Shelby About Town
Andrea White, James Carville & a Titian dinner highlight the week's social swirl
They might be billed as novels of historical fiction for young adults, but we know plenty of grown-ups who are taken with the very creative writings of author Andrea White, Houston's former first lady.
In fact, successful businesswoman Janet Gurwitch, who hosted a book signing for Andrea on Wednesday along with Paula Douglass, is sold on Andrea's latest, Windows on the World.
Paula opened her garden on the perfect spring afternoon for a bevy of Andrea White fans familiar with her three previous books targeted to middle schoolers. In 2005, she received a Texas State Reading Association Gold Spur Literature Award for her work.
Lining up for autographed copies of the book was an impressive coterie that included Franci Crane, Roz Pactor, Cora Sue Mach, Carrin Patman, Ellen Cohen, Susan Baker, Sandra Shafto, Diana Hobby, Laura Beckwith,Ann Kennedy and the city's current first lady Kathy Hubbard.
The garden setting with bites by Ouisie's provided a perfect backdrop for the literary affair.
The arrival of Titian and the Golden Age of Venetian Painting at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston was reason enough for a celebratory dinner and preview at the museum earlier this week. Fifty well-heeled MFAH supporters previewed the 25 Italian masterworks that the Huffington Post described as one of the "sexy exhibitions in American museums" this spring.
Special dinner guest was Michael Clarke, director of the National Galleries of Scotland, who spoke to the gathering and shared that some of the paintings in the exhibition had never been in the U.S. before this tour and that several had never been out of Edinburgh, making this an exceptional coup for the MFAH. Joining Clarke in addressing the gathering were MFAH interim director Gwen Goffe and Edgar Peters Bowron, MFAH curator of European art.
While the Matt Detrick string trio performed, staff from City Kitchen swirled through the dining area, the permanent collection galleries, delivering a three-course beef tenderloin dinner.
Drinking in the amazing artworks were Mary Lawrence Porter, Tony and Isaac Arnold, Jeanie Kilroy, Isabel and Wallace Wilson, Leslie and Brad Bucher, Margaret Alkek Williams and Linda Finger.
The downtown skyscraper view was terrific when Career and Recovery Resources took over the 24th floor Skyline Ballroom of the Hilton Americas-Houston for a cocktail launch of its upcoming Barrier Breaker Luncheon. The purpose was to thank supporters of the June 28 event to be held at the Hyatt Regency Downtown and to salute honorees Ellie and Jack Sweeney, Houston Chronicle president and publisher.
It was a packed program for a cocktail reception that included a welcome by CRR board chair William Harmon, president of Houston Community College; a video honoring the Sweeneys; testimonials by two of CRR's Star Clients; and thanks and a review of future plans for the non-profit from Vernus Swisher, who serves as CEO of CRR.
In the end, there was time for socializing over cocktails and a cornucopia of taste treats. Feasting and soaking up the sunset view were 70 guests including Jessica and Jarrett Pierce, Colleen and Matt Oliver, Leslie and Jack Blanton, Matt Musil, Carl Main, Patti and Gary Tuma, Alma Swisher, Gwen and David Scott and Beverly Harmon.
Christmas only seven months away
But that's not too early to start brainstorming for a new approach to a holiday fundraiser. Just ask Brenda Koch and the board of Joyful Toyful Fiesta. Brenda chairs the Dec. 4 benefit with husband Tom Koch, KTRK Channel 13 morning news anchor.
She and board members Carol Sawyer, Grace Givens, Edie Saville and Janet Wahrlich headhuddled at Gigi's Asian Bistro and Dumpling Bar recently to discuss revamping the annual holiday cocktail party. Restaurateur Gigi Huang, who annually hosts the event, is taking it to a new level in 2011 by underwriting a seated dinner for 200.
Stay tuned for details on the 21st annual event, named after founders the late Carmen and David Bridges, that benefits five charities serving underprivileged youngsters.
Democratic political strategist and CNN political commentator James Carville, taking a seat at the bar at Morton's The Steakhouse in the Galleria Thursday night where he had dinner solo and worked on a speech. Carville commented, “I always enjoy dining in the bar at Morton's because it has a comfortable atmosphere. I never get hassled. The food is great and the bartenders are friendly” . . .
Lynn Wyatt and friends sampling the culinary talents of chef Philippe Schmit at Philippe Restaurant + Lounge.