2017 La Fiesta De Las Seis Banderas Came Off Flawlessly Despite Some Behind-The-Scenes Hiccups

There was the most glorious, huge orange sphere hovering over North Texas on Saturday, June 10. After days of drizzle, lighting and thunder, the skies were pristine. And this was summer!

Over at The Fairmont Dallas, it was equally perfect for the 31st  Annual La Fiesta de Las Seis Banderas … except for a needle and thread situation and too many toasts.

Rebecca Gregory and Nancy Monning

But first the backstory. Overseeing the months of La Fiesta preparations were Rebecca Gregory and Nancy Monning. Among the committee heads were the Gala Co-Chairs Anne Besser and Michelle Johnson. Those four were known for running a tight ship and still maintaining a smile and cool composure. Each year one of the six flags that had been part of Texas history was selected as the theme. This year it was France, and the ladies were delighted with the theme “La Fete Royal.” They were inspired by the 2017 beneficiaries (C.A.R.E., Connecting Points of Park Cities, The Elisa Project, The Family Place, Friends of University Park Library, Highland Park Education Foundation, Highland Park Literary Festival, HP Arts, HPHS Community Service Council, HPHS Counseling Department and Student Council, HPHS Habitat for Humanity Campus Chapter, HPHS Science Festival, HPHS Student Emergency Fund, HPHS Youth and Government/Moody Family YMCA and Park Cities Heritage House at Dallas Heritage Village) to raise the funds.

Anne Besser and Michelle Johnson

But hiccups happen even to the best.

The first one was a real hit. The Anatole had to pull out from holding the event due to a convention or something. Anne and Michelle put out calls and locked down The Fairmont. The smiles said it turned out to work with the French theme, since The Fairmont was French-owned.

But Anne, who will be overall co-chair with Elizabeth Gambrell for 2018, reported that not only would they be returning to the Anatole, but the Anatole team came through this year with additional staging without a charge or hesitation.  

As for the relocation, it required some adjustments. The tried-and-true, 17,967-square-foot Fairmont Regency Ballroom just didn’t have as much space as the 30,360-square-foot Anatole’s Chantilly Ballroom. So sacrifices had to be made. The number one was the dance floor, which meant no post-presentation dance for the couples. Another issue was accommodating all who wanted to attend. The tables of black-tie guests were downright cozy.

But it was all coming together. After all, it was the first time that the Duchesses, who had just finished their freshman year in college, were able to see former high school classmate. It was like a black-tie class reunion.

However, the mammoth group pictures that were to be taken in the ballroom as parents and friends cocktailed in the adjoining lobby ran into a bump in the road. Photographer James French and his team were already with cameras in hand. The ladder was set dead center at the end of the runway. The idea of photographing 40 Duchesses in ball gowns and their escorts was a daunting challenge. But James and his folks were old hands at this situation.

2017 Duchesses and escorts waiting for the final four

However, it seemed that not all the Duchesses and escorts realized this wasn’t a casual selfie. There was a schedule to be kept. The escort group photo was delayed by five minutes due to some MIA escorts. Next, the group photo of all 40 Duchesses and their 40 escorts was on the list. Only when the headcount took place, four Duchesses were missing. It seems they were “being sewn into their gowns.” Five minutes passed, then 10. The couples that had stood so erect for the photo setup were now seated on the stage. The clock kept ticking, and still the foursome was missing. Evidently one designer was responsible for all four dresses. When James was asked if they should go ahead and shoot the photo without the four, the presentation photo vet knew just the right answer: “That’s not my call.”

Napkin with honey bee ornament

Still they waited. Finally, just minutes before the ballroom doors opened, the tardy Duchesses arrived to applause by the 76.

Quickly, the group photo and the Duchesses’-only photo were taken. James removed the ladder and just in time, as the doors to the ballroom opened and the chimes called all 900 guests to their seats, where they discovered elegant place settings with napkins tied in bows and topped off with French symbolic honey bee ornaments.

Eliza Parker, Jackson Parker and Gwen and Doug Parker

Rick and Allison Kraft and Angela and Brad Cheves

Jack Gosnell and Ellison Gosnell

Around the room were the Parker clan (Gwen and Doug Parker with their kids Eliza Parker and Jackson Parker) to see son Luke Parker escorting Lillian Cockerell, Angela and Brad Cheves were on hand for son/escort Conner Cheves, who was escorting Duchess Sarah Unkefer, Leslie and Jack Gosnell were front-rowing it for daughter/Duchess Ellison Gosnell. Was it really that long ago that Jack had been the escort pick of the debutante crowd?

Rock Le Minuette

Rock Le Minuette

The presentation started off with the escorts parading from the back of the ballroom via the runway to their places on the stage. Then a couple arrived on stage dressed in 18th century French attire and started performing “Rock Le Minuette,” starting with an elegant Baroque  with the escorts in the background. Suddenly, the mood changed with the male assisting the young woman out of her billowing skirt revealing long legs encased in fishnet stockings. The tempo picked up and so did the couple as the gent picked her up on his shoulder and whirled around. Still the escorts stood solemnly. 

2017 La Fiesta De Las Seis Banderas escorts

After a brief welcome by Rebecca and Nancy, the escorts (Nick Alexander, Paxton Baird, Grayson Borrego, Henry  Bould, Watson Brown, Christopher Buell Jr., Harrison Buford, Ty Burke Jr., William Caldwell, Kevin Cassidy, Conner Cheves, JD Cochran, Cole Ellis, Robert Farrow, Vale Fitzpatrick IV, Stanton Geyer, Thomas Glieber, Chase Govett, Garrett Hall, Bobby Hrncir, Cade Kimzey, William Kraft V, Parker Lacour, Mitchell Laughlin, Spencer Lorio, Jack Martin III, Hoyt Matise, Charles Mencke III, Wade Nicolas III, Charlie O’Brien, Austin Overton, Luke Parker, Adam Rathjen, Turner Rejebian, Barton Showalter, Benjamin Smith, Zach Snelling, Sam Stewart, Matthew Vandermeer and Hunt Wood Jr.) were individually introduced and exited. Then the formal presentation took place, with eight Duchesses being introduced on their fathers’ arm. As each of the 40 Duchesses (Emily Anwar, Clara Beecherl, Elizabeth Bradshaw, Kate Brayshaw, Laura Brayshaw, Anna Buford, Jeanne Ann Bullington, Helena Burns, Ellie Bush, Keaton Calhoun, Emily Carvell, Lillian Cockerell, Annie Combs, Elizabeth Cooper, Katie Dalton, Elizabeth DeBeer, Fields Dunston, Maddie Fehlman, Ellison Gosnell, Claire Green, Kristen Haggerty, Elizabeth Hubbard, Shanley Huckabee, Savanna Jones, Hannah Jurgensmeyer, Kendall Klingaman, Lane McCormick, Alexandra McGeoch, Caroline McGeoch, Dorothy Meachum, Clare Obenchain, Caroline Robertson, Avery Roosien, Peyton Schlachter, Madison Stuart, Madison Tedford, Madeline Toole, Sarah Unkefer, Emily Weisfeld and Erica Yaguchi) walked the runway, emcee Al Raya described her duchy.

2017 La Fiesta De Las Seis Banderas Duchesses

It came off without a hitch on stage.

Jeanne Anne Bullington and Michael Bullington

Elizabeth DeBeer and Bob DeBeer

Claire Green and Arthur Green

Sam Dalton and Katie Dalton

Unfortunately, it wasn’t quite the same in the audience. During the early part of the presentation, the guests were quiet to hear the narration and to watch the deep bows. However, by the fourth round of eight couples, some adults had been fueled by trips to the bar, resulting in their returning to their tables and sounding oblivious that there were still Duchesses being announced. A couple of gals were feeling no pain as they greeted friends at a nearby table loud enough that the announcer couldn’t be heard.

2017 La Fiesta De Las Seis Banderas Duchesses and escorts

But the Duchesses and escorts soldiered on, concluding with all 80 on stage for a final bravo. They then joined their families and friends for a seated dinner, followed by dancing and a “late-night party” in the International Ballroom.

However, some of the honorees didn’t quite make it to the International Ballroom. It seems that the day’s activities may have gotten the best of one or two of them. It surely couldn’t have been due to imbibing, though, since organizers had stated in the program, “It is unlawful to serve alcoholic beverages to anyone under the age of twenty-one. Valid identification will be required.”

For more than 50 photos of the Duchesses and guests, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert!: 2017 La Fiesta De Las Seis Banderas

2017 La Fiesta De Las Seis Banderas Duchesses

Despite rumors that North Texas had been evacuated for the summer, The Fairmont looked like a high school reunion with more than 80 collegiates taking part in the 2017 La Fiesta De Las Seis Banderas gala on Saturday, June 10. With a ballroom filled to the max with friends and family, the Duchesses took full advantage of this year’s French influence with a flurry of fashionable colors, designs and, of course, tiaras.

 

And the escorts weren’t too shabby themselves in their white tie and tails.

2017 La Fiesta De Las Seis Banderas escorts

While the post is being prepared, check out the dozens of gowns, gals and guys at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

MySweetCharity Opportunity: Dallas Symphony 2017 Gala

Clay and Lisa Cooley (File photo)

According to Dallas Symphony 2017 Gala Co-Chair Lisa Cooley,

My husband, Clay and I, are honored to serve as co-chairs of the Dallas Symphony 2017 Gala on Saturday, September 16th at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center. Arguably, the world’s greatest living cellist Yo-Yo Ma will perform with Dallas Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Jaap van Zweden to the Farewell Season for the conductor.  We are thrilled to have philanthropist Margaret McDermott to serve as gala honorary chair. 

The black-tie evening, under the wizardry of designer Todd Fiscus, will include cocktails, the concert, seated dinner, After Party and dancing.  The After-Party is chaired by Graeme Ross and Lara and Brian Pryor.  After-Party honorary co-chairs are Wren and Benji Homsey.

Funds from the event will benefit the Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s education and community programs that reach more than 250,000 North Texas residents annually, including 30,000 children. Capital One is the gala concert sponsor.

For tickets or sponsorship opportunities, please visit Dallas Symphony Orchestra Gala.

Guests Brave A Downpour To Meet The New Dallas Symphony Orchestra League Debs At Stanley Korshak

The rainstorm had come quickly, drowning the roadways with swift-flowing water and snarling rush-hour traffic. But a little wet stuff couldn’t deter the hardy souls who braved the downpour to attend the Dallas Symphony Orchestra League‘s Announcement Party for its 2017-2018 debutantes at Stanley Korshak. One attending the Friday, June 2, event on the store’s top floor was Mark Averitt, who said, “There was lots of water in our neighborhood. So we just took the back roads.”

While upbeat music like “Under My Thumb” by the Rolling Stones played over the Korshak sound system, guests like Bridey and Gerald Meinecke, Julie and Jeff Kupp, Jennifer and Mark Gunnin, Stephanie and Bennie Bray, Melissa Lewis and Carla and Jonathan Leffert chatted with friends both old and new. Sarah Jo and Mark Hardin were on hand for son Spencer Hardin, who is an honor guard officer. Second generation/former DSOL deb Denise Beutel, who had co-chaired the 1996 ball with her mother Nancy Duncan, was taking on a new role as a mother of a 2018 deb — Caroline Beutel.

Not far away, the event’s grand dame, Tincy Miller, was introduced to someone who called her a “legend.” Tincy just laughed. Someone else said that more than two-thirds of the 30-plus ’17-’18 debs had shown up. And everyone was about to find out. 

Prior to the formal walk down the runway, Heather Moore coached the debutantes and the honor guard.

Lori Routh, Crawford Brock and Mari Epperson*

First, though, Korshak’s Crawford Brock welcomed everyone before turning things over to Mari Epperson, this year’s DSOL president. This year will be the league’s 71st anniversary, Mari said—and the 32nd annual deb presentation.  Then it was time for some shout-outs from Lori Routh, chair of the Presentation Ball, which is always the league’s major fundraiser. And, what would the announcement party be without a history of the Dallas deb ball from Tincy? “We are creating memories and a Camelot experience for each of you,” she promised.

From the left: Caroline Downing, Ashton Gillespie, Ellie Allums, Olivia Lewis, Marielle Le Masters, Hayley Waring, Kay Hitzelberger and Madison Hassell*

From the left: (front row) Shy Anderson, Houstoun Waring and Diego Garcia; (back row) Lendon Hall, Duncan McFarlane, Austin Clinkscales and Spencer Hardin*

At that, golden-throated Stan Gardner presented the Assembly (Caroline Downing, Ashton Gillespie, Ellie Allums, Olivia Lewis, Marielle Le Masters, Hayley Waring, Kay Hitzelberger and Madison Hassell) and the Honor Guard (Shy Anderson, Houstoun Waring, Diego Garcia, Lendon Hall, Duncan McFarlane, Austin Clinkscales and Spencer Hardin).

He then plunged into the main attraction: this year’s deb roster itself. Escorted halfway down the aisle by members of the Honor Guard, the debs included Caroline Allday, Meika Bass, Caroline Beutel, Alexis Bray, Helena Burns, Megan Casey, Bronwyn Cordiak, Grace Gunnin, Hope Hyde, Emma Jenevein, Anna Marie Jourdanou, Katie Kupp, Catherine Leffert, Lane McCormick, Annabel McGill, Megan Meinecke, Kay Merritt, Caroline Morway, Madison Stuart.

Anna Marie Jordanou and Houstoun Waring*

Caroline Beutel and Spencer Hardin*

Caroline Allday*

Meika Bass*

Alexis Bray*

Helena Burns*

Megan Casey*

Catherine Leffert*

Megan Meinecke*

Caroline Morway*

Kendra Averitt*

From the left: (front row) Catherine Leffert, Madison Stuart, Jacqueline Reagor, Caroline Morway, Kay Merritt, Megan Meinecke and Annabel McGill; (middle row) Juliana Szuwalski, Katie Kupp, Anna Marie Jordanou, Emma Jenevein, Hope Hyde, Grace Gunnin, Bronwyn Cordiak and Lane McCormick; (back row) Alexis Bray, Helena Burns, Megan Casey, Caroline Beutel, Meika Bass and Caroline Allday*

As a gentle reminder, Kendra Averitt held a sign behind the seated guests reading, “Smile.”

The Korshak party marked the official start of the whirlwind DSOL deb season. It will culminate with the 32nd Dallas Symphony Orchestra League Presentation Ball, on Saturday, February 17, at the Meyerson.

* Photo credit: James French

MySweetCharity Opportunity: TACA 50th Anniversary Gala

Wanda Gierhart and Dean Fearing (File photo)

According to TACA 50th Anniversary Chair Wanda Gierhart,

Everyone chooses to have a 50th birthday celebration because it’s a milestone—a golden anniversary—and TACA has at least 50 reasons to have a party.

It is in this spirit that TACA has set Friday, September 8, for its 50th Anniversary Gala at Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek, 2821 Turtle Creek Blvd. I’ve recruited my fiancé, Chef Dean Fearing, to co-chair the celebration with me. The evening, the kick-off to Dallas’ black-tie season, will begin at 6:30 p.m. with cocktails and music.

Directly following, we’ve asked TITAS’ Charles Santos and Dallas Black Dance Theatre’s Bridget Moore to produce and direct an exclusive TACA-commissioned celebratory performance featuring dancers from several TACA’s grantees including Dallas Black Dance Theatre, Dark Circles Contemporary Dance and Bruce Wood Dance Project.

Front Row At The Bruce Wood Dance Gallery*

Did you know that TACA brought the concept of the luxury live auction to Dallas when it was founded 50 years ago? This year’s auction, which follows the performance, promises to be our best ever. Those of you who know me know when it comes to auction packages, I don’t play around, so you can expect my “A”-game.

After the auction, guests will enjoy a delectable seated dinner throughout the Mansion’s many beautiful rooms. For a high level donor, the wine cellar will be available for an intimate dinner with your favorite people. Following dinner, there will be a lively after-party with music and dancing.

Since this will be the last gala of its type, we’re planning it to be extra special and lots of fun. To this end, we’ve described the attire as “black tie by decade – 1970 to present,” which will give our guests plenty of latitude to interpret their sartorial selections with the same creativity TACA brings to its work on behalf of the arts. Whether it’s a vintage Halston from the 1970s or a brand new creation by your favorite designer, you’ll look smashing on September 8.

TACA believes in the power of art to transform lives, and it has been unfaltering in its commitment to the arts for five decades. Our 50th anniversary gala is a celebration of the past as well as a commitment to the arts community for the next fifty years.

Joining me in planning this festive gala are the co-chairs, who are the entire TACA 50th Anniversary Committee members.

Tickets start at $500, and sponsorships are available. Contact Cassidy Pinkston  [email protected] or 214.520.3926, or visit  http://www.taca-arts.org/.

* Photo provided by TACA



MySweetCharity Opportunity: First Sight/First Night

According to First Sight/First Night Co-Chairs Dianne B. and Mark H. LaRoe,

Dianne and Mark LaRoe (File photo)

Two of the most captivating fundraisers of the fall are First Sight Fashion Show and Luncheon and First Night Pre-Performance Dinner and After Party, The Dallas Opera’s season kick-off events. Important revenue is raised and awareness is gained for the company’s splendid 2017-2018 programming. The festivities surround the opening night of the opera “Samson and Dalila” by Camille Saint-Saëns.

Many North Texas patrons are aware of The Dallas Opera’s world class opera productions, but may not be familiar with all of its activities. More than 87,000 people were reached last year with the non-profit arts organization’s traditional and non-traditional formats. Family Programs, free simulcasts, student dress rehearsals and matinees, school presentations, opera camp, and performances at community partners all help to attract and serve patrons of every background, educational level, and ethnicity.

David Haemisegger and Nancy Nasher

We have long recognized The Dallas Opera as a top notch arts organization presenting magnificent opera productions, and as a company that does tremendous work serving our community with its comprehensive education and outreach programs. We are so pleased to chair the wonderful Season Opening celebrations and invite everyone to join us, take part in the fun, meet new people, and enjoy some quality entertainment! Our hope is that our participation will encourage new supporters of this great company. We are also thrilled that Nancy A. Nasher and David J. Haemisegger are serving as honorary co-chairs of the events.

We believe our guests will be excited to experience the fashions by Italian designer Salvatore Ferragamo that will grace the runway at First Sight Fashion Show and Luncheon with NorthPark Center serving as presenting sponsor. The fete will take place on Thursday, October 19, at 11:00 a.m. in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House and culinary master Wolfgang Puck will cater the gourmet luncheon. We know Rhonda Sargent Chambers, of RSC Productions, will produce a magnificent show for us! Lisa Cooley, her daughter Ciara Cooley and daughter-in-law Bela Cooley are co-chairs, so we’re expecting something exquisite! Sponsorships, tables which start at $7,500, and individual tickets at $500, are available.

Then on Friday, October 20, First Night presented by Deutsche Bank Wealth Management will be chaired by wonderful patrons Betty and Steve Suellentrop, in Sammons Park in front of the Winspear. We begin at 5:30 p.m. with a red carpet entrance and guests then flow into an elegant black-tie pre-performance dinner, which starts at 6:00 p.m. We hope everyone will enjoy the scrumptious epicurean specialties, also by Wolfgang Puck, in a beautifully adorned tent enhanced by the creative team of Jeffrey Horn and Larry Leathers.

After dinner we will head into the opening night performance of “Samson and Dalila” which begins at 8:00 p.m. The festivities continue following the opera at the After Party. The cast will join us to mix and mingle with guests, more delicious Puck noshes will be on hand, and everyone will dance the night away, reveling in anticipation of more of the incredible season to come! Sponsorships, tables which start at $10,000, and individual tickets at $1,000, are available. Please join us!”

For more information, please visit www.dallasopera.org/firstnight.

JUST IN: Lynn McBee To Receive The Family Place’s Texas Trailblazer Of The Year Award In October

Lynn McBee (File photo)

The first weekend in October is going to have Lynn McBee busier than an Office Depot clerk on the first day of school. It was already announced that she was going to be the honorary chair for the Inaugural Jade Ball Gala benefiting the Crow Collection of Asian Art at the Belo Mansion on Saturday, October 7.

Now Texas Trailblazer Awards Luncheon Co-Chairs Kristen Sanger and Cindy Stager just sent word that on the day before (aka Friday, October 6), Lynn will receive the Texas Trailblazer of the Year Award at The Family Place’s annual fundraising luncheon at the Hilton Anatole.

According to Cindy, “Lynn has been hugely involved with The Family Place for over 20 years, so it’s a great honor to be able to recognize all she’s done for the organization at this year’s luncheon.”

Hopefully, the poor girl will be able to use Sunday to recover.

JUST IN: Wanda Gierhart And Dean Fearing To Co-Chair TACA 50th Anniversary Gala

Dean Fearing and Wanda Gierhart (File photo)

Former Neiman Marcus exec Wanda Gierhart and her fiancé/chef extraordinaire “Dean of Food” Fearing are quite a twosome. Back in 2014, their official joint-project debut was the TACA Custom Auction and what a night it was. The front row was filled with art-loving philanthropists with names like Carlson, Hobson and Brierley.

So, when Wanda, who is chairing TACA’s 50th anniversary year celebration, decided that she would roll up her silk sleeves and chair the black-tie TACA 50th Anniversary Gala on Friday, September 8, at the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek, she sorta got nostalgic and brilliant. She drafted Dean to co-chair it with her.

As for the auction itself, don’t expect dozens of items up for bid. Word has it that it’s going to a very limited number and they’ll be very special.

BTW, the years that Wanda was in charge of curating the auction items were years that brought some very platinum paddles competing for the final bids. ‘Twas great sightseeing!

Black-Tie Types Celebrate Craig Hall’s Receiving Artscape’s “Great Contributor To Art” Award At Dallas Arboretum

While the casual chic set partied at Lexus TACA Party On The Green over at Sammons Park, the black-tie folks were toasting and bidding at the inaugural “Great Contributor to Art Award” dinner and auction at the Dallas Arboretum on Friday, May 12. It was the final piece of the Artscape Reimagined pie that had been cooked up by fundraiser Kaki Hopkins. Being toasted was the “great contributor of art,” Craig Hall. Thank heaven, Mother Nature cooperated, gifting guests with a perfect evening. Here’s a report from the field:

On the heels of a successful Artscape Reimagined at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden, Artscape Chairwoman Kaki Hopkins, along with her stellar committee, hosted the “Great Contributor to Art Award” and Invitational Fine Art Auction on Friday, May 12. The black tie event began with a cocktail reception and hors d’oeuvres, giving attendees like Patricia Meadows, Donna Guerra, Cynthia Salzman Mondell, Tammy and Martin Cohen, Michelle O’Michael, Carolyn Brown, Steve Daly, Patricia Crocker, James Surls, Nancy Dedman, Brad Kelly, Barbara and Bob Sypult, Betty and Steve Suellentrop, Donna and Herb Weitzman, Myrna and Bob Schlegel, Margo Keyes, Marnie Wildenthal and Lucy and Henry Billingsley time to peruse the live and silent auction items, which were generously donated by dozens of acclaimed artists and local Dallas notables, such as Mayor Mike Rawlings, Dr. Kern Wildenthal and Jim Keyes.  The springtime weather served as the perfect backdrop for the first time event.

Kern and Marnie Wildenthal and Tammy and Martin Cohen*

Mark Wolf, Dallas Arboretum chairman of the board, welcomed guests. After dinner, he called up Artscape Award Chair Gloria Snead to join him. Wolf said, “It is my pleasure to introduce the ‘Great Contributor to Art Award.’ This aptly named prize was designed and contributed by Gary Lee Price, whose Great Contributors exhibition at the Arboretum in 2016 was the inspiration for the award’s name. Receiving this inaugural award tonight is someone we know and admire deeply, Craig Hall. Craig, who is an entrepreneur, businessman, New York Times bestselling author and philanthropist, is also a lifelong art collector. He believes that art nourishes the human spirit and can make a profound difference in people’s lives. His company, Hall Group, displays an extensive contemporary art collection at their properties. Craig truly embodies this award, so we are pleased to welcome and honor Craig Hall tonight as the inaugural awardee of the ‘Great Contributor to Art Award.’”

David and Beth Dike and Gloria Snead*

“It is an honor to receive the Artscape Great Contributor to Public Art award, and being able to share our art collection with the public has been a great joy of mine,” said Craig. “However, tonight’s award is really a tribute to the talented artists who make all of this possible. It is because of their hard work and creativity that we are able to contribute art for our communities to enjoy.”

Mark Wolf, Kaki Hopkins and Craig Hall*

Hopkins added, “It was a great pleasure to have Craig Hall as our inaugural awardee. He has done so much to make art available for the public to enjoy by investing in many artists’ works and displaying them so they can be seen by all. He is a terrific citizen of our city, and we are fortunate that he calls the Dallas Arts District his home.”

The live auction generated plenty of spirited bidding, especially Pamela Nelson’s “Mother Plant,” which graced the invitation cover, program cover and notecards given to patrons. Hopkins added, “I was overwhelmed by the artists’ and galleries’ generosity and pleased that our audience showed them the appreciation we all felt by participating in a spirited and fun auction.”

The Artscape Selection Committee and Heritage Auctions chose the following for the live auction, with the criteria to create a group diverse in style. Each artist graciously donated his/her piece to benefit the Dallas Arboretum, with many nature-inspired:

Arienne Lepretre, Mary Vernon, Donna Guerra and Cynthia Salzman Mondell*

Steve Daly, Patricia Crocker, James Surls and George Tobolowsky*

  • Carly Allen-Martin – “Exhale Doubt 2/50”
  • Carolyn Brown – “White Rose” and “Orange Ruffled Rose”
  • Marianne Gargour – “Visions Revisited”
  • Beth Hickman – “Moonlight Gardening”
  • Arienne Lepretre – “Arboretum Day”
  • Christopher H. Martin – “Cassini Disc II”
  • Pamela Nelson – “Mother Plant”
  • Brad Oldham – “Traveling Man”
  • Jessie Palmer (Am. 1882-1956) – “Still Life with Roses”
  • Steinunn Thórarinsdóttir – “Source II”
  • George Tobolowsky – “Looking for Light”
  • Mary Tomás – “Bloom”
  • Mary Vernon – “Raccoon”

* Photo credit: Steve Foxall

JUST IN: First-Day Sales Of Dallas Symphony Orchestra Gala Single Ticket Sales Astounded Even DSO President/CEO Jonathan Martin

Jonathan Martin (File photo)

Despite Dallas Symphony Orchestra President/CEO Jonathan Martin disappointing many with his recent announcement of leaving North Texas for Cincinnati, he also shared some good news about the upcoming DSO Gala. It seems that the day that the single tickets for the DSO Gala went on sale, they really blew the DSO circuits.

When asked the cause for this DSO history-making situation, Jonathan said that it was three-fold: the amazing leadership (Co-Chairs Lisa and Clay Cooley and Honorary Chair Margaret McDermott), featured cellist Yo-Yo Ma and the final gala concert under the direction of DSO Music Director Jaap van Zweden.

Make sure that your reservation is in for the Saturday, September 16, black tie fundraiser at the Meyerson.

La Fiesta De Las Seis Banderas Gala Co-Chair Anne Besser Offers Some Helpful Hints For This Weekend’s Fundraising Festivities

Anne Besser (File photo)

Just as Heloise provides household hints, so La Fiesta De Las Seis Banderas Gala Co-Chair Anne Besser has a suggestion or two for this weekend’s La Fiesta De Las Seis Banderas comings and goings.

Since the Friday night event is taking place in a very cool residential area and Saturday’s gala is at The Fairmont, Anne is recommending the following:

  • Uber/Lyft
  • Have a friend drop you and your buds off
  • Use the buddy system and carpool
  • Despite a slight chance of Friday night having a touch of drizzle, don’t worry. The home is big enough to handle the guests inside.
  • Saturday night, park at the Baptist Church multi-level parking lot
  • Saturday night, get yourself a room at The Fairmont and slumber-party it. Think room service for Sunday morning breakfast. No, make that late morning brunch.

This annual summer fundraiser is showy, fun and family-oriented.

JUST IN: The Dallas Opera’s First Sight/First Night Plans Revealed With Dianne And Mark LaRoe At The Helm

While the queen bees may have flown to cooler places, the worker bees are hard at work churning out news.

The latest comes from The Dallas Opera about its annual fall two-day fundraiser — First Sight/First Night.

First, let’s get the basics down. The luncheon and fashion show will take place on Thursday, October 19, followed the next night [aka Friday, October 20] by First Night’s seated dinner, performance and after party. All of these activities will be taking place at the Winspear Opera House, but you already knew that.

Now about the who’s who involved in putting the festivities on, here goes:

Overseeing the whole two events will art-loving Dianne and Mark LaRoe, who chaired the 2016 TACA Custom Auction Gala, and, boy, have they been busy putting together their team.

Dianne and Mark LaRoe (File photo)

Nancy Nasher and David Haemisseger (File photo)

Serving as honorary co-chairs will be Nancy Nasher and David Haemisegger, who have practically made the Performing Arts District their second home.

Lisa Cooley and Ciara Cooley (File photo)

Bela Cooley (File photo)

Steve and Betty Suellentrop (File photo)

Co-chairing the First Sight luncheon will be Lisa Cooley and her girls — daughter Ciara Cooley and new daughter-in-law Bela Cooley. Presented by NorthPark Center, the luncheon will be highlighted by fashions from NorthPark Center’s Salvatore Ferragamo.

As for the black-tie First Night, it will be presented by Deutsche Bank Wealth Management and will kick off for The Dallas Opera season with Betty and Steve Suellentrop serving as co-chairs. The evening will start at 5:30 p.m. with guests arriving via a red carpet for a cocktail party, having a gourmet dinner in a tent in Sammons Park and attending the Linda and Mitch Hart Season Opening Night Performance of Camille Saint-Saëns‘ “Samson and Dalila.” For those with no curfew, there will be an after party.

Tickets are available here.

Texas Discovery Garden’s 2017 Flora Award Will Be Presented To Bettye Slaven, Janet Smith And Marilyn Waisanen At Annual Black-Tie Dinner

Since 1982 Texas Discovery GardensFlora Award has showcased individuals, “who have demonstrated a commitment to community service, natural resource education, protection of the environment and quality of life.”

Co-Chairs Kathryn Febbroriello, Angela Shank and Amelia Valz have just revealed that this year’s Award will be presented to a trio  — Bettye Slaven, Janet Smith and Marilyn Waisanen.

Marilyn Waisanen, Bettye Slaven and Janet Smith*

According to TDG Executive Director Dick Davis, “It is our honor to celebrate Bettye, Janet, and Marilyn, and to thank them for their time spent as Board members and volunteers at Texas Discovery Gardens. Between them, they have spearheaded the renovation of our Native Butterfly Habitat, inception of our Seasonal Garden Adoption program, creation of our Demonstration Gardens, beautification of our Grand Hall, and tradition of our Commemorative Bench over the past decade.”

Other contributions to the community have included their work with Swiss Avenue Historic District Association, Children’s Medical Center Auxiliary, Dallas Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse, The Stewpot, Interfaith Housing Coalition, The Salvation Army, Junior League of Dallas and Dallas Women’s Foundation.

Serving as honorary co-chairs for the Thursday, October 26, presentation at TDG are past Flora Awardees Myrna and Bob Schlegel.

Proceeds from the black-tie dinner support the “educational mission to help children and adults discover and learn to sustain their natural world.” Tickets and sponsorships are available here.

* Photo provided by Texas Discovery Gardens

JUST IN: The Inaugural Jade Ball To Benefit The Crow Collection Of Asian Art With Robert Weatherly Chairing And Lynn McBee As Honorary Chair

There’s the Fur Ball, the Eye Ball and now there’s the Jade Ball. It was just announced that on Saturday, October 7, the Inaugural Jade Ball Gala will take place benefiting the Crow Collection of Asian Art.

Robert Weatherly (File photo)

Lynn McBee (File photo)

Gala Chair Robert Weatherly and Honorary Chair Lynn McBee revealed that a black-tie, three-course dinner will take place at Belo Mansion for 400 complete with a grand entrance, signature cocktail, entertainment, networking and a live auction.

With summer vacation just kicking off, it’s a perfect time to check out the 19-year-old museum “dedicated solely to the arts of Asia, with rotating galleries exhibiting the arts of Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Myanmar (Burma), Nepal, Pakistan, Thailand, Tibet and Vietnam.”

Oh, about the price of admission? In addition to having air conditioning to cool off the summer heat, it’s free admission thanks to its founders the late Margaret and Trammell Crow.

Co-Chairs Ann And Lee Hobson’s Art Ball “Glittered” With Fashions, Faces, A Fabulous Record-Breaking Live Auction And A Net Of $1.3M+

With the departure of Dallas Museum of Art Eugene McDermott Director Max Anderson in September 2015, fundraising at the DMA shifted direction. As adorable as the Downton Artsy and Art Ball Funk video takeoffs were in years past, the DMA’s Art Ball  leadership was keeping expenses as tight as a third face lift without losing the artistic panache of activities.

Lee and Ann Hobson

To get the mission accomplished for this year’s big black-tie fundraiser, Ann and Lee Hobson were called on to co-chair the 2017 Art Ball on Saturday, April 22. Inspired by their love for romantic France, the Hobsons announced the evening’s theme would be “All That Glitters.” It turned out to be the perfect canvas for guests to display beautiful fashions ranging from simple elegance and old-time showstoppers to wearable art.

But could the blonde twosome pull off a luxurious evening of dining, dancing and dough raising without going in the red? On paper they hit a home run, scoring a net of $1,330,138. On the scene, it was a grand slam.

Still, there had been a little anxiety due to the weather. The night before, a cold front had rain in the area that would have been a frown-maker in years past for the tented affair, due to the Mark di Suvero sculpture requiring a hole in the top. No matter how careful the construction of the tent, there was just no way to totally enclose the opening. One year, guests complained that raindrops had found their way to their table underneath the sculpture. This year, the Hobsons and event producer Todd Fiscus had carefully edited the main room to keep things intimate, leaving the di Suvero out in the cold.

Todd Fiscus, Agustin Arteaga, Ceron and Michael Flores

To make up for the MIA artwork, the artistic beauty was still there thanks to the array of guests. Despite it still being before Memorial Day, the rule of never wearing true white until after Memorial Day was not the protocol, thanks to gents in white evening jackets (Stuart Bumpas, Ceron and Fiscus, Michael Flores, Stephen Giles, Brad Kelly and host Hobson). Hey, this is the artistic set and they know no ordinary ho-hum rules.

Debbie Ryan, Brook Hazelton and Capera Ryan

The ladies also rose to the occasion with designers, both past and present. In vintage gowns were Houston’s Becca Cason Thrash on the arm of Brian Bolke and Christen Wilson with Faisal Halum. Capera Ryan was golden in Galanos with her mom Debbie Ryan (in Armani) and Christie’s American President Brook Hazelton.

Ben and Tracy Lange, Clay and Lisa Cooley, Bela Pjetrovic and Chase Cooley

Kemp and Kit Sawers

Rusty and Bill Duvall

Barbara Daseke

John and Jenny Kirtland and Michael and Sharon Young

Designer Michael Faircloth had had his work cut out for him, ranging from Tracy Lange’s white evening pants with train to Lisa Cooley’s sweeping gown showcasing an old master’s work of art. Other designers being shown were Dior (Bela Pjetrovic, Dallas Snadon and Nancy Carlson), Naeem Khan (Moll Anderson and Katherine Hall), Tom Ford (Catherine Rose), Badgley Mishka (Kit Sawers),  Alberta Ferretti (Julie Hawes), Pamella Rowland (Rusty Duval), Rick Owens (Sharon Young), Mary Katrantzou (Barbara Daseke and Jessica Nowitzki) and Monique Lhuillier (Nancy Rogers).

Jennifer Karol and Merry Vose

Becca Cason Thrash and Brian Bolke

Clane LaCrosse, Crystal Lourd and Margot and Darin Ruebel

Michael and Shelly Dee

Dirk and Jessica Nowitzki

But still there can be a cost to wearing couture. Georgina Hartland admitted that her Valentino was a bit scratchy.

Georgina Hartland

Stuart Bumpas, Mary McDermott Cook and Diane Bumpas

Barron and Rebecca Fletcher

Will and Catherine Rose

Tom Lentz and Marguerite Hoffman

Pat and Charles McEvoy

Needless to say, the cocktail party was filled with eye-catchers like DMA Board President Catherine and Will Rose, Muffin and John Lemak (he accessorized his tuxedo with a sling following his rotator cup surgery), Lara and Bob Tafel (his colorful pocket square inspired by Tim Gunn‘s talk last year), Fanchon and Howard Hallam, Gonzalo Bueno with Michael McCray, Wendy and Jeremy Strick, Walter and Laura Elcock, Niven Morgan and Shelby Wagner, Claire Emanuelson, Clarice Tinsley, Nancy and Clint Carlson, Mimi and Rich Sterling, Rob Kendall, Tony Holmes, Mary McDermott Cook with Dan Patterson, Kit and Kemp Sawers, Kara and Randall Goss, Clair Dewar, Lynn and Allan McBee, Shelly and Michael Dee (she was in a traditional Bhutanese jacket, he was in kilts), Jennifer and John Eagle, Carlos Gonzalez Jaime, Sue and Jimmy Gragg, Jennifer and Tom Karol, Leslie and Bryan Diers, Marguerite Hoffman with Dr. Tom Lentz, Dirk Nowitzki, Kim and Justin Whitman, Pat and Charles McEvoy, Tori and Ross Mulford, Jenny and John Kirtland, Sharon and Michael Young, Rusty and Bill Duvall, Brandi and Pete Chilian and Cindy and Lindsay Brown, Clane LaCrosse with Crystal Lourd, Margot and Darin Ruebel, Bill and Wendy Payne, Brooke and Blake Davenport, Katherine and Craig Hall, Moll and Charles Anderson, Brooke Hortenstine, Reed Robertson, Walter Voit, Fort Worth’s Marsha and John Kleinheinz, Rebecca and Barron Fletcher and Jo Staffelbach Heinz and Andre Staffelbach.

Gonzalo Bueno and Michael McCray

Jeremy and Wendy Strick

Walter and Laura Elcock

Agustin Arteaga and Carlos Gonzalez Jaime

Just making it under the wire was the Rogers posse (Donna Brittingham, Michael Flores, Doug Carney and Dallas Snadon) led by Fancy Nancy. They ran into jewelry designer/actor Adam Shulman and his Academy Award-winning wife Anne Hathaway with Adam’s cousin Peter Brodsky and his wife Lael Brodsky. Adam had designed a bracelet for Lady Rogers.

Brooke Hortenstine, Peter Brodsky, Nancy Rogers, Adam Shulman, Anne Hathaway, Lael Brodsky and Reed Robertson

Following the cocktail party in the tented reception area, the curtains were pulled back revealing a romantic scene with greenery and five chandeliers suspended from the ceiling, white lattice behind the staging and table settings with tablecloths of swirling colors and gold flatware. The reviews flowed in like champagne in a Baccarat flute. As one guest said upon gazing at the room, “This is just like Ann’s and Lee’s home. It’s both inviting and elegant.”

Melissa Foster Fetter

Sue Gragg

Due to the dip in temperatures, some of the gals like Melissa Foster Fetter, Mary McDermott Cook, Jennifer Karol, Carol Glendenning, Sue Gragg, Kit Sawers, Kara Goss, Leslie Diers, Rusty Duvall, Crystal Lorde, Wendy Payne, Shelly Dee and Heather Washburne had brought along their shawls and coats in case of a slight chill.

As for the program, DMA Eugene McDermott Director Agustin Arteaga, who’s been here seven months, is still learning his way around the hood. At one point he reported that Dallas Mayor “Mark Rawlings” was present. He also told the crowd of 500 that Lady Hobson had been the driving force and revealed that, just the day before, Ann had celebrated her 52 birthday. Oops! The crowd protested and Ann smiled. She had just hit the 50 mark. Not to worry. Hiccups happen.

While catering mistress Cassandra Tomassetti checked the tables and service, there was no need. The seated dinner led off with Petrossian caviar and potatoes with lemon crema and chives under glass, followed by three courses (first course — handmade angel hair pasta, morel mushrooms, quail confit with Madeira sauce; second course — pan-roasted Rhode Island wild fluke, spring vegetables and tomato fumet; and third course — an assortment of pastries).

Rajan Patel and Ann Hobson

It was then time for Brook to auction off the eight items curated by Rajan Patel and Merry Vose, and what an auction it was. DMA Board Chair Melissa Foster Fetter happily looked on as hands competed for items. A couple of times during the night, Georgina and Fancy Nancy at nearby tables tried to outbid each other. At one point, despite his best efforts, Brook couldn’t get the donor’s go-ahead to double the offer for the ladies.

Christen Wilson and John Kleinheinz

Luckily, Brook had better luck with the biggy item of the night — a week’s stay at the Hobsons’ seven-bedroom chateau in the south of France. A breathtaking battle of the paddles commenced between Lady Rogers and a group of pals led by Bill Payne, with bids passing the $100K mark. When Brook wondered aloud about satisfying the two bidders, Ann hopped up with arms waving to go for it, with each bidder agreeing to pay $120,000. In delight Christen Wilson danced between the tables like an adorable sprite. No wonder. The auction of the elegant eight hauled in $460,000, resulting in “the highest-grossing live auction in Art Ball history.”

For more than two pages of picture featuring the fashions and faces, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: 2017 Art Ball

When 2017 Art Ball Co-Chairs Ann and Lee Hobson announced “All That Glitters” as the theme for the Dallas Museum of Art’s annual fundraising gala, they set the mark for the art-loving set to razzle dazzle. And, boy, did they ever rise to the occasion!

Lee and Ann Hobson

Jennifer Karol and Merry Vose

Despite the late season cool front that swept through the area, there were plenty of gents in white evening jackets and gorgeous beauts in beautiful gowns on Saturday, April 22.

Brooke Hortenstine, Peter Brodsky, Nancy Rogers, Adam Shulman, Anne Hathaway, Lael Brodsky and Reed Robertson

With the weekend appearing to be a bit rainy, why not check out the faces and fashions at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery. There are more than 70 of ‘em.

JUST IN: Philanthropist Margaret McDermott To Serve As Honorary Chair For Dallas Symphony Orchestra 2017 Gala

The fall season of fundraising is already making news. Dallas Symphony Orchestra 2017 Gala Co-Chairs Lisa and Clay Cooley have just announced that North Texas matriarch of philanthropy Margaret McDermott will serve as the honorary chair for the Saturday, September 16, fundraiser at the Meyerson with world-famous cellist Yo-Yo Ma as the featured musician.

It will be a reunion of sorts. Just five years ago Yo-Yo performed with DSO Music Director Jaap van Zweden for the first time. Afterwards the two mega-stars joined Margaret at the post-concert reception.

Yo-Yo Ma, Jaap van Zweden and Margaret McDermott (File photo)

Alas, this performance may well be the final time Yo-Yo and Jaap will make beautiful music in the McDermott Hall, since Jaap is making his farewell tour as music director.

Tickets and sponsorships for the black-tie gala are available here!

In the meantime, why not check out the Nancy A. Nasher and David J. Haemisegger Soluna? It’s going on now through Sunday, June 4.

2017 Côtes Du Coeur Gala Popped The Cork To Net A Hearty $4M For The American Heart Association Dallas-Fort Worth

While the art lovers were over at the Dallas Museum of Art for the 2017 Art Ball’s “All That Glitters” on Saturday, April 22, the wine lovers were bubbling with bid cards, grazing the the chef stations and raising wine glasses at the 2017  Côtes du Coeur to provide funding for the American Heart Association Dallas-Fort Worth at the Omni Dallas Hotel. Here is a report from the field:

2017 Cotes du Coeur*

The American Heart Association’s 2017 Côtes du Coeur Gala, held at the Omni Dallas Hotel on Saturday, April 22, hosted close to 1,200 business and wine industry leaders, community philanthropists, wine collectors and physicians. Led by renowned Chef Richard Chamberlain, a team of 18 acclaimed chefs visited with guests and served up selections from a boldly unique tasting menu accompanied by wine pairings created from the cellars of 30 elite wineries.

Richard Chamberlain and Steve Grimshaw*

The event featured 620 silent auction wine lots and 12 live auction items which offered opportunities to stay at exclusive luxury homes, tour vineyards, experience private chef tasting menus and much more.

Doug Hawthorne and Kelly and David Pfeil*

Barbara Smith*

Chaired by Kelly and David Pfeil with Barbara Smith as the Executive Leadership Team Chair, this year’s event grossed $4.6 million and netted $4 million to fund life -saving research and educational programs, making it a record breaking sum for the Dallas event and across the country for the American Heart Association.

The highest Live Auction package was an exclusive trip to Paris to privately tour the Louvre and the Palace of Versailles, which sold twice for $110,000.

Denise Hunter and Erin Hunter*

Heart disease survivor Erin Hunter shared her story on-stage with her mom, Denise. The survivor testimonial, Open Your Heart, was lead with a gift of $150,000, and matched in the room by an inspired couple, who prefer to remain anonymous.

“I don’t remember a time where I didn’t have to think about my heart. Between my surgeries and check-ups, I lived as normal a life as I possibly could,” said Erin, who is now a nurse at the Heart Center at Children’s Health where she underwent numerous heart surgeries as a child. “Many people have said that things happen for a reason, and I believe that is true. Because of my experiences, I am able to give back to parents and patients going through similar tough times that my family went through.”

“It is because of fundraising events like Côtes du Coeur, and the support of the generous individuals and businesses that attended Saturday night, that the funding for cardiovascular research and health education programs remains strong and continues to save lives,” American Heart Association Executive Director Melissa Cameron said.

Merry Edwards*

Mike and Diane Gruber and Kim and Greg Hext*

Some of the attendees in the room were Tete du Cuvee honoree Merry Edwards of Merry Edwards Winery, Barbara and Mike Smith, Kim and Greg Hext, Melissa and Steve Grimshaw, Anne Davidson, Diane and Mike Gruber, Diane and Hal Brierley, Laura and Eric Hutto, Tim Wallace, Carol and Matt Holmes, Katherine Wynne, Doug Hawthorne, Amy and Michael Meadows, Ron Haddock, Mary Parker, Pam and Mark Okada, Keli and Mike Jenkins, Jana and Mike Brosin, Eric and Amy Schoch and chefs John Tesar, Jim “Sevy” Severson, Dean Fearing, Kevin Garvin, Matt McCallister, Alex Astranti and Chad Houser.

Mary Parker and Tim Wallace*

Anne Davidson and Mark Porter*

The 2018 Dallas Côtes du Coeur will be held on Saturday, April 21, at the Omni Dallas. Terri and Tim Gallagher will serve as the chairs

For a full list of chefs, wineries, sponsors and committee members, visit dallaswineauction.com.

* Photo provided by American Heart Association Dallas-Fort Worth

Sold-Out Alert!: La Fiesta De Las Seis Banderas Gala

La Fiesta de las Seis Banderas (File photo)

It’s still three weeks away, but the La Fiesta De Las Seis Banderas Presentation Gala on Saturday, June 10, is already sold out!

According to La Fiesta Gala Co-Chair Anne Besser, “The La Fiesta Gala is sold out and we have a wait list.  We are at the Fairmont and our seating is limited.

“Several underwriters have generously returned their Gala seats in exchange for additional Fiesta Under the Stars invitations. Thanks to them, we are moving patrons off the wait list and into Gala seats.”

So, who says that North Texas is abandoned in the summer and tuxedos hibernate in closets? There is gonna be a ballroom filled to the brim with the black-tie set on June 10. So, don’t dilly-dally around. Get on that wait list now.

Proceeds from the swell-elegant event will benefit C.A.R.E., Connecting Point of Park Cities, The Elisa Project, The Family Place, Friends of the University Park Public Library, Highland Park Education Foundation, Highland Park Literary Festival, HP Arts, HPHS Community Service Council, HPHS Counseling Department and Student Council, HPHS Habitat for Humanity Campus Center, HPHS Science Festival, HPHS Student Emergency Fund, HPHS Youth and Government/Moody Family YMCA and Park Cities Heritage House at Dallas Heritage Village.

Start Working Out Because A Weekend Of Fundraising Gala Collisions Lies Ahead

Côtes du Coeur (File photo)

Well, yuck! North Texas is preparing to have one of those fundraising collision weekends. Drat!

On Saturday, April 22, two major, supercalifragilisticexpialidocious events are taking place. The wine-loving types will be at the Omni Dallas for the American Heart Association graze and gaze with a corral full of chefs and more wines than California could produce for Côtes du Coeur thanks to Co-Chairs Kelly and David Pfeil.

Art Ball 2016 (File photo)

Over at the Dallas Museum of Art, new kid-on-the-block (aka Eugene McDermott Director) Agustin Arteaga will be introduced to fundraising Dallas-style with the 2017 Art Ball. With Art Ball Co-Chairs Ann and Lee Hobson at the helm and the taste of romantic France via “All That Glistens,” it’s pretty darn obvious that it’s gonna be a night of killer fashions, food and fantastical auction items. The tent is already being erected next to the DMA.

Trammell S. Crow

2016 Children’s Cancer Fund (File photo)

And Friday is just as bad. Here, the EarthxGlobal Gala folks moved their big soiree from Saturday to Friday night to avoid the Art Ball/Côtes du Coeur traffic jam. Only problem: there’s still another mega fundraiser — Children’s Cancer Fund — taking place at the Hilton Anatole that night with kids and celebrities on the runway.

Oh, dear! What is one to do? Do two-a-night and then hit the after-soiree stop — Whataburger?

If either any of ‘em sounds to your liking instead of the same-old Friday and Saturday night sock-sorting and grilling steaks, there are still tickets available. Here’s the one for Côtes du Coeur and here’s the one for Art Ball. Either way you can win!

Horse racing (File photo)

BTW, if you think Sunday is gonna be any better, think again. The Retina Foundation‘s Racing for Sight at Lone Star Park is on a collision course with the Nasher Sculpture Center‘s Great Create.

The Great Create (File photo)

It just ain’t fair!

2017 Art Ball’s “All That Glistens” Eight Live Auction Items Revealed

Peggy Sewell, Agustin Arteaga and Ann Hobson

Rajan Patel and Jennifer Karol

The Dallas Museum of Art’s Art Ball is one of the knock-it-out-the-park fundraising galas of the year. Not only is it set at the DMA, but the guests just have a certain panache in the glamorama category. One of the highlights of the black-tie evening is the live auction of amazingly curated items.

Last night, Art Ball’s “All That Glistens” Co-Chairs Ann and Lee Hobson along with their Auction Co-Chairs Rajan Patel and Merry Vose held a reveal party at Grange Hall for folks like DMA Board of Trustees Chair Melissa Foster Fetter, new grandmamma Peggy Sewell, always young-and-beautiful Jennifer Karol, Cindy and Howard Rachofsky and DMA Director Agustin Arteaga. Each of the elegant eight auction items was beautifully displayed on tables in the restaurant. But what else would you expect from this group?

Here is the lineup of the goodies that Christie’s Auction House President Brook Hazelton will be auctioning off on Saturday, April 22:

  • ¡ HOLA, AGUSTIN!”* — He’s hardly unpacked his bags and DMA Eugene McDermott Director Agustin Arteaga is already slated to be on the road again. He’ll guide the lucky winner on a tour of the world-renowned Guggenheim Bilbao in San Sebastian, Spain. After seeing the sights of this incredible museum, it will be lunch at a three-star restaurant to break bread, sip wine and discuss art with Agustin. During their three-day stay in San Sebastian, the winner will “bunk down” in the luxurious Hotel Maria Cristina. As for where to eat, toss the Frommer’s Travel Guide. World traveling foodie Cindy Rachofsky will take care of restaurant selections and rezzies.

Compliments of Hotel Maria Cristina, Guggenheim Bilbao, Cindy Rachofsky and Strong Travel Services

¡ Hola, Agustín!*

Foodie Fantasy*

  • “FOODIE FANTASY” † — Two new restaurants are slated to join the Highland Park Village cuisine collection this year. For a sneak peak, Chef Nick Badovinus and Chef Julian Barsotti have cooked up this package for the winner and 12 pals. The tasteful chefs will “execute superbly individual supper experiences six courses including excellent wine and champagne.” Start dieting now!

 Compliments of Julian Barsotti, Nick Badovinus, and Highland Park Village

  • WHEN IN ROME…FENDI ROME EXPERIENCE”* † — Rome is known for the Coliseum, the Vatican and cuisine. But to fashion trendsetters, it’s fashion and leading the pack is Fendi. The winner of this package plus a BFF will spend two nights at the newly renovated Fendi Palazzo Private Suite. And lunchtime will be ala Fendi with a special luncheon at the Fendi Palazzo Prive Apartment. And what would be a Fendi outing be without a “private presentation of Fendi’s Haute Fourrure, as well as customized experiences for guests based on personal interests — perhaps cocktails and/or dinner at a private home or a private tour of the Sistine Chapel?” In addition to a special Fendi gift for each guest, the winner will receive the Fendi Peekaboo Bag by artist Francisco Moreno that will be revealed at the Art Ball.

Compliments of Fendi

When in Rome…Fendi Rome Experience**

Headstart The Holidays With Grange Hall**

  • HEADSTART THE HOLIDAYS WITH GRANGE HALL” — It’s never too early to start planning for the holidays, but who wants the same-old, ho-hum, ho-ho decorations dragged down from the attic? This package will make this year’s giving season a true memory maker thanks to the Grange Hall pros dazzling your digs. That in itself is a $7,500 value. Then to show off your new look, Dallas’ fav Chef Sharon Hage will plan and execute a dinner for 10. (Restriction: Wine and spirits are not included.)

 Compliments of Sharon Hage and Grange Hall

  • THE SUITE LIFE AT LE MEURICE”* — A fashion lover simply cannot arrive in Paris without the appropriate wardrobe. Merry Vose is going to take care of that situation for the winner of this package. Thanks to a $5,000 gift certificate at Canady, she’ll put together such fashions that even the French will be impressed. And rightly so, since this package includes a four-night stay at Le Meurice plus special dinner for two in the hotel’s Alain Ducasse three-Michelin Star restaurant. During the stay, Merry will be the winner’s tour guide for behind-the-scenes of Paris Fashion Week including premium seating at Dior and Celine, plus a private tour of the Hermes family museum inside the flagship store. And what is fashion without jewelry? How about visiting the Parisian private studio-workshop of the queen of contemporary costume fashion jewelry, Marie-Noëlle. If a little breather is needed, an exclusive tour of the gardens of Versailles, including a private tour of the Orangerie of Louis XIV is on the docket.  (Restriction: Dinner does not include wine.)

Compliments of Le Meurice, Céline, Dior, Merry Vose, Canary, Hermès and Strong Travel Services

The Suite Life At Le Meurice**

Life As Royals: Private, Princely, Porcelain**

  • LIFE AS ROYALS: PRIVATE, PRINCELY, PORCELAIN”* — Leave it to the Grange Hall team to take the art of design and dining to a whole new level. They’ve arranged for a two-night stay for two people at the Kempinksi Four Season in Munich and not just for sightseeing. The winner will be treated along with an exclusive VIP tour for up to eight guests of the fame Nymphenburg’s workshops where the world-famous porcelain is made. Afterward His Royal Highness Prince Luitpold of Bavaria and his wife, Katrin Beatrix, will host a dinner in the blue room of the manufactory overlooking the Nymphenburg palace. And, no, the royals will not be cooking the meal. They’ll have their private chef prepare the feast that will include wine from the prince’s wine cellar. All of this is in preparation for the Grange professionals’ providing the winner with a $10,000 credit and their advice on designing his/her own custom pattern china.

Compliments of Grange Hall and Porcelain Manufactory Nymphenburg

  • SANTA’S VILLAGE IN HIGHLAND PARK” — How about being a top-tier Santa Claus this year and getting a load of thank you notes? That’s exactly what’s going to happen for the winner of this package. Instead of a workshop with elves at the North Pole, s/he will have the shops and restaurants at Highland Park Village. For supreme convenience, a personal valet will meet and assist the winner upon arrival and departure between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. And to ease the post-holiday bills letdown, the winner will have $5,000 gift certificates for HPV, Hadleigh’s and Madison, as well as $3,000 for Market and $2,000 to spend on holiday cards customized by Ellis Hill. You’ll look to all your friends like a big spender with spending a penny… unless you want to. To look spectacular during the shopping spree and party season, Frédéric Fekkai will provide weekly manicures and blowouts from November 20 through New Year’s Eve. And don’t worry about ruining that manicure with giftwrapping and bow tying. A personal shopper will arrange for the gift to be wrapped and delivered to the winner’s home.

Compliments of Highland Park Village, Market, Hadleigh’s, Ellis Hill, Madison, and Frédéric Fekkai

Santa’s Village In HIghland Park**

Mon Chateau Privé**

  • MON CHATEAU PRIVE”* † — This package is tailor-made for the most worldly travelers. Imagine having a chateau situated on 154 acres in the South of France with its seven bedrooms plus a butler! How simply marvelous for the lucky 14, who will be able to explore the surrounding nature preserve, visit the neighboring Aries, Avignon, St. Remy and Aix, relax by the pool and/or play tennis after breakfast on the terrace. For the winner of this package, there is also two-night stay for two at the Esprit Saint Germain Hotel in Paris on the way to or from the chateau.

Compliments of Ann and Lee Hobson, Esprit Saint Germain Hotel and Strong Travel Services

* Airfare not included. 
** Graphics provided by 2017 Art Ball
† Mutually agreed upon date(s).

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.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: Junior League Of Dallas’ “Encore”

Former Junior League of Dallas Ball chair gowns

The Junior League of Dallas’ “Encore” on Saturday, March 4, was actually a 55-year-old tradition “going into the sunset.” In the Anatole’s Chantilly Ballroom reception lobby, there was a nostalgic collection of former ball chairs’ gowns while “oldtimers” recalled past glories to the delight of newbies.

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

Inside the ballroom was a stage all set for a group photo of the past chairs and just one final mini-follies.

Junior League of Dallas Ball chairs, past and present

As the post is being prepped, check out the gowns, gals and gents at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

The 2017 Dallas Symphony League Orchestra Swans Flawlessly And Touchingly Bowed At The Meyerson

Oh, those Californians! Each year they have those itty-bitty Cliff Swallows return to Mission San Juan Capistrano on March 19th. As remarkable as that may seem to the West Coasters, the arrival of the swans to the Meyerson is truly memory-making each year.

On Saturday, February 18, 35 glorious white swans (aka Dallas Symphony Orchestra League Presentation debutantes) provided perfectly executed deep bows in support of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra at the Meyerson.

Jolie Humphrey, Eleanor Bond and Ginger Sager

And thanks to blonde DSOL President Sandy Secor, red-haired Ball Chair Jolie Humphrey and her committee (Lissie Donosky, Dixey Arterburn, Ginger Sager, Eleanor Bond and Therese Rourk) these swans had credentials that would have sent the California birds into a spiral diver. But more deb name dropping later.

2017 Dallas Symphony Orchestra League Presentation Ball debutantes and escorts

Before the presentation in the McDermott Concert Hall, photographer James French mounted a sky-high ladder to memorialize the debs and the Honor Guard escorts on the steps leading to the concert hall. “Is that everybody? Who’s missing? 35? I need the Honor Guards,” shouted James, as assistants counted heads and straightened hems. Various setups were needed: first, the debs, then the debs with Honor Guard escorts and then one with Jolie in the center. After the final group shot was taken, the debs and escorts joined their families for cellphone photos.

Sara Lee and Stan Gardner and Wendy Kumpf

Libby Bender, Catherine Lane and Rachel Faust

Downstairs, the cocktail reception was underway in the lower reception area. While black- and white-tie seemed the majority rule, red was also highlighting the area, thanks to Sara Lee Gardner, Wendy Kumpf, Elizabeth Magee, Catherine Lane, Libby Bender and Rachel Faust.

Still coquettish buds of deb Caroline Jones like

Ashley McGaw, Brindley Mize, Rachael Levy, Sarah Ransan, Arlin Dawson, Peyton Dean, Caroline LeCrone and Carling Crawford

and gal pal friends of the other debs held their own in an array of colors and necklines.

And speaking of those tricky décolletages, some of the ingénues in bare-shouldered gowns were seen having to hitch up downward-bound tops. While the usual glittery purses and stilettos accessorized the looks of the evening, one or two gals downgraded their aura by chomping on gum.

William Richardson and Heather Hall

Melissa Macatee and John and Barbara Stuart

Ken and Gina Betts, Molly Nelson and William Nelson

And if anyone was expecting drama, they were sorely disappointed. For instance, deb Gracie Beal’s folks, who had been divorced for ages, were front and center with their significant others — mama Simona Beal with Ryan Green and papa Andy Beal with his fiancée Olya Sinitsyna, who revealed that their baby boy was due on May 18… Terry Bentley Hill was on hand to support her god-daughter Abby Loncar and her mom Sue Loncar… One Honor Guard parent was Brad Cheves, who was attending his first DSOL Presentation Ball for his son, Kyle Cheves… Also attending their first DSOL Presentation Ball were Gina and Ken Betts for deb Molly NelsonMarsha Cameron and her husband Michael Halloran were returning for the presentation ball for their son Bryce Halloran, who would be escorting deb Marina Frattaroli. It was just two years ago that their daughter Alix Halloran was a deb… Among the grandparents in the crowd were William Richardson for deb Heather Hall, Gene and Jerry Jones for deb Caroline Jones and Honor Guard escort Shy Anderson Jr. and Barbara and John Stuart for grandson John Macatee… At least two sets of parents were providing both debs and escorts. In addition to daughter Catherine Kumpf making her debut, Wendy and Rick Kumpf’s son Henry Kumpf was a member of the Honor Guard… And then there were Ana and Jim Yoder. Not only was daughter Maria Yoder bowing, but her escorts were her brothers/Honor Guard members James Yoder Jr. and Peter Yoder.   

Kersten Rettig, McKenna Cook and Spencer Fontein

Kersten Rettig, whose daughter McKenna Cook was one of the debs, admitted, “I’m a little teary, in a good way. I never thought McKenna would do it. Jolie asked me a year ago if McKenna wanted to be a deb. But, the parents and girls have really connected! This is Dallas. This is tradition. This is for the arts. The pageant is 100 times better than I thought it would be!”  

Lissie Donosky, Dixey Arterburn, Eleanor Bond and Therese Rourk

Dallas Symphony Assembly officers

Honor Guard officers

On cue, the Meyerson chimes called the guests to their seats in the concert hall. Before the first deb stepped on stage, introductions of those who had made the event possible were made including Sandy, Jolie, her committee and the Assembly and the Honor Guard officers. Then emcee Stan Gardner asked the audience to show proper respect for the occasion. In other words, this wasn’t a dang pep rally.

Gracie Beal

Caroline Jones and Stephen Jones

Alicia Crenshaw and Bob Crenshaw Jr.

Caroline Pratt and Jack Pratt Sr.

With families seated near the stage and friends filling the rest of the floor, the Orchestra Tier and Loge, the presentation got underway. Upon her name being announced and her selected song being played, each deb appeared at the head of the stairs and was joined by her father or male family member. The couple then walked down the steps to center stage, where the gentleman kissed the deb on the cheek and took his place to her right. Then the deb made her formal bow, as her escort(s) stood to her left. On cue as she lifted her head looking at the escort(s), the lead escort walked over and offered his hand to help her rise. After a photo or two was taken by French’s team, the couple/trio walked to the stairs leading from the stage to the floor for a couple of more photos.

David Vaughan and Emily Vaughan

Will Cohn, Elizabeth Matthews and Tyler Doshier

Stan Gardner, Andrew Hatfield, Aspen Moraif and James Diamond

Perhaps the memory maker of the night was the presentation of Abby Loncar on the arm of her brother Patrick Long. Despite the Loncar family’s recent losses, it was obvious from the response of the entire audience that the community was truly rallying around Abby.

Abby Loncar and Patrick Long

After the final deb Maria Yoder and her brothers/escorts (James Yoder Jr. and Peter Yoder) left the stage, the entire stage was filled with the 2017 debutantes and their Honor Guard escorts, to a standing ovation.

2017 Dallas Symphony Orchestra League Presentation Ball debutantes and escorts

Stan then asked the guests to stay in place as Don Averitt and Mark Averitt directed the deb mothers, who had been seated on the aisles, to the lobby’s dance floor. The fathers, who had been seated in rows along the Orchestra Terrace, also departed to join their wives.

Wendy Kumpf, Simona Beal and Karen Jones

As anxious parents waited for their daughters to arrive at the dance floor, the rest of the guests filled the overhead balcony and lobby to see the first dances. Thanks to coordinators who served as traffic cops, a walkway through the crowd was created to allow the escorts to bring the debs to the floor.

Gabby Crank

Bailey Turfitt

Once there, the escorts peeled off and the debs sought their smiling parents. The debs looked so very relieved to have the bow over with, and the fathers looked a bit apprehensive about the next part of the evening — the first dance of the night. But the dads and debs had nothing to fear. Despite the crowded dance floor with the white billowing gowns, it was rather dreamy. Then the conditions got even more jammed with the escorts and mothers joining the debs and dads for a Glenn Miller tune, thanks to the Jordan Kahn Orchestra.  

Dancing debs and dads

While some continued to fill the dance floor, others headed to their tables for a salad (medley of baby greens, purple beets, goat cheese, walnuts and herbal vinaigrette dressing), entrée (grilled herb crusted beef filet with sherry reduction sauce, seasoned-roasted potatoes, tri-color carrots and steamed asparagus) and dessert (raspberry mousse tart and white and dark chocolate tower Swiss roll).

For more photos of bowing, dancing and beautiful peeps, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.