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Friday, April 21, 2006

'Tis the Season



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By Jean Horne
Monday, April 10, 2006

Hunting season officially opened at the Carnegie Museum of Art as connoisseurs, curators and collectors staked out the swellest Antiques Show in town. They showed at Wednesday's preview party with checkbooks poised for the first tally-ho. Opening night is also a lark for the simply curious who are as drawn to the antiquing experience as to the vibrant scene and be seen.

Not content to rest on their cachepots, CMA's Women's Committee decided to tweak its 14th annual treasure hunt with a contemporary vibe. Enter Meg Wendy, whose New York firm stages many of the blue-chip Armory shows. She brought together 41 dealers in an international showcase that paired European flair with the panache of modern classics. Pieces meant to gussy up the ancestral digs or add instant cache to a room.

So whether your taste runs from Monet to Man Ray, there was much that was wall worthy and collectible in gorgeous tableaux that mixed the old with the new. At haute couture prices. From high-style Russian and English furniture which, as one antiques aristocrat sniffed, "out-Mellons the Carnegies," to a 1920s Steuben glass lamp tagged $25,000 or even a Picasso ceramic plate of his mistress Jacqueline at $250,000. And oh my yes, lots of high-wattage jewelry.

All arrayed against the Carnegie's glorious Cecile B. De Mille-style marbles, lilting to the sounds of chamber music, and Tim Condron's ravishing bouquets to knock your eyes out. The hors d'oeuvres? Don't ask.

Also knocking your eyes out the next day was Daphne Lingon's (antique jewelry maven of Christie's auction house) presentation on the opulent "Jewels of Louis Comfort Tiffany" in the Music Hall.

Leading the guest list were Peggy McKnight and Kenny Nelson (with Steve and Gordon), who are permitted the deepest of bows as the show's co-chairs. Here are some of the other who's: WC's prexy Gail Murphy with Tom; Christie's Eric Widing and Laurie, of Ligonier; Gayle and Bill Simpson; Sally and Ned Randall; Ranny and Jay Ferguson; Sara Scaife; Bill Boyd; Toto and Jim Fisher; Elizabeth and Worth Hobbs; Ginny and Dick Simmons; Pat Navarro Jr.; artist Judi Collins; Diana Miscetic; Marsha Deaktor; Jenifer and Mark Evans; Suzy and Jim Broadhurst; Issie and Lee Foster; Marcia and Stan Gumberg; Nancy and Milt Washington; Karen and Ed Linder; Juliette Grauer; Molly and Joe Walton; and Sophie Mellon.

To that list add Debbie Dick; Lynne and Dr. John Lister; John Henne with sisters Anne Henne Rockwell and Meg Henne Gibson; Sharon Semenza; Joanie and Sam Kamin; Myrna Hackney; Elizabeth and Mike Zamagias; Brigette Pavlik and Bill Kolano; Laura and Bill Dawson; Nachum Golan; Nancy and John Brownell; Garth Massingill and Jim Stevenson; Barb Mendlowitz; Judy Davenport; Mardi and Jim Royston; Susie and Charles Franklin; Amy and Sean Sebastian; Jessica O'Brien; Melanie and Eric Werner; Jennifer Muse; and Sarah Nichols who led insiders on a verily, merrily, insightful tour of the show.

Canteen Swing

The Soldiers & Sailors Museum in Oakland stood tall with soldiers, sailors and marines at Saturday's Cannon Ball, a USO Canteen blast from the past that thanked our brave servicemen and women for their sacrifices.

Yet, despite a terrific menu and the camera-ready ambience of classic cars, jitterbugs and vintage dress, we were all a little bit richer after Graham Grubb and his fabulous 17-piece orchestra opened with anthems from each branch of the service that brought our vets and young compatriots to their feet and an ovation that blew a hole in the Richter scale. Then it was swinging to the eternal big band sounds of the '40s and '50s.

Among the 315 guests were honorees Sen. Jane Orie and CWO3 Amber Fisher; Cindy and Steelers alum Andy Russell who chaired the ball; emcee Rick Seback; Vietnam Seebee Mike McCarthy and Jan; decorated vet Chuck Booth and Trudi; U.S. Army Cols. (ret.) Paul Platek and William Crock; S&S prez Ron Gancas; Mary Caroline and Tod Hunt; Shirley and Ward Olander; Carmella and Jim Mullen; and Casey Patterson.

2006 Ball - debs.jpg
Austrian Ball

Wilkommen. It was the night of nights for eight lovelies in tiara and shimmering white who bowed Saturday at the elegant Austrian Ball in the Grand Hall of the Priory, to benefit Pitt's Austrian Room Scholarship Fund. On the arm of their white-tied escort, they performed an exquisitely orchestrated polonaise and waltz from the land that brought us the waltz.

Debuting were Leah Bubeck, Beth Buresh, Carolyn Hoffman, Jennifer Hudson, Lindsay Luchette, Christina Shields, Taylor Span and Megen Woody.

Wining and dining beneath the wingspan of the Hapsburg eagle flag were 228 black-ties including Gina and Edgar Braun, our honorary consul to the Republic of Austria; Elisabeth and Georg Mandl; emcee Franz Stehr; choreographer Anne-Carol Tawoda and Tom; Sr. Mary Traupman; Donna and Jim Hudson; Helen and Bill Semethy; scholarship winners Nathan Darrigo and Andrej Savol; and Jacqueline Dorfner with Wilhelm in liederhosen.

Singing her Praises

"Children are only limited in what they can learn by the person standing in front of them." And for 20 years director Christine Jordanoff has provided unlimited opportunities for the talents of the Children's Festival Chorus. Trained at Hungary's Kodaly Institute, the Duquesne prof prepares young voices for a lifetime of music appreciation, with many proceeding to careers on the world's opera stages and Broadway.

On hand to sing her praises, 125 guests gathered at the Heinz History Center for Saturday's Making a Little History of Our Own benefit, including Peter Erdei (from Hungary) and Denise Bacon, of Boston, who trained Jordanoff; co-chairs Kamie Schoonhoven (with Duquesne music dean Dr. Edward Kocher) and Timothy Gricks (and Helen); CFC director Sharon Wolf with Matthew; board prez Susan Loutsion and Nick; Pittsburgh Opera's Mark Weinstein; Heinz Endowment's Janet Sarbaugh; Joni and Joe Negri; Deb and Bob Bailey; Terri and Don Hastings; Tricia and Brian Eccher; and Lisa Claypool.

-- John Altdorfer

Down and Dirty

Let's just say that much of what happened at Saturday's Dirty Ball will certainly stay there as the Attack Theatre's first-ever major benefit bash proved deliciously outrageous and fabulously fun.

Whether they were confessing "dirty little secrets" or naughtily posing at the "dirty photo booth, " 300-plus revelers let their hair down between performances by the plucky dance troupe's co-founders and guiding forces Michele de la Reza and Peter Kope, who gave dirty dancing lessons from the stage.

What we can tell you is that we spotted Jessica Coup and Scott Bergstein (who hosted a reception in their tres chic penthouse); Richard Parsakian and Hiro Miura, who transformed the barebones space above Dowe's on Ninth into Downtown's hottest hot spot; Richard Rauh; actor David Conrad; Francois Bitz; Linnea Glick; Pam and Ken McCrory; Jamey Murray-Coleman; Ann Chen with Gary Carlough; Lynn Figgins; Jen Whiteside and Sean Brady; Bob Davis; and Heath Myrick.

-- J. A.

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