SANTA BABY’S EARTHA KITT: ORIGINAL SEX KITTEN’S SONG TURNS 70 THIS YEAR

SANTA BABY’S EARTHA KITT: ORIGINAL SEX KITTEN’S SONG TURNS 70 THIS YEAR

Our Lance Avery Morgan caught up with Eartha Kitt when she performed at Austin’s Cabaret Theater, founded by Stuart Moulton. Here’s a look back at that golden moment…

Femme Fatale. Champagne Chanteuse. Star of stage and screen. Eartha Kitt is the original Material Girl who knows more about the ins and outs of men at 79 years young than most women could ever hope to know. She was discovered while performing in Paris, at the age of 20 by the legendary Orson Welles who called her “the most exciting woman in the world.”

We agree and in fact, we think she’s purrrrrr…fect – just like in her persona as Catwoman on the television series Batman and her film roles in Boomerang, Fatal Instinct, Unzipped, and The Emperor’s New Groove. With her cabaret performance stronger than ever, she’s bringing that sexy act to Texas…to the Austin Cabaret Theater for one night only. Here, in an exclusive interview, she discusses, men, performing and well, more about men.

Everyone calls you a living legend. How does that feel at this point of your career? 

It’s kind of a scary thought, you know, but you have to live with it. I’m someone’s whose been around for awhile.

You’re still the toast of the cabaret set from coast to coast. You just finished up a gig at the Carlyle in New York. How was it? 

I think it’s what people are looking now…they don’t like the kind of music that is hateful or anti-women that’s out there now. They want to feel good again about society and themselves.

When you’re on stage performing, what do you love most about that – is it that instant connection with your audience?

Oh, very much so. The more they give me, the better I feel about what I am doing. It’s how I interpret a song – whether it’s dramatic or comedy. It’s the most wonderful feeling in the world. Thank God I’m able to hold onto these notes – I sing in the same key as I did 30 years ago.

Eartha Kitt and Orson Welles, 1950s

And you’re in your sixth professional decade of making men nervous. You seem to get along well with men…

Darling, I loooove men. A good man is hard to find. Plus, I think I have a lot of fun with the men in my audience – men know I love to tease.  And women understand that –and they get to benefit from it later on in the evening when they are alone with their man. You could say I’ve had some experience with men.

Right, you’ve had some pretty famous boyfriends. What do you find most attractive about men?

That’s easy. It’s the respect they have for women. Orson (Welles) called me the most exciting woman in the world and every woman wants to feel that way about herself, too. It’s important that a man has a good sense of humor. Women should have it, too. Also, a man must have intelligence, but he doesn’t have to be the smartest man in the room. Like most women, I like to keep them guessing…

And women have changed over the years, too?

Women’s Lib took a lot of fun out of teasing. A man doesn’t know what to do anymore – should he hold doors, light a cigarette, and stand up when a lady enters a room? They don’t even send flowers anymore. I think good manners need to come back in style. A woman wants to be cared for.

Agree. Speaking of style, your Santa Baby hit made you an even bigger star and branded you as a sex kitten in a very innocent era in the 1950s. Was that meant to be?

Not really. It wasn’t calculated at all. I was an innocent young girl when I first made that song. Remember, I’m a cotton picker from South Carolina and I’ve never lost that innocence. Of course, I played to that in my career – a woman should always be innocent, darling.

I hear you’re working on your biography. Will you be setting the record straight?

Rejuvenate is my book out now. It’s about what a woman has to do for herself. My biography will be my next book. It’s about me, men, and money… about the fun times and not-so-fun times.

Here’s to Life is a song you like to close your act with. If you hadn’t become a performer, what occupation would you have chosen? 

I would have been a teacher. I’ve learned – and teach – that life is a wonderful path to travel on if you don’t get too panicky on your down moments. The question one should ask is ‘how am I going to best use these moments?’

 

SISTER ACT: MARGARET & ALICIA AMBERSON’S ESTANCIA CLOTHING REFLECTS TEXAS SPIRIT

SISTER ACT: MARGARET & ALICIA AMBERSON’S ESTANCIA CLOTHING REFLECTS TEXAS SPIRIT

By Eleanora Morrison         Photography courtesy of Estancia

Sisters Margaret and Alicia Amberson’s designs are inspired by their South Texas heritage and the nuanced, multicultural identity of ranching women in the region with their brand, Estancia Clothing,

On a characteristically sweltering September Saturday in San Antonio, I made my first pilgrimage to the bi-annual Le Purge sale at Blue Star Arts Complex. I didn’t know what to expect from this chic, curated clearance of top local retailers, but I could’ve never predicted how inspired I would feel that afternoon.

As I made my first lap around the venue to survey the vendors and decide whose items I would peruse, I was drawn to a booth where I spotted the most beautiful garments hanging, distinguished by their authentic and sophisticated flair. I walked up to explore them further; when I felt the quality of the fabrics, admired the lines and patterns of the vests, knits, scarves and accessories, I was transported to wherever the hills were alive…which could have been the Texas Hill Country or Salzburg, Austria—whatever this brand of clothing was, it was communicating something nuanced, elevated, and universal to strong women. I needed to know who made it and the story behind why they did.

For design duo Margaret and Alicia Amberson, memories of an enchanted childhood on South Texas ranch lands with their grandfather have inspired their up-and-coming fashion label, Estancia Clothing. The Amberson sisters are young design talent to watch, on a mission to create a brand that empowers women with the same sense of strength and grace they find in the boundless landscapes and rich wildlife of South Texas.

The word estancia is Spanish for cattle ranch, and the brand’s garments exude the creative tension inherent in the nature of their namesake. The construction is part delicate elegance, part durable strength. The luxurious fabrics fasten at the seams to silhouette the grace of the female form, outfitting its wearer in stylishly elevated armor to find the strength and confidence for any occasion, from rural land management to cosmopolitan travel, business management and everything in between.

Estancia garments are primarily manufactured in Los Angeles (where Margaret lives) and Turkey, with a strong emphasis on quality control and ethical production. The attention to detail is evident in the craftsmanship of the pieces. “When searching for our manufacturing partners, we prioritized shared commitments to quality, ethics, and sustainability,” Alicia passionately told me. “Collaborating closely with local suppliers and manufacturers ensures our designs are brought to life as envisioned.”

When it comes to their creative process, Alicia and Margaret operate Estancia as a team, complementing each other’s crafts and strengths. Alicia is the artist, hand-painting and drawing each pattern. She sketches and colors every element of nature that becomes an inspired design. Her visualizations begin the production journey of the garments and accessories with prints and patterns. Margaret is the designer who takes Alicia’s art and processes it for production, painstakingly developing and manufacturing each garment through completion. The twins’ partnership ensures an integration of original artistry and distinctive quality in every piece they co-create.

To learn more about how you can enjoy the Estancia style, visit EstanciaClothing.com.

SAN ANTONIO: FLYING HIGH WITH BIRDS OF A FEATHER THEME

SAN ANTONIO: FLYING HIGH WITH BIRDS OF A FEATHER THEME

Texas Biomedical Forum Celebrates With Gala

By Sallie Lewis        Photography by Katie Clementson of Billo Smith Photography

THE SETTING: Recently, The Argyle was in full bloom for the 52nd annual Texas Biomedical Forum Gala. Every year, this event is one of the most anticipated soirees of the spring season–and this year was no exception. Gala Co-Chairs Triana Grossman and Gloria Dilley presented this year’s theme, Birds of a Feather Flock Together, in honor of the covey of women who’ve helped the Forum fly to new heights since its founding in 1970. And are the women of the past, present, and future who’ve made a lasting impact on our community.

On a balmy Saturday evening, hundreds of people descended on The Argyle’s front lawn, where live finches greeted guests from inside a beautiful antique birdcage. Cocktails were served beneath a soaring sail tent that was fashioned with a Greek key trim, draped twinkle lights, and fresh flowers in every imaginable shade of pink. The gala’s custom crest, with its floral and avian motifs, was painted onto the event’s large circular bar and dance floor, while DJ RomiQ and the Dallas String Quartet (DSQ) played onstage amidst a meadow of flowering cherry blossom trees. Elsewhere in the tent, chic lounge areas in shades of ivory and celadon flanked tall folding screens wrapped in Gucci’s Green Heron wallpaper. Linda West, the Dallas-based fortune teller and cheeky “Lipsologist,” also brought her lip-print reading prowess to the celebration this year.

Texas Biomedical Forum Gala Committee 2023

Miguel and Gloria Dilley & Triana and Brandon Grossman

Amelita Mauze, Avril Byrne, Lauren Biegler, Allegra Hawkins, Adrianna Grossman, Christina Ketabchi, Megan Steves, Bonnie Muecke, Amy Berg and Elaine Vornsand

Tracee Feik, Jessica Berg, Heather deRojas, Nancy Finney, Ashley Campbell, Angel Myers, Amy Garcia and Rita Feik

THE STYLE: The 2023 Ribbon Pull was another highlight of the event–and one that helped bolster the fundraising goals. Four glimmering life-size trees draped with red ribbons and acrylic birds revealed a medley of prizes, from gift cards to Kelly Wade Jewelers to local fitness, beauty, and photography packages. Later, guests were treated to a magical, candlelit dinner inside the club. Fresh garlands woven with lush green vines, hot pink peonies, fragrant roses, and cherry blossoms graced every room and table in what was surely one of the most glamorous nights at The Argyle on record. The three-course menu thoughtfully paid homage to the night’s avian theme, from the club’s favorite chicken fried quail to a decadent chocolate Faberge egg presented in a phyllo nest for dessert.

Clark Mandigo lll, Camille Mandigo, Clark Mandigo ll, Kay Mandigo, Keri and John Moses & Molly Mandigo

Christopher and Adrianna Grossman, Heather Russo, Cece Griffin, Lee Lee, Emilie and Christopher Petty & Amelita and David Mauze

JB and Corinna Richter & Jordana and Benjie Matthews

As the night progressed, Forum members and guests alike bid on silent auction items that ranged from fine jewelry by David Webb and Fannie Thomas, to premium Formula 1 tickets, mink shawls by Mackenzie Brittingham, and trips to Tuscany and Laguna Beach. Dallas-based jeweler Joe Pacetti donated jewelry to the auction as well. Undoubtedly, the night’s most precious prizes came from the five-month-old French Bulldog and three-month-old Goldendoodle puppy, both of whom made the rounds all evening with fresh floral collars.

Emilie Petty, Gloria Dilley, Claire Cavender, Triana Grossman and Bonnie Muecke

Ann Cross, Kristan Northington, Alice Welder and Margye Northington

After the party, guests returned to the whimsical tent for an after party featuring live music and late-night bites. Before flying the nest, guests left with a parting gift courtesy of Saks Fifth Avenue, who generously donated their popular Nest candles to all in attendance. It was an evening to remember–and one for the record books.

The scene at the Texas Biomed 2023 gala

Table setting at the Texas Biomed 2023 gala

THE PURPOSE: This year’s event grossed over $1 million, which will help spearhead and support the groundbreaking research at the Texas Biomedical Research Institute. A special thanks goes to Batchelor Cadillac and Cavender Cadillac for their sponsorships which make such a difference.

BALLET SAN ANTONIO HOSTS ARTFUL LUNCHEON

BALLET SAN ANTONIO HOSTS ARTFUL LUNCHEON

Sarah Hoover and CeCe Barfield Thompson Create Lively Conversation About The Arts

By Lance Avery Morgan   Photography by Tony Garcia Photography

Sofiane Sylve, Kristin Tips, Marie Mays,, Claire McNab and Gloria Steves Dilley.

THE SETTING: Recently, it was the perfect day for a luncheon when Sarah Hoover, a renowned art historian, writer, and consultant, along with interior designer CeCe Barfield Thompson visited San Antonio to share their affinity for the arts. We love that Ballet San Antonio’s annual fundraising luncheon is always a favorite with the sociables in San Antonio.

Jenevieve Zoch, Allison Reyes, Sage Blount, Ashley Friedman, Rachel Halliday, and Sarah Geibel

Chaired by Marie Mays, the event led thought-provoking conversations on the importance of the arts and the profound impact it will holds for generations to come. Additionally, Hoover and Thompson shared why they admire ballet and how the art has influenced their lives.

Sarah Hoover, Marie Mays, CeCe Barfield Thompson and Corinna Richter

Sarah Hoover, Marie Mays, CeCe Barfield Thompson and Corinna Richter

THE STYLE: “Our Annual Luncheon is a fun and engaging event that helps us raise funds to advance our mission to share the splendor of dance through diverse artistic performances and outreach programs, nurture exceptional professional dancers and make dance accessible to the widest possible audiences,” said Evin Eubanks, CEO of Ballet San Antonio.

CeCe Barfield Thompson and Sarah Hoover

The mission of Ballet San Antonio, a professional ballet company, is to share the splendor of dance through diverse artistic performances and outreach programs that reflect, promote and enrich the cultural heritage of the South Texas community.

Bonnie Muecke, CeCe Frost Griffin, Meredith Howard, Emilie Petty and Amelita Mauze

THE PURPOSE: BSA holds an uncompromising commitment to continually attract and nurture exceptional professional dancers, create distinctive performances, and make dance accessible to the widest possible audiences through partnerships with local organizations. For more information and to learn how to support, visit here.

Clara Ostrander, Maddie Allen, Rachel Halliday, and Nicola Bathie McLaughlin

The scene at the Ballet San Antonio luncheon

STORY OF SONG

STORY OF SONG

Change Sings At The SAFE Storybook Gala

By Rob Giardinelli Photography by Konstantin Belyshev and Justin Rouhier

THE SETTING: The Omni Barton Creek Resort in Austin was the recent setting for a night of fun and fundraising. Over 600 attendees were on hand for the annual SAFE Storybook Gala. The cocktail-attired crowd began the evening with drinks in the foyer outside the venue’s ballroom. Guests were encouraged to wear their favorite attire to showcase their musical flair as a nod to the theme of the evening, Change Sings. As partygoers sipped on their favorite spirits, they had the opportunity to peruse silent auction items, receive a personalized poem courtesy of Typewriter Rodeo, and mingle with other revelers.

 

THE STYLE: The festivities then moved into the ballroom for the main program. As guests dined on their delicious multi-course meals, they were treated to highly impactful testimonials from the organization’s leaders and those who have benefitted from SAFE’s services. Next came a spirited live auction with many fabulous items, the highlight of which was a private in-home dining experience with Uchiko’s Tyson Cole, which sold twice for $30,000 each.

 

The evening was capped off by giving the SAFE Guardian Award to Frankie Fowler, who was recognized for her tireless contributions to the organization. Upon receiving the award, she was surprised by an onstage performance by the Austin Chapter of the Texas Gospel Choir, whose beautiful songs brought tears to the eyes of many, and the crowd to their feet, ending the evening on a high note.

 

THE PURPOSE: The event, co-chaired by Pamela Benson Owens and Diane Land, raised over $900,000 for The SAFE Alliance. Funds raised from the event will provide services for children and adults of abuse, including shelter, face-to-face and digital support, advocacy, prevention, and educational programs.