Black Tie & Tales


Black Tie & Tales


Date: January 4, 2012
by: Molly Schechter | Food Editor



+ Turning the page
Effective with next week’s Diversions, Loren Mayo will take the reins as Black Tie Editor. She has held several positions during her five years with The Observer Group, most recently community editor of the Sarasota Observer.

Loren is as comfortable with multimedia as she is with newsprint; she is as pleasant to do business with as she is smart, savvy and stylish; and I know you are going to love reading her column. I am going to love reading her column! She is covering events starting with the Perlman & Pearls Celebration Concert and Gala this weekend. Going forward, photographer Peter Acker will be shooting for her on occasion. A tip: When you see Loren, check out her shoes. She has some of the best personal pedestals in town and wears them superbly.

+ Looking back
It was October 2008 when I wrote my first Black Tie & Tales column, and I am going to take this opportunity to tell you just how much I have loved doing it and maybe get a few things off my chest.
I get kidded a lot about getting paid to party. Trust me; it is work. That Nikon is heavy. When you have gone home to sleep, I have gone home to my computer, praying that I can read my own writing, that I correctly spelled all your names and that all systems are go so you can see your photos online as soon as possible.

There is unarguably some frivolity in reporting on the social scene, but there is substance as well. I don’t think of myself as a “Gossip Girl,” though I loved reading what Bob Plunket once wrote under that headline. This beat as I defined it is the human-interest side of philanthropy and its role is to energize the fundraising activities that provide much- needed support for Sarasota charities.

If it is legitimate work, this job has also been more fun than you can imagine, thanks in large part to the people I have met who are amazingly active and generous.

There are the ladies who have chaired multiple events in a season: Myrna Band, Veronica Brady, Dottie Garner, Nikki Nilon, Chris Pfahler (before she got a paying job), Mary Ann Robinson, Tana Sandefur and Sally Schule, who has done wonders for the image of Saks. And there is Margaret Wise, who is in a class by herself.

There are women who have chaired an event year after year: Anne Folsom Smith for the Sarasota Orchestra, for example, Mary Kenealy-Barbetta for Catholic Charities and the team of Marilyn Naiditch and Naomi Wertheimer for Technion.

The town continues to attract such folks: Peggy Abt, in town only two years, is chairing three events this season and serving on at least that many more committees; Beverly Bartner, even newer to Sarasota, has chaired many events for the Asolo Rep.

Most heartening is the emerging younger generation of such committed individuals, including Susan Jones, Nikki Taylor, Kyla Weiner and the Observer’s own Emily Walsh Parry.

In what other line of work would I have come in contact with the likes of Gerri Aaron, Beatrice Friedman, Bev Koski, Lee Peterson, Betty Schoenbaum and Ulla Searing, grandes dames all? What about the hybrid donor/volunteers who do so much of the work? Jewel Ash and Carolyn Michel, the girls who can’t say no, top that list. Lest I be accused of chauvinism, it has been a joy to associate with creative, committed guys such as Warren Coville and Harry Leopold.

Those lists make no pretense of being complete, so please don’t fuss.

The Black Tie section does not, I am happy to say, get many complaints. The one we hear most often is that we run the same peoples’ photos too often. We try not to do that, but when you look at the extensive activity of folks such as these, you will understand how it sometimes happens.

If there is a cohort that deserves more visibility I call it the stalwarts … the folks who dress up and show up night after night to benefit the organizations they care about. Among my personal favorites are Jorgen and Gudrun Graugaard who support many different performing-arts organizations.

In parting, a word of thanks to the people who helped me learn this job. It was Marjorie North who told me that success would have more to do with what I did not write than what I did write. And in the beginning, Emily showed up at my house one Sunday, plopped a Mac down on the desk of a committed PC user, walked me few a through things and breezed out saying, “It’ll be just fine.”

Thanks to all of you, it has been wonderful, and I can borrow a line from Moss Hart and “exit laughing.”

+ Looking forward
I am not disappearing, just appearing less. As I have told many of you, I want to get up one morning, have a cup of coffee and go back to bed! I will continue as food editor writing the weekly “Edibles” feature and as the fitness writer with the monthly “Aerobic Grandma” column in the Longboat Observer, which begins its 16th year with the column in this issue. Wow! I will be a contributing editor for Black Tie and help Loren with column input and whatever she asks of me.


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Currently 1 Response

  • 1.
  • You did it well and you did it with class, Molly. Can't ask for more than that.

    See ya on the other side of the lens.

    Terry Romine
  • Terry Romine
    Wed 4th Jan 2012
    at 11:26am
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