Party animals are weeping. Reluctant social scenesters are breathing a sigh of relief. Little more than a week remains in the tumultuous spring social season. We've worn out our party pumps and our smiles are flagging. But with the light at the end of the tunnel in sight, I can assure you that the social scribes are fairly jumping for joy.
Before all the shoutin's done, we herewith catch up on a handful of the charity fundraisers that have packed the calendar in the past seven days.
Men of Distinction
Since its founding four years ago, this sleek, sophisticated fundraising luncheon has brought in $1.3 million for medical causes aiding children in the Texas Medical Center. The River Oaks Country Club gathering on Wednesday honored, as is tradition, three stellar community leaders. Taking bows for their commendable civic leadership were geologist and philanthropist Tom Barrow, M.D. Anderson president Dr. John Mendelsohn, and Big Covey Exploration chairman and philanthropist Mike Stude.
Each year, the Men of Distinction event draws a heavy-hitter crowd that began this time with luncheon chair Jesse Tutor and included Betty Tutor, Barbara and Corbin Robertson Jr., Jan Duncan, Cora Sue and Harry Mach, Gita and Ali Saberioon, Louisa Sarofim, Aliyya and Herman Stude, Courtney and Christopher Sarofim and Tara and David Wuthrich.
Special guest was Houston Symphony CEO Mark Hanson, only his third official day on the job. He was seated with the Mach family, including Steve Mach and Cora Sue Mach, both serving as vice presidents of the symphony board. That musical connection extended to Stude, symphony board chairman emeritus.
Go Red for women
The Hilton-Americas Houston reverberated in a sea of red when the American Heart Association held its "Go Red for Women" expo and luncheon headlining Barbara Bush. She obliged by wearing a bright red dress for her on-stage Q&A with Channel 13 news anchor Gina Gaston. The former first lady shared the story of her problem with heart disease and even brought along a pig's valve to explain her aortic valve replacement.
Key players in the luncheon crowd of 500 included event chair Barbara Duganier of Accenture, who proudly announced proceeds of $300,000. Roz Pactor and Lesha Elsenbrook presented Joann Crassas with the Leila Gilbert Volunteer of the Year Award.
Half a million for Casa
It was a huge day for Casa de Esperanza when Lucia and Michael Cordua opened the doors at Hobby Center for the Performing Arts for their 21st year of fundraising for the charity. Julie and Dr. David Brown and Brenda and Tom Koch chaired the lively evening that drew more than 600 revelers and raised more than $500,000.
The Big Board and live auction created much of the excitement and bidding ran high on select items. Tom Koch, Channel 13 news anchor, doubled his duties serving also as emcee and auctioneer.
The evening began with cocktails on stage and continued with dinner in the main lobby for the traditional yummy fare from Cordua's. Among those enjoying the taste treats were Soraya and Scott McClelland, Linda and Mark Evans, David Cordua, Marsha and Charles Parker, Kristen and Johnny Perry, Sylvie and Gary Crum, Lindy and Graham Hill and Sally and Forest Hoglund.
Artful horsing around
The Art Guys, aka Michael Galbreth and Jack Massing, threw open their man cave, uh their studio, recently for an off-the-wall party welcoming Andy Bichlbaum of The Yes Men, in town for the opening reception of DiverseWorks' exhibition Keep It Slick: Infiltrating Capitalism with The Yes Men, running through June 5.
Yes Men fans, DiverseWorks board members and art leaders joined the social fray saluting the artist/activist responsible for some of the best-known political pranks of the decade. Art world trouble makers and pranksters together in the same room made for an inspired night — too much fun. Joining the party was show curator Astria Suparak, director of the Miller Gallery at Carnegie Mellon University.
Also in the mix were DiverseWorks board president Kellye Sanford, Aurora Picture Show founder Andrea Grover, CAMH curator Toby Kamps, Susan Schmaeling and Tom Pielech, Bryan Scrivner, Sudi Babcock, Glasstire's Rainey Knudson and Sally and Bill Russ.