Shelby's Social Diary

Steve Tyrell, NY Giants owner and LA designer make waves in the social sea of Houston

Steve Tyrell, NY Giants owner and LA designer make waves in the social sea of Houston

Songbirds and lovebirds took over the bar at Tony's on Friday night when Diane Lokey Farb cashed in on the dinner she had purchased last winter at the American Heart Association's Heart Ball. It would be difficult to name a more glamorous evening in Tony's bar.

Let's start with the 14 cocktail-attired guests. The ever-sexy Susanne Byram and hubby John flew down in their private jet from Austin. Glam jet setters John and Becca Cason Thrash made the stopover between international sojourns. Melissa and Michael Mithoff, Janet Gurwitch and Ron Franklin, Karen and Mel Payne and the ever-dashing Cerón rounded out the vibrant list with special guest singing sensation Steve Tyrell, accompanied by his fiancee, Karen Pulaski.

For this evening, tables were lined end-to-end across the bar, covered in linens and dressed in profusions of red, orange and rust-hued roses, a perfect match for the canopy overhead and for the hostess's shimmering designer dress. 

The menu was perfection including the pansotti, the whole salt-crusted red snapper that arrived at the table in flames (applause from everyone), the beef filet and the larger-than-life Jack-O-Lantern ice cream bombe, which brought more applause as it was carried in by two waiters. 

Of course, the best dessert of all was when Tyrell joined Louie Carrington, Tony's regular entertainer, at the piano to croon a few love songs that had everyone feeling more than a little sentimental.

A celebration at Reliant

While the Houston Texans might have been in the dumps on Sunday, Emirates Airline was, pardon the pun, flying high at Reliant Stadium. The Dubai-based airline just signed a sponsorship agreement with the hometown team (look for their logo at suite level throughout the stadium) and next month they launch a second daily flight to Houston.

That additional flight (and a second one to Los Angeles) brings the total to 98 round-trip flights per week between Dubai and the United States and that translates into 15,000 seats. Something to crow about indeed along with "significant increased revenue for the Americas in 2009-10," according to press materials. 

But that wasn't the only news in the Emirates' stadium suite. The space has been completely redecorated and fully branded with Emirates logos, interior photos of jets and space-age cocktail tables and chairs.

Skip Tiedemann, Emirates sales manager for the southern U.S., and Jim Baxter, vice president North America for Emirates, hosted the gathering that included travel industry reps and Emirates clients including Steve Pounds and Dan Richardson, both of Baker Hughes; John Hughes, global travel director for Fluor; and St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital System's Warren Whitehead.

Getting a head start

That would be 2011 Houston Symphony Ball chair Sharin Gaille, who rounded up the well-dressed troops for lunch in the wine room at Tony's for a bit of spirit building for the March 25 gala, themed "Scheherazade and Her Magical Nights."

Gaille announced the theme and introduced the chairs of the young professional's after-party — the brother/sister team of Tami Ernst and Rob Ernst and Claire Cormier-Thielke. Auction co-chair Paula Fyhr was on hand in case anyone wanted to donate a vacation home or a fabulous antique for the auction.

A host of past ball chairs joined the lunch group including Mary Ann McKeithan, Dr. Kelli Fein, Liz Glanville, Cathy BrockBetty Tutor and Julia Frankel. Rounding out the support team were guests including Diane Lokey Farb, Rudy Avelar, Caroline Kenney, Isabel David, Kathi Rovere and Sylvia Sullivan. 

Designs on LA

Winter Ball Woman of Distinction Kristi Schiller is in LA for a litttle R&R and a bit of shopping for her moment in the spotlight in January. She was in Mark Zunino's studio the other day and the timing of the appointment to discuss her gown for the Winter Ball coincided with that of Donna Summer's appointment. The disco singing star was so taken with the gown that Zunino was creating for Schiller that she asked if she could have something similar.

Schiller made her a deal. "I won't do a world singing tour, if you don't do the Texas charity circuit." Done.

Sight 'ems

Billy Gibbons, beard trimmed to mid-chest level, signature hat in place, lunching at Ciao Bello with Jim Jard and friends. The rock 'n' roller ordered a selection from the antipasta bar and then lunched on Red Snapper Tesoro, a yummy dish laced with shrimp, crab and lemon . . . 

New York Giants owner Steve Tisch and his sons, Willie and Sammy, at the original Ninfa's on Navigation the night before their team whipped the Texans at Reliant Stadium. The New Yorkers and their hosts, Steve Tyrell and Karen Pulaski, chowed down on an off-the-menu "Fiesta Platter" loaded with ribs, quesadillas, flautas, ceviche, guacamole, queso and pico de gallo . . .

Gigi Huang welcoming 250 revelers to her Asian Bistro & Dumpling Bar at the Signature Chefs after-party hosted by Cerón and Mark Sullivan. In that throng were Debra and Mark Grierson, Debbie and Rudy Festari, Rosemary Schatzman, George Ducas, Laura Spalding, Terry Zmyzlo and on and on . . . 

Frank Hevrdejs, who chairs the 2011 Museum of Fine Arts, Houston Grand Gala Ball with wife Michelle Hevrdejs, lunching with Janet Gurwitch at Tony's where they discussed the ball and new business opportunities for Gurwitch, who founded and later sold Laura Mercier cosmetics. Attorney Bucky Allshouse and company dined at a nearby table. 

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Steve Tyrell joined piano/songman Louie Carrington in the bar at Tony's for a few love songs. Photo by Shelby Hodge
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Diane Lokey Farb hosted 14 to dinner with Steve Tyrell, an auction item from the Heart Ball. Photo by Shelby Hodge
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Warren Whitehead and Sarah Fletcher were among VIP guests in the Emirates' suite at Reliant Stadium.
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Celebrating Houston Symphony's 2011 Ball are auction co-chair Paula Fyhr, from left, ball chair Sharin Gaille and patron Diane Lokey Farb.
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Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top lunched at Ciao Bello.