Lucky were the supporters of Rice University's "Magnificent Seven: Houston Celebrates Surls" exhibition who were invited into the art-filled home of Sara Dodd-Spickelmier and Keith Spickelmier for a dinner earlier this week celebrating Surls and his spectacular sculptures gracing the Rice campus.
Several dozen patrons, exhibition organizers and Spickelmier friends had the chance to schmooze with artistJames Surls, to explore the Spickelmiers' amazing River Oaks home and to dine on fine party fair from Swift & Co. (the best enchiladas we've ever tasted — pheasant, no less).
The couple has enjoyed a long relationship with Surls. In their dining area, which opens to the vast living space, the Spickelmiers have a Surls wall piece that they commissioned for this home. The Spickelmiers also have a home in Aspen, not far from Surls' workshop and home base in nearby Carbondale, Colo.
Catching almost as much attention as the striking Surls' sculpture was a John Alexander painting, a striking ensemble of soaring holly hocks, that Keith had commissioned as a surprise for Sara at the close of a very significant business deal in Dallas.
Rice University president David Leebron and wife Y. Ping Sun led the university contingent that included Rice board chairman Jim Crownover, senior philanthropic advisor Sam Lasseter and Molly Hubbard, director of the university's Public Art Program. Rounding out the list of key players were Judy Nyquist, Susan and Raymond Brochstein, Carolyn and James Robertson, Lane and Bob Schulz, HOK's Ford Hubbard and gallerist Barbara Davis,who represents Surls.
A few fun Spickelmier friends in the mix included Gregory Fourticq, Neal Hamil and Brand Hensler.
A little night music
OK so the music was recorded but it was such a splendid spring night when Legacy Community Health Services held a kick-off party for its upcoming benefit dinner that it felt absolutely magical. The teensy bit of chill in the air was reason enough for hostess Susan Plank to light a fire in the outdoor hearth of her Hedwig Village home where several score of supporters came to sip, nibble and schmooze.
Plank co-chairs the "Where Fashion Meets Philanthropy" evening at Neiman Marcus on May 2 along with store GM Bob Devlin and Melissa Mithoff. They were, of course, in the mix as were Michael Mithoff and Neiman's couture manager Liz Zaruba. That splashy night will honor Debra and Mark Grierson as recipients of the Jerry D. Bartee Humanitarian Award.
The mingling took place on the back terrace where waiters passed yummy appetizers from Gigi's Asian Bistro & Dumpling Bar. In the kitchen, a full buffet of Asian fare awaited guests that included Monsour Taghdisi, Elizabeth Petersen,Ursaline Hamilton, Chree Boydstun, Barry Mandel and Diane Lokey Farb. The man of the house, Mike Plank, was away on business.
Love those men in robes! A handful of well-heeled gents from Houston and their wives were in San Francisco last weekend where they were inducted into the prestigious Order of St. Hubertus, a noble hunting and conservation organization dating back to 1695. We reported on the group's West Texas hunt recently, a warm-up for the pomp and circumstance and wining and dining that surrounded the very formal induction ceremony for which the men wore gold-trimmed, black velvet robes with gold and green insignia. Very impressive, very knightly.
Knighted into the exclusive order (only 400 members worldwide) were Scotty Arnoldy, Dan Tutcher, Jim Braniff, Bill Porter, Keith Mosing and Brad McWilliams. The white-tie-and-tails induction began with the investiture at the venerable St. Mary's Cathedral and was followed by a reception at the Pacific Union Club. Cheering them on were Houstonians John Poindexter and Claudia Craft, Debbie and Vidal Martinez and Debbie and John Daugherty.
Ceron, Debra and Mark Grierson and Shelley Henshaw dining at RDG.