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Shelby About Town

Tom Brady is headed to Houston (really), a mob boss dines at Vallone's & a Houston rep hits the White House

Shelby Hodge, head shot, column mug, white off-shoulder blouse
Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen kissing
Tom Brady, pictured here with his wife Gisele Bündchen, takes the lead at the Best Buddies benefit  on May 13. Gisele Bündchen/Facebook
Vanessa Williams and Michael Wilson
Michael Wilson directs Vanessa Williams on the set of A Trip to Bountiful, screened for Michelle Obama at the White House Monday afternoon. Photo courtesy of Lifetime Movies
at Mike Long's birthday party February 2014
Mike Long celebrates his birthday in the Korean Grill Room at Nara. Courtesy photo

Heads up NFL fans, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is winging into town for the May 13 Best Buddies dinner at the home of John and Becca Cason Thrash.  La Becca, a Best Buddies board member for 15 years, promises that there will be a lengthy cocktail hour with photo opps and face time for all with the gridiron superstar.

Big spenders parting with $5,000 each will be the lucky ones to be seated at the dinner table with Brady, who serves as a Best Buddies ambassador. Individual ticket price is $2,500 per person. Once dessert is served, he will take the microphone for a Q&A session. With three Super Bowl wins to his credit, with supermodel Gisele Bundchen as his wife and three children at home, Brady should provide plenty of entertaining dialogue.

And in an effort to help Best Buddies raise $500,000 on this evening, Brady will assist with the live auction.

Brady joins an impressive lineup of stars who have joined Becca at Best Buddies fundraisers in her home. Among them — Prince Albert of Monaco, supermodel Cindy Crawford, Marc Anthony and Willie Nelson. Through these special evenings, Becca has raised close to $4 million for the program. Best Buddies founder Anthony Shriver has asked her once again to take the fundraising helm.

Alley talent to the White House

Alley Theatre associate artist Michael Wilson will be in the White House today (Monday) when Michelle Obama, as part of Black Hisory Month activities, hosts a screening of Lifetime Television's The Trip to Bountiful. Wilson, who directed the play on Broadway, makes his television directorial debut with the project that stars Cicely Tyson and Vanessa Williams.

Tyson won a Tony Award for Best Actress for her role in the play, which was nominated for Tonys.

It is likely that Wilson will return to the Alley in the fall in a project yet to be announced. Among his Alley directing stints have been The Trip to Bountiful, Ether Dome, Angels in America and Dividing the Estate.

Birthdaying Korean style

Open-faced soup dumplings, fried whole fish and hot stone bowl bibimbap with prime rib were among the dishes served to birthday boy Mike Long, when his long-time squeeze Holly Waltrip took over the Korean Grill Room at Nara in West Ave for a yummy celebration. 

Chef Donald Chang mixed it up with guests who included Shannon Hall, Tami Diaz, Don Mafrige and Brittany and Max Tribble. Chang honored Long with a green tea tiramisu presented with a sparkler.

No mob, no more

When Tony Vallone got the call that a former moss bob of the Colombo crime family of New York would be stopping in for dinner at Vallone's, he put the staff on full alert. Not that there would be worries of organized crime activity. Michael Franzese, a reformed mobster, is now a motivational speaker and has been heard at churches and Christian-based universities throughout the state.

Of course, Vallone was at the restaurant to welcome his fellow Italian and was beyond thrilled to hear Franzese declare that his dinner included "probably the best steak I've ever had." As a special treat, Vallone had housemade cannoli  brought over from Ciao Bello.

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