Pat And Emmitt Smith Along With Hard Night’s Day Help MakeAWay Charities Raise Funds

If you loved the Beatles or better yet Dallas’ own Hard Day’s Night, then you’ll want to put a hold on Saturday, October 27. The HDN foursome will be appearing at the Westin Galleria to benefit MakeAWay Charities.

Pat and Emmitt Smith (File photo)

The ever-gorgeous Pat Smith and her dancing husband Emmitt will be the honorary chairs for this fundraiser that “has helped over 1,000 families in need of a helping hand to get by in hard times.”

If MakeAWay is new on your non-profit lists, makes sense. Established by Kathy and Mike Hayes, it’s only a couple of years old and was founded to directly assist single-parent-headed families in distress. They provide “direct assistance to these and other hard-working families in financial catastrophe so the families can stay intact, in their own homes, and out of debt and poverty.

“Without the assistance of MakeAWay Charities, those families would have been facing a devastating foreclosure, missing school and medical appointments due to unreliable transportation, and putting single parents in a position where those who depend on them most are put at risk due to inability to pay rent, an electric bill, or for a car repair.”

Starting at 6 p.m., the 60’s themed “Get Groovy With MakeAWay” presented by Generational Equity will include dinner, dancing and, of course, auctions (silent and lively) for everything from Gringo boots, a Cowboys helmet donated and signed by Tony Dorsett to a trip to Paris hosted by La Madeleine founder Patrick Esquerre.

It’s Already Prom Night Recalling The Last Days Of Disco For Reading & Radio Resources

Alas, neither John Travolta nor any Bee Gees will be at 2012 Prom Night — The Last Days of Disco, but the great days of “Saturday Night Fever” will be alive and rolling on Saturday, September 22, at the West End’s Starlight Room.

You just know the sound is gonna be great because it’s benefiting Reading & Radio Resource.

If that organization sounds new to your ear canal, it’s a Dallas-based nonprofit organizations founded in 1969 to “provide audio recordings of printed materials to those unable to read for themselves because of vision loss, physical disabilities, learning differences such as dyslexia or English as a second language.”

“We are very excited to be raising funds for such a worthy cause.” said Julie Machal-Fulks, event chair 2012. “Reading & Radio Resource serves children and adults unable to read for themselves. Funds raised will go towards providing audio recordings of printed materials for children and adults who need them because of vision loss, physical impairments, learning differences such as dyslexia, or learning English as a second language.”

Handling the audio supervision will be NBC 5 co-anchor Kristi Nelson and DJ blonde babe Jennifer Miller.

Prom Night 2012 sponsors include:

  • Saturday Night Fever ($7,500+) — Scott & Scott LLP
  • Disco Inferno ($5,000+) — Gardere
  • Boogie Fever ($2,500+) — PlainsCapital Bank and Laura Baldwin
  • Studio 54 ($1,000+) — Scottie Pearson, Todd Williams and Mary Kay Inc.

Oopsie! Somebody Broke The Dallas Summer Musical 2013 Season Early

Everyone was threatened with death and worse .  . .sitting in a room with a zillion reality show cast members if they revealed the Dallas Summer Musical 2013 season before it was formally announced at 7 p.m. Monday. Evidently somebody didn’t get the memo or really likes “reality folks.” Ah, but shucks, you’ve got to give them a break. They are a DSM sponsor.

Buyi Zama, Michael Jenkins, and Q Smith

Anyhow, let’s get on to the real news, not the complaining. People kept coming and coming to the Music Hall at Fair Park Monday night to have a feast and hear what Michael Jenkins had lined up for the 2013 season. Joining him were Buyi Zama, who plays Rafiki in The Lion King, and Q Smith, who plays both the blind lady and Miss Andrew in Mary Poppins.

Cupcakes from The Original Cupcakery

Ah, but before you learn what will be playing, how about what folks were talking about as they sampled all types of goodies including mountains of cupcakes?

Let’s start with Michael himself. There’s less of him. Seems he wasn’t happy with his growing weight and decided to turn to the pro of healthy living — Dr. Kenneth Cooper. Let’s face it. Dr. C is a realist. He just knew that Michael with his work demands and lifestyle was not going to take up jogging every morning at the Aerobics Center. Michael kidded Cooper saying that he’d given up jogging when he kept spilling his martini. Dr. C took it seriously until Michael admitted that he was kidding.

But the good doctor gave Michael a v-e-r-y simple way to lose weight. It must have worked because Michael is 24 pounds lighter in just three months. You’re probably not interested in it, but we’ll include it following the jump just in case you have a spouse or friend in need of carving off a couple of dozen pounds. [Read more…]

Texas Ballet Holds “Boot Camp” At The Barre Starting Monday

Some Dallas folks treat Fort Worth like it’s a foreign country. Yes, you know it’s there, but it’s such a long distance to drive. Oh, come on! You know better than that. How about a great excuse to head west, feel better and you won’t have to wear cowboy boots!

Texas Ballet Theater workout

The Texas Ballet Theater is holding “Boot Camp” and boots are not necessary. From this Monday through Friday, a class will be held that will not be “your stereotypical frilly ballet class. .  . This class rocks your body through cardio barre, center core work and cardio-blasting movements — all to fun current music.”

Leave the tutu’s at home. Instead wear workout clothes with socks or ballet slippers.

You can either get a pass for the entire week for $99 or a day pass for $20.

Afterwards, why not check out the museums and Sundance Square. Then top it off with a lunch at Joe T.’s.

Photo courtesy of Texas Ballet Theater

2012-2013 Symphony Debs And Honor Guard Hit The Dance Floor And Casino Tables At Eddie Deen’s

Kay Weeks

Despite summer heat and the rumor that things have died down, they haven’t. Saturday night the Dallas Symphony Orchestra League’s debs and their families took over the Eddie Deen Ranch for a casino party. The idea was to honor the 2013 Symphony Debs and Honor Guard, but, according to Ball Chair Kay Weeks, it was really “an opportunity for the parents to get to know each other in a relaxed environment.”

Bill and Deborah Colton

Between folks lining up at the buffet and others surrounding the casino tables, that goal was accomplished.

Victoria Brewer, Katie Ferguson, Clara Seddelmeyer and Margaret Sone

It also allowed the debs to get to know each other and compare notes. Despite the ball still being months away (February, to be exact) Margaret Sone reported that she had already picked out her white gown, a Kenneth Pool from Neiman’s.  

On the other hand, Dallas Assembly President-elect Channy Ronchetti, who has already been working with the 2013 debs on their bows, still hasn’t picked out her gown. For Channy and the rest of the veteran symphony debs, they are allowed to wear any solid color of the rainbow, except white on the night of the ball. Since Channy was not going to have to bow on the big night, was she shopping for a form-fitting ball gown? Looking rather surprised, she said, “No, it will be a full gown.”

Katie McDaniel, Tucker Huth and Channy Ronchetti

But Saturday night was not for long gowns or white tie. Rather, it was bolo ties and Stetsons for the gents and short silky dresses and scooting boots for the gals. Honor Guard Chairman Tucker Huth had flown in from his job in New York just for the party.  The poor guys needs a little fun, since his job developing a new healthcare product has him working until 2 a.m. some nights.

Kendall Furst and Robert Furst

The evening allowed for the debs and their fathers to start working on their dance moves. One of the ordeals that the debs and their fathers face at the ball is the “first dance” by the fathers and daughter on a very crowded dance floor in the Meyerson. Getting a head start on their one-two-three’s were Kendall Furst and her father Robert.


Okay, so maybe Breckenridge’s CW music won’t exactly be the genre at the presentation ball, it worked out just fine Saturday night.

Laura Weil, Mackenzie Williams, Happy Carlock, Katherine Smith and Lauren Carrozza

But don’t for a second think that the group was simply dancing and partying while the Dallas Symphony Orchestra is facing budget challenges. No way! Kay reminded folks that this party and the others leading up to the ball, as well as the presentation itself, will raise a half million dollars for the DSO.

BTW, to maintain the decorum associated with such an evening, Kay added that a new position had been added to the committee — risk manager. The committee member in charge of this task is a lawyer, so you just know procedures will be in place and followed.

Dallas Summer Musicals And The Dallas Foundation Are Flying High Over “Peter Pan”

Michael Jenkins (File photo)

Former Olympic gymnast/Tony Award nominee Cathy Rigby has a real reason to be flying high as Peter Pan starting tonight through July 22 at the Music Hall. Dallas Summer Musical President/Managing Director Michael Jenkins announced that The Dallas Foundation has partnered up with DSM to bring “Peter Pan” to Dallas.

“We are honored The Dallas Foundation is partnering with DSM in presenting this wonderful production. Support from individuals, corporations, and organizations  like The Dallas Foundation help make it possible for DSM to bring world-class, family-friendly touring Broadway productions like ‘Peter Pan’ to our community and keep ticket prices affordable and accessible to a diverse audience.”

Mary Jalonick (File photo)

According to TDF President Mary Jalonick, “Dallas Summer Musicals is an ideal recipient for a grant from the Jean Baptiste “Tad” Adoue III Fund at The Dallas Foundation. Mr. Adoue was active in theatrical and musical circles for four decades. His passion for the performing arts in Dallas lives on through his philanthropic legacy including this grant to bring ‘Peter Pan’ to Dallas audiences this summer.”

Top Hat & Tails Contestants Included A Real Hoofer For Paws In The City Fundraiser

Top Hat & Tails has always been good, clean fun where local celebs wear costumes and dance their way into embarrassment on behalf of Paws in the City. It’s so outrageous that you come to realize that your serious newscasters do have senses of humor.

Ah, but this year on June 9 the Dallas version of “Dancing With The Stars” turned into a game of “Clue” — which was the contestant with moves to kill?

After weeks of lessons with Arthur Murray pros, all eight contestants went upstairs at the Frontiers of Flight Museum to be made up, combed out and dressed up like they were going to the prom. Except for financial guy Rodney Anderson and Lance Armstrong‘s mum, Linda Armstrong Kelly, the rest of the crew was made up of foodies (Monica Greene and Lynae Fearing) and TV types (Ron Corning, Melissa Newton, Steve Noviello and Shelly Slater).

Bailey Kensington and Steve Noviello

Was KDFW-CH. 4’s Noviello the one who was going to be the show stopper? After all, his mom was a Rockette. But after taking 10 lessons, he admitted “So I thought there might be some genetics there; not so much!” But he was there for the animals. After all he has three-year old Sam, a rescue Weimaraner.

Paws in the City pooch in need of home

But before an interrogation of the other dancers could take place, they scurried downstairs where all the two-legged guests were eyeballing each other, silent auction items and four-legged critters in need of “furever homes.” In their cages doing their most lovable moves, Venus and her companion Teddy Bear were not pleased at all when another dog walked by stealing the attention of human guests.  Across the way a little of kittens were playing toys. Seems someone had told them that people are suckers for playful kittens. Peaches the terrier/pit bull mix was just lying around in her crate looking about as scary as Benji.

Paws in the City’s Tara Harper, who was with John Broderick, reported that last year’s take of $130K was outstanding. This year they were just hoping to top $100K because of the economy.

Holly Forsythe and Carole Murray

Past St. Francis of Assisi recipient Holly Forsythe had been faced with a Solomon-like situation. Be with her family at Texas Motor Speedway for the Indy race that night of be at Top Hat & Tails. Yes, she used to date Indy driver Scott Pruett and her family does have a condo at TMS on Turn #2, but with two dogs and three cats, she opted for the Paws In the City fundraiser. When asked if she had ever thought of dancing in the competition, Holly said they had tried to get her to dance, but she’s not comfortable in the spotlight.

Last year’s St. Francis of Assisi award recipient Jonnie England joked: “They just begged me to be one of the dancers. But I didn’t want to put the others to shame.”

Bill Smith

With “All My Lovin'” and “Dancing Queen” playing in the background, the “All They Need is Love” theme brought out a handful of Beatles-era costumed guests like Bill Smith in a tie-dye shirt, headband, hippie outfit complete with goatee. Where’d he find his  vintage clothing? “I shouldn’t tell you where I bought it. At a head shop! They had the T-shirt, the bad, everything.”

Rebecca Miller

Before the dancing began, the sold-out crowd including Carol Roberts and a table of Albertsons’ guests along with honorary chairs Jack Lindstrom, Rebecca Miller, Michelle Witten, Sherry Boone, Nicole Hutchison and Jocelyn White (Yvonne Crum couldn’t make due to a bad case of shingles) took their places for dinner, saw videos and heard from emcee Scott Murray and host Preston Pearson, who told the story of his remarkable dog, Lucy, after which the dancing trophy is named.

Preston Pearson, Samantha Reid and Drew Pearson

Then came the live auction with a football package including a photo with Drew Pearson and Preston plus their Super Bowl rings. That one was so popular, they sold it twice.

Steve Kemble

Finally it was time for the competition with the introduction of the judges. Preston introduced Allen Wranglers GM Drew saying Drew “did

Claudia Marshall

something I thought was great. They got rid of T.O.!”  In addition were Sassy Steve Kemble and local Arthur Murray Dance Studio owner Claudia Marshall, who has been a judge for all five years.

Now it was dance time:

  • Rodney Anderson and Lindsey Dellucci

    Rodney Anderson in white suit and huge black Afro wig danced with Lindsey Dellucci to a Jackson 5 tune. When Preston asked, “First of all, where’d you get your hair? I could use some of that!” Rodney replied, “Hair Club for Men!” He then placed the wig on Preston, who seemed to disappear under all the hair. Then Rodney was asked how he got involved in the dance-off. . . “Holly Forsythe sent me an email. I took me 48 hours to say, ‘Hell, no.’ But it was the best experience of my life. I took 24 lessons!”  Receiving thee 8’s from the judges, he also got reviews that included: “Back in the day, I had a bigger one. Let me borrow it; I’ll go to the club,” from Drew.  
  • Adriann Alexander and Ron Corning

    Ron Corning did a Quick Step with Adriann Alexander to “Can’t Hurry Love” by the Supremes. Upon completing his performance, Ron asked, “What just happened? Is it over?” Judge Steve “loved the outfit and gave him a 9. Drew summed the dance up with a 8 and “Good job.” Then Claudia reviewed Ron saying, “Terrific job,” but only gave him a 7. That last score resulted in boos from the audience.
  • Ryan West and Lynae Fearing

    Lynae Fearing with dancer Ryan West did the Hustle after which Preston told her, “Relax. You look like you’re about to go into a firing machine.” Lynae revealed why she decided to participate in the dance competition this year: “Last year, my life was a little more chaotic. This year it’s calmer, so I said yes.” Owning three cats and a dog, Lynae also earned three 8’s and reviews like “The dance was untamed and relentlessly erotic. I loved every minute of it” from Steve and “When you came out, the first thing I said was, ‘Whoa! I’m old, but I can still see.'”   
  • Justin Brown and Monica Greene

    Monica Greene performed a salsa with Justin Brown to “Quando, Quando, Quando.” Before Preston could get a chance to asked the restaurteur a question, Monica did a shout out: “Holly Forsythe, you owe me one, bad!” With still another repeat of three 8’s, the judges’ reviews included Steve’s “You dirty, dirty girl. I loved it.” Drew’s “Great job!” and Claudia’s “I thought you were really beautiful.”
  • Linda Armstrong Kelly and Antonio Rivera

    Linda Armstrong Kelly did the swing with Antonio Rivera to “Think” by Aretha Franklin. The adorable grandmother and motivational speaker admitted, “You get out of your comfort zone. It’s a great cause. I had a blast!”  Evidently the judges did, too. Steve gave her a 10 saying, “You look amazing. It was absolutely more delicious than my grandmother’s apple pie.” Drew gave her another 10 adding, “I think you nailed it.” Claudia provided a 9 with “It takes a competitive spirit. I think your son would be very proud of you.”
  • Melissa Newton and Ian Kelley

    CBS11’s Melissa Newton did a West Coast swing with Ian Kelley and admitted afterward, “I have a blast.” Her wardrobe provided a blast of comments and three 9’s from the judges. Steve reviewed: “I bet the wardrobe department was under-budget.” Drew: I loved the way your partner matched his tie with your dress. I never watched Channel 11, but I will now. Sorry, Newy Scruggs (of KXAS-CH. 5). They say sex sells, and it also gets votes.
  • Asked what “the story” was behind his doing the swing with Bailey Kenzington, Steve Noviello said, “Don’t call and try to quit after the first lesson, because it gets a little bit easier.” Judge Steve countered with, “You can tell me a story and put me to bed anytime. You had the untamed energy of a young pup tonight. ” Drew: “I saw your clip (of rehearsing) last week on Channel 4 and said, ‘This guy’s got no chance.’ But you’ve come a long way.” While the judges gave the performance thee 9’s, some in the audience grumbled that it should have received at least one 10.
  • Shelly Slater and Daniel Dellucci

    Last up was Shelly Slater with Daniel Dellucci doing a tango to “Whatever Lola Wants.” So stunning was the performance that both the judges and the audience seemed speechless resulting in three 10’s, a first of the night. It also left Shelly out of air, saying, “I can’t breathe.” Even saucy sassy Steve admitted, “Beautiful dance.” Drew: “Very smooth. . . very sexy.” Ever professional Claudia summed it up saying, “A really serious routine. Very difficult. Great job.”  

While the votes from both the judges and guests were being tallied, it was a perfect time to recognize the various organizations and people who have made Paws in the City a success. In addition to the various boarding kennels (Barking Hound Village, The Boarding Bungalow, Canine Country Club and Wellness Center, Downtown Dog, Kinder Kritter, Barney’s Ranch, Tailwaggers Country Inn, Toothacres Pet Care Center, Urban Paws, VHEA’s Laudromutt, Shari’s Family Pet Spa, Paw Tenders, Camp Diggy Bones and Paradise 4 Paws, longtime Paws in the City advocate and Top Hat & Tails Event Co-chair Tina Fairbanks was presented the St. Francis of Assisi award along with Dr. John Vandermeer and Dr. Wendy Dearixonwere give the Man’s Best Friend Awards.

Tina Fairbanks, Preston Pearson and Becky Haisma

With Preston off to the side, you could tell he was dreading this next part — In Memoriam. During the past year, three individuals, who had supported Paws in the City and Top Hat & Tails over the year, had died — Janie Tilford Pearson (Preston’s wife), Al Huchet and Joe Avezzano. Tina said, “We owe this event to Janie. She was watching ‘Dancing With The “stars” and said, ‘That’s what we need to do for Paws in the City.'”  Calling Preston to centerstage, Tina and Event Co-chair Becky Haisma announced the creation of the Janie Tilford Pearson Fairy Godmother Fund, for people who can’t pay for pets. As a mega-sized check of $5,000 was revealed, Preston  shook his head, wiped a tear from his face and stepped behind the judges’ backdrop.

Top Hat & Tails teams

But this moment of remembrance was quickly replaced with the presentation of all the dance couples and judges on stage for the announcement of the winning team.

Ah, the mystery was solved. Who was the mystery celeb, who admitted that dancing was one of her longtime favorite things to do? Shelly ! Seems those years of dance lessons had paid off.

After receiving her flowers and congrats, she said of her partner: “Daniel is the bomb. He’s patient and loving and he’s sassy and he’s got class.” He also had a talented partner.

Iraqi Veteran J.R. Martinez Did Not Disappoint Guests Nor Wounded Warriors At Nexus Recovery Center Luncheon

J.R. Martinez

There are those folks who wouldn’t watch a reality show even if it paid for their Dallas Country Club membership fees for a year. But they would declare that “Dancing with the Stars” was by no means a reality show. Nope, they would swear it’s educational and entertaining. And last year’s winner J.R. Martinez elevated to inspirational. The story of a kid whose dreams of becoming a professional football player ended, because injury and military service in Iraq abruptly changed his life, nearly killing him, thanks to a land mine. But J.R. Martinez, like other soldiers, took these developments as challenges. In J.R.’s case, it resulted in his landing gigs on “On My Children” and “DWTS.”

The Nexus group thought they had hit a home run in landing J.R. to speak at their 2012 luncheon benefiting the Nexus Recover Center. However, J.R.’s girlfriend, Diana Gonzalez-Jones, was due to deliver their baby around that same time period, resulting in a change of dates once or maybe twice. He just wasn’t going to miss the birth of his child, but Nexus wasn’t going to miss his presence. So, the group that helps so many in need remained true to the word “flexibility” and moved the date to accommodate baby Martinez.

It was well worth the mobile dates for Co-chairs Misty Smathers and Carole Steele.

Shilah Phillips

At 10:45 the VIP reception took place in the Bush Suite at the Hilton Anatole and the room was heaping with gals wanting to meet J.R. They were swarming for a photo with him. He looked a little stunned by his popularity. At one point he was cajoled into posing with two gals pretending to dance. At another he smiled with Shilah “Miss Texas 2006” Philips and WFAA’s John McCaa. The J.R. smile never flattened.

A touching moment came when a Vietnam vet approached J.R. and compared assignment duties, with war stories being exchanged. The attitude toward the two wars may have changed over the years, but the scars haven’t.

John McCaa

While open to all inquiries, J.R. would divulge the soon-to-be Martinez baby’s name. (UPDATE: Baby Martinez was born on May 2 and her name is Lauryn Anabelle Martinez with the nickname “Belle.”)

By 11:20 most of the ladies had started ambling down to the Khmer Ballroom with professional dancers kicking up their heels in the hallway every now and then.

Once inside the ballroom the guests included Kim Gatlin, who was on schedule for hip surgery, Caron Center’s Michael Fowler and Amara Durham, Patti Flowers, Jan Osborn, Robin BagwellLynn McBee and Honorary Chair Pat Smith. Alas, Honorary Co-chairs Willa and Mike Modano couldn’t be seen in the crowd, but Pat made up for their MIA by joining the Wounded Warriors and J.R.  The guys were a bit amazed at the attention that both J.R. and Pat gave them.

Nexus Women’s Auxiliary President Beverly Barry told the crowd that J.R. had earlier toured the Nexus facility and “his word of inspiration could be seen on the faces of the women and children.”

AT 12:46 emcee John McCaa recognized the table of Wounded Warriors. One guest grumbled, “Why didn’t they get a standing ovation?” Perhaps it was because they were standing and would have been lost in the room full of guests. It was pretty obvious that all were impressed with their presence.

Then John read from his notes that the mirrored balls on the tables were for sale. Looking around the room, it became apparent that not all the tables had balls, but what the heck.

As Shilah “Miss Texas 2006” Philips sang “God Bless America,” everyone in the room stood. This gal doesn’t need a mic! She was rewarded with a big hug from Pat Smith and a “Wow!” from John.

Ken Larsen, Pat Smith, Anthony Semprun, Tracy Reep, J.R. Martinez, Andrew Lite and Jason Wakefield

Guests then lunched except for the Wounded Warriors, who were inundated with well-wishers and Pat and J.R. The WW’s seemed a little surprised, flattered and embarrassed by all the attention.

At 12:15 Shilah sang again and was followed by a video and a talk by Melissa Kelly, a former Nexus client, who called various treatment centers seeking help. All she heard was the centers wanted to know if she had insurance or any money. Finally she ended up going to the Salvation Army for six weeks and then Nexus for four months. She concluded her talk saying, “You have to get rid of all that baggage. . . I found my voice thanks to Nexus.”

At 12:29 J.R. took the runway. He charmed the group with humility and humor saying that when he had lived in Arlington back in 2006, people would ask, “Who shot you?” referring to the “Dallas” TV series.

He told the guests, “We all fight wars in life. . . You need someone to help you understand how to heal yourself.”

At one point a guest sneezed. Without missing a beat, J.R. stopped his talk saying, “Bless you.”

Other highlights in his talk included:

  • “To sit next to Pat Smith . . . I’ve got the coolest seat in the house.”
  • “It [“Dancing with the Stars”] gives you an opportunity to do something you never did before.”
  • People are always asking, “Where’s the mirrored ball?”
  • “As I tried to raise it [mirrored ball] up, it [weighing 22 pounds] took two hands.”

He then recalled the years that led up to his present situation including that April 5 when the land mine shattered his then-19-year-old body and changed his destiny. Of course, J.R. couldn’t tell of those days in Iraq and the recovery without some humor. He told how in his first days in the hospital, he thought that it might not be so bad. After all, he had heard about the sponge baths provided by nurses and envisioned falling in love with his beautiful nurse and living happily ever after. “Maybe this won’t be bad. When they talk about nurses, you think of Pat Smith. . . Like ‘The Notebook’. . . just the hospital version.”

In J.R.’s case it didn’t work out that way. His nurse was a guy named Mike who saw him through the days of recovery, both physically and emotionally. At one point, when J.R. demanded a mirror to see his face, Mike suggested that they put it off for another day. J.R. insisted. Upon seeing his face that had been damaged from the mine, he thought, “How am I going to live in this world? I went into this depression hole. I was angry. I didn’t talk to anyone.” He was in a hole for two weeks and then his mother more or less told him to get over it and move on.

Like any good Louisiana son, he followed mama’s suggestion and hasn’t looked back.

By 1:06 J.R. had finished his talk, but he and Nexus continue on with their mission.

Iraq War Veteran J.R. Martinez Is On The Dance Card For An Inspirational Nexus Spring Luncheon

J.R. Martinez

While some may watch frustrated housewives working out their unreal dramas, others prefer their TV fixes on Mondays and Tuesdays with “dancing stars.”

Throughout last year’s “Dancing With The Stars” winner J.R. Martinez was a fan favorite with his remarkable talents. And then there was his all-too-real-life story. Raised by a single mom, he had a promising future playing football in high school and college until an injury ended that plan. Seeing a commercial, he signed up for the Army and was assigned to Iraq in 2003. Then his Humvee hit a land mine and he suffered burns over 40% of his body, resulting in his spending 34 months at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio and undergoing 33 cosmetic and skin-graft surgeries.

It was during this recovery that he found his calling. A nurse asked him to speak to another burn patient. Evidently the patient had been overwhelmed at seeing his body for the first time. In less than an hour of speaking with J.R., the patient “opened the curtain letting light into his room” and J.R. discovered he could help others.

It is this very inspiration that will be on hand for his presentation at next Monday’s Nexus Spring Luncheon at the Hilton Anatole’s Khmer Pavilion. Chairs Misty Smathers and Carole Steele have arranged to have Pat Smith, Willa Ford and Mike Modano serve as honorary chairs. Be prepared for a remarkable talk by a true star of the real world.

Photo courtesy of Nexus Recovery Center

“Flower Drum Song’s” Dragons And Treasures Welcomed Guests For Curtain Call With Vanessa Williams On Stage

Laura Estrada and dancing dragon

Even before Vanessa Williams appeared on stage, the glamour was everywhere for Curtain Call at the Music Hall at Fair Park Saturday. Why it was even curbside with drummers and dragons greeting guests.

True, there were bigger events that night (DIFFA at the Hilton Anatole and Dream Gala at the Omni Dallas), but simple, old-fashioned pizzazz and upper crust Dallas were in the mood to party and raise funds for the Dallas Summer Musicals‘ mission — “to bring the Best of Broadway to Dallas and provide for children’s education and outreach programs.” And what a surrounding they had! Everywhere guests looked were Flower Drum Song costumes that had been stored for ages. Co-Chair Sandy Watson had discovered the masterpieces that had been designed and created specifically for the FDS,

Sandy Watson

while rummaging through some of the DSM store rooms. She immediately decided that they needed to see the light of day. Wearing a dazzling red robe, she quickly pointed out the intricacies of both the exterior and linings of the costumes and headdresses that were everywhere on display throughout the lobby.

Jocelyn White, who was with Dale Robinowitz, was startled to see Sandy in the sweeping red robe. Evidently the two gals had had their nails done earlier in the day and Sandy gave no clue that she was going to be decked out to the nines in costume.

Ellen Terry, Michael Jenkins, Ebby Halliday and Wendy Jenkins

But others recognized the opportunity to show off their Chinese fashions like Wendy Jenkins in a sheer gold robe from the FDS collection, and residential Realtor Ellen Terry, who was with her old buddy Realtor grand dame Ebby Halliday.

Speaking of residential real estate, Nancy and Robbie Briggs were all smiles about the auction of Champs D’Or. When asked if he was relieved about the conclusion of the mega-estate’s situation, they both said that until the sale was closed, it was still a work in process.

Chairman of the DSM Board Darrell Jordan was in a very good mood reporting that, “Based on our projections, we are going to end the season to the good. We’re not projecting any deficits, but we’ve still got to raise a little more money.” He’s been meeting with AT&T PAC Board Chair Roger Nanney about possibly having the two entities collaborate.

Regarding the surprise departure of AT&T PAC President/CEO Mark Weinstein, Darrell suggested that Mark didn’t realize that a big part of his job was raising money.

Then Darrell was off to find Mayor Mike Rawlings. No, not to talk politics. He had the mayor’s tickets.

In another part of the reception, former DSM chairman of the board Charlie Pistor said that he was still staying involved. His job now is “to preserve and protect [DSM President and Director] Michael Jenkins. So I walk with my arm around him.” He added that the great outpouring of community support in the DSM’s time of need has been outstanding, including a “substantial challenge grant” from the Harold Simmons Foundation in February.

But the evening was not made for talk of work. It was also a night for shopping. Chuck Gummer was checking out two tickets to the U.S. Open and the “Dancing with the Stars” package because wife Cindy is such a great fan.

Patti Flowers

Also perusing the silent auction items were Patti Flowers and husband Tom Swiley. Patti was in a fabulous Chinese-themed gown that she had whipped up the day before from fabric that she’s had for a while.  

Billie Leigh Rippey was all fired up and ready to bid and purchase the auction item that traditionally goes to her each year — an onstage appearance with the celebrity du jour.

Lisa LeMaster and Dick Quisenberry

Just before taking their seats, Lisa LeMaster in a Diane Von Furstenberg purple blouse and form-fitting black skirt and Dick Quisenberry were talking with the mayor and his wife Micki.

David and Cedonia Brown and Dick Collins

Already tableside as Mary Suhm came rushing in at the last minute were Cedonia and David Brown with Richard Collins.

After dinner, all 400 adjourned into the hall for Vanessa, who performed her heart out for 90 minutes. The gal is not only gorgeous, she knows how to work a crowd.

But then this crowd was set for a great evening, and Sandy and husband Steve Watson delivered with the help of dragons, headdresses and robes.

Flower Drum Song costume

Moonlight Dazzled In The New Dallas Country Club Digs For Ronald McDonald House’s Old Friends And New Dresses

Dallas Country Club entrance

Saturday was one of the first biggies to be held at the oh-so-new Dallas Country Club. To break the DCC in, Ronald McDonald House of Dallas’ 8th annual Moonlight Ball was the event.

Lessons to be learned about the DCC’s new digs:

  1. Unless you’re a member, you must enter the property on Mockingbird Lane, where you’ll be “met and gret” by a security gent. The Beverly Drive entrance is reserved “for members only.” Perhaps that means your car is washed while you’re golfing.
  2. DCC outdoor personnel have the most adorable uniforms. Security resembles Yellowstone forest rangers with their flat-brimmed hats and gracious welcome and directions. Valet parkers, regardless of the company, wear yellowish/beige vests and black driving caps. Don’t know that there’s a policy, but everyone seems to stand as erect as a Texas oil derrick.

In other words, once you enter the DCC wonderland, you almost feel like you’re a part of a high-end version of Disneyland with costumed characters who majored in hospitality.

Betty and Michael Bullington

To dress up the ballroom for its black-tie debut for 250 guests, Gala Chair Betty Bullington had Garden Gate’s Junior Villanueva created two types of centerpieces with spring flowers — tall silver vases and low-riding containers. Neither blocked the view of the room or the guest across the table.

Garden Gate floral arrangement

At the front of the room was a stage for Cuvee and, of course, a dance floor.

Dr. Dale and Jean Fuller

While the younger guests chatted in the reception area, Jean and Dr. Dale Fuller happily found their places at a table in the ballroom. Dale admitted that noise at event could be a bit challenging, so the empty ballroom was just right.

It’s hard to believe that it was back in the late 1980’s that Dale was president of Ronald McDonald House and was approached by the late barkeep Joe Miller. It seems that Joe’s patrons had thrown a party to help Joe with his battle against cancer. The lovable Canadian, who ran the media hangout bar on Lemmon Avenue, approached Dr. Dale about donating some of the money to a charity. Dale recommended RMHD. A year or two after Joe’s death, the RMHD decided to host a golf tournament in Joe’s honor. That golf tournament eventually became known as the Southwest Airlines LUV Classic and Party.

Mersina Stubbs

And while some honorary chairs simply smile and support events with funds and friends, Moonlight Gala Honorary Co-chair Mersina Stubbs’ influence extended beyond the usual. Betty said that she got her new yellow gown with a neatly placed slit (“I can’t remember who designed it”) from a boutique near Victory while shopping with Mersina. The two gals have been friends since their freshman year at SMU.

Phin Stubbs, Rod Einspanier and Nelson DeVega

While Betty and Mersina were checking the ballroom just one more time, husband Phin Stubbs was in the entry with buddies Rod Einspanier and Nelson DeVega.

Sponsors for the event are included following the jump: [Read more…]

Share-A-Date: ARTsPark

ARTsPark (2011)

Saturday, March 24: The Business Council for the Arts will hold its third annual ARTsPark at NorthPark Center with arts and activities from all over the North Texas area.

This year’s participants include

Anita N. Martinez Ballet Folklorico, Art&Seek, Arts Incubator of Richardson, AT&T Performing Arts Center, Business Council for the Arts, Charles W. Eisemann Center, Creative Arts Center of Dallas, Crow Collection of Asian Art, Dallas Area Fiber Artists, Dallas Art Dealers Association with McKinney Avenue Contemporary, Dallas Black Dance Theatre, Dallas Center for Architecture, Dallas Children’s Theater, Dallas Film Society, Dallas Handweavers and Spinners Guild, Dallas Historical Society, Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education and Tolerance, Dallas Museum of Art, The Dallas Opera, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Dallas Theater Center, Dallas Wind Symphony, Dallas Zoo, Friends of the Bath House Cultural Center, the Goss-Michael Foundation, Italian Club of Dallas, Japan-America Society of Dallas-Fort Worth, KERA Channel 13 and KERA 90.1 FM, KXT 91.7 FM, Museum of Geometric and MADI Art, Museum of Nature and Science, Nasher Sculpture Center, New Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra, Plano Children’ Theatre, Shakespeare Dallas, Texas Ballet Theater, Texas Sculpture Association, The Black Academy of Arts and Letters, Turtle Creek Chorale, Undermain Theatre, Video Association of Dallas and WRR Classical 101.1 FM. 

 At 3 p.m. The Dallas Opera’s Jennifer Youngs will perform accompanied by pianist Julien Reed in the NorthCourt.

This weekend will be a perfect follow-up to the spring wake return of parents and munchkins. So, feel free to use your kiddos to learn about the thriving arts community in Dallas, or to introduce them to a world of creativity that knows no limits.

Photo provided by NorthPark

Junior League Of Dallas’ Peacock Terrace Brings Out The Fine-Feathered Flock To Experience An Omni Time

Brenda Spencer

When Ball Chair Elizabeth Gambrell announced plans for the Junior League of Dallas‘ 50th anniversary gala last May, she had all her peacocks. . . uh, ducks, in a row. It would take place on Saturday, February 25, with “A Night at the Peacock Terrace, circa 1922” theme at the Hilton Anatole. What a great occasion to pull out the vintage look or a brand new pair of feathery Alias!

Tracy Madans' Alias

Last Saturday all came true except for one thing– the venue. Sometime during the past ten months, the party was moved to the just-opened Omni Dallas. While it caught some social calendars off guard, it proved to be an initiation for some Dallas out-and-abouts with the city’s convention hotel, and vice versa.

But first an explanation for the theme. Way long time ago, Dallas’ two leading hotels were the Adolphus and the Baker. They were right across the street from each other. The lavish parties and tales of oil men cutting deals were legendary. The Baker had a fabulous rooftop club called the Peacock Terrace, where the chic and rich dined, drank and danced to the big bands.

So it was a natural fit to take a touch of hotel history to hotel-oh-so-new. The crowd was definitely in keeping with the feel, the youth and the look of the historic Peacock Terrace. Only this group had Lexuses instead of Stutz Bearcats. And that subject was the first challenge facing the guests. Where to arrive at the Omni? Front door? Side door? Surely signage would direct drivers to the right spot. Sorta. There was signage. It pointed drivers in one direction for self-parking and another for valet, but oops! for this evening, the valet was in the same direction as the self-parking. Not to worry. It’s like that dance with a new partner. You’ve got to learn the moves. Guess guests were used to the Anatole’s ever-changing signage that directs guests where they should head.

Once inside the Omni a greeter advised folks to take the elevator to the top level, where check-in took place. Over to the side behind a couple of elegant white curtains, the high-rollers disappeared for the VIP reception in a series of little rooms with a band playing in the hallway.

The rest of the crowd worked its way through a narrow hallway to the lobby of the ballroom. It was a good news, bad news situation. The good news was people ran into friends and stopped to chat. The bad news was they stayed stopped. Wedging through the friends was like trying to get your thunder thighs into petite leggings. Making it even more of a stopover was the nearby bar. Shoot, why move when you’ve got friends and liquid refreshments in one place.

Peacock lady

Ah, but those who did make their way through to the lobby were greeted by the mother of all peacocks. Upon on a small stage a model in turquoise body suit stood with a fantail of peacock feathers that would have turned any bird to coq au vin. Adding to the shock-and-awe were the feathered creature’s makeup, including lime green eyelashes that had to have been six inches long. While the tuxedoed set posed for pictures in front of the beautiful and statuesque creature, hotel staff members couldn’t help but eyeball the impressive bird. . . person. . . whatever.

Alex Laurenzi, Elizabeth Tripplehorn, Dianne Cash, David Tripplehorn

To the left of the prized peacock was a wall of silent auction items where Annette Starr and Mark McCants checked out the goodies, along with Tara (in an Alice + Olivia) and Bill Durham. But not everyone was in the line to peruse the items. Honorary Chair Dianne Cash was looking for her kids. When asked how daughter Elizabeth Tripplehorn “was doing” with BF Alex Laurenzi, she smiled and answered vaguely, “Fine,” going no farther in the conversation. Ah, her vagueness created a cause to track the Elizabeth down. When found, she was arm-in-arm with Alex. “So, how are you two doing?” was posed. “We’re getting married.” Nothing vague about that answer. The big questions are when and where. Get married quietly, honeymoon and return to a big party? Or, get married, have a big party and honeymoon?

Minutes later Mom Dianne and Papa David Tripplehorn were on the scene for a group photo. Hope someone has told Dianne that she’s got another wedding up ahead.

Alex Weaver, Catherine Snider, Amanda Shufeld and Isabell Novakov

To all the world, Isabell Novakov and Amanda Shufeld looked just like any other guests. They gave no indication that they were arrangements co-chairs. Guess it pays off to have everything all tied up before the festivities begin. Why they even had gardenia wrist corsages for the past gala chairs!


Once the doors of the ballroom opened, the 800+ guests discovered a fabulous “peacock terrace” that put the original to shame, thanks to Tom Addis. Huge vases with floral arrangements were on some tables. They were so tall that they didn’t even block your view of the guest across the table. But, alas, blocking did become a bit of a problem thanks to two gargantuan displays at the corners of the dance floor. They were truly breathtaking with life-sized, stuffed peacocks

Jazz dancers

standing on huge nests of colorful floral arrangements. On paper, it probably looked dazzling, but in real life they obstructed the view of guests trying to see the professional dancers on the dance floor. Think of being at Cowboys Stadium and seated behind a pillar. Too bad, because the dancers were festive and fun. From the foursome doing the Charleston to the teenage duo, “Nicholas and Alexandra” performing a fabulous samba, they were marvelous and in keeping with the spirit of the evening theme.

Nicholas and Alexandra

Then it was dinner time and an interesting exercise. In addition to a cheese course with mixed greens, the entree was next on the menu. The beef hunk of tenderloin looked quite delicious. Cutting into it was not so appetizing due to the utensils at hand. Instead of steak knives, dinner knives were in place at settings and ready to be used. Only problem was the Omni knives, while being quite attractive, give no hint as to which side of the blade is serrated. Ah, but it provided great entertainment as guests came up with unique ways of discovering which side could be used for slicing into the steak. One person ran both sides of the blade on the edge of their plate. Another held it up to candlelight. Most folks just ran their fingers on both sides to detect the smooth from the rough. One person simply shrugged and decided to skip the tenderloin for the salmon that shared the plate. Guess the chap should have read his program menu. One bite and he discovered his salmon to be sweet potato vanilla-orange gratin. But, no complaints. It all made for interesting dinner conversation and a getting-to-know-you opportunity for guests at the Omni.

Former JLD gala chairs

Just before the dance floor filled with guests, the former gala chairs lined up for a photo. While they begged Elizabeth to join them, she was still a general at the forefront and not ready to be in the collection of veterans who had already earned their stripes.

For the after-party, the 1920’s theme continued. In order to get into the Club 1922 Late Night Party, a “ticket and password were required for entry.” Clever!

However, it should be noted that while raising loads of money for the 90-year-old Junior League of Dallas, the ladies winked a bit at Dallas history. Oh, horrors! John Neely Bryan‘s cabin may come tumbling down! It seems that in 1922, there was no Baker Hotel nor Peacock Terrace. They didn’t join the Dallas scene until 1925. However, this year the Junior League is celebrating its founding in 1922, so that’s why “circa” kept popping up whenever “A Night at the Peacock Terrace  . . . circa 1922” was mentioned. Translation: Circa means “not exactly but in the neighborhood.”

Guess that means you don’t have to tell your real age or weight. All you have to do is just put a works-for-me-number down preceded by the word “circa.”  

TACA Silver Cups Toasted Caroline Rose Hunt And Frank Risch

Laurie Sands Harrison, Gayle Sands and Caroline Harrison

As the majority of guests gathered just outside the Hilton Anatole’s Grand Ballroom for the annual TACA Silver Cup Award Luncheon, a coterie of VIP’s were holed up in the Plum Blossom Room across the way Friday. These were the current and past recipients, family and “friends.”

Mike Rawlings and Lynn McBee

Among the friends was Mayor Big Mike Rawlings, who seems to be everywhere, everywhere from Central Market openings to major fundraisers. On this occasion, he was not only here to promote the arts within the community but to have an impromptu chat with Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge Celebration General Lynn McBee (aka former chairman of the TACA board). They were probably touching base on plans for a press conference Monday regarding the final arrangements for the March 2-4 bridge festivities.

Diane and Hal Brierley

Just inches . . . okay, so it was a couple of feet away. . . no, make that a yard or so away, were Pisces types Diane Brierley (February 23), Caroline Rose Hunt’s girl Friday Charlene Howell (February 20) and society photographer Dana Driensky (February 24), who were high-fiving each other on their birthdays. (Editor’s note: the Brierleys have two silver cups in their household. Hmm, requires a lot of polishing, no doubt.)

Barbara Daseke, David and Suzanne Droese

Luncheon Chairs Suzanne and David Droese were chatting with Barbara Daseke about her new teak home that architect David designed.

Barbara also reported that to accommodate the 280 guests at the WaterTower gala Saturday, they removed the seats in the main theater, so “People could talk.”

Suzanne looked terrific despite just having knee surgery. She later admitted that just minutes before the party, hair designer Ceron had been putting the finishing touches on her tresses. Poor boy was a busy one. Just as he arrived at the VIP party, he was checking on Todd Fiscus‘s tie to make sure it was straight. 

AT&T PAC top man Mark Weinstein told TACA President/CEO Becky Young, “We have three different tables for AT&T PAC. It’s very exciting. Congratulations in advance.”

Duncan Graham, Cathy White, Karen and Radha Arora

Rosewood’s newish President Radha Arora arrived with wife, Karen, and Mansion GM Duncan Graham. This was one of Radha’s first events in Dallas because he’s been traveling these past five months or so since his appointment. After all, there are 17 Rosewood properties and he’s been making the rounds. As a matter of fact, he had just flown in from the company’s newest property in Mexico, the Rosewood Mayakobo.

Billie Leigh Rippey opted for wearing a fur because, “I stepped out on the terrace, and it was cold! Eighty degrees two days ago! That’s why we Texans are so flexible.”

Over on the couch was TACA Silver Cup recipient Caroline Rose Hunt with Barbara Womble. When asked how she felt about being in the spotlight, Caroline admitted, “Everybody’s said such sweet things. So it’s a pleasant experience being in the spotlight for something like this, rather than for something negative!” Then she admitted to being a bit nervous because she had not prepared notes. Instead she was going to speak from the heart.

Caroline Rose Hunt and Frank Risch

Unlike years past when the presentation and opening of the “silver cups” was cause for guests to be silent and admire the newest recipients untie ribbons and pull out the cups, this year it was done while guests kept talking. Too bad because it turned out to be a moment of laughter, as Frank struggled with the bow and Becky Young suddenly realized that each had opened the other’s box. After a quick switcheroo, the mix-up was history and photos were taken.

Helen Risch

Then the task of rounding up all the past recipients for the traditional picture was undertaken. It was like herding polite Persian cats. They were lovely and accommodating, but still all over the place. And, of course, there was always the fear that not all were really truly present. But time was moving ahead and schedules needed to be kept. Photos were taken. Just as the “kittens” scampered off, past recipient Elaine Agather arrived with apologies. 

Once inside the ballroom, guests took their seats with mini-stages set up for performances by representatives from James Gilyard Ensemble, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, the Dallas Opera Orchestra, Junior Players, Cara Mia Theatre and Lone Star Wind Orchestra.

But this crowd wanted their full serving of catch up.

Ruth Buzzi

Caroline’s buddies Ruth Buzzi and husband Kent Perkins told of their newest project — a wild-hog pen at their ranch near Fort Worth. Seems they capture the hogs without violence and take them to a place where they’re raised as domestic hogs before winding up as “prosciutto.” When rounding up the hogs, Ruth doesn’t get on a horse. Instead, she demonstrated squatting down, she mugged, “I have strong thighs!” Kent with a smile added, “I’m proud of this little lady!”

Finally emcee Lee Cullum called the group to order because again there was a timeline to

Lee Cullum

be fulfilled. In introducing Rabbi David Stern for the invocation, Lee admitted she had initially mistaken David for the other David (Droese) earlier in the day.

Rabbi Stern’s invocation was both beautiful and mistaken. It seems that many in the audience thought he was just doing a “lead-in” and continued to sip their ice tea and keep their heads up. A few realized that this was the invocation and bowed their heads. Guess the others initially thought those with bowed heads were checking their smartphones. Eventually, more caught on that this was the main event and heads dropped. Regardless, it was a beautiful prayer and received applause with Lee adding, “It’s certainly OK to applaud such elegance and eloquence.”

As guests began their lunches, some seemed a little confused by the offering on the table. One asked, “Is this the salad course?” No, it was the whole enchilada, preventing the need to remove and replace plates for a variety of courses. The menu included Vietnamese vegetable spring roll with hoisin peanut sauce; chilled cucumber soup with curry leaf accent; beef tenderloin with chili-teriyaki glaze and local greens; and a multi-tiered centerpiece of desserts (toasted coconut pudding, deconstructed lemon meringue pie, creamy mango custard, caramel-chocolate budinos and rainbow cookies).

After Mayor Mike won the group’s heart by saying that Dallas knows how to make money and he wanted business to support the arts, Lee gave her state-of-the-arts report. At one point she addressed the city council members in the audience, saying, “Don’t you dare sell WRR! You know you’d just spend the money in a week anyway!”  That statement probably made new WRR GM Sarah Colmark feel encouraged. One person in the audience said, “She [Lee] tells it like it is!”

Neiman’s Ginger Reeder followed TACA Chair Andy Teller, who reported that TACA has distributed $1 million in grants to the arts yearly for the past five consecutive years. Ginger’s job was to introduce Meadows Performer Hando Nahkur, who masterfully played “Rigoletto Paraphrase de Concert, S. 434” on the stage in front of the faux-grassed covered podium at the head table. 

Then 2011 Silver Cup recipient John Eagle introduced Caroline, who said, “I consider myself blessed, because I’ve enjoyed the performing arts. We lived in Tyler” and she recalled the family riding in the car all the way to Shreveport to hear Paderewski play. Then there were the five years of piano lessons, but, “I can hardly even play ‘Chopsticks.'” Despite her lack of piano skills, Caroline’s involvement has resulted in ongoing support of the performing arts including the Dallas Children’s Theater having a home base, resulting in its being “one of the best in the country.

Then 2011 Silver Cup recipient Sarah Perot introduced Frank, describing him as “financially savvy as well as artistically sensitive.” Having served on the board with Frank,  where he quietly builds consensus, the blonde added, I would never vote against him.”

Frank Risch, John Eagle and Lee Cullum

Like Caroline, Frank told of his early introduction to art. He recalled buying for $10 (“half of his and Helen’s net worth at the time!”) a piece of art at a student art show at college in the ’60’s. He went on to encourage the audience, “We need the arts to build a great city! . . . [Dallas’ greatness] is recognizing when there’s a challenge, and stepping up when you have to. That’s what’s been happening in the arts.”  

It was a great way to end the luncheon celebrating heroines and heroes of the Dallas community.

BTW, if you’re wondering about Rabbi Stern’s invocation, we got a copy of it and have it after the jump. Read it, enjoy the eloquence and be inspired. [Read more…]

Share-A-Date: 3rd Annual ArtsPark

ArtPark at NorthPark

Saturday, March 24: Everyone from foundations to corporations are singing the tune that the arts are important to Dallas’ health and future growth. You should have heard Mayor “Big Mike” Rawlings at last week’s TACA Silver Cup Award luncheon extolling the value of the arts.

However, many don’t realize how truly abundant the area is when it comes to the legions of different artistic and cultural groups that make their homes in the area. Perhaps that’s why the Business Council for the Arts and NorthPark Center have once again put together ArtsPark, a one-day, free event showcasing the various organizations from the area counties (Collin, Dallas, Denton and Tarrant).

From noon to 4 p.m. at NorthPark, there will be special performances, programs and demonstrations, along with opportunities to learn new creative skills and get involved in the various artistic and cultural endeavors.

In the past the following groups have been involved in this artistic/cultural buffet of talent: African American Museum, Art & Seek, ArtCentre of Plano, Arts Incubator of Richardson, AT&T Performing Arts Center, Bath House cultural Center at White Rock Lake, Big Thought, Cara Mia Theatre Company, Children’s chorus of Greater Dallas, Contemporary Art Dealers of Dallas, Contemporary Theatre of Dallas, Creative Arts Center of Dallas, Crow Collection of Asian Art, , Dallas Arts District, Dallas Black Dance Theatre, Dallas Children’s Theater, Dallas Contemporary, Dallas Film Society, Dallas Handweavers & Spinners Guild, Dallas Holocaust Museum, Dallas Songwriters Association, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Friends of Fair Park, Friends of The Bath House Cultural Center, Goss-Michael Foundation, International Museum of Cultures, Italian Club of Dallas, Japan-America Society of Dallas/Fort Worth, KERA, KXT 91.7, Le Theatre de Marionette, Lyric Stage, Mahogany Dance Theatre of Dallas, Men of Note Chorus, Museum of Geometric & MADI Art, Museum of Nature and Science, Nasher Sculpture Center, Orchestra of New Spain, Plano Children’s Theater, Richland College Emeritus Plus 50 Program, Scola Cantorum of Texas, Shakespeare Dallas, Texas Ballet Theater, Texas Discovery Gardens at Fair Park, Texas Winds Musical Outreach, The 500, Inc., The Black Academy of Arts and Letters, Inc., The Craft Guild of Dallas, The Dallas Opera, The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza, The Women’s Chorus of Dallas, The Writer’s Garret, Today Marks the Beginning, Trinity River Audubon Center, UNT College of Visual Arts & Design, Van Cliburn Foundation, New Music Ensemble of Dallas and WRR Classical 101.1 FM/Office of Cultural Affairs/Public Art.

Photo provided by ArtsPark

Once Again TACA Comes Through Distributing $1M To Area Performing Arts Groups And New Opportunity For New Works

TACA distribution audience

To a bunch of the performing arts community, tonight was Christmas. TACA handed out $1M to 41 organi- zations at the Wyly for its annual grants distribution. Lucky TACA maven Becky Young was receiving more kisses and hugs than a newly crowned Miss America. And it might be added that many of the recipients clasped their hands in happiness over the envelopes with checks.

Becky Young and Jon Moscone

But before the $$ was handed out, former Dallas Theater Center/current California Shakespeare Theater standout Jon Moscone in his charming, theatrical way provided the keynote talk for such artsy types in attendance as Jaap van Zweden with pal Blaine Nelson at his side, Diane and Hal Brierley, Barbara and Don Daseke (they’re spending their very first night in their “teak home” north of 75225), Ango Wynne, Charlene Howell, Duncan Graham, Nancy Carlton, Kit and Kemp Sawers (he stole the show saying that the stroll from the back of the Wyly had provided more time for applause), Karol Olmer and a slew of people in the audience who make a MAJOR diff for performing arts.

Here’s who got what:

$5,000 — Arts District Chorale, Dallas Festival of Modern Music, ENVISO, Garland Summer Musicals, Irving Chorale, Meadows School of the Arts at SMU, One Thirty Productions Matinee Series, Project X and Turtle Creek Chorale

$6,000 — African-American Repertory Theater, Lone Star Wind Orchestra and Teatro Dallas

$7,000 — Dallas Chamber Music Society and Voices of Change

$8,000 — Cara Mia Theatre Company

$9,000 — Dallas Bach Society and Sammons Jazz

$10,000 — Orchestra of New Spain and Second Thought Theatre

$11,000 — Echo Theatre

$12,000 — Chamber Music International

$15,000 — Undermain Theatre

$16,000 — Uptown Players

$18,000 — Orpheus Chamber Singers and Fine Arts Chamber Players

$20,000 — Kitchen Dog Theater

$27,000 — Junior Players

$30,000 — Children’s Chorus of Greater Dallas, Shakespeare Dallas and TITAS

$34,000 — Dallas Wind Symphony

$35,000 –Lyric Stage and Theatre Three

$36,000 — Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra

$40,000 — Texas Ballet Theater and WaterTower Theatre

$60,000 — Dallas Black Dance Theatre

$70,000 — Dallas Children’s Theater

$100,000 — Dallas Opera, Dallas Symphony Orchestra and Dallas Theater Center

Another highpoint was the announcement of a “new grants opportunity.” The TACA Donna Wilhelm Family New Works Fund will provide up to $200,000 to “support the creation of a new work.”

Donna Wilhelm

According to Donna Wilhelm, “I believe that Dallas is on the cusp of a remarkable renaissance and that the arts will play an important role. When we move the arts forward, we move Dallas forward, too.

“In the world of art, I envision new work as the metaphorical equivalent of the foundation of youth,” she said. “New Work puts forth new ideas, inspires innovation and leads to new ways of thinking and living.”

Kicking in $100,000 for the three-year project are TACA directors Shannon Brame, Diane and Hal Brierley, Marsha Cameron and Michael Halloran, Nita Clark, Lauren Embrey, Nicholas Even, Tara Lewis, Wolford McCue, Jim Nugent, Karol Omlor and Zannie Giraud Voss.

This was a giant evening for TACA and the 41 recipients of the hard work, cork pulls and efforts by the TACA volunteers and staff. A simple bravo, and a contribution to TACA for 2012 efforts, will do nicely.

Make-Believe-Benefactor: Duncan Graham

Duncan Graham

“As President Kennedy said, ‘… Above all, we are coming to understand that the arts incorporate the creativity of a free people. When the creative impulse cannot flourish, when it cannot freely select its methods and objects, when it is deprived of spontaneity, then society severs the root of art.’ So my choice would be TACA.

“With a vibrant arts community we not just nourish our souls, but we provide an environment that encourages all the things JFK talked about. With a vibrant arts community we attract a vibrant business community. And that in turn leads to higher employment and sustained growth.

“With our economy spluttering, givers either cut back on their contributions or redirect their gifts to non-art causes. I think TACA’s need for a generous donation has never been more prescient.”

-Duncan Graham

NasherSALON Series’ Award-Winning Kristin Chenoweth Hits All The Rights Notes Perfectly Despite A Case Of Bronchitis

Last week a bevy of fabulous, well-known ladies overnighted in Dallas for different reasons. Don’t know if any of the Kardashians were in the crowd, but Cyndi Lauper, Oprah, Katie Couric and Kristin Chenoweth were and they made lasting impressions. At the Mansion a newlywed couple walked in only to be greeted by overnight guest Oprah who congratulated them on their nuptials. Katie had Mansion guests and staff members almost giggly as she charmed one and all. Cyndi, who looked a little puffy, did a meet-and-greet at an event that was so fast-and-furious it must have set records.

And then there was Kristin, the all-around mega talent, who hails from Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. She was here Thursday for the NasherSALON including an afternoon session with Booker T. Washington students.

But before getting started, know that Kristin was not in the best of health. She’d been fighting a nasty case of bronchitis since hosting Monday’s American Country Music awards show. Skeptics muttered that she’d probably cancel out on the Nasher, but they evidently didn’t know the Tony Award-winning songbird/actress very well. Kristin not only showed up, she scored home runs at every turn.

Booker T. Washington

Kristin Chenoweth

Like a scene out of Glee, Kristin had a love fest with an auditorium filled to over-capacity. She told the students that her visit to Booker T. Washington had been “very emotional for me. I see myself 20 years ago. It’s been inspiring. . . very inspiring to be here.”

Originally the 4’11” Kristin wanted to be a ballerina, but at the age of 7 was relegated to the role of a rabbit in the Nutcracker because of lack of height. “Now, the rabbit sits next to Clara in Act 2. . . a very important job. The Sugar Plum Fairies dancers now have their vine that they dance with. One of them dropped on the floor. Those of you who are in theater know that when a prop falls on stage, it needs to be moved, especially in ballet. And I’m sitting next to Clara and there’s the vine left on the stage and Russian dancers were waiting and the orchestra was waiting. In my head I remember thinking, ‘What would a bunny do?’ So I hopped out there and put it (the vine) in my mouth and hopped back and the place went insane.”

She didn’t talk down to the 400 students. She talked with them like a big sister providing inspiration and tips about being an artist. Admitting that she had made personal sacrifices for her career, Kristin went on to say that she doesn’t believe there are rules, “which is why I love this place. You guys do it all. . . I didn’t have the opportunity that you have.”

Continuing on she admitted that she tries to stay out of the tabloids; “I’m about being an artist and less about the fame part of it. Nothing against the Karadashians. They should make the money while they can. But. . .  and I do say ‘but’ (much laughter from the audience).”

Kristin Chenoweth

On a serious note, she added, “It’s more about the process of creating what we do than the red carpet crap. That’s actually more work than it looks like, because you have people looking at every little thing instead of how your high C sounded.”

Later she warned them, “What we all are is artists. . . . Our job is to keep the flow (of creativity) going. . . Fight for those practice rooms. Fight for time by yourself. Be with people who inspire you. Work together. You have such a gift to be here.”

Of course, Glee came up and she explained how the cast of Glee was an extension of her.  “Having kids look up to you is probably the most rewarding aspect of my time on this earth. . . and it makes me so happy that I could affect somebody like that. It’s very emotional, very emotional.”

Regarding training and education, she admitted to being “a big proponent of conservatory and college. Because all that stuff that you can’t wait to get to is going be there. There are going to be 20 people in line behind you who sound just like you, but what’s going to make you different is the fact that you spent the time looking at a Monet painting and wondering what kind of aria you could sing to it.”

Her advice to the students: “If you have anything else you want to do, go do it. It is hard. This takes everything you have. I have sacrificed a lot. I made some sacrifices . . . big time in my personal life, but I don’t think I’d have it any other way. I’m a lifer.”

About her upcoming role in TV’s GCB, she said, “It’s got a lot of interesting press around it because it’s based on a book by Kim Gatlin called Good Christian Bitches. However, this gives me a great opportunity to talk quickly about this. I am a Christian. I would never do anything that would make fun of my religion. This is about five women who grew up in church together and how they deal with their demons and how they deal with their love for each other. It’s more about relationships than it is religion. It is very funny. . . It’s comedy, comedy, comedy. It’s one big package of chocolate cake.”

Asked to sing Popular, she responded without hesitation and it was noted that some of the students started singing along.

Her parting advice to the students was “to take care of yourself, and sleep is the best way to do it. Do whatever you have to do. Pop Benadryl. I’m sorry, people. Sorry, teachers.”

In addition to a standing ovation, the powerhouse received a goody bag that she rummaged through as if it were her first.


Kristin Chenoweth

For a lucky few, the NasherSALON hosted a private meet-and-greet on the ground level of the Nasher Sculpture Center for sponsors and VIP types just prior to the salon taking place downstairs. Kristin showed up early for a tour of the Nasher, loving the Tony Cragg show, and then faced the lineup of guests including Lisa Troutt, Veletta Lill, Lynn and Allan McBee, Tanya Foster, Jeanne Marie Clossey, Jim Moroney and daughter 

Jenny Moroney and Kristin Chenoweth

Jenny and Schlegel sisters Kim and Krystal. One warning was passed to photographers — turn off camera flashes. It seems that they result in Kristin having migraines. Didn’t matter. The little star shone bright enough as she greeted each person as if they were the celebrity. Instead of the Lauper hustle-through, Kristin chatted it up like a politician trying to lock down major contributors.

Jeanne Marie Clossey, Kristin Chenoweth and Lisa Troutt

But once the photo session was over, she headed downstairs for the talk with KERA’s Jeff Whittington. Unlike the afternoon session of hanging with fellow artists, the evening Kristin was a tad more sedate. There was still the mischievous look and the Chenoweth giggle, but she was talking to nearly 200 adults with a couple of youngsters mixed in. In addition to retelling some of the stories from the afternoon, she told the group:

  • Kristin Chenoweth

    She lives in New York City more than Oklahoma, but she’s still just a girl from Broken Arrow.

  • Speaking of the South, she said, “You know, there’s a misconception that we’re dumb. . . but we’re not. We’re smart.”
  • Her dad, who is a chemical engineer, negotiated her first contract.
  • She waited seven hours once to do an audition in New York.
  • At one point in the talk she looked down at her dress and was surprised to discover: “I have a sensor on my dress from the store! That says it all!”
  • To prepare for her role as Sally Brown in You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, she went to Central Park for weeks watching little kids.
  • “My biggest challenge to this day is staying healthy. I have bronchitis right now. . . but it’s not contagious!”
  • “I love junk food, 7-Eleven, chain-store food.”
  • “The only way to grow and get better is to push yourself.”
  • She has a animal charity called Maddie’s Corner, which supports animals in need: “It’s animals helping people helping animals.” It was named after her Maltese, Madeline Kahn Chenoweth, that is the namesake of the actress Madeline Kahn, Kristin’s big hero.
  • “I don’t have a husband. . . so I may have paid a price for [having a busy varied career] in that way.”
  • Loves horror films and science fiction films.
  • “Going to the theater is like water in the desert for me.” After a CD-signing in Frisco on Friday, she’s headed to New York City to catch up on plays, and “I can’t wait.”
  • Kristin Chenoweth

    She suffers from Meniere’s disease, an inner-ear disorder that can cause vertigo, headaches and nausea.

Then it was off to her hotel for a night’s sleep, to Frisco on Friday for the CD-signing and then to New York City for an appointment with a doctor.

Evidently the pride of Broken Arrow firmly believes that the show must go on. . . even if she’s got a nasty case of bronchitis.


Tutu Chic Fashion Show And Luncheon Had Ballerinas, Legs And A Generous Secret Sugar Plum Fairy

Daffan Nettle

Timing is everything. Just ask the four Tutu Chic (aka 2-2) co-chairs (Kristi Hoyl, Daffan Nettle, Paige Slates and Alicia Woods). The quartet took over the reins for the Texas Ballet Theater benefit fashion show and luncheon at the Winspear

Paige Slates

Thursday from the event’s original chairs (Elaine Agather, Gina Betts, Tanya Foster and Olivia Kearney), who had been in charge for two years. While it wasn’t the 2011 chairs’ first rodeo, these fundraising vets faced a juggling challenge of having 2-2 on Thursday and the Crystal Charity Ball on Saturday.

What’s that? They had Friday to rest up in between gigs. Evidently, you’re new in town, partner. The CCB committee starts the ball preparations and installation the week of CCB at the Hilton Anatole. So, that meant the foursome were literally on their toes holding down duties for 2-2 and CCB. And you thought they just spent the week at a spa!

Naeem Khan

But the 2011 2-2 foursome were raring to raise funds and fun. Luckily, they had 2-2 vets like Stanley Korshak’s team led by Crawford Brock and Korshak fav designer Naeem Khan, who had been so very impressed with last year’s show that he brought his new collection for the ballerina models to wear.

Limo lineup

As the limos lined up in front of the Winspear and the guests arrived, it became apparent that not all the fashions were going to be on stage. The ladies chatting and champagning in the lobby were making it known that black

Leg fashions

hosiery (opaque, lace, fishnet, floral, stripes, dots and sheer) and boots (leather, fur, feather, over-the-knee, bootie, wedge and flat) are back for the season. As for the issue of where the hems should be, they were all over the place knee-wise — some above, some at and some below.

Tutu Chic models

When it was time for the really big show, all adjourned to the stage with its Nutcracker backdrop. The show did not disappoint. Once again the lithe ballerinas showed off Naeem’s fashions beautifully with their male partners. From short to flowing, the clothes once again proved they could handle any dance step.

Alas, walking was another issue. It seemed that a couple of the very long gowns felt the force of the models’ heels. Hey, but these are ballerinas and they knew how to simply sweep the train aside or pick up the errant skirt nicely as if it were all planned.

Tutu Chic finale

The finale was a kaleidoscope of glitter and vivid colors received with a standing ovation.

After all this, emcee Scott Murray started the bidding for a trip to Naeem’s show in New York during Fashion Week plus a $5,000 outfit. It went for a steal — $4,500. Oh, dear. Last year the trip and a Naeem gift certificate of $3,000 went for $11,000.

A knight was needed to champion the dancers’ cause for support. He appeared. It was Crawford. A man who is no stranger to a microphone or a crowd pled the case with overwhelming sincerity and emotion. He told them

  • how the lovely ballerinas often wait tables and work side jobs to allow them to rehearse and perform.
  • the dancers often go through two pairs of slippers ($80 a pair) a week.
  • unlike hungry professional models, the ballerinas were healthy looking

and on and on.

Nutcracker performers

His quest for the dancers had a definite effect on the guests. It seems that during lunch in Prothro lobby, an anonymous donor (wink, wink) asked how much it would cost to adopt one ballerina. . . well, what about two? . . . say, three? . . . Ah, shoot! The lady decided to cut to the chase and provided the group with an early Christmas gift of $100,000. Nice one, Secret Sugar Plum Fairy.

For more photos, check MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.


November 15 MySweetCharity Round Robin: Billiard Ball And Texas Ballet

It seems like nonprofits were trying to squeeze in as many teasers (Fly Away With The Bridge Preview’s party at the Marquee Grill in Highland Park Village and shop-a-thon at Stella McCartney,  Q Custom Clothiers and Anne Fontaine) and patron parties (Friends of Wednesday’s Child at Place on Perry) as possible last Tuesday with the Thanksgiving holiday approaching. Some of the other activities included:


The Marquee Grill was the place to be definitely. The question was which party was your party. The ever-adorable hostesses at the entrance patiently directed guests — “Billiard Ball party straight ahead up the stairs” and “Bridge Network up the stairs and to your left.”  After a while they probably could spot who was going to which party. Those with ties straight ahead for the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Dallas; those tie-less ones turn left at the head of the stairs.

Becky Frey

Among the tied-up set were Becky Frey, Lynn McBee, Paul Stewart and Lydia and Dan Novakov and Bobby Nail, who

Bobby Nail

married Dedman daughter Patty in 2008 and is the newest BGCD board member. Guarding the PA system was Scott Murray, who admitted that his son had set it up and he was simply there to turn on a switch and to make sure no one stepped on the equipment. Wife Carole was home dogsitting their granddog, while their daughter gets settled in NYC. . . Bank of America’s Gillian Breidenbach reported that some of the various companies were joining forces to support local efforts instead of going solo. . . . Susan Stanzel was seated in the back of the room, as

Rachel Trowbridge

her daughter/BB Co-chair Rachel Trowbridge and husband/Co-chair Chris Trowbridge started the program without BB Co-chair JB Hayes, who was running late.

Chris Trowbridge

Chris started off reminding the assembled group that for nine years the Robert H. Dedman Lifetime Achievement Award in Philanthropy has been presented to individuals for “generosity shown to those who cannot provide for themselves.” The list of honorees has included Ruth Altshuler, Linda Pitts Custard, Caren Prothro, Dee and Charles Wyly Jr., Henry S. Miller Jr., Gay and Bill Solomon and Bobby Lyle.

Being added to the list this year will be Barbara and Steve Durham, who stood nearby. Having moved from Omaha to Dallas in 1996, the Durhams have been involved with everything from

Barbara Durham

Thanksgiving Square Foundation, Southwest Regional Board of BGCA, Phoenix House, Dallas Symphony, Human Rights initiatives, the Dallas Zoological Society, and the Dallas Museum of Art to this year’s Ebby Halliday 100th birthday party benefiting the Horatio Alger Association.

Taking place on Saturday, February 18, at the Ritz-Carlton, The Billiard Ball’s theme will be “Twenties-Twelve and Putting on the Ritz” with a seated dinner and music by Hunter Sullivan and his 14-piece big band.

First to sign up for a sponsorship were the Durhams’ good friends Jan Miller and Jeff Rich. Ebby also had already committed to a Break Shot sponsorship and had wanted to attend the announcement party, but she had already attended a luncheon and her doctor was restricting her to one event a day.

PriceWaterhouseCoopers agreed to sponsor a Center Pocket and Bell Nunnally & Martin LLP had committed to a Break Shot.

In other words, before the announcement was even made, JB and the Trowbridges had already sold 23 tables.


Across town at the shoppers’ worship center, NorthPark, the exterior entrance of Tiffany & Co. was open, but not for all. Rather, supporters of the Texas Ballet and the upcoming Tutu Chic fashion show/luncheon/champagne fest were allowed entry. Only prob was no one was quite certain who was in charge. But thanks to champagne, who cared! It was a mix of beautiful women checking the counters of trinkets and men in suits and men not in suits.

Richard Lamberston

Ironically as the late Dennis Hopper‘s dotter Marian Hayward was holding a Hayward bag party at the Mansion at the same hour, Tiffany handbag designers Richard Lambertson and John Truex were

John Truex

actually autographing their precious purses as guests bought them.

While Gina Betts, who had made it to the Boys & Girls Club’s Billiard Ball at the Marquee, was jolly on the scene, husband Ken Betts was walking the mall with their six-year old in tow.

Daffan Nettle and Alicia Wood

Luckily Tutu Chic Co-chairs Daffan Nettle and Alicia Wood appeared at 7:17 p.m. to check out the merchandise and talk up the upcoming December 1 event at the Winspear.

Better get your tickets for Tutu because the champagne, Korshak fashions and ballerinas are going to be in prime condition.

Art and Commerce Merge as Business Council for the Arts Gives Its 2011 Obelisk Awards

When attorney Mike Birrer accepted the 2011 Obelisk Award from the Business Council for the Arts on behalf of his Carrington Coleman law firm last Wednesday, Birrer humorously recalled his own brush with the arts back in grade school. When young Mike turned in an artistic depiction of a “baby chick,” he recalled, his teacher Mrs. Nelson sent the picture back with these three words written across the top: “Not very good.”

In contrast to Mrs. Nelson’s discouragingly blunt style, the Obelisk Awards are intended to encourage those who practice art — and commerce – in an effort to enhance Dallas-Fort Worth’s quality of life and economic development. The Nov. 2 “Obelisk Luncheon and Awards Ceremony” at The Fairmont Dallas drew a crowd of more than 340 people from local companies and arts groups who watched as the nonprofit BCA gave a total of nine awards.

Proclaimed Katherine Wagner, the business council’s CEO: “Today we recognize the companies and business leaders whose commitment to this region is creating a better tomorrow for all of us.”  

First, though, there was a bit of soulful hilarity. Just as guests were finishing up their lunches, dancers from the Dallas Black Dance Theatre, cleverly clad as waiters and waitresses, broke out in frenzied dance to a disco song. Tom Leatherbury, the BCA Chair, mounted the stage and said with a laugh, “They asked Nancy [Nasher] and me to do the encore, but we didn’t.” Nasher, the business council’s Founder’s Chair, was a tad more serious during her remarks, pointing out that the arts generates “over $1 billion annually” for the North Texas economy.

Then, it was on to the much-anticipated awards.

Birrer, of Carrington, Coleman, Sloman & Blumenthal, accepted the Arts Partnership Award for mid-size businesses, for Carrington Coleman’s support of the Creative Arts Center of Dallas. The Arts Partnership Award for small businesses went to SullivanPerkins for its support of Kitchen Dog Theater, while the Arts Partnership award in the large-business category went to the Texas Instruments Foundation, which supported Richardson’s Eisemann Center.

Gene Jones

Three firms also received New Initiatives Awards. RD2 Inc. nabbed the honor in the small business category for its support of the Asian Film Festival of Dallas, while the Dallas Cowboys Football Club and the Jerry Jones Family were given the award for mid-size businesses, for their decision to integrate a “stunning art collection” into the design of Cowboys Stadium. (Gene Jones accepted the award for the family and the club.) Wells Fargo snagged the award in the large business category, for the bank’s support of the Dallas Black Dance Theatre.

Three additional individual awards were given out as well. The Arts Leadership Award went to Jennifer Junker, president of the John F. Clark Co., for her work on behalf of the Trinity River Audubon Center. Ron Whitehead, city manager for the Town of Addison, was given the Lifetime Achievement Award, for his efforts to make Addison a place where art is an “accessible, integral part of everyday life.” And Capital One Bank took the Arts Education Award, for its sponsorship of the Dallas Wind Symphony.

Tom Leatherbury, Jorge Calderon, Greg Mangum

Accepting the Education award for Capital One, the bank’s Jorge Calderon said

Nancy Nasher Haemisegger and Pat Porter

that it was Pat Porter, the BCA’s former CEO, and the late businessman/art collector Raymond D. Nasher (who helped found the business council in the late 1980s), who first “got me involved in the community.” Today Calderon sits on the BCA board.   

The banker’s story was personal, sure. But it was also a powerful testament to the BCA’s very real, long-term — and growing — influence on art and commerce in North Texas.

Lisa Blue Baron’s Thank You Benefits Pat And Emmitt Smith Foundation for Underserved Children

It was billed as Lisa Blue Baron‘s 60th* birthday party celebration Saturday night at her estate. Any invite from LBB is an occasion to drop everything and put the date on reserve. This one did not disappoint. But as Lisa took the stage, she said, “If you look to your left and to your right, you will see someone who touched my life during this difficult past five years. Thank for being there for me.” In other words, it was a “Thank You Party.” And instead of gifts for Lisa, she requested that the guests make donations to the Pat and Emmitt Smith Charities for Underserved Children.

It was also a whirlwind evening of changes for Lisa. To greet guests she wore an elegant off-the-shoulder dark blue floor-length gown in contrast with the immense mountain of sculptured deep red roses in the foyer. The guests then discovered three enormous tents on the grounds with numerous food and drink stations, white banquets, two dance floors and loads of judges, attorneys and family/friends (Linda Gale and former Governor Mark White,  Dr. Dale Robinowitz, Eric Moye, Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson, Jocelyn White with Kim Seal, Shannon and Skip Hollandsworth, the Wynne bros (Shannon and Angus), Gina and Scott Ginsburg, Ann Lardner, Regina and Paul Coggins, Gloria Campos, Claudia and Zach Stevens, Gene Street and Lisa’s 90-year-old mom in from Atlanta and Lisa’s stepson from New York.

But getting back to Lisa’s changes. When she addressed the guests from the stage, she was wearing a red dress with sequins and sheer long red sleeves. After officially greeting and thanking everyone, she introduced members of her staff as if they were her family.

Within minutes the hostess had changed once again for her dance with Emmitt. Both were in glittering white outfits.

The final change of the evening had her wearing a short white dress with green filigree. As one guest put it, “All the better for dancing the night away.”

* According to a couple of sources, Lisa turns 60 on October 12, 2012.

JUST IN: Tutu Chic Announces 2011 Chairs

Just received the names of the chairs for the 2011 Tutu Chic Luncheon and Ballet Fashion Show from Jeanne Cassidy. Total change of leadership for the Texas Ballet fund raiser! It will be Paige Slates, Alicia Wood, Daffan Nettle and Kristi Hoyl. Wow! If anyone can do a follow up act to Elaine Agather, Olivia Kearney, Gina Betts and Tanya Foster, this foursome can.

The champagne is chilling and the ballerinas are warming up. Block out Thursday, December 1, to party and to recover for Crystal Charity Ball the following Saturday.

Share-A-Date: Tutu Chic Fashion Show and Luncheon


Thursday, December 1: The Texas Ballet Theater has scheduled the third Tutu Chic Fashion Show and Luncheon for the Winspear. Names of the chairs and details are to be announced soon, but we wanted you to get it down on your calendar now.

You remember this one. It’s a gorgeous gathering of gals on stage watching the fashions being modeled by members of the Texas Ballet company. Needless to say, it’s not your typical fashion show.

FYI: The champagne flows like the Roaring Rapids at Six Flags.

Stay tuned and we’ll keep you updated.