Inside the upscale Etro Dallas boutique at Highland Park Village, Kimber Hartmann glanced around at the 75 or so guests who’d gathered for an event benefiting the Center for BrainHealth, a research institute that’s part of the University of Texas at Dallas. “It’s nice that people are starting to think about their brain and their health,” said Hartmann, the center’s director of development and strategic operations. “The brain is your greatest asset, and young people especially are excited [about the center’s activities]. Look at the mix of people here. Not to mention, there are fabulous clothes and shoes here!”
There was indeed a mix at the Tuesday, December 5, 2017, event, including young people and older ones—writers, lawyers, financiers, PR specialists. Among them were Jim Dondero, Jen Seward, Michael Hurst, Pam Hill, Susan Jones, Jeff Kaplan, Tricia Linderman, Brantley Hargrove, Dorothy Pullen, Michael Mooney, Martha Hofmeister, Barbara Kennedy, and Mark Edgar. Many of the attendees were peering through the boutique’s racks of colorful clothing—a new African collection had recently come in—because Etro had promised to donate 10% of all sales (not only that night, but for the following five days) to the Center for BrainHealth, store manager Melinda Rathke explained.
The event had been organized by friends Kelly Rentzel and Shannon Wherry. Said Shannon: “I love Etro. Kelly and I just thought it would be fun to do a holiday party here. Brain health is something that both Kelly and I are pretty passionate about.” Rentzel especially is intrigued by the subject, since she has suffered in the past from bipolar disorder and has begun to talk about it publicly, in order to help others.
Rentzel, who’s a corporate lawyer, was diagnosed with the disorder more than two decades ago. But she got better, she said, with the help of “medication and therapy and hard work and faith. I also listened to a lot of music—specifically, George Harrison’s ‘Cloud Nine’ album.” That was a little ironic, she admitted wrly, because listening to the Beatles’ “The White Album” had contributed to her breakdown in the first place. She suffered a relapse five years ago, she said, before undergoing successful electroshock treatment.
While the guests chatted and enjoyed hors d’oeuvres prepared by Lombardi’s Catering, they also listened to live music by Peter Bradley Adams, who’d flown in from Nashville especially for the occasion. Shannon had reached out to the singer/songwriter, whose tunes have been featured on TV shows like “Dawson’s Creek,” after discovering his music on her Spotify feed.
After awhile a microphone was set up near the front of the store, and Kelly thanked the guests for coming. She also extended a special thank-you to Peter. “He was originally inspired by the Beatles, which I related to,” Rentzel said, smiling slightly. “I just told him to stay away from ‘The White Album.’”
* Photo credit: Daniel Driensky