It was a holly, jolly party at the River Oaks home of Nancy McGregor Manne and Neal Manne on Wednesday night when the Center for AIDS held its annual Holiday Schmooze.
With more than 200 guests pouring in for good cheer and taste treats from Jackson & Co., the evening raised more than $200,000. Not bad for a two-hour cocktail party. Happy news for chairs Sarah Dodd-Spickelmier and Keith Spickelmier.
The draw each year is the holiday effervescence that permeates the evening traditionally held in a grand residence. The Mannes' was no exception. Music wafted down from the baby grand piano on the second-floor landing while the hosts welcomed guests such as Jay Jones and Terry Wayne Jones, Anne Farish, Patsy and Greg Fourticq, Gregory Fourticq, City Councilman Peter Brown and Kathryn and Jim Ketelsen.
The colorful contingent included Jackson Hicks, Cabrina and Steven Owsley, Jerry Jeanmard and Cliff Helmcamp, Randy Powers and Bill Caudell, Milton Townsend and Beth Sanders Moore, escorted by New York-based designer Bill Hamilton, who came in just for the schmooze and a few holiday dinners. Phoebe and Bobby Tudor, 2010 Holiday Schmooze hosts, were also in the mix.
Menil for real
Veteran actor Stanley Tucci gives the Menil Collection's Joaquin Torres-Garcia exhibition a thumbs up in Time Magazine's most recent "The Short List of Things to Do."
"I just saw Uruguayan artist Joaquin Torres-Garcia's brilliant, life-altering wood-construction exhibit at the Menil Collection in Houston," Tucci writes. "I had never heard of him, but he is absolutely incredible."
The exhibition is on view through Jan. 3 and the artist's toys are sold in the Menil bookstore.
More holly, jolly
Next year, we want to be invited to Bubba McNeely's and Mark Lowry's Christmas party. The crowd of 100 or so that poured into their expansive hacienda earlier this week is still raving about the night. Talented party designer Darryl Murchison provided the mistletoe and holly while McNeely, Lowry and friends delivered the fa-la-la-la-la.
Lowry wrote lyrics for the modern Christmas standard Mary Did You Know? and he has been reaping the rewards ever since. It's been recorded by artists including Natalie Cole, Donnie Osmand and Clay Aiken. The party program opened with Lowry singing the tune. Then, McNeely kicked in to lead the crowd in singing Christmas carols.
The entertainment included stints by Sharon Montgomery and Jerry Atwood, Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church's minister of music and arts Hanq Neal and local recording artist André James.
Soaring into the Christmas spirit were guests including Mauney Mafrige, Todd Ramos, Marcy de Luna, Marcy Chapa, Hershey Grace, Rob Rutherford, Edward Sanchez and Libby Cagle.
One big gift
Mark one up for the Museum District Business Alliance, which made a special presentation during its holiday and community improvement awards luncheon at La Colombe d'Or on Tuesday. Board president Gene Creely II, vice president Jerry Blum and board member Bailey Moore presented the City of Houston with the deed to the Houston Police Department Neartown Storefront Substation. That's the friendly cop shop one on Westheimer, just east of Montrose.
The alliance recognized 10 entities with Community Improvement Awards ranging from Jim Kollaer to Chocolate Bar/Candylicious to chef Marco Wiles.
Political scenesters and politicians lunching at La Griglia where the talk was all about the upcoming mayoral runoff. In the crush on Wednesday were City Councilwomen Sue Lovell and Pam Holm, Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia, political whiz Sue Walden, engineering guru Wayne Klots, City Councilman-elect Oliver Pennington, publicists Cindy Clifford and Alton LaDay, City Councilman Ronald Green and Republic Services area president Rusty Waldrup . . .
Howard Hoover, Ken Wise, Dr. Robert Conti and Glen Miller lunching at Grotto 610 . . .
Gaynell and Clyde Drexler dining at Mockingbird Bistro . . .
Patsy and Greg Fourticq celebrating the holidays at RDG with Margaret and Dr. Jeff Lanier.