I'm not sure that Jay Jones has actually smoked a cigarette in decades but there he was Saturday night in the foyer of Wortham Theater Center with unlighted smoke in hand. That accessory went with Jay's striped skinny tie and dark suit which was part of the costuming for the Society for the Performing Arts' gala "Mad Men of SPA" for which he and five other gents served as chairs.
Also channeling the '60s imagery of the popular AMC series were chairs Chuck Davidson, Tom Glanville, Bobby Tudor and Marc Watts. (Chair Steve Trauber did not attend.) There was no escaping the mid-century esthetic whether it was the cool cat decor by Rebekah Johnson (loved that "Jackson Pollock" mural) or the divine retro menu by Jackson & Co. or even the Sovereign valet parkers who wore black fedoras and black skinny ties.
Mad Men's Don Draper and Peggy Olson would have felt right at home. And they surely could have found plenty of cigarettes in the pack, even if city regulations prohibit lighting up indoors. Smokes were the goldie oldie prop of the night.
Among those playing the fashion thing straight was honoree Joe Peck in formal tuxedo. He was just a young pup, new to the legal profession, when Houston Endowment president John Jones Jr. invited him to join the board of the fledgling Society for the Performing Arts. In the intervening decades, Joe has remained on the board having served as president and chairman.
"I just really believe in the need and the importance of bringing the best the world has to offer to Houston, things that we otherwise might not see," he said of his nearly half-century involvement with SPA.
Adding to the '60s mood was a convincing "Marilyn Monroe" (flown in from Vegas for the gala) who with the help of the Richard Brown Orchestra sang three sets during dinner. Included in her familiar repertoire was "Happy Birthday," sung to two very surprised birthday boys — Mark Watts and Jason Few.
Stepping out in '60s splendor was a colorful crowd that included Margaret Williams, Georgia and Mike Foulard, Melanie Gray and Mark Wawro, Lynn Wyatt, Mary and Mike Espinosa, Betty and Steve Newton, Carol and Tom Sawyer, Barbara and Ulyesse LeGrange, Robert Sakowitz and SPA executive director June Christensen.