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Performing Art
Ed Machado and Ron Pantello at the Men Who Cook kickoff party. (Photo by Cliff Roles)
Arts and Entertainment Wednesday, Apr. 16, 2014 5 years ago

Black Tie & Tales

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+ Countdown to Men Who Cook
This Asolo Rep benefit is one of the truly fun events of the season. This is the fourth year of the event, set for May 4, and it has a new location, the Van Wezel foyer, a new sponsor, Mattison’s, and a new chili competition. The quartet of Beverly Bartner, Judi Gallagher, Molly Schechter and Margaret Wise has chaired this event since its inception. Their philosophy is, “If it ain’t broke, improve it,” and they are promising lots of new excitement for 2014.

Twenty-seven brave male souls will prepare their specialties. Many of them gathered March 27 at Mattison’s 41 for a kickoff party, including new chefs J. Scott Atkins, Dean Eisner, Ed Machado, Paul Mattison, Ron Pantello, Brian Ries, Tom Stanley and Dr. Richard Van Buskirk, along with returning participants Jerry Feinstein, Paul Gallagher, Scott George, Darrel Huntley, Terry McKee, Michael Pleas, Gary Sweetman and Jon Thaxton.

Tickets to the fabulous feast are $150; “Master Chef” tables of 10, closest to the food, are $2,000. For more information, contact Laura Wood 351-9010, Ext. 4702.

+ Night of Hope Kickoff Party
Because most of its sponsors are snowbirds, Center for Building Hope threw its Night of Hope VIP party a little early. The April 7 kickoff event was held at Sarasota Yacht Club and featured comedian Alex Reymundo and singer/songwriter Michelle Wright. It turned out to be a success — it raised $102,000 in sponsorships for the big gala.

Among those in attendance were Alfred Rose, Susie Klingeman, Dave and Kate Shaver, Gerry and Sondra Biller and Doug and Sally Wright.

The Center for Building Hope’s mission is to offer free information, programs and services to cancer patients, caregivers and family members, while connecting them with others who are undergoing a similar experience. The gala’s goal is to fund 4,500 hours of free support.

The Nov. 7 Night of Hope, at The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota, will be chaired by Sandy Gurley, and the evening promises to be a spectacular event. It will feature entertainment from Margo Rey, Ron White, John McDermott and Reymundo. For more information, call 921-5539.

+ Giving Children a Voice
Although dealing with a tough subject matter, the Child Protection Center’s “Blue Ties and Butterflies” April 9 event was an uplifting evening to help fight and prevent child abuse. Starting with the Southside Elementary band rocking at the entrance to the beautiful hues of blue and butterfly prints — Graci McGillicuddy showed off a butterfly purse and Aimee Cogan donned a butterfly print skirt — the evening was an all around success.

While displaying the John Hardy ring, up for live auction, Saks Fifth Avenue’s Sally Schule also threw in her own dragonfly brooch to be included after so many compliments. And, Michael Klauber auctioneered so energetically that he sold a private dinner for 10 for $10,000 … three times!

In just its second year, Child Protection Center’s “Blue Ties and Butterflies” event was once again its most lucrative fundraising event.

+ Tidbits
Romance is in the air … Gal-about-town Mollie Nelson just changed her Facebook status to “in a relationship.” Presumably with handsome Bradentonian Mack Harper, who made the same change on his page. And the grapevine is buzzing that long-time loving couple Deb Knowles and Larry Kabinoff will tie the knot in June … His-and-hers rehab … World War II veteran and retired DuPont executive Bill Hirons who celebrated his 92nd birthday March 28 is fresh out of the hospital and heading to a rehab facility for a fractured hip. He can count on sympathy from his wife, Marjorie North, who continues her outpatient physical therapy following shoulder surgery … So who’s counting? … Certainly not the friends of Nancy Blackburn, though they will gather this week to celebrate an unspecified “big birthday” at a luncheon hosted by BJ Creighton, Mollie Nelson and Margaret Wise. Ditto for the friends of Jytte Mandle, who has already started multiple celebrations for her April 15th biggie with hosts including buddies Vivian Kouvant, George Allison and Allan Watkins and hubby Mort MandleResquiescat in pace … Sarasota has lost two, long-time grandes dames of the Sarasota Opera with the recent deaths of Deane Allyn and Helen Rogers. Their contributions as fundraiser and fund donor, respectively, have mightily enriched our community.

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