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The ultimate underground party: CultureMap's anniversary bash rocks hot new hotel, draws VIPs

Ultimate underground party: CultureMap's anniversary bash rocks H-Town

8 Christina Ghoson, from left, Kellie Vincent, Holly Gambini and Cristina Halliburton at CultureMap fifth anniversary birthday party October 2014
Christina Ghoson, from left, Kellie Vincent, Holly Gambini and Cristina Halliburton. Photo by © Chinh Phan/Fotowerk Group
1 Clifford Pugh and Lynn Wyatt at CultureMap fifth anniversary birthday party October 2014
Clifford Pugh and Lynn Wyatt. Photo by © Chinh Phan/Fotowerk Group
Break dancer at CultureMap fifth birthday party with Cadillac logo
Break dancers thrilled the crowd at CultureMap's Fifth Birthday Party. Photo by © Chinh Phan/Fotowerk Group
26 Ceron, from left, Ellie Francisco and Fady Armanious at CultureMap fifth anniversary birthday party October 2014
Cerón, from left, Ellie Francisco and Fady Armanious. Photo by © Chinh Phan/Fotowerk Group
24 Stacy and John Andell at CultureMap fifth anniversary birthday party October 2014
Stacy and John Andell. Photo by © Chinh Phan/Fotowerk Group
News, Shelby, CultureMap 5th birthday bash, Oct. 2014
CultureMap co-founder Lonnie Schiller and wife Candice Schiller. Photo by F. Carter Smith
13 Laura Dols, from left, Kelly Elliott and Ashley Long at CultureMap fifth anniversary birthday party October 2014
Laura Dols, from left, Kelly Elliott and Ashley Long. Photo by © Chinh Phan/Fotowerk Group
18 Dr. Romy Mitchell, from left, Shannon Carter and Katarina Tehlirian at CultureMap fifth anniversary birthday party October 2014
Dr. Romy Mitchell, from left, Shannon Carter and Katarina Tehlirian. Photo by © Chinh Phan/Fotowerk Group
14 Fritz McDonald, from left, Amy Johnston and Stuart Rosenberg at CultureMap fifth anniversary birthday party October 2014
Fritz McDonald, from left, Amy Johnston and Stuart Rosenberg. Photo by © Chinh Phan/Fotowerk Group
4 Tod Eason, from left, Dawn Eastridge and Robert Burnett at CultureMap fifth anniversary birthday party October 2014
Tod Eason, from left, Dawn Eastridge and Robert Bennett. Photo by © Chinh Phan/Fotowerk Group
16 Heather O’Connor, from left, Katie Scroggins and Katie Corts at CultureMap fifth anniversary birthday party October 2014
Heather O’Connor, from left, Katie Scroggins and Katie Corts. Photo by © Chinh Phan/Fotowerk Group
23 Kelly-Ann Clarke, from left, Lily Jang and Carrie Ferran at CultureMap fifth anniversary birthday party October 2014
Kelly-Ann Clarke, from left, Lily Jang and Carrie Ferran. Photo by © Chinh Phan/Fotowerk Group
3 Lamar and Theresa Roemer at CultureMap fifth anniversary birthday party October 2014
Lamar and Theresa Roemer. Photo by © Chinh Phan/Fotowerk Group
12 Shafik Rifaat, from left, Posey Parker, Joanne King Herring and Shelby Hodge at CultureMap fifth anniversary birthday party October 2014
Shafik Rifaat, from left, Posey Parker, Joanne King Herring and Shelby Hodge. Photo by © Chinh Phan/Fotowerk Group
21 David Livasy, from left, Morgan Aven and Daniel Ruszkiewicz at CultureMap fifth anniversary birthday party October 2014
David Livasy, from left, Morgan Aven and Daniel Ruszkiewicz. Photo by © Chinh Phan/Fotowerk Group
2 Marcy De Luna, from left, with Eric Hass and Courtney Zubowski Haas at CultureMap fifth anniversary birthday party October 2014
Marcy de Luna, from left, with Eric Haas and Courtney Zubowski Haas. Photo by © Chinh Phan/Fotowerk Group
25 Kevin Hampton and  Leurena Reese at CultureMap fifth anniversary birthday party October 2014
Kevin Hampton and Leurena Reese. Photo by © Chinh Phan/Fotowerk Group
19 The drummers at CultureMap fifth anniversary birthday party October 2014
Energetic young drummers were amazing at the CultureMap's Fifth Birthday Party. Photo by © Chinh Phan/Fotowerk Group
22 Diana Carbajal, from left, Ramon Arrola and Carlos Reyes at CultureMap fifth anniversary birthday party October 2014
Diana Carbajal, from left, Ramon Arrola and Carlos Reyes. Photo by © Chinh Phan/Fotowerk Group
6 Lisa Nguyen, from left, Tuyet Pham and Thuy Pham at CultureMap fifth anniversary birthday party October 2014
Lisa Nguyen, from left, Tuyet Pham and Thuy Pham. Photo by © Chinh Phan/Fotowerk Group
17 Travis Player, from left, Lisa Goachman and Roi Alan at CultureMap fifth anniversary birthday party October 2014
Travis Player, from left, Lisa Gochman and Roi Alan. Photo by © Chinh Phan/Fotowerk Group
7 Alyssa Abdulla, from left, Terri Nguyen, Emily Yau and Magen Pastor at CultureMap fifth anniversary birthday party October 2014
Alyssa Abdulla, from left, Terri Nguyen, Emily Yau and Magen Pastor. Photo by © Chinh Phan/Fotowerk Group
9 Yau Wang, left, and Tami Nguyen at CultureMap fifth anniversary birthday party October 2014
Yau Wang, left, and Tami Nguyen. Photo by © Chinh Phan/Fotowerk Group
15 Kim Padgett, from left, Jeff Shell, Roseann Rogers and Jeremy Staible at CultureMap fifth anniversary birthday party October 2014
Kim Padgett, from left, Jeff Shell, Roseann Rogers and Jeremy Staible. Photo by © Chinh Phan/Fotowerk Group
5 Sara Carpenter and Sonny Patten at CultureMap fifth anniversary birthday party October 2014
Sara Carpenter and Sonny Patten. Photo by © Chinh Phan/Fotowerk Group
11 Kristin Montoya, from left, Visuewelle Pryor and Mindy Le at CultureMap fifth anniversary birthday party October 2014
Kristin Montoya, from left, Visuewelle Pryor and Mindy Le. Photo by © Chinh Phan/Fotowerk Group
8 Christina Ghoson, from left, Kellie Vincent, Holly Gambini and Cristina Halliburton at CultureMap fifth anniversary birthday party October 2014
1 Clifford Pugh and Lynn Wyatt at CultureMap fifth anniversary birthday party October 2014
Break dancer at CultureMap fifth birthday party with Cadillac logo
26 Ceron, from left, Ellie Francisco and Fady Armanious at CultureMap fifth anniversary birthday party October 2014
24 Stacy and John Andell at CultureMap fifth anniversary birthday party October 2014
News, Shelby, CultureMap 5th birthday bash, Oct. 2014
13 Laura Dols, from left, Kelly Elliott and Ashley Long at CultureMap fifth anniversary birthday party October 2014
18 Dr. Romy Mitchell, from left, Shannon Carter and Katarina Tehlirian at CultureMap fifth anniversary birthday party October 2014
14 Fritz McDonald, from left, Amy Johnston and Stuart Rosenberg at CultureMap fifth anniversary birthday party October 2014
4 Tod Eason, from left, Dawn Eastridge and Robert Burnett at CultureMap fifth anniversary birthday party October 2014
16 Heather O’Connor, from left, Katie Scroggins and Katie Corts at CultureMap fifth anniversary birthday party October 2014
23 Kelly-Ann Clarke, from left, Lily Jang and Carrie Ferran at CultureMap fifth anniversary birthday party October 2014
3 Lamar and Theresa Roemer at CultureMap fifth anniversary birthday party October 2014
12 Shafik Rifaat, from left, Posey Parker, Joanne King Herring and Shelby Hodge at CultureMap fifth anniversary birthday party October 2014
21 David Livasy, from left, Morgan Aven and Daniel Ruszkiewicz at CultureMap fifth anniversary birthday party October 2014
2 Marcy De Luna, from left, with Eric Hass and Courtney Zubowski Haas at CultureMap fifth anniversary birthday party October 2014
25 Kevin Hampton and  Leurena Reese at CultureMap fifth anniversary birthday party October 2014
19 The drummers at CultureMap fifth anniversary birthday party October 2014
22 Diana Carbajal, from left, Ramon Arrola and Carlos Reyes at CultureMap fifth anniversary birthday party October 2014
6 Lisa Nguyen, from left, Tuyet Pham and Thuy Pham at CultureMap fifth anniversary birthday party October 2014
17 Travis Player, from left, Lisa Goachman and Roi Alan at CultureMap fifth anniversary birthday party October 2014
7 Alyssa Abdulla, from left, Terri Nguyen, Emily Yau and Magen Pastor at CultureMap fifth anniversary birthday party October 2014
9 Yau Wang, left, and Tami Nguyen at CultureMap fifth anniversary birthday party October 2014
15 Kim Padgett, from left, Jeff Shell, Roseann Rogers and Jeremy Staible at CultureMap fifth anniversary birthday party October 2014
5 Sara Carpenter and Sonny Patten at CultureMap fifth anniversary birthday party October 2014
11 Kristin Montoya, from left, Visuewelle Pryor and Mindy Le at CultureMap fifth anniversary birthday party October 2014

Nightlife denizens arm in arm with social swells, young professionals and media personalities found their groove underground on Friday when CultureMap inaugurated the new JW Marriott event space with a fifth anniversary blowout that rocked the night.

Yes, it's been a meteoric five years for H-Town's daily digital magazine — more than 21,400 articles, 45,000 Facebook fans, millions and millions of page views — and more than 750 ready-to-party guests joined the celebration. CultureMap's Fifth Birthday Bash, presented by Cadillac, was a night loaded with music, art, dancing, food and drink as well as fundraising for Casa de Esperanza.

Waves of guests followed the staircase that led down to the hotel's hip Gallery Level where IDT Band boosted the energy component on the Cadillac Concert Music Stage. Ramping up the party beat from the start were the Sonic Boom drummers, followed by the Fly Boys. Even after their hip-hop/power moves performance, the Fly Boys stayed on to join guests on the dance floor. 

So many diversions, so little time particularly with the schmoozing required in the crowd that included a broad mix of Houston VIPs.

So many diversions, so little time — particularly with the schmoozing required in the crowd that included a broad mix of Houston VIPs — Houston Superbowl 2017 executive director Sallie Sargent, KHOU Channel 11's Lily Jang, KTRK Channel 13's Miya Shay, Tootsies' Mickey Rosmarin, International Best Dressed Hall of Famer Lynn Wyatt, hair stylist to the stars Ceron, uber philanthropists Sue and Lester Smith and CultureMap co-founder Lonnie Schiller with wife Candice.

"The original CultureMap was one of those middle-of-the-night ideas," Lonnie Schiller recalled. "Just a way to find restaurants on a really simple map. Mostly because, as a restaurateur,  I could never think of new places to try. 

"CultureMap really started to evolve when I got Tod Eason and John Thrash to be my financial partners. If any one person is the key, it was and has always been John. John not only funded most of it, but had the vision to get real writers and journalist on board."

One of those journalists on hand from the start is editor-in-chief Clifford Pugh, who noted, "It's hard to believe it's been five years since we started CultureMap. Every day has been a great adventure and to see readers so involved with the site has been amazing. I can't wait to see what happens in the next five years."

Another member of that early CultureMap team, publicist Mark Sullivan mingled in the crowd that included Yellow Cab president Roman Martinez and controller Erskine Black. That duo checked out the company's #HailAMatch Match Game while photographer F. Carter Smith made it a busman's holiday clicking away as he perused the eclectic party scene.

We loved the Bacardi Truth Booth where masked fashion police, delivered thumbs up and thumbs down to partygoers brave enough to put their looks on the line. 

We loved the Bacardi Truth Booth where masked fashion police, delivered thumbs up and thumbs down to partygoers brave enough to put their looks on the line. And, thank you, Kendra Scott for the swag station where guests were gifted with her popular earrings.

Smilebooth contributed its photographic fun, much of the playfulness fueled by flowing cocktails and wines from Max's Wine Dive. At the Circulo Tequila Cocktail Lab, guests were instructed on making the perfect tequila cocktail.

The party action was endless as Neal Hamil models, under the watchful eye of Jeff Shell, worked the lounges with iPads, encouraging revelers to register to win the Cadillac Concert Series Giveaway. Esperson Gallery artists created artworks for sale. DJ Bizonee spun the discs. Various eateries offered up yummy taste treats.

The party crowd included Casa de Esperanza board president Ed Smith, David Peck, Joanne King Herring, Stuart Rosenberg, Valerie and Tracy Dieterich, Dr. Romy Mitchell, Neal Hamil, Annie Amante, Jared Lang, Monitrice Malone, Jeanne Ruberti, Ellie and Michael Francisco, Courtney Zubowski Haas and Dr. Eric Haas, Theresa and Dr. Lamar Roemer, Judy Nichols, Magen Pastor and so many more.