Black Tie & Tales


Black Tie & Tales


Date: April 25, 2012
by: Loren Mayo and Molly Schechter | Observer Staff



+ Big reunion, big success
Bob and Dottie Garner had lots of company last weekend. Fifty-four members of the Baer-Loewenstein family, from Philadelphia, New York, London, Atlanta, Aspen, Boulder, Charleston, Columbus, Memphis, St. Louis, Kansas City, Pittsburgh, and Washington, D.C. convened at the Ritz-Carlton. The youngest attendee was under two and the oldest was 91. Their agenda included a Saturday morning meeting at which each branch of the family had six minutes to give an update — not a lot of time to cover the years since the last reunion. Bob and Dottie’s grandson, Rob Wyant, kidded his grandpa about outdoing him on kayaking expeditions and talked about how “cool” his grandma is for using for using technologies including Facebook and iPad.

+ Never say never to Eva
In the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe’s new production of “Blackbird, The Story of Josephine Baker,” the lyric is “Never say never to Josie.” It applies equally well to Eva Slane, a loyal supporter of WBTT since its inception. She first saw the show in 2003 at Stages, a Chicago workshop program for musicals in development. Sherman Yellen wrote the book and the lyrics; the late Wally Harper was the composer. Slane immediately commenced a campaign to get WBTT to do it but it was a large-cast show and really beyond their reach. Sherman Yellen has since rethought it and reduced it to a cast of five. Slane pitched it to WBTT chief Nate Jacobs again last year. She also mentioned it to Howard Millman and according to Slane, “All Howard needed to know is that the same person who wrote “The Rothschilds” did this show.”

Yellen was in town for the week leading up to the April 20 opening, along with Allan Gruet, his business partner, and Harper’s long-time partner and musical heir. Director Harry Bryce was in the audience for the first performance, in a full house that also included Gerri Aaron and Marvin Albert, Ron and Rita Greenbaum, WBTT Board President Julie Leach and her husband, Brock, Jane Johnson, Debra and Walton Beecham, Kay Delaney and Murray Bring, Scott and Candy Greer, Scott Anderson, Judy Cuppy, Mark and Janet Hammer and Millman. Slane considers the show “my baby,” and she is clearly off to a healthy start; the run was extended before it opened.

+ Big sisters get superstar recognition for volunteer efforts
The Observer’s Nancy Schwartz, Audrey Leihser and Rachel O'Hara received shout outs at the Big Brothers Big Sisters Suncoast “Déjà Vu” event Friday, April 20. The three Observerites have volunteered their time to the organization by each taking on a “little sister.”

O’Hara became involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters during college.

“I found it to be a rewarding experience and got back into it when I moved to Sarasota,” O’Hara said. “Myniea is 8 years old and has been my little sister since December. We have a lot of fun going bowling and watching Circus Sarasota, but our favorite thing to do is go to Yogurtology. This is a way to help a younger generation see all sorts of different things and get involved in opportunities that they may not have had the chance to participate in.”

+ Tidbits
Be on the watch for new jewelry … Chatting it up and buying beads at the Gem and Jewelry Show in the Municipal Auditorium April 21: Betty Schoenbaum, her niece, Susan Cruikshank, a professional jewelry artist, and Claire Levin, a long-time hobbyist … Such a natural Scott George, who has raised literally millions for diverse AIDS charities, has joined the board of Community AIDS Network … He will be missed Marty Fine, a larger-than-life figure in our community as a board member and supporter of the Perlman Music Program Suncoast and other nonprofits, died April 10. BT extends our sympathies to Mickey Fine and his entire family … A busman’s holiday? … Was that not Michael and Teri Klauber attending the Asolo Rep’s recent “Men Who Cook?” They were guests of participant Dr. Brad Lerner and his wife, Melissa. Wonder which dish Michael most enjoyed? Probably Lerner’s “On Call of the Wild” Bobotie, which doc discovered on a trip to Africa with — you guessed it — Michael Klauber and the Connoisseur Club …


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