What's the best secret to a groovy party? Find a band that covers '70s disco hits.
That was the formula for the "Friday Night Fever" gala at the Petroleum Club benefiting the Escape Family Resource Center. Once the L.A. band Boogie Nights hit the stage, galagoers, dressed in their best disco finery, jammed the dance floor, grooving to such tunes as "Boogie Oogie Oogie" and "Night Fever." The audience was also treated to a special disco dance number performed by Sue and Lester Smith, wearing coordinated rhinestone costumes.
Joan Schintzer Levy, who has spearheaded an annual Escape Center fundraising event for a record 29 years, pulled a sequined-dotted off-the-shoulder top with flared pants from her disco days out of the back of her closet. "I knew if I saved it long enough, I would have something to wear it to," she said with a laugh.
Kristi Schiller, nearly unrecognizable in a black pageboy wig and sparkly minidress, was a dead ringer for Uma Thurman in Pulp Fiction while stylist Todd Ramos, in shorts, hoodie and a whistle around his neck, looked like an extra in the Olivia Newton John Let's Get Physical video.
Levy always recruits friends, including Robert Sakowitz, Shara Fryer, Edward Sanchez and Astros announcer Milo Hamilton, as "celebrity waiters" to serve drinks to the crowd and encourage silent auction bidding.
A contingent of television and radio personalities were also on hand to schmooze the crowd: The "High Tech Texan" Michael Garfield, food writer Cleverley Stone, Channel 26's Kristi Powers and Sibila Vargas, and Channel 13's Adela Uchida, Sharron Melton and Casey Currey, who showcased her skills on the dance floor in roller skates. (Let's sign her up for a local production of Xanadu!)
Jeff Cook, founding member of the rock group Alabama, flew in for the event. "It's a great cause. I'm happy to be able to help," he said.
When was he last in Houston? "The last time it rained," Cook said, while storm clouds swirled around the floor-to-ceiling windows of the 43rd floor of the Exxon Mobil skyscraper in downtown Houston. "I haven't been in Houston when it hasn't rained."