Shelby About Town
A hot 50th birthday celebration includes SNL and Charles Barkley
Eat your hearts out birthday boys and girls, Robin Hood — yes, that's really his name — is back from New York, where he celebrated his 50th and marked off two biggies from his bucket list — seats in the audience at Saturday Night Live and meeting Charles Barkley.
Thank you, Fontaine Swope. The birthday boy's wife, through her company Eli Marketing, has more than a few connections in the entertainment world, including former SNL star Finesse Mitchell. The Comedy Central host and a few other friends helped her pull out the stops for the New York adventure. And she had met Sir Charles at one of the many Super Bowl parties that her company puts on each year as part of the NFL Super Bowl scene. It just happened that Barkley was hosting that night.
It's a tiny audience that gets to sit in on the live show at NBC Studio 8H in Rockefeller Center, according to Swope. And on this night, she and Hood were in the audience along with Katie Couric, her date and her daughters. Cool.
Then it was off to McCormick & Schmick's for the SNL cast party that doubled as Hood's b'day celebration. Among the celebrants were Will Forte, Jason Sudeikis and Bill Hader.
When not partying in New York, Hood works as executive veep at LSI Industries, a lighting and graphics technology company.
La Wyatt on the go
How swell to be best friends with Sir Elton John. Just ask Lynn Wyatt. She returned this week from six days of luxe chilling at the swank Kahala Hotel & Resort in Honolulu where she and friends, as many as 18 for dinner on one night, frolicked with the song meister. While the days were their own, it was cocktails nightly at 8 p.m. followed by dinner at 9. Coincidentally, it was 10 years ago this month that Lynn and Elton had partied together in the same place, a fact that she found astonishing considering their incredibly busy schedules.
The rendezvous focused on Elton's concert at the Blaisdell Arena, where, after 90 minutes of pure Elton on piano, the star was joined by renowned percussionist Ray Cooper. Fabulous! It's a wildly popular concert that will be repeated in South Africa in March.
Lynn arrived back just in time to open the doors of her River Oaks home to an intimate cocktail reception saluting the Alley Theatre's upcoming premiere of Frank Wildhorn's Wonderland.
And amid other social obligations, she is planning an intimate dinner party next week for Italian Ambassador Giulio Terzi, who will be in town for opening night of Houston Grand Opera's production of Tosca, and for business. Accompanying him will be his glamorous wife, Antonella Cinque, and former Italian Consul General to Houston Cristiano Maggipinto, now stationed in Washington.
If the turnout at Wednesday night's Heart Ball kick-off at Hotel ZaZa is any indication, the American Heart Association's black-tie gala should be a whopping success. Almost 150 notables poured into the private room where ball honorees Lilly and Thurmon Andress and Dr. James Grotta took bows. Welcoming guests were Willie Woods of Fulbright & Jaworski, kick-off party sponsor, and ball chairs Deborah and Stephen Letwin, managing partner of Enbridge Inc., which has already contributed $225,000 to gala coffers.
Among the heavy-hitters promising to make the ball a serious success were UT Health Science Center president Dr. Larry Kaiser, Texas Heart Institute president Dr. Jim Willerson, Reliant Energy president Jason Few, Judy and Bobby Shackouls, Jan Duncan, Philamena and Arthur Baird, Susan and Dick Hansen, Vicki West, Roseann Rogers and Dr. Aashish Shah.
The multi-faceted Roni Atnipp took bows in the Sam Remo Room at Tony's on Tuesday as recipient of the Jane Block Award, presented by Zoo Friends of Houston. It was the 23rd annual award luncheon that salutes dedicated Zoo Friends members who also have left their mark on the broader community. Luncheon chairs Kelley Lubanko and Sherri Hugley welcomed more than 60 guests to the low-key gathering where the tributes to Atnipp were led by Zoo Friends president Susan Ehrhardt. Among guests were the honoree's husband, Doug Atnipp, and their four children plus Anne Duncan, Randa Weiner, Houston CEO Deborah Cannon, Glenda Nicholson, Elizabeth Fulghum,Lynnae Parridge and Shelley Ludwick.
Chef/partner Randy Evans hustling in the kitchen at the new foodie mecca Haven, where diners included Stuart Rosenberg with his mother and sister, Sandy and Nikki Rosenberg, respectively. At another table Karin Tennant and Larry Plotsky. Also, in the dining room driver's seat — Kathryne Castellanos, who was Alex Brennan-Martin's right hand until the Hurricane Ike fire destroyed Brennan's (re-opening next month). . .
Terry and Mike Turner, who is joining a new Mutual of Omaha bank as market president (doors open Jan. 29), headhuddling at Bar Annie in RDG where Cynthia and Bucky Allshouse also dined tete-a-tete.