Shelby About Town

Dan Aykroyd set to stir up the Orange Show's Art Car Parade

Dan Aykroyd set to stir up the Orange Show's Art Car Parade

Comedian Dan Aykroyd is about to add one more imaginative role to his credits — that of  Grand Marshal of the Houston Art Car Parade. Forget Blues Brothers, Ghost Busters and Saturday Night Live. Nothing beats our town's line-up of 250 rolling artfully-enhanced autos and other vehicles that course through the streets of Houston each spring. (It drew 250,000 viewers last year.) The parade launches with Aykryod at the helm May 8. Don't be surprised if he carries one of those glass skeleton heads with him. The actor is currently promoting Crystal Head Vodka.

Revived this year after a lengthy hiatus is the Art Car Ball — a whacky assemblage of patrons and fans, costuming encouraged, who party around a collection of some of the most creative art cars. The May 6 event starts at the Orange Show on Munger and expands down the street into something of a block party.

Seeing red

That would be the crowd of close to 100 that partied practically all-night-long at the Red Room in River Oaks Friday night in celebration of Kristen Cannon's 33rd birthday. In honor of the trendy nightspot's decor, Cannon donned body-hugging red sequinned slacks.

More than a few eyeballs might have been red by Saturday morning. The first guests arrived at 8:15 p.m. and the last partygoers shut the place down after 3 a.m.  Dancing to the non-stop spins of DJ Mike C were guests including Laura and John Spalding, Stuart Rosenberg, Mary and Scott Nichols, Caroline and Jarod LeBlanc, Greg Casey, Kristy Junco and Mark Sullivan.

Ladies Who Lunch

Call it the ultimate lunch bunch, the Houston Chronicle 2010 Best Dressed honorees getting friendly over sea bass and crab towers at Tony's on Friday. Hall of Fame honorees Danielle Ellis, Eileen Lawal and Phoebe Tudor, veterans of the BD catwalkorganized the get-together as an opportunity for the 10 fashion stars to get to know one another before the March 31 luncheon at the Westin Galleria Hotel.

So what were they wearing for this high-style outing? Tudor and Dr. Kelli Fein wore Oscar de la Renta, the designer who headlines the luncheon. Courtney Hopson dressed in Gucci and Roberto Cavalli, Courtney Fertitta in Moschino, and Susan Plank in Yves Saint Laurent. Chanel was the choice for Katherine Le while Greggory Burk dressed in Zac Posen. Merele Yarborough wore Ports 1961 and Lawal was in Piazza Sempione.  Ellis won our hearts by acknowledging that she was wearing off the rack.

Wine wisdom

Going for the gusto of the grape, Vicki and Paul West hosted a score of wine connoisseurs to a tasting dinner at their Tanglewood home Sunday night. What most of the group discovered was that there is a huge world of wines out there and plenty to be learned about the grape.

Republic National Distributing Co. district manager Carl Chargois Jr. led the blind tasting that included 15 wines from around the world. Several in the group that included Jana and Scotty Arnoldy, Lilly and Thurmon Andress and Cyvia and Melvyn Wolff seemed to know their Shirazes from their Malbecs and their Pinot Noirs from the Spanish Tempranillo. 

When all was said and done, guests dived into a hearty supper — short ribs and polenta with a mountain of savory mushrooms as a side — prepared ahead by Mockingbird Bistro chef John Sheely. Among those applauding the dinner feast and the tasting were Yasmine and Dr. Christie Ballantyne, Susan and Dick Hansen and Jane DiPaolo and hubby Jim Teague.

Sight 'ems

Susanne Byram, whom we knew in Houston as Susanne Dawley before she moved to Austin and married successful businessman John Byram, celebrating a belated birthday over lunch at Tony's where Janet Gurwitch hosted a table of friends. Helping blow out the candles were Donna Vallone, Sally Salners, Patsy Fourticq and Becky Zimmerman.

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Dan Aykroyd, spokesperson for Crystal Head Vodka, will serve as Grand Marshal of the Art Car Parade. Courtesy of
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James Sivco, left, and Mark Sullivan join Kristen Cannon in the Red Room where she celebrated her 33rd birthday on Friday night. Photo by Daniel Ortiz
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Vicki West takes notes on the wine as Republic National's Carl Chargois explains the vintage in hand. Photo by Shelby Hodge