WALK ON THE WILD SIDE

WALK ON THE WILD SIDE

Dallas Zoo’s Gala Captures The Spirit Of The Wild

By Cynthia Smoot – Photography by Thomas Garza and Monika Normand

THE SETTING: This year’s Zoo To Do fundraiser, presented by The Eugene McDermott Foundation, was, without a doubt, the most Instagrammable party of the year. In addition to being greeted by Dawn and Steve Moore, this year’s event chairs, the 700 guests who entered the front gates of the Dallas Zoo were welcomed by animal ambassadors, including flamingos, an anteater, and penguins as a reminder of why Zoo To Do is so important.

Honorary Chef Chair Dan Landsberg of Dragonfly at Hotel Zaza, along with Chef Wrangler Brett Krafft from the Hilton Lincoln Centre, joined guests at the award-winning Giants of the Savanna exhibit for a strolling dinner among the 30 restaurant stations representing the finest restaurants in Dallas. How often can one say they had lions, elephants, African painted dogs, and cheetahs as dinner companions?

 THE STYLE: At each station, the executive chefs served delicious gourmet treats of appetizers, entrée specialties, and desserts. Bars placed throughout the exhibit provided fine wines and craft cocktails, too. Following the dinner and live auction portion of the evening, the Zoo To Do 2 after-party crowd joined in the celebration at the Wilds of Africa Plaza, where everyone danced the night away to music from the Emerald City All-Stars, one of the city’s best live party cover bands.

 THE PURPOSE: The Dallas Zoo, recently named one of the nation’s Top 10 Zoos by USA Today, is the largest zoological experience in Texas. Accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums, the venue features a 106-acre park, thousands of animals, and an education department that offers programs for all ages. This year’s event resulted in over one million dollars raised to help support the Dallas Zoo’s dedication to providing the best animal care, deliver unique education offerings, and strengthen its wildlife conservation efforts.

 

SEQUINS & STARS

SEQUINS & STARS

FGI Dallas Honors Bob Mackie, Several Others In Star-Studded Gala

By Rob Giardinelli – Photography by William Neal of WJNPHOTO

THE SETTING: The Adolphus Hotel in Dallas was the chic setting of Fashion Group International’s annual Night of Stars gala. Several hundred of Dallas’ most notable fashionistas, sociables, and philanthropists were on hand for an evening that was full of fun and fashion.

 THE STYLE: The sequin and satin-chic crowd began the evening with a VIP cocktail reception in the foyer of the Adolphus, where guests had the chance to mingle and pose for photos with the guests of honor. In the venue, an eclectic mix of festive fashions  had as much personality and pizazz as the partygoers themselves. Women donned sumptuous sequins, while men sported a mix of velvet and brocade tuxedos.

The action then moved into the main ballroom for the evening’s program, where patrons were treated to a multi-course meal. Master of Ceremonies Cameron Silver effortlessly kept the crowd engaged and the festivities flowing at a brisk, fun pace. Then one by one, each of the honorees came to the stage to accept their awards, including the Career Achievement Award in Fashion,  Veronica Beard, Career Achievement Award in Entertainment, Angie Harmon, Career Achievement Award in Business, John Terlingo, and Philanthropist of the Year Award, Sandra Moon.

The program was capped off in grand style when ageless supermodel Jan Strimple came to the stage to present the Lifetime Achievement Award to fashion designer Bob Mackie, who treated the audience to a fashion show featuring eight exquisite looks from his archive that brought the audience to their feet…and provided them with an unforgettable experience they will not soon forget.

 THE PURPOSE: The event, chaired by Victoria Snee, benefited Fashion Group International of Dallas. The organization provides scholarships, internships, and career counseling services to those pursuing a career in fashion and related businesses.

 

WICKED COOL

WICKED COOL

Children’s Museum of Houston’s A Wicked Affair Gala Raises Nearly $1.1 Million

By Rob Giardinelli – Photography by Alexander’s Fine Portrait Design

THE SETTING: The Corinthian in Houston was the recent setting of a wickedly good time. Over 500 of the city’s most notable sociables, philanthropists, and advocated gathered for the annual Children’s Museum of Houston gala. This year’s theme, A Wicked Affair, was a spellbinding evening that those fortunate enough to be a part of will not soon forget.

 

THE STYLE: The evening began with a cocktail hour in the beautiful foyer of the Beaux Arts venue. Here, patrons mingled while perusing an impressive array of silent auction items. The crowd featured a mix of black-tie clad patrons along with those who dressed thematically for the evening’s celebration. Certain tables even coordinated various themes of some of their favorite cultural touchstones, including James Bond, Peter Pan, and many others.

The action then moved to the beautifully designed main floor for the event’s program. Guests dined on a scrumptious multi-course meal courtesy of Jackson & Company. Next came the live auction, which featured spirited bidding on a host of haute items including Caribbean Getaways, a shop ‘til you drop experience at Neiman Marcus and an entertainers dream…dinner for 50 in Houston’s First National Bank Vault located in the basement of The Corinthian. The evening was capped off as partygoers danced the night away to the tunes of the Matt Wilson Band.

 

THE PURPOSE: The event, co-chaired by Ashley and Walter Weathers and Lyndsey and Bret Zorich, raised almost $1.1 million for the Children’s Museum of Houston. Over the past year, the Children’s Museum of Houston has received over 742,000 onsite visitors and impacted more than 472,000 children and parents through its educational and outreach programming.

 

STRIKING A CORD

STRIKING A CORD

Houston Grand Opera’s Season Opening Night Performance And Dinner

By Jennifer Roosth – Photography by Jenny Antill and Wilson Parish

THE SETTING: The Houston Grand Opera (HGO) opened its 65th season with a celebratory evening featuring  a new production of Verdi’s beloved Rigoletto under the direction of Tomer Zvulun and with a much-anticipated return to the Ray C. Fish Plaza at the Wortham Theater. The evening began with HGO Managing Director Perryn Leech welcoming patrons back to the Wortham Theater Center for Opening Night with a heartfelt recognition of the evening’s gala committee, and HGO Artistic and Musical Director, Patrick Summers. Later, the cast and artistic team of the new season’s production was introduced before the cast of Rigoletto took the stage to portray the famous story of lust, jealousy, and revenge.

 THE STYLE: Following the performance, the tradition continued with the Opening Night dinner at the Ray C. Fish Plaza with more than than 400 guests, who were greeted by a juggling jester and champagne cocktails. The attendees gathered under the elegant clear-top tent with a backdrop of the clear night’s sky to honor the cast and creative team of the new production.

The Events Company provided a warmly elegant gala setting complete with lush fall florals and Italian murals, and Tony’s Catering served an inspired dinner that flowed like an aria. The feast began with fresh burrata accented with Treviso, Fuji apple, and pomegranate, followed by a duet of beef filet and Branzino and ending with the operatic, Ah! The Curse, a flourless chocolate cake complemented by blackberry compote.

 THE PURPOSE: The Opening Night event was chaired by Drs. Rachel and Warren A. Ellsworth IV and raised over $375,000 for the Houston Grand Opera, one of the largest, most innovative, and highly acclaimed opera companies in the United States. Having toured extensively and after  winning a Tony®, two Grammy® awards, and three Emmy® awards, it is the only opera company to win all three honors.

OH, HOW MODERN

OH, HOW MODERN

MFAH Grand Gala Makes Artful Impact

By Jennifer Roosth – Photography by Jenny Antill, Daniel Ortiz & Wilson Parish

THE SETTING: Nearly 300 guests recently walked the pink carpet for the Grand Gala Ball at the Caroline Wiess Law Building of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Reflecting the theme Abstraction: Moving into Modern, the event featured a curated selection of abstract pieces anchored by Trenton Doyle Hancock’s Good Vegan Procession #5 mounted on the wall of Cullinan Hall. Measuring a massive 54 feet wide by 18 feet high, the mural-scaled backdrop depicts a brightly colored forest glade with silhouettes of over a hundred dancing trees across a field of many colors. The Events Company mirrored the vibrant color palette with fresh floral arrangements in various hues, as well as Lucite tables and chairs to enhance the modern aesthetic. At the base of Cullinan Hall’s staircase, guests posed for pictures in front of a fresh flower wall spanning shades of white, pink, red, lavender, and deep purple roses, while admiring the Harry Winston jewels posed on models atop mirrored platforms in front of the flower wall.

 

THE STYLE: Remarks were made by Chairman of the Board of Trustees’ Rich Kinder, Director of the MFAH Gary Tinterow, Houston Salon Director of Harry Winston Petra Martinez, and VP North America of Harry Winston Michael Moser. City Kitchen prepared a magnificent three-course dinner, starting with cauliflower soup with preserved lemon and parsley. Guests were also served pan-roasted main lobster with shallots, thyme, and crème fraîche; prime-aged beef tenderloin medallions with Bordelaise sauce; twice-baked Yukon gold potatoes with cheddar and scallions; and asparagus. For dessert, guests enjoyed a lemon meringue tart with raspberry sorbet and raspberry coulis. The event featured live entertainment by Jessie’s Girls, as well as a special performance by Grammy®-Award-winning singer Bruce Hornsby, who was hand-selected by Susanne and Bill Pritchard. Hornsby performed his chart-topping songs for guests, including The Way It Is, The End of Innocence, and Mandolin Rain.

 

THE PURPOSE: This year’s event, chaired by Susanne and Bill Pritchard, raised a total of $1.9 million to support the Museum’s general operating budget. Supporting local communities and giving hope to those in need has been a hallmark of the House of Harry Winston, the evening’s presenting sponsor, since its founding in 1932.

 

FLORAL FLOURISH

FLORAL FLOURISH

Charity Ball Association Celebrates Million Dollar Fundraising

By Leanne Raesener Photography by Jenna Beth Lyde

THE SETTING: The Charity Ball Association (CBA) of San Antonio’s 65th Chrysanthemum Ball was held at the Witte Museum’s Valero Great Hall and Mays Family Center, with a record-breaking $1 million of funds raised by the almost 600 supporters in attendance.

The black-tie clad and elegantly attired guests arrived on a 100-foot long red carpet through a floral fantasy arch. They were ushered in by formally attired stilt walkers and entertainers while listening to the amazing sounds of the Youth Orchestra San Antonio (YOSA).

THE STYLE: The décor, inspired by the CBA’s 65th anniversary commemorative scarf, was designed by award-winning artist Stuart Seal, and featured blue sapphires, gold chains, acanthus leaves, cut crystal, and colorful chrysanthemums, all centered by The Charity Ball Association of San Antonio’s 65th anniversary logo.

The floral design by Danny Cueller of Trinity Flowers was the perfect pièce-de-résistance with the ballroom’s beautifully adorned tables covered with oversized glass vases supporting a burst of colorful flowers that paid homage to that scarf’s colorful palette. A 15-foot tall ice sculpture by award-winning Buddy Rasmussen framed with opulent florals greeted guests as they entered The Mays Family Center.

As the night commenced, guests savored decadent hors d’oeuvres, including a beef carpaccio crostini, house-made salmon mousse topped with Bowfin caviar and fried Parmesan artichoke hearts before arriving at a three-course meal that included brown butter and seared thyme filet paired with a seared scallop atop a creamed Gruyere spinach, all by Rosemary’s Catering. Wine pairings were an elegant and perfect accompaniment to the gourmet meal.

THE PURPOSE: Sharon Seal, CBA vice president of decorations, created a special, unique, and memorable evening, while CBA President, Lynn Ziegler, orchestrated the festivities. The Association celebrated the founders of the Association. Gala attendees enjoyed a video of past CBA grant recipients, and a slideshow of historical photos, archived Rotogravure books, and newspaper clippings that delighted all, especially those who saw their beloved grandmothers, parents, relatives, and family friends through the decades.

Part of the fun included the moment Billy Cavender drew the winning Gold Ticket for the new Cadillac that was given away, and the Charity Ball Association graciously acknowledged decades of giving by Cavender Cadillac. The Charity Ball Association of San Antonio supports the children of Bexar County by distributing grants each year since 1954, now totaling more than $21 million. The organization’s tenet is Children Benefit Always.