,” Turner contended. “Forrest had hoped Kansas would win the NCAA [basketball tournament], and then we’d just slide on into this. At least he got in the tournament! Some of us are still smarting from that …”

Forrest Hoglund*

Forrest Hoglund*

Next Jim Moroney of the DMN said the Linz was awarded in part for Hoglund’s “civic engagement,” while Jack Lowe, a board member for Zales, lauded Forrest’s money-raising—$30 million so far—on behalf of Reasoning Mind. That’s a pioneering, Web-based program that helps elementary students learn math, including students in the Dallas Independent School District. Then Nicole Small, former CEO at the Perot museum, called Hoglund the “ultimate cheerleader, “a man caller ID almost put out of business,” and “a big thinker who’s not afraid to challenge” the status quo.

Forrest, for his part, made an acceptance speech that was brief, gracious and to the point. Calling the luncheon “a rush” for him, Hoglund thanked a number of people including his wife and daughters, applauded Small, and humorously recalled one of his first fundraising experiences, in Houston at the age of 26. Calling on a crusty oil-and-gas mogul on behalf of the Houston Museum of Natural Science, Forrest said the energy magnate told him point-blank: “I ain’t givin’ no friggin’ money to no museum.” But, Hoglund hastened to point out, the donation would be to benefit the Houston community, not just the museum. Retorted the oilman: “I hate this g-d city.”

But Dallas, Forrest concluded, is “on a roll [these days] like I can’t imagine. … Everybody’s trying to do great things in Dallas—and getting them done.” If that’s true, the 85th Linz awardee is one big reason why.

Cherish The Children Luncheon

Tea party chair

Tea party chair

Like Goldilocks, the 300+ guests at the annual Dallas CASA’s “Cherish the Children” fundraising luncheon had to check out the designer chairs and furnishings in the silent auction at the Ritz Carlton’s lobby. There was a white chair all prettied up with satin trim and pillow that included a “goodie basket of MacKenzie Childs.” Nearby was an art “full” toy chest. On the other side of the tables of items that extended the full length of the lobby were two chairs with teddy bears in coveralls and yellow plastic “hard hats.”

A treasure chest of art

A treasure chest of art

But the one that literally stopped traffic was the green lounger near the check-in. Valued at $1,700, it was a magnet for eyes and try-ons. While guests like Caroline Rose Hunt and Dedie Leahy watched, others like Lara Tafel and CASA Executive Director/President Beverly Levy gave the “Fit” chair a try.

Beverly Levy, Caroline Rose Hunt and Dedie Leahy

Beverly Levy, Caroline Rose Hunt and Dedie Leahy

But the luncheon was more than bidding and sitting. It was “to raise critically needed funds for Dallas CASA to recruit and train volunteer advocates who help ensure that abused and neglected children are safe, healthy and protected with loving families.”

To inspire guests, decorated U.S. Marine vet/Princeton and Harvard Business School grad/author Donovan Campbell was the keynote speaker. In addition to sharing “how he led his men through some of the worst battles in Iraq and Afghanistan, he was able to translate those experiences into a life of servant leadership upon his return home.

“Campbell described the three values that underlie his belief in servant leadership:

“Be humble — ‘At its essence, humility is nothing more than a realistic and unflinching view of yourself and your relationships.’

“Give your best everyday — ‘Today I have given all that I have, that which I have kept I have lost. Effort is good, but direction is better.’

“Challenge yourself — ‘What is it that I want to be known for when my life is over?’”

Regarding troops returning from overseas, he stressed that “the best way to say ‘thank you’ . . . is to make sure that they come home to a country worth fighting for.”

Just Say YES! Pointing Youth In The Right Direction Luncheon

Lisa Troutt and Dan Bailey

Lisa Troutt and Dan Bailey

It was a spectacular day with just the right amount of sunshine, breeze and temperatures to enjoy the outdoors. Ah, a true rarity in these parts. But the perfect spot to enjoy these conditions was Lisa and Kenny Troutt’s estate. For about 300 very fortunate guests at the annual “Just Say YES Pointing Youth in the Right Direction Luncheon,” they not only got to take in the incredible grounds during the reception, they learned and were inspired by the work of Just Say YES! established by Dan Bailey back in March 2002.

_MG_5388 Dan BaileyThe program helps “equip teens to succeed by educating them through student assembly speakers and classroom curriculum. Our goal is empowering students to say ‘Yes’ to their dreams and goals and ‘No’ to destructive choices.”

Avery Johnson

Avery Johnson

On this day, the guests got a double whammy! Not only was the speaker Gabe Salazar, but he was introduced by Luncheon Chair Avery “Coach” Johnson, whose legendary basketball acumen is quickly being surpassed by his motivational talks.

Sue Bailey and Gabe Salazar

Sue Bailey and Gabe Salazar

And, yet, the young Latino Gabe gave Avery a run for his money in the speaking department. The adorable Latino with his wife, Nancy, tableside told of his first-hand knowledge of being homeless, gang influence and being the first in his family to go to college. Blending humor with touching compassion, his message ranged from a skit depicting a disabled teenager to frank talk regarding the following:

Too many kids are wishing and not dreaming big.

No teenager’s goal is to be homeless, in jail, strung out on drugs or dead.

There is hope. No one was born an accident. When students tell him, “I was an accident. My parents were married. My mom was a teenager, etc.” Gabe’s response is, “Your life is not an accident. You are here for a purpose.”

Tavia and Clark Hunt, Knobel Hunt and Nancy and Gabe Salazar

Tavia and Clark Hunt, Knobel Hunt and Nancy and Gabe Salazar

Turning to the adults, like Honorary Chairs Tavia and Clark Hunt with their son Knobel, Sue and Jimmy Gragg, Heather and Ray Washburne, Sue Bailey, Jennie Gilchrist, Janet McColloch, Bill Nowlin, Craig Vaughn, Phillip Wise and Robbie Fusch, seated at luncheon tables throughout the room, Gabe said, “Be a mentor.” To the students, he advised, “Find a mentor.”

But there was still a third speaker, student Chris Caldwell, whose message summed up the program’s message perfectly: “Don’t tell me the sky’s the limit when there are footprints on the moon.”

* Photo credit: Lisa Stewart

Writer Julia Reed Became Everybody’s BFF At Community Partners Of Dallas’ Chick Lit Luncheon

There were rumblings about writer Julia Reed. At the Chick Lit patron party on Thursday, April 3, in the Carolina Herrera boutique, Community Partners of Dallas Executive Director Paige McDaniel and her sidekick Joanna Clarke were just downright giddy. “You’re going to love Julia!”

But a half hour into the party, the guest of honor hadn’t arrived. That was okay. There were tornado warnings in the area and bumbershoots were starting to be the accessory du jour. Perhaps Mississippi-born Julia was too dainty to broach the threatening weather. That theory would later prove to be as wrong as wearing muck boots to the Art Ball.

The next day those previous rumblings of “You’re going to love Julia” had heightened to the likes of a pep rally at Brook Hollow for the Chick Lit Luncheon. The VIP party was jammed with guests. Which one was Julia? Word had passed that she had indeed made it to the Herrera party and won a whole new crowd of fans before heading to dinner at Café Pacific with former First Lady Laura Bush.

Say, “What!” She had dinner with Laura?

Julia Reed

Julia Reed

Finally edging through the crowd, a tall brunette with poreless skin and a thick head of brown hair with excellent highlights was spotted. She was surrounded by other women, who were not budging. After all they had come to the conclusion that they were indeed the brunette’s new very best friends in the entire world.

But the camaraderie was obvious. There was an ease about her that made her appear to be comfortable whatever the situation. Let’s just face the fact that there are people who have the gift to make others feel like they’re unique and confidantes. Julia Reed is one of those rare creatures. She makes you remember those slumber parties when you and your very bestest bud shared secrets, or at summer camp, when your camper galpal taught you how to shave your legs.

But there was no time to talk during the reception. The fundraising luncheon schedule had to be respected and hundreds like Kate Rose Marquez, Skye Brewer, Elizabeth Gambrell, Sara Martineau, D’Andra Simmons, Christie Carter, Kristina Whitcomb, Liz Tankersley and Honorary Chair Jennifer Burr Altabef were waiting throughout Brook Hollow for the program to begin.

Cinderette McDaniel

Cinderette McDaniel

In the ballroom Presenting Sponsor Lara Tafel’s guests like Cheryl Brown and Amanda Ward were taking their place front and center just before the stage. To the side of the stage, Paige’s mom Cinderette McDaniel was joined by Neiman Marcus Downtown’s Marjon Zabihi Henderson and Hayley Louden. That was curious. NM presence had been present in the past. Hmm.

Marjon Zabihi Henderson and Hayley Louden

Marjon Zabihi Henderson and Hayley Louden

Before Julia took over, Luncheon Chair Jennifer Evans Morris presented the 8th Annual Partners for Children Award to the Junior League of Dallas for their “commitment to meeting the philanthropic needs of our community.” Of the 25 years that CPD has been “ensuring safety, restoring dignity and inspiring hope to abused and neglected children served by Dallas County Child Protective Services,” the JLD has been involved for 21 of them.

Lara Tafel

Lara Tafel

Before Paige led the group in singing “Happy Birthday,” she had guests don party hats. At the completion of the song confetti showered the stage. Party hats were soon removed as Paige talked about the children who are helped time and time again through CPD.

Jennifer Morris and Paige McDaniel

Jennifer Morris and Paige McDaniel

Following lunch (pecan-crusted chicken on mesclun greens, dried cherries and apricots and maple-balsamic dressing accompanied by ciabatta bread with goat cheese and Southern-style cherry pie), Paige returned to the podium, where she announced that NM had sent a birthday gift to CPD. Out of a NM box, a pair of Louboutin stilettos were pulled. The message: CPD would be the recipient of the 2015 Stiletto Strut at NM Downtown. (In checking with Marjon, it was learned that NM would be taking a pass this year on the annual strut-athon and would return in the fall of 2015.) Ah, so that’s why the two NM gals were lunching.

At 12:20 p.m. Julia took over the podium. Now, this group has seen and heard some of the country’s most popular girly-type speakers including Gigi Levangie, Allison Winn Scotch and Emily Giffin, so this wasn’t their first talk-rodeo. They had heard everything from Hollywood gossip to personal challenges. Now, their word-of-mouth, built-up expectations were on the line.

Julia Reed

Julia Reed

With a Southern drawl that is longer than the Mississippi River, Julie connected immediately with her audience. It was obvious that she was comfortable in her skin and made everyone else in the room feel right at home with her. If she name-dropped, she did it not to impress but to share. She talked about

  • her landing her job as contributing editor for “Newsweek” handling both New Orleans politics and the monthly “Food and Drink” column
  • writing for Vogue and its editor Anna Wintour and fashion guru André Leon Talley
  • and her latest book “But Mama Always Put Vodka in Her Sangria!”

Let’s face it. To have described in a post her stories would not do the tales nor Julia justice. Her delivery was just too engaging and hit the spot. So, for the first time, MySweetCharity is going to post a couple of video clips of Julia on highlights:

The first dealt with a previous Chanel fashion show in which designer Karl Lagerfeld focused on transparent skirts. Following the show, Julia, André and a movie producer from Clarksdale, Mississippi, attended a press conference with Lagerfeld. (Editor’s note: This clip includes some language that some might feel inappropriate. If so, pass on viewing.)

Following her talk, Julia took questions from the audience including what she thought of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West on the cover of “Vogue” and what would be [Julia's] last meal. For your consideration, here is the G-rated video.

The videos are proof why MSC realized its own limitations in describing a situation. Julia in person was simply indescribable. If you were there, you know it. If you weren’t there, you missed a great time.

Round Robin April 3: Chick Lit And Mad Hatter’s Tea Patron Parties and Girls Party

Once again Thursday proved to be an overabundant serving of appetizers for the weekend. In the case of Thursday, April 3, it was on the eve of the Final Four and the night of SMU playing the Minnesota Golden Gophers in Madison Square Garden.

Oh, did we mention that tornado warnings and watches were lighting up the skies and local newscasts?

Among the activities taking place were

  • Racing for the Sight patron party at Vinnette and Mike Montgomery’s new home benefiting the Retina Foundation
  • Fashion Cited with Ron Corning emceeing at Frontiers of Flight Museum for the Retina Foundation

Chick Lit Patron Party

Carolina Herrera store

Carolina Herrera store

Carolina Herrera is the jewel box of couture clothing. And despite the threatening weather, the CH boutique in Highland Park Village had the ladies turn out for the Chick Lit Luncheon patron party.

While waiting for guest of honor/next-day’s-luncheon-speaker Julia Reed to arrive, about 100 guests chatted and checked out the gems on the hangar. One poor gent looked at a spectacular shimming evening gown and queried, “$2,000?” A broad streak of shock swept over the nearby gals. He just knew he had insulted the creation. From the sidelines, one understanding female suggested, “That would pay for the label and perhaps the hangar.” As for the gown, in an addition to the gold, it also comes in green and blue. . . and it will probably be a showstopper in the months to come at galas.

Melinda Rathke

Melinda Rathke

As for Julia, she eventually arrived and immediately became best friends with everyone. As for dinner, she had a dinner date at Café Pacific with a local gal-pal — Laura Bush. But it was an early dinner because Julia had the Chick Lit Luncheon the next morning at Brook Hollow.

Mad Hatter’s Tea Patron Party

The Mad Hatter’s Tea Honorary Chair Gina Ginsburg and husband Scott hosted their very first “philanthropy” gathering at their new Highland Park mansion. Four years in the making, the residence would have delighted French royalty pre-revolution — and the Rolling Stones.

In the two-story library, a life-size photo of Mick Jagger was in place upstairs, while paintings by JD Miller were just at eye level at the room’s entry. The old masters would have been very impressed with JD’s talents.

Scott and Gina Ginsburg

Scott and Gina Ginsburg

In the formal living room that was as proper and traditional as King Louis XIV, a very modern portrait of Marie Antoinette stopped traffic. It wasn’t the Marie A. that one recalls. Imagine a very stylized Marie A . Despite attempts to find an artist’s signature on the painting, Scott smiled and insisted that he had done it and Gina was the subject — “I didn’t know what to do with her face, so I gave her a face mask.”

Lisa Loy Laughlin and Bettina Hennessy

Lisa Loy Laughlin and Bettina Hennessy

Eventually the crowd of around 100 gathered in the den where Mad Hatter’s Tea Chair Lisa Loy Laughlin welcomed the group and then had Jocelyn White reveal that as a thank you, Lisa and Dallas Arboretum Women’s Council President Bettina Hennessy had arranged to have a blooming bed in the Ginsburg Plaza dedicated in Gina’s honor — “Sweet Gina’s Blooming Bed”. Only problem? They were going to present Gina with a certificate to seal the deal, but it “was in the mail.”

Girls Party

Nancy Carlson

Nancy Carlson

The day before, Nancy Carlson had been giving real thought to moving the Girls Party benefiting the Dallas Children’s Theater into the Carlson mansion. After all, the weather guessers had threatening everything excluding the plague and swarms of locusts hitting the area.

But surprise! Like a general leading her troops into battle, Nancy decided she would chance it and held the party outdoors and Co-Chairs Maggie Kipp and Tara Lewis were on board.

Maggie Kipp and Annika Cail

Maggie Kipp and Annika Cail

Ma Nature cooperated, providing what appeared to be a fireworks show with lightning flashing in the skies above and making the thunder clouds looking like bruised meringue. She even added a touch of a breeze to keep things cool for the 200 gals.

Tented backyard

Tented backyard

As for the Carlson estate, it was once again a whimsical setting with tents, mountains of desserts, grown-up beverages and entertainment all over the place. Artist JD Miller did one of his live paint-a-thons with his bride Lea Fisher watching. The Dallas Youth Repertory Program did a “flash mob” performance. Guests found themselves donning leis and learning how to hula.

JD Miller and Lea Fisher

JD Miller and Lea Fisher

But the big surprise was the song dedication to Dallas Children’s Theater Chairman of the Board Sharron Hunt, who had been the DJ sponsor for music by DJs Jen Miller and Paul Paredes.

Sharron and Maggie also coordinated efforts to have Linda “Dallas” Gray on the scene as honorary celebrity chair, thanks to their friendship with Elaine Saab. In addition to being Sharron’s friend, Elaine’s kids grew up with Maggie. It was a few years ago that Elaine tracked Linda down to speak at a Mississippi women’s conference. Learning about the Girls Party, Elaine reached out to Linda who, despite having a 5:30 a.m. call the next morning, looked spectacular and was overly accommodating to one and all.

Robyn Flatt, Linda Gray, Sharron Hunt and Elaine Saab

Robyn Flatt, Linda Gray, Sharron Hunt and Elaine Saab

DCT’s Robyn Flatt looked like a school kid herself with the recent success of “Mariachi Girl” and the evening’s fundraiser. For the past 10 years the Cabaret Gala has been the main fundraiser. The Girls’ Party has become delicious frosting on the fundraising cake for the theater that has become a treasure to parents and kids throughout the area.

Despite the threatening weather, Nancy made the right call.

A Passing: Margaret Doggett Crow

Margaret Crow (File photo)

Margaret Crow (File photo)

Margaret Doggett Crow’s life was the stuff of which great movies are made. Born in 1919, she was an only child whose parents died in an automobile accident in 1939 just outside Waxahachie, when she was just 19.

Months later, after touring Europe with friends, she was on board the S.S. Athenia returning to the States when a German submarine torpedoed the ship. She made it to a lifeboat and was rescued by a Norwegian merchant ship that took her to Galway, Ireland, where a young John Kennedy welcomed her and the other survivors.

Three years later, the Hockaday graduate married a young naval officer,  Fred Trammell Crow. During their 66-year marriage, they would raise six children (Robert, Howard, Harlan, Trammell S., Lucy Billingsley and Stuart) and build a real estate empire. They traveled the world and entertained international world leaders at the family home.

When Trammell died in 2009, his ashes were interred at the family farm in East Texas and at the Daniel Cemetery on Airline Road. Just two years later, their eldest son Robert died and joined his father at the family cemetery in University Park.

The Daniel Cemetery was established in 1850 by Margaret’s great-great-grandmother Francis Sims Daniel* who, like Margaret, was legendary.

We regret to report Margaret died Friday night. In the days ahead, she will be reunited with her husband and son in Daniel cemetery. Our condolences to the Crow family and to all those who were part of Margaret Crow’s amazing life.

* A story about Francis Sims Daniel and Daniel Cemetery follows the jump. [Read more...]

JUST IN: Family Gateway To Spearhead Campaign To End Dallas Child Homelessness By 2017

This morning the leadership of  Family Gateway held a breakfast to announce a collaborative efforts by area non-profits, business and government organizations to end child homelessness in Dallas by 2017.

Rob Alberts

Rob Alberts

In the Omni Dallas Hotel’s West End Suite, Family Gateway CEO Rob Alberts said, “Family Gateway is leading the campaign for Dallas to become the first major city in the United State to end child homelessness. We have assembled a team of dedicated professionals and community leaders who believe in our mission.”

Among those leaders who were present and spoke were developer Jack Matthews, Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance CEO Mike Faenza, Dallas Housing Authority Brooke Etie, First Presbyterian Church Senior Pastor Joe Clifford, philanthropist Hunter Hunt, Director of Criminal Justice for Dallas County Ron Stretcher and Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings.

Rob went on to emphasize, “Dallas has become a world-class city, yet every night, five thousand children and their families do not have a safe place to sleep.

“We are audacious enough to think that, as a community that cares about ‘the least among us’, this community of providers and funders, civic leaders and housing providers can provide for those children.”

As for how the program would work, he explained, “A plan that has broad input and buy-in has a much greater chance of success than one we might create on our own – therefore we are not rolling out a finished plan, but instead calling for collaborative planning with housing and services providers, government, business, and philanthropy over the next several months.”

Hadeshia Thompson

Hadeshia Thompson

While the various leaders reiterated the importance and support of such a goal being accomplished, many listened most closely to the story told by Hadeshia Thompson, who had firsthand knowledge of homelessness.

Her father was killed when she was three. She became a mother at the age of 14. Then a second child was born when she was 16. By 18 she was in an abusive marriage. At 21 she was homeless with two children. At that point, she considered “giving my children” away in order to survive. It was at that breaking point in her life that she realized that she didn’t have the tools to survive, much less to thrive. It was Family Gateway that not only assisted her in turning her life around, but also helped her connect with services and organizations that could help her keep her family together and advance.

Hadeshia’s talk was passionate, articulate and impactful. The reason? In a city that can raise money to build world-class institutions, have Noble prize winners and achieve greatness time and time again, it’s still amazing to think thousands of children do not have a sanctuary called home.

Within the next four years, Dallas has the opportunity to change that situation and set an example for others to follow. But it will only be achieved by a word that was repeated again and again at the breakfast — collaboration. Through the Family Gateway’s program, it is possible.

Plans And 2014 Crystal Charity Ball Ten Best Dressed Plus Hall Of Famer Revealed

Wednesday, April 2, Harlan Crow was sounding like your typical dad explaining to guests at the Park Cities Historic and Preservation Society Luncheon why his estate had been rolled. The “rollers” must have bought out Walmart to do the deed. And the papering of the prestigious acreage wasn’t in honor of a Crow child. Nope, it was to “celebrate” the birthday of mama Crow — Kathy.

Robyn Conlon

Robyn Conlon

While Harlan was doing his ‘splaining at the Dallas Country Club, the Crystal Charity Ball committee kicked off the reign of CCB Chair Robyn Conlon with the announcement of the 2014 Ten Best Dressed and Hall of Famer at downtown’s Neiman Marcus store.

In a Nina Ricci dress topped off with a scarf from her husband Don, Robyn welcomed the guests in the store’s second-floor couture salon and reviewed the program.

Missing was Neiman Marcus queen of splendid events Sandy Marple, who was on assignment in other parts of the NM empire. Not to worry. NM Downtown PR beauty Marjon Zabihi Henderson had everything under control.

Heather Esping

Heather Esping

In a side boutique of the salon, the 2014 Ten Best Dressed (Nancy Carlson, Francie Moody-Dahlberg, Heather Esping, Mary Clare Finney, Margaret Hancock, Ashley Hunt, DeeDee Lee, Patty Leyendecker, Lynn McBee and Christi Urschel) and Hall of Famer inductee Lee Ann White were held in place. DeeDee was showing off the scar resulting from a past jab by her Texas-sized charm bracelet; Lee Ann revealed the premature birthday celebration for husband Alan (his birthday is actually April 3) the day before at the Crescent Club. It just so happened to coincide with PlainsCapitals and Southwest Securities joining up. The Whites have temporarily moved into the Ritz, while their Preston Hollow home is being refreshed. However, Lee Ann admitted that she’s taken a real liking to the high-rise living, while Alan still wants to return to their home on the ground. But that discussion ended quickly when Lee Ann spied buddy/last year’s HoF Lana Andrews coming around the corner. . .  Nancy was telling Christi that the Girls Party the next night at the Carlson estate was taking a wait-and-see position depending upon Mother Nature’s temperament. If Ma unloaded with rain, Nancy was prepared to move the whole thing inside. Not to worry. The Carlson mansion could handle a mini-convention.

But small talk was cut short when it was time for the announcement of the 10 BD and HoF. NM’s Neva Hall and Robyn handled the official welcomes and spoke of the 40 years of CCB and NM partnering up for the legendary fashion show/fundraiser.

Then Luncheon Chair Pat McEvoy revealed that the show featuring Nina Ricci fashions would once again be held in a luxurious tent, so seating would be extremely limited.

DeeDee Lee's charm bracelet

DeeDee Lee’s charm bracelet

Neiman Marcus Downtown GM/VP Jeff Byron took over the announcement of the 10+HoF and it went off without a hitch.

Well, there was that moment when DeeDee reached over to shake Jeff’s hand and he seemed a bit taken back by the mass of blinding gold charms coming at him.

Afterwards the ladies and Jeff were lined up for all types of group photos. Some with the 10 plus Lee Ann; then some with the addition of Robyn, Pat and Jeff; and finally some without Jeff, who had a store to run.

Patty Leyendecker, Heather Esping, Lynn McBee, Mary Clare Finney, DeeDee Lee, Lee Ann White, Francie Moody-Dahlberg, Ashley Hunt, Christi Urschel, Margaret Hancock and Nancy Carlson

Patty Leyendecker, Heather Esping, Lynn McBee, Mary Clare Finney, DeeDee Lee, Lee Ann White, Francie Moody-Dahlberg, Ashley Hunt, Christi Urschel, Margaret Hancock and Nancy Carlson

Afterwards, the honorees and guests either ate at tables set up in the salon, headed to the Zodiac Room or headed to appointments.

But before dashing off, Pat pulled out her cell phone and showed off photos of the new addition to her household — Santiago McEvoy. The littler fellow is a Havana Silk Dog.

Stay tuned. In the days ahead, Robyn and her merry maids will be making more news. . . like the theme announcement for the December 6th ball.

Equest Ambassadors Munched On Jan Miller’s And Jeff Rich’s Lawn As Triple Crown Gala Patrons Tried On Hats

Jan Miller

Jan Miller

If you want to see Jan Miller and Jeff Rich light up, just say, “Schumacher.” He’s their beagle, who will be turning 14 on May 9. From the Kennedys to Rob Lowe, Shuey has charmed one and all who have visited the Highland Park mansion that he shares with Jan and Jeff.

Tuesday, April 1, the trio hosted a patron party on behalf of Jocelyn White.

Jan admitted that when her old pal Joce, who has Pugs, had put a shout-out to use the Miller/Rich palazzo for her “pet fundraiser,” Jan took it for granted it was for pooches. Having known each other for 30 years (according to Joce, it’s more like 33 years), Jan agreed without hesitation.

Then Jan learned that the event dealt with not dogs, but horses. And, yes, small horses would be on-site. Jan took that to mean itty-bitty stuffed equine. Then word was passed that hats would be a major element of the event. Still no problemo!

But oops! Jan’s folks were a tad bit confused when asked whether the HP grass was okay for “the ambassadors” to eat. Eyebrows were raised, but Jan said, “Sure,” not quite certain why the question was even posed.

What the ever-accommodating Jan eventually learned was, it was all in preparation for the Equest Triple Crown Gala patron party. No pooches. Just horses. The ambassadors, who found the Miller/Rich front lawn quite tasty, were Equest’s mini-horses, Star and Tex.

Maggie Kipp, Shay Geyer and Jocelyn White

Maggie Kipp, Shay Geyer and Jocelyn White

Regarding the hats, Co-Chairs Shay Geyer and Maggie Kipp were fresh off chairing last year’s Mad Hatter’s Tea and thought it would be perfect to use the topper theme, especially since the event was taking place on Saturday, May 3, at Texas Horse Park, just as the Kentucky Derby was underway. That was the reason that the Miller/Rich dining-room table was covered with all types of Parisian chapeaus from Sharla’s in McKinney for the ladies to try on, which, of course, they did. Some, like Louise Griffeth and Connie Carreker, gleefully took their new acquisitions home.

It seems that Sharla Bush each year travels to Paris to buy hats for the following spring and summer. They’re actually made in Florence and take six months to make. Many are designed by Marzi. The results: 40 hats costing from $300 to $600 each.

Denny and Connie Carreker

Denny and Connie Carreker

Someone claimed that Neiman’s also offers Marzi hats but that, at Sharla’s, the price points are half. When Neiman Marcus Downtown VP/GM and Equest volunteer Jeff Byron, who was just a few feet away, was asked whether that was true, he replied, “No!”

[Editor's note: In checking the NM website, they presently do not carry Marzi hats.]

Another carry-over from the Mad Hatter’s will be the hat judging. For this one, the judges will be Louise Griffeth, Lezlie Noble, Kersten Rettig and Blake Stephenson.

Joce also recommended that along with the hats, guests wear boots. After all, Texas Horse Park is still a work in progress, though it’s nearing completion.

Someone wondered if that date might prove to be a problem. What about the Lee Park annual Derby fundraiser? According to Maggie, “There’s plenty of fun to go around.” She said that three Equest people (Lisa Bhattacharya, Annika Cail and Chris LeLash) who also are involved with Lee Park/Arlington Hall have given this year’s Equest gala a big thumbs-up.

Emily Hargrove

Emily Hargrove

Ah, but it’s also scheduled for the same day as the Dallas Museum of Art’s Art Ball! Jocelyn told the assembled group the event was timed to allow guests to toddle on home and change from their boots to silk slippers to attend the Art Ball.

Among the guests were Honorary Co-Chairs Val Imm Bashour and Phyllis Glazer, D’Andra Simmons and Jeremy Locke, Billie Leigh Rippey, Equest President Emily Hargrove, Equest Women’s Auxiliary President Katherine Coker and Neiman Marcus’ Kevin Hurst, who weekly heads to Wylie to volunteer at Equest.

How About Spending Saturday Evening With “Ethel Merman, Mother Teresa. . . And Me”?

Just from the title, you can’t help but be intrigued what kind of person wrote and lived —Ethel Merman, Mother Teresa. . . and Me.” But when you hear the author’s last name, your mind wanders to world-class liqueurs.

Enough of the teasing.

Tony Cointreau*

Tony Cointreau*

The author is Tony Cointreau, the heir to the French liqueur family, and, boy, has he lived a life worth reading and hearing about.

His life adventures and relationships have included Pierre Cardin, Helen Gurley Brown, Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland and the Lehman family.

Ethel Merman, Mother Teresa . . . And Me*

Ethel Merman, Mother Teresa . . . And Me*

He’ll be in town this week and you can catch up with him Saturday night. At Al’s? The Mansion?

Nope. He’ll be at the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture beginning at 6 p.m.

In addition to a “special reception,” the author, singer and humanitarian will read excerpts from his book and “speak about his new memoir, which focuses on his enduring relationships with Broadway icon Ethel Merman and Mother Teresa,” with whom he worked for 12 years.

What a way to spend a Saturday night! Ah, but there’s a slight, itty-bitty catch. No, you don’t have to be able to speak French. You just have to register, so they can get a headcount.

BTW, if you’ve never visited the Dallas Institute on Routh Street, here is your chance to check out this wonderful building that was original built as a home in 1907—and be charming with charming Tony.

* Photo provided by the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture

2013 Crystal Charity Ball Check Presentation Topped $4.7M

So what’s a half million $? A heck of a lot of moolah to the non-profits. That was extremely evident to nine area children’s charities at Maggiano’s Monday, March 31.

The mega-giveaway was the check presentation by the 2013 Crystal Charity Ball committee. That’s the tricky deal in the world of fundraising. So many times you hear that this chi-chi group raise gagillion dollars, but what you really want to hear is how much of that made it to the hands of the non-profits.

Pete and Caren Kline

Pete and Caren Kline

With garlic wafting through the air and wine being toasted, CCB Chair Caren Kline with her proud husband Pete smiling on and Underwriting Chair Pam Perella handed out hefty checks.

How hefty? Try these on for size:

  • Educational First Steps (Four Steps to Excellence 2.0) — $430,000
  • Good Street Learning Center, Inc. (Operation Next Steps: Program & Facility Improvements) — $458,988
  • NETWORK of Community Ministries, Inc. (Children of Grandfamilies Initiative) — $508,989
  • New Friends New Life (Trafficking Prevention & Sexual Abuse Recovery Program) — $525,000
  • Parkland Foundation (Crystal Charity Ball Pediatric Burn Center & Playroom) — $1,252,316
  • Suicide and Crisis Center of North Texas (Teens Can Survive Program) — $275,400
  • Texas Scottish Rite Hospital For Children (Specialized Prosthetics Program) — $500,000
  • YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas (Park South YMCA Capital Improvements: Urban Swim Project) — $789,722
Family Gateway

Family Gateway

In addition, Caren announced that Family Gateway had been designated as the 2013 Horizon Project and would be receiving funding to provide pre-K education access to the children they serve.

But before each check was handed over, the recipients briefly told about their organizations and appreciated the involvement with CCB.

New Friends New Life’s Katie Pedigo stressed how CCB had made such a “difference” in the Dallas non-profits. YMCA’s Gordon Echtenkamp acknowledged that in addition to the incredible funding to support their efforts to save children’s lives, the CCB seal of approval was priceless. Parkland Foundation’s George Engdahl subbed in for PF President David Krause, who was in Berlin discussing fundraising (in German). George also recognized that despite Parkland’s being above the fold in local news, CCB’s Caren and ladies had stood by Parkland throughout 2013.

Afterwards, the chit-chat of the evening included:

  • Newlywed Toni Pickens buying the George Strait package at the Park Cities Quail fundraiser.
  • Pam Perella discovering life-after-CCB underwriting. She’s been working on the Perella’s Montana get-away.
  • 2104 CCB Chair Robyn Conlon’s April agenda: 10 Best Dressed reveal and the CCB theme announcement on April 22. She promises that it’s a first, but refuses to talk. She hasn’t even revealed it to her kiddos.

But the evening was truly focused on how the funds would help children. It would save children’s lives by teaching them how to swim. It would support a service for youngsters considering suicidal crossroads. It would make a life-changing difference for young victims of sex trafficking and so much more.

The evening’s check presentation of $4.7M brought to a total of more than $117M that the CCB has provided along with its “seal of approval” to the children’s non-profits for the past 52 years.

There are children who will never know the 100 women and countless people and organization providing services and program for their betterment. But that’s what CCB is all about — helping children.