Only one gala in Houston can make Halloween seem like an afterthought. Once again, the Orange Show Gala lived up to its (unofficial) title of Houston’s most over-the-top costumed affair.
And oh, those costumes. From co-chair Melissa Dobrowski and her space goddess getup, to Marilyn Oshman in shades and space robe, a shirtless, “bang!”-tatted Dean Putterman, and Mark Sullivan and Libbie Masterson showing up as life-sized shotgun shells, all were on-point for the 40th fete’s theme, “The Big Bang,” an event that raised a bangin’ $800,000 for the work of the Orange Show Center for Visionary Art.
As if the spacey, sexy, and silly costumes weren’t enough, music came via Morris Day & the Time (more on that later) and visuals included immersive art installations from the city’s best up-and-coming digital art teams including Input/Output; Moon Papas; and Hannah Bull of BamBullBlack, which transformed the 31,000 square-foot Orange Show warehouse into a psychedelic spaceship.
The more than 500 guests guests were treated to specialty sips including Cosmic Cosmos courtesy of Ketel One, espresso martinis by William Price Distillery, and a decadent oyster bar from San Leon’s Pier 6 Seafood & Oyster House, which created a massive ice table to keep things chill.
Festooned visitors mingled, sipped, and perused the more than 160 silent auction items up for grabs. Co-chairs Beth Abramson-Meltzer and Lane Schultz furnished artwork from by Mel Chin, Sharon Kopriva, Michael Tracy, Angelbert Metoyer, Gerard Caliste, Bert Long Jr., and more. Local street art celebrity Gonzo247 treated the crowd to a splashy, live painting.
Hot auction items also included trips to The Kentucky Derby, San Miguel de Allende, and The Grammys. Local opportunities included bespoke dinners from Steak 48 and B&B Butchers and a $10,000 pair of diamond earring donated by Valobra Master Jewelers — which one lucky guest scored during a balloon-popping “Big Bang Moment.”
Dinner was a sumptuous feast catered by Tony’s and led by executive chef Austin Waiter. Later, Orange Show executive director Tommy Ralph Pace addressed the Orange Show’s 40-year history of celebrating and promoting creativity in the Houston community and beyond. Pace also announced a partnership with architect firm Rogers Partners to build a world-class facility on the current property.
Then, it was time for The Time. Lead singer/head flirt Morris Day shook, strutted, and preened as astronauts, sci-fi characters, aliens, Astros, and more took to the dance floor.
Speaking of big bang: The whole venue nearly exploded when Day and The Time kicked into the’80s dance phenom, “Jungle Love,” with a thunderous chant of the chorus, “oh-we-oh-we-ohhhh!” marking a wild, cosmic journey.