Shelby About Town
An opera ball surprise, tolerant art, sweethearts & birthdays abound on the busyparty scene
There couldn't be a dreamier gala chair than the much-beloved Rudy Avelar,Houston Grand Opera's director of development and patron services. Therefore, it had to be sheer brilliance to tap him to head the 2011 opera ball, which is themed "My Fair Ladies" in a gracious nod to all the women who adore him and who have worked with him on various HGO endeavors over the years.
So was it a celebration of Rudy or a celebration of the ladies in the Sam Remo Room at Tony's on Wednesday? One couldn't say for sure. Susan Krohn hosted the three-course luncheon for just under 100 Rudy fans that ranged from former HGO ball chairs such as Franci Crane, Jana Arnoldy and Gracie Cavnar to a cross-section of up-and-coming community leaders such as Elizabeth Abraham, Valerie Palmquist and Heather Pray.
It was a luncheon short on formal presentation and long on conversation. While Rudy thanked those who turned out such as Celina Hellmund, Diane Lokey Farb and Danielle Ellis, it was HGO special events director Guyla Pircher who offered the tempting tidbit. "I promise you a surprise that will blow Houston away at this fun ball," she announced.
Unfortunately, her lips were sealed and even the offer of my party favor from Mostly Chocolate couldn't pry open the secret. We'll just have to wait until April 9 in Wortham Center.
Caught up in the wonderment were Mary Ann McKeithan, Joan Blaffer, Gabriela Dror, Bobbie Nau, Sofia Adrogué, Sheridan Williams, Julie Crosswell and loads more lunching ladies.
Sweethearts at play
Warner Roberts is one lady who just can't sit still and who, therefore, can't stop divining ways to honor her many friends that do good works across the city. (She is the founder of the Houston Social Book's Houston Treasures.) So it was that on Valentine's Day she anointed six go-getters of the charity scene as Houston Sweethearts and threw a luncheon at Beau Theriot's 88 Keys to honor them.
But no mere indulgence of the lunching ladies, donations were collected for the Children's Assessment Center while volunteerism and philanthropy were saluted. Taking bows at the first of what promises to be an annual coterie of Houston Sweethearts were Anne Carl, Kimberly DeLape, Deborah Duncan, Sylvia Forsythe, Kim Moody and Alicia Smith. It was no accident that the ladies are also best friends and work together on various community projects.
The sweethearts were honored with hearts from Baccarat compliments of Bruce Padilla who was on hand to make the presentation and with a portrait of the group with Warner, compliments of Gittings. Andy Cordes was there to unveil the color photograph before the gathering that numbered 120.
A birthday week
Beyond serving as Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison's regional director, Jason Fuller is one lucky guy — to have an adoring friend like Cindy Clifford, who hosted not one but two birthday parties for him.
For the first gathering, Clifford sent out 60 invitations expecting that the magic number of 41 friends, acknowledging his 41st birthday, would show. But more than 75 turned out Sunday night in the private room at Ciao Bello. Guests such as Janiece Longoria and Steve Lasher and City Councilmembers Sue Lovell and Melissa Noriega were among those grazing through a lavish Italian buffet.
With the sounds of the R&B group the I.J. Gosey band filling the space, grooving guests included Harris County Judge Ed Emmett and wife Gwen, Regina Rogers, Metro's Russ Frank, Fulbright & Jaworski partner Neil Thomas and wife Kris, Channel 2 reporter Mary Benton, Judge Zinetta Birney, attorney Frank Rynd and more including Fuller's twin brother Jeff Fuller and wife Kristyn.
The second soirée was Tuesday night when Clifford booked the private room at the new Philippe Restaurant + Lounge for a dinner for 14. Wining and dining on chef Philippe Schmit's fine fare were the birthday boy's dad, Dale Fuller, and his twin brother and wife, again, and his older brother, Andrew Fuller and wife Karen. Among those sitting down beneath the elegant black chandelier that hangs above the vast table were Eric Andell, Frances Page Jr., Chris Caudill and Tammy and Kelly Dowe.
A quiet celebration
Mica Mosbacher opened her River Oaks home to an impressive gathering of philanthropists and public art figures following the dedication earlier this week of sculptor Jaume Plensa's Tolerance along Buffalo Bayou near Allen Parkway. Mica and her late husband, Bob Mosbacher, had envisioned the project focusing on tolerance following the suicide of young David Ritcheson, the victim of a brutal hate crime.
On hand to celebrate completion of the project that the Mosbachers had suggested to then-Mayor Bill White were White and wife Andrea; the Spanish-born artist who came in for the dedication; and Houston Arts Alliance CEO Jonathon Glus, who commissioned the work for the city through HAA.
The Museum of Fine Arts Houton's Gwen Goffe, president of the Aga Kahan Foundation Mahmoud Eboo, Mayor Annise Parker, philanthropists Nancy and Rich Kinder, Minnette Boesel, Frances Marzio, Alton LaDay, Terence O'Neill and William Felton were among those on hand.
Another groovy birthday
Divorce attorney Bucky Allshouse was the center of attention Wednesday night when several scores of friends gathered to help him blow out the candles at a private club. Lynne and Joe Hudson hosted the evening that featured the sounds of Yvonne Washington, who obliged the birthday boy's tastes by performing plenty of goldie oldies.
Taking a turn on the dance floor were Mary Lynn and Steve Marks, Linda and Walter McReynolds, Francoise and Ed Djerejian and Marsha and David Solomon. Sticking close to their tables for the amazing wines and beef tenderloin were Rice University president David Leebron and wife Y. Ping Sun, Sheridan and John Eddie Williams, Laura and Dr. Mike Sweeney, Richard Flowers, Lily Andress and Vicki and Paul West.