CELEBRATING WITH LEGENDS

CELEBRATING WITH LEGENDS

Celebration of Film Star-Studded 65th Anniversary Gala Features Meryl Streep Honoring Robert DeNiro

By Rob Giardinelli     Photography by Vivie Behrens, Rick Kern and Pete Smith

THE SETTING: The AT&T Center and the Harry Ransom Center, both on The University of Texas campus, were the recent setting of a legendary night for the ages. Over 500 sociables, film lovers, and philanthropists turned out for the Harry Ransom Center’s 65th Anniversary gala, and several hundred more joined in the fun at a lively after party capping off the evening. Touching tributes and words from two of the greatest actors of the past half-century were also featured.

 

THE STYLE: The black tie clad crowd began the evening at the AT&T Center by posing for photos on the step and repeat, then descended the escalator to join hundreds of other eager guests for a fabulous cocktail hour. Film aficionados sipped on their favorite spirits and brimmed with anticipation of the festivities to come…and to be in the room with two cinematic legends to boot.

 

The festivities then continued in the main ballroom for the program and presentation. The crowd was wowed as they entered the elegantly designed room with a mix of beautiful florals and cinematic props. As partygoers dined on their delicious, multi-course meals, they were treated to words from the Harry Ransom Center and University of Texas leaders.

 

Next came the main event of honoring Robert DeNiro. After being treated to a touching tribute by celebrated film critic Leonard Maltin, Academy AwardÓ-winning Actress Meryl Streep took to the podium. Guests could hear a pin drop in the room as Streep regaled the crowd by sharing warm and touching stories highlighting her and DeNiro’s five-decade-long friendship. Capping off the main gala were words by cinematic legend DeNiro himself, who expressed gratitude and appreciation to the Harry Ransom Center for archiving his impressive collection of works and artifacts, many of which mirrored pop culture trends of the last 50 years. Upon completing his speech, the crowd gave the cinematic legend a standing ovation.

 

After the gala, revelers walked or took rickshaws one block away to the Harry Ransom Center, where the after party was in full swing. Guests could preview the Robert DeNiro archive at the Harry Ransom Center, which included multiple Oscars on display. Photography lovers also had the opportunity to view The Writers: Portraits by Laura Wilson, an exhibit highlighting photographs of many influential modern writers. This once-in-a-lifetime, special night will be talked about for those fortunate enough to be a part of it for years to come.

 

THE PURPOSE: While the gala did not have designated chairs, the after party was co-hosted by Laura Wilson, Andrew Wilson, Luke Wilson, and Owen Wilson. Funds raised from the evening will benefit the Harry Ransom Center, a world-renowned institution that archives work from the world’s foremost writers, performers, and artists. Near the end of DeNiro’s speech, he perfectly summed up the mission of the organization, “One of the most important things about the Harry Ransom Center is that the materials will be accessible to students and the public. Ultimately, that’s what it’s all about.”

ICE, ICE BABY

ICE, ICE BABY

Big Brothers Big Sisters Of Central Texas Hosts 18th Annual Ice Ball

By Rob Giardinelli         Photography by Chris Caselli and Gypc Girl Photography

THE SETTING: The JW Marriott in Austin was the recent setting of an event that kicked off the fall social season in grand style. Over 750 of the Capital City’s charitable philanthropists turned out for the 18th annual Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Texas Ice Ball. It was an evening that dazzled its guests and will be well remembered, and spoken fondly of, for a long time.

 

THE STYLE: The black tie crowd began the evening in the ballroom foyer of the JW Marriott for cocktail hour. As revelers sipped cocktails, they had the opportunity to peruse silent auction items, participate in a game of Buried Treasure, where the winner received a pave diamond circle necklace, and pose for photos in front of the event’s grand signature ice sculpture.

 

The festivities then moved to the ballroom for the main program. Emcee, KVUE-TV’s Quita Culpepper effortlessly kept the evening moving at a fun, brisk pace. While partygoers dined on a multi-course meal, they were treated to a series of heartwarming testimonials on how Big Brothers Big Sisters has positively impacted the Central Texas community. The evening was capped off by a round of live fundraising, which included a head or tails auction, Fund-A-Friendship paddles up, and the spirited live auction with a host of experiences such as a tour of Sonoma wineries, a skiing adventure in Park City, and an Italian getaway on the Amalfi coast.

 

THE PURPOSE: The event, chaired by Albert and Sarah Swantner, raised over $930,000 for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Texas. Funds from the event will go toward programs that help create life-changing relationships between adult mentors and at-risk youth between the ages of six and 16, which allows them to reach their full potential.

RED, BLANC & NOIR

RED, BLANC & NOIR

ZACH Scott Theatre’s Red Hot & Soul Gala Features Black And White Theme

By Rob Giardinelli     Photography by Charles Quinn Photography

THE SETTING: The Zachary Scott Theatre was the recent setting for one of the city’s most anticipated fundraisers. Over 400 philanthropists, art lovers, and VIPs turned out for the theatre’s annual Red, Hot & Soul event, an evening of fun, camaraderie, and showstopping performances those fortunate enough to attend will not soon forget.

 

THE STYLE: The curtains rose on the black tie affair in the lobby of ZACH’s Topfer Theatre for cocktails. Patrons of the event embraced the black and white theme, a nod to Truman Capote’s 1966 Party of the Century…with many spectacular black and white ensembles spotted among the dashing crowd. During the cocktail hour, partygoers reacquainted with old friends and made new ones while sipping on their favorite cocktails in anticipation of the fun ahead.

 

The festivities then moved to the al fresco Bobbi Pavilion on the ZACH Theatre grounds for the main program. As revelers dined on the multi-course meal, they were treated to dazzling performances by several of ZACH’s most beloved performers, as well as performances from ZACH’s Children’s Academy. Additionally, Austin philanthropists Eric and Maria Groten were honored for their tireless work and support of the beloved theatre that has been a part of the Austin community fabric for over a century.

 

Next came a spirited live auction with a host of dazzling packages. Highlights of the auction included a Pick Your Paradise package where the winner got the pick of a breathtaking getaway to one of three different continents, another was dinner on the theatre stage, and a mountain escape to Park City were among the most popular. The evening’s finale was a spectacular after party where guests danced the night away on the Topfer Theatre stage. Encore!

 

THE PURPOSE: The event, co-chaired by Cindy Greenwood and Kathy Taylor, raised over $600,000 for ZACH Scott Theatre. Each year, ZACH Scott’s community programs provide outreach and educational opportunities and offer access to theatrical performances to over 125,000 Central Texans, 55,000 of whom are children and youth.

 

FABULOUS FORTÉ

FABULOUS FORTÉ

Ballet Austin’s Fête And fête*ish Features Dazzling Crowd

By Rob Giardinelli

Photography by John Pesina

The W Hotel in Austin was the recent setting of one of the Capital City’s most anticipated annual social events. Over 500 sociables, philanthropists, and VIPs who were on hand to support Ballet Austin’s Fête gala and fête*ish after party were treated to a dazzling evening of both fun and fundraising.

 

THE STYLE: The black tie crowd’s evening began in the ballroom foyer with a splashy cocktail hour in honor of the evening’s theme, Swan Lake. Guests sipped spirits while brimming with anticipation of the fun to come as the festivities then moved into the ballroom for the main program.

 

As the attendees dined on a delectable multi-course meal, they were treated to words from event leaders and Austin’s Mayor Steve Adler, followed by tributes and testimonials on how much Ballet Austin has positively impacted the community. The Fête festivities were capped off with a live auction featuring a custom kitchen package that garnered over $100,000.

 

After the live auction, the patrons poured back into the ballroom foyer of the W, where the bustling fête*ish after party was taking place. One of Austin’s most popular and well-attended after parties, the guests had the opportunity to take advantage of several unique experiential areas set up throughout the entire ballroom level of the W to revel in the fun. One could be seen dancing the night away to the tunes of DJ Max or tucked away into a smaller room on the ballroom floor posing for caricatures. Others enjoyed a nightcap with friends on the W Terrace, capping off a fabulous evening on a beautiful spring night.

 

THE PURPOSE: While there were no designated chairs for Fête, Mallory Miller and Stephanie Gossen co-chaired the fete*ish event. The event raised over $500,000 for Ballet Austin. Proceeds from this year’s Fête and fête*ish will support Ballet Austin’s mission of providing exceptional arts education and artistic programming to the Central Texas community.

TEN FOR TEN

TEN FOR TEN

Mack, Jack & McConaughey 10th Anniversary Gala Raises Over $10 Million

By Rob Giardinelli     Photography by Tyler Schmitt of Mill Photography Studio

THE SETTING: The Moody Theatre at the Austin City Limits Live venue was the recent setting for the 10th annual Mack, Jack & McConaughey gala. The star-studded evening featured close to five hundred of Austin’s most notable philanthropists, VIPs, and music lovers who turned out for a night for the ages, which included tributes, showstopping performances, and an eye-popping fundraising amount.

 

THE STYLE: The gala’s supporters, who scored an orchestra-level seat at the Moody Theatre, began the evening with an exclusive VIP cocktail party on the terrace. After posing for photos on the red carpet, guests sipped spirits while perusing a beautifully curated array of silent auction items that showcased the ever-popular sports collectibles and art categories.

 

The festivities then moved to the orchestra level where guests dined on a delicious multi-course meal, while they were treated to the main program, which featured touching tributes and words from the event’s leaders. The action turned into a highly spirited live auction where the top-grossing items included a golf trip throughout Ireland with legendary golfer Sergio Garcia (raising $350,000) and a private stay at a ranch in Cibolo Creek near Marfa (raising $3 million).

 

An additional 2,000 guests poured into the mezzanine level of the performance space for the evening’s entertainment…a concert by country music superstar Kenny Chesney. Music lovers rejoiced as they danced to his top hits, capping off an unforgettable evening those fortunate to be a part of will not soon forget.

 

THE PURPOSE: The event, hosted by Mack and Sally Brown, Jack and Amy Ingram, and Matthew and Camilla McConaughey, raised an astounding $10 million for a series of non-profits serving children in Texas that included Dell Children’s Medical Center, HeartGift, Just Keep Livin’ Foundation, and The Rise School Austin. To date, the Mack, Jack & McConaughey event has raised over $20 million and provided over 250,000 children with education, health, and wellness services.

TOAST WITH THE MOST

TOAST WITH THE MOST

St. David’s Foundation Toast Of The Town Party Series Dazzles With Twenty Events

 

By Rob Giardinelli     Photography by Matthew Fuller Photography

THE SETTING: A score of Austin’s stunning venues were the recent settings of the Capitol City’s most beloved and popular spring social benefits. This year’s St. David’s Toast Of The Town featured twenty intimate gatherings at a delightfully eclectic mix of popular dining and entertainment locations…as well as in beautiful homes and estates. The happenings attracted over 600 of Austin’s most notable philanthropists and VIPs and featured delightful company, engaging conversation, and unforgettable moments.

 

[PG 2]: THE STYLE: Guests donned their favorite Austin-chic attire for a diverse series of events that would satisfy even the most discerning sociable. Sports fanatics could attend different athletic-themed events with The University of Texas head football coach Steve Sarkisian and his wife Loreal, the UT Baseball Coach David Pierce, or a private experience at the new Q2 Stadium. Music lovers could spend the evening with either Austin Symphony Orchestra Conductor Peter Bay, legendary Austin musician Roy Benson, or Texas-based GRAMMYÒ Award-winning musician SaulPaul.

 

Additionally, foodies had the chance to enjoy a champagne dinner featuring Jeffrey’s Sommelier Anthony Schlotzhauer at a home on Lake Austin or a fabulous dinner at Canje in East Austin. Fashionistas could discuss couture fashion with Project Runway alum Sergio Guadarrama. History enthusiasts had the opportunity to spend a one-of-a-kind evening with LBJ Foundation President Mark Updegrove or The University of Texas Chancellor James Milliken. And the legendary journalist Neal Spelce held court while hosting a conversation al fresco, sharing stories of his time in the press pool during the presidency of Central Texas native Lyndon Baines Johnson.

 

[PLACE ON PG 3:]Each individual party featured two common threads. The first was to hear from a Neal Kocurek Scholarship Alumni, who shared how the scholarship has positively impacted their life. Many of the scholarship recipients have been the first in their families to attend college. All the parties were capped off with a moderated chat with the guest of honor. The guests were able to ask questions after the talk, which kept the interesting conversations flowing well into the evening.

 

THE PURPOSE: The Toast of the Town party series, chaired by Chandra Hosek with Mary Katherine Stout serving as vice chair, raised over $577,000 for the St. David’s Neal Kocurek Scholarship Program, which, thanks to a matching grant by St. David’s Foundation, raised the total to over $1.7 million. Each year the Neal Kocurek Scholarship Program, Texas’ largest healthcare scholarship program, awards $7,500 scholarships per year for up to eight years to Central Texas high school seniors looking to pursue careers in the medical field.