TO THE MOON

TO THE MOON

Museum of Fine Arts Houston Celebrates Art of the Islamic Worlds Gala 

By Jennifer Roosth Photography by Priscilla Dickson and Wilson Parish

THE SETTING: Over 375 guests arrived at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston for the biennial Art of the Islamic Worlds gala held in Cullinan Hall. The Events Company elegantly set the tables with navy shantung silk linens, acrylic ghost chairs, and delicate, white floral arrangements artfully comprised of orchids, calla lilies, and hydrangeas.. Complementing this year’s theme of Under One Moon, projections of the night sky with a prominent moon, which continually transformed from full to crescent throughout the evening, were also displayed on the walls surrounding the seated dinner.
THE STYLE: After MFAH Director, Gary Tinterow, made the welcoming remarks, City Kitchen served a delectable three-course seated dinner. For dessert, guests enjoyed a trio of a rose-petal rice pudding shooter, an apricot bar with black cherry, anise, and candied ginger compote, and a bittersweet chocolate and soft cardamom truffle with pistachio crumble, cinnamon-scented mascarpone, and an espresso cookie. Entertainment during dinner was provided by a special performance by Ziya Azazi: Dervish in Progress. Following dinner, guests danced the night away to the sounds of DJ Senega.
THE PURPOSE: This year’s gala raised a total of $945.000 through ticket sales and donations. Members of the Executive Gala Committee served as hosts of the black-tie event, including Rania Daniel, Zeina Fares, Vahid Kooros, Sima Ladjevardian, Sultana Mangalji, Franci Neely, Cenk Ozdogan, Sabiha Rehmatulla, Aliyya Stude, and Monsour Taghdisi, along with underwriters The Honorable and Mrs. Hushang Ansary, Jaleh and Bruce Sallee, Rania and Jamal Daniel, and Mona and Andrew Sarofim.

 

BELLO ITALIANO

BELLO ITALIANO

Festari’s Una Notte Event Hosts Annual Event Supporting Houston Area Women’s Center

By Jennifer Roosth Photography by Daniel Ortiz and Quy Tran

THE SETTING: When over 600 guests attended the annual Una Notte in Italia, A Night in Italy, “celebrity” men’s fashion show and gala where philanthropic men and local athletes walk the runway on behalf of the charity, they knew they were in for a treat. The foyer and ballroom at the Omni Houston Hotel were draped in all things Italian, including elaborate topiaries, vines, candelabras, and a stunning backdrop on the runway with a handsome, contemporary image of Michelangelo’s David. Vibrant red roses and seasonal greenery provided beautiful framed photo ops as guests entered the gala before the big night.

THE STYLE: The fun-filled fête began with a lively cocktail hour that was complete with silent auction and premier bar along with specialty tequilas provided by Riazul. Once guests were seated in the ballroom, the handsome gents took to the catwalk in fabulous fashions provided by Rudy Festari of Festari for Men. The stellar line-up included Drs. Kota Reddy and Matthew Harbison, attorneys James Lassiter and Kent Schaffer, restauranteur Ben Berg, jewelers Tony Bradfield and Kevin Black, businessmen Rick Perez, Danny Brown, Nick Merchant, Bill Baldwin, and Pablo Delgado, to name a few.

The finale featured Houston Texans players Cullen Gillaspia, DJ Reader, and Justin Reid and Astros pitcher Lance McCullers and Hall of Famer Jeff Bagwell, as confetti and roses were thrown from the cheering crowd. Guests then enjoyed a multi-course Italian meal complete with Italian wines, of course, as the live auction began. To close the evening’s activities, guests made their way to the newly renovated Black Swan club within the hotel to dance the night away.

THE PURPOSE: The evening was emceed by television anchor Dominique Sachse, and was co-chaired by Rachel Bagwell and Sneha Merchant, with Debbie Festari serving as honorary chair. This year’s event raised close to $400,000 on behalf of Houston Area Women’s Center, an agency that provides hope and healing from the effects of domestic and sexual violence.

 

THAT’S WHAT FRIENDS ARE FOR

THAT’S WHAT FRIENDS ARE FOR

Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation Hosts 2020 Winter Ball

By Jennifer Roosth Photography Daniel Ortiz and Jacob Power

THE SETTING: Over 550 guests gathered at the Hilton Americas for the 33rd anniversary of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation 2020 Winter Ball, themed Warm Friends on a Winter Night. Glorious gowns took center stage as 11 Houston-area women were honored for their volunteerism in the Houston community.

THE STYLE: The cocktail hour, the dinner, and the live and silent auctions all contributed to the success of the evening. For 33 years, the Chron’s & Colitis Foundation and ABC13 have celebrated remarkable women in Houston. This event’s theme and honorees were chosen as representatives of friendship and the caring spirit of Houston toward its many philanthropic organizations. This year’s Women of Distinction honorees were Cheryl Byington, Zane Carruth, Theresa Chang, Elsie Eckert, Myrtle Jones, Brigitte Kalai, Kelley Lubanko, Joy McCormack, Hannah McNair, Mary Tere Perusquia and Betty Hrncir, the 2020 Ambassador. The evening was led by emcee Tom Koch of ABC13, and produced by Ellie Francisco and Niki Smith.

THE PURPOSE: Lesha Elsenbrook and Bobbie Nau chaired the Winter Ball, both former Women of Distinction, and Sidney Faust and Cora Sue Mac, served as Honorary Chairs, also past Women of Distinction and Ambassadors. The event raised over $800,000. Honored Heroes Marni Goldman, Blake Hicks, Faith Stuchly, and Ambassador Caitlin Rowley, shared their stories and journeys with Crohn’s disease, demonstrating the importance of the funds raised at the event. The night’s major sponsors included Sewell Automotive Companies, Tootsies, H-E-B, BB&T/SunTrust (now Truist), Gittings, and Tenenbaum Jewelers.

 

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.