MySweetCharity’s Make-Believe-Benefactor: Ron Chapman

Ron Chapman

“I would endorse the check to Ruth Collins Altshuler and let her make the decisions as she does so well with her own million dollar checks.

(Answer #2) I would endorse the check to Ross Perot knowing he’d make certain the monies did the most good….and he’d follow up to confirm that he’s right.

(Answer  #3) I would endorse the check over to the Visiting Nurses Association which cares for those who can’t get out of their homes.  Until someone you know needs them…it’s hard to comprehend how important they are.”

Ron Chapman

MySweetCharity’s Make-Believe-Benefactor: Kersten Rettig

Kersten Rettig

“I would love to have the Child and Family Guidance Center receive $1 million in funding so they can provide mental health services for at-risk and at-need families in Dallas.  Mental health issues are a devastating problem in our community and it is the root cause of addiction, child abuse, domestic abuse, economic problems and so many other social ailments.  The Child and Family Guidance Center isn’t the most glamorous, not the most fashionable, not the most high-profile, but I dare say it is one of the most valuable organizations in Dallas.”

Kersten Rettig

MySweetCharity’s Make-Believe-Benefactor: Carmaleta Whiteley

Carmaleta Whiteley

“If I had a million dollars I would donate it to the Alzheimer’s Association, because no one needs to be alone when managing care for someone with dementia.

The National Association has a help line 1-800-271-3900 that operates 24 hour hours a day, seven days a week in 140 languages. The staff is highly trained and knowledgeable about all aspects of Alzheimer’s from memory loss to medications, treatment, care options and emotional support.  You may call as often as needed.

Our Dallas Chapter offers a variety of educational classes and support groups taught by licensed professionals

for caregivers which are designed to provide information such as warning signs, diagnosis, treatment, communication and behavior tips. Also available are dozens of brochures and fact sheets.  They also maintain updated information on home care or skilled nursing facilities. Their personalized care consultation can help a family through difficult emotional, physical and financial decisions.   All services are provided at no cost.

Although I cannot list all of the services here, I feel a very special service is the caregiver’s closet.  These are items that are available to meet special needs for caregivers such as adult bibs, special hand rails, cabinet and drawer locks, stove safety covers and many more…..too many items to list.

They offer a one call service when someone with dementia wanders or becomes lost.  This includes emergency response to local law officials and support for the family during the search and rescue efforts.

Besides being the leading health organization in support and care their mission is to eliminate Alzheimer’s through the advancement of research.”

Carmaleta Whiteley

MySweetCharity’s Make-Believe-Benefactor: Steve Kemble

Steve Kemble

“I would give the 1 Million dollar check to The Trevor Project. The Trevor Project is the organization behind the It Gets Better PSAs. It is determined to end suicide among LGBTQ youth by providing life-saving and life-affirming resources including a nationwide (including DALLAS!) 24/7 crisis intervention lifeline, digital community and advocacy/educational programs that create a safe, supportive and positive environment for everyone. We need all the fabulous gay teens alive and well!”

Steve Kemble

MySweetCharity’s Make-Believe-Benefactor: Rhonda Sargent Chambers

Rhonda Sargent Chambers

“My check would go to The Elisa Project because insurance companies do not recognize any type of “eating disorder” as a medical condition in need of treatment.  Eating disorders do not discriminate.

So many people are affected. Among them are children, girls, men and women who die from not receiving proper medical attention…. because it is too costly.

The Elisa Project raises awareness in schools starting in 4th grade through college and beyond. They reach out to as many as they can but there is still a stigma attached to anorexia, bulimia, and binging.

The misunderstanding that someone can control this type of disease themselves is archaic.

Eating disorders among children is rising at an alarming rate!”

Rhonda Sargent Chambers

MySweetCharity’s Make-Believe-Benefactor: Yvonne Crum

Our first “Make-Believe-Benefactor” Yvonne Crum says:

Yvonne Crum

“If given a check for $1 million.. I would immediately donate it to the Suicide and Crisis Center of North Texas.  It is for these reasons:

  • They deal not only with the death but with the people who loved the person that felt despair thru Survivors of Suicide.
  • They get help for those contemplating suicide as a way to relieve their pain.
  • But most of all: There is a program at SCC called TeenScreen.. It has had amazing success.  It’s in so many of the schools and it has a proven record.

If one young life can be saved Dallas will be all the better for it.”

-Yvonne Crum



Hill A. Feinberg Academy — A School Of Change For Life

With parties and family gatherings well underway for the holidays, MySweetCharity suggests that you take a moment or two to consider a group of people who successfully handle this period despite the challenges.

The classroom is typical. Six-foot-long tables with computer monitors and keyboards. The teacher’s desk is in the corner covered with papers. Today, in the center of the room, a circle of chairs is in place. To the right is seated a “Seth*.” He has all the signs of a football quarterback — muscular, focused and stocky. There is a physical tension about him that signals that he’s ready to spring into action if needed. Across the way from Seth is “Daniel*,” who is tall, tan, lean and has dimples. While Seth is tentative and observant of all around him, Daniel is easy-going and has a twinkle in his eye.

Seth and Daniel could be high schoolers at any public or private school in North Texas. To all the world it would appear that their biggest problems should be making the grade for extracurricular activities, or trying to figure out how to pay for their cars.

But Seth and Daniel are not typical high schoolers. Their greatest challenge is not making the grade. It’s overcoming drug addiction. To do this, they have come to the school of change, Phoenix House‘s Hill A. Feinberg Academy, via two entirely different routes, but with similar backgrounds.

“These kids have grown up in the bad area of town. They were taught to be in a gang. And that’s the gang lifestyle,” says Phoenix House’s director of vocational services of Texas Michael Fowler, who is sitting in another chair in the circle. “When they get out, they go back to that same area where they weren’t succeeding. We try our best to get the families involved.

“If you’re willing to do the work to change, then it doesn’t matter what your background is,” Michael continues.

Leaning against the far wall is Debbie Doyle, assistant director of the academy. There is a look in her eye that betrays compassion, with a healthy ounce of street smarts.  She’s been at the 24-hour, live-in facility for more than five years and knows all the angles that “clients” play. Just as addicts don’t play fair, so their caretakers know the stakes demand that they counter every action.

Daniel admits he was angry that his mother decided to end his habit of smoking marijuana. She enrolled him at Phoenix House, drove him to the academy and left him to get well. He sits back in the chair and smiles. It’s been a long haul, but he’s proud of his accomplishments. After weeks of working with counselors and taking classes to learn skills for life-after-Phoenix House, he’s a leader within the 24-hour, live in facility.

“I can use what I learned here to help my little brother to go to the right path,” Daniel says, “instead of the same path that I did.”

Seth, on the other hand, had a choice — Phoenix House or the big house. He had a rap sheet that left no alternatives. He also had a baby daughter, who helped him make his choice. For her sake, he had to pull his life together. During his time at Phoenix House he learned that he had more than just drugs to battle. He was also angry. He didn’t handle it well at all.

“I thought my drug problem was because I was bored and liked to do it,” Seth reflects. “But once I started trying treatment and doing it right, I actually realized why I started. It was more issues of family problems and a bunch of stuff that made me angry all the time. That why I was always an angry person.”

But the counselors recognized the problem and got Seth to spot the signs and work them out. How? He headed to the workout room. Working with the weights helped him shake off the anger and start working on such issues as self esteem. Evidently the efforts were working out because Seth, like Daniel, is a leader at Phoenix House.

“I tried my best,” Seth says looking up, “and I ended up being head of the house.”

Now the two are preparing for their next step — life away from Phoenix House. Daniel smiles with the prospect of moving on. Seth isn’t as eager about the prospect of leaving this safe haven. He’s even told the staff that he doesn’t want to know in advance when his departure date is.

But Phoenix House is preparing them for life after their stay. They’ve learned far more about their addictions, they’ve learned to be self-reliant, and gained self-esteem. “I didn’t know how to tie a tie,” Daniel says about his necktie that each of the male patients wear to classes.

Helping out in the kitchen, doing their own laundry and preparing their rooms for morning inspection have all been part of the structure in place at the Phoenix House on Reagan Street. The facility is the only co-ed substance abuse treatment program in Dallas with a DISD-accredited curriculum.

“It’s gender specific,” says Jennifer Davis, director of development for Phoenix House. “They have specific treatment for the girls because I believe about 90% of them have sexual abuse and sexual trauma.”

Thanks to the 240-member Phoenix House staff, volunteers and the program in place in North Texas, 141 youngsters were treated at the Feinberg facility. But hundreds of others weren’t able to get into the program. Why?

The building itself is limited. But thanks to financial support from such local organizations as the $425,000 donation provided by the Crystal Charity Ball, expansion is underway. An additional dorm for the girls is slated to open January 1.

An even greater reason for the inability to help countless others, though, is changes in insurance plans and qualifications for state funding.  According to Phoenix House Senior VP Clyde Rush, there are a lot more services for adults than youngsters despite the fact that there is a greater need among young abusers. Part of the reason, particularly for residential treatment, is because it’s (treatment for youths) so costly and states don’t want to pay for it.”

Eighty percent of the kids are covered under state funding. To obtain state funding, one must prove that their family is indeed among the poorest of Dallas citizens, they will receive coverage for 30 days of in-patient care and 60 days of out-patient treatment.

The rate of recidivism for those treated for 90 days of treatment is 70% remaining sober after a year. For those receiving just 30 days, it drops to 30% to 40%,” says Jennifer. “We are seeking private funding to extend it to the full 90 days to cover the gap.”

Then there is the case of the working poor. That is, families who don’t qualify as poor but don’t have insurance and can’t afford self-pay.

“We’re seeking private funding to help them,” says Jennifer.

“If a client has shown a lot of progress and they’ve run out of funds,” Michael adds, “we’ll try to find a way to finish their treatment. We’re not going to let someone go if they’re showing the willingness to change. The sad thing is that we can’t do that with everyone. We just don’t have the resources.”

But the problem unique to the Dallas area that is on the top of Clyde’s radar is the “cheese” epidemic.

Just the mention of the popular drug of choice among teenagers causes Michael and Jennifer to shake their heads. [Read more…]

A.W.A.R.E. Luncheon Speaker Announced At Holiday Tea Honoring Pat Burford

As you drove through the gate with the mammoth wreaths (pictured) Wednesday, you just knew you weren’t attending an every day tea with the gals.

Nope, neither A.W.A.R.E. nor hostess Karen Seanor does anything on a ordinary basis.

The festive mansion was full of food, news and a touching relationship that was revealed to the 100 guests in attendance including Santa Claus.

If anyone thinks a tea at Karen’s is sparrow food, rethink that. The dining room table (pictured) had a spread on it that defied the finest hotels. And the guests knew it and took full advantage of it.

Midway through the event, AWARE President Carmaleta Whiteley addressed the ladies briefly about the March 31st luncheon at Hilton Anatole.

Since the theme of the luncheon will be “A Dallas Love Story — A Tribute to Juanita and Henry S. Miller Jr.,” the featured speaker will be actress Shelley Fabares accompanied by her husband of 26 years Mike “M*A*S*H” Farrell.

Some might wonder why the angel of the 1950’s “The Donna Reed Show” and later Craig T. Nelson’s girlfriend in the 1990’s “Coach” would be a champion in the battle against Alzheimer’s. It seems that Shelley’s mother died from the dreaded disease and Shelley is no sweetheart when it comes to the topic.

An especially touching moment followed the speaker announcement when Carmaleta revealed the reason that Karen had opened up her lavish home for the tea. Karen requested that the tea honor her friend Pat Burford (pictured center with, from the left, Karen Seanor and Carmaleta Whiteley), a longtime AWARE member, a supporter of the luncheon and an Alzheimer patient.

Without a nano-second of hesitation, all agreed that the request was a great idea. Pat’s work for Alzheimer’s is known throughout the organization.

On hand for the tea were Ramona Jones looking right in style with her peppermint-styled walking cane, Carol Seay back with tales of her trip to Israel, Kay Hammond sporting a new short haircut and comparing notes with Faye Briggs and Leigh Lombardi trading dossiers with Katy Menges (pictured right with Leigh Lombardi).

MD Anderson Cancer Center’s Legend Bob Schieffer Chats With Buddy Tom Brokaw And Serenades Luncheon Crowd

Monday’s “A Conversation with a Living Legend” benefiting MD Anderson Cancer Center should have been titled, “A Friendly Interrogation of a Living Legend.” Interviewer and former NBC anchor Tom Brokaw had decades of research and was not going to let his friend, honoree  Bob Schieffer, off the hook on stage at the Hilton Anatole.

But before getting to that “stage” of the day’s event, there was a press conference for the two with Dr. John Mendelsohn (pictured right with, from the left, Tom Brokaw and Bob Schieffer), president of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. At the media session, the subject matter focused on cancer.

After revealing that “my mother died of breast cancer because she was afraid to go to the doctor,” Bob (pictured) added that his bout with bladder cancer taught him that people don’t like to talk about “below-the-belt diseases.”

On the subject of smoking, Brokaw didn’t hold back when asked about the new tougher warning labels on cigarette packages: “Whatever it takes,” said Tom, “I’d put a big skull and crossbones on the package.”

Dr. Mendelsohn admitted that he saw a future where one day cancer would be considered like pneumonia was to his parents’ generation.

Following the press conference, Tom told how there were eight doctors in his family including one of his daughters, who went to Stanford with Charlotte (Jones) Anderson.

Speaking of the Jones family, Tom (pictured) went on to say that he had attended the Cowboys/Eagles game the night before. NBC sportscaster Bob Costas had told him for a long time that he just had to see the Jones’ stadium in Arlington. Brokaw’s review? “It’s done with so much elegance. Everybody was having a great time.”

Someone noticed that 70-year-old Tom was walking rather gingerly. It seems that he had broken his ankle a couple of weeks before while on an ATV. Then he said, “I hunted on it the next day, which probably wasn’t the smartest thing.”

While Tom was chatting, 73-year-old Bob was looking healthy, spry and happy posing for pictures with the TCU Air Force ROTC (“The Flying Frogs”). He told them how he had been a member of the ROTC at TCU, which made the smiles in the photo all the bigger.

He also autographed an “Uncle Schieffer Wants You” recruitment poster (pictured)  for Washington internships for the Schieffer School of Journalism at TCU.

Ah, but all of this was just a warm-up for the main event.

As 795 guests ambled into the ballroom, some legends were spotted in the group like Madeleine and T. Boone Pickens, Margaret Crow, honorary chairs Margot and Ross Perot and writer/TCU alumnus Sandra Brown, who had brought husband Michael and daughter Rachel and her husband Pete to the lunch.

After the main aisle was finally cleared, Bob was escorted into the ballroom by Event Chair Gale Sliger (pictured), a 28-year cancer survivor. Late arrivals like Jan Pickens scurried to their seats just in time for the “Flying Frogs” to present the colors.

Just a couple of minutes before noon, the group learned that the event had raised $953,360, lunch would be served and the program would start in 20 minutes.

Right on schedule, Dr. Mendelsohn followed a video about MD Anderson with the introduction of 12-year-old, cancer survivor Madison Glover, who presented Tom with a gift. In turn, Tom kissed the youngster and took his seat at a table on a stage that easily resembled Schieffer’s “Face the Nation” set.

Brokaw was a great warm-up man. He told the crowd that he had been hunting with Dr. Mendelsohn in South Texas recently: “As a quail hunter,” Tom said of the doctor, “he’s a great oncologist.”

Introducing Schieffer, Brokaw said, “He’s the single most popular figure in Washington journalism. . . a man of grace and integrity.”

As Schieffer took his chair on stage and crossed his legs, it was noted by many that the TCU alumnus was wearing black boots emblazoned with TCU in white (pictured).

One of the first topics was the late President Gerald Ford. It was during his administration that the two journalists met. Brokaw asked what Schieffer’s most embarrassing moment was.

According to Bob it was during a press conference, when out of nowhere Ford asked Bob if he had a question. Bob went totally blank. Realizing that his bosses were probably watching, he pulled a question out of the air, “What’s the deal with the Russians?” It was just the right question, because Ford launched into an answer that turned out to be the lead story the next day.

Brokaw wasn’t going to let his friend get off the hook so easily. “I thought you were going to tell about the time you asked a question that had already been asked.”

Schieffer: “I don’t recollect that time.”

When Brokaw pushed, Schieffer lobbed back with, “I don’t think we have time for that one.”

Another subject was the late grandmaster of journalism Walter Cronkite and his relationship with Bob. While Bob’s anecdotes were great, his impression of Cronkite was amazing. He sounded just like the late CBS anchor.

“Walter was the most curious person I ever knew,” Bob said.

Brokaw added that Walter’s late wife, Betsy, once regretted moving from their NYC townhome to a high rise. When asked why, Betsy reportedly said she loved the little patch of yard there. Did she like to garden? No, she replied, it was a great place to bury those awards that Walter had collected.

But all was not jovial chatting. Schieffer got down to serious concern about today’s media due to the lack of editors for bloggers and Internet communicators. Earlier in the day Brokaw had reiterated his disapproval of Twitter to a handful of folks.

Other concerns that Schieffer addressed were:

  • Washington politics: Because of partisanship, bitterness in Washington is the worst he could recall. He observed that Democrats and Republicans have to spend so much time raising money back home to get re-elected, they don’t get to know each other in D.C.
  • Politicians: They have to kowtow to so many special interest groups. Also, their campaign gurus and consultants no longer live in the local communities, unlike the old days where there was more accountability. “We have taken an amateur sport and turned it into a professional sport. . . . That’s 90 percent of what’s wrong.” Congress is “basically dysfunctional.”
  • Wikileaks: “Totally outrageous, totally irresponsible. . . I don’t know if they’re terrorists, or silly people making mischief.”
  • Journalism: “There’s something to be said for gatekeepers. That’s what editor are.  . . Our main responsibility now is knocking down false rumors on the Internet.”
  • Newspapers: “I think newspapers will basically wind up being on the iPad.” But we need newspapers to keep an eye on things. Without newspapers, “Corruption (will be) on an epic scale.”

Response from the audience — applause!

Following the talk, Bob and two members of the Washington, D.C., band Honky Tonk Confidential performed “(I Wanna Be A) TV Anchorman.”

Photo credit: Pete Baatz

After the tune ended and the applause died down, an auction was held for four to attend a broadcast of “Face the Nation” and brunch with Bob and his wife Pat with hotel and first-class airfare included. The winning bid of $35,000 was made by Lenise Stephenson, who just happens to be an associate member of The University Cancer Foundation Board of Visitors — and the wife of AT&T Chairman/CEO/President of the Board Randall L. Stephenson (pictured left with, from the left, Lenise Stephenson and Madeleine and T. Boone Pickens).

Share-A-Date: No Tie Dinner & Dessert Party

Saturday, March 26: The biggest fundraiser for the AIDS Services of Dallas, No Tie Dinner & Dessert will have its collective dessert at the Frontiers of Flight Museum. But first guests will attend one of approximately 50 dinners in private homes throughout Dallas.

How does it work? Just knew you would ask. Here goes:

“Each spring, generous, fun people will host social gatherings – from backyard barbecues for 10 to formal dinners for 30+. The dinners will be casual or formal, large or small, gourmet to potluck. In return for their host’s hospitality, guests are asked to make a minimum donation of $50 to ASD. All dinner proceeds will go toward housing and supportive services for ASD clients. After dinner, all dinner hosts and guests are invited to a dessert celebration with entertainment, dancing, coffee and delightful desserts donated by some of Dallas’s finest caterers and restaurants.”

Hosts will be honored at an appreciation party.

Honor chairs for this year’s event will be D’Andra Simmons, Michelle and Bernard Nussbaumer and Paige and Clint Fletcher.

Go Red For Women, Wine And Stewards

Twice a year an evite is sent to around 300 women inviting them to a “Women and Wine Party.” The event promoting Go Red for Women is hosted by Susan Arledge (pictured) and Lea Yaest. All the ladies are asked to bring a bottle of wine and perhaps an appetizer.

Last Thursday the body count of more than 125 had plenty of room to “wine” at Brenda Sandoz‘s home. However, parking was the challenge since a neighbor a block away was holding a party, too. Brenda realizing that her neighbor’s valets might encroach on her festivities visited with the valets and lines were drawn to everyone’s liking.

Inside sommelier David Snyder (pictured right with Joe Gampper) was having a jolly good time advising the ladies on their selections and making recommendations like ’08 Prisoner by Orin Swift and ’07 Raymond Reserve Cabernet, both from Napa.

But David in his formal attire and red bow tie was not the only gent on the premises. He was assisted by fellow (volunteer) wine stewards like Joe Gampper, Sean Goff and Calvin Hull. If these names sound familiar, it because most of the fellows are commercial real estate pros who know the reputation of Susan’s and Lea’s wine party.

Of course, wine steward Chris Ryan had to be different. Instead of the typical tuxedo, he wore his kilts and was already when asked, “What are you wearing under your kilts?”

Among the sipping guests were w2wlin.com’s Lisbeth McNabb (formerly CFO of Match.com), Martha Jansen of Razor and People Newspapers Publisher Karen Mordecai (pictured left with Chris Ryan).

Share-The-Date: Teaming Up For Healthy Kids

Photo provided by The Cooper Institute

Tuesday, March 22, 2011: It should be the healthiest lunch held. The Cooper Institute’s “Teaming Up For Healthy Kids” will take place at the Hyatt Regency with NFL’s main man,  Archie Manning (pictured). Not only was Archie a legendary quarterback in his own right, he is the father of Super Bowl quarterbacks Peyton and Eli.

In keeping with First Lady Michelle Obama‘s effort to reduce obesity in children, Dr. Ken Cooper and Archie will talk about “healthy families, the rise in childhood obesity and what The Cooper Institute is doing to reverse the obesity epidemic.

Stephanie Oakes Graham and Edi Lycke are co-chairing the event with tickets starting at $150 for individuals.

Holiday Trees Will Be Sprouting Up At Texas Scottish Rite Hospital For Children Starting Tonight

If you’ve ever been to Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children, you know the first thing that hits you when you walk in the door is the smell of  popcorn. It immediately sets a feeling of being very user-friendly for munchkins.

With the holidays moving at a non-stop pace, TSRHC is adding to the sensory systems with its annual lighting and decorating of the Holiday Trees tonight.

It’s not your typical turn on a switch, the tree is lit and everyone goes home event. Heavens, no. We’re talking Scottish Rite, please!

The program starts at 5:45 p.m. with the giant tree being lit by TSRHC Trustee Ralph Wayne and TSRHC patient, four-year old Avery Taylor of Plano. Then more than 400 volunteers from community organizations will be decorate 50 holiday trees located throughout the hospital.

Of course, Santa will be on hand along with the Town North Concert Band. He’s no dummy. Santa always knows where the best boys and girls are.

John Larroquette Was The Reluctant Inspiration At C.A.R.E. Community Breakfast

To say actor John Larroquette doesn’t suffer fools is an understatement. Even before he started his talk at last Monday’s C.A.R.E. Community Breakfast, he gave the impression that he really didn’t want to be at  Belo Mansion with hundreds in the audience. Politely posing for photos with guests (pictured from the left Isabell Novakov, John Larroquette and Brian Heflin), the 6’5″ Creole smiled like a kid who had been made to stay after school.

Once at the podium, it appeared that he really would have preferred to have been anywhere else.

“I don’t do a lot of these,” he said. “Let me just say. I speak for myself. I am not representing any organizations of any kind.  And usually it’s more of a closed audience, shall we say? A select audience?”

The audience laughed, but there was an undercurrent that John was dead serious.

“Most of whom I know have a type of leprosy in common with me.”

More laughter.

Larroquette (pictured) then started a slow inhale that sucked the audience into his world of chemical and alcohol dependency of the 1970’s and his own recovery in the 1980’s. Starting with his childhood in New Orleans’ Ninth Ward, he talked about —

  • His father’s abandoning him and his mother when the youngster was two-years old
  • Learning that he had siblings from his father’s second marriage including a brother named John. “Who besides a drunk names two sons John? Sort of a coon-ass George Foreman. He (the father) was an alcoholic. I didn’t know him. At seven, he came home and took me to the racetrack. Why? Half off if you took a kid?”
  • Having never met his half brothers and sisters
  • Never having a drink growing up in New Orleans

But that changed in the 1970’s, when he became a “prolific drunk” —

  • “I was a hedonist gluttonous animal from the get-go. A child of the 60’s.”
  • “I loved the panhandler with the sign ‘Spaceship Broken. Needs Parts.’ I always gave him $10.”
  • “I was the ‘Chemist.’ People sent me stuff in the mail: ‘Take this and tell me what it does.'”
  • He moved to Hollywood because “there was a place that actually paid you to be other people.”
  • He went on a seven-and-half-year downward spiral.
  • Got $12 for a pint of blood. “$16 if you brought a buddy.”

Using his sardonic style, he told how he turned his life around in the 1980’s —

  • “When I got sober, Betty Ford was still trying to decide whether she wanted gin or vodka for cocktails that night. Weren’t a lot of place to go like C.A.R.E.”
  • “On February 5, 1982, I was doing coke and Johnny Walker Black. I was stuck sober.” Looking in the mirror, he thought, “What a loser! I saw a big, fat  ugly actor who was going to die.”
  • It was later than he learned that, “I got sober on my father’s birthday.”
  • Definition of an alcoholic: “Like a man on fire running through a room, sooner or later the flames will touch everyone.”
  • “I’m an expert on how to get drunk, and how to stay sober: You don’t drink.”
  • Quoting George Carlin: “Just because the monkey’s off your back doesn’t mean that circus has left town.”

By the end of his talk, Larroquette had shrunk the hundreds in the ballroom to a select audience of friends.

No, he doesn’t do many of these, but when he does, his talk rightly receives a standing ovation like last Monday.

Mystery Man Surprises And Honors Pat And Emmitt Smith At The Robert S. Folsom Leadership Awards Dinner

Not only are they one of Dallas’ most dazzling couples, they’re also one of the most proactive teams in community services. They are none other than Pat and Emmitt Smith (pictured). For their “demonstrated commitment to community leadership,” the Methodist Health System Foundation presented the twosome with the Robert S. Folsom Leadership Award last Thursday at the Hilton Anatole to a packed house that raised $915,000.

Event chairs were Emmitt’s old Cowboy buddies Troy Aikman and Daryl Johnston, but there was a problem. Troy was out of town and “at the last minute” Daryl had to duck out. Yipes! What was Foundation President/CEO April Box Chamberlain (pictured) going to do? There she was with the Smiths seated at the table in front of her and no “official emcee.”

April put out a plea for someone to volunteer. Search lights surveyed the room for a volunteer. As guests looked at each other in confusion, a voice from the back of the room said he might help. He seemed a little out of place wearing a Cowboys baseball cap, weather vest and the sunglasses (pictured).

April: “Do you know about Pat and Emmitt?”

Mystery Man: “A little bit. She was Miss Virginia.”

April: “How about Emmitt?”

Mystery Man: “Who?”

By this time the ever-classy Smiths were looking just a little bewildered, as was the rest of the audience.

Mystery Man admitted that he knew Emmitt had been a Cowboy.

April: “So Emmitt’s on your fantasy team”

Mystery Man: “You’re kidding. No chance! Can he shoot? Dribble? I know he can’t rebound! I like guys who can play basketball.”

By this time the man was marching up to the stage stripping off the sunglasses, baseball cap and vest revealing himself to be Dallas Mavericks owner/former Dancing With The Stars competitor Mark Cuban (pictured). The crowd plus the honorees loved the surprise emcee and his “last minute preparations.” High fives and hugs were exchanged as Mark proceeded through the crowd.

Putting on a jacket and standing at the podium, Mark acknowledging Emmitt’s success at DWTS: “I’m the one who should have won Dancing With The Stars!”

Then one-of-a-kind Mark got serious about the couple telling the crowd: “I’ve known them for a long time. They’ll have a long impact on the city of Dallas. That’s what this award is all about! . . When this couple sets their mind to something, it happens.”

Then looking at Pat, Mark got downright school boyish: “Pat won Miss Virginia. She should have been Miss America!”

So, what is it about the Smiths that motivates them to personally and professionally support people and causes? Earlier in the evening Pat and Emmitt talked about their efforts, both individually and through the Pat and Emmitt Smith Charities. With Pat watching attentively, Emmitt (pictured) said, “We’re just trying to improve on the things we’ve started. For kids, especially at-risk kids. Biggest thing for them is exposure to me. Exposure to the possibilities that they might not otherwise see. If that makes me a role model, I guess I’m a role model.”

Pat (pictured), who just gave birth to the newest Smith less than two months ago, looked pageant ready. Adding to her husband’s comments, she told how they had had a parent-teacher conference earlier in the day about their eight-year old son, E.J. The youngster had been assigned to do a project on a person, place or thing that he admired. “It was Emmitt,” Pat said with a smile of pride. “He really looks up to you. It’s all about family.”

Once again the Robert S. Folsom Leadership Award selection was right on target.

John Larroquette reviews: He’s An AMAZING Speaker

MySweetCharity’s Houston bud Kristi Hoss Schiller just sent the following note about Dallas C.A.R.E. speaker John Larroquette:

“He is an AMAZING speaker — we just had hin at the Houston Council two weeks ago — LOVED HIM!”

Trust MSC when we say that Kristi never ever understates anything.

See you tomorrow morning with Johnny boy at Belo. Coffee is on us!

MySweetCharity Will Not Be Regifting This One

This is a thank you note to the person who gave MySweetCharity a head cold. We didn’t take note of your gift until this afternoon and plan to spend the weekend with it. In doing so, we will definitely not “regift” it for another’s enjoyment.

Now is a good time to remind the MSC community —

  • If you have a cold, stay home and away from others.
  • If you are healthy, stay that way by washing your hands and getting your flu shots.
  • If you have money, invest in Puffs and NyQuil soon.

 

2010 Black Tie Dinner Guests Were Champing At The Bit

Considered the standard bearer of formal fund raising within the LGBT world, the Black Tie Dinner proved its stuff Saturday night at the Dallas Sheraton. Starting at 5:45 p.m., the backup of cars into the hotel was already looking like a wheeled version of a conga line. Alas, the parking garages attached to the Sheraton were marked “Full” to allow space for the valets, so many chose nearby parking lots and a walk.

But the space issue arose again upon entering the festivities. Like the March of the Penguins, tuxedoes were everywhere, especially in the silent auction arena just outside the Lone Star Ballroom. What else would you expect when you have 3,000 over for a black-tie dinner? Didn’t matter. Everyone was having way too much fun and the congestion just added to the evening’s conversations.

But a few hundred were cubbyholed in private receptions in the Austin Ballrooms. The VIP reception for 500 featured a coolly blue-lit Grey Goose bar with four lines of guests waiting their turn for a libation. In from Washington D.C. was Human Rights Campaign CFO Jim Rinefierd in a red shirt and leather tuxedo with matching tie.

Next door was the Speakers reception for a mere 150. Unlike the free-moving VIP reception, it had the nicety of having Judge Barbara Houser and evening honoree Carol West (pictured right with Barbara Houser) greeting guests at the door.  Part of the room was a photo factory for shooting evening headliners like Gavin Creel and Chely Wright with local celebs. Two photographers with name takers were lining ’em up and shooting them. On the sidelines Mitchell Gold, like a Cecil B. DeMille, admonished, “Only two flashes” per setup.

Another person on the side was Chely’s gal pal Lauren Blitzer (pictured left with Chely Wright), who co-wrote Same Sex in the City.

In the back of the room was a handsome Marine all decked out in his formal dress uniform. Could this be a situation of “Don’t ask, don’t tell”? Upon inquiring, the Marine turned out to be Chely’s brother Christopher, who was in from Kansas City with his wife Karla, for Chely’s receiving BTD’s Media Award.

Also on hand supporting family ties were Stephanie Vanderburg and Christine Fischer (pictured right with Stephanie Vanderburg), daughters of BTD Board Member Debra Davis.

Across the way attorney Don Gaiser in a silver-and-black tuxedo jacket was escorted to red carpet area to have his photo taken with the celebs. Buying 10 tables gets you Very VIP service, don’t you know! But the standout in this crowd was Grey Goose’s Claire Winslow (pictured) with her red hair and one-of-a-kind dress and stockings.

Before you knew it, the place cleared out and all headed to the silent auction area to await the opening of the Lone Star Ballroom doors for the night’s dinner.

Now mind you, adding more than 600 people to the already crowded silent auction space might be a problem for some, but for the BTD crowd it was a more-the-merrier scenario. It was a melting pot of all professions, backgrounds and personalities like Messy Panocha (pictured). Let’s face it — the drag diva just stands out in any crowd and loves it with those glittery eyelashes and remarkable hairstyle.

Then there was CPA Mike Larsen (pictured) in his natty kilts, freelance musician Henry McDowell in purple tie (guess he didn’t get the memo that it wasn’t Purple Tie Dinner), and sales associate Marjan in her gold-spangled dress.

Promptly at 7 the doors to the Lone Star opened and the 3,000 filed in for dinner, entertainment and learning more about the beneficiaries and honorees.

If you were among the top-tier guests, you were seated at tables with their own server who took drink orders throughout the night. Shoot, it was like life aboard a luxury liner. No muss, no fuss, just let your server know what you want and it was johnny-on-the-spot. . . drink wise. On the other hand, if you wanted food, regardless of your place in the pecking order, you were limited to salad and a basket of bread until 8:29.

While organizers had held off dinner to allow the speakers and entertainers to be heard over the clatter of dishes, they didn’t realize how really hungry folks could get. This may have explained why so many guests started talking among themselves and checking their smartphones instead of listening to the speakers.

After a brilliant performance by Gavin with the Turtle Creek Chorale, BLT Co-Chairs Ron   Guillard (pictured) and Nan Arnold (pictured) welcomed the group. While marvelous in their efforts to coordinate the event, their calling is not in the world of emceeing. This became apparent when the next speaker Carol West received the Kuchling Humanitarian Award. With zeal, presence and eloquence, she set a pace that would be hard to match. But shoot, she’s a Fort Worth minister and knows how to hold a crowd’s attention!

Next on the agenda was Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese (pictured), who could easily be heard but seemed to change the direction of the evening from enjoyment to political agenda. Perhaps it was the fact that it was now verging on 8 p.m. and the crowd was wondering when the next course would arrive on their tables.

At 8:10 a video was shown but the audio was not stellar quality, thereby losing the attention of many.

But that quickly changed when the list of sponsors was recognized. American Airlines seemed to get the biggest applause.

Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin (pictured) took the podium as the keynote speaker and once again thanked the sponsors and launched into her talk. Perhaps it was the pangs of hunger or the hour, but the attention of the crowd started wandering. With Tammy looking down from eight huge screens surrounding the room, you would have thought she would have commanded the room. But instead many were looking for trays of food that were nowhere in sight and others were checking their smartphones.

The bread basket at one table was making its final pass when a young man, like a starving hero in a lifeboat, gallantly offered the last piece to the rest of the table. When no one took him up on his offer, he grabbed it and apologetically said, “I’m sorry, but I’m so hungry.”

At 8:25 one man could be heard loudly questioning, “Where’s the damned food?” Within four minutes, Tammy concluded her remarks to a round of applause and hopes that food would soon be on its way, but no. Instead the list of sponsors rolled on the screens with a voice reading each one over the PA system. Waiters were standing on the sidelines just waiting for the signal to present the food. As the last of the Single Seat Sponsors was read, the parade of trays started marching from the kitchen. It was then that a voice over the PA system announced, “You must be seated to be served.” Like children attending their first holiday sit-down supper, the guests stayed put.

But then, after the guests enjoyed some mighty tasty steak and creme brulee, it was time for the live auction and happenings that once again allowed the Black Tie Dinner to be a monumental money maker. How much? That will be revealed in December. Check back here for the final results.

Miss America 2008 Kirsten Haglund’s Perfect Look Wasn’t All That Perfect

In the way old days families would gather around the television set to watch the Miss America pageant. Both were so glamorous and everyone watching had their favorites.  The Miss America contestants looked so beautiful and always had the perfect answer for the tricky question segment of the evening.

But reality isn’t always what it appears. For instance, Miss America 2008 Kirsten Haglund admits that for years she suffered from an eating disorder to achieve physical perfection.

You’re laughing. Eating disorder? Have a Hershey bar and get over it.

With that attitude, it proves that education is needed and that’s exactly what Kirsten is going to do at The Elisa Project‘s sixth annual Life Lessons Luncheon on Thursday at the Hilton Anatole. Event Co-chairs mother/daughter Megan and Ryan McManemin have a personal reason for their involvement. Ryan was diagnosed with partial anorexia and bulimia while at Episcopal School of Dallas. Feeling pressured due to athletics and social pressure, the youngster was desperate to achieve “perfection.”

In fact her first episode occurred this time of year when Ryan was a freshman in high school. With all the food at Thanksgiving, purging was Ryan’s solution. But once was not enough, so it continued until Ryan “confessed her secret to her parents.”  Coming together, the McManemins weathered a full-court-press treatment program to redirect Ryan’s behavior for recovery.

“The treatment of eating disorders is a long, difficult process. Our family was extremely fortunate Ryan came to us early in her struggle,” said mother Megan. “We were able to get her immediate, intensive treatment before she lost control to this formidable disease.”

Even if you are a healthy camper, you may unknowingly have a person in your life who is suffering from this “unfashionable” disease. More reason to lunch Thursday with Ryan, Megan and Kirsten.

The Senior Source Calls In Nobel Laureate To “Roast” Marnie And Kern Wildenthal for “Spirit of Generations 2010”

Only Marnie and Kern Wildenthal could be “roasted” by a Nobel Laureate with a sense of humor. That’s what happened at The Senior Source’s “Spirit of Generation” luncheon Friday at the Anatole.

But before the stellar crowd lunched and laughed, the VIP reception took place in the Wedgwood Room that was just a tad bit chilly. It seems that prior to being the place for the reception, a flock of flowers had been in a holding pattern.  No problem. With the cold front that had moved in earlier that day, the ladies like Helen Storey and Virginia Chandler Dykes had pulled out their wool suit jackets for the lunch and others like Ruth Altshuler (pictured right with, from the left, Alicia Landry, Virginia Chandler Dykes and Helen Storey) and The Senior Source Exec Director Molly Bogen wore extremely fashionable six-foot long  scarves.

The hot topics of conversation ranged from 2011 Equest Co-chair Barbara Stewart (pictured) reporting that her daughter/Equest co-chair Margaret Macatee will be handling the hi tech aspect of promoting that annual event at Brook Hollow; Mary McDermott talking about the October opening festivities for the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge;  and Isabell Haggar happily recalling Dinner Under the Star’s incredible success.

One person steering away from a particular topic was Ross Perot. He opted to take pass regarding the week’s elections.

Then it was on to a ballroom full of boldface types like Jess Hay seated with Margaret Crow, who just a couple of weeks ago had been on hand for the opening of the “refreshed” Anatole lobby. . .  Faye Briggs with her daughters Pebble McKenzie and Hester Briggs had French beauty Sylvie Wainwright (pictured left with Faye Briggs) at her table.

When all were settled in, it was time for the program with Luncheon Chair Sandra Estes teasing the group that for a long time she had considered “senior citizens as the ‘others.'” But her thinking had changed over the years and now, “I’m sold on old!”

Baylor Health Care System Foundation President Rowland “Robin” Robinson (pictured) did a nice job subbing in for Baylor Health Care System CEO Joel Allison who was in Washington on business. As you can guess, Baylor, like so many of the health care providers, is very concerned about providing for the upcoming flood of baby boomers as they approach the senior years.  “Both organizations (The Senior Source and Baylor) are committed to meeting the physical, the spiritual, the emotional and the mental needs of our clients.”

Following a video and a note from British operatic great Robert Lloyd recognizing the Wildenthal for their contributions throughout the years and their friendship, it was time to get down to business, or in this case, laughs. That was left in the hands of UT Southwestern Nobel Laureate Dr. Al Gilman, (pictured right with, from the left, Margo Goodwin and Kern and Marnie Wildenthal) who really should start a second career of roasting great people. While Al lauded Marnie for her decades of teaching at Episcopal School of Dallas, he gently poked fun at Kern with decades of stories about Kern even before his days as UT Southwestern president. A recurring theme was bird droppings that seemed always to find Al but avoid Kern.

But Al was not going to just tease Kern. He told the group of Kern’s incredible work ethic, his vision in orchestrating the growth of UT Southwestern, as well as the Dallas Opera.

Kern must have known that the lunch was going to have some mischief from the red-ribbon-tied Coke bottles at his table (pictured). Luncheon guests learned that Kern has a love for Coke. They also learned from this brilliant, world-famous friend that not only did they share the same birth date, but they also have a respect and friendship for each other that is unmatched.

With that Marnie and Kern accepted their award with the grace, eloquence and humility proving they rightly deserved the 2010 Spirit of Generations Award.

You Can Prevent Suicide

A 51-year old man jumped to his death earlier today from the High Five. Now, he leaves behind victims including his friends, family and the people who witnessed this tragic event.

Please be aware of the people around you and learn the warning signs of a potential suicide. Dallas is fortunate to have resources like the Suicide and Crisis Center to prevent such a loss.

You could make a difference.

St. Jude And The Jumbotron Watched Over “Evening Under The Star”

Last year’s Evening Under the Star had to be moved upstairs at Cowboys Stadium because the Jumbotron was having issues. It was a great event and no one knew the difference. . . until this past Friday, when the annual St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital benefit took over the field with Jumbotron on best behavior overhead.

Around 1,000 guests staggered around the field. No, not because of over indulgence of refreshments. They were simply in awe of the place. As massive as the stadium is, it’s an entirely different experience when you’re on the field itself. No one has come up with a word big enough to capture the feeling of the First Wonder of the Football World.

Being on the field transformed guests from proper type folks to wannabe athletes. Redhead Lisa Doney (pictured) took up the football toss and was not going to give up until she got that dang thang through the tire.

Across the way, Dan Gray and Brad Nall (pictured) took turns attempting to kick the football through the goal posts. For some reason, that goal post just seemed to get further and further away.

On the other hand, Host Committee Chairs Sherice and Tim Brown (pictured left with Sherice Brown) looked down right at home on the playing field thanks to Heisman Trophy winner Tim’s years playing for Notre Dame and in the NFL.

However, the two most popular pre-show activities on the field were the buffet line and the silent auction.

The rows of Taste of the NFL featured cuisine ala major NFL flavors including:

  • Atlanta (Southern Comfort Food) — Classic green bean casserole, southern fried chicken, buttermilk biscuits with honey butter, Georgia peach cobbler and vanilla bean ice cream
  • Dallas (Served Up Texas Style) — Cowboy cole slaw, smoked beef brisket, Dr Pepper BBQ sauce, jalapeno cornbread, chocolate decadence bites
  • Chicago (Windy City Selections) — Caesar salad, Chicago-style pizzas (pepperoni, spinach and baby portabella, BBQ chicken Hawaiian)
  • San Francisco (Pacific Temptations) — Skewers from the Pacific Rim, lemongrass tenderloin of beef, Asian chicken, ginger shrimp, fried rice, vegetable spring rolls and fortune cookies

Over toward the silent auction, Margo (pictured) and Jim Keyes were proving to be  old hands at the St. Jude’s silent auction and headed straight for it. BTW, Margo looked rather fabulous courtesy of others. Her turquoise necklace, black pants suit and stilettos were picked out by Jim and her turquoise earrings came from jewelry designer DiAnn Malouf. And speaking of designs, it seems that Jim’s submission for this year’s The Catholic Foundation Plaza was a finalist. . .Leaving the stilettos at home and buying into the whole western motif was Gail Fischer. Why the metal on her boots alone would set off any metal detector.  . .  Honorary Chair Aileen Pratt didn’t have a chance to check out the silent auction because she was trying to track down husband Jack and her daughter (“She looks so cute in her fringe”).  It’s easy to see why Aileen and Jack were selected as the honorary chairs. Aileen is so articulate and committed to children in need — “Children don’t understand the economy going badly. They understand pain and need and we have to help them regardless of the financial situation.” As Party Co-Chair Lydia Novakov said, “Their (the Pratts) devotion to the mission of St. Jude has helped so many precious children in their toughest hours. Their efforts parallel those felt by numerous others in the Dallas community. Aileen (pictured) and Jack are true angels in our midst.”

Then folks settled down for a live auction conducted by Mike Jones followed by a concert with Jo Dee Messina.

Before the live auction and concert started, Toni Brinker and Isabell Haggar (pictured right with Toni Brinker) were spotted standing on the star at the 50-yard line. When asked about their luck in not having the event on the same night as the World Series next door at the Ballpark, Isabell said, “St. Jude was watching over us, I guess!”

Evidently Isabell was right. St. Jude must have been keeping a watchful eye on the project to raise funds for his hospital. The evening raised a whopping $700,000. That’s $100,000 more than last year. Guess it really did pay to move the party down to the field of dreams.

Swab And Possibly Save A Life This Thursday

While MySweetCharity is dedicated to local nonprofit and charitable causes, there are rare exceptions that “sorta” fit the purpose of MSC. This post is one of them.

The following email has been making the rounds that you might want to consider for participation —

Long time community supporter, Larry Lacerte, is in need of a life saving bone marrow transplant. Jesuit College Prep located at 12345 Inwood Road, 75244 will host a bone marrow drive on Thursday, November 4th from 7:30 am to 4:00 pm in the Terry Center. Donors must be between the ages of 18-60 years old. It’s a simple process. There is a short questionnaire to complete, and then a swab of your cheek that the donor does himself.  Take 10 minutes and be a potential match for Larry or someone else. You could save a life! Please let your children or friends know about this important drive.

If you have questions, please contact Patty Leyendecker either via email at [email protected] or visit www.bethematch.org.

While the event is focused on finding a donor for Larry, remember the process could match you with another person in desperate need of a transplant. You might just be the one who could make a difference to the recipient, as well as their family and friends. It doesn’t cost you a cent and you could be a hero.

If you are a bit leery about what’s expected, here’s link to answers.

Now, put “Swab” down on your agenda for Thursday.

Front Door Coverage Of Two x Two Gala Complete With Dangling Flutes And Bumper Porsches

For years, the Two x Two Gala has been as limited as a sorority meeting on a Monday night. No outsiders, especially media types, are allowed in. It’s a very ultra private, high rollers’ dinner at Cindy and Howard Rachofsky‘s estate that raises millions of dollars in one night for amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research and the Dallas Museum of Art. Past celebrities have included the likes of Sharon Stone, Sigourney Weaver, Shirley MacLaine, Liza Minnelli, Barry Manilow, Natasha Richardson,  John Benjamin Hickey, Taylor Dayne, Dita Von Teese, Stanley Tucci, Harry Belafonte, Gavin Rossdale and Christian Siriano. Why there are even delicious tales of the night Sharon Stone got a bit naughty in getting the bids sky high!

The press has been allowed to cover Thursday night’s First Look with its artiste types and local celebs wandering the grounds and getting a “first look” at the 130 pieces of art to be auctioned off at the extravaganza two nights later.

Ah, but the gala. That is another story — until this year. Word was sent out that the media would be allowed to cover the pre-dinner reception (6:30 to 8 p.m.) with certain limitations. Namely:

  • Only one media representative per organization.
  • Reporters only  (no cameras) would be allowed in the house during the cocktail reception.
  • Photographers would be restricted to a “designated media area” outside the house, with one exception: “Photographers will  be escorted into the house on a first-come, first-served basis for a 15-minute period of time per photographer.”

No problem! MySweetCharity staff opts to stay outside with the trusty MSC Brownie and record the arrivals, which turns out to be a heck of a lot of fun.

6:15 p.m. — Arrives early to get a feel for the surroundings because there had been a change in arrangements since Thursday. No more elevated platforms with couches, high cocktail tables or mammoth bar. Instead a white tented porte-cochere has been installed just in case Friday’s rain continued Saturday. Within the tent entry area are two gentlemen in black tie and top hats on stilts. From the ceiling of the tent dangle champagne flutes from purple and lavender ribbons. The tall fellows reach up, snip a flute from the ribbon (pictured) like a flower from a garden and hand it to the guests as they arrive. The rest of the tent is set up for VIP photos in front of a sponsor backdrop, a champagne bar and a check-in area.

As the first few guests arrived, it’s easy to maneuver. No other media is on the scene yet. Designer Christian Siriano arrives without much fanfare and looks like a cast member from “Glee.” Evening chairs Suzanne Droese and Lucilo Pena (pictured with Suzanne Droese) are on hand for official greetings and photos. Among the first of the locals to arrive is Elaine Agather in a very bare-shouldered Christian Cota. Did she pick it up on her recent trip to France? “No! Forty Five Ten!” she proudly smiles.

6:40 p.m. — Barbara and Don Daseke arrive to have Todd Fiscus, who has been in charge of setting the whole thing up, greet them with hugs and puckered air kisses.

Host Howard appears in a purple and black jacket with lavender shirt and purple evening slippers, just in time to greet Fanchon and Howard Hallam (pictured right with Fanchon Hallam). Fanchon looks quite adorable in black leggings, black coat dress and high-neck satin blouse with star-burst broach at the  base of the throat. The black shoes with rhinestone buttons make it a total packet.

Now the easy maneuvering is getting a little congested as more guests arrive via Bentleys, Mercedes and Lexuses. They’re all spotless. Must have been a busy day at the car washes.The event photographer apologizes for getting in the way of shots. Still no other media around. As one guest waits his turn in line to check in, he tells a waiter, “Top me off,” pointing to his champagne glass that is only half full of Dom.

6:46 p.m. — An entourage of gorgeous men arrives including designer Derek Lam, (pictured) who tops off his formal wear with a natty gray and black scarf; two of the chap are tieless. All are wearing delicious smiles.

It’s starting to get a tad crowded with guests arriving, staff serving and vehicles driving through like a Santa’s Helpers Toy Drive Thru. Host Howard is having a great time greeting folks.

6:50 p.m. — Hostess Cindy enters the scene in a brilliant red and oh-so gold silk Chinese jacket, gold bangled earrings, gold silk evening pants and gold shoes. Her smile lights up the tent. In Cindy’s world, there are no strangers.

More people are arriving and staying in the reception area. Who needs to go inside? The party is out here. But it is getting crowded. . . very crowded.

The wind picks up, blowing the ribbons in the tent. Luckily most of the flutes have been removed. What if this gusty situation had occurred when all the glasses had been there? Would there have been a spray of glass? Nah. This is Two x Two.

Three fellows in black tie are outside the tent at the far end of the house. Are they plotting out their bids for the auction? Are they comparing notes about a dinner last week in New York City? No, they’re just grabbing a quick smoke before heading back into the house and eventually the tent on the back grounds for the dinner and auction.

7:06 p.m. — Catherine and Will Rose arrive and start chatting with Host Howard. Oops, right behind them are actor Stanley Tucci and designer/amfAR Board Chair Kenneth Cole, both the stubble look. Two x Two photographers have hit the daily double. Kenneth has taken black tie to the max complete with black shirt, black vest and black glasses. Wonder if anyone has ever told him that he looks like a chic Bruce Springsteen? Immediately Stanley and Kenneth gravitate to Cindy, who welcomes them with open arms. Handlers don’t want to lose the moment and line up Cindy, Howard, Stanley and Kenneth (pictured right, with from the left, Stanley Tucci, Howard and Cindy Rachofsky) against the sponsor backdrop.

7:17 p.m. — Brooke Hortenstine arrives but not with her husband. She’s with hair engineer Ceron. Despite swearing to retire from her job at PaperCity, the petite society editor returned to the beat for Cindy and Two x Two.

As Gene and Jerry Jones (pictured left with Gene Jones) join the now very cozy crowd, someone mutters, “Don’t ask him about the Cowboys going to the Super Bowl.”

7:22 p.m. — A whole passel of local VIP’s arrive (Bob and Myrna Schlegel, Jennifer and John Eagle,  D’Andra Simmons and Colin Duchin) and everyone is having a grand old time.

7:25 p.m. — Then it happens. Everything has been going so flawlessly in the valet line when Ana and Don Carty pull to the head of the line in her beautifully brand-new Porsche. Just as Don is opening the door and getting out of the black super-duper car, it starts backing up. Looks of horror hit the most veteran of car parkers. Shouts of “No!” are heard. All the guests in the tent turn around to see the rear of the black Porsche get it together with the front of a white sedan.  Immediately Don realizes that he’s shifted the car into “Reverse” instead of “Park.” He makes the adjustment stopping the Porsche. Valets quickly make sure that all drivers and passengers are all right. Then they set about checking on the well being of the two kissing vehicles. Like CSI staffers they examine bumpers, license plates and grills. Emerging from the white sedan is none other than former Dallasite Jeff Marcus, who laughs and tells Don not to worry, “It’s a rental.” Ana doesn’t give Don the same look. It’s her Porsche!

On the passenger’s side of the Marcus car is Jeff’s bride (they were married in August just passed the one-year mark in their marriage, but who’s counting) Nicola (pictured), a dead ringer for Uma Thurman.

7:35 p.m. — Broadway’s Alan Cummings is next on the scene for his photo session with the Rachofskys. He’s fun and promises to provide an entertaining performance at the dinner. Just as the shots are being taken, last year’s chairs Elizabeth and Jan Showers arrive followed by Nancy Rogers, who had made a quick stop at the Mission Ole soiree at Amy Turner‘s. Nancy and Jan must have compared notes. Both are in bare-shouldered black gowns with dazzling turquoise blue and diamond necklaces.

7:39 p.m. — It’s time for the big photo of the visiting celebs — Stanley, Cheyenne Jackson, Alan and Kenneth. The latter three look as happy as Rangers fans. Stanley (pictured with, from the left, Cheyenne Jackson, Alan Cummings and Kenneth Cole) looks like Nigel.

Joyce Goss, in silver sequined jacket that Liberace would have killed for, jokes that if the lights go out, they’ll still be able to spot her.

7:45 p.m. Now the line of luxury vehicles are stretches all the way to Preston Road, waiting their turns to drop off their boldfaced passengers. It’s nearly impossible to get around the crowd in the reception area. How the men on stilts are managing is a wonder. But there are few glasses dangling, so their Edward Scissorhands duties must be slowing down.

Nothing but society biggies are arriving now — Nancy Dedman with her son Bob, Kenny Goss looking quite trim in the all-black, black tie look, Anna-Sophia van Zweden all in black except for diamond drop earrings, Charlotte and Shy Anderson and Marguerite Hoffman, who joins her best buddy Cindy (pictured left with Marguerite Hoffman) for a photo.

7:56 p.m. — Among the last to arrive are Angie Barrett and jeweler Joe Pacetti (pictured with Angie Barrett). Angie is a real trooper. Not only was she on hand for the First Look reception on Thursday, she was also to host a private brunch at her One Arts Plaza penthouse Sunday morning.

8:00 p.m. — The men on stilts, the black-tie guests, the servers with trays of appetizers, the hosts and the event organizers are now all gone. The valet parkers are breathing more easily, now that their 450 drivers and passengers are safely in for dinner, entertainment and the auction.

Ah, but you want to know what happened inside. According to sources inside, here are some highlights:

  • The evening’s menu included a four-course dinner of caviar, black truffle explosion, kobe steak florentine and a cheese plate with Dom Perignon Blanc Vintage 2000 flowing nonstop. The dessert bar was set up in the Rachofsky house.
  • Due to the humidity, the tent had a range of temperatures. If you were near the A/C vents, you were feeling a strong breeze that nearly knocked over the centerpiece flowers. If you were more toward the center of the tent, it was slightly well done. Decision was made to keep the A/C going for the sake of interior guests.
  • The first item up for bid was Cecily Brown’s oil on linen. Estimated at $65,000, it went for $80,000.
  • The 126″ by 96″ silkscreen ink on linen by Christopher Wool went for a whopping $675,000, $200,000 over its estimated value.
  • Kenneth Cole’s introduction of Alan Cummings: “He was honored by the Queen of England last year, and it was odd because he’s the Queen of Scotland!”
  • Said Alan Cummings: “Who would have thought I would be singing a song by Shirley Bassey, or more importantly, who would have thought I would be singing in a tent in Dallas in the middle of a tornado?”

Departing the Rachofsky estate, the moon is in full glow overhead like a perfect piece of art. Wonder if the Two x Two organizers had arranged to have it on auction block, too.