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.
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.”
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.
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 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.
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.
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.”
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.