Shelby About Town
The ladies who lunch made a special occasion of it earlier this week when they poured into the wine room at Tony's for a Houston Grand Opera fete.
Opera ball chair Denise Bush Bahr and gala honoree Lynn Wyatt led the midday charge that brought in $6,000 in gift cards to be compiled for the "Ladies of the Opera Ball" auction package. The cost of admission for the sell-out event was a $100 gift card. The ladies obliged with cards from Events, from Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus, gift cards from their favorite salons and from Tony's. (Tony Vallone reported that 20 $100 gift cards were sold that morning.) Overall, it was happy news for everyone but especially for auction chair Ellie Francisco and HGO special events director Guyla Pircher.
This tradition was born with last year's opera ball when 2009 chair Donna Bruni came up with the clever fundraising concept. She was front and center at the Bahr/Wyatt table on Tuesday.
Others ponying-up and sitting down for a three-course lunch were Clayton Erikson, Nidhika Mehta, Terrie Hogan, Maureen Hackett, Cynthia Petrello, Diane Lokey Farb, Elizabeth Abraham, Ashley Wehrly, Mary Ann McKeithan and on and on.
While the ladies arrived with gift cards, they departed with goodie bags compliments of Michaelyndon salon.
The Italian Trade Commission arrived in the city this week with a schedule chock full of foodie events featuring acclaimed Sicilian chef Carmelo Chiaramonte. The program launched Wednesday night with a tasting dinner for 50 in the San Remo Room of Tony's. It continues through March 7 with a number of tasting dinners (Carmelo's, Amici, Simposio and Valentino Vin Bar) and with cooking demonstrations at the Art Institute of Houston and with the Houston Chef Association.
Tony and Donna Vallone hosted a number of guests for the evening including Dr. Mary Riley and Bob Piro, Roz and Alan Pactor, Jennifer Miller with Dr. Fred Aguilar and Betty and Manny Leal.
The dinners are open to the public and can be booked through the participating restaurants.
Thinking ahead to their annual fashion show and luncheon, Latin Women's Initiative leaders have booked Mexico-based designer Lydia Lavin, a regular at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in Mexico City. Putting their heads together to make the annual luncheon (always the liveliest on the calendar) are LWI chair Mary Tere Perusquia, luncheon chairs Kristina Kallop and Micheline Newall and LWI board member Patty Dominguez.
The benefit luncheon, this year saluting Peru, takes place at the InterContinental Houston on May 7.
The organization is also working on a high-quality English/Spanish cookbook with assistance from Roni Atnipp, the force behind both of the Junior League of Houston's top-selling cookbooks.
A heartfelt thanks
Page Parkes Eveleth, best known for her role as founder of the model/talent agency Page Parkes Corp., took bows at the Texas Motion Picture Alliance Valentine's Day fundraiser for her efforts in support of Texas House Bill 873, which improved funding for film production in the state.
Among those applauding her at the dinner evening at the Bell Tower on 34th Street were Houston Film Commission's Rick Ferguson and local actors Elesse Leser, Deke Anderson and Nicole O'Brian. As a special bonus for guests was entertainment by comedian Scott White.
Diane and John Connally dining at Ouisie's . . .
Former University of Oklahoma football coach Barry Switzer stepping into Mo's . . . A Place for Steaks for dinner where he paused for photos with Mo's general manager Justin Lambert and chef Eric Aldis.