CHARITY: Didn’t know what to expect from a Kentucky Derby party. Seriously. All these years, never been to one. Picked the right party for a first outing. Livestrong staged a doozie at Hotel Ella. Folks in spring outfits and, of course, decorated hats. Mint julips that were not too sweet. Lot of lively chat while people "wagered" on the race for charity. I was particularly interested to hear about trends in fundraising for cancer causes. Livestrong captain Doug Ulman told me that his field is just catching its breath after the Great Recession. And, of course, Livestrong has big plans for the University of Texas Dell Medical School, though details are still scarce. Met some promising profile subjects, including a man who is building a yoga boat in his backyard. In other words, a thoroughly satisfying social event.
STYLE: Awards shows are hard to resist in today’s culture. The Austin Fashion Awards ceremony, which wind up Austin Fashion Week, is no exception. Presented with great style at the Austin Music Hall, the awards genuflect to fashion past, while supporting fashion future. And there are the lavish looks on the runway, especially those put together for the "mash-ups" of creative types. Honored Trailblazers included designer Linda Asaf, lingerie wizard Megan Summerville, Eliza Page retailer Elizabeth Gibson and University of Texas educator Eve Nicols. Rising Stars were jewelry designer Jessica Bird, handbag designer Kelly Wynne White, hairstylist Martha Lynn Kale and wardroble stylist Cristina Facundo. Philanthropist of the Year went to Urban Betty hairstylist Chelle Morrison. It was lovely to see our dear friend Stephen Moser again on the aisle right next to the runway. Stylish as ever.
ARTS: If anyone reserves even a fraction of a doubt that Zach Theatre serves the whole Austin community, let those doubts be put to rest. During its Red, Hot & Soul benefit — easily the most entertaining, minute for minute, of any Austin benefit — we heard a full African American choir sing three songs from "Gospel at Colonus," young and young adult Asian Americans perform selections from "The King and I," followed by an army of Brazilian samba musicians and dancers who looked like they would take the several hundred guests into the wee hours of the morning. (Which is what samba should always do!) Prior to that, Zach honored benefactor James Armstrong for all his contributions, including a gift that will make "The King and I" possible. At Zach, it seems that anything is possible.