Fifth Annual Can Do! Luncheon Brought Out Stories From All Walks Of Life For The Wilkinson Center Fundraiser

The Fifth Annual Can Do! Luncheon not only ran on time, it sliced off ten minutes with guests scurrying on their way to the valet ten minutes earlier than planned at the Dallas County Club on Tuesday, May 9.

It was a sell-out crowd for The Wilkinson Center fundraiser and it was a heady crowd, thanks to Co-Honorees Ashlee and Chris Kleinert, The Real Estate Council and Wilkinson Center supporters.

Regina Montoya

Craig Innes

Sara Martineau and Nelda Cain Pickens

In the crowd filling the DCC ballroom were Nancy Ann Hunt, Carolyn and David Miller, Ros Dawson Thompson, Gail and Gerald Turner, Angie Kadesky, Marsha and Craig Innes, Kristi Francis, Ellen McStay, Pam Perella, Tucker Enthoven, Stacey Walker, Cheryl Joyner, Suzy Gekiere, Leslie Diers and Sara Albert with their mom Cynthia Melnick, Jan Langbein, Sara Martineau, Nelda Cain Pickens, Regina Montoya, Jeanne Marie Clossey and Jennifer Swift.

Ros Dawson Thompson and Nancy Ann Hunt

Jennifer Swift

Marsha Innes

In keeping with other fundraisers, there was emphasis placed on text messaging donations. Whether it was Event Chair Beth Thoele or stand-up signage on tables, the message was strong to text. The problem with the text donating is that while the younger members of the audience know how to donate via their cellphones, the older crowd and the ones with the most ka-ching shied away from the idea.

Luckily, the Wilkinson message was delivered thanks to The Wilkinson Center Executive Director Anne Reeder with testimony from Bank of America’s Maria Padilla, who told of her coming to the U.S. when she was 9 years old with her mother and siblings. The purpose was to get an education. She recalled the days when she had to translate for her mother and go to McDonald’s and eat while her mother didn’t, because there just wasn’t enough money. Today her brother is an architect, her sister is a teacher and Maria has not only graduated from college but has earned a saster’s degree from SMU.

Robin Minick and Kelcey Hamilton

Following a video, the first award of the day was presented to The Real Estate Council. In accepted the award, TREC VP and Foundation Director Robin Minick spoke briefly about the similarities between The Wilkinson Center and TREC, which share a mission “to improve the lives of the people of Dallas.”

Next up were the Kleinerts. Chris started off admitting that he had been impressed by the Can Do containers with flowers on the table near the stage and had told their son to grab one after the lunch, so they could give it to Ashlee for upcoming Mother’s Day. Oops! He hadn’t realized that the containers were the awards.

Then he pointed out that the spirit of the Can Do Luncheon is about encouraging entrepreneurship and used as an example a recent news story about a youngster in Rockwall. It seems 7-year-old Kaden Newton had recognized the fact that many food pantries were in short supply when it came to healthy and kid-friendly food. So he created a program for Mac and Cheese and Pancakes to meet that need. Within the first two weeks, he had raised more than 10,000 items.

Ashlee and Chris Kleinert, Beth Thoele, Anne Reeder and Monique Weber

The Wilkinson Center’s Monique Weber also received a standing ovation for her story of surviving heart-rending challenges. She told how she had lost her son to a murder in Chicago and moved to Dallas, only to find herself homeless. She turned to Wilkinson Center’s Food Pantry, where she found a family of support in its staff. They not only provided food but also helped her earn her diploma and receive a scholarship to attend a community college, where she is training to become a surgical technician.

MySweetCharity Elves Turn To Reliable Sources For Mad Hatter’s “Under The Tuscan Sun” Weather Predictions

Sharla Bush

The MySweetCharity weather elves have been monitoring the wet conditions, since they were knocked out of their bunk beds this morning. The question was: “What about Thursday’s Mad Hatter’s Tea‘s ‘Under The Tuscan Sun’ at the Dallas Arboretum?”

After reviewing the various scientific resources, they turned to their reliable Ouija boards. Their decision: The rains should be history with the sun shining by the time the cars filled with hatted folks arrive.

That’s the good news for the sold-out Dallas Arboretum fundraiser.

The not-most-marvelous-news is that the temperatures will be in the upper 60s and a tad bit chilly for sundresses… unless they’re under cashmere coats.

It’s a little ironic, actually. Thursday’s forecast for Tuscany, Italy, predicts a 70% change of rain with temperatures in the low 60s. Mamma mia!

SOLD OUT ALERT: Callier Cares Luncheon

Emilynn Wilson (File photo)

Lisa Troutt (File photo)

Kern Wildenthal (File photo)

Well, Emilynn Wilson has gone and done it. She said she would hit the “Sold Out” mark for Thursday’s Callier Cares Luncheon at the Dallas Country Club, and word just arrived that the ballroom is filled.

But then how could she lose with Lisa Troutt as her honorary chair, Dr. Kern Wildenthal receiving the Ruth and Ken Altshuler Callier Care Award, and noted audiology researcher Dr. Sharon Kujawa being presented with the 2017 Callier Prize?

Proceeds from the luncheon will benefit the patients in need through the Callier Care Fund at the University of Texas at Dallas’ Callier Center for Communication Disorders.

Sold-Out Alert!: 2017 Recess

Another state of “Sold Out” has been revealed. Friday night’s Recess at the Dallas Arboretum is a done deal. 

As for those predictions of stormy weather, they won’t be a problem because the NorthPark-sponsored Sandbox, games, spiked juice box and music provided by Prophets and Outlaws will all be safe and sound inside Rosine Hall.

Recess*

And no need to wear stuffy, grown-up attire. It will be strictly “schoolyard chic” (aka casual chic).

Benefiting and celebrating the 10th anniversary of Dallas AfterSchool, Event Co-Chairs Regina Merson and Robyn Siegel and Honorary Co-Chairs Tanya McDonald and Janet Mockovciak have arranged for the following sponsors:

  • Capture the Flag ($25,000) – The Baldridge Foundation
  • Simon Says ($10,000) – Lydia and William Addy, Baird, Strategic Wealth Partners/Colleen and Peter Bowler and Janet and John Mockovciak
  • Red Rover ($5,000) – Anne and Terry Conner, Christina K. Hanger and Tanya and Ken McDonald
  • Duck Duck Goose ($2,500) – Philip Theodore Bee Charitable Trust, Kristi and Brian Erickson, Cherri and Jack Musser, Cindy and Howard Rachofsky, Ernst and Young and Tenet Healthcare
  • Four Square ($1,000) – Christy Bednar, Sheela and Marc Birnbaum, Kathi and Chris Child, Serena Simmons Connelly, Maria and Douglas Cramer, The Donachie Foundation, Laurie and Craig Dunn, Angela and Mark Frederiksen, Abby and Michael Gregory, Sarah Losinger, Christina and Tim Norris, Tricia and Eric Stammberger, Social Venture Partners Dallas, Stacy and Mack Hicks and The Fijolek Family
  • Special Thanks and In-Kind Donors – Aimbridge Hospitality, BANCO, Cindy Ferris, Dallas Arboretum, Kent Rathbun Catering, LeForce Entertainment, Live Nation, McShan Florist, Microsoft, NorthPark Center, Paper City, Pop Parties, Topgolf, Yellow Rose Distilling and Housed Real Estate
* Graphic courtesy of Dallas AfterSchool

Sold-Out Alert!: 2017 Art In Bloom

Whoops! Yesterday it was reported that no “Sold Outs” had been announced for the spring fundraising season following spring break. Today word arrived that that status had changed.

2017 Art In Bloom’s “Seasons Of Love”*

Not only is the 2017 Art In Bloom’s “Seasons Of Love” hosted by the Dallas Museum of Art League and chaired by Sarah Jo Hardin sold out, but organizers have added an opportunity for those who missed out on the Monday, March 27th event.

Sure, the Art In Bloom guests will get a sneak peak of the “Live Blooming Art Exhibit,” but DMA visitors will be able to check the floral designs “created by local floral designers and inspired by works of art from the Museum’s permanent collection” from Tuesday, March 28, thru Wednesday, March 29, on the DMA’s Level Two.

And how about some name dropping? Well, Art In Bloom can provide ‘em. The exhibition will include the talents of Judy Blackman of Blumengarten, Metka Terselich of Metka Floral Designs, Caroline Hansen of Forestwood Florals, Dan Pierce of Wild about Flowers, Doan Do of Cebolla Fine Flowers, Sarah Hobbs of Park Cities Petals, Juan Gomar of Apples to Zinnias, Lucy Diaz-Flores of Bella Flora and David Kimmel of David Kimmel Design.

So, don’t boo-hoo that you can’t attend the presentation by floral industry ambassador René van Rems and lunch on Monday at the DMA. You can still check out “Live Blooming Art Exhibit” Tuesday and Wednesday!

Art In Bloom proceeds will benefit the DMA League’s Floral Endowment Fund, as well as the DMA’s exhibition and education programs.

* Graphic courtesy of Dallas Museum of Art League

Sold-Out Alert!: Dallas Arboretum’s Inaugural Food And Wine Festival

Dallas Bloom’s tulips (File photo)

Despite claims that North Texas has been evacuated due to Spring Break, ain’t so! In fact, more than 1,300 are gonna be at the Dallas Arboretum’s First-Ever Food and Wine Festival Thursday. If you haven’t gotten your ticket, you’re out of luck because the food fest is sold out!

Janice Provost and Abraham Salum (File photo)

Chad Houser (File photo)

Dunia Borga (File photo)

It’s been such a gangbuster sell-out that the tulips are squeezing together to make room for the participating chefs (Chef Sharon Van Meter, Chef Aaron Staudenmaier, Chef Abraham Salum, Chef Alex Astranti, Chef Anastacia Quinones, Chef Andrea Shackelford, Chef April Barney, Chef Brad Phillips, Chef Chad Houser, Chef Christopher Patrick, Chef Daniel Pittman, Chef Daniele Puleo, Chef Dunia Borga, Chef Rebecca Jolly, Chef David Gauthier, Chef Dunia Borga, Chef Eric Dreyer, Chef Gianni Santin, Chef Henry Gentry, Chef Jay Valley, Chef Janice Provost, Chef Jean-Marie, Chef Jeffrey Hobbs, Chef John Doumas, Chef John Tesar, Chef Josh Harmon, Chef Junior Borges, Chef Josh Sutcliff, Chef Justin Box, Chef Katherine Clapner, Chef Larry Williams, Chef Luis Olvera, Chef Mark Wootton, Chef Mary Sparks, Chef Matt McCallister, Chef Meaders Ozarow, Chef Michael Scott, Chef Mike Shetsky, Chef Nikky Phinyawatana, Chef Omar Flores, Chef Richard Chamberlain, Chef Robert Lyford, Chef Samantha Rush, Chef Samir Dhurandhar, Chef Scott Nakachi, Chef Sheila Roidopoulos, Chefs Sonny Pache, Michael Scott and Chef Uno Immanivong).

After grazing among the 500,000 blossoms and food stations, guests will be entertained with a concert on the Martin Rutchik Concert Stage And Lawn as the sun sets behind White Rock Lake.

2017 Soup’s On! Had Union Station Filled To The Rafters With Chefs, Advocates For The Dallas Homeless, Parkies Types And Gloria Campos Who Isn’t Dead

Ray and Margie Francis

As the Barack Obama Male Leadership Academy Jazz Band set up downstairs for the 10th Annual Soup’s On! Luncheon at the Eddie Bernice Johnson Union Station on Tuesday, January 31, early arrivals like Honorary Co-Chairs Margie and Ray Francis had a great opportunity to check out the items in the silent auction in the Stationmaster’s Lounge.

Over in the main ballroom, it was a totally different setup from years past. Luncheon Chair Heather Sauber and Stewpot Alliance President Julie Marshall had changed the arrangements. The stage was facing the window with two large screens on either side. Due to the setup there were a couple of tables that were going to have to rely on 52” flatscreens to see the action on the stage. After all, the event was so very sold out. Even the main service line between the rows of tables seemed on the thin side. Hopefully, the serving team was all a size two.

The same tight situation was slated for the parking to fit 300 projected cars in 150 spaces.

But Heather was bound and determined to make this Stewpot Alliance fundraiser a moneymaker. She even managed to save on the speaker’s fee by having a panel of local leaders address the homeless situation that has been making headlines with the closure of tent cities.

Mike Rawlings and Robert Wilonsky

Keven Ann Willey

Jeff Tooker

Florencia Velasco Fortner

For the panel discussion, there would be no table and stiff-back chairs. Instead the panelists (Mayor Mike Rawlings, Dallas Morning News VP/Editorial Page Editor Keven Ann Willey, The Concilio President/CEO Florencia Velasco Fortner and Dallas Police Sgt. Jeff Tooker) and moderator DallasNews.com Managing Editor Robert Wilonsky would be in comfy brown easy chairs on stage.

From the left: (standing) Andrew Swanson, Scott Girling, Andrew Chen, Andrew Dilda, Omar Flores, Dennis Kelley and Jeramie Robison; (seated) Danyele McPherson, Abraham Salum, Brian Luscher, Janice Provost and Melody Bishop

With the sun shining and the temperature in the early 60s, it wasn’t one of those must-have-soup days. But it was a day when the Dallas homeless situation was the main course with soup and salads at the tables thanks Soup Chief Chef Brian Luscher and his team of area Souper Duper Chefs (Melody Bishop and Dennis Kelley of Lark on the Park, Andrew Chen of Monkey King Noodle  Co. and Monkey King Banana Stand, Andrew Dilda of Independent Bar and Kitchen, Omar Flores of Whistlebritches and Casa Rubia, Scott Girling of The Graph, Danyele McPeherson of 80/20 Hospitality, Janice Provost of Parigi, Jeramie Robison of Uchi Dallas, Abraham Salum of Salum and Andrew Swanson of Wolfgang Puck).

Mike and Micki Rawlings

Robin Bagwell

David Nichols and Mike Allen

Allison Salas and Kelly Donohue

As Brian reviewed the final preparations and presentation of the soups and chefs in the kitchen, the activity out front was heaping. It was one of Micki Rawlings’ first outings since having back surgery on Friday, January 13. In four days, she and husband Mike Rawlings would be heading to Mexico for son Gunnar Rawlings’ wedding to Gabby GutierrezRobin Bagwell reported that husband Norm Bagwell had given her the best Christmas gift ever, despite agreeing not to do Christmas gifts. He created a charitable trust for her!…Jennifer Clifford had flown in from North Carolina for the lunch. Despite husband Joe Clifford’s taking his new role as head pastor at Myers Presbyterian Church in North Carolina back in August, Jennifer just completed her tenure with Communities Foundation of Texas in December… She also thanked Abraham Salum for making the Clifford son’s senior graduation dinner “so special”…Renowned for his Hermes ties, David Nichols was tieless. Since scaling back on his residential realty responsibilities, he was going for the more casual look…. Allison Salas and Kelly Donohue were receiving congrats on tackling the 2018 Soup’s On! as co-chairs.

As for the program, Rabbi Debra Robbins provided the invocation and was followed by emcee former WFAA anchor Gloria Campos who asked, “Remember me? I retired. I didn’t die.” The rest of the program was a bit overwhelming with a parade of speakers —Heather, Julie, Margie, Ray and Stewpot Executive Director Rev. Dr. Bruce Buchanan extolling their sincere commitment and admiration for The Stewpot.

Bruce admitted that one of the issues close to his heart is The Stewpot I.D. Program, which helps the homeless establish legal identities. The Stewpot provides “documentation assistance to more than 6,000 persons annually, which is essential for jobs and housing.”

They also recognized the founding board member of the Stewpot Alliance (Karen Ware, Jennifer Clifford, Catherine Bywaters, Marty Coleman, Margie Francis, Nancy Gillham, Jan Hegi, Kathy Jackson, Martha Lipscomb, Martha Martin, Joan Mason, Suzanne Palmlund, Micki Rawlings, Carolyn Walton and Trish Weigand). Thanks to these women launching the Alliance, $2,367,500 had been provided for The Stewpot’s mission of helping the homeless with meals, healthcare, counseling, case management and therapeutic and vocational activities.

Stewpot factoid: The Stewpot serves 364,792 meals a year.

The panel discussion eventually got underway, starting off with former Dallas Homeless Czar/Mayor Mike saying that he wanted to create an inter-governmental program that would be accountable for housing the homeless. In the coming weeks, he hoped that announcements would be made regarding such a government undertaking, but it had to go through the Dallas City Council and Commissioners Court. While he admitted that there are a lot of people working to solve the issue, “We don’t have an integrated strategy.” Having a City Council person, a County Commissioner, the head of Parkland and the head of the mental health provider network have a plan, instead of various plans, would be a major step forward.

Keven Ann shared her frustration about the situation, saying that the Commission on Homelessness came out with a report including “a variety of ideas…I’d kinda like to see two or three cases out of that report that could be accomplished in the next eight, ten months, so that we can begin to see tangible progress.”

Mike said that he would like to see the November bond election include a million dollars for housing. While he admitted that it would be a big step, he added that it would make a big difference.

(Editor’s note: While the call-out for support of the Dallas bond election was praised, it was interesting to note the number of Park Cities types who won’t be able to support the effort.)

Jeff admitted that putting the homeless in jail doesn’t help the problem in the long run. He told how officers drive around with clothes in their car to provide for the homeless, but he added that “We need to do more than just say, ‘Would you like a ride to The Bridge?’” He added that for the homeless, just making their way “through the system” on their own can be overwhelming. That’s why organizations like City Square can help provide the assistance and direction to get off the street. He also said that just placing them in an apartment was not always a solution. One homeless person told him that he felt safer on the streets than living in some apartment complex. He admitted that while the police need to enforce the law, “We could do better to create better relationships and a rapport with the homeless.”

However, Mike admonished the audience, recalling former Dallas Police Chief David Brown’s message that, “We ask too much of our police.”

Florencia said that The Concilio’s infrastructure was not made to serve the percentage of homeless Hispanics.

Mike told how the numbers reported by the Task Force on Poverty were “shocking.”

Kevin Ann returned to Mike’s bond election and asked what was needed. Mike responded that people needed to let their City Councilperson know that the homeless issue needed to be included in the bond election.

In conclusion, Robert asked for the panel’s wishes:

Florencia asked that people get more involved and to think of the homeless as real people.

Jeff said that you could have a bond proposal, but “there are so many people, so many of us that can make a difference. It’s not just about money…that’s a big part of it… it’s about service. There are a lot of great people who are homeless and we need to reach out to them.”

Keven Ann suggested leveraging current funds to hire more caseworkers, who really make the biggest difference and give people the services that they need. Also, to get landlords to be more receptive to programs that benefit the homeless.

Robert suggested people should get involved with the “Point In Time” Homeless Count next year.

For the closing remarks, International Human Rights Activist Peggy Callahan congratulated the number of folks who had been involved with The Stewpot for a couple of decades. She also made a case for financial support for The Stewpot and made the final request for donations for $100,000 that would help 25,000 people.

For more photos of the 2017 Soup’s On! champions, check out the MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

Golf Analyst David Feherty Was A Keynote Hit At 32nd Annual CARE Breakfast Blending Addiction Struggles With Irish Humor

One behind-the-scenes story speaks volumes about the irreverent, freewheeling nature of the sold-out 32nd annual CARE Breakfast, which was held Wednesday, November 9, at the Belo Mansion and “starred” keynote speaker David Feherty, the hilarious NBC Sports pro golf reporter—and recovering addict.

It seems, we were told, that David learned about the kidney replacement surgery undergone a while back by Norm Bagwell, husband of CARE Dallas mainstay Robin Bagwell. Once Norm received his new kidney from Robin, David was told, his golf handicap plummeted from 14 to 5. Whereupon the morning’s keynoter cracked that if Norm “had only had his spleen taken out, he could have been a scratch golfer!”

Robin Bagwell, David Feherty and Norm Bagwell*

The golf theme—Irish-born Feherty, after all, is a former pro on both the European and PGA tours—was prominent during the breakfast, a big fundraiser for CARE Dallas and its work to educate the community about the consequences of drug and alcohol abuse. The table centerpieces, for example, were clever decorations consisting of green felt, two golf balls, and a spray of red tees.

Following the “serenity” prayer delivered by the Rev. Paul Rasmussen, CARE’s new executive director, Susan Morgan, explained that CARE Dallas is a “safe and confidential place for families to learn about resources that are available to fight addiction.” In 2017, she added, the nonprofit plans to start up several new support groups.

Scott and Jan Osborn*

Then Robin, who’s been involved with CARE for 16 years, presented the group’s Margaret Sharpe Community Service Award to her pal Jan Osborn, an eight-year veteran of the group and the board chair for three years. Said Robin: “My greatest accomplishment was bringing Jan Osborn on to the board.” When Jan proceeded to deliver the world’s shortest acceptance speech—basically just saying thanks—Terry Bentley Hill took the stage and quipped, “If this was the Academy Awards, the orchestra hadn’t even pulled up the violins yet.” With that she introduced the keynoter, Feherty, calling him a “combination of Oprah and Johnny Carson.”

Terry Bentley Hill*

It was an apt description, if a little too G-rated.

At the lectern, Feherty set the tone right off the bat: “The first thing I thought this morning when I woke up was, ‘Hey, shit. I need a drink!’” After some jokes about the weak urinary stream of a 58-year-old man—that’s him—he quickly turned serious. “There’s no such thing as ‘recovery,’” he said. “Any addict knows that. I don’t need to be sober the rest of my life. I just need to be sober today.”

But then, soon enough, he was back to cracking wise: “The doctor asked me, ‘Have you ever thought about getting help?’ And I said, ‘No, I can drink it all by myself!’ ”

With that Feherty took off on the “dark sense of humor” found in his native Northern Ireland: “I don’t know if my father was an alcoholic, but he made a solid attempt at being one.” He introduced his 86-year-old mother, Vi Feherty—she was sitting in the audience—and said she’s been married for 63 years to Feherty’s 91-year-old father, Bill Feherty, who’s suffering now** from Alzheimer’s. The disease has its upside, Feherty said, explaining that Billy “broke out of his assisted living home, but couldn’t remember why he broke out. So he broke back in.” When Billy would come home late years ago after drinking at the club, Feherty recalled, his dad would ask Vi, “Is my dinner still warm?” And she would reply, “Yes. It’s in the dog.”

David Feherty*

Then came a series of random—and hilarious—stories and quips:

  • “A cop says to a drunk, ‘Sir, can you step out of the car?’ ‘No, I’m too drunk. You get in.’ ”
  • “The only reason I’m here today is because [Jan] Osborn has pictures of me with a goat.”
  • “I love Texas. It’s like America—except better.”

Concluding his entertaining talk, Feherty waxed serious again about his struggles with addiction. After his “career and marriage ended on the same day,” he recalled, he began taking 20 to 30 pills, plus two bottles of whiskey, daily. … “I’ve had the opportunity to work with some great drunks and with some bad drunks,” Feherty said. “I was a spectacular drunk!

“I was sober the best part of 10 years, until 10 months ago,” he went on. “Like most alcoholics, I can’t believe it came back to bite me. I ended up in the Mayo Clinic rehab center in Rochester [Minnesota]. There are more friggin’ bars in that town! It was probably the worst 11 days of my life.” Turns out, Feherty had been suffering from a neurological disease in which “the frontal lobe of the brain doesn’t work properly,” he said. “It’s called the Comic’s Disease—Robin Williams and Jonathan Winters had it. … But, I’ve been sober for a few months now—again.” (At that, the crowd applauded enthusiastically.)

He ended on a poignant note: “I can drink it all by myself,” Feherty said. “But I can’t be sober without your help.”

Many in the crowd, it seemed, could relate.

* Photo credit: Rhi Lee 
** Editor's note: Billy Feherty died two weeks later on Thanksgiving morning

Business And Art Community Leadership Turned Out For The Sold-Out 2016 Obelisk Awards Luncheon At Belo Mansion

The Business Council For The Arts was the brainchild of the late Ray Nasher. His hope was for the Dallas business community to get more involved and supportive of the various art organization. At the time the Performing Arts District was just on a wish list. But over the years, the Council evolved, adding a presentation of the Obelisk Awards to those businesses and art organizations that had shown true leadership in building Dallas’ arts. On Monday, November 7, Belo Mansion was filled to the brim for the presentation of the Obelisk Awards and to hear a moving presentation by Dallas Symphony Orchestra principle trumpet Ryan Anthony. Here is a report from the field:

This sold-out event on Monday, November 7, at Belo Mansion has been recognizing individuals and organizations that provide stellar nonprofit and business support for arts and culture for 28 years. As Obelisk Awards Co-Chair, Kevin Hurst said, “Some of the honorees are well-known to us and others are being recognized publicly for the first time.”  Kevin’s partner-in-celebration, Co-Chair Dotti Reeder added, “Their stories give us a unique perspective into mutually beneficial partnerships between businesses and the arts.”

Kevin Hurst, Mimi Sterling, Jennifer Lassiter and Jeff Byron

The 2016 Obelisk Awards honorees and those that nominated them were  

  • Arts Partnership Award (Large) — Fossil Group, nominated by Big Thought
  • Arts Partnership Award (Medium) — Taxco Food Produce, nominated by The Mexico Institute
  • Arts Partnership Award (Small) — Watters Creek at Montgomery Farms, nominated by Allen Art Alliance
  • New Initiatives Award (Large) — Cash America, nominated by Junior Players
  • New Initiatives Award (Medium) — UMB Bank, nominated by The Dallas Opera
  • New Initiatives Award (Small) — The Law Offices of Eric Cedillo, nominated by Cara Mia Theater
  • Meghan Hipsher and Lee Papert

    Distinguished Nonprofit Arts Organization — Dallas Film Society, nominated by ABCO Inc.

  • Outstanding Leadership Arts Alumnus Award — Zenetta Drew, nominated by Leadership Women
  • Business Champion for the Arts — Darrell Rodenbaugh, nominated by Plano Children’s Theatre & North Texas Performing Arts

Capera Ryan, Mark Roglan and Deborah Ryan

This year, Dr. Mark Roglán, Linda Pitts Custard Director of the Meadows Museum at SMU, became the inaugural honoree of the award for Visionary Nonprofit Arts Leader. He was nominated by arts patron and professional, Patricia Meadows. The Meadows Museum and the Dallas Film Society were honored with donations from Tolleson Wealth Management and Neiman Marcus Group, in addition to the award.

Dotti Reeder and Larry Glasgow

Presentations by the esteemed co-chairs, BCA Board Chair Larry Glasgow and arts icon Nancy Nasher were followed by Ryan Anthony, Principal Trumpet and Diane and Hal Brierley Chair of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.  If you’ve been reading this column, you know that Ryan is the charismatic world-talent who is battling Multiple Myeloma. He and his wife, Niki Anthony, along with many friends, have founded CancerBlows: the Ryan Anthony Foundation. Ryan’s mesmerizing words and performances – two, in fact – led to a standing ovation. Mark your calendars for Wednesday, May 10, and get your tickets now to see 30 world-renowned musicians playing together to fund a cure.

Andrea Devaldenebro, David Hamilton and Lona Crabb

Billy Hines and Jack Savage

Gerald Turner, Hal and Diane Brierley, Rhealyn Carter and Brad Cheves

In the crowd were Patricia Porter and Dennis Kratz, NorthPark Center’s Lona Crabb, Billy Hines and Andrea Devaldenebro, as well as Jack Boles’s David Hamilton and Meghan Hipsher, SMU’s Gerald Turner and Brad Cheves and Neiman’s Jeff Byron and Mimi Sterling.

KERA Vice President for Arts/Art & Seek Director Anne Bothwell expertly articulated just why each of the honorees is praiseworthy. Obviously a quick study, Anne stepped in when the traditional Master of Ceremonies, Mary Anne Alhadeff, was hit with a bout of bronchitis.

Blending the perfect mix of artistry with business professionalism, the Obelisk Awards logo, program and invitation were designed by graphics maestro Leon Banowetz and his team. We’re sure the brilliant centerpieces, created by Shirley Richardson of Big Box, Little Box are going to inspire mimicry. Not to be outdone, each of the awards is an original artwork, hand-blown by Jim Bowman of Bowman Studios.

Suffice to say that all of the attendants to the event are subscribers to the importance of business support. Lead sponsors for this year’s Obelisk Awards were: NorthPark Management, Capital One and Diane and Hal Brierley.  Table sponsorship was provided by Andrews Kurth LLP, Artemis Fine Art Services, Baker Botts LLP, Banowetz + Company, Inc.,  The Beck Group, BenefitMall, Big Thought, Bourland Octave Management, LLC, Comerica,  Corgan, City of Richardson, The Dallas Opera, Deloitte, LLP, Eiseman Jewels NorthPark Center, Fisher & Phillips LLP, Fossil Group, Frost Bank, Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP, Sherry and Kenny Goldberg, Harwood International,  Haynes and Boone LLP, HKS, Jack Boles Parking NPP, Jones Day, Leadership Arts Alumni, The Law Firm of Eric Cedillo, Maintenance of America Inc., Patricia Meadows, Morrison, Dilworth, & Walls, Neiman Marcus, Oncor, Parkland Health & Hospital System,  Powell Coleman & Arnold LLP, PwC, Southern Methodist University, Taxco Produce, Texas Instruments, Thompson & Knight LLP, Tolleson Wealth Management, Tucker David Investments, LP, University of North Texas, The University of Texas at Dallas, Patricia Villareal and Tom Leatherbury, Vinson & Elkins LLP, Whiting-Turner Contracting Company. Additionally, donations in honor of Ryan and Niki Anthony were made by Diane and Hal Brierley, Anne and Steven Stodghill and D’Andra Simmons.

What does next year hold? You’ll have to ask 2017 Obelisk Co-Chairs Thai and Steve Roth! BTW, nominations for the 2017 awards are due Friday, April 14.

JUST IN: Dallas Women’s Foundation’s 31st Annual Luncheon Helped Its Unlocking Leadership Campaign Hit The $31M Mark

Dallas Women’s Foundation bean counters have been putting in overtime since Friday’s 31st Annual Luncheon at the Hilton Anatole with keynote speaker/artist Candy Chang. The Foundation’s Unlocking Leadership Campaign leadership (Ashlee and Chris Kleinert, Paula and Ron Parker and Trea Yip) just revealed over-the-top news.

With a campaign goal of $50M, they announced at the luncheon that $30.8M had been achieved.

Trea Yip, Paula and Ron Parker and Ashlee and Chris Kleinert

Trea Yip, Paula and Ron Parker and Ashlee and Chris Kleinert

But to celebrate the 31st anniversary of the Foundation, they so wanted to the $31M mark. To do that, they asked that guests text “betterworld”, and donate. Only there was a slight hitch. It seems that some folks put a space between “better” and “world” preventing the funds from hitting its target.

Not to worry. Dallas Women’s Foundation CEO/President Ros Dawson smoothly explained the situation from the podium and the day was saved.

Want proof? Thanks to the corrected texting and an anonymous donation of $31,000, they hit $31M.

Baylor University Medical Center At Dallas And Baylor Health Care System Foundation Are Breaking Great News For Women

There’s a whole lot of celebrating going on over at Baylor University Medical Center (BMUC) at Dallas and Baylor Health Care System Foundation.

First, the national media reported this morning that BUMC Dr. Giuliano Testa had surgically transplanted four uteruses in women who want to have children but had been born without a uterus. It was just a year ago that Giuliano told the Baylor Foundation Board about this revolutionary surgery that could change the lives of more than 13,000 women in the U.S. who are born without a uterus. So far, one of the four Baylor transplants is continuing to be successful and more transplants are scheduled to take place before the end of the year.

Giuliano Testa (File photo)

Giuliano Testa (File photo)

Rita Wilson*

Rita Wilson*

Second, the Baylor Foundation’s 2016 Celebrating Women Luncheon on Thursday, October 20, at the Hilton Anatole featuring Rita Wilson is sold out!

Joining Presenting Sponsor Tom Thumb are the following sponsors:

  • Monarch Butterfly — Al G. Hill Jr.
  • Texas Swallowtail Butterfly — Lyda Hill, The David B. Miller Family Foundation and Aileen and Jack Pratt Foundation
  • American Lady Butterfly — Lana and Barry Andrews, Anonymous, Nancy Carter, Margo and Bill Goodwin, Karen Faulkner Key, Lock Lord LLP, Gloria Eulich Martindale, Ellen and John McStay and U.S. Trust
  • Patron Party — Comerica Bank
  • VIP Reception — PlainsCapital Bank
  • Valet — Sewell Automotive Companies
  • Luncheon Centerpieces — Sammons Enterprises Inc.
  • Luncheon Invitations — Sidley Austin LLP
  • Luncheon Programs — Allie Beth Allman
  • Luncheon Videos — Jacqueline Fojtasek

But remember — a nice donation might just get you past that “sold-out” situation.

* Photo provided by Baylor Health Care System Foundation

Like Featured Designer Carolina Herrera, 2016 Crystal Charity Ball Fashion Show Was Elegant Perfection At Neiman Marcus Downtown

Like a fabulous aria, this year’s Crystal Charity Ball Fashion Show and Luncheon seemed to have elegance, class and just a whiff of history. But more about that later.

Unlike years past, this year’s fabulous fashion show opted out on the usual Thursday showing for Friday, September 16. Didn’t matter one iota. The tent-arama was locked down in parking lot adjacent to Neiman Marcus Downtown. And just in case rain was on the agenda, the NM folks had had an awning installed along the sidewalk leading from the store to the tent. But Mother Nature behaved herself and rain was not part of the day. Still the shading was still a blessing to curtail the glowering sunshine. Hmm, perhaps a permanent shade might be a perfect addition?

While the beautiful coifed and dazzling guests chatted and compared sideway looks on the NM ground floors, the upper levels of NM were bustling.

On the sixth floor, Nancy Rogers hosted her annual reception in the Michael Flores Salon. Instead of past Nancy pre-CCB Fashion Show receptions with backdrops of floral display, Nancy’s welcome entry was an archway of hundreds of Calla Lilies.

Entrance to Michael Flores Salon

Entrance to Michael Flores Salon

Time and time again guests exclaimed upon seeing the floral delight, “These are my favorite flowers!”

Nancy Rogers

Nancy Rogers

DeeDee Lee and Ginny Bailey

DeeDee Lee and Ginny Bailey

Pat McEvoy

Pat McEvoy

Shelby Wagner, Claire Emanuelson and Niven Morgan

Shelby Wagner, Claire Emanuelson and Niven Morgan

Pat McEvoy, DeeDee Lee, Ginny Bailey, Anne Reeder, Ann Dyer, Claire Emanuelson, Shelby Wagner, Niven Morgan, Shelle Sills, Gloria Eulich Martindale, Alicia Wood, Tanya Foster and the Perella clan (Laurena Perella, Vin Perella and Carolyn Curl) came, saw, were photographed and entered the salon for flutes of champagne. Topic making the rounds was Nancy’s downsizing her nonprofit activities. Well, gee, who can blame a girl? After years of supporting and chairing major fundraisers, doesn’t she deserve some time off for great behavior?

Another supposedly deciding to take a fundraising break was attorney Gina Betts, who had co-chaired this past year’s St. Valentine’s Day and Genesis luncheons. She’s gonna focus on her family and work.

At 11 the 10 Best Dressed (Anita Arnold, Katherine Coker, Janie Condon, Tucker Enthoven, Heather Esping, Mary Clare Finney, Margaret Hancock, Pat Harloe, Julie Hawes, Piper Wyatt) plus Hall of Famer Honoree Betsy Sowell, CCB Chair Christie Carter and Fashion Show Chair Pam Perella gathered in the Glass House on the second floor for the formal get together. And what do these fashionable types do while waiting for their presentation? They compare fashion notes. Winner of the day was Mary Clare’s heels.

Another was Piper’s preparations. The first timer 10 BD-er was a very smart cookie. It seems that the day before the outfit that she had picked out just didn’t work, so the NM staff and Piper put together a dramatic black Herrera ensemble with leather pencil pants and wool cape. However, Piper realized that it was also going to be a toasty look. So, she snuck an ice pack under the wool top at her waist to cool the situation, Just before going on stage, she removed the chilly accessory. When did the cool idea hit her? Was it online? Nope. Piper just woke up in the middle of the night with this idea and it worked!

Unlike years past where the designer du jour posed with the CCB chair, fashion show chair, 10 BD-er and HofF-er, the show’s featured designer Carolina Herrera begged off. She was backstage making final checks on preparations.

From the left: (front row) Katherine Coker, Anita Arnold, Christie Carter, Betsy Sowell, Pam Perella, Pat Harloe and Heather Esping; (back row) Julie Hawes, Janie Condon, Piper Wyatt, Margaret Hancock, Mary Clare Finney and Tucker Enthoven

From the left: (front row) Katherine Coker, Anita Arnold, Christie Carter, Betsy Sowell, Pam Perella, Pat Harloe and Heather Esping; (back row) Julie Hawes, Janie Condon, Piper Wyatt, Margaret Hancock, Mary Clare Finney and Tucker Enthoven

 

After the official photos were taken, the 10 BD-ers, Betsy, Christie and Pam were led through NM’s back halls taking the freight elevators to the first floor and strolling to the tent’s hustling and bustling backstage. Upon arrival, the male model escorts, who had been seated, sprung to their feet offering the ladies their seats, while the female models were going through the final stages of preparation under the skillful eyes of Carolina and NM Fashion Director Ken Downing.

Ken Downing and Carolina Herrera

Ken Downing and Carolina Herrera

Editor’s note: One can always spot the NM fashion show peeps-in-charge like Sandy Marple. In the old days, it was a clip board in hand. Nowadays, it’s headsets.

Meanwhile the front of the house was filling with guests, as they made their way from the reception in NM Downtown’s ground level to the magnificent tent that thanks to a mega structure looked more like a permanent store front. Inside the color of the day was white with white runway, white tablecloths, white plates, white roses in centerpieces and white walls highlighted by projections of Herrera models strutting in packs. The only non-white items were the black boxes of Herrera perfume on each tablesetting.

Nancy Rogers, Cami Goff, Gene Jones, Charlotte Jones Anderson, Olivia Kearney and Melody Rogers

Nancy Rogers, Cami Goff, Gene Jones, Charlotte Jones Anderson, Olivia Kearney and Melody Rogers

Julie Ford and Rich Enthoven

Julie Ford and Rich Enthoven

Joan Schnitzer Levy and Nancy Dedman

Joan Schnitzer Levy and Nancy Dedman

Bruce Weber

Bruce Weber

Tiffany Divis, Amy Hegi and Robyn Conlon

Tiffany Divis, Amy Hegi and Robyn Conlon

Snapshots around the room included: world-renowned bearded photographer Bruce Weber wearing his signature bandana headscarf… Not present in person but present in spirit was Vogue’s Anna Wintour, who was headed to London for its Fashion Week… Loads of lunching mothers/daughters filled the room (Pam Perella with her mom Carolyn Curl and daughter Lauren Perella; Robyn Conlon with daughters-in-law Lizzie Conlon, Marybeth Conlon and Meagan Conlon; Piper’s sister Ginger Sanders Auer and their mom Dixey Thornton; Gene Jones with daughter Charlotte Jones Anderson; Lisa Cooley with daughter Ciara Cooley and daughter-in-law-to-be Bela Pietrovic; Vicki Chapman and daughter Lauren Chapman; Vicki Howland with daughter Elisa Summers; Gail Fischer with daughter Elizabeth Fischer; Lydia Novakov and daughter Isabell Novakov; Marilyn Augur with daughters Margaret Hancock and Anne Hardaway; Elaine Agather with daughter Bradley Means and Tucean Webb with Susanne Webb, Julie Webb and Erin Webb)…   Herrera’s daughter Carolina Herrera Baez and Patricia Herrera Lansing, who was celebrating her birthday… Erin Mathews with daughter-in-law Brittany Mathews looking forward to Sundays christening of Erin’s first granddaughter/Brittany Mathews’ first daughter Sutton Mathews.

Christie Carter

Christie Carter

Pam Perella

Pam Perella

Starting the show on the road were the speakers including, Ken, Christie, Pam and NM Downtown GM/VP Jeff Byron.

Another editor’s note: Ken’s comments emphasizing that he and Carolina had created the show surprised some. Perhaps it would have been better for such acknowledgment to have been made by Karen.

Jeff then introduced each of the 10 BDs and Betsy.

Anita Arnold

Anita Arnold

Katherine Coker

Katherine Coker

Janie Condon

Janie Condon

Tucker Enthoven

Tucker Enthoven

Heather Esping

Heather Esping

Mary Clare Finney

Mary Clare Finney

Margaret Hancock

Margaret Hancock

Pat Harloe

Pat Harloe

Julie Hawes

Julie Hawes

Piper Wyatt

Piper Wyatt

Betsy Sowell

Betsy Sowell

Unlike years past when the ladies were escorted up and down the runway only to disappear backstage, this year the ladies and their escorts walked to the end of the runway and stepped down to the floor and stood in a line in front of the photographers and NM staffers standing against the back wall.

Following Betsy’s walk and as the ladies were escorted to their tables, NM President/CEO Karen Katz welcomed the guests and suggested they snap photos on their cellphones of items on the runway that could be shown to the NM staff for immediate consideration. She also encouraged guests to post their votes on their favorite outfits and that she would be checking for which ones got the top votes.

Karen reported that earlier in the week NM had turned 109 and despite with stores throughout the country and shipping to more than 100 countries, “our heritage, our home and our heart is [sic] right here at the corner of Main and Ervay. We’ve seen a lot come and go in downtown Dallas over the years, but we are here to stay.”

Carolina Herrera and Karen Katz

Carolina Herrera and Karen Katz

She then presented the NM Award for Distinguished Service in the Field of Fashion for 2016 to Carolina. The 500 guests presented the designer with a standing ovation. Her acceptance remarks were eloquent but brief recalling how the late Stanley Marcus “was a fabulous man” and “how he believed in me from the beginning.” She then tipped her hat to Karen, Ken and NM Chief Merchandising Officer Jim Gold for carrying on the NM tradition. Carolina also thanked CCB for including her in the event that does so much for children.

Ken Downing, Carolina Herrera and Karen Katz

Ken Downing, Carolina Herrera and Karen Katz

Taking the award, she disappeared with Ken and Karen backstage.

Carolina Herrera 2016 Resort Collection

Carolina Herrera 2016 Resort Collection

Carolina Herrera bridal gown

Carolina Herrera bridal gown

Quickly the podium was removed for the presentation of nearly 90 pieces from the Carolina Herrera Resort 2016 collection including faux butterflies floating from the ceiling over the stage and a bridal gown with a cut-out back bodice for the finale. And cellphones sprouted throughout the room snapping away.

There are a heck of a lot of other photos (more than 70) at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery, if you’re interested.

Comedian Jerry Seinfeld Wasn’t The Only Entertainment Legend In The House For CitySquare’s “A Night To Remember”

It seemed like there were a lot of last minute arrivals at the Winspear on Saturday, September 10. And unlike the usual opera lovers and Broadway aficionados, this crowd was a more comfortably dressed type in jeans, sneakers and adorable sundresses. But it was CitySquare’s “A Night To Remember” with a double dose of comedian Jerry Seinfeld on stage. Yes, the first show had been a sell-out before the starting gun was even triggered. But somehow Co-Chairs Cindy and Scott Collier, Wendy and Boyd Messmann, Kara and Ross Miller and Tiffany Touchstone-Hawkins and Brandon Hawkins managed to get a second show at 9 p.m. and it was a done deal immediately, too!

Ross Miller, Scott Collier, Jerry Seinfeld, Tiffany Touchsteon-Hawkins and Wendy Messmann

Ross Miller, Scott Collier, Jerry Seinfeld, Tiffany Touchstone-Hawkins and Wendy Messmann

While the Winspear looked as filled as the State Fair’s Midway with photo booths, promos for the Del Frisco’s 5K Walk and Run and lines for the beverage bars, there were two behind-the-scenes activities underway.

One was in Hamon Hall, where in years past there had been a very seated dinner for patrons. Instead it was a filled-to-bulging-capacity cocktail party with curtained off arrangements of couches, open bars and music. It was here that the patrons learned that an incredible $1.3M had been earned so far by the event. Still they were hoping to top that marker by the end of the evening.

The other event was far more limited to the very top supporters. To gain access was harder than getting into a speakeasy next door to the temperance league. Once you passed muster, you were led down a long hallway leading to the bowels of the Winspear. Behind glass doors was a receiving room. Initially, there were just a handful of staffers and a man in a suit and tie. He was small in stature, but unbeknownst to others he was a giant in the entertainment industry. But more about him later.

As 100 people lined up on the other side of the glass door, Seinfeld entered the room. In a beautifully tailored suit and tie he introduced himself to the photographers and discussed the plans. It was obvious that he was an old hand at meet-and-greets and immediately agreed to the POA and set up. The little man stood on the sidelines. This was definitely not his first rodeo at grip-and-grinning, nor working with Seinfeld. But still he took everything in, monitoring the situation like a mother hawk watching her chick.

Jerry Seinfeld and Brenda and Larry James

Jerry Seinfeld and Brenda and Larry James

Jerry Seinfeld and Farrai and Steve Smith

Jerry Seinfeld and Farrai and Steve Smith

Jerry Seinfeld and Stephanie Fox and Nick Sowell

Jerry Seinfeld and Stephanie Fox and Nick Sowell

Jerry Seinfeld and Kara and Ross Miller

Jerry Seinfeld and Kara and Ross Miller

Then the doors opened and the crowd including Brenda and CitySquare’s Larry James and Farrai and Steve Smith queued up for a howdy-and-handshake with Seinfeld. The comedian was smooth and gracious. He directed a couple of dozen arrangements, positioning the female guest in the middle between him and her escort. Nick Sowell admitted that he was more than nervous in meeting Seinfeld. But it happened so fast that the jitters didn’t have time to cause a problem.

Bailey Balderson, Ella Jay, Merritt Jay, Jerry Seinfeld, David Siburt, Tyler Gaylor, Katie Siburt and Hanna Pool

Bailey Balderson, Ella Jay, Merritt Jay, Jerry Seinfeld, David Siburt, Tyler Gaylor, Katie Siburt and Hanna Pool

When a gaggle of kids arrived for a group shot, he shook each one’s hand. He advised an adorable blonde tyke to provide a firmer handshake. When an extra photo was taken of the kids, the little man urged the photographers to move on.

When the final photo was taken, Seinfeld bid farewell and disappeared through a door. No muss, no fuss.

Sunie Solomon

Sunie Solomon

Chris and Ashlee Kleinert

Chris and Ashlee Kleinert

Emilie Gioia, Jane Rozelle and Bob and Kathleen Rozelle

Emilie Gioia, Jane Rozelle and Bob and Kathleen Rozelle

Out in the lobby as notice was alerting the full house to move into the hall, guests like Sunie and Steve Solomon, Ashlee and Chris Kleinert, Jane Rozelle with her bud Emilie Gioia, and Jane’s folks Kathleen and Bob Rozelle arrived.

As Seinfeld took the stage for the first show of the night, raising the roof with laughter, the behind-the-scenes story was starting to sink in. The diminutive gent was far more than a friend accompanying the legendary comedian. He was George Shapiro, whose life and input in the entertainment industry was the type that others just imagine or dream of experiencing.

George Shapiro*

George Shapiro*

Sure, his uncle is Carl Reiner and his cousin is Rob Reiner, but George was his own man. He was the wizard behind the showbiz curtain.

After graduating from the New York University, he and his childhood best friend Howard West got jobs in the William Morris mailroom. As George told Deadline Hollywood,“We were best friends and partners since we were 8. Old people don’t usually remember things so well, but I still have a vivid memory of him sitting alone in the schoolyard on his first day at P.S. 80 in the Bronx. I asked him to play basketball, and we just stayed as friends. We went to the movies every Saturday, we read comic books together and we chipped in to buy one car, a 1940 Olds called the Cream Puff. It needed a lot of work — that’s why we had to work so hard as busboys and waiters, always together.”

Soon George worked his way up to being an agent. One of his early assignments was to accompany a young singer to the Ed Sullivan Show. The singer was Elvis Presley.

Eventually he and Howard headed to Los Angeles and broke off on their own forming Shapiro/West Productions resulting in Emmys, Peabodys and Golden Globes.

As Jerry Oppenheimer said, “It was in Hollywood that Shapiro made a name for himself, ‘handling deals for Steve Allen; introducing new talent like Bill (Jose Jiminez) Dana, overseeing the creation of ‘That Girl,’ the long-running Marlo Thomas sitcom and discovering a range of talent from Jim Nabors to Andy Kaufman.”

It was in 1980 that George and Howard took in a show at The Comedy Store featuring a young comedian. The two were immediately struck by the youngster’s talent. Yup, you guessed it. The comedian was Jerry Seinfeld. The trio hit it off. So much so, they ended up becoming the executive producers of “The Jerry Seinfeld Show.”

After nine years on air and still growing in popularity, the network approached them with a deal that would result in $5M per episode for 22 episodes. Despite the mindboggling offer, Seinfeld wanted out. According to George, the trio went for a walk in Central Park and Jerry explained, “You know, as a standup comedian, you know, you feel you’re getting a standing ovation. And that’s the time to leave. You don’t want to stay on stage too long. You don’t want to stay on like another fifteen minutes so they say ‘Oh he was good but he was on a little long.’ My deepest gut, you know, is to leave now. Despite the offer and everything else.”

The final show aired on May 14, 1998, with an estimated 76.3M viewers (58% of all viewers that night) making it the fourth most watched regular series finale in U.S. TV history.

That was 18 years ago. But on this night the friendship and loyalty between Jerry and George was still as strong as ever with the 62-year-old comedian dazzling the audience and the 80-something George standing watchfully on the sidelines. The only thing missing was Howard, who had died this past December.

Just sometimes the action behind the curtains is as entertaining as the one onstage.

* Photo credit: Kristina Bowman

Salesmanship Club Of Dallas’ Momentous Institute Opens Availability For Changing The Odds Conference Via Live Streaming

Changing The Odds Conference*

Changing The Odds Conference*

The Salesmanship Club of Dallas’ Momentous Institute is just now announcing that its Changing The Odds Conference — “Compassion: Brain Changer” — that will be held Thursday, October 6 (9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.), and Friday, October 7 (9:00 a.m. to 3 p.m.), at the Omni Dallas was sold out last April.

Whoa! That was five months ago. So, why the delayed announcement?

According to organizers, “We have been sold out since April and have had a growing waiting list. We did not announce the sellout back in April since we were exploring options for how to give more people access to the conference. Now that option has arrived.”

The option is the live streaming of the event that will allow “live stream ticket holders to watch the conference anywhere from their own devices.” Translation: you’ll be able to watch and hear the speakers in your jammies if you like.

Brené Brown**

Brené Brown**

And what a lineup they have! How about New York Times bestselling author ofEmotional Intelligence” Daniel Goleman; motivational speaker and author Lizzie Velasquez; “the happiest man in the world,” Matthieu Ricard; the emotions expert behind Pixar’s “Inside Out,” Dacher Keltner; neuroscientist and one of Time Magazine’s “Most Influential People” Richard J. Davidson; Momentous Institute experts and #1 New York Times bestselling author Brené Brown, who hit it out of the park last spring at the Dallas Children’s Appetite for Advocacy Luncheon.

There is a catch, of course. But it’s not a big one. You’ve just got to register to gain access for the live streaming. The price for the two days of live streaming is $300 per individual stream. Sign up here.

* Graphic provided by Salesmanship Club of Dallas 
** Photo credit: Kristina Bowman

Sold-Out 2016 Can Do! Luncheon Celebrated Food For Thought And Stories Of Success By Wilkinson Center Clients

Can Do! Luncheon

Can Do! Luncheon

Those Melnick sisters must have a great relationship with Mother Nature. Last year Leslie (Melnick) Diers chaired The Wilkinson Center’s Can Do! Luncheon under clear skies. This was a first for the annual Wilkinson Center fundraiser that had previously had all types of thunder-bumper creating issues. This year Leslie’s sister Sara (Melnick) Albert chaired the 2016 Can Do! Luncheon and despite endless days of rain and storms, Tuesday, May 10, was clear, at least at noontime at the Dallas Country Club.

Sara Melnick Albert

Sara Melnick Albert

And the crowd of nearly 250 validated the theory that good weather turns out loads of folks. Luckily, the Wilkinson team was prepared with a game plan that was designed to run like an atomic clock. It was to officially start at 11 .m. and close at 1 p.m. That’s one of the perks of the Can Do! Luncheon. It appreciates guests and their time commitments.

Cynthia Melnick

Cynthia Melnick

Ellen McStay and Craig Innes

Ellen McStay and Craig Innes

Even before the official registration table was to open, guests were already in the club’s reception area “registering and mingling.” Within a half hour, the place was jammed with the likes of Melnick parents (Cynthia and Lester), Ellen and John McStay, Linda Perryman Evans, Nancy Gopez, Marsha and Craig Innes, Brett Gray, Kristina Whitcomb, Christi Carter, Jill Smith, Helen LaKelly Hunt and Harville Hendrix, Susan Farris, Tori Mannes, Laura Reeder, Katherine Coker and Tucker Enthoven, who had hosted the patron party.

Regina Montoya and Brett Gray

Regina Montoya and Brett Gray

Linda Perryman Evans

Linda Perryman Evans

As if the guests knew the schedule, they took their places at tables in the ballroom. While officially a sell-out, the tables weren’t jammed together in the ballroom due to the fact that a couple of table sponsors donated their tables at the last minute.

Joe Acosta

Joe Acosta

Wilkinson Center Board of Directors President Joe Acosta welcomed the group and thanked Sara and the committee and introduced Hannah Buchanan, who provided the invocation. There was then a 20-minute break for lunch (cucumber soup, pan seared herb chicken with roasted fingerling mashed potatoes, baby carrots, broccolini and asparagus and apple pecan gastrique followed by salted caramel cheesecake topped with fudge sauce and whipped cream) to be served.

At noon Sara was at the podium thanking her committee, showing the inaugural issue of the Wilkinson newsletter and reminding folks that the centerpieces could be had for $20. She then turned to a key subject of the day — the Center’s food pantry. If everyone in the room texted “Pathways” to 24700 with a $75 donation, it would stock the Wilkinson’s pantry for the summer. Cellphones were seen being put to use.

Anne Reeder

Anne Reeder

Following a video on the Wilkinson Center, the Center’s Executive Director Anne Reeder introduced another video about the clients who are served by the Center that started off in 1983  as a neighborhood resource for food and clothing. Today it has expanded to include programs for family enhancement and work education like its newly established GED testing center.

Christina Parks

Christina Parks

Seamlessly, the first two awards of the day were presented to Wilkinson Center clients. First was Christina Parks, who had emerged from a childhood of neglect and abuse. Despite her rough start, she married “Joe,” had a daughter, Alexis, and “settled down to being a new life as a family.” But Christina, Joe and Alexis were “in a horrible accident,” resulting in the death of Alexis. Life became a “day by day” process. with no plans for the future. Years passed and eventually Christina and Joe had other children, and that’s what made her want to change her life. It was in September 2010 that Christina turned to the Wilkinson Center’s Food Pantry to help her feed her family. But she found more than food. Thanks to Wilkinson Center caseworker Sonja Wright, Christina learned about the possibility of earning her GED. The only problem was childcare. But thanks to the Center’s working with Workforce Solutions, “she was eligible for supportive services including childcare.” The results? Not only was she able to enroll in GED classes in September 2015, she moved quickly to the advance program.

It was noted that Wilkinson had 15 of its clients earn their GED this past December. This Saturday Christina would be one of 50 to earn their GED.

Next up was Marilu Rodriquez, who came with her parents from Chihuahua, Mexico, to the States in 1998 looking for a better life. But that also meant challenges, like learning English, earning her GED and becoming a citizen. Due to complications, she found herself being the sole support of her family. In tackling the language barrier, she was advised to go to the Wilkinson Center to learn interviewing skills. It was here that she met Wilkinson Center’s Veronica Tobias, who through the Career Works program, helped Marilu in taking the steps to reach her career path. Yes, her language skills were challenging, but Marilu saw it as an opportunity to improve. As for her advancing from working in a restaurant, she started volunteering at Children’s Health. “In less than a year she was able to turn that volunteer position into a full-time job with benefit as a Patient Care Technician” at Children’s.

Marilu Rodriguez and Veronica Tobias

Marilu Rodriguez and Veronica Tobias

The Wilkinson Center Food Pantry Manager Steve Thompson told how the North Texas Food Bank and the Center had worked side-by-side for more than 30 years. During that time he estimated that the NTFB has distributed more than 1,250 tons of food through the pantry in the past ten years. In addition to providing food, NTFB has also taught clients how to cook and prepare healthy meals for the Center’s clients.

Katherine Perot Reeves

Katherine Perot Reeves

Following a video, Anne told how the first person who took her to lunch when she became the Center’s executive director was NTFB’s Jan Pruitt. Representing Jan in accepting the Can Do! Award was NTFB Board Member Katherine Perot Reeves, who told how last year NTFB provided 63M meals. Yup, that’s right 63,000,000 meals! The plan calls for that number to rise to 92M by 2025.

Sara then introduced a video featuring County Commissioner Elba Garcia, Dallas City Manager A.C. Gonzalez, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings and Dallas City Councilman Mark Clayton on the day’s final recipient Regina Montoya, who besides her many accomplishments is chairing the Mayor’s committee on Task Force on Poverty.

Regina Montoya

Regina Montoya

Upon accepting the award, she thanked a number of people and organizations. Then Regina told of a play she had seen that made quite an impression on her — “All The Way” — about LBJ. Early in his career he had been a schoolteacher in one of the poorest parts of Texas, where a lot of the students’ parents were migrant workers. During his presidency, he recalled that “he could see these kids coming to his classroom at the very beginning of the school year. But slowly, slowly, he would see the fire that had been in their eyes extinguish as the school year went on because of the struggle that they had to go through realizing that their parents were working as hard as they could to try to put food on their table.” That served as the impetus for Johnson to start the war on poverty.

Regina then told that in today’s Dallas,

  • 38% of kids live in poverty,
  • 90% of children are eligible for free lunches,
  • 70% of those that are poor are working and
  • 41% of the very poor have jobs.

She pointed out Carlin Morris, who was last year’s Can Do! recipient, had started the Center’s shoe drive.

In conclusion, Regina pointed out that her grandparents had come to this country with their children, who” probably had some of those days when they weren’t sure where the next meal was going to come from.” On this day Regina’s 92-year-old father and 85-year-old mother were seated at the front row table watching their Harvard Law School graduate daughter being recognized for their—and her—“can do” spirit.

For more photos from the Can Do! Luncheon, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

 

Auctions, Dancing, Dale Hansen And Mini-Ambassadors At Texas Horse Park Helped Equest Celebrate Its 35th Anniversary

One day before it took place on Saturday, May 7, Equest’s 35th Anniversary Gala at the Texas Horse Park was sold out. Walking around the gala off Pemberton Hill Road in South Dallas, it was easy to see why.

That situation was even more impressive since guests weren’t able to just drive up to the front door and turn their wheels over to car parkers. The vast majority had to be shuttled to the Park via chartered buses from locales in Dallas. After all, Texas Horse Park was built to be equine horsepower as opposed to an automotive parking lot. But despite the perceived inconvenience, the bus loads arrived for a night of fun and fundraising.

Stacey Hodge, Disco, Lisa Blackford, Sherry Wood, Dare, Christine Volkmer and Christa Collum

Stacey Hodge, Disco, Lisa Blackford, Sherry Wood, Dare, Christine Volkmer and Christa Collum

And, of course, there were the horses befitting the group that, since 1981, has used the four-hoofed critters to bring hope and healing to children and adults with diverse needs. (In fact, Equest was the first therapeutic riding program in Texas.) At the front door, there were the miniature equine stars Teddy Roosevelt and Tex; later, gals and guys could have their photo taken with Disco and Dare.

Susan Schwartz, Lili Kellogg and Helena Wall

Susan Schwartz, Lili Kellogg and Helena Wall

As the guests made their way into the grounds—among them, Stacey Hodge, Amy and Michael Meadows, Sherry Wood, Alan Curtis, David Whyman, Lezlie and Bill Noble, Jeff Byron, Kevin Hurst and Equest co-founder Susan Schwartz—they saw “client and rider demonstrations” happening in the outdoor pens. Moving down beneath the Equest covered arena, they encountered the reception and silent auction and, later, the table settings for the gala dinner and live auction. Among the auction highlights: a Costa Rica getaway (value, $12,000) and a Montana Sporting Club Retreat ($10,000).

Jody Dean, Maddie Dean and Jocelyn White

Jody Dean, Maddie Dean and Jocelyn White

Over at the “Equest Country Store,” meantime, mother and daughter Maggie and Annabelle Buckner (Annabelle’s 12) were checking out the goods. As Emilynn Wilson and her husband Claude strode through the stables, Emilynn said, “I just had a horse that fell in love with me.” Guests Phyllis Glazer and Susan Iannaccone were chit-chatting. While Maddie Dean patiently waited, her dad/emcee Jody Dean and co-emcee Jocelyn White huddled over last-minute details with the likes of Equest CEO Lili Kellogg and Helena Wall, who with her husband Doug Wall was serving as the Gala Chair. Despite all the hifalutin types, four-year-old mini-ambassador donkey Taco was quite content to stay in his stall and occasionally saunter over for a howdy do with a guest or two.

Susan Iannaccone and Phyllis Glazer

Susan Iannaccone and Phyllis Glazer

Taco

Taco

Honorary Chairs Chris and Dale Hansen soon pulled up in their big black SUV with Dale at the wheel and, much later, the Gala guests would be dancing up a storm to the music of Cary Pierce with Crystal Yates and John Christopher Davis. Really, now; with horses, good friends, great food and fun music, could there have been a better way to celebrate Equest’s landmark anniversary?

The Birthday Party Project Celebrated Its Fourth Birthday With “Saturday Night Live” Theme Inspiration

The Birthday Party Project Founder Paige Chenault and her team have been so busy celebrating the birthdays of children without homes that they have become true-blue experts on the art of partying. So, it was only natural that they would blow the roof off of Sixty Five Hundred Cedars Springs. They were so successful that they’re now half-way to their fundraising goal for 2106. Here’s a report from the field about their “Saturday Night Live” blowout:

The Birthday Party Project, a Dallas-based, non-profit organization that brings joy to homeless children through the magic of birthdays, marked its fourth birthday on Saturday, January 23. The non-profit hosted a “Saturday Night Live”-themed celebration at sixty five hundred in Dallas. Guests and birthday enthusiasts dressed the part of their favorite SNL character, from classic metal-loving Wayne and Garth to Spartan cheerleaders.

The Birthday Party Birthday Party*

The Birthday Party Birthday Party*

The event started with a cocktail hour, where guests enjoyed drinks and food prepared by notable Dallas restaurants and chefs including: Chef Michael Scott of Rosewood Beef, Chef Justo Blanco of Bosla Mercadom, Chef Lex Webb of Bite, Chef Jeff Moschetti of Jasper’s, Chef Denise Shavandy of Café Modern, Chef Christof Syre of The Four Seasons, Midori Sushi, Outlaw Taproom, Cane Rosso, and Law Restaurants. Patron Spirits Company provided Ultimat Vodka, Pyrat Rum and Patron Tequila.

Special piñatas with two round-trip Southwest airlines tickets were auctioned off throughout the night. Silent auction items included a trip to New York City with a stay at the Plaza Hotel, a jazz brunch and tickets to a Broadway show and a suite at a Texas Rangers game. Live auction items included tickets to the “Ellen DeGeneres Show” and a one-week stay in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Paige Chenault, Lizzie Chenault and Colin Chenault*

Paige Chenault, Lizzie Chenault and Colin Chenault*

Julian Leaver*

Julian Leaver*

Birthday Party Enthusiasts performed their own rendition of a “Saturday Night Live” skit complete with big laughs from all of the guests. After, Founder and CEO Paige Chenault, who has been recognized by Glamour, “The Steve Harvey Show,” “The Today Show” and “The Chew,” graciously thanked everyone who has generously helped actualize her celebrates birthdays. Chenault stated, “We’re thankful to you, our Birthday Enthusiasts, for understanding the power of birthdays.  Because of your incredible support, we’re bringing JOY to children that need it most.” Chenault was moved to tears at the end of her speech by the generosity of the guests in attendance, adding “Because of you, thousands of children across North Texas and beyond will feel valued and loved in a time of confusion and crisis.”

Co-Chairs, Julian Leaver and Jennifer Burns spoke about the Birthday Party Project’s impact on agencies across North Texas: giving more than 20,000 volunteer hours to their partnered agencies.

Jamie and Brian O'Boyle*

Jamie and Brian O’Boyle*

Brad Koons and JB Hayes*

Brad Koons and JB Hayes*

The event honored The Birthday Party Project’s partnership with Gradus, whose mission is to invest, impact and empower their non-profit partners. The evening was presented by Kinsler’s Kids, professional baseball player Ian Kinsler and his wife Tess Kinsler’s foundation and Credit Suisse. Surprise Chairs Katy Taylor and Sam Jacobson, Board Chairs Jim and Kelli Griffin and Auction Chairs Jamie and Brian O’Boyle celebrated with Dallas socials including Debbie Frazier, Lynn and Allan McBee, Deborah Bigham, Molly and Will Folse, Heidi and Phillip Fristoe, Carson and Megan Hall, JB Hayes, Nick Kennedy, former Dallas Stars player Marty Turco and his wife Kelly Turco, Emily Clarke and Detroit Tigers player Bryan Holaday and his wife Ashley Holaday.

* Photos provided by The Birthday Party Project

2015 Crystal Charity Ball Had A Heavenly Turnout Of 1,700 Beautiful Movers-And-Shakers For “An Evening Of Celestial Radiance”

Some may have wondered if 2015 Crystal Charity Ball Chair Michal Powell had joined Wynken, Blynken and Nod, as she cast her net at the sea of stars in the universe. After all she had decided her theme for the sold-out Saturday, December 5th fundraiser would provide a whopping, hold-your-breath $6.5M benefiting area nonprofits for children.

Throughout the past year, she and her team met, lunched and turned 24-hour days into 36-hour efforts. With her crew of 99 committee ladies, Michal’s “An Evening of Celestial Radiance” shone at the Hilton Anatole with a “big bang” thanks to event producer Tom Addis and an army of professionals from Gardens Gate and Lamberts.

Some guests may have thought Michal had changed her theme as dozens and dozens of costumed Irish dancers wandered through the CCB black-tied types in the Anatole’s Chantilly reception area. No, she hadn’t. It seems there was a gathering of Irish dancers holing up in the hotel for a dance-off.

The moment anyone spotted Michal sparkling in her heavenly Michael Faircloth creation, there was no doubt that the universe was still in place.

Deborah Cone, Loyd and Michal Powell

Deborah Cone, Loyd and Michal Powell

Still, some wondered what the Texas-size camellias behind Michal and her husband Loyd Powell as they welcomed guests had to do with the evening’s plan. Didn’t matter one iota as the crowd grew to true capacity with locals and out-of-towners like Michal’s sister, Deborah Cone, in from Amarillo and her son, Cameron Cone, in from L.A.

As usual, flutes of champagne found their way toppling off silver trays smashing on to the floor. Hey, it isn’t easy to balance a half-dozen stems on a tray with one hand through a crowd of swells and Irish dancers. Thank heaven, chivalrous types like Pete Foster and Ken Betts steered passersby away from trodding on the wet shards. Attorney Ken joked, “I’m getting business cards.”

Pete and Tanya Foster and Gina and Ken Betts

Pete and Tanya Foster and Gina and Ken Betts

Speaking of Ken, his better half, Gina Betts, had to rethink her fashion plan for the night. Her dazzling Oscar de la Renta had fallen victim to the Betts’ fox terrier, who mistook it for a chew toy. No problem. Gina’s closet had a few backup-choices like the moonlight Elie Saab ready-in-waiting.

And while on the subject of fashion, here are just some fashion highlights of the night. BTW, these folks own their duds unlike a lot of red carpet types and wannabes, who do a “lending library’ arrangement:

Katie Bivins and Cameron Cone

Katie Bivins and Cameron Cone

Lisa and Clay Cooley

Lisa and Clay Cooley

  • Libby Allred in Patti Flowers
  • Katie Bivins in Vera Wang gown, earrings from Grange Hall
  • Doug Carney in Commes des Garçons dinner jacket
  • Janie Condon in Naeem Khan
  • The Cooley clan — Chase Cooley in Brioni; Ciara Cooley in Isabel; and mama Lisa Cooley in Patti Flowers gown, Louboutin stilettos and jewelry from husband Clay Cooley (in Chris Despos tuxedo) via Bachendorf’s and Eiseman’s
  • Claire Emanuelson in The Row gown with Jimmy Choo heels, Judith Leiber* purse, Eiseman and Sue Gragg jewels
  • Tucker Enthoven in Rubin Singer gown with Michael Kors shrug, Jimmy Choo heels, Bottega Veneta purse and Susan Saffron jewels
Bill Esping shoes

Bill Esping shoes

Michael McCray, Gonzalo Bueno, Faisal Halum and Rajan Patel

Michael McCray, Gonzalo Bueno, Faisal Halum and Rajan Patel

  • Bill Esping in Chihuly painted shoes.
  • Tiffany Divis in Michael Faircloth
  • Michael Flores in Mochino tuxedo
  • Patti Flowers in Patti Flowers (duh!)
  • Faisal Halum in Balmain tuxedo jacket, Lanvin tuxedo pants and Givenchy patent leather shoes
  • Kathleen Hutchinson in Alexander McQueen and Sue Gragg jewelry
  • Angie Kadesky in Carolina Herrera
  • Tracy Lange in Michael Faircloth gown with Jimmy Choo stilettos, Judith Leiber* purse and Bachendorf jewelry
  • Lisa Longino in Worth gown with Manolo Blahnik heels and Judith Leiber* purse
  • Francie Moody-Dahlberg in Naeem Khan
  • John Nolan in Brioni tuxedo and Hadleighs shoes
Beth Mazziotta

Beth Mazziotta

Nancy Rogers and Michael Flores

Nancy Rogers and Michael Flores

  • Beth Mazziotta in a gown that was made and hand-painted by San Miguel de Allende designer Almudena Olazabal
  • Lynn McBee in Marchesa gown, Louboutin stilettos, Judith Leiber* purse, “family” pieces (of jewelry that have been passed down) and husband Allan McBee in a Valentino tuxedo
  • Peggy Meyer in a Carolina Herrera gown with Valentino heels and Judith Leiber* purse
  • Pat McEvoy in Giorgio Armani gown, Judith Leiber* purse with husband Charles McEvoy in Zegna tuxedo
  • Pam Perella in Carolina Herrera gown, Manolo Blahnik heels, Judith Leiber* purse and “my own jewelry” with husband Vin Perella in Isaia tuxedo
  • Hal Reid in Brioni tuxedo
  • Nancy Rogers in Oscar de la Renta gown, matching blue-and-white fur stole and Sue Gragg and Bachendorf jewelry
  • Sarah Perot in Monique Lhuillier gown and William Noble jewels
  • Karen Perry in Patti Flowers
  • Vinnie Reuben in Pamela Roland gown, Gucci heels with husband Malcolm Reuben in Giorgio Armani tuxedo
  • Shelle Sills in Rick Owens gown with J Mendel fur, Lanvin heels, vintage Lacroix purse, Faerber Collection 4510 jewelry
  • Barbara Stuart in Patti Flowers
  • Lisa Troutt in Carolina Herrera gown, Manolo Blahnik pumps, Sue Gragg and William Noble jewels and Judith Leiber* clutch with husband Kenny Troutt in J. Hilburn tuxedo
  • Piper Wyatt in Lisa Perry design (“It is very different and probably weird but hopefully in a good way and it makes me happy”) and Eiseman jewelry
Ross and Sarah Perot

Ross and Sarah Perot

Kenny and Lisa Troutt

Kenny and Lisa Troutt

Throughout the evening the waves of 1,700 CCB supporters flowed from casino games on one side of the reception to the silent auction treasures spread along the opposite side with CCB sisters offering “contribution tickets” (aka in others parts as “raffle tickets”).

In the center of the area were mountains of all types of yummies including shrimp that Jim Falk described as “the biggest ones I’ve ever seen. They’re like lobsters!”

Robbie and Nancy Briggs

Robbie and Nancy Briggs

Jeremy Lock and D'Andra Simmons Lock

Jeremy Lock and D’Andra Simmons Lock

But food wasn’t the only feast. It was the platter of chatter that provided food for thought. Ross Perot Jr. said that his new Turtle Creek headquarters would open next December…D’Andra Simmons Lock and husband Jeremy Lock were headed to Europe with mom Dee Simmons, who was with Dr. Cristina Hartley, for the Christmas holidays…Robbie Briggs with wife Nancy Briggs was amazed at being on the cover of Fort Worth Business CEO, explaining, “I’ve never been on the cover of any magazine!” Robbie’s been busy over in Cowtown, having recently bought three companies over thar.

Jerry Fronterhouse and Annette Simmons

Jerry Fronterhouse and Annette Simmons

On the other hand, no one was talking about adorable couple “Angel of Grace” sponsor Annette Simmons and Jerry Fronterhouse getting married on Valentine’s Day. That’s because the twosome was keeping it mum until after the holidays.

And there were some who could only make it for the reception. For example, Nancy Rogers and her entourage of Donna Brittingham, Sue and Jimmy Gragg, Kathleen Hutchinson with John Nolan, Michael Flores with Doug Carney, Michael McCray with Gonzalo Bueno, Faisal Halum, Rajan Patal, the Betts and Greg Gonzalez with Hal Reid, made the rounds at the reception and then had to head off to The Mansion for dinner….Kathy and Harlan Crow were calling it an early night, as Harlan explained, “Like someone said, it stretches out so long, I’m never gonna do that again!”

IMG_5294

Performers

Performers

Those who stayed for the opening of the Chantilly Ballroom found a Milky Way cluster of smoke with acrobats both in the air and on the dance floor performing with a host of harpists providing the sound and a dreamy moon hovering overhead.

Manhattan Men

Midtown Men

Christi and Hal Urschel

Christi and Hal Urschel

Rhonda and Fraser Marcus

Rhonda and Fraser Marcus

Sara Lee and Stan Gardner

Sara Lee and Stan Gardner

AB and Scott Aston

AB and Scott Aston

After the mist calmed down and the performers and harpists disappeared, the Midtown Men took over the entertainment a la Jersey Boys style. The response? The dance floor was jammed with Rhonda and Fraser Marcus, AB and Scott Aston, Sara Lee and Stan Gardner, Susan and Addison Wilson, Muffin and John Lemak, Carol and Frank Riddick, Angie and Kevin Kadesky and Christi and Hal Urschel.

Mary Clare Finney and Chris Branscum

Mary Clare Finney and Chris Branscum

Tracy and Ben Lange

Tracy and Ben Lange

Reed and Kristen Gibbins, Rachel Roberts and Alex Harrell

Reed and Kristen Gibbins, Rachel Roberts and Alex Harrell

David and Stacy Blank

David and Stacy Blank

Mike and Micki Rawlings

Mike and Micki Rawlings

For those who still had room, like Laura and Jason Downing, Stacy and David Blank, Nikki and Crayton Webb, Caroline Rose Hunt with Del Frnka, Jan and Fred Hegi, Kelli and Jerry Ford, Tracy and Ben Lange, Micki and Mike Rawlings, Cammie and Brian Helfin, Mary Clare Finney with Chris Branscum, Stacey and John Relton, Mimi Sterling with mom Michele Crume, Elizabeth Fischer with Caleb Goodman, John Clutts with Sam Arslanlar, Alicia and Scott Wood, Shannon and Ted Skokos, Phyllis and CJ Comu, Carmen Surgent, Laree Hulshoff and Ben Fischer, Margo and Jim Keyes, AB and Scott Aston, Katherine and Key Coker, Kristen and Reed Gibbins, Rachel Roberts with Alex Harrell, Heather and Ray Balestri, past CCB chairs (Margo and Bill Goodwin, Jill and Bob Smith, Debbie and Nickey Oates, Aileen and Jack Pratt and Caren and Pete Kline), Niven Morgan and Shelby Wagner, Betty and John Crawford and Brian and Leslie Diers, dinner was on with first course (Main lobster claw and remoulade, lolla rossa and baby kale in radicchio, star fruit and pomegranate, parmesan frico and champagne vinaigrette), second course (filet mignon and crab cake with sauce bordelaise and béarnaise, potato and horseradish puree, roasted Thumbelina and baby yellow carrots and Romanesque and purple cauliflower) and dessert (celestial chocolate dream and white chocolate cognac truffle).

Mimi Sterling and Michele Crume

Mimi Sterling and Michele Crume

Ray and Heather Balestri

Ray and Heather Balestri

Dwight and Claire Emanuelson and Shelby Wagner and Niven Morgan

Dwight and Claire Emanuelson and Shelby Wagner and Niven Morgan

Kelli Ford

Kelli Ford

Bob and Jill Smith

Bob and Jill Smith

At their places, guests found the treasured “Children’s Book,” the CCB date book and a favor—a heavenly little sculpture of a captured universe—that seemed to reflect the entire evening.

For a look at the fashions and the beautiful peeps, check our MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

 

* Editor’s note: Does anyone get the impression that Judith Leiber should be an underwriter for the Crystal Charity Ball?

First Sight Shoots Down The Stodgy Opera Image With Mulberry Pop-Up Shop, Flash Dancing Mob And Designer Fashions

The sun was shining and there was no need for furs unless the guests were really hungry to bring their fuzzies out of storage on Thursday, October 29.

Many were still in recovery mode from the night before’s Neiman Marcus/NorthPark kiss-kiss, hug-hug celebration. Speaking of which, NorthPark’s Nancy Nasher may have channeled the Energizer Bunny Rabbit or had a clone made. Since announcing the NorthPark50, she’s been everywhere and The Dallas Opera’s First Sight at the Winspear was on her list. It made perfect sense since NorthPark was being presented by NorthPark.

Mulberry pop-up shop display

Mulberry pop-up shop display

As part of the NorthPark50 program, Mulberry had been paired with The Dallas Opera. Mulberry’ Matthew Minick made the most of it with a marvelous pop-up shop in the lobby of the Winspear for the champagne reception. It was a dazzling array of Mulberry handbags, clutches and accessories like shawls. And that was just for the reception. There was still more to come.

Paul and Tiffany Divis, Diane Sealy and Carl Barbato

Paul and Tiffany Divis, Diane Sealy and Carl Barbato

But first the ladies and some charming gents like Randall Goss, Steve Stodghill, Paul Divis, First Sight/First Night Co-Chair Don Winspear and Mulberry U.S. President Carl Barbato gathered in the Prothro lobby for what they thought would be sipping the bubbly and some charming chatting with folks like Dallas First Lady/Luncheon Chair Micki Rawlings, Anne Stodghill, Kara Goss, Muffin Lemak, Kaki Hopkins, Lynn McBee, Diane Brierley, Diane Sealy, Mary Brinegar, Delilah Boyd, Christie Carter, Patti Cody, Brittanie Buchanan Oleniczak, Simona Beal, Tiffany Divis, Roxanne Phillips, Marnie Wildenthal, Kristen Gibbins, Angela Nash, Holly Davis and First Sight/First Night Co-Chair Ellen Winspear with her future in-laws/former Dallas First Lady Laura Leppert and daughter Catherine Leppert. Former Dallas mayor/Laura’s husband Tom Leppert was outside on the phone.

Anne Stodghill, Rhonda Marcus and Randall and Kara Goss

Anne Stodghill, Rhonda Marcus and Randall and Kara Goss

At a point when most of the guests were present, organizers started giving each other the high sign. With that a coterie of pretty young things in pastel dresses carrying parasols paraded in past the crowd. The music sounded and the girls in pretty dresses turned out to a troop of ballerinas who could leap, kick and perform within the limited space. They turned out to be the students from the Hockaday Dance Departments.

Flash dancers

Hockaday Dancers

Flash dancers

Hockaday Dancers

Flash dancers

Hockaday Dancers

After their final bow, they lined up in two rows, so guests could stroll through to the luncheon tables in the west lobby with a catwalk that extended through the tables from one end of the room to the other. Adding a touch of dramatic flair was a blanket of hundreds of red rose petals at the stage’s elevated entrance.

Geoffrey Henning model and Rhonda Marcus

Geoffrey Henning model and Rhonda Marcus

Khanh Nguyen model and Khanh Nguyen

Khanh Nguyen model and Khanh Nguyen

 

Popken and Edo Popken model

Popken and Edo Popken model

Michael Faircloth model and Michael Faircloth

Michael Faircloth model and Michael Faircloth

Elizabeth Anyaa model with Catherine Leppert

Elizabeth Anyaa model with Catherine Leppert

Just as the crowd took their seats, the presentation of the five designer gowns representing the season’s five operas was underway. For the finale, the designers (Geoffrey Henning for “Great Scott,” Khanh Nguyen of Nha Khan for “Tosca,” Edo Popken for “Becoming Santa Claus,” Elizabeth Anyaa for Manon” and Michael Faircloth for “Show Boat”) escorted their models out for a final bow with Edo Popken waving the red-and-white hood from his Santa-like creation at the crowd. Unfortunately, two designers weren’t able to make it — Geoffrey and Elizabeth. In their place were Rhonda Marcus subbing for Geoffrey and Catherine Leppert for Elizabeth.

Following thank-you’s from the Winspears and Micki, The Dallas Opera General Director/CEO Keith Cerny announced that for the third year in a row, the opera was in the black. That announcement was greeted with applause for the accomplishment.

Following lunch, the Mulberry folks presented still another fashion presentation of their latest collection. Then the guests took a break because they would be returning the next evening for The Dallas Opera’s First Night and opening the season with “Great Scott.”

Sold-Out Alert!: Dallas Women’s Foundation’s 30th Annual Luncheon

Dallas Women's Foundation 30th Annual Luncheon*

Dallas Women’s Foundation 30th Annual Luncheon*

Remember how the Dallas Women’s Foundation’s 30th Annual Luncheon with actress/advocate Eva Longoria was in “Grovel Alert” status last Monday. Evidently, the warning was heeded. The event is now sold out! According to Co-Chairs Jane and Michael Hurst, Paula and Ron Parker and Stacey and John Relton, the Hilton Anatole’s Chantilly ballroom is going to be packed to the max this Friday for the fundraising luncheon.

Okay, so perhaps a sizable check might open up a table.

* Graphic courtesy of Dallas Women's Foundation

SOLD-OUT ALERT!: The Spirit Of Taos

The Wilkinson Center folks just know how to put the “fun” into fundraising. Perhaps that’s why The Spirit of Taos Co-Chairs Sloan Looney Dix and Stephanie Taylor just sent word that Friday night’s event at The Lot is more than sold out. Adding to the happy faces is the fact that they’ve already taken in more than $60,000. And they still have a silent auction and a raffle to hold!

Emily Dunn, Cindy Zahn Weed, Stephanie Taylor and Sloan Looney Dix (File photo)

Emily Dunn, Cindy Zahn Weed, Stephanie Taylor and Sloan Looney Dix (File photo)

With weather predictions saying rain is due Friday, The Lot is the perfect spot to feel comfy with good food, music just perfect for dancing and a lot of great people like Honorary Co-Chairs Emily and Jack Dunn and Cindy and Gary Weed. If you haven’t been to The Lot, it’s just across the road from White Rock and down the road from the Dallas Arboretum.

But let’s be honest. For a nice contribution, who knows? Perhaps they could squeeze a couple of more folks in.

SOLD-OUT ALERT: 2015 Equest Premier Celebration

Word just arrived that Saturday’s Equest Premier Celebration at Texas Horse Park is a done deal with 500 expected in boots. Among those buckaroos will be Co-Chairs Connie and Denny Carreker, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, Congressman Pete Sessions and the mini-ambassadors.

Equest rider Hillary with Dena Miller (File photo)

Equest rider Hillary with Dena Miller (File photo)

If you’ve got your heart set on checking out the Equest‘s newest digs for horses to help vets and  children and adults with challenges, then you can always beg, plead and/or write a nice fat check. Who knows? It just might work.

SOLD OUT ALERT: Great Big Jam

Let’s start the week off with good news. This Saturday’s ChildCareGroup’s very first ever Great Big Jam is sold out! What? You didn’t know about it? What’s it about? No, it’s not a get together to make preserves.

Great Big Jam*

Great Big Jam*

It’s kid-oriented at the Dallas Country Club from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. with activities and crafts. Ah, but the real emphasis is going to be on literacy. To do that, Great Big Jam Co-Chairs Elizabeth Malone, Leigh Mundinger and Winifred Mundinger have arranged to have New York Times best-selling author Eric Litwin entertain the children. Eric not only wrote “Pete the Cat” but also the new musical series, “The Nuts.”

According to Leigh, “We are so excited about the overwhelming response to the first-ever Great Big Jam. There are very few fundraising events in Dallas where children can get involved and engaged in philanthropy. We are thrilled that the Great Big Jam provides that opportunity, in a fun, family event.”

In addition to wearing their fav PJ’s, munchkin guests “are asked to bring new pajamas to donate to the children served by ChildCareGroup.

While he’s in town, Eric will also perform for the youngsters and families at ChildCareGroup’s MLK Center. And Half Price Books is donating books for the children at MLK.

* Graphic provided by ChildCareGroup

Crystal Charity Ball’s Jewels Of The Garden Is In The Final Stages Of Breaking Records

Scotch all those thoughts about the Crystal Charity Ball gals lounging around having their gel nails extra gelled and Botox appointments being kept. Nope. For the past few days, the ladies have been hard at work counting napkins, stringing beads, schlepping all types of goodies for the silent auction and dining on Chick-fil-A, cupcakes and pralines.

Piper Wyatt, Heather Furniss, Angie Kadesky and Claire Emanuelson

Piper Wyatt, Heather Furniss, Angie Kadesky and Claire Emanuelson

But tonight they took a break and gathered in the Anatole’s Margaret Thatcher Suite to celebrate the reign of CCB Chair Robyn Conlon. In addition to the committee members were past ball chairs (Barbara “Birthday Girl” Stuart, Debbie Oates, Cynthia Mitchell, Connie O’Neill and Aileen Pratt), Conlon kids and kids-to-be and the ever adorable Conlon patriarch Don.

Cynthia Mitchell, Debbie Oates, Connie O'Neill, Aileen Pratt and Barbara Stuart

Cynthia Mitchell, Debbie Oates, Connie O’Neill, Aileen Pratt and Barbara Stuart

And what was there to celebrate? First, they were way ahead of schedule. Second, Ma Nature was cooperating with a glorious moon slated to be overhead Saturday night instead of the icicles of a year ago. Third, Robyn’s son Casey had just gotten engaged to his adorable Lizzie Herbert. Fourth, Robyn’s salute to the ladies who filled the room for supporting her through her parents’ death, her own health issue and creating a potential record crunching fundraiser for area children’s charities. Fifth, Jewels of the Garden is gonna be a gem of an occasion for even the most ball weary vets and the first timers.

Lizzie Herbert and Casey Conlon

Lizzie Herbert and Casey Conlon

Oh, so what’s on hand for Saturday night? Good question. Guaranteed — loads of baubles, magnificent couture gowns and a ballroom that ain’t your grandmother’s Crystal Charity Ball. Just wait til the doors open and you’ll see what Robyn, event producer Tom Addis and the CCB ladies have in store.

We’d tell ya, but then Robyn would have to kill us and then spend Saturday night in jail.

And, yes, Virginia, even Santa couldn’t get you a ticket for this one. It’s been sold out for ages and ages.

BTW, if you’ve been thinking about trying out Uber for the first time, here’s your chance and it includes a $20 discount.