Jade Ball Was Highlighted By Beijing Opera Singer Lucy Xu, Artist-Filled Hutongs, Delayed Dishes And Dancing Dragons In The Driveway

As locals and tourists in shorts, T-shirts and sneakers walked by Belo Mansion on Saturday, October 7, something seemed a little amiss. Perhaps it was the sound of drums, but more likely it was the dragons.

At times there were two Chinese dragons vying with the valet parkers in the driveway for the arrival of black-tie guests. At other times it was an elongated dragon dancing and entertaining the already-settled guests looking down from the windows upstairs in the Pavilion. The dragons, the drums and the 350 guests were all there to celebrate the inaugural Jade Ball benefiting the Crow Collection of Asian Art.

Phillip Chen

Once past the check-in, the Mansion and hallways surrounding the ballroom had been turned in to hutongs filled with artist Danqing Coldwell, calligrapher Carle Shi, tea master Phillip Chen and fortune teller Iris Quachs.

Robert Weatherly, Amy Lewis Hofland, Lynn McBee and Trammell S. Crow

Event Chair Robert Weatherly and Honorary Chair Lynn McBee were hustling through the crowd, fulfilling the demands of photographers.

Darryl Freling and Emily Eisenhauer-Freling

Paul Christopher Yanez and Lauren Embrey

Linda and Steve Ivy

Kristen Gibbins and Stacie Adams

Darryl Freling and Emily Eisenhauer Freling were reporting that they were past the newlywed-year marker… Following the fundraiser’s title, jade was indeed the color of the night — Linda Ivy’s jade necklace and matching earrings with jade-colored stole, Kristen Gibbins‘ earrings, Nikki Webb‘s necklace, Gay Donnell‘s and Angela Nash‘s jade-colored gowns, and Billy Martin Jr.‘s tie highlighted with deep-green leaves. Getting into the Asian ensemble category were Mimi Sterling in a gray kimono with fan, Lauren Embrey in a rose-red lace qipao, Trammell S. Crow in traditional Chinese formal black jacket and Koshi Dhingra in a red sari highlighted with sky-blue flower appliques.

Crayton and Nikki Webb and Angela Nash and Billy Martin Jr

Just as the place was going to bust with guests, the doors to the ballroom opened with a splendiferous array of tables surrounding a stage with a backdrop of bamboo topped with colorful lanterns.

While it took some time for the guests to take their places, there were no pre-sets. Instead of salads, they found charger plates, silverware, water and wine glasses and chopsticks, of course. Crow Collection Executive Director Amy Lewis Hofland got their attention plinging chimes. In describing the growth of the Asian community in North Texas, Amy told how when she had graduated from Plano High School, only 1% of the students were Asian Americans. Today the figure stands at 30%.

In the meantime, servers provided plates with three dumplings — pork with ginger soy, chicken with dragon chili and mushroom with sesame yuzu. Not wanting to seem unworldly, most guests proved their dexterity by using their chopsticks to devour the trio.

Lucy Xu

Instead of being immediately removed, the dumpling-less plates stayed put while beautifully attired Beijing Opera singer Lucy Xu sang “Drunken Beauty,” accompanied by the Dallas HuaYun Chinese Orchestra.

Eventually, the dumpling dishes were removed and water glasses were filled nonstop. A floor monitor walked between the table looking satisfied. Plates of Hong Kong style short ribs on purple and russet potato taro root mash and wok fired Yu Choy with sweet carrots slowly made their way to the tables. Most guests found themselves resorting to the silverware to cut into the short ribs and saw into the carrots.

Lucy Xu

Chair Robert and Honorary Chair Lynn were invited to the stage by Crow Collection Media Relations person Stacie Adams. Graciously they thanked the Crow family for expanding Dallas’ appreciation of the cultures on display and programs available at the museum. Between the eloquent acknowledgments by Robert and Lynn and the live auction was Lucy Xu in yet another fabulous costume to perform “Farewell My Concubine” after a slight delay, due to one of the HuaYun Orchestra members having to tune up.  

While Lucy’s performance was beautiful, the action tableside was still spotty. At one table, all the entrée plates had been removed except for one. Even after dessert plates—with vanilla cake with matcha cream frosting, red plum drizzle and mooncake with red bean —had been placed, the empty entrée plate stayed as if anchored to the table. The guest in possession of the lone entrée plate told the other guests to proceed with their desserts. Despite his offer, no one lifted a fork until the situation was updated.

Katherine Rigdon

It was now 9:30 p.m. and Heritage Auctioneer Katherine Rigdon took the stage, searching the room for bids like a bird dog on the hunt. She claimed there was $2,500 hiding out there. At one point she hooded her eyes and looked to the far reaches of the room trying to discover a $45,000 bid. Oops! Make that a $4,500 bid. After a couple of packages were paddled in at low four-figure numbers, Chef Kent Rathbun arrived on stage, taking the mic and rallying the bids. His package of a dinner for 20 at the Crow Museum popped up the bidding to $10,000. Things were definitely perking up. Kent then continued his campaign, offering an event at the Rathbun homestead for a dinner, a cooking or whatever for ten. That surprise package hauled in a nifty $7,000 from Nick Even.

After the final bid was tallied, the crowd adjourned for more fortunes to be told and artwork to be created.  

For more pictures, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

EarthxGlobal Gala Patrons At Scott Ginsburg’s Mansion Included A Hairy Guest With Two Toes And Big, Brown Eyes

The evening of Saturday, March 25, could not have been more perfect for an outdoor gathering of earthlings. Perhaps it was due to insider arrangements by EarthxGlobal Gala Chair Emeritus Trammell S. Crow and Mother Nature.  

Didn’t matter who was responsible, Gala Honorary Chair Scott Ginsburg’s Highland Park estate was simply splendiferous, with a DJ on the elevated outdoor terrace overlooking the pool.

Susan and Steve O’Brien and Mary Kathryn Bass

Caroline Branch and Karl Chiao

Sloth and handler

While there was no lack of gorgeous-looking people like Susan and Steve O’Brien, Mary Kathryn Bass, Karl Chiao, Caroline Branch, and Michael Cain to check out, the guest drawing the most attention was a two-toed sloth, much to the delight of guests. The handler reported that despite the length of the sloth’s claws, her hugging was no problem.

However, when one guest reached out to touch the sloth, it was obviously startled and clutched her date, who provided her with reassurance and a couple of sweet potato strips.

Andrew Ward and Amanda Ward

Matt Myers

Over to the side, mom Amanda Ward told how her son, 14-year-old Andrew Ward, had been smitten with Earth Day. It seems that last year Andrew volunteered for the mega-event and got hooked. That introduction led the Lakehill student to think about tackling the problem of air pollution in China. Andrew decided to start off by aiming to reduce the air pollution emitted by Chinese factories. In discussing his plans with fellow Lakehill grad/Earth Day 2017 Event Director Matt Myers, Andrew discovered that Matt, who’d attended school at China’s “MIT” in Beijing, had also been aware of the pollution situation there and had thought about ways of solving the problem, too.

Trammell S. Crow

Arriving like a rock star, meantime, Trammell was ready to take on the world—literally—as he handed out small colorful “earth” marbles instead of calling cards. He was also very excited not only about the EarthxGlobal Gala, but about the upcoming Earth Day Texas event itself. Trammell said it would be including a number of prestigious universities, several national labs, 50 different NGOs (non-governmental organizations), and even a fracking conference. The organizers hope to best last year’s attendance of 130,000 by as many as 5,000—provided the weather holds up.

According to Laura Reeder, the EarthxGlobal Gala was originally scheduled to take place on Saturday, April 22. But when they realized that both the Art Ball and Cotes du Coeur were scheduled that night, they simply moved the EarthxGlobal Gala to Fair Park’s Discovery Gardens on Friday, April 21. It will be just one part of the activities planned for Earth Day Texas from Friday, April 21 thru Sunday, April 23, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.