|Memoirs of an UnGala goer|
By Emily Walsh
Black Tie Editor
The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art's UnGala Gala is always full of UnBelieveable events. With its rising ticket price, elevated dress codes (this year's was Black and Red Tie UnAttire) and always-interesting gossip, this fundraising event is definitely UnRivaled. Here's a minute-by-minute account of this year's event "An Evening in the Far East" ...
Saturday, Oct. 21
5:45 p.m. The first of the many Mercedes-Benzes, Rolls Royces and limos pulls up to the front of The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art. Rodney Tregembo of Southwest Parking has his elite valet crew poised and ready for the long night ahead.
6 p.m. Co-Chairs Beth Cannata and Chris Romine arrive with their spouses ... Bob for her, Lynn for him. Cannata wears a gorgeous red gown made of the material the comprised this year's invitation and program book. Romine sports a matching tie of the same material.
6:30 p.m. A Chinese dragon is dancing and geishas are pouring sake in the front circular entrance of the museum. It's official ... the night has begun.
7 p.m. - Mike and Andrea Farrell of Fort Myers walk into the Ringling Museum courtyard for their first UnGala Gala. The loggia is illuminated with a lighting design of Chinese dragons; lanterns light up the sky from above. The statue of David holds court with red obi draped around his waist.
7:15 p.m. - Derek Billib gushes over the talent of musician Sergei Lugovskoy who just graduated from Juilliard. Guests blindly walk past a deer in the headlights ... that poor statue in the courtyard harassed by guests at last year's event. This year, the deer wears lanterns for earrings.
7:47 p.m. - Circus Sarasota's Pedro Reis and Henry Rodriguez compare cell phones, hmm ... whose is bigger? Rodriguez then calls around to find out where he and his wife, Suzanne, left their sponsor tickets ... She reveals that they still managed to get in without the tickets ... a feat definitely not easily accomplished.
8 p.m. - Rebecca Baxter takes a break from flashing photos to chat about her husband, Rick. She jokes about keeping him in the closet.
8:15 p.m. - Sarah Phillips chats to her boyfriend on her cell phone, poses for a picture, and then accidentally drops everything out of her purse onto the dance floor. It's nice to know not everyone's perfect.
8:30 p.m. Mattison's opens the buffet line. The carved beef tenderloin topped with Pacific Rim horseradish sauce (made with fresh ginger and wasabi) was definitely a favorite.
9 p.m. - The evening's entertainment commences with Fushu Daiko playing the Japanese art form of taiko drumming. Fabulous Thai dancers stun with lyrical movements, then a group of ninjas not only perform martial arts, but also throw in a few breakdancing moves and aerial flips.
9:45 - Helen Sosso of Prudential Palms Realty introduces Chuck Swidzinski, one of her agents in Pittsburgh. Swidzinski's brother was a recent winner of the TV show, "The Price is Right." Who knew that game show was still on?
10:10 - While the Karakter Show Band takes a break, the DJ blasts Bon Jovi's "Living on a Prayer.? He stops the music during the chorus so guests can pipe up and sing. UnBelievably they did.
10:37 p.m. Droves of guests with tired feet, including ladies in bare feet (those dang stilettos), exit the museum. Police Sgt. C. Holmes, whom many of you might remember from last year?s event, explain that this year's UnGala was tame and no arrests had been made. He later went on to explain how a taser works to a group of guests.
11:30 p.m. The night is coming to end. Guests clamor for rides home and taxi cabs. The UnGala was yet another UnParalleled beginning to the social season.