What could possibly bring Harris County Judge Ed Emmett (big-time Republican) and State Sen. Rodney Ellis (big-time Democrat) to stand in the spotlight together — in an airline hangar at Ellington Airport? Nope, not a politico's funeral. Rather it was the 60th birthday of pontificator, attorney and political chameleon Bill King.
The newly-single birthday boy invited 500 or so of his nearest and dearest to party in the vast space where the resident King Airs and Citations had been removed and a few vintage prop planes brought in for color.
Guests were invited to wear "aviation chic" or casual attire for the party that followed a Sky King theme. After all, Bill King does have his pilot's license and from time to time over the years has flown his own plane. At best, there was a sprinkling of leather bomber jackets in the mix but most in this crowd of elected officials, lobbyists, business folks and social swans went the casual route.
Ellis served as emcee while Emmett delivered a gentle roast and toast but it was attorney Nelda Luce Blair of The Woodlands who delivered the coup de gras with a slide presentation featuring King in the various stages of his life. Songbird Yvonne Washington delivered the sweet goods, entertaining the crowd and then singing "Happy Birthday, Mr. President" while a buxom "Marilyn Monroe" sang along.
In the mixed bag of guests were Frann Lichtenstein, Fred Zeidman, U.S. Rep. Al Green, Grant Cooper, Gwen Emmett, Licia Green-Ellis Denis DeBakey, Lily and Charles Foster, Sue Walden, Karen and Scott Rozell, Jim Dannenbaum, Lillie Schechter, Mary Ann and David McKeithan, Philamena and Arthur Baird, Joni Baird, Susan Bischoff and Jim Barlow, Kim Padgett, Vicki and Mark Ellis and Fredell and Bobby Deutser.
A champagne toast for Randy Fenoli
Say Yes to the Dress host and fashion director of Manhattan's Kleinfeld Bridal Salon, Randy Fenoli was the toast of the town over the weekend when he made an appearance at the Bridal Extravaganza's VIP gathering at the George R. Brown Convention Center. Of the 15,000 that walked through the doors for the weekend show, only 350 nabbed passes for Fenoli's presentation on Sunday morning.
The Fenoli fun actually began Saturday night when he was guest of honor at a small dinner at Americas Restaurant in River Oaks. Chef David Cordua oversaw the Churrasco steak dinner with South American trimmings. As a surprise, Nadine Moon of Who Made the Cake? created a dessert cake that looked exactly like Fenoli's book It's All About the Dress.
Joining the guest of honor in addition to a handful of contest-winning brides-to-be were Bridal Extravaganza producer Laurette Veres, Jill Vidal of Elegant Beginnings and Jo Ann S. Woodward and John Woodward of Schwartz &Woodward.
Statewide arts honors and an Austin gala
While the Texas Medal of Arts presentation and gala, both in Austin, are more than a year away, Feb. 10, 2012, is deadline for nominations for the seventh biennial awards. This week, the Texas Cultural Trust is announcing that two Houstonians have been tapped to chair the gala which will take place March 5, 2013, at the Long Center for the Performing Arts.
Community leader Kelli Blanton and Marita Fairbanks, founder of Fresh Arts Coalition, are already on board for the planning of the festivities that will celebrate the state's legendary artists, entertainers and arts patrons. Surrounding activities will include a gala dinner, star-studded awards show, concert and a Starlight after-party.
Inspired by the National Medal of Arts, the program has honored 72 Texans including Willie Nelson, Tommy Lee Jones, Laura Bush, Sandra Cisneros, Clint Black and Lyle Lovett. Awards are given in a variety of categories including Lifetime Achievement, Visual Arts, Individual Arts Patron and Dance.