Dream Gala Will Be A Night Of Sweet Memories With Bret Michaels, Julianne Hough And Gene Stallings

Diabetes does not discriminate. It’s very democratic. Any age, sex, race is open to this deadly disease. Most folks think of it as that pesky finger-pricking-disease. But it’s so much more than that. Yes, victims of diabetes do have to test their blood sugar and some have to use insulin. But its effects are far more dramatic and life changing. While diabetes may not have the initial gut wrenching impact that cancer does, it’s just as insidious in so many ways.

Sorry for the downer lede, but it was necessary to build the importance of the Dream Gala benefiting the Dallas Chapter of Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation on Saturday March 26, at the Hilton Anatole.

Bret Michaels

Yes, it will be black tie, but the celebrities on stage are not your usual stuffy-huffy-puffy types. Try Celebrity Honoree Bret Michaels, featured entertainer/cutie pie Julianne Hough and keynote speaker Gene Stallings.

Here are some tidbits for you to stockpile about the on-stage folks:

  • Besides being the long-haired singer for Poison and a reality TV star, Bret’s been a diabetic since the age of six. Despite having just recovered from a multitude of major health issues lately including heart surgery in late January, there’s no getting him down. He’ll be presented the award by JDRF President/CEO Jeffrey Brewer. If you aren’t a reality TV show viewer, you might not know that Bret donated his winnings from Celebrity Apprentice 3 to the American Diabetes Association.
  • Julianne is probably relieved to be performing in the Chantilly Ballroom. Some folks recall the last time they saw the former “Dancing With The Stars” knockout was on stage at the soggy Cattle Barons Ball of 2009. She was a real trooper that night and will be dynamite on a dry stage.
  • In addition to Bret’s receiving his award, Gala Chairs Dr. Arlene Jacobs and Allen Feltman have announced that Dr Pepper Snapple Group is this year’s Corporate Honoree.


Fresh Faces of Fashion 2011

Boy, you really missed this one if you haven’t already bought tickets to the Fresh Faces of Fashion 2011 on Friday, March 25. It’s another done deal.

There is a rumor floating that FFF mother hen Yvonne Crum “is trying to get them to enlarge the ballroom. . . they are resisting . . . but bets are on Yvonne!”

Suggestion: Groveling sometimes works.

Remember it benefits the Suicide and Crisis Center and, unfortunately, the need for SCC’s services are not letting up.

Ebby’s 100th Birthday — It’s No Big Deal Or Anything

Ebby 100

Happy birthday eve, Ebby! Party on!

Nobody Slept At The Chick Lit Slumber Party

Anne Stodghill and Angela Nash

Last week if you spotted a bunch of gals in their pajamas at the Mansion Bar Tuesday night, there’s a good explanation. Blame it on the Chick Lit crew. Seems they decided to have a Chick Lit Slumber Party at the Studio Movie Grill. And like any fun(d)raiser, the gals just couldn’t wear their familiar old T-shirts or holey granny gowns. Instead it was a fashion show of caftans, robes, flannel pj’s and peignoir sets. Why one guest even brought her “blankie.”

Because it was such a girlie affair event chairs Anne Stodghill and Angela Nash arranged to have “Pretty in Pink” shown on the big screen, popcorn served with wine, and, of course, the typical slumber party necessities like lip gloss, nail polish and sleeping masks.

After the movie was over, the ladies didn’t really spend the rest of the night at the Studio Movie Grill. While some headed home, a bunch of them headed to the bar at the Mansion in their “pajama chic” attire.

BTW, if you’re wondering why the Molly Ringwald movie was shown, it was picked to set the mood for the April 1st Chick Lit Luncheon‘s author Emily Giffin, who has a movie coming out in early May based on her first book, “Something Borrowed,” starring Kate Hudson.

Photo credit: Dana Driensky

Ann-Margret Is Coming Back To Dallas For Dallas International Film Festival


The Dallas Film Society has just announced that legendary songbird/dancer/actress Ann-Margret will be honored with the Dallas Star Award at the upcoming Dallas International Film Festival (March 31 – April 10, 2011). The itty-bitty (5′ 3.5″) Swedish-born red head is an old-timer when it comes to Dallas. In 1962 she spent some time here when she filmed “State Fair.” There are those who still remember her dancing in the  band shell at Fair Park with Pat Boone swooning.

Then she reappeared at the Fairmont in 1975 for the super-duper opening of “Tommy,” the rock opera film.

In between those two stops to Dallas, she co-starred in Mike Nichols‘ “Carnal Knowledge” in 1971 and then in 1972 survived a 22′-fall from a stage in a Lake Tahoe concert breaking an arm, suffering five fractures of five facial bone and  a brain concussion.

“Ann-Margret is a rare talent in that she has beautifully balanced live musical performances with incredible dramatic film roles throughout her career,” said the Dallas Film Society President/CEO, Tanya Foster. “It is a real honor for us to publicly acknowledge the contribution she has made to the art of film.”

Ann-Margret will be presented with the award on the opening night of the festival. The world premiere of her latest film, “Lucky,” will take place the following night on Friday April 1st.

If your film watching goes beyond the typical popcorn-mainstream films, you’ll love the lineup of what we used to know as “indies” that are nicely locked in at the DIFF. Want to know all the wish-list films that will be shown? Here you go: [Read more…]

D’Andra Simmons Led The Junior League Of Dallas “Into Africa” With A Couple Of Stellar Sidekicks

Photo Gallery Alert: Additional photos are available for viewing.

Seating area

Gone are the days of the Junior Leaguers’ image of white-gloved ladies with perfect posture sitting properly in Roberts Rules of Order fashion. Last Saturday night (February 26) the 21st century Junior Leaguers of Dallas still had the perfect posture, but they were more in tribal motion in couture gowns  for “Into Africa” at the Hilton Anatole.

D’Andra Simmons

Blame it all on Ball Chair D’Andra Simmons, who rallied the ladies, beaus, families, friends and underwriters to beat the drums in raising a whopping $1,192,203. Little did guests know that the final number will probably top $1.2 million, since D’Andra still had “$100,000 in asks” out there. Regardless, she topped the JLD record book for “the most ever raised pre-ball.”

Colin Duchin and Dee Simmons

To help the dark-haired beauty achieve her goal, she had two very important sidekicks — mom Dee Simmons and beau friend Colin Duchin.

Peter Duchin

Thanks to Colin, Duchin Dad/NYC society pianist/orchestra leader Peter Duchin was right at home with a Steinway at his fingertips and his 10-piece band posse. His reputation for “making” galas legendary was nicely in place Saturday. Throughout the safari-style ballroom, “A Tisket a Tasket,” “That’s Life,” “At Last” and “Route 66” kept the dance floor deliciously jammed among huge African masks, blankets, spears and sky-high palm trees. On both sides of the bandstand were mammoth video screens with continuous footage of African animals in hot pursuit of victims. Luckily, the videos didn’t reveal the end result of the high-energy chase.

Dancing ladies

Speaking of energy, there’s one thing you’ve got say about JLD-ers and their gal pals — in order to whoop it up, they don’t need a fella. The ladies with arms raised and big old smiles danced solo, with each other and in packs.  Leading the dancing and partying was, of course, D’Andra plus Leigh Bailey, Katy Bock, Mary Gill and Elizabeth Tripplehorn. Their dates and husbands just sat back and enjoyed the dance floor action.

Heidi Dillon

But that’s not to say that this was a Gen X-ers’ Only affair. Heck, no!

Dulany and Vicki Howland

Dulany and Vicki Howland

That’s where D’Andra’s other asset came through in spades. Mother Dee, who turned 70 on Tuesday, opted to postpone the birthday celebration until the evening. Thanks to this decision, many of her coterie of buds showed up to do more that politely sit tableside. These party veterans weren’t about to let the under-40-set commandeer the dance floor. Thanks to Faye Briggs with favorite BF Ralphie Gorman, Doris and Jack Jacobs, Carmaleta Whiteley and Weldon Ward, Dulany and Vicki Howland and Linda and Steve Ivy, they showed the younger set the other side of big-band dancing. You know. The kind where the dancers actually dance together.

Peggy and Carl Sewell and D’Andra Simmons

Others in the vintage set were Sara and David Martineau, still receiving congrats for their Juanita and Henry S. Miller Founders Award for the opera on Tuesday; Peggy Sewell in a very bare shoulder, canary-yellow Carolina Herrera with husband Carl front row center; Linda and Bill Custard also on the congratulations tour for Linda’s receiving the “Hearts of Texas” award on Wednesday; and Ruth and Ken Altshuler ducking out early. After all those two are out every night, it seems.

Tom Leppert, Colin Duchin and Peter Duchin

But Dee wasn’t the only birthday gal in the room. Laura Leppert also had a busy birthday week. Having turned 58 on Friday, she also stood by recently ex-mayor/husband Tom Leppert as he announced his run for the U.S. Senate. Boy, talk about a birthday gift! But, alas, she was already suffering the fate of many political widows Saturday night, waiting alone for her guy to arrive. It seems the ex-mayor Tom had another stop before hitting the Anatole. But the moment he arrived, Tom was seen private-conferencing with Colin and Peter during a break. Hmm, maybe Tom is looking for a gig? If he had heard Peter’s talk with Booker T. Washington students Friday, he probably was. It seems that after “jamming” with the students, Peter was asked what a society band was. Peter told ’em it’s “Where they pay you to play a gig. Getting paid for a gig is good.”

It’s Countdown Time For Ebby 100

Ebby Halliday

The big week is finally here. After nearly 100 years of waiting, Dallas is officially going to celebrate Ebby Halliday‘s 100th birthday with the big, extravaganza on Wednesday at the Meyerson. It’ll have all the splash, twinkle and good that Ebby has brought to North Texas.

Now, there’s been a rumor floating around that this reception, concert, dinner and all are priced at a toasty $1,500 per person.

Sticker shock!

True, some of the hifalutin types are buying four-figure tickets. But reality must tame down that pricey rumor. For a measly $150, you can attend the concert with world-famous tenor Mario Frangoulis and guest soprano Andriana Chuchman plus the Dallas Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Albert George Schram. And to leave you with an even sweeter taste, you can able to attend the dessert celebration.

For you mathematicians and accountants, that translates into a you getting to hang with the swells, celebrate Ebby’s 100th, attend a once-in-a-lifetime concert and have dessert for a mere fraction of what some of your fellow guests will be paying. All you’ll be missing is a reception and dinner. Why shoot! You can do the drive-thru at McDonald’s and we won’t tell.

Oh, and if you’re thinking this is going to be a very prim and proper black-tie event, you got the black-tie part right. UPDATE: Just heard from the powers-that-be we got this black-tie situation all wrong. Seems it’s gonna be business attire, so, gents, you can relax those cummerbunds. But forget the yawn propriety. You just know you can expect a slightly incredible evening with event chairs Barbara and Steve Durham, co-chairs Margot and Ross Perot, Madeleine and T. Boone Pickens and Marianne and Roger Staubach. Add to that Laura and President George W. Bush will be honorary chairs. Decorations chair Barbara Daseke and Todd Fiscus have been happily busy playing Barnum Bailey in overdrive. You’ll understand better Wednesday night what these two have dreamed up.

BTW, all funds raised will go to the Horatio Alger scholarships for Texas students. You did know our little Ebby is a Alger recipient in addition to selling the best of Dallas, didn’t you?

Paws Cause Proves To Be The Animal Lovers Choice Sunday Night At Sambuca

While Tina Loyd’s models were doing a red carpet strut at Terry Costa to benefit Education is Freedom and the crowds were gathering at the Studio Movie Grill to watch the fashions and Oscars doled out for the USA Film Festival/Dallas, Paws Cause was having a bigger crowd than usual at Sambuca Sunday night.

Rebecca Belew, Karen Urie and Gwen Echols

Event Co-Chairs Rebeca Belew, Karen Urie and Gwen Echols took the Rio Carnival theme to town complete with Brazilian-styled flavor and fun starting at the door, where two headdress-heavy dancers greeted guests. Why does one suspect that both ladies were double-dozing aspirin for their headaches afterwards?

Brazilian dancers

After only being inside and being strewn with beads, the music, food and people made most people forget that there ever was an Academy Awards.

Terry Cook and Steve Yevich

Honorary Co-Chairs Terry Cook and Steve Yevich were typical animal loving Paws Cause boosters. Ask them about their dogs and they were proud as parents talking about their Westies. But despite spoiling their pooches, Terry and Steve knew that the evening’s purpose was to help pawed critters who didn’t have it so good. Without hesitation, the co-chairs launched into the number of spay/neuter surgeries resulted from the SPCA of Texas Clinic at Village Fair that benefits from Paws Cause.

Did you know that more than 10,000 free and low cost spay-neuter surgeries annually are provided annually at the facility?

Randy Katz and Abraham Salum

But not all the talk was going to the dogs and cats. Restaurateur Abraham Salum was taking a break from his new Komali, he admitted that he was flattered and a bit taken back by some local restaurant reviewers who visited the new place within days of its opening. Guess they were as anxious as Abraham to get the doors open.

After grabbing a quick bite to eat, Abraham and Randy Katz headed to the USA Film Festival to catch the first awards of the night.

Nothing Off Key At Friday’s Turtle Creek Karaoke Lounge

Photo Gallery Alert: Additional photos are available for viewing.

Karaoke is only for the brave. At least, that was the thinking for years after seeing Cameron Diaz in “My Best Friend’s Wedding.” Friday night at “A Night at the Turtle Creek Karaoke Lounge” this theory was expanded to include the fun loving to benefit the Turtle Creek Recovery Center.

Steve Kemble and Nancy Gopez

It all started off innocently as a cocktail party at Edison’s with long legs on display in very short skirts and hunky-types of guys. For some it was the first nighttime get together after the infamous Super Bowl Titanic in February and they were raring to party. At one point it got so loud that Co-Chair Nancy Gopez and emcee Steve “America’s Sassiest Lifestyle Guru” Kemble had to compare notes back in the dock area of Edison’s.

Lucy Wrubel and Allane O'Neill

Thanks to plenty of food and beverages, the courage meter was ramping up as Lucy Wrubel cranked up the music in the lounge area. Speaking of the lounge area, it was pretty darn chic. Pods of white leather couches from Suite 206 with coffee tables facing the elevated stage filled the large party room. The audio equipment was placed so not one note would be missed. . . much to the chagrin of some karaokers.

Amy Turner and Nancy Rogers

Front and center was the grouping of couches with Nancy Rogers in a dyed sable sleeveless jacket. On hand to make sure that no one’s glass was in need was “Maurice,” Nancy’s right hand man. Every girl needs a Maurice in her life!

When asked if she would be taking to the stage, Nancy smiled a definite, “No.”

Lester and Margaret Keliher

In the meantime other non-singers were looking forward to a night of memorable entertainment. Margaret and Lester Keliher were settling back in their white leather couch with no plans to budge. . .  KDFW-CH. 4’s Natalie Solis would only admit that she didn’t want to sing. . . .Also in the camp of silent singing were Holly and Stubbs Davis. According to Stubbs, they were downplaying their singing ability due to “especially me.”

However, not everyone was taking the back road for the night of singing. Jennifer Lott and fiancé Chris Blackwell admitted to practicing for weeks on the Johnny Cash/June Carter duet, “Jackson.” In the bullpen warming up their vocal chords were Brett Hull, Hunter Sullivan and Brenden Morrow with wife Ann-Marie.

Holly Forsythe and Gary Cogill

Sunglassed Gary Cogill started the evening off by gathering a passel of gals around him to sing “Happy Birthday” to Angela Nash.

Juliette Turner

Next on stage were Janine Turner and her 13-year-old daughter Juliette Turner singing “Diamonds in the Ebony Sky.” Janine had written the country-western-style song inspired by George W. Bush, who said, “Some days easy, some days not so easy, every day joyous.” And joyous was the twosome’s performance. Watch out Wynonna and Naomi Judd. This mother-daughter team is a killer in the vocals and stage appearance.

No sooner had the two performed, then they headed for the door. It was getting late and they had to drive home to the ranch. After all a 13-year-old can only stay up so late.

Next on stage was Peri Gilpin (aka Roz Doyle from Frazier) singing “This [Girl’s] in Love With You.”Despite doing the solo, she rallied the group to join her as she performed the final verses.

Peri Gilpin

What was Peri doing in town? Besides having family here and being buds with Anne and Steve Stodgill, “it’s a good cause!”


Hearts Of Texas Salutes Linda Custard, Episcopal School Of Dallas And Interstate Batteries With Bands, Videos And Fans

Bill and Linda Custard

Wednesday’s Hearts of Texas luncheon was as upbeat and uplifting as its #1 honoree, Linda Custard. Starting with a crowd of local community, civic and business bigwigs including Mayor Tom Leppert, who just a couple of hours later would announced his resigning his office, the event at the Hilton Anatole got off on the right foot thanks to SMU’s Marching Band. As the band pepped up the steps of guests’ heading to their tables, it was easy to spot the SMU alums from the others. The Mustang grads’ heads seemed to naturally keep time with the music.

Tom Leppert and Jeanne Whitman

Among the folks making their way to their tables were former KXAS-CH. 5 anchor Mike Snyder who has lost around 35 pounds with plans to lose more than double that number. . . Former Hockaday Headmistress Jeanne Whitman was making the rounds in one part of the Khmer Pavilion, while Ross Perot was working the other side of the room.

Following a 12:05 p.m. presentation of the flags and invocation, late arrivals like Gene Jones made their way to their tables like kids sneaking into class late.  Poor Gene was more obvious in her arrival than others because so many people greeted her on her way to the front row table with Ruth Altshuler, Nancy Halbreich, Nancy Dedman, Jeanne Phillips, Diana Strauss and Mayor Tom and Laura Leppert.

Following a meal of wok-seared marinated quail, Volunteer Center of North Texas CEO Julie Thomas approached the podium saying, “We’ve got to get this thing going.”

After a brief welcome and reminding guests that the Volunteer Center was celebrating its 40th year, Julie introduced a video on the center.

Rev. Stephen Swann

Luncheon Co-Chairs Elaine Agather and Jan Pickens then took over the podium with the official presentation of the awards and more but shorter videos. Jan presented Episcopal School of Dallas Founding Rector and Headmaster, the Rev. Stephen Swann with the Youth Service Award.

Ruth Altshuler

Ruth presented Norm Miller of Interstate Batteries with the Corporate Service Award.

Then last year’s recipient of the Lifetime Achieve- ment Award Dr. Bobby Lyle introduced and presented the 2011 Award to Linda Custard. Well, it really was more of a belated Valentine as Bobby ended his intro with a request that the audience stand to recognize Linda. He really didn’t need to ask them. . . they were gonna give her a SO anyhow.

It was then time for the lady-of-the-hour to do her thing. Her talk perfectly reflected Linda — smart and touching. Its brevity and content were also typical of Linda, who prefers letting others take the credit for accomplishments. Quoting the late Helen Keller, she said, “I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble.” One couldn’t help but suspect that Linda kept her acceptance speech brief because she, like her audience and the Volunteer Center of North Texas had much more to do.

Interstate Batteries van

As guests pulled out of the Anatole parking lot, the Interstate Batteries green van was parked prominently near the frontage road. Never hurts to leave a calling card.


Share-The-Date: Heroes And Handbags

Friday, April 29:  Some people are shoe lovers; others are purse fanatics. They buy handbags when they don’t even need ’em. So it’s no surprise that last year’s Heroes and Handbags was a definite and quick sell-out with 500 in attendance. Suggestion: get your tickets now for this brunch at the Ritz-Carlton. In addition to the brunch, there’s a silent auction of one of a kind vintage and new designer handbags.

Peggy and Jacquelin Sewell are chairing the event that benefits Heroes for Children. You HfC. It provies financial and social assistance for families with a youngster battling cancer.

This year’s top sponsors will receive handbags from designer Elaine Turner for their support.

Kidney Texas Membership Tea At Dee Wyly’s Was Good Enough To Eat

Dee Wyly

Tuesday Dee Wyly opened her home for the February Membership Tea for Kidney Texas. Everything was perfect with Chef Darren McGrady creating a dining room table of food that broke many diet plans. At one point in the gathering in the Wyly glass atrium, Dee gave orders that everyone was to polish off the delectables in the dining room. And when Dee give you “that look,” you march according to plan.

What some may not have realized, it was also the eve of Dee’s birthday.

TACA 33rd Silver Cup Award Lunch On The Table For Friday With Scant Tickets Available

John Eagle and Sarah Perot

Understand that Sarah Perot and John Eagle are polishing up their acceptance speeches for the  33rd TACA Silver Cup Award Luncheon this Friday. Yes, it will once again be at the Hilton Anatole, but in the Chantilly Ballroom instead of the Grand Ballroom. Seems the crowd has grown once again so more room was required.

While tickets are pretty scarce at this point, there still might be some available if you know the right people. . . and you know who they are.

Share-The-Date: Dallas’ Stiletto Strut

Elaine and Bradley Agather

Thursday, April 28, 2011: The gals will be sipping champagne and donning their most lethal-looking heels to “Stiletto Strut” around downtown Dallas benefiting The Family Place. The ladies rev up their engines at 6 with cocktails on the ground floor of Neiman Marcus Downtown with a take-off time at 7.

Event Chairs are the Agather gals — Mama Elaine and her daughters Bradley and Lorene. Honorary Chair is Sally Hoglund.

It’s truly an hysterically girly event with loads of laughter and chatter benefiting women and children whose lives are not a laughing matter.

Dallas United Way’s Heroes Of Hope 2010 Honored And AT&T Contributes $500,000 To “Destination: Graduation”

Gary Godsey and Randall Stephenson

Wednesday night at Belo Mansion the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas saluted Dallas volunteers at the Heroes of Hope 2010 Campaign Celebration. 2009 and 2010 Campaign Chair Clint McDonnough told the group that the UWMD had raised 16% of the organization’s five-year goal of $313 million.

UWMD Development Officer Mat Tonne presented awards to the following 23 companies: Bank of Texas, Baylor Health Care System, CitySquare, Ernst & Young LLP, EAN Holdings LLC, Jones Day, Kimberly-Clark Corporation, KPMG LLP, McLane Foodservice, TDIndustries, US Bank/Elan Financial Services, AT&T/CWA 6215, Bank of America, Celanese Corporation, Citi, Deloitte, Energy Future Holdings Portfolio, Exxon Mobil Corporation, Frito-Lay Inc./PepsiCo, JCPenney, Microsoft, Texas Instruments and UPS.

In emphasizing the importance of education, AT&T Chairman/CEO/President Randall Stephenson, who will serve at 2011 Campaign Chair, announced that AT&T was making a $500,000 contribution to “Destination: Graduation” allowing eight instead of five schools to benefit from the program.

Photo provided by United Way of Metropolitan Dallas

Valentino Team Will Headline Ten Best Dressed Fashion Show With Annette Simmons As Honorary Chair

Aileen Pratt

Leave it to the Crystal Charity Ball gals to pull in the big-gun names for their Ten Best Dressed Luncheon. Luncheon Chair Aileen Pratt must have had some pretty impressive private numbers to get such a lineup.

First of all, think Valentino. No, Rudolph, silly. You still must be coming off of a late night of watching the Academy Award. Think elegance beyond the imagination with fabrics, colors and designs that are simply breathtaking. Just to look at the collections bearing the Valentino name is memorable. While the grandmaster Valentino Garavani has retired probably to work on his tan, his uber talented replacements Creative Directors Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli will be on hand for the luncheon and the show.

Next Aileen and CCB Chair Connie O’Neill managed to get Annette Simmons to serve as Honorary Chair. Besides the fact that Annette rarely takes on such roles, it is only the third time in the luncheon’s history that there has been an honorary chair.

“We are thrilled to have this incredibly talented duo joining us for this year’s fashion show and luncheon,” said Connie. “Their attendance and Annette’s legacy will make the day a memorable one for the honorees as well as the guests.”

Now, of course, you’re trying to get the time line in place for the Ten Best Dressed activities, so here you go:

  • Sunday, May 1 — Tickets for the luncheon and fashion show go on sale.
  • Tuesday, May 3 — 2011 Ten Best Dressed Women of Dallas are announced at Neiman Marcus Downtown.
  • Thursday, September 3 8 — 2011 Ten Best Dressed Fashion Show and Luncheon at NM Downtown.

NM Downtown VP/GM Shelle Sills said, “This will be a very special year for everyone involved, with Annette  serving  as honorary chairman and having Valentino creative directors join us.”

Just in case you hear someone question the importance of fashion, luncheons and such things, you just might want to remind them that since its start, CCB has raised more than $100 million for children’s charities in Dallas. The 2011 Crystal Charity Ball will benefit eight beneficiaries with a collective need of $4,265,030: Communities in Schools, Contact Crisis Line, Dallas Mission for Life, Los Barrios Unidos Community Clinic, Methodist Health System Foundation, Nexus Recovery Center, Trinity River Mission and Vickery Meadow Learning Center.

Oh, and you might want to jot down Saturday, December 3, for the Crystal Charity Ball at the Hilton Anatole. Betcha there’ll be a heck of a lot of Valentino’s at the gala.

Paws Cause Drives Up TiVo Activity Sunday

Paws Cause is a marvelous fundraiser for the SPCA. The organizers publish a fabulous calendar that sells out each year. Lucky are the animals that benefit from its efforts.

Not so lucky are the animal-loving folks who are obsessed with the mother of red carpet events — the Academy Awards.

It seems that Paws Cause Co-Chairs Rebecca Belew, Gwen Echols and Karen Urie selected Sunday for the annual Paws Cause celebration at Sambuca.  No doubt it’s gonna be a great party with its Brazilian theme.

Hello? That’s the same night as the Oscars. Couldn’t you have picked the Sunday before or the next Sunday?

Thank heaven for TiVo because the silent auction and food at Sambuca are not to be missed. If you don’t have a DVR, ask your pooch or kitty to take copious notes.

Tables All Set For Friday Lunches

You have absolutely no excuse to be eating at your desk. If you’re downtown, head over to the Meyerson for Empty Bowls benefiting the North Texas Food Bank.

If you’re further north on Stemmons, drop in at the Trade Mart where Attitudes and Attires is having its lunch that was postponed from February 2nd because of the storm of the century.

19th Annual Juanita And Henry S. Miller Jr. Luncheon Honors The Martineaus And Leaves Ladies Swooning

Jolie Humphrey and Lissie Donosky

Years ago a very, very well-known local leader let it be known that he loved the arts, except for opera. Didn’t care for plump people howling on stage. He would have changed his tune had he attended Tuesday’s 19th Annual Juanita and Henry S. Miller Jr. Founders Award Luncheon at Brook Hollow Golf Club. Women’s Board of the Dallas Opera’s Co-President Lissie Donosky and Jolie Humphrey along with Luncheon Chair Kim Miller (and her sidekick/mom-in-law Tincy Miller) put together an event that even that “local leader” would have enjoyed.

Patsy Donosky, Sara Martineau, Tincy Miller and Kim Miller

In addition to the very well-deserved kudos and tributes paid to 2011 Founders Award Recipients Sara and David Martineau, there were performances by the two leads in the Dallas Opera’s “Romeo and Juliet.”

Charles Castronovo and Lyubov Petrova

Charles “Romeo” Castronovo is no Pavarotti. He’s a hunky GQ type with an equally gorgeous tenor voice. And don’t even think of comparing Lyubov “Juilet” Petrova to Sutherland. She’s a horrible flirt and delicious soprano.

Margot Winspear

With no microphones and only a piano accompanist, their voices turned Brook Hollow’s dining room into a mini-Winspear with Margot, Don and Ellen Winspear tableside. The singers’ solos not only had the wait staff at Brook Hollow mesmerized, even a couple of the valet parkers snuck in to hear these two. Following their final duet of the toast song from “La Traviata.” the entire room of 200 rose to salute their performances and Sara and David.

While Lyubov seemed to have Charles’ attention with her twinkling eyes and adorable smile, the New York tenor with Andy Garcia “Wow!” looks and GQ attire had a couple of the ladies in the audience fanning themselves.

(Editor’s note: While modern technology has made music breathtaking via iPods and other electronic gadgets, it still cannot showcase the live interaction of two extremely talented professionals. The wink of the eye, the slight smile and a nod of approval are still best witnessed in person.)

If you haven’t had a chance to see Charles and Lyubov, or rather “Romeo and Juliet,” hustle down to the Winspear because its finishes its run Sunday.

And remember — “Romeo and Juliet” and other productions can only take place when the funds are provided by groups like the Women’s Board of the Dallas Opera. Brava, ladies.

Cattle Baron’s Rhinestone Cowboy Will Have Darius Rucker, Dierks Bentley And Clint Black

Jennifer Dix

If you wanted to squeeze into Morton’s new location on McKinney Wednesday night, you should have worn a girdle. It was oh-so jammed with Cattle Barons gals and friends. The reason? Besides being the beneficiary of Morton’s opening festivities and plenty of food, it was also the night for announcing the entertainment for the October 15th Cattle Baron’s Ball at Southfork.

It was well worth the squeeze, too. Ball Chair Jennifer Dix’s lips were lipsticked and sealed until the moment came to make the announcement. Originally planned for a 7 p.m. start time, it had to be delayed because people kept coming and coming.

Finally the big announcement was made with everyone expecting two performers for the gala, but Cattle Baron’s never does what people expect.

On the Dr Pepper Snapple Group Main Stage will be Darius Rucker of Hootie and the Blowfish. If you’re strictly a Perry Como fan, you might not know that Darius was the first African American to win the New Artist Award from the County Music Association. You know he recorded “Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It,” “It Won’t be Like This for Long,” “Alright” and “History in the Making.”

On the Live Auction Stage to rev up the crowd will be Dierks Bentley.

Now hold on to your Cattle Barons hats. For the “first time ever,” Cattle Baron’s is offering such a deal. For VIP Baron level and above plus Platinum Baron Couples underwriters, the opportunity to attend a private performance at the Ewing Mansion at Southfork just before the ball will be available. Okay, that sounds nice and pleasant. But guess who’s gonna entertain this ultra-private, top-tier crowd on the Andrews Distributing VIP Barons’ Party State — Clint “Cutie Pie” Black.  Still think he looks like Roy Rogers long-lost son.

Drat! Now we’ve got to wait how many months until Cattle Baron’s?

First Melrose Mondays Celebrates The End Of February At J. Black’s For The Bigs

Where did February go? Since it’s a short month, why not celebrate its end Monday at J. Black’s? Yes, it’s a Monday and you usually call it a day to recover from a wild and woolly weekend, but you can rid yourself of the guilt complex by helping others and having a good time.

How? Simple. Attend the first Melrose Mondays at J. Black’s and learn how you can support Big Brothers/Big Sisters (aka The Bigs). It’s from 6 to 8 p.m.

Whoa! Before you get totally confused like MySweetCharity elves did, it is being held by The Melrose Society, but it’s not at the Melrose. So don’t show up at the hotel on Oak Lawn like some of the MSC elves were planning on doing. Silly little elves. No wonder they’re not members of The Melrose Society, which is made up of  young leaders and professionals.

It’s Still Possible To Go “Into Africa”

Ran into Junior League of Dallas Numero Uno Leigh Anne Haugh at lunch and asked her if there were any spots left for Saturday night’s “Into Africa” at the Hilton Anatole.  Wunderkind that she is, Leigh Anne replied that if someone wanted a seat, it would be found. Smart girl! She knows that every seat sold will help support the works of the JLD.

Colin Duchin and D'Andra Simmons

She also reported that international pianist Peter Duchin will be playing until midnight. If you know “Into Africa” Chair D’Andra Simmons, then you’ve probably met her oh-so adorable “friend” Colin Duchin, who inherited his good looks and charm from Papa Peter.

Dallas Symphony Orchestra League’s Deb Ball Checks Stuffiness At The Valet Parking

For every Crystal Charity Ball, there is a Cattle Barons’ Ball. Meaning? For every very formal event, there is a very informal one. In a big old area like North Texas, there is a need for both.

All of this is to explain that the Dallas Symphony Orchestra League‘s 25th Annual Deb Ball Saturday night at the Meyerson was the new-kids-on-the-block, you-go-girl counterpart to the venerable Idlewild. Perhaps that’s why 41 young ladies donned white gowns and “bowed to society,” as opposed to the four debs who did their thang for the 127th Idlewild ball back in November.

One could tell from the pre-bow reception in the Meyerson’s lower level that this debut was not going to be a proper, stuffy affair. With hundreds of all types of guests in black- and white-tie attire jamming together in the Black Hole of Formality, there was a sense of mayhem in the room. The poor woman “manning” the will-call desk had a glass of red wine by her box of cards. The glass was hardly ever touched because of the lineup of people trying to call. Pity the poor ladies who opted for billowing gowns. Trying to make it through this crowd was like trying to park a full-blown SUV in a compact parking space.

Early arrivals staked out chairs and benches. They weren’t budging. Nope, squatters’ rights were in full bloom.

One bar was five deep with the formally-attired trying to get a refreshment, while across the way was a bar waiting for anyone to ask for a drink.

“I’ve never seen it so unorganized,” said one veteran. Another guest laughed, “This is typical of the DSO balls.” They knew the debs would survive the bow; the guests would watch and eat; and money would be raised for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. Since its inception, the DSOL deb ball has provided $8.5 million to the DSO.

7:40 p.m. — The first peal of the Meyerson bells rang through the building. No one except the staff made any motion to move to the upper levels. Slowly the “vintage members” of the guests started the climb up the marble stairs. They knew that they’d need a head start to get to their seats in the hall.

7:45 p.m. — A second round of bells sounded through the building. Or, perhaps it was the bells from the Cathedral across the street? A voice from on high was saying something. Maybe it was the Almighty. It was hard to understand over the noise arising from the lower level. One male guest trekking up the stairs told a passerby, “I’m ready to go home, watch basketball, eat pizza and drink a better bottle of wine.”

In the crowd now filling the staircase were Cindy and Howard Rachofsky, Terri Brittingham, Yvonne and Mayo Crum, Dee and Charles Wyly, Nancy Dedman, Honor Franklin and Carolyn Lupton. Howard was still raving about the Super Bowl. “We were a little overwhelmed by the whole celebrity thing,” said Howard, extolling how nice Hugh Jackman had been during the Audi Forum at the Rachofsky House.

Elizabeth and Lili Kelly

7:52 p.m. — It was last call with bells pealing and lights flashing off and on. Sorta reminded you of your folks signaling that it was time to come in from an extended stay in the car out front. This time it worked. The herd of swells carefully made the final march up the stairway. Probable future deb Lili Kelly (7 years) with her folks Elizabeth and Seth Kelly was having a lot better luck with her outfit than some of the older gals, who had to hike up their low-cut gowns or watch their skirts being stepped on.

Two older-type ladies, who really should have known better, decided to stop at the top of the stairs for a chat causing a traffic jam with no spare lane for guests to use.

Down in the lower level, the overworked bartender was happily shooting the breeze with the officers on duty.

8:20 p.m. — Inside the main concert hall, the presentation was starting to take life. The announcer suggested that the guests show their approval of each of the debs in a proper fashion. That was the first warning that this wasn’t going to be a stuffy presentation of 41 individuals.


First the committee, honor guard and other guards were presented. With perfect posture and serious facial expressions, the young gents took their places perfectly on the stage. It was just too bad that most of them were wearing their fathers’ trousers, or opted not to have them hemmed at the rental store. Too-long, baggy trousers just take away from the look on the stage.

Savannah Eidson

Then it was time for the presentation of the long-haired  debs themselves. Twas not a split end among them. In white gowns that probably cost as much as small cars and required more talent in creation, the girls were individually introduced, escorted by their fathers downstairs to the stage, and kissed on the cheek by their fathers. Then the debs made the infamous all-the-way-down bows with arms fully extended to the sides of the stage. It was at this moment in history that one learned whether the deb’s escort had a sadistic streak. If he was at her side instantly to help her rise from this deep bow, he was regarded as a kind soul. However, a couple of the young gents took their time and the young women struggled to maintain a power yoga posture.

(Editor’s note: Before you start raising your eyes thinking, “What’s the big deal about this deep bow?”, think again. Better yet — when nobody’s looking just try to bow with your forehead nearly touching the ground. Now, consider doing that same bow in high heels, with flowers in one hand and about a thousand people staring at you. Go ahead, just try. We won’t look.)

In the meantime, the crowds were divided into two camps. Older types, who were largely lodged near the stage and in the orchestra level, applauded very properly and smiled their approval. Their grannies would have been proud of them.

Guests smartphoning debs

The other group was seated toward the back of the floor and along orchestra terrace. They treated each presentation like a pep rally on steroids. Standing and waving their arms, they didn’t hold back. Smartphones were in overdrive capturing their buddies’ debut. Think Grace Kelly goes Mesquite Rodeo. You sorta expected a wave to break out at any moment.

Deb supporters

Despite all the shouting, hooting and hollering, there was one sound that reverberated throughout the hall. What was that? It sounded much like a beer bottle toppling over on the marble floor. No sooner had the all-too-familiar clunk hit ears than Meyerson staff honed in on a group of young men at the back of the orchestra seating.

DSO debs and escorts

After the full presentation was completed, the guests moseyed out to the lobby for the first dance of the debs with their parents.

One dad was asked who had wanted this night to happen more — his wife or his daughter? He responded, “My wife. . . and my daughter.”

But this was a Cattle Barons version of deb life and everyone — mother, daughter, father and over-the-top friends — had a heck of a good time.

The Family Place Partners Holds Membership Party At St. Bernard Sports

Angela Choquette, Paige Flink, Andrea Weber and Nancy Scripps

The Family Place Partners had a membership party at St. Bernard Sport Thursday night.

Photo by Dana Driensky