Shelby About Town
From Vegas to SoVino, Houstonians party like there's no tomorrow
Partying like no one was watching — that's how the 150 revelers who checked in at Tilman Fertitta's newly-renovated Golden Nugget hotel and casino last weekend approached A.J . Brass' 40th birthday celebration. It was old skool Vegas for the crowd that rolled the dice at the birthday boy's fave casino. Hostess with the mostess Katie Brass invited friends from New York, LA and all across Houston for the festivities.
With Leigh Williams and the Events Co.'s Richard Flowers pulling the strings, the house belonged to this crowd. Hotel staff went so far as to allow Williams to provide a mix of A.J.'s and Katie's favorite tunes to play in the hotel and casino throughout the weekend.
The crowd dined at vintage Piero's, a Frank Sinatra favorite, and took in a show with Vegas showgirls and star impersonators. Even the youngsters along on the trip were treated like stars with specially-planned slumber parties, magicians and front-row tickets to The Lion King.
Among those dancing into the wee morning hours were Stephanie and Ernie Cockrell, Lucinda and Javier Loya, Greggory and Pat Burk, Amy and Jim Lee, Tama and John Klosek, Laura Casey, Nidhika and Pershant Mehta, Raquel and Andrew Segal,Elizabeth and Gary Petersen and Jessica and Jeff Jacobe.
If you see a glamorous, tall woman bicycling down West Gray in the coming weeks, it just might be mezzo-soprano Susan Graham, a Houston favorite starring in Houston Grand Opera's production of Handel's Xerxes which opens April 30. The bicycle thing is a tidbit we picked up at the opera ball, where Graham and her beau, Clay Brakeley of Los Angeles, were guests of ball chairs Denise BushBahr and Philip Bahr.
HGO provides accommodations for its stars in townhouses in Midtown — from where the singer likes to bicycle over to her favorite shopping street. Her favorite restaurant? Ibiza. In fact, if you were dining in that popular eatery on a recent weeknight, you might have heard the most melodious "Happy Birthday" singing ever. The Xerxes cast celebrated a member's birthday in the private room there and employed their operatic talents to mark the occasion.
For inquiring minds, the charming Brakeley and Graham met while earning their degrees in music at Texas Tech. While they have been friends for many years, the romance developed relatively recently.
Cute young things
Throngs of twentysomethings poured into Tony's bar for a charitable happy hour that raised a bit of cain while raising funds for Memorial Hermann Children's Hospital. Lauren Clark spearheaded the effort, making fundraising for the hospital a family affair. Clark's parents, Sheridan and John Eddie Williams, chair the May 8 Memorial Hermann gala along with Alina and Roberto Garcia and Donna and Tony Vallone, whose daughter, Lia Vallone, was in the happy hour mix.
The young professionals pouring in included Caroline Zively, Mike Rahmn, Abra Litmer, Ana Ortiz, Rich Williams, Andy Anderson, Kalon McMahon, Jonathan Wasserbury and Rebecca Putterman.
Forever Young at SoVino
Manfred Jachmich blew out the candles in style when he invited a host of friends to his favorite Montrose hot spot, SoVino Bistro & Wine Bar. He treated 75 of his nearest and dearest to flamenco music, sangria, vino tinto and dinner. The festive wining and dining included Jachmich's signature English trifle and several dishes from his personal recipes.
Toasting the iconic restaurateur were Nick Florescu, Lonnie Schiller, Carolyn Farb, Sharon and Mark Wise, Louisa Girard, Elizabeth Abraham and Ilyas Colombowala, Heather Pray, Isabel David,Kristy Junco, Maria Vilchez and Valerie Palmquist.
A new season
Greg Scheinman celebrated the launch of the second season of his Houston PBS Channel 8 series Profiles with a blastoff at Sherlock's Baker Street Pub & Grill on Thursday. The series of upfront interviews with some of the most interesting and prolific people in the city airs on Channel 8 at 10:30 every Thursday and can be seen 24/7 at CultureMap.
Among those joining Scheinman in his revelry were Gracie and Bob Cavnar, Janet Gurwitch, Patrick Henry, Ali and Dr. Jeff Kalina, Robert Aguirre, Nic Phillips, Phoebe Tudor and John Long.
Newly-sworn-in Police Chief Charles McClelland honored at Benjy's on Washington on Wednesday shortly after his new position was made official. City Council members, friends, politicos and community leaders —including Mayor Annise Parker — joined in offering congratulations at the reception. Add former police chief now City Councilman C.O. Bradford, Jay Jones, Anthony Hall and Liz Gorman to the mix.