Sold-Out Alert!: Robert S. Folsom Leadership Award Dinner

David Miller (File photo)

Good news and not-so-good news! The Robert S. Folsom Leadership Award Dinner honoring David B. Miller is totally sold out. So, if you got your reservations in, it’s a good news situation.

On the other hand, if you decided to wait, you’re out of luck. That’s not-so-good news.

However, Methodist Health System Foundation Vice President Angela Nash reports that it would take an “uber check” to get a seat now. So, get that Black Card out pronto, if you want to see what the Methodist team has up their collective sleeves to celebrate the man who could easily see eye-to-eye with Dirk or Mayor Mike.

BTW, proceeds from the dinner at the Hilton Anatole will “support the new Robert S. Folsom Wellness Center at Methodist Dallas Medical Center — an inclusive wellness center that will provide health improvement programs to families in Southern Dallas.”

Flora Award Patrons Celebrated The “Terrific Trio” On A Perfect Night At Barbara Crow’s Home-Sweet-Home

The evening of Thursday, September 28, couldn’t have been more perfect. The temperatures were topping the 70s after a few hours of friendly rain (translation: no thunder, no lighting, no end-of-world weather). To match the perfection was Barbara Crow’s way too comfy home for the 34th Annual Flora Award patron party. From antique chairs for young ones to fabric-covered chairs that just invite a long settling in, Barbara will be the first to admit that the home was designed family gatherings at the holidays and raising a family.

Angela Shank, Amelia Valz and Kathryn Febbroriello

In a hallway facing the backyard, Barbara’s aunt Caroline Rose Hunt and Del Frnka settled on a sette. Second-year Tri-Chairs Kathryn Febbroriello, Angela Shank and Amelia Valz reported that the black-tie event at the Texas Discovery Garden on Thursday, October 26, was well on its way. Their secret? Having the “terrific trio” Bettye Slaven, Janet Smith and Marilyn Waisanen as the honorees.

Bettye Slaven, Janet Smith and Marilyn Waisanen

But while the dining room overflowed with guests like Ann and Bob Dyer, Texas Discovery Gardens Executive Director Dick Davis, past Flora Awardees Suzy and Tom Rhodes, last year’s Honorary Co-Chairs Myrna and Bob Schlegel, Billie Leigh Rippey and Margie and Ray Francis sampling the yummies on the table and Eva Brandys playing the piano in the sitting room, the keeping room was a feast of fundraisers in itself with Barbara Crow, Mary Anne Cree and Lyda Hill.

Mary Anne Cree, Barbara Crow and Lyda Hill

The orange-loving Lyda was told that she was so smart, she should head to Washington to straighten things out, Lyda immediately responded was a smile, “Why would I do that? I thought you said I was smart.”

Tickets starting at $300 and sponsorships for the dinner, dancing and “discoveries” are available here!

Despite Rain Clouds In The Area, Business Council For The Art’s Obelisk Award Luncheon VIPs Were High And Dry At The Mayfair’s Sky Room

Kevin Hurst and Jeff Byron

High above Turtle Creek in the Mayfair’s Sky Room, the Obelisk Award Luncheon sponsors, honorees, nominators and Business Council for the Arts board members had a spectacular view of the rain clouds creeping into the area as they gathered on the evening of Wednesday, September 27. While the rest of the world slammed on the brakes and waited for the green light, these art-loving types sipped beverages and sampled pass-arounds.

Thanks to Neiman’s Director of Charitable Giving Kevin Hurst, the event was to thank a covey of sponsors, honoree and those who had nominated the candidates like Lee and Sarah Papert, Dotti Reeder, Jennifer and Keith Cerny, Mark Solomon, Lynne and Eddie Reyes, Diana Pollak and Mark Solomon.

Dotti Reeder

Keith and Jennifer Cerny

Looking like he had just returned from a weekend yacht stay in the Mediterranean, Jeff Byron arrived midway into the room. He admitted that since his retirement from NM, he hadn’t worn a tie. In fact, he had discovered that the family Scottish terrier, Hayden, was a snoozer during the day instead of anxiously awaiting his return.

Nasher Sculpture Center Jeremy Strick was smiling over the announcement of the Nasher Prize Laureate the week before at The Warehouse. But he added, “Now the real work is ahead.”

2017 Obelisk Award

As the rain clouds delivered their wet stuff on the glistening streets below, sculptor Jim Bowman‘s newest version of the Obelisk Award was revealed that will be presented to the following:

  • The Arts Partnership Award recognizes businesses that have provided sustained support to an arts/cultural organization for three or more years.
    • Large Business (more than 500 employees locally) — Target
    • Medium Business (between 50 and 500 employees locally) — Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, Richardson
    • Small Business (fewer than 50 employees locally) — Angelika Film Center – Dallas
  • The New Initiatives Award recognizes businesses for supporting an innovative arts/cultural program created within the past three years.
    • Large Business (more than 500 employees locally) — Corgan
    • Medium Business (between 50-500 employees locally) — West Village
    • Small Business (fewer than 50 employees locally) — C.C. Communications, LLC
  • The Distinguished Cultural Organization Award is given to recognize one outstanding nonprofit organization for a project or program that has enhanced the community through partnership with a business. — The Cliburn
  • The Business Champion for the Arts Award recognizes long-term leadership and commitment to arts/culture by a business executive (president, CEO, partner). — Nancy Carlson
  • The Visionary Nonprofit Arts Leader Award recognizes an arts leader who has consistently demonstrated vision, impact, innovation, and successful alignment with business and community partners throughout their tenure. — Keith Cerny nominated by Deutsche Bank Trust Co., NA/ Deutsche Bank Wealth Management.
  • The Arts Education Award recognizes one outstanding business for its support of arts education programs. — Neiman Marcus Group
  • The Lifetime Achievement Award recognizing lifetime advancement of the arts. — Ask Me About Art/Gail Sachson
  • The Community Champion Award recognizing community arts advancement — Kathy Litinas.

Katherine Wagner

Steve Roth

Minutes after BCA Founder’s Chair Nancy Nasher arrived, Business Council for the Arts CEO Katherine Wagner and Obelisk Luncheon Co-Chair Steve Roth announced that plans were heading forward for the fundraising event at the Belo with Dallas Symphony Orchestra principle trumpet Ryan Anthony.

Niki and Ryan Anthony

Nancy Nasher and Gail Sachson

Looking at the crowd of art lovers and supporters, Nancy, who admits to being basically shy, said with a smile that she felt right at home. After all, these were people like Gail Sachson, and they were like family.

Susan G. Komen’s 35th Anniversary Luncheon Celebrated The Lives Saved Thanks To A Deathbed Promise

In 1977 33-year-old Suzy Goodman Komen learned she had breast cancer. At that time those two words were verboten in polite company. Too often patients diagnosed with the disease shared the news, their fears and their struggle with the immediate family and perhaps extremely close friends. It was almost treated like a scandal. Susie undertook the treatments with her kid sister Nancy Goodman Leitstein (Brinker) at her side. But due to lack of funding, research and treatments, Susie died at the age of 36 in 1980.

As she lay dying, 34-year-old Nancy, who was divorced and the mother of a son, made a promise that changed her life and those of millions of others. She told Suzy that she would do everything in her power to end breast cancer. War was declared.

From that promise sprang the annual Race for the Cure and a Komen luncheon that for years required boxes of tissues as breast cancer patients shared their journeys. Eventually, the effort to grow funds and awareness spread throughout the world. What didn’t survive was the luncheon. For whatever reason, it ended.  

Mary Lessmann, Gigi Hill Lancaster and Meredith Land

However, on Wednesday, September 27, the Komen Foundation of Dallas celebrated its 35th anniversary with a luncheon fundraiser at Belo Mansion. Chairing Susan G. Komen’s 35th Anniversary Luncheon was Gigi Hill Lancaster, who had lost her mother, the vibrant Gigi Griffiths Hill, to breast cancer at the age of 39 in 1984 when Lancaster was just 14.

Elizabeth Robertson, Jim and Alinda Wikert and Sharon McCutchin

Jill Smith, Lindalyn Adams and Randi Halsell

At 11:30 the VIP reception was already in full gear with Honorary Co-Chairs Linda Custard and Ruth Altshuler (Co-Chair Gene Jones had to be out of town), luncheon emcee Meredith Land, Diane Brierley, Nancy Halbreich, Janie McGarr and keynote speaker/breast cancer survivor Giuliana Rancic. In the ballroom were Komen past luncheon chair Randi Halsell, Lindalyn Adams and original chair Sharon McCutchins, Jill Smith, Elizabeth Robertson, Alinda and Jim Wikert and Brill Garrett. Komen Dallas Board President Connie O’Neill with two of her three daughters (Amanda Cacheris and Isabel O’Neill) was thrilled that so many young women were attending.

Connie O’Neill, Giuliana Rancic, Amanda Cacheris and Isabel O’Neill

Promptly at noon the luncheon crowd including Sara Martineau, Carol Huckin, Katy Bock, Cara French, Daffan Nettle and Vicki Howland took their places and from the podium Gigi thanked the honorary chairs, Alinda Wikert and her underwriting chair Rebecca Fletcher for having brought in $555,000. Gigi told how she was wearing waterproof mascara. Her mother had wished that she had worn waterproof mascara when she addressed the Komen luncheon just weeks before her death.

Gigi turned the podium over to St. Michael’s and All Angel’s/breast cancer survivor Rev. Mary Lessmann for the invocation.

Carlos Arteaga

Following a video, Connie was at the podium reporting that one billion dollars had been provided by Komen for research and two billion dollars dedicated for treatment for women in 30 countries. Their goal was to reduce breast cancer 50% by 2060.

She then introduced newly arrived in Dallas Dr. Carlos Arteaga, who had only recently relocated from Vanderbilt University Medical Center to head up the Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center at UT Southwestern.

It was then time for Giuliana to tell her story in 25 minutes, but she immediately admitted that it was going to be tough to do it. Born in Italy at the age of six, she only spoke Italian. So, how did she learn English? She would watch TV, especially the evening news. Her initial plans to be a TV journalist changed to concentrating on fashion and entertainment, which led to her moving to LA.

Giuliana Rancic

There she ended up with her dream job of being a reporter for E News. While there she heard the assignments editor mentioning the name “Bill Rancic,” who had just won the first “The Apprentice.” She asked for the interview and got it only to google Bill Rancic romance, where it said that he was dating someone. When she got to the interview, she impressed Bill by looking “bored and distant.” Needless to say, she had lost interest in him but carried on with the interview. Her final question was, “Are you going to settle down?” He responded, “Actually we broke up three weeks ago.”

According to Bill, an “immaculate transformation took place.” Eight months later they were engaged with a wedding taking place six months after that.”

The couple was approached about their doing a reality show. They agreed only if it could be positive. During this time they tried to conceive, and eventually sought help from fertility experts. But they miscarried and tried again with no luck. Giuliana was sad, angry and depressed — “Why did this happen?”

They sought help from another fertility specialist. In filling out the questionnaire, the last quest on the check list was “Have you had a mammogram?” Giuliana hadn’t and wanted to skip it. After all, she’d had no family history; she was in her 30s; she was in great health. But the nurse insisted, so she agreed.

Then she got a call to come to the clinic. As she waited to learn the results, she got an eerie feeling and ran to the elevator. The nurse came after her and brought her back. The doctor said that she did have breast cancer. Her reaction? “Your life just changes. I felt like I was falling.”

She shared her story on the show to help other young women to get a mammogram. Initially she thought the lumpectomy would be the answer. It didn’t work. She and Bill talked about it. Her concern was that a mastectomy would make her unattractive. Bill’s response: “I don’t care what you look like. I just want you around for the next 50 years.”

Those words made her mind up to go through with the mastectomy. In the meantime, the couple decided to check into having a gestational carrier. She admitted that after the months of disappointment and cancer, she needed some good news. That came two weeks after her surgery in December when they found out that the carrier was pregnant. On August 29, Edward Duke Rancic was born.

Within one year, Giuliana had had the worst day of her life and the most amazing.  She also realized that had she gotten pregnant, she probably wouldn’t be here.

Since then she has made fertility and breast cancer her rallying points.

Then Giuliana recalled a year ago meeting Klarissa, who in her 20s was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer. Giuliana had just gotten an update that Klarissa was fighting for her life. Giuliana started to read a post from Klarissa’s Instagram the day before, but couldn’t go on. She asked Gigi to come to the podium and read: “…. I can’t help but wonder what memories I will leave behind.”

Giuliana summed up her talk saying, “You don’t have to travel 2,000 miles to climb a mountain to find your purpose. Your purpose is right here in this room.”

Just past 1 p.m., the luncheon was over. The next day Julia Louis-Dreyfuss announced, “One in eight women get breast cancer; today I’m the one.” But thanks to a sister’s promise made in 1980, Giuliana, Julia and millions of others will have their lives saved.  

Tootsies’ Fashions Were Front-And-Center On Stage For KidneyTexas Inc.’s Behind-The Scenes “Transforming Lives”

The KidneyTexas Inc.’s Runway Report affair at Brook Hollow Golf Club on Tuesday, September 26, may have appeared to be a typical fashion show and luncheon ready for a crowd of 350. The runway was laid out in the ballroom and the luncheon tables in the Promenade. The reception was already underway even before the 10:30 start as guests with flutes of champagne strolled in spotting friends across the room. Emcee Ron Corning with left leg firmly held in place thanks to a brace following a nasty fall in Santa Fe posed for photos with guests like Donna Arp Weitzman.

Soon the room was filled with the likes of Event Co-Chair Susan Russell, Jocelyn White, Angela Nash, Ramona Jones, Di Johnston, Susan McSherry, Angela Randall, Cheryl Hall, Vicki Howland, Lynn Dealey, Jolie Humphrey, Patty Jo Turner, Lauryn Gayle White, Lisa Cooley, Patti Flowers, Delilah Boyd, Tracy Lange, Marj Waters, Mr. Mesero’s Mico Rodriguez and Tracy Williams, who was watching her 15-year-old daughter walk the runway.

Andrea Alcorn

Ron Corning

KidneyTexas Inc. President Andrea Alcorn had lost more weight that she remembered. It wasn’t because she’d signed up for Weight Watchers. It was the “Stealth Juggler’s” diet that many baby boomers are unknowingly part of. She was juggling her day-job as a PR person, her responsibilities as KidneyTexas Inc. president and taking care of her mother Mae Alcorn (the longest kidney transplant survivor) who had fallen and broken a couple of major bones.

Altuzarra fashion

A.L.C jacket

Cinq A Sept gown with LaMarque jacket

Enhanced Rob Bradford gown

Highlighting the Tootsies fashions on the runway was a model in a Rob Bradford figure-hugging gown wrapped in vines ladened with faux butterflies that reflected the day’s theme “Transforming Lives.” 

But it was the behind-the-scenes story that was the real reason for the gathering.

Then there was McKamy Tiner, who just the year before had co-chaired the luncheon. She was also the nation’s youngest kidney donor. Today she was all smiles. Not just because of her kidney sharing, but she was getting married the following Saturday to Joel Looney. Because one donates a kidney doesn’t mean they lost their sense of humor, too. She told how when Joel met with her father months before, the bridegroom-to-be was nervous. Her dad offered him a Scotch to sooth his nerves. As an added calm down, papa Tiner told Joel, “I was always worried that Tiner would marry an a-s-o-e. You are the nicest guy around, so I’m not worried.”

McKamy Tiner

Susan Russell and Christine Martin

John Castorr

Co-Chair Christine Martin was as bright and sparkling as Tinkerbell. But that wouldn’t have been so, if it hadn’t been for two kidney transplants.

Christine’s brother John Castorr told how one of the beneficiaries Camp Reynal was a true getaway for for children with diabetes. In addition to having outdoors activities and being like any other summer camp, Camp Reynal had dialysis machines and healthcare specialist on site. 

But with all these knock ‘em out of the park stories, there was someone missing. His name was Vinny Trezza and he was a hunk. Not only did he play golf and was a Boy Scout, he “had been living with hydronephrosis, a condition from birth that caused his kidneys to swell and not function property.”

While folks sat near Vinny’s mom, Melissa Trezza, they initially didn’t realize the struggle that she and her family had gone through. But thanks to Melissa being a perfect match and Dr. Dev Desai at Children’s, Melissa “donated her kidney to her son, allowing him to avoid dialysis.”  

So, how does a kidney transplant take place?  For Vinny and Melissa it was Dr. Desai working for hours cutting away tissue around Melissa’s kidney with the help of long surgical tools and a TV screen that enhanced the picture of the kidney. Once Melissa’s kidney was removed, time was of the essence. It had to be flushed out and prepared for transplant. The kidney’s turning gray was a good sign as it was placed in an ice chest and transferred to the operating room where Vinny was prepped. Once Vinny’s “bad” kidney was removed, the clock kept ticking. Within minutes, Melissa’s kidney was transplanted into her son.

But this recent transplant and May’s transplant that took place years ago only resulted from research and development funded by fundraising by events like Runway Report.

Sue Goodnight

Steve and Linda Ivy

Natalie Taylor

Dee Lincoln

Nerissa von Helpenstill and Dustin Holcomb

Jody Dean

As auctioneer Jody Dean worked the room to bring bids just a wee bit higher, Melissa sat knowing that her Boy Scout son had been the recipient of the power of fundraising with the fashions from Tootsies, the efforts of heroes like Lifetime Achievement Awardee Sue Goodnight, Honorary Co-Chairs Linda and Steve Ivy, Sue Goodnight Services Award recipient Natalie Taylor and Over-The-Top Awardees Dee Lincoln and Tootsies’ Nerissa von Helpenstill and Dustin Holcomb.

As for Vinny, he was in class just being a normal buy thanks to his mom, Dr. D and the folks who had provided funding to let him get on with life.

And while Vinny let it be known that he wouldn’t be on the scene, there were nearly 50, who no-showed without notifying organizers. The results? Prepared and paid-for meals had to be thrown out. Had the MIA notified the leadership, the Runway Report could have prevented the meals from being prepared and saved some bucks. 

For more photos from the runway and the audience, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: KidneyTexas Inc.’s Runway Report

While the Tootsies fashions took centerstage at the KidneyTexas Inc.Runway Report on Tuesday, September 26, at Brook Hollow, the scene stealers were stories of people like KidneyTexas Inc. President Andrea Alcorn‘s mother, McKamy Tiner, Luncheon Co-Chair Christine Martin and a young fella named Vinny Trezza and his mother Melissa Trezza, whose lives have changed thanks to research and treatments for the disease.

Andrea Alcorn

McKamy Tiner

However, it must be admitted that the closing fashion on the catwalk that reflected the event’s theme of “Transforming Lives” definitely got reactions from those in the audience.

Enhanced Rob Bradford gown

Susan Russell and Christine Martin

While the post is being finished, check out the fashions and faces at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

Sold-Out Alert!: Dallas Women’s Foundation’s 32nd Annual Luncheon

Dallas Women’s Foundation*

So sorry if you held off on getting your ticket for the Dallas Women’s Foundation fundraising luncheon on Friday, October 20, at the Hilton Anatole. Luncheon Co-Chairs Shonn Brown and Lisa Singleton just reported that the 32nd Annual Luncheon featuring Dr. Hope Jahren is sold out.

BTW, if you didn’t get your reservation in, there’s always the hefty check that just might a spot available. In the meantime, the following sponsors have their place setting locked down:

  • Platinum sponsors — U.S. Trust and Lyda Hill
  • Speaker sponsors — Suzanne Ahn, M.D. Speaker Endowment Fund at Dallas Women’s Foundation and Nancy Ann and Ray Hunt
  • Crystal sponsors — American Airlines, The Men and Women of Hunt Consolidated Inc., Texas Instruments and Young Women’s Preparatory Network
  • Diamond sponsors — EY, FedEx, Freeman, Jones Day and Kimberly-Clark
  • Emerald sponsors — AT&T Inc., Ellenore and Kirk Baker/Carter Financial Mgmt., Barings Multifamily Capital LLC, Lucy and Henry Billingsley, Cecilia G. Boone, Chatham Hill Investment Partnership, Toni Muñoz-Hunt and Dan Hunt, Ashlee and Chris Kleinert, Paula and Ron Parker, Service King Collision Repair, Betty and Steve Suellentrop and Toyota
  • Gold sponsors — AdvoCare International LP, Sindley Austin, Bank of Texas, Baron and Blue Foundation, Ann M. Berger, Phyllis F. Bernstein, Brunswick Group, Nancy P. Carlson, Serena Simmons Connelly, Roslyn Dawson Thompson and Rex W. Thompson, Dr Pepper Snapple Group, Cindy Engles/Dodee Crockett, The Episcopal School of Dallas, Patricia W. Fagadau, Amy L. Fikes, Frost Bank, Kay Winzenried and Sheila Gallagher, Greenhill School, The Hart Group Inc., Haynes and Boone LLP, Al G. Hill Jr., The Hockaday School, Jane and Michael Hurst, JLL, Locke Lord, Lottye and Bobby Lyle, Lynn Pinker Cox and Hurst, Marty Marks, Alice and Erle Nye, Parish Episcopal School, PepsiCo, Julia Simon/Mary Kay, Southwest Airlines, Tolleson Wealth Management, Trinity Industries Inc. and Donna M. Wilhelm
  • Silver sponsors — Aetna, Bank of America Plaza, Angie Bain, Julie Bleicher and Gail Griswold, Lael Brodsky, Shonn Brown, Veree Brown, CBRE, Capital One Bank, Children’s Health, Communities Foundation of Texas, Ka Cotter and Sidney Hicks, Cristo Rey Dallas, Kaleta A. Doolin, The Enrico Foundation, FedEx Office, Melissa Fetter, Marion T. Flores and Margaret Keliher, Michelle Frymire, Sidney Hicks, HilltopSecurities Inc., Hind for Texas Muslim Women’s Foundation, HudsonLake, Insperity, JP Morgan Chase, Jackson Walker L.L.P., Brenda L. Jackson, Junior League of Dallas Inc., KIPP Dallas – Fort Worth, Kristi Kastl, Margaret Keliher, Katherine Glaze Lyle and Sharon Lyle, McKinsey and Company, Methodist Health System Foundation, Neiman Marcus, Ava Norris, Cecilia and Tim Norwood, Lori Reisenbichler, Karen J. Simon, The Sister Fund, Solis Mammography, Debby Hay Spradley, Gail Warrior-Suchy and Colleen Affeldt, Texas Woman’s University, Thompson and Knight, TIAA, UT Southwestern, UTA University Crossroads, The University of Texas at Dallas, Vinson and Elkins LLP, Katrina Watland, Westwood Management and Williams Family Foundation
* Graphic courtesy of Dallas Women's Foundation

Flamenco Dancers Kicked Up Their Heels To Benefit Children At Risk’s “A Night In Barcelona” At Hotel Zaza

Evidently Calvert Collins-Bratton and Vince Bratton have some pull with Mother Nature because the evening of Saturday, September 23, was just made for their “A Night in Barcelona” at Hotel Zaza. Benefiting Children at Risk, the festivities started off with a reception around the pool complete with flamenco dancers and then moved indoors for a delicious dinner. Here’s a report from the field:

Becky Hollands and Alex Abraham*

The evening began with a VIP poolside reception at the always fabulous Hotel Zaza. Chairs Calvert Collins-Bratton and Vince Bratton visited with guests who included Eric and Kate Sudol, former Dallas Cowboy Timmy Newsome, Stratton and Debbie Horres, Richard Collins, Steve Love, Susannah and Chris Watt, Ron Taylor, Michael Zangoei, Shara McClure and couture designer Becky Hollands.

Flamenco dancers*

Carole and Scott Murray*

Guests enjoyed the picturesque views of the Uptown Dallas Skyline before moving to the ballroom where they were swept into “A Night in Barcelona.” Guests were dazzled by flamenco dancers, bright colors and tropical breezes. Hosted by Children at Risk, this annual fall soiree benefits the children and families of North Texas.

Bob Sanborn*

Once in the ballroom, guests were welcomed by emcee Scott Murray who kept the event lively throughout the evening. As guests dined on grilled hanger steak, shellfish and vegetable paella with baby zucchini, and corn pudding, Children at Risk President and CEO, Dr. Bob Sanborn, and North Texas Managing Director, Dr. Charlotte Carlisle, shared highlights of how the nonprofit works tirelessly to ensure Texas children and families have access to healthy food, quality public education, evidence-based parenting programs and a safe environment free of traffickers.

Charlotte Carlisle*

After a delicious dessert of cinnamon-dusted churro with chocolate dipper and salted caramel pastry cream-filled profiterole and coffee, the Live Auction heated up. The exciting 2018 All-Star Game Package, including tickets to the Slam Dunk and 3-Point Shooting Competitions, and the NBA Legends Brunch, was won by Kyle Jennings; and a Romantic Stay in historic Jefferson, Texas, at the House of the Seasons, one of the Great Homes in Texas, plus dinner at Stillwater Inn and 2 pairs of hand-made slippers from Hadleigh’s, went to Dr. Martin Koonsman. Another big hit was the Aruba Vacation Package which included 5 nights in a beautiful five-bedroom, three-bathroom beachfront home on Malmok, just yards away from one of the most acclaimed snorkeling beaches on the island, and a pair of airline tickets. Pam Humphrey was the lucky winner.

Tom Lewis, Susan Sanders, Calvert and Vince Bratton*

Tom Lewis won the raffle, a 5-day trip to Barcelona, including airfare for two and five nights at the luxurious 5-star Monument Hotel located in the heart of Barcelona on the famed Paseo de Gracia.

The night ended with Dr. Sanborn and Dr. Carlisle thanking the 200 plus stylish guests, and wonderful sponsors and donors for their generosity to Texas children, before inviting everyone to kick up their heals with the Flamenco dancers.

Dirk Receives Some Ribbing—And The H. Neil Mallon Award—At World Affairs Council Dinner

The H. Neil Mallon Award, the signature annual honor bestowed by the World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth, has had some pretty impressive recipients over the years, from Vice President Richard Cheney and President George H.W. Bush to Ray Hunt, Randall Stephenson and Rex Tillerson. But it’s safe to say it’s never had a taller—or a more gracious—recipient than it did Friday, September 22, when Dirk Nowitzki was presented with the WAC’s 34th annual award during a dinner event at the Hilton Anatole.

Dirk Nowitzki*

Guests including Nancy Nasher and David Haemisegger, Brent Christopher, Allie Beth and Pierce Allman, Keven Ann Willey and Georges Badoux, Christopher Durovich, Tanya Roberts, Carolina Beltran, Consul General Francisco De La Torre, Jan Miller and Jeff Rich, James Waters, Maurizio La Noce, Regina Montoya and Paul Coggins, Kay and Rob Harrell and Mary and Bob Potter turned out to honor Dirk, the legendary, 7-feet-tall power forward for the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks. Besides holding many league and team records, the German-born hoopster is a much-honored philanthropist, serving as a guidepost with his wife, Jessica, for The Dirk Nowitzki Foundation.

Marjorie Adams*

After being welcomed by Dinner Chair Marjorie A. Adams, who also chairs the WAC board, as well as WAC President and CEO Jim Falk, the guests enjoyed a dinner of baby spinach and frisee salad, peppercorn crusted beef filet and jumbo shrimp, and an apple streudel dessert. Then they  heard from His Excellency Yousef Al Otaiba, ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to the United States.

Bret Baier and Yousef Al Otaiba*

Otaiba had flown in from Abu Dhabi and New York to introduce the evening’s guest speaker, FOX News Channel anchor Bret Baier, but he couldn’t resist some gentle ribbing of Dirk. “Please keep working on that jump shot,” he advised the Mallon honoree, “because you only shot 38 percent last year. It’s not like anyone’s going to block your shot …”

Baier picked up the joke from there, branding Otaiba’s 38 percent statistic “fake news.” Corrected Bret, deadpan: “I think it’s at least 42 percent.” Baier recounted a little about his show, “Special Report with Bret Baier,” and said that in the D.C. news business this year, “every day is like drinking from a firehose.” The FOX star, who’s an accomplished golfer, recalled playing golf with President Trump—”he is all about winning, and he doesn’t really care how he does it”—before lauding Dirk for his under-the-radar visits to young patients at Children’s Health in Dallas.

Following a video tribute to Nowitzki featuring the likes of Mavs owner Mark Cuban, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings took the stage, clad in a tuxedo, and said of Dirk, “He represents Dallas like no other, because he represents excellence.” The man of the hour then accepted the Mallon Award from Rawlings and Adams and, with characteristic good humor, leaned down into the mic to rebut Otaiba’s allegation about his poor jump shot: “Mr. Ambassador, I’m not sure where you’re lookin’ at your stats … but I’ll try to do better next year!”

With that, the 39-year-old star sat down for a casual, on-stage chat with Mark Followill, the Mavs’ TV play-by-play announcer. Here are a couple of Dirk’s observations from the talk on:

  • Coming from Germany to Dallas: “My parents watched the TV show ‘Dallas’ once in a while, but it was not my thing. I was into MTV and sports. [Once I got to] Dallas, it was almost like they wanted me to succeed here from Day One.”
  • What he’s been doing recently: “I’ve just been traveling for about six-and-a-half weeks with [the Nowitzkis’] three little kids. It was … what’s the word? … great! [Lots of laughter.] Challenging!”
  • His future plans: “When I retire from basketball, I’m sure Cubes will give me a job, hopefully. But hopefully I’ll do it another year or two, then let the young guys take over.”
* Photo credit: Steve Foxall

 

Dallas Museum Of Art’s Decorative Arts Symposium Featured Three Renowned Experts On Furnishings, Gardening And Palettes

Attendees for the Dallas Museum of Art’s Decorative Arts Symposium expanded their understanding of art on Thursday, September 21. Thanks to Symposium Chair Beverly Nichols assembling John Hays, Ann Pailthorp and P. Allen Smith, the event showcased how art is not limited to canvases and sculptures. Here’s a report from the field:

The Dallas Museum of Art‘s Decorative Arts Symposium Chair Beverly Nichols, welcomed attendees to the Symposium on Thursday, September 21, at the Dallas Museum of Art. 

Melissa Fetter and Ann Hobson*

Penny Hardie and Mollie Crow*

Janet Evans and Debbie Raynor*

Cara French and Prissy Gravely*

Guests like DMA Board of Trustees Chair Melissa Fetter, Ann Hobson, Cara French and her mother Prissy Gravely, Janet Evans, Debbie Raynor, Penny Hardie and Mollie Crow arrived and enjoyed coffee and light breakfast bites outside the Horchow Auditorium.  On view in a vitrine were two pieces from the Museum’s decorative arts collection which had served as the event’s signature pieces: a Free form shape bowl with Tropicana pattern decoration (designers Frank Irwin and Helen McIntosh), (maker Metlox Potteries), c. 1955, earthenware, Dallas Museum of Art, 20th-Century Design Fund, 1996.111) and a silk brocade (maker and date unknown, silk, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Earl Hart Miller, 1947.21.23). 

Once seated inside the auditorium, the DMA’s Eugene McDermott Director Agustín Arteaga welcomed everyone and thanked them for attending the second annual event which supports the DMA’s Decorative Arts Acquisition Endowment Fund.  

Agustin Arteaga*

Beverly followed to introduce the esteemed line-up of symposium speakers, which included award-winning garden designer, acclaimed author, television host and conservationist P. Allen Smith; John Hays, deputy chairman of Christie’s America and specialist in American Furniture and Decorative Arts; and Ann Pailthorp, Farrow and Ball’s leader of the North American Colour Consultancy Program for British craftsmen in paint and paper.    

John Hays, Ann Pailthorp, Beverly Nichols and P. Allen Smith*

Hays took the podium first and under the theme, Commander in Chief: A Few War Stories from John Hays’ Travels, he shared stories of extraordinary pieces he has found across the United States, which were sold at auction by Christie’s. Pailthorp followed with details about Farrow and Ball’s unmatched collection of paint and wallpaper, including details on what makes their colors and finishes distinctive. Smith, who designed the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens’ new edible garden, closed by sharing a virtual tour of Moss Mountain Farm, his American Greek Rival style-home, which included his stunning organic flower and vegetable garden “rooms,” orchards, farm animals and his heritage poultry breeds.   

The event concluded with an opportunity for audience members to ask questions of the panel. Immediately following, P. Allen Smith’s book, “Seasonal Recipes from the Garden,” and Farrow and Ball’s “How to Decorate,” were available for sale and for signatures by Smith and Pailthorp. 

As guests departed, they received a Farrow and Ball favor bag with a coveted fan deck featuring all 132 Farrow and Ball colours and an Autumn and Winter Inspiration guide.  

* Photo credit: Tamytha Cameron Smith

Equest Women’s Auxiliary Luncheon And Style Show Patrons Got A Sneak Preview Of Herrera Fashions Slated For The Annual Fundraiser

Despite some folks receiving their invites less than the traditional two weeks in advance, the gals turned out on Wednesday, September 20. What could be the draw for the likes of Equest Women’s Auxiliary President Angie Kadesky, Mary Martha Pickens, Christie Carter, Linda Secrest, Pam Busbee, Carol Huckin, Christie Carter, Libby Allred, Rachel Michell, Kristina Whitcomb and Nancy Bierman? Equest Women’s Auxiliary Luncheon and Style Show Chair Beth Thoele had arranged a private presentation for the fundraiser’s patrons at Carolina Herrera in HP Village.

Sure, it was Rosh Hashanah, but the get-together started while the sun shone overhead.

Nancy Bierman, Pam Perella, Emilynn Wilson and Kristina Whicomb

Pam Busbee, Jan Strimple and Christie Carter

Carol Huckin and Angie Kadesky

Heather Washburne, Vicki Howland and Elisa Summers

Late arrival Vicki Howland scurried to her two daughters, HP Village’s first ladies, Elisa Summers and Heather Washburne, who will receive the Community Service Award at the Tuesday, October 3, fashion show and luncheon at Brook Hollow. Vicki apologized for her late arrival, but proudly pointed out that her girls were in Herrera.

Carolina Herrera fashion

Carolina Herrera fashion

Carolina Herrera fashion

Carolina Herrera fashion

Once again the Venezuelan couture designer proved her reputation for blending drop-dead fashions with fabulous materials and elegant lines. The bow on the cuff; the soft fabrics; the wink of sensuality. Of course, there were names dropped of recent Herrera frocks on red carpet occasions (Sarah Paulson and Mandy Moore at the Emmys and Hailey Baldwin at the Met Gala) and the recent MOMA showing — the first ever full-blown runway production at the museum.  

Robyn Conlon and Beth Thoele

Allison Presser

While the clothes were presented in the salon, Equest Honorary Chair Robyn Conlon was in the dressing rooms shopping. After all, Herrera’s General Manager Allison Presser had offered a 10% donation to Equest for any purchases made through Tuesday, October 3.

Rachel Michell and Jane Rozell

Libby Allred

Ciara Cooley, Lili Kellogg and Lisa Cooley

In the crowd, Ciara Cooley was discussing volunteers dates with Equest CEO Lili Kellogg; Crystal Charity Ball Chair Pam Perella was glowing over the reviews from the previous week’s CCB 10 Best Dressed activities; Jane Rozell reported that she was happily working at St. Bernard; Emilynn Wilson was eager for hair dresser Garry Cox to return to his chair following his liver transplant; and Equest event producer Jan Strimple has been busy gathering clothes from Carolina Herrera, Escada, Etro, Hadleigh’s, Lela Rose, Market and Veronica Beard for the annual Equest fundraiser presented by HP Village.

For more photos, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

It Was Reigning Cat And Dogs Along Turtle Creek For SPCA Of Texas’ Fur Ball Patrons With Meow Margaritas And Chocolate Mousse Shots

Just 10 days before the SPCA of TexasFur Ball 2017 at the Omni Dallas Hotel, the Reigning Cats and Dogs patrons were hosted by Wealth Strategist from Northern Trust at Amy and Malone Mitchell‘s estate. The weather was just perfect for guests to enjoy the view of Turtle Creek from the outdoor terrace. While there were no SPCA residents in attendance, the Meow Margaritas, the chocolate mousse shots and chicken lollipops filled the critter bill. Here’s a report from the field: 

Mitchell terrace

In the golden glow of the late summer sunset on Wednesday, September 20, in the heart of Highland Park, patrons and friends gathered at the home of Amy and Malone Mitchell to celebrate the SPCA of Texas’ Fur Ball 2017, Reigning Cats and Dogs. Guests sipped champagne, wine and the signature drink for the evening, the Meow Margaritas featuring Milagro Tequila, as they chatted with excited anticipation about the upcoming gala.  

Guests were serenaded by pianist Kevin Sutton as they toured the Mitchell’s stunning mansion and lush grounds.

Don Lindsley, Claire Schwartz and Alex Winslow*

An overabundant table of savories were enjoyed, including chicken quesadillas; chili con queso and roasted pepper salsa; towers of cheese, crackers and charcuterie plates; mountains of summer vegetables with red pepper and spinach hummus; herbed chicken lollipops and prime rib bites. Delightful desserts included decadent chocolate mousse shots and chocolate-covered roasted marshmallows. The evening’s sublime food was provided by Wendy Krispin Catering.  

Cindy Lindsley, James Bias, Sandra Fite and Alanna Sarabia*

As the evening wound down, words of appreciation filled the air. Alex Winslow, Wealth Strategist from Northern Trust, Patron Party Sponsor, thanked friends, patrons and SPCA of Texas staff for their partnership, and celebrated helping to find all of the animals a “Fur Ball forever home.” SPCA of Texas President and CEO James Bias thanked Northern Trust for their partnership, thanked Chair Cindy Lindsley, Auction Chair Sandra Fite, the Fur Ball Host Committee and Auction Committee for their amazing work to make this year’s event a stunning success. He also thanked all Fur Ball patrons for helping the organization “to say yes to helping animals, whether we’re saving an animal on a cruelty case, providing spay or neuter services to pets in Southern Dallas and most recently, saying yes to caring for over 600 animals in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.”

Debra Burns, Greg Cannon, Kristy Parker and Russell Dealey*

Board Member Stacey Kivowitz praised the public for the fantastic response to the need of animals and their people in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. Sr. Vice President for Development Debra Burns thanked the SPCA of Texas’ staff, Board of Directors and all Fur Ball committees and sponsors and invited everyone to, “Get your dance cards ready and your dancing shoes on!”

Arnold and Mary Spencer*

Lynn McBee, Jodi Benefiel and Diane Brierley*

Steve Atkinson, Karen Urie and Ted Kincaid*

David and Carolyn Kubes*

Guests included Jan and Trevor Rees-JonesRussell Dealey, Lynn McBee, Diane and Hal Brierley, Katy Murray, Alanna Sarabia, Stacey and Don Kivowitz, Gloria Snead, Steve and Marty Scruggs, Krista Tankersley, Marsha Pendleton-Gray and Dr. Richard Gray, Steve Atkinson and Ted Kincaid, David and Carolyn Kubes, Karen Urie, Betsy Orton and Sharon Fancher, Kristen Greenberg, Linda Chapa, Ann and Sanjay Agrawal and Deb Goldstein.

*Photo credit: Thomas Garza Photography

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery: 2018 Nasher Prize Laureate Reveal

Derek and Christen Wilson

Jeremy Strick

The sculptor aficionados of North Texas art lovers as well as the media gathered at The Warehouse on Tuesday, September 19, to learn who would be the recipient of the annual 2018 Nasher Prize. With live streaming of the announcement that Chicago artist Theaster Gates had scored the win according the international panel of judges, the crowd was also put on notice that the presentation of the prize co-chaired by Christen and Derek Wilson would take place on Saturday, April 7, at the Nasher Sculpture Center.

And in keeping with the focus on art, the crowd itself was pretty eyecatching, too. While the post is being finalized about the announcement by Nasher Sculpture Center Director Jeremy Strick, check out the guests at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

Junior Players’ Annual Future Stars Celebration Will Have Its First Ever Honorary Chair — Kevin Hurst

The Junior Players nearly upstaged “Hamilton: An American Musical”’s Christopher Jackson at the 31st Attorneys Serving the Community luncheon in June. From the pop-up performance to the testimonies by former students, the 62-year-organization showed that it was still as youthful, creative and impressive as ever.

22nd Annual Future Stars Celebration*

Those elements will be on hand at the Frontiers of Flight Museum on Saturday, November 11, for the 22nd Annual Future Stars Celebration.  In addition to the food provided by Maguire’s Regional Cuisine, live and silent auctions, games, a wine pull, a photo booth and performances by students from Junior Players’ 2017 production of “Rent” and “Junior Players Presents: Metamorphosis,” they’ve added a new twist — an honorary chair.

Kevin Hurst (File photo)

According to Junior Players Board of Directors President Dana Roland, “Junior Players is proud to announce that Kevin Hurst of Neiman Marcus Group will be serving as the first-ever honorary chair for our signature annual event.”

Since arriving in Dallas in 2013, Kevin has been very active in all aspects of the North Texas nonprofit community. From his position as NM’s director of charitable giving to his personal involvement with a variety of charities, he’s been a supporter as well as a call-to-arms champ for the area.

When the crawl tubes from the Neiman’s holiday windows were being retired, Kevin arranged to have them installed at Spark. When the tornadoes hit North Texas, he toured the devastated area with the Red Cross to learn what was needed. When the July 7th police shooting took place, he expanded his reach to “his network of corporate philanthropic partners and focused on coordinating their efforts to maximize the impact of their contributions to our grieving community and the victims of violence.”

According to Kevin, “It is my pleasure to serve as the honorary chair for the Junior Players’ Future Stars Celebration. Since moving to Dallas in 2013, I have seen first-hand the tremendous impact they have on the lives of so many aspiring performers. Their mission to ensure students across DFW have access to and participate in the arts aligns perfectly with the mission of the Heart of Neiman Marcus’ foundation of funding youth arts education and experiences.”

Tyler Foundation has already signed up as the lead sponsor, but there are other opportunities, as well as tickets that are going for $80. Funds raised from the event will “help support all of Junior Players’ free after-school and summer arts education programs, which serve more than 14,000 children and teenagers every year.”

* Graphic courtesy of Junior Players

Veteran Celebs And Babes In Arm Took The Runway At Tootsies For The 8th Annual Esteem Fashion Show

As the swallows return to Capistrano in March, so the season’s fashions were hitting the North Texas catwalks in September. On the heels of the 2017 Crystal Charity Ball Fashion Show with its dozens and dozens of professional models, The Elisa Project‘s 8th Annual Esteem Fashion Show also had fashions on the Tootsies runway on Saturday, September 16. But these models were volunteers ranging in age from infant to AARP. Here’s a report from the field:

Rhonda Marcus, Emmy Marcus and Whitney Kutch*

Event Chair Whitney Kutch, with Honorary C0-Chairs Rhonda Marcus and daughter Emmy, were joined by nearly 160 attendees for the 8th annual Esteem Fashion Show presented by Lisa Cooley, on Saturday, September 16, which benefited The Elisa Project (TEP).

Partygoers arrived at Tootsies and mingled while enjoying mimosas while perusing Tootsies collections. With 10% of all purchases benefiting TEP, patrons shopped the latest fall fashions, as DJ Blake Ward provided the vibe. Raffle tickets were available for sale featuring fabulous prizes including, a $100 gift card to Tootsies; an Elizabeth Showers Soleil station 18 karat gold chain in hand-carved white quartz over Kingman Mine turquoise; an Amanda Sterrett jewelry suite; hair and makeup services from The Makeup Zone; an original watercolor painting by Sherri Jones; and Chili’s restaurant gift cards.

Rhonda Sargent Chambers, Kim Stephens-Olusanya, Holly Davis and Landry Davis*

At 11:00 a.m., patrons gathered upstairs for the much-anticipated fashion show. Whitney took the podium and thanked everyone in attendance for their support of The Elisa Project and this year’s event. TEP’s board President Dr. Stephanie Setliff followed by adding her thanks and recognized Whitney for her hard work as event chair, as well as those in the room who had made the day possible including Executive Director Kimberly Martinez, TEP staff and board of directors, and Esteem founder, event coordinator, and board member, Rhonda Sargent Chambers. She then shared details about some of the work The Elisa Project is doing in the community through advocacy, education and support, which touches the lives of more than 31,000 individuals suffering from eating disorders each year.

2017 Esteem models

Emcee Courtney Kerr, founder and editor-in-chief of KERRently.com, took the podium and got right to the fashion show, which featured notable community members wearing the latest looks from Tootsies with children’s fashions provided by KidBiz/The Biz.

Jenny Anchondo and Brighton Valentina*

Courtney Kerr and Kellie Rasberry*

2017 models were: FOX4-TV’s Emmy-award winning news anchor Jenny Anchondo with 15-week old daughter Brighton Valentina; Carlotta Lennox, Kim Dawson model and entrepreneur; Landry Davis with friends Aubrey and Gracie O’Banion; community volunteer Yvonne Crum with granddaughter Samantha; designer and creator of BAHZ jewelry Britt Harless; host of nationally syndicated morning show, Eye Opener, blogger and fashion expert Hilary Kennedy; Jane McGarry, host of WFAA-TV’s “Good Morning Texas;” Sabrina Harrison, co-owner and interior designer Mint Dentistry and founder of Equipped by Faith Ministries, with children Christian and Camila; Emmy award-winning broadcast journalist Scott Murray; Melissa Rountree, owner of activewear brand Level 3 Active and board member of The Elisa Project; licensed professional counselor and CEO of Park Cities Counseling, Elizabeth Scrivner with daughter Katherine; Catherine Lowe, owner of local luxury stationary company LoweCo, with son Samuel; host of “Kidd Kraddick in the Morning,” Kellie Rasberry; honorary co-chairs Rhonda Marcus, and daughter Emmy; and event chair and TEP board member Whitney Kutch.

Carlotta Lenox and Courtney Kerr*

Melissa Rountree*

As the show came to a close, Kimberly Martinez announced the lucky winners of the raffle prizes before encouraging all in attendance to continue shopping in support of The Elisa Project. Before departing, patrons grabbed their swag bags which included goodies from Tootsies and stationary from LoweCo.

Esteem is a celebration of body image and self-Esteem. In its 8th year, Esteem helps increase awareness about eating disorders and the importance of positive body image, Esteem encourages people to love themselves while striving to be healthy. Proceeds support The Elisa Project (TEP) and the important programs dedicated to fighting eating disorder illnesses through awareness, education, support and advocacy.

* Photo credits: Bob Manzano and Thomas Garza

 

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: 2017 Dallas Symphony Gala

Clay Cooley, Margaret McDermott and Lisa Cooley

With sweeping gowns and bow ties ranging from feathers to colorful prints, the 2017 Dallas Symphony Gala officially kicked off the mega-gala fundraising season on Saturday, September 16, at the Meyerson. Joining the leadership team of Co-Chairs Lisa and Clay Cooley was Honorary Chair Margaret McDermott.  

Kara and Randall Goss

Cece Smith and Ford Lacy

Jody and Sheila Grant

In addition to being a lavish show of swell-egants, it was also the final gala performance by Dallas Symphony Orchestra Gala Maestro Jaap van Zweden. To add to the special occasion, cellist Yo-Yo Ma joined Jaap and the orchestra on stage following a seated dinner and just before the evening’s after party.

While the post is being prepped, the fashions and boldfaces of the night can be seen at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

Grovel Alert: Jade Ball

Always-on-the-move Lynn McBee was on her way to Saturday night’s Fur Ball when she reported that the Jade Ball benefiting Crow Collection of Asian Art on Saturday, October 7, at Belo Mansion was just one table away from being a done deal.

Jade Ball*

According to sources, the near sell-out is due to Jade Ball Chair Robert Weatherly and Lynn along with the host committee members like Denny Alberts and Cynthia ComparinJenna Alexander, Annika and Dennis Cail, Darryl Freling, Kristen and Reed Gibbins, Gerardo Gomez, Joyce Goss, Diana Hamilton, Frank Hettig, Jenny and John KirtlandJerald Miller, Jin and James Mun, Angela Nash, Andrea and David Nayfa, Debra Nelson, Heather Randall, Tracey and Kent Rathbun, Carol and Frank Riddick, Lisa and John Runyon, Capera Ryan, Stephanie and Michael Seay, Clara Hinojosa, David Kiger, Matrice Ellis-Kirk and Ron Kirk, Jane McGarry, Sunie Solomon, Anne and Steve Stodghill, Whitney and Rob Strauss, Tara Lewis and John SwordsConnie and Marc Sigel, Lisa and Marvin Singleton, Ashley Tatum, Joanne and Charles Teichman, Maxine Trowbridge, Trey Wasser, Annette and Myron Watkins, Paige Westhoff and Megan and Brady Wood.

Lynn McBee (File photo)

Robert Weatherly (File photo)

Ah, but Lynn reports that the Crow Collection’s inaugural Jade Ball is going to be a fundraiser somewhere between The Sweetheart Ball and Art Ball with a blend of entertainment, seated supper and surprises throughout the evening.

When asked why it wasn’t being held across the street at the Crow Museum, Lynn said, “There wasn’t enough room.” After all, the attendance for the event is scheduled to hit the 400 mark.

According to Robert, “The success of the Jade Ball is extremely important as we work to ensure the longevity of our city’s sole Pan-Asian museum. I’m very proud that this first-year event will help the Crow Collection of Asian Art continue to provide North Texas with quality, diverse programming such as the southern U.S.’s largest Chinese New Year Festival, groundbreaking exhibitions, innovative wellness programs and exciting educational activities and events for all ages.”  

If that one table has already been snapped up, try the old-fashioned way of getting in — write a big, old check. Betcha Robert and Lynn will find a way to squeeze you in. Here’s the link to get in.

Crystal Charity Ball Fashion Show And Neiman Marcus Scored A Home Run Bringing The Fundraiser Back To “The Store” With Posen And Pearls

Thomas Wolfe once declared, “You can never go home again.” Leave it to Neiman Marcus and Crystal Charity Ball to prove that old adage is so off base. On Friday, September 15, the 2017 Crystal Charity Ball Fashion Show and Luncheon was a love fest bringing the more-than-popular children’s fundraiser back home to the Neiman Marcus Downtown flagship.

Unlike the past couple or three years when the CCB Fashion Show took place in the store and an OMG tented venue in the adjoining parking lot, it was decided to move the whole package into the building’s various floors.

Sixth floor

Entrance to Michael Flores Salon

While regular shoppers and visiting tourists were surprised at the hundreds of top-tier fashionables filling the first floor for the official reception, one gent was gently turned away from dining in the sixth floor Zodiac. It wasn’t due to his natty Bermuda shorts. Rather, the restaurant was closed for the day due to the CCB, as well as Nancy C. Roger’s reception in the Michael Flores Salon celebrating the 10 Best Dressed (Anita Arnold, Delilah Boyd, Katherine Coker, Janie Condon, Lisa Cooley, Tucker Enthoven, Pat Harloe, Julie Hawes, Amy Hegi, Piper Wyatt) and Hall of Famer Charlotte Jones Anderson.  Before the elegant 11 arrived for the Cristal doings after their run through of the show on the second floor, NM Downtown PR Marjon Henderson admonished them that they were to be back on the second floor no later than 11:15 a.m.

For first timers, it was a shock-and-awe moment when they saw how Fancy Nancy, Michael F. and her go-to-Gro designer Nathan Johnson had turned the entry into a whimsical tunnel of greenery, white flowers and rose petals strewn along the way and highlighted by chandeliers. Nathan admitted that he and his crew had worked around the clock to create and install the masterpiece that would be history by noon.

Michael Flores and Nancy Rogers

Pam Perella, Robyn Conlon and Claire Emanuelson

And, of course, the flutes on the silver trays screamed Cristal. You were expecting Kool-Aid? BTW, the “C” in Nancy C. Rogers does not stand for Cristal.

Just past 10:30 a.m., the hostess arrived to greet guests like 2017 CCB Chair Pam Perella, 2018 CCB Chair Claire Emanuelson, 2014 CCB Chair Robyn Conlon, Dallas Snadon, Gina Betts, Vicky Lattner, Di Johnston, Nancy Carter, Angie Kadesky, Mike Wyatt, Vin Perella with daughter Lauren Perella, Ryan Wilson, Debbie Breard, Niven Morgan and Shelby Wagner, Joan Eleazer, Bela Cooley, Sue Gragg, Becky Bowen, Dixey Thornton, Ginger Auer, Tanya Foster, Alicia Wood, Leisa Street, Lynn McBee, Nancy Carlson, Capera Ryan, Sam Boyd, Beth Layton, Muffin Lemak, Ann Dyer, Shelle Sills and DeeDee Lee.

Vin Perella, Lauren Perella and Ryan Wilson

Vicky Lattner, Di Johnston, Nancy Carter and Angie Kadesky

Second floor

In the meantime, the rest of the store was buzzing. As NM special events mastermind Sandy Marple was finishing up with the dress rehearsal, fashion show featured designer Zac Posen arrived with Celine Mariton on the second floor that had been turned into a red carpeted showroom cloaked in black and as narrow as an arrow’s shaft.

Sandy Marple, Zac Posen and Celine Mariton

On three sides were tiers of gold chairs with comfy red, purple and taupe cushions. Down the middle of the room was a back-to-back row of the chairs. At one end of the room was Zac Posen spelled out in gold on both sides of the runway entrance. Zac was blown away by the reconfiguration of the couture salon that he knew so well. Whipping out his cellphone he took a shot of the room.

Fourth floor

Luncheon table

Just two floors up,tables were in the final stages of being set up for the seated luncheon. Table hosts’ assistants were making sure that place cards were in the right spots. Even fashion show featured designer Zac Posen’s team had provided mementos for the guests. Some were gifted with Zac-designed scarves and others received Zac sunglasses.

Back to the second floor

Then the bewitching minute arrived with the 10 Best Dressed and Charlotte scurrying down to the second floor for the presentation. Eventually the guests from both the first-floor reception and Nancy’s party made their way to the second floor with elevators and escalators moving nonstop.

As the sold-out crowd of more than 500 started filling the gold chairs, CCB Reservations Co-Chair Paige Slates looked over the setup and smiled. She and Tiffany Divis had been in charge of reservations and admitted that until all the derrières were in place, they weren’t going to be satisfied.

Laura Bush and Lee Ann White

Nancy Dedman and Joan Schnitzer

Sarah and Ross Perot and Lisa Troutt

Kelli Ford

Mary Clare Finney

As guests finally settled down, a voice announced NM Fashion guru Ken Downing, who arrived from backstage to the podium set up midway across the aisle from Annette Simmons, Nancy Dedman, Joan Schnitzer Levy, Lee Ann White, former first lady Laura Bush, Sarah and Ross Perot and Lisa Troutt. Like a fashion version of a Texas A&M yell leader, Ken extolled his love and support of Zac — “My mother has pictures of Zac all over the house. There’s not a picture of me anywhere.” According to Ken, one of Zac’s first ventures outside NYC was Neiman’s in Dallas and he fell in love with “his girls.” Upon learning that he would be the featured designer for the CCB event, Zac texted Ken and asked him to put the show together for “our girls.” Ken continued saying the show wasn’t “just a fashion show. The show is a gift from my heart and from Zac’s heart to all of you.”

Karen Katz

He then introduced NM President/CEO Karen Katz who welcomed the group and said it was only right to bring the fashion show back to “our house” for the company’s 110th anniversary year. Karen was followed by 2017 CCB Chair Pam Perella and Fashion Show Chair Christi Urschel, who thanked all for supporting the organization providing millions of dollars for Dallas children’s charities.

Julie Hawes

Charlotte Jones Anderson

With that Ken returned to the podium to present the 10 Best Dressed and Hall of Famer. It came off without a hitch. Ken provided the commentary with touches of ad libbing. Blonde Julie Hawes dropped her red fur jacket midway and dragging it the last lap.

Zac Posen fashion

Zac Posen fashion

Zac Posen gown

Zac Posen gown

Then Ken stepped aside, the podium was removed and the models took their turn in Zac fashions — adorable frocks for cocktail parties, black short shorts and billowing ball gowns. One or two appeared to channel Scarlett O’Hara’s curtain dress.

Margot McKinney

Margot McKinney jewelry with Zac Posen gown

Highlighting the outfits were necklaces, earrings, bracelets and all sorts of exquisite bling provided by fourth-generation Australian jeweler Margot McKinney, who made headlines when she bought a harvest of 85,000 baroque pearls.

Zac Posen

For the finale, it was a standing ovation with Zac doing a victory lap.

Back to the fourth floor

As the fashionable guests made their way to the fourth floor for lunch, the 10 Besties and Charlotte took their places for group photos with Zac, Margot, Ken, Pam and Christi.

From the left: (standing) Katherine Coker, Anita Arnold, Delilah Boyd, Charlotte Jones Anderson, Pat Harloe, Lisa Cooley, Tucker Enthoven and Julie Hawes; (seated) Janie Condon, Christi Urschel, Pam Perella, Amy Hegi and Piper Wyatt

From the left: (standing) Katherine Coker, Anita Arnold, Delilah Boyd, Charlotte Jones Anderson, Pat Harloe, Lisa Cooley, Tucker Enthoven and Julie Hawes; (seated) Janie Condon, Margot McKinney, Ken Downing, Zac Posen, Amy Hegi and Piper Wyatt

Then they joined the others for the meal “inspired by” Zac’s new cook book, “Cooking With Zac” due out in October. Guests donned their new found sunglasses for photos. Fancy Nancy sent bottles of Cristal to the10 BD tables. Ken and Zac shouldered it up. Karen joined up with three generations of Jones girls (Gene, Charlotte and Haley Anderson)…Christi celebrated with her mom Linda Carter, husband Hal Urschel and BFF Sarah Perot.

Haley Anderson, Charlote Jones Anderson, Karen Katz and Gene Jones

Linda Carter

Elsa Norwood, Susan Palma, Patty Leyendecker and Tiffany Divis

As the guests dined on the fourth floor, a truck parked along South Ervay was being loaded with the gold chairs, the black showroom was being disassembled and the couture salon was back in business.

For more than 85 pictures, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: 2017 Crystal Charity Ball Fashion Show and Luncheon

Crystal Charity Ball’s Fashion Show and Luncheon is the mother-of-all charity fashion extravaganzas in these parts. Thanks to being orchestrated by Neiman Marcus’ team, it’s a quick sellout each year with the cheap seats going for $1,000.

From the left: (standing) Katherine Coker, Anita Arnold, Delilah Boyd, Charlotte Jones Anderson, Pat Harloe, Lisa Cooley, Tucker Enthoven and Julies Hawes; (seated) Janie Condon, Christi Urschel, Pam Perella, Amy Hegi and Piper Wyatt

The 10 Best Dressed Class of 2017 (Anita Arnold, Delilah Boyd, Katherine Coker, Janie Condon, Lisa Cooley, Tucker Enthoven, Pat Harloe, Julie Hawes, Amy Hegi, Piper Wyatt) and Hall of Famer Charlotte Jones Anderson were heady enough, but this year’s featured designer 37-year-old Zac Posen created a youthful feel for the store that was celebrating its 110th anniversary. He scored major points by making BFFs forever by presenting guests with everything from his sunglasses to scarves. No chintzy perfume samples for Zaco.

Zac Posen

Too bad he was so busy preparing the models backstage that he didn’t get to check out the pre-program festivities on the store’s first and sixth floor. Ah, but more about all of that later. Just settle back and check out the two pages of more than 80 photos of the fashions and faces at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

Jolie Humphrey And Josey Kennington To Co-Chair Aware Affair’s “Celebrate the Moments – A Modern American Evening” At The Statler

Jolie Humphrey and Josey Kennington*

As reported previously, the 2018 Aware Affair will be taking place on Friday, April 13. The details that were still pending were who and where. But those questions have just been answered by Aware President Venise Stuart. She’s just revealed it will take place at the 61-year-old Statler that has gone through a major renovation transforming it into a 21st century multi-use development including a 159-room hotel, 219 residences, restaurants, retailing and entertainment facilities. The fundraiser’s theme is fitting to the revitalized development: “Celebrate the Moments – A Modern American Evening.”

Co-Chairing the event will be Jolie Humphrey and Josey Kennington with Kim and David McDavid Jr., serving as honorary co-chairs. The honorees will be BvB Dallas that just celebrated its 10th anniversary this past August and the memory of Frances B. Chantilis with her family, Cheryl and Dr. Sam Chantilis and Stephanie and Bennie Bray.

Starting off at 6 p.m. with a cocktail reception and silent auction, The Statler Director of Culinary Events Justo Blanco will present a three-course seated dinner following by a live auction.

* Photo credit: Jeremy Lock

Despite “Hand In Hand” Telethon, Cattle Baron’s Ball Research Symposium Reinforced The Importance Of Cancer Research And Treatment Funding

Who would have thought that Hurricanes Harvey and Irma would have impacted North Texas fundraising efforts? On Tuesday, September 12, it happened.

When the Cattle Baron’s Ball gals had arranged to have their annual Research Symposium at Studio Movie Grill at Royal Lane, the schedule seemed free and clear for that Tuesday. They had arranged for Mary Kay Inc. and the Deason Foundation to be the presenting sponsor, as well as Studio Movie Grill to host it.

But with hurricanes whopping up the Texas and Florida coasts, the renowned talents of the U.S. came together to hold a televised cross-country telethon — Hand in Hand — with Julia Roberts, Barbra Streisand, Daniel Craig, Billy Crystal, Jay Leno, Leonardo DiCaprio, Oprah, Justin Bieber, George Clooney, Cher, Jamie Foxx, Reese Witherspoon and others (wo)manning the telephone banks and encouraging donations, while George Strait, Miranda Lambert, Robert Earl Keen, Chris Stapleton, Blake Sheldon, Usher, Stevie Wonder performed on stage in San Antonio, Los Angeles, Nashville, New York City. Talk about the Super Bowl of celebs!

Sunie Solomon, Nicholas Conrad and Deidre Bacala

Raquibul Hannan and Sterling Deason

And then there was the issue of the CBB committee members being moms with car pool and after-school activities. Perhaps all those issues resulted in a less than expected 60 guests for the presentation by Dr. Raquibul Hannan and Nicholas Conrad.

Still the message was clear and inspirational — thanks to funding of research and treatments, fewer lives were being lost to cancer.

Anne Stodghill

Kim Quinn and Kris Johnson

On hand for the cocktail reception and presentation were CBB Co-Chairs Anne Stodghill and Sunie Solomon, Symposium Co-Chairs Kris Johnson and Kim Quinn (Co-Chair Isabell Novakov was away on business), Sterling Deason, Deidre Bacala, Annika Cail, 2016 CBB Co-Chair Andrea Weber recalling that it was this time last year that she gave birth to JT Weber and Nancy Gopez, who was still thrilled over winning the Bachendorf’s bracelet at the CBB Live Auction party in August.   

JUST IN: 2017 Obelisk Award Recipients And Keynote Speaker Announced For Business Council For The Arts Fundraising Luncheon

Steven Roth and Thai-Ian Tran*

Obelisk Award Luncheon Co-Chairs Thai-Ian Tran and Steve Roth have just announced the luncheon keynote speaker and the recipients of the 2017 Obelisk Awards that is annually presented by Business Council For The Arts.

Addressing the group of art lovers will be Nasher Haemisegger Fellow for the National Center for Arts Research and former Brooklyn Academy of Music President Karen Brooks Hopkins.

As for the Obelisk Awardees, this year’s collection of outstanding art supporters are:  

  • The Arts Partnership Award recognizes businesses that have provided sustained support to an arts/cultural organization for three or more years.
    • Large Business (more than 500 employees locally) — Target nominated by Nasher Sculpture Center.
    • Medium Business (between 50 and 500 employees locally) — Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, Richardson nominated by AIR (Arts Incubator of Richardson).
    • Small Business (fewer than 50 employees locally) — Angelika Film Center – Dallas nominated by Video Association of Dallas
  • The New Initiatives Award recognizes businesses for supporting an innovative arts/cultural program created within the past three years.
    • Large Business (more than 500 employees locally) — Corgan nominated by Creative Arts Center
    • Medium Business (between 50-500 employees locally) — West Village nominated by: Dallas Film Society
    • Small Business (fewer than 50 employees locally) — C.C. Communications, LLC nominated by Esta Raza No Se Raja

Nancy Carlson (File photo)

Keith Cerny (File photo)

  • The Distinguished Cultural Organization Award is given to recognize one outstanding nonprofit organization for a project or program that has enhanced the community through partnership with a business. — The Cliburn nominated by The Arts Council of Fort Worth/Neiman Marcus
  • The Business Champion for the Arts Award recognizes long-term leadership and commitment to arts/culture by a business executive (president, CEO, partner). — Nancy Carlson nominated by TACA
  • The Visionary Nonprofit Arts Leader Award recognizes an arts leader who has consistently demonstrated vision, impact, innovation, and successful alignment with business and community partners throughout their tenure. — Keith Cerny nominated by Deutsche Bank Trust Co., NA/ Deutsche Bank Wealth Management.
  • The Arts Education Award recognizes one outstanding business for its support of arts education programs. — Neiman Marcus Group nominated by Big Thought and Dallas Black Dance Theater
  • The Lifetime Achievement Award recognizing lifetime advancement of the arts. — Ask Me About Art/Gail Sachson nominated by Carolyn Brown Photography
  • The Community Champion Award recognizing community arts advancement — Kathy Litinas nominated by Allen Arts Alliance

According to Business Council For The Arts CEO Katherine Wagner, “This year’s Obelisk honorees reflect the significant growth of the arts regionally – a fact underscored in our recent economic impact study, showing that the nonprofit arts and culture sector has now reached an impact of $1.5 billion annually in North Texas.”

Katherine Wagner (File photo)

Mary Anne Alhadeff (File photo)

Ryan Anthony (File photo)

The awards will be presented on Wednesday, November 15, at Belo Mansion with returnees KERA President/CEO Mary Anne Alhadeff as emcee and Dallas Symphony Orchestra Principal Trumpet Ryan Anthony onstage.

Tickets start at $150 and are available here!

* Photo provided by Business Council For The Arts

A Night To Remember’s Meet And Greet With Jennifer Hudson At The Winspear Was A Warm Get Together For CitySquare

The Winspear green room was more like a hot house on the night of Saturday, September 9. With at least three portable mini-heaters blowing away, it would have made an orchid feel right at home.

On the other hand, for guests preparing for CitySquare’s meet-and-greet with A Night To Remember concert headliner Jennifer Hudson, it was a bit toasty.

The reason for the hot times was the songbird’s concern for her voice. And anyone who had heard Hudson’s singing, they would understand and downright defend her need for warmth.

Stephanie Fox and Nick Sowell

After briefly cocktailing in the Hamon’s suite that was truly decked out, the top-drawer types like Stephanie Fox and Nick Sowell, Caleb Tam and Vy Duong, Jillian Jaccar Conry and Gerardo Diaz Blanco,  Erica  and Jack Thomason and Gernise and Terry Flowers lined up for the grip-and grin outside the green room. Inside Co-Chairs Wendy Messmann, Sherel Riley and Tiffany Touchstone-Hawkins were joined by CitySquare’s Brenda and Larry James.

Sherel Riley, Wendy Messmann and Tiffany Touchstone-Hawkins

On cue, Jennifer arrived in a denim shirt over a black top. While her smile was nearly blinding, her skin was what the cosmetic industry only wishes to achieve. She looked so rested and relaxed.

Without hesitation, she walked up to one and all in the room and greeted them. It was almost like she was ready to settle back and spend the evening chatting with them.

Larry James, Jennifer Hudson and Brenda James

But the handlers recognized there were dozens of big spenders waiting for a brief howdy-do and a quick photo. Jennifer’s one request as she walked over to the backdrop was, “Don’t shoot my feet.” All eyes shot to her feet. Were there extra toes? A tattoo? Nope. They looked as normal as could be. But who cared? It was the face, the smile and the voice that mattered.

And the concert proved that all three were in marvelous shape. For her reward, Jennifer and her crew toddled back to The Joule for a good night’s sleep, knowing that they had raised funds to help combat homelessness in Dallas.

TACA Custom Auction Gala’s Celebration Of 50 Years Of Funding The Arts “Tranformed” Into A Glistening Affair

The TACA Custom Auction Gala celebrating the art funding organization’s 50th anniversary was a time to glisten and shine. And on Friday, September 8, the first black-tie gala of the 2017 fall/winter fundraising season did just that. Only it wasn’t exactly for the reason some might have predicted.

Unlike years past, when it was held entirely inside the legendary Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek, the guests discovered as they drove up to the auto courtyard that the gala had taken up more real estate. A large, see-thru tent complete with overhead lights and greenery, bars and a black stage surrounded by tables and chairs had been erected in the courtyard adjacent to the august hotel. Here the cocktail reception would be held, followed by the evening’s program. As for dinner, guests would saunter into the Mansion to dine and wine.

Dean Fearing and Wanda Gierhart

Linda and Bill Custard

Robyn Flatt and Wilson Tarver

Don and Carol Glendenning

TACA Custom Auction Gala Co-Chairs Wanda Gierhart and Dean Fearing reported that they were planning on wedding in summer 2018…Breast cancer survivor Linda Custard topped off in snow white hair reported that husband Bill Custard had teased her the year before that, for the first time, he had more hair than she did…Dallas Children’s Theater’s Robyn Flatt was thrilled about the theater’s new mega-sign lighting that took place on Wednesday, August 30. She also added that ticket sales for the annual Cabaret were going briskly…. After checking in outside the tent, guests like Carol and Don Glendenning, Wendy and Jeremy Strick, Laura and Dennis Moon, Lynn and Allan McBee, Lisa and Bill Ogle, Katherine Wynne and John Baer, Jan Barboglio, Barbara and Steve Durham, Stacie and Steve Adams and Mimi and Rich Sterling ambled on in for drinks and the evening’s festivities.

John Baer, Katherine Wynne and Laura and Dennis Moon

Jessica Chandler

Diane and Hal Brierley

When Dallas Theater Center Associate Artistic Director Joel Ferrell called the beautiful people to start the program, the veteran high rollers discovered that things had changed from the past. Instead of having front-row tables reserved for them to raise their bid paddles, it was a first-come, first-sit situation.

Then, as the body count for the sold-out event climbed past 275, the glamorous joint started getting pretty cozy. Thankfully it wasn’t a simmering August heat wave, and the  September evening’s outdoor temperature was still lingering in the upper 70’s. Still, the couple of occasionally open tent doors weren’t letting in much of a breeze. Like Ashley Wilkes, tuxedoed men in white buttoned-up shirts with ties smiled bravely, as their lady friends fanned themselves with their bid paddles like Scarlett O’Hara on the porch of Tara. It wasn’t a question of the portable A/C units not working up to snuff. Someone said there was an A/C unit trying its best in the back of the tent. But like the Titanic lifeboat count, there just weren’t enough of the little blowhards to meet the need as the festivities continued.

Joel got things started by introducing the evening’s Co-Chairs/lovebugs Wanda Gierhart and Dean Fearing. The former Mansion/current Ritz chef with headset in place kicked things off welcoming the group. But when Wanda tried to provide an added welcome, her handheld mic proved to be a silent stick. Panic on the sidelines kicked in, and event planner Randi Steinhart scrambled on stage handing Wanda another handheld mic. It proved to be suffering from the same “Silent Sam” ailment as the other mic. Giggles arose among the guests. After repeated exchanges of dead mics with similar results and pleading looks at the production table with no results, the laughter had been replaced with awkward smiles. Trooper Wanda saved the situation by simply talking into Dean’s headset.

Celebration

With a working mic in hand, TACA Chair Donna Wilhelm introduced “Celebration,” a dance commissioned by TACA to celebrate TACA’s 50th anniversary and performed by Dallas Black Dance Theatre, Bruce Wood Dance, and Dark Circles Contemporary Dance. Things were heating up. Now bid paddles were fanning at full pace, as the dancers performed flawlessly. But the icy cocktails were starting to wear off, and the body-heat temperatures table-side were rising.

Donna Wilhelm

Michelle Thomas

Katherine Bull and Jan Barboglio

Instead of going straight to the live auction, Donna returned to the stage and told of her roots in funding the New Works Fund going back to her childhood as the daughter of Polish immigrants. She was followed by incoming TACA Chair Michelle Thomas, who reported, “Did you know?” about TACA. On the front row was one of TACA’s original members Katherine Bull, who could have read chapter and verse about the days of Jane Murchison (Haber), Evelyn Lambert, Virginia Nick and the ladies getting together to raise funds for a new art group — Dallas Theater Center. But there was no mention of them or the TACA roots on this night.

The paddles kept paddling the air like a metronome at presto speed to fight off the feel of perspiration.

Louis Murad and Cyndi Phelps

Finally, it was time for auctioneer Louis Murad to lead the live auction. His aim, he’d said, was to haul in about $250,000. He said it was not going to be a repeat of the 2015 TACA Custom Auction Gala, when he had conducted the lackluster TACA auction in the cool Mansion Promenade. But as starting time neared, some, who knew they weren’t “players” or were starting to succumb to the heat, headed into the cool confines of the Mansion.

Auction sign holder

As Louis hopped on stage, he looked at the crowd of beauts and still felt confident. Two 21st century Austin Powers lovelies walked the stage like boxing ring girls holding signs designating the package for the crowd that was starting to look like a formally attired hot-yoga class. Flutes that had held champagne were drained. Makeup was starting to show premature signs of melting. Slender gals in gowns, who had stilettoed their way over the cobblestone courtyard, were now leaning against the tent’s walls, looking like wilted daisies. One woman at a front-row table stood. Louis asked if she was rising to bid. No, she was headed to the bar for a couple of drinks for friends. Items that had been described as “priceless,” were barely hitting the five-figure neighborhood.

Thanks to Diane and Hal Brierley, the evening’s bidding venture wasn’t a total loss, with their taking home dinner with Dean Fearing and Cowboy greats (Troy Aikman, Daryl Johnston and Emmitt Smith) for $32,500. Alas, Louis’ goal of a quarter of a million bucks didn’t hit its target. Including the post-auction, shout-out for funds, the evening’s take wasn’t too much more than $100,000.

One person commented, “Too sober. Too hot. This group is ready for church.”

As crass as this comment was, it was a Reader’s Digest critique. Usually, most fundraisers have the live auction preceded by a cocktail party and a well-quenched dinner. The true experts in the live auction world know that you don’t want the guests to be “too happy” that they don’t have the day-after blues. But you do want them to be lulled into feeling the lift of the paddles is painless. Not the case here. Between the heat and the grumbling tummies, these celebrants wanted to get out of the tent and onto dinner inside the air-conditioned Mansion.

According to one TACA organizer, the thinking was that people wanted the dinner to follow the live auction, so they could settle back and linger, as opposed to hustling to the auction. They also felt that the dance performance would rally the paddles into a frenzy high.

But this POA turned into a perfect storm for Monday morning quarterbacking. Had they held the live auction in the Mansion ballroom, the heat factor would not have kicked in. Had they held the live auction after the seated dinner, there would have been a more festive lifting of the paddles. Had the auction items been curated by a true luxury team like the 2017 Art Ball’s Jennifer Karol and Rajan Patel instead of parceling some items out to out-of-state AmFund, the paddles might have waved like the flags on the Fourth of July. Had the annual farm-to-table package been part of the lineup, even the poorest of the rich crowd would have had paddled up.

Editor’s comment: As the new regime of TACA gets underway for the next 50 years, it appears to still be a project in development. But on this night the celebration of TACA’s 50th anniversary wasn’t quite the bravo production that some had hoped for. MIA were some longtime TACA supporters. According to one source, past TACA chairs had been invited to join the host committee. When one “past TACA co-chair” had received the invite, she responded, “My husband and I don’t support the arts. We’ve never been to a TACA event, so I doubt we’ve ever chaired one.”

Organizers intimated that this would be the last TACA live auction. Perhaps it’s just as well, since the 2017 TACA Custom Auction Gala went out with a whimper, and not a bang.