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

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

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

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

Stephanie Fox and Nick Sowell

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

Sherel Riley, Wendy Messmann and Tiffany Touchstone-Hawkins

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

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

Larry James, Jennifer Hudson and Brenda James

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

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

JUST IN: Multi-Award Winner Jennifer Hudson To Headline CitySquare’s 2017 A Night To Remember On September 9 At The Winspear

Leave it to the CitySquare fundraisers. They always manage to come up with a performer who guarantees a sell-out. Last year’s Jerry Seinfeld was nearly a done deal before the ink on the contract was dry. Others who have been filled the Winspear Opera House for CitySquare have been Gladys Knight, Vince Gill, LeAnn Rimes, Clint Black, Steve Martin, Kirk Franklin, Jay Leno, Lyle Lovett, Diana Ross, Aretha Franklin and Hall and Oates.

Jennifer Hudson (File photo)

And the stellar talent roll-call keeps coming in, with the reveal that the headliner for A Night To Remember 2017 will be all-around winner (Academy Award, Grammy Award, Golden Globe Award, Screen Actors Guild Award) Jennifer Hudson.

Her voice is incredible and her presence on stage is memorable.

Co-chairing the event for the Saturday, September 9th fundraiser will be Wendy and Boyd Messmann,Tiffany Touchstone-Hawkins and Brandon Hawkins and Sherel Riley.

Tickets and sponsorships are available now. Proceeds from the event will support CitySquare’s “17 social service programs that address hunger, health, housing and hope with more than 50,000 human touches annually.”

So, while you’re chilling on your vacation, make plans now for a cool evening with Jennifer. Keep your fingers crossed that she might sing “Hallelujah.”

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

CitySquare Fundraisers Held A “Primary” Celebration For Its Sold-Out “A Night To Remember” Featuring Jerry Seinfeld

Those CitySquare folks should just be sitting back loving the fact that their “A Night to Remember” was sold out the moment it was announced that Jerry Seinfeld would be the headliner on Saturday, September 10, at the Winspear. But, oh, no! They decided to take full advantage of the election year and held a party with the theme “Seinfeld for CitySquare” on Saturday, June 25.

BTW, after the party-goers had recovered from their celebration, they managed to have a second show with Seinfeld scheduled at 9:30 on the 10th. But those tickets are going, going and nearly gone.

Here’s a report from the field on the June 25 festivities:

Seinfeld for CitySquare*

Seinfeld for CitySquare*

CitySquare hosted a gathering at Brookhaven Country Club Saturday night to celebrate 2016 “A Night to Remember” featuring the legendary comic Jerry Seinfeld. The annual fundraiser benefits CitySquare’s poverty fighting programs and has hosted other famous comedians like Steve Martin and Jay Leno, and music luminaries like Hall And Oates, Diana Ross, Aretha Franklin, BB King, Lyle Lovett, Gladys Knight, Clint Black and Vince Gill.

Brenda and Larry James*

Brenda and Larry James*

CitySquare party planners have cleverly themed marketing to coincide with the upcoming election. The Saturday evening carried out that theme. The room was festooned in red, white and blue. A photo booth took pictures of guests as Uncle Sam and desserts included red, white and blue cake pops. “Campaign” buttons were scattered on tables and posters were placed throughout the room.

Co-chairmen of this year’s “A Night to Remember” are Cindy and Scott Collier, Wendy and Boyd Messmann, Kara and Ross Miller and Tiffany Touchstone-Hawkins and Brandon Hawkins. They and a host committee of more than 100 are promising the best event ever!

From the left (front row) Wendy Messmann and Tiffany Touchstone-Hawkins; (back row) Jill Williams, Shawn Wills, Anna Harris and Sarah Carroll*

From the left (front row) Wendy Messmann and Tiffany Touchstone-Hawkins; (back row) Jill Williams, Shawn Wills, Anna Harris and Sarah Carroll*

“A Night to Remember” featuring Jerry Seinfeld takes place on Saturday, September 10, at Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House. And, while public seating is sold out, there are still sponsorships available that include various levels of sponsor benefits.

For more information, go to Seinfeld4CitySquare.org or call Jill Williams at 214.303.2138.

* Photos provided by CitySquare

JUST IN: Jerry Seinfeld Will Headline CitySquare’s “A Night To Remember”

Jerry Seinfeld*

Jerry Seinfeld*

Poor old Jerry Seinfeld. He sold off 17 of his classic Porsches and Bugs back on March 11. The projected estimate for the auction was a whopping $32M, but it only brought in $22M. But don’t go feeling way too sorry for Jerry. He’s still the comedian/writer/actor that pulls ‘em in whenever he hits the road.

And that’s exactly what’s gonna happen on Saturday, September 10, at the Winspear for “A Night to Remember.”

Yup, those wonderful folks — Co-Chairs Cindy and Scott Collier and Kara and Ross Miller — who have brought Steve Martin, Diana Ross, Aretha Franklin, Lyle Lovett and Hall & Oates in the past five years benefiting CitySquare have arranged to have Jerry in town for a one-night-only stand-up.

But this year the foursome have added Wendy and Boyd Messmann and Tiffany and Brandon Hawkins to join the co-chairing in raising the curtain and the funds. (“A Night to Remember” trivia: Wendy and Boyd co-chaired with Cindy and Scott back in 2011 when Jay Leno was the headliner.)

Boyd and Wendy Messmann, Ross and Kara Miller, Cindy and Scott Collier and Tiffany and Brandon Hawkins*

Boyd and Wendy Messmann, Ross and Kara Miller, Cindy and Scott Collier and Tiffany and Brandon Hawkins*

According to CitySquare Chief Development Officer Shawn Wills, “We have found a winning combination and are thrilled that the Colliers, Millers, Messmanns and Hawkins are teaming up to benefit CitySquare again. They have been instrumental in growing A Night to Remember into the one of the city’s most successful events.”

In keeping with the election mayhem in progress this year, this year’s theme is “Seinfeld for CitySquare 2016.”

CitySquare*

CitySquare*

Tickets don’t go on sale until Wednesday, April 13, but sponsorships are available. And, since it is Seinfeld, the sponsorship levels have been tagged with humor (“Yada Yada Yada”, “No Soup for You”, “Hello…Newman”, “The Double Dipper” and “The Close Talker”).

Suggestion: This time the sponsorship opps should be taken seriously, since last year’s Hall and Oates concert was a done deal within a week of going on sale. Rumor has it that ticket availability may be scant at best.

* Photos provided by CitySquare

Highland Park United Methodist Church And CitySquare Join Forces To Fight Poverty

Such words as collaboration and partnering are such sweet words when it comes to nonprofits tackling issues facing the community. Such a joining up has just been announced. Highland Park United Methodist Church and CitySquare are coming together to “fight against the causes and effects of poverty in Dallas…This unique partnership aims to raise awareness, while working to overcome growing and deepening poverty in the city.”

Paul Rasmussen (File photo)

Paul Rasmussen (File photo)

Larry James (File photo)

Larry James (File photo)

According to HPUMC Rev. Paul Rasmussen, “Nobody fights poverty more effectively than (CitySquare CEO/Rev.) Larry James. To bring his level of leadership and match it with our resources, we think we will forge an unbelievable team. Together, we are absolutley going to make a difference in the city of Dallas.”

Plans call for CitySquare’s Rev. Larry James to “be appointed to the clergy at HPUMC. Rev. James’ objective is to educate and inform about the issue of poverty and to enlist the congregations at HPUMC and their East Dallas campus, Munger Place Church, in strategies and action to challenge it. He will facilitate opportunities for members and guests to use their talents and treasures to make a difference at CitySquare in the lives of those in need across our city.”

MySweetWishList: CitySquare

According to CitySquare Chief Development Officer Shawn Wills

Shawn Wills*

Shawn Wills*

“The CitySquare Opportunity Center, home to many CitySquare programs and multiple community partners, including a Food Pantry and Wellness Center, is designed to help those in need gain access to services that propel them out of poverty. On the corner of Malcolm X Blvd and I-30, the newly opened Opportunity Center is located in the heart of one of Dallas’ biggest food deserts where access to healthy foods and ingredients is limited. The Wellness Center’s demonstration kitchen will provide an opportunity for ‘neighbors’ to learn healthy eating habits and cooking methods to make nutritious meals at home. Ingredients used in the Wellness Center demonstration kitchen can be items found in the Opportunity Center Food Pantry.

“Our wish is for simple, basic items to support the demonstration kitchen. We need a good set of knives, non-stick cookware (pots, pans, skillets) with appropriate utensils, wooden spoons, a blender, cutting boards, baking ware (metal rectangular pans,) a Dutch oven, cookie sheets, a set of flatware, a mixer and mixing bowls.

CitySquare*

CitySquare*

“The Center’s demonstration kitchen will have classes teaching safe food preparation and handling and will provide employment opportunities to work in the kitchen preparing meals for CitySquare’s Food on the Move after-school and summer feeding programs.

“Items can be delivered to the CitySquare Offices at 511 North Akard. For more information, please contact Jill Williams at 214.303.2138 or go to CitySquare.org.

-Shawn Wills, CitySquare Chief Development Officer

* Photo and graphic provided by CitySquare

A Writer’s Garden Featured Three Authors Plus A First Look At The Dallas Arboretum’s 12 Days Of Christmas

Judge Clay Jenkins

Judge Clay Jenkins

Everyone was in various stage of election recovery on Thursday, November 6. In the shadow of downtown Dallas, CitySquare had celebrated the official opening of its much-needed 52,000-square-foot expansion with a host of dignitaries and supporters like County Court Commissioners Clay Jenkins and John Wiley Price.

Over at the Dallas Arboretum, the annual Writer’s Garden commenced starting at 9:30 with writers galore. Here’s a report from Rosine Hall:

A Writer’s Garden

“The Dallas Arboretum was in full fall color for ‘Treasured Legacies’, the eighth annual A Writer’s Garden Literary Symposium and Luncheon presented by the Women’s Council of the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden. Attendees got an extra bonus because it was also the preview day for the 12 Days of Christmas exhibit which opens November 16.

“With three noted authors, the program featured vivid portraits of two of the most widely read and beloved writers in literature and compelling personal stories exploring our gardening heritage. Each speaker had captivating and varying stories to share from their books.

Kathleen Cunningham and Greg Grant*

Kathleen Cunningham and Greg Grant*

Greg Grant, a seventh generation Texan and co-author of Heirloom Gardening of the South, lives in deep East Texas in an old dogtrot house of his great-grandparents. He renovated it through the years and transformed the grounds with heirloom gardening from seeds that have been passed down through the generations. He has dedicated his entire lift to gardening, nature and family and has successfully introduced dozens of plants to the Texas nursery industry.

Kelsey Mullin is the Director of Public Programming and Education for the Mount and author of The Mount: Edith Wharton’s Home. Edith Wharton was the first woman to receive the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for The Age of Innocence. Mullin shared the transformational effects of Wharton’s magnificent home and gardens on her success as a writer.

“Author Kim Wilson’s new book At Home with Jane Austen was published less than two months ago.

“’Jane’s life was deeply influenced by her surroundings and travels in Southern England,’ said Wilson. ‘The importance of house and home to her characters is a noted hallmark of her brilliant and endearing stories.’

Books selling briskly*

Books selling briskly*

“Their books were available for purchase and were bought by the armload! Several were sold out before the program even began.

Dorothea Meltzer and Linda Huffines*

Dorothea Meltzer and Linda Huffines*

“The event was chaired by Dorothea Meltzer. Marena Gault is president of the Women’s Council.

“Proceeds from the event make possible the continued expansion and improvement of A Woman’s Garden. Since 1986, the major goal of the Women’s Council has been the design, construction, funding and endowment of A Woman’s Garden, the centerpiece garden of the Arboretum.  A Woman’s Garden is the only public garden in the nation conceived by women, funded by the efforts of women and dedicated to the spirit of women.”

* Photo credit: Danny Campbell

CitySquare Expansion And “Breakfast For The Bridge” Heroes Give The Homeless A Hand Up

CitySquare ribbon cutting program

CitySquare ribbon cutting program

In fundraising there is definitely something beautiful about the arts, children and education. They inspire and are ideal for promotional materials. What isn’t so pretty is the subject of the homeless. That is if you didn’t attend Thursday morning’s CitySquare’s 52,000-square-foot expansion. The crowd including Judge Clay Jenkins, Scott Collier, City Councilperson Carolyn Davis and County Commissioner John Wiley Price spilled out of the tent in the parking lot and was full of determination to help the poor in the community. As  Carolyn put it, “When you see homeless individuals, don’t talk about them, give them a hand up.”

Carolyn Davis

Carolyn Davis

It was an amazing occasion for a much needed expansion.

From the ribbon cutting, the next stop on the day’s agenda was attending a non-working lunch for friends/new friends and being seated next to Jennifer Karol. In addition to her husband Tom and their five children, she’s passionate about two subjects — art and the homeless.

While her experience as the 2013 Art Ball co-chair was gratifying and a learning experience in fundraising, it was the subject of Dallas’ homeless population that opened the floodgates. With eyes focused intensely, Jennifer passionately discussed the situation existing in Dallas.

Sounds like a depressing subject, but it wasn’t. Dallas is indeed showing leadership in handling the problem plaguing parts of Dallas. When asked if there was a turf war among the various agencies dealing with the problem, Jennifer professed au contraire. The area organizations exchange information and work together on a daily basis to help those in need.

The Karols have been involved especially with one certain organization that deals with 85% of Dallas County’s homeless population — The Bridge. According to Jennifer, the facility that opened in 2008 has become a model for other cities in dealing with their homeless population.

According to The Bridge’s Community Affairs Officer Sam Merten, “The Bridge has been a key component to the revitalization of downtown Dallas and is considered a model for homeless recovery by the State of Texas.”

Breakfast for The Bridge*

Breakfast for The Bridge*

Next Friday (November 14) The Bridge’s fundraiser, “Breakfast for The Bridge” will take place at the Omni Hotel with keynote speaker Jennifer Ayers-Moore. Whoa! Another Jennifer? Who’s this one? She is the sister of “Nathaniel, a talented musician who developed schizophrenia while attending The Juilliard School and later became homeless on Skid Row in Los Angeles. His story became the subject of a book published in 2008 called ‘The Soloist’ and a movie released in 2009 bearing the same name and starring Jamie Foxx and Robert Downey Jr.”

Like Jennifer Karol, Jennifer A-M is a champion of the arts and the homeless. She is founder/executive director of the National Anthony Ayers Foundation Georgia, “which supports arts programs at mental health and arts organization that serve the mentally ill.” Her long-term plan is to open similar programs around the nation.

Yes, yes. It is a breakfast starting at 7:30 a.m. and it does mean pulling yourself together earlier than you’d like. And there is that joining the traffic cha-cha to the Omni, but it’s so very worth it. Micki and Mayor Mike Rawlings are the honorary co-chairs. Perhaps that’s because their kiddos, Michelle and Gunnar are the event co-chairs.

Oh, and guess who will be presented the Bridge Builder Award, which “is given to people who have served as heroic champions in the advancement of homeless services in our community”? Yup! Jennifer and Tom Karol.

So, get your tickets, set your alarm and they’ll have plenty of coffee for your Friday early call.

* Graphic courtesy of The Bridge

Despite A Damp Start, CitySquare’s “A Night To Remember” Shone With The Queen Of Soul And Help For Dallas’ Homeless

Sponsorships really paid off Saturday, September 6. Those who had coughed up some extra bucks for CitySquare’s “A Night To Remember” arrived at the Winspear just before 7 for a cocktail reception and seated dinner in the Hamon Hall.

In addition to having curbside valet, a photo taken in front of the sponsor board and the dinner, they also missed the waterfall of rain that seemed to have the Winspear as ground zero.

Guests with umbrellas

Guests with umbrellas

As perfect as the Winspear may be, the designers didn’t allow for shabby weather. Unfortunately, one lady trying to make her way from her car in the rain down the steps to the walkway leading to the Winspear missed a step. As onlookers gasped at the fall and the very slow recovery with three valets in assistance, a red canvas wheelchair was Johnny-on-the-spot with a gracious attendant explaining that they would have first aid check the guest out. Don’t know if that included a repair of the runner in her stocking.

The rain also brought out staffers with brooms to whisk away the ponds of water on the walkway. Sisyphus had a better chance getting that boulder up a hill. So, that’s no big deal if you’re heading to a football game, but when you’re wearing your party clothes and dress shoes, puddle skipping just ain’t good.

Wet walkway leading to the Winspear

Wet walkway leading to the Winspear

But the purpose of the evening was not to test the Winspear waterwalk. It was to raise funds for CitySquare and to enjoy a concert by Aretha Franklin. She joined a stellar group of entertainers who had graced the annual event including Diana Ross, Lyle Lovett, Jay Leno, Kirk Franklin, Steve Martin, Clint Black, LeAnne Rimes, Vince Gill, Gladys Night, Patti LaBelle, B.B. King and Bill Cosby.

Aretha Franklin*

Aretha Franklin*

Since the Queen of Soul does not do airplanes, her bus had brought her to Dallas Thursday and allowed her to rest up Friday.

Saturday morning Co-Chair Scott Collier, who had postponed a trip to Europe with his Co-chair/wife Cindy, got a request from Aretha for 10 more tickets for relatives and friends. Scott told the diners that to find 10 seats meant that some in the room might have to be axed. Not to worry. He said it with a big old grin. But Rev. Vincent Gaddis said just before the invocation, “I’m probably one of those who got the axe.” More laughter.

All kidding aside, Scott had indeed managed to find those extras seats despite the event having been sold out for months.

Ross and Kara Miller and Cindy and Scott Collier

Ross and Kara Miller and Cindy and Scott Collier

But that’s the kind of wizardry that Scott, Cindy and Co-Chairs Kara and Ross Miller had undertaken to make their goal for CitySquare that is in the trenches fighting the “cause and effect of poverty thought four pillars — hunger, health, housing and hope.” Just this past year, it had “touched 50,000 lives.”

Scott told how CitySquare had broken ground on Hickory Square, a collection of 50 cottages for Dallas’ most expensive homeless people. What did he mean by “most expensive homeless people”? He pointed out, they use $30,000-50,000 a year in community services — hospitals, jail, community centers. CitySquare’s goal is to make them independent and contributing members of the community. “Once you put a roof over somebody’s head, that’s the first step in getting them out of poverty.”

Larry James

Larry James

This year’s fundraiser for the 25-year-old organization had started a year ago on the heels of achieving their goal. Then the following Monday a handwritten note had arrived with a personal check from a guest for $1M.

CitySquare President/CEO Larry James told the guests including Ellen McStay, Brill Garrett, Brenda James and Annette Simmons that between 2000 and 2012, the population of Dallas grew by 5%. But during that same time those living in poverty in the area had increased by 41%. 38% of the children in Dallas live below the poverty level. There are people who are living in “toxic stress” — it takes everything they have just to survive.

Annette Simmons

Annette Simmons

Following dinner the top-tier sponsors joined the rest of the guests in the Margaret McDermott Performance Hall for a blonde Aretha on stage. Despite some technical “oops!”, the crowd got their Aretha fix. In fact, Jennifer and Jack Carter had their names drawn to have their photos taken with Aretha. It just proved that third time is indeed a charm. Seems Jennifer had “tried twice before to see the Queen of Soul. One time the show was cancelled and the other time [her] friend who was supposed to accompany [her] was having a baby and could not travel.”

Jack Carter, Aretha Franklin and Jennifer Carter*

Jack Carter, Aretha Franklin and Jennifer Carter*

As for the fundraising, the night raised “a record $850,000.”

* Photo credit: JBeck Photography

MySweetCharity Opportunity: A Night To Remember

According to A Night To Remember Co-Chairs Cindy and Scott Collier and Kara and Ross Miller,

Ross and Kara Miller and Cindy and Scott Collier*

Ross and Kara Miller and Cindy and Scott Collier*

CitySquare’s annual fundraiser is called A Night to Remember for good reason. The memorable performances of entertainment legends like Clint Black, Patti LaBelle, Gladys Knight, B.B. King, Steve Martin, Bill Cosby, Jay Leno, Lyle Lovett and Diana Ross have all graced the stage on behalf of CitySquare. This year’s performance features one of the all-time greats, the Queen of Soul herself, Aretha Franklin.

“We have co-chaired A Night to Remember for three years in a row and are especially pleased to have Annette Simmons and her daughter, Amy, as our Honorary Chairmen this year. While we have no tickets left for this year’s concert, we have withheld some seating for sponsors, so if you want to see Aretha, You Better Think and give Jill Williams a call at 214.303.2138 or email her [email protected] to sponsor today. There are many sponsor benefits like a cocktail reception at the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House before the curtain rises and major sponsors enjoy a candlelight dinner a la Wolfgang Puck before they take their seats. We promise it will be A Night to Remember.

“CitySquare has been fighting the causes and effects of poverty in Dallas through service, advocacy, and friendship for over 25 years. Working in the community to change the trajectory of people’s lives, CitySquare feeds the hungry, heals the sick, houses the homeless, and brings hope to the heart of the city. Many CitySquare volunteers are folks who once received help from the organization. Proceeds from A Night to Remember support CitySquare’s poverty-fighting programs and the neighbors who benefit from them.

“We are grateful to our many generous sponsors like South Bay Partners, Betsy and Jim Sowell, Brentwood Foundation, The Rosewood Corporation, Lynn and Bruce Cope, Valerie and Phillip Keener, PlainsCapital Bank, Gene and Jerry Jones, Shelle and Michael Sills, Skin Specialists of Allen/Addison, Joanna and Carl Couch, Sue and Dan Hopkins, Jean & Al Carrell Foundation, Inc., Anita and Mark Rednick, Stephen Pyles Concepts, Morning Star Family Foundation, Move Solutions, LTD, and many others who make the evening benefiting CitySquare a success.

“While we are proud to chair A Night to Remember, we take the most pride in helping to raise funds and awareness to support an organization that positively effects the lives of so many of our neighbors every year. For more information on CitySquare, please go to www.CitySquare.org.”

* Photo provided by CitySquare

Annette Simmons And Amy Simmons To Be Honorary Co-Chairs For CitySquare’s 20th Anniversary With Aretha Franklin On Stage

Word has just arrived that the CitySquare group has added two more legendary ladies to its cast of notables for the Saturday, September 6th fundraiser, “A Night To Remember.”

Amy Simmons and Annette Simmons (File photo)

Amy Simmons and Annette Simmons (File photo)

In addition to Aretha Franklin on stage at the Winspear Opera House, Annette Simmons and her daughter Amy Simmons will be the honorary chairs for CitySquare’s 25th anniversary.

Ross and Kara Miller and Cindy and Scott Collier (File photo)

Ross and Kara Miller and Cindy and Scott Collier (File photo)

Just goes to show how the hard work of Cindy and Scott Collier and Kara and Ross Miller are helping Larry James and his troops are fighting “poverty through service, advocacy and friendship with programs that feed the hungry, heal the sick, house the homeless and renew hope in the heart of the city.”

This occasion will be a triple “brava” experience. What a night to be remembered it will be!

MySweetWishList: CitySquare

According to CitySquare Chief Development Officer Shawn Wills,

Shawn Wills*

Shawn Wills*

“All summer, CitySquare Food on the Move vans pull into low-income apartment complexes. They are rushed by throngs of children anticipating their arrival with free meals and snacks and the camaraderie of AmeriCorps members and volunteers who spend time with the kids playing games and seeing that they have organized activity every day.

“CitySquare’s new Opportunity Center, located at Malcolm X and I-30, will house multiple social programs so families can receive all the help they need under one roof. The Center’s kitchen will provide the opportunity for “neighbors” to learn about healthy eating, safe food preparation and handling, and employment opportunities to work in the kitchen preparing meals for the Food on the Move program.

CitySquare*

CitySquare*

“We need two things to complete our commercial kitchen: a Thermo-Kool walk-in refrigerator and a walk-in freezer.  We are hoping that someone, perhaps a restaurant or shop, might be upgrading or retiring theirs and would be willing to donate them to us. They are $35,000 each and would cost us $70,000.

“This year, we have provided over 1,000,000 after-school and summer meals and snacks to kids in our underserved neighborhoods. The refrigerator and freezer will mean more meals and healthy snacks for all of those kids who anxiously await our van’s arrival.”

-Shawn Wills, CitySquare’s chief development officer

* Photo and graphic provided by CitySquare

Abilene Christian University Opens Satellite Location In Dallas Thanks To CitySquare

Dallas has become the come-to-magnet for corporations and education institutions. For instance, Abilene Christian University opened up a satellite location in downtown Dallas on Thursday, November 14. Here’s a report from the field:

Hollywood glamour

Hollywood glamour

“Last Thursday night’s Grand Opening of ACU’s satellite location in downtown Dallas looked more like a Hollywood premier. Dallas non-profit CitySquare’s mixed use building at 511 Akard that is home to offices, low income and high-end residential, even a 7-Eleven and now ACU at CitySquare was awash in purple, the school color.

ACU City Square

ACU City Square

“The partnership between CitySquare and Abilene Christian University has resulted in a new program that will give students practical social work experience, while strengthening the fight against poverty in Dallas. ACU students in the university’s Justice and Urban Studies Team will live in Dallas for a year and use the new center as headquarters for field research on issues related to Dallas’ poor and under-served. At the end of the program, students will offer their findings to CitySquare to help in its mission of fighting the root causes of poverty. The one-year study program will be permanently based at CitySquare.

“According to a recent New York Times article, ACU’s endowment performance is outpacing its billion-dollar-plus peers such as Yale. Loyal donors and alumni joined the large group that attended Thursday night’s opening downtown.”

Photos provided by CitySquare

Diana Ross Turned The Winspear “Upside Down” For CitySquare’s “A Night To Remember”

Diana Ross was relieved to be in Dallas on Friday, September 13. Not only was she performing at the Winspear for CitySquare’s annual “A Night To Remember,” she was heading home after weeks on tour including a sell-out concert at the Hollywood Bowl.

Scott and Cindy Collier, Diana Ross, Kara and Ross Miller*

Scott and Cindy Collier, Diana Ross, Kara and Ross Miller*

But before the legendary singer appeared on stage, Co-Chairs Cindy and Scott Collier and Kara and Ross Miller were busy greeting the top sponsors ($10K and above) for a dinner in Hamon Hall.

The ever-accommodating CitySquare President/CEO Larry James was right at the Winspear front door to greet guests.

DeeDee Lee, Sue Peege, Jim Lee, Muffin Lemak and Dwight and Claire Emanuelson

DeeDee Lee, Sue Peege, Jim Lee, Muffin Lemak and Dwight and Claire Emanuelson

As guests of title sponsors Nancy C. and Richard Rogers, Claire and Dwight Emanuelson arrived with Muffin Lemak and DeeDee and Jim Lee plus DeeDee’s mom, Sue Pegee. After Sue spent a week in Dallas that included seeing her daughter strolling the mirrored runway as one of the Crystal Charity Ball Fashion Show and Luncheon’s Best Dressed, DeeDee was still laughing over the fact that the back of her non-Alexander McQueen outfit that she wore for the presentation was such a knock-out, she should have worn it backwards.

Dr. Michael and Shelle Sills

Dr. Michael and Shelle Sills

Harold and Annette Simmons

Harold and Annette Simmons

Arriving just as guests were being seated were Shelle and Dr. Michael Sills, Neva Hall, Lana and Barry Andrews and Annette and Harold Simmons. Speaking of the CCB Fashion Show and Luncheon, Annette thought the show and the clothes were outstanding.

But the purpose of the evening was to raise funds for CitySquare, which was celebrating its 25th anniversary. It was just back in 1988 that Jim Sowell launched the Central Dallas Food Pantry because of his concern for the homeless and the poor. Unfortunately, the problem of the needy grew with changes in the economy, resulting in the organization outgrowing its location in a strip shopping center. In 1990 it moved to a large location on North Peak. Less than five years later it changed its name to Central Dallas Ministries and “acquired an additional building at 409 North Haskell, where the food pantry is located today.”

But demands continued and about three years ago, it went through another change. . . a name change to CitySquare.

Today that little food pantry of 1988 has grown to serve the various needs of the poor and homeless including hunger, health, housin—and hope.

“A Night To Remember” helped continue CitySquare’s mission by raising more than $650,000.

* Photo provided by the CitySquare

September 5 Round Robin: Junior Associates Underwriters Party, St. V-Day Fashion Show & Luncheon And CitySquare Sponsors Party

The swallows may return to Capistrano, but the Round Robins really hit home this past Thursday. The first telltale signs were the plethora of valet parkers lining area streets and boulevards.

Junior Associates Underwriters Party

John and Deborah Wallace and Susannah and Seth Bame

John and Deborah Wallace and Susannah and Seth Bame

September is going to be a busy month for Susannah Bame. Not only are she and husband Seth co-chairing the Junior Associates of the Dallas Museum of Art’s 20thAffair of the Art” on Saturday, September 21, at the DMA, she’s due to deliver a little boy any minute.

Natalie Jones, Katlin Beecherl and Erica Smith Denton

Natalie Jones, Katlin Beecherl and Erica Smith Denton

To thank the DMA fundraisers underwriters and sponsors, supportive grandparents-in-waiting Deborah and John Wallace opened their Preston Hollow home for almost 100 of the youngest and loveliest in the arts community like Natalie Jones, Katlin Beecherl and Erica Smith Denton. Inside the marvelous feel-right-at home and the lovely outdoor grounds, bare shoulders, long legs in short skirts and “talk-to-me” heels were joined by chaps in Dallas chic casual attire mainstay — blue blazers, buttoned-down shirts sans ties and slacks.

Killer stilettos

Killer stilettos

In the gargantuan kitchen, plans were announced at 7:40 p.m. that the event — A Fair Under the Stars — had been reworked. In addition to moving the event from the early spring to early fall, the attire has changed, too. Leave the black ties in the closet. This year, it will be cocktail. And it won’t be in the Hamon Atrium. It will be held in the DMA’s Sculpture Garden. What will stay the same will be the live music, dancing and refreshments. Because of the theme, Susannah and Seth have added fair games. As Seth put it, “Think ‘Great Gatsby’ meets the New York World’s Fair.”

The Bames have arranged to have past Affair of the Art chairs — Heather and Ray Balestri, Daniel Boeckman, Lisa Hirschler Brown, Shonn and Clarence Brown, Mason and Allen Custard, Nicole Dabbert, Ann and Trey Fielder, Chris Flanagan, Cecily and Scott Gooch, Amy and Brandon Harris, Ann Hobson, Blaire and Charlie Hohenshelt, Allison Hopkins, Michelle and Austin Hopper, Lindsay and Chuck Jacaman, Rachel and Brian Ladin, Michelle Morgan Lockhart, Renne and Bill Lokey, Lisa and Wayne Moore, Frasher and John Pergande, Katherine Reeves, Cathering and Will Rose, Capera Ryan, Betty and Brian Schultz, Jamie Singer, Caroline and Steve Thompson, Jennifer and Aaron Tobin and Paige Westoff — serve as the honorary chairs for this 20th celebration.

St. Valentine’s Day Fashion Show & Luncheon Kick-Off Party

Jeff Rich and Jan Miller and Janet and Crawford Brock

Jeff Rich and Jan Miller and Janet and Crawford Brock

While the up-and-coming types were in Preston Hollow for the Junior Associates party, the St. Valentine’s Day Fashion Show & Luncheon vets were kicking off the plans for the 30th annual fundraiser for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society at Jan Miller’s and Jeff Rich’s Highland Park mansion.

Rusty Duvall, Carmaleta Whiteley and Janet Evans

Rusty Duvall, Carmaleta Whiteley and Janet Evans

It seems that St. V-Day Chair Carmaleta Whiteley arranged to have the past 29 St. V-Day chairs serve on the committee with Olivia Kearney, Lynn McBee and Kate Marquez on the underwriting committee. The gals’ goal is to raise $500,000. Since its inception the luncheon has provided more than $8M to find a cure for blood cancers, leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma.

One reason why there’s such dedication to this effort is that the disease touches so many. In addition to North Texas Chapter of Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Chairman of the Board Steve Rigby’s son, Honorary Co-Chair Jeff Rich’s father is battling leukemia and Carmaleta admitted, “My family knows the pain of these terrible cancers. Today I am the only woman in the history of my family who has lived past the age of 50.  I lost a sister when she was 22 years old.  My mother and her sisters died before reaching 50.  I am working to find a cure and hope all will join me.”

In addition to the announcement of Jan and Jeff serving as honorary co-chairs, LLS Deputy Executive Director Stacey Russell revealed that Dawn Mellon will receive the 2014 Heart of Gold Award and Margaret Strand will be presented with the Spirit of Tom Landry Award.

It was also learned that the program for the Tuesday, February 12the event at the Meyerson has been adjusted just slightly. The presentations and testimonials will be made in the concert hall instead of at the luncheon in the lobby. If you recall, it was a bit of a challenge for the speakers to be heard at the 2013 luncheon.

As for the show, yes, Jan Strimple has her work cut out for her. To outdo last year’s fashion show and its extraordinary finale will be a feat. Wanna bet Jan and Korshak will do it?

A Night To Remember Sponsors Party

This field report was filed by the team covering CitySquare’s A Night To Remember:

CitySquare hosted a gathering for sponsors of A Night to Remember at Aloft Hotel downtown . The evening, completely underwritten by Aloft, was to have been from 6 – 8p.m. but guests lingered far longer in the slick contemporary environment.

The topic of conversation was overwhelmingly about this year’s A Night to Remember headliner, Diana Ross.  Next Friday night, September 13th, she will entertain a full-house at the AT&T Performing Arts Center Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House.

Ross Miller and Cindy and Scott Collier*

Ross Miller and Cindy and Scott Collier*

Co-chairing couples, Cindy and Scott Collier and Kara and Ross Miller, and their host committee of fifty have brought in more ticket sales and sponsorships than ever before for CitySquare’s annual fundraising event. The organization is commemorating its twenty-fifth year of fighting poverty in the heart of Dallas.

Major sponsors of A Night to Remember presented by South Bay Partners, LTD include Nancy C. and Richard R. Rogers/Mary Kay, Brentwood Foundation, Harold Simmons Foundation, Betsy and Jim Sowell, Morningstar Foundation, Kay and Kevin Thomason, Valerie and Phillip Keener, Plains Capital Bank,  Cindy and Scott Collier, Skin Specialists of Allen/Addison, The Rosewood Corporation, Sue and Dan Hopkins, Anita and Mark Rednick, Cynthia and Michael Dowdey, Genell and Brad McClendon, Tammy and Fred Halfpap, Gabriella and Glen Owen, Holmes Murphy and Associates, Kathy and Tim Eller, Caroline and Mark Lancaster, Mindy and Rick Logsdon and Marianne and Roger Staubach.

Event planners are promising a glamorous, glittering evening featuring one of the all-time greatest divas. Plus, A Night to Remember is a terrific opportunity to show support and appreciation for the good work of CitySquare and to join in their twenty-fifth anniversary celebration.

As of now, there are a very few seats. Check www.citysquare.org/dianaross or call (214) 880-0202.

* Photo provided by CitySquare

MySweetCharity Opportunity: A Night To Remember

According to A Night To Remember Co-Chairs Cindy and Scott Collier and Kara and Ross Miller,

Ross and Kara Miller and Cindy and Scott Collier*

Ross and Kara Miller and Cindy and Scott Collier*

“We are honored to co-chair A Night to Remember benefiting CitySquare and especially to celebrate the 25th anniversary of CitySquare’s service to the city of Dallas. Co-chairing A Night to Remember again this year has already been an exciting and rewarding experience – starting with the decision as to who would be our featured artist. How do you follow Steve Martin, Jay Leno and Lyle Lovett?  Everyone agreed that Diana Ross would be perfect for such an important milestone for CitySquare. We have been thrilled with the outpouring of sponsorships.

“A Night to Remember produces surprises every year. In 2011, Jay Leno wrote a check back to CitySquare following his performance. Last year, we auctioned a Lyle Lovett autographed guitar that went so well, he signed another and we doubled his gift!

“We and the dedicated host committee for A Night to Remember promise a shimmering evening of wonderful music and of course, surprises, on Friday, September 13th at the AT&T Performing Arts Center Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House. We are anticipating another sell-out but there are seats still available at all sponsor levels.

“All of us working on behalf of CitySquare whole-heartedly believe in CitySquare’s mission and have seen first-hand the positive influence on our city. CitySquare’s programs fight the root causes of poverty and offer a way out and a way up to individuals caught in unfortunate circumstances.

“For CitySquare, A Night to Remember is an important fundraiser. For Dallas, it is a night to stand in support of the great people and work of CitySquare. We invite everyone to come see a legend, to learn about CitySquare’s work fighting poverty in the heart of our city, and to be a part of an evening that will truly be ‘A Night to Remember.’

“For information on sponsorships and tickets, go to www.CitySquare.org/DianaRoss.”

Photo provided by CitySquare

“Do You Know” Diana Ross Is Coming To Town For CitySquare

The organizers for A Night To Remember always seem to come up with outstanding talent for their CitySquare fundraiser. Needs a for instance? How about B.B. King, Steve Martin, Bill Cosby, Patti LaBelle, Clint Black and Jay Leno.

Ross and Kara Miller and Cindy and Scott Collier

Ross and Kara Miller and Cindy and Scott Collier

Why, last year’s Co-chairs Cindy and Scott Collier‘s and Kara and Ross Miller‘s Lyle Lovett concert raised $550K.

The two couples have gotten together again for this year’s fundraiser and have hit the ball out of the park.

For the Friday, September 13th (yup, Friday the 13th) concert at the Winspear, the performer on the stage in all her glamorama splendor will be the woman whom Beyonce, the Jennifers (Hudson and Lopez) and every other SRO songbird holds as their idol — Diana Ross.

Only problem? It’s already hitting the nearly sold-out stage thanks to the Colliers, Millers, 50 committee members, presenting sponsor South Bay Partners, LTD and other sponsors.

In other words, hop on the sponsor wagon or hit the ticket button ASAP.

Photo provided by CitySquare

Lyle Lovett And His Large Band Return To Warmer Conditions For CitySquare’s “2012 A Night To Remember”

Last time Lyle Lovett and His Large Band was seen in these parts was the chilly outdoor concert at the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge gala in March. While he admitted that performing at the bridge opening was a first, he probably found CitySquare‘s “2012 A Night to Remember” on September 7 at the Majestic was not as windy or cold.

Ross Miller and Scott Collier

Following last year’s fundraiser with Jay Leno, Event Co-chairs Cindy and Scott Collier and Kara and Ross Miller decided to slightly change direction by having the 90-minute show of storytelling and singing. The great news is that once again they raised $550,000+.

Presented by South Bay Partners LTD, the concert benefited CitySquare, “the organization that fights poverty in the heart of our city.”

Jack Thomason, Erica Shaw, Lyle Lovett and Kay and Kevin Thomason

But the night also included a pre-concert reception hosted by Cindy and Scott for 100 sponsors. And after Lyle and his gang finished up, sponsors discovered gifts in their cars labeled “Didn’t You Just Lovett?”

Earlier this month the group hosted a sponsors party at the Dallas Arboretum amid the Dale Chihuly artwork.

Photos by BeccaLynne Photography

Lyle Lovett Is Returning To Dallas For CitySquare’s “A Night To Remember” At The Majestic

Lyle Lovett (File photo)

If you weren’t able to see and hear Lyle Lovett‘s warming the hearts of thousands at the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge gala opening in March, you’re in luck. Why you’re in luck if you were on the bridge that night and want an encore without the chill.

The bushy-haired Texas musician and his Large Band will be at the Majestic Theatre on Friday, September 7, for CitySquare‘s annual fundraiser, “A Night to Remember.” Co-chairs Cindy and Scott Collier and Kara and Ross Miller are overseeing the event that provides funding for “one of the largest outreach programs in the state.”

Last year they had Jay Leno and before that entertainers like BBKing, Steve Martin, Patti LaBelle and Bill Cosby.

According to sources, only a few tickets remain, so hop to it. Love yourself some Lyle and do some good for CitySquare.

 

Jay Leno Is Spending The Night With CitySquare Come October 29

Sorry for the delay, but after a quiet, hot summer last Thursday and Friday really got things popping. One of the very cool events was the CitySquare‘s sponsor party at Lisa Blue Baron’s estate. Love the powder room with the walls covered with shells.

No wonder everyone was so happy. Not only had Lisa opened her home to the crowd, they were celebrating this year’s “A Night to Remember 2011, Featuring Jay Leno.”

Yup, you heard that right. Jay “Late Man” Leno will be at the Majestic Theatre on Saturday, October 29 for CitySquare, forming known as Central Dallas Ministries.

Lisa Blue Baron, Scott and Cindy Collier

According to co-host/sponsor Scott Collier, “Lisa just opened her house for the sponsor party. CitySquare struck a chord with her.”

This is the group’s 10th anniversary with a pretty stellar track record. In the past they’ve had Bill Cosby, LeAnn Rimes and others to take to the boards.

Scott said that the reason for having Jay was ” It’s just a time to get together and laugh and have some fun.”

With the recently refreshed Majestic holding 1,700, it’s reassuring that the $125-$150 range tickets sold out immediately. Alas, the only ones left are the balcony seats going for $80.

With just over six weeks to go, the effort has raised $426K (gross) nearing the goal of $500,000.

FYI: It appears that Dallas will have its share of Lenos. On Monday, October 24, Jay’s wife, Mavis, will be the featured speaker at the 26th Annual Dallas Women’s Foundation Luncheon.