Bret Michaels Provides The Dreamy Factor At Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Gala

The Dream Gala got off to a bit of a rough start on Saturday, March 26. First there was the predictable traffic jam around the Hilton Anatole because of market taking place in the neighborhood. Then it didn’t help that in addition to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’s gala, the Rockwall Women’s League (500 people) and the Catholic Pro-Life (2,220 participants) event were also taking place at the Anatole. All of these elements coming together would have been challenging enough for guests trying to arrive, but then there was the black Mercedes. The usual two-lane drive in front of the Chantilly Ballroom was reduced to one due to the non-mobile Mercedes. As drivers muttered  in wonderment why the dark thing was hogging the lane, the valets scrambled to make due. Perhaps it was a VIP’s ride standing by for a quick getaway. Or maybe Mercedes was an event sponsor.

None of the above.

Seems the Mercedes’ driver spilled her drink on the console and fried the car’s high-tech system into a coma.

But the guests’ arrival woes didn’t stop there. No sooner had they entered the Anatole then the beautiful walls of white flimsy fabric and crystal beading started wavering thanks to a norther blowing through entry’s doors. The towering walls toppled down two or three times, but Anatole catering staff was Johnny-on-the-spot to shore up and correct the situation.

David, Elizabeth and Kim Roosevelt

After making it through these two tests, guests found a perfectly marvelous gala with guests ranging from seven to 77. (COMMENT: Everyone has experienced munchkins out of control. Think the extreme opposite at the Dream Gala. The underage guests were beautifully behaved and the elders should take bows for excellent parenting.)

Jeffrey Brewer

JDRF CEO/President Jeffrey Brewer felt right at home. He should have, since he grew up in Dallas, attending Jesuit and SMU. After leaving town, he co-founded City Search in 1995 and then went on to co-found Overture Services in 1999. Thanks to making a tidy profit off these two ventures, he was able to go into philanthropy. But Jeffrey’s involvement in Juvenile Diabetes is far more than professional or philanthropic. His 16-year-old son, Sean, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2002.

Katherine and Deborah Brewer

As Jeffrey was describing his goal of doubling JDRF’s revenues within the next five years, his Australian-beauty wife Deborah told how they had met thanks to a joint venture project. But her days now are filled schlepping _-year-old daughter Katherine to equine jumping events. According to Deborah, since Katherine started riding competitively, she has been scoring ribbons from the Hamptons to Florida. Alas, poor Katherine took a nasty fall resulting in a broken collarbone that will keep her out of competition for a bit. Not to worry. Katherine has big plans and nothing like a silly “oops!” is going to hold her back.

Sean Brewer

In the meantime, Sean was busy trying out the new electronic gizmo from BidPal. According to event organizers, the slim little blue auction device allows guest to bid on the silent auction items. Nothing new about that. Ah, but this one would allow you to monitor and increase your bidding through the night from your table. Dream Gala was its debut.

Rosi Hygate and Kim Gatlin

Another out-of-towner on the scene was LA-based Rosi Hygate, who was with Kim Gatlin. They’ve been busy working with the TV crew on GCB. . . Across the way was

Lauren and Rudy Gatlin

Kim’s daughter, Lauren, with dad Rudy Gatlin. . . .Dr Pepper/Snapple Executive VP Jim Baldwin wore his JDRF Hero medallion with genuine pride. After all, Dr Pepper/Snapple not only was being honored as the 2011 Dream Gala Corporate Inspiration Award, it’s been a key corporate sponsors of JDRF for more than a decade.

Jim Baldwin

According to the corporate plan, “It’s their goal to provide a full range of products focused on reducing calories and smaller sizes and improving nutrition by 2015, as well as supporting local and national programs that encourage active lifestyles.

And speaking of calories, the Dream Gala menu was not your typical dish descriptions. Each course had a breakdown of the carbohydrate content. This information made even those new to the battle with diabetes more aware of the need for healthy eating.

Bret Michaels and the girls

But the menu was just a smattering of what Gala Chairs Dr. Arlene Jacobs and Allen Feltman had in store. They had scored a major home run landing the true highlight of the evening for kids of most ages — 2011 Dream Gala Contagious Inspiration Award recipient Bret Michaels. Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of six, Bret arrived after most of the guests had entered the ballroom. But he was quickly surrounded

Comparing scars

by adoring fans with cellphones, cameras and smiles. Patiently and graciously, the rocker/Celebrity Apprentice winner handled practically every request. Just before he was introduced by KDFW-CH. 4’s Steve Eagar into the ballroom, Bret told the crowd of fans, “I’ve got a few little scars there. We’ll go in there and say ‘hi’ to everybody. We’ll have a good time.” Comparing the “scars” with youngsters, he admitted he has done “four injections a day for 42 years. I’m old-school!”

Then it was time to enter the Chantilly, but it was a slow entry. Everyone wanted to hug him, pat him on the back and thank him for putting diabetes in the spotlight. (You did know that he had his Celebrity Apprentice prize of $250,000 given to the American Diabetes Association, didn’t you?)

Bret Michaels being surrounded

Even after making it to his table near the stage, he was still surrounded. Despite the numerous politicos and local celebs in the audience, Julianne Hough on stage entertaining the 1,100 guests and Gene Stallings making the keynote speech, Bret was the one everyone wanted to meet and be photographed with.

Robyn Sanders and Bret Michaels

As someone said, “Diabetes is a cruel disease, but Bret makes it seem cool.”


No Tie Dinner Has Toes Dancing For AIDS Services Of Dallas

Saturday’s No Tie Dinner & Dessert Party should be renamed. It should be the Do Dance Dessert Party. The sixth annual NTD&DP at the Frontiers Flight Museum was just getting into gear when most other events were closing down for the night.

Stacey Susilli and Julie Adler

While a great number of the neck-wear-less checked out the dessert around the facility as well as the silent auction items, the dance floor was getting its share of action. The emphasis was disco at one point with

Stacey Susilli and Jose Cruz

Stacey Susilli in the spotlight. First she was dancing with Julie Adler and before you could tap your toe three times she sharing the floor with Jose Cruz.

Lisa Walker and Rick Perry

It’s hard to imagine that so much fun was benefiting a still very necessary program — AIDS Services of Dallas. As one person noted, AIDS has not gone away. It’s still very much affecting all aspects of the community and funds are vital to combat the disease.

2011 hosts for pre-No Tie Dinner parties included: Brent Barns & Danny Sikora, Gail Bradley & Dorothy Fischer, Ryan & Ana Carruth, David Cooper & Allen Haskell, Ken Duvall & Carlos Castillo, Don Dolezal, Max and Stacey Dolezal Susini & Sharon Valenti, Doug Dorey & Bob Goldberg, Paige & Clint Fletcher, Larry Gibson, James Prock, Brian Giglio & Ken Rowell, Mark Goodheart, Raul Velez & Barry Bryan, Kevin Graham, Dolph Haas & Jay Oppenheimer, Rusty Hampton & Buddy Mercer, BJ & Bob Hardman, Betty Boyer, Holli Harris, Mark Hayes, Chris Henderson, Jon Papp & Bill McCain, Davis Kennedy, James McDonald, Jason Krieger, Michael Pettie, Cash Keahey, Judy & Keith Meyr, Barbara & Hank Levine, Sharon & Bill Staley, Rich Perry, Randy Wilcox, Dan Rivera, Keith Reese, D’Andra Simmons, Wayne Thomas & Sergio Delgado, Don Maison, Douglas Cheatham & Mark Hendon, Joe Adams & Jimmy Lancaster, Stuart Trotter & Cesar Fuentes, Aaron Parrish & Robert Natho, Rob Wiley, Tomas Soto & Jay Murter, Ted Mitchell, Byron Titus, Shane Stagg, Gregory Mottley, Arlen Miller & Ramon Garcia, Clinton Brown & Jessica Ramos, Victor Kralisz & Russell Windle, James DiMarino, Daniel Huerta, Sid Thom & Richard Bergstrom, Charlie Calise, Joan Buccola, Jill Juncker, Lana Pomaro, Jack Brenner, Dawn Hillesheim Negley & Sarah Bayley, Brian Truncale & Rodney Maynard, Cherie Batsel, Billy Milner, Gary Stephens, Darren DeVille & Steve Lopez, Michael Bailey & John Bellegante, Vilma Vanegas, Travis-Lee Moore CPCE, Greg Alford & Mark Stafford, Conrad Hamric, Steven Jarvis and Michelle & Bernard Nussbaumer.


Ronald McDonald’s Casa Habana Nearing Sell-Out Stage

Friday night’s Casa Habana benefiting the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas at the Ritz is nearly a done deal. Don’t confuse this one with the elegant Moonlight Ball a couple of weeks ago. This one is “hip and young.” Co-chaired by Wynne Brown, Katie Head and Molly Thomas, “The Casa Habana event will capture the style and class of the Old Hollywood clientele who frequented the city’s infamous night clubs.”

It will all happen thanks to designs by Todd Fiscus, “heavy hors d’oeuvres, libations” and DJ Lucy Wrubel providing the musical background.

Casa Habana’s sponsors include:

  • Presenting sponsor — todd.event design. creative services.
  • Diamond sponsors — Patti and Jimmy Elliott, Switch Creative Group, PaperCity, Sewell and Western Extrusions Corp.
  • Platinum sponsors — Benchmark Bank & Benchmark Title, Mr. and Mrs. Gerald J. Ford, Kay and Steve Head, Highside Capital, Lincoln Property Company and Prairie Creek Partners.


Share-A-Date: Champagne to Chocolate Brunch

Dunia Borga

Tuesday, April 19: What’s the best way to experience chocolate? Perhaps with champagne? What about having 10 of Dallas’ leading pastry chefs not only having demonstrations but also providing desserts? Still not enough? You’re so demanding. Ah, but the Dallas Junior Forum knows how to please. Not only will all of the above be on hand for the DJF’s “Champagne to Chocolate Brunch” at the Hilton Dallas Lincoln Center, they’ll also have WFAA-CH. 8’s Cynthia Izaguirre as mistress of ceremonies and guest speaker Dunia “La Duni” Borga, queen of the sweets.

Among the raffle items will be a chance to stay at a Tuscan villa.

If you’re in need to conversation chatter, think about this — in addition to the DJF’s providing more than 4,000 service hours in 2010 to are non-profit agencies, 83 women on 10 cooking teams prepared more than 6,000 meals.

2011 Fresh Faces Of Fashion Highlighted Beauty And A Greater Need For Awareness

Standing: Casey Lee Robinson, Amanda Sisk, Piper Young, Claire Lee Pruitt, Teffy Jacobs, Charlotte Rollins Reynolds; Seated: Lainie Kritser, Amanda Sterett, Shirin Askari and Lisa Petty

Last Friday the 2011 Fresh Faces of Fashion were celebrated at Korshak and the Crescent Hotel with oodles of friends, fans and families on hand. Yes, these dazzling dozen darlings look like they have nary a problem in the world except for an occasional zit or split end. But look a little deeper into the FFF and there’s a lot more there than flawless faces and figures. Each of these gals is raising funds and awareness for the Suicide and Crisis Center. According to early estimates, this year’s efforts are going to hit the $300,000 mark bring a grand total of $1 million since Fresh Faces began five years ago.

Now let’s talk about the evening that somehow managed to use beauty to tackle a beastly problem touching way too many lives.

STAGE ONE — It started off with a jamfest on the first level of Korshak where FFF godmothers Yvonne Crum and Jill Rowlett welcomed all. With no hesitation, they recognized everyone of the

Maleiah Rogers and Yvonne Crum

guests on sight. Needless to say 2011 FFF (Amanda Sisk, Amanda Sterett, Casey Lee Robinson, Catherine Laine Sowell, Charlotte Rollin Reynolds, Claire Lee Pruitt, Ellie Lemak, Lainie Kritser, Lisa Petty, Piper Young, Shirin Askari and Teffy Jacobs) were nowhere to be seen. Ellie and Laine were MIA. Ellie had an unavoidable situation develop and Laine had classes. Their sister FFF were upstairs getting ready for their moments in the spotlight.

Doris Jacobs and Lee Bailey

But their parents, friends and relatives were well on hand. 2011 FFF mom Doris Jacobs was all smiles arriving with 2010 FFF mom Lee Bailey. They should have been. On Thursday Lee not only closed on the Braden Powers house on Turtle Creek with Doris handling the details, LB even got the furniture in the house, too.

Dee Dee Lee and Mary Gill

2011 FFF mom Dee Dee Lee and Mary Gill were updating each other on the condition of Janie Condon, who had been the victim of a car accident the week before. Along with Dee Dee was 2011 FFF grandmother/Dee Dee’s mother Sue Peege in from Kentucky for her granddaughter Casey’s runway appearance.

Sue Peege.

Chris Hite and Niven Morgan

Niven Morgan entered squiring Dee Wyly

Dee Wyly

on his arm. Dee was nursing a sore finger after being bitten earlier in the day by her Maltese Bella, who had not wanted her scarf removed. Just like a diva dog!

Raffle Co-chair Chris Blackwell broke the news that he and former FFF/Raffle Co-chair Jennifer Lott were no longer engaged. Nope! They got married on March 10. Not to worry. Their “big wedding in Hawaii” on September 10 is still on. According to the newlyweds, they had just closed on their dream home — a Tudor in the Lakewood area — and decided to go ahead and do it within 48 hours.

All too soon the crowd started moving upstairs at Korshak for the fashion show featuring the FFF’s and Brunello Cucinelli fashions.

STAGE TWO — With blazing lights focused on the runway, the seats filled quickly. While the front row VIP’s had the very best view, they also probably suffered from the heat generated from the overhead spots. Ah, but not to worry. This crowd has never been known to perspire.

Dr. Carrie Carter Watson

As blonde Dr. Carrie Carter Watson walked by in a bare-shoulder silk dress, Carolyn Lupton pointed out to Mayo Crum that Carrie was her doctor. Without missing a beat Mayo laughed that there were definite benefits to ill health.

Piper Young and Claire Lee Pruitt

Backstage the gals couldn’t help but peek to see how the action was shaping up.

Then it was time for the show to start with photographers and videographers ready to record the show.

Crawford Brock

Korshak head honcho Crawford Brock welcomed the crowd and thanked Yvonne, who quickly reminded him that she had a

Jill Rowlett

co-chair — Jill Rowlett. Quick addition was made by Sir Crawford. Then he introduced Modern Luxury of Dallas Associate Publisher Christian Poppert, who got the 2011 FFF strutting their stuff in the Cucinelli clothes to the cheers of the crowd.

Following their walk, they took their seats and watched the rest of the show. Intermingled with the Cucinelli fashions were other Korshak designers providing a full range of looks.

After the final model left the catwalk, each of the 2011 FFF lovelies were congratulated on their runway walk — not one tripped and in those heels that was a major accomplishment.

Before anyone knew it, the couture level of Korshak was empty as guests headed across the way to the Crescent Court Hotel for dinner and a talk by Patricia Massey Sivori.

STAGE THREE — As if according to plan, the evening’s weather for the walk from Korshak to the Crescent Court Hotel was perfect.  After everyone had taken their place, Yvonne and Jill thanked the guests for coming and introduced Suicide and Crisis Center Executive Director Margie Wright. It was at this point that the whole purpose of the evening was brought home when Terry Bentley Hill addressed the group to introduce the keynote speaker. Before doing that, she revealed how suicide had claimed her husband in 1995 and her daughter at the age of 14. In describing her daughter’s death, she forcefully told the group, “She died of depression. That’s what killed her, depression.” To help her work through her own grief, she started making a gratitude list.

Then it was time for keynote speaker Patricia, who talked about the suicide of her son, Cal, in 2001. It was a brief but effective talk about a mother’s loss of a son. Describing her last conversation with Cal, she noted that he wasn’t himself. He was depressed. Since that day she had become a major advocate to getting a discussion going about suicide. “Was I naive to think that suicide was not occurring at that time, in  my city, in my neighborhood, in my grandchildren’s home? The door of the Suicide and Crisis Center of North Texas opened to rooms filled with stories!”

Margie Wright and Dr. Cliff Jones

Listening all of this at a table was a gentleman who may not have had the freshest face in the place or had ever even walked a catwalk. But in many ways he was responsible for the gorgeous women and the saving of lives. It was 91-year-old Dr. Cliff Jones.

Standing: Bill McGowan, Bridget Boggess. Heather McGowan and Trip Jones. Seated: Robin McGowan, Mardi Jones and Summer McGowan

Surrounded by two generations of his too-good-to-be-true family including her adorable wife Mardi, he was the one who established the Suicide and Crisis Center in 1966. What caused this former Marine/psychologist to create such a program? Was it a personal involvement in a suicide? Nope. The gentle-faced man with youthful eyes just felt that there was a need back in the 60’s to address the issue that had been in the shadows. Looking around the room at all the lively young people and his family, he recognized that the 2011 Fresh Faces had been another step in getting “the issue”  out in the open.

Popcorn Diets Will Commence March 31 For Dallas International Film Festival

If you’ve been living under a hair dryer, then you might be the only one who doesn’t know that the Dallas International Film Festival (March 31-April 10) is getting ready to kick into high gear.

The red carpet gala takes place Thursday night at the Winspear. Smart gal Ann-Margret will be honored at the event but will not be strolling the red carpet there and then. She’s saving that one for the showing of her Lucky on Friday.

Now stay with us on this one. The Lucky red carpet stroll with Ann-Margret, Ari Graynor and Gil Cates Jr., will be in front of the WFAA-CH 8 studio in Victory Park from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., but the showing will be at the Magnolia at 7:15 p.m.

But the rest of the Thursday night parade of notables ain’t too shabby. Try Tanner Beard and Suzanne Weinert of  Legends of Hells Gate, Sam Ditore and Scott Mayo of Cooper & The Castle Hills Gang, Rocky Powell and Luke Coffee of Language of a Broken Heart, Matt Mamul of Just About Famous, Ash Christian of Mangus!, producer Stephen Nemeth, Brigid McConville, Rolando Diaz, G.W Bailey, Barry Borbin, Burton Gilliam, Anne Lockhart, Buck Taylor, Arianne Martin, Justin Hillard, Justin Hillard, Tom Huckabee, Drew Waters, Jimmy Hampton, Mari Deese Hampton, Bryan Massey and Frank Moseley.

All right, let’s have an honesty check. If you were expecting Independence Day and Doris Day, forget it. This festival is the opportunity to see movies that are treasures within the film industry that end up winning awards and audiences because they’re simply remarkable. If you want to be part of the insider crowd, you’ve found your home for the next 10 days.

Celebrity Waiters Cozy Up To Potential Tippers At Child Abuse Prevention Gala Kick Off

One of the most you-never-know-what’s-going-to-happen fund raising venues is the celebrity waiter event. The premise is relatively simple. Paying guests are served by celebrities, whose tips go to the nonprofit organizations. The trick is to not only out-serve fellow waiters, but to go that extra outrageous mile for high-stakes tips.

Keith "Buttons" Hicks

This year’s Celebrity Waiters Gala on April 16 at the Palomar benefiting the Child Abuse Prevention Center already has an impressive the list of celebrity waiters — Sonia Acevedo, Ken Benson, Robert Clover Brown, Rhonda Sargent Chambers, Kris Clinton, Todd Conger, Debbie Denmon, Kimberly Fischer, Vivian Fullerlove, Shay Geyer, Jennifer Harlan, Keith “Buttons” Hicks, Brittnee Lee, Emily Lites, Kaci and Robert Lyford, Alonso Martinez, Santiago Pena, Annie Potasznik, Morgana Shaw, PJ Spillman, Starlene Stringer, Craig “Big T” Thompson, Allen Vaught, Cody Willard, and Peyton Wright.


Emcee for the evening will be the legendary scamp waiter/TV anchor Brendan Higgins.

Kim Fischer and Paul Burns

For the kick-off party at Patton Boggs Thursday night, the smart celeb waiters were front and center to start cozying up with potential guests. Veteran celebrity waiter Kim Fischer, who wowed all at the Celebrity Waiter Luncheon in the fall with Baby Bump, was in a black show-stopping cocktail dress.


Jennifer Harlan

In another party of the gathering was Jennifer “The Tooth Fairy” Harlan. She was in her civvies sans wings and humongous toothbrush.


The Love and Hope of a Child in Art

While folks like Gala Chair Ann and Joel Hurley and celebrity waiter Keith “Buttons” Hicks discussed the upcoming gala, some mistook a colorful bowl as a permanent piece of Patton Boggs art. The mosaic bowl, “The Love and Hope of a Child in Art,” was created by families at CAP. It seems that committee member Lori Willard brought the bowl mold and multi-colored glass pieces to a client group meeting one night. Before the evening was over, the children and families had applied the mosaic pieces on the mold resulting in a stellar piece of art that will be in the silent auction.



Leigh Anne Haugh And Laura Ling Made CONTACT

Originally, the 15th annual Spirit of CONTACT on Thursday was to have had television journalist Lisa Ling as the featured speaker. At the last minute Lisa was called to Utah on assignment and needed a sub. No problem. She just called in her sister and broadcast correspondent Laura, who had been held prisoner by the North Korean government for 140 days resulting in an international brouhaha.  But more about that later.

Ashlee Kleinert, Laura Ling, Nancy Ann Hunt

The VIP reception started off with Laura being photo-graphed with last year’s honoree Nancy Ann Hunt and her daughter Ashlee Kleinert and other guests. Next emcee Heather Hays interviewed Laura for KDFW-CH. 4’s evening newscast.

Anita Oberwetter

Anita Oberwetter

Then Laura was seated at a table to sign her book, Somewhere Inside: One Sister’s Captivity in North Korea and The Other’s Fight to Bring Her Home, for guests. Due to the popularity of the books, Luncheon Chair Anita Oberwetter found herself schlepping books to the table. Dallas Regional Chamber President/Anita’s husband Jim arrived and reported that he was there to support Anita in her efforts to raise funds for the crisis prevention and intervention organization.

Doug and Leigh Anne Haugh and Clo and Perry Cloud

Speaking of family support, honoree/Junior League of Dallas President Leigh Anne Haugh had both husband Doug and parents Clo and Perry Cloud on hand. That Leigh Anne was a sneaky one. She pulled off a nice one during the lunch, but more about that later.

But talk at the of the day was not focused solely on Laura and the luncheon. For instance, former high school teacher Martha Ann Cates, who has volunteered at CONTACT for seven or eight years, admitted that her chief concern was for the schools kids who don’t realize there are alternatives.

Just before it was time to head to the Stemmons Ballroom for lunch, CONTACT President Benaye Rogers reminded the gathering that raffle tickets were still available. . . especially the American Airlines trip to Brazil.

At 11:25 the Stemmons Ballroom was starting to look like a melting pot of ages, sexes and races. It was obvious from the makeup of the group that CONTACT was impacting the entire community. SMU President Gerald Turner arrived just before former Mayor Tom Leppert. Seems that Tom was subbing in for wife/Luncheon Honorary Chair Laura, who was called away on business. The ladies at his table were thrilled.

Heather Hays

Emcee Heather called the group to order at 11:36. Following a welcome by CONTACT Board Chairman Susan Odom and Anita, Pastor Brent McGuire gave the invocation and it was lunch time.

At 12:05 p.m. Benaye addressed the group telling them that 46% of their calls came from men and that CONTAC T did not receive “just a suicide” call. Rather, the calls often come from people who are just overwhelmed and need assistance.

Benaye Rogers

Benaye Rogers

Benaye then introduced Nancy Ann who gave an excellent introduction for Leigh Anne. For most people it would have been a real challenge to follow such a lovely intro, but Leigh Anne proved her ability to rise to the occasion. She told about her days as a CONTACT volunteer, where she learned, “We are not here to judge. We are here to listen.”

Then Leigh Anne asked everyone to pull out their cell phones. An uneasy twinge rippled through the audience. They had been at other events, where they had been “encouraged” to text donations to the group. Awkward. If you didn’t pull out your cell phone, you looked like you weren’t part of the effort. But since it was Leigh Anne, phones appeared with fingers ready to donate. Instead, she pulled a fast one. The blonde asked everyone to tap in 972.233.2233 and save it. The number was the CONTACT hotline and she added that one day they just might need to provide that number for someone in need of help.

No wonder the crowd gave Leigh Anne a standing O.

Then it was time to pull the raffle tickets. First one was for the trip to Rio. Leigh Anne pulled the first ticket and handed it to Heather, who read, “Gail Bartlett.” Gee, wasn’t that the former first lady of Dallas, Mrs. Steve Bartlett. Next was the spa package  at the Hilton Anatole. This time, Leigh Anne handed the ticket to Heather, who laughed and read, “Doug Haugh.” Leigh Anne quickly swore she hadn’t looked at the tickets, when she realized her husband was the lucky winner.

After the final ticket was pulled at 12:30 p.m., it was time for Laura, who was introduced via video by sister Lisa. From Utah, Lisa apologized for not being there but added that her talk would have centered around Laura.

It was a fascinating talk that covered Laura’s work in the Middle East, Mexico and North Korea) and the importance of freedom.  In telling about her captivity in North Korea, she told of a moment when she was in despair and guard said, “Have hope.”

Then Laura explained former President Bill Clinton‘s involvement in her release from enprisonment. It seems that when North Korean President Kim Jong-il‘s father died in 1994, Clinton was the very first to call and offer his condolences. The North Korean president didn’t forget Clinton’s sympathy, so when the former president  got involved in Laura’s release, it happened. According to Laura, it was that “simple act of kindness” that made the difference.

Magically, Laura tied her story with the work done by CONTACT. . . offering hope to others and the important of acts of kindness.

At 1:05 p.m. Laura closed her talk telling the group how depression has become a major problem in schools. Yes, there are support groups in schools for drugs, but rarely for students suffering from depression.  Closing with a quote from Maya Angelou‘s I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Laura received a standing O, too.

She done her big sister and CONTACT proud.

Oh, Please, MySweetCharity! Get Over It!

Monday the skies were gray and MySweetCharity international headquarters received emails, calls and words-in-passing that folks were really down. Life wasn’t great. Their sinuses were giving them a fit. Someone who had made a promise didn’t come thru. They just felt a total case of the blues. The weather guys said it was gonna rain and it didn’t. Owie, that zit just was an end-of-the-world situation.

Sorry to get on our high horse, but this morning the MySweetCharity Full-Of-Herself-Queen (we call her Queenie because it puts her in a good mood) said she was going to take to her bed because she was feeling “yuckie” and  “blah.” Poor thang. The MSC crew reminded her that she needed to get over it. She wasn’t happy, but she did get moving.

We all suffer those days. But the MySweetCharity crowd needs to take a deep breath. When you look in your frig, is there something there? Are you are able to breath fresh non-nuke-air? When you turn on the tap, does water come out?

Let’s do take a deep breath and be grateful that our greatest problems are traffic, satisfying the IRS and living with each other.

We’re just grateful to have you in our world. You make the whole crew feel so much better. Pat on your back, MSC community.

DIFF Underwriters Learn Tidbits Including Dennis Quaid, Jerry Jeff Walker And Kit Carson To Be On Hand

James Faust

The Dallas International Film Festival‘s underwriters’ party on Wednesday at Bailey’s Prime Plus was filled to the max with the beautiful and talented cinema types. Dallas Film Society’s Artistic Director James Faust told the group that the festival (March 31 through April 10) will showcase 165 films from 26 countries.

In addition to the opening night gala honoring Liener Temerlin and Academy Award nominees Ann-Margret and Steve James at the WInspear Opera House, Dennis Quaid will be on hand to introduce his Soul Surfer.

Tanya Foster

DFS PResident/CEO and DIFF Exec Director Tanya Foster added that OK BuckaroosJerry Jeff Walker had just been confirmed to appear at DIFF, too.

Michael Cain

As DFS Chairman of the Board Michael Cain proudly reviewed the accomplishments of the five-year-old film festival, Freddie Merrill recalled the early days of the USA Film Festival at SMU back in the 1960’s. He had designed the programs and worked with Kit Carson, who organized the event along with the late Bill Jones. The big stars showing for that one — the late Dennis Hopper and the late Andy Warhol.

Speaking of Kit, he’ll be back in Dallas for the festival and the showing  on April 10 of his African Diary. Typical of Kit, African Diary is not your typical documentary. Nope, it’s a docu-series of digital diaries lasting 3 to 5 minutes using Nokia N93 and N95 cell phones cameras. The entire docu-series will be launching by the Sundance Channel this year.