Shelby's Social Diary
GALVESTON — It's a good thing that Friday night's San Luis Salute to Mardi Gras was not a masked ball. Even without having to guess the identities of various dinner partners, this night at the Galveston Island Convention Center had more intrigues that an Agatha Christie novel.
Let's start with the death threat earlier in the day on the life of Galveston Mayor Lyda Ann Thomas, something having to do with the local public housing debate. The perp declared that Thomas would meet her demise before night's end. That called for extra police protection and prompted her gallant escort, TreyClick, publisher of Parrot Media, to declare that he would take the bullet for her. (Happy news for me as my husband was seated next to the mayor.) Midnight came and went and Thomas continued to dance her worries away — well, sort of.
Three seats down from the mayor at the head table was one of the night's honorees Dr. David Callender, president of the University of Texas Medical Branch. Everyone had expected that he would be attending with his wife of almost 26 years, Teri Weinglen-Callender. Not so. The good doctor filed for divorce on Monday. The local Daily News made it public on Thursday. Tongues were wagging on Friday. Traveling solo, Callender departed the black-tie gala on the early side.
A little further down the colorful head table was John Daugherty real estate whiz Diane Lokey Farb, developer Harold Farb's widow, and only a few seats away one of his ex-wives, Carolyn Farb. An unfortunate seating arrangement that did not go unnoticed by the social cognescenti.
Add to that the battling wills of Galveston's two mayoral candidates — Betty Massey and Joe Jaworski (grandson of Leon Jaworski) — who worked the crowd of 800 with political passion.
And then there was Space Shuttle commander Scott Kelly, apparently soothing his sorrows over the shrinking space program in the company of a young lovely.
These were riveting undercurrents to an evening that was already charged with high Mardi Gras spirits. Overseeing it all was the king of Mardi Gras partying Tilman Fertitta, who chairs this UTMB at Galveston benefit each year with his wife, Paige Fertitta. As is tradition, the Philadelphia Mummers started things rolling while Las Vegas-inspired showgirls in their glitter and ostrich plume costumes strutted and preened on raised platforms around the room. Entertainment featured two Cirque du Soleil-style acts performing on swaths of fabric suspended from the ceiling.
Once the band, Party on the Moon, kicked in, the night took off like a Saturn rocket. Fun, fun, fun! We still can't figure out when anyone had time for dinner. It seemed that no one ever sat down. The dance floor was packed with guests including Liz and Dr. Bill Decker, Karen and Mike Mayell, Dancie and Jim Ware, Cindy and JimEarthman, Yvonne and Rufus Cormier, Cinda Ward and Armando Palacios, Kara and Aaron Howes, Heather McMahan and Bob Allen, Vicki and Stretch Lewis and all the beautiful Knights of Momus duchesses and their dates.
If it wasn't dancing that had guests on their feet then it was serious socializing. Among those making the rounds were Vicki and Paul West, V.J. Tramonte, Mary Beth Aspromonte, State Sen. Rodney Ellis and wife Licia Green-Ellis, Mark Sullivan, State Sen. John Whitmire, Carol and Dr. Tom Sawyer, Susan Falgout, Ceron, Joan and David Dunlap and the gala's two other honorees State Rep. Craig Eiland and Dr. Ben Raimer.