It might be a few weeks before rodeo kicks off but a well-heeled pride of city slickers, more than 400 strong, put on their best western gear Thursday night to help Michael Plank celebrate his 50th birthday at the Firehouse Saloon where Mark Chestnutt kept the honky tonk pulsating.
Two-stepping around the dance floor were Sue and Lester Smith, Susana Brener de Stern and Dr. Juan Stern, Sarah and Ron Simon, Rachel Brown, Todd Ramos, Debbie Festari, Jessica Meyer, John Evatz, Bubba McNeely and more.
The invitation called for boots and jeans and only those who had black-tie obligations earlier in the evening stepped out in anything other than western costuming. Among our favorite cowboys and cowgirls were Lisa and Michael Holthouse, Amy Lee, Mindy Hildebrand, Kara and Aaron Howes, Erin Florescu, Kara and Ray Childress and Courtney Hobson.
The brave ones in the bunch tried their skills at riding the mechanical bull including the birthday boy's bride, Susan Plank, and their daughter, Kendall, who managed to tame the mechanical beast. No surprise there. Kendall plays team polo and knows a thing or two about staying in the saddle.
Nandita and Michael Berry found a great perch in front of the fireplace where the makings for s'mores were at the ready. Bellying up to the bar were Houston Texans president Jamey Rootes, Lucinda and Javier Loya, Susan and Dick Hansen, Eric Pulaski, Terri and John Havens, Rob Rutherford, Greggory and Pat Burk and several hundred more.
They supped on a bountiful barbecue buffet, had slices of birthday cake from boot-shaped confections, socialized, danced and rode the mechanical bull. Party favors were mini bottles of Patron with an accompanying shot glass and a lime.
Pop-up party at Tony's
Carolyn Farb had planned on passing this year's birthday cocooning at home. But on Monday, she decided to go for the party gold on Tuesday with a last-minute dinner in the wine room at Tony's.
With several dozen friends confirmed for the cocktail-attire party, Carolyn met with Tony's staff Tuesday afternoon to work out the menu that would be served only a few hours later. Farb had comfort food on her mind for the cold night and began the party with passed French fries and Patron tequila in addition to more traditional libations. The menu included braised short ribs, petite pois, mac and cheese, Carolyn's arugula, radicchio and avocado salad and a choice of cheesecake or tuxedo cake for dessert.
As a special surprise, Donna and Tony Vallone sent a sparkling birthday bombe to top it off.
Decorating the room was sculptor David Graeve's balloons piece that Carolyn had brought from her piano room at home. Gathering around the dinner tables were friends including Janie and Dick DeGuerin, Juanita King and Ewing King, Sue and Lester Smith, Kristy Phillips and Rob Taylor, Gina and Dr. Devinder Bhatia, Susan and Art Seifert, Holly and Gary Ross, photographer Jay Rusovich and loads more.
Houston-based artist Hanh Tran made an artful splash at Max's Wine Dive Underground in Austin earlier this week when 36 pieces of her work were unveiled at a fete honoring the 82nd Texas legislature. Hosts included Max's honchos Jonathan Horowitz of Houston and Jerry Reid and Martha Tauke of Austin plus a group of biz types and lobbyists including event organizer Tammy Dowe, principal with SpotOn Public Relations.
A mix of Austin, Houston and D.C. players attended, including Tricia and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, who introduced Hanh. In addition to a ton of legislators were Lockheed Martin's Eric Fox and wife Carrie, The Patriot Group principal Jill Warren, CollegiateZone CEO Stu Scandridge, attorney John Kuhl, Bellaire City Councilman Corbett Parker and Marathon Oil's Hugo Gutierrez.
Marketing and PR pro Cindy Clifford rolled out the red carpet for new HISD board president Paula McCann Harris at La Griglia on Wednesday with a turnout that would have had any politico envious. The movers and shakers, 45 in all, were eager to congratulate Harris, who is also a petroleum engineer in charge of public affairs for Schlumberger and the mother of a fifth grader.
City Council members Sue Lovell, Brenda Stardig and C.O. Bradford led the group that included Mayor Annise Parker's senior staffer Jenn Char, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison's regional director Jason Fuller, Access Data Supply's Renee Logans, Fulbright & Jaworski partner Neil Thomas, Continental Airlines' Diedra Fontaine, Judge Theresa Chang, former city attorney Anthony Hall and Society for the Performing Arts executive director June Christensen.
Her "Let Us Entertain You" evening at the Hobby Center in August was named "Best Event for Corporation or Association: Overall Budget $250,000 to $500,000." There were more than 300 special event entries from around the globe vying for 34 honors in the magazine's annual competition.
Elias' soirée was sponsored by half a dozen travel entities as the centerpiece party of the National Business Travelers Conference. She is over the moon for having earned what she considers an Academy Award of the events industry.
A rocking crowd for Friday lunch at La Griglia where Bill Miller held court with Janis Goldstein, Reed Morian and Mimi Swartz and where the crowd included Carolyn Farb celebrating her birthday with Monsour Taghdisi and Kimberly DeLape and at various tables Houston Rockets CEO Tad Brown, Holocaust Museum Houston exec Susan Meyer with Martin Fein, J.P. Morgan's David Wuthrich, Lora Clemmons, Meredith Cullen, Neil Strauss, Harriet Hart Wallace and more . . .
Diane Lokey Farb, Judith Oudt and Johanna Mounir dinning center court at Philippe Restaurant + Lounge. Nidhika and Pershant Mehta supping at a table for two . . .
HGTV carpenter and confirmed hottie Carter Oosterhouse having dinner at Hugo's.