+ The secret word is ‘Senior Friendship Centers’
Everywhere you looked, there were miniature rubber duckies and Groucho Marx posters.
Two hundred guests packed into the Senior Friendship Centers for the third annual “Madcap Evening” March 13. Circus Sarasota star Chuck Sidlow played Groucho Marx in an episode of his 1950s TV show “You Bet Your Life.” In a bit of philanthropic onomatopoeia, two of the contestants were octogenarians. Event Chairman Harold Ronson was partnered with violinist Margo Zaryzcka; Jackie LeClaire competed with Becky Taylor. Décor Chairwoman Jewel Ash saw to every detail of the room, personally placing a rubber ducky in each and every wine glass. And nonagenarian Lois Cohodas took the wardrobe prize wearing a form-fitting dress made of beer can tabs that she acquired on a trip to Key West. Bruce and India Lesser and their hosts, Matt and Margaret Callihan, bought one of two dinners-for-eight donated by Michael Klauber. Mr. Ronson and Jules and Sheila Rose bought one as well, raising a total of $17,000 and contributing to the event raising a record amount for the third consecutive year.
+ One season peaks, another plans
About 50 guests gathered at the home of Phil King and Dennis Stover on a recent Saturday afternoon to kick-off the 15th anniversary celebration for Equality Florida. Executive Director Nadine Smith announced plans for a gala to be held Oct. 20, at the New College Campus. Equality Florida is the largest civil-rights organization dedicated to securing full equality for Florida’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.
+ The raising of the green
The Asolo Rep’s major annual fundraiser eschewed an Irish theme in favor of “Ragtime Revival” and drew a beautifully dressed crowd of 510 to the Ringling Museum Courtyard on St. Patrick’s Day.
Although there was hardly any green in sight, several gentlemen, including Peter Laughlin, Harry Leopold and Allen Hochfelder, claimed to be wearing green underwear but declined to show-and-tell. Lynn Kopman was carrying a green Mary Francis bag, and Harold Libby was sporting a necklace of shamrocks. Saks Fifth Avenue General Manager Sally Schule staked her Irish heritage on her maiden name of Cavanaugh and on her green eyes, and Patricia Laughlin laid claim to her saint’s day. Veronica Brady had a green ribbon tied to her handbag, and Teri Hansen dubbed her husband “Steve O’Wilberding” in honor of his green tie. Mary Jane Antrim’s stunning pale-green velvet slip dress evoked both the ragtime period and the “very Irish” heritage she shares with her husband, Stan. Buyers of the five items auctioned live by Michael Klauber plunked down another kind of green, topped by Torontonians Paul and Lynn Damp, who bought three nights in London with Asolo Producing Artistic Director Michael Donald Edwards for $18,000. After the auction, Rita Greenbaum and Elenor Maxheim were among the first on the dance floor hoofing to “All That Jazz!”
Won’t miss, can’t miss … American Jewish Committee’s local loyalists probably will not regret that the video shown so many times at AJC events will not be shown this time around. It has just been retired in favor of new content for the “can’t miss” 2012 Human Relations Award Dinner honoring Ernie and Alisa Kretzmer coming up Monday, March 26. Keynote speaker is Chaim Shacham, Israel consul for Florida and Puerto Rico, whose only activities in Sarasota will be a private meeting with the mayor and this dinner. There will also be musical tributes from Lee Doherty-Ross, Richard Storm and Margo Zarzycka and, most importantly, a chance to honor the Kretzmers, who have been so extraordinarily generous to our town. Reservations to Brian Lipton, 365-4955, Ext. 104 … New day job … Becky Taylor who sings around town from St. Armands Key Lutheran Church to Temple Beth Israel of Longboat Key and stage manages here and there has a new gig. Formerly the public relations officer at the Pines, she is now development director for Community Coalition on Homelessness, which runs the Bill Galvano One Stop Center in Bradenton … Heaven sent! ... Asolo Repertory Theatre included a “guest book” with its “Ragtime Revival” event, which listed the correct spelling of every single guest’s first and last name and table number — an amazing treat for reporters everywhere!
+ BLACK TIE AFFAIR
Maestro Victor DeRenzi’s 30th Season Gala
5 p.m. dinner followed by 7 p.m. concert Sunday, March 25, at the Sarasota Opera House
Tickets are $250 and do not include the performance. Performance tickets range from $25 to $100. Call 328-1300.
The Peterson Great Room will be transformed into an elegant ballroom complete with stunning linens and centerpieces. Draping and lighting will be done by Affairs in the Air and the flowers by Elegant Designs. There will be a surprise master of ceremonies guiding guests through the evening. The three-course dinner is a specially designed Italian-inspired menu by Michael’s On East. There will be video tributes from patrons and staff, and Maestro DeRenzi’s wife, Stephanie Sundine, and daughter, Francesca, will be in attendance.
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