Shelby About Town
The champagne flowed. The caviar went down nicely. And the Russian-inspired music wafted gently through Slavka Glaser's Hermann Park aerie Sunday night when she hosted an unofficial but thoroughly grand launch of FotoFest. Just as she did two years ago for FotoFest 2010, Slavka included on her guest list art world cognescenti, key movers and shakers and, this time, a host of Russian photographers who are in Houston for the six-week focus on photography.
The apartment was packed as partygoers spilled over onto her terrace where the view of Hermann Park and the Texas Medical Center captivated. Even more captivating for the Russian photographers was Slavka's collection of photography books that the artists pored over throughout the night. A curiosity to Houstonians was Russian photographer Andrey Chezhin, who carried a wooden daschund throughout the party and petted the pooch as if it were real.
While Austin-based musician Zhenya Kolykhanov performed on the balalaika, accordian and Russian guitar, guests visited with FotoFest co-founders Fred Baldwin and Wendy Watriss.
In the crush (the apartment was packed) were Sanford Criner, Annie Criner, Lynn Wyatt, Fredericka Hunter, Vance Muse and Carl Palazzolo, Sissy and Denny Kempner, Katherine and David Miller, Stephen Newman, Karl Kilian, Mimi Kilgore, William Middleton, Clifford Pugh and John Dascoulias, Billy Hitchock, Sandy Parkerson and Phuong Tranvan.
Among the illlustrious out-of-towners: Wall Street Journal art critic Rick Woodward, New Yorker magazinevisuals editor Elisabeth Biondi and Slavka's friends, Francesca Tondi and Alexis Levin, who flew in from London. The large Russian contingent included 2012 FotoFest Biennial curators Evgeny Berezner, Irina Chmyreva and Natalia Tarasova.
H-Town star power on Criminal Minds
We're fairly certain that the entire James A. Baker clan will be tuned into CBS' Criminal Minds Wednesday night as one of their own has a pivotal role in the popular series. That would be Mary-Bonner Baker, daughter of former Secretary of State James A. Baker III and Susan Baker. Having lived in Los Angeles for a number of years, the aspiring actress has enjoyed more than a few plum assignments in her start-up career.
Her credits include the role of a Republican lawyer in HBO's Emmy-winning Recount that starred Kevin Spacey and Laura Dern. In Charlie Wilson's War, she played opposite Tom Hanks as one of his office staffers, affectionately referred to as "Charlie's angels."
Add to her CV, singer and writer. She and her husband, Houston-born Hunter Perrin, formed the band Bandito Royale and cast their bluesy musical spells in venues around both LA and Houston.
Gearing up for TUTS gala
The wine room at Tony's pulsated with an enthused crowd Monday night when Leisa Holland-Nelson and Roxann Neumann, chairs of Theatre Under the Stars' upcoming gala, invited supporters in for light bites, wine and plenty of high-level schmoozing. With the theme of their gala La Cage Aux Folles (after the TUTS presentation), the ladies arranged for glam showgirls to stroll through the party scene.
Not one to miss an event or an opportunity to share her philanthropy as a gala honoree, Margaret Williams was on hand to welcome guests.
The party crowd included Hector Villarreal, Soraya McClelland, Paul Somerville, Melissa Edwards, Joella and Steve Mach, Amy Pierce, David Taylor, Ileana Trevino, Brady Carruth and Shelley Smith. Expect to see more than a few of these at the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts when the curtain goes up on the gala on April 20.
Houston Texans quarterback Matt Schaub and wife Laurie dining at the new hot-spot Katsuya by Starck in West Ave. The duo ordered the Kobe prime ribeye with truffle butter and Katsuya's signature baked crab hand rolls and miso-marinated black cod and sipped on Hakkaisan sake . . .
City Councilman James Rodriguez, strategic marketing guru Cindy Clifford, architect Shafik Rifaat, PR whiz Dancie Ware, prominent developer Ed Wulfe, philantrhopist Trini Mendenhall-Sosa lunching at various tables at power-lunch central — La Griglia.