Friday, March 30, 2012

Salvation Army's Glitz at the Ritz Luncheon

The Salvation Army's Glitz at the Ritz Luncheon is also called The Schoenbaum Humanitarian Award Luncheon and this year, the award went to Margot and Warren Coville. One of the most beloved and philanthropic couples in town, the Covilles accepted the award with humility and grace, saying the luncheon was all about helping the Salvation Army, not honoring them.

Just a tad about the Covilles' background....Warren was a photographer on B-17 missions during WWII and Margot is a children's concentration camp survivor who as a child, voluntarily led 10 children to freedom in Switzerland.  They were married in 1948.  Warren photography career turned into ABC Photo, which became Guardian Photo, one of the world's largest photo=processing companies.  Margot has given over 11,000 volunteer hours to the Children's Hospital.  They both serve on numerous boards and began the legendary "I Have a Dream" Program in which they promised college educations to 78 fifth graders at Warren's former elementary school.

Betty Schoenbaum presented the Covilles with the award.  Her late husband, Alex helped to raise $31 million for the Salvation Army (SA) and the award is named in his honor.

Board chair and event chair, Marilyn Bezner, thanked the hoards who helped put on the luncheon and particularly singled out Glenda Leonard, the SA's Director of Development and also Paulette Blair, longtime board member and the founder of the luncheon.  Paulette, by the way, looked so pretty in her fuchsia Armani suit.

The Creating Miracles presentation was given by Dr. David Sutton, who became choked up as he spoke about the life changes for the people helped daily by the Salvation Army.

Every time I see the Salvation Army logo I think of the Christmas Kettles with the bell ringers, but they are so much more.  Do you have any idea of the breath and depth of their impact?  I didn't.  They create miracles in Sarasota by providing emergency shelter for families, daily feeding programs for the homeless, transitional housing services - the FAITH program, drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs, disaster services, life skills programs, emergency food pantry, and emergency financial assistance.  Whew!  What an agency!!

Just one more word about the Ritz - they are hitting home runs recently.  Once again, the valet worked well, the food was good and the service was great! I must admit, this has been a total turn around for me.  In the past, I wouldn't have recommended the Ritz to anyone, but lately this season, they have been just terrific!  James Harries, Kathe Nasby, and Rohin Singh are some of my favorites there - good job!

Others attending the luncheon and not photographed below were: Alice Rau, Joyce Tate, Julie Riddell, Sandy Slaminko, Cam Cox, Paul Hudson, Lee-En Chung, Alexis Upham, Anne Weintraub, Karen Fessel, Cindy Galik, Mack Reid, Janice Zarro, Penny Hill, Carolyn Michel, Veronica Brandon Miller, Joy Naylor, Leila Windom, and on and on.

Major Phillip Murphy, Margot Coville, Betty Schoenbaum, and Warren Coville 

Don Blair, Michelle Crabtree, Paulette Blair

Marilyn Bezner and Doug Crossan

Gila Meriwether and Tana Sandefur

Scott Anderson and Judy Cahn

Jewel Ash and Phil King

Veronica Brady and Wendy Rose

Margaret Callihan and Marjorie North

Dennis Stover and Barb Lewis

Linda DiGabriele and Lee Peterson

 The orchid centerpiece

The dessert

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Rest in Peace, Dick Kost

A very kind man died on Sunday.  Dick Kost was the husband of my friend, Stephanie Kost.  I have known them for a number of years, first meeting Stephanie through the Junior League and later served with her as a board member of the Ringling College Library Association. 

What I think of most when I think of Dick, is truly what a gentleman he was, in the most lovely, old-fashioned sense of the word.  Dick was the sort of man that when I attended black-tie events on my own and he was there, he would get me a drink and not leave standing alone until I assured him I was perfectly fine on my own.  He was definitely a man of his time.  He was raised with manners and his demeanor reminded me of the first President George Bush - someone who always knew instinctively how to do the right things and act in the most appropriate manner.

How he loved Stephanie, his wife of over 40 years.  Every time I saw them together I could see it.  They had two sons, Robert and Stephen and three grandchildren, Samantha, Zoe, and Charles.  Dick was raised in Grosse Pointe Farms and attended the University of Michigan where he received his BBA and MBA with a concentration in Investment Management. 

Dick worked for NBD Bank, now JP Morgan Chase, in the investment division for 35 years, directing investment strategy and economic research.  He was instrumental in creating and managing the bank's international equity fund.  Stephanie told me he was working on financial things even the day before he passed.

A mass celebrating his life will be held tomorrow, Friday, March 30, at St. Michael the Archangel on Siesta Key at 2 PM.  A warm, friendly, and generous man, he always had a smile on his face. He will be missed.

(Some information was taken from Dick's obit in the H-T.)
This is a photo taken by Emily Walsh for The Observer at the 2008 Orchid Ball.  Jim and Sara Bagley are on the left, with Dick, me, and Stephanie.  Even in this photo, you can see Dick's winning smile.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

An "interesting" lunch at MOE with Susan and Phil

It started out as a lovely, pleasant girlfriend lunch with my dear friend of almost 20 years, Susan Wilcox, at where else, Michael's On East.  Susan and I first met when we were president-elect for our respective Junior Leagues - she for Manatee County, me for Sarasota.  Michael's is a nice halfway point for Susan and me to meet. 

Towards the end of lunch, co-proprietor, Phil Mancini walked through the restaurant, saw us, and stopped by to give us both a hug.  In the course of our conversation, Susan and I spoke about events we were chairing next year and the following year (yes, Susan already has a chairmanship in place for the 2013-14 season).  Phil told us the next big thing is nitrogen infused drinks.  Well, let me tell you, that started a whole big whoop-de-do!

Next thing we knew Phil was bringing out the chef with a martini and a pitcher of liquid nitrogen!  Yikes!  We were quite enthralled with the sight of it as he poured the nitrogen over the drink, which immediately froze as did the dollop of chocolate mousse that was on the top.  We were asking lots of questions and learning so much!  Phil told us you could immediately make ice cream pops and all sorts of interesting things with liquid nitrogen.  Then he said something to the effect of "Let me show you this on a bigger scale".

At this point, we were the center of attention in the restaurant (Oh, you know we just hated that!).  Phil and the chef (I'm sorry I didn't get his name.  I wasn't thinking that I was going to write about this subject!) were now bringing out a huge stainless steel bowl with rum and Coke and a huge pitcher of the liquid nitrogen.  The chef proceeded to pour the nitrogen into this enormous bowl and there was so much dry ice-type smoke, or whatever you call it, rolling out of the bowl and all over our table that it looked like a boiling cauldron on Halloween!  Truly everyone was watching what was going on, even all the waitstaff had gathered 'round to look.  That smoke was so cold.  As it rolled out to me, it felt like a huge blast from an air conditioner.

They spooned a little of the rum and Coke slush into glasses for Susan and me and gave us spoons.  It was kind of like a Slurpee and it was ICE cold.  I am not a big drinker, well, actually, I don't drink alcohol at all, but the presentation was fab-u-lous!  I can see how this will be all the rage.  I looked it up on YouTube and there are several videos about it.  (Now if I was at all technical, I would provide a link, but since I'm not, you will have to find it yourself.)

It was so much fun to see the whole presentation.  Thanks, Phil for showing us!  There is no doubt why you are the best caterer in town!

Well, after all that, Susan and I were sitting there discussing the whole nitrogen hoo-ha and I decided that I should take a picture of the remains.  It is below.

What you see is the martini, with the chocolate mousse ball on the plate, which we had cracked open for a taste, and the two rum and Coke glasses.  I assure you, there was just a very small bit of slush in those glasses.  We were not like Mad Men and drinking our lunch!  Susan tried to put the mousse back in the martini glass, but by that time the drink had melted and I won't even tell you what it looked like in that yellow drink, but it was not pretty.  Ewww.  Then we laughed so hard and loudly at the sight of it, that Maggie actually came over to us to ask us what we were laughing about.  We were definitely having a good time.  You never know what is going to happen when Susan and I get together for lunch, but this is definitely one we will be talking about for a long time!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

AJC's Human Relations Award Dinner

Community heroes, Ernie and Alisa Kretzmer, were honored last night at AJC's Human Relations Award Dinner at Michael's On East.  The room was pretty by soft candlelight for this special evening.

AJC Regional Director, Brian Lipton, always gives a terrific overview of what is happening in the world in relation to AJC.  I always learn so much.  He does such a great job explaining world affairs and is so informative.  And, he's handsome to boot!

Dinner co-chairs, Marilyn Naiditch and Marie Monsky both spoke movingly about the Ernie and Alisa.  I loved what Marie said when in reference to the Kretzmers she quoted Viola Davis' character in The Help, " You are smart, you are kind, you are important".  Truer words were never spoken.

The keynote address was given by Chaim Shacham, Consul General of Israel to Florida and Puerto Rico.  Among the many things he said was, "Israel has no better friend than the United States."

A musical tribute in the Kretzmers' honor was performed by Richard Storm and Lee Dougherty Ross.  The songs included, The Impossible Dream, You Light Up Our Life, and Climb Every Mountain.  I think they had most of us singing along!

I was, of course, familiar with Ernie and Alisa, having seen them at many, many events and performances over the years, but never really knew their story.  For instance, I never knew that Ernie was the Laboratory Director at Bell Laboratories.  I had seen a piece on Bell Labs on CBS Sunday Morning this past week.  I had no idea the kind of impact the research that had been done there had made on our lives.  It was very impressive.  Alisa had been an occupational therapist and they had met through their rabbi's wife.  Their philanthropy has centered on Jewish causes, social services, arts and education.  Among the local charities they have supported are the Sarasota Opera, Sarasota Orchestra, Sarasota Ballet, Florida Studio Theatre, Embracing Our Differences, Key Chorale, G.WIZ, and JFCS. It was a well deserved honor.

Others attending not photographed below were: Mary Anne Servian, Teri Hansen, Steve Wilberding, Rose Chapman, Andria Bilan, Mindi Rohan, Marjorie Peter, Carolyn Michel, Jocelyn Stevens, Hillary Steele, Brad Robbins, Andy Maass, Bea Friedman, Ilene Friedman, Johnette Cappadona, Joseph McKenna and on and on. 

Marie Monsky and Scott Anderson

Carol Seigler and Judy Cahn

Ken and Peggy Abt

Matt and Margaret Callihan - How cool is Matt in his sunglasses?!

Renee Sheade and Harry Kartoz

Lee Peterson, Dennis Stover, and Flori Roberts

Lisa Walsh and Kathryn Carr

Molly Schechter and birthday girl, Gerri Aaron

Christine Lange and Susan Borozan

Sydney and Jerome Goldstein

Paul Reamer and Dorothy Jacobson

Sue Jacobson, Vivian Kouvant, Iain Webb, and Victoria Hulland

Richard Storm, Ina Schnell and Dr. Arthur Ancowitz

Jeremy Lisitza and Marty Katz

Julie Milton, Phil King, and Debbie Shapiro

Veronica Brady and Diana Lager

Lois and Bill Cohodas

Lynn and Dr. Arthur Guilford

Phil Delaney and Jay Brady

Elisabeth and Gil Waters

Flora Major and Ellen Berman

The Kretzmer Family

 The centerpiece

The dessert

Monday, March 26, 2012

My 100th Post & RCAD's Avant-Garde

Before I tell you all about the fantastic Avant-Garde, please allow me take one moment to do a little woo-hoo for myself.  This is my 100th post of The Civilized Life.  I had no idea what to expect when I started this blog on Oct. 12, but it has been a real joy!  I have met so many new people and have been able to spotlight some dear long-time friends.  I have big plans for this blog in the upcoming year and will be doing some redesign and improvements over the summer.  I also plan on making it so you can subscribe via email so it will arrive in your inbox every weekday morning.  I know that must be easy to do, I just need to learn how to do it!  Anyway...thank you so much my dear readers for taking the time to read my little blog and especially for taking the time to tell me you love it.  I can't tell you how much that means to me - thank you!  A big hug to you all!   

Roaring crowds and paparazzi welcomed guests on the red carpet at the entrance to Ringling College of Art and Design's Avant-Garde.  As much as I always have thought I would love walking the red carpet, it was actually a little disconcerting to have everyone cheering for you.  I really had the urge to say, "Stop, stop, I'm not a star."  It was like getting an award you didn't earn, but I powered through it! This was just the start of the fabulous, detail-oriented An Evening at the Avant-Garde: Hollywood Premiere. 

There was so much to do during the cocktail hour and it was so fun to see most everyone in costume.  I can't tell you how many times people said hello to me and I didn't recognize them.  I mean, these are people I have known for a long time, that's how good their costumes were!  You could have your photo taken in director's chairs and you could also have photos done as you were being interviewed on the red carpet.  You could watch artists doing portraits and also watch them doing their work in the room where the silent auction items were housed. 

One of the most fascinating things were the gold painted students who were standing as live "Oscars" at the entrance of the silent auction.  There is a photo below, towards the bottom.  They were standing perfectly still for what seemed like hours!  They were terrific!

A highlight of the evening was RCAD President Larry Thompson's introduction of Oscar-winning RCAD alumni, Brandon Oldenburg.  He told about how important scholarships had been to his studies at Ringling.  He was an Illustration graduate in 1995.  He started Moonbot Studios in Shreveport, LA and employs 15 Ringling graduates with more coming on board soon.    He won his Oscar for The Fantastic Flying Books of Morris Lessmore in the Best Animated Short Film category.  There was a huge feeling of pride in the audience.  I think everyone there who had ever contributed to the college felt they were a little part of the winning!

Brandon then announced the winner of the 2013 Avant-Garde Endowed Scholarship - Kaitlyn Priestley, who is also an Illustration major.  What I found most captivating - the crowd was completely silent and totally respectful when Kaitlyn was speaking.  You know what a chatting crowd everyone usually is an any event.  It was so nice to have everyone give Kaitlyn their complete attention. 

The live auction was rather interesting.  It is amazing at how many unique experiences you can bid on at events around town.  Going with the theme of the evening, both items were "film experiences".  The first one was the opportunity for four people to go on set during a Paul Schiff film in Los Angeles and have lunch with the crew including James Franco.  The item went for $5500.  The next item was to be on the set of the HBO blockbuster, True Blood with Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer.  That item went for $4500 and was won by Sue and Adam Armbruster, whose son Alec is a freshman film student at RCAD.  What a nice little treat for Alec!  Both items were arranged by Future of Films, Inc.'s Sam Logan, who has become such a great friend to Ringling. 

Michael's On East did their usual fabulous job.  The salad was pre-set and then a very efficient buffet.  Servers brought around trays of dessert to each table.

Everything about the evening was top-notch and so well done.  One of the best events of the season, definitely.  It is so nice to go to an event where each part has a lot of thought behind it and it all goes together with the theme.  It makes for such an enjoyable and memorable evening.  Good job, Ringling!

Others attending who are not photographed below were: John and Fran LaCivita, Salena Wilhoit, Jean Martin, Sally Wright, Dennis Stover, Carolyn and Bob Johnson, Jackie and Angus Rogers, Mary Ann and John Meyer, Flora Major, Dr. Diana Lager, Meade and Art Ferguson, Larry and Ann Garberding, Cheryl Loeffler, Merry and Stan Williams, and on and on. 

Pat and Dr. Larry Thompson

Randy and Isabel Norton - RCAD Trustee Board Chair

Cornelia Matson, Susan Palmer, and Rita Greenbaum

Sally Yanowitz and Scott Anderson

Lois Stulberg, Michael Scott, and Hillary Steele

Jim Braun and Kathye Faries

Mike and Cathi Bell, Roger and Patricia Courtois, and Matt and Margaret Callihan

Kristine Nickel and Jack Klingensmith

Kay Kipling and Wendy Surkis

Angela and Jake Hartvigsen

Flori Roberts and Elaine Keating

Stacey and Michael Corley with their Uggi

Lynn and Dr. Arthur Guilford

Alice Rau and Phil King

Mike and Marie Pender

Ken and Peggy Abt and Warren Coville

Marv Albert and Gerri Aaron

Penny Hill and Dr. Larry Wild

 Bob and Diane Roskamp

Teri Hansen and Steve Wilberding

Larry and Jennifer Saslaw

Peggy Wilhelm and Liz Lindsey

 Hillary Steele striking a pose

Elisabeth and Gil Waters

Mimi Edlin and Paul Reamer

Mary George and Charles Smith

 Shirley Lascelle

Dr. Larry Thompson, Sue and Adam Armbruster, and Sam Logan

Michael's On East's darling Henry

The crowd cheering and thanking each person as they left

 The gold "statue"

An array of artists drawing

Alumni Mirald Cake with his art

Setting to have your photo taken

A look at the tent

The centerpiece (isn't it cute?!) and table setting