DOING, NOT DOUBTING

DOING, NOT DOUBTING

With all our days and nights seeming to be played on an endless repeat cycle, I’m genuinely interested in learning how family, friends, and colleagues have been spending their time sheltering in place. As I continue to inquire, the responses have had a wide variety of reactions. Ranging from spending more time with kids (always while managing temporary homeschooling and juggling a career), playing with pets more, taking additional swims, leaning into Zoom calls as a reinterpreted way of staying connected, streaming entertainment like never before…to even, starting a digital platform devoted to a passionate cause.

No matter what our individual reactions have been, it seems we all have been generating an interpretation of well, how we can make the best of a challenging situation. In this super-charged fall issue, with many hopes for bright tomorrows, we hope you’ll see and enjoy the numerous examples of people living their best lives while helping so many others. Like with our inimitable cover subject, Houstonian Becca Cason Thrash.

One thing I’ve learned is that togetherness is in the mind, the heart, and the understanding. It has little to do with proximity. To me, togetherness means not only staying in touch with many folks currently (and certainly checking in with some who have pursued other interests since I’ve known them), but also looking at the past for insight into how we got to here. This is the basis of every story we help tell in Society Texas.

Through photographs and documents, I personally took a deep dive into my own family’s history, going through archives that had been tucked away and piled up for review. Ranging from old letters, land deeds, address books, diaries, photos, and more from before the mid-1800s, I’ve gotten a glimpse into what makes us each unique and interesting…not just where we are going, but where we have been collectively. I believe in the positive influence of archival information:  it can add light to a situation long ago created and yes, long ago buried.

Through the curated filter lens of my family’s historical past, it was a process, to say the least. In my spare time during the pandemic, I sorted through what seemed like thousands upon thousands of documents, from photos to all sorts of papers. I well recall many, many summer days and holidays sitting at my grandmother’s knee while I listened to the stories about the olden days, as I would call them at the time. The stories were of happiness, challenges, triumphs, and tragedies. I’d ask questions, and she’d answer because she knew how closely I listened, as we’d be encircled by an unruly pile of both Kodak and professional portrait studio memories. Many were labeled with names and dates, thank goodness, and it helped connect the dots of a child’s mind to the era of clothing, backdrops, and situations. It was a type of social archaeology, gleaned at a young age, of how people lived their lives, or how they wanted to represent how they lived their lives.

I wish I could say that my family kept neat family albums full of chronological happenings. They did, sort of. And, like many families around the world, much of it was gathered in shoe boxes, decorative tins, hat and cardboard boxes, and just about any other vessel that could contain a virtual time machine. The result? That curated filter netted over 1200 documents that I chose to represent the best of the past. Scanned at high resolution, labeled, and placed in order of eras into electronic files, it was to become a body of work.

As I dedicated myself to the opportunity at hand, I found myself really examining the photos more closely than before. Really looking at them, magnified. Almost as if I was trying to look more deeply into the souls of the subjects and asking why they chose many of the decisions that they did. Only they knew for sure, for better or worse, as their lives’ roads proved, and I now have a renewed respect for their decisions. Because it got my family here to today, this moment. A philosopher once said, You can’t start the next chapter if you keep reading the last one, which I whole-heartedly agree with, and sometimes it’s nice to know that an actual body of work that reflects my family is now in place for this generation and future ones.

Here at Society Texas, we hope that you thoroughly enjoy this issue. Know that it was crafted with you in mind, and we look forward to staying connected and learning more about how you have thrived during this time.

XO Lance Avery Morgan

Editor-In-Chief

Lance@SocietyTexas.com

Photo by Gregg Cestaro

 

CHARACTER-DRIVEN

CHARACTER-DRIVEN

 When we started this issue, most of us could not have predicted how much a pandemic could reshape our lives to the present time. Fast forward to now and we know that tough times bring out the best in people. Now, more than ever. We see it every day…in both momentous and in small ways as we all widen our aperture. We’ve seen it before COVID-19, during COVID-19, and as the world re-shapes itself, we will see it the period after COVID-19. The world-altering times that we live in are a testimony to the character and can-do attitude of our state and the world at large. This spirit is shown every single day, as so many people sacrifice for the duration of this challenging time period of social distancing. It reminds me of how social we all are, especially when we are asked not to be.

As humans, we understand the needs of others. The non-profit philanthropies we support in this magazine and beyond, and their people, are adapting like never before. It’s unprecedented. The word unprecedented has come up often in the media recently and in the been there, seen it, done that culture we’ve become pre-COVID-19, the spirited mood is indeed now different. More refined. It reminds me of the days following 9/11 when people took genuine stock of their lives, where they fit in the world, and how massive events can affect us well, forever.

So, with this issue, we are embracing the new exuberance that has been unleashed. Always sunny and optimistic, our point of view is still as authentic as ever. What our team sees, hears, and learns on a daily basis, we know, matters to you. As always, there are so many of your favorite columns and a wildly diverse array of talent who made this issue happen. We love our homage to 80s fashion shot by Mark Oberlin and styled by Dion “Bleu” Drake, a glamorous look back at why Texans love Acapulco so much according to Lori Duran. We offer an insider’s look at the top philanthropic events across the state helmed by our social editors Rob Giardinelli, Leanne Raesener, Cynthia Smoot, and Jennifer Roosth. In fact, the entire editorial, design, and publishing teams have outdone themselves in this issue on each and every page.

As we all seek to streamline our lives and more clearly define what is important to us, know that we are with you each step of the way in print and digitally with the same warmth and inclusion as always. So, let’s move forward to the new horizons ahead and seek new adventures. Let’s make new memories together as our future becomes as valuable as our past, as Texans who possess the pioneer and entrepreneurial spirits of those who came before us. And, we’ll see you again soon in the ballroom…and beyond.

XO Lance Avery Morgan

Editor-In-Chief

Lance@SocietyTexas.com

Photo by Gregg Cestaro

 

WITH A SPRING IN OUR STEP

WITH A SPRING IN OUR STEP

As I was seated at the San Vicente Bungalows in Los Angeles recently, with time in between our photoshoots that took months to converge into what you see in this issue, I had a thought. Really, several thoughts. Looking around me, it’s obvious the individuality sought at the city’s hottest private club is robust…and the security is tight, based on its celebrity clientele. Everyone there wants to feel special, and the club does just that for its members. So much so that their strict no photo-or-membership-is-suspended policy conjures up thoughts about what people are really seeking these days: feeling unique and special.

So, what if we could meld our favorite, uniquely special things into one city, much like we have melded our favorite things across the state into this one magazine? We could take the climate from over there, the restaurants from here, many of the creative people from yet just over there, and so on, to form our ideal environment. It’s merely a pipe dream until time travel and artificial intelligence come fully into our spectrum. Until then, we will continue to make a concerted effort to keep blending and combining the uniqueness that Society Texas’ print and digital platforms offer to continue to be the very best we can be as we progress with warmer weather.

Around here, we love spring. Simply can’t get enough of it. Not that Texas winters are so harsh or that we longingly wait for ice storms to dissipate, yet there is something that makes us eager to jump in, full throttle, after a brief winter respite, into all things springy. Like exploring all-new fashion, travel, learning about new faces and places, seeing philanthropic events reimagined, and so much more.

That, good friends, begins with our optimistic cover this month. Full of life and the freshness spring represents, thanks to our extended team of photographer Mark Oberlin and stylist Dion “Bleu” Drake, who made our vision of spring’s fashion come alive page after page. Much like Rose Betty Williams serves her fly on a champagne glass point of view as she seemingly grabs us by the arm and takes us along to her favorite stops in the Provence region of France that she loves so much. Similarly, Rob Giardinelli brings the warmth, literally, of Palm Beach to life so much so that shortly after reading ,you may want to book a flight  to jet there.

Then there is our dizzy array of events we have curated from around the state to help organizations tell their stories in a format that they deserve to inspire us all. Our talented editorial, publishing, creative, and design teams make the special experiences we covet come to life here and in every issue, and we are a better publication because of each of their talents. So, it seems that spring makes us a bit sentimental, too, in our gratitude for others who help us make this look so easy. Ever grateful and always thankful for your support and largesse, we hope you enjoy having us with you as you dive into spring’s clear pool of the future making it as spectacularly special as you desire.. First one into the pool…

XO Lance Avery Morgan

Lance@SocietyTexas.com

BY PHOTO: Portrait photography by Gregg Cestaro

THE ART’S THE THING

THE ART’S THE THING

We love seeing (and hearing) art everywhere we go, don’t you? From the local galleries, museums and performance spaces…to international art fairs that reflect the economic trends in the $56 billion dollar-a-year industry of the robust cultural world in which we all live. We truly realize these venues are the gatekeepers of culture for generations past and future.

Recent stories from the art world have become mainstream news like the Bansky piece of art that sold at auction and then self-destructed before the audience’s eyes. Or, DaVinci’s Salvator Mundi that sold to the Louvre Abu Dhabi for $450 million dollars, and has now disappeared. The Warhol that went for over $100 million dollars. The artful world is a never ending source of amazement, to the more regional scope of Texas’ performing and visual art philanthropies receiving record sums of contributions that will fuel art for decades here.

In fact, the arts in Texas run deep. “Art is a nation’s most precious heritage. For it is in our works of art that we reveal to ourselves, and to others, the inner vision which guides us as a nation. And where there is no vision, the people perish,” said President Lyndon Baines Johnson upon signing the National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities Act of 1965. The legacy, we all hope, continues.

Last month, in our debut issue of Society Texas, we kicked off our new media journey by teaming today’s fashion and several contemporary Texas artists we love. We are always keeping an artful–and art-filled­–eye on the prize. Living in a state like Texas makes it easier. Paul Klee, whose work can be seen at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston as well as museums across the world, once said, “Art does not reproduce the visible; rather it makes it visible.”

If you haven’t screened it yet, The Price of Everything, the recently released documentary that explores the world of collectors and high level collection sales at Sotheby’s, is worth the watch. A quote from it, “There are people who know the price of everything, but the value of none” speaks to the fact of really loving art before investing in it. As we all know and have seen, many collectors buy a certain piece as if was an addition to the 40 stocks in their portfolio. Instead, the true art lover buys with passion, their hearts and with a keen eye on future value, of course.

Passion is the thing Texans have for the arts. And, so do we. In this issue, beyond our special artful section, we go back in time to the high flyin’ 70s when Texas-based Braniff Airlines ruled the skies in William Jack Sibley’s feature, The Art of Flying, as well as the chic hotels that have made Dallas an epicenter of chic hospitality in the Room At The Inn feature by Lori Duran. Plus, with all our fashionable and informative departments, we’re keeping you in the know and on the scene with all the best recommendations for what to do and where to go. You want to go to some parties? Join us as we travel around the world and in our state’s backyard for some of the finest events in recent history.

Happy summer and remember to pop Society Texas in your beach bag so you have a little bit of Texas wherever you roam and keep those cards and letters coming about what you’d like to see in future issues that reflects the best of Texas and Texans. 

 

XOLance Avery Morgan 

Lance@SocietyTexas.com 

Portrait photography by Megan Kyle Bennett