A Passing: Van Cliburn

World-famous pianist Van Cliburn died at his Fort Worth home this morning after months of battling cancer.

His life and talents proved that a young fellow from Shreveport could thrill royalty, as well children, with the way his fingers brought life to ivory keys. For those who heard him perform in person, count yourself very, very fortunate. For those who didn’t have the opportunity, be grateful that his music will live on thanks to recordings.

Center For Nonprofit Management Needs “A Night Of Light” Nominations By March 22

Molly Bogen and Linus Wright (File photo)

Molly Bogen and Linus Wright (File photo)

The Center for Nonprofit Management’s “A Night of Light” isn’t until November 14, but they need your help now. In order to select the recipients of $5,000 awards that will be presented at the dinner, they need nominations. The categories are:

  • Nonprofit of the Year — Presented to the nonprofit organization that has best implemented a program/project clearly focused on advancing its mission to address a community need.
  • Nonprofit CEO of the Year Presented to the nonprofit CEO/ executive director who has best demonstrated exemplary leadership and vision.
  • Nonprofit Board Leader of the Year — Presented to the board chairperson or board member who has best contributed to the long-term impact of the nonprofit that he or she serves and whose leadership exhibits best practices in nonprofit governance.
  • Nonprofit Communicator of the Year, in Honor of Robert Miller Presented to the nonprofit organization that has best used a communications program/campaign to successfully advance its mission.
  • Corporation of the Year — Presented to the corporation that best models good corporate citizenship and socially responsible partnerships.

In the past the nomination process took place in the summer, but since everybody’s grey matter tends to go on hiatus during that season, they decided to start it now. But the deadline for submissions has also been moved up. It’s 5 p.m. on Friday, March 22, 2013.

Finalists will be notified in late May.

Ah, but that’s not all. Once again the CNM will have the community vote on their fav nonprofit — Community Choice Award. But don’t start warming up your voting digits yet. The online voting won’t start until May and will continue until Thursday, November 14.

FYI: In its 13 years of celebrating nonprofits, 69 agencies and individuals have received the $5,000 awards totaling $345,000. And each one of the these groups deserves and appreciates it.

Coach Avery Johnson To “Just Say Yes” To Area Students This Week

Avery Johnson and Trevor Rees-Jones (File photo)

Avery Johnson and Trevor Rees-Jones (File photo)

While Coach Avery Johnson‘s household was not all that pleased about his departure from the Brooklyn Nets, locals were probably secretly delighted because it meant his spending more time in the area.

In addition to his basketball coaching achievements, Coach is an amazing speaker, especially when it comes to young people. His enthusiasm and positive attitude are contagious.

This week thanks to the “Just Say Yes” program he will be sharing his words with students at:

Wednesday, February 27

  • 10:30 am Richardson High School – 1250 Beltline Rd., Richardson, TX 75080 (student athletes)
  • 1:30  pm Lake Highlands Freshman Center- 10200 White Rock Trail, Dallas, TX 75238 (student body)

 Thursday, February 28

  • 9:45 am Thomas A. Edison Middle Learning Center – 2940 Singleton Blvd., Dallas TX 75212
  • 10:45. a.m. L.G. Pinkston High School – 2200 Dennison St., Dallas TX 75212

Suggestion: If you know of a student body that might benefit from hearing Coach, contact Celia Weitzel at 972.437.0002 x227 or [email protected] Better yet make a donation to Just Say Yes to keep the words coming.

Business Committee For The Arts’s “Chair Art In The Park” To Benefit Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center

On the heels of opening its new digs, the Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center has scored another coup. The Business Council for the Arts’ 2013 Leadership Arts Institute Class has picked it as its annual project. It’s entitled Chair Art in the Park and is a youth art contest and auction benefiting the DCAC.

What the heck is Chair Art in the Park? It was “created to showcase and celebrate the artistic talents of emerging young artists and support an important service for abused children by helping to fund needed therapies, including art and music therapy at the Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center.

“Business Council of the Arts’ 2013 Leadership Arts Institute Class has partnered with the Woodall Rodgers Park Foundation, which manages and operates Klyde Warren Park, on the project. Students selected during the application review process will be given the opportunity to create ‘chair art’ to be displayed and auctioned at Klyde Warren Park in downtown Dallas during the Chair Art in the Park event on Saturday, May 11, 2013.”

It’s open to 6-12 graders and applicants must submit an application via the NTBCA website www.ntbca.org/chairartinthepark by Friday, March 15, 2013 to be eligible for selection.

Can’t wait to see the results.

JUST IN: 2013 CBB Musical Lineup Including Kenny Loggins, Sonny Burgess And Hudson Moore Finalized As Group Passes $1M Mark

You already know that Rascal Flatts will be headlining the 40th anniversary Cattle Baron’s Ball. But there’s still more musical news on the CBB range for 2013.

The Trailblazer’s Party sponsored by PlainsCapital Bank and Sewell Automotive Group and hosted by Eddie Deen’s Ranch will featured Blue Sky Riders featuring Kenny Loggins. This very, extra special party on Thursday, May 16, is for extremely special CBB friends (i.e. $2,500 underwriters and up).

But wait! There’s still more news.

The musical lineup at CBB will include:

  • Sonny Burgess will perform at the SoftLayer VIP Party
  • Hudson Moore will perform on the Bank of America Live Auction Stage
  • TOP will perform at the Late Night Party

All of this may be why the CBB ladies have already crossed the infamous $1M mark in fundraising. But they want more. . . a lot more.

WARNING: According to CBB organizers, “our reservations chairs are assigning seats as contracts arrive.”

Better get those underwriting contracts in ASAP.

Nasher Sculpture Center To Celebrate Its 10th Anniversary With Citywide Nasher XChange

The late Patsy and Ray Nasher were legendary lovers of modern sculpture. They were also the parents of three daughters — Andrea Nasher, Joanie Nasher and Nancy Nasher. It was only right that the daughters were front and center on Tuesday for an announcement that would have made their parents oh-so proud.

Joanie Nasher, Andrea Nasher, David Haemisegger, Nancy Nasher and Mayor Mike Rawlings

Joanie Nasher, Andrea Nasher, David Haemisegger, Nancy Nasher and Mayor Mike Rawlings

For this momentous announcement in the Nasher Sculpture Center’s auditorium, it was an SRO crowd of boldfacers and art lovers like Ruth Altshuler, Gail Thomas, Linda Marcus, Veletta Lill, Brent Christopher, Mary Jalonick, Mary McDermott, Pat Porter and the “sticks” from the local TV stations.

Just before the press conference commenced, Margaret McDermott was wheeled up to the front row. Now the stage was complete.

Leading off with a video, the appearance and voice of Ray on the screen was poignant. Then Nancy eloquently welcomed the crowd, followed by Mayor Mike Rawlings and Nasher Sculpture Center Director Jeremy Strick, who announced the big plans to celebrate the Nasher Sculpture Center’s 10th anniversary — the creation of Nasher XChange.

Nasher XChange announcement

Nasher XChange announcement

What is Nasher XChange? It  will be “a dynamic art exhibition consisting of 10 newly commissioned public sculptures by contemporary artists at sites throughout the city of Dallas from October 19, 2013, to February 16, 2014. Covering a diverse range of sites and approaches to sculpture, Nash XChange represents the first citywide, museum-organized public art exhibition in the United States.”

Vicki Meek

Vicki Meek

Then a video was shown of the 10 artists — Lara Almarcegui, Good/Bad Art Collective, Rachel Harrison, Alfredo Jaar, Liz Larner, Charles Long, Rick Lowe, Vicki Meek, Ruben Ochoa and Ugo Rondinone.

To undertake such a mammoth project will require a hefty amount of funding. That challenge has already begun with Nasher XChange receiving “an historic amount” of gifts and pledges for the project from local foundations — “Communities Foundation of Texas, the Eugene McDermott Foundation and a major leading gift from the Hoblitzelle Foundation, which is the largest single grant the Nasher Sculpture Center has received.” The Nasher Foundation will continue to “provide important guidance and financial support to commemorate this milestone anni

Jeremy Strick being interviewed by WFAA

Jeremy Strick being interviewed by WFAA

versary for the Center.”

Jeremy also reported that the Nasher Sculpture Center “plans scholarly publications, conferences and educational programs for the public, as well as a free public celebration for the 10th anniversary on October 20 entitled ‘10+’.”

As the guests went upstairs to celebrate and discuss the plans in the Nasher Cafe and Nasher staffers were interviewed by the media, the three daughters were easy to spot. They were the ones with the biggest smiles, knowing that they were not just carrying on their parents’ legacy. They were expanding it to an even larger degree for the good of Dallas.

Savor The Symphony’s Designer Violins Make Their Final Appearance Before March 23 Black Tie Gala Auction

The Savor the Symphony designer violins have been making more appearances that Bradley Cooper at awards ceremonies. Last Tuesday the “fiddles” were in high cotton at Jan Miller’s and Jeff Rich’s mini-palace for their final showing before the Savor the Symphony black-tie gala auction on March 23 at the Adolphus.

Checking out the designer violins

Checking out the designer violins

Displayed on the dining room table amid candles, the little artworks looked right at home in the colorful surroundings. Champagne-sipping guests eyeballed, and smartphones snapped photos of, the little stringed instruments.

Violins on display on dining room table

Violins on display on dining room table

For artist Heidi Lockhart Somes, it was a return to the scene of her big coup. Last year her violin of a street scene was “pre-bought” at the Miller-Rich’s patron party for $20,000 as a birthday gift.

JD Miller

JD Miller

Artist JD Miller, who had hosted a previous violin showing at his Samuel Lynne Galleries, was talking business developments. Seems he’s named former Dallasite Karen and Michael Bivins the director and CEO, respectively, of SLG. Having sold everything from Andy Warhols to 16th century masters, the pair fell in love with JD’s art. Another incentive to their leaving their West Coast operation, according to Michael: “We think it’s (the art business) sorta played out on the coasts. There’s lots of money here. We think this is the place to be.” Since their joining SLG four months ago, sales have tripled. Nice!

Some guests gathered around the home’s bar with its mammoth blue glass chandelier. Then the sounds that get everyone’s attention were heard. First the pop of a champagne cork exploding from a bottle. Then the infamous sound of the cork hitting the chandelier. Eyes darted around looking for shattered blue glass, but none was found. Even palace pooch Schumacher tried to wedge his way into the bar to see if cleanup was necessary. Nope.

Barbara Sypult and Jan Miller

Barbara Sypult and Jan Miller

A few minutes later, with wireless mic in hand, host Jeff welcomed the guests like Sharon Barbee, Barb and Steve Durham, JB Hayes, Alex Aland, Jennifer and Coley Clark, Barbara Sypult, Paige Westhoff and Troy Schiermeyer in the living room.

Paige Westhoff and Troy Schiermeyer

Paige Westhoff and Troy Schiermeyer

Jeff then introduced Honorary Chairs Rebecca and Ron Gafford, Élan Circle President Kaycee Holmes and Dallas Symphony Orchestra President/CEO Jonathan Martin, who said, “As you bid these violins up, think of all the programs they’ll support.” That comment resulted in the following:

Ron: “We don’t want you to bid it up too high, because we have to exceed it next year.”

Amanda: “Bid as high as you want!”

Jan: “I’m a little more aggressive. We want you to bid tonight. Do not leave here until you make a bid on one of these violins. Get your wallets out and go in there and bid. I’m serious. And thank you for coming!”

Blaine Nelson: “I tried to buy one of those violins last year and I got outbid!”

Ron: “I bid $1 less than Blaine!”

Jonathan Martin holding violin with artists

Jonathan Martin holding violin with artists

As the violin artists gathered for a group photo, guests returned to the dining room to check the violins out one more time and follow Jan’s order. For their reward, they discovered a mini-bottle of Chandon to open once they got home.

Tim Tebow Is Still Coming To Trinity Christian Academy


TimTebow (Photo provided by Trinity Christian Academy)

OK, so you’ve read all the headlines about Jets quarterback Tim Tebow’s bowing out of appearing at First Baptist Church on Sunday, April 28.

However, as of this morning TT is still going to be the headliner for the Saturday, April 27, fundraiser for Trinity Christian Academy at the Hilton Anatole.

Tickets went on sale last Friday.


WaterTower Theatre Rocked With The Blues And A Lot Of Auction Action

Don and Barbara Daseke

Don and Barbara Daseke

By Saturday Valentine’s Day was yesterday’s news, but WaterTower Theatre Gala Chair Barbara Daseke‘s blistering red hot dress by Cuchnie Et Ochs was hotter than that meteor that pummeled Russia. And that gargantuan diamond trinket suspended on her pearl necklace? Oh, Barbara dismissed that with “It’s just a broach.”

That was just an inkling of the “just” that took place at the Addison Conference Center for the WaterTower Theatre fundraiser. From the very first impression, it was obvious that the gathering was an over-the-top success. Why, the line to check in was longer than the morning backup on Central Expressway. Too bad because it slowed many from hunkering down for the silent auction that lined the entire length of the hallway.

But not to worry. The trays of champagne-filled flutes and the open bar eased the pain like a two-hour massage.

At 8 p.m., the doors opened to a Todd-decorated ballroom for 400. They would have had 500, but they ran out of room.

IMG_7679 Doris and Jack Jacobs and Suzanne PalmlundSomebody laughed they wouldn’t have been surprised if Laura and George Bush showed up. It seems the previous Saturday the FFC (Former First Couple) had ventured out of their Preston Hollow comfort zone to check out the Bishop Arts District’s Boulevardier. Perhaps they would head north to Addison this weekend. If they did, nobody noticed though there were plenty of folks from south of LBJ like Jennifer and Doug Houser, Karol Omlor, Doris and Jack Jacobs, Dawn Mickey (she’s opening a new catering company in the

Laree Holshoff and Ben Fischer

Laree Holshoff and Ben Fischer

spring), Linda and Scott Greer, Katherine and Scott Wheeler and adorable Laree Holshoff and Ben Fischer, who are preparing to make the move to Museum Tower.

Scott and Linda Greer

Scott and Linda Greer

When asked who designed her black lace cocktail dress with a huge black satin bow at the hip, Barbara Bigham couldn’t recall. That’s what husbands are made for. She slipped aside and had husband Bob check the label. He added that she should have remembered the designer, for what it cost.

Bob and Barbara Bigham

Bob and Barbara Bigham

While Suzanne Palmlund was chatting with Jennifer Houser, husband David Palmlund strolled up to the two gals and said, “I just saw my name on an auction item!” Suzanne replied, “Oh, yeah. I donated our house for a dinner with 15 people!” Jennifer added, “That how wives have to do it sometimes.”

Speaking of Jennifer, she’ll be handling the underwriting for the Equest fashion show this fall that Tiffany Divis is chairing. Then Jennifer and Tiffany will co-chair the Zoo-To-Do next year. Last word from Jennifer, “That will be my swan song.”

WTT Development Director Greg Patterson had his work cut out for him. Trying to herd this group to settle down was a challenge.

First thing Greg did was thank all responsible for the evening. Then he called Barbara Daseke up to the stage. It was a love fest. She thanked all, especially the volunteers, and called Greg “my hero.”

Then it was dinner time including traditional Caesar salad provided by Carrabba’s Italian Grill, boneless braised short rib provided by Dallas/Addison Marriott Quorum InterContinental Dallas, assorted breads provided by La Spiga Bakery, a dessert trio and coffee provided by Dawn’s Catering and Dunn Bros Coffee and a selection of never-ending wines provided by Goody Goody Liquor Inc.  

Blues Brother and guest

Blues Brother and guest

For entertainment, it was slam-bang theatre with the “Blues Brothers” look-a-likes and sound-a-likes. It got the dance floor filled. This crowd likes their dancing.

Now that everybody was in a great mood, it was time to get down to the business of raising funds with a live auction of eight items. The Elton Experience went for the highest amount. And it should have. Not only did it include travel first-class to Las Vegas and a two-night stay at Caesar’s Palace, it also provided the winners to be VIP guests for Sir Elton John’s show and to “enjoy a backstage meet-and-greet with Sir Elton.”

Shannon Brame

Shannon Brame

With TACA’s fav attorney Nick Even at her side, Shannon Brame with a slit running up her full-length gown won the “On Broadway” package.

Nick Evans

Nick Even

Coming in second was a chef-prepared dinner for 10 at Barbara and Don Daseke’s home with WaterTower Theatre’s Producing Artistic Director Terry Martin and President of Rainmaker Advertising Chris Miller. With wife Patti watching on, Blaine Nelson was bound and determined to get that one. He had been outbid on the Elton John item and wasn’t going to let the Daseke dinner get away.  

Blaine Nelson

Blaine Nelson

Wilkinson Center’s Anne Steakley Reeder Will Do “Can Do Luncheon” In May

Anne Reeder

Anne Steakley Reeder

Ran into Wilkinson Center‘s Anne Steakley Reeder Thursday night at the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture‘s Valentine’s Day dinner. The reason for that mention is the dinner was being held at the marvelous home on Routh Street that houses DIHC. It used to belong to Anne’s grandfather. Recalling the days when she used to visit the stately mansion as a child, Anne was shook into grown-up reality saying, “Can you imagine we’re going to put together a luncheon in three months?”

Yup! And ironically, the luncheon is called the “Can Do Luncheon.” The Wilkinson Center benefit is scheduled for Tuesday, May 21, at the Dallas Country Club.

To “celebrate entrepreneurship in philanthropy,” plans call for the “first annual Can Do Awards” to be presented to philanthropists Ellen and John McStay and Highland Park United Methodist Church.

For event deets, sponsorships and tickets, call 214.821.6380.

Photo credit: Kathy King

Saint Valentine’s Day Luncheon & Fashion Show Weathered Well Despite The Sound Of Success

For months the question was who would have their way at the Saint Valentine’s Day Luncheon & Fashion Show. Would Mother Nature party poop with one of her annual ice storms, or would Stanley Korshak’s Crawford Brock charm and cajole her into playing nice?

Paige Slates and Crawford Brock

Paige Slates and Crawford Brock

It was well-known that Crawford was a keen supporter of the event and its beneficiary, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Why, Korshak had been providing the fashions and underwriting for the show for ages. But Crawford let it be known at the announcement party last year that change was in the wind. New venue — the Meyerson. Honorary chairs — vets Myrna and Bob Schlegel (they were honorary chairs of the recent February 2nd Dallas Symphony Orchestra League Deb Presentation at the Meyerson). Gangbuster fashions — Monique Lhuillier.

Tuesday he had his way. Well, at least, he had 90% of it.

Just 15 minutes before the 9:45 a.m. start, boxes were still being opened for last-minutes goodies to be distributed, and ushers were putting together programs. The weather tried to dampen the day with rain and fog causing a bit of a delay at the upper valet stand. A parade of umbrellas trekked into the lobby of the Meyerson. What frownie faces approached accompanied by umbrella-carrying escorts soon turned upside down once inside, where they were welcomed by trays carrying flutes of orange juice and champagne. One person innocently asked, “Is it too early for champagne?” A passerby laughed, “Never in Dallas.”

And who could be un-sunny when spying the sea of tables covered in pink tablecloths?

Saint Valentine's Day Luncheon & Fashion Show luncheon tables

Saint Valentine’s Day Luncheon & Fashion Show luncheon tables

Backstage, steamers were blowing wrinkles out of the Korshak fashions like a Botox happy hour. Fashion producer Jan Strimple was juggling last-minute directions with the models with the grace of a ballerina. Where normally musicians would be warming up for their performances onstage, the willowy models calmly sat around in civvies checking their smartphones or reading magazines, just like gals in a sorority house. In minutes, they would be walking the catwalk with the elegance of royalty.

Maggie Kipp and Angela Choquette

Maggie Kipp and Angela Choquette

Back in the lobby, photos were being snapped left and right. At the top of the stairs leading to the McDermott Hall, key players–Crawford, the Schlegels, Co-chairs Angela Choquette, Maggie Kipp and Paige Slates —posed for photos. While Angela and Paige opted for leather, Maggie took the day to heart wearing a short, hot-pink dress, diamond necklace, diamond-and-pearl earrings and loads and loads of curls. She topped off the swirls of curls with a feather fascinator. Much lighter than a crown, don’t you know. Perhaps she was trying it out for her next gig, as co-chair of the Mad Hatter’s Tea.

Relatively new Dallas Symphony Orchestra President/CEO Jonathan Martin looked over the crowd with his wife Amy saying, “This is a younger crowd.”

Jonathan and Amy Martin

Jonathan and Amy Martin

And while pink (Muffin Lemak, Lisa Troutt, Kristi Bare, Karen Lukin, Tammy Duclow, Linda Ivy) and red (Pat Smith, Clarice Tinsley, Doris Jacobs, Mary Beth Conlon, Katherine Coker, Cathy Vieth, Phyllis Comu, Renee Rouleau, Patricia Thomson, Emily Lee, Holly Davis) may have been the colors du jour, black and leathers were very well represented (Pat McEvoy, Ruth Robinson, Kim Miller, Cara French, Kim Bannister) as well.

Jayne Chobot and Shona Che're Gilbert

Jayne Chobot and Shona Che’re Gilbert

Jayne Chobot, who had been in charge of reservations, reported that her plan was to give hearts created to benefit the luncheon by jeweler Shona Che’re Gilbert to her bridesmaids. But the gems had proven too popular and had sold out.

Claire Emanuelson's unsensible shoes

Claire Emanuelson’s un-sensible shoes

Claire Emanuelson arrived in nose-bleed Louboutin stilettos. She said she had brought two pairs — sensible and un-sensible. “I left the sensible ones (YSL) in the car.” Her fashion strutting buddy DeeDee Lee couldn’t let that one go by without a follow up: “They’re both un-sensible!”

At 10:19 the chimes started calling the crowd of 800-plus to the McDermott Concert Hall. One usher upon greeting the guests said, “Good evening.” Couldn’t blame the fella. It was a bit early for the usual Meyerson crew.

To the amazement of many, the usual floor plan of the hall had been revised with a runway extending into the audience. Some had wondered if the fashions could indeed be seen by guests in the orchestra terrace’s back row. Ironically, those guests could easily see the Korshak clothes. It was the guests nearest the staging that had a little neck-craning to do to see over the elevated catwalk. Luckily for Kelly Green, who was seated at the corner of the stage, the aisle seat on the row was vacant, so she moved over for a better view.

Tom Landry Jr. and Alicia Landry

Tom Landry Jr. and Alicia Landry

Once the program emceed by KDFW’s Clarice Tinsley got underway, things went swimmingly. The presentation of the Lynda Adleta Heart of Gold Award did create a moment of laughter. To help itty-bitty presenter Ellen Terry “rise to the occasion” to speak into the microphone, a stagehand placed a wooden box in front of the podium. After presenting Crawford with the award and Ellen’s and Crawford exiting the stage, the stagehand quickly removed the box.

Next the Spirit of Tom Landry Character Award was presented by Alicia Landry to Joshua Cobler, who provided bone marrow for his little brother Jude. Each year Alicia’s escort is a different VIP. This year it was her son Tom Landry Jr. Joshua made a heartfelt plea for guests to sign up as bone-marrow donors.

Monique Lhuillier fashion

Monique Lhuillier fashion

Then it was time for The Best of Stanley Korshak presentation of spring fashions. On either sides of the stage were tiers with “ghost chairs” positioned as if waiting for musicians to take their places. But they went empty until the very end of the show. Just as Jan had promised — the finale was indeed grandiose. A faux conductor in tails took his place center-stage and started waving his arms as if conducting the DSO.

Grand finale

Grand finale

Instead of musicians, each model in a dazzling Lhuillier gown walked the runway and then took her place in one of the chairs. The final result was a stage of glorious colors that would have put Claude Monet’s garden at Giverny to shame. Little did the audience know this arrangement wasn’t happenstance. Jan had strategically placed each  model to create such an array of colors. Like a little girl playing paper dolls, she had created a poster board with the photos of each of the gowns. On it she tested and tested the final arrangement until she had it just right. And right it was. From a distance or up close, it had all the appearance of the world’s best Crayola box.

Finale seating layout

Finale seating layout

As guests left the hall at 11:32, Crawford received rave reviews like a first-time daddy. Suzanne Palmlund, Jennifer Houser and others didn’t hesitate saying it was the best show they had seen in ages.

Dawn Mellon

Dawn Mellon

It was now time for the luncheon. Everything had been pretty much perfection in overdrive until this point. Unfortunately, early perfection can slip in an “Oops” situation. In this case, it was the result of being too successful. Guests couldn’t help themselves. There was so much to chat about. The show was being praised and the clothes reviewed. But the marble floors, limestone walls and glass windows of the Meyerson lobby turned the massive room into a never-ending echo chamber. Despite tall speakers being stationed around the luncheon, the chatter drowned out the speakers on the small stage. The crescendo only grew as guests asked each other what the speakers were saying. To make matters worse, some of the key organizers were adding to the problem by table-hopping to visit. A few guests tried the standard clinking of silverware against water glasses to silence the crowd. While it wasn’t like prisoners sweeping metal cups against jail bars, and it did provide a lyrical accompaniment to the a capella factor, it did little if any good. Even guests close to the stage couldn’t hear the speakers. It got downright frustrating when model/stylist Dawn Mellon tried to tell her story about surviving leukemia. So many wanted to hear her story, but there was just no way as, “Can you hear what she’s saying?” became the chant. Valiantly, Dawn carried on.

Emmitt and Pat Smith

Emmitt and Pat Smith

After Dawn took her seat, the luncheon continued with no speakers for a while. Emmitt Smith strolled into the lobby. He had just been at Mayor Mike Rawlingsannouncement at City Hall regarding domestic violence. Now Emmitt was looking for wife Pat in a sea of women. Ironically, Pat was looking for Emmitt. Not to worry. They found each other within minutes. . . . 2012 Dallas Symphony Orchestra Gala Co-chair Jennifer Clark was delighted to report that Anne and Steve Stodghill had just agreed to co-chair the 2013 gala. . . . Paige Slate’s mom, Dorothy Davis, found herself at a table with Cattle Baron’s types like Skye Brewer, Kristen Johnston, Kim Bannister and Nancy Gopez . . . Carmaleta Whiteley surprised friends by announcing that a wedding was in her future. Before providing deets, she was off to NYC to spend February 14 with her fiancée, Otis Felton.

Luckily, the rain was past tense just as the luncheon was ending, so the ladies could drive on over to Korshak to shop the runway goodies for their own closets.

Lee Ann White To Chair Laura W. Bush Institute For Women’s Health

Lee Ann White

Lee Ann White *

Former First Lady Laura Bush is tapping her Dallas buds to help with some of her fav programs. The latest is Lee Ann White, who will serve as chairwoman of the the National Advisory Board for the Texas Tech University Health Science’s Center Laura W. Bush Institute for Women’s Health.

According to Laura, “Lee Ann White is a longtime friend of mine and of Texas Tech University. She will be a terrific chair of the Laura W. Bush Institute for Women’s Health Advisory Board. I am grateful that she has agreed to serve as chairwoman and I look forward to working with her to improve women’s health.”

Debbie Francis (File photo)

Debbie Francis (File photo)

Lee Ann succeeds outgoing chair and another local Laura Bush gal/pal Debbie Francis.

Texas Tech University System Chancellor Kent Hance said, “Lee Ann White has been an active member of the National Advisory Board and has a strong passion for the Laura W. Bush Institute for Women’s Health. Her experience will advance our institute to a new level of excellence and build upon the success accomplished under the leadership of Debbie Francis. We thank Debbie for her dedicated service and look forward to our future progress with Chairwoman White.”

* Photo provided by Caron Cares

14th Annual Empty Bowls Will Fill The Meyerson For North Texas Food Bank

Sure, the winter so far has been relatively warm compared to years past. The folks in the northeast have taken the brunt of the cold weather. Still, it’s not a done deal until the end of March and even then who knows.

But as any kid who has tried to spell a word with alphabet soup knows, soup is good anytime. But on Friday, March 1, it is going to be hmm, hmm good at the 14th Annual Empty Bowls. This annual fav has everyone from unknown to too-well-known scurrying around the upper and lower lobbies of the Meyerson looking like Oliver. And they’re not disappointed thanks to soups, breads and desserts provided by Kroger and several local restaurants.

Empty Bowls guests lining up for soup (File photo)

Empty Bowls guests lining up for soup (File photo)

In addition to the stellar people-watching, the Young Strings of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra will be performing in the atrium.

And you won’t be leaving empty-handed. No, siree. Area artisans have created handcrafted bowls for guests to take home to soup in the future.

Since all proceeds from the soup-a-thon benefit the North Texas Food Bank, why not put a table together and entourage to lunch? Or, better yet, why not splurge and buy a table yourself and invite your favs to soup it up with you? Tickets are going for

  • $25 (lunch but no take-home bowl),
  • $35 in advance (lunch plus bowl),
  • $45 at the door (lunch plus bowl) and
  • VIP $100 (you get in a half hour before everyone else and feel very special)

Share-A-Date: Hispanic Communicators DFW’s Scholarship Awards Banquet

Gloria Campos (File photo)

Gloria Campos (File photo)

Saturday, April 20: Years ago there was a very active organization called The Network of Hispanic Communicators. One of the driving forces was Gary Pina, who worked for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. As Gary put it recently, the group “went dormant in 2008 because our industry was going through some rough times. (I was laid off from the Star-Telegram after 23 years but landed with neighborsgo at The Dallas Morning News.) The group came back slowly in 2010. We elected officers again in 2011, and celebrated our 30th year as a group. . .  We changed our name to Hispanic Communicators DFW.””

To celebrate, they’re holding the Scholarship Award Banquet at the new hot venue, Trinity Groves. PBS NewsHour Senior Correspondent Ray Suarez will be the keynote speaker and WFAA’s Gloria Campos will serve as mistress of ceremonies.

This fundraiser is a great opportunity for clients and companies to do more than just give lip service in supporting a very vital and important part of our community.

Share-A-Date: Heroes & Handbags

Friday, April 19: One of the surprise hits in the past years has been the Heroes & Handbags luncheon. Maybe it’s because Dallas gals love their purses. Not only is it something to accessorize their look, but it’s also invaluable when storing the necessities of ladylike lifestyles — cellphone, lipstick and credit cards.

Some of the handbags available for purchase are gently experienced types donated by fashionable leaders. Others are brand spanking new and are dying to be clutched.

The Kate

The Kate*

Speaking of clutching and handholding, designer Elaine Turner has designed a custom bag exclusively for the Heroes for Children fundraiser. Larissa Linton reported that “only 150 were available and we have already pre-sold over 50!”

Rachael Dedman and Nancy Dedman (File photo)

Rachael Dedman and Nancy Dedman (File photo)

Now for the best part. Elaine’s creation is called The Kate, “named after Prince William‘s wife, hence the crown!” If you email Larissa ([email protected]), she’ll reserve one for you for $199 with a portion going to HfC. If there are any left by the luncheon, you can take your chance and pick one up then. But that’s a chancy chance, don’t you know.

BTW, if you haven’t attended the event in the past, don’t leave your cellphone at home. It makes the purchasing oh-so-much easier and fun.

Those purse-hugging girls Nancy Dedman and Rachael Dedman are honorary chairs and Kim Bannister is luncheon chair.

*Photo provided by Heroes for Children

UPDATE: Information Regarding Plans For Brent Blanton Services

MySweetCharity has receive several inquiries about plans regarding services for Brent Blanton, Sally Blanton‘s son, who died Monday. We just received this information and offer it for your consideration:

“Please come to a Celebration of the Life of Brent Blanton honoring Sally and Whitney Blanton this Friday at 4 p.m at Arthurs. . . Please RSVP to Andrea Alcorn at [email protected] so we have a head count for the restaurant.”

Jan And Trevor Rees-Jones Present $30,000 Gift For Hope Cottage’s Foster To Adopt Program

Trevor and Jan Rees-Jones (File photo)

Trevor and Jan Rees-Jones (File photo)

Great way to start the day. Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones‘s foundation has stepped up again to aid another nonprofit. This time it’s Hope Cottage and its Foster to Adopt program that “works to train adoptive parents and provide permanent homes for children who have been removed legally from abusive parents.”

The foundation has provided a $30,000 grant. It’s not the first time for the Rees-Joneses to support Hope Cottage. This is their third gift.

“The Rees-Jones Foundation has been instrumental in supporting foster adoptions and promoting their success with thorough family training and supervision by Hope Cottage professionals,” said Hope Cottage CEO Sonyia Hartwell, MSSW. “The Foundation’s continued support enables Hope Cottage to meet our goals and serve more families and foster children than ever.”

TACA Silver Cup Luncheon Co-chairs Have Already Achieved Their Goal But Want More

Leave it to TACA Silver Cup Luncheon Co-chairs Jan Showers and Sharon Young to surpass their fundraising goal of $350,000. Yup, they did that and the luncheon isn’t until Friday, February 22. But then what else would you expect when the Cup recipients are Peggy Sewell and Roger Nanney?

Still, Jan and Sharon are determined to raise even more.

In addition to the awarding of the Silver Cup, there will be a performance by violinist Eleanor Dunbar, the 2013 Neiman Marcus Performing Arts Scholar at SMU. And, no, she’s not a graduate student or even a senior. Eleanor is a 17-year-old freshman.

Following tradition, performances by various musicians will take place throughout the luncheon before the presentation of the awards. This year’s collection includes the James Gilyard Ensemble, a string quartet from the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, and members of the Dallas Wind Symphony.

If you haven’t gotten your tickets yet, you’re in luck. There are still some available. They start at $150 per person. As for tables, they range from $1,500 to $5,000.

A Passing: Brent Blanton

Death in any form is a tragedy. It’s especially difficult when it is a son or a daughter. Today our journalist colleague Sally Blanton lost her son Brent.

He might have been saved if a transplant had only been available.

Please for the sake of others, if you have ever considered donating your organs, sign up. You will not feel the loss, but others and generations to come will inherit your kindness and life-saving gift(s).

JUST IN: Crystal Charity Ball 2013 Beneficiaries Announced To The Tune of $4,740,415

Caren Kline (File photo)

Caren Kline (File photo)

In exactly 10 months minus one day, the Crystal Charity Ball ladies will once again stage one of country’s most successful fundraising events for children. In between now and that first

Pam Perella (File photo)

Pam Perella (File photo)

Saturday night in December, the gals will be working like accountants on April 14. The reason for all this activity is simple — eight children’s charities that were just revealed moments ago by CCB Chair Caren Kline and Underwriting Chair Pam Perella.

Drum roll, please.

The 2013 CCB beneficiaries are:

  • Educational First Steps (Four Steps To Excellence 2.0) — $430,000
  • Good Street Learning Center, Inc. (Operation Next Steps: Program & Facility Improvements) — $458,988
  • NETWORK of Community Ministries, Inc. (Children of Grandfamilies Initiative) — $508,989
  • New Friends New Life (Trafficking Prevention & Sexual Abuse Recovery Program) — $525,000
  • Parkland Foundation (Crystal Charity Ball Pediatric Burn Center & Playroom) — $1,252,316
  • Suicide and Crisis Center of North Texas (“Teens Can Survive” Program) — $275,400
  • Texas Scottish Rite Hospital For Children (Specialized Prosthetics Program) — $500,000
  • YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas (Park South YMCA  Urban Swim Program) — $789,722

What does this mean? The gals have to raise a whopping $4,740,415 to make these dream projects become reality for the area children.

St. Valentine’s Day Luncheon & Fashion Show Needs Your Names And Offers Tempting Raffle Items Even If You Can’t Attend

St. Valentine's Day Luncheon & Fashion Show

St. Valentine’s Day Luncheon & Fashion Show

Alas, the online tickets for the St. Valentine’s Day Luncheon & Fashion Show  is totally closed. Yes, you thought you could hold off until Monday to buy that last minute ticket, but organizers needed the weekend to get the seating arrangements locked down. And when you’re dealing with nearly 900 guests. . . well, the arrangements committee is going to be busy, busy this weekend.

BTW, if you did reserve your ticket(s), you need to send in the names of your guests to Michelle Northcutt at [email protected]

According to Michelle, “We MUST [she did the emphatic all caps] have your names for the auditorium seating assignments! [she also added the exclamation point]”

Folks, bear with the organizers. This St. V-day extravaganza ain’t gonna be the same old, same old.

And even if you didn’t get your reservations in on time, you can still try for some of the dreamy raffle items up for big. Like what? Knew you were gonna ask. Here goes:

  • American Airlines Business-Class Tickets to the Caribbean and Rosewood Little Dix Bay in Virgin Gorda, BVI — Enjoy travel in business-class comfort and 4 days and 3 nights at Little Dix Bay in the Virgin Gorda, BVI. Virgin Gorda, BVI. Just beyond a colorful barrier reef, lapped by gentle blue waters, lies Rosewood Little Dix Bay® – a truly authentic destination, tamed for sophisticated tastes. The timeless boutique resort on Virgin Gorda offers tranquility found nowhere else in the Caribbean. Value: $4,900
  • American Airlines First-Class Tickets Anywhere in the US — Pick your place – enjoy travel in first-class comfort to the destination of your choice within the contiguous 48 states, Canada or Mexico. Value: $4,900
  • American Airlines Business-Class Tickets to the Ritz Carlton in Cancun Mexico — Enjoy travel in business-class comfort to Cancun Mexican and stay at the Ritz Carlton for 4 days and 3 nights in an ocean view room. Nestled along Mexico’s alluring Mayan coastline, The Ritz-Carlton luxury hotel in Cancun, offers the perfect hideaway for a sumptuous Caribbean vacation. Cancun’s white sand beaches, charismatic Mexican hospitality and exquisite Cancun restaurants perfectly combine to offer an unmatched escape for couples and families alike. Value: $4,900
  • Sue Gragg Precious Jewels — This exquisite 18k white gold diamond, pink sapphire, morganite and onyx ring is sure to add a touch of elegance and glamour to any outfit. Value: $4,900
  • Stanley Korshak — Get runway ready in a Monique Lhuillier item from Spring 2013.
  • Look your best and feel your best inside and out — EpiCentre Park Lane – A World-Class, Skin Care and Laser Center. This package includes: Two small coolsculpting cycles – non-invasive, non-surgical body contouring reduction using cold therapy. A non-surgical body contouring treatment that eliminates stubborn fat naturally. SkinMedica skin care products: Technologically advanced skin care products for ultimate anti-aging skin rejuvenation. Facial Cleanser, Rejuvenative Toner, Tri-Retinol Complex, TNS (Tissue Nutrient Solution proprietary growth factor blend), Essential Serum, TNS Eye Repair and Dermal Repair Cream. It’s not fitness. It’s Life – Equinox membership includes the following: A three month membership at Equinox Highland Park. One complimentary Equifit fitness evaluation, One complimentary personal training sessionand one complimentary Pilates service. This package also includes a Stella Dot necklace. Floral custom cast brass discs inspired by vintage lace plated in antique silver and affixed on antiqued silver plated brass chain, necklace donated by Dawn Mellon. Total Value: $3,000
  • Texas Rangers Suite and Stella & Dot Necklace, Something for him and something for her — Enjoy one night in a suite during a 2013 Texas Rangers regular-season home game on a mutually agreeable Sunday through Thursday date. Excludes Opening Day, July 4, and games against the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Los Angels of Anaheim, and interleague teams. Food, beverage and parking not included, donated by Texas Rangers. Stella Dot necklace with blue dyed semi-precious stones and 12 karat gold plated brass beads hand sewn on leather bib, donated by Dawn Mellon. Value: $3,500
  • Brunch and Shopping at Highland Park Village — Enjoy a brunch at Village Marquee Texas Grill and Bar for 20 people with Chef Andre Natera and carafe cocktails. At brunch you can wear your Stephanie Anne 18″ Regency chain necklace and blue topaz pebble pendant. After brunch, burn off some calories by shopping to your heart’s desire at Highland Park Village with a gift certificate for $1,000 and a Stephanie Anne $100 gift card. Value: $2,800
  • Take Me Out to the Ballgame! — Four Texas Rangers seats behind home plate (section 25, rows 4&5, seats 1&2) with parking pass and Ranger Dollars for hot dogs and peanuts. (Winner’s pick of any home game except opening day; game must be selected before April 1st to secure preferred game, otherwise subject to availability), donated by Denise and Geoff Yates. Look your best for the game and enjoy a $1,000 shopping spree at Rich Hippie, an upscale women’s boutique with emphasis on up and coming designers that carries a thoughtfully selected clothing, handbags and jewelry. Also included is a mosaic necklace designed by Sophia Forero. The mosaic is made of turquoise, citrine and gold and the necklace is made of opal and pearl. Value: $2,300
  • Painting by Jacqueline Nugent, Arteriors Gift Certificate, Shona Necklace and Renee Rouleau Skin Care Products — This package includes the following fashionable finds. Painting on canvas with oil and fine fabric that is hand treated to give a 3D effect depicting an elegant, fashion forward women. Arteriors $250 Gift certificate for any in-store merchandise. A Shona “Pebbles” style bauble, bubblegum pink sparking chocker hand knotted in black silk with symmetrical rhinestone ball. A deluxe hydrating facial and a collection of Renee Rouleau and a collection of Renee Rouleau best-selling products. Total Value: $2,400
  • Tootsies Shopping Extravaganza — Spread the love and enjoy shopping with your friends at Tootsies. One $500 gift card for you and seven $100 cards for your friends. Private shopping party with Tootsies stylists Private shopping party Tootsies stylists and sips and bites for the party. Value: $1,500

Raffle tickets are going for $25 each or five for $100. The more you buy, the better your chances of winning a Valentine’s treat for yourself. And you know you really deserve it.

Graphic provided by the St. Valentine's Day Luncheon & Fashion Show

Les Dames d’Escoffier Puts The Emphasis On Local Talents And Products For March 3rd Raiser Grazer

By Sunday, March 3, the bantering about the Oscars will be a done deal; Sunday football watching will just be a memory; and Lent will still have four more weeks to go.

Les Dames d'Esoffier

Les Dames d’Escoffier

However, Les Dames d’Escoffier Dallas chapter has once again come through to add some pizzazz to a Sunday evening with Raiser Grazer. Oh, French wasn’t your primary or secondary language? not even third? Not to worry. You don’t have to know French to enjoy this feast of foods and wines the gals are puting together. You just have to have fun eating, drinking and supporting Les Dames’ “education scholarships for area women seeking careers in the culinary arts.”

This year Chairman Mary Kimbrough and Grand Dame Caroline Rose Hunt are placing the emphasis on local, so naturally the theme is “Dames Go Local.” To accomplish this feat they’re pulling together the area’s fabulously talented chefs, suppliers, pastry artists and business women at Union Station from 5 to 8 p.m. And, yes, local products (“fruits, vegetables, meat, cheese and other artisanal dairy products”) will on the menus of the 30 chef-hosted kiosks hosted by the likes of:

  • Dame Liz Baron (chef/owner, Mesa Grill) – Salad of Tassione Farms Greens, Mozzarella Company cheese and olive oil, pecans and grapefruit from Texas.
  • Dame Dunia Borga (chef/owner – La Duni) – Arequipe (aka Dulce de leche) with Three Cows Dairy Cream and Texas Pecans
  • Dame Tiffany Derry (chef – Pan Seared Scallops with Texas Ruby Red Grapefruit Beurre Blanc
  • Dames Sharon Hage and Wendy Taggart (chef and owner of Burgundy Pasture Beef) – Burgundy Pastures Beef Keftah with Three Happy Cows Tzaziki Sauce
  • Dame Lisa Perini (owner, Perini Ranch Steakhouse) – Mesquite Smoked Peppered Tenderloin

But there’s even more. For instance, there will be a beer garden including Lakewood Brewing Company, Rahr & Sons Brewing Company and Peticolas Brewing Company.

And, of course, there will be silent auction with more than 100 items. But it’s one of those auctions that you can play online in your jammies even now!

The evening of eating and drinking is being sponsored by Central Market, Whole Foods, Fresh Point and Sysco.

So, take a break from that pesky diet and help future chefs in their pursuit of education. Tickets are going for $65 now.

Junior League Of Dallas To Hold Annual Community Volunteer Fair

To volunteer is to receive more than to give. Sure, the person gives up an hour or two or three. But afterwards there is the strangest sense of breathing fresher air and having one less wrinkle in the brow. If everyone were to volunteer just once, the results would be more amazing that a million dollar donation.

But then there is the question of how do you sign up. And what organization would best suit you? Perhaps you love kids and want to help. Or maybe you want to support a group that is more art focused. Still which one is right for you?

Leave it to the Junior League of Dallas to have the answers.

On Saturday, February 16, the JLD will hold its annual Community Volunteer Fair at NorthPark (lower level between Dillard’s and the NorthCourt) from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The main objective? “To provide an opportunity for the agencies the League supports to connect with potential JLD volunteers and volunteers from throughout the Dallas community.”

Please note: This fair is NOT limited to JLD members. It’s open to anyone who wants to volunteer.

Oh, and if you have some kiddos with you, you have can have them check out the “Kids in the Kitchen” activities sponsored by UnitedHealthcare.

St. John’s Episcopal School Is Raising The Gold Standard

After going into overdrive shopping in November and December, it’s tough to go cold turkey and stop buying. The retailers really, truly miss you and are trying to pull you out of your purchasing coma. Molly and Leon Banowetz have come up with a great way to help both you and the retailers. . . at least the ones at NorthPark.

Molly and Leon are the raffle co-chairs for the Second Annual St. John’s Episcopal School Raffle.

Let’s get the painful part over with first. The raffle tickets are available right this minute for $100 apiece or six for $500.

Now for the good part. No, make that the great part. The grand prize is $10,000 in NorthPark Gold. Second and third prizes aren’t too shabby coming in at $2,500 and $1,000, respectively.

“Molly and I are thrilled to co-chair the second annual raffle and announce an increase in NorthPark Gold for our second and third place winners. Last year’s raffle raised over $67,000 for the students at St. John’s Episcopal School, and we know with the support of the Dallas community we can surpass that amount in 2013,” said Leon.

Let’s all sit back, close our eyes and imagine how that grand prize could be spent. How many movie tickets could you buy? Or, perhaps a nice tennis bracelet? And then there’s always having lunch every single day for a year at one of the center’s eateries.

The raffle is being sponsored by Mercedes-Benz of Plano, Parker School Uniforms, Allie Beth Allman & Associates and Veritex Community Bank/Veritex Mortgage.

The winning tickets will be drawn on Friday, March 15, at the “In the Swing” Golf-n-Gala at the Dallas Athletic Club following the golf tournament held earlier in the day.

Oh, and if you’re not available, not to worry. You don’t have to be present to claim your gold.