Eighth Annual MTV: REDEFINE Art Event Sizzles

By Rob Giardinelli          Photography by Bruno and Fort Lion Studio

THE SETTING: The Statler Hotel in Dallas was the setting for the eighth annual MTV RE:DEFINE Art Auction and Gala. Over 300 notable Sociables from Dallas, London and beyond were on hand for a fantastic evening of fun and fundraising.

THE STYLE: The evening began with cocktails where the rocker chic-attired crowd sipped cocktails while previewing 30 pieces of exemplary contemporary art and luxury experiences up for bid during the benefit auction. The action then moved into the ballroom for the evening’s program, which was emceed by MTV’s Rebecca Dudley. 

Highlights of the program included a live-auction helmed by world-renowned auctioneer Simon de Pury, who presided over spirited bidding of many priceless works. Among the items up for bid were two works from Marc Quinn, who was also honored during the program for his long-standing support of MTV RE:DEFINE. The program was concluded with a show-stopping performance by superstar Rita Ora. The fun continued well past midnight as partygoers danced the night away at an after party to the tunes of internationally known DJ Aeroplane who was flown in specifically for the event by after party host Giorgio of Los Angeles, capping off a magical evening that those on hand will always remember.

THE PURPOSE: The event was co-hosted by Joyce Goss and Kenny Goss, chaired by Sami Abboud, with Jonny Burt and Joe Kennedy serving as art chairs and raised over $1.6 million dollars. Proceeds from the evening will go toward HIV prevention and education through the MTV Staying Alive Foundation as well as arts education and awareness through the Goss Michael Foundation. Since it’s founding in 2011, MTV: REDEFINE has raised over $14 million dollars for these causes.



Society For Performing Arts Celebrates 50th Anniversary

By Jennifer Roosth          Photography by Wilson Parrish

THE SETTING: The Society for the Performing Arts held its Black & White Ball at the Wortham Center Grand Foyer to celebrate over 50 years of bringing the world’s best performances to Houston. Reminiscent of the Party of the Century hosted by Truman Capote in New York City in 1966, the SPA Black & White Ball was indeed the party to remember this season.

THE STYLE: Over 400 black tie guests, clad in black and white with a dazzling array of bewitching masks, enjoyed cocktails and canapés while perusing the silent auction. Jackson & Co created a fabulous three-course meal and Rebekah Johnson created an elegantly over-the-top room décor with cascading crystal chandeliers installed above beautiful towering sprays of orchids and roses on the tables. Auctioneer Jeff Smith raised a record-breaking  figure from the fabulous auction curated by Yasmine Haddad. Guests were then mesmerized by the exciting performances of the cast of Chicago and then danced the night away to Empire 6 at the after party.

THE PURPOSE: The chairs for this unforgettable night raising over $500,000 were Mary Ann and David McKeithan and Cheryl and Sam Byington, with Margaret Alkek Williams serving as honorary chair. Rini and Edward Ziegler were the community honorees and HEB was the corporate honoree. The Society for the Performing Arts presents internationally acclaimed artists from the entire performing arts spectrum, traditional to avant-garde alike, from large orchestras and dance companies to recitalists and solo performers, for audiences at Houston’s Jones Hall.



The Order of the Alamo Presents The Court of America The Beautiful

By Jake Gaines Photography by Gary Stanko  


THE SETTING: The fabulous gowns and trains that are the focal point of the Fiesta coronation each year are legendary. This year the United States quite literally took center stage as the focus, too. Mistress of the Robes Elizabeth Roberts and the Court Artist Roxana Newsom spent the past year designing each work of art that would be worn by the 24 duchesses of The Court of America The Beautiful. The Order of the Alamo coronation chairman has the responsibility of appointing the Mistress of the Robes, the person to decide on a theme, find inspiration and conduct research for the Coronation robe designs. Every year the Coronation has a different theme. Some of the past themes have celebrated Argentine Republic, Treasures of Africa, Nature’s Tapestry, the Napoleonic Empire, and more. Together we focused on some of the themes that make America unique. Endeavoring to tell the story of America, but limited to twenty-four Duchesses, along with and a Queen and Princess, the details in the dresses and trains were very important according to Roberts.

With this most stately theme, the duchesses stunned in their regal gowns, each adorned with Swarovski crystals, glass baguettes, bugle beads, and custom stones. Each gown featured a 10 to 14-foot long train and weighed up to 60 pounds. The theme was inspired by American history, music, art, literature, space exploration, architecture, national parks, flora and fauna, Native Americans, America’s westward expansion and explorers to the New World. Some of the 2019 robe themes were: the New American Sound, Celestial Wonders, Celebrated Stories, Splendors of the New World, Dreams of Limitless Possibilities, and Lush Tropical Paradise.

The Princess’ train was inspired by the song “America the Beautiful” by Katherine Bates and represented the agricultural and natural riches of America’s Heartland and “Purple Mountains Majesty Above the Fruited Plain.” The Queen’s train represented architectural and environmental elements seen in Washington, D.C. representing influences from across the nation and in international friendships. The capitol, the Jefferson Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, the Oval Office, the Resolute desk and the Washington Mall’s cherry trees in full bloom. Instead of a red, white and blue theme, we chose to focus on the delicate beauty of the cherry blossoms resplendent each spring, planted early in the 20th century to celebrate the United States’ then diplomatic friendship with Japan. No detail left unplanned, Roberts and Newsom event utilized cherry blossoms for the coronation stage backdrop showcasing this year’s creations.

 The presentation of these stunning, bejeweled designs culminated with the final young lady to ascend the grand stage of the Majestic Theatre, Claudia Kiolbassa, Queen Of The Court Of America The Beautiful. The Duchesses and the Royal Princess preceded the Queen ascending the stage as well. It is a spectacular evening of pomp and circumstance.

THE STYLE: With a backdrop featuring classic American landmarks, the Majestic lived up to its name setting a most majestic scene for the Order of the Alamo’s coronation of the Queen of the Court of America The Beautiful. Fifteen duchesses from San Antonio and nine duchesses from Houston, Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Eldorado and Napa, California represented various themes woven into the overall collection and ceremony celebrating our state and nation. The first to make an appearance on stage were the young court pages. Each little girl, dressed in a long dress and tiny tiara, curtsied before the crowd and took her place to favorite instrumental performances that represented the United States. It was then that Lord High Chamberlain Wilbur Matthews II made his grand entrance. Serving as King Antonio XCVII was Roger Hill III and the Order of the Alamo President was Marshall Steves III. The Coronation Chairman for the festivities was  Elliott Hayne.

THE PURPOSE: Since 1891, every April, San Antonio celebrates Fiesta to honor the heroes of the historic Battles of the Alamo and San Jacinto. In 1909, the Order of the Alamo joined in what would become the city’s largest party and every year has elected a queen to reign over the celebrations. A princess and a court is comprised of twenty-four duchesses, young ladies from San Antonio, as well as outside San Antonio, are elected to represent Texas’ heritage.



Helping Hand Home Hosts Annual Crystal Deb Presentation And Gala

By Rose Betty Williams Photography by James French Photography

THE SETTING: The Helping Hand Society recently celebrated the 2019 Crystal Ball Brunch And  Fashion Show and black tie Debutante Presentation Gala at the Palmer Events Center. Thirty-two debutantes, their escorts and junior escorts were presented along with 165 ninth grade Helping Hand Girls and Boys and 41 First Grade Princesses.


THE STYLE: The fashion show was presented by Julian Gold and Webber Productions, and the brunch cuisine was provided by Catering by Rosemary, which also catered the Presentation Gala dinner. The debutantes and their fathers enjoyed the first dance followed by the capacity crowd of participants and Helping Hand Society member families, Helping Hand Home supporters, event sponsors, underwriters and friends dancing to the music of the Blind Date.


The 2019 Helping Hand Crystal Ball debutantes are: Lily Balagia, Julia Breeden, Ellie Brumley, Ellen Campbell, Abby Chambless, Marilee Cowden, Cate Davis, Abigail Downing, Carlisle Dunnam, Merritt Fish, MaryAlex Frishman, Tucker Garrison, Claire Gill, Grace Gilmour, Elle Hansen, Suzanne Huff, Sophie Johnson, Mary Frances Kocurek, Olivia Late, Olivia Mansour, Susie McCartt, Libby McFarland, Marina Monsivias, Frances Newton, Carter Nokes, Molly Pitts, Anna Louise Sanders, Anna Claire Smith, Ellie Strehli, Cameron Thompson, Josie Turlington and Cate Von Dohlen.


THE PURPOSE: This year’s gala was co-chaired by Stacy Turlington Dollar and Susie Meserole with a committee of more than 70 Helping Hand Society member volunteers, including HHH President Julie Metzger. The Crystal Ball is the largest fundraiser for the Helping Hand Home for Children. It raised more than 1.3 million dollars in support of the Helping Hand Home’s mission: to provide a nurturing and therapeutic home for children and to restore each child to a healthy family setting. The goal of the organization is to protect and restore the lives of victimized children so that those without hope may reclaim their futures.



Gala Honors 2019 Class Of San Antonio Symphony Belles

By Jake Gaines          Photography by Greg Harrison

THE SETTING: The San Antonio Symphony League recently celebrated its 48th annual Symphony Ball in the heart of the city it calls home. The League presented this year’s class of elegant young Symphony Belles at the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa with their families, friends and symphony supporters.  With the theme of An Evening in The Gardens of Versailles, the attendees enjoyed dinner and dancing late into the night, with catering provided by the JW Marriott.  

THE STYLE: In keeping with tradition, the Belles donned white gowns as they were presented to their guests by their fathers. Following the formal presentation, partygoers enjoyed a scrumptious meal and danced the night away making memories to last a lifetime. The evening concluded a year filled with beautiful teas, luncheons and parties, each celebrating the 2019 senior Symphony Belles and benefitting the San Antonio Symphony League. The floral décor was provided by Danny Cuellar of Trinity Flowers. The resplendent display of roses and hydrangeas in striking shades of pinks and lavenders depicted the ambiance of the gardens of Versailles. Guests enjoyed the evening’s fête with a performance by the Youth Orchestras of San Antonio and after-dinner dancing to the sounds of Finding Friday. 

THE PURPOSE: Rebecca and Keith Long, the 2019 Symphony Ball chairs, created an evening to remember for each Belle and her family. For nearly half a century, the San Antonio Symphony League has proudly presented young ladies who are the children and grandchildren of San Antonio Symphony League members at a formal Symphony Ball. During all four years of high school, Belles earn volunteer service hours through various Symphony League events and one hundred percent of the annual contributions made to the Belle Program are in turn donated to the San Antonio Symphony League.



Briscoe Western Art Museum Presents 18TH Annual Sale And Exhibition

By Jake Gaines          Photography by Super Q Photography

 THE SETTING: Each year the Briscoe Western Art Museum draws art enthusiasts, collectors and visitors for an opportunity to view and purchase nearly 300 works of painting, sculpture and mixed media from 80 of the country’s top western artists. This year was no different as the weekend of festivities was hosted on the banks of the iconic San Antonio River Walk. Attendees were able to enjoy an exciting live auction on Friday night, a panel discussion exploring the emerging western art market and trends on both Friday and Saturday, and a wall sale complete with live music on Saturday evening.

THE STYLE: The wide range of artworks and artist genres reflects the vastness of the great American West. From scenic landscapes, inspired Native Americans, and classic cowboys to stunning wildlife and detailed portraiture, there is something for every attendee and art enthusiast to enjoy. Some of the featured artists include John Coleman, John DeMott, C. Michael Dudash, Martin Grelle, George Hallmark, Z.S. Liang, Mark Maggiori, Jan Mapes, Billy Schenck, Kim Wiggins and Xiang Zhang.

 The opening weekend included a VIP preview, Artist Awards banquet and live auction on Friday with the second annual Briscoe Collectors Summit at the Hotel Contessa. The grand exhibition opening, art sale and reception then happened on Saturday where the memorable evening included the Luck of the Draw art sale, where all works of art are available for purchase. Delicious food stations, libations and live music under the stars from Mickey and The Motorcars rounded out the night. The museum’s public exhibition continued with all unsold artwork available for purchase.

THE PURPOSE: The Night of Artists, chaired this year by Nicole and Rob McLane, is the largest fundraiser for the Briscoe Western Art Museum with all the proceeds benefitting the museum’s programming and mission. The Briscoe Western Art Museum is a collections-based institution building upon art and artifacts that tell the vast and multifaceted story of the American West.