Black Tie & Tales


Black Tie & Tales


Date: October 12, 2011
by: Molly Schechter | Social Editor



+ Equality Florida honors Donald Geike
The largest civil rights organization dedicated to securing full equality for Florida’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community presented its 2011 Voice for Equality Award to Donald Geike. The real-estate executive is the founder and president of G.R.E.E.N. — the Gay Real Estate Executive Network, and has been an active proponent for LGBT rights in Sarasota for nearly a quarter-century. There were 250 guests, nearly twice as many as last year, including Nadine Smith, the organization’s exceptionally eloquent executive director, and Joe Saunders, state field director. Among the locals: Mayor Suzanne Atwell, Barbara Banks, Jan Chester, George Cole and Judy Zuckerberg, Marjorie Floyd, Linda Jacobs, William Johnson and Paul DiPlacido, “The Bobs” Nosal and Trisolini, Bob Plunket, Dennis Rees and Felice Schulaner and Kyle Turoff. Ken Shelin did such a good job with the “ask” that the event exceeded its fundraising goal by 10% — no mean feat in these days.

+ A safe haven for Pongo
What inspired Patty Ragan, a retired teacher-turned-businesswoman, to create a sanctuary for apes no longer working in the entertainment industry or wanted as pets? It started with five months she spent at an orangutan rehab center in Borneo on an Earth Watch mission. Then, a tourist attraction in Miami asked her to care for a baby orangutan. She learned that although apes typically work until age 6 to 8, they can live to be 60, and she realized there was no place for them to “retire.” She decided to do something about it. The resulting Center for Great Apes, less than an hour from Sarasota, is the only sanctuary for orangutans and one of only nine for chimps. It is home to Pongo, her original ward, who came to Ragan weighing four pounds at age 4 months and now weighs 270 pounds at 21. It’s a story worth hearing in more detail at

+ Black Tie Affair
Sarasota Memorial Hospital Foundation’s Women’s Cancer Programs
Key to the Cure “Pink Party” • 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 20, Saks Fifth Avenue • Guest ticket $45, patron $100 • Reservations or 917-1286

There will be a lot more to do than eat and drink at this popular party. Have Nuovo put a feather in your hair for $10 or play with a trunk full of props and photograph or videotape yourself for the same donation. There is no charge for a balloon bracelet or flower by balloon artist Josh Sizemore and his crew. Place (and track) your bids on silent auction items, including a pink paddleboard (and lessons) using Bid-Pal iPhones. Learn who won the Breast-of-Show competitions. And, pretty please, wear pink.

+ Tidbits
They danced the summer away … If you weren’t here, you missed all the medals that Gloria Moss and Susan Jones collected at the Triple Crown Dancesport Championships at the Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota. And you missed the near-nonagenarian gentleman who went directly from competing on the dance floor to his walker without missing a beat. His feet may have been slow but his carriage — perfection! … A new stage for an old pro … It may only be a walk-on part, but Cliff Roles says he is thrilled and excited to be part of the ensemble in the Asolo Rep’s forthcoming production of “My Fair Lady” … A taste of friendship … Sunny O’Flynn, Ingrid Bookbinder-Keating and JoAnn Nevins are co-chairing a new event to benefit the Center for Healthy Aging at the Senior Friendship Center. The clinic provides medical and dental services for patients unable to pay. There will be fare from local restaurants and wine from the New Zealand vineyard of center supporters Drs. Bob and Pat Gussin. The event takes place Nov. 3, at Selby Gardens; $50 per person. For reservations and information, contact Jane Icely at 556-3215 … Just call her Alice … That’s the new sobriquet for Margaret Wise, who will host the second Mad Hatter Tea benefiting the local chapter of the American Red Cross Dec. 6, at her Harbor Acres home. Diane McNeel is chairwoman. For reservations and information, call 371-9300, Ext. 223 …

+ Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble
Stylish Sarasota witches and warlocks can celebrate their big night at Designing Women Boutique’s final Casual Gourmet Dinner of the year Oct. 31. Hosts are Gary Ficht and Butch Amerson. Amerson is the cook and a bit of a card; his menu includes scare-ribs, pigs-in-bandages, grave-lox and terror-yaki tenders. Ficht, an interior designer, is in charge of décor, which will feature haunted hedges, dancing witches brooms and devil-only-knows what else. Tariff is $50 per person. For reservations, call 366-5293 or stop in the shop.



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