“An Evening Of Friends And Music” Attracts All Types Of North Texans To Join Don Winspear In Conquering Transverse Myelitis

President Obama was creating all types of havoc in Preston Hollow and along the North Dallas Tollway with his Wednesday, June 9th visit to the area. At least that’s what Paul Divis and other guests at the Transverse Myelitis fundraiser groused at the Kessler.

Why, the Oak Cliff hood seemed like a sanctuary of seamlessly moving traffic and easy-going partying compared to north Dallas’ jammed and blocked off streets.

Don Winspear

Don Winspear

Little did Don Winspear know when he planned the fundraiser that south of Big Old D would be a haven.

But having encountered TM himself, Don has become known for being rather remarkable along with his wife Ellen.

Rosie and Mike Moncrief, Ellen Winspear and Tiffany Divis

Rosie and Mike Moncrief, Ellen Winspear and Tiffany Divis

After months of rehabbing and making progress, Don decided to add another “must do” to his list. An event that would raise funds and awareness of the rare autoimmune disease of the central nervous system.

That’s when his longtime friends got involved. Musicians Buddy Greene and Jeff Taylor, who met Don seven years ago, called Don up and said, “We’re on our way to Laity Lodge. Gonna be in Dallas. Any way we could put together a small little concert for you?”

Then Don’s local musician pal Brice Beaird joined the program.

Tom and Donna Rafferty

Tom and Donna Rafferty

Don even tapped former Dallas Cowboy Tom Rafferty, who now walks with a cane after being victimized by TM, to be the honorary chair.

The name of the event was a natural — An Evening Of Friends And Music.

As for where to hold the event benefiting Conquer Project at UT Southwestern Medical Center, the Kessler was perfect, since Don had invested in its return to the Dallas entertainment scene.

To build the awareness factor, Don found himself on Good Morning Texas and The Ticket with Gordon Keith, as well as in Keith’s Dallas Morning News column.

Still, holding a first-time event in July was chancy. Ellen said that one person told her they would be lucky to sell 80 tickets. Evidently that person didn’t know the pull of the Winspears. More than triple that number attended the concert.

David Pidgeon

David Pidgeon

When one person asked Don if he was proud of the fundraiser for the little-known disease, Don looked up, paused and said, “I am humbled.” He never expected such a turnout and the mix of bold faces from all around North Texas. Some had first-hand knowledge of the effects of TM, like Starpower Home Entertainment Systems’ David Pidgeon, who can’t bend his legs as a result of TM.

Keith Cerny and Holly Mayer

Keith Cerny and Holly Mayer

Others were just there to support the Winspears. Fort Worth’s Rosie and Mike Moncrief seemed like locals as they palled with friends and then hunkered down at a table for dinner. . . Hayley Hamilton Cogill and husband Gary Cogill were splitting up. No, it wasn’t what you think. Both were headed to the airport for different destinations. But after concluding their business obligations, they were meeting up in Paris. . . UT Southwestern’s Ruben Esquivel told friends, “I’ve known Don for many years, also Curtis Meadows (a TM patient).”. . . The Winspears’ Dallas Opera family was represented by Keith Cerny and Holly Mayer. . . The Dallas Zoo’s VP of Guest Experiences Sean Greene and President Michael Meadows told Tiffany Divis of plans the next morning to celebrate the one-year birthday of Winspear the cheetah and his companion/Lab Amani. Tiffany reported that she was going to present in spirit only. Seems she had to head to Chicago the next day. . Lynn and Allan McBee, who seem to be chairing everything in town reported that they’ve tapped Louise and Guy Griffeth to be honorary co-chairs of the Stars and Stripes Film Festival benefiting the Sons of the Flag. According to Lynn, it made perfect sense since they have a son in Afghanistan.

Dr. Benjamin Greenberg

Dr. Benjamin Greenberg

After the 250 guests settled into their chairs, a video featuring TM specialist Dr. Benjamin Greenberg was shown and the musicians played up a storm. Just as guests thought the performances were finished for the evening, up popped the surprise of the evening — Rudy Gatlin, who is always a crowd pleaser.

So, as others were stuck in traffic and others fundraised for political causes, more than 200 had a heck of a good time supporting a humble fella, who was victimized by a cruel disease. Little did TM know. Don has just begun the campaign to vanquish the disease with awareness, research and commitment.

Dallas Contemporary Offers “The Art Of Mexico Past & Present,” A Week-Long Tour Of Mexico City’s Finest Art In September-October

Dallas Contemporary is not a stay-home-type operation. Nope, they’ve put together “The Art of Mexico Past & Present,” a week (September 28 through October 4) of learning and enjoying the amazing and diversified art found in Mexico City.

From the murals by Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros and José Clemente Orozco to the outstanding remnants of the Aztec culture, the city is teeming with art.

Mural by Diego Rivera (detail), Palacio de Bellas Artes*

Mural by Diego Rivera (detail), Palacio de Bellas Artes*

The week of art loving will include seeing to world-famous private collections. One at the Museo Soumaya, where the wealthiest man in the world Carlos Slim’s has his collection of works by Picasso and other European masters. The other is the Jumex Collection that is “said to be the largest private contemporary art collection in Latin America.”

Museo Soumaya*

Museo Soumaya*

Other offerings include the National Palace, a restored hacienda containing the largest single collection of Diego Rivera and his wife Frida Kahlo and La Casa Azul, where Diego and Frida lived.

And while Dallas Contemporary is thought of being focused on contemporary art, the amazing history of Mexico is not going to be overlooked. The tour will also provide “a walk through Zocalo (main plaza), where the ruins of the Aztecs’ Templo Mayor at Tenochitlan abut the Metropolitan Cathedral, itself built atop a ruined Aztec temple,” as well as a private tour of the National Museum of Anthropology and an “an archaeologist-led exploration of the pyramids of Teotihuacan, a UNESCO-recognized site that reached its peak a thousand years before the Spanish arrived.”

During the week, guests will be staying at the Four Seasons in Mexico City.

This is an amazing and unique opportunity for educated art lover, as well as the novice who wants to learn.

* Graphic and photo courtesy of Dallas Contemporary

Laura And George W. Bush To Serve As Distinguished Chairs For 14th Annual Texas Trailblazer Luncheon

And the big, boldface names just keep coming in for The Family Place’s 14th Annual Texas Trailblazer Luncheon. Co-Chairs Stephanie and Travis Hollman, Carol Seay and Stephanie Seay just reported that former first couple Laura and George W. Bush have signed on as the “Distinguished Chairs” for the Wednesday, September 17th fundraiser at the Anatole.

George and Laura Bush (File photo)

George and Laura Bush (File photo)

But then what would you expect when the event is honoring the legacy of the late Harold Simmons?

Joe Torre*

Joe Torre*

As for Joe Torre, who will be headline “speaker”. . . okay, he’s not going to be at a podium giving a lecture. He’s gonna being interviewed by none other than WFAA’s Dale Hansen.

Well, back to Joe. In a Sunday interview with Larry King, he revealed how the domestic abuse he witnessed as a child affected his professional life:

“I probably didn’t enjoy my playing career as much as I really should have because if I didn’t get any hits I would really torture myself thinking I let everybody down. And of course if I did hit, I felt like I was worthy…It wasn’t until I went through a symposium which told me that all the abuse that was going on at my home was contributing to these feelings of insignificance and insecurity and nervousness.”

The former baseball legend’s being inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame this Sunday adding to the “Wow!” factor of his presence come September.

* Photo provided by The Family Place

Today’s Dallas Zoo Dollar Day Is A “Go” Come Rain Or Shine

The Dallas Zoo folks have been bracing for today’s Dollar Day for weeks. Annually it results in a tsunami of adults and children breaking attendance records.

Dallas Zoo Dollar Day*

Dallas Zoo Dollar Day*

Even with today’s rainy weather, the bargain day is still on. So, if you want a “cheap thrill,” grab an umbrella, put on your goulashes and head for the zoo. The animals will enjoy your company.

* Graphic courtesy of the Dallas Zoo

Cold Front Generously Hits North Texas With Lower Temperatures And Loads Of The Wet Stuff

For those who are not in North Texas this morning, you need to know the temperature is 70 degrees and rain is falling. Anyone waking up from a coma would swear it’s not July.

For those who are in North Texas, go outside and enjoy the wonderful, fresh smell of rain and the slightest chill in the air. It won’t last long.

Thank you notes should be addressed to Mother Nature.

Dr. Jared Farmer To Receive Dallas Institute Of Humanities And Culture’s 2014 Hiett Prize In Humanities

Established in 2004 by Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture and philanthropist Kim Hiett Jordan, the Hiett Prize in Humanities’ goal was to recognize and reward “a person who has not yet reached his or her potential, but whose work in the humanities shows extraordinary promise.”

During the past decade, it has earned the reputation for being the most prestigious award in the world of humanities for a couple of extremely good reasons.

First of all, the selection requires months of scrutinizing candidates by a panel of judges made up of “Fellows of the Dallas Institute, a distinguished group of scholars, teachers, writers and public intellectuals in the humanities, arts and sciences in both the U.S. and abroad.”

Second, there’s that nifty $50,000 check that is handed over to the winner.

Jared Farmer*

Jared Farmer*

The Hiett Prize for 2014 has just been announced — Francis Parkman Prize winner Dr. Jared Farmer, who is a professor at Stony Brook University in New York. Jared has earned a reputation as being “one of the finest young environmental historians writing today.”

Among his many accomplishments are his award-winning books “On Zion’s Mount: Mormons, Indians and the American Landscape” and “Trees in Paradise: A California History.” He has also been published in Science, Environmental History, Reviews in American History, High Country News, Western American Literature, and Religion Dispatches. His current projects include two books — “Ancient Trees in Modern Times” and “The Aerial View.”

According to DIHC Executive Director Larry Allums, “This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Hiett Prize, which means in its lifetime thus far $500,000 has been awarded to young men and women who possess an exceptional commitment to the humanities. Jared Farmer’s accomplishments to date show without doubt that he belongs among these extraordinary first ten Hiett winners. Through his writing and photography, Jared brings to light hidden histories of landscapes and habitats and the ways human beings interact with them. His still-unfolding work in a relatively new field of the humanities is of such a high order that it promises to become a model for others who will follow him. And, in addition, its relevance and accessibility make Jared the ideal recipient of this year’s Hiett Prize. We are absolutely thrilled to pay tribute to his work in this way.”

Past Hiett awardees have included

  • 2005 — Brad Gregory, Notre Dame University
  • 2006 — Hilaire Kallendorf, Texas A&M University
  • 2007 — Tiya Alicia Miles, University of Michigan
  • 2008 — David Greenberg, Rutgers University
  • 2009 — James E. McWilliams, Texas State University
  • 2010 — Mark Oppenheimer, freelance teacher and writer
  • 2011 — Diana Senechal, Columbia Secondary School in New York City
  • 2012 — Elizabeth Samet, professor of English at the United States Military Academy at West Point
  • 2013 — William Deresiewicz, writer and critic

Jared will receive the award at a luncheon on Wednesday, November 12, at the George W. Bush Presidential Center. This year’s event is being co-chaired by Marie Brehm, Ann Drumm and Ginny Jackson with Honorary Chair Sally Hoglund.

* Photo provided by Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture

Baseball Royals Michael Young And Cristina Barbosa To Co-Chair Dallas Children’s Theater’s Knights And Princesses Dream Ball

Former Texas Ranger Michael Young and his wife Cristina Barbosa will be part of royalty on Saturday, September 20. But instead of Buckingham Palace with Kate, William, Harry and George, it will be the Dallas Children’s Theater for its Knights and Princesses Dream Ball.

Mateo, Michael, Antonio, Cristina and Emilio Young*

Mateo, Michael, Antonio, Cristina and Emilio Young*

Cristina and Michael will serve as honorary co-chairs, along with their children Mateo, Emilio and Antonio.

Cristina said, “Our family is pleased to serve as honorary chairs of the Knights and Princesses Dream Ball at Dallas Children’s Theater. Having seen firsthand the benefits that theater has provided our own children, we are excited to be a part of raising funds for adapted performances for children with special needs. After all, every child deserves great live theater! We hope everyone will join us in bringing in the magic of live theater to all children.”

This year the DCT “presented its first sensory-friendly production for children with special needs.” What does that mean? The DCT reduced sound levels, eliminated flashing lights and kept the overall house lights up a few levels higher than normal “to provide a more comfortable experience for the families.” The DCT staff didn’t just come up with these adaptions on their own. They received the recommendations from Autism Speaks, the Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities at UT Southwestern, University of North Texas Department of Speech and Hearings Sciences and Health Science Center and the Autism Center, Children’s Medical Center and the Dallas Museum of Art.”

The ball will follow a 4:30 p.m. performance of “Rapunzel! Rapunzel! A Very Hairy Fairy Tale”. Tickets for the ball are $50 per person. Proceeds from the event will benefit adapted performances for children with special needs.

Tiaras and scepters will be the accessories du jour.

* Photo courtesy of Michael Young and Cristina Barbosa

Verizon Interns Turn Out Superhero Capes For Super Kids At Children’s Medical Center

Interns are fabulous creatures. They’re young; they’re eager; and they’re offered the opportunity to experience firsthand what their future might hold. For some, it means menial duties. For others, it’s shadowing upper-level staffers. But for some lucky ones, it just might include learning about the importance that companies place on community involvement.

Aditi Kumar*

Aditi Kumar*

Charles Lai and Elly Nakahara*

Charles Lai and Elly Nakahara*

That was the case for more than 75 Verizon summer interns on Wednesday, July 9. From 9 to 11 a.m. they came together at Verizon headquarters in Irving. The group included students from Cornell, the University of Texas and all over. Their majors ranged from engineering to business students. No, they didn’t sit in a room and watch a video or get lectured to. Instead they decorated superhero capes with ribbons and stickers for the munchkins at Children’s Medical Center.

Verizon interns displaying their handiwork*

Verizon interns displaying their handiwork*

At the end of the morning, no two capes were alike. Some had fringe, one had a Super-super “S” and all of them were colorful. But they were all whisked away to let little heroes and heroines soar at Children’s.

* Photos provided by Verizon

How About Hanging With DeMarco Murray Wednesday Night For The Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Dallas

How about rubbing shoulders with hunkie DeMarco Murray Wednesday night? Then you just might want to drop by “An Evening with DeMarco Murray” by Texas de Brazil on Cedar Springs. You know where that is. It’s just a hefty stone’s throw from the Mansion.

The opportunity will allow you to shake it up with DeMarco Murray from 6:30 to 10 p.m. In addition to cutie DeMarco, there will be a silent auction and cocktail event. Tickets range from $100 general admission to $200 for whopper VIP. The proceeds go to the DeMarco Murray Foundation’s enriching “the lives of Dallas children by providing the tools and educational support they need to succeed.”

Within the foundation, these funds will be targeted to its “Back to School” event on Sunday, August 17. Thanks to Albertsons, the foundation will provide backpacks filled with necessities for a successful school year to member of the Big Brothers Big Sisters of North Texas.

Irma Lerma Rangel Grad Karla Guadalupe Garcia Rico To Receive $10,000 Nancy Lieberman Education Scholarship

Karla Guadalupe Garcia Rico and Viola Davis (File photo)

Karla Guadalupe Garcia Rico and Viola Davis (File photo)

Just got word that cute Karla Guadalupe Garcia Rico, who was such a hit at Attorneys Serving the Community Luncheon, has been chosen to be one of the 2014 Nancy Lieberman Education Scholarship recipients.

The Irma Lerma Rangel Young Women’s Leadership School graduate will officially be awarded her $10,000 scholarship on Friday, July 25.

If you didn’t get a change to read about Karla, you missed an amazing story.

Attawaytogo, Karla, Nancy and Irma Rangel!