Shelby's Social Diary
The Louvre, Craig Biggio, Bush 41, Paul Begala & Tony Vallone make social ripples
When Karen Pulaski and Raquel Segal raised the flag for the new non-profit I Am Waters, more than 60 fashionable/influential friends turned out at Pulaski's West U home to learn about the charity that provides physical and spiritual hydration for the homeless in Houston and beyond.
I Am Waters president and founder Elena Davis talked about the group's summer water project which distributed 80,000 bottles of water, labeled with words of inspiration, to Houston's homeless through area shelters including SEARCH and Star of Hope. Guests such as Katie Brass, Mary and Vincent Kickerillo, Patty and Craig Biggio had a first look at the new book, DREAM, which puts a face on America's homeless through images shot by Peter Duke, the foundation's LA-based photographer who has recorded images of the homeless in the past year in three American cities.
A special treat for guests was the impromptu mini-concert by Steve Tyrell, Pulaski's finace, accompanied by Tina Steele on the piano. Among those grooving to Tyrell's easy sounds were Diane Lokey Farb, Greg Manteris and Renea Abott, Eric Pulaski, Laura Casey, Kelli Kickerillo and Todd Forester, Cindy Garza with Clinton Farmer and Marnie Greenwood.
More than a few of our town's chicest of chic are unpacking their designer gowns from their steamer trunks with word that came Thursday thatLiaisons au Louvre II has been postponed. Little more than a week before the festivities in Paris were set to begin, the International Council of the Louvre felt compelled to pull the plug, at least for now, on the three days of fundraising frivolity.
"After having heard from a number of you about safety concerns stemming from recent terrorist alerts and actions in Europe, we have made the hard decision to postpone the date of Liaisons au Louvre II. We are, of course, very disappointed to postpone these plans."
So read the single-page letter that went out via e-mail to the 250 guests who had committed to the fundraising effort that was expected to bring in $3 million for Louvre coffers. The letter was signed by Liaisons au Louvre II chair Becca Cason Thrash, and by Christopher Forbes, chairman of the American and International Friends of the Louvre under whose auspices the event was planned, and by Louvre director Henri Loyrette.
But the good news is that the party goes on — June 12-14. "Please rest assured that the June events will be equal to if not more spectacular than those we had planned for November!" the letter advised.
The best kind of cougar
Carroll Robertson Ray's ascendency to the head of the University of Houston Board of Regents was celebrated in style earlier this week when board member Nandita Berry and husband Michael Berry, the popular radio talk show host, opened their River Oaks home to a group of UH supporters.
Ray, a graduate of the UH Law Center, is the second member of the Robertson family to take the helm. Her older sister, Beth Robertson, served on the board of regents from 1991 to 1997 and held the chair's position for three of those years. It's a long-standing family tradition that began with their grandfather Hugh Roy Cullen, who, beginning in the late 1930s made a lifetime commitment to the University of Houston. By 1986, the family had poured more than $22 million into the university. That philanthropy continues today.
Saluting Ray on her new post was UH president Renu Khator, immediate past board of regents chair Welcome Wilson Sr. and wife Joanne, Cyvia and Melvyn Wolff, Jane and Jim Wise, Elwyn Lee and Cynthia and John Adkins.
A Presidential visit
M.D. Anderson Cancer Center Board of Visitors dinner plans were happily delayed at the Omni Houston Hotel when former President George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush arrived during the cocktail hour. Something of an impromptu receiving line formed with many among the 325 dinner guests taking the opportunity to meet and greet the popular Houstonians.
Notables in the group included CNN political analyst and Democratic party strategist Paul Begala and wife Diane, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and wife Patricia and Luci Baines Johhnson.
The evening's program featured M.D. Anderson president Dr. John Mendelsohn speaking on the future of cancer care. Among those sitting down to dinner were Nancy and Rich Kinder, Patsy and Greg Fourticq, Barbara and Charles Hurwitz, Elyse and Bob Lanier, Joan Schnitzer-Levy, Sheridan and John Eddie Williams, Franci Crane and Yvonne and Rufus Cormier.
A trout in your honor
Ever wonder how people get dishes named after themselves on restaurant menus? Usually, it's for loyal customers — big spenders who've earned not only a place in the heart of the restaurant owner but, as a result, also on the favorite dish on the menu.
One lucky individual bought that opportunity Wednesday night at the Boys and Girls Country Heritage Award Dinner. The high bidder paid $35,000 to have a tasting dinner for eight at Tony's and to have his name on his favorite dish for one year. Tony and Donna Vallone and gala honorees Cindy and Mike Gatewood, Tony's loyalists themselves, will sit down with the winning bidder and seven pals for a tasting dinner of a boat load of Tony's as-yet-personalized dishes.
They select which dish is their fave and which will bear the top gun's name. The specialty wines will come from Mike Gatewood's private cellar.
That was just part of the fun at the Hilton Americas-Houston event that featured comedian Frank Caliendo and a night of whopping proceeds. The evening's take topped $1.3 million.