Round Robin October 29: 16th Annual Mission Ole And Stars And Stripes Film Festival Sponsors Party

Thursday, October 29, proved to once again return Thursday to its status as the busiest day of the week. Earlier in the day there were The Dallas Opera’s First Sight luncheon and fashion show at the Winspear and Mosaic’s 5th Annual Partners and Possibilities Luncheon at the Addison Conference and Theatre Center north of town. That was just the warm up for the evening’s activities that included the 2015 David Wiessman Bridge Builder Award Dinner at The Adolphus Hotel co-chaired by Holly Deason and Blaine Nelson and honoring Ron Haddock. Even Fort Worth was buzzing with the NewDay Services for Children and Families at The Cendera Center!

But back in Dallas, there was still fun and fundraising going on.

16th Annual Mission Ole

Greg Nieberding

Greg Nieberding

The Day of the Dead makeup

The Day of the Dead makeup

Mission Ole alter

Mission Ole alter

Despite being within a hair’s breadth of October 31, the Trinity River Mission fundraiser’s 16th Annual Mission Ole could have easily been mistaken for a Halloween dress rehearsal. Evidently Chair Greg Nieberding recognized the growing popularity of “Dia de los Muertos (The Day of the Dead)” and deemed it to be the theme for the gathering at 3015 at Trinity Groves.

Gary and Cindy Turner

Gary and Cindy Turner

Against a wall was a presentation of art that was in keeping with “The Day of the Dead” tradition in which “alters” are created as a tribute and celebration of the life of a deceased loved one. The artwork contains such things as the person’s favorite things like food, pets, musical instruments, etc.  On this occasion the alter was filled with artwork honoring Donna Graham, who founded Trinity River Mission.

Trinity River Mission Ballet folklorico dancers

Trinity River Mission Ballet folklorico dancers

One highlight of the evening was the ballet folklorico performance by Trinity River Mission students. Not only were they adorable in their colorful costumes, they knew how to do a showstopping presentation to the delight of their parents and guests like Cindy and Gary Turner, Paige McDaniel and Joanna Clarke.

Still another memorable moment was TRM grad Carina Torres, who went on to graduate from Sam Houston State University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in dance. She told of the importance TRM had in her life.  A little later in the evening Carina, who is a founding member of Nicolay Dance Works in Huntsville, returned to perform a solo dance.

The evening was such a hit that they’ve already reserved 3015 at Trinity Groves on Thursday, November 3, for the 17th Annual Mission Ole.

Stars & Stripes Film Festival Patron Party

Tanya Foster and Lisa Cooley

Tanya Foster and Lisa Cooley

North of the Dallas North Tollway at Lisa and Clay Cooley’s spread, the sponsors of the Stars & Stripes Film Festival were filling the mansion to talk about the upcoming fundraiser for Sons of the Flag. While some guests chose to ride the Cooley Cart from the estate’s entrance to the residence, others decided to walk along the drive past the tennis court and pond and over the bridge to the front door. Shoot! It was such a gorgeous night, why not?

Pam and Vin Perella, Pam Busbee and Christie Carter

Pam and Vin Perella, Pam Busbee and Christie Carter

With SOTF Founder/President/CEO Ryan Parrott greeting folks like Pam and Vin Perella, Lynn and Allan McBee, Christie Carter and Pam Busbee at the door, Festival Co-Chairs Tanya and Pete Foster were talking with vets and going over details of the November 12-15 festivities at the Angelika plus the lunch on Friday, November 13, at the Dallas Country Club with Gen. Tommy Franks.

Midway through the evening, the Cooley staircase was put to use to tell about the upcoming film festival. From it Ryan told the history of Sons of the Flag and how it really started with his meeting Ret. Capt. Sam Brown, who suffered third-degree burns over 30% of his body.

Ryan and Director of Development Mary Meier even got David Sargent of Stripe-A-Zone to get up on the staircase and tell how important it was for his company to be the presenting sponsor of the festival.

 James Faust

James Faust

BTW, the opening night will not only feature “Zero Dark Thirty,” but Seal Team Member/native Texan Tyler Black will be on hand.

Also on hand was Dallas Film Society Artistic Director James Faust, who helped curate the collection of films. He was also looking forward to the DFS’s The Art of Film on Friday, November 20, at The Space on Oak Lawn with Isabella Rossellini.

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

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

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

Mulberry pop-up shop display

Mulberry pop-up shop display

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

Paul and Tiffany Divis, Diane Sealy and Carl Barbato

Paul and Tiffany Divis, Diane Sealy and Carl Barbato

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

Anne Stodghill, Rhonda Marcus and Randall and Kara Goss

Anne Stodghill, Rhonda Marcus and Randall and Kara Goss

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

Flash dancers

Hockaday Dancers

Flash dancers

Hockaday Dancers

Flash dancers

Hockaday Dancers

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

Geoffrey Henning model and Rhonda Marcus

Geoffrey Henning model and Rhonda Marcus

Khanh Nguyen model and Khanh Nguyen

Khanh Nguyen model and Khanh Nguyen

 

Popken and Edo Popken model

Popken and Edo Popken model

Michael Faircloth model and Michael Faircloth

Michael Faircloth model and Michael Faircloth

Elizabeth Anyaa model with Catherine Leppert

Elizabeth Anyaa model with Catherine Leppert

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

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

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

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: The Dallas Opera’s First Sight

The Dallas Opera’s First Sight luncheon and fashion show at the Winspear has quickly given other similar fundraisers a run(way) for their money. The October 29th event presented by NorthPark had Mulberry fashions on the catwalk, plus five especially created designs representing TDO’s 2015-2016 operas. The opera house lobby was filled to the gills with ladies and gents nattily attired. Why, even Mulberry U.S. President Carl Barbato was in the house.

Paul and Tiffany Divis, Diane Sealy and Carl Barbato

Paul and Tiffany Divis, Diane Sealy and Carl Barbato

And then there was this year’s surprise. Instead of an operative flash mob, it was Hockadaisies in pastel dresses with parasols prancing and dancing their little ballet slippers off.

Hockaday dancer

Hockaday dancer

Khanh Nguyen model and Khanh Nguyen

Khanh Nguyen model and Khanh Nguyen

While the post is being finalized, check the photos at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

JUST IN: Dallas Opera’s First Sight Fashion Designers Revealed

Michael Faircloth (File photo)

Michael Faircloth (File photo)

One of the highlights of the Dallas Opera’s First Sight is the parade of knock-out “opera-inspired” fashions created by local designers. And from the list of designers slated to present at the Thursday, October 29th luncheon, it’s going to raise the standard once again.

Here’s the list of designers and the operas that will inspire their creations:

  • Geoffrey HenningGreat Scot
  • Khanh NguyenTosca
  • Ed PopkenBecoming Santa Claus
  • Elizabeth AnyaaManon and
  • Michael FairclothShow Boat

As last year, the fashion show and luncheon will take place in the Winspear lobby with producer extraordinaire Rhonda Sargent Chambers orchestrating the fashion show featuring Mulberry creations.

According to NorthPark Center Director of Marketing and Public Relations Victoria Snee, “North Park Center is thrilled to once again be the official shopping center sponsor of the First Sight Fashion Show and Luncheon, which celebrates the artistry of fashion design in reflection with the incomparable Dallas Opera and its exciting performance line up.”

Don and Ellen Winspear (File photo)

Don and Ellen Winspear (File photo)

Micki Rawlings (File photo)

Micki Rawlings (File photo)

Ellen and Don Winspear will be chairing the two-day First Sight/First Night with Dallas First Lady Micki Rawlings serving as the First Sight chair. Tickets are on sale now.

Round Robin October 23 (Daytime): First Sight And Encore Park Sculpture Wall Unveiling

Duh! Duh! Duh! That was the chorus being sounded by the end of Thursday, October 23. Too many places to go, events to cover and people to see. If something’s left out, it’s because memory cells were shot down during the day.

First Sight

Nicholas Villalba

Nicholas Villalba

Dallas Opera’s Keith Cerny has become the GNG of the Dallas Arts District. GNG? Good Neighbor Guy. Instead of hunkering down and acting like the Winspear and the Dallas Opera should have a moat with meat-eating critters and only allowing the snooty types in, he solicited involvement by all the neighbors in the hood and reached out to the entire community to join the fun.

With that reach out came a whole new breadth of enthusiasm and fresh newcomers. Those new kids on the block were filling the Winspear Opera House for First Sight, a fashion show and luncheon.

Unfortunately, Keith’s success meant that the Skokos stage was filled to the brim with construction for the upcoming season. The result? The entire First Sight luncheon including the designer gowns (Elizabeth Anyaa, Michael Faircloth, Abi Ferrin, Khanh Nguyen, Edo Popken and Nicolas Villalba) representing the season’s operas and Roberto Cavalli fashions were presented in the lobby under the direction of fashion producer Rhonda Sargent Chambers.

At one point designer Faircloth and his model in a gloriously red sequined gown showed up prematurely during the final roll call. Did anyone care? Not one iota. It was perfect for an extra encore.

Talk about lunch included Anne Stodghill in pink satin jacket and shoes with pink highlights. Immediately following the show, she was headed to LA to join husband Steve for the Pink concert. The next morning both Stodghills were going to grab a flight back to Dallas for the DO’s “First Night.”

Nick Even and Emmanuel Villaume

Nick Even and Emmanuel Villaume

Luncheon Chair Liz Kimple brought along her sister and niece. The wee one was nonplussed by the day’s festivities and settled back on a couch with a chocolate energy bar.

Lynn McBee and Don and Ellen Winspear

Lynn McBee and Don and Ellen Winspear

Other pretty peeps in attendance included Jolie Humphrey, Karen Settle, Lee Bailey, Judy Kelly, Suzanne Palmlund, Ellen and Don Winspear, First Sight First Night Co-Chairs Lynn McBee and Nick Even, ever-charming DO Music Director Emmanuel Villaume, Holly Mayer, Donna Arp Weitzman, Brian Bolke, Jennifer Cerny and Michal Powell using just one crutch.

For more photos of the designer fashions, head to MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

 

Unveiling The Wall

Encore Park is not like other well-known Dallas parks like Lee Park, Reverchon Park and White Rock Park. Nope. It’s across the street from the First Presbyterian Church Community Ministries Building and First Presbyterian Church of Dallas. But it’s “an innovative outreach program bringing together people of all cultures and faiths through service, dialogue, education, music and art.” Plans call for the two-block area at Young Street and Park Avenue to have three main components:

508 Amphitheater

508 Amphitheater

  • 508 Park — The Stewpot’s Open Art Studio and Gallery, a Museum of Street Culture, a recording studio and special event space.
  • 508 Amphitheater and the Encore Park Community Garden
  • 515 Park (formerly The Power and Light Building) — The Stewpot’s “collaborative partners (Crossroads Community Services, the Dallas Police Athletic and Activities League, Metrocare and the Dallas Winds

It has been a mammoth undertaking, but it is happening.

On this day a small coterie of supporters and area leaders (Mary McDermott Cook, Howard Hallam, Robert Decherd, Stacey Malcolmson, Joe Alexander and Carol Adams) assembled in the amphitheater that was still under construction for the unveiling of Encore Park’s sculpture wall, “The Birth Of A City,” hosted by Micki and Mayor Mike Rawlings, Jan and Fred Hegi and Joan and Elvis Mason.

Mike and Micki Rawlings, Jan and Fred Hegi and Howard Hallam

Mike and Micki Rawlings, Jan and Fred Hegi and Howard Hallam

While waiting for the program to begin, Micki told Mary McD C about seeing Mary’s mother, Margaret McDermott, at a dinner earlier in the week for Ken Burns…When asked about “Bentley the Ebola Dog,” Mayor Mike didn’t hesitate — “We’ve got to keep him alive.”…First Presbyterian Church of Dallas’ Rev. Joe Clifford was unable to attend the unveiling due to his uncle’s death.

As the sun was still high enough in the sky to force the sunglasses look, speakers like Buddy Jordan, Rev. Bruce Buchanan, Mike Rawlings and wall designer Brad Oldham kept their remarks brief because they had more important things to do.

Unveiling the wall

Unveiling the wall

The guests were asked to head to the sidewalk along Park Avenue for the official unveiling of the “lost-wax bronze sculpture wall” by designer Brad Oldham. On this side of the wall, and thanks to the sun lowering in the sky, the need for sunglasses was no longer. Joined by his wife Christy Coltrin, Brad pulled the cords that lifted the lengthy blue tarp. What was revealed were ten 6’ by 4’ bas relief panels that were inspired by the history of Dallas up to the mid-1930’s, when the city made its remarkable step onto the world stage and when important recordings were made at 508 Park. Drawing upon a 1930s mural by Jerry Bywaters and Alexandre Hogue for the Old City Hall (painted over 20 years later),” the panels featured “iconic and lesser-known visual stories unique to Dallas.”

Bruce Buchanan, Carol Adams, Brad Oldham, Micki Rawlings, Christy Coltrin and Mike Rawlings

Bruce Buchanan, Carol Adams, Brad Oldham, Micki Rawlings, Christy Coltrin and Mike Rawlings

The guests pointed to specific areas of the lengthy artwork that truly captured a bygone era for a forward thinking program.

No, Encore Park isn’t like the other area “parks.” It may have been the brainchild of those working with the needy, but it turned out that all of Dallas needed this brainchild for the dreams will grow into reality from it.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery: First Sight

Michael Faircloth creation

Michael Faircloth creation

The glory and “Wow!” factor of opera is not limited to the Winspear stage. Nope! First Sight on Thursday, October 23, was a perfect example with magnificent gowns designed by six designers (Michael Faircloth, Abi Ferrin, Elizabeth Anyaa, Edo Popken, Khanh Nguyen and Nicholas Villalba) and the Roberto Cavalli collection benefiting the Dallas Opera.

The post is being prepared, but it pales compared to the photos of the guests and exquisite outfits on MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

Makes you want to sing an aria.

Dallas Opera’s Inaugural “First Sight” Impressed Guests With Fashions, Food And Flash Mob Courtesy of SMU’s Meadows Chorale

Nobody saw it coming. After all, the Dallas Opera is a very staid and proper operation. Wrong! First they did the simulcast a couple years ago on a big screen in front of the Winspear, and eventually moved it over to Klyde Warren Park. Then they had a red carpet opening night with designer gowns. And don’t forget that other gargantuan, free simulcast at AT&T Stadium. But those were all planned and promoted way far in advance.

Changes were in the air for the opening of the DO’s 2013-2014 season. Chair Lynn Mock decided that the fashion factor needed to be ramped up and stand on its own. So, she created First Sight on Thursday, October 24, to precede Friday’s First Night. In addition to presenting gowns by five local designers and an Escada fashion show with the Carmen scenery as a backdrop, there would a luncheon afterwards. To coordinate arrangements with the designers, Escada and all the fashionable activities on the Skokos stage, Lynn had opera-loving, event-producing brain trust Rhonda Sargent Chambers take over. If you’ll remember, Rhonda has been at the helm of all things fashionable since the first First Night back in 2011.

According to Lynn, “The overwhelming public interest in the fashion element of First Night prompted us to expand our vision to match the creativity of an iconic brand, Escada, as well as these five incredible designers. By giving them the spotlight, exclusively, in this very special event, we hope to excite and engage our patrons while giving art and fashion their due. It’s a perfect extension of the First Night celebrations.”

Smart move on the surface, but Lynn, the DO team and presenting sponsor JP Morgan had an ace up their silk sleeves. Lots of aces, in fact. Some might sniff that Tutu Chic had held its fashion show in a similar manner at the Winspear with ballerinas as models. And the St. Valentine’s Day Fashion Show and Luncheon had joined the movement to the Arts District with last year’s move to the Meyerson. So having the DO’s fashion show was not a big, huge surprise. But the designers’ (Nicolas Villalba, Abi Ferrin, Khanh Nguyen, Elizabeth Anyaa and Michael Faircloth) gowns were simply amazing and showstopping. And the Escada collection was especially tempting with the offer of a 10% discount at the Escada boutique in Highland Park Village.

Five designers and their First Sight creations

Five designers and their First Sight creations

Nicholas Villalba and model

Nicholas Villalba and model

Abi Ferrin and model

Abi Ferrin and model

Khanh Nguyen and model

Khanh Nguyen and model

Elizabeth Anyaa and model

Elizabeth Anyaa and model

Michael Faircloth and model

Michael Faircloth and model

No, everything was following the fashion show/luncheon format — reception in the lobby, fashion show in the hall and luncheon back in the C. Vincent Prothro Lobby.

Ah, but that lunch in the lobby was where the surprise raised eyebrows, as well as smiles of delight.

Don and Ellen Winspear

Don and Ellen Winspear

Mary Anne Cree

Mary Anne Cree

It started out so typically. Tables set up; guests taking their seats for a Wolfgang Puck lunch (Piedmont gazpacho with torn bread, olive oil and marinated cucumbers; grilled lemon-marinated airline chicken with white bean ragu, sofrito coulis and friend Tuscan kale; and warm apple empanadas with dulce de leche ice cream); servers presenting. . .  no, wait, the servers started singing, appropriately, “Libiamo ne’leiti calici” (“Let’s Drink From the Joyful Cup”) from La Traviata; a couple of folks walking by sang; people above along the second-level terrace started singing, and even a gal with a broom started singing. It was an operatic flash mob presented by the SMU Meadows Chorale to the delight of the guests like Kelli Ford, Ellen and Don Winspear, Holly Mayer, Steve Stodghill and Mary Ann Cree.

Just more proof that the Dallas Opera is no longer your great granny’s long-hair music.

By the way, those fabulous designer gowns and original sketches are part of an online auction being conducted by Heritage Auctions. It concludes Monday, November 11, at 10 p.m.