JUST IN: Hold On To Your Hats! The 2017 Mad Hatter’s Tea Judges Were Just Announced

Despite the stormy weather, Mad Hatter’s Tea Chair Linda Spina had folks gather at Tootsies this afternoon for “Mimosas and Millinery,” plus the great reveal of the judges for the Thursday, April 27thUnder The Tuscan Sun” hat competition at the Dallas Arboretum.

Hat by Cassandra MacGregor

Surrounded by a collection of chapeaus including some by Cassandra MacGregor for the “Mimosas and Millinery” reception, Linda announced the following judges:

Tracy Rathbun and Lynae Fearing (File photo)

Caroline Kraddick*

Niven Morgan (File photo)

Micki Rawlings (File photo)

Celebrity judge Rachel Zoe, restaurateurs Lynae Fearing and Tracy Rathbun (a judge team), Klyde Warren Park President Tara Green, Kerrently website editor Courtney Kerr, Kidd’s Kids CEO/Chief Happiness Officer Caroline Kraddick, fragrance guru Niven Morgan and Dallas First Lady Micki Rawlings.

The judges will be eyeballing the guests finery for awards in the following categories:

  • Molto Italiano “Very Italian” — Most True-to-Theme.  Everything Tuscan from the rolling hills of Tuscany to the art treasures of Florence to the Leaning Tower of Pisa and everything in between.
  • Rachel’s Pick – Rachel Zoe’s favorite hat.  The best of the best, from her point of view.
  • Bella Donna “Beautiful Woman” — Most Elegant.
  • A Taste of Italy — The food and drink of Italy.  Wine, cheese, pasta, pizza and more!
  • Bellissima Botanical — Best Botanical.  What would Mad Hatter’s at the Arboretum be without hats adorned with beautiful flowers?
  • Fellini’s Follies — Famed Italian film director Federico Fellini always worked in a group.  Best Group of Hats.  Men may compete in this category.
  • Mamma Mia! — Most outlandish.  Go wild!
  • Ciao Bella! “Hello Beautiful” — People’s Choice.  The best of the best, as voted on by the attendees.

Warning: Please do not try to bribe the judges, but do get your hats ready for the champagne reception on the Ginsburg Plaza and reserved your seats for the Tootsies fashion show in Rosine Hall and the seated luncheon in the tented Outdoor Plaza.

* Photo provided by 2017 Mad Hatter's Tea

YPO Gold Members Get A Class In Genetics At Baylor’s Sammons Center

John D. Harkey Jr. is a true Renaissance man. Besides heading up the Dallas company called Consolidated Restaurant Operations, he’s a longtime private-equity investor and co-founder of a gene therapy company called AveXis Inc., which Goldman Sachs recently took public. He’s also a director of the Baylor Health Care System Foundation and, together with Peni Barfield, the current education chair for the Dallas YPO Gold group—a group of successful CEOs who are at least age 49. 

John Harkey, Peni Barfield and Camila Iribe Orive and Adolfo Orive

So, it made perfect sense when John went last June to Robin Robinson, president of the Baylor Foundation, and asked whether Baylor would consider hosting the YPO group for a dinner and educational session on the increasingly important field of genetics. Robin not only said yes, he said, “It’s on us.” Which led to the event for about 100 YPO Gold members and their spouses Thursday, March 2, at Baylor’s Charles A. Sammons Cancer Center. 

Stephen Lerer, Libby Allred and Barbara Crow

Myrna Schlegel

Patty and Mark Langdale

As attendees including Craig Hall, Myrna and Bob Schlegel, Brent Christopher, Barbara and Steve Durham, Libby Allred, Barbara Crow, Camila Iribe Orive and Adolfo Orive, Caroline and Rick O’BrienJane Saginaw Lerer and Stephen Lerer, Ashley Arnold, Leslie and Nick Merrick, Patty and Mark Langdale, and Todd Furniss gathered to enjoy the delicious dinner, there was an extra sense of anticipation in the air. About 70 of the 100, it seems, had agreed in advance a while ago to undergo genetic testing. And tonight, the results of their collective—and anonymous—gene profiles were going to be revealed. Talk about a dessert surprise!

Rick OBrien

Leslie Merrick

Nick Merrick

Jane Saginaw Lerer

Before introducing several top experts in the field to the YPOers, Robin told the group that genetics is “one of the fastest-moving areas in medicine,” and that he himself had “spit in a cup” once for the company called 23andMe. The result: Robin was told that 95 percent of his ancestors were from Northwest Europe … and he had a 70 percent chance of hair loss!

Richard Gibbs

The foundation president then gave way to Richard Gibbs, Ph.D., the founder and director of the Human Genome Sequencing Center at the Baylor College of Medicine. Gibbs explained that there are several good reasons for a person to pursue genetic testing, including if you have a genetic disease or if you’re considering having children.

Next on the program were Peter Dysert II, M.D., who’s chief of the pathology department at Baylor University Medical Center, and George Jackson “Jack” Snipes, M.D., Ph.D., the co-medical director, molecular pathology, at BUMC. Snipes explained some genome basics, and shared the amazing fact that humans share 99.5 percent to 99.9 percent of their DNA with each other. The more “SNPs” (or “snips”) that you share with a group—SNPs are the most common type of genetic variation among people—the more you are like that group, Jack went on.

With that, it was time to reveal the YPO Gold group’s collective genetic profile. In terms of average ethnicity, the experts explained, the bulk of the group broke down like this: 36 percent were of British/Irish ancestry; 26 percent were German/French; 14 percent were Ashkenazi Jew; and 7 percent were Scandinavian. Then the experts turned to the business of recessive genes among the group, and revealed the following: 22 of the 70 (or 31 percent) were carriers of 29 different inherited genetic disorders. Three were carriers for cystic fibrosis; three were carriers for Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome (that’s an error in cholesterol synthesis); and three were carriers for “apnea following anesthesia.” 

Robin Robinson, Peter Dysert II, Jack Snipes, Michelle Shiller, Connie Bormans and James Denison

But, that’s not all as scary as it might sound, the group was told. While everyone is very likely a carrier for something, it’s important to know, especially for your children’s sake, whether both of your parents may have carried recessive genes, the attendees learned. With that, James C. Denison, Ph.D.—he’s the resident scholar for ethics with Baylor Scott & White Health—told how his son had suffered from a very rare form of cancer caused by a genetic mutation, and how he prays every day that the mutation will be reversed.

The evening wrapped up with a presentation by a Houston company called Gene By Gene Ltd., which started off specializing in DNA-based ancestry and geneology before expanding into the medical and research fields. The company’s mission is to “unleash the power of genetic testing for everyone, giving unparalleled insight into ourselves and the future.” Filing out of the Sammons Center around 9 p.m., members of the YPO Gold group had a much better understanding of that power—thanks to Robin, John, and Peni.  

For more photos, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

Hefty, Young Couple Meets Up In Dallas For Arranged Relationship

They didn’t know each other. They hadn’t even met via an online dating service. She had been living in Albuquerque and he hailed from glamorama Los Angeles. But they rendezvoused in Dallas this week for an arranged relationship. Sure, they’re a bit hefty and she’s just 10 years old, but according to those-in-the-know, they would find bliss together.

Boipelo*

Adhama**

Whoa! Before getting the wrong impression, it’s not what you think.

The two are Nile hippos and the new residents of the $14M,  2.1-acre Simmons Hippo Outpost at the Dallas Zoo. While Boipelo is a svelte babe weighing in at 2,395 pounds, six-year-old hunky Adhama hits the scales at 3,722 pounds.

According to Dallas Zoo Animal Operations and Welfare VP Harrison Edell, “Over the next 30 days while the hippos are in quarantine, our keepers, veterinary staff and nutritionists will keep a close eye on them to ensure they continue to do well. For now they’re living in separate halves of the new barn, but because of its open design, they’ve already ‘met’ each other through the fences and are getting along well.”

It’s been 16 years since the Zoo’s last Nile hippo, Papa, died. At the time of his death, he was 53 years old and “the oldest Nile hippo being cared for in a U.S. zoo.”

The official debut of the newbie river horses will probably take place in April. Stay tuned.

* Photo credit: ABQ BioPark./Courtesy of ABQ BioPark 
** Photo credit L.A. Zoo./ Courtesy of L.A. Zoo

North Texas Food Bank Makes Changes In Its Annual Food Raising Event With Cowboys And Chefs

Change is in the air. The North Texas Food Bank has made changes for its fundraising “Taste of the NFL.” First, the name has readjusted. It’s now known as “Taste of the Cowboys.” And they don’t mean rodeo types.

Taste Of The Cowboys*

Second, the location has been moved from AT&T Stadium (the home turf for the Dallas Cowboys) to The Ford Center at The Star in Frisco (aka the new home base for the Dallas Cowboys).  

But what stays the same is the involvement of past and present Dallas Cowboys, entertainment (Reckless Kelly) and top-area restaurants and chefs participating Shinsei, The Capital Grill Plano, Seasons 52, Asador, Lockhart Smokehouse, Texas de Brazil, Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House, Bistro 31, Kent Rathbun, Taverna, Toulouse, The Common Table, Perry’s Steakhouse And Grille, Cane Rosso, Howard Wang’s China Grill, il Calabrese Ristorante And Bar, Yucatan Taco Stand, Mayfield Ice Cream, The Oceanaire Seafood Room, Tupelo Honey Southern Kitchen And Bar, Legends Hospitality, Cowboys Club, Off the Bone Barbeque, Frosted Art, Omni Frisco Hotel/Neighborhood Services, Rye. Craft Food And Drink, La Duni and Mi Cocina.

Reckless Kelly*

The shindig takes place on Sunday, May 7, with the Main Event taking place from 6 to  10 p.m. For a few bucks more, the VIP Event (5 to 6 p.m.) is available.  Tickets are online now!

Presented by Caliber Collision, all proceeds from the tasty event will benefit NTFB’s child programs.

* Graphic and photo provided by North Texas Food Bank

JUST IN: Zac Posen To Present His Collection At The Crystal Charity Ball 2017 Ten Best Dressed Women Of Dallas Fashion Show and Luncheon

One of Dallas’ favorite designers will have his collection on the runway for  The Crystal Charity Ball’s 2017 Ten Best Dressed Women of Dallas Fashion Show and Luncheon on Friday, September 15. It will none other than that cutie pie Zac Posen!

Zac Posen*

Christi Urschel (File photo)

According to Fashion Show Chair Christi Urschel, “Everyone is thrilled to have Zac Posen’s collection featured at this year’s event. We are honored that he will be joining us for this very special day.”

And what a special day it will be. Instead of pitching the mega-tent in the adjacent parking lot, Neiman Marcus Downtown GM/VP Jeff Byron is going to have the CCB fundraiser back in the NM flagship. The Fashion Show will take place on the second floor followed by a seated luncheon on the store’s fourth floor.

Jeff Byron (File photo)

Pam Perella (File photo)

2017 Crystal Charity Ball Chair Pam Perella commented, “The generous support of Neiman Marcus allows all proceeds from the event to support children served by the 2017 beneficiaries. We are most grateful to Neiman Marcus for planning such an exciting fashion show and luncheon.”

In addition to the Fashion Show, the annual presentation of the Ten Best Dressed and Hall of Fame honoree will take place. And just who will make up the 10 BD and the Hall of Famer? That reveal will be made at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, April 12, “at a reception and preview of the Zac Posen Resort 2017 Collection at the downtown store.”

Before you start writing that check or calling to reserve your spot, stop! Tickets and sponsorships won’t be available until late April.

However, it would be wise to save your coins now for a sweet sponsorship, since there are some delicious perks that go with ‘em. For instance, Comerica will host a seated dinner at the Dallas County Club on Tuesday, September 5, for Platinum Level Patrons. And for Fashion Show Patrons, there will be a cocktail buffet sponsored by JP Morgan the night before the Fashion Show at Shirley and Bill McIntyre’s fabulous Bluffview estate with Zac in attendance.

Thanks to the Fashion Show and The 2017 Crystal Charity Ball on Saturday, December 2, at the Hilton Anatole, the following children’s nonprofits will benefit: Autism Treatment Center Inc., Big Brothers and Big Sisters Lone Star, Children’s Medical Center Foundation, Dallas Holocaust Museum, Hunger Busters, Presbyterian Communities and Services Foundation, Rainbow Days and Santa Clara of Assisi Catholic Academy.

* Photo provided by The Crystal Charity Ball

JUST IN: 2017 Celebrating Women Luncheon Deets Revealed With More To Come

Recently Tucker Enthoven and Ola Fojtasek  have been hunkering down about some kind of project. After much prodding and pushing (okay, so the typical types of medieval tortures were not applied), they wouldn’t give up the info. Still they offered smiles, winks and what all.

Ola Fojtasek and Tucker Enthoven

Finally, after over-the-top pleading and first-born-promises, the duo revealed the date for the 2017 Celebrating Women Luncheon fundraiser for Baylor Health Care System Foundation. Tucker is gonna be chairing the event and Ola will be handling the underwriting efforts.

It will be held at the Hilton Anatole on Thursday, October 26.

As for the guest speaker, hold your breath. Nobody’s talking, but they’re all thrilled. Stay tuned for deets. Gee, whiz! It can’t possibly be who is rumored! But dadgummit, time will tell. Besides, if it helps prevent breast cancer, that’s what matters.

Klyde Warren Park’s 2017 Park And Palate To Coincide With Longhorns And Sooners Get Together

The folks at Klyde Warren Park have just revealed the dates for the third annual Park And Palate. It’s that two-day food fest at the downtown oasis featuring “top chefs from throughout Texas, a variety of wineries, breweries, distilleries and musical entertainment.”

Klyde Warren Park (File photo)

The Friday night is a VIP Down To The Roots, followed the next days with the Grand Taste all day.

Before getting that plastic out to buy a ticket, hold off because the Early Bird tickets won’t go on sale until April.

Longhorn (File photo)

What’s that? Oh, the dates? Now, that’s an interesting question. The organizers have picked Friday, October 13, and Saturday, October 14. Hmm, isn’t that Texas-OU weekend? There will be no excuse to complain about having nothing to do that weekend.

JUST IN: Dr. Linda Abraham-Silver Named New Chief Executive Officer For Perot Museum

Perot dinosaurs (File photo)

Nearly a year after its previous permanent CEO resigned, the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas has named a new chief executive officer. According to a letter sent to museum donors by Perot Board Chair Hernan J.F. Saenz III, “Dr. Linda Abraham-Silver will be joining the Perot Museum as our next Eugene McDermott Chief Executive Officer, effective July 1.”

According to the letter, Abraham-Silver will arrive at the museum this summer “from the Government of Abu Dhabi, where she has led science and technology promotion initiatives for the Technology Development Committee as associate director since 2011.” Earlier, Saenz went on, she spent eight years as president and CEO of the Great Lakes Science Center in Cleveland, Ohio.

The board chair said the new CEO is “perfectly aligned” with the Perot’s strategic initiatives.

“Dr. Silver’s background is impressive in its own right, but it is particularly relevant at this stage in the Museum’s evolution,” Saenz told the donors. “We are all engaged in the challenging … effort to translate the Perot Museum’s initial momentum into an engine of sustainable innovation and community impact. This requires fresh, innovate programming and exhibits, renewed and deepened community engagement across North Texas, and enhancements to the overall guest experience.”

The Perot had been led by Interim CEO Dan Kohl, since the abrupt resignation last year of chief executive Colleen Walker after less than two years on the job. According to news accounts, Walker and the museum’s board had “differences.”

Oops Alert!: Three-Way Luncheon Collision Scheduled For Wednesday, March 8

Dallas fundraising is less than two months into the 2017 marathon for local nonprofits and there’s already a major collision in sight. It takes place on Wednesday, March 8. Despite Monday, March 6, and Thursday, March 7, being pretty vacant of noontime goings-on, three groups honed in on that Wednesday for their luncheon moneymakers.

And to make matters worse, two of ‘em are taking place at the same venue. Here’s the rundown:

Lyda Hill (File photo)

Steve Mansfield (File photo)

Now, if you’re swift of feet and have plenty of buying power, you might try to hit all three. On the other hand, it’s too bad that the three couldn’t have been spread through the week, so a Solomon-like choice will have to be made.

JUST IN: Dallas Women’s Foundation’s Leadership Forum And Awards Dinner Plans Announced Including Keynote Speaker Carla Harris

Carla Harris*

And the good news just keeps rolling in! Dallas Women’s Foundation is popping with news on all fronts regarding the Leadership Forum and Awards Dinner on Tuesday, May 9, at the Dallas Omni Hotel. Dinner  Co-Chairs Cheryl Alston and Laura V. Estrada have arranged for Vice Chairman, Wealth Management, Managing Director and Senior Client Advisor at Morgan Stanley Carla Harris to be the keynote speaker. In addition to being a presidential-appointed chair of the National Women’s Business Council, the Port Arthur native has written “Strategies to Win” and “Expect to Win” and gospel singer.

As for the recipients of the 2017 Maura Women Helping Women and Young Leader Awards, DWF President/CEO Ros Dawson Thompson revealed quite a lineup. The 2017 Mauras will be presented to the following gals at the dinner:

  • Hind El Saadi El Jarrah*

    Hind El Saadi El Jarrah, Ph.D. – Born in Beirut to Palestinian parents, Jarrah has promoted the understanding and respect for multicultural diversity, especially for her three daughters. To preserve her culture and to instill it in her daughters, in 1982 she co-founded the Arabic Heritage Society, a nonprofit whose mission was educational, cultural, social and charitable to preserve and promote understanding of the culture. From 1983 to 1991, she served as principal of the Arabic school. After 9/11, widespread misconceptions about Islam and Muslims resulted in her giving speeches about these topics to promote understanding. In 2005, she co-founded and continues to serve as the executive director of the Texas Muslim Women’s Foundation (TMWF), a nonprofit that empowers Muslim women and their families and addresses critical needs of this population including counseling, legal services and play therapy. In 2012, TMWF opened Peaceful Oasis, a shelter for victims and children of domestic violence, which has served more than 1,500 clients from all faiths and races.

  • Madeline McClure*

    Madeline McClure, LCSW – As the founding CEO of TexProtects, The Texas Association for the Protection of Children, McClure is on a mission to prevent child abuse. After a successful nine-year career in finance on Wall Street, she started a second career to help abused and neglected children by creating large-scale systemic change through legislative advocacy. Under her leadership, TexProtects has led or assisted in the passage of 41 bills that have improved the Child Protective Services system, and advocated for and secured $100 million for family support home visiting programs, which currently serve more than 21,000 families across Texas. Recently, McClure led successful efforts to make positive changes to Texas’ Child Protective Services, including a recent approval of pay raises for 5,000+ frontline CPS caseworkers, of which 75 percent are female.

  • Tonya Parker*

    The Honorable Tonya Parker – Judge Tonya Parker has been Judge of the 116th Civil District Court in Dallas County since she was elected in 2010 and re-elected in 2014. During her tenure, she has served with the highest remarks and approval ratings. She currently serves as the Presiding Judge of the Dallas County Civil District Courts and is the immediate past president of the Texas Association of District Judges. By serving honorably in her position, she has elevated the status of and opened doors for women. In addition, she is involved with IGNITE, a non-partisan organization aimed at developing political ambition and training for young women (ages 14-22) to run for public office. Parker serves as a mentor to these young women, helping them learn how to be impactful contributors to society, especially if they are elected. Parker also finds time to serve on many legal associations, civic boards and commissions. A passionate speaker, she’s often asked to give speeches to legal groups and schools, including an impactful commencement speech she gave to Richardson ISD graduates in 2015.

  • Lupe Valdez*

    Sheriff Lupe Valdez – The youngest child and only daughter born to migrant farm workers, Sheriff Lupe Valdez became the highest-ranking law enforcement officer in Dallas County in 2005. Re-elected for her fourth term in 2016, she is the only Hispanic female sheriff in the nation and one of four female sheriffs in Texas. Because her mother was determined that she would receive an education, Valdez worked two jobs to put herself through college. After college, she enlisted in the Army Reserves where she rose to the rank of captain, and also earned a master’s degree in criminology and criminal justice. As Sheriff, she has partnered with the Dallas County Commissioner’s Court, Parkland Hospital, Dallas County Constables, the District Attorney’s Office and several judges to improve county law enforcement. Some of her successes include hiring 400 new detention service officers, expanding the highway patrol system, and improving healthcare for mentally ill inmates.

Dallas Women’s Foundation’s Young Leader Award recognizes breakthrough leadership exhibited by a woman under the age of 40 who is achieving success in a field, initiative or sector, and creating a path of opportunity for other women to follow.

Cynthia Nwaubani*

Presented by Capital One, this year’s Young Leader Awardee will be Cynthia Nwaubani, CPA. “Because of the important role education played in Nwaubani’s life, she has devoted her time on efforts to promote education, empowerment and financial independence for women and girls. She earned her MBA and CPR certification while working full-time and raising a family, and now works as a relationship manager for Wells Fargo & Company. She was recently recognized with Wells Fargo’s “Living with Vision and Values” award just two years into her career. She’s passionate about connecting women executives and clients, as well as global diversity that focuses on diversity of thoughts, ideas and experiences. Through her involvement with 4word women’s group, she is able to grow with other women leaders who work, love and pray. Nwaubani also mentors women business owners from countries that have been affected by war or genocide through the Institute for Economic Empowerment of Women.”

According to Ros, “We are proud to honor and celebrate exceptional leaders who are blazing trails for women in their professions and communities. These women have dedicated themselves to creating opportunities for women and girls to accomplish their goals, and their stories are an inspiration to us all.  We also look forward to hearing from the dynamic Carla Harris, who will encourage us to do even more to advance women’s leadership at work and in the community.” 

Dinner tickets starting at $150 and sponsorships are available right here!

* Photo provided by Dallas Women's Foundation

JUST IN: 2017 Cattle Baron’s Ball “To Shoot For The Stars” With Brooks And Dunn At Gilley’s Dallas

And the day ends with more breaking news concerning Lisa and Clay Cooley. Well, sorta.

This morning the Dallas Symphony Orchestra President/CEO Jonathan Martin revealed that Lisa and Clay would be co-chairing the 2017 DSO Gala in September. Just minutes ago, more than 400 Cattle Baron’s Ball types learned the deets for the 2017 American Cancer Society fundraiser at a reveal party sponsored by Clay Cooley Auto Group.

Sunie Solomon (File photo)

Anne Stodghill (File photo)

But you really want to know the news revealed. 2017 CBB Co-Chairs Sunie Solomon and Anne Stodghill (aka “Suni-Anne”) told the crowd at Anne and Steve Stodghill’s estate-sweet-estate (aka “Stodg-villa”) that this year’s theme would be “Shooting For The Stars — A Dream As Big As Texas” with the party returning to Gilley’s Dallas on Saturday, October 21.

Brooks and Dunn*

Now for the big news. Providing the boot-kicking entertainment on the Main Stage for the expected 3,500+ cowgirls and cowboys, it will be country western favs Brooks and Dunn.  

The gals have Jamie Jo Boulogne, Dawn Greiner and Jonika Nix as underwriting co-chairs; Lisa Bhattacharya, Lora Farris and Lauren Snyder as auction co-chairs; Marjon Henderson and Lisa Shirley as live auction co-chairs; and Marybeth Conlon, Laura Reeder, Amanda Shufeldt and Nikki Webb as raffle co-chairs.  

The website is trying to catch up with Suni-Anne, so if you want to lock down a sponsorship or a big-buckeroo package, call 214.443.9222.

* Photo provided by Cattle Baron's Ball

JUST IN: Lisa And Clay Cooley To Chair 2017 Dallas Symphony Orchestra Gala With Yo-Yo Ma As Featured Musician

The day is already starting with breaking news. This announcement comes from the Dallas Symphony Orchestra about its 2017 DSO Gala on Saturday, September 16. DSO President/CEO Jonathan Martin just revealed that Lisa and Clay Cooley will be co-chairing this year’s black-tie gala at the Meyerson.

Clay and Lisa Cooley (File photo)

According to Jonathan, “We are delighted that Lisa and Clay have agreed to chair this year’s gala. Their philanthropic work in Dallas is strongly recognized in our community, and we know they will lead an event that will be a night to remember.”

Among the Cooleys’ numerous philanthropic involvement are The Crystal Charity Ball, The Cattle Baron’s Ball, The American Cancer Society, The Family Place, New Friends New Life, Family Gateway, American Heart Association, The Dallas Opera, Callier Center for Communication Disorders, St. Mark’s School of Texas, The Hockaday School and Southern Methodist University.

The gala event is considered the fall season opener for black-tie fundraising with photographers hustling to snap the elegant crowd during the reception preceding the seated dinner in the Meyerson lobby and the concert in the Eugene McDermott Concert Hall.

But there’s still more news from Jonathan! Internationally renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma will be the guest musician performing the Dvořák Cello Concerto with DSO Music Director Jaap van Zweden and the DSO. 

Japp van Zweden and Yo-Yo Ma (File photo)

Jonathan said, “There is no bigger soloist in classical music than Yo-Yo Ma. He is revered for his musicianship as well as his commitment to education. We are so pleased that he will be the Gala guest artist to kick off and celebrate the 10th and Farewell Celebration Season of Music Director Jaap van Zweden.”

Yo-Yo is a perfect pick. In addition to being over-the-top brilliant with a bow, he’s incredibly fun and, like the Cooleys, has a killer smile.

There are three opportunities to join the fun:

  • For full blown gala tickets, table purchases and gala sponsorships, contact Tab Boyles at 214.871.4045.
  • If you’re a season subscriber or were thinking about it, you can purchase concert/after-party tickets starting Saturday, February 11.
  • Single tickets for non-subscribers will go on sale Wednesday, April 12.

For a complete read of all the deets, follow the jump for the full release. Then get your reservations in and go shopping for that pretty new frock. [Read more…]

JUST IN: Artscape Reimagined 2017 Chair Kaki Hopkins Announces Craig Hall To Receive The First Great Contributor To Art Award And Much More Deets

Due to circumstances way beyond our control, the next couple of days are going to be filled with announcements galore thanks to those wonderful people who bring you fundraising in North Texas. The news will be revealed as soon as it breaks.

The very first on the lineup just took place, courtesy of Artscape Reimagined 2017 Chair Kaki Hopkins, who never tackles any project in a lightweight manner. She gathered a crowd of folks, including many of her 48-member committee, at Dallas Arboretum’s DeGolyer House this evening to reveal plans for the upcoming Artscape Reimagined 2017.

Kaki Hopkins (File photo)

Craig Hall (File photo)

The eyebrow-raising headline of the evening was the creation of the Great Contributor to Art Award in association with the garden’s fine art and craft show. And to kick the launch of the award off with a bang, she announced the very first recipient will be entrepreneur/best-selling author/philanthropist/vineyard owner Craig Hall.

According to Kaki, “Craig Hall embodies the spirit of this award. He is someone who collects art not for himself but for the benefit of the communities in which we live and work, and we are excited to honor him.”

Craig will be presented with the Gary Lee Price-designed award on Friday, May 12, at the Artscape Award and Auction Dinner in the Arboretum’s Rosine Hall.

With wife Kathryn Hall standing nearby, Craig said, “I am a strong believer in the importance of public art and the incredible effect it can have on its audience. Art has the ability to touch the soul and make people think, and it should be shared openly and democratically. The Dallas Arboretum, through its public art exhibits, sculptures throughout the garden and Artscape, is a great example of how our city is embracing public art, and I am glad to be a part of it.”

Patricia Meadows (File photo)

Regarding Artscape itself, it will feature more than 100 renowned artists from around the country thanks to the Artscape jury including Chair  Patricia Meadows, Katherine Wagner and Marty Ray with assistance by Gail Sachson. This year’s show will feature “a variety of mediums including paintings, sculpture, 2-D and 3-D mixed media, photography, fiber, ceramics and more.” But leave it to Kaki to have ramped it up to live up to its Artscape Reimagined theme, like:

  • An architect-designed landscape layout with decorative signage and boulevards that provide excellent audience flow and heightened visibility for the artists.
  • The historic DeGolyer House transformed into the DeGolyer Gallery, featuring local Dallas galleries presenting works by artists they represent
  • The University Zone, where approximately 10 universities will show and sell works by their professors and students.

And it will all take place with the Arboretum grounds in full bloom, thanks to dazzling azaleas. The schedule calls for the member preview on Friday, April 28, with the public viewings on the following Saturday (April 29) and Sunday (April 30).  

As an additional offering, Artscape guests will also be able to check out ZimSculpt, the exhibition of “modern Zimbabwean stone sculptures that will be incorporated into the garden” from Saturday, April 15 through Monday, July 31. This collection of more than 100 hand-carved pieces will be the first time that the sculptures will be on display in the southern U.S. During their stay, Zimbabwean artists Aron Kapembeza and Passmore Mupindiko will be on hand to demonstrate how the stone is carved into modern art.

BTW, tickets for the Artscape Award and Auction Dinner are $300 per guest and will be available for purchase on Monday, February 6.

MySweet2017Goals: Jody Dean

Jody Dean (File photo)

According to 98.7 KLUV’s The Morning Team ringmaster Jody Dean,

“Just found out my first grandchild is due in April. A little girl. My goal is to not turn into a complete mush.”

KidneyTexas Inc. Celebrated The Holidays With Check Presentations, Gifts Of Crystal And A Birthday Cake

What better place to have a party during the season of giving than a jewelry salon? And since Bachendorf’s had been the jewelry sponsor for the 2016 KidneyTexas luncheon, it was the natural choice for the organization’s presentation of checks and the announcement of plans for 2017 on Wednesday, December 14.

Introduced by KidneyTexas President AB Aston, beneficiary selection committee member Kendra Karlock along with the 2016 KidneyTexas Luncheon Chair McKamy Tiner handed out the following checks:

  • Baylor Health Care System Foundation — $25,000 for “A Longitudinal Study of Living Kidney Donors”
  • Camp Reynal (National Kidney Foundation) — $30,225 for camper’s fees, counselors and medical personnel
  • Children’s Medical Center Foundation — $10,000 for Pediatric Stone Center
  • Methodist Health System Foundation — $4,775 for warming cabinets
  • Parkland Health and Hospital Foundation — $98,500 for KidneyTexas Inc. Hemodialysis Unit
  • Texas Health Resources Foundation— $25,200 for two Hemodialysis machines

Joyce Lee, Dr. Cole Edmondson, Shannon Fisher, Angela Nash, Dr. Craig Peters, Anna Bland “AB” Aston, Dr. Goran Klintmalm, Kyra Barnett, McKamy Tiner, Marie Collins, Beth Dexter and Kendra Karlock*

When the last check was presented, it was time for the gift giving to continue. After AB turned over the presidential duties to 2016-2017 KidneyTexas President Andrea Alcorn, one of Andrea’s first acts was to give a “gorgeous crystal bowl” to AB. Then AB gat McKamy a “beautiful crystal angel — all to a resounding ovation.”

As her second act, Andrea revealed plans for the 2017. This year’s luncheon will have a trio chairing the fundraiser — Kendra, transplant survivor Christine Martin and Susan Russell.  

And the final surprise of the evening took place when McKamy “came forward with a huge cake and blazing candles as everyone sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to AB, who was celebrating her birthday that evening.”

* Photo credit: Dana Driensky

JUST IN: Actor, Businessman, Thorn Co-Founder Ashton Kutcher To Be New Friends New Life 14th Annual Luncheon Speaker

Tanya Foster and Lisa Cooley (File photo)

This spring’s lineup of luncheon speakers/special guests was sorta looking like a girls-only situation (Simone Biles for Jonathan’s Place, Bethenny Frankel for Community Partners of Dallas, Robin Roberts for Interfaith Family Services, Rachel Zoe for Mad Hatters Tea, Nancy Kerrigan for The Elisa Project and Arianna Huffington for Genesis).

But leave it to New Friends New Life’s 14th Annual Luncheon Co-Chairs Lisa Cooley and Tanya Foster to provide someone smart, influential, successful and of the male gender to serve as guest speaker — Ashton Kutcher.

Ashton Kutcher*

Whoa! Why Ashton? Yes, he’s hot. Yes, he’s a movie star. Yes, the last time he was seen in this neck of the woods was for the iced-over Super Bowl with then-wife Demi Moore. And, yes, he’s now happily married to Mila Kunis and the very cool father of two.

So, what does he have to do with New Friends New Life’s mission of restoring and empowering formerly trafficked and sexually exploited women, teens and children?” A heck of a lot and it ain’t no recent undertaking!

Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore (File photo)

When he was married to Demi, the couple founded Thorn, an organization that develops innovative technology solutions to fight the sexual exploitation of children.

According to Ashton, “Technology has completely changed the landscape when it comes to the abuse and exploitation of children. We created Thorn as a way to turn the tables and leverage technology to be a part of the solution, instead of a part of the problem.”

While the marriage didn’t last, Thorn did. It has “helped law enforcement identify and recover over 6,000 domestic human tracking victims to date (with 474 of those victims being received in the state of Texas).”

And Dallas is a major point of interest for his work.

Tanya pointed out that “In Dallas alone, sex trafficking is a $99 million criminal enterprise. Enlightened by so many staggering statistics and stories from survivors, Lisa and I are committed to rallying the support needed to bring an end to this injustice. There is much work to be done. ”

The luncheon will take place on Wednesday, May 10, at the Omni Dallas Hotel with Gail and Gerald Turner serving as honorary co-chairs. Sponsorships are now available ranging from $2,500-$100,000. Individual tickets will be available in March, but don’t wait. Splurge and become a sponsor by calling Jennifer Yarbrough at 214.965.0935.

* Photo credit: Nigel Parry/CPI Syndication

JUST IN: 33rd St. Valentine’s Day Luncheon And Fashion Show Designers, Patron Party And Raffle Item Plans Revealed

2017 St. Valentine’s Day Luncheon and Fashion Show*

With the Christmas holidays in the rear view mirror, retailers are filling shelves with all types of sweetheart deals getting folks in the mood for St. Valentine’s Day. And this year the stars are truly in alignment for the 33rd Annual St. Valentine’s Day Luncheon and Fashion Show. Unlike many years past, this year’s “Affair of the Heart” will indeed take place on Tuesday, February 14!

Nancy and Richard Rogers (File photo)

Presented by Nancy C. and Richard R. Rogers, the extravaganza will take place once again at the Meyerson with the fashion show under the direction of event producer Jan Strimple.

And, boy, has red-haired Jan been busy. She’s been scurrying around Highland Park Village cherry-picking the very best from Brunello Cucinelli, St. John, Market, Escada, Etro and Carolina Herrera.

Heather Randall (File photo)

While on the subject of Highland Park Village, in addition to being the fashion show and luncheon sponsor, HPV’s Jimmy Choo will be the site of the patron party on Tuesday, February 7, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. In addition to a percentage of Jimmy Choo sales benefiting the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of North Texas fundraiser that night, the luncheon/fashion show raffle items will be revealed and chances will be available for purchase. Word has it that trips are gonna be included in the items with American Airlines serving as the “official travel sponsor.” Just imagine what a hit it would be to win a trip to give your special Valentine that evening over a cozy dinner!

Event Chair Heather Perttula Randall has arranged to use “two floors for the luncheon. Priority placement for the Main Floor for the luncheon will be based on giving level and time of receipt of your contract.”

The champagne reception will start bubbling at 10 a.m., so lock down your ticket. Then splurge and buy yourself a red, hot outfit to the St. V-Day lunch.

 

News 8 Daybreak’s Alexa Conomos May Be Leaving WFAA And News 8 Daybreak But Not The Nonprofits

Alexa Conomos (File photo)

For those nonprofits who worried their botoxed brows about word that WFAA’s News 8 Daybreak’s Alexa Conomos was leaving WFAA’s morning show, take a chill pill.

It was 16 or so years ago that Alexa’s journey from California brought her to North Texas and TXCN. Then, as TXCN went bye-bye in 2002, Alexa transitioned to co-anchoring with Ron Corning to wake folks up from 4:30 a.m. to 7 a.m.

Over the years, Alexa personally went from adorable single girl to glowing married lady to multi-tasking mama of three. In recent months, Alexa realized that her priorities needed a revisit and that making breakfast for her kidlets and having date nights with her hubby Bradley trumped all.

Luckily knowing Alexa, her support of the North Texas nonprofit world will continue beyond her days at the conclusion of her contract with WFAA in June.

JUST IN: Equest To Sell Wylie Property, Add Al Hill Jr. Family Arena At Texas Horse Park Facility With Completion Slated For Fall 2017

Equest just revealed a big reduction and expansion of its physical operation. The reduction is the putting up for sale its Wylie property. Despite the “For Sale” sign, it will continue operating from Friday, January 27, thru Saturday, May 13. Handling the sale will be Dave Perry-Miller and Associates’ Andy Steingasser, who is also Equest’s chairman of the board. Just to keep this above board, Andy is donating 100% of his commission to Equest.

Heather Washburne, Al Hill Jr. and Elisa Summers (File photo)

On the other hand, Equest’s expansion will be the addition of a new state-of-the-art arena at its Texas Horse Park facility. Named Al Hill Jr. Family Arena, the new arena will allow the organization to be “a closer step to Equest’s vision to be a model of excellence for worldwide therapeutic riding center. The beautiful energy-efficient clearspan steel covered arena will feature wooden kick boards, a blended equestrian-specific footage, large industrial fans, high-tech audio capabilities, and a platform for announcers and judges. It will increase opportunities for Equest to serve more clients and amplify outreach programming with the Dallas Independent School District, as well as additional audiences and organizations.”

According to Andy, “Al Hill Jr. is a Dallas businessman whom [sic] has had an interest in horses all of his life. Having an involvement using equestrian programs which benefits military veterans and especially handicapped children is a perfect combination of his personal interest. Having a distinguished arena that has multi-use functionality and accessibility will not only impact Equest but also the City of Dallas. We look forward to sharing more details in the coming weeks.”

Plans presently call for a March groundbreaking with completion slated for this fall.

JUST IN: Bethenny “Skinny Girl” Frankel To Be Keynote Speaker At Community Partner’s Of Dallas’ 11th Annual Chick Lit Luncheon

Chick Lit Luncheon*

There were naysayers who doubted that Community Partners of Dallas could actually come up with an author/speaker for their annual Chick Lit Luncheon to top their 2016 speaker Tim Gunn.

Bethenny Frankel*

Well, it looks like they’ve gone and done it — Bethenny “Skinny Girl” Frankel!

According to CPD President/CEO Paige McDaniel, “We are absolutely thrilled to announce Bethenny Frankel as the featured speaker for this year’s Chick Lit Luncheon. Following last year’s record-breaking tenth anniversary event, we know Bethenny’s straight-forward and witty approach to relationships, nutrition, business, parenting and all things-‘Real Housewives’ will certainly keep our devoted attendees entertained. This year is not to be missed!”

If you’re new to Bethenny world, hold on to your gelled nails. A week in her life is the stuff that keeps “Page Six” reporters salivating. In addition to creating the Skinny Girl brand of cocktails, chocolates, etc., she shot to fame thanks to reality TV (Bethenny Ever After, Bethenny Getting Married?, The Real Housewives of New York City and you know the drill).

But long before she became the reality boob tube darling/diva, her childhood was fraught with drama. When she was four, her father left her mother Bernadette Birk. A year later her mom remarried. Bethenny has described Bernadette as “trying to commit suicide in the kitchen in front of me. We had abuse, we had alcohol, we had gambling. What mother would ever do that to their child?” That may explain their 12-year estrangement.

But wait, there’s more. Just this past year she divorced husband #2 Jason Hoppy after battling in the divorce courts for four years, got depressed this past year and found happiness six months ago with multimillionaire Dennis Shields, who is married to a high school chum of Bethenny. You can’t make this stuff up!

In her spare time, she has written books with the most recent book seeming appropriate — “I Suck at Relationships So You Don’t Have To: 10 Rules For Not Screwing Up Your Happily Ever After.”

Mary Martha Pickens (File photo)

Tricia George (File photo)

Chances are that by the time Bethenny hits Dallas for the Friday, April 21, luncheon at the Hilton Anatole, she’ll have even more tantalizing tales to tell about her life as the “skinny girl.” The luncheon is being co-chaired by Tricia George and Mary Martha Pickens with Katy Bock, Marybeth Conlon and Lori Anna Dees co-chairing the underwriting.

Table sales and sponsorships are available now! As for individual tickets, they will be available in April… “if space permits.” Translation: Get your buddies together and lock down that table pronto.

* Graphic and photo provided by Community Partners of Dallas

Mad Hatter’s “Under The Tuscan Sun” Reveal Party Had Loads Of Surprises And Rachel Zoe Name Dropping

With just five months to prepare their dazzling headpieces, the Maddest Hatters gathered at Tootsies on Thursday, November 17. Besides celebrating any occasion connected with the Women’s Council of the Dallas Arboretum, the guests were there to learn the details for the Thursday, April 27th Mad Hatter’s Tea at the Arboretum.

Dyann Skelton, Melissa Lewis and Emilynn Wilson

Yes, the date was important because, unlike a few years back when guests shivered in near-freezing temperatures, Women’s Council President Melissa Lewis and Event Chair Linda Spina picked a date in late April when frost will be long gone. It also allows more time to prepare those hats for showing and competing.

Linda Spina and Lynn Dealey

Under The Tuscan Sun*

But the big news was the event’s theme. This news was the one that warmed the hearts and glue guns of hat designers. Drum roll. The theme for the 29th Mad Hatter’s Tea will be “Under the Tuscan Sun.” No wonder the gals picked a sun-friendly date and artist Lynn Dealey’s sunflowers artwork took full advantage of the theme.

But wait, there was still more news and it was a real head turner. Thanks to Tootsies’ Nerissa von Helpenstill and the Mad Hatters brain trust, super-duper special guest will be fashion designer, author, business woman, nuclear scientist Rachel Zoe. (Okay, so maybe not that last one about the nuclear scientist, but she’s everything else and so much more.) Is anyone surprised that Mad Hatters fashion sponsor Tootsies carries Rachel’s line of fashions? Nah!

Sharla Bush and Amy Warren

While a couple of the guests (mostly guys) looked a little baffled about the younger crowd getting downright thrilled over Rachel’s participation, they’ll wise up by the big day, especially if they check out The Zoe Report.

Adding to the namedropping of the occasion, it was revealed that Amy Warren and her daughter Amanda Hill would serve as honorary co-chairs thanks to their buddy Mad Hatter’s Co-Chair/Warren buddy/McKinney shop keeper Sharla Bush.

But there was even more good news. Individual tickets are available now at $350 via the Women’s Council website. Later in the spring a limited number of tickets will be made available for $250. But who wants to wait and take a chance on missing the fashion show produced by Jan Strimple, a seated luncheon overlooking the Arboretum grounds, and being seen on the scene?

Proceeds from the event will “grow and maintain A Woman’s Garden.”

* Graphic courtesy of Lynn Dealey

BEWARE: Mother Nature Has Cooked Up A Weekend Of Weathery Upsy and Downsies

That Mama Nature is a tricky old gal. She had the weather guessers convinced that she would just snow flurry around this afternoon. And there were all types of impressive maps to back her claim. But then the white stuff started falling. Just one flake made people smile. Then a dozen made folks think how pretty the flurry is. But then the flurry became an afternoon drive-home fury of flakes that as soon as they hit the ground, they froze together making Central Expressway a glorified parking lot and teeny-weeny hills become icy roller coasters.

Traffic in the snow (File photos)

Now, what’s in the future? Take a deep breath and read this before venturing out Saturday morning. The stuff that’s wet and on the ground this evening is going to freeze thanks to temperatures in the 20s. Roads that were slippery today are going to be treacherous Saturday until afternoon when the temps get just barely above freezing.

Are you relieved? Don’t be. Sorry to report that Saturday night the stuff that started melting Saturday afternoon will refreeze Saturday night thanks to returning temperatures in the 20s. Rethink Sunday brunches and church services.

Dallas Arboretum squirrels (File photo)

But you deserve some good news and here goes. Sunday afternoon the temperatures will start rising above freezing and will stay there the rest of the week.

So, tell those sandals and shorts to take a break. Come Tuesday they’ll be needed for walking the dogs, sipping on patios, comparing notes with the penguins at the Dallas Zoo and checking out the blossoms at the Arboretum.

In the meantime, rethink that subscribing to Netflix and reading that book that has been gathering dusty. And what about that needlepoint that you’ve been meaning to finish up?

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: 2016 ReuNight

Forty Five Ten fashion

Nick Wooster, Taylor Tomasi Hill and Faisal Halum

It was just this side of glorious. The ultimate sneak preview of Forty Five Ten benefiting The Family Place on Thursday, November 10.

Brian Bolke and Shelle Sills

Diamond Mahone, Jeny Bania, Tim Headington, Anais Assoun and Sabrina Dee

As fabulouso as the peeps were  dressed to the nines, the collection of fashions for both men and women plus dazzling home-sweet-home accessories assembeler by retailing wizard Brian Bolke had even the most brilliant dressers becoming wide-eyed tourists.

And to add to the splendiferous factor were legendary designer Donna Karan and fashion scribe Tim Blanks.

Niven Morgan and Donna Karan

Tim Blanks

While the post is being prepared, check out the MySweetCharity Photo Gallery for the looks and the lookies at the debut of Dallas’ newest chic showplace.

A Lesson In Appreciation Made The Grade At Herbert Marcus Elementary School With Cookies, Pajamas And Paper

As adorable cuties and oldies sent wishes to Santa for Barbies, Birkin handbags, Anki Cozmo robots and DJI Phantom 4 Drones,  there were others whose want was much less.

On the afternoon of Wednesday, December 21, the Neiman Marcus marketing and public relations types like Mimi Sterling, Ginger Reeder, Sandy Marple, Wendy Segal, Kristin Fletcher and others set up homemade and Celebrity Bakery Christmas cookies that were pound gainers at first glance.

Holly Wallace, Kevin Hurst and Ginger Reeder

But the scene was not at some fancy-shmancy mansion in Preston Hollow or even in an NM couture salon. It was at Herbert Marcus Elementary School in northwest Dallas as a result of NM Director of Charitable Giving Kevin Hurst saying “Howdy do” to the school’s new Principal Holly Wallace earlier in the year. It made sense, since the school was the namesake of NM co-founder Herbert Marcus.

As parents escorted students and their school projects to their cars and crossing guards shielded students from afternoon traffic, the faculty gathered in the school library.

While it may have appeared to be an alcohol-fueled happy hour, not a drop of liquor was present. As today was pajama day for the staff, the teachers in footed jammies were the guests of honor for NM’s “Teacher Appreciation Party.” Thanks to a DJ in the back of the room and a sugar high, the usually quiet-as-a-mouse library had become a party room with laughter and smiles.

Midway through the celebration, Holly surprised all with the announcement that the school had been selected as one of four schools for the Momentous Institute’s program. Instead of just a few of the teachers attending the program, the entire group would participate. The news was greeted by the teachers with the delight usually only seen when a youngster’s can’t-possibly-happen Christmas wish is granted. Holly admitted that she had been on her phone all day locking down the details, so she could break the news at the party.   

Herbert Marcus Elementary School and Neiman Marcus staffs

In addition to the cookies and partying, Holly reported that the NM crew had also provided individual gifts for each of the faculty members.

And then, as if in passing, Holly pointed to a half wall of white innocuous boxes in one part of the room. With the NM team standing on the side, Holly announced that each box contained reams of paper and that each teacher would receive a box for his/her classroom.

The room exploded in excitement as the teachers cheered in delight, throwing their arms up in appreciation. The joy and surprise were so great and genuine that it amazed the NM-ers.

So, while others celebrated receiving high-tech toys, flat-screen TVs and luxury handbags and dining at world-class restaurants, an elementary school’s faculty was over-the-top for an afternoon of appreciation and boxes of plain paper.