PaperCity Magazine

May 2016 - Houston

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RUSSIAN OPULENCE AT THE HOUSTON BALLET BALL ANNE LEE PHILLIPS PIROUETTES. PHOTOGRAPHY WILSON PARISH AND PRISCILLA DICKSON. M ove over, Bond … James Bond. It was all about the Ball … Ballet Ball. Taking regal cues from the Houston Ballet production of Tchaikovsky's The Sleeping Beauty, chairs Gina and Devinder Bhatia selected the theme From Russia with Love for this year's ball. Richard Flowers of The Events Company transformed the Wortham Theater Center Grand Foyer into an exquisite icy paradise, with layers upon layers of pale blue organza and moody uplighting, framing a massive mural of a Russian palace set in a winter wonderland. Crystal chandeliers hung from the ceiling and an ice sculpture replica of St. Basil's Cathedral set the dramatic tone. Straight out of a Bond film, revelers wore sharp tuxedos and slinky gowns in hues of black, blue and red as they bid heavily in the silent auction, keeping a close watch on their competitors as if they were Spectre agents. The stakes were high, as the auction included hand-selected ice of the diamond variety courtesy of the Ballet's Preferred Jewelry Partner, Tenenbaum Classic Jewelers (a platinum, 26.65-carat aquamarine and diamond ring and a vintage Patek Philippe men's watch were particularly relevant to the evening's theme), important art pieces curated by David Shelton Gallery (one stunner was a Cheryl Donegan painting courtesy of the artist and David Shelton Gallery) and getaways to chic locales such as Nantucket, courtesy of Phoebe and Bobby Tudor — she looking every bit the Bond girl in a sleek black Zang Toi gown with a dramatic red lace collar. Jesse H. Jones II — Jay to his friends — was honored for decades of support to Houston Ballet, including raising $50 million to complete the state-of-the-art Center for Dance facility and serving on the committee that selected and hired lauded artistic director Stanton Welch. Jackson and Company served a feast of Royal Transmontana caviar accompanied by ice-cold vodka shots, beef stroganoff in individual porcelain tureens and the pièce de résistance: handcrafted Fabergé egg-inspired desserts of Russian Medovik (decadent honey layer cake). Popular Atlanta-based band Party on the Moon was back for a repeat performance (they brought down the house at last year's ball), thanks again to the largesse of Diane Lokey Farb, who ensured that the dance floor stayed packed with ballerinas and benefactors alike. The first dance of the evening belonged to Eugene Loveland, age 95, and his new bride, Norma Cordell, 94, who elegantly glided across the dance floor. All in all, the opulent evening raised $1 million to benefit Houston Ballet's mission. On the scene: Houston Ballet executive director Jim Nelson; board VP of special events Becca Cason Thrash; Lynn Wyatt; Terry Wayne Jones; Tenenbaum Classic Jewelers' Tony Bradfield and Kevin Black, and Christina Stith; art partner David Shelton; Margaret Naeve and Brad Parker; Henry Richardson and Monsour Taghdisi; Jackson Hicks and Milton Townsend; Mark Sullivan; Allison and Troy Thacker; Vivian Wise; Pat Breen; Randy Powers and Bill Caudell; Greg Fourticq Jr.; Sara Dodd; Jane DiPaulo and Jim Teague; Lindley and Jason Arnoldy; Matt Johns; and Melissa and Michael Mithoff. CAVIAR, VODKA AND ICY SPLENDOR MAY | PAGE 10 | 2016 David Shelton Chair Devinder Bhatia Mia Bhatia Marc Nguyen Duyen Huynh Stanton Welch Lynn Wyatt Chair Gina Bhatia Don Hobson Terry Wayne Jones Henry Richardson Vivian Wise Monsour Taghdisi Honoree Jay Jones Fady Armanious Gillian Hobson Margaret Williams Mark Sullivan Kevin Black Tony Bradfield Diane Lokey Farb Matt Johns Margaret Naeve Brad Parker Allison Miller Karina Gonzalez Rupert Edwards III Lindley Arnoldy Jason Arnoldy Christina Stith Connor Walsh Alyssa Springer Natalie Varnum Rhys Kosakowski Harper Watters Richard Flowers Jim Nelson Mary Patton Beth Zdeblick Hannah McNair Bobby Tudor Phoebe Tudor Becca Cason Thrash Mise en scène created by Richard Flowers

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