Ah, the mayhem that erupts when Joan Schnitzer-Levy corrals a few dozen of her friends to don aprons and wait tables in a star-studded effort to raise funds for ESCAPE Family Resource Center. Just look at Tony's on Sunday night when almost 300 diners poured in to be served by socialites, media personalities and politicos.
Headliner at the event, which always features some sort of special celeb, was legendary oilman T. Boone Pickens, who flew in from Dallas to join Joan and her co-chair Gerald Franklin in the playful dinner evening. Pickens was greeted by a gaggle of Oklahoma State University alumni singing the OSU Cowboy's fight song. They had bought a table in his honor.
Also enjoying his few minutes in the spotlight was John Schiller, ESCAPE executive committee member, just arrived from Las Vegas in time for dinner and presentation of a sparkler-laden birthday cake, a surprise from the Tony's team. Kristi Schiller joined in as the restaurant crowd warbled "Happy Birthday."
Regulars on the "Celebrity Serve" wait staff included Lynn Wyatt, new KHOU Channel 11 sports anchor Bob Allen, astronauts Walt Cunningham and Gene Cernan and Olympic medalists Mark Lopez and Diana Lopez.
KTRK Channel 13 news anchor Tom Koch and HoustonPBS' Ernie Manouse served as auctioneers while a host of media personalities and fashion celebs joined in the food service fray. Included among them are KHOU's Courtney Zubowski (a scene-stealer in rainbow-hued locks, eyelashes and furry boots), Chita Johnson, Lily Jang and Katherine Whaley plus KPRC's Andy Cerota, KTRK's Miya Shay, State Rep. Gene Wu, Roseann Rogers and Michael Garfield.
Contributing to the $285,000 earned on this night were guests Irvin Levy, Vicki and Dennis Price, Evelyn Franklin, Louise and Dr. Denton Cooley, Regina Rogers, Shara Fryer and Barry Silverman, Susan and David Morris, celebrity chair Kim Padgett and ESCAPE CEO Lidya Osadchey.