Bret Michaels Provides The Dreamy Factor At Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Gala

The Dream Gala got off to a bit of a rough start on Saturday, March 26. First there was the predictable traffic jam around the Hilton Anatole because of market taking place in the neighborhood. Then it didn’t help that in addition to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’s gala, the Rockwall Women’s League (500 people) and the Catholic Pro-Life (2,220 participants) event were also taking place at the Anatole. All of these elements coming together would have been challenging enough for guests trying to arrive, but then there was the black Mercedes. The usual two-lane drive in front of the Chantilly Ballroom was reduced to one due to the non-mobile Mercedes. As drivers muttered  in wonderment why the dark thing was hogging the lane, the valets scrambled to make due. Perhaps it was a VIP’s ride standing by for a quick getaway. Or maybe Mercedes was an event sponsor.

None of the above.

Seems the Mercedes’ driver spilled her drink on the console and fried the car’s high-tech system into a coma.

But the guests’ arrival woes didn’t stop there. No sooner had they entered the Anatole then the beautiful walls of white flimsy fabric and crystal beading started wavering thanks to a norther blowing through entry’s doors. The towering walls toppled down two or three times, but Anatole catering staff was Johnny-on-the-spot to shore up and correct the situation.

David, Elizabeth and Kim Roosevelt

After making it through these two tests, guests found a perfectly marvelous gala with guests ranging from seven to 77. (COMMENT: Everyone has experienced munchkins out of control. Think the extreme opposite at the Dream Gala. The underage guests were beautifully behaved and the elders should take bows for excellent parenting.)

Jeffrey Brewer

JDRF CEO/President Jeffrey Brewer felt right at home. He should have, since he grew up in Dallas, attending Jesuit and SMU. After leaving town, he co-founded City Search in 1995 and then went on to co-found Overture Services in 1999. Thanks to making a tidy profit off these two ventures, he was able to go into philanthropy. But Jeffrey’s involvement in Juvenile Diabetes is far more than professional or philanthropic. His 16-year-old son, Sean, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2002.

Katherine and Deborah Brewer

As Jeffrey was describing his goal of doubling JDRF’s revenues within the next five years, his Australian-beauty wife Deborah told how they had met thanks to a joint venture project. But her days now are filled schlepping _-year-old daughter Katherine to equine jumping events. According to Deborah, since Katherine started riding competitively, she has been scoring ribbons from the Hamptons to Florida. Alas, poor Katherine took a nasty fall resulting in a broken collarbone that will keep her out of competition for a bit. Not to worry. Katherine has big plans and nothing like a silly “oops!” is going to hold her back.

Sean Brewer

In the meantime, Sean was busy trying out the new electronic gizmo from BidPal. According to event organizers, the slim little blue auction device allows guest to bid on the silent auction items. Nothing new about that. Ah, but this one would allow you to monitor and increase your bidding through the night from your table. Dream Gala was its debut.

Rosi Hygate and Kim Gatlin

Another out-of-towner on the scene was LA-based Rosi Hygate, who was with Kim Gatlin. They’ve been busy working with the TV crew on GCB. . . Across the way was

Lauren and Rudy Gatlin

Kim’s daughter, Lauren, with dad Rudy Gatlin. . . .Dr Pepper/Snapple Executive VP Jim Baldwin wore his JDRF Hero medallion with genuine pride. After all, Dr Pepper/Snapple not only was being honored as the 2011 Dream Gala Corporate Inspiration Award, it’s been a key corporate sponsors of JDRF for more than a decade.

Jim Baldwin

According to the corporate plan, “It’s their goal to provide a full range of products focused on reducing calories and smaller sizes and improving nutrition by 2015, as well as supporting local and national programs that encourage active lifestyles.

And speaking of calories, the Dream Gala menu was not your typical dish descriptions. Each course had a breakdown of the carbohydrate content. This information made even those new to the battle with diabetes more aware of the need for healthy eating.

Bret Michaels and the girls

But the menu was just a smattering of what Gala Chairs Dr. Arlene Jacobs and Allen Feltman had in store. They had scored a major home run landing the true highlight of the evening for kids of most ages — 2011 Dream Gala Contagious Inspiration Award recipient Bret Michaels. Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of six, Bret arrived after most of the guests had entered the ballroom. But he was quickly surrounded

Comparing scars

by adoring fans with cellphones, cameras and smiles. Patiently and graciously, the rocker/Celebrity Apprentice winner handled practically every request. Just before he was introduced by KDFW-CH. 4’s Steve Eagar into the ballroom, Bret told the crowd of fans, “I’ve got a few little scars there. We’ll go in there and say ‘hi’ to everybody. We’ll have a good time.” Comparing the “scars” with youngsters, he admitted he has done “four injections a day for 42 years. I’m old-school!”

Then it was time to enter the Chantilly, but it was a slow entry. Everyone wanted to hug him, pat him on the back and thank him for putting diabetes in the spotlight. (You did know that he had his Celebrity Apprentice prize of $250,000 given to the American Diabetes Association, didn’t you?)

Bret Michaels being surrounded

Even after making it to his table near the stage, he was still surrounded. Despite the numerous politicos and local celebs in the audience, Julianne Hough on stage entertaining the 1,100 guests and Gene Stallings making the keynote speech, Bret was the one everyone wanted to meet and be photographed with.

Robyn Sanders and Bret Michaels

As someone said, “Diabetes is a cruel disease, but Bret makes it seem cool.”


No Tie Dinner Has Toes Dancing For AIDS Services Of Dallas

Saturday’s No Tie Dinner & Dessert Party should be renamed. It should be the Do Dance Dessert Party. The sixth annual NTD&DP at the Frontiers Flight Museum was just getting into gear when most other events were closing down for the night.

Stacey Susilli and Julie Adler

While a great number of the neck-wear-less checked out the dessert around the facility as well as the silent auction items, the dance floor was getting its share of action. The emphasis was disco at one point with

Stacey Susilli and Jose Cruz

Stacey Susilli in the spotlight. First she was dancing with Julie Adler and before you could tap your toe three times she sharing the floor with Jose Cruz.

Lisa Walker and Rick Perry

It’s hard to imagine that so much fun was benefiting a still very necessary program — AIDS Services of Dallas. As one person noted, AIDS has not gone away. It’s still very much affecting all aspects of the community and funds are vital to combat the disease.

2011 hosts for pre-No Tie Dinner parties included: Brent Barns & Danny Sikora, Gail Bradley & Dorothy Fischer, Ryan & Ana Carruth, David Cooper & Allen Haskell, Ken Duvall & Carlos Castillo, Don Dolezal, Max and Stacey Dolezal Susini & Sharon Valenti, Doug Dorey & Bob Goldberg, Paige & Clint Fletcher, Larry Gibson, James Prock, Brian Giglio & Ken Rowell, Mark Goodheart, Raul Velez & Barry Bryan, Kevin Graham, Dolph Haas & Jay Oppenheimer, Rusty Hampton & Buddy Mercer, BJ & Bob Hardman, Betty Boyer, Holli Harris, Mark Hayes, Chris Henderson, Jon Papp & Bill McCain, Davis Kennedy, James McDonald, Jason Krieger, Michael Pettie, Cash Keahey, Judy & Keith Meyr, Barbara & Hank Levine, Sharon & Bill Staley, Rich Perry, Randy Wilcox, Dan Rivera, Keith Reese, D’Andra Simmons, Wayne Thomas & Sergio Delgado, Don Maison, Douglas Cheatham & Mark Hendon, Joe Adams & Jimmy Lancaster, Stuart Trotter & Cesar Fuentes, Aaron Parrish & Robert Natho, Rob Wiley, Tomas Soto & Jay Murter, Ted Mitchell, Byron Titus, Shane Stagg, Gregory Mottley, Arlen Miller & Ramon Garcia, Clinton Brown & Jessica Ramos, Victor Kralisz & Russell Windle, James DiMarino, Daniel Huerta, Sid Thom & Richard Bergstrom, Charlie Calise, Joan Buccola, Jill Juncker, Lana Pomaro, Jack Brenner, Dawn Hillesheim Negley & Sarah Bayley, Brian Truncale & Rodney Maynard, Cherie Batsel, Billy Milner, Gary Stephens, Darren DeVille & Steve Lopez, Michael Bailey & John Bellegante, Vilma Vanegas, Travis-Lee Moore CPCE, Greg Alford & Mark Stafford, Conrad Hamric, Steven Jarvis and Michelle & Bernard Nussbaumer.


Ronald McDonald’s Casa Habana Nearing Sell-Out Stage

Friday night’s Casa Habana benefiting the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas at the Ritz is nearly a done deal. Don’t confuse this one with the elegant Moonlight Ball a couple of weeks ago. This one is “hip and young.” Co-chaired by Wynne Brown, Katie Head and Molly Thomas, “The Casa Habana event will capture the style and class of the Old Hollywood clientele who frequented the city’s infamous night clubs.”

It will all happen thanks to designs by Todd Fiscus, “heavy hors d’oeuvres, libations” and DJ Lucy Wrubel providing the musical background.

Casa Habana’s sponsors include:

  • Presenting sponsor — todd.event design. creative services.
  • Diamond sponsors — Patti and Jimmy Elliott, Switch Creative Group, PaperCity, Sewell and Western Extrusions Corp.
  • Platinum sponsors — Benchmark Bank & Benchmark Title, Mr. and Mrs. Gerald J. Ford, Kay and Steve Head, Highside Capital, Lincoln Property Company and Prairie Creek Partners.


Share-A-Date: Champagne to Chocolate Brunch

Dunia Borga

Tuesday, April 19: What’s the best way to experience chocolate? Perhaps with champagne? What about having 10 of Dallas’ leading pastry chefs not only having demonstrations but also providing desserts? Still not enough? You’re so demanding. Ah, but the Dallas Junior Forum knows how to please. Not only will all of the above be on hand for the DJF’s “Champagne to Chocolate Brunch” at the Hilton Dallas Lincoln Center, they’ll also have WFAA-CH. 8’s Cynthia Izaguirre as mistress of ceremonies and guest speaker Dunia “La Duni” Borga, queen of the sweets.

Among the raffle items will be a chance to stay at a Tuscan villa.

If you’re in need to conversation chatter, think about this — in addition to the DJF’s providing more than 4,000 service hours in 2010 to are non-profit agencies, 83 women on 10 cooking teams prepared more than 6,000 meals.

2011 Fresh Faces Of Fashion Highlighted Beauty And A Greater Need For Awareness

Standing: Casey Lee Robinson, Amanda Sisk, Piper Young, Claire Lee Pruitt, Teffy Jacobs, Charlotte Rollins Reynolds; Seated: Lainie Kritser, Amanda Sterett, Shirin Askari and Lisa Petty

Last Friday the 2011 Fresh Faces of Fashion were celebrated at Korshak and the Crescent Hotel with oodles of friends, fans and families on hand. Yes, these dazzling dozen darlings look like they have nary a problem in the world except for an occasional zit or split end. But look a little deeper into the FFF and there’s a lot more there than flawless faces and figures. Each of these gals is raising funds and awareness for the Suicide and Crisis Center. According to early estimates, this year’s efforts are going to hit the $300,000 mark bring a grand total of $1 million since Fresh Faces began five years ago.

Now let’s talk about the evening that somehow managed to use beauty to tackle a beastly problem touching way too many lives.

STAGE ONE — It started off with a jamfest on the first level of Korshak where FFF godmothers Yvonne Crum and Jill Rowlett welcomed all. With no hesitation, they recognized everyone of the

Maleiah Rogers and Yvonne Crum

guests on sight. Needless to say 2011 FFF (Amanda Sisk, Amanda Sterett, Casey Lee Robinson, Catherine Laine Sowell, Charlotte Rollin Reynolds, Claire Lee Pruitt, Ellie Lemak, Lainie Kritser, Lisa Petty, Piper Young, Shirin Askari and Teffy Jacobs) were nowhere to be seen. Ellie and Laine were MIA. Ellie had an unavoidable situation develop and Laine had classes. Their sister FFF were upstairs getting ready for their moments in the spotlight.

Doris Jacobs and Lee Bailey

But their parents, friends and relatives were well on hand. 2011 FFF mom Doris Jacobs was all smiles arriving with 2010 FFF mom Lee Bailey. They should have been. On Thursday Lee not only closed on the Braden Powers house on Turtle Creek with Doris handling the details, LB even got the furniture in the house, too.

Dee Dee Lee and Mary Gill

2011 FFF mom Dee Dee Lee and Mary Gill were updating each other on the condition of Janie Condon, who had been the victim of a car accident the week before. Along with Dee Dee was 2011 FFF grandmother/Dee Dee’s mother Sue Peege in from Kentucky for her granddaughter Casey’s runway appearance.

Sue Peege.

Chris Hite and Niven Morgan

Niven Morgan entered squiring Dee Wyly

Dee Wyly

on his arm. Dee was nursing a sore finger after being bitten earlier in the day by her Maltese Bella, who had not wanted her scarf removed. Just like a diva dog!

Raffle Co-chair Chris Blackwell broke the news that he and former FFF/Raffle Co-chair Jennifer Lott were no longer engaged. Nope! They got married on March 10. Not to worry. Their “big wedding in Hawaii” on September 10 is still on. According to the newlyweds, they had just closed on their dream home — a Tudor in the Lakewood area — and decided to go ahead and do it within 48 hours.

All too soon the crowd started moving upstairs at Korshak for the fashion show featuring the FFF’s and Brunello Cucinelli fashions.

STAGE TWO — With blazing lights focused on the runway, the seats filled quickly. While the front row VIP’s had the very best view, they also probably suffered from the heat generated from the overhead spots. Ah, but not to worry. This crowd has never been known to perspire.

Dr. Carrie Carter Watson

As blonde Dr. Carrie Carter Watson walked by in a bare-shoulder silk dress, Carolyn Lupton pointed out to Mayo Crum that Carrie was her doctor. Without missing a beat Mayo laughed that there were definite benefits to ill health.

Piper Young and Claire Lee Pruitt

Backstage the gals couldn’t help but peek to see how the action was shaping up.

Then it was time for the show to start with photographers and videographers ready to record the show.

Crawford Brock

Korshak head honcho Crawford Brock welcomed the crowd and thanked Yvonne, who quickly reminded him that she had a

Jill Rowlett

co-chair — Jill Rowlett. Quick addition was made by Sir Crawford. Then he introduced Modern Luxury of Dallas Associate Publisher Christian Poppert, who got the 2011 FFF strutting their stuff in the Cucinelli clothes to the cheers of the crowd.

Following their walk, they took their seats and watched the rest of the show. Intermingled with the Cucinelli fashions were other Korshak designers providing a full range of looks.

After the final model left the catwalk, each of the 2011 FFF lovelies were congratulated on their runway walk — not one tripped and in those heels that was a major accomplishment.

Before anyone knew it, the couture level of Korshak was empty as guests headed across the way to the Crescent Court Hotel for dinner and a talk by Patricia Massey Sivori.

STAGE THREE — As if according to plan, the evening’s weather for the walk from Korshak to the Crescent Court Hotel was perfect.  After everyone had taken their place, Yvonne and Jill thanked the guests for coming and introduced Suicide and Crisis Center Executive Director Margie Wright. It was at this point that the whole purpose of the evening was brought home when Terry Bentley Hill addressed the group to introduce the keynote speaker. Before doing that, she revealed how suicide had claimed her husband in 1995 and her daughter at the age of 14. In describing her daughter’s death, she forcefully told the group, “She died of depression. That’s what killed her, depression.” To help her work through her own grief, she started making a gratitude list.

Then it was time for keynote speaker Patricia, who talked about the suicide of her son, Cal, in 2001. It was a brief but effective talk about a mother’s loss of a son. Describing her last conversation with Cal, she noted that he wasn’t himself. He was depressed. Since that day she had become a major advocate to getting a discussion going about suicide. “Was I naive to think that suicide was not occurring at that time, in  my city, in my neighborhood, in my grandchildren’s home? The door of the Suicide and Crisis Center of North Texas opened to rooms filled with stories!”

Margie Wright and Dr. Cliff Jones

Listening all of this at a table was a gentleman who may not have had the freshest face in the place or had ever even walked a catwalk. But in many ways he was responsible for the gorgeous women and the saving of lives. It was 91-year-old Dr. Cliff Jones.

Standing: Bill McGowan, Bridget Boggess. Heather McGowan and Trip Jones. Seated: Robin McGowan, Mardi Jones and Summer McGowan

Surrounded by two generations of his too-good-to-be-true family including her adorable wife Mardi, he was the one who established the Suicide and Crisis Center in 1966. What caused this former Marine/psychologist to create such a program? Was it a personal involvement in a suicide? Nope. The gentle-faced man with youthful eyes just felt that there was a need back in the 60’s to address the issue that had been in the shadows. Looking around the room at all the lively young people and his family, he recognized that the 2011 Fresh Faces had been another step in getting “the issue”  out in the open.

Popcorn Diets Will Commence March 31 For Dallas International Film Festival

If you’ve been living under a hair dryer, then you might be the only one who doesn’t know that the Dallas International Film Festival (March 31-April 10) is getting ready to kick into high gear.

The red carpet gala takes place Thursday night at the Winspear. Smart gal Ann-Margret will be honored at the event but will not be strolling the red carpet there and then. She’s saving that one for the showing of her Lucky on Friday.

Now stay with us on this one. The Lucky red carpet stroll with Ann-Margret, Ari Graynor and Gil Cates Jr., will be in front of the WFAA-CH 8 studio in Victory Park from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., but the showing will be at the Magnolia at 7:15 p.m.

But the rest of the Thursday night parade of notables ain’t too shabby. Try Tanner Beard and Suzanne Weinert of  Legends of Hells Gate, Sam Ditore and Scott Mayo of Cooper & The Castle Hills Gang, Rocky Powell and Luke Coffee of Language of a Broken Heart, Matt Mamul of Just About Famous, Ash Christian of Mangus!, producer Stephen Nemeth, Brigid McConville, Rolando Diaz, G.W Bailey, Barry Borbin, Burton Gilliam, Anne Lockhart, Buck Taylor, Arianne Martin, Justin Hillard, Justin Hillard, Tom Huckabee, Drew Waters, Jimmy Hampton, Mari Deese Hampton, Bryan Massey and Frank Moseley.

All right, let’s have an honesty check. If you were expecting Independence Day and Doris Day, forget it. This festival is the opportunity to see movies that are treasures within the film industry that end up winning awards and audiences because they’re simply remarkable. If you want to be part of the insider crowd, you’ve found your home for the next 10 days.

Leigh Anne Haugh And Laura Ling Made CONTACT

Originally, the 15th annual Spirit of CONTACT on Thursday was to have had television journalist Lisa Ling as the featured speaker. At the last minute Lisa was called to Utah on assignment and needed a sub. No problem. She just called in her sister and broadcast correspondent Laura, who had been held prisoner by the North Korean government for 140 days resulting in an international brouhaha.  But more about that later.

Ashlee Kleinert, Laura Ling, Nancy Ann Hunt

The VIP reception started off with Laura being photo-graphed with last year’s honoree Nancy Ann Hunt and her daughter Ashlee Kleinert and other guests. Next emcee Heather Hays interviewed Laura for KDFW-CH. 4’s evening newscast.

Anita Oberwetter

Anita Oberwetter

Then Laura was seated at a table to sign her book, Somewhere Inside: One Sister’s Captivity in North Korea and The Other’s Fight to Bring Her Home, for guests. Due to the popularity of the books, Luncheon Chair Anita Oberwetter found herself schlepping books to the table. Dallas Regional Chamber President/Anita’s husband Jim arrived and reported that he was there to support Anita in her efforts to raise funds for the crisis prevention and intervention organization.

Doug and Leigh Anne Haugh and Clo and Perry Cloud

Speaking of family support, honoree/Junior League of Dallas President Leigh Anne Haugh had both husband Doug and parents Clo and Perry Cloud on hand. That Leigh Anne was a sneaky one. She pulled off a nice one during the lunch, but more about that later.

But talk at the of the day was not focused solely on Laura and the luncheon. For instance, former high school teacher Martha Ann Cates, who has volunteered at CONTACT for seven or eight years, admitted that her chief concern was for the schools kids who don’t realize there are alternatives.

Just before it was time to head to the Stemmons Ballroom for lunch, CONTACT President Benaye Rogers reminded the gathering that raffle tickets were still available. . . especially the American Airlines trip to Brazil.

At 11:25 the Stemmons Ballroom was starting to look like a melting pot of ages, sexes and races. It was obvious from the makeup of the group that CONTACT was impacting the entire community. SMU President Gerald Turner arrived just before former Mayor Tom Leppert. Seems that Tom was subbing in for wife/Luncheon Honorary Chair Laura, who was called away on business. The ladies at his table were thrilled.

Heather Hays

Emcee Heather called the group to order at 11:36. Following a welcome by CONTACT Board Chairman Susan Odom and Anita, Pastor Brent McGuire gave the invocation and it was lunch time.

At 12:05 p.m. Benaye addressed the group telling them that 46% of their calls came from men and that CONTAC T did not receive “just a suicide” call. Rather, the calls often come from people who are just overwhelmed and need assistance.

Benaye Rogers

Benaye Rogers

Benaye then introduced Nancy Ann who gave an excellent introduction for Leigh Anne. For most people it would have been a real challenge to follow such a lovely intro, but Leigh Anne proved her ability to rise to the occasion. She told about her days as a CONTACT volunteer, where she learned, “We are not here to judge. We are here to listen.”

Then Leigh Anne asked everyone to pull out their cell phones. An uneasy twinge rippled through the audience. They had been at other events, where they had been “encouraged” to text donations to the group. Awkward. If you didn’t pull out your cell phone, you looked like you weren’t part of the effort. But since it was Leigh Anne, phones appeared with fingers ready to donate. Instead, she pulled a fast one. The blonde asked everyone to tap in 972.233.2233 and save it. The number was the CONTACT hotline and she added that one day they just might need to provide that number for someone in need of help.

No wonder the crowd gave Leigh Anne a standing O.

Then it was time to pull the raffle tickets. First one was for the trip to Rio. Leigh Anne pulled the first ticket and handed it to Heather, who read, “Gail Bartlett.” Gee, wasn’t that the former first lady of Dallas, Mrs. Steve Bartlett. Next was the spa package  at the Hilton Anatole. This time, Leigh Anne handed the ticket to Heather, who laughed and read, “Doug Haugh.” Leigh Anne quickly swore she hadn’t looked at the tickets, when she realized her husband was the lucky winner.

After the final ticket was pulled at 12:30 p.m., it was time for Laura, who was introduced via video by sister Lisa. From Utah, Lisa apologized for not being there but added that her talk would have centered around Laura.

It was a fascinating talk that covered Laura’s work in the Middle East, Mexico and North Korea) and the importance of freedom.  In telling about her captivity in North Korea, she told of a moment when she was in despair and guard said, “Have hope.”

Then Laura explained former President Bill Clinton‘s involvement in her release from enprisonment. It seems that when North Korean President Kim Jong-il‘s father died in 1994, Clinton was the very first to call and offer his condolences. The North Korean president didn’t forget Clinton’s sympathy, so when the former president  got involved in Laura’s release, it happened. According to Laura, it was that “simple act of kindness” that made the difference.

Magically, Laura tied her story with the work done by CONTACT. . . offering hope to others and the important of acts of kindness.

At 1:05 p.m. Laura closed her talk telling the group how depression has become a major problem in schools. Yes, there are support groups in schools for drugs, but rarely for students suffering from depression.  Closing with a quote from Maya Angelou‘s I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Laura received a standing O, too.

She done her big sister and CONTACT proud.

Share-A-Date: Each Moment Matters Luncheon

Godwin Dixon, T. Boone Pickens and Tom Leppert

Wednesday, September 28: Honorary Chairs Susan and Bill Montgomery have set the date for this year’s Each Moment Matters Luncheon at the Hilton Anatole. Benefiting Faith Presbyterian Hospice, the event recognizes “unsung heroes who make a difference in the lives of others.” Last year’s Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to T. Boone Pickens with a crowd of 900 in attendance.

To understand the value of hospice care, one only has to witness the compassion and professionalism provided by the individuals for those who are facing end-of-life issues. The services of hospice staff members extend beyond the patient to caring for the families as well at a very difficult time in the cycle of life.

Hella Shrine Circus Is Setting Up In Garland And Dallas

Tonight’s weather forecast is — perfection. Your tush is tired of the patio bar action. And besides, there’s a kid factor in your chromosome makeup.  So, what about the circus? No, not the bigger-than-NYC type like Barnum Bailey. Think about one that benefits the Hella Shrine Center and still has that sawdust feeling about it. You’re just in luck. The Shrine Circus is coming to two locations in the area.

First stop is Garland’s Special Events Center tonight through Sunday (March 27). Then the elephants and clowns and all are moving to Fair Park from Tuesday (March 29) through Sunday (April 3).

Now, those of you who are so clever will probably schedule your circus date for April 1. . . no fooling.

Dream Gala Nears Sell-Out Stage

Just got word that Saturday night’s Dream Gala benefiting the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation is in countdown mode for a sell out. You remember. It’s the gala at the Hilton Anatole with Julianne Hough, Gene Stallings and Bret Michaels on stage. . . at separate times.

It’s also old home night for JDRF CEO Jeffrey Brewer. Former CEO of Overture Services and CitySearch, he hails from Dallas, where he attended Jesuit and SMU. In addition to his professional involvement with JDRF, he has a personal reason for seeking solutions to this disease. One of his children has diabetes.

Share-A-Date: Junior League Of Dallas’s Rummage Roundup

Friday, April 29-Sunday, May 1: There’s is nothing like a good sale. Leave it to the Junior League of Dallas Provisional Class of 2010 to hold a mega one. We’re not talking the Neiman Marcus Last Call type or the neighbors in the next block having a garage sale. Think Rummage Roundup at Dallas Market Hall. Think  Halston Heritage, von Furstenburg, Tory Burch, Lily Pulitzer, Fendi and other familiar designing types. Think the bargain benefiting 42 local nonprofits. Now, you’re thinking.

Friday night (7 to 10 p.m.) is the VIP Party with tickets starting at $35 and privileged first passes at the designer items.

Then the Roundup opens to one and all for Saturday (7 a.m. to 4 p.m.) and Sunday (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.). Anything not bought will be given to the Genesis Women’s Shelter.

Talk about a win-win-win deal.

Dr. Ken Cooper and Troy Aikman Are In The Healthy Zone For Teaming Up For Healthy Kids With United Way

It’s not a pretty picture that Dr. Ken Cooper and Troy Aikman brought to light Tuesday at a press conference at the Hyatt Regency — almost 40% of Dallas high school students are overweight or obese.

Healthy Zone poster

With this situation in mind, the two very healthy type fellows announced that the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas and Cooper Institute announced the selection of Nell Burks Elementary in McKinney as the first school to become part of the Healthy Zone School Recognition Program.

What’s the Healthy Zone. . .  Program? Good question. Better answer.

“The Healthy Zone School Recognition program offers training and financial assistance to schools to create healthier environments and recognizes schools that have already become healthy zones. As the first Healthy Zone School, Burks will receive funding and support to fully implement healthy practices on its campus and engage the surrounding community.  The school will receive teacher fitness and nutrition training along with funding for physical education equipment, health promotions and parent education tools.”

Garry Gorman and Pam Bendorf

On hand to accept the award were Burks Elementary Principal Pam Bendorf and Assistant Principal Garry Gorman.

Jennifer Sampson

As United Way COO Jennifer Sampson looked proud as punch, it was announced that the six-year initiative will eventually effect more than 25,000 students and their families associated with 70 schools.

Dr. Ken Cooper and Troy Aikman

After the press conference was done and all the official photos were taken, the munchkins who had been present in Healthy Zone T-shirts got to have Dr. Cooper and Troy autograph their T-shirts.

Then the grownups headed into the VIP reception for the Teaming up for Healthy Kids luncheon benefiting The Cooper Institute. It was a repeat for some, who had attended the sponsors’ party Monday night at Gerald Turner‘s home.

Lee Roy Jordan, Archie Manning, Dr. Ken Cooper, Troy Aikman, Roger Staubach

But who cared when you have healthy types like Roger Staubach, Lee Roy Jordan, keynote speaker Archie Manning and emcee Randy Galloway joining Dr. C and Troy.

Carol Seay and Stephanie Oakes

Luncheon co-chairs Edie Lycke and Stephanie Oakes set a mighty healthy and tasty table for the luncheon crowd. Spinach salad, with strawberries, grapes, feta cheese and toasted almonds topped with a raspberry vinaigrette. Then the entrée

Edie Lycke

included artichoke stuffed breast of chicken with a tasty lemon thyme demi glace and onthe side cheddar mashed potatoes and

broccollini flowers. For dessert, it was a trilogy of chocolate set off with wild berry glace. Who knows? If they served that kind of lunch at schools, obesity might be history.


Hip, Hip, Hurray! Ebby Officially Turns 100 At A Circus Par Excellence In The Meyerson’s Big Ring

Photo Gallery Alert: Additional photos are available for viewing.

Everyone has heard the story that when Ebby Halliday was a wee one, she wanted to be a circus bareback rider. In the early 1900’s that was a true adventure for a young lass. It was a time before women’s rights when a woman was supposed to stay close to home and learn how to sew, wash and cook. While Ebby’s future of a bareback rider didn’t work out, her adventurous spirit brought her to Dallas in 1938. Here she not only gave birth to one of the country’s largest privately-owned residential real estate companies, but she also became the sweetheart of community, civic and nonprofit groups throughout the area. In fact her get-up-go-attitude earned her the Linz Award, the Horatio Alger Award and a slew of others.

Barb Durham

It just so happened that the Horatio Alger Scholarship Program was scheduled to hold a concert at the Meyerson on the same day Steve Durham learned over dinner, that Ebby would turn 100. The fates were smiling on all. Instead of a stuffy old black-tie event, it would be a birthday celebration to match the wonderfulness of Ebby. Event Chairs Barb and Steve Durham were supported in their efforts by Dallas Horatio Alger recipients Jody Grant, Craig Hall, Jim Keyes, Ross Perot, T. Boone Pickens, Bob Schlegel and Roger Staubach.

Much to Ebby’s delight the event would benefit a program providing scholarships for Texas students in the Horatio Alger program.

Once again the fates were blessing the occasion because Greek tenor Mario Frangoulis was already scheduled to perform with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra at the Meyerson.

Organizers also brought in the big guns — Dallas Fan Fares — to orchestrate the multi-part extravaganza.

Barbara Daseke

Now the question was how to create a true Ebby event — fun, friendly and touching. The topic of Ebby’s childhood dream was brought up. What about a circus theme? Really? But hasn’t that been overdone? Not when the decorations were put in the hands of Barbara Daseke and Todd Fiscus. Like a couple of bees buzzing around the first flowers of spring, these creative types kept coming up with ideas. The very first requisite was color. Lots of colors, happy colors.  Every part of the evening would be a fun-filled surprise for the birthday girl and her hundreds of guest.

Nibbling horses

The night of the event the multitude knew they were in store for a three-ring circus as they arrived at the entrance of the Meyerson. Here were a couple of show gals on horses decorated with wreaths of greenery and flowers. When the girls’ mounts weren’t posing for photos with the VIP guests in front of circus posters, they started nibbling on each other’s neckwear.

Ringmaster doorman

Guests then had the front doors of the Meyerson opened for them by a couple of glama-rama ringmasters in gold-and-silver jackets with white top hats.

Most guests would have been happy with just that, but, oh, no! There was much, much more in-store.


Upon entering the Meyerson lobby, they discovered a marvelous bandstand topped with 100 faux candles. Seen from the second-floor balcony or from the floor of the lobby, the hot pink, yellow and blue bandstand was fit for a queen, and rightly so. Here the petite Ebby in a white St. John knit, full-length suit with white gloves greeted one and all of the big-buck guests. Adding to the twinkle in her eyes was a pair of nicely done false eyelashes. While she started the greet-athon seated on the pink, padded throne, she eventually stood receiving kiss and well wishes.

Ka and LL Cotter

Like children queuing up to confide in Santa, the boldest faced types stood patiently in line to congratulate the silver-haired centenarian. But guests didn’t mind waiting their turn. It was like old-home week. They chatted it up with the others in line and had time to eyeball the decked-out Meyerson lobby.

Meyerson lobby

Behind the bandstand was a dining room of dozens and dozens of tables in colors that would put a crayon box to shame.  Yellow-draped chairs surrounded tables topped with turquoise- and raspberry-colored tablecloths. One table in particular stood out under a striped tent top. That was Ebby’s table, of course. Towering throughout the room were colorful balls just made for any seal to turn on its nose. On closer inspection the balls were made of thousands of carnations.

Someone had evidently passed the word that no color was too much for the night, and many of the guests bought into the break from traditional blah black. While many of the gents wore brightly-colored ties (T. Boone, Don Daseke, Jim Keyes, Colin Duchin, Bob Schlegel), there were some who played it more conservatively (Ross Perot, Roger Staubach, Jerry Jones).

Betsy Eiseman

The ladies, on the other hand, broke out their most colorful outfits. Betsy Eiseman wore a bright pink pashmina. The Barbs’ (Daseke and Durham) outfits and jewelry matched the colors and dazzle of the lobby to a T.

Ellen Terry

Ellen Terry looked quite spiffy in turquoise cocktail pantsuit. Myrna Schlegel went the cobalt blue route. Margaret Crow arrived in shamrock green. Sheila Grant‘s peony pink dress and coat matched husband Jody’s tie perfectly.

Todd Fiscus and Melissa Stewart

And attorney Melissa Stewart, who had advised everyone to just wear what you wore to work, showed up in a silver cocktail dress. Evidently lawyers are really dressing up for court these days.

Greg Abbott

Instead of jugglers, politicos were in full regalia. Most eloquent was Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, who summed up Ebby pretty well, saying, “I know of no woman of any age who is both so inspirational and aspirational than Ebby. It’s remarkable that anybody lives to be 100, and much less does so in such a generous, active, robust style. Everyone should aspire (to be like Ebby). If everyone were like Ebby , there would be a lot fewer problems in the world.”

Dallas mayoral candidate Mike Rawlings was discussing “affordable housing for artists” in Downtown Dallas’ recently unveiled Dallas 360 Plan with DD czar John Crawford. Seems that Mike’s daughter is attending the Rhode Island School of Design and he’d like her to return to Dallas after graduating.

When the subject turned to his quest to be mayor, Rawlins said the campaign allowed him to get to know the city better and its “smart, dynamic people. . . There’s gold in the streets. We just need to bend over and pick it up.”

Tom Leppert and Ebby Halliday

Looking for another job — this one in the U.S. Senate — Tom Leppert was handshaking and back-patting influencers left and right. But when he got his turn with Ebby, he looked like a little boy adoring his favorite school marm.

On the sidelines, security types supported the walls looking very somber. Obviously, they hadn’t gotten the “have fun” memo.


The usual Opus restaurant had been turned into a lounge underwritten by Madeleine and T. Boone Pickens. Margot Perot and Susan and Tom Stanzel were among those enjoying the view of the Betty Marcus park while listening to chanteuse Aubree-Anna in her bright red gown on stage. (Remember that the long-haired brunette A-A was wearing a red gown. More about that later.)

But schedules had to be kept, and all too soon it was dinner time. No, it wasn’t corny dogs and fried turkey legs. You can take a circus theme too far, don’t you know. Instead they started with a salad of cucumbers wrapped with mixed winter leaves, vine-ripened roma tomatoes, American maytag bleu cheese, kalamata olives and rosemary crisp with tangerine balsamic dressing. For some it was a welcome break from the usual worn out greens drizzled with a dressing. For others, it was “sorta peculiar.”

The entree of roasted apricot glazed guinea hen with lemon thyme reduction sauce, fingerling potatoes, hericot vert, white asparagus, raisins and toasted almonds scored across the board.

Just as the last bites were swallowed, it was time for the big-buck guests to head to the McDermott Concert Hall, where the rest of the audience was filling the upper tiers. In keeping with the schoolgirl Ebby’s memories of childhood, the program was a composition book with highlights of Ebby’s life and notes from her fans.

Promptly at 7:54 p.m., ringmaster, or rather emcee, Scott Murray welcomed the crowd and saluted Ebby in her box in the loge tier. Seated next to her were Mary Frances Burleson on her right and Margot and Ross Perot on her left. Coaxed by Scott, the high-and-the-mighty joined the normal-and-happy in shouting “Happy birthday” to Ebby. For their effort, they got a high-beam smile and wave from the birthday girl in the spotlight. Scott then announced that the dessert reception following the concert was being sponsored by a gaggle of names — all title companies. Smart title companies.

At 7:58 p.m. as Scott was introducing “go-getters/givers” Barb and Steve Durham, they joined him onstage. After a brief, “We love you, Ebby” talk, the twosome turned things back to Scott, who introduced a tribute video on Ebby at 8:02 p.m.  In addition to recalling Ebby’s life story, it included testimonials from Gerald Turner, Gov. Rick Perry, T. Boone, Emmitt Smith, Roger Staubach (he claimed that he took her to the junior prom), Tom Leppert, Gene and Jerry Jones, Craig Hall, Barb and Steve, Bob Schlegel, Jody Grant, Jim Keyes (Ebby’s Horatio Alger classmate), Dirk Nowitzki and Honorary Chair George Bush, who was not in the house.

Interesting tribute factoid: the late President Dwight Eisenhower‘s mother had been one of Ebby’s clients when she was in the chapeau business.

By 8:20 p.m. the tribute had ended and Scott looked up at Ebby in her box and said, “My gosh you look like the Queen of England, but you’re better looking.”

Then it was time for the concert with the DSO taking their places at 8:23 p.m. Following them were Mario Frangoulis and conductor Albert-George Schram. After thanking the audience, congratulating Ebby and singing a couple of songs, the charming Mario introduced long-haired brunette soprano Andriana Chuchman in a cherry-red gown. (Remember Aubree-Anna in the lounge earlier? Evidently some guests thought Aubree-Anna and Andriana were one in the same as they were mesmerized by the dexterity of the lady in red.) Her solos were rewarded with salutes from the audience, but so did Mario’s. Evidently the DSO members are not so easy to please. Andriana’s performances received tapping of bows, while Mario’s rarely raised a flutter.

(Comment: The Meyerson is one of the finest acoustic facilities in the world. Because of its perfection, it can be challenging for some musicians and singers on their first venture. When Tony Bennett performs in the Meyerson, he asks the production team to turn off the electronics and takes time to sing a capella to showcase the beauty of the wood that carries his voice to the farthest seat.)

Someone must have clued Andriana in on the Meyerson, as she rarely held the mike at less than an arm’s length distance. At one point, the microphone was nearly a yard away from her and yet her voice carried up to the highest rows. On the other hand, Mario tended to embrace the microphone a tad too close resulting in his overwhelming the hall. Evidently Theater Jones’ classical and opera critic Gregory Sullivan Isaacs was concerned about Mario’s performance, saying:

” Hopefully, he (Mario) was just temporarily in bad voice. It would be a real shame if his glorious tenor was in such tatters permanently. Full out singing was thrilling but hoarseness and a lack of control was apparent everywhere else. Still, he gamely gave it his all and managed to pull off a respectable performance. He sings with convection and excellent phrasing, bringing meaning to every word. There is no doubt that he makes an emotional connection with the audience and it is easy to see why his career has taken off. But by the end, in the Brindisi from Verdi’s La Traviata sung as an encore, he was completely out of gas and just let (Andriana) Churchman sing the ending by herself.”

But perhaps Mario was suffering from a bit of nerves. He had mentioned the night before at Jan Miller’s and Jeff Rich’s party for the patrons, that he was a bit nervous about performing with the DSO and on the occasion of Ebby’s birthday. Or, perhaps like many in the audience, the seasonal allergies of Dallas were getting the best of him.

Regardless, thanks to his charm and stage presence, he still won the audience over as they cheered him on.

At 9:12 p.m. Mario told the guests that they were nearing the end. He recognized the DSO and they took a bow. He talked about his work as an ambassador for Horatio Alger and his efforts to help “the young people.” This time he scored applause from the DSO members and a couple of tapping bows.

But the singing wasn’t finished yet. There’s still more to come including “Here’s to the Heroes” and the toast song from La Traviata.

At 9:35 p.m. Scott returned to take charge of the mike and told the audience, “They (Mario and Andriana) met for the first time yesterday.” Then Scott suggested that all sing “Happy Birthday” to Ebby as she was escorted to the stage by Steve Durham and Ross Perot. All complied as the little lady arrived center stage to discover a covered easel sharing the spotlight with her. Under the cloth cover, it was soon revealed by Ross that he had gotten the “Sword Excalibur” for Ebby. One guest whispered that he thought the blade was a part of fictional history, “but the way Ross is talking, it sounds like he found the real one.” Ross went on to tell the group that he’d had the sword framed with a list of Ebby’s accomplishments. As Ross explained the history of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table, Ebby looked a bit stunned by the hardware that was taller than she was. Was he going to have her pull it out of the frame and hoist it skyward? Naw.

Then Ross quoted Oscar Hammerstein’s “A bell’s not a bell ’til you ring it, A song’s not a song ’til you sing it, Love in your heart wasn’t put there to stay, Love isn’t love ’til you give it away!” in honor of Ebby as Scott held her by the arm.

To cap off the occasion, Ross told the group that he would lead them in a cheer of “Hip hip hurray.” Between the hip’s and the hurray’s, there was a little bit of confusion, but what the heck. Everybody knew their part and shouted to the ceiling.

Scott then asked if Ebby had anything to tell the group. She responded, “Indeed I do,” which brought a house full of laughter.  She then admitted, “I’m absolutely breathless with what we have heard here tonight.”  Ending her thank you with “Hip hip . . .” The audience responded enthusiastically, “Hurray!” Someone from the audience shouted, “We love you, Ebby.” Moments later, Scott led the audience in cheering, “We love you, Ebby.”

Cake elephant

It was now time for all to adjourn to the lobby for dessert. There they discovered the final surprise of the evening: a six-and-half-foot birthday cake by Bronwen Weber‘s Frosted Art. Ross, upon eyeing the gargantuan masterpiece, asked, “It’s not a real cake, is it?” Nope. This cake was not the type you eat. That is unless you have jaws of steel. Made of sugar, flour, chocolate and rolled fondant, it also encased  a steel frame, large friction drive motor and spinning turntable.

Toni Brinker, Ebby Halliday, Sheila Grant

The three elephants and three ponies jutting out from the layers of cake were so lifelike, it almost seemed like one of the pachyderm’s trunks was going to lift Ebby up in the air.

Upon arriving at this mega-confectionary masterpiece, Ebby was handed a ukulele to strum. As she plucked the chords, the small train at the base of the cake started choo-chooing around the cake.

Don’t ask for the recipe unless you have 300 hours on your hands.

As the hundreds of guests surrounded Ebby and enjoyed the goodies (cake pops, cotton candy, mini-fried churros with salted caramel sauce, mini-powdered sugar wedding cookies and a popcorn bar), someone asked Ebby what her goal was for the next 12 months. She thought a moment and said, “To try to merit all that’s been done for me, all my life. I want people to know how much I appreciate it.”


Jersey Mike’s Subs Makes Eating Fund Raising Yummy For Wipe Out Kids’ Cancer

If you ever had a sub, you know it’s like having a major salad with an assortment of meaty items in between a couple of hunks of bread. Jersey Mike’s Subs not only has both cold and hot subs, they’re practically giving them away. On Monday, March 28, the 14-Dallas-area Jersey Mike’s Subs are “giving customers a free regular sub in exchanged for a minimum $1 donation” with 100% of the proceeds going to Dallas’s   Wipe Out Kids’ Cancer.

“We are so thankful for the support from Jersey Mike’s and the  DFW community in 2010 that allowed us to provide funding for 4 critical research initiatives that provide hope to pediatric cancer patients,” said Evelyn  Costolo, CEO for Wipe Out Kids’ Cancer. “We hope the DFW community will support Wipe Out Kids’ Cancer Day on March 28 in an even bigger way this year and support our vision of a day when all children are living cancer free.”

Suggestion: Don’t wait until the 28th to satisfy your sub cravings, though. The DFW Jersey Mike’s are adding to the WOKC coffers by donating 25 cents for each regular sub and 50 cents for each giant sub sold bought until March 28.

Last year’s efforts raised $50,000 for WOKC.

“Our goal is to really make Jersey Mike’s Wipe Out Kids’ Cancer Day on March 28 a great event for the communities we serve while raising as much money as possible for a great cause,” said Dalton Stewart, Jersey Mike’s franchisee and North Texas director. “The money we raise will help save children’s lives and we’re hoping to exceed the $50,000 raised last year.”

Jersey Mike's Sub Club Supreme

The biggest problem facing the MSC staff is choosing between being good and getting the turkey breast and provolone or diving into a club supreme. Ah, shoot! Might just try both of ’em, but on separate days.

Photo credit: Jersey Mike's Subs

Share-A-Date: 82nd Linz Award Luncheon

Thursday, April 7, 2011: The 82nd Annual Linz Award Luncheon will take place at the Hilton Anatole to honor an outstanding Dallasite. Presented by the Zale Corporation and The Dallas Morning News, it is organized by the sustaining members of the Junior League of Dallas. Peggy Meyer is chairing this year’s event. Tickets are $75 $85.

One of the oldest awards in Texas, it was created in 1924 by Simon Linz, who founded Linz Jewelers.

MySweetCharity will let you know who is this year’s recipient as soon as it’s announced. Stay tuned.

Liener, Ann-Margret And Elmo Are On Tap For Opening Night Of The Dallas International Film Festival

March is nearing an end. But it’s just the beginning of the Dallas International Film Festival. Tickets are on sale for the opening night on March 31 at the Winspear where Ann-Margret and Liener Temerlin will be honored. Also on the program will be the showing of “Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey.” It’s a mere 85-minutes long.

Share-A-Date: Children’s Cancer Fund’s Beyond The Rainbow Fashion Show And Luncheon

Friday, April 15: It’s hard to believe that it’s been 23 years since the Children’s Cancer Fund began having its Beyond the Rainbow fashion show/luncheon with jocks and kiddos. This year’s Luncheon Co-chairs Summer Olmstead and Amy Maurer have selected the theme “Kings and Queens — Full of Hopes & Dreams” for the event at the Hilton Anatole.

Once again former Dallas Cowboys stars Roger Staubach, Troy Aikman and Daryl Johnston will serve as honorary co-chairs.

If you haven’t been able to attend the event, correct that situation. It’s a never-can-tell-what’s-going-to-happen show. Also, there’s something so heartening to see the cooler-than-cool jocks and celebrities walking the runway with the children,who have all been touched by the disease.

And speaking of cool, KDFW-FOX’s cool anchors Clarice Tinsley and Steve Eagar will serve as emcees.

Junior Associates Circle’s “Maison de la Mode” Celebrates Sell-out With The Fashions, Peeps And Partying

Dang it, but there’s just something about the Dallas Museum of Art’s Junior Associates. Whenever they have a gathering of more than three of them, they just magically look like a top-tier group from Central Casting. These people have never been touched by cellulite or a bad-hair day. Unlike mere mortals they can toss on a bargain basement gown at the last minute and look like a couture designer had been their stylist.

So that may be why their annual Affair of Art on March 5’s “Maison de la Mode” at the DMA was confusing. You couldn’t tell the models from the guests.

Starting at 8:30, this was no stuffy, sit-you-down supper with string quartet. Heck, no. It was a get-together party with high-density dancing, chatting and partying.

Event Co-chairs Jennifer and Aaron Tobin and Paige Westhoff just knew they had to set a fabulous scene to match the theme for this fashion-savvy, sell-out crowd. Ah, but no problem. They wisely tapped Todd Fiscus‘s team, event managers Mathes and Co. and Lighting by Beyond to set the scene. It’s amazing what these guys can do with just lighting, a little staging and video.  Only thing missing was a full-blown runway.


Jamie and Ellen Copaken and Lindsay and Chuck Jacaman

With a goal of raising $150,000 for the DMA’s fall exhibit The Fashion World of Jean-Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk, Junior Associates Circle Chairs Ellen and Jamie Copaken and Lindsay and Chuck Jacaman celebrated the blowout event by getting into the spirit of the night. Yes, Ellen was wearing a Monique Lhuillier and Lindsay, who is expecting, was in a Isabella Oliver.

Trent Logan and Jamie Jo Hayes

In-Kind/Favor Committee Co-chair Jamie Jo Hayes was with Trent Logan, who simply described himself as “good looking guy.”


Markus D. Pineyro, Katarina Vargas, Gabriel Antillon

Katrina Vargas was having a bit of an identity challenge. The tall brunette looked to all the world as one of the guests, but then she also could have passed for one of the models. In reality she was there to help the band Smooth Criminals keep the pace going. Her running bud Gabriel Antillon had the same problem. Not only is he a model, but he was “managing” the band.


Martyn Hammer and Mollie Spicer

And then there others who were just plain old, good-looking guests with no connection

Michelle Martin

to the band. Like Junior Associate member Martyn Hammer with Mollie Spicer, Scott Turner with Michelle Martin and Jenifer Strauss, who admitted that she was still in recovery mode from Super Bowl  activities. Rachel and Christopher Trowbridge looked smashing as they’re awaiting the April birth of the newest Trowbridge.


Vinnie Carrizales, Leigh Bailey, Paige Westhoff and Martin Lamb

But the party didn’t end at 12:30 as officially listed on the invitation. Heck, no. This crowd is known to party until dawn. So, After-Party Chair Leigh Bailey arranged to have the guests discover hanging tags in their cars telling them not to go home. Instead they were directed to Saint Ann Restaurant & Bar for the party to continue til 2 a.m. You’ve got to love a crowd that knows how to keep a good thing going.


The Great Adventure Hunt Returns To NorthPark And The Great Hunters for ChildCare Group

Years ago the Great Adventure Hunt used to take over NorthPark when evening traffic in the center was not high density. Teams would scramble around trying to solve puzzles to help raise money for charity. Then it took a break for about five years and NorthPark expanded its size and traffic big time.

But good things never totally go away, so the Great Adventure Hunt returned to NorthPark on March 5 to raise funds for ChildCare Group thanks to co-chairs Pamela Merritt and Kirstine Rogers and honorary co-chairs Tori and Joe Mannes. However, this time NP was bulging with customers. So much so that Great Adventure Hunters found the valet parking filled to capacity upon arrival. That was okay. The hunters had their running shoes on and were rearing to go, so a little walk to home base in Maggiano’s upstairs dining room was a snap.


Lyda Hil, Gladys Kolenovsky and Peggy Allison

As the 25 teams of six people compared notes, it was pretty obvious to tell the veterans from the newcomers. Lyda Hill and her seasoned pros (Rena Pederson, Gladys Kolenovsky, Peggy Allison and Susan and Warren Foxworth) in “Lyda orange” T-shirts hunkered down at a table in the corner comparing notes and strategy while eating. The team was legendary for taking no prisoners and capturing the top prize.

Lyda shared part of their strategy: “Hurry up and get back before anyone else for the desserts!”


Diane and Daryl Johnston

Across the way first-timers Diane and Daryl Johnston on Trophy Level Sponsors Kit and Kemp Sawers‘ team were studying the rules and trying to figure out what exactly was on plan for them. Teammate Daryl Johnston admitted that his mom used to do “treasure hunts” for Daryl’s birthday, so participating was partly for old-time memory’s sake. Plus the fact that Kit and Kemp asked them.

NP General Manager Billy Hines looked like a proud papa overseeing a family reunion. He was so pleased to have the brainy scavenger hunt up and running again.

Just as the teams were finishing their meals and reviewing their instructions, a young woman rushed into the dining room and said, “We’re gonna win this. We are. We got it!”


Clay Huffstutter and Amy Taylor

As the aroma of garlic from the buffet filled the room, Great Adventure Hunt guru Dave Harris took the microphone and started explaining. There were 10 different clue sites throughout the mall where teams would have to solve puzzles. Some of the teams had actually paid for runners like Clay Huffstutter in track shorts with backpack. The trick was to solve all the puzzles first.



Dave Harris

Then Dave launched into some of the hints of game playing. For instance — every solution is a number solution.

Again there was a division between the two camps. Veterans recognized the genius sharing tricks and finer points of the game. Lyda commented, “He’s really brilliant. He’s giving lots of clues.”

New kids on the block just wanted to break like colts from their stalls.

At 7:36 p.m. just as the urge to break and run was swelling, the teams received their bags, discovered the first clue locations and were gone.

Pity the poor shoppers who saw the 150 contestants racing to Pinto Ranch, the Train at NorthPark, the cafe outside of Nordstrom’s, Bookmarks, the Apple Store, Puzzle Zoo, the former Starbucks location under AMC, the space next to Bebe or Williams-Sonoma. It was like a wave of Jessica Fletchers.


Anna Harris

At Williams-Sonoma, Anna Harris, Kelsey Weir and Ty Johnson were stationed to provide the clue and make sure no misdoings took place. It was Kelsey’s and Ty’s first hunt, but Anna was a 35-year veteran. After all, she’s Dave wife.


Ty Johnson and Kelsey Weir

Suddenly from nowhere Lyda and her team appeared on the scene for their first clue — six pieces of chocolate in a box. Each piece of chocolate contained a number. The puzzle was to make a phone number out of it.

They immediately hunkered down in front of William Sonoma and started working the puzzle.


Hunkering down

A second team looking a little bewildered arrived. Just as they received their box of chocolates, someone said, “She’s (Lyda) out there!” One of the second team commented, “She’s way out there!”

Fast forward to the finish line. Wanna know the results of the hunt? Follow the jump! [Read more…]

TACA’s Silver Cup Award Celebrates 33 Years With Smiles And Tears

When the late Annette Strauss introduced the idea of the TACA Silver Cup Award Luncheon,  the purpose was to “recognize one man and one woman annually for outstanding volunteer leadership and contributions to the performing arts in our community.” Perhaps that was the mission, but it wasn’t the outcome. For the past 33 years the luncheon has done far more that honor two people. Not only has it been a celebration bringing together all parts of the North Texas community for the sake of the arts, it has also helped to provide vital fund raising for TACA’s support of the arts.

Last Friday’s event organizers dedicated the remarkable luncheon to Annette “in celebration of her vision and numerous contributions to the arts in Dallas.” For those in the Chantilly Ballroom at the Anatole who knew Annette, it was so appropriately done. Not a lot of hoopla–just a page in the program and a few words from the podium.

No, Annette would have insisted that the spotlight be focused on the recipients, Sarah Perot and John Eagle. Interesting to note that when the first Silver Cup in 1979 was given to Margaret McDermott and the late Henry S. Miller Jr., Sarah was just 18 and John was 26.

But back to the 2011 celebration that kicked off with a pre-lunch reception in the Wedgewood Room. Like old friends who hadn’t seen each other in ages, hugs, smiles and slaps on the back were everywhere.

John Eagle

Recipient John arrived looking like homecoming king with wife Jennifer on his arm. When one guest approached him and called him, “Mr. Eagle,” he quickly told the guest with a smile, “I’m just John.” Shaking his head and looking just a little embarrassed, he went on to say that he was humbled by the whole day realizing the people who had preceded him.

Hill Perot, Jerry and Leah Fullinwider, Ross Perot Jr., Sarah Perot, Margot and Ross Perot, Sarah Catherine Perot

And talk about homecoming royalty, Sarah entered the room glowing like any top-notch homecoming queen would. Looking around the room, it appeared to be a Perot family reunion with three generations of Perots in attendance. Usually Mr. Proper, Sarah’s husband Ross Jr. was rather endearing as he took photos of Sarah and John surrounded by past Silver Cup recipients. Proud as punch he was. . . like a proud pop taking photos of his kid at graduation. And, no, he was not using a multi-gillion-dollar, 3-D camera. It was a compact point-and-shoot type.

John Eagle and Sarah Perot

In the adjacent room WRR was live broadcasting interviews with luncheon VIP’s, while Sarah and John opened the gift boxes containing their silver cups.

TACA Silver Cup Award recipients

Then all too soon it was time to head to the Chantilly for the luncheon and a delicious meal of grilled asparagus salad, chicken breast filled with boursin and spinach and chocolate caramel tart.


While the guests ate, they were entertained by members of the James Gilyard Ensemble, Orchestra of New Spain, Voices of Change, Dallas Bach Society, Lone Star Wind Orchestra and Dallas Symphony Orchestra.

Lee Cullum

Mistress of ceremonies Lee Cullum once again scored with her “state-of-the-arts” review. Leading off with Bill Lively‘s return to the arts community as head of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Lee might not have noticed a couple of the guests exchanging nervous looks of, “Oh, dear, we’re going up against Bill again in fund raising.”

Heather Esping

Another highlight of Lee’s talk was her encouraging the application of part of the hotel tax to the arts. That got a nice endorsement of applause. Unlike many emcees, Lee knows how to keep her audience’s attention by making her remarks interesting and not too long. She then introduced Luncheon Chair Heather Esping and TACA Board of Directors Chair Andy Teller who welcomed the group and reported on TACA. Then Neiman Marcus Senior VP/Chief Marketing Officer Wanda Gierhart introduced the NM Performing Arts Scholarship at SMU — violinist Jaewon Ahn, who performed “Adagio and Rondo” accompanied by Elena Zyl.

Jaewon Ahn

Once again, the performance, like all the preceding talks, was just long enough and performed perfectly.

Following Jaewon, 2010 Silver Cup recipient John Cody introduced Sarah. Admitting that he “didn’t know her very well,” he had done some research on her by talking to people who did. “So I’m going to summarize them under two categories — one, leadership, and, second, Sarah the person.” He reported that he had learned that she’s a strategic thinker, a committed civic leader and a “stickler for details.” Then he paused and continued, “She not only works hard, she works smart. Once she signs on to a job, she is committed.”

John Cody

Regarding Sarah the person: “She’s extraordinarily honest. She is gracious and lovely to be with. People seek her opinion and she’s hard to say ‘no’ to.”

That last one got a ripple of chuckling through the room.

“A reccurring theme in my visits was, ‘Sarah gets it when you discuss the importance of arts in our city,'” John continued.

John concluded by saying, “Each time I mentioned her name, they would light up. Everyone wanted to tell the special qualities of this lady that is so highly respected and deeply cherished.”

Sarah Perot

Taking the podium Sarah proved John accurate saying right off the top, “I thought I was fine until that introduction.”

She went on to thank all involved in the day’s luncheon, recognized TACA’s impact on the city and congratulated her fellow recipient John Eagle.

Focusing the rest of her talk on the importance of the AT&T Performing Arts Center for the future of Dallas, Sarah again proved John right.  In addition to her family, the fifth-generation Texan then recognized the people who have impacted her efforts to support the arts — Bess Enloe, Howard Halam, Caren Prothro and Deedie Rose, all Silver Cup winners. “It is because of you and your years of work that we now have the complete Arts District. This is your legacy to the successive generations of Dallas.”

Cindy Rachofsky

Next up was 2010 Silver Cup recipient Cindy Rachofsky to introduce John Eagle. Unlike John Cody, Cindy admitted that she and John Eagle were longtime friends. “I cannot think of a more deserving person in the world than my dear friend John Eagle to receive the TACA Silver Cup award today.  I’ve known John for a very long time. Our daughters are great friends, so we had the distinct pleasure of going through the teenage years together. But we do other things together, too.  . .We travel together looking at weird and crazy art. And I even drive one of his cars. And since I’m married to Howard, we support John through the John Eagle Collision Center.”

That last one got a great round of laughter especially from Howard.

Cindy then went on to list just a smidgen of John’s many accomplishments. Ending her talk she said, “Now it is my distinct honor to introduce you to a man who I’ve always said could sell socks to a rooster.”

John Eagle and Cindy Rachofsky

John Eagle and Cindy Rachofsky

With the audiences laughing and applauding at Cindy’s introduction, John and Cindy hugged.

Eloquently John thanked Cindy, congratulated Sarah and thanked everyone from past recipients to the day’s organizers. As he launched into his remarks, one couldn’t help but wonder if he and Cindy had the same speechwriter.

“So I guess you all are asking yourself this question, ‘Why is a used car dealer interested in the arts?'”

He went on to tell how his dad, who collected western art, “would drag” John and his brother to museums all around the country looking at art. “I can remember one time asking him about a contemporary painting that was on view in the museum we were touring. And he said something very profound that I carry with me today. He said, ‘Son, I don’t know what that art is about, but don’t discount it. That artist is trying to tell you something in a very different way.’

John Eagle

“He was right. Art makes us think in new ways. It is more than entertainment. Art is fuel for the human spirit and the language of humanity. Art is about our past; it is about our present; and it is a look into our future. It is so important in the development of our children. This is why I am so proud of what the Dallas Museum of Art is doing with the education program by engaging people with the power of art.”

John, like Sarah, emphasized the importance that art will play in the future development of Dallas and the need to use the art facilities to their fullest extent.

He closed by recognizing his partners, his father (‘he’s always been my hero”), his daughters (“who inspire me every day and are living art”) and “last but not least my lovely wife Jennifer, who is the most important person in my life and without whom I would not be standing here today. I love you. Thank you.” John just barely made that last recognition as tears started forming in his eyes and his voice slightly choked.

Annette would have loved it.

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

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

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

Bret Michaels

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

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

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


Fresh Faces of Fashion 2011

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

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

Suggestion: Groveling sometimes works.

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

Nobody Slept At The Chick Lit Slumber Party

Anne Stodghill and Angela Nash

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

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

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

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

Photo credit: Dana Driensky

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


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

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

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

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

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

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