PaperCity Magazine

February 2016 - Houston

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KEVIN SPACEY'S DINNER PARTY PERFORMANCE + A KENNEDY + AN OLYMPIAN = $500,000 RAISED FOR BEST BUDDIES AT MAISON THRASH CATHERINE D. ANSPON TAKES NOTES FROM AN A-LIST EVENING. PHOTOGRAPHY EMILE BROWNE, MORRIS MALAKOFF, COLLINS METU AND MICHELLE WATSON FOR CATCHLIGHT GROUP . SOON AFTERWARDS, THIS TWEET REACHED MR. SPACEY'S 4.4 MILLION FOLLOWERS: "THANK YOU BECCA & JOHN THRASH FOR HOSTING TONIGHT'S @BESTBUDDIES FUND-RAISER — 'EVERYTHING'S BIGGER IN TEXAS' MAY NOW BE AN UNDERSTATEMENT!" AN OSCAR WINNER WAS IN THE HOUSE Becca Cason Thrash served as both chairman and host of this epic evening produced and directed chez Thrash — another chapter in more than a decade of memorable fund- raisers for the Best Buddies cause. (She is a stalwart board member for the nonprofit, which fosters friendship between those with and without intellectual disabilities.) Joining Miz Thrash on the fund-raising dais was Best Buddies' founder and chairman Anthony Kennedy Shriver; Texas Best Buddies director Sharyn Casey, in from Dallas; and Best Buddy Ambassador Charles Calhoun, who brought down the house with his moving remarks. A glamorous contingent of big-hearted socials from near and far filled out the ensemble cast, including Duyen Huynh and Marc Nguyen, both donning Tom Ford, who were the lucky winners of the fabulous gold-and-clover necklace from Van Cleef & Arpels in the silent auction; Van Cleef CEO Alain Bernard, who flew in for the night from NYC; Rhonda McDonald of Moët Hennessy, one of the evening's big live auction donors, with a posse of VIP pals including Nancy and Marcus Hiles of Fort Worth and Ebony and Jet magazines' media mogul Linda Johnson Rice, in from Chicago; Olympian Carl Lewis, a Best Buddies Global Ambassador; shoe designer Joyce Echols with Steve Wyatt; Amy and Jim Lee; Carla and Jack McDonald in from Austin (she pens the popular social- scene blog The Salonniere, and he ran for a seat in Congress); Heart of Fashion's Vivian Wise; Tootsies' Fady Armanious (the luxe retailer donated nearly a dozen goodies to the silent auction, including the McQueen purse nabbed by Rafael Chavez for wife Carmina Zamorano); and Memorial neighbor Kevin Stolle. PADDLE DRAMA The live auction during dinner added a perfect frisson of excitement, as three posh packages found patron types, thanks to Miz Thrash's persuasive auctioneering prowess: Casa Fiesta in Zihuatanejo was won by Jordan and Dylan Seff; lunch with Oscar winner Spacey went twice, to the always benevolent Sue and Lester Smith and new-to-the-scene power couple Fay and Salim Zakhem (Miz Zakhem is a perfect ringer for Amal Clooney); and the Hennessy Cognac chateau experience was split between hotelier Patrick Levantino (there with pal Samantha Boles) and Nancy and Marcus Hiles. Silent-auction lots included coveted donations from Tootsies (amounting to half the alluring offerings, including Valentino, Naeem Khan, Oscar de la Renta, Lanvin, Emily Armenta and more), Hublot, Tom Ford, Asprey, Ferragamo, Dolce & Gabbana (shopping spree and tickets to a show in Milan), The Webster and Bulgari, plus a rare Hennessy cognac. In all, an astounding $500,000 was raised during this intimate night featuring just 148 guests. FROM THE HISTORY BOOKS The first-ever Best Buddies event was also the first benefit ever at Casa Thrash, before the couple was even living in the house. The year was 1998, headlined by special guest Prince Albert, so some 17 years and 10 million dollars later, here we are … DIRECTOR'S CUT There were many memorable acts in this cinematic evening, including Miz Thrash's vision for its stage set — three striking tables arrayed poolside, carried out by Richard Flowers of The Events Company — and the three-course seated dinner crafted by SaltAir Seafood Kitchen, B&B Butchers and Grotto Ristorante, with Brasserie 19 contributing opening bites. Natch, the lively tête-à-tête between Spacey and Miz Thrash was another high point. Spacey got into his House of Cards character, Francis Underwood, for the Q&A held poolside; Spacey also good- naturedly posed during the cocktail hour for endless party pics that rivaled a red-carpet step-and-repeat. FEBRUARY | PAGE 10 | 2016 Alain Bernard Rhonda McDonald Marcus Hiles Kevin Spacey Kevin Spacey Salim Zakhem Fay Zakhem Lester Smith Sue Smith Charles Calhoun Mark Monroe Adriana Banks Kevin Spacey Patsy Fourticq Carl Lewis Kevin Stolle Carmina Zamorano Rafael Chavez Duyen Huynh Marc Nguyen Kevin Spacey Jordan Seff Dylan Seff Linda Johnson Rice Cenk Ozdogan Chair and host Becca Cason Thrash Princess Maria Anna Galitzine Prince Piotr Galitzine Vanessa Bruegger Chair Anthony Kennedy Shriver Catherine Ozdogan Willard Jackson Diane Lokey Farb Vivian Wise Fady Armanious Chair and host Becca Cason Thrash, Kevin Spacey Chair Anthony Kennedy Shriver Mise en scène Kevin Spacey Host John Thrash Chair and host Becca Cason Thrash Kevin Spacey Joyce Echols Steve Wyatt Patrick Levantino Samantha Boles Racquel Vasquez

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