Dream Gala Nears Sell-Out Stage

Just got word that Saturday night’s Dream Gala benefiting the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation is in countdown mode for a sell out. You remember. It’s the gala at the Hilton Anatole with Julianne Hough, Gene Stallings and Bret Michaels on stage. . . at separate times.

It’s also old home night for JDRF CEO Jeffrey Brewer. Former CEO of Overture Services and CitySearch, he hails from Dallas, where he attended Jesuit and SMU. In addition to his professional involvement with JDRF, he has a personal reason for seeking solutions to this disease. One of his children has diabetes.

Share-A-Date: Junior League Of Dallas’s Rummage Roundup

Friday, April 29-Sunday, May 1: There’s is nothing like a good sale. Leave it to the Junior League of Dallas Provisional Class of 2010 to hold a mega one. We’re not talking the Neiman Marcus Last Call type or the neighbors in the next block having a garage sale. Think Rummage Roundup at Dallas Market Hall. Think  Halston Heritage, von Furstenburg, Tory Burch, Lily Pulitzer, Fendi and other familiar designing types. Think the bargain benefiting 42 local nonprofits. Now, you’re thinking.

Friday night (7 to 10 p.m.) is the VIP Party with tickets starting at $35 and privileged first passes at the designer items.

Then the Roundup opens to one and all for Saturday (7 a.m. to 4 p.m.) and Sunday (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.). Anything not bought will be given to the Genesis Women’s Shelter.

Talk about a win-win-win deal.

STATUS REPORT: Janie Condon’s Condition

Janie Condon

There have been  a number of inquiries about Janie Condon‘s condition. The well-known fund raiser was the victim of a “hit-and-run” driver Wednesday at Hillcrest and Colgate around 3 p.m. Have just heard from the family the following:

“Janie had very successful surgery on both wrists.  Both bones were completely broken in both arms, bt [sic] they were able to reset them perfectly. . .  I have to tell you that I know her angels were looking after her.  So I hope you will give a prayer of thanks with me, because it is truly a miracle that she is even alive.”

Monday was Janie’s 50th birthday.

15th Annual Spirit Of CONTACT To Honor Junior League Of Dallas’ President Leigh Anne Haugh

Leigh Anne Haugh

So often good people don’t get their just due. Well, tomorrow won’t be that situation. Junior League of Dallas’ President Leigh Anne Haugh will be honored at the 15th Annual Spirit of CONTACT luncheon. This year’s theme is “From Breaking Point to Turning Point: Faces of Strength and Courage in the Family.”

In addition to the pat on the back for Leigh Anne, Luncheon Chair Anita Oberwetter has also arranged to have roving journalist Lisa Ling as the featured special guest, KDFW-FOX’s Heather Hays as emcee and former First Lady of Dallas Laura Leppert as honorary chair.

It’s taking place at the Hilton Anatole. If you’re very good, you might still be able to get a ticket.

BTW, CONTACT is a free 24-hour service providing confidential listening, comfort, and a connection to resources, education and emergency assistance for people who are trying to take back control of their lives.

Photo credit: Dana Driensky

Dr. Ken Cooper and Troy Aikman Are In The Healthy Zone For Teaming Up For Healthy Kids With United Way

It’s not a pretty picture that Dr. Ken Cooper and Troy Aikman brought to light Tuesday at a press conference at the Hyatt Regency — almost 40% of Dallas high school students are overweight or obese.

Healthy Zone poster

With this situation in mind, the two very healthy type fellows announced that the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas and Cooper Institute announced the selection of Nell Burks Elementary in McKinney as the first school to become part of the Healthy Zone School Recognition Program.

What’s the Healthy Zone. . .  Program? Good question. Better answer.

“The Healthy Zone School Recognition program offers training and financial assistance to schools to create healthier environments and recognizes schools that have already become healthy zones. As the first Healthy Zone School, Burks will receive funding and support to fully implement healthy practices on its campus and engage the surrounding community.  The school will receive teacher fitness and nutrition training along with funding for physical education equipment, health promotions and parent education tools.”

Garry Gorman and Pam Bendorf

On hand to accept the award were Burks Elementary Principal Pam Bendorf and Assistant Principal Garry Gorman.

Jennifer Sampson

As United Way COO Jennifer Sampson looked proud as punch, it was announced that the six-year initiative will eventually effect more than 25,000 students and their families associated with 70 schools.

Dr. Ken Cooper and Troy Aikman

After the press conference was done and all the official photos were taken, the munchkins who had been present in Healthy Zone T-shirts got to have Dr. Cooper and Troy autograph their T-shirts.

Then the grownups headed into the VIP reception for the Teaming up for Healthy Kids luncheon benefiting The Cooper Institute. It was a repeat for some, who had attended the sponsors’ party Monday night at Gerald Turner‘s home.

Lee Roy Jordan, Archie Manning, Dr. Ken Cooper, Troy Aikman, Roger Staubach

But who cared when you have healthy types like Roger Staubach, Lee Roy Jordan, keynote speaker Archie Manning and emcee Randy Galloway joining Dr. C and Troy.

Carol Seay and Stephanie Oakes

Luncheon co-chairs Edie Lycke and Stephanie Oakes set a mighty healthy and tasty table for the luncheon crowd. Spinach salad, with strawberries, grapes, feta cheese and toasted almonds topped with a raspberry vinaigrette. Then the entrée

Edie Lycke

included artichoke stuffed breast of chicken with a tasty lemon thyme demi glace and onthe side cheddar mashed potatoes and

broccollini flowers. For dessert, it was a trilogy of chocolate set off with wild berry glace. Who knows? If they served that kind of lunch at schools, obesity might be history.


Linz Memo Must Have Gotten Lost

MySweetCharity has been so overwhelmed by all of the April activities that the memo about Pete Schenkel must have gotten lost in the forest of papers on the desk. Pete will receive the 82nd Linz Award on Thursday, April 7, at the Hilton Anatole.

Tickets are $85 and can be purchased by calling Bonnie Weikel at 817.577.0050.


Share-A-Date: Attorneys Serving the Community Luncheon

Friday, June 3, 2011: The 25th Annual Attorneys Serving the Community Luncheon at the Hilton Anatole will be in high gear this year. Benefiting AVANCE – Dallas (the literacy group of low-income Hispanic families in Dallas), the luncheon’s keynote speakers will be the first mother/daughter team of Laura Bush and Jenna Bush Hager.It makes perfect sense since the Bush clan is a driving force in the battle against illiteracy.

Honorary co-chairs are Serena Simmons Connelly and Geraldine “Tincy” Miller.

Yes, it may seem like a long way until June, but you best get your reservations pulled together now. This one is likely to be a sell-out. . . a fast sell-out.

JUST IN: Catholic Charities’ Sr. Mary Anne Owens Receives Promotion Resulting In Dallas Departure

Sr. Mary Anne Owens

Sr. Mary Anne Owens, Executive Director of Catholic Charities of Dallas, just got a promotion that will require her leaving Dallas. She has been elected to the position of Provincial for a new province in her Congregation of the School of Sisters of Notre Dame.

For some Sr. Mary Anne and Catholic Charities have been one-in-the-same. After all, she’s headed the organization for 14 years.

Thanks to her efforts, more than 67,000 individuals have been helped annually regardless of their race, age, gender, disability, national origin or religion.

Hip, Hip, Hurray! Ebby Officially Turns 100 At A Circus Par Excellence In The Meyerson’s Big Ring

Photo Gallery Alert: Additional photos are available for viewing.

Everyone has heard the story that when Ebby Halliday was a wee one, she wanted to be a circus bareback rider. In the early 1900’s that was a true adventure for a young lass. It was a time before women’s rights when a woman was supposed to stay close to home and learn how to sew, wash and cook. While Ebby’s future of a bareback rider didn’t work out, her adventurous spirit brought her to Dallas in 1938. Here she not only gave birth to one of the country’s largest privately-owned residential real estate companies, but she also became the sweetheart of community, civic and nonprofit groups throughout the area. In fact her get-up-go-attitude earned her the Linz Award, the Horatio Alger Award and a slew of others.

Barb Durham

It just so happened that the Horatio Alger Scholarship Program was scheduled to hold a concert at the Meyerson on the same day Steve Durham learned over dinner, that Ebby would turn 100. The fates were smiling on all. Instead of a stuffy old black-tie event, it would be a birthday celebration to match the wonderfulness of Ebby. Event Chairs Barb and Steve Durham were supported in their efforts by Dallas Horatio Alger recipients Jody Grant, Craig Hall, Jim Keyes, Ross Perot, T. Boone Pickens, Bob Schlegel and Roger Staubach.

Much to Ebby’s delight the event would benefit a program providing scholarships for Texas students in the Horatio Alger program.

Once again the fates were blessing the occasion because Greek tenor Mario Frangoulis was already scheduled to perform with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra at the Meyerson.

Organizers also brought in the big guns — Dallas Fan Fares — to orchestrate the multi-part extravaganza.

Barbara Daseke

Now the question was how to create a true Ebby event — fun, friendly and touching. The topic of Ebby’s childhood dream was brought up. What about a circus theme? Really? But hasn’t that been overdone? Not when the decorations were put in the hands of Barbara Daseke and Todd Fiscus. Like a couple of bees buzzing around the first flowers of spring, these creative types kept coming up with ideas. The very first requisite was color. Lots of colors, happy colors.  Every part of the evening would be a fun-filled surprise for the birthday girl and her hundreds of guest.

Nibbling horses

The night of the event the multitude knew they were in store for a three-ring circus as they arrived at the entrance of the Meyerson. Here were a couple of show gals on horses decorated with wreaths of greenery and flowers. When the girls’ mounts weren’t posing for photos with the VIP guests in front of circus posters, they started nibbling on each other’s neckwear.

Ringmaster doorman

Guests then had the front doors of the Meyerson opened for them by a couple of glama-rama ringmasters in gold-and-silver jackets with white top hats.

Most guests would have been happy with just that, but, oh, no! There was much, much more in-store.


Upon entering the Meyerson lobby, they discovered a marvelous bandstand topped with 100 faux candles. Seen from the second-floor balcony or from the floor of the lobby, the hot pink, yellow and blue bandstand was fit for a queen, and rightly so. Here the petite Ebby in a white St. John knit, full-length suit with white gloves greeted one and all of the big-buck guests. Adding to the twinkle in her eyes was a pair of nicely done false eyelashes. While she started the greet-athon seated on the pink, padded throne, she eventually stood receiving kiss and well wishes.

Ka and LL Cotter

Like children queuing up to confide in Santa, the boldest faced types stood patiently in line to congratulate the silver-haired centenarian. But guests didn’t mind waiting their turn. It was like old-home week. They chatted it up with the others in line and had time to eyeball the decked-out Meyerson lobby.

Meyerson lobby

Behind the bandstand was a dining room of dozens and dozens of tables in colors that would put a crayon box to shame.  Yellow-draped chairs surrounded tables topped with turquoise- and raspberry-colored tablecloths. One table in particular stood out under a striped tent top. That was Ebby’s table, of course. Towering throughout the room were colorful balls just made for any seal to turn on its nose. On closer inspection the balls were made of thousands of carnations.

Someone had evidently passed the word that no color was too much for the night, and many of the guests bought into the break from traditional blah black. While many of the gents wore brightly-colored ties (T. Boone, Don Daseke, Jim Keyes, Colin Duchin, Bob Schlegel), there were some who played it more conservatively (Ross Perot, Roger Staubach, Jerry Jones).

Betsy Eiseman

The ladies, on the other hand, broke out their most colorful outfits. Betsy Eiseman wore a bright pink pashmina. The Barbs’ (Daseke and Durham) outfits and jewelry matched the colors and dazzle of the lobby to a T.

Ellen Terry

Ellen Terry looked quite spiffy in turquoise cocktail pantsuit. Myrna Schlegel went the cobalt blue route. Margaret Crow arrived in shamrock green. Sheila Grant‘s peony pink dress and coat matched husband Jody’s tie perfectly.

Todd Fiscus and Melissa Stewart

And attorney Melissa Stewart, who had advised everyone to just wear what you wore to work, showed up in a silver cocktail dress. Evidently lawyers are really dressing up for court these days.

Greg Abbott

Instead of jugglers, politicos were in full regalia. Most eloquent was Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, who summed up Ebby pretty well, saying, “I know of no woman of any age who is both so inspirational and aspirational than Ebby. It’s remarkable that anybody lives to be 100, and much less does so in such a generous, active, robust style. Everyone should aspire (to be like Ebby). If everyone were like Ebby , there would be a lot fewer problems in the world.”

Dallas mayoral candidate Mike Rawlings was discussing “affordable housing for artists” in Downtown Dallas’ recently unveiled Dallas 360 Plan with DD czar John Crawford. Seems that Mike’s daughter is attending the Rhode Island School of Design and he’d like her to return to Dallas after graduating.

When the subject turned to his quest to be mayor, Rawlins said the campaign allowed him to get to know the city better and its “smart, dynamic people. . . There’s gold in the streets. We just need to bend over and pick it up.”

Tom Leppert and Ebby Halliday

Looking for another job — this one in the U.S. Senate — Tom Leppert was handshaking and back-patting influencers left and right. But when he got his turn with Ebby, he looked like a little boy adoring his favorite school marm.

On the sidelines, security types supported the walls looking very somber. Obviously, they hadn’t gotten the “have fun” memo.


The usual Opus restaurant had been turned into a lounge underwritten by Madeleine and T. Boone Pickens. Margot Perot and Susan and Tom Stanzel were among those enjoying the view of the Betty Marcus park while listening to chanteuse Aubree-Anna in her bright red gown on stage. (Remember that the long-haired brunette A-A was wearing a red gown. More about that later.)

But schedules had to be kept, and all too soon it was dinner time. No, it wasn’t corny dogs and fried turkey legs. You can take a circus theme too far, don’t you know. Instead they started with a salad of cucumbers wrapped with mixed winter leaves, vine-ripened roma tomatoes, American maytag bleu cheese, kalamata olives and rosemary crisp with tangerine balsamic dressing. For some it was a welcome break from the usual worn out greens drizzled with a dressing. For others, it was “sorta peculiar.”

The entree of roasted apricot glazed guinea hen with lemon thyme reduction sauce, fingerling potatoes, hericot vert, white asparagus, raisins and toasted almonds scored across the board.

Just as the last bites were swallowed, it was time for the big-buck guests to head to the McDermott Concert Hall, where the rest of the audience was filling the upper tiers. In keeping with the schoolgirl Ebby’s memories of childhood, the program was a composition book with highlights of Ebby’s life and notes from her fans.

Promptly at 7:54 p.m., ringmaster, or rather emcee, Scott Murray welcomed the crowd and saluted Ebby in her box in the loge tier. Seated next to her were Mary Frances Burleson on her right and Margot and Ross Perot on her left. Coaxed by Scott, the high-and-the-mighty joined the normal-and-happy in shouting “Happy birthday” to Ebby. For their effort, they got a high-beam smile and wave from the birthday girl in the spotlight. Scott then announced that the dessert reception following the concert was being sponsored by a gaggle of names — all title companies. Smart title companies.

At 7:58 p.m. as Scott was introducing “go-getters/givers” Barb and Steve Durham, they joined him onstage. After a brief, “We love you, Ebby” talk, the twosome turned things back to Scott, who introduced a tribute video on Ebby at 8:02 p.m.  In addition to recalling Ebby’s life story, it included testimonials from Gerald Turner, Gov. Rick Perry, T. Boone, Emmitt Smith, Roger Staubach (he claimed that he took her to the junior prom), Tom Leppert, Gene and Jerry Jones, Craig Hall, Barb and Steve, Bob Schlegel, Jody Grant, Jim Keyes (Ebby’s Horatio Alger classmate), Dirk Nowitzki and Honorary Chair George Bush, who was not in the house.

Interesting tribute factoid: the late President Dwight Eisenhower‘s mother had been one of Ebby’s clients when she was in the chapeau business.

By 8:20 p.m. the tribute had ended and Scott looked up at Ebby in her box and said, “My gosh you look like the Queen of England, but you’re better looking.”

Then it was time for the concert with the DSO taking their places at 8:23 p.m. Following them were Mario Frangoulis and conductor Albert-George Schram. After thanking the audience, congratulating Ebby and singing a couple of songs, the charming Mario introduced long-haired brunette soprano Andriana Chuchman in a cherry-red gown. (Remember Aubree-Anna in the lounge earlier? Evidently some guests thought Aubree-Anna and Andriana were one in the same as they were mesmerized by the dexterity of the lady in red.) Her solos were rewarded with salutes from the audience, but so did Mario’s. Evidently the DSO members are not so easy to please. Andriana’s performances received tapping of bows, while Mario’s rarely raised a flutter.

(Comment: The Meyerson is one of the finest acoustic facilities in the world. Because of its perfection, it can be challenging for some musicians and singers on their first venture. When Tony Bennett performs in the Meyerson, he asks the production team to turn off the electronics and takes time to sing a capella to showcase the beauty of the wood that carries his voice to the farthest seat.)

Someone must have clued Andriana in on the Meyerson, as she rarely held the mike at less than an arm’s length distance. At one point, the microphone was nearly a yard away from her and yet her voice carried up to the highest rows. On the other hand, Mario tended to embrace the microphone a tad too close resulting in his overwhelming the hall. Evidently Theater Jones’ classical and opera critic Gregory Sullivan Isaacs was concerned about Mario’s performance, saying:

” Hopefully, he (Mario) was just temporarily in bad voice. It would be a real shame if his glorious tenor was in such tatters permanently. Full out singing was thrilling but hoarseness and a lack of control was apparent everywhere else. Still, he gamely gave it his all and managed to pull off a respectable performance. He sings with convection and excellent phrasing, bringing meaning to every word. There is no doubt that he makes an emotional connection with the audience and it is easy to see why his career has taken off. But by the end, in the Brindisi from Verdi’s La Traviata sung as an encore, he was completely out of gas and just let (Andriana) Churchman sing the ending by herself.”

But perhaps Mario was suffering from a bit of nerves. He had mentioned the night before at Jan Miller’s and Jeff Rich’s party for the patrons, that he was a bit nervous about performing with the DSO and on the occasion of Ebby’s birthday. Or, perhaps like many in the audience, the seasonal allergies of Dallas were getting the best of him.

Regardless, thanks to his charm and stage presence, he still won the audience over as they cheered him on.

At 9:12 p.m. Mario told the guests that they were nearing the end. He recognized the DSO and they took a bow. He talked about his work as an ambassador for Horatio Alger and his efforts to help “the young people.” This time he scored applause from the DSO members and a couple of tapping bows.

But the singing wasn’t finished yet. There’s still more to come including “Here’s to the Heroes” and the toast song from La Traviata.

At 9:35 p.m. Scott returned to take charge of the mike and told the audience, “They (Mario and Andriana) met for the first time yesterday.” Then Scott suggested that all sing “Happy Birthday” to Ebby as she was escorted to the stage by Steve Durham and Ross Perot. All complied as the little lady arrived center stage to discover a covered easel sharing the spotlight with her. Under the cloth cover, it was soon revealed by Ross that he had gotten the “Sword Excalibur” for Ebby. One guest whispered that he thought the blade was a part of fictional history, “but the way Ross is talking, it sounds like he found the real one.” Ross went on to tell the group that he’d had the sword framed with a list of Ebby’s accomplishments. As Ross explained the history of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table, Ebby looked a bit stunned by the hardware that was taller than she was. Was he going to have her pull it out of the frame and hoist it skyward? Naw.

Then Ross quoted Oscar Hammerstein’s “A bell’s not a bell ’til you ring it, A song’s not a song ’til you sing it, Love in your heart wasn’t put there to stay, Love isn’t love ’til you give it away!” in honor of Ebby as Scott held her by the arm.

To cap off the occasion, Ross told the group that he would lead them in a cheer of “Hip hip hurray.” Between the hip’s and the hurray’s, there was a little bit of confusion, but what the heck. Everybody knew their part and shouted to the ceiling.

Scott then asked if Ebby had anything to tell the group. She responded, “Indeed I do,” which brought a house full of laughter.  She then admitted, “I’m absolutely breathless with what we have heard here tonight.”  Ending her thank you with “Hip hip . . .” The audience responded enthusiastically, “Hurray!” Someone from the audience shouted, “We love you, Ebby.” Moments later, Scott led the audience in cheering, “We love you, Ebby.”

Cake elephant

It was now time for all to adjourn to the lobby for dessert. There they discovered the final surprise of the evening: a six-and-half-foot birthday cake by Bronwen Weber‘s Frosted Art. Ross, upon eyeing the gargantuan masterpiece, asked, “It’s not a real cake, is it?” Nope. This cake was not the type you eat. That is unless you have jaws of steel. Made of sugar, flour, chocolate and rolled fondant, it also encased  a steel frame, large friction drive motor and spinning turntable.

Toni Brinker, Ebby Halliday, Sheila Grant

The three elephants and three ponies jutting out from the layers of cake were so lifelike, it almost seemed like one of the pachyderm’s trunks was going to lift Ebby up in the air.

Upon arriving at this mega-confectionary masterpiece, Ebby was handed a ukulele to strum. As she plucked the chords, the small train at the base of the cake started choo-chooing around the cake.

Don’t ask for the recipe unless you have 300 hours on your hands.

As the hundreds of guests surrounded Ebby and enjoyed the goodies (cake pops, cotton candy, mini-fried churros with salted caramel sauce, mini-powdered sugar wedding cookies and a popcorn bar), someone asked Ebby what her goal was for the next 12 months. She thought a moment and said, “To try to merit all that’s been done for me, all my life. I want people to know how much I appreciate it.”


Jersey Mike’s Subs Makes Eating Fund Raising Yummy For Wipe Out Kids’ Cancer

If you ever had a sub, you know it’s like having a major salad with an assortment of meaty items in between a couple of hunks of bread. Jersey Mike’s Subs not only has both cold and hot subs, they’re practically giving them away. On Monday, March 28, the 14-Dallas-area Jersey Mike’s Subs are “giving customers a free regular sub in exchanged for a minimum $1 donation” with 100% of the proceeds going to Dallas’s   Wipe Out Kids’ Cancer.

“We are so thankful for the support from Jersey Mike’s and the  DFW community in 2010 that allowed us to provide funding for 4 critical research initiatives that provide hope to pediatric cancer patients,” said Evelyn  Costolo, CEO for Wipe Out Kids’ Cancer. “We hope the DFW community will support Wipe Out Kids’ Cancer Day on March 28 in an even bigger way this year and support our vision of a day when all children are living cancer free.”

Suggestion: Don’t wait until the 28th to satisfy your sub cravings, though. The DFW Jersey Mike’s are adding to the WOKC coffers by donating 25 cents for each regular sub and 50 cents for each giant sub sold bought until March 28.

Last year’s efforts raised $50,000 for WOKC.

“Our goal is to really make Jersey Mike’s Wipe Out Kids’ Cancer Day on March 28 a great event for the communities we serve while raising as much money as possible for a great cause,” said Dalton Stewart, Jersey Mike’s franchisee and North Texas director. “The money we raise will help save children’s lives and we’re hoping to exceed the $50,000 raised last year.”

Jersey Mike's Sub Club Supreme

The biggest problem facing the MSC staff is choosing between being good and getting the turkey breast and provolone or diving into a club supreme. Ah, shoot! Might just try both of ’em, but on separate days.

Photo credit: Jersey Mike's Subs