Shelby About Town
Houston at the Oscars, a million dollar dinner & more highlight the scene
The big money just keeps rolling in for Houston's charity evenings and Thursday night's Woodrow Wilson Awards Dinner was no exception. With the ballroom of River Oaks Country Club completely packed, the evening raised $1 million for the Woodrow Wilson Center.
That success was due in no small part to the dinner chairs — Joe Dilg and Jeff Hildebrand — and the evening's honorees. Cynthia and Anthony Petrello were recognized with the Award for Public Service and Ginny and L.E. Simmons were presented the Award for Corporate Citizenship. Both couples were profiled in video presentations with the Petrellos acknowledged for their philanthropy and the Simmons lauded for their community leadership and philanthropy.
In a special commemorative to two past honorees who died within the last year, Jim McGrath spoke on behalf of the late Bob Mosbacher and Hildebrand gave tribute to Dan Duncan. Among past honorees attending and receiving special recognition were Jack Blanton Sr., former Mayor Bill White, Anne and Dr. John Mendelsohn, Hushang Ansary and Peter Coneway.
It was an impressive crowd that includedMindy Hildebrand, Susie Dilg, Carol and John Howenstine, Carol and Mike Linn, Michelle and Frank Hevrdejs, Jana and Scotty Arnoldy, Phoebe and Bobby Tudor and Christi and Matt Strock.
Hollywood on the horizon
We know at least four Houstonians who can't get enough of the near-deafening Oscar buzz. That would be Susan and Michael Plank and Laurie and Tracy Krohn, Black Swaninvestors, who plan on walking the red carpet at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood on Sunday and then making the party rounds after the golden boys have been presented.
Their fingers are crossed that their film will win at least one Oscar out of its five nominations. In a fashion note, Plank has her Kaufman Franco gown ready and she convinced Judith Leiber honchos to release the stunning "Black Swan" minaudiere early so that she could carry it to the Oscars.
Truth be told, both couples are more excited about the parties that follow than the awards presentations. No invitation is more coveted than the one to the Vanity Fair party and the Black Swan investors are working on that. Becca Cason Thrash has her invite lined up as she will be attending on the arm of uber party planner Ben Bourgeois. They are skipping the bright sunlight awards scene, saving their glam factors for the ultimate Oscar party.
A regular on the Vanity Fair guest list is Lynn Wyatt, often accompanied by best friend Elton John and his partner David Furnish.
Mark one up for Neighborhood Centers Inc. which took in more than $500,000 on Thursday at the 14th annual Heart of Gold luncheon at the Hilton Americas-Houston. Philanthropists and community leaders George Pontikes Jr. and Laura Pontikes, CEO and CFO, respectively, of Satterfield & Pontikes Construction, were honored with the Alice Graham Baker Crusader Award.
The luncheon also recognized U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee and U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, represented by Jay Guerrero.
VIPS in the gathering included Mayor Annise Parker, City Councilwoman Sue Lovell, Harris County Judge Ed Emmett, Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia, host committee co-chairs Melissa and Bill King and Neighborhood Centers president and CEO Angela Blanchard. A number of board members and senior leadership were on hand to applaud the Pontikeses including Ginger and Jack Blanton Sr., Patty Dominguez, Mike Ballases, Judge Theresa Chang and Dr. Peter Chang.
Men in suits
That would be the group that gathered in the men's department of Neiman Marcus earlier this week in celebration of the Society for the Performing Arts' upcoming "Mad Men of SPA" gala. Chuck Davidson, Tom Glanville, Jay Jones, Steve Trauber, Bobby Tudor and Marc Watts chair the April 16 black-tie gala at Wortham Theater Center.
The evening will honor Joe Peck for his long-time support of SPA and represents the first time that we can think of that a group of gents has chaired a black-tie gala.
Peck was on hand at the cocktail reception hosted by Neiman's GM Bob Devlin and attended by a host of dapper gents and a few ladies. Leading the entourage was SPA executive director June Christensen who schmoozed with Terry Wayne Jones, Mary Ellen Verbois, Robert Sakowitz, Jerry DeWitt, Shiloh McDuff, Edward Mallett and Ross Davidson.