Space Center Houston, which usually focuses on outer space, soared into the inner sanctum of Houston society Thursday with a "friendraiser" at the River Oaks home of Kim and Dan Tutcher. Space Center Houston characters welcomed the crowd of more than 250 while real-life astronauts and a host of notables schmoozed over fine wine tastings and servings of hors d'oeuvres.
Board member Pat Cunningham hosted the event that was originally intended to double as a celebration of NASA's receipt of one of the retiring space shuttles. But we know what happened with that. So instead, the evening focused on the educational programs that the non-profit has been emphasizing in recent years. Since doors opened in 1992, Space Center Houston has welcomed 13 million visitors, provided educational programs for 70,000 teachers and classes for 50,000 Houston area teachers.
Joining Cunningham in delivering the soft-sell on the space center was former space shuttle commander Dick Richards, who completed four shuttle missions. Ellen Ochoa, three-time mission payload specialist, mingled in the crowd as well.
Wine enthusiast Franelle Rogers helped line up a superb group of wines for tasting tables that were scattered throughout the expansive home.
Soaking up the Space Center Houston message were guests including Alice and Keith Mosing, Kay and Ned Holmes, Clayton and Shel Erikson, John Poindexter, Joann and Bill Crassas, Robert Sakowitz, Rosi and Jorge Hernandez, Susan and Norm Spalding, Beth Wolff, Melissa and Bill King and Shelley and David Reeves.
Making sure that no one missed the message, Sovereign Service valet parkers wore the traditional sky blue astronaut jumpsuits provided by Space Center Houston as did Kim Tutcher, whose jumpsuit was personalized with her name.
Dancing with diamonds
While all eyes were on the twinkle toes of the celebs at Houston Ballet's "Dancing With the Houston Stars" benefit earlier this week, a few eyes were on the shimmering necklace and earrings worn by Dawn Scannell, who with C.C. Conner took top dance honors.
The former Houston Ballet dancer and ballet mistress has put her ballet slippers aside professionally for the jewelry business and was wearing the ensemble from her new company, Peran & Scannell Personal Jewelers.
Dawn e-mails that her necklace was 40 carats, total weight, with baguette, princess and marquise diamonds set in platinum. The hand-crafted earrings were kite-shaped, set in platinum and comprised of 17 carats total weight.
For the record, the gown that she danced in was one that she wore in a Houston Ballet performance in 1987.
Lynn Wyatt sitting front and center at Tony's at a Houston Ballet Ball luncheon, which she attends each year as celebrity guest. Nineteen men and women signed on for the $350 opportunity to dine with the city's leading lady, who reported later in the day that it was terrific fun. In the mix were Patti Murphy, Jeanie Kilroy, Jay Jones, Terry Wayne Jones, Merrill Hafner, Liz Decker, Beth Muecke and David Groover . . .
Radio personality Sam Malone celebrating his birthday for the eighth year in a row at Grotto where he was joined by his wife Denise, his son Jake and long-time friend plastic surgeon Dr. Fred Aguilar . . .
A host of ladies lunching on the terrace at Up Restaurant including Lisa Holthouse and Lucinda Loya at one table while Karen Johnson, Dancie Ware, Terrie Turner, Ellen Wagnon and Jane Brennan-Martin lunched at another . . .
Roy Orbison (not) in the late-star's signature dark glasses, funny hair and hat hanging at the bar in Grotto 610 where Mary Donna Moceri, Regina Garcia, Ashley Winter and Candy Winter started off their girl's night out that concluded with dinner at Morton's The Steakhouse at the Galleria.