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Shelby About Town

Barre the door: Small parties make a big splash

News_Shelby Hodge_head shot_Dec. 2009
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Houston Ballet artistic director Stanton Welch leads rehearsal as Ballet Barre members look on. Photo by Ron McKinney, Art Institute of Houston North
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Ballet Barre co-founder Kristy Junco with Chris Bradshaw. Photo by Ron McKinney
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Featured artist John Ross Palmer and Sue Murchison at the San Jose Clinic gala kick-off. Photo by Jeremy Keas
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San Jose gala chairs Devinder and Gina Bhatia, left, joined honoree Carolyn Farb and Malcolm Lloyd at Hearsay Gastro Lounge. Photo by Jeremy Keas
News_Carlos Lee_Mary Lee_Patricia Swearingen_Randall Swearingen
Carlos and Mary Lee, left, joined Patricia and Randall Swearingen at Mo's for a private dinner for four. Photo by Fulton Davenport: PWL Studio

Not every event has to be over-the-top extravagant or starring a cast of thousands to be interesting. Sometimes the more entertaining evenings are enjoyed at smaller, more intimate gatherings. Case in point — the recent Ballet Barre assembly at Houston Ballet studios where artistic director Stanton Welch rehearsed dancers for his original work, Fingerprints.

The young professionals supporting Houston Ballet (Ballet Barre) were up-close-and-personal with the pre-professional Houston Ballet II dancers as they worked and sweated under Welch's watchful eye. Making it all the more interesting was the musical accompaniment provided by Musiqa.

It was a rare opportunity to witness a rehearsal and to have a follow-up Q&A with Welch, with Houston Ballet Academy principal Shelly Power and with the dancers themselves. Only one of the ballet students was from Houston, the remainder having come from across the country and around the world to study with Houston Ballet.

The event was led by Ballet Barre founder Kristy Junco and concluded with a mini-celebration, Roederer Estate sparkling wine and taste treats from Catalan for everyone!

On another note

What a sweet night it was recently at Hearsay Gastro Lounge in Market Square when San Jose Clinic "Art With Heart" gala supporters gathered to celebrate the upcoming benefit. For starters, the venue is just so cool and owner Lucky Chopra rolled out the red carpet for the 120 San Jose Clinic patrons. While he poured on the hospitality, guests perused the original artworks from local artists that will be on the auction block at the gala. 

Key players on this evening and for the May 15 gala included gala chairs Gina and Dr. Devinder Bhatia, honoree Carolyn Farb and artist John Palmer, who has donated a major painting to be auctioned at the event at the InterContinental Houston.

San Jose, one of the oldest charity clinics in the country, annually provides medical services for approximately 5,000 uninsured patients who could not afford medical care otherwise. Among supporters at the kick-off were Jude Williams, Sally Moody, Alan Benz, Don Hooper, Larry Massey, Brian Stevens, Chris Kelly and Phil Morabito.

Singing sensation

Our favorite homegrown songman/record producer Steve Tyrell heads to Las Vegas next week after spending the weekend here to visit family and his special squeeze, the drop-dead gorgeous Karen Pulaski. (Call them inseparable.) After guest starring at the Pink on the Green gala Sunday at The Houstonian, he wings to Las Vegas where he will headline at Tilman Fertitta's Golden Nugget.

Tyrell has an eight-night stand April 13-16 and April 20-24. His loyal fans are booking swank accommodations in the new Rush Tower, the $150 million addition to the venerable casino/luxury resort.

Sight  'ems

Hollywood screenwriter Robert Mark Kamen (Taken and The Karate Kid) dining at a table for seven in the middle of Tony's Thursday night. He was in town with a wine distributor promoting his Kamen Estates Wine, based in Sonoma County. Kamen told Tony Vallone that he had just finished the script for a sequel to Taken and that he will be back in Houston in the fall to do a wine dinner at Tony's . . . 

Gov. Rick Perry the headliner in the second-floor private room of Damian's Cucina Italiana Tuesday night when Madeline and Ross Margraves hosted a dinner in his honor. Among the guests were Robert Eckels, Shirley and Jim Dannenbaum and Billy Burge. The governor had been in town to attend Dan Duncan's funeral, held earlier in the day  . . .

Astro Carlos Lee and wife Mary dining at Mo's . . . A Place for Steaks with Patricia and Randall Swearingen. The Swearingens had been high bidders on the dinner for four in a private dining room at an Astro Wives Black Ties & Baseball Caps gala  . . .

Mayor Annise Parker chowing down on barbecue like the more ordinary souls at Goode Co. Texas Bar-B-Q on Kirby . . .

A passel of young movers and shakers joining the family and friends preview of the new Brio Tuscan Grille at CityCentre earlier this week, including Sanford Steinberg, Tammy Tomjonovich, Lauren Summerville, Carla and Alec Valencia, Stuart Rosenberg, Jennifer LeGrand, Gloria Luna, Sharon Abousselman and Lauren Levicki.

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