January 24 Round Robin: Breath Of Life, Dallas Symphony Orchestra League Debs And Voice Of Hope

Never let it be said, “January is dull.” Thursday night Dallas was proving that it’s not only popping but it hints of what’s to come this spring.

Breath of Life

First stop of the night was the Breath of Life at the Ritz-Carlton. The honoree may have been Amy Simmons, but the fundraiser for Cystic Fibrosis was crafted for all ages.

Maci Drewry and Mason Cook

Maci Drewry and Mason Cook

Adorable guest speakers, 12-year Mason Cook of “Mockingbird Lane,” and 10-year-old Maci Drewry wandered by the auction like veteran socialites. It seems that Mason got involved in “bringing attention and awareness” to CF after meeting Tyler-native Maci at a CF fundraiser in L.A. last year. When the young TV star was asked his relationship with Maci, he answered like a seasoned red-carpet pro: “We are just friends.”

Maci is an amazing lass. Seems that it was Maci who, two years ago, inspired Amy to get involved with CF.

Dallas Zoo Ambassador, alligator and Amy Simmons

Dallas Zoo Ambassador, alligator and Amy Simmons

Like many, Amy, Mason and Maci found their way to the far back of the reception where the Dallas Zoo

Gina Betts

Gina Betts

ambassadors had set up shop. What did the critters have to do with a CF benefit dinner? Event Chair Gina Betts knew how fond Amy is of wildlife and the Dallas Zoo and thought it would be fun.

Sid the two-and-half-year-old African penguin may have come a bit overdressed. It was business attire, not tuxedo. The reason for the zoo kids was due to Amy’s love of wildlife and the zoo. Gina arranged to have Dallas Zoo Vice President of Guest Experiences Sean Greene bring  Sid and her two buddies —a two-month-old Servil named Abeni, and a crocodile. Her/his handler admitted that no one was quite sure what sex the croc was.

As for Gina, there’s hardly anything left to her. While most resolve to go on diets following the holidays, Gina evidently had gotten a head start. How much has she lost? She didn’t know. Doesn’t believe in scales. She just knows that she feels better.

Dallas Symphony Orchestra League Debutante Underwriters

Dallas Symphony Orchestra League debutante portraits by James French

Dallas Symphony Orchestra League debutante portraits by James French

With James French portraits lining Brook Hollow Golf Club’s patio, the February 2nd Dallas Symphony Orchestra League debutante presentation underwriters leisurely chatted and checked out

Sarah and Mark Hardin and Sharon Barbee

Sarah and Mark Hardin and Sharon Barbee

the nearly 50 portraits. In countdown mode for the big, upcoming weekend of partying, the photographs of the debs in their gowns were the main source of conversation for the nearly 90 guests including Marena and Roger Gault, Sarah and Mark Hardin, DSOL President Sharon Barbee and Gala Chair Kay Weeks.

Following the reception, the guests adjourned to the Oak Room and a fabulous dinner of  BHGC’s signature salad (Mesclun greens, caramelized pecans, stilton cheese, dried cherries, Granny Smith apples, grape tomatoes with balsamic dressing), beef tenderloin slices with a red wine sauce, crispy seared sea bass with a beurre blanc sauce, potato gratin and asparagus bundles ties with a chive.

To top off the evening’s fare was the yummy favorite of the Brook Hollowites — chocolate soufflé.

Voice of Hope Sponsors Reception

Kathryn Warren and Lisa Troutt

Kathryn Warren and Lisa Troutt

Kenny Troutt was running late. Instead of helping wife Lisa host the sponsors of the Voice of Hope reception at their estate, he arrived just as everyone was heading for the door. But he had a good excuse — he had been in Kentucky and had flown home ASAP.

Not to worry. Wife Lisa has held so many events at their home that she’s on automatic pilot without a sign of even slight stress.

Had he been able to make it, Kenny would have heard about the 30th Anniversary Celebration on January 31 at Belo Mansion that is being chaired by Patti Flowers and Kathryn Warren. (Patti was MIA Thursday night, according to husband Tom Swiley, due to the ever-popular flu.).

The gals have arranged for a reception, dinner and a panel discussion featuring the 2013 “Voices” — former Park Cities Baptist Church pastor Dr. Jim Denison as the 2013 Voice of Faith; baseball’s Clayton Kershaw as the 2013 Voice of Service; and Amelia Earhart Learning Center Principal Andrea Nelson as the 2013 Voice of Education.  Moderating the conversation will be Ray Nixon.

Ray Nixon, Mike Doramus, Andrea Nelson and Jim Denison

Ray Nixon, Mike Doramus, Andrea Nelson and Jim Denison

Voice of Hope Chairman of the Board Mike Doramus explained how the group has after-school programs for impoverished kids and has partnered up with the North Texas Food Bank. Presently VoH helps 300 kids, but plans call for it to serve 1,000 in five years. He added that, thanks to a grant from the Crystal Charity Ball, VoH will be able to help two additional schools.

Robert Rowling

Robert Rowling

Honorary Co-chair Robert Rowling, who has been involved with VoH for 15 years, had a more long-range view on VoH. Not only does he appreciate what VoH does for kids who need help now, but he added that the country’s future depends on these children succeeding. By becoming productive, he said, they’ll become taxpayers and contribute to society. Robert admitted that it’s tough, though, because 85% of black youth have no father in their lives. That’s where heroes like VoH President/CEO Ed Franklin come in. They give their lives every day to help. . . “Those are the heroes, not those of us who write checks,” Robert said. “It’s easy to write a check.”

Among the Kennedy Clan In Town Today Were Christopher Lawford For Caron And Katherine Schwarzenegger For Life’s Lessons

To old timers and newcomers, it’s gratifying to see a number of the Kennedy clan in Dallas nowadays. Rory Kennedy and her brother Robert Kennedy Jr. were here with Charlie Rose about 10 days ago. Anthony Shriver has been a frequent visitor thanks to this involvement with Jan Miller‘s and Jeff Rich‘s Best Buddies.

Now, tonight, while the rest of the country is celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day and the second  inauguration of President Barack Obama, at least two members of the Kennedy family are promoting causes in Dallas.

First on the scene was Christopher Lawford, who resembles his famous pop, the late Peter Lawford, beautifully. He was in town to promote his book. There’s a book signing at 7 p.m. Tuesday night at the Barnes & Noble across from NorthPark. Proceeds of the book go to the Caron operation, but let’s move on to what the ladies on the circuit were chatting about. Yes, Christopher‘s godfather was Frank Sinatra.  learned to twist from Marilyn Monroe. And, yes, his dad Peter was an original member of the Rat Pack. That was the 20th century’s version of George Clooney‘s “Ocean’s Eleven” crowd. According to Robin Bagwell, who attended a dinner with Christopher Sunday night, when Christopher turned 21, his dad introduced him to the Playboy Club and cocaine. No wonder Christopher has first-hand knowledge of the need for recovery.

During his stay in Dallas, he met with higher-up types and schoolchildren, as well as TV types.

Forty FIve Ten

Forty Five Ten

On the other hand, Christopher’s cousin’s (Maria Shriver Schwarzenegger) daughter Katherine Schwarzenegger was in town for the Elisa Project‘s Life’s Lesson Luncheon Tuesday at the Omni

Dallas Hotel. Organizers arranged for a very private patron party Monday night at Forty Five Ten.

Elizabeth Showers

Elizabeth Showers

First on the scene was Elizabeth Showers, who is the honoree of the luncheon. The blonde jeweler designer admitted that she was a bit baffled by her being selected. Time and time again, Elizabeth said how she really didn’t do anything extraordinary. She simply talked about the mission and possibilities provided by the Elisa Project. It just came naturally to her.

Elisa Project board member Jan Osborn assured Elizabeth that the entire selection committee was “thrilled” about her being selected.

Speaking of Jan, she had quite an “ouchy” during the holidays. Seems Jan broke rule #3 in the kitchen. She picked up the handle of a pan without a potholder. Next thing you know, Jan had passed out with a burned hand. With a nice, new manicure, she confessed that her greatest question facing her was, “Could I pick up a tennis racquet?”

Anne Besser, Rhonda Sargent Chambers, Jan Osborn

Anne Besser, Rhonda Sargent Chambers, Jan Osborn

Looking across the room, Jan spotted Elisa Project President Anne Besser in a black leather princess cocktail dress that fit to a T. Anne’s reason for this outfit? She wanted to be hip on this occasion.

Tanya Foster, who handles the pr for the Elisa Project, was wearing her big hair look. Seems she’s taking off immediately after the luncheon for the Sundance Film Festival. For those occasions when she needs a hair-do to last more than one event, she goes “big hair.”

While on the hairy situation, First Lady Michelle Obama‘s new bangs were a topic topper. Rhonda Sargent Chambers, Jan and others were swearing on the benefits of the banged-up look. As one person put it, “Bangs are cheaper than botox but don’t last as long.”

Right on time, Katherine appeared looking dang great. It seems that she had the opportunity to attend the Washington inaugural festivities but opted to fulfill her commitment to the Elisa Project. That’s how strongly she feels about the organization

Word was being passed around the crowd that another Kennedy type was in town. A Schlossberg, but who’s counting?

UPDATE: Both Katherine and Christopher will be on “Good Morning Texas” Tuesday.

Thursday Round Robin: Cattle Baron’s Reveal And Junior League Of Dallas Sponsors Party

In the olden days of yore, there was this claim that the Cattle Baron’s gals were the ones that the boys wanted to go out with, and the Junior League ladies were the ones that the boys’ mothers wanted to bring home. Thursday night proved how silly that old theory was — the boys and their mothers love all these ladies.

Cattle Baron’s Ball Reveal Party

At the Cattle Baron’s Ball  “Reveal” party, where the main stage entertainment was to be announced, the mix was pretty in western cocktail attire and country club finery. Exactly what are those two? Well, western is any fashion that’s cool and yet hot, accessorized in some form or fashion with something that would look right at home at the Fat Stock Show. Examples? Shorty silk shirts with cowboy boots; black leather pants topped with plate-size belt buckles; and down-to-the shoulder hair joined by chandelier-like earrings, like Reveal Party Co-chair Kristi Bare and Susan Amassyali sported courtesy of Richard Eiseman.

Urek Reznik, Susan Amassyali, Kristi and Jody Bare

Urek Reznik, Susan Amassyali, Kristi and Jody Bare

As for the country clubby look, there was a reason. Course, the invitation had suggested western, but some of the gals like Isabell Novakov were two-timing events    Thursday night. They had to split their time with the Junior League sponsors partiers in Highland Park. But more about that later.

Mary Gill, Deborah Ferguson and Brooke Shelby

Mary Gill, Deborah Ferguson and Brooke Shelby

Due to KXAS’s Deborah Ferguson‘s early-morning call to duties, the decision was made to announce the entertainment just 45 minutes into the party. Organizers didn’t think that would be a problem. After all, the party started at 7 and they predicted that most of the 160 guests would be on hand for the announcement.

Mike McGuire, Brooke Shelby, Mary Gill and Deborah Ferguson

Mike McGuire, Brooke Shelby, Mary Gill and Deborah Ferguson

With three big old screens in the background, Deborah called the group to attention. There were a couple of side-eyed glances exchanged when Deborah asked how many were at the 2012 ball and how it was so memorable. Was she going to talk about the downpour? Heck no. She recalled how great Blake Shelton was and Larry Hagman‘s memorable presence. Nicely done, Deborah.

Next up was Andrews Distributing’s Mike McGuire, who was the gracious host adding the company’s support for Cattle Baron’s. Deborah then introduced 2013 CBB Co-chairs Mary Gill and “Shelby Brooke.” Oops! As Mary and her partner giggled their way up to the stage, Deborah realized her name swap and quickly recovered with “I meant Brooke Shelby.” Hey, Deobrah, no need for apologies. We’ve all done that and Shelby. . . uh, Brooke …  is right at home with that name call.

Besides, the evening was not about what the co-chairs’s names were. It was the entertainment, and the twosome knew it. So they made their words brief and handed the mic back to Deborah, who let Mike announce the headlining entertainers: Rascal Flatts.

 Mike McGuire, Deborah Ferguson and Mary Gill

Mike McGuire, Deborah Ferguson and Mary Gill

Whoopee! With the trio’s music playing in the background, the news was greeted with cheers, smiles and hugs as cameras flashed at the good news.

Then they went back to partying and growing in numbers as new guests kept coming and coming and coming. Vicki Chapman was talking with Eddie Deen, who reported that he was busy, as his staff served up delicious vittles. The poor servers hardly made it through the doors before guests emptied the serving platters. One guest licked his fingers to get the last taste of a bacon wrap. As he smacked in delight, he told friends, “Simply bacon-licious.” . . . Mark Briedenbach had the night off from his fire-fighting duties.

Alex Laurenzi and Elizabeth Tripplehorn Laurenzi and Aaron Shelby

Alex Laurenzi and Elizabeth Tripplehorn Laurenzi and Aaron Shelby

Seems that thanks to space heaters, errant cigarettes and other problems, fires have been sprouting all over with only the major ones making the news. Wife Gillian with turquoise earrings had attended the Dallas Regional Commerce luncheon earlier in the day with the likes of Carol Reed and Holly Reed (no, they’re not related). . . Lisa and Bill Ogle arrived post-announcement. . . Brunette Natalie McGuire looked sleek in all black, while blonde Elizabeth Tripplehorn Laurenzi went the all-white route. . . Simona Beal didn’t want to suffer a possible evening’s chill. Her solution? An exquisite chinchilla stole. . . Cate Ford reported how instead of heading to the Big Apple for the holidays, as planned, the family headed in the other direction to California. Why? Seems her munchkins were sick and she needed “to dry them out.”

While the CBB-ers were celebrating their good fortune in landing Rascal Flatts, the folks in Sioux City, Iowa; Tulsa, Oklahoma; and Wichita, Kansas, weren’t so happy. Seems that lead singer Gary LeVox‘s bout with the flu had forced the trio to cancel their upcoming weekend concerts.

Let’s keep the boys healthy come Saturday, October 5, when the 40th Cattle Baron’s Ball will raise money for the battle against cancer.

Bit of trivia to impress your friends: Rascal Flatts is on the celebrity board of the American Cancer Society.

Junior League of Dallas Sponsors Cocktail Soiree

While the gals in western duds were hoisting longnecks in the party room at Andrews Distributing, the Junior Leaguers were in their most elegant cocktail attire at Amy and Malone Mitchell‘s mansion. Oh, sure, you know that “bungalow.” It’s the wowsie Tudor-style palace that has been the main topic of residential chattering for a couple of years. Shoot! The lot alone had a history before the Mitchells ever broke ground.

Quick history lesson: Decades ago the lot between Turtle Creek and St. Johns Drive had had a home, where a couple lived. Seems a fire broke out, the residents died and the house burned to the ground. Eventually Norma and Lamar Hunt bought the property with plans to build a home there. Alas, no building took place. Many, even locals, thought the area was a park. Well, that idea was quickly dashed when a “For Sale” sign went up. That’s when the Mitchells bought it and started developing it and creating a lot of talk. There were the stained-glass windows, the underground “whatever.”

After years of building, the Mitchells moved in last August. While they’ve hosted five private parties, this evening’s was the first for a nonprofit. How did the Junior League of Dallas luck out being the first out of the gate? Answer: Mitchell daughter Allie Jacobs, who also happens to be a Junior Leaguer.

But it was only right. After all, the February 23rd “Joie de Vivre” at the Hilton Anatole has all the elements of being spectacular, so it was only natural to celebrate their sponsors in a 20,000-plus-square foot mansion. As JLD President Aimee Griffins and Ball Chair Bunny Cotten took turns with mic in hand thanking and describing the upcoming fundraiser, they kept their words short because they knew that everyone wanted to wander the mega-residence. But they let it be known that they were nearing their goal of ball attendees. However, both gals were quick to add that they were more than glad to go over that number.

Folks, this house has so many nooks and crannies that someone needs to come up with an app for guests to use to find their way around the place. There’s the gargantuan great hall with its surrounding balcony, the dining room next to the formal living room with grand piano, the open country kitchen with family room, the butler’s pantry, the pool overlooking Turtle Creek, etc. Ah, but none of this is really out of the ordinary for the typical Dallas estate.

Virtual golf simulator and billiard table

Virtual golf simulator and billiard table

And yet, there is the basement. Oh, perhaps in this case, it should be called the lower level escape. Male guests who had donned coat and tie probably had envied their CBB counterparts who were whooping and hollering over at Andrews. But once they discovered the subterranean playground with brick walls and floors, they were just loving it with the bowling alley, the billiard table, the virtual golf simulator, the arcade game, etc.

Bowling alley

Bowling alley

While the men stripped off their jackets to try their hands at the games, the gals toured the full-service spa with massage table, sauna, lockers and a jacuzzi hot tub big enough for the JLD ball.

In case of tornado or nuclear attack, this is the place to be.

Nikki Webb, Cachet Weinberg, Bunny Cotten, Lisa Bhatttacharya and Aimee Griffiths

Nikki Webb, Cachet Weinberg, Bunny Cotten, Lisa Bhatttacharya and Aimee Griffiths

Alas, it’s doubtful that JLD Ball Honorary Chair Caren Prothro ever made it that far. She never got past the great room because she was constantly surrounded by guests like Robin Robinson,

Lara Tafel

Lara Tafel

Lara and Bob Tafel, Nikki and Crayton Webb, Cachet Weinberg, Angela and Doug Nash, Lisa Bhattacharya, Caroline Kohl, Ronnie Berg, Lydia Novakov, Kristina Whitcomb, Christie Carter and Chazz Fritz.

Angela Nash

Angela Nash

Aimee admitted that her black dress was going to get a workout this week. In addition to the JLD sponsors party, she was going to wear it Friday night when The Catholic Foundation honored her dad Bob Baillargeon with The Catholic Foundation Award.

Speaking of dresses, Bunny has already got that item checked off her must-do-list for the ball thanks to Dallas designer Nicolas Villalba. Knowing Bunny and Nicolas, this creation will be a must-see-to-believe that night.

Bunny Cotten, Tripp Jacobs and Allie Jacobs

Bunny Cotten, Tripp Jacobs and Allie Jacobs

Alas, the only thing missing in the evening were the homeowners. Amy was upstairs babysitting grandson Tripp Jacobs. However, the young gent did make an appearance in the arms of his mother Allie. When Bunny was asked to be photographed with Allie and Tripp, Bunny didn’t hesitate, tossing aside the old W.C. Fields line about never working with animals or children.

Like was said earlier, that old theory about Cattle Baronesses and Junior Leaguers is just another urban myth. Both groups are the kind of gals that beaus and moms would love to have in their lives. If you have any doubts, just ask any nonprofit.

November 7 Round Robin: Communities Foundation of Texas, Texas Women for Arts, Ronald McDonald Trains & Art Of Film

From learning about the opportunities in the non-profit sector to just having a jolly good time, the charitable types were buzzing around town.

Communities Foundation Of Texas

Rev. Katherine Lyle, Brent Christopher and State Sen. Florence Shapiro

Leave it to Communities Foundation of Texas to make education fun. Brent Christopher and his staff had a winning combination of cocktails and a controversial chef cooking up food for thought. The “chef” in this case was author Dan Pallotta, who wrote “Uncharitable” and “Charity Case.”

Dan Pallotta

Don’t go ho-humming. Such folks as Kenneth Craighead, Patrick Esquerre, State Sen. Florence Shapiro and Susan Ragland were johnny-on-the-spot for this one.

And rightly so. According to Danny, we’re taught all the wrong things about charity and giving. The stress is placed on keep fundraising costs low, but that sometimes means the group can’t grow, because it doesn’t spend on advertising, for example, or pay its executives enough. Doing more with less can be like drawing blood from a stone. Plus, to keep the costs low, groups can do all sorts of accounting tricks. He is most interested in how you solve problems; what does it take to actually solve these problems? He tries to point out what it would take. Dan thinks it’s not necessarily smart for charities to “act more like a business.”

Ouch! That’s not the norm in the world of charitable giving and fundraising. But it is food for thought.

Art of Film Patron Party

Tara Lewis

Katy and Lawrence Bock may have been hosting a preview of the new Bond movie, “Skyfall,” over at Highland Park Village, but Dallas Film Society devotees were at Tara Lewis‘s and John Sword‘s home for The Art of the Film patron party. Tara had to singlehandedly host the party because John was out of town.

Despite Honorary Chair Ruth O’Donnell Mutch being unable to attend, Event Co-chairs Jennifer Houser and Mersina Stubbs were front and center when DFS Artistic Director James Faust took his place on the stairway.

Jennifer Houser and Mersina Stubbs

Jennifer Houser and Mersina Stubbs

James Faust

James warned all not to be surprised at the evening including a chat between actor/former Batman Val Kilmer and film expert Elvis Mitchell. Encouraging sponsorships, James added, “Depending on how much money you give, I will personally drag Val Kilmer to your table.”

After the announcements were made, James updated his plans on his pending marriage. It’ll be September 2013. Why wait so long? She wants an outdoor wedding and he’s got a film festival to take care of. That was the best time that fit both of their needs.

Dallas Film Society Chairman of the Board Lynn McBee, clad in a nifty black Bill Blass sweater coat over black leggings with a YSL belt and shoes, reported that husband Allan was over at the “Skyfall” showing. . .  Author Harry Hunsicker said his latest thriller, “The Contractor,” would be out next fall. It had been on the market for a couple of years.

Texas Women for Arts

Dianne DeVeny and Sandra Gilliland

Still another opportunity to learn with a touch of class and fashion was happening over at the Dallas Country Club. Showcasing Highland Park Village’s newest kid on the couture block was Akris.

GM Dianne DeVeny had a whole bunch of models in Akris fashions strutting the ultra-private runway for Texas Women for the Arts.

Mary Chambers Jones, Lori Jones and Patsy Donosky

TWA’s Patsy Donosky explained that TWA is an organization that works with the Texas Cultural Trust and the Texas Commission for the Arts. In fact, organization chairman Sandra Gillilandhad flown in just for the evening.

DeeDee Lee, Sheryl Barnett, Janie Condon and Muffin Lemak

Among the 70 fashionable and well-heeled set were Muffin Lemak, DeeDee Lee, Claire Emanuelson, Janie Condon, Sheryl Barnett, Capera Ryan, Lucretia Wagoner and Lori Jones with youngest recruit Mary Chambers Jones.

The biggest problem facing organizers was getting the gals from the cocktail reception into the ballroom for the fashion parade.

Luckily, all complied. But what else would one do when Patsy says, “March”?

The Trains at NorthPark Patron Party

Jeremy and Cate Ford

Patrons of The Trains at NorthPark benefiting the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas were treated to red roses and candles in quite a setting — Cate and Jeremy Ford‘s Park Cities mansion. It seemed extra special since it was the 25th anniversary of the little choo-choos that have delighted thousands and thousands each holiday season.

Randy and Alan Engstrom and Alan Raynor

To truly commemorate the occasion, Alan Engstrom and husband Randy and Debbie Raynor with husband Alan, who co-chaired the first Trains, were drafted into being honorary chairs this year.

Norm Bagwell

And speaking of longterm relationships, Norm Bagwell recalled how his involvement could be traced to the 1990’s when he was at Bank One. When he moved over to the Bank of Texas, he took the sponsorship with him.

This year’s new addition to the Trains, which get rolling Saturday, is the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge to the Dallas skyline.

November 1 Round Robin: Crystal Charity Ball Underwriters, Graeme Jenkins Farewell, Flora Awards And Art + Advocacy

Halloween costumes and decoration were old hat last Thursday, and the fundraisers were back in full gear from the Park Cities to Fair Park and from the F.I.G. to the Winspear.

Crystal Charity Ball Underwriters Party

Old timers were eager to see the used-to-be Jimmy and Carl Westcott‘s mansion of red-brick tradition that had been transformed to a cool estate of the very cool. Since Tracy and Richard Cheatham purchased the 12,957-square-foot home-sweet-home, it had gone through a very dramatic transition from classic to ultra contemporary. Let’s think moving from Burberry to Giorgio Armani.

Lucky were the Crystal Charity Ball underwriters. For they got the opportunity to see the mansion at its grandest, with beautiful weather and diamonds galore. No, the diamonds weren’t part of the digs.

Jim and Julie Turner, Aileen Pratt and Stacy and David Blank

As if the diamonds on the guests weren’t dazzling enough, David “The Diamond Doctor” Blank and his wife Stacy arranged to have a dozen freeze-framed, tall-drinks-of-water models decked out in their rings, bracelets, necklaces and earrings. And these weren’t just big diamonds. These were beautifully designed pieces of gem artwork.

Diamond Dollies

The first hint of the glitter was on the wrist of CCB Chair Aileen Pratt. Yes, the ring was hers thanks to husband Jack, but the scrumptious, 13-karat diamond bracelet was courtesy of Diamond Doctor David for the evening. Alas, Aileen had to return it at the end of the evening because it will be one of the items up for grabs at the CCB auction..

Dallas Opera

Don Winspear, Stacie Whitley and Graeme Jenkins*

There were some real surprises at the Winspear Opera House as 175 people showed up for the Dallas Opera’s “Toast to Graeme Jenkins.” Organized by the opera’s Women’s Board, the reception event marked Jenkins’ 20 years as a conductor and music director of The Dallas Opera—and his decision to retire as director when his contract expires at the end of the 2012-13 season. Jenkins cited an expanding schedule with European opera companies for his decision to step down.

Just before event chair Stacie Whitley welcomed the crowd at the Winspear, a flash mob “spontaneously” broke out in the room. Thirty-five or 40 members of the Dallas Opera Chorus put down their drinks and hors d’oeuvres and broke suddenly into a rendition of the va pensioro chorus from Giuseppe Verdi’s “Nabucco” opera. Later, DO Concertmeister Jing Wang played the “Meditation” from Jules Massenet’s “Thais” opera, accompanied by Michael Heaston on piano.

Leading the guests in a literal “toast” to Jenkins, Don Winspear, chairman of the DO board of directors, praised the London-born maestro’s brilliance and versatility. And Keith Cerny, the DO’s general director and CEO, said he’s been especially proud of Jenkins’ work on the operas “Boris Gudunov” and “Tristan und Isolde.”

During the reception, Cerny said discussions are continuing to bring Jenkins back to Dallas on occasion as a guest conductor. Winspear, meantime, said that a search for Jenkins’ successor is “ongoing,” and that he is “very excited and encouraged by the candidates interested in the position.” He added that he hopes a replacement can be named by early next year.

Flora Awards (Check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery for more photos)

Waverly Smith and Marilyn Waisanen

The Texas Discovery Gardens had never looked more elegant.Thanks to Flora Award Co-chairs Waverly Smith and Marilyn Waisanen, it had to be. After all, Barbara Hunt Crow was the recipient of the annual award that recognizes “outstanding Americans, who have demonstrated their commitment to community involvement, education and advancement of the environment and quality of life.”

The cocktail reception looked like central casting had assembled the overflow crowd of black-tie types including  Libby Allred in tomato

Mary Anne Cree

red low-cut gown with exquisite ruby and diamond necklace, Ebby Halliday Acers holding her “elephant” handbag, Penny Rivenbark with her Judith Leiber butterfly purse and turquoise floral gown, Sue and Phil John, Sue Smith sans husband Bob (he was in Las Vegas), Cindy and Andy Clendenen with daughter Caroline Fung, Fred and Jan Hegi, Mary Ann wearing a butterfly pin (you do know that the Rosine Smith Sammons Butterfly House and Insectarium is named after her late mother, don’t you?) and Richard Cree, Wendy and Michael Jenkins and Betty and John Crawford and loads of Hunt relatives (Herbert and Nancy Hunt, Caroline Rose Hunt, Lyda Hill and Libby Hunt).

Dinner time

Or perhaps it was the exquisite Grand Hall all decked out with glorious table settings from Posh Couture and the Steve Bayless Orchestra playing just the right tunes. And, of course, a simple daisy in a glass vase wouldn’t do on this night. Nope. Floral designer extraordinaire Junior Villanueva literally “rose” to the occasion providing the best for scents and sights.

As for the feast, Jim Lee Events served up

  • First Course — Mediterranean salad “Martini” accented with a grilled shrimp “Martini Pik”
  • The amuse — Rose petal and passion-fruit sorbet “spoon”
  • Second course — Pecan wood smoked beef tenderloin served with 3-peppercorn demi-glace, timbale of champagne risotto with Parmesan crust and brandied lobster cream, French green bean “bundle” with caramelized lemon glaze and artisan breads with custom butter
  • The dessert —Amaretto Godiva molten lava cake with cointreau-infused berries

Art + Advocacy

Lynn Davis, Laura Green and Jordan Roth*

Lynn M. Davis, president and CEO of the Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center, said he was very pleased.

Before the 6th Annual Art + Advocacy Auction Party had even begun, the fundraiser had raked in $400,000 for the advocacy center, without selling a single piece of art.

That figure was already $25,000 more than was netted in total for the group at last year’s affair.

And, the 620 guests who turned out for the 2012 event at the Fashion Industry Gallery were determined to raise even more for the center, which serves about 2,000 local child-abuse victims and their families each year.

Chuck and Lindsay Jacaman*

The guests proceeded to do so by bidding in live and silent auctions on works of art by new and established artists, as well as art created by child-abuse victims in DCAC’s art therapy program.

Among the offered works—all of them donated–were oils, pencil drawings, photographs and mixed-media creations from galleries including Barry Whistler, Holly Johnson and Craighead Green.

Helping set the party mood at the F.I.G.—honorary co-chair John Sughrue donated the trendy space—were DJ Lucy Wrubel; Andrews Distributing; and caterer Wendy Krispin.

Patricia Meadows*

Event chairs Lindsay and Chuck Jacaman served as event chairs, while Patricia B. Meadows was the honorary art chair.

The day of the auction party, Davis disclosed, an anonymous donor came forward with $25,000.

During the evening’s Call for Cash this donor matched an additional $25,000—and then offered an additional $50,000 if the noisy crowd would pipe down so the auction could proceed.

Thanks to his and others’ generosity, the final net for the children’s advocacy center was more than $500,000. Now that was a pretty picture.

* Photo credit: Glenn Hunter

October 25 Round Robin: VNA Lunch, Signature Chefs Auction, Senior Source Underwriters And Rock The Red Door

Thursday, October 26, was the loneliest night of the year at MySweetCharity International headquarters. No one was there. All elves, including interns and retirees, were dispensed to every ZIP code around to cover the countless events for nonprofits on this night. We are pleased to report that all elves eventually made it back, but they’re demanding that Red Bull on the go be provided in the future and Botox treatments be made available.

VNA’s Real Cooking with Kevin Gillespie

Kevin Gillespie

While some guests toured the Meal on Wheels Kitchen at the Visiting Nurse Association Patrick and Beatrice Haggerty Center before noon, others stood in line. No, not for food. Rather, it was to have their copy, or rather copies, of “Fire in My Belly” by the chef/author Kevin Gillespie. Followers of Bravo’s “Top Chef” were prepared for the tattoo-decorated arms of the chef/author. Others couldn’t help their eyes making a first stop at the wild boar and copperhead snake tats. But as soon as they got past the decorative arms, they eye-locked with the young Southern chef who was the show’s fan fav.

But he wasn’t at the VNA Center to just sign autographs. Kevin was the centerpiece of a luncheon benefiting the VNA’s Meals on Wheels. Why, he was even going to demonstrate one of his recipes complete with overhead mirror, so all could see the step-by-step procedures.

Fanchon and Howard Hallam

After Luncheon Chair Sara Fraser Crismon welcomed one and all including her sis Beth Enloe, brother-in-law Ted Enloe, niece Rebecca Fletcher, Honorary Chair Caren Prothro, Lyda Hill, Fanchon and Howard Hallam, Patsy Donosky, Billie Leigh Rippey, Lottye Brodsky and Suzanne McGee, it was time for the cooking lesson for the 160 guests.

And what did he cook up? Buttermilk biscuits. Oh. . . really? What’s so tricky about making biscuits? Obviously, some folks had never tried their hand only to fail, or had never had a truly memorable biscuit. Within a half hour, Kevin with his boyish charm wove tales of his life in with tricks of the trade in biscuit making, resulting in a dying desire for one of the buttery confections. For instance?

Making biscuits:

  • Use disposable gloves when working with the ingredients.
  • Always use the coldest butter and buttermilk possible.
  • Don’t chop up your butter. Grate the butter with a cheese grater. That’s why it helps to have cold bars of butter.
  • Use real, unsalted butter.
  • Beat your dough flat with your hands. In addition to prepping the dough, it helps you work out the frustrations of the day.
  • When punching the biscuit out, most people put the cutter into the dough and twist. Do NOT twist. Rather, dunk your biscuit cutter in flour and push it straight down into the dough. That’s it. You cut all of your biscuits, then pull the loose dough away leaving the cut-out biscuits. “By twisting it, what you do is you’re actually forcing the outside to close up. If you push straight down, you leave holes behind and those holes allow the air to escape and allow it to rise. If you twist the cutter, it’s like sealing it up. It’s like making a pretzel.” A manicured eyebrow salute was seen throughout the crowd.

Learning how to make biscuits

Shoot, after watching and listening to Kevin, all anyone wanted was a light, buttery biscuit. And what was the first thing to emerge from the kitchen? Platters stacked with biscuits followed by a full luncheon.

Ah, those VNA folks know how to tantalize and fulfill. They should. They provide over one million meals every year to seniors in Dallas.

15th Anniversary Signature Chefs Auction

Kent Rathbun chef hugs

The day truly proved that Dallasites love to eat. However, hardly a chef was to be found that evening. It seemed like they were all down at the Omni Dallas thanks to Lead Chef Kent Rathbun. He had rounded up chefs Scott Gottlich (Bijoux), Eric Brandt (Bistro 31), Jeff Harris (Bolsa), Richard Chamberlain (Chamberlain’s Steak & Chop House and Chamberlain’s Fishmarket Grill), Mike Sindoni (Charlie Palmer at the Joule), David Holben (Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House), Abraham Salum (Salum and Komali), Kevin Garvin and Anita Hirsch (Neiman Marcus restaurants), Samir Dhurandhar (Nick and Sam’s Steakhouse), Dwight Harvey (Off the Bone Barbeque), Cameron Handler (Pyramid Restaurant & Bar), Bruno Davaillion (Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek), Joel Harloff (The Second Floor Bistro & Bar), Anthony Van Camp (SET Steak + Spirits), Jim Severson with wife Amy at his side (Sevy’s Grill), Shuji Sugawara (Shinsei Restaurant), Stephan Pyles (Stephan Pyles Concepts), Gilbert Garza (Suze Restaurant), Jason Weaver (Texas Spice), Marcelo Vazquez (T/X Restaurant) and Tre Wilcox (Village Marquee Grill and Bar). Some of these chefs have supported Kent from the beginning and deserved a group hug.

March of Dimes lounge

This was the first time that the huge fundraising eat-athon for the March of Dimes had taken place at the Omni and it really was rather spectacular for the 850 guests including Barbara Daseke soloing it, Mark Edgar talking politics, Kathleen and Robert Gibson checking out the various stations and Nancy Gopez sans camera. From an elegant lounge with oh-so comfy couches to dramatic lighting, the mega-room seemed like a dazzling spectacle of sights, sounds and “smells.”

Kent Rathbun and Max Rathbun

While Stephan Pyles himself had to bow out due to “something about opening a new restaurant,” Kent was pleased that his brother Kevin had joined him in preparing venison meatball carbonara. Of course, Kent’s son Max was on the scene better looking than ever.

But it wasn’t all chefs cooking and guests eating. The exercise of the night was auctioneering with Louis Murad and his posse ramrodding the unique live auction. Oh, and what packages they were and what they went for. Why, Kent’s “Taste of the Derby,” which included five days and four night at the Hyatt Place Louisville East Hotel for the Kentucky Derby, transportation via private aircraft catered by Kent, a reserved box at the Derby plus great food, went for a record-breaking amount of $62,500 — “the highest winning live auction bid” in the event’s history.

Then there was the Fund the Mission in which guests raised bid cards at various levels of financial support ranging from $100 to $10,000. This one brought in $129,000.

Before the night was over and the aroma had cleared from the ballroom, Event Chairs Diane Brierley, Shannon Brame, Anita Braun and Dean McSherry had raised $610,000.

One can only imagine what Kent, 2012 Event Chairs Tracy and Jay Bell and Drs. Lisa and David Genecov are planning for “sweet 16,” when the Signature Chefs will return to the Omni on Saturday , October 24, to cook, auction and raise more money for the March of Dimes 75th anniversary celebration.

The Senior Source’s Spirit of Generations Underwriters’ Party

Nancy Carter, T. Boone Pickens and Anne Motsenbocker

T. Boone Pickens is busier nowadays than a presidential candidate. But unlike the types looking for votes of approval, Boone is being swamped with honors. But this one is really special. On Monday, November 19, he’ll be honored at The  Senior Source‘s Spirit of Generations Awards Luncheon.

Jorge Calderón and Emilynn Wilson

To get things rolling the luncheon’s underwriter party sponsored by Capital One Bank was held at Debbie Oates‘s marvelous Preston Hollow home. Oh, so perfect for any occasion except when all the guests want to stay in the entry. That was the problem. But who was complaining when Luncheon Chair Extraordinaire Nancy Carter all in red is at the front door making “gracious” seem easy or mixing it up with Christie Carter fresh from producing the Crystal Charity Ball’s Circle of Angels dinner, Lee Ann and Alan White on their way to a dinner engagement and luncheon underwriting chair Emilynn and Claude Wilson promising the final results from the Kidney Texas luncheon.

Attitudes & Attire Announcement

Lyn Berman, Michael Faircloth and Dr. Sandra Chapman*

Dr. Sandra Chapman was indeed a busy girl this week. In addition to running the Center for BrainHealth, Tuesday she oversaw the Legacy Dinner honoring Daryl Johnston and Lee Roy Jordan. But this evening the tables were turned on her at Maggiano’s at NorthPark Center by Attitudes and Attire Executive Director/Founder Lyn Berman. It was announced that “Sandi” would receive the Kim Dawson Award at the annual luncheon and fashion show at the Dallas TradeMart on Friday, March 1.

It was also revealed that Dallas designer Michael Faircloth would be the event’s honorary chair. Funds raised from the luncheon/show help the personal growth of women seeking self-sufficiency through traditional job training, positive self-image, appropriate workplace behavior and appearance.

Cancer Support Community Young Leadership Board’s Rock the Red Door

The last little elf turned in this report:

Halloween came early at House of Blues Thursday night. Over 350 party goers dressed as all things 80’s–from aerobics maniacs to glam rockers–attended the Cancer Support Community Young Leadership Board’s annual fundraiser, Rock the Red Door.

Chace Crawford and Meredith and Rand Wrighton*

Emcee Chace Crawford, Gossip Girl star — also Tony Romo‘s brother-in-law — spent the greater part of the evening graciously taking photos with guests. Stoli provided the evening’s signature drink named The Chaser after guess who… The always fun Spazmatics had the crowd of Don Johnsons and Madonnas, along with lots of leg-warmers and hair bows, dancing the night away!

Event chairmen, Meredith and Rand Wrighton, promised a “totally gnarly 8o’s Halloween bash complete with wicked tunes, righteous food and drinks and some sweet auction items” such as 2 tickets to The Late Show with David Letterman, 2 tickets to NYC Fashion Week  and Tony Romo signed memorabilia.”

They delivered! The party scheduled to end at eleven — after all, it was a week night — rocked on considerably later.

Sponsors for 2012 Rock the Red Door benefiting Cancer Support Community included Steve Brown, Dr. Bob and Jean Smith Foundation, Grant Thornton, Meredith and Rand Wrighton, SLALOM Consulting, Park Place Volvo and Starwood Motors.

* Photo provided by Attitudes and Attire
** Photo provided by Cancer Support Community

Wednesday Round Robin: Flora Patron Party, A.W.A.R.E. Shoe Sale And St. Philip’s Roasting Of Mayor Mike Rawlings

Last Wednesday was filled with activities benefiting everything from the Texas Discovery Gardens, A.W.A.R.E. to St. Philip’s School throughout Dallas.

TEXAS DISCOVERY GARDENS’ FLORA AWARDS PATRON PARTY

Libby and Al Allred, Barbara Hunt Crow, Herbert and Nancy Hunt

Sisters are definitely great. Especially when they’re Libby Hunt Allred and Barbara Hunt Crow. Because Barbara is being honored at the Flora Awards dinner on Thursday, November 1, at Texas Discovery Gardens, Libby and husband Al hosted a patron party Wednesday evening at their picture-perfect home.

Billie Leigh Rippey, John Marston, Elsie Dunklin and Sue John

The red-brick house with a marvelous collection of Boehm porcelains was perfect for the Discovery Garden supporters including Carol Seay, who is co-chairing “Illuminating New Perspectives” at the Dallas Country Club Tuesday, Sue John and Susan Lebowitz comparing notes on the recent 45th reunion of the Highland Park High School class of ’67, Elsie Dunklin in an appropriate floral shawl, Billie Leigh Rippey just back from Shreveport, where she was feted by old friends and plenty of Hunts (Libby’s and Barbara’s parents, Nancy and Herbert Hunt, big brother Doug Hunt, cousin Lyda Hill and aunt Caroline Rose Hunt).

EMY MACK TRUNK SHOE BENEFITS A.W.A.R.E.

While Bill Seanor had a great time at the family estate watching the family’s two afghans racing across the lawn, wife Karen was having a jolly good time inside with shoe lovers and A.W.A.R.E. supporters. The occasion was a trunk show of Emy Mack Shoes. The handmade Italian shoes were as varied as the group trying them on. Everything from booties with stud tips to python-print flats with buckles in all sizes filled the dining room and entry hall.

A.W.A.R.E. President Kay Hammond was beaming with the turnout, knowing that a portion of the sales would benefit A.W.A.R.E., thanks to hosts Emily Jamison and Carmaleta Whiteley.

Among the crowd shoe-perusing were designer Lynn Dealey, who is working on the April 5th A.W.A.R.E. luncheon logo featuring keynote speaker Larry Hagman, Sally Blanton preparing for another trip, and James Shackelford talking about Friday’s Burgers and Burgundy event for DIFFA at Anne and Steve Stodghill‘s new mansion.

ST. PHILIP’S SCHOOL AND COMMUNITY CENTER ROAST OF MAYOR MIKE RAWLINGS*

Meanwhile, over at the Omni Dallas Hotel, more than 410 guests got a kick out of roasting Mayor Mike Rawlings at the 25th Annual Fall Event benefiting St. Philip’s School and Community Center.

Elaine Agather*

With Elaine Agather serving as emcee, Candace and Jim Krause serving as chairs, and country star Charley Pride and his wife, Rozene, as the evening’s honorary chairs, the roast titled “Schooling the Mayor” featured a parade of local luminaries who were eager to tweak Mike for a great cause.

There was City Council member Dwaine Caraway, for example, recalling that when Rawlings emerged on the Dallas mayoral scene, “He just popped up like a Pop Tart.” Then, Caraway said, “First thing he did, he blocked me out of the mayor pro tem. OK. I’m down with that.” But now they get along, the councilman said, noting that he and the mayor are both ex-football players: “I still do some blockin’ for him.”

Tom Karol of CIC Partners, where Rawlings was managing partner before becoming mayor, read a long funny poem about Mike that ended with: “There’s not every city that has their own ‘Mr. Big.’ ” (That was a reference to Rawlings’ physical resemblance to the TV character from “Sex and the City.”)

Mayor Mike Rawlings and Tom Dunning*

Businessman/former mayoral candidate Tom Dunning recalled vacationing one time with Rawlings and others in Greece, where Mike, “eager to show off his athletic ability,” agreed to try water-skiing, much to his eventual embarrassment: “The boat took off and yanked him right up—and yanked his pants right down! … Then, he just sunk!”

After the laughter died down, a hilarious video was shown featuring former Dallas Cowboys QB Roger Staubach. Among other bits, the video showed side-by-side comparisons of both Roger and Mike sporting moustaches, back in the day. Staubach claimed that his was the more “macho” of the two, by far.

Stephen Jones, Dwaine Caraway and Mayor Mike Rawlings*

Dallas Cowboys executive Stephen Jones came to the podium following the video, calling Rawlings, “nothing short of a jock-sniffer. But, we’ll forgive him for that.”

When the mayor took the stage at last, he had his revenge. He called Dunning “the most charismatically challenged individual I’ve ever known. It’s really sad.” Of Jones, he added: “To be a good sport, you have to learn how to lose. And this is the maestro … Come on, win a game!”

Dr. Terry Flowers*

Turning to St. Philip’s Headmaster Dr. Terry J. Flowers, Rawlings said, “I’m so honored to have been a scapegoat to help raise money for you.”

And, raise money did they did. In addition to all the event-sponsorship funds, Agather drew on-the-spot pledges of around $120,000 during the Sponsor-A-Child presentation.

* Photos and post by Glenn Hunter

 

Roberts S. Folsom Leadership Award Patron Party For Mike Boone Reaches New Heights At The Ritz-Carlton

Trevor and Jan Rees-Jones

Jan Rees-Jones teases that she and husband Trevor are like Lisa and Oliver on TV’s “Green Acres.” She’s a city gal and he loves the country life. That explains the twosome having a penthouse at the Ritz-Carlton and a land-line home in other parts of Dallas. But it was the Ritz residence with its two terraces overlooking downtown Dallas and toward Fort Worth, a mind-boggling collection of western art and furnishings that would send any interior decorator swooning, that was the place to be Tuesday night.

Rees-Jones western art

The only thing missing were jokes about lawyers. You know, how many does it take to . . .. That’s because Dallas’ finest legal eagles were filling the Rees-Jones nest in the sky for the Methodist Health System Foundation‘s Robert S. Folsom Leadership Award patron party. The reason for all the barristers and other influential types like Toni Brinker, Gerald Ford, Jim Francis, Sarah and

Mike Boone

Ross Perot Jr. is one of Dallas’ great attorneys — Mike Boone — will be presented the award on Tuesday, October 30, at the Hilton Anatole.

However, despite the splendor of the surroundings and the heady crowd, there was a certain tension in the room about staying close to the timeline. At 8 p.m., the second presidential debate was to take place. Jan laughed at the thought of guests feeling a need to scurry home to watch the debate. “We’ve got lots of TV’s here,” she said, indicating they could just settle back and watch it at the Rees-Jones place.

April Box Chamberlain

Methodist Health System Foundation President/CEO April Box Chamberlain looked like a homecoming queen when it was revealed that a record-breaking amount ($1.45M) had been raised for Mike’s designated group — Methodist’s neurology operations.

Host Trevor admitted that his relationship with Mike was not due only to their recent professional dealings [“I was very fortunately put in touch with Mike Boone. He doesn’t need a new client, but he has helped me in a way that’s beyond belief. … He must be the first cousin to the Energizer Bunny. … I don’t think he (even) has an assistant”], or their both being honored with the Folsom Award. Rather, Mike was the referee when Trevor played on a fifth-grade YMCA football team. Trevor smiled and said of Mike, “So, he must be really old.”

Fred Hegi

Another one who didn’t pull any punches in talking to the group about the honoree was dinner co-chair Fred Hegi, whose relationship with Mike started at SMU. “Mike and I go back a long time. Met 50 years ago at SMU. I was a green naïve freshman, and Boone was a hazing senior.”

Then, getting serious, Fred said what most already knew — Mike is the go-to guy for many non-profits with legal issues.

Marla Boone

With his wife Marla looking on, Mike then recognized Robert S. Folsom’s son, Steve, and kidded him that his dad had had the “longest eligibility” ever for NCAA football — seven or eight years.

Mike then told the group that Methodist System is so important to this area, especially for the Southern Sector. In touring the new trauma facility and talking to Dr. James Moody, he made the decision to direct the money raised from the evening to the neurological programs.

In keeping with the timeline, the talks were over promptly at 7:30, and the guests hit the elevator to make it home in time for the debate.

Rob Lowe’s Message At Celebrating Women Luncheon Proved Even More Powerful Than His Good Looks And Charm

One of the team putting on this year’s Celebrating Women smiled Thursday. Not only were they having the largest attendance ever (1,400+), they were predicted to break records in the money-raising arena for the 12-year-old fundraiser against breast cancer. She wondered aloud — “Is it because we’re having a male speaker? Or, is it because the speaker is Rob Lowe?” Really? The Lowe-mentum officially got underway Wednesday.

WEDNESDAY

The usually sedate street in front of Claire and Dwight Emanuelson‘s mansion was cordoned off into a one-way street. Just 15 minutes into the cocktail reception for the Celebrating Women patrons, it seemed like all 175 guests were Johnny-on-the-spot. Valets had lined the street and the adjoining ones with all types of luxury vehicles. It was obvious that no one was going to be late for this one, except perhaps the guest of honor. While a handful of guests (mostly men) stood in the marvelous backyard, the majority (mostly female) stayed inside to greet the star/author/breast cancer activist.

While waiting for him, stories and sightings were revealed regarding Rob and his jewelry-designing wife, Sheryl. Earlier in the day she’d lunched with the Lowes’ Santa Barbara neighbors Annette Simmons and Bea Wallace at the downtown Neiman’s Zodiac Room, following a personal appearance downstairs with her collection. The Sheryl Lowe Designs was slated to be at the downtown store until 2013, but since they were in town. . . why not? One of the categories is called “Maria,” after Sheryl’s good buddy Maria Shriver.

And guess who dropped by to join the gals for lunch. Yup! Mr. Blue Eyes.

A touch of trivia: While Rob is quite adorable — blue eyes fringed with legions of brown eyelashes — he’s also totally gray follicle-wise. Has been since he was 24.  Ah, shoot, who cares? Cary Grant, Anderson Cooper, George Clooney and so many painfully gorgeous men have gotten better and better looking as they grayed.

Emilynn and Claude Wilson, Melissa Macatee and Barbara Stuart

Barbara Stuart and dotter Melissa Macatee, who chaired the luncheon when the late Rue McClanahan spoke, were chatting with Emilynn and Claude Wilson. Seems Melissa’s 17-year-old son loves “Parks & Recreation” in which Rob has appeared. . . Mary Anne Cree, who was one of the recipients of this year’s Circle of Care Award, sat near Dan Busbee, and said she just hoped she wasn’t in the way as the crowds grew and grew in the living room, where the microphone was stationed. It was obvious from the placement of the mic that this was the most likely place to guarantee a look at Rob.

Jan Miller and Sheryl Lowe

Finally at 6:44, the guest of honor arrived in the doorway with his wife Sheryl and friend Jan Miller. At least it looked like he walked in. From the sudden explosion of people filling the entry hall, it was hard to see exactly what was going on. But then the smile and blue eyes appeared surrounded by a gaggle of very happy ladies.

Rob Lowe and Claire Emanuelson

As he slowly . . . very slowly made his way down a couple of steps to the living room, he was introduced to Baylor Health Care System President/CEO Joel Allison and Baylor Health Care System Foundation President Rowland “Robin” Robinson. Being the smart gentlemen they are, they immediately made sure that Rob met the right women — luncheon Co-chairs Pam Busbee and Pam Perella and Lindalyn Adams.

Pam Busbee, Rowland Robinson, Mary Anne Cree, Joel Allison and Pam Perella

As Joel pointed out, Lindalyn was the “visionary and soul and integrity of this luncheon. . . I said to her, ‘Let’s own October’ — and we have.”

But before the very short program had a chance to use the mic, Rob was led to the backyard by host Dwight through a gauntlet of guests, who just wanted a quick smartphone photo with him. Dwight wanted to show the Emanuelsons’ outdoor entertainment area to Rob. Looking around the pool, outdoor kitchen and game room, Rob was pretty well impressed with the surroundings.

Talking with some of the guys, Rob asked about the Cowboys chances. The feedback was unanimously not favorable.

Hillis Emanuelson, Rob Lowe and Michael Crow

Then out of nowhere came the Emanuelson son, Hillis. and his bud Michael Crow, with hockey sticks for a photo with Rob, who played a hockey player in “Youngblood.” On the way back to the main house, Rob told Dwight about his own sons. It seems that one of them was applying to Washington and Lee. Dwight looked startled. Did Rob know that Dwight not only graduated from W&L (he didn’t mention that he was a magna cum laude grad with a double major in economics and French), but he is also on the W&L board of trustees.

Then it was back to the house and the short program in which Joel told the group, “You know, (this luncheon) is getting like Six Flags. It just gets better and better each year.”

Then Robin admitted to the room overflowing with guests that he and Joel were pretty aware that the man of the hour was indeed Rob. All eyes didn’t turn to Rob. They were already focused on him. Then Robin added that Rob was here with his lovely wife, who had disappeared in the mob. Looking into the mass, Rob immediately found her and pointed her out.

Annette Simmons

Since the next day was full of activities, the Baylor folks kept the remarks short  and the program ended. Arriving just as the program ended were Annette and Harold Simmons, who took the Lowes to dinner at Cafe Pacific. The rest of the herd descended upon the NM buffet in the dining room.

THURSDAY

Never has a VIP reception had so many guests show up so early. The infatuation with Rob Lowe was now in its second day and it was showing no signs of dimming. Even the most sophisticated socialite made no excuses for wanting to meet him. His book signing at Jan Miller’s and Jeff Rich’s had confirmed Rob’s youthful good looks and genial personality were cosmic.

Quequeing up for a photo opportunity

At one end of the Wedgwood Room was a small stage for Joel, Robin and representatives from Plains Capital and Tom Thumb to speak. At the opposite end of the room was a backdrop for photos to be taken with Rob. It was four across and longer than the lineup for Santa at NorthPark.

Just as the speakers started to talk, Rob entered via the service entrance in the back of the room. Without a word said, eyes went from the stage to the back of the room, where he tried to blend in. No way. They ushered him to the foot of the stage.

As soon as the speaker finished, the photo session started. One veteran mumbled, “There’s no way they’re going to finish taking pictures of all these people. Maybe they should just do a group photo.” Ain’t no lens big enough.

But the Baylor team knows how to run a tidy ship, and the photo session ended with a couple of minutes to spare.

Quickly the group joined the rest of the 1,400 in the Chantilly Ballroom as the doors opened at 12:32 p.m. Eithin 11 minutes, the guests were in their chairs and the Pams were at the podium. Pam Busbee had been worried about the two teleprompters. Last year they had stopped, causing a bit of frustration for the speakers. This time Pam had a backup plan in hand. . .  literally.  She had vowed to write notes down on her hand. Smart gal.

Caren Prothro

After introducing Honorary Chair Caren Prothro, the Pams had Pat Smith, who lost her mother when Pat was 22, give the invocation. Of course, the beautiful wife of Emmitt Smith was not going to let this gathering of 1,400 potential voters go without a pitch for her husband in the “Dancing With The Stars” competition. Then she proceeded with the invocation.

Rowland “Robin” Robinson and Pat Smith

The Pams weren’t about to let guests just start chowing down on parsnip-apple soup en croute, panko crusted breast of chicken served with assorted fall greens, candied pecan goat cheese wafer and spicy cheese straw with sherry Dijon vinaigrette and a chocolate hazelnut cake with praline chocolate crunch. Nope, they asked guests to look at their programs, or rather the back of the program. The ones with a butterfly appliqué were the lucky ones who would receive a “Go Girl” ring designed by Dian Malouf.

While everyone ate and chatted, Rob opted just to chat. Smart fella. When your face is going to be on three mega screens, you don’t want to worry about the possibility of a stray piece of lettuce or something lodging among your ivories.

After lunch Joel announced that Baylor had been selected as not only the location of the newest Hope Lodge but also as the regional headquarters for the American Cancer Society. This remarkable announcement was greeted with applause. Baylor has indeed been busy this past month with the official naming of the Baylor T. Boone Pickens Cancer Center across from the Charles A. Sammons Cancer Center.

Mary Anne Cree, David Bratton and Heather Kreager

Speaking of the Sammons, Robin presented the Circle of Care Awards to Mary Anne and the Men and Women of Sammons Enterprises, Inc., represented by David Bratton and Heather Kreager.  For newbies, breast cancer survivor Mary Anne is the daughter of the late Charles Sammons, who was a truly remarkable man. Ironically, Mary Anne learned that she had cancer in the diagnosis suite that she and her husband dedicated in the name of his late wife, who died of breast cancer.

Then Robin shifted gears with a video on 25-year-old Crystal Griffith, who is going through treatments for breast cancer. Following a video on a very articulate Crystal, Robin seemed to tear up as she updated the audience that she had spoken with her the day before and she was facing still more treatments. Mary Ann claimed that her father would have teased her that just because you provided the funding for such an effort, you didn’t have to try it out.

Rob Lowe

Once again, Robin changed gears again and introduced Rob. During his 18-minute talk, he told how he had lost his great-grandmother, his grandmother and even his mother to breast cancer. His grandmother Peg Hepler, had been “a big influence in my life” He told how they would read Peter Rabbit and she would serve him a drop of Sanka in his milk, so it looked like they were having coffee together. “That dates me. I’m 100 years old. (Laughter) . . . Today I’m still a fan of Peter Rabbit but a bigger fan of caffeine. Grandma, Starbucks thanks you.” And yet when she was diagnosed with cancer in the 70’s, the whole family was scared because in those days it was “considered a death sentence.” Her example of how she handled the grueling treatments (a radical double mastectomy and countless rounds of chemo), inspired him to take on the battle of creating awareness of the disease.  “She and her doctors were early warriors in the cause that brings us together today,” he said.

In honor of Peggy, Rob became the first male spokesperson for the National Breast Cancer Awareness Day in 2001. In one single day $7.5M was raised for the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

Rob Lowe

But he was frustrated in trying to get the word out about the importance of getting mammograms. He thought the message was “a no brainer.” He wondered if the message was really needed anymore. After all it was so obvious.

And, yet despite his efforts, he was shocked to learn “in 2006 my mother was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer. She’d never had a mammogram.. . . How did this happen? It was devastating.”

[Editor’s note: Barbara was actually diagnosed in early 2003.]

When she died just eight months later just after Thanksgiving in 2003, it broke the hearts of her entire family. So much so that Rob’s eight-year-old son, John Owen, cried so much he threw a rib out.

Rob summed it up by saying, “Today we know that a cancer diagnosis is not the end. It is the beginning of a journey that has the potential to be transformative, enlightened and heroic.”

By transformative, he said that so often when he meets cancer survivors, they admit that they are different people and that they see life from a different perspective.

Despite his initial anger at his mother’s not being diagnosed earlier, he learned that the quality of time was more important that the quantity of time.

He finished by embracing the guests saying, “All of us here today are family. We are joined by a common experience, our shared humanity and the daily we face in the war on cancer. . . . We celebrate our loved ones who have given us so much and sometimes leave us with so much. We celebrate the doctors, the nurses, the health care providers of all stripes, as well as the unsung heroes that keep our big hospitals running, for those who clean and cook. We honor those who tirelessly work and look for funds like all of you here today to keep the lights on and to keep the labs running. . . . There’s so much to be done for so many. And for some time is truly of the essence. But we are a nation that has always been capable of leading the way of great accomplishments. The tools for tremendous achievement are in our DNA. The powerful strands of intertwined sacrifice, commitment, hope and love all shared friend to friend are handed down family to family. . . Together we can make miracles.”

Rob Lowe

No, his talk was not long, but it was personal, thoughtful, articulate and to the point — much to the relief of veteran luncheoners, who too often feel like they’re being lectured.

Everyone left at once

By 1:21 the valets were being hit by hundreds and hundreds of guests trying to depart. The problem with such a luncheon is that patrons usually come solo, unlike evening events where each car has two people.  If only it had been announced that anyone who stayed might have a chance to talk with Rob, it would have slowed things down immensely. . . but then Rob would have never been able to return to Cafe Pacific for lunch.

From Zoo-To-Do Patron Party To ‘Splaining To The Boys In Blue, Wolfie Was The Party Animal Of The Week

Wolfie

Please pardon Wolfie. The 11-year-old Maine Coon has been a bit of a party animal of late. While Rob Lowe was just a couple of blocks away for the Celebrating Women patron party, Wolfie was Hef-style cool and laid back Wednesday for the Zoo-to-Do patron party at his relatively new digs that he shares with Brett and Lester Levy.

Art in dining room

Still boasting that “new-house” fragrance, the 11,00-square-foot mansion is filled with amazing art. In fact at one point, one guest mistook Wolfie as an objet d’art as he lounged on the coffee table. Not to worry. He put up with more strokes than a kayaker’s paddle. Nothing bothered him. Not even when John Kiser stuck his name tag on Wolfie’s head. Luckily, that situation didn’t last long enough to bother the cat that Lester had gotten as a kitten from the SPCA for Brett when they were dating upon the death of her previous cat.

But Wolfie wasn’t the only animal of note on this night. In fact, the whole purpose was a zoo full of critters and how the Dallas Zoological Society is growing funds to support them. According to Dallas Zoological Society Development VP Nancy Sausted, the fiscal year just completed was a record breaker with $1M coming to the zoo and the aquarium.

Lester and Brett Levy and Shelly and Tom Codd

Benefiting the DZS, Zoo-to-Do Event Co-chairs Shelly and Tom Codd are expecting nearly 650 guests at the November 3rd fundraiser, where guests will be able to “graze” around in the Giants of the Savanna exhibit courtesy of 25 area chefs. For those who like to bid, there are the silent auction and the live one with trips, an evening in the Giants of the Savanna. . . in the Fig Tree and a safari of Dallas’ best restaurants.

Hal Brierley

Among the 90 patrons was Hal Brierley, who was headed to attend the vice-presidential debate the next night. . . Another guest was Dr. Lynn Kramer, who heads up the veterinary and animal welfare operation at the zoo. He may one of a few in Dallas who has a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever. He was quick to point out that he doesn’t show or hunt his pooch. He just lets it lie around and enjoy being a pampered pet.

Dr. Lynn Kramer, Richard Geiger and Michael Meadows

But hey! This was an animal-loving group who associate the world “wild” with the zoo residents, not with partying.

Wolfie

However, according to the chap who purchased the Levy’s former residence, the next night was a different story. Wolfie had his paws full when Brett and Lester hosted the launch party for Kimberly Whitman‘s and Hilary Kennedy‘s new talk show. Seems Dean Fearing, Johnny Reno and their Lost Coyote band’s playing by the pool was one thing, but when Johnny Law took over the entertaining, it was so loud . . . how loud was it?

Yup, Wolfie had some explaining to do to the boys in blue.

Baylor’s Celebrating Women Luncheon 2012’s Patron Party Had The Pams Smiling With The Low(e)ly One

Rob Lowe, Pam Perella and Pam Busbee

At the Celebrating Women Luncheon 2012 patron party tonight at Claire and Dwight Emanuelson‘s estate, Luncheon Co-chairs the Pams (Pam Busbee and Pam Perella) enjoyed one of the perks of all their efforts — being joined by luncheon speaker Rob Lowe.

Never have so many women showed up for a patron party.

And, yes, he is as nice as he is handsome. And his beautiful, blonde wife Sheryl is simply wonderful. More deets to follow eventually.

See you at lunch with the girls and Rob to raise funds to fight breast cancer.

Round Robin: Les Femmes Du Monde, TACA Silver Cup Announcement And TREC’s “Giving Gala”

Once again Thursday proved to be a test of making the rounds at Dallas area fundraisers. Here’s the rundown of what happened where with whom.

LES FEMMES DU MONDE PATRON PARTY

Nancy Cain Marcus

The cars were backed up in the driveway at Nancy Marcus’s fabulous estate Thursday for the Les Femmes du Monde patron party.  When you’ve got a draw like Les Femmes’ 2012 Woman of the Year/Trinity Trust President/Executive Director Dr. Gail Thomas, you’re going to have an amazing turnout.  Of course, just having the Thomas clan is sizeable. This time it was Gail in a marvelous taupe and brown Ralph Lauren cocktail jacket with  husband Bob Thomas, daughter Electra Harelson, son Stewart Thomas and daughter-in-law Michelle Thomas. Dotter Tori Mannes was on her way.

Michelle and Stewart Thomas, Gail and Bob Thomas and Electra Harelson

Bob was sporting a black splint under his jacket after a fall on Monday. Initially they thought he’d broken his arm, but after a second look it appeared that it was a nasty sprain. So, don’t be surprised if he opts for not shaking hands at the Tuesday night Les Femmes du Monde dinner at Belo Mansion.

While some thought Gail would take the year off after the opening of the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, they totally misjudged Gail. She’s been concentrating on getting work started on the conversion of the Continental Bridge into a pedestrian bridge. Construction gets underway in December.

Martha and Bob Gillikin

Speaking of her Trinity Trust mission, folks like Martha and Bob Gillikin and River Rat Ramrod Tierney Kaufman were on hand to honor Gail.

Talk of the night varied from the presidential debate the night before and the cold front preparing to invade Dallas this weekend.

TACA SILVER CUP ANNOUNCEMENT

Nancy Carlson, Roger Nanney and Peggy Sewell

The art lovers, both visual and performing types, gathered at Jennifer and John Eagle‘s home to learn who the 2013 TACA Silver Cup recipients would be. As reported earlier, they will be Peggy Sewell and Roger Nanney.

As guests drove the circular driveway, they couldn’t help but notice the :Ode to Matisse” sculpture by Tom Friedman in the elevated round grassy terrace. Jennifer revealed that, yes, it was made of steel but wrapped in roasting pans.

Maxwell Anderson and Jeremy Halbreich

With a “lifeguard”” posted on the dining room island warning guests not to fall in the pool/moat, everyone stayed dry. A couple recalled post occasions when an “oops” took place. Jeremy Halbreich told of a very very “proper” local attorney who was one of the Eagle pool victims.

Lee Papert, Jennifer and Doug Houser

Dallas Film Society’s Lee Papert was poolside with Jennifer and Doug Houser, who will be chairing the November 16th “Art of Film.” And who will be this year’s headliner guest? Even the threat of a splash in the pool couldn’t pry the news out of Lee, but he did reveal that Elvis Mitchell would be returning as the interviewer.

In the back of the Eagle home, John told Maxwell Anderson of the two eye portraits by John Holt Smith of his daughters Amanda, 15, and Alexandra, 28. When a nearby portable keyboard was draped with a sheet, John kidded that it was another piece of the family collection.

Actually, it was part of the surprise entertainment. TACA Executive Director Becky Young had arranged for members of the Turtle Creek Chorale to stand around and down the home’s spiral staircase and serenade the group.

Since TACA Chairman of the Board was unable to attend the event, Chair-elect Nancy Carlson took over the microphone to announce the recipients. She admitted that she had to refer to notes, since the accomplishments of both were so lengthy.

The lunch is at the Hilton Anatole on February 22, and chaired by perfectionists Jan Showers and Sharon Young.

THE REAL ESTATE COUNCIL’S “GIVING GALA”

Live auction for playhouses

Unlike Cattle Barons, The Real Estate Council‘s “Giving Gala” held its own in dealing with the weather. There was no rain nor mud, but there was wind and a lot of it.  How strong was the wind in the Hilton Anatole Sculpture Park? The huge screens on either side of the stage rippled throughout the speeches and the live auction of “pint-size playhouses” that sold for scads of money. At one point the lips of one poor woman in the video looked as if she was going to kiss the entire front row of tables in one massive sweep.

Pint-size Playhouse

The mini-mansions were built by members of TREC for the sole purpose of raising funds for the TREC Foundation. As each went up for bidding, so did the bidding with the Mousetrap going for $4,000, Jenga for $4,500, Jumanji for $7,000 and Candyland for $12,000.

Mark Gibson

Even headliner Chris Cagle came on stage early and got into the auction action: “If this goes for $5,000, I’ll take a picture in my underwear and my boots. … I’ll do the double-check dance.”

It went for $5,500 to TREC Chairman Mark Gibson, who was front and center but took a pass on the underwear, boots and double-check dance.

Chris Cagle

Then Chris and his crew took hold of the stage and the party continued into the night raising loads of money for The Real Estate Council Foundation’s good works in four key grant areas–housing, education, job creation and the environment.

Friends And More Friends Are Plotting, Preparing And Partying For The Wilkinson Center’s 30th Anniversary Gala

The Wilkinson Center has been on a roll. No, take that back. It’s been in avalanche mode. The reason is that it’s celebrating its 30th anniversary of working with the poor of Dallas. It’s hard to imagine that it was back 30 years ago that Munger Place United Methodist Church’s Rev. Clayton Lewis started a neighborhood food pantry to help the poor in the area. Little did he, or really anyone else, suspect those early efforts would result in serving over 15,000 yearly nowadays.

With all that work, it’s about time to have a major party and raise money.

Because the center’s efforts impact people of all ages, it literally has friends of all ages, who have been busy plotting, planning and partying in preparation for the 30th Anniversary Black and White Gala on Saturday, November 3, at Dallas Contemporary.

First, there are the Friends of Wilkinson Center. In addition to providing hands, feet and hearts for the center, they’ve held Tinsel & Dreams since 2005. Featuring table-top Christmas trees created by designers, celebrities and businesses, the event has provided $785,000 for Wilkinson, along with countless hours of volunteering.

Millie Winston

In fact, they’ve gotten so good at putting on fundraisers, Friends’ President Emily Dunn and the Leadership Council decided to put on the gala with Millie Winston serving as chair.  

Hunter Sullivan and Ellen and Don Williams

If the gala is going to be anything like the September 27 patron party at Ellen and Don Williams ultra-cool contemporary home in Bluffview, it’s going to make memories and money. For instance, Hunter Sullivan provided the entertainment. Whoa! He’s pretty darn big-time, and this party was an intimate one for 80. Seems that Jan Worrall had won Hunter (well, you know, his talents) at another charity auction and donated it to the Friends for the party. Talk about chic recycling! As for the food, it was delish. But, of course! The Food Company created “designer” mini-cheeseburgers, Asian crab cakes, chicken skewers with tarrago pesto and leek tartlets with over-dried tomato.

Ann Reeder, Emily Dunn, Jan Worrall and Carlin Morris

And while these “friends” would be considered youngsters by most, there’s another even younger group that is supporting Wilkinson. It’s the Wilkinson Center Young Friends. Created to specifically target that adorably, oh-so cute younger crowd, they are lightning fast at getting new members and raising $$ ASAP. For instance, Co-presidents Danielle Hardie and Laura Reeder kicked things off with a membership and raffle at The Dram, where they signed up 100 new members and raised nearly $3,000 in less than a couple of hours.

OJ DeSouza, Laura Reeder, Kristen Johnson and Haley Nielsen

More recently they held “Fire and Ice” at Saint Ann’s Restaurant on September 28 with DJ Jennifer Miller in charge of the entertainment. Co-hosts Alexis Barbier-Mueller, Laura Reeder, Vodi Cook and Kristen Johnson made just two request — plan on having fun and wear red, white and black.

Sara McMaster, Kristin Kensell, Alexis Barbier-Mueller, Whitney Eckert, Sarah Thomas and Blake Thomas

Both of these groups are coming together for the gala. While the Friends may be doing the heavy lifting coordinating the gala, the Young Friends’ Co-prez Danielle is chairing the gala’s “Late-Night Party.” Love those after-parties. The older folks have to rush home to relieve babysitters, while the younger guests party beyond closing time.

Photos provided by The Wilkinson Center

Shunning The Cowboys And Democrat Convention, The Crystal Charity Ball Fashion Show & Luncheon Patrons Partied

Houston Hall

The Democrats were convening in Charlotte. The Cowboys were scoring in the Big Apple. And the Crystal Charity Ball Fashion Show & Luncheon patrons were partying at Michelle and Houston Hall‘s fabulous 11,102-square-foot palazzo Wednesday night thanks to underwriting by J.P. Morgan. The Hall’s mansion with its curved archways and endless rooms is built around a courtyard and fronting a marvelous backyard.

With a bar set up in the center courtyard and high-top tables in the backyard, the fear of West Nile-bearing mosquitoes kept the crowd largely inside with trays of drinks and food being passed.

Thank heaven the Hall’s multi-leveled mansion was ready for the hundreds to stay inside sipping champagne and readying for Thursday’s fashion show at downtown Neiman’s. At times it was so crowded with beautiful people that a cluster of them stood over an air vent to keep their cool.

But once word passed through the crowd of the delicious ice drinks being served up in the courtyard, caution was briefly thrown to the wind and guests braved the elements.

And what was the fashionable color of the night? Black, of course. That is, except for 10 Best Dressed Hall of Famer Lana Andrews, who looked like the poster girl for Fort Knox in a platinum-and-gold Prada cocktail press.

Barbara Daseke

Barbara Daseke‘s Lanvin proved a last-minute challenge. Seems a slip of a thread had caused the black wool cocktail dress to overlap with fabric. Interior designer Barbara dug up a fabulous broach from her collection and pinned the extra fabric at the waist.

Jack and Doris Jacobs

Doris Jacobs was in another stunning Lanvin black cocktail dress, but this one had one very bare shoulder.

With still another fashion emergency, Emilynn Wilson had just picked up her outfit for the Thursday show from the store and discovered the tailor has not quite got it right. Needless to say, the dress will be heading back to the shop and Emilynn will be wearing a backup outfit. BTW, she reports her Kidney Texas luncheon is within a hair’s breadth of being sold out.

Kim Miller and Tincy Miller

Upon seeing fellow 10 Best Dressed classmate Kim Miller in a marvy black Lanvin cocktail dress, first-time 10 Best dresser Ashley Tripplehorn Hunt told her, “I almost got that one. It’s so wonderful.”

That was earlier in the evening. Later Ashley emerged with husband Ward from the courtyard feeling like a mosquito buffet. Her concern was the itching and red marks on her legs and how they would look on Thursday’s runway. Ward’s concern was whether she had been bitten by one of the West Nile variety skeeters.

Other snapshots around the room included:

  • Allan and Lynn McBee

    10 Best Dressed freshman Lynn McBee admitted little concern, smiled and said, “The escorts won’t let us fall.” Immediately after the show, Lynn reported that she was catching a plane to attend the 37th Toronto International Film Festival. As Dallas Film Society board chair, she was checking out films for possible inclusion at the Dallas International Film Festival. Lynn was especially interesting in two films: “Looper” (an action thriller starring Bruce Willis and Emily Blunt) and “Argo” (which looks at the 1979 Iranian hostage crisis and stars Ben Affleck).

  • Despite the Cowboys playing and CCB Chair/wife Aileen giving him the night off, Jack Pratt was on hand.
  • Dallas Symphony Orchestra AT&T Gala co-chair Jennifer Clark was excited and pleased about Saturday night’s gala. They’re expecting about 700. For the first time ever, she said, they’ll have to open up the “second [or upper] tier” of seating in the performance hall for the Yo-Yo Ma concert. Jennifer had been on Scott Murray’s radio show explaining  the evening and how men could wear black tie or tails, etc. Someone asked jokingly if all attendees would be issued berets in keeping with the Parisian theme. Uh, no!
  • Billie Leigh Rippey

    Billie Leigh Rippey in Lanvin, of course, and her daughter Paige Locke were talking about Billie Leigh’s left ear problem. Ever since January, she hasn’t been able to hear out of it. She discovered the problem when Caroline Rose Hunt called her one day in January and Billie Leigh couldn’t hear what Caroline was saying. She since has gone to UT Southwestern and other medical facilities, and it was determined that it is simply a “nerve” problem. Joked Billie Leigh: “Well, I’ve always had nerve.” One Houston doctor wanted her to do some sort of stem cell treatment—where they take “fat from your tummy” and use it on the problem area—but Dr. Phil Williams said, “She doesn’t have any fat!” Billie Leigh doesn’t want to do that anyway. For now she’s just living with it.

  • Vicki Chapman found a bottle of mosquito spray and carried it around to help others.
  • Annette and Harold Simmons were among the early arrivals. Annette spotted the open door in the big room and asked, “Why is this door open?” One guest said it’s because a waiter just came through the door with a tray of drinks. Annette promptly closed the door, to keep out the mosquitoes. The Simmons departed early so Harold could get home to watch the Cowboys game.
  • Janie Condon reported that her mother Patsy Donosky was home nursing a broken nose.
  • Ten BD-er Ellen and Don Winspear were introducing future daughter-in-law Erika Dubreuil, who will be marrying the Winspears’ son, Frank, an Army sergeant with the Special Forces. The wedding will be in May in Fayetteville, N.C., where Frank is stationed at Fort Bragg. The rehearsal dinner will be at the Pinehurst (golf) Resort. Erica is used to the military way of life, since her dad is a retired Army sergeant major.
  • Erin Mathews was wearing Fendi pants, a Gucci blouse and Tom Ford “spiked heels.” She joked about having to step very deliberately as she walked across the path leading to the Halls’ house. After making the rounds at the party, she and Russ Davis headed to Salum for a late dinner.
  • Michael Fowler and Amara Durham

    Amara Durham arrived looking for fella co-worker Michael Fowler, who reported that mom Lee Ann White hadn’t been able to attend the Cowboys/Giants fame due to dental surgery. Amara, like Emilynn, had to wear a second choice outfit when the one she had bought just didn’t look quite right.

But the evening didn’t go on too long for this group. The ladies had to hustle home to rest up for the next day of fashion.

One poor soul had to wait at the curb just a couple minutes longer than planned. Seems the valets brought the wrong Bentley. You just know they all look alike.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: Crystal Charity Ball Fashion Show & Luncheon Patron Party

Just back from the Crystal Charity Ball Fashion Show & Luncheon Patron Party at Michelle and Houston Hall‘s drop-dead gorgeous mansion. More deets will follow, but just thought you would like to see some of the crowd. Photos are on the MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

Surprises Galore At The Celebrity Waiter Luncheon Patron Party, Both Good And Not-So-Good

As a last gasp before the over-the-top personalities of Dallas fundraising scrammed the summer heat,  the Celebrity Waiter Luncheon team held a party on June 12. Originally scheduled for May 17, it had to be postponed due to the hostess’s not feeling all that chipper. The hostess was the diminutive Faye Briggs, who had suffered a lung infection with doctors giving her tender loving care and strict orders to not be active.

But one does not expect Faye to totally stay put in bed, especially when she is the honorary chair of an event. So she canceled all the events on the books for Chez Briggs except this one — Celebrity Waiter Luncheon patron party— that she was honorary-chairing. All agreed to postpone the party to June 12 if Faye had recovered. No problem. In fact, it worked out better because celebrity waiter Shane Walker was on the verge of celebrating his #* birthday in a couple of days. But as everyone knows — you either don’t celebrate a birthday, or you spend a week or more doing it. Shane is of the latter way of thinking.

Despite a very swollen and tender right cheek, Faye smiled and recalled her telling Shane’s mother, “I hope you don’t mind, I’m adopting Shane and Billy (Fulmer, Shane’s partner).” Shane’s mum’s response: “No, that’s fine with me!”

Birthday cake being presented to Shane Walker

Little did Shane know that Celebrity Waiter Luncheon Masterminds/Co-chairs Maggie Cooke Kipp and Shay Geyer had arranged to present Shane with a cake in his fav color — purple.

But the evening wasn’t all Shane and his birthday, though that was a major highlight.

Pamela Martin Duarte

Pamela Martin Duarte talked about a recent event at which she gave out a novel that she co-authored called Hard Whispers. On the other hand, she was not talking about her lawsuit against Dena Miller. . .

Lee Bailey and Hunter Sullivan

Despite it being June and the gathering being outdoors, Hunter Sullivan looked cool in his Armani suit from NM. Normally, he gets most of his suits custom-made overseas for one-sixth the retail cost. . . .Scott Murray, whose Sunday evening “Scott Murray Show” is heard on KLIF, and wife Carole were headed to NYC to see their daughter.

Eventually, the crowd that grew and grew got down to business and plans for the September 7 luncheon at the Ritz-Carlton benefiting Family Gateway. Executive director Robert Alberts thanked all for their support in helping “homeless families with children” as they prepare to celebrate their 25th anniversary. He especially pointed out Maggie and Shay, who were headed with gal pals to St. Croix for a stay at Shona Che’re Gilbert‘s getaway the next morning, and Faye, who ended up in the hospital.

What was that?

Shay Geyer, Faye Briggs and Maggie Cooke Kipp

Little did anyone know that Faye’s cheek sent her to the ER that night, the operating room the next day and an extended stay in the hospital. Those who knew were sworn to secrecy because the doctors were going to have their way. They even had Faye’s family standing guard at the hospital to prevent visitors. Now at home, Faye is slowly getting back on her feet but still keeping a low profile much to her chagrin.

Actually when you think of it, Faye’s timing couldn’t be better. As Scott Murray pointed out, “Nothing much will be going on here (Dallas) from June 20 to August 20,” so Faye ain’t missing anything.

Todd Wagner Recruited Nonprofit Support With Faces, Food And Fun At Cowboys Stadium With The Terminator And ZZ Top

Todd Wagner

Todd Wagner is a man with a mission. Yes, as he’ll be the first to admit, he and Mark Cuban captured lightning in a bottle with their sale of Broadcast.com to Yahoo. And, yes, he does live a life that youngsters and grownups fantasize about — jetting to meet up with headline makers, dining with the international set, being married to a gorgeous and charming woman. Why he even confesses that as a child, his household was pretty All-American without fear of neglect, poverty or ignorance.

Perhaps it’s that latter point that caused him to realize the importance of saving today’s youth from a downward spiral and the need for caring and responsible adults to step forward and to make a difference for good. And, of course, it didn’t hurt that he had friends who shared similar feelings, like former California Arnold Schwarzenegger, founder of the After-School All-Stars program. All of this added up to more than, “Gee, I’ll write a check,” from Todd. He doesn’t work that way. Instead he created the Todd Wagner Foundation in 2000 to provide funding for nonprofits in need of support.

Still even that wasn’t enough for the former Akin Gump attorney. Like a devoted preacher, he wanted others to be inspired to personally get involved with money and (wo)manpower.

Sure, Todd could have written a letter to friends and associates or twisted some arms over lunch, but Todd doesn’t do anything the way the average Joe does. Instead he decided to throw a big old fundraising bash, “Change: Making a Difference for our Youth,”  to celebrate the 12th anniversary of the foundation. Thanks to his underwriting the May 10th event, 100% of the ticket prices and contributions would be “donated directly to our three charity partners [After-School All-Stars, the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and KIPP — Knowledge is Power Program] to help propel them forward and reach even more young people.”

And while Todd was eager to raise funds and awareness for his night, he wasn’t going to pick pockets to do it. For instance, there was to be no silent or live auction. Todd admitted that auctions make him feel uncomfortable and, besides, his guests had already forked out a chunk of change just to be there. No, his next goal was to get hold of their minds, hearts and souls. To do that he was going to use food, faces, facts and fun.

But where to do this. A hotel just wouldn’t do for the “WOW!” factor that Todd wanted. Where else would you find such a venue to impress locals and out-of-towners? Well, where else but Cowboys Stadium.

Troy Aikman

As for the faces, such famous names as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Dan Rather, Troy Aikman and Emmitt Smith were dropped, with possible others to be added.

Emmitt Smith

And what about the fun? Well, just dining on the field at Cowboys Stadium ain’t shabby, but Todd wanted folks to party hearty, so he got ZZ Top. Remember, this is Todd.

The top-tier guests arrived for a locker room get-together to rub shoulders, elbows and hands with Todd’s star lineup. As they awaited the VIPs’ arrival, a staging area was set up for official grip-and-grin photos to be taken. Event organizers scurried around with headsets trying to manage the locker room, the reception in the Miller Lite Club, on the field and everywhere else in the Wagner World.

Local favorites Troy and Emmitt were first to arrive. They’ve gotten to be such old hands at the celeb deal that they made everyone feel right at home.

Emily Eisenhauer

While waiting for others to show up, Emily Eisenhauer looked around, “I really don’t think there’s a women’s restroom in the locker room.” And, Emily, despite the strides women’s lib has made, it’s doubtful there will ever be a need for one!

Dan Rather

At 6:45 p.m. broadcast legend/evening  Dan Rather moseyed on in and immediately ran into Teri and Scott O’Glee. After chatting a bit, Dan realized that duty called and he headed over to the photo zone. Were the O’Glees old buddies with Dan? Nope, but they were from Austin and had mutual friends.

Nicholas Sparks

While Troy, Emmitt and Dan were very accommodating with photos and chats, eyes were still wandering around the room looking for the Terminator. No sign. But wait! Over at that cafe table with the blonde. It looked like. . . could it be? . . . by golly, it was Nicholas “The Notebook” Sparks with his wife Cathy. Should he have been in the meet-and-greet VIP lineup? Heck, no! According to Nicholas, who was just in town a month ago for New Friends New Life, he was just a paying guest like everyone else. Was he just here for the party? Nope, again. He was meeting with Ray Hunt the next day and then for dinner with Todd at Reunion Tower.

Aaron Brenner, Mike Feinberg, April Allen and Richard Barth

At another table were a threesome that looked like just nice guys. It turned out they were from KIPP —  Founder Michael Feinberg, Richard Barth and Aaron Brenner up from Houston for the event and to spread the word.

Darcie and Brett Hull

OMG! Who else was just hanging out in the locker room under the star-radar? Near the entrance was a couple that seemed like the kind you’d like to settle back on a Sunday afternoon and watch a football game with. Turns out they might be better to watch a hockey game. They were Darcie and Brett Hull.

Now, the crowd was growing and it was getting a tad bit crowded. A photographer asked Gina Ginsburg which of the Cowboys’ lockers she would like to be shot next to. No problem finding one. But there was a slight problem. The nameplates were at the top of the lockers . . . about two feet higher than Gina. Hey, that’s no problem. Gina just hopped up on the wooden bench in front of the locker for the photo. She invited husband Scott to join her, but he took a pass.

Still no Arnold. Oh, well, there was still the big show to come. Perhaps he would appear on the field.

At 7:19 a line of student mariachi violinists and guitarists paraded in and out of the locker room.

Just 11 minutes later, the event wranglers were starting to show signs of “head ’em up and move ’em out” time.   But before they could rustle their herd of guests through the passage to the hallway, a big old traffic jam stopped all motion. It was a bewhiskered, smiling Arnold. Immediately like a queen bee surrounded by drones, he was three-deep in middle-aged guys. Guess it was all the locker room testosterone in the air.

Holly and Stubbs Davis

Eventually, the guests made their way to the big reception in the Miller Lite Club, where the partying was showing signs of launching thanks to Holly and Stubbs Davis, Tanya and Pete Foster, Ginger and Kent Porter, and Kandis and Bill Hutchinson.

Pete and Tanya Foster and Ginger and Kent Porter

But the reception was just a waiting room. Soon the guests were ushered on to the field through a drum line complete with Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders. Emerging from the dark club, they were a bit blinded by not only the bright lights on the field but also seeing their images on the Jumbotron overhead. One fellow was so busy taking pictures of the Jumbotron with his face on it that another log jam stopped the action.

With very little direction, guests figured out where to head — toward the end zone with stages and tables all set up.

Molly and Doug Barnes and Lee Bailey

A bit dwarfed by the immense size of the stadium, the party set up seemed cozy. Three stages stood where the goal posts usually were. On either side of the main stage were two mega stars from which fireballs were shot in the air. With her back to the stage and chatting with friends, Lee Bailey said, “I didn’t see them (fireballs), but I felt them.”

A head table that was as long as an 18-wheeler was placed perpendicular to the main stage and surrounded by dozens and dozens of round tables with fiesta salads in place. Beyond the side stages were buffets . .  not two, not three, but four. . .  with southwest Caesar salad, chef-carved bent buckle smoke house brisket, slow roasted pulled pork, and signature BBQ sauce, roasted chicken enchiladas with house-made sour cream sauce, chipotle grilled chicken with Mexican-style rice, roasted yellow squash, red peppers and zucchini, southern green beans, traditional mac and cheese and jalapeno cornbread muffins with creamery butter. Just beyond were dessert tables with mini-candy bar cupcakes (Snickers, Heath Bar, Almond Joy and Junior Mints), mini-sweet treats (strawberry balsamic macaroons, chocolate raspberry and cappuccino cookie pops), fruit and assorted mini-cookies.

Late arrivals Lynn and Allan McBee and Anne and Steve Stodghill slipped in late. They had been at Tom Hicks’ for the kick-off of the Boots and Bling weekend.

Kari Wagner

As the 450 guests started making their way to their tables, they were greeted by a spectacular-looking blonde wearing a black Stetson with rhinestone longhorn, a black sleeveless turtleneck and fringe skirt. Was she a Victoria Secret model? Nope. She was Kari Wagner (aka Mrs. Todd Wagner). She graciously posed for photos with guests.

Finally, everyone was seated with some diving into their pre-set salads and others waiting for a “We’re off and running” announcement. Dan opened with some opening jokes. He must have heard from Toastmasters that a joke should be inserted. Uh, Dan must have had the late Andy Rooney write his jokes. Bless his heart. They were so grandfatherly but flat.

Todd then spoke and opened with it’s “just another average Thursday night in Dallas.” He must have had Jon Stewart writers working on his lines. Then he got down to business announcing that thanks to the group gathered, $1.1 million had been raised thanks to their involvement. He shared the idea of holding the event with Kari, who “nudged me to have the event.” He then endeared all by emphasizing, “There is no live auction or anything to pull money out of your pockets.” You could hear blood pressures lowering throughout the crowd. Later Todd admitted that, “When I’m pushed or pressured, I’m not interested.”

Then he revealed facts and numbers that may have raised those same blood pressures:

“I view that we are at a crossroads in this country. To highlight this, I am going to trot out some statistics for us all to chew on during our dinner.

  1. Youth in the U.S., about 7 out of 10 graduate from high school
  2. 5 out of 10 minorities graduate from high school
  3. More than 1/3 drop out in 9th Grade.  That’s right let’s say that again, 1/3 never finish 9th grade.   What are your job and life prospects then?
  4. America ranks 12th among nations in percentage of college graduates among our young population.
  5. America ranks 14th among nations in reading; 17th in science, 25th in math. AND we are supposed to be the world’s superpower (at least for now)?
  6. 75% of young Americans between the ages of 17 and 24 are unable to enlist in the military today because they have either failed to graduate from high school, have a criminal record or are physically unfit.

“What does this mean? Well, it certainly puts our future work force at risk—remember, folks can’t get meaningful jobs if they aren’t properly educated. And that high national unemployment rate of over 8-9% is nearly 20% for those without a high school diploma. Puts our global competitiveness at risk. Puts our national security at risk.”

Bill Hutchinson and Arnold Schwarzenegger

Like attentive St. Marks and Hockadaisies, the audience sat in their places and paid attention because this information was daunting. But just as tummies were starting to grumble, Todd turned things over to Dan who announced, “It’s time to eat.” Like Babe heading to the trough, most guests hit the buffets, but for others it was a perfect time to check it out with the VIP crowd. Anne Stodghill, who had known Don Henley from years past, sidled up to him at the head table and talked about their mutual challenges of home renovations. Bill Hutchinson with an arm around Arnold whipped out his iPhone for a self portrait. Alas, Pat and Emmitt Smith exited quietly into the night. No excuses needed. Everyone in the know knew that the Smiths were chairing the 1992 Dallas Cowboys reunion the next night. Troy chatted it up with guests and fawning wait staff.

Emmitt and Pat Smith

With wine flowing, guests enjoyed seconds and thirds until a video was introduced revealing the message of the night. Todd didn’t look all that happy. People were too busy chatting and not paying attention to the video. He made a mental note that a follow-up was needed with copies of the video being sent to guests like mints on a pillow in a fine hotel.

It was then followed by immediate past president of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America Roxanne Spillett on the stage to the left and national youth of the year Nicholas Foley on the right. Back to the left stage the KIPP Austin Steel Drum Band performed. Heads shifted to the right stage, where an animated Michael Feinberg and Richard Barth talked about KIPP. From the back of the venue, the After-School All-Stars San Antonio Mariachi Band paraded once again.

Whew!

They were indeed getting Todd’s message across, but it was getting a bit wearing with heads swiveling like center court at Wimbleton.

In between presentations, emcee Dan sat on a stool to the side of the main stage. It was now time for the grand finale. Dan introduced Arnold, who unlike the other speakers, strode straight from his seat at the head table to the podium. Without notes he told of his admiration for Todd and the success of After-School All-Stars. He was the perfect closing act and Todd looked pleased.

It was now time for recess. . . uh, partying, as ZZ Top took to the stage, living up to their reputation for simply fine music. The audience responded but not with a mosh pit. They didn’t hesitate, but instead of thrashing about with bodies, they saluted with cell phones to send photos back home to friends, families and babysitters with the note, “We’ll be late getting home.”

ZZ Top

But it wasn’t as if everyone was so prim and proper. Thank heaven, Kandis Hutchinson popped up on stage for a dance alongside Billy Gibbons, Dusty Hill and Frank Beard.

ZZ Top

While it’s not surprising for guests to send thank-you notes to the host in the days following, a hoarse-throated Todd was in high gear to follow up. Yes, he had raised $1.1M for the three nonprofits, but he still wanted guests to sign up for board positions and to get involved. To gently remind them of his wish, he had copies of the video sent to guests as he and Kari flew off to Cannes and the Prague to take care of other business demands.

Thursday’s Round Robin: Chick Lit Patron Party, Girls (Only) Night And Crystal Charity Ball Theme Annoumcent

There was no excuse for staying home last Thursday night. It was a valet parker’s delight — lots of cars to park and beautiful weather throughout the area.

Chick Lit Patron Party @ Barney’s

Paige McDaniel

On the eve of Friday’s Chick Lit Luncheon, the Community Partners of Dallas had a Barney’s version of a pep rally. Center of attention wasn’t the football team. It was author Allison Winn Scotch. Within seconds of arriving she felt right at home among the size two outfits hanging around the upper level and never-met-a-stranger Luncheon Chair Mary Gill, CPD’s Paige McDaniel and her running buddy Joanna Clarke.

The talk of the night ranged from Paige’s wearing a yellow slicker to Anne and Steve Stodhill‘s annual Dallas International Film Festival screening of “Singin’ in the Rain.” On the other hand, Joanna was sounding like a salesgal for NeuLash. She’s been on it for four months, and “probably will for the rest of my life.”

Mary Gill, Allison Winn Scotch and Joanna Clarke

Meanwhile Allison, who lived in Dallas for less than a year back in 2000, told of her move to LA from NYC come this August. Because the family Lab is a nervous Nellie type, Allison is thinking that she’ll fly with the kids, while her husband will drive cross country with the pooch.

Girls (Only) Night @ Nancy Carlson’s home

Julian Carlson

The Dallas Children’s Theater invitation for Girls (Only) Night may have been a warning to men that it was the girls night to party at Nancy Carlson‘s fabulous home in the Volk Estates, but Carlson son Julian didn’t take it seriously. How could he? With an incredible backyard with gargantuan trees and a lawn that went on forever, he tried riding his bike but gave up to sample the trees of candy. Pretty soon those trees were surrounded by an array of additional treats with nary a veggie or celery stick in sight.

Nancy Carlson

Girls (Only) Night

The decorations by Grange Hall amounted to a scene that Willie Wonka would have killed for. Ah, and the signature cocktail for the night — watermelon lemonade.

DJ Jennifer Miller was juggling both the pace and bubbling about her business bud Paul Paredes, who was in the ASCAP finals for one of his songs.

Among the guests were Maggie Cooke Kipp and Angela Choquette, who just arrived from the Chick Lit party only minutes before.

If Girls (Only) Night sounds familiar from years past, you’re right on target as usual. After a lapse of four or five years, this was a relaunch for the ladies to have a night out, dress up and celebrate a good cause.

Crystal Charity Ball Theme Announcement Party @ Kelly and Norman Green’s home

Accordionist

One of the only parties during the year that the Crystal Charity Ball gals allow themselves is the theme announcement party for the December ball. While the theme is kept a secret until the official unveiling, hints were being dropped upon arrival in the circular drive of Kelly and Norman Green‘s magnificent French estate thanks to Theme Announcement Party Co-Chairs Delilah Boyd and Claire Emanuelson. In addition to the valets was an accordionist with red beret playing. Then upon entering the mansion, they were immediately served French champagne. Then there were those marvelous silver trays and that amazing buffet with all types of French cuisine by Cassandra. And to add the very French feeling was the perfect weather . . . April in Paris? It was so perfect that the Greens opened the doors to the terrace allowing the capacity crowd to spill out onto the terrace.

Terrace of Green's home

Ah, the assembly was for the announcement. With husband Jack looking on, CCB Chair Aileen Pratt admitted that it “feels like we’ve been transported to a beautiful chateau,” when in reality the room was transported from a French chateau! She thanked the Greens and Bank of Texas’ Fred Ball for underwriting the evening.

Jack Pratt

She then recognized Ball Decor Chair Ashley Tripplehorn Hunt, special advisor Jill Smith, Lambert Landscape Co. and event producer extraordinaire Tom Addis for their help in preparing for the mega-fundraiser. With the suspense building, Aileen asked, “Who doesn’t love Paris? [The ball will] celebrate this magnificent city and all its elements.” As Aileen and Tom removed the drop cloth from the logo revealing, “Le Grand Bal Parisien,” the accordionist and pianist played “I Love Paris.”

Aileen Pratt and Tom Addis

Don’t worry. You won’t need your passport for the December 1 gala at the Hilton Anatole with a goal of $4,420,489 for the seven 2012 beneficiaries.

Told ya it was a Round Robin night.

Dallas Country Club May Have Had Fireworks, But Jimmy And Carl Westcott Had A Spark-ler For New Friends New Life

Kameron Westcott

The valet parkers along Preston Road were pretty darn busy Wednesday. In addition to the Dallas Country Club’s official opening of its new digs with fireworks that lit up half of North Texas, Harlan Crow was hosting another event at his library. In between Harlan’s and the DCC, Jimmy and Carl Westcott held a very small, private dinner for Platinum-level patrons (Linda and Steve Ivy, Lee Bailey, Pat and Pete Schenkel to mention a few) for New Friends New Life‘s 2012 Wings Luncheon the next day, for which Jimmy and daughter-in-law Kameron were honorary co-chairs.

And as if the house that Jimmy decorated with fabulous antiques and collectibles wasn’t enough to attract a stellar crowd, luncheon speaker/author Nicholas Sparks was the guest of honor. Boy, was he ever! The moment he entered the mansion, the ladies seemed to glow with a dreamy radiance. Well, after all he wrote “The Notebook,” “Message in a Bottle,” “Nights in Rodanthe” and other best sellers.

But the ladies waited their turns to be introduced to the charming and very outgoing Nicholas. It was rather cute hearing the chorus of “He’s my favorite author” that echoed through the entry hall. That’s about as far as he got until it was time for dinner in the living room that had been beautifully drafted into the dining room for the occasion.

Katie Pedigo, Nicholas Sparks and Katherine LaLonde

Ray Hunt

While the ladies fluttered and Nicholas was flattered, the gents knew their place. As wife Nancy Ann and daughter Ashlee Kleinert were being introduced to Nicholas, Ray Hunt told how he had originally heard of NFNL via Gail and Gerald Turner. Ray maintained that human trafficking today is where breast cancer and HIV Aids were 15 years ago. They were huge problems back then that nobody talked about. Nowadays, they’re in the mainstream.

Dinner tables

After taking their places at the dinner tables and before the Stephan Pyles dinner (Almond gazpacho with lobster, vanilla-roasted fennel and frozen champagne grapes; rack of lamb with spring peas, blood orange, baby carrots and carrot sponge; and Meyer lemon panna cotta with port-macerated blackberries, blackberry-serrano sorbet and white chocolate foam) was presented, Luncheon Chair Katherine LaLonde thanked all for their extreme generosity. “It makes me speechless. Another person who makes me speechless is one of my dearest friends, Jimmy. Helping these victims and the vulnerable ones has been Jimmy’s passion for a longtime.”

Jimmy Westcott

It was then Jimmy’s turn at bat and she minced no words. After describing Katherine as “her bestest friend in the world” and saying it was a honor to help, she told the assembled guests, “I don’t think there’s a six-year-old girl playing with dolls who says, ‘Mommy, I want to grow up to be a prostitute.'” Well, that certainly got everyone’s attention. Then she addressed the issues of strippers, saying, “People say they’re just wild, they want to do that! That’s not true. These women are true victims.” She then brought up the recent plot against Arlington Mayor Robert Cluck by a strip-club owner, adding, “This is the kind of lovely, lovely people that are involved [in the sex trade]. If we don’t stop this kind of stuff. . .”

Then looking at nearby Nicholas, she tied him to the problem of the sex industry. Must admit that Nicholas looked a little startled and a couple of guests wondered how Jimmy was going to work through this connection. Ah, but she did. Jimmy told them how Nicholas was a hopeless romantic, who writes about beautiful love. . . romantic beautiful love as it should be in our society.

Just before dinner was served, NFNL Executive Director Katie Pedigo told the group that there were 80 women and 40 children in a support group “right now, up the road. . . They have new life, because of you.”

Mad Hatter’s Tea Patrons Partied At Connie And Denny Carreker With Plans Announced For Thursday’s Hoop-la

Connie Carreker

With the Mad Hatter’s Tea’s “The Art of Nature” this Thursday, the patrons gathered at Connie and Denny Carrekers’ mini-palace last Thursday. Luckily, the grounds within the mansion are so perfect, one isn’t even bothered that their formerly perfect view of Turtle Creek is no more, due to the 20,000+-square-foot mega-mansion under construction across the street.

By the time guests started pulling up to the Carreker driveway, the construction workers’ pickups and trucks had skedaddled for the day, making the valet’s task of parking cars a lot easier.

Steve and Linda Ivy and Don Daseke

Among the first to arrive were Linda and Steve Ivy. Reminding some of Sis Carr, Linda was a confection with bright yellow highlights thanks to her Oscar heels, canary diamond necklace, Judith Leiber purse and the big flower on her sling. What’s that? A sling? Yup, the girl’s been recovering from surgery on her rotator cuff. The flower was to dress up the black, non-fashionable sling. Linda giggled that designer Nicolas Villalba, who had created her “Technicolor dream coat” for the past Dallas Opera’s “First Night,” offered to bling the sling up, but since it’s being retired on April 26, she thought she would just stay with tried and true black.

Upon hearing Ivy and Leiber mentioned, Don Daseke chuckled. Seems that years ago he won a slew of Leiber purses at one of Steve’s Heritage auctions for wife Barbara. When asked if he was addicted to Leiber, Steve beat Don to the punch saying: “I don’t think it’s him that’s addicted.”

Steve reported that Heritage has got a number of auctions coming up. While the Ivys can’t resist eyeballing the art items, Steve tries to direct Linda to other parts when the jewelry is up for bid.

Patron Party Co-chair Doris Jacobs was already wearing a hat in preparation for the Mad Hatter’s, but it wasn’t the one that she’ll be wearing Thursday. She wore it a couple of years ago and resurrected it for the night. Not to be outdone by Doris’ very colorful look, husband Jack wore a shirt that would have been a perfect look for an Easter egg.

Fellow Co-Chair Jocelyn White greeted fiancé Kim Seal. The two should be tying the knot sometime between right now and the end of May. They won’t reveal an exact date.

Carreker next-door neighbors Diane and Hal Brierley strolled on over for the festivities. Hal smiled that the walk over saved him “$20 for the valet.” An offer from a nearby guest came, “Heck, I’ll park your car in the future.”

Dena Miller and Allyson Aynesworth

Checking out the delicious food from Lombardi’s were Allyson Aynesworth and Dena Miller. When asked about the week-that-was including a lawsuit filed against Dena by Big Rich TexasPamela Martin-Duarte, Dena shuddered with eyes closed saying, “I’m not talking about it.” To which a bystander added, “But you’re thinking about it.”

Carreker grounds

Carmaleta Whiteley and Barbara Daseke

With the weather so perfect for the gathering, organizers found themselves having to coax guests into the breezeway from the grounds with their fabulous fountains and ponds to learn about the upcoming chapeau fest. Just as Mad Hatter’s co-chair Barbara Daseke and Carmaleta Whiteley started to tell about plans, last year’s Judges Co-chair Yvonne Crum arrived.

According to the ladies in charge, WFAA’s Ron Corning will serve as emcee this year and for the first time there will be a live auction with Steve Kemble as auctioneer. Then they reeled off the seven items that will be on the block:

  1. FLOATING DIAMONDS IN A SHINING STAR  (Value: $2,000) — Shining Star floating diamond ring by Royal Asscher Diamonds. Like snowflakes in a snow globe, this one of a kind half carat of round cut diamonds float in a sapphire crystal globe.
  2. DALLAS RELAXATION WEEKEND (Value: $1,100) — The Anatole Hilton Hotel Weekend Stay (Friday and Saturday) for two in a deluxe room with suite upgrade if available (room, tax and parking included). Complimentary bottle of chilled champagne upon arrival, two complimentary passes to the 80,000-square-foot Verandah Health Club & Spa  and two 50-minute classic massage treatments at the VSpa (gratuities are included). Also includes breakfast for two at the Terrace restaurant each day (tax & gratuity is included).
  3. TEA ON THE MANSION TERRACE FOR 20 (Value: $,2500) — Continue the spirit of the Mad Hatter’s Tea with an exclusive afternoon on The Mansion Restaurant Terrace. The package includes afternoon tea for 20 guests alfresco on the Mansion’s beautiful and breezy terrace. Enjoy cocktails, canapés and conversation with your closest companions!
  4. BETTY REITER PRESENTS PARIS  (Value: $2,800) — Luncheon and Fashion Show for Ten. Enjoy the newest collections as Jan Strimple and Betty Reiter guide you through the latest fashions from Europe. Includes a $250 Better Reiter gift certificate.
  5. RARE JEWELS BY INTERNATIONAL JEWELRY DESIGNER TIANA WAGES (Value: $4,900) — A 33-inch Labradorite Necklace with hand-carved rare wood accent hand crafted by jewelry designer Tiana Wages.
  6. DREAM GET AWAY TO CABO SAN LUCUS (Value: $3,300) — Featured on the cover of Conde Nast 2011 Reader Choice “Best in the World” Issue and voted as one of the top five resorts in all of Mexico, Capella Pedregal redefines ultra-luxury in the Baja. Located at the base of Pedregal Mountain on the Pacific Ocean, the resort offers its guest the best of both worlds. Exclusion and privacy in the resort and direct the access into the town of Cabo within minutes. This amazing packages includes three nights in a spectacular Capella Room featuring a sitting area that leads into the guest room. The Capella Room is  1475 square feet and has its own private outdoor terrace with an private infinity-edge plunge pool and a beautiful ocean view.
  7. DALLAS DINING AND SHOP TIL YOU DROP  (VALUE  $7,500)  – Dinner or lunch  at Fearing’s, The T Room at FortyFiveTen, Stephan Pyles, Abacus, Scardellos  and Winston’s Super Club Plus a $500 gift card to Brooks Brothers and a $5,000 Gift certificate from J. Pacetti Precious Jewels. (In honor of Honorary Chair Nancy Rogers)

Colandra Open Their Home For Big Friends Of Upcoming No Tie Dinner

Colin Duchin and D'Andra Simmons

Old Hollywood had its Taylor-Burton liaison. Today’s Hollywood has its Brangelina. Dallas has its “Colandra (aka Colin Duchin and D’Andra Simmons).” With their amazingly good looks, that might be enough to get notice. But with their commitments to non-profits, they ramp it up to a place where naysayers feel guilty for being jealous.

While many headed out of town for the spring break holiday, on March 10 they opened up their newest project — their Park Cities home — for the major sponsors and friends of the March 24th No Tie Dinner & Dessert Party at the Frontiers of Flight Museum.

This two-story home is a blending of international finds and special collectives from family and friends. Lucky were those folks who got the extra-special VIP tour of the residence. Whether it was Colin taking you past the band playing on the landing between the first and second floor, or hopping the lift, it was an amazing presentation of personal special furnishings (D’Andra’s grandmother’s dresser) and newly found discoveries (a cellulite buster that Colin found at St. Vincent de Paul for $49. Turned on its side and switched on, Colin showed how it could be a revolving side table).

Cellulite massage machine

One of the very special spots was the Colandra dressing area with shelves, closets and cubbyholes to the ceiling. And it was a high ceiling at that. While Colin managed to get a few square feet of space for his Dolce & Gabbana shoes, jeans and suits, D’Andra’s legendary collection of 600+ couture shoes surpassed speculation.  Each pair of shoes was nicely placed in see-through shoe boxes neatly in individual cubbyholes. . .  with a color photo of the pair showing through the box for quick identification.

Ever the perfectionist, D’Andra was still not satisfied. The lone rolling ladder needed a partner to handle the other part of the closet.

The bathing area with its gargantuan shower  and toilet with bidet stopped the tour when one of the guests said, “I found something that we have in common with D’Andra and Colin — the bath mat.” Upon hearing that comment, Colin piped up, “Aren’t they great? Makes taking a shower worthwhile.”

Library

Throughout the home were remarkable fingerprints of roads traveled. The temple gate that is now a headboard; the marvelous collection of first-edition books and favorites from author friends; some of Colin’s art projects including a piece dedicated to Nicole Simpson.

The pool

At one point in the evening part of the living room back wall disappeared, opening the great room to the backyard with its showplace pool to provide additional entertaining space.

But in case this night might require even more room, the three-car garage was transformed into a posh party room.

David Nelson

Soon No Tie Dinner Chair David Nelson replaced the band on the landing to welcome the 200-plus guests, telling them more than 1,500 guests are expected at the No Tie Dinner, and recognized Honorary Chair Dr. Gary Tigges. David notified guests that this year’s event will have 52 different pre-dinners, up from 20 last year. In addition to dancing, cocktails, silent and live auctions and tons of desserts, there will be a surprise performance produced by Rob Cahill “that will ensure the event is unforgettable.” And David knows unforgettable. He was the one who styled the Neiman Marcus mystery gifts for NBC’s “Today Show.”

Gary Tigges

Wisely David kept his comments brief and then turned the “stage” over to D’Andra.

Nearly tearing up with Colin at her side, she said  it was hard for people to understand HIV, but AIDS Services does a great job — “a magical, wonderful, welcoming place.”

Afterward one guest commented of D’Andra, “She was so right. We came from Katrina, lost our home and everything, but she’s so right. She’s Dallas’ Elizabeth Taylor — beautiful inside and out.”

If AIDS Services isn’t familiar to you, you’ve either been living in the abandoned Superconducting Super Collider or you don’t know someone with AIDS. AIDS Services provides housing for those affected by HIV AIDS. And, while many would like to think AIDS is under control, rethink that one. It’s still a devastating disease knowing no boundaries that results in economic challenges as well as combating the disease. Thanks to AIDS Services, 225 men, women and children have housing and resources as they battle HIV/AIDS and deal with being economically disadvantaged.

Memories Of Margaret Hunt Hill And Bridge Artwork Were Centerpieces For Thursday Night’s Bridge Patron Party

The folks on both sides of the Trinity are in a countdown mode for the real live, official March 2-4 opening of the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge (MHHB). Before going into brain overload, about 200 gathered Thursday at the Omni Dallas for the MHHB Celebration patrons party.

The program was not to start until 6:30 p.m., but due to a multitude of other commitments by guests, organizers kicked it off at 6:15.

Artwork by Emmanuel Ramirez

There was a lot to cover. Not only did Celebration Gala Chair Lynn McBee review all the plans for the weekend including the Bridge-O-Rama doings, but Toni Brinker also announced the winners of the children’s art contest. Area school children submitted art drawings of the bridge that might win prizes for themselves and their schools. Among the winners was the grand prize champ Emmanuel Ramirez‘s submission.

Al Hill Jr.

Another highpoint during the evening were the memories shared by the late Margaret Hunt Hill’s (MHH) children, Al Hill Jr. and Lyda Hill. Al recalled the story of his mother’s wedding to Al Hill Sr. in 1938 when she tossed the bouquet to a group of young women. Margaret Milam caught the bouquet, meaning that she would be the next to wed. Well, that didn’t happen for 17 years, but Margaret Milam claimed it was because she had to wait for the best man in the world — Eugene McDermott. In response to that, MHH said, “The second-best man in the world.”

Al summed up the friendship between the two women by saying that he was glad that Margaret McD would be riding over the MMHB in the days ahead, as well as over her own bridge in three years.

Next up were Ruth Altshuler, Gene Jones and Billie Leigh Rippey with tales of their late friend. One thing that has become very apparent to gatherings of late is you don’t want to follow Ruth on the podium. With a twinkle in her eye, she admitted that the late MHH could be intimidating. One time when meeting a young gal, who evidently was having “complexion challenges,” MMH said, “Hello, I’ll give you the name of my dermatologist.”

And then there was MHH’s answering machine message — “Leave your message.”

But there was another side to MHH that Ruth related. Prior to marrying Dr. Ken Altshuler, Ruth was married to the late Charles Sharp, who was a lovely and handsome man (Ruth has very good taste in men). Unfortunately, he battled Parkinson’s, but did not want to stay at home and let the disease alter his life. MHH and her late husband Al realized that attending events was challenging for the Sharps, so the Hills would arrive early and save two seats for Ruth and Charles.

Next at the podium was Gene, who acknowledged that no one should want to follow Ruth. Gene told of how MHH and her granddaughter Heather Washburne and husband Ray were in Washington D.C. for a Dallas Cowboys game. When the Joneses learned that Heather and Ray were then headed to Europe and MHH would be flying home alone, they insisted that she fly home on the Cowboys jet with them. MHH responded, “Yes, I can go.” But what about her luggage? MHH’s replied, “Heather can take care of it.” After flying home surrounded by players, coaches and Joneses, MHH said she had had a grand time being treated so royally adding, “I don’t ever ride first class.”

Billie Leigh was last up to bat and recalled how MHH was like a big sister for her and how they would kick off their shoes and watch old Doris Day/Rock Hudson movies. She also recalled that during MHH’s tenure as president of the Dallas Woman’s Club, MHH had a larger-than-life clock installed on the back wall of the DWC’s wall. The reason? To let speakers know “when to get off the stage.”

And then there was the time that Billie Leigh’s grandson Brent Besing was five-years old. Upon being introduced to MHH, the youngster extended his hand and said his name. MHH told him, “You extend your hand with a firm grip and saying your name.” Brent replied to Billie Leigh and MHH, “I see why you’re best friends.”  

Savor The Symphony Designer Violins Were Silent While The Crunching Of Broken Flutes Was Heard At Valentino

The crowd at Valentino's

As the moon leisurely gazed through the clouds over NorthPark Tuesday night, the Dallas version of Bonfire of the Vanities air-kissed and embraced at Valentino. Ah, come on. Don’t begrudge them. They worked hard for their money, their perfecto faces and their flawless outfits.

Savor the Symphony violins

It was for the Dallas Symphony darling Elan Circle’s Savor the Symphony‘s debut of the unstrung violins that had been “refreshed” by area boldfacers like Heidi Somes, Nicole LeBlanc, Phil Romano, JD Miller, Rob House, Natasha Hallam, Anna Membrino, Jadz Pate, Lynn Rushton and Susan McWilliams. Alas, the violin of daughter of Dallas Symphony Orchestra wunderkind Jaap van Zweden, Anna-Sophia van Zweden, was still in the “shop” for a spectacular paint job. No Maaco for this fiddle.

The rest of the instruments ranged from splashy, elegant to a touch bizarre. After all how often is a doll strapped to the neck of a violin?

These one-of-a-kind instruments will be auctioned off at the March 24 gala at the Adolphus that includes a five-course wine dinner and silent and live auctions.

With Valentino handiwork hanging, displayed and draped around the walls and on the cases, the setting was ideal for the whimsical violins that will never play a tune but will raise funds for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.

Valentino fashions

For the fashionable set, Valentino designers Pier Paolo Piccioli and Maria Grazia Chiuri proved their stretch of color spectrum from moorish grays and pinks, valentine red to dramatic black-and-white.

At one point, a gentleman found himself standing with arms crossed on a rug. Oops! It turned out to be a $1,750 pashmina of whisper-thin cashmere with Calais lace. Quickly, he replaced it on the rod, where the naughty shawl had fallen.

Shannon Durst and Judy Snyder

Proving the beautiful people don’t have to gussy up for an occasion with their mom’s hand-me-down pearls and St. John knits, Shannon Durst (we promised we’d spell your name correctly!) and Judy Snyder were in edgy but oh-so comfy black boots, thigh-clutching black slacks, white tops and delicious, “I’m at home in any situation” smiles.

Heidi and Dean Somes

Violin artist Heidi Somes checked her piece of artistry with husband Dean Somes and mom-in-law Lucy Somes. . . Janie Condon arrived halfway through and reported the reason for her departure from Modern Luxury was she “simply had too many things on” her plate with kids, public relations and pointing to her leg, referring to her run-in last year with a hit-and-run driver.

As the crowd grew, so did the challenge of navigating hors d’oeuvres  and beverages through the crowd. The guests knew the rules. They’re well schooled in the art of cocktail receptions — take up room but not too much; no wild arm gestures; and sudden moves are totally verboden. Alas, one poor server with a full tray of champagne-filled flutes went one way and his tray went in another with the stemware heading south to white marble. Luckily, the Valentino floors seemed to welcome the splash of champagne like an Opi top coat on polished nails.

Quickly the staff came from all directions with brooms, towels and dustpans to do away with any remnants of the misguided drinks. The truly trained guests were only momentarily silenced by the sound of glass nose-diving to the floor. Not good manners to make a spectacle of an accident. A little like applying makeup at the table. It happens, but one doesn’t acknowledge it.

In the glow of the Valentino display lights, the shards of glass mixed with the bubbly added a special dazzle to the surroundings, as the kneeling staff extended their arms to herd the errant pieces and liquid away.

Despite the best efforts, the guests still avoided the area as if it was divorce court. Alas, some late arrivals unaware of the scene of the crime walked through the area looking a little mystified by the sound of crunching glass under their stilettos.

The Billiard Ball Patrons At Miller-Rich Home Learn The February 18 Gala Is Nearing A Perfect Score

Schumacher

Schumacher the beagle, who presides over the Jan Miller-Jeff Rich palazzo, is so blasé about guests coming and going that he often snoozes through an entire event, no matter how highfalutin it is. For instance, last Tuesday Jan and Jeff hosted the patron party for the February 18th Billiard Ball benefiting the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Dallas.

Suzanne Palmlund, Jan Miller and Katherine LaLonde

All generations were jolly-on-the-spot including Nancy Dedman and her daughter Patty Nail, Susan and Tom Stanzel and daughter BB Co-chair Rachel Trow- bridge and Myrna and Bob Schlegel with daughter Krystal. And all had good reason for being there. For instance, as Event Co-chair Chris Trowbridge put it, this year’s ball is practically a sell-out as a tribute to the Dedman family, which has been a driving force since the ball’s inception nine years ago. . . . Rachel in

Steve Durham

addition to co-chairing the event is also the granddaughter of the late Frank Heller who along with the late Clint Murchison (first owner of the Dallas Cowboys) founded

Barbara Durham

B&GC back in the 1960’s. . . The Schle- gels were there to sup- port their good buds Bar- bara and Steve Durham, who are being honored this year at the ball.

But all was not about the B&GC. There was good stuff making the rounds, like Nancy’s just returning from the Jean Paul Gaultier couture show in Paris, where she sat front row across the way from Catherine Deneuve. . . . Carol Seay was showing off her black stole that she received for her birthday last week. . . While some thought Bob was in great spirits due to his sale of Pavestone, he was really proud as a peacock about daughter Krystal’s new fashion blog.

Jeff Rich and Bobby Nail

The Miller-Rich team and household are old hands at these types of gatherings and at having the accessory du jour ready — a wireless microphone. With Chris Trowbridge calling the group to order in the great room, he told how having Bobby Nail (aka Patty’s husband) on the B&GC board had “reinvigorated” the Billiard Ball, as Nancy and Patty sat on the couch proudly looking on. He also advised that for all practical purposes, the event was down to a couple of seats being available. Chris then introduced the Durhams to the crowd but there was no need to. Everyone knows who they are.

Nancy Dedman and Patty Nail

Chris said that when the announcement of the 2012 Billiard Ball was made the very first check they received was from Ebby Halliday: “I don’t think the stamp was even dry!” (Ebby couldn’t make the party due to a cold, but she sent her right-hand-gal-pal Betty Turner and Mary Vlamides to represent her.

Chris Trowbridge, JB Hayes and Rachel Trowbridge

As Chris was thanking all, Rachel and co-chair JB Hayes stood inches away. At one point in handing out the accolades, Rachel leaned over and whispered something to Chris. He then said, “. . . and Jan and Jeff have a beautiful billiard ball in the back.” Laughter followed and he realized he meant “billiard room.”

Following Chris was B&GC Board Chair Gregg Ballew, who reported that 1,200-1,300 kids a day are served in Dallas including Garland student “Xavier,” who has been going to B&GC in East Dallas for 10 years. While Xavier stood on the sidelines appearing to be shy, his personality proved that first impression to be totally wrong. Wanting to go to college for a double major in “nuclear engineering and the art of dance,” he said he believed “it takes a village[to raise a child], and my Boys and Girls Club is my village.” Which colleges does he have his hopes set on? The Julliard School, New York University or SMU.

Xavier

With such young talent in the room, it went without saying that Jan wasn’t going to let the opportunity slip away without a demonstration of Xavier’s dancing skills. Nope. “You are awesome,” she said to him. Then she requested he do a hip-hop dance. Unfortunately, she realized that the Miller-Rich collection of music was lacking in the hip-hop category, but Xavier proved his ingenuity by asking the crowd to clap. As the beat was set, Xavier showed his stuff and earned a rousing applause from all. Even Schumacher woke from his nap to see what all the hub-bub was about.