Shelby About Town
Katie Couric huddles in Houston, Tommy Tune steps out & Becca Cason Thrashwelcomes the French
The 2011 Consular Ball launched in style Wednesday night when Kilian Hennessy, scion of France's famed LVMH (Moet Hennessy * Louis Vuitton) family, zipped in for a chichi perfume event at Saks Fifth Avenue that doubled as a salute to the Nov. 19 gala.
Consular Ball chairs Philamena Baird, Melissa King and Kate Stukenberg and the ball honoree, Becca Cason Thrash, welcomed the cocktail-attired contingent that included honorary ball chairs French Consul General Pierre Grandjouan and his wife, Kate. France will be the honored country which makes it all the more appropriate that Becca is the honoree.
Next week, she will be in Paris to receive the prestigious Chevalier of the Legion of Honor of France. The presentation of the medal will be followed by a celebratory black-tie dinner at the U.S. Embassy residence on the Faubourg Saint-Honoré, hosted by U.S. Ambassador to France Charles Rivkin, his wife Susan Tolson and John Thrash.
In the meantime, the Consular Ball chairs are promising to return the annual white-tie-and-tails evening to the glamour and splendor that it once enjoyed on the Houston social scene. Joining the Saks evening in support of their wives were Bill King, Arthur Baird and Will Stukenberg.
And they were just part of the contingent that included Charles Foster, Diane Lokey Farb, Monsour Taghdisi, Margaret Alkek Williams, Astrid and Gene Van Dyke, Valerie Sarofim, Mary Ann and David McKeithan, Merele Yarborough and Karen and Rudy Wildenstein.
That would be Broadway legend, nine-time Tony Award winner and native Houstonian Tommy Tune, who stepped on stage at Hobby Theater Center Wednesday night as special guest at Theatre Under the Stars' Tommy Tune Awards for high school musicals. The 6-foot-5.5-inch star received a standing ovation from the packed house of 2,000 spectators.
Tune later returned to the stage to present the Best Musical Award (Stratford High School for Damn Yankees) and the Ruth Denney Scholarship Award, named in honor of Tune's Lamar High School drama teacher. He shared with the audience that he is celebrating 50 years in musical theater and that he has lived longer and grown taller than he ever expected.
Mini-fundraisers have been breaking out all over town since mid-March when the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society launched its annual 10-week long Man of the Year and Woman of the Year competition. Candidates such as the InterContinental Houston Hotel's Ed Boden, Tracy Hendrix of Del Frisco's and Fashion Houston's Cara Morales are competing, each vying to raise a minimum of $8,000. The individual who raises the most money wines the title.
Perhaps none of the candidates have been more creative in their fundraising efforts than Houston Dynamo Danny Cruz (but that's another story) and South Asian News feature journalist Ruchi Mukherjee.
Born and reared in India, Ruchi is playing on her exotic roots to win Woman of the Year honors. She began her fundraising quest with an Ode to Bollywood, Mumbai-style evening at M Lounge Moghul Restaurant where South Asian DJs spun the tunes for the crowd in which many dressed as their fave Bollywood stars.
A few weeks later, she held a fundraiser at the home of Indian designer Simran Rihal, who creates under the ELAN label. The Art Meets Fashion event also featured the work of artist Marcus Mann and was attended by the 2010 Woman of the Year Carol Young.
The sprint is on to raise the most money by 10 p.m. May 12 in time for the blowout announcement party on May 13 at Hotel ZaZa. Lexis Florist's Miriam Habib is giving it one last major push from 7-9 p.m. on May 12 at Porsche of West Houston. The enticements to party for a cause include a fashion show, art display by Taft McWhorter, live music by LG Entertainment, raffle items and more. VIP tickets for the fashion show are $40.
200 for dinner
For the past 11 years, American Traffic Solutions' General Counsel George Hittner has hosted a major Seder dinner on the second night of Passover. And even though he now lives in Phoenix, he returns to hometown Houston every year to host this event, which packs a powerhouse crowd. The dinner has grown so large in recent years, the he and wife Erica have taken over Damian's for the night. Tuesday, more than 200 joined the celebration including George's dad, U.S. District Judge David Hittner.
Among the heavy-hitters were homebuilder Bob Perry, former Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Tom Phillips, attorney Larry Finder, Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan, Dr. Helen Mintz Hittner (George's mom), Jason Fuller, Miya Shay, Mary Benton, Cindy Clifford and Marty and Bob Stein.
Each year, guests are randomly asked to read from the story of the Passover and as one guest said, it certainly has diners paying attention as you never when you'll be asked to pick up the story.
CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric tete-a-tete on Wednesday night with astronauts Mark Kelly and Scott Kelly and Tilman Fertitta at Grotto.