It was an interesting gathering under the skylights at Tony's Friday afternoon when the forces behind the Houston Symphony Opening Night festivities gathered to ruminate over the details of the two-tiered event. Opening Night chairs Linda and Gene Dewhurst are chairing the evening that begins with a concert in Jones Hall and concludes with a seated dinner at The Corinthian.
In addition to honoring Susan and Larry Kellner, the fundraiser salutes the symphony musicians and conductor Hans Graf at the start of his swan-song season here. In fact, the program features six soloists from the orchestra and concludes with Ravel's Bolero, which you will remember features every section of the orchestra.
Rounding out the luncheon table were Larry Kellner, Opening Night co-chairs Gloria Tenenbown and Fran Fawcett Peterson and honorary chair Margaret Williams. Yes, Margaret Williams, whose busy philanthropic commitments typically prevents her from attending luncheons of any kind, made the exception on this day. Holding it all together was symphony chief development officer David Chambers.
Already, before invitations have been mailed, $250,000 in tickets have been sold. (And, yes, Gene is brother to Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, who is running for U.S. Senate.)
Haute couture relay
Diane Lokey Farb is still trying to catch her breath following a whirlwind fashion jaunt through Paris where she had more than a few invitations to some of the hottest haute couture shows/parties of the season.
Her dance card was enviable with invitations from Chanel for a black-tie dinner, where the house previewed its 1932 High Jewelry collection, and the following day a prime seat at the Chanel haute couture show at the Grand Palais. Early that afternoon, she rubbed shoulders with Marion Cotillard, Sharon Stone, Princess Charlene of Monaco and others at the Christian Dior haute couture show, which featured the much heralded debut of Dior designer Raf Simons. Next stop was the Giorgio Armani Privé show where all eyes were on Anna Wintour, Sophia Loren and Zoe Saldana.
The following day, Chanel guests including Diane were treated to dinner at the U.S. Embassy by Ambassador Charles Rivkin and wife Susan Tolson. That evening, she attended the Valentino haute couture show where she shared elbow room with Nicky Hilton, Kim Kardashian and Kanye West.
Re-connecting with New Orleans
That would be Susan Krohn, who moved to Houston from the Crescent City shortly after Hurricane Katrina. Well, now that she's planted a few roots and made oodles of friends in H-Town, Susan has headed back to New Orleans, at least part-time, for a business opportunity that was just too intriguing to let pass.
Through Cakebread Art Antiques Collectibles, she has purchased the assets of New Orleans Auction Galleries and is off and running as CEO of the company that plans to make as much a splash in Houston as in New Orleans. The first auction is set for next weekend with a preview party on Thursday at the auction house at 501 Julia St.
Susan confesses to being an auction groupie and plans to devote some of her time to recruiting a serious stable of consignors. From those she is already working with, she has accumulated more than 1,600 lots for the auction. If anyone knows how to succeed in business, it is Susan, who owns and still has a hand in the successful Brooke Staffing Companies in both Louisiana and Houston.
Susan's fiance Patrick Ghem is on board with the change of address and has been helping with refurbishing of the auction house.
Olympic taekwondo athletes Steven Lopez and Diana Lopez at Katsuya chowing down on delectables from chef Katsuya Uechi's pre-fixed menu with pal, makeup artist Edward Sanchez, who will soon be opening his Vanity Lounge just doors down from the restaurant in West Ave . . .
Conservative political commentator and author Dinesh D'Souza dining with Michael Berry and Fred Zeidman at Tony's where he celebrated release of his new movie based on his New York Times best-selling book The Roots of Obama's Rage.
State representative hopeful Gene Wu bidding adieu to bachelorhood at sexy downtown hotspot the Strip House. Feasting on filets, tuna, snapper, wild mushrooms, truffle mac 'n cheese, goose fat potatoes, fries and garlic bread were Wu and pals Jason Luong, Chris Canonico, Neil Sorens, Steve Louis and Bellaire City Councilman Corbett Parker. All in advance of Wu's marriage to Channel 13's Miya Shay.
Dr. Roland Maldonado and partner Joel Bickley hosting a grand birthday fete at the Strip House for Roland's sister Linda — in from San Antonio with husband David Fenton.