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Across Town

More gatherings and notable events...

Monday, November 10, 2003

Founder patron dinner

Strangely Familiar and Very Familiar, just like the Founder Patron Dinner that celebrated the opening of the exhibit at the Carnegie Museum of Art on Friday. Every year the gala benefit takes its cue from the new exhibit it unveils, injecting automatic freshness into the same event. This year's gathering was smaller than usual -- about 250 guests for dinner and another 100 or so for the after-party -- which lent a nice intimacy to the affair and made it easy to cruise through the galleries during the cocktail portion of the evening. The exhibit is actually two in one. "Strangely Familiar: Design in Everyday Life," organized by the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, came with its young curator, Andrew Blauvelt. "Very Familiar: Celebrating 50 Years of Collecting Decorative Arts" showcased 85 objects acquired since 1953 by current curator Sarah Nichols and former curator David Owsley, among others.

Guests gather during cocktails at the Founder Patron Dinner. (Pam Panchak, Post-Gazette)

Gail Murphy (with Tom) chaired the gala, orchestrated by the Women's Committee, and Carrie Barmen, Lynn Davenport and Kristina Rigopulos served as co-chairs for the after-party. Parkhurst did a top-notch job with the dinner of wilted arugula, filet and a pumpkin brulee that was pure autumn delight. Among the familiar faces in the crowd: Carnegie Institute president Ellsworth Brown with Dorothy, the MOA's Richard Armstrong and the Warhol's Tom Sokolowski, Marcia and Stanley Gumberg, Marty and Ann McGuinn, Jim and Toto Fisher, Sheila and Milton Fine, Max and Peggy King, Jim and Susanne Wilkinson, Tricia and Bill Kassling, charming Ray Ryan (the new curator of the Heinz Architectural Center), Bill and Janet Hunt, Suzy and Jim Broadhurst, Sandy and Rick Ekstrom, Ira and Nanette Gordon, Pam Bryan, Ruth and Myron Garfunkel, Lea Simonds and Harley Trice, Toosie Winokur, Bill and Betsy Amis, Ranny and Jay Ferguson, Debbie Dodds, Vi and Joe Soffer, Jeane Antonuccio, Gordon and Kenny Nelson and many more dancing to the Pawnbrokers.

-- Marylynn Uricchio

Barbara Adelson and Neil Sedaka

An Evening With Neil Sedaka

I've never seen the room look better," remarked a guest as the doors to Westin Convention Center's ballroom were opened Saturday night. Draped in black, it was as dramatic as the patrons were elegant. Subtle lighting enhancing the red accents transformed the generic space into Salon Sedaka for Ladies Hospital Aid Society's "An Evening With the LHAS and Neil Sedaka." Barb Adelson (with Dr. David) chaired the perfectly coordinated affair, which even had Sedaka wearing black and red. Everyone was glowing after Gary Racan and Studio E-Band warmed them up. Dancing, dining and being generally delighted by the private concert were honorary chairs Dr. Thomas and Joy Starzl, LHAS president June Yonas, Nancy and Ron Angerman, Veronica and Louis Guarino, Janet and John Spear, Barb Mendlowitz, Rhoda and Dick Neft, and Drs. Mark Zeidel and Susan Freedman. Event planner and committee member Bonnie Walker Chirigos of Creative Affairs was as lucky as she is talented, winning the big money prize!

-- Patricia Sheridan

Pittsburgh Black Theater Dance Ensemble entertains. (John Heller, Post-Gazette)

Steelers Rule the Runway

Though their appearance on the field hasn't always been pretty, the Pittsburgh Steelers were successful showing off their sartorial side during the "Steelers Style 2003 Fashion Show" Wednesday night at the Hilton. The annual runway revelry to benefit UPMC and the Cancer Caring Center had all the energy of past years. Dancers, drums and music put the big "mo" behind the players as they promenaded. Greta Rooney (with Art and their four children) chaired the event with co-captains Joey Porter and Antwaan Randle El. Tunch Ilkin and Craig Wolfley were honorary co-captains. Among the inseam crowd were Kaye Cowher, Susie Johnson, Kathy DiGioia with her daughters, Cancer Caring director Rebecca Whitlinger, Dr. Janis Reed with Dr. Marc Hoffman, Dr. Leo and Susie McCafferty, Bob Balanti and UPMC's Debbie Winn.

-- (P. S.)

Kenny Ross, Chip Ganassi and Roger Penske (Martha Rial, Post-Gazette)

Wheels of Fortune

The driving force behind Chip Ganassi Racing took his life in his hands Wednesday when he agreed to be the target for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Pittsburgh's 24th Annual Corporate Roast. Revving their engines at the Omni William Penn were Roast Master Jim Rohr and honorary chair Sy Holzer, both from PNC, and fellow roasters Pitt Chancellor Mark Nordenberg, lawyers Bill Pietragallo and Daniel Shapira and the legendary Roger Penske (whose Penske Corp. has annual revenues of $12 billion and owns the most successful Indy car racing team in history). Joining Ganassi and his wife, Cara, were his proud parents, Floyd and Marie Ganassi, racing partner Felix Sabates with Caroline, Kenny Ross (who founded Big Brothers in Pittsburgh and has served as its board chair for 35 years!), executive director Walter Jenkins, Kevin McClatchy, Corky Cost, Ron Violi, Lou Astorino, John Weinstein, Rick DeNunzio, David Malone, Dick and Nancy Zappala, Gary and Venetia Torre, Mike and Debbie Barbarita and some swell punching bags Holzer brought along as props.

-- (P. S.)

Ray Mansfield Memorial Spectacular

Players from the Steelers' glory days watched at the Westin Convention Center as the current boys in black and gold were destroyed by the Seattle Seahawks last Sunday. As painful as it might have been, it was all for a good cause. Former Steeler Andy Russell chaired the eighth Annual Ray Mansfield Memorial Spectacular to benefit the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Dapper Dan Charities' Boys & Girls Club of Western Pa. Besides, winning isn't everything when there's an ample supply of food, drinks, games and stogies to keep the spectators happy. Among the 300 guests reaching for the comfort foods or trying their luck at the Monte Carlo-style gaming tables were Jim Mansfield (son of the late Steeler Ray Mansfield) and former Steelers Gerry "Moon" Mullins, Mike Wagner, Todd Kalis, Jon Kolb, Randy Grossman, Louis Lipps and Dwayne Woodruff.

-- P.S.

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