Threatening Skies Cleared Just In Time For 1,300 To Eat, Drink And Celebrate The Inaugural Dallas Arboretum Food And Wine Festival

When Chef Sharon Van Meter took a flight from New Orleans to Dallas on the morning of Thursday, March 16, she was hoping Big D would be warmer than the Big Easy had been. But she arrived to 60-degree weather, overcast skies and the threat of drizzle.

Sharon Van Meter

Normally, that would not be a problem for a chef, but Sharon was chairing the inaugural Dallas Arboretum Food And Wine Festival that evening outdoors at the Dallas Arboretum with an expected 1,300 guests.

As the day continued, organizers called area meteorologists hoping to hear that clear skies were on the evening docket. In the meantime, Sharon received at least 200 calls seeking tickets for the sold-out fundraiser.

Even at 5 p.m., things weren’t looking so rosy, with the clouds staying put. Then, magically, right on cue at 6 p.m. as the VIP patrons approached the Main Parking Gate, the skies cleared, with the sun slowly slipping into the west over White Rock Lake and temperatures in the low 70s.

The festival was a way to start building the anticipation of the under-construction, two-acre “A Tasteful Place” slated to open this fall. The Place will be a cornucopia of fresh fruit, vegetables, herbs and flowers, plus a 3,600-square-foot Garden Pavilion for dining and teaching. But for now, the guests were on the scene to dine and wine throughout the Arboretum. 

Chad Houser and LaDarian Neal

The VIP types were directed to the DeGolyer House for a private reception, where they had expected to see the Chef With No Name. But, no. No Name was a no show. Still, there were other chefs like Chad Houser and Craft Spirits specialist/mixologist Matt Orth making magic.

Cliff and Gail Fischer and Denny and Connie Carreker

Christine Stein and Haley Muse

Alexis Abril and Danielle Abril

Patricia Dunne, Traudi Bandura, Jeanette Johnson and Melora Leiser

The VIPs enjoyed the terrace better than even the DeGolyer family had with incredible dining, view of the grounds and White Rock and seeing such folks as Gail and Cliff Fischer, Connie and Denny Carreker,  Patricia Dunne, Traudi Bandura, Jeanette Johnson, Melora Leiser, Christine Stein, Haley Muse and Danielle Abril with her brother Alexis Abril.

Dallas Arboretum Food And Wine Festival

Terry and Anne Conner

Kay Weeks

In the meantime, the early-arrival general admission guests lined up for the official opening at 6:30. What they discovered were four areas throughout the grounds, each one representing a different region (Pan Asian, Southern American, American Bistro and Mediterranean) featuring loads of area chefs (Chef Aaron Staudenmaier of Shinsei/Lovers Seafood and Market, Chef Abraham Salum of Salum Restaurant, Chef Alex Astranti of Uchi, Chef Anastacia Quinones of Oddfellows, Chef Andrea Shackelford of Harvest Seasonal Kitchen, Chef April Barney of Miller and Associates, Chef Brad Phillips of Asador Restaurant at the Renaissance Dallas, Chef Chad Houser of Café Momentum, Chef Christopher Patrick of Abacus, Chef Daniel Pittman of LUCK, Chef Daniele Puleo of CiboDivino, Chef Dunia Borga of La Duni Baking Studio, Chef David Gauthier of Smoky Rose, Chef Eric Dreye of Fearings, Chef Gianni Santin of Haute Sweet Patisserie, Chef Henry Gentry of Henry’s Homemade Ice Cream, Chef Jay Valley of Saint Rocco’s, Chef Janice Provost of Parigi, Chef Jean-Marie of CADOT, Chef Jeffrey Hobbs of The Slow Bone, Chef John Doumas of Pop Star Handcrafted Popsicles, Chef John Tesar of Knife, Chef Josh Harmon of Kitchen LTO, Chef Junior Borges and Chef Josh Sutcliff of Mirador, Chef Justin Box of Cedars Social, Chef Katherine Clapner of Dude Sweet Chocolate, Chef Larry Williams of Sallio, Chef Luis Olvera of Trompo Taco, Chef Mark Wootton of Garden Café, Chef Mary Sparks of Emporium Pies, Chef Matt McCallister of FT33, Chef Meaders Ozarow of Empire Baking Co., Chef Michael Scott of Rosewood Ranches Wagyu Beef, Chef Mike Shetsky of SĒR Steak and Spirits, Chef Nikky Phinyawatana of Asian Mint, Chef Omar Flores of Casa Rubia/Whistle Britches, Chef Rebecca Jolly of Grayson Social, Chef Richard Chamberlain of Chamberlain’s, Chef Robert Lyford of Patina Green Home and Market, Chef Samantha Rush of Rush Patisserie, Chef Samir Dhurandhar of Nick and Sam’s, Chef Scott Nakachi of Paul Martin’s American Grill, Chef Sheila Roidopoulos of Cheesecake Royale and Royale Desserts, Chefs Sonny Pache and Michael Scott of Ocean Prime and Chef Uno Immanivong of Chino Chinatown) and wines to match. The people-watching merrily continued with Elizabeth Tripplehorn-Laurenzi supporting her CapRock Services husband Alex Laurenzi and Smoky Rose brother David Cash, Kay Weeks and Anne and Terry Conner. Alas, the servers like Sonny Pache, Sandra Reyes and Roberto Cabrera were so busy serving, they rarely got a chance to look up.

Alex Laurenzi, Elizabeth Tripplehorn-Laurenzi and David Cash

Another highlight of the evening was checking out the Dallas Blooms’ “Peace, Love And Flower Power” displays.

Dallas Blooms’ Love, Peace and Flower Power

Just after 8 p.m. Hobo Cane was in concert at the Martin Rutchik Concert Lawn, along with desserts from around the world.  

Dallas Arboretum VP Terry Lendecker looked like a person amazed at how perfect it all turned out — the 500,000 blossoms were vying for attention skyward; the guests grazed happily at the 40-ish chef stations; the weather was a step above spectacular; and there was not a mosquito in sight.

Summed up Chef Sharon: “What a perfect place this was for it. We all love the Arboretum. I call Arboretum people ‘little fairies,” because they go around spreading good cheer all over the place!” 

Make plans now for the next Food and Wine Festival. It’s scheduled for Thursday, March 22, 2018.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: Dallas Arboretum Food And Wine Festival

Sharon Van Meter

Chad Houser and LaDarian Neal

The threat of showers on Thursday, March 16, didn’t deter the Dallas Arboretum Food and Wine Festival organizers. Good thing because the evening’s weather turned out to be on beyond imaginable for the 1,300 hungry guests. Thanks to Chef Sharon Van Meter and her 40 or so other professional culinary types like Chef Chad Houser, nobody went home hungry.

Cliff and Gail Fischer and Denny and Connie Carreker

The VIPs wined and dined on the DeGolyer terrace overlooking White Rock Lake. The rest of the crowds found happiness at food stations throughout the grounds that were Dallas blooming fabulous.

Dallas Arboretum Food And Wine Festival

While the post is being prepped, check out the chefs, the diners and the flowers at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

JUST IN: TACA To Undertake Three Major Initiatives Including The Funding For Both The Performing … And Visual Arts!

Back when TACA started, North Texas’ art community was pretty limited. The arts were largely contained at Fair Park with the opera and musicals taking place in the Music Hall and the visual arts at the Dallas Museum of Arts facility near the lagoon. The Fair Park band shell with its nighttime performances and flying insects created memorable moments for singers. The Dallas Theater Center’s Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Kalita Humphreys Theater along Turtle was considered the new hottie in the world of art.  

But that was way back when. As TACA celebrates its 50th anniversary, changes are definitely underway for TACA’s next 50 years to support the overwhelming wealth of art groups in North Texas.

Donna Wilhelm (File photo)

This morning, TACA Chairman of the Board of Directors Donna Wilhelm sent a note to the stakeholders about three new initiatives for TACA.

Of the trio, the one that pops to the top of the list is “TACA Funding All Of The Arts In Dallas.” In the past, TACA has only provided funding for the performing arts. But in the future it will also support the visual arts. Before it kicks into place, the criteria for submitting grants requests will be developed and published toward the end of 2017. The deadline for the letters of intent will be Friday, February 1, 2018. The grants for both the visual and performing art groups will be presented in January 2019.

According to Donna, “For 50 years, TACA has funded the performing arts.  However our current Board of Directors has expansive vision—we will now add support of the visual arts. And we will foster arts experience that impacts social change in our North Texas community.”

The other two initiatives, are

  • “Social Impact Through The Arts” — TACA will establish “funds to foster the creation of new performing arts works and innovative performing arts residence programs” focusing on cultural and racial equity, cross-sector partnerships, arts education focusing on under-resourced communities, cross-cultural community collaboration and social change capacity building.
  • “Increased Vibrancy Of The Arts” — TACA will “lead a multi-year effort to empower and expand” the number of artists and arts organizations. The intention is two-fold:
    • To make the Dallas area a destination for performers, visual artists, musicians, writers, directors, backstage professionals, etc.
    • To create an environment that encourages the launch and nurturing of new arts organizations.

To achieve these goals, TACA will “develop a blueprint to learn and adapt strategies” that have been undertaken in other cities and “recreate the best of the best in Dallas, and enhance the impact through collaborative partnerships.”

Donna explained, “TACA is deeply committed to an expansive arts vibrancy in North Texas. We assure our donors, prospective donors and arts organizations that, for over half a century, we have established a grants review process that evaluates, selects and supports the very best organizations.  Every contributed dollar invested in TACA will indeed transform lives through the arts.”

JUST IN: Attorneys Serving The Community Luncheon To Benefit Junior Players With “Hamilton”‘s Renée Elise Goldsberry As Keynote Speaker

Cancel any and all plans for summer vacation. Well, at least, plan on being in town on Friday, June 23. Attorneys Serving the Community have such a reason for staying put on that Friday for lunch.

They’ve really tied things together for the 31st Attorneys Serving the Community Luncheon fundraiser at the Hilton Anatole. First, this year’s beneficiary is the award-winning Junior Players, which is the oldest non-profit children’s theater organization in Dallas. Originally offering “traditional children’s theater productions performed entirely by children and teenagers,” it changed its direction in 1989 by “providing free programming accessible to all the children of North Texas.”

Attorneys Serving the Community beneficiary Junior Players*

According to Dallas Morning News theater expert Nancy Churnin, Junior Players is “not just the play that’s the thing at Junior Players. It’s the way the company puts kids first by making quality lessons and performances free for 4,000 kids a year.”

Great pick, but who would be the on-target speaker for such an event benefiting young theatrical types by legal experts? Hold on to your petticoats and breeches. Luncheon Co-Chairs Beth Bedell and Kara Altenbaumer-Price managed to land Tony Award-winner Renée Elise Goldsberry, who originated the role of Alexander Hamilton’s sister-in-law Angelica Schuyler Church in “Hamilton: The Revolution.” Just this past fall, she took leave of the Linn-Manuel Miranda hit.

Renée Elise Goldsberry*

But don’t think Renee is a one-note actress. This multi-talented and gorgeous gal is a perfect role model for young, aspiring performers. In addition to Broadway successes (“The Lion King,” “The Color Purple” and “Rent”) and numerous flat screen appearances, (“Ally McBeal,” “One Life To Live,” “Law And Order: Special Victims Unit,” “The Good Wife,” etc.), she’s now headed to the 25th century for Netflix’s 10-episode sci-fi drama “Altered Carbon” as Quellcrist Falconer.  In addition to theatrical and screen productions, she’s even been in the Super Bowl, where she and her Broadway sister updated “America the Beautiful.”

Outside of the theater and studio, Renee has a real life with attorney-husband Alexis Johnson and her two kiddos Benjamin and Brielle.

Trivia: The luncheon will have a tinge of irony. It will be a get-together for onstage Alexander Hamilton’s sister-in-law (aka Renée) with U.S. Vice President Aaron Burr’s descendant Jennifer Burr Altabef. If you skipped American History 101, Hamilton was killed in a duel with Burr nearly 213 years ago.

According to Jennifer, who along with her husband, Peter Altabef, are serving as luncheon honorary co-chairs, “Peter and I are thrilled to be honorary chairs for this event benefiting Junior Players, a vital arts resource for young people and a treasure in our community. We are looking forward to the event featuring Renée Elise Goldsberry, whose electrifying performance in ‘Hamilton’ brought to life the incredible story of the birth of our country. Aaron Burr was a part of that story, and in ‘Hamilton,’ the audience learns so much about him and his complex relationship with Alexander Hamilton.”

Mark Friday, June 23, as a “must-stay-in-Dallas” to see and hear from this lady, who “kicked failure’s ass.”

Sponsorships and tables are available here. Individual tickets, if there are any, will be up for grabs in May.

* Graphic and photo provided by Attorneys Serving the Community

JUST IN: Annual TACA Lexus Party On The Lawn Is Relocating From The Mansion To AT&T Performing Arts Center’s Sammons Park

Don’t plan on heading to the Mansion for the annual TACA Lexus Party On The Green, because it’s moving to the Sammons Park in the AT&T Performing Arts Center on Friday, May 12, with former Cattle Baron’s Chairs Katherine Wynne and Tia Wynne as the co-chairs.

Katherine Wynne (File photo)

Tia Wynne (File photo)

Is it because of the Mansion’s mega-renovations? According to TACA Carlson President/ Executive Director Wolford McCue, “TACA’s mission is to support the performing arts community, so not only is the AT&T Performing Arts Center the perfect backdrop for TACA Party on the Green, it also provides us more space to showcase several of our beneficiaries. Tia and Katherine have planned an incredible evening with local celebrity chefs and performances by TACA supported arts organizations, all with the goal to raise critical funding for the local arts.” 

Party on the Green (File photo)

It will have the traditional wine cork pull, music and silent auction. As of today, the participating chefs will include: Chef Dean Fearing of Fearings Restaurant, Chef John Gilbert of G Texas Custom Catering, Chef Jeffrey Kollinger of Tillman’s Roadhouse, Chef Sader Matheis of Salum Restaurant, Chef Sonny Pache of Ocean Prime and Rosewood Ranches Waygu Beef, Chef Tom Parlo of Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek, Chef Janice Provost of Parigi, Chef Daniele Puelo of CiboDivino, Chef Gianni Santin and Chef Tida Pichakron of Haute Sweets Patisserie, Chef Andrew Swanson of Wolfgang Puck and Chef John Tesar of Knife at The Highland Dallas.

Presented by Highland Park Village, the event tickets are on sale. VIP tickets (translation: early-bird entry of 6:30 p.m.) are $500 and general admission for the 7:30 p.m. start at $375.

TACA’s 2017 Silver Cup Luncheon Had Some Hits And Misses, But Recipients Nancy Nasher And Walter Elcock Were The Best Of The Best

As TACA approached its 50th anniversary, major changes were underway. Retired was Executive Director Becky Young and in her place was Wolford McCue. The first fundraising occasion showcasing the transition from the past to the future was the 2017 Silver Cup Luncheon on Tuesday, March 7, at the Anatole.

Early on, the question had been raised why the celebration of Dallas art leadership had been moved from the Anatole’s Grand Ballroom (max. capacity: 1,600) to the Chantilly Ballroom (max. capacity: 2,600). Evidently, when the reservation was made last year, it was thought that due to TACA’s 50th Anniversary, extra room would be necessary. More about that later.

David Haemisegger

Caroline Rose Hunt and Barbara Womble

Lee Cullum and Katherine Wynne

Nancy Carlson and Lynn McBee

Wolford McCue, Carol Glendenning, Nelda Cain Pickens, Don Glendenning and Donna Wilhelm

At 11 a.m. the VIP reception took place in the Wedgwood Room with folks like Luncheon Co-Chairs Nancy Carlson and Lynn McBee, Laura Elcock with daughter Hilah Elock Schutt, Jonathan Martin, Michelle Burns, Erin Mathews, Daylon Pereira, Carol Glendenning, Nelda Cain Pickens, Katherine Wynne, Barbara Womble, Capera Ryan and Susan Collins.

Nancy Nasher

Nancy Nasher and Walter Elcock

Just a few minutes past the timeline, 2017 Silver Cup recipients Nancy Nasher and Walter Elcock opened the big silver gift boxes on the center table. Nancy immediately spotted the logo on the top of the box and showed it to the Neiman Marcus crowd in attendance (Kevin Hurst, Ginger Reeder, Jerry Marcus Smith, Allison V. Smith).

Then Nancy, Walter and the rest of the previous TACA Silver Cup recipients (Ruben Esquivel, John Eagle, James Wiley Jr., Lucilo Peña, Don Glendenning, Brad Todd, Kern Wildenthal, Elaine Agather, Caroline Rose Hunt, Joyce Mitchell and Rebecca Enloe Fletcher) were herded to a couch at the far end of the room. The only hold-up was Luncheon emcee Lee Cullum button-holding Nancy.

From the left: (standing) Ruben Esquivel, John Eagle, James Wiley Jr., Lucilo Peña, Don Glendenning, Brad Todd and Kern Wildenthal; (seated) Elaine Agather, Caroline Rose Hunt, Nancy Nasher, Walter Elcock, Joyce Mitchell and Rebecca Fletcher

Eventually, the photo took place with Nancy and Walter holding their shiny cups.

In the meantime, guests were checking in at the registration tables at the Chantilly entry. Unlike other events, where guests amble on down to the ballroom lobby, the multitude seemed all too happy just to stay put.

But once the doors opened, the hundreds headed into the ballroom. Interestingly, while the tables were seat-to-seat together fronting the stage and head table, there were more than a dozen feet separating the back-row tables from the room’s back wall.

Pam Perella and Leslie Diers

Jeff Byron and Malcolm Reuben

As guests (Peggy Sewell, Diane and Hal Brierley, Mary McDermott Cook, Pam Perella, Leslie Diers, Christie Carter, Claire Emanuelson, Jeff Bryon and Malcolm Reuben) entered the ballroom, voices were overhead commenting, as though they were TMZ-ing a red carpet. One guest looked a little bewildered saying, “Did someone have an open mic?” Nope. It was a new add to the event. Alas, with guests vying for their tables in the cozy placement of tables and trying to be heard over the “open mic” audio, an itty-bitty moment of frustration resulted.

Kate Levin and Elaine Agather

Nancy Kasten

Luckily, the head table guests (Rabbi Nancy Kasten, Ginger Reeder, Rebecca Enloe, Water Elcock, Lee Cullum, Donna Wilhelm, Nancy Nasher, James Wiley Jr., Elaine Agather and Kate Levin) had no problems finding their places.

Uptown Players

It wasn’t until the Uptown Players took their places on the stage that the “open mic” situation resulted in an “Aha” realization. However, as emcee Lee tried to take command of the program, one of the actors told her to hold off. They were going to announce that an award was to be presented to … “La La Land.” Unfortunately, the attempt at humor may have looked good on paper, but it resulted in a couple of hand claps surrounded by silence.

Lee finally took charge of the program and provided an abbreviated state-of-the-arts address.

After a first course (roasted red pepper hummus, spring pea dip, baba ganoush, crudité and pita chips), second course (chicken salad in bibb with pimento cheese quiche and quinoa salad with diced vegetables) and dessert (chocolate truffle, mini-lemon curd blueberry tartlet and macaroon) with TACA grant recipients Fine Arts Chamber Players’ Quinlan Facey and Blue Candlelight Music Series’ Baya Kakouberi playing at baby grand pianos on stages at opposite ends of the ballroom, JP Morgan Chase’s Elaine Agather and TACA Board of Directors Chair Donna Wilhelm welcomed the group.

Ndumiso Nyoka

It was then time for NM’s Ginger Reeder. She had been concerned about correctly pronouncing the name of featured performer 2017 SMU Meadows School of the Arts’ tenor Ndumiso Nyoka’s name. (“He sent me the phonetic pronunciation.”) She pulled it off and looked relieved as he sang “La Donna e mobile” with Brian Bentley accompanying him on a grand piano on the stage in front of the head table. Unlike the “open mic,” Ndumiso’s performance scored a resounding wave of applause.

Following introductions by last year’s Silver Cup recipients Rebecca Enloe Fletcher and James Wiley Jr. and Jeremy Strick and John Eagle via video, Nancy and Walter raised the bar on acceptance speeches.

With a voice exuding calm, strength and elegance, Nancy recalled her parents inspiring her “passion for the arts” and how she considered NorthPark to be a “shopping museum.” Looking at her husband David Haemisegger, the very private Nancy said, “David, you have been my steadfast partner in all that we have created. None of this would have been possible without your counsel, your wisdom and unwavering support.”

Then looking at her children Sarah Haemisegger, Isabell Haemisegger and David Haemisegger, she said, “Thank you for being such wonderful sports as your father and I tried to persistently instill in you our love and passion for the arts. I believe that you too will further develop your own unique passion for the arts and make your own mark on our great city. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for each of you.” Her speech received a resounding standing ovation.

Walter admitted that following Nancy was a daunting task. Still, the retired banker/former Dallas Museum of Art Interim Director rose to the occasion. He broke the ice by saying, “I’m just like you — a fiscally conservative art lover, card-carrying ACLU democratic gun lover.”

Unlike Nancy, Walter admitted how the arts had not been paramount in his life. That changed when he “tried to get a blind date” with an art major. “I didn’t know that at that moment I had found the two great loves of my life. For better or for worse, and God knows for richer or poorer, all the credit for that goes to my muse Laura.” As members of the audience sighed, Walter mimicked them.

As much as he loved working with the people during his tenure as interim director of the DMA,  he admitted that turning in the key to “greatest basement in town was painful.”

Walter closed with a quote from Angela Davis, “I am no longer accepting the things that I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept.” He, too, was rewarded with a standing ovation.

Both Nancy and Walter emphasized the importance of the arts in the future of North Texas. Only they did it with such eloquence that even past recipients were in awe. It was the perfect way to end the occasion.

But there was one final speaker — Bloomberg Associates Cultural Asset Management Principal Kate Levin, who lauded the North Texas leadership’s involvement in the arts. While providing food for thought regarding that future of arts, it transformed the room from the magic of Nancy’s and Walter’s acceptance to a classroom of information. One guest remarked that just as Kate’s talk was getting a little too professorial, she would inject a bit of humor to lighten things up. Still another guest associated with a major arts group seemed a little miffed when Kate suggested that tourism was not all that important or beneficial for the arts.

As TACA enters its 50th year, change is afoot and, like other great undertakings, it’s a work in progress.

For more pixs, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

Lisa Loeb To Emcee Wednesday’s Texas State Historical Marker For Dallas County Medical Society Alliance Foundation’s At Aldredge House

Some might think that Wednesday’s dedication of the Texas State Historical Marker for the 100th anniversary of the Dallas County Medical Society Alliance Foundation at the 100-year-old Aldredge House will be skewed to the geriatric set. Rethink that! Sure, the House and Alliance are both celebrating a double centennial, but it’s not going to be a gloves-and-support-hose affair.

Dallas County Medical Society Alliance Foundation Historical Marker*

Lisa Loeb*

Of course, proof is required and here it is — singer/songwriter/TV personality Lisa Loeb. Despite this Hockaday grad’s being on tour, she’s returning to her Dallas to serve as emcee for the event.

So, what’s the connection between Grammy Award-winner Lisa and the double centennial celebration and dedication? Before she became nationally known for her talents, Lisa was and still is the daughter of Dallas County Medical Society Alliance Past President Gail Loeb and has a slew of family members in healthcare.

In addition to her emcee duties, there’s a report that she will do some singing and, at the end of the ceremony, lead a “children’s sing-along of songs from her children’s album.”

Translation: Kids are welcome to be part of the festivities that start at 5 p.m. at The Aldredge House. Perfect timing! Pick up the munchkins from school and drive on over to Swiss Avenue to be part of a Double Centennial Celebration with elected officials and the unveiling of the Texas Historical Marker. Don’t forget your cellphones… as if you would… for photos with Lisa and the Marker.

* Photos provided by the Dallas County Medical Alliance Society Foundation

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: TACA’s 2017 Silver Cup Luncheon

The performing-art lovers gathered for TACA’s 39th Annual Silver Cup Luncheon honoring Nancy Nasher and Walter Elcock.

Nancy Nasher and Walter Elcock

As part of TACA’s own 50th anniversary celebration, the luncheon was ramped up with a bigger venue at the Hilton Anatole and some additions to the program. Some worked. Some struck out. Some were base hits. But the recipients pulled off home runs flawlessly.

Uptown Players

While the post is being prepared, check out the people at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

Junior League Of Dallas’ 55th Annual Ball Had The Best Of The Past Centerstage As It Took A Final Bow

For some, the Junior League of Dallas’ Encore gala on Saturday, March 4, at the Anatole was a time machine. For others, it was a history lesson of a bygone era when the annual fundraiser was a homemade production called The Junior League Follies. But on this night, it would be the last run of the annual fundraiser. As one organizer said, the 55-year-old event was going off into the sunset. And it was going out with a fanfare, thanks to Ball Chair Isabell Novakov.

Isabell Novakov

First, a little history lesson. The annual fundraiser started in 1962, when Jean Jarmon chaired the first Follies. It was a time when, as former JLD President/1973 Ball Chair Linda Custard recalled with 1977 Ball Chair Gail Madden, the late Doug Perry would create the Follies’ program and songs. For weeks leading up to the show, the JLD members, their husbands and kids would practice for the big show. Talk about “Babes In Arms!” Said Gail, who like Linda was wearing a Gardenia wrist corsage: “We filled the ballroom. That was kind of the heyday.”

Linda Custard and Gail Madden

During those early years, the social season from October to January was dominated by the debutante season, with galas like the Crystal Charity Ball, the Beaux Art Ball and JLD Follies still in their infancy.

But those early Follies undertakings were largely made possible by the fact that women weren’t juggling families, jobs and JLD commitments. Despite the group’s membership growing over the years, the involvement by JLD members and their families transitioned to the demands of the changing times.

Tanya Foster and Paige Slates

The Follies didn’t immediately disappear. But, standing in the reception area outside the Chantilly Ballroom, 2000 Ball chair Debbie Oates said that she saw the writing on the wall when big-name talent began hitting area fundraisers and more and more nonprofits fought for the dollars. She recalled how in her early years as a JLD member, the members would make the decorations and the costumes and try out for parts in the program. But the demands of family, JLD volunteer hours and jobs were reducing the woman-power for the show. So, Debbie slightly slimmed down the emphasis on the production and undertook the transition to a ball setting.

The next year, Ball Chair Nancy Saustad downsized things to a “mini-Follies,” and 2002 Ball Chair Tanya Foster admitted that she finally put the kibosh on the Follies.  

Past Junior League of Dallas Ball chairs

But standing in the VIP reception area, it was like a college reunion with some of the 55 past chairs being the center of attention after posing for a group photo in the ballroom.

Susan Roberds, Karen Shuford, Lydia Novakov, Tomas de la Mata, Debbie Snell and Louise Griffeth

Honorary Chair Karen Shuford, who had made her ball gown the year she chaired the event in 1984, had once again proved her “tailor talents” by making her own gown (black, with a blue overlay) for this evening… Former Fairmont Catering Director Tomas de la Mata, who had been so involved in the Follies during his many years at the Fairmont, was greeted by the likes of former chairs Susan Roberds (1995), Lydia Novakov (1991), Debbie Snell (1992) and Louise Griffeth (1990) like a star football quarterback. Recalled Louise about the Follies: “All the generations used to come. It was a blast!”

Joan Eleazer

Lynn McBee

Amy Turner

Tanya Foster

Elizabeth Gambrell

Wendy Messmann

In front of the ballroom were displayed the gowns of past chairs — Jan Pickens (1980), Joan Eleazer (1985), Lori Whitlow (2003),  Lynn McBee (2004), Amy Turner (2009), Angela Nash (2010), D’Andra Simmons Lock (2011),  Elizabeth Gambrell (2012), Wendy Messmann (2013) and others.

When the doors of the ballroom opened, it was obvious that second-generation JLD Ball Chair Isabell had created an elegant setting with just enough nostalgia for the Ball’s swan song. In addition to round and longer-than-long tables for the three-course dinner (first course: Bibb lettuce with red and yellow grape tomatoes, hearts of palm and lemon tarragon vinaigrette; entree: grilled filet of beef with peppercorn demi-glace potatoes au gratin with gruyere, fresh asparagus and heirloom carrots; and dessert: chocolate bavarois), there was a stage where a final mini-Follies would be performed by Bill Brantley, Clare Chaney, Rachel Davis, Patti Flowers and Kate Newman with Charlotte Ball belting it out.

Encore ballroom

At one point in the evening’s festivities, Linda Custard was asked her thoughts about the annual event’s closing act. “I think it’s just changing times,” she said. “It’s sad from a personal point of view, but [the proliferation of competing galas is] so wonderful for our city.” Then again, who knows? Perhaps in the years to come, like Brigadoon, the Follies/Ball may appear again to raise funds and memories.  

For more photos of the guests and gowns of yesterday, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

Dallas AfterSchool’s 5th Annual Recess Netted $125,000 Thanks To Fun And Games

Robyn Siegel and Regina Merson*

Dallas AfterSchool’s 5th Annual Recess just took place Friday at the Arboretum and the bean counters have been busy, busy, busy.

Recess Co-Chairs Regina Merson and Robyn Sieger just reported the results. Thanks to digging for goodies in the sand pile, bag toss, playing musical chairs, balancing tumble tower, and dining on off-the-diet goodies, $125,000 was netted. BTW, that’s not the gross. It’s the real deal.  No kidding.

Musical chairs*

Dallas AfterSchool is celebrating its 10th anniversary and this is a sweet way to celebrate.

* Photo credit: Steve Wrubel

North Texas Food Bank Makes Changes In Its Annual Food Raising Event With Cowboys And Chefs

Change is in the air. The North Texas Food Bank has made changes for its fundraising “Taste of the NFL.” First, the name has readjusted. It’s now known as “Taste of the Cowboys.” And they don’t mean rodeo types.

Taste Of The Cowboys*

Second, the location has been moved from AT&T Stadium (the home turf for the Dallas Cowboys) to The Ford Center at The Star in Frisco (aka the new home base for the Dallas Cowboys).  

But what stays the same is the involvement of past and present Dallas Cowboys, entertainment (Reckless Kelly) and top-area restaurants and chefs participating Shinsei, The Capital Grill Plano, Seasons 52, Asador, Lockhart Smokehouse, Texas de Brazil, Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House, Bistro 31, Kent Rathbun, Taverna, Toulouse, The Common Table, Perry’s Steakhouse And Grille, Cane Rosso, Howard Wang’s China Grill, il Calabrese Ristorante And Bar, Yucatan Taco Stand, Mayfield Ice Cream, The Oceanaire Seafood Room, Tupelo Honey Southern Kitchen And Bar, Legends Hospitality, Cowboys Club, Off the Bone Barbeque, Frosted Art, Omni Frisco Hotel/Neighborhood Services, Rye. Craft Food And Drink, La Duni and Mi Cocina.

Reckless Kelly*

The shindig takes place on Sunday, May 7, with the Main Event taking place from 6 to  10 p.m. For a few bucks more, the VIP Event (5 to 6 p.m.) is available.  Tickets are online now!

Presented by Caliber Collision, all proceeds from the tasty event will benefit NTFB’s child programs.

* Graphic and photo provided by North Texas Food Bank

Northwood Woman’s Club’s “Dine By Design” Luncheon Whooped It Up With More Than 30 Tables All Duded Up Texas-Style

Gaylan Sapp and Shannon Burton

Unlike lady year’s Parisian ooh-la-la theme with a standard poodle greeting guests at the door, the North Woman’s Club’s Dine by Design was Texas-bound on Tuesday, February 28 at Bent Tree Country Club. Luncheon Co-Chairs Gaylan Sapp and Shannon Burton had decided to use “Waltz Across Texas” as the inspiration for more than 30 table designs. Well, why not? Texas Independence Day was just 48 hours away.

And to get things going, they had cowgirls Hailey Sandoz and Kristyn Harris strumming and singing in the entry.

Hailey Sandoz and Kristyn Harris

According to Gaylan, she came up with the Texas idea and her husband thought up the theme.

For the past year, Rebecca Dickinson and Sherry Draper had spearheaded the gathering of professional designers and creative types to fill the club. And the tables reflected just how different each creator’s interpretation was. Sure, there were Holiday Warehouse’s “Spring Waltz” and Donna Bailey‘s “Here Comes Easter To Texas” that cashed in on the upcoming spring and Easter.

Here Comes Easter To Texas

Spring Waltz

And Susan Loveless managed to blend her new line of Spa 1421 at her table with the approval of her mother Betty Stripling.

Poker and Gun Barrel City

Deep in the Heart

This Ain’t My First Rodeo

Trains Across Texas

Still others embraced the Lone Star feel with everything from Paula Austell‘s and Sarah Losinger‘s “Trains Across Texas,” Peggy Shuman‘s “Poker At Gun Barrel City,” Barbara Kutz‘s “This Ain’t My First Rodeo,” Barbara Barndt‘s, Michelle Hefner‘s and Molly Meyer‘s “Deep In The Heart,” Laura Williamson‘s and Lugay Wills‘ “All My Exes Live In Texas” to Carolyn Tayne‘s and Betty Verplan‘s “Daughters of the Republic of Texas…125 Years of Preserving Texas History.”

Mary Anne Preston’s copy of the Texas Declaration of Independence

And speaking of Texas history, new club member Mary Anne Preston, who was the great-great-granddaughter of Texas legend Jesse Grimes, shared family memorabilia including a copy of the original handwritten Texas Declaration of Independence.

After checking out all the tables and enjoying flutes of champagne, the guests headed to the ballroom for lunch and entertainment by Dan Tanner.

Since a picture is worth a thousand words, let the photos of the tables tell how the Northwood Woman’s Club raises funds for Friends of Wednesday’s Child, Genesis Women’s Shelter And Support, North Dallas Shared Ministries, Our Friends Place, Promise House and Shared Housing Center Inc. Check the designs at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

Klyde Warren Park’s 2017 Park And Palate To Coincide With Longhorns And Sooners Get Together

The folks at Klyde Warren Park have just revealed the dates for the third annual Park And Palate. It’s that two-day food fest at the downtown oasis featuring “top chefs from throughout Texas, a variety of wineries, breweries, distilleries and musical entertainment.”

Klyde Warren Park (File photo)

The Friday night is a VIP Down To The Roots, followed the next days with the Grand Taste all day.

Before getting that plastic out to buy a ticket, hold off because the Early Bird tickets won’t go on sale until April.

Longhorn (File photo)

What’s that? Oh, the dates? Now, that’s an interesting question. The organizers have picked Friday, October 13, and Saturday, October 14. Hmm, isn’t that Texas-OU weekend? There will be no excuse to complain about having nothing to do that weekend.

2017 Cattle Baron’s Ball Reveal Party Turned Out To Be A Gangbuster For Theme And Entertainment Announcements

On the afternoon of Wednesday, February 1, 2017 Cattle Baron’s Ball Chair Anne Stodghill sent out an email blast to the 100 committee members. It dealt with the attendance for the evening’s attendance for the 2017 CBB Reveal at the Stodghill home. The message was simple — Take Uber. The event that was originally guest-imated for 150 had exploded to 400.

Evidently, the sisterhood got the message. Still, the Jack Boles troops had luxury vehicles parked a block away within 20 minutes of the party’s opening.

Steve Stodghill and Callan Harrison

Upon arrival it was pretty darn obvious that the legend of the Stodg-villa had gotten around. Those-in-the-know directed newbies when asked, “Where’s the Bat Cave?” Steve Stodghill provided firsthand tours through the library to the cave where the masked man held up.

In the crowd were Katy Bock, Nikki and Crayton Webb, Cindy Stager, Joanna Clarke, Callan Harrison, Vodi Cook, Michael Royal, Olivia and Jeff Kearney, Phil Romano, Deborah Westergaard, Holly and Stubbs Davis, Amy Green, Lisa Haddow Shirley, Paige Westhoff, Larry Hackett, Bela Pjetrovic with fiancée Chase Cooley and future-mom-in-law Lisa Cooley. Made sense, since the Cooleys were underwriting the reveal event.

Jeff and Olivia Kearney

Nikki and Crayton Webb

Chase Cooley, Bela Pjetrovic, Anne Stodghill, Sunie Solomon and Lisa Cooley

Junior League of Dallas Ball Chair Isabell Novakov in suede and leather blouse reported that she had her sites sets on breaking a record for the JLD fundraiser… Brooke Hortenstine reported that her mother Peggy Davis was on the mend and headed home… Steve Solomon quickly cleaned up his red wine that had spilled in the entry hall… Nancy Gopez was receiving congrats on not just surviving last year’s heart attack, but for taking up the banner in the war against heart disease.

2017 Cattle Baron’s Ball Reveal guests

Just past 7:30, Sunie and Anne took their places on the Stodghill winding staircase with the entry hall jammed with guests. With mic in hand, Anne told of the personal commitment to turn all cancer patients into cancer survivors.

Sunie Solomon and Anne Stodghill

As the two revealed the theme — Shooting for the Stars — and the mainstage performers — Brooks & Dunn — for the 44th American Cancer Society fundraiser on Saturday, October 21, at Gilley’s Dallas, the co-chairs found themselves being upstaged. It seems that tousled-haired Stodghill offspring Dash Stodghill in cowboy attire decided the time was right to arrange his stuffed animals on the stairway. At one point, Mama Stodghill smiled saying, “Someone has just lost his computer.” But the threat didn’t deter Dash and his critters. Parents in the crowd laughed. They obviously could relate to a progeny having a mind of his/her own.

And, one gal in the crowd was especially ecstatic to hear about Brooks & Dunn. Seems that Olivia had chaired the ball back in 2006 (with Jana Wood), and the superstar duo was also the entertainment that year at Southfork Ranch. Olivia recalled having seen the boys months before the ball at a concert in Fort Worth. She even caught their drumsticks when they threw them into the crowd and “rubbed them together for luck” week after week, vowing to sign the duo up for “her” Cattle Baron’s Ball. Olivia knew the deal was sealed when Kix (Brooks) confessed, “I love Cattle Baron’s. My mother died of cancer when I was 8.” 

Information about tickets and sponsorship packages is available now!

For additional pictures, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

JUST IN: Vogel Alcove’s 26th Annual Arts Performance Event To Have Cocktails On The Lawn With Loggins Inside

Leave it to Vogel Alcove to be combine a longtime favorite with something totally different and new. That’s what Co-Chairs Ricki and Andy Rabin and Lisa and Scott Wilson have arranged for Vogel Alcove’s 26th Annual Arts Performance Event on Thursday, May 11.  

Kenny Loggins*

The “longtime favorite” is Grammy-winning Kenny Loggins, who has been making beautiful music for dancing and listening for four decades. While some folks can’t help but start dancing when they hear his “Footloose,” others cruise his current tunes with country trio Blue Sky Riders. And Kenny is even reaching out to an audience that’s not old enough to drive a car with his “Children’s book called ‘Footloose,’ based on his mega-hit song for the eponymous film.”

And to provide the music for the after-party dancing, it will be none other than the Emerald City Band, which Mayor Mike Rawlings has tapped as “The House Band of Dallas.”

Now, for the “something totally different and new,” the Rabins and Wilsons are going to have the whole shindig at the Omni Dallas Hotel. So, what’s so new about the Omni? Well, the cocktail reception is not going to take place in the Trinity nor Dallas lobbies. It’s going “to be held for the first time on the Pegasus Lawn.” Then guests will amble across the driveway into the hotel for an elegant meal presented by McKool Smith and the entertainment.

If it rains…well, guess the whole kit and kaboodle will be indoors.

Tickets for the reception, dinner, performance and after-party start at $750. And, of course, sponsorships are available.

Suggestion: Leave the tuxedo and the frou-frou gown at home. Go shopping for something that goes well with spring lawn parties and dancing.  

* Photo credit: Stephen Morales

19th Annual Bishop’s Gala Had New Dallas Bishop Edward Burns In The Spotlight And Huey Lewis And The News On Stage Setting The Pace

Justin Bieber could have taken a lesson from Dallas’ new man-of-the-hour Catholic Bishop Edward Burns. As more than 1,000 guests gathered in front of the Omni’s Dallas Ballroom for the 19th Annual Bishop’s Ball on Saturday, January 28, the crowd seemed bigger than ever. Perhaps it was due to the get-the-action-going Huey Lewis and the News, but lights, cameras and handlers were buzzing as Dallas’ new bishop arrived for the Catholic Charities fundraiser.

Steve and Betty Suellentrop, Edward Burns and Kathleen and Dave Woodyard

Earlier in the evening, Burns had been part of a VIP reception upstairs with Co-Chairs Betty and Steve Suellentop, Kathleen and Catholic Charities CEO Dave Woodyard and Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, who was doing double duty at the Omni. After the private reception, Mike held a press conference in another part of the hotel to “make a statement and answer questions from the media” regarding the barring of certain immigrants at DFW Airport.

Admittedly the bishop looked a little amazed at all the hullabaloo, but with red cheeks and a true Irish grin, he smiled and accommodated all.

When asked what his former parishioners in Alaska thought about his move to Dallas, he flashed a killer smile and said, “Some people in Alaska think I’m being downsized!”

Bernie Gonzalez, Mary Drummond, Anna Salcedo and Reid Hatzmann

Rod Boudreaux, Charles Grahmann and Gwen Boudreaux

Barbara and Steve Landregan

As Burns was ushered through the crowd, including volunteers from Ursuline and Jesuit, past Dallas Bishop Charles Grahmann was greeted by friends like Gwen and Rod Boudreaux and Barbara and Steve Landregan. (Steve wrote Grahmann’s bio, “To Walk Humbly With Your God.”) The 85-year-old Grahmann felt right at home among the crowd and looked spry. He attributed it to his receiving dialysis three times a week. In fact, in seeking medical advice from Houston healthcare experts regarding a transplant, he was told the dialysis treatments were right on point and that he should continue with them and skip the transplant.

Since retiring in 2007, Grahmann has been living at a retirement center outside of San Antonio. It’s so pastoral that the deer come to the window and don’t mind being hand-fed.

But that quiet calm was anywhere but in the ballroom when Huey and his crew spread the “power of love.”

JUST IN: 2017 Cattle Baron’s Ball “To Shoot For The Stars” With Brooks And Dunn At Gilley’s Dallas

And the day ends with more breaking news concerning Lisa and Clay Cooley. Well, sorta.

This morning the Dallas Symphony Orchestra President/CEO Jonathan Martin revealed that Lisa and Clay would be co-chairing the 2017 DSO Gala in September. Just minutes ago, more than 400 Cattle Baron’s Ball types learned the deets for the 2017 American Cancer Society fundraiser at a reveal party sponsored by Clay Cooley Auto Group.

Sunie Solomon (File photo)

Anne Stodghill (File photo)

But you really want to know the news revealed. 2017 CBB Co-Chairs Sunie Solomon and Anne Stodghill (aka “Suni-Anne”) told the crowd at Anne and Steve Stodghill’s estate-sweet-estate (aka “Stodg-villa”) that this year’s theme would be “Shooting For The Stars — A Dream As Big As Texas” with the party returning to Gilley’s Dallas on Saturday, October 21.

Brooks and Dunn*

Now for the big news. Providing the boot-kicking entertainment on the Main Stage for the expected 3,500+ cowgirls and cowboys, it will be country western favs Brooks and Dunn.  

The gals have Jamie Jo Boulogne, Dawn Greiner and Jonika Nix as underwriting co-chairs; Lisa Bhattacharya, Lora Farris and Lauren Snyder as auction co-chairs; Marjon Henderson and Lisa Shirley as live auction co-chairs; and Marybeth Conlon, Laura Reeder, Amanda Shufeldt and Nikki Webb as raffle co-chairs.  

The website is trying to catch up with Suni-Anne, so if you want to lock down a sponsorship or a big-buckeroo package, call 214.443.9222.

* Photo provided by Cattle Baron's Ball

Crystal Charity Ball Had Fashions Springing Everywhere, A Winter Wonderland Blast On The Dance Floor And Falling Seasons

The much vaunted children’s nonprofit fundraiser, Crystal Charity Ball, was just an hour away on Saturday, December 3. But before the festivities got underway and while guests were on their way to the Hilton Anatole, there was a seated dinner taking place in a private dining room high atop the hotel in Sēr. The guests were the men and women who are off-duty members of Dallas law enforcement involved in the logistics of the annual ball. The supper was the brainchild of CCB office manager Cindy Ethel and the CCB committee “in appreciation for our friends in law enforcement.” Following the shootings of July 7 in downtown Dallas, an email was sent to the CCB membership with the idea of providing a nice meal for the two dozen members of the security team including Steve Walthall, Eric Jez, Dan Mosher and Reginald Luster and inviting support. The response was so overwhelming that it more than paid for the supper.

Dan Mosher and Reginald Luster

And what a feast it was. Upon taking their places around the table, they were presented with a menu of courses — Starter (jumbo lump crab cake or grilled shrimp cocktail), Second (petite greens or roasted pumpkin bisque), Entrée (filet of beef, Atlantic salmon, confit turkey breast or prime rib) and Dessert (Bumbleberry cobbler of chocolate). Afterward, one of the diners fessed up with a big smile, “I’m stuffed.” And, no, there was no alcohol served, just in case you were wondering.

Elizabeth Gambrell, Kristina Whitcomb, Christie Carter, Claire Emanuelson, Susan Farris and Ola Fojasek

Downstairs the finishing touches were underway. Outside the ballroom the reception area reflected 2016 Crystal Charity Ball Chair Christie Carter’s theme — “To Everything There is a Season.” In the entry, four young women representing each of the seasons took their places as living statues on pedestals in alcoves located along the hall. Serving as a backdrop for the receiving line was a screen with a digital tree going through the seasonal changes.

Spring

Winter

Autumn

Summer

Against scenery of orange, gold and fall trees, the silent auction with its hundreds of goodies on tables with autumn-colored tablecloths was all ready for the bidding to begin. On the other side of the lobby was a summer garden with planters of sunflowers and lattice and another scenic backdrop of green and yellow-tinged trees and grounds for the casino and boutique. In the reception area in front of the ballroom were mountains of shrimp, mini-Reuben sandwiches and crostini with cheese and sun-dried tomato staged on tables with tablecloths of faux green leaves and oversized, stair-step centerpieces of flowers that reminded one of a French countryside picnic in spring.

Within the Chantilly Ballroom, winter was in its final stages of completion. The Dallas Chamber Symphony  and the James Davis Orchestra under the direction of Richard McKay were doing one last rehearsal of the 22-minute composition created for the evening. Behind the orchestra a mammoth screen displayed a video appearing to transport the orchestra through various snow scenes.

(Back story on Richard’s involvement with the event: CCB Chair Christie’s late mother had been a musician and over the years Richard had worked with her. In turn, Christie joined the board of the Dallas Chamber Symphony and was very supportive of the organization. So, the performance by the Symphony under the direction of Richard was a very personal one for Christie, Richard and the musicians.)

Perhaps it was traveling through the wintry wonderland or the Anatole’s A/C providing a true wintry feeling, but the Chantilly Ballroom was not suffering from a fever.

Matching the seasons perfectly were the fashions, jewels and extra touches like Lynn McBee in Dries Van Noten, Tucker Enthoven and past Ball Chair Robyn Conlon in Carolina Herrera, Gina Betts in Oscar, Piper Wyatt in Zac Posen, Claire Emanuelson in Jenny Packham, Ciara Cooley in Marchesa and Janet Brock in Brunello Cucinelli.

Robyn and Don Conlon

Crawford and Janet Brock

And the ladies kept local designers on pins and needles in the weeks and months preceding the fundraiser. Designer Patti Flowers created the gowns for Ball Chair Christie, Robin Carreker and Lisa Cooley  and “re-designed vintage gowns” for Mary Meier Evans and Pat Harloe. And, of course, Patti wore one of her own. Lisa Cooley’s turquoise gown had heads turning to catch the pink floral bustle. Since it was a seasonal theme, Lisa wanted just a touch of spring.

Lisa Cooley

Michal Powell

Fellow designer Michael Faircloth’s handiwork was worn by Lisa Troutt, Tiffany Divis and last year’s Ball Chair Michal Powell, who didn’t hesitate to say that she had gone the spring route with a white, off-the-shoulder lace blouse and vivid purple skirt that would have made Ray Rim Purple Petunias jealous. Coming handy for the pooch-loving Michal was her Leiber-designed Shih Tzu purse.

Pam Busbee

Alicia Wood

When it came to competition, Pam Busbee‘s black gown with red roses was a showstopper, but  Alicia Wood’s Narda’s train won hands down for length. She admitted after kicking it aside a couple of times that she would probably end up just picking it up and hauling it around.  

As for the accessories of the night, Jimmy Choos, Alexander McQueens, Manola Blahniks, Pradas, Stuart Weitzmans, Louboutins, Nichols Kirkwoods and Alaias were seen peaking from under hems. And hands down the handiest item of the night were the Judith Leiber purses. There were so many of the Leiber sparkling bags that the company should be one of the event’s underwriters!

Tucker and Rich Enthoven

Lisa and Kenny Troutt

Amit and Liat Berger and Stacy and David Blank

Adding to the evening look’s highlights were the array of jewelry from Susan Saffron (Tucker Enthoven), Sue Gragg (Gina Betts and Lisa Troutt), Diamonds Direct (Liat Berger, Stacy Blank, Tanya Foster and Alicia Wood), Eiseman (Claire Emanuelson), Bachendorf (Katy Bock), 64 Facets (Janet Brock) and Matthew Trent and Bulgari (Lynn McBee).

As for the gents, it was tuxedo alley — Nick Evan subbing in for Allan McBee in a Tom Ford tuxedo with Lynn McBee, Kenny Troutt in J. Hilburn, Dwight Emanuelson in Tux Cucinelli, Clay Cooley in Chris Despos, Chase Cooley in Q Clothiers and Ken Betts, Charles McEvoy and Loyd Powell in Zegna. However, a couple of the fellas — Chris O’Neill, Billy Esping, Bill Goodwin, Michael Sills, Paul Coggins, John Lemak, Pete Cline, Rich Sterling, Jerry Fronterhouse, Bob White, Robin Robinson and Ben Lange —  broke from the traditional black tie by adding a little color to their wardrobes thanks to natty ties.

Pete and Caren Kline and Regina Montoya and Paul Coggins

Robin and Debby Robinson

Chris and Connie O’Neill

Billy and Heather Esping

Mimi and Rich Sterling

Annette Simmons and Jerry Fronterhouse

Bill and Margo Goodwin

As folks posed for photos in front of the ever-changing tree, it proved comical as some appeared to be sprouting a tree out of the top of their well-coiffed heads.

John Clutts, Jill Rowlett, Richard Eiseman, Dee Wyly and Sami Asrlanlar

As guests arrived, there were the traditional photos opps with Christie and then there was the photo bombing by the likes of Richard Eiseman.

Caroline Rose Hunt and Del Frnka

Just seconds after Carolina Rose Hunt and escort Del Frnka arrived, the winter living statue took an unplanned break requiring assistance. Luckily, Dr. Dan Kadesky was nearby and came to assist the season, who was ushered away. A few minutes later Fall followed suit, leaving Spring and Summer standing in place.

From the left: (front row) Margo Goodwin, Barbara Stuart, Robyn Conlon, Christie Carter, Tom Addis, Connie O’Neill, Louise Griffeth, Lindalyn Adams and Nancy Chapman; (back row) Sara Martineau, Gloria Eulich Martindale, Aileen Pratt, Tincy Miller, Michael Powell, Connie O’Neill and Caren Kline

At one point in the evening, it was time for the group photos of the past CCB chairs with Christie. Gathering these ladies up made herding hummingbirds look easy. No sooner would one be found than another one would disappear surrounded by a group of friends. Finally, they thought all were present except for Jill Smith. No one had seen her and it was getting near time to open the doors to the ballroom. The photos had to be taken. After being positioned on the staircase and the photos done, the ladies insisted that the man who had handheld so many of them in years past, event producer Tom Addis, join them for one final snap. Then they were off in different directions. Alas, Jill arrived minutes later. Seems that she and husband Bob Smith had been the victims of a traffic jam.

Crystal Charity Ball dining table

Just before the doors opened to the wintry wonderland, the ballroom appeared to shimmer thanks to the white floral arrangements with touches of pink, the tables with gold tablecloths and white chairs and the walls covered in white draping cast in a flood of lavender lighting.  For Angel of Grace sponsor Annette Simmons and her tablemates (husband Jerry Fronterhouse, Anita and Truman Arnold, Kelli and Jerry Ford and Gail and Gerald Turner, the cloth napkins were monogrammed with Annette’s initials.

Monogrammed napkin

Jerry and Kelli Ford

Truman and Anita Arnold

Gail and Gerald Turner

When the doors opened, the orchestra started playing and the video scenery commenced to the wide-eyed guests’ delight. As one guest put it, “The ballroom was breathtaking. With that backdrop, it appeared as if the orchestra was traveling through a winter wonderland.”

Unlike years past when performers provided presentations, the orchestra and video eliminated the need to hold guests back from crossing the dance floor. It made moving throughout the room so much easier. However, some folks were so mesmerized by the 22-minute musical/digital performance that they just stood in place.

Randall and Kara Goss

Sherwood Wagner and Todd Clendening

David and Anne Sutherland

Aileen and Jack Pratt

Jason and Laura Downing and Brooke and Aaron Shelby

Eventually, guests like Debby and Robin Robinson, Kara and Randall Goss, Anne and David Sutherland, Phyllis Cole McKnight and Steve McKnight, Paige McDaniel with Joe B Clark, Laura and Jason Downing, Joanna Clarke, Sherwood Wagner with Todd Clendening, Mersina Stubbs with Mackay Boynton, Brooke and Aaron Shelby and Alison and Mike Malone  took their places for a menu that included First Course (Maine lobster salad, Belgian endive and frisee, watermelon radish, asparagus, confit tomato and shave fennel, pretzel crouton and Dijon herb vinaigrette), Second Course (Demi-glazed and roasted garlic crusted filet of beef, Gruyere-celery root pave, maple roasted parsnips, harvest squash and blistered red pepper, chard-filled golden tomato and green peppercorn glace) and Dessert (Peppermint white chocolate mousse, red velvet cake and linzer crisp).

Suzanne and Jim Johnston and Angela Nash

Norma Hunt

Dinner table chats included Travis Holman reported that after purchasing Lee Bailey‘s place on Turtle Creek, he was planning on expanding the three-car garage to six and other additions to the estate… Angela Nash introducing her new boss, Methodist Health System Foundation President Jim Johnston, and his wife Suzanne Johnston to friends… Norma Hunt being thanked for her donation of her Perfect Season wine for the CCB fundraiser.

Simply Irresistible

Kevin Dahlberg and Francie Moody-Dahlberg

Just as the Symphony completed its performance, the Simply Irresistible from Atlanta appeared on stage, changing the mood to Motown. The result? The dance floor that had glimmered like an ice rink was filled to capacity by the guests like Francie Moody-Dahlberg and Kevin Dahlberg, Mary Clare Finney, David Nichols, Diane and Hal Brierley, Julie and Ed Hawes, Debbie Oates, Carolyn and David Miller, Anne Davidson and Mark Porter and Tracy and Ben Lange. At one point it was so crowded that one woman who lost her footing would have normally landed flat on the floor. But in this case, it was so tight that she recovered before hitting the ground.  

Mary Clare Finney and David Nichols

And that wintry chill that had initially filled the ballroom was history. Thanks to the dance floor action, the room was heating up for partying long into the night, with the goal of providing more than $5.6M+ for Community Partners of Dallas, Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas, Hope Supply Co., Notre Dame School of Dallas, Parkland Foundation on behalf of Parkland Health and Hospital System, Teach for America, The Family Place and Crystal Charity Ball Educational Scholarship Project.

For more than 70 photos of the evening, check MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

 

JUST IN: Multi-Talented Bernadette Peters Will Headline The Dallas Summer Musicals 2017 Gala In November

Bernadette Peters*

She’s the favorite of Stephen Sondheim, best buds with Mary Tyler Moore and has more curls than a bushel of rotini. She’s been in show biz since she was 3½ and got her Actors Equity Card at the ripe old age of 9. She’s appeared on TV, Broadway and the silver screen.  She’s written children’s books, dated Steve Martin and appeared in Playboy Magazine in lingerie designed by Bob Mackie.

She is multi-talented Bernadette Peters and she will be headlining the Dallas Summer Musical fundraiser at Fair Park’s Music Hall on Saturday, November 4.

Since “An Evening With Bernadette Peters” will benefit the Dallas Summer Musicals and its education and community outreach programs, it’s especially poignant to have TI executives Andy Smith and Paul von Wupperfeld co-chairing the event.

Andy Smith and Paul von Wupperfeld**

Each has childhood memories of attending the Dallas Summer Musicals and the long-lasting impressions they took away.

According to Paul, “Going to Dallas Summer Musicals at Fair Park with my grandmother was my first exposure to ‘real’ theatre on the big stage. Learning the stories and hearing the music instilled a love for the stage in me that endures to this day. I am thrilled at the opportunity to help another generation experience that same magic.”

As for Andy, he recalled, “My 16th birthday present was a trip from Tyler to see the DSM production of ‘Camelot.’ We (Paul and Andy) both fell in love with musical theater through DSM, and we’ve also seen how DSM has touched the lives of youth in our community through their outreach and education programs.”

While individual tickets are not available (drat!), sponsorships and underwriting opportunities can be discovered by calling the DSM Development office at 214.426.6333.

* Photo credit: Andrew Eccles 
** Photo provided by Dallas Summer Musicals

MYSweet2017Goals: Wolford McCue

Wolford McCue*

According to TACA President/Executive Director Wolford McCue,

“My goal along with TACA volunteers and staff is to gather an unprecedented amount of support for the unrestricted budgets of TACA-funded arts organizations, and to celebrate the work of each organization whose work is transforming the lives of Dallas area residents.”

* Photo provided by 
TACA

Ben Siegel’s Lonestar Charity Two-Step Brought Out Young Beauts, Buckaroos And Highfalutin Boots For Fundraising

For the past three years, Ben Siegel and his Lonestar Charity Two-Step have staked out the Saturday after Thanksgiving to party it up with a two-fold goal — 1) “to engage collegiate students in Dallas philanthropy” and 2) “to channel event proceeds to worthy, educational non-profits, which nurture, educate, and expand opportunities that transform the lives in Dallas’ youth.” Once again this young fundraiser provided funding for a area nonprofit with loads of young people. Here’s a report from the field:

Ben Siegel and Lynn Siegel*

Caroline Oden and Sarah Stukalin*

Lonestar Charity Co-Founder Ben Siegel, with Event Chair Caroline Oden, welcomed nearly 250 partygoers to Gilley’s Dallas for the third annual Lonestar Charity Two-Step on Saturday, November 26.

Carla Calabrese, Ava Grob, Dawn and Will Budner*

Eliza Klein, Ryan and Allie Romo*

Cody Patterson, Reagan Loftus and Sarah Stukalin*

Brant and Clemie Bernet*

Partygoers including Eliza Klein, Ryan and Allie Romo, Carla Calabrese, Ava Grob, Dawn and Will Budner, Sarah Starr, Cody Patterson, Reagan Loftus, Sarah Stukalin, Clemie and Brant Bernet, MacKenzie Cohoe, John Hand, Georgia Zogg, Caroline Wilson, Tilley Neuhoff, Olivia Whittaker and Tilley Neuhoff arrived and mingled while enjoying cocktails and an hors d’oeuvres buffet including chicken flautas, bacon and jalapeno mac and cheese shooters, meatball sliders, chicken bruschetta bowl and Steel City Pops popsicles for dessert. The casino gaming tables were the place to be with attendees placing their bets for chances to win gift cards to Bistro 31 and Mr. Mesero restaurants.

As the party got underway, Highland Park grad and Nashville singer/songwriter Chap Bernet took the stage, delighting the crowd with an hour-long performance, including a duet with his sister Daisy Bernet.

Chap Bernet and Daisy Bernet*

Following his performance, Ben and Caroline welcomed attendees and sponsors and thanked them for their support of Lonestar Charity Two-Step that encourages philanthropy in college students. They announced that this year’s fundraiser will benefit Vogel Alcove and will be used to continue to provide daily early educational, developmental and therapeutic programming and care for the 200 of Dallas’ youngest victims of poverty.

Auctioneer Louis Murad then got the auction underway, starting with a fun game of “Heads or Tails” with the winner receiving a new Apple TV, and the runner-up receiving NorthPark gold. The live auction followed with bidding on luxury items including Dallas Cowboys Dak Prescott autographed jersey, 4 Dallas Stars tickets with Dallas Stars center Tyler Seguin autographed jersey, an Argentina dove hunt and an oval shaped diamond ring with .5 carat brilliant cut round diamonds courtesy of deBoulle.

Emerald City*

The Emerald City Band, one of Dallas’ favorite dance bands, then hit the stage performing top-40 hits that kept the crowd on the dance floor the rest of the night. As the evening came to a close each patron received a commemorative t-shirt as a thank you for their support.

* Photo credit: Celeste Smith

Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebrations Extend From Friday To Holiday Monday

Another federal holiday will have banks, government offices and most schools closed Monday for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. But there is so much going on to celebrate the late civil rights leader. Here’s just a smattering of the events for your consideration:

  • FRIDAY, JANUARY 13 — Presented by Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP, the MLK Jr. Oratory Competition takes place at the Majestic Theatre from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. It features fourth- and fifth-graders delivering three- to five-minutes original speeches. It’s free, but registration is necessary.
  • SATURDAY, JANUARY 14 — The 35th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Award Gala will get underway at the Fairmont Hotel with doors opening at 5:30 p.m. and featuring Dr. Walter M. Kimbrough and special guests Laila Muhammad and Yolonda Williams. The Afterglow Event will follow the gala. Individual tickets are going for $85 for the gala and $20 for Afterglow Event.
  • MONDAY, JANUARY 16 — The 2017 MLK Day Parade begins at 10 a.m. at the intersection of MLK Boulevard and Holmes Street. It’s free for the viewing. Let’s hope the rain dries up in time for the bands to strut their stuff.
  • The 2017 MLK Symposium*

    MONDAY, JANUARY 16 — Presented by BaylorScott&White, the 12th Annual MLK Symposium: MLK’s Legacy: Issues of Social Justice in the 21st Century will feature presentations by journalist Jelani Cobb and #BlackLivesMatter Co-Creator Alicia Garza at the Dallas City Performance Hall from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tickets must be purchased in advance because they will not be sold at the venue.

* Graphic courtesy of the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture

TACA Grant Awards Celebration Distributes $1.3M Again, But Opts Not To Reveal Individual Funding For 49 Performing Art Groups

Transparency. That is the sweet spot of all organizations nowadays, especially nonprofits. Whether it’s ‘fessing up the actual net figure or announcing the distribution of dollars to nonprofits, transparency is the key to over-the-top respect.

Perhaps that why it was surprising that, tonight, TACA shifted gears at its annual Grant Awards Celebration at the Wyly. In years past, the organization used the occasion to announce the exact amounts going to the nonprofits and formally present the thrilled representatives with a check, to the applause of an audience full of fellow nonprofits and TACA board members.

This year, though, there were no individual amounts revealed; nor was there a formal presentation. Instead it was announced that TACA had once again provided $1.3M in grants for area performing art programs. The reason for withholding announcement of the amounts, according to a source, was that they did not want “to hurt feelings.”

Ah, shoot! Feelings, schmeelings.

According to organizers, the determination of funding is made by TACA volunteers spending “many hours during the last 12 months attending performances, as well as evaluating grant applications. The distribution decisions are based on three primary criteria: artistic excellence, administrative and fiscal responsibility and community engagement.”

After being asked about the change of plans, organizers provided the following breakdown of ranges for the 49 organizations:

$5,000-$10,000

  • African-American Repertory Theater
  • Arts District Chorale
  • AT&T Performing Arts Center
  • Blue Candlelight Music Series
  • Chamber Music International
  • Chamberlain Ballet
  • Cry Havoc Theater Company
  • Dallas Bach Society
  • Dallas Chamber Music Society
  • Dark Circles Contemporary Dance
  • Echo Theatre
  • Nasher Sculpture Center
  • Plano Civic Chorus
  • Soul Rep Theatre Company
  • Teatro Hispano de Dallas
  • Voices of Change

$10,001-$20,000

  • Avant Chamber Ballet
  • Big Thought
  • Bruce Wood Dance Project
  • Cara Mia Theatre
  • Dallas Chamber Symphony
  • Lone Star Wind Orchestra
  • Orchestra of New Spain
  • Orpheus Chamber Singers
  • Plano Symphony Orchestra
  • Sammons Center for the Arts
  • Texas Winds Musical Outreach
  • Theatre Three
  • Turtle Creek Chorale
  • WaterTower Theatre

$20,001-$50,000

  • Children’s Chorus of Greater Dallas
  • Dallas Winds
  • Fine Arts Chamber Players
  • Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra
  • Junior Players Guild
  • Kitchen Dog Theater Company
  • Lyric Stage
  • Second Thought Theatre
  • Shakespeare Dallas
  • The Black Academy of Arts and Letters
  • Undermain Theatre
  • Uptown Players

$50,001-$95,000

  • Dallas Black Dance Theatre
  • Dallas Children’s Theater
  • Dallas Symphony Orchestra
  • Dallas Theater Center
  • Texas Ballet Theater
  • The Dallas Opera
  • TITAS

An additional $200,00 will be distributed via The TACA Donna Wilhelm Family New Works Fund and the TACA Bowdon and Embrey Family Foundation’s Artist Residency Fund.

Instead of the usual check presentation, the evening included “a tribute to Becky Young, TACA’s leader retiring after 18 years, as well as students from the Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts performing a scene from Magnolia, written by special guest artist Regina Taylor.”

Becky Young (File photo)

Wanda Gierhart (File photo)

Oak Cliff native Regina then told of how the arts had led her into a career of acting and moderated a panel with Dallas Symphony Orchestra Principal Horn David Cooper, Dallas Black Dance Theatre Encore! Artistic Director Nycole Ray and Bruce Wood Dance Project Artistic Director Kimi Nikaidoh.

The evening also marked the kick-off of TACA’ 50th anniversary year with Wanda Gierhart spearheading the plans. With the former Neiman’s exec/Chef Dean Fearing‘s bride-to-be Wanda at the helm, it’s gonna be a jaw-dropping year.

Housing Crisis Center’s Patriot Party Brought Out The Red, White And Blues At The Mansion On Veteran’s Day

Thanks to the stars and calendar lining up in sync on Friday, November 11, the day of celebrating the nation’s veterans flourished. While the day’s parades and festivities went on under sunshine, the Housing Crisis Center’s Patriot Party at the Mansion proved to be a nighttime crowd pleaser.

Katherine Wynne and John Baer

Cindy Stager and Oscar Durham

Roz Colombo, Amy Turner, Sunie Solomon and Laura Moon

Paul and Tiffany Divis and Kim Hext

Jamie Williams

In keeping with the Patriot Party spirit, the red, white and blues were the colors of choice for the night thanks to Katherine Wynne, Sandy Schwan, Tiffany Divis, Amy Turner, Sunie Solomon, Cindy Stager, Roz Colombo and mama Gigi St. Pe, Jamie Williams, Anita Braun, Shannon Brame, Holly Mayer, Eliza Cochron, Darlene Elison, Tasha Harden, Katy Bock and Lisa Cooley, who accessorized her outfit with a sparkly clutch. According to their choices of ties, it appeared the gents like Paul Divis, Lawrence Bock, Clay Cooley, Thomas Harden and Event Chair John Baer evidently got the color memo, too.

Lawrence and Katy Bock and Lisa and Clay Cooley

Anita Braun and Shannon Brame

Heath Oakes and Jenny Anchondo

KDFW anchor/evening emcee Jenny Anchondo was sporting more than a fresh glamorama makeup do. Little did she and husband Heath Oakes let on that they were on the verge of announcing that they’d be expecting a baby girl in May.

As if the reception didn’t prove heady enough with its countless silent-auction items, the main disco act in the Mansion ballroom created a bit of a stir when one over-exuberant blonde slipped and fell on the dance floor.

Ken Cooper

Jonathan Jaffin

Then there were the chat-about types who insisted on chit-chatting nonstop when Dr. Ken Cooper and Jonathan Jaffin talked about the importance of military service and our brave veterans and how, despite their selfless service, there are 40,000 homeless vets in the U.S. On the other hand, there were others who listened intently and afterward recalled stories that their parents and grandparents had told them about past military service.

The newly renovated ballroom’s A/C was working nicely. So much so that some staved off the chill with fur wraps, while other naked-shouldered lasses just harvested goose bumps.

Helene Cronin

Speaking of which, one poor gal’s bare-shouldered cocktail dress required some occasional hitching up as the décolletage went southward. Luckily, a gal pal came to the rescue helping her bud redirect the errant gown northward.

After Americana artist Helene Cronin sang a touching, original tribute to the military called “Lucky Me”—it was based on a true story, she said—it was time for the live auction. The auction proved to be a patriotic success, with the Napa Valley wine experience going for $3,000, the New York Broadway package luring $3,250, and a dinner with Fox4’s Mike Doocy bringing in $2,250.