The Eight Days Of Hanukkah Begin At Sunset Today

Monuments Men album and seven-branch menorah (File photo)

So many parties and get togethers are taking place this week. But at sunset tonight (5:21 p.m.) the eight days of Hanukkah will commence for the members of the Jewish community. Commemorating the successful rebellion of the Maccabees against Antiochus IV Epiphanes and the rededication of the Temple of Jerusalem in 165 B.C.E., the menorah will be the centerpiece of the days and nights ahead. With the lighting of each of the candles at sunset, those of the Jewish faith will celebrate how despite having just enough oil for one day in the Temple, the oil lasted eight days.

If your calendar isn’t already filled to capacity, you might want to join the events that are taking place in the area and learn about this age-old celebration. Or, why not try one of the recipes that will be used during the eight days. Here’s one by Temple Emanuel’s Tina Wasserman.

Hanukkah ends at 5:24 p.m. on Wednesday, December 20.

Dallas Historical Society’s Awards For Excellence In Community Services Recipients Displayed Insight And Graciousness In Accepting Their Honors

While the Dallas Historical Society‘s 2017 Awards for Excellence in Community Services crowds gathered outside the Fairmont’s International Ballroom, the VIPs and 2017 Awardees attended a private reception in the Venetian Room on Thursday, November 9. For some it was a great opportunity for people whose paths had never crossed to meet up.

Lindalyn Adams, Mary McDermott Cook and David Brown

Diane Bumpas and Bill Helmbrecht

Caro Stalcup

Joan Walne, Mary Suhm and Laurie Evans

For instance, historical preservationist Lindalyn Adams was almost giddy meeting former Police Chief David Brown. Speaking of David, he reported that due to his ABC contract, he was splitting his time between Dallas and New York City… Across the way, Laurie Evans was doing the swivel head looking for her husband Dr. Phil Evans to arrive. She knew he would be there, but when? … Already on the scene were past Award recipients Marnie and Kern Wildenthal, who were there to celebrate Kern’s brother Hobson Wildenthal’s being recognized for his work in education…. Patricia Meadows reported that the family home in the State Thomas neighborhood was on the market… and others like Joan and Alan Walne, Mary McDermott Cook, Louise Caldwell, Diane Bumpas, Caro Stalcup, Mary Suhm, Creative Arts Awardee Carolyn Brown, Arts Leadership Awardees Ann and Gabriel Barbier-Mueller and Sports Leadership Awardee Tony Dorsett with his wife Janet Dorsett.

Louise Caldwell

Marnie and Kern Wildenthal and Mary McDermott Cook

Janet and Tony Dorsett

Phil Evans

 

Just moments before the chimes called the group to the luncheon, Laurie was relieved to see her husband arrive with a big smile. Seems he had gotten an early Christmas gift — a million-dollar grant —from an “anonymous” donor. That’s a pretty darn good excuse for a delayed arrival.

The ballroom was filled to the max, as people like Jill Bernstein, Sandi Chapman, Kimber Hartmann, Gail Thomas and Lee Cullum took their seats. At 11:50 a.m., Master of Ceremonies Stewart Thomas called the group to order. Following an invocation by St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church Rev. Chris Girata, Stewart introduced Luncheon Co-Chairs Carol Montgomery and Kaysie Montgomery, who welcomed the group. They were followed by Dallas Historical Society Chair Bill Helmbrecht, who officially thanked all for attending and supporting the society.

Kaysie Montgomery and Carol Montgomery

All of this was done within six minutes! Promptly at high noon, Stewart reported that the program would continue in a few minutes and guests should settle back for lunch. Missing in action was table host Bobby Lyle, who was under the weather, but his table was filled with Adam McGill, Stan Levenson and Robert Prejean… Arriving just after luncheon was underway was Shirley Miller.

Adam McGill, Stan Levenson and Robert Prejean

At 12:25 p.m. Stewart was back at the podium and invited the award recipients to take their places in chairs on the stage.

Some of the highlights from the acceptance speeches were:

Carolyn Brown and Hobson Wildenthal

  • Hobson Wildenthal for Education — The University of Texas at Dallas Executive VP recalled how 50 years ago TI was created and the UTD resulted. 157 National Merit Scholars were in this year’s freshman class and it was designated as the Best U.S. College less than 50 years old. He finished saying, “Margaret McDermott is the queen of Dallas.”
  • Steve Pounders for Health/Science — The internist told how in 1981 he was just starting his care and discovered a disease that was affecting young men that would late become known as AIDs. It would become his life’s calling resulting in his serving as the primary physician for men in the Dallas Buyers Club. He thanked Veletta Lill, Resource Center’s Cece Cox and his spouse James O’Reilly.
  • Willis Winters for History — The Dallas Park and Recreation Department Director gave thanks for the recent passage of the bond: “One of the first projects will be the restoration of the Hall of State.”
  • Jorge Baldor for Philanthropy — The Cuban-born businessman acknowledged that 800,000 have been the recipients of DACA and encouraged audience members to support the Dream Act. He went on to thank the event and kitchen staffs and finished by reporting that several hundred students are living under bridges and still going to school.

Then the most poignant moment came unexpectedly. It was when former Dallas Cowboy Tony Dorsett accepted his award for sports. He admitted that he was a little taken aback by the people, and went on to recognize the late Cowboys Coach Tom Landry, who made Tony understand that things were going to be tougher in the NFL. Landry held Tony back and it taught the young football player patience.  Tony went on, saying, “I was always told that I was too small, time and time again.” Through effort and determination, he was able to play in the NFL for 13 years.  

Looking at the other recipients seated on stage, he went on to saying “These are fantastic and incredible people up here.”

He thanked his wife Janet saying, “What I’m going through is tough, and she puts up with me. It can be really difficult and she understands that that’s not the real me. This is tough.”

Having gone beyond his two-minute limit, Janet was seen quietly approaching the side of the stage. Tony heard her say, “Tony,” and he took note and sat down.

Moments later David Brown took his place at the podium to accept the Jubilee History Maker Award. He could have easily sucked the air out of the room for his leadership for the July 7 tragedy. Instead, David rallied the audience to give Tony another round of appreciation. The applause was deafening for both Tony and David’s act of graciousness.

David went to tell how his father hadn’t wanted him to be “a cop.” But on the day when he was made a lieutenant at the Hall of State, he had what would be the last conversation with his father, who said “You were right in your choice.”

Then David went further back in his history, telling how in fourth grade, he had played Captain George Ludwig von Trapp in the “Sound of Music.” The students had to do more than learn their roles. They had to research the backstory of the musical. Today he had become nostalgic when seeing the white flowers on the tables and hearing the musician play “Edelweiss” — the last song Richard Rodgers wrote with Oscar Hammerstein.

Tying it all together, he said, “Remember who we are, what we stand for, how we should treat each other.” Then he voiced disappointment at the lack of participation in the recent election.

At 1:14 p.m., Bill Helmbrecht returned to the stage and invited all to take part in the annual A.C. Greene Toast.

For more pictures of the day, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: 2017 Awards For Excellence In Community Service

This year’s Awards for Excellence in Community Services on Thursday, November 9, at the Fairmont was a true gathering of greats in all fields. From the pre-luncheon reception for the recipients to the presentation of the awards, the Dallas Historical Society fundraiser showcased those who have contributed to the betterment of the area.

Lindalyn Adams, Mary McDermott Cook and David Brown

At one point in the program, former Dallas Police Chief David Brown proved just why he had been selected for the Jubilee History Maker.

While the post is being prepared, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

A Gentle Reminder: Over The Years Thanksgiving Day’s Has Been The Occasion To Show Gratitude And “Heal The Wounds Of The Nation”

According to tradition, Thanksgiving was a coming together of two people of different backgrounds, cultures and beliefs in 1621. So the story goes that on this occasion, the Plymouth colonists only survived their first year in the new world thanks to the Native Americans teaching them how to grow food and weather the harsh conditions. To celebrate and show their gratitude, the Pilgrims feasted with the Wampanoag tribe on the autumn harvest for three days.

Over the years similar occasions would be held in the young country as it grew in territory and population. It wasn’t until 1827 that the author of “Mary Had a Little Lamb” Sarah Joseph Hale undertook a 36-year campaign to have Thanksgiving declared a national holiday.

Finally in 1863 when the country was suffering through the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln officially designated the final Thursday in November to be Thanksgiving Day. His hope was to “commend to his (God’s) tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners and sufferers in the lamentable civil strife” and to “heal the wounds of the nation.”

However, that date changed during the Depression when President Franklin Roosevelt moved the holiday up a week to encourage additional shopping.

Dinner table (File photo)

Today, Thanksgiving has turned into a day of feasting, parades and football with families and friends. But its roots still hold true — to show gratitude regardless of differences and “heal the wounds of the nation.”

Dallas Historical Society’s Awards Of Excellence Honorees And Patrons Were Celebrated At Mary McDermott Cook’s Dump Top

Despite construction turning the circular driveway of Mary McDermott Cook’s Dump Top home into a semi-circle on Tuesday, October 24, the valets whisked the Dallas Historical Society’s 36th Annual Awards for Excellence Luncheon patrons to the McDermott entrance lined with pumpkins.

Hobson Wildenthal, Mary McDermott Cook and Marnie and Kern Wildenthal

Among the first to arrive were Marnie and Kern Wildenthal, who were making an appearance for Wildenthal brother/2017 DHS honoree Hobson Wildenthal. Marnie and Kern were having to do the North Texas double-duty shuffled as they had to head across town for The Scripps Society dinner at Harlan Crow Library.

Amy Aldredge and Carolyn Brown

Still others on hand for the festivities with downtown Dallas serving as a backdrop were Mary’s mom Margaret McDermott, Luncheon Co-Chairs Carol Montgomery and Kaysie Montgomery, Honorary Co-Chairs Joanne and Tony Roosevelt, DHS Executive Director Amy Aldredge, Michelle and Stewart Thomas, Louise and Josef Caldwell, Caro Stalcup, Sharon Callewart, Mary Suhm, Veletta Forsythe Lill, Joan and Alan Walne, Agustin Arteaga and Carlos Gonzalez-Jaime, Judy and Jim Gibbs, Pat Mattingly, Jorge Baldor, Jennifer and Ray Tollett,  Cheryl and Steve Coke and honorees Dr. Steve Ponders, Carolyn Brown, Jorge Baldor, Ann Barbier-Mueller, David Brown, Peggy Carr and Tony Dorsett and his wife Janet Dorsett.

After welcome by DHS Board of Trustees Chair Bill Helmbrecht and recognized of the many sponsors and the Roosevelts, Carol and Kaysie recognized each of the awardees.

And before the guests got back to partying, Veletta couldn’t help but encourage everyone to vote in the upcoming bond election which includes dollars earmarked for Hall of State (aka home of the DHS).

While MIA for the party, honorees Gabriel Barbier-Mueller, Willis Cecil Winters and Nicole Small will be on hand at the Fairmont on Thursday, November 9, when the awards are handed out.

Columbus Day Is The Holiday That Isn’t A Holiday

Monday is Columbus Day and it’s a tricky one. While banks, the U.S. Postal Service and Federal offices do consider it to be a holiday, the state of Texas doesn’t.

Bad news for the kiddos. Most schools will be in session.

So why not take a long lunch and be grateful that you weren’t on the Niña, the Pinta or the Santa Maria because accommodations weren’t exactly top drawer and they weren’t quite sure where they were headed.

BTW, Monday is also Thanksgiving Day in Canada. If you know a Canadian, wish ’em a happy Thanksgiving.

Minnie Marcus Butterfly Garden Takes Root At Neiman Marcus’ Original Site, Today’s One Main Place In Downtown Dallas

Neiman Marcus President/CEO Karen Katz had a lot of things on her mind just before 9 a.m. on Friday, July 14. As she crossed North Field Street to One Main Place with NM Corporate Communications and Events VP Mimi Sterling, she was checking her cellphone. Yup, there were meetings and folks whom she had on her schedule.

Roger Sanderson, Karen Katz and Dick Davis

Still, this appointment was important to Karen. It was the literal “groundbreaking” of the Minnie Marcus Butterfly Garden by Texas Discovery Garden, Neiman Marcus, Stream Realty, KFK Group and the Westin Hotel to “revamp” the planters outside of One Main Place.

Minnie Marcus Butterfly Garden volunteers

And why was this spot selected? According to NM VP of Internal Communications Jennifer Lassiter, this was the location of the first NM opened by Herbert Marcus, his sister Carrie Neiman and her husband Al Neiman.

Texas Historical Commission marker

It was a big undertaking for the trio. They had opted to open a specialty store instead of investing their savings and efforts in a soft drink called Coca-Cola.

But the brother and sister did just that and eventually shed Al. Herbert’s son Stanley Marcus admitted that it was Carrie’s taste that served as the foundation for the NM success. But they had just felt the first signs of success on their venture when a fire destroyed their original store, forcing them to move to another part of downtown Dallas.

In the meantime, Herbert’s wife, “Miss Minnie” Marcus, was raising four sons (Stanley Marcus, Herbert Marcus Jr., Edward Marcus and Lawrence Marcus) and nightly preparing dinners that could accommodate her husband’s bringing last-minute business associates home. Over the years, Miss Minnie would be known for her love of gardening. In fact, she was “made an honorary lifetime president” of what would become the Texas Discovery Gardens and in 1959 received the Dallas Nurseryman’s Award. At one point under her tutelage as NM Vice President of Horticulture, “there were 1,800 plants in 60 locations in the first two Neiman Marcus stores in Dallas.”

Jennifer Lassiter

Kevin Hurst

NM Director of Charitable Giving Kevin Hurst and Jennifer put their heads together and came up with the idea of kicking off NM’s 110th anniversary at the original site with the Texas Discovery Garden “by restoring the planter boxes at One Main Place” to honor the matriarch of Neiman Marcus.

The planting of Minnie Marcus Butterfly Garden

Texas Discovery Garden Director of Horticulture Roger Sanderson selected the plants based on their ability to “grow well in the climate as well as attract Monarch butterflies,” which have become “a symbol and icon of the Neiman Marcus brand over the past century.” Think Mariposa Restaurant and the shape of the Minnie Garden at Texas Discovery Garden.

TACA Custom Auction Item #1 — Around The World With Rosewood

Back in 1966 when the late Jane Murchison (Haber), Evelyn Lambert, Virginia Nick and Betty Black Guiberson were trying to raise money for the Dallas Theater Center, they planted the seeds for TACA. To accomplish the fundraising, they held an auction — “it consisted, essentially, of four booths selling exotic food, one at each corner of the brand-new NorthPark center, and a write-in auction in front of Jas. K. Wilson.” By 1968 they had decided to try an auction on television, so they approached Channel 39. It turned out to be a combination of a mega-telethon and “Saturday Night Live” with local unknowns and well-knowns serving as hosts.

Legend has it that originally TACA stood for “TheAter Custom Auction” or “The Auction for Cultural Arts,” but the final representation is “The Arts Community Alliance.”

Over the years, TACA changed directions and expanding its beneficiaries and activities to include the Silver Cup Luncheon, Party on the Green and the TACA Custom Auction that eventually replaced the TV auction. It made sense. Afterall, the garnering of countless items, volunteers and sponsors for the TV auction required a heck of a lot of effort compared to the Custom Auction. This year the collection of TACA Custom Auction Gala items at the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek will be limited to just six. Here is the first of the six that will be up for bid on Friday, September 8:

TACA Custom Auction Gala Package #1 – Around The World With Rosewood*

Phileas Fogg and Passepartout would have had absolutely killed for this worldly excursion. Instead of schlepping around the world in 80 days, the winner of this live auction package will experience international luxury ala Rosewood style with a guest. Within 15 days, the twosome will fly American Airlines to the following five Rosewood properties for three-night stays:

Rosewood Phuket**

Rosewood Puebla**

Rosewood Washington**

Rosewood Little Dix Bay**

Rosewood London**

The only downside is that it’s going to spoil the twosome for future trips.

* Courtesy of Rosewood Hotels and American Airlines 
** Photo provided by TACA

MySweetCharity Opportunity: 2017 Awards For Excellence Luncheon

According to Dallas Historical Society Awards for Excellence Advisor/Coordinator Louise Caldwell,

Josef and Louise Caldwell*

The Trustees of the Dallas Historical Society are honored to celebrate the recipients of the 2017 Awards for Excellence (AFE), which is bestowed on individuals who have demonstrated generosity of spirit, civic leadership, and ability to encourage community-wide participation in a particular phase of the growth of the city.

Award recipients will be recognized at the 36th AFE luncheon which will be held on Thursday, November 9, from 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. at The Fairmont Dallas.  

Former award recipients JoAnne and Tony Roosevelt will serve as 2017 honorary co-chairs with Carol Montgomery and Kaysie Montgomery serving as the 2017 event co-chairs. Stewart Thomas will return as this year’s master of ceremonies. 

Tickets for the 36th annual Awards for Excellence Luncheon begin at $125, with table sales/underwriting levels beginning at $1,000 and award sponsorships beginning at $2,500. For more information or to purchase a ticket or sponsorship, visit http://www.dallashistory.org/support/awards-for-excellence/ or contact Nora Lenhart, 214.421.4500 ext. 106 or [email protected]

The Dallas Historical Society is a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of Dallas and Texas history. Offering free education programming, lectures, historic city tours, museum exhibitions, and other special events, this organization strives to be the preeminent resource for exploring, and instilling appreciation for the diverse history of Dallas and Texas. We endeavor to encourage historical inquiry and maintain the importance and relevance of history today. Our collection of archival material- including historic photographs, diaries, journals, papers, periodicals, maps, and books- is available to researchers. Formed in 1922, the Dallas Historical Society is the oldest organization in Dallas County committed to preserving the history of the region, and presenting it to the public in innovative and informative ways.  For more information, visit dallashistory.org.

* Photo provided by Dallas Historical Society

JUST IN: 2017 Awards Of Excellence Luncheon Honorees Announced

Office Depot is the currently frontline of activity as schools are kicking back into gear. Just as soon as school supplies empty the shelves, retailers will start displaying Halloween paraphernalia. Yes, fall is on its way and along with it, one of the season’s favorite celebration — Awards For Excellence Luncheon.

Louise Caldwell (File photo)

Event Co-Chairs Carol Montgomery and Kaysie Montgomery with the help of advisor/coordinator, history-loving Louise Caldwell and Honorary Co-Chairs Joanne and Tony Roosevelt, have just announced this year’s lineup of honorees for the Dallas Historical Society fundraiser on Thursday, November 9, at The Fairmont Dallas.

The 2017 recipients include:

  • Arts Leadership – Ann and Gabriel Barbier-Mueller (This award is given to that individual(s) who has enriched the cultural life of Dallas as planner, organizer, fundraiser, collector or art historian.) 
  • Creative Arts – Carolyn Brown (This award is given to that individual whose prominence as a practitioner of the fine arts as artisan, architect, writer, composer, producer or performer has enriched the cultural environment of Dallas.)
  • Education – Hobson Wildenthal, Ph.D. (This award is given to that individual who has made an exceptional contribution to the field of education as a teacher, administrator or benefactor.)

Hobson Wildenthal (File photo)

Nicole Ginsburg Small (File photo)

  • History – Willis Cecil Winters (This award is given to that individual who has researched and chronicled aspects of the history of Dallas and Texas as a historian, journalist, researcher, folklorist or author.)
  • Humanities – Nicole Ginsburg Small (This award is given to that individual whose active sense of civic duty has provided leadership in achieving specific community goals.)
  • Health/Science – Steven M. Pounders, MD (This award is given to that individual who has made an outstanding contribution through prominence or public service in medicine, scientific research, the behavioral sciences or public health.)
  • Philanthropy – Jorge Baldor (This award is given to that individual whose vision and personal generosity has greatly benefited this city.)
  • Sports Leadership – Tony Dorsett (This award is given to that individual who has brought distinction or achievement to team or individual sports as an athlete, coach, journalist, promoter or sports advocate.)

David Brown (File photo)

Tony Dorsett (File photo)

  • Volunteer Community Leadership – Peggy Carr (This award is given to that individual whose generous gift of self has enriched the community.)
  • Jubilee History Maker – David O. Brown, Former Dallas Police Chief (Created in 1991 and given in recognition of “Jubilee Dallas!,” this award recognizes an individual whose achievements extend to more than one of the award categories.)

Starting at $125, tickets for the 36th Annual Awards for Excellence Luncheon are $125, while table sales/underwriting levels begin at $1000. Check with Nora Lenhart, 214.421.4500 ext. 106.

And don’t scoot out of the luncheon early, or you’ll miss the annual A.C. Greene toast.

MySweetCharity Opportunity: Hope For Humanity Dinner

Sarah Losinger (File photo)

According to Hope for Humanity Dinner Co-Chair Sarah Losinger,

Each year, the Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education and Tolerance honors local Dallas/Fort Worth Holocaust survivors and pays tribute to an Upstander whose actions personify the Museum’s mission to teach the history of the Holocaust and to advance human rights to combat prejudice, hatred, and indifference. Net proceeds from this inspirational evening directly support the important work the Museum does throughout the year.

Both at home and across the world, our community has witnessed many acts of violence where hatred and prejudice prevailed. The Museum’s commitment to fighting hatred has never been more important than it is today.

Lauren Embrey (File photo)

Education is at the heart of the Museum’s mission. In 2016, the Museum shared the lessons of the Holocaust and other genocides along with the costs of hatred and fear of the differences between us with more than 83,500 visitors, almost half of whom were students. The Museum inspires students to become “Upstanders.” Upstanders speak out and stand up against acts of prejudice, hatred, and indifference.

On Tuesday, October 24, at the Fairmont Dallas, the Museum will honor Lauren Embry for her tireless and inspirational work in human rights. As one of the nation’s most influential philanthropists and advocates for gender and racial equity, Lauren reveals her heart by generously sharing her time, talent, and spirit with the city she has called home her entire life, Dallas. Lauren believes that every day provides a new opportunity to be the meaningful change we desire to see in the world.

2017 Hope For Humanity*

The dinner’s honorary co-chairs include Rebecca Bruder, Kelly Hoglund Compton, Rebecca Fletcher, Carol and Don Glendenning, Dr. Rick Halperin, Helen LaKelly Hunt and Harville Hendrix, Lynn and Allan McBee, Karol Omlor, Frank Risch, Barbara Glazer Rosenblatt and Joanne and Charles Teichman.

Please join my Co-Chair Trea C. Yip and me for a memorable and inspiring evening of hope.

* Graphic provided by Hope 
For Humanity Dinner


Preservation Dallas Gives Out Its Preservation Achievement Awards At The Statler

Robert Decherd was wiping the perspiration off his forehead with a hankie, and who could blame him? It was, after all, very warm and crowded inside The Statler, where more than 300 people had gathered for the 18th Annual Preservation Achievement Awards. The Tuesday, May 30th event capped off Preservation Dallas‘ month-long celebration of National Preservation Month, which aims to promote cities’ histories as a key part of their prospects for future growth.

Veronica Gonzalez, Amanda and Jim Lake Jr., Barbara Lake and Craig Melde*

During a reception before the awards dinner, guests including Joan and Alan Walne, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, Award Honorary Chair Ken Downing, Veletta Forsythe Lill, Deborah Brown, John Crawford, Joel Williams, Amanda and Jim Lake Jr., Barbara Lake, John Allender, Katy Slade, Robyn Jacobson, Craige Melde, Nick Emery, Carolyn Perna, Veronica Gonzalez, Veletta Forsythe Lill, Brad Nischke, Buddy Apple, Shane Deville, Rachel Roberts, Tancy Rampy, Danelle Baldwin Smith, Stephen Smith and Ivy Sweeney chatted in a big open area of The Statler, the historic, not-yet-open Dallas hotel that’s being renovated into apartments, hotel rooms, and retail space by the Centurion American Group. (Brown, by the way, said she was wearing a dress with a vintage Statler-Hilton label. She’d bought the “Town & Travelwear” frock a few years ago at The Chic Cherie vintage fashion shop.)

Ken Downing*

The star attraction at the reception, though, was a live “celebrity llama” from the ShangriLlama Adventure Farm in Parker. The presence of the 4-year-old selfie magnet named Bahama Llama was a nod to the Statler’s early years, when a llama called Llinda Llee Llama was a fixture there. After the reception the guests were ushered into a long, narrow—and, again, very warm—room for the dinner and program. There, the tables had been arranged with little space between them, flies buzzed about the food that was served up family-style and, for anyone unfortunate to be seated in the “back,” it was hard to see or hear the program’s speakers.

Shane Deville, Rachel Roberts, Mehrdad Moayedi and Mike Rawlings*

Rawlings kicked things off, saying that it’s “remarkable that Dallas is getting the national attention it is getting across the country” for the revitalization of its downtown. Downing, who was honorary chair of the awards committee, admitted that he’d been “brought kicking and screaming to Dallas from Los Angeles 20 years ago.” Of The Statler, he recalled, people said, “‘What an eyesore! What a behemoth!’ Well, if this is what a behemoth looks like, bring me more behemoths, because they need to be saved!”

Downing gave way to Stephanie Meeks, president and CEO of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, who delivered the evening’s keynote. Meeks talked about the value of older buildings and older neighborhoods in reviving cities, pointing to the thriving LoDo district in Denver (in her native Colorado) as a good example. She also noted that Dallas currently leads all of Texas in taking advantage of historic tax credits for building redevelopment.

Stephanie Meeks*

Then it was time for the awards, which honored 16 of the most significant preservation contributors and projects of the previous year. The winning projects were: Cupaioli House, Gables Residential State-Thomas Brownstones, Geotronics Building, Hamilton Park Pavilion, Highland Park Town Hall, Jefferson Tower, Lee Park WPA Roque Courts, Mayflower Building, Sidell House, Typo Campus-600 North Tyler Street, and Wheatland United Methodist Church.

John Allender, Katy Slade, Robyn Jacobson, Craige Melde, Nick Emery and Carolyn Perna*

Receiving special recognition awards were: Downtown Dallas Inc., AIA Dallas, Dallas County Medical Society Alliance, Conley Group, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. When at last the final trophy had been handed out—and the last thank-you had been thanked—one woman seated in the back of the airless room laughed, “I’m afraid when I stand up, my dress will be stuck to me!”  

* Photo credit: Kim Leeson

MySweetCharity Summer Pitch: Perot Museum Of Nature And Science

According to Perot Museum of Nature and Science Senior Communications/PR Manager Krista Villarreal Moore,

There’s a lot of big boredom busters in store this summer at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science! From the largest and most comprehensive Maya exhibition to tour the U.S., to the inspiring Dream Big 3D film, the Perot Museum has cool and fresh adventures plus discounts, extended hours, Discovery Camps, adults-only Social Science, sleepovers and more.

To provide greater access for active duty members and veterans of the United States military, law enforcement officers, firefighters and paramedics/EMTs, they can enjoy free general admission and discounted admission for family members through Labor Day.

Here are a few of the big happenings:

Stelae*

  • Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed” (through Monday, Sept. 4) — History, mystery and culture collide in the largest traveling exhibition about the Maya ever to tour the U.S. Presented by Highland Capital Management, the exhibition brings together nearly 250 authentic artifacts and immersive environments to explore the astonishing accomplishments of one of the most powerful indigenous Mesoamerican civilizations, that still has millions of living descendants today. Through hands-on activity stations, guests of all ages can decipher hieroglyphs, learn cultural and architectural techniques, and explore an underworld cave, ancient burial site, mural room and more. The bilingual exhibition, presented in English and Spanish, requires a surcharge for members and non-members. Members always enjoy free general admission and get up to half-off on tickets to “Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed. To expand accessibility for families, the Perot Museum’s Community Partners Ticket Offer   provides $1 general admission and $1 admission to “Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed” for individuals and families enrolled in qualified state and federally supported assistance programs. The offer is valid for up to seven immediate family members through Labor Day (Monday, Sept. 4).
  • Programs — There’s always something new to do at the Perot Museum! From a new Architecture Tour, and adults-only Social Science events, to family-fun Discovery Days on the second Saturday of the month, Discovery Camps, sleepovers and more, the Museum has non-stop summer fun sure to create smiles and brighten brains.
  • Big Summer Discounts — This summer, the Perot Museum is pleased to offer complimentary general admission for active duty members and veterans of the United States military, law enforcement officers, firefighters and paramedics/EMTs and $3 off general admission for members of their immediate families (up to six family members) through Labor Day (Sept. 4, 2017).
  • 3D Films — Donning 3D glasses, guests can sit back and experience colossally cool films featuring young inspiring engineers, dinosaurs and today’s enchanted animal kingdom in The Hoglund Foundation Theater, a National Geographic Experience. The line-up includes
    • “Dream Big 3D,” an inspiring feel-good film narrated by Jeff Bridges that celebrates the human ingenuity and heart behind engineering marvels big and small;
    • “Walking With Dinosaurs 3D,” narrated by Benedict Cumberbatch, which lets audiences see and feel what it was like when dinosaurs ruled the Earth; and
    • “Wild Africa 3D,” which takes viewers on a ride across, over and through the magical realms of Earth’s most dramatic continent. To view trailers and film schedules, go to org. Films are presented locally by Primrose Schools.

And the Perot Museum offers free general admission year-round to educators in Texas and its bordering states. Find details about all admission discounts at perotmuseum.org/discounts.

Through Monday, Sept. 4, the Perot Museum is open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Saturday with new expanded Sunday hours from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Members enjoy exclusive access to the Perot Museum and “Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed” from 9-10 a.m. every Saturday and 10-11 a.m. every Sunday. The Museum will be closed for routine annual maintenance Sept. 5-7. Regular hours from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. will resume Friday, Sept. 8.

The Perot Museum is located at 2201 N. Field Street in Dallas, Texas. Museum general admission is $20 for adults (18-64), $13 for youth (2-17), $14 for seniors (65+) and free for children under 2. “Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed” requires a surcharge for a total admission cost of $30 for adults (18-64), $21 for youth (2-17), $22 for seniors (65+), and free for children under 2. Admission to the theater is $6 for a short film (20 minutes) and $8 for a long film (40 minutes). Films and general admission for children under 2 are free. While reservations are not required, if guests purchase tickets online at perotmuseum.org they can enjoy a $2 discount on general admission per person (for a limited time). Plus, by purchasing online, guests can bypass ticket lines.

For more information, please visit perotmuseum.org or call 214.428.5555.

* Photo courtesy of the Science Museum of Minnesota

Double Centennial Celebration Of DCMSAF And Aldredge House Included Memories Of A Disrobing Sue Ellen And “The Country Club Girls”

Susan McSherry was on the verge of moving from a home that her family had carefully restored. She was amazed that despite the meticulous restoration, potential buyers were wondering where the playroom and/or media room was.

Joel and Susan Williams

Caroline Rose Hunt and Dedie Leahy

Max Wells

Anne Hobson

Nancy Carter

Stuart Bumpas

How ironic on a day when 340 guests like  Susan Williams and husband Highland Park Mayor Joel Williams, former Dallas City Manager Mary Suhm, Veletta Lill, Marj Waters, Robin Robinson, Caroline Rose Hunt, Max Wells, Anne Hobson, Nancy Carter, Debbie Francis, Sara Martineau, Carlton Adams, Margo Goodwin, Marilyn Augur, Aileen Pratt, Jill Smith, Ann Dyer, Barbara Sypult, Stuart Bumpas, Christie Carter, Angie Kadesky, Dedie Leahy and noted local historian Virginia McAlester were celebrating a double centennial of the Dallas County Medical Society Alliance Foundation (DCMSAF) and the historic Aldredge House at the Dallas Country Club.

Mary McDermott Cook, Debbie Francis and Barbara Sypult

To add to the occasion, Co-Chairs Sharon and Mike McCullough arranged to have 105-year-old Margaret McDermott and Ruth Collins Sharp Altshuler on hand as honorary co-chairs.

Barenda Hino

Pierce Allman and Marj Waters

With history-loving Pierce Allman serving as emcee introduced 100th DCMSAF President Barenda Hino.

Highlights of the luncheon included Lunch Co-Chair Lindalyn Adams without notes telling the 100-year founding of DCMSAF with DCMSAF historian Elizabeth Gunby looking on. Lindalyn had both honorary co-chairs speak.

Having grown up on Swiss Avenue, Ruth told of her childhood growing up with her two big brothers, Jim Collins and Carr Collins. It was Carr, who raced up stairs telling mother Collins, “Mother, come get Ruthie. She’s showing off again.”

Ruth Collins Sharp Altshuler

Margaret Milam McDermott

Next to speak was “the heroine of cultural arts” —Margaret Milam McDermott. Staying in her wheelchair, she thanked the crowd and had her daughter Mary McDermott Cook speak for her.  Mary turned the mic over to Joel, who said he had a special honor being seated between the two honorary co-chairs. He then said that if the group wanted to raise some money, he would be willing to auction off his seat. Joel then told how Margaret moved into the city of Highland Park in 1919 and has lived in the town longer “than anyone else that we know.” He went on to recall that each year Margaret has been invited to light the Highland Park Christmas tree on Armstrong, which is the oldest Christmas tradition in Dallas County. For the past five years, “Margaret has shown up and lighted that 152-year-old tree.”

After lunch Lindalyn and Pierce were joined on stage by American historian/author Dr. William Seale, who is a rock star in the world of historic renovation and preservation. When asked if the younger generation was appreciating and supporting past works, he said, “Most definitely. In fact, there are magazines devoted to it. The mistake that sometimes made is to try to convert a house into what you already understand is how the house should be rather than knowing it and basing your renovations on the building, letting the building be itself. That is one of the big things in architectural design and remodeling houses today is to understand the past of the house and honor that.”

Lindalyn Adams

Lindalyn recalled when a TV crew that had worked with “The Waltons” program negotiated to film a new show at Aldredge House. The only caveat was that they ‘wouldn’t say anything derogatory about our city.” They agreed saying it was a family show. The pilot aired with Sue Ellen Ewing forced to disrobe in Mrs. Aldredge’s parlor. The phone lines lit up. The show turned out to be “Dallas.” 

When Aldredge family member Betty Aldredge Slater was later in Europe, word got out that it was her family’s parlor that Sue Ellen shed her clothes, the BBC interviewed her. Betty’s doctor also noted that he “particularly liked your stables.”

William told how visitors to historic homes want “authenticity. They’re very honest. If you’re honest to them, they’re honest to you. You don’t have to recreate the battle on the front yard. You just have to be accurate. In this world the historic building or house is a very worthwhile thing. In a world that we live in that doesn’t have a lot of accuracy. Most of what we look at or see on television is inaccurate. If you know anything about it, you know it’s inaccurate. It( the historic building) is the real thing. That’s what people appreciated in these places.”

William Seale

When asked if The Aldredge House belonged on a national register of historical places in addition to its being recently receiving  a Texas Historical Marker, William said, “Absolutely. Absolutely.” 

Admitting that it would never be a mass tourist attraction due to logistics and the Alliance not want it to be, William went on to say that for people who seek it out, it will always provide for them what they’re after. 

Going a bit off subject, he told how President Woodrow Wilson “hadn’t liked women, but he was controlled by women. As the war approached, suffrage, you know had organized the ladies everywhere. They demanded that a women’s commission for the government on the war and finally Wilson grudgingly did it. They laughed about it and called them ‘country club girls’ in Washington and they were kind of poo-pooed and made fun of. It is true that the first thing they did was to sponsor a law that removed brothels and saloons from being near the Army camps. There is an old story in New Orleans about Lulu White, the famous madame in Storeyville, being in a bread line. When asked why she was there, she said, ‘The country club girls have put us out of business.'”

Alas, just as the celebration was scheduled to conclude with a champagne toast, it had to be done with ice tea. Seems behind the scenes the bottles of bubbly hadn’t been uncorked in time.

For more pictures from the event, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

MySweetCharity Summer Pitch: Dallas Heritage Village

Melissa Prycer*

According to Dallas Heritage Village President and Executive Director Melissa Prycer,

If you have never visited Dallas Heritage Village, Old Fashioned Fourth is a perfect occasion to pack a picnic lunch and bring the family! In fact, for many North Texas families, this annual event has become a tradition. Not only can you enjoy all of the fun fourth activities, the Village’s historic buildings will be open for touring, and costumed interpreters will be on hand to visit about what life in North Texas from 1840 to 1910.  Dallas Heritage Village, one of only five nationally accredited museums in the Dallas area, showcases a Victorian Main Street, a railroad complex, a log cabin, a pre-Civil war home, an 1860’s farmstead with livestock, a 19th century church, schoolhouse and more. 

Dallas Heritage Village*

On this special holiday, families decked out in red, white, and blue, begin coming into the gates around 10 a.m. with picnic baskets, bikes, and little red wagons to spend the day making memories together. The event runs until 3 p.m. with the highlight being the patriotic parade at noon.

Dallas Heritage Village*

In this parade the kids are the stars! However, don’t tell our Mammoth Jack Donkeys that – each year they lead the parade and like to think it’s all about them. For many years Nip and Tuck have led the parade, but they have now relinquished that duty to the young newcomers – brothers Willie and Waylon. Nip and Tuck are OK with that, but they hope you will stop by and take your patriotic pictures with them so they won’t feel left out!  And don’t forget to say hi to the sheep. They tend to get their feelings hurt with all the fuss over those donkeys.

Dallas Heritage Village*

Before marching in the parade, come by the craft station and decorate your bikes, wagons, and even yourself with patriotic items we will provide at no cost. Our Dallas Junior Historians will be hosting the annual carnival again this year, and we encourage you to bring a little extra change to participate – 25 cents for each game or 5 games for a dollar. Games include our famous stick pony race for ages 3-11, “go fishing” for prizes, and bean bag toss. And it wouldn’t be Old Fashioned Fourth without checkers games (stations will be set up to play), horseshoes and graces, as well as a July 4th craft – painting fireworks with cardboard tubes and making Uncle Sam with Popsicle sticks! This year’s guests will also be able to get sneak peek at our exciting new early childhood learning space, which will have a grand opening in September.

Dallas Heritage Village*

Dallas Heritage Village is located in the heart of the booming Cedars area at 1515 S. Harwood, Dallas, 75215, near urban living and restaurants and the popular Dallas Farmer’s Market complex. Admission for Old Fashioned Fourth is $5 for ages 13 and older. Those 12 and under are free. Tickets can be purchased at the gate.  Visit dallasheritagevillage.org or call 214.421.5141 for more information! We look forward to seeing you soon!

* Photo provided by Dallas Heritage Village

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: A Double Centennial Celebration

More than 300 folks gathered at the Dallas Country Club to celebrate a double centennial and that doesn’t happen every day. But on Tuesday, May 16, the celebrants were the Dallas County Medical Society Alliance Foundation and the historic Aldredge House, both dated back to starts in 1917.

Margaret Milam McDermott

Ruth Collins Sharp Altshuler

On hand were Honorary Co-Chairs 105-year-old Margaret Milam McDermott and young whippersnapper Ruth Collins Sharp Altshuler, who grew up down the block from Aldredge House.

Lindalyn Adams

William Seale

But don’t go thinking this was a dusty old celebration. Thanks to history preservationist Lindalyn Adams and noted historian/author William Seale, the crowd learned historic tidbits, from the filming of the “Dallas” pilots to how “the country club girls” put Lulu White on the breadline.

While the post is being prepared including Sue Ellen and Lulu, photos are available at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery for your perusal.

With A Vintage Cadillac Out Front, Cosmopolitans On Trays And The Clutch Poolside, Genesis Luncheon Sponsors Got In The Swing Of Things

Eddie Ortega and Greg Nieberding with Dixie Belle

It was a night of whiskey sours and cosmopolitans. There was even a vintage turquoise blue Cadillac displaying in the circular driveway. The night was Wednesday, May 3 (aka the Genesis Women’s Shelter Luncheon sponsor party).

Nikki and Crayton Webb

The location was Greg Nieberding’s and Eddie Ortega’s and their Schnauzer daughter Dixie Belle’s home. Actually, the 60-year-old mid-century residence’s rich history was the source of the Mad Men’s evening theme. During the years when singer Margaret and fashion designer Ed Cupaioli owned the home that they built, it was a gathering place for the likes of Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra, Doris Day and countless others. Over the years, the Cupaiolis had lovingly taken care of the home. Upon Margaret’s death at the age of 96, the family decided to sell it. Luckily, Greg and Eddie bought it. But if asked, Greg and Eddie insist, “We’re really just caretakers.” Yes, they’ve updated things like the windows and the roof, but they have maintained the feel and design by architect Jack Wood.

To complement the occasion, Genesis Luncheon Co-Chair Nikki Webb surprised all, except husband/Luncheon Co-Chair Crayton Webb, with her finding and wearing a suit created by Ed.

The Clutch

Despite breezes provided by Mother Nature causing the lineup of towering trees to sway like back-up singers, the presentation took place with The Clutch quartet crooning in front of the swimming pool.

Jan Langbein and Gail Davis

Abi Perpall and Bianca Jackson

Rachel Michell

Bob White

Nancy Best

That smart move got the guests including Raffle Chair Rachel Michell and husband John Michell, Luncheon Underwriting Co-Chairs Abi and Fred Perpall, Bob White, Gail Davis, Genesis Board of Trustees Chair Nancy Best and Jessica and Drew Spaniol out on the patio for presentations by Genesis CEO Jan Langbein, Nikki and Crayton, Greg and Genesis Senior Director of Fund and Community Development Bianca Jackson about the upcoming luncheon featuring Arianna Huffington at the Hilton Anatole on Monday, May 15.

Memorial Day Is A Day To Remember Those Lost To War

Originally called Decoration Day, Memorial Day was established following the Civil War. It first took place on May 30, 1868. According to General John Logan, its purpose was to see cemeteries “strewn with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land.”

By 1890 it was a holiday recognized largely in the north and it stayed that way until World War I, when it was adjusted to honor all Americans who died fighting in any war.

Flags

In 2000, the “National Moment of Remembrance” resolution was passed for all American’s “to voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a moment of remembrance and respect, pausing from whatever they are doing for a moment of silence or listening to ‘Taps’” at 3 p.m. local time.

So, while you’re enjoying a day off, take a moment at 3 and realize the cost of the freedom provided by those lost to war.

Dallas Society Doyene Agness Robertson Celebrated Her First Century This Past Weekend

Sandi Haddock, Agness Robertson and Ron Haddock

What a memorable Mother’s Day Weekend this was, especially for one mom! In addition to being one of the countless mothers being honored on Sunday, longtime local society arbiter Agness Robertson celebrated her 100th birthday. Thanks to son Ross Robertson, a private reception with champagne and cake was held at The Reserve on Saturday afternoon with quite an impressive turnout. Why, even Jack Boles’ A-team Gary Ferraro and Kathy Weidman-Stout were welcoming the guests at the porte-cochere.

Agness Robertson’s birthday sock

For newcomers to the annals of Dallas society, Agness and her late husband/retired Braniff exec Tom Robertson were the mainstay of the society reporting for eons having worked at Park Cities publications. While Agness would take copious notes, Tom would photograph the boldface types, saying, “Teeth, teeth!” to the more serious types at events.

Wearing a banner reading “I’m 100 today” and happy birthday socks, Agness was seated on a tall chair welcoming folks like Lynn Dealey, Malcolm Reuben, Sandi and Ron Haddock, Ruth Altshuler, Caroline Rose Hunt, Sally Blanton, Yvonne Crum, Martha Tiller and Jo Ann Holt, just to name a few.

BTW, belated “Happy Birthday” cards can be sent to Agness at The Reserve, 12271 Coit Road, Dallas 75251.

A Passing: E.G. Hamilton

EG Hamilton (File photo)

It was just a year and a half ago that a little gentleman with thinning white hair was front and center for Neiman’s celebration of NorthPark’s 50th anniversary extravaganza at NorthPark Neiman’s. Sure, there were those in cutting-edge fashions and others whom photographers clamored to shoot, but still this elderly guest with a smart look in his eye and a smile that would have swooned the most adorable cheerleader stood out especially to those in the know.

His name was E.G. Hamilton and he was 95 years young. He was also the brainiac who designed NorthPark Center.

As Dallas Morning News architect critic Mark Lamster pointed out, when E.G. ran into a question regarding the turning of a cow pasture into a world-famous fashion plate, he would turn to the late Nasher matriarch Patsy Nasher.

It was also E.G. who deemed that the retailing oasis should be called NorthPark Center, instead of the day’s trendy “shopping mall.”

But his creative brilliance was not limited to mega-commercial structures. Back in the 1960s, he designed a breathtaking contemporary residence in Highland Park known as The Hexter House  that ironically has just been slated for demolition by its new owners.

This man, who knew Dallas greats and turned their dreams into reality, died Monday at the age of 97.

Why does one think that Patsy and Ray Nasher, Stanley Marcus and Erik Jonsson are welcoming him to redesign the heavenly compound?

The Sun Shone On The Dedication Of The Texas Historical Marker For The Dallas County Medical Society Alliance Foundation

Lindalyn Adams and Pierce Allman

The skies were clear thanks to an overnight cold front, but the flags on The Aldredge House’s terrace on Wednesday, April 5, were literally blowing in the wind. Wearing sunglasses to fend off the afternoon sun, adults and kids gathered at The Aldredge House for a double celebration. In addition to the dedication of the Dallas County Medical Society Alliance Foundation’s Texas Historical Marker, it was also to celebrate The Alliance’s and The House’s 100th anniversary.

As a hundred guests arrived along Swiss Avenue, valet parkers waved guests off from parking on the curb. They were vigilante about avoiding past parking problems for nearby neighbors.

Lisa Loeb

With chairs set up on the terrace of the House and on the front law, guests like Calvert Collins, Pierce Allman, Lindalyn “Born on the 4th of July” Adams and Bobbie Sue and Phil Williams took their places. It was Lindalyn who had arranged for the Aldredge family to turn the House over to the Alliance Foundation

Serving as emcee, Lisa Loeb looked hardly old enough to drive a car, let alone have three kids and a singing career. With her folks, former Dallas County Medical Society Alliance and Foundation President Gail and Dr. Peter Loeb looking on, Lisa handled her duties perfectly, including the flutter of her skirt when the breezes picked up.

Elizabeth Gunby and Barenda Hino

With Summerlee Foundation CEO/Texas Historical Commission Vice Chair John Crain and Aldredge House Preservation Fund and Historical Records Chair Elizabeth Gunby keeping their remarks short about the history of the Alliance and its being recognized, the crowd moved down to the front of the lawn for Dallas Country Medical Society Alliance Foundation President Barenda Hino and Elizabeth to unveil the plaque. No sooner had they pulled back the draping than it became the centerpiece for everyone to have a selfie.

Sunshine Returns To The Area With Southern Charmer James Farmer For The Park Cities Historic And Preservation Society Luncheon

Despite North Texas taking a thunderous beating the night before, sunshine and friendly temperatures were on hand Wednesday, March 29, for the Park Cities Historic and Preservation Society Luncheon at the Dallas Country Club.

And what else would one expect with author/gardener/floral and interior designer/cook/garden-to-table lifestyle expert James Farmer as the keynote speaker. Sunshine just seems to be his calling card.

James Farmer and Kendall Jennings

Since his appearance in 2013 for the Kappa Kappa Gamma’s Tablescapes, James flashed the same All-American smile, but there was less of him. He told Honorary Co-Chair Libby Hunt it was due to his giving one of his kidneys to his sister, Meredith. Libby asked if the transplant had caused him to be ill and lose the weight. No, he had been put on steroids the year before and the year after the surgery, resulting in his looking heavier when he spoke at Tablescapes. Now, he was back to his normal weight.

To get things going, PCHPS President Kendall Jennings welcomed the group and asked Pierce Allman to provide the invocation. With his arm in a sling as a result of rotator cuff surgery, Pierce’s presentation was poetic. So much so, that as emcee Scott Murray took his place on stage, he admitted that it was remarkable. When asked if he had been working on the invocation for some time or if it was something that had been handed down from generation to generation, Pierce smiled and said he had just put it together that morning.

 

David and Libby Hunt, Leeanne Hunt, Herbert Hunt, Libby Hunt Allred and Barbara Hunt Crow

Mike and Marla Boone

As guests like James’ buddy Caren Kline, Debbie and Jim Francis, Heather Furniss, sisters Libby Hunt Allred and Barbara Hunt Crow, Herbert Hunt, Cynthia Beaird, Marla Boone, Lindalyn Adams, Kay Weeks and Lucy Wrubel with mother Jennie Reeves had lunch, they caught up with Melinda Obenchain receiving rave reviews for “B Magazine,” which she just produced for Briggs-Freeman…La Fiesta de Las Seis Banderas 2017 Co-Chair Rebecca Gregory reporting that La Fiesta de Las Seis Banderas would be returning to the Hilton Anatole in 2018.

Debbie Francis

Melinda Obenchain

Just past noon, emcee Scott told the guests how both Honorary Co-Chairs Libby’s and David Hunt’s childhood homes in the Park Cities were still standing. While that may not seem important to many, to this group of preservationist it was, with the recent demolishing of the Trammell Crow and Penson homes. He then had Pierce introduce James. Pierce, who had been tableside with James, described James as covering “everything from dirt to dessert.”

James Farmer

Some of the highlights of James’ talk included:

  • “Dallas still has a small-town feel. Had dinner last night at Café Pacific and knew people at the other tables.”
  • Having grown up in Perry, Georgia, “If you needed something made, you had it made there. If you wanted something from a foreign land, you went to Atlanta.”
  • As a five-year-old he was playing T-ball and was assigned left field. There he spied a colony of ziggy holes. In South Georgia, ziggy worms are grub  worms. “I knew instinctively that if I dug out a ziggy or two and put them in my pocket and took them home and threw them in our pond, I would catch catfish. And my Mimi, my grandmother, would fry that catfish and we would eat that catfish on my Aunt Irene’s Limoges plates. There’s a connection. Y’all can go to a nice restaurant and pay $30 for that fish now and it’s called ‘Pond To Plate.’ But I understood as a child that something from the ground could get to our table.” On this day in left field, he decided that he had found the “honey hole of ziggy worms.” He dug them up and put them in his pocket. “A kid from the opposing team had the nerve to hit a ball my way. I had to do what came natural to me, so I protected my ziggy colony.” The coach informed James’ father that his son was not an athlete. To this Dr. Farmer responded, “Yes, but he knows the Latin name for every blade of grass out in the field.” It would be 13 years later that James would receive a scholarship from a garden club for Auburn, and the kid who hit that ball received a scholarship to play baseball at Georgia. “So, you see we were both playing on the same field, but ended up where we were supposed to.”
  • Frank McCall influenced James with his “full service architect” firm that drew on a southern lifestyle and “helped my parents create their home.” McCall told James’ mother, “Every Southern lady needs a beautiful home. Every Southern lady needs fine silk. Every southerner needs a damn good chest.” She suddenly realized, “He wasn’t talking about Aunt Irene’s chest.” In the future, James would realize that McCall was talking about being confident and proud of what  you have.
  • It was while attending Auburn that James threw his first “dinner party.” It was in the dormitory kitchen. “I had a hankering for fried chicken and I knew how to fry chicken because you know every 18-year-old goes off to college with an iron skillet. Do you know how many friends you can make in college by making fried chicken? I never missed a sorority ball. Those girls were hungry, too. Those girls were off getting engagement rings and thinking, ‘Oh, my, I gotta learn how to cook.’ That was my ‘fried chicken moment.’”
  • “The pearly gates will smell like Lady Peas.”
  • “I love to teach the generations what the generations before had.”
  • “My grandfather was a Baptist minister and because of that I am a recovering Baptist. Thankfully, the Episcopal Church has a program for us. What the Episcopal Church does is they tell you to come to church and bring a bottle of wine.” On his first field trip with the Episcopalians, they went to the liquor store and he was told to “make eye contact with people, you address them by their first name, and bring that drink to the church and drink it.”
  • Each year his grandmother Mimi made her famous fruit cake. It called for rum. His grandfather wanted a piece with the rum: “It’s not drinking it if you’re eating it.” Being a good Baptist, his grandmother had a Methodist friend buy the alcohol at a liquor store. When the friend died, Mimi “put on some attire that the sheik of some Arab country would wear,” so no one would recognize her. When James confronted her, asking, “Did King Abdulla die?,” she proudly stated that no one had recognized her being incognito. But her grandson countered with, “But you drive the biggest Buick in town. If they saw it whipping around the liquor store…” She responded, “But I parked it at the Winn-Dixie.”
  • James’ first job was redecorating on his grandmother’s Baptist Sunday classroom. He soon learned that everything in the Baptist Church is done by committee, “which I believe is a version of eternal damnation. I would rather work for a dictator than a Baptist committee.”
  • Regarding his first book, he heard a dozen “Nos” from New York publishing houses. “They were No York.” But a Salt Lake publishing house agreed to take a meeting with him, where they wore football jerseys and jeans and James was “dressed like Astor’s pony.” The Salt Lake group agreed to publish 500 copies of “A Time To Plant.” His response was, “That’s sweet, but y’all know I’ll sell 500 copies in the Winn-Dixie parking lot from the back of my Suburban.” He ended up ordering all 500 copies himself and told them that he had some book signings coming up and friends like Caren and Peter Kline in Dallas who were going to support him with book signing events. Some friends in New York City arranged for him to prepare a dinner party for them and have a book signing afterwards. “I ran out of books. I had a conference call the next day with my publisher and I told them, ‘Y’all, I’m out of books.'” They said, “That’s what we want to talk to you about. Barnes and Noble just ordered 2,500 copies.” And it wasn’t just Barnes and Noble. Other stores were placing huge orders. The publisher asked, “What are you doing?” James responded, “Well, last night I cooked a dinner party for some friends of mine. Do you know Al Roker and Deborah Roberts?” They said, “No, but we know you’re not talking about the ‘Today’ host and the ABC reporter.” James trumped them by saying, “Yes, I am. Al and Deborah are very good friends of mine.” The publisher asked how James knew Al. “I know Al through Deborah, who’s from Perry.” They asked if he had other similar events planned. James said that he was headed down to Washington where a friend was going to host another event. “Is the President coming?” James said, “He was invited, because he’s, you know, busy. But they’re gonna take some books to the White House.” The publisher was curious, “Who do you know in Washington?” James asked, “Do you know Senator Sam Nunn? He’s from Perry.”
  • His latest book, “A Time To Celebrate,” started out focusing on big parties and deb balls. During the year that he was creating it, both his mother and grandmother died. “The word ‘celebrate’ took on a new meaning.’ It was Sunday night at home having scrambled eggs and watching ‘Downton Abbey’ with Mama.”
  • In writing “A Time To Celebrate,” he took Jenna Bush Hager up on the offer to “do anything for him.” He wanted her to write the forward. She admitted that she just didn’t know how to do it. James then told her, “You saw your mama and grandma entertain in the White House. I saw my mama and grandma entertain in a white house.” The common denominator was the fact that whether it was the president of a foreign country or the local minister, the way people come together is over food.
  • One of his favorite stories is about his mother, when they hired an Atlanta decorator. Previously, they had used a local decorator, who wore denim on denim — an “I only shop at Kmart look. She would use red latex magnolias dipped in gold glitter for Christmas.” The Atlanta decorator arrived in a black Mercedes and wearing Chanel. At one point, his mother said, “I love ‘Carl.’ I just have to tell you that ‘Carl’ makes me happy. . .  And ‘Carl’ makes me smile a lot.” When the decorator finally said she didn’t understand, because “Your husband is Ted,” Mother Farmer said, “I’m talking about the color.” Translation: coral.
  • In summary, James said, “Keep it real. That’s what the South is about.”

James talked about Al Roker, Deborah Roberts, Jenna Bush and Sam Nunn in such a way that it didn’t feel like name dropping, but rather they were just James’ friends and real.

If you weren’t able to make the luncheon, get one of James’ books and you’ll find a brand-new BFF.

JUST IN: Attorneys Serving The Community Luncheon To Benefit Junior Players With “Hamilton”‘s Renée Elise Goldsberry As Keynote Speaker

Cancel any and all plans for summer vacation. Well, at least, plan on being in town on Friday, June 23. Attorneys Serving the Community have such a reason for staying put on that Friday for lunch.

They’ve really tied things together for the 31st Attorneys Serving the Community Luncheon fundraiser at the Hilton Anatole. First, this year’s beneficiary is the award-winning Junior Players, which is the oldest non-profit children’s theater organization in Dallas. Originally offering “traditional children’s theater productions performed entirely by children and teenagers,” it changed its direction in 1989 by “providing free programming accessible to all the children of North Texas.”

Attorneys Serving the Community beneficiary Junior Players*

According to Dallas Morning News theater expert Nancy Churnin, Junior Players is “not just the play that’s the thing at Junior Players. It’s the way the company puts kids first by making quality lessons and performances free for 4,000 kids a year.”

Great pick, but who would be the on-target speaker for such an event benefiting young theatrical types by legal experts? Hold on to your petticoats and breeches. Luncheon Co-Chairs Beth Bedell and Kara Altenbaumer-Price managed to land Tony Award-winner Renée Elise Goldsberry, who originated the role of Alexander Hamilton’s sister-in-law Angelica Schuyler Church in “Hamilton: The Revolution.” Just this past fall, she took leave of the Linn-Manuel Miranda hit.

Renée Elise Goldsberry*

But don’t think Renee is a one-note actress. This multi-talented and gorgeous gal is a perfect role model for young, aspiring performers. In addition to Broadway successes (“The Lion King,” “The Color Purple” and “Rent”) and numerous flat screen appearances, (“Ally McBeal,” “One Life To Live,” “Law And Order: Special Victims Unit,” “The Good Wife,” etc.), she’s now headed to the 25th century for Netflix’s 10-episode sci-fi drama “Altered Carbon” as Quellcrist Falconer.  In addition to theatrical and screen productions, she’s even been in the Super Bowl, where she and her Broadway sister updated “America the Beautiful.”

Outside of the theater and studio, Renee has a real life with attorney-husband Alexis Johnson and her two kiddos Benjamin and Brielle.

Trivia: The luncheon will have a tinge of irony. It will be a get-together for onstage Alexander Hamilton’s sister-in-law (aka Renée) with U.S. Vice President Aaron Burr’s descendant Jennifer Burr Altabef. If you skipped American History 101, Hamilton was killed in a duel with Burr nearly 213 years ago.

According to Jennifer, who along with her husband, Peter Altabef, are serving as luncheon honorary co-chairs, “Peter and I are thrilled to be honorary chairs for this event benefiting Junior Players, a vital arts resource for young people and a treasure in our community. We are looking forward to the event featuring Renée Elise Goldsberry, whose electrifying performance in ‘Hamilton’ brought to life the incredible story of the birth of our country. Aaron Burr was a part of that story, and in ‘Hamilton,’ the audience learns so much about him and his complex relationship with Alexander Hamilton.”

Mark Friday, June 23, as a “must-stay-in-Dallas” to see and hear from this lady, who “kicked failure’s ass.”

Sponsorships and tables are available here. Individual tickets, if there are any, will be up for grabs in May.

* Graphic and photo provided by Attorneys Serving the Community

Lisa Loeb To Emcee Wednesday’s Texas State Historical Marker For Dallas County Medical Society Alliance Foundation’s At Aldredge House

Some might think that Wednesday’s dedication of the Texas State Historical Marker for the 100th anniversary of the Dallas County Medical Society Alliance Foundation at the 100-year-old Aldredge House will be skewed to the geriatric set. Rethink that! Sure, the House and Alliance are both celebrating a double centennial, but it’s not going to be a gloves-and-support-hose affair.

Dallas County Medical Society Alliance Foundation Historical Marker*

Lisa Loeb*

Of course, proof is required and here it is — singer/songwriter/TV personality Lisa Loeb. Despite this Hockaday grad’s being on tour, she’s returning to her Dallas to serve as emcee for the event.

So, what’s the connection between Grammy Award-winner Lisa and the double centennial celebration and dedication? Before she became nationally known for her talents, Lisa was and still is the daughter of Dallas County Medical Society Alliance Past President Gail Loeb and has a slew of family members in healthcare.

In addition to her emcee duties, there’s a report that she will do some singing and, at the end of the ceremony, lead a “children’s sing-along of songs from her children’s album.”

Translation: Kids are welcome to be part of the festivities that start at 5 p.m. at The Aldredge House. Perfect timing! Pick up the munchkins from school and drive on over to Swiss Avenue to be part of a Double Centennial Celebration with elected officials and the unveiling of the Texas Historical Marker. Don’t forget your cellphones… as if you would… for photos with Lisa and the Marker.

* Photos provided by the Dallas County Medical Alliance Society Foundation