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December 2011

Art on Fire Chefs’ Celebrity Gala Merry Marketplace Gala Hockadoo Hullabaloo Gala MIFA “Feed the Soul” Party Q&A with Benny Lendermon


Contents December 201 1

From the Editor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8 Signature Memphis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10 Joe Birch invites RSVP to the Action News 5 set.

RSVP Watch List . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12 Brighten someone’s holiday with an item from our annual gift guide.


Hockadoo Hullabaloo Gala . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14 The Orpheum Theatre kicked off the arrival of “Memphis” with a grand affair at The Peabody.

StreetSeens . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .20, 22 & 24

42 MERRY MARKETPLACE GALA Monica Skipper and April Britt

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He’s turning on new audiences to Shakespeare. She’s been keeping up with some of this city’s most talented musicians for half a century. A skilled archer himself, this regional coach for Junior Olympic Archery Development is sharing his skills with a younger set. StreetSeens highlight Dan McCleary, Jean de Frank and Ty Davis.

Art on Fire . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .26 The giant bonfire was back at the Dixon Gallery and Gardens for a second year.

Vox Popular . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .34



Q&A with Benny Lendermon.

14 HOCKADOO HULLABALOO GALA Cyndy and Roy Shepherd

Onsites . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .38, 40, 48 & 49 Gatherings that have earned an honorable mention.

Merry Marketplace Gala . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .42

50 CHEFS’ CELEBRITY GALA Brian Miles and Gina Capizzani

Shoppers descended on Agricenter International for the Junior League of Memphis’ largest annual fund-raiser.

Chefs’ Celebrity Gala . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .50 Supporters of the Memphis Child Advocacy Center dined in style for a special dinner at the U of M Holiday Inn.

MIFA “Feed the Soul” Party . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .52 The Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association celebrated “giving back” in a big way at The Warehouse.

26 ART ON FIRE Damon and Susan Arney

RSVPhillippi . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .56 Baby, You Can Buy My Car Dennis Phillippi might be dragging his feet about helping his wife buy a new car, but his reasoning about the slow purchase has made it worth the wait.

Cover Photo Melanie and Kerr Tigrett at Art on Fire Photo by Don Perry

52 MIFA “FEED THE SOUL” PARTY Lee Clarke and Lucy Barnhart


Volume XVII

Number III

December 201 1 PUBLISHER

Roy Haithcock EDITOR


Ruth Cassin Kelly Cox Jonathan Devin Jeannie Mandelker Dennis Phillippi Suzanne Thompson Lesley Young ART DIRECTOR


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Nathan Berry Baxter Buck Don Perry Steve Roberts SENIOR ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE




Ruth Cassin RSVP Memphis is published monthly by Haithcock Communications, Inc. First class subscriptions are available for $55.00 per year. Send name and address with a check to: Haithcock Communications, Inc. 2282 Central Avenue Memphis, TN 38104 For advertising information contact Roy Haithcock Phone (901) 276-7787, ext. 101 Fax (901) 276-7785 e-mail WEB

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Copyright 2011 Haithcock Communications, Inc.

From the Editor


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Photo by Steve Roberts

e’ve reached year’s end dear readers, which begs the question, “What have you accomplished in the last 365 days that you’re proud of?” Whether you stuck to your plan of traveling abroad, landed your dream job, organized your closets, lost weight, ran a marathon or simply carved out more time in your schedule for relaxation, no one can take these experiences and/or milestones away from you, so savor each and every one of them however big or small they may seem. Personally, I have almost overcome one of my fears (though I’ll keep specifics to myself, thank you), finished some home upgrades, finally vacationed in the Caribbean for the first time, attended a music festival, learned to fish, made new friends and started a club, to name a few things on my 2011 agenda. And with 2012 around the corner, I feel like equally exciting goals should be in mind, but past readers will know that I don’t commit to New Year’s resolutions because I feel they only set one up for failure. There’s no harm however in predicting that I’ll be happy doing whatever comes my way as I have come to realize more and more that situations are what you make of them. So, glass half full it will be. Until the clock strikes midnight on December 31, my staff and I will be enjoying the remainder of the party season here at RSVP. From the Toy Bash on December 2 at the Pink Palace to the Liberty Bowl Presidents’ Gala on December 30 at The Peabody, we have one more month full of festivities sure to be attended by friendly faces getting in the holiday spirit. If those parties don’t help lift your spirits, then maybe volunteering your time for one of the nonprofits hosting an event will, so keep that in mind for 2012. Enjoy all the December issue has to offer, from eyecatching gifts featured in the Watch List section on page 12 to reading about the arrival of “Memphis” the musical in the Hockadoo Hullabaloo Gala spread on page 14. My personal favorite though would have to be our new and improved cover—I’ll toast to that!



Leah Fitzpatrick

News Anchor, Action News 5/Host, Smart Medicine, WKNO Channel 10/ Co-Founder and Race Director, Gibson Guitar 5K for St. Patrick Learning Center

Personal hero: Danny Thomas. Favorite Memphis musician: Van Duren. Words or phrases you overuse: “Hey now.” Ideal vacation spot: The Arkansas River in Colorado. First concert: Carole King in Central Park, NYC 1973. Last book you’ve read: Saints for Sinners by Alban Goodier. Historical figure you most identify with: Augustine of Hippo. Your mantra: “Do justice, love mercy, walk humbly with God.” Movie you could watch over and over again: It’s a Wonderful Life. Favorite album: “The Rising” by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. Childhood ambition: To be the next Mickey Mantle. I also dreamt of serving a ministry that has meaning and makes a difference in this world. One thing most people don’t know about you: I can wiggle my ears without touching them. Your greatest achievement: Thanks to my incredible wife, raising two amazing sons, surviving 33 years on one great TV news outlet and running in all the St. Jude Memphis Marathon weekends (Full Marathon: 2002, ’04, ’06, ’08, ’10; Half Marathon: ’03, ’05, ’07, ’09 and hopefully 2011!). Visit to help the cause!

Photo by Steve Roberts



Joe Birch



Aperture Sidewinder Complete Longboard by Sector 9-

iPad Cover by Jonathan Adler-

Interchangeable Watch Set by Lilly Pulitzer-

$189 at Outdoors Inc. Cordova Store (901-755-2271)

$29 at Mrs. Post (901-433-9013)

$20 at The Pink Door (901-682-2107)

Cutlery Pattern Recipe Journal by Rag & Bone Bindery-

Blue Opaline Decanter and Four Wine Glasses by Portieux Vallerysthal-

Echo Touch Gloves by Echo Design-

$44 at MĂŠnage Fine Stationery & Gifts (901-683-6809)

$395 for the set at POSH (901-730-1086)

$32 at Indigo (901-755-6909)

Hand-crafted Wood Pepper Mill and Salt Shaker by Robert Wilhelm-

Beer Cans and Wine Glasses Needlepoint Belts by Smathers & Branson-

14 by 16-inch Polished Agate Triangle with Stand-

$110 and $79, respectively, at T Clifton Art (901-323-2787)

$165 each at James Davis (901-767-4640)

$499 at Market Central (901-276-3809)

Photo by Na than Berry



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Hockadoo Hullabaloo Gala Celebrating the Arrival of “Memphis” the Musical

T Winston Wolfe and Tammy Moss

Pat and Anne Halloran



here’s no gala like a one-of-a-kind, never-been-done-before gala, so until Memphis launches another national tour of a Broadway show themed after this city, Memphians who missed the Orpheum Theatre’s Hockadoo Hullabaloo Gala are out of luck. Cockatoo? Huckleberry? It turns out that the whimsical name for the event was inspired by a line from “Memphis,” the Tony Award-winning musical about the breakthrough of African-American rock ‘n’ roll music into white radio stations in the 1950s. About 1,000 guests arrived in business attire and cocktail dresses, a few with flashes of sequins, at The Peabody’s Grand Ballroom, decked in black drapery with alternating accents of silver and royal blue. White calla lilies cascaded down from palm trees and soared high over the tables from towering centerpieces. Even more impressive than the decor was the event’s host committee, which read like a who’s who of Memphis entertainment figures, including Justin Timberlake, B.B. King, Cybill Shepherd, Kallen Esperian, Carla Thomas and Leigh Anne and Sean Tuohy. After cocktails and a jazz set by the Stax Academy Ensemble, guests made their way to their seats to enjoy a welcome by event chairs Gina and Jim Wiertelak, and from the man of the evening, executive producer Pat Halloran, who co-produced “Memphis” on Broadway as well as the tour. Next came a lavish dinner of salad with prawns, steak and sea bass with sweet potato puree and chocolate mousse followed by the first stage performance of the evening, a musical medley titled “All Shook Up,” by the Orpheum’s High School Musical Theatre Awards students, many of whom will benefit from the gala proceeds through the Orpheum Performing Arts and Leadership Academy. The proceeds will in effect double the number of students involved in academy programs from 52,000 to about 100,000 by the third year. Then, for the first time in a public performance in Memphis, the cast of “Memphis” took the stage singing several of the favored songs, like “Memphis Lives in Me,” to a rapt crowd. Local party band The Bouffants finished off the evening with an irresistible dance set allowing the excited, theater-loving crowd a chance to shake out the energy created by their anticipation of “Memphis,” which opened that week. See all the party photos at Password: RSVP

Cynthia Ham and Jeff Sanford

Story by Jonathan Devin Photos by Baxter Buck

Amber and Bill Weaver

Pam and Benjamin Clements

Dr. Nancy Chase and Mike Maness

Carl and Rachel Curbo

Elizabeth Blaylock, Gina Wiertelak, Sabrina Cline, Alexandria Young and Kathy Pileggi

Linda Holmfeldt and Michelle Churchman


Blake Hazlerig and Kayla Wolfe

Ray and Gina Lucas

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Leland and Judy Gupton

Sean Healy and Mara Healy

Karen and Ken Isaacman



Kevin and Haden Kane

Nina and Jerry Patton

Michael Ingalsbe and Amy Reeves

Julie Hill and Catherine Johnson

Carla Cutsinger and David Douglas

Jed and Leanne McQuown


Freda Mukes and Paula Crockett

Rick and Gina Hall

Mark and Bobbi Blankenship

Joe and Jeannie Sellers

Randy and Melissa Brock

Lisa Sulipeck and Michelle Williams

Tom and Cynthia Mullady

Steve and Susan Vescovo



EVENT Zack and Aimee McMillin

Kelley Morice and Wendy McNamara

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Jim Fegley and Carole Hinely


Mike and Barbara Pera



Elisabeth Silverman and Ted Martin

Erik Henneghan and Amanda Morris

Steve and Terri Benskin

Madelyn Gray and Stephanie Simpson


Dan McCleary Sustaining Shakespeare

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hree years ago, the Tennessee Shakespeare Company’s founder and producing artistic director, Dan McCleary, adapted the role of “a salesman” to promote the theninfant professional classical theater company, and while the role hasn’t garnered him a Tony Award, it has helped earn the company something more prestigious: fans. Now approaching the second play (Truman Capote’s “A Christmas Memory”) of TSC’s fourth season, McCleary can enjoy the director realm a bit more due to a growing number of patrons and a large demographic of young Shakespeare admirers. McCleary reminisces, “In the beginning, most schools didn’t see us as a legitimate field trip—that’s shifted quite a bit. One of our largest constituencies today is 13-18 year olds, and not every theater company can say that.” The reason McCleary thinks so many adolescents identify with Shakespeare is because they discover through the playwright’s works how to articulate their feelings. He adds that this age group often doesn’t have a safe environment for sharing emotions, but for those schools that have seen TSC’s productions, he’s noticed teachers creating conversations with students about what they felt during a Shakespeare play. McCleary goes on to mention that national studies have drawn a factual connection between arts learning in secondary schools and increased graduation rates, attendance and proficiency on standardized tests in the language arts. “TSC’s mission with our education program, which is substantial, is to move the arts closer to the center of the learning experience for all children, regardless of school system or financial background,” he emphasizes. An actor at heart who forayed into theater at Germantown High School with the prodding of E. Frank Bluestein, the GHS Fine Arts Department chairman and current TSC executive director, McCleary admits he didn’t first take to Shakespeare and once made a fool of himself at age 23 auditioning for “The Winter’s Tale” at the American Repertory Theatre at Harvard. Ashamed, he went home and read Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets, still not getting them. He then asked other actors in plays where they studied, and their response was “Shakespeare & Company.” Off McCleary went to the company to become a better actor and later a playwright, producer and director. But, he admits the experience of being embarrassed motivated him to read Shakespeare how he should have 10 years prior. Today, he shares with TSC actors and those in the education program, “Shakespeare was a man creating visceral language, so when you remove the idea of memorization and just get into playing the parts, your perspective changes.” Memphis audiences’ perspective of TSC has also changed since its humble beginnings from holding plays in churches and backyards to this season’s four productions spread among indoor and outdoor stages at the Dixon and the Shelby Farms Park amphitheater, which TSC put $20,000 into recently. “I hear pretty regularly that seeing one of our shows can be a life-changer,” McCleary grins. Story by Leah Fitzpatrick Photo by Steve Roberts


Jean de Frank Making Her Own Music

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ean de Frank might be the widow of Vincent de Frank, founder and long-time musical director for the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, but she’s also been a musical force in her own right, both as a teacher and performer. Skilled in the oboe, English horn and piano, she has shared her passion with one group in particular—the Camerata Music Club—for 50 years. “I got married in 1960, and in ’61, I joined the club,” de Frank tells. Founded in Memphis in 1931 by Mildred Strickland, the club’s name stems from the Italian word camera, meaning chamber or salon; Camerata also refers to a group of distinguished literary men, artists and musicians who shortly before 1600 met in Florence, Italy to discuss the possibilities of a new musical style in imitation of the music of the ancient Greek drama, according to the Harvard Dictionary of Music. Though the Camerata Music Club has had a majority female membership through the years (Currently, there’s one male member.), the club’s mission “to foster better music and to study the interpretations of the masters” somewhat parallels that of its ancient namesake. As the club historian, de Frank points out that another probable purpose for the original membership was to provide a place for women to perform. “Back in 1931, I bet a lot of women weren’t allowed to be or given the opportunity to be professional musicians,” says de Frank, who experienced a similar lack of opportunity after college when she sought to become a school band director in an era when females didn’t really hold that job (At the time, she settled for music teacher at Bellevue Junior High School and oboe instructor at Southwestern). Looking back through old hand-written minutes, de Frank knows that Camerata’s early members performed for one another and presented a lot of papers, many on composers they studied. She pulls one multi-page essay out from the archives entitled “Geographical Influence on Music” to stress how seriously these members treated their craft, but de Frank quickly notes that original minutes from the 1930s prove that they kept their humor as well. In fact, during each meeting, de Frank contributes by reading funny remarks from the archives since she doesn’t perform anymore. Present-day membership is comprised of both professional and nonprofessional musicians and vocalists and remains limited to 30 members, 25 of whom must be active performers. The group, which includes the likes of Lily Afshar, Martha Pipkin, Sara Savell, Ann Spurbeck, Jeanne Simmons and Ethel Maxwell, meets eight times a year in people’s homes, with members required to perform at two of the gatherings. While meetings are closed to outsiders, those interested are welcome to attend Camerata’s April 20, 2012 meeting at the Beethoven Club to enjoy the rich sound produced by talented, like-minded peers part of a group with character that continues to impress de Frank. Story by Leah Fitzpatrick Photo by Steve Roberts


Ty Davis Propelling Young Archers

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hen one thinks of a sport in the summer Olympic Games, usually swimming, track and field and gymnastics come to mind, but archery, not such much. Well, Ty Davis has set out to change that oversight, at least in Memphians’ minds, since helping launch the Junior Olympic Archery Development program in Memphis two years ago at his Everything Archery shop. “JOAD is the beginning stage and reinforcement for everything we teach in the Olympics,” Davis says. Administered by USA Archery, the sport’s national governing body, this JOAD clubs ranks no different from any other found across the country in that it offers beginners and world championship contenders alike guidance and instruction based on the National Training System. However, since Davis also doubles as an archery instructor for homeschoolers needing a PE credit, his recruiting method for JOAD participants might have varied from other clubs a bit in the beginning, as one of Davis’ homeschoolers became his first JOAD student. An ad on the Everything Archery site and another in a newspaper soon increased that first year’s numbers to 12 participants. More than two years into the program now, Davis says the numbers are down to two guys and four girls due to some people aging out (JOAD is available to ages 9-18.), and that it isn’t uncommon for JOAD to have more girls than boys. He explains that boys often will drop archery after becoming involved with school team sports, but that girls thrive in the individual sport and become quite competitive. Those who do commit to the once-a-week practices seem to be the ones who focus on the long-term aspect of archery, however less than one-tenth of one percent of archers in the program worldwide strive to be in the Olympics, according to Davis. No matter the participant’s intent to compete or not, Davis and his fellow regional coach, Steve Upshaw, as well as his seven instructors, do stress that fun should be maintained at all times. JOAD instructor Karen Gunterman adds, “Smile and have fun—that’s a saying we tell students.” In any given practice, JOAD students will shoot five to six arrows consecutively to constitute a round, and total, they each shoot about 60 arrows during the course of an hour and a half to an hour and 45 minutes. A good mindset and perfect practice are encouraged, but the hardest part for many is maintaining their form. Scores are recorded on a giant sheet of paper on the wall. Asked if there are any Olympic contenders in the midst, Davis says, “I do think we’ll have two girls, Elizabeth Gunterman and Morgan Griffin, eligible to try out for the 2020 Olympics.” Put it this way, Davis trusted these young women enough to stand in between their line of fire during a recent practice because he knew it would help make them focus more than ever…and that’s the way to get a bullseye. Story by Leah Fitzpatrick Photo by Steve Roberts


Art on Fire


Bonfire Fun


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Tom Love and Emily Capadalis

Dave and Ashley Houpt



ame seven of the World Series might have been going strong in St. Louis, but here in Memphis, Art on Fire was heating up the night on the South Lawn of the Dixon Gallery and Gardens. Local baseball fanatics didn’t miss out on the action though by attending the Dixon’s premier fall fund-raiser since they could catch the game on a giant screen set up on the grounds. For its second year, Art on Fire drew a noticeably larger crowd thanks to the host committee’s efforts to spread the word about how hot this event really is for a city filled with formal affairs. In fact, Art on Fire has become the antithesis of formal, as partygoers are requested to don boots, jeans, scarves and gloves for an autumn evening outdoors. In keeping with the relaxed dress code, Dixon staffers positioned an oversized cauldron in the middle of the lawn to function as a bonfire for guests to gather around, campfire style, with area firemen on hand to keep the situation under control. While some sat in lawn chairs to gaze into the flames over conversation, others opted to congregate around tables that were really giant cable spools from MLGW. No one stayed in one place for long due to all the activity taking place around the lawn’s perimeter. On the far end, there was the final World Series game playing on TV, and to the right of the screen, a stage stayed abuzz with musicians, including Jon Cleary and the Philthy Phew out of New Orleans and Visible Music College students from Memphis. Outside the silent auction tent, fire dancers showed off their impressive skills and soon had a crowd circling them, as did Eli Gold, a local metal artist who choreographed a light show of sorts by creating sparks with his tools to the beat of techno music. And still yet, other local artists worked with patrons to create one-of-a-kind fire-inspired artwork that was auctioned off at the end of the evening. In addition to entertainment, food and drinks were an integral part of the festivities, with 14 restaurants and five beverage suppliers participating. There was Ghost River Brewing beer, Java Cabana coffee, Rex Goliath wines and libations from Buster’s Liquors and Wines and Victor L. Robilio Co., Inc. for those who wanted to wash down the plethora of heavy appetizers. Some of the featured fare came from the kitchens of Rendezvous, Grove Grill, Itta Bena, Owen Brennan’s and Sweet Grass. Argent Trust served as the Art on Fire presenting sponsor and helped make this party one offering unparalleled fun and charitable giving, specifically to the Dixon’s educational programs. How hot is that?

See all the party photos at Password: RSVP

Barrett Summerlin and Scott Cohen

Story by Leah Fitzpatrick Photos by Don Perry

Ryan and China Jenkins

Kori and Chace Hamner

Dr. Jason and Elisabeth Collier

Lawson and Cynthia Baker

Kevin Sharp and Erin Riordan with Cristina and Paul Guibao

Eric and Mae Swartz


May and Patrick Walker with Helene and Watson Harris

Carmen Cox, Stefanie Smith Fisher, Natalie Rauscher and Courtney Clift

Rick Raffanti and Dana Trotter

John and Stephanie Koshak



Mike and Annie Christoff

Jessica Puckett with Frank and Tina Newman

Ben and Amy Mrva

John Vernetti and Renee Adam

Jim Taylor, Weetie Whittemore and Mimi Taylor


Zak and Krystina McQueen with Ben Banti

Tran Bui and Scott Smith

Tracey Yarbro and Nora Tucker



Jim and Debbie Bell with Mary and Dave Witzman

Tom Tolen and Cindy Spencer

Kelly Penwell and Jane Brooks

ART ON FIRE E V E N T Floy and Jeff Cole

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Lindsey French and Cullen Creasy

Robert Hollingsworth, Katie Shotts and Ronnie Gilmer RSVP


Linley Schmidt and Jonathan McCarver

Dennis and Sarah Norton

Ricky and Catherine Harris with Vickie Moffett and Stephen Cruzen


Vox Popular Q&A with Benny Lendermon

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RSVP: What are some projects the RDC has done that have helped revitalize Memphis?



Lendermon: Our first project was the walkway along the top of the cobblestones. That walking portion has been great, and we need to continue that on to the Harahan Bridge and to the Wolf River Greenway when that’s built downtown. We’re working with the Harahan Bridge people now on how to best connect everything to the Bluff Walk and the walkway in Tom Lee Park. Memphis is making a lot of progress there. RSVP: Beale Street Landing seems to be the RDC’s current focus, so where does that project stand as far as completion? Lendermon: It was built in phases for a lot of reasons, but it turned out somewhat good in the fact that the phase that includes the building and the docking facility will be completed shortly after the first of next year. The reason that part is important and was done earlier is that it allows the American Queen [part of the Great American Steamboat Company], which is moving its headquarters to Memphis, to be served here in time for its maiden voyage in April of next year. We hope the second park piece will be under construction by spring of next year, and it will probably take about a year to complete. The park will include three islands to give people incredible views and a terrace area that carries people down to the water. RSVP: What will be some highlights of Beale Street Landing? Lendermon: For one, its design was selected through a unique international design competition that I don’t think Memphis has had before or since, and the panel of judges was from all over the country. Actually, the design was totally different from anything anyone in Memphis had ever talked about. The judges called it a simplistic solution to solving the complex problems of getting people to the water, and it does that and doesn’t block the view. I think what was changed on the project after it was selected was that a green roof was added because the judges told the designers that the building

Photos by Don Perry


peculation about completion of the Beale Street Landing project remains rampant due to challenges like soil issues and exceeding budget costs, however the sole purpose of the project, intended to offer locals and tourists alike unparalleled opportunities to literally connect with our water’s edge, oft goes unmentioned. To hear all facets of the project, as well as its current status, RSVP editor Leah Fitzpatrick visited the responsible party, The Riverfront Development Corporation, specifically its founding president Benny Lendermon. A nonprofit contracted with the City of Memphis to manage Mud Island River Park and 90 acres of green space along the river, the RDC has taken on several projects in addition to Beale Street Landing through the years that have helped bring Memphians closer to one of its greatest resources: the mighty Mississippi. Lendermon says, “I think when you look back over the last 10 years, you’ll see a number of great projects we’ve done, and I think that the major accomplishment has been a great re-shifting of people’s opinion of the river and their desire to connect to the river. Even though that’s taken for granted now, that didn’t exist back in the 1990s, and now everyone’s coming down here for lots of things.”

with restaurants and such separated this project from Tom Lee Park, and it needed to be the same. A green roof then becomes a continuation of the park. I think that the restaurant facility there is also going to be incredibly successful, and it’s going to have incredible views and atmosphere and fill a big vacuum that exists there. And everything we’re doing is handicap accessible, so you can get a person in a wheelchair or a person with a cane down to the edge of the water to get on the floating deck and get on these islands. The islands are going to be really neat places perched out there in the water. You’ll have one that will be sort of a conventional park with trees, bushes, shade and sitting areas, and then another one is more of a kids’ play island with rubberized misting areas, climbing rocks and places for adults to sit and help supervise their young ones. RSVP: I know that there have been some challenges along the way with Beale Street Landing, so can you touch on any? Lendermon: Sometimes there’s a challenge to communicate to the public what’s happening, why change isn’t always bad and why change is needed. In some cases, we have failed in properly giving them enough information to understand why change is beneficial, and in some cases, absolutely necessary. I think because of that you have a great number of Memphians that just look at anything government does as being negative, and there has to be something wrong. Anyway, you deal with that constantly, but I think the RDC tries to make itself as transparent as possible. Anybody who actually has ever called and wanted to know what’s going on, I’d sit here and talk to them. The issue is that some things get greatly exaggerated. RSVP: Have rising costs of materials been another challenge with Beale Street Landing? Lendermon: Oh yeah. In fact, it starts with the Memphis Promenade [which runs along Front Street from Union Avenue on the south to Auction on the north]. Because of the Promenade, we attracted the attention of a group of individuals which was created



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RSVP: So, did any of the competing architecture firms for the project do soil tests?

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for the sole purpose of stopping things we wanted to do, so we spent a million dollars in two years dealing with historic issues associated with Beale Street Landing when Beale Street Landing didn’t touch a historic property. We also did a number of studies. At the end of the day, all the historic approval agencies were very much satisfied. The only thing they did was change the color of the paint from a bright red to a burnt red. Frankly, if someone asked us to use a burnt red, we would have done that in the very beginning. Also, they wanted us to move the tip of the biggest island back 18 feet, which changed everything that had been drawn. In the meantime, a lot of things happened. Steel prices went up $3 million. Actually, the pure price of steel on the project costs $3 million more today than it did when we did it, so that hurt things a lot. It’s one of the complexities of the project which we’re trying to simplify now actually. Also, one of the reasons the soil is causing such a problem is these walkways…if we were pouring them as pure sidewalks in a street, it would be fine, but being part of a public project that has to be ADA [Americans with Disabilities Act] compliant, we can’t have any settling at all. We have a problem with things moving enough just to be out of compliance with ADA, so now, we’re taking a step back and saying we need to simplify this. We need to make the project a little bit greener. We did take hardscape out of the project because we can’t build all these ramps like interstate expressways perched 40 feet in the air—that’s not what we ought to be doing. That’s why I told someone last week that design competitions are kind of tough because you get incredible ideas, but then when you get into looking at the actual site and construction of the building, there’s a fine line between staying true to what you selected versus building something that’s reasonable. We tried to maybe stay a little too close to the original concept, and we need to back off that just a little bit. I think the total project will be just as good or maybe even better now.

Lendermon: Yes, they did soil tests from forever ago. One of the things is that this is one of the last phases to be built, so the detailed soil testing didn’t occur until like two years ago. The other thing about this soil is they did punch a number of holes, and then a little over a year ago, when they were building the phase that’s under construction now, they saw some settling occurring that shouldn’t have been happening based on what the lab results show. So, they punched twice as many holes as they did the first time and came back with some different information because there were pockets of material in there. Things at that point were getting so utterly expensive with big piles holding everything up, and everything was based on worst case scenarios, so I said let’s punch holes just where the islands are, and they did that, and the material didn’t come out any better. We decided then we needed to change something and make it where it’s simpler and not be so reliant on this underground structural steel that no one will see, so that’s what we’re trying to do. We’re probably three or four weeks away from totally figuring that out. RSVP: Does the RDC have to secure more funding to account for any of the project’s unforeseen costs? [The original budget for Beale Street Landing was $20 million, but is nearing $42 million.] Lendermon: Well, if we wanted to, that would be the answer. If that were the case, we’d say, “Hey, let’s come up with more money to pay for this steel underground,” but we’re taking a different position and saying that we ought to be able to build


this project with the money we have. We don’t want to ask anyone for more money.

RSVP: How will the Beale Street Landing project tie into Mud Island River Park? Lendermon: Of course, we operate Mud Island River Park, and it’s a great place. We’ve done a lot to revitalize it and bring concerts back and make it free and open to the public, but it’s a unique thing. What Beale Street Landing does is it gives us the opportunity for the first time to have good access to the park by putting in a water taxi system. We envision it connecting to Mud Island in several places, as well as to Harbor Town and Bass Pro Shop. RSVP: What is the RDC’s main goal after Beale Street Landing is completed? Lendermon: There are endless opportunities. One of our longterm goals is provide access to the water’s edge and connectivity, and because of that, we think a walking path along the Wolf River Harbor would be good and would like it to eventually connect to the Wolf River Greenway. We think Mud Island River Park has huge opportunities. We had a very public planning process done probably 18 months ago now and came up with a lot of good ideas for things to do. Of course, funding is always an issue, but we do think now we have a good firm base with a lot of public buy-in of things that are occurring with Mud Island River Park, and when the economy changes and funds are available, I think there will be opportunities to make those happen. Also, we’ll continue doing 75 percent of what we already do, which is to maintain everything that’s already here.


Lendermon: I think it will be incredible. I don’t think Memphians understand yet what an incredible deal the American Queen moving its headquarters here will be. Memphis is loaning them money they are giving back with interest. That doesn’t happen when you talk to a corporate headquarters about moving to your city. Their economic impact annually is $90 million on this community and they’re hiring 250 people a year. I also think that if this project wasn’t built, it was only a matter of time before we were losing our total connection to the river. The local excursion boats are hanging on by a thread because the cobblestone society has changed. When I first started working downtown, there used to be tour buses lined up and down Riverside Drive dropping off people, but tour buses won’t utilize that service anymore because they don’t want their patrons walking on the cobblestones due to insurance liabilities. So, all of a sudden, the big moneymaker is gone for the operator of the excursion boats…his business will double or triple the day Beale Street Landing opens just because he has a way to get people on and off the boat in a nice convenient way, and that tourist traffic will come back. Everybody that comes to Memphis wants to get out on the river because it’s really different and unique. I also don’t think people know how neat it’s going to be to be able to go down and gather there at the river.

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RSVP: What do you think the positive outcome of the Beale Street Landing project will be for Memphians and the economy once it’s completed?



Levitt Shell 75th Anniversary “Sunset Soiree” Harwood Center Food and Beer Tasting Breakfast at Tiffany’s 50th Anniversary Party Memphis Heritage Architectural Auction fter Sid Selvidge sang “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” Awhen from the Levitt Shell stage, he mused, “Usually, I’m up here, I see little kids dancing, but

Lura Turner, Buzzy Hussey and Dr. Hal Brunt at Breakfast at Tiffany’s 50th Anniversary Party

Sam Wasson and Billie Jean Graham at Breakfast at Tiffany’s 50th Anniversary Party


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tonight, big kids are dancing.” The occasion where so many adults rose to their feet was the Levitt Shell 75th Anniversary “Sunset Soiree,” emceed by Tom Prestigiacomo. And Selvidge wasn’t the only performer who resonated with the crowd, as The Seafood Orchestra backed vocalists Kelley Hurt, Reid McCoy and Lisa Shoup for some tunes dating back to 1936—the year the Levitt Shell was built. During intermission, a slide show highlighting former entertainment acts at the Shell aired, and a beautiful fireworks display illumiBarry Yoakum and Ashley Mercer nated the night sky. at Memphis Heritage Architectural Auction Chickasaw Oaks Village transformed into a beer garden for thirsty and hungry supporters of the Harwood Center, a nonprofit offering early intervention services for children and families with special needs. Dubbed the Harwood Center Food and Beer Tasting, the benefit presented by Southwestern Beverage Distributing featured live music and nibbles from eateries such as Rendezvous, Bangkok Alley, Ciao Bella, Swanky’s Taco Shop and Gigi’s Cupcakes, as well as beers from around the world. Though hard-pressed to choose a favorite brew, guest John McAlexander said, “I’m particularly fond of the Harpoon UFO; I like bananas, and it tastes like them.” Other suds options included Moretti (Italy), Warsteiner Pilsner (Germany) and North Coast Red Seal Ale (California), to name a few. Audrey Hepburn fans united for the Memphis Symphony League’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s 50th Anniversary Party, which transpired in the Memphis Country Club. The fund-raiser for the Memphis Symphony’s Music in the Schools program was a smash hit with Memphians, who came to meet Sam Wasson, 38 Maysey Craddock, Meriwether McLean, Louise Stilwell and Margaret Craddock the New York Times best-selling author of Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M.: Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at at Memphis Heritage Architectural Auction Tiffany’s, and the Dawn of the Modern Woman. During the event, Buzzy Hussey also received the 2011 HEBE Award, Daniel Spiotta belted out Broadway hits and models donned Audrey-worthy dresses supplied by Kittie Kyle. Old architectural elements received new life by bidders at the Memphis Heritage Architectural Auction, held at the historic Sears Tower (opened for the first time since it closed in the early ’90s). From an antique marble hearth with fireplace surround from the Ellen Davies residence in Lakeland to letters from the Anderton’s Restaurant sign, the live auction had it all, and the silent auction also offered unique finds, like a vintage door decorated with various colors of duct tape by Meriwether McLean. To satiate the crowd of 400, Ciao Bella and YoLo provided appetizers, and beers were cleverly kept chilled in a vintage clawfoot tub. Proceeds of more than $38,000 will help Memphis Michael Stockburger, Matthew Wages and Will McDonald Heritage continue preserving the city’s most historically significant areas, buildings, streets, parks and artiat Harwood Center Food and Beer Tasting facts.

Marcia Hughes and Cathy Farrell at Breakfast at Tiffany’s 50th Anniversary Party

Story and photos by Leah Fitzpatrick

Lynne McAlexander and John McAlexander at Harwood Center Food and Beer Tasting

Cathy O’Neal, Woody Wilson, Patti Diou and Richard Treat at Levitt Shell 75th Anniversary “Sunset Soiree”

Blanchard Tual, Grady Garrison and Tom Gettelfinger at Levitt Shell 75th Anniversary “Sunset Soiree”



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Zoomelièr Salvation Army Fall Fund-raiser Rockin’ the Palace Arc of the Mid-South’s Benefit Gala ot until Zoomelièr came along have Memphis Zoo Nriencing supporters been able to enrich animals’ lives by expewine, and let’s just say, everyone happily toast-

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Debra Taylor and Faye Townsend at Arc of the Mid-South’s Benefit Gala


40 Carlene Leaper and Loretta Claiborne at Arc of the Mid-South’s Benefit Gala

Kelly and Nate McElhaney at Rockin’ the Palace

Stephanie Hollon, Stefanie Plunk and Karen Murchison at Rockin’ the Palace

ed to the cause. The sip-worthy benefit unfolded at the Teton Trek exhibit, which guests strolled throughout to sample vino from 36 tasting stations and to talk with winery representatives, retailers and distributors about top picks. Marcela Pinnila heightened the ambiance with her sultry Latin-inspired musical stylings, and so did a lone grizzly bear, amusing onlookers who rarely see animals out during a nighttime event. Perhaps even more appealing was the opportunity attendees had to TJ Malic, Leighanne Lunsford, Brittany Montgomery and Amber Lowery order select wines for a discounted price! at Zoomelièr Well-known local chef and cookbook author Jennifer Chandler teamed up with the Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary for a fresh take on the group’s Fall Fund-raiser: a cooking demonstration. The change in location to the Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center on Kirby Whitten Road also provided a welcome alternative to usual venues and a chance for the ARC cooks to create the lunch of margarita salad, chicken tortilla soup and lemon pound cake that Chandler prepared in her demo. Joe Carter and Wanda Jones, both in the ARC’s residential treatment program, lent a helping hand to Chandler and touched many attendees’ hearts when they spoke openly about their recovery process. Major Rhea Dawn Woodcock thanked the audience for listening by saying, “You being here helps restore lives of thousands of families.” The Pink Palace was hoppin’ during the Rockin’ the Palace event benefiting Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital and Tennessee Emergency Medical Services for Children. An interesting Southern-style bufBarbara and Kevin Davis with Laura Beth and Joseph Davis fet with offerings such as black-eyed pea caviar, mini at Zoomelièr tomato pie tartlets, buffalo chicken dip and a mac and cheese bar with a wide variety of additions pleased guests’ palates after they bid on silent auction items. Then, attendees savored a dessert of bread pudding while enjoying award-winning singer/songwriter Rivers Rutherford’s performance, which was followed by a live auction. Arc of the Mid-South’s 16th annual Benefit Gala recently took place at Hilton Memphis. The program for the 61-year-old organization that provides services for individuals with physical and mental challenges reflected the theme “Achieve Beyond Expectation.” A silent auction kicked off the festivities and was soon followed by a seated dinner, during which Special Olympics gold medalist Loretta Claiborne shared her story. The agenda concluded with a live auction and post-dinner dancing to the music of Will Graves and Soul. Story and photos by Leah Fitzpatrick and Suzanne Thompson

Patricia Myers, Hilda Mullen, Beth Ploch and Gerry Thomas at Salvation Army Fall Fund-raiser

Joe Carter, Jennifer Chandler and Wanda Jones at Salvation Army Fall Fund-raiser

Nancy Masterson and Peggy Hughes at Salvation Army Fall Fund-raiser

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Merry Marketplace Gala “Shopping for a Cause”

T Corey and Michelle Epps

Thomas Robinson and Kat Gordon



he Junior League of Memphis took over Agricenter International for three days to put on its massive charitable shopping extravaganza known as Merry Marketplace. To kick the event off in style, JLM members hosted the Merry Marketplace Gala on opening night for hundreds of attendees who came outfitted in their cocktail best and ready to shop for a worthwhile cause. Beth Pope took on the responsibility of chairing the gala, which came off beautifully thanks to help from Laura Finley and Allison Frazier, both of whom lent their decorating talents, and auction chair Meghan Shanklin; Valentina Cochran chaired the actual Merry Marketplace with assistance from co-chair Corey Morgan. Just prior to the gala, those instrumental in the affair held a special Champagne toast but soon joined partygoers as they walked past uniquely decorated trees at the entrance. The first stop for many was the three-section silent auction, inclusive of a YMCA of Memphis family membership, a Fox and Hound party starter package and serving trays ideal for at-home holiday gatherings, to mention several of the offerings. Meanwhile, many male (and some female) patrons stopped at the Men’s Zone, which offered a big screen TV for World Series fans. Serious shoppers continued on throughout the facility’s different wings to peruse nearly 150 merchants’ wares for more gift ideas. Though the vendors hailed from cities and towns throughout the country, some of the more popular booths had owners that didn’t come from too far away. E. Leigh’s out of Little Rock, Arkansas featured current jewelry, purse and women’s clothing trends and felt like an exclusive shopping experience considering that the company is based online until a brick and mortar boutique opens next April. Further down, Avanti Skin Center of Collierville had a booth promoting the latest in skin care, and then there was ZoftigDoll Vintage Bijoux, which had a Midtown Memphis jewelry maker selling necklaces, rings, bracelets and earrings adorned with vintage hotel keys, eyeglass lenses and other quirky trinkets. Between booths, various food vendors, such as Café Society, Memphis Pizza Café, Just for Lunch, Grove Grill and Newk’s, provided mini bites of their specialties to add to guests’ private shopping adventure. Pianist Lex Bonner and the Jack Cooper Jazz Trio also delighted all as the event performers. By night’s end, the sounds, the smells and the over-stuffed shopping bags meant it was beginning to look a lot like the holidays had arrived in Memphis not only for gala-goers, but for JLM’s numerous community partners.

Rachael Renken and Angie Wallick

Warwick and Cathy Garner

Story by Leah Fitzpatrick Photos by Nathan Berry and Leah Fitzpatrick

See all the party photos at Password: RSVP Chuck and Lauren Utterback

Valerie Smith and Heather Fortune

Fred and Tanya Ellrich

Charlotte Bray, Tia Osmet, Michael Quinn and Robin Reviere

Clay Chapman and Margot Holland



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John Thatcher and Sara Brock

Gina and Chad Boyd

Elizabeth Clifton and Courtney Murrah

Catherine Adams and Katherine Benson

Stacia Weir and Sherry Hawkins



Martha Hess and Courtenay McAllister

Anne Gamble and Ellen Fortas

Stephanie Simpson and Amy Stack

Nicole Jones and Sophie Anthony

Caroline and Fred Smithwick

Sally Fienup and Holly Cousar



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Elizabeth Martin, Frank Peyton and Emily McEvoy

Diane Presley and Freda Sullivan

Cathy and Jeremy Ainsworth



Heather Lettow, Nikki Tidmore, Rose Jones and Kim Shamblin

Lauren Schorr and Katie Jenkins

Monica Skipper and April Britt

EVENT Wes and Rita Kersey


Misti Doose and Kristi Pool


Original Original Art A rt c creates reates treasured treasured gifts gifts

jewelry by aakoffi

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25 2571 71 B Broad road A Avenue venue | 90 901.323.ARTS 1.323.ARTS

Custom Custom Framing F r a m ing sshowcases howcases w what hat yo you u treasure treasure

Jen Larkin, Tonya Wells, Rebecca Bush and Kathryn Perry

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Argus with red lacquer moulding



Christy Sharp and Carolyn Gwatney

Susan Kyles and Susan Lee

Amy Feehan, Tina Niclosi and Louisa Munn



Partners in Preservation Party 6x6 Wining and Dining Event An Evening with Lee Woodruff Literacy Mid-South Super Gala ain Street Collierville adopted “The Roaring Twenties” theme for its whopping 19th annual MPartners in Preservation Party and Taste of the Town.

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Michelle and Austin Byrd at 6x6 Wining and Dining Event



Carmen Holmes, Bianca Phillips, Kembree Darakshani, Courtney Richardson and Kim McQueeney at 6x6 Wining and Dining Event

Shelley Thomas and Kevin Dean at Literacy Mid-South Super Gala

Elizabeth Trotter and Emily Newton at Literacy Mid-South Super Gala

Scooted down one-and-a-half blocks from the Collierville square into the Washington Gates subdivision, the swingin’ good time transpired with flapper and gangster-attired guests doing some silent and live auction bidding and food sampling from restaurants like Fino Villa, Cajun Catfish, The Butcher Shop and Stix. Van Gogh’s Ear supplied live music at the fund-raiser which assists Main Street Collierville in hosting events on the town square each year. Mid-South Spay & Neuter Services hosted the first 6X6 Wining & Dining Event at Askew Nixon Ferguson Architects. Fredric Koeppel, long-time wine enthusiast and author, selected wines for each table, while The Elegant Farmer, Sweet Grass, The Slider Inn, Khan’s Desserts, Imagine Vegan Cafe and Wade and Company provided vegetarian and vegan cuisine. As part of the Memphis College of Art’s 75th anniversary initiative, students added to the event with their creative flair: “Garden Fashionistas” served six small-plate offerings while garbed by fine-art student Chloe York; Andrew Edwards photographed; and Evan Leggoe did artistic makeup. WKNO’s Justin Willingham emceed, and “Nora & Rico” also performed. All proceeds benefit Mid-South Spay & Neuter Services’ spay/neuter surgical clinic. Lee Woodruff has inspired many family caregivers by writing and speaking about the recovery of her ABC-TV anchor husband, Bob Woodruff, who sustained traumatic brain injury while on assignment in Iraq. Locally, she was the honored guest at “The Unsung Hero: The CareGiver—An Evening with Lee Woodruff,” sponsored by Crittenden Regional Hospital at The Peabody. Crittenden, which will soon celebrate its 60th anniversary, once hosted dinners at the “Hotel Peabody” in the 1950s, when the price of a dinner ticket was $10. Like Clark Kent entering a phone booth, the Literacy Mid-South offices quick-changed into a superheroes’ hideout for the inaugural Super Gala, which raised funds for the nonprofit’s literacy and learning programs. As executive director Kevin Dean (The Riddler) explained, comic books have hooked a lot of young minds on reading, so what better way to celebrate them than with a costume party during Halloween season? Green Hornets, Green Lanterns, Hawk Girls, Black Canaries, Hulks and She-Hulks fueled up for DJ Lil Egg Roll’s dance floor with fish and chips and other Celtic Crossing fare. Avengers and villains of every stripe partied past the close of the silent auction, late into the night. Story and photos Submitted and by Kelly Cox and Jeannie Mandelker

Jeff Elsworth, Laura Todd, Abby Reed, Joyce McKenzie, Karen Perrin, Joy Leerskov, Michellle Kelly, Kevin Perkins and Jennie Smith at Partners in Preservation Party

Brad McCormick, Lee Woodruff and Jamie Carter at An Evening with Lee Woodruff

Jami Leverton, Richard Green and Walter Wills at An Evening with Lee Woodruff

Boone and Jacque Nance, Diane Ayres and Andy Luttrell at An Evening with Lee Woodruff

Liz and Keith Thomas at Partners in Preservation Party



Architects’ Halloween Party Friends for Life Halloween Party Bone Bash Masquerade Haunted Happenings the brisk temperatures, supporters of MidSouth Spay & Neuter Services decked out in costumes Dforespite the 25th Architects’ Party at Askew Nixon Ferguson

Allison Howard, Alicia Howard, “Marcian Brady” and Jeff Hale at Friends for Life Halloween Party

Story by Kelly Cox, Leah Fitzpatrick, Suzanne Thompson and Lesley Young Photos by Kelly Cox, Chris Pugh, Suzanne Thompson and Lesley Young Marion Folk and Kathy Loeb at Bone Bash Masquerade

Tim Krahn and Mike Neel at Bone Bash Masquerade

Meghan Beasy, Hope Owens, Karen Watson and Kayla Pharr at Bone Bash Masquerade

Kim Brukardt and Susan Davis at Architects’ Halloween Party

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Greg Wolf and Julie Drewry at Architects’ Halloween Party


Emily Dickerson and Danny Mincey at Friends for Life Halloween Party

Architects. The Halloween bash featured music by Patty Harper & Faultline on the main stage, and Snake Doctors performed in the courtyard. Guests dressed like the Bride of Frankenstein, Michael Jackson and other colorful characters boogied down until midnight while showing support for our furry four-legged friends. Dressed as “Angels, Aliens and Outlaws!” and everything in-between, Friends for Life Halloween Party attendees showed off their creative costumes at BRIDGES. The nonprofit’s largest yearly benefit, the event not only raised funds to help those affected by HIV/AIDS in the community, but offered a fun atmosphere for Friends for Life advocates to mingle. From dancing to tunes by DJ Justin Hand and DJ Steve Anne to having pictures “taken in outer space,” partygoers had a ghoulishly good time. Scarlett O’Hara, Elvis and the Tin Man, among other luminaries, were sighted amidst a sea of masked and formally fitted partygoers at The Peabody during the seventh annual Arthritis Foundation Bone Bash Masquerade. More than 250 costumed guests made an appearance for dancing during the Plaintiffs set, bidding on auction items, tasting wine (handpicked by Chez Philippe’s sommelier) and dining. Pat Halloran served as honorary chair, and event chair was Pamela Hauber, who said, “Arthritis is the leading cause of disability in America. We must raise funds to support research to find better ways to treat this disease and perhaps to one day find a cure.” Imagine a dark night in October and a 140year-old Victorian mansion looming in the moonlight. You cross the deeply-shadowed lawn and enter to find...a coffin in the parlor, mannequins in mourning dress in the bedrooms, strange sounds emanating from the carriage house and laughter from some subterranean spot! That was the setting for the third annual Haunted Happenings at the Woodruff-Fontaine House. Two friendly local ghost-hunting groups, Paranormal Inc. and Paranormal Research and Investigation Authority, presented hair-raising findings from recent nocturnal explorations, and author Laura Cunningham was on hand signing copies of her books Haunted Memphis and Lost Memphis. Even those who failed to spot an apparition were given a glimpse of the city’s past. Proceeds from Haunted Happenings support the Woodruff-Fontaine House Museum.

A.J. Northrop and Peggy Lovell at Haunted Happenings

Jon Weems and Laura Cunningham at Haunted Happenings


Chefs’ Celebrity Gala


Benefiting the Memphis Child Advocacy Center


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Lori and Darrin Ballew

Kevin and Kriste Cullum



he restaurant in the U of M Holiday Inn was abuzz as 100 celebrity servers, each wearing a starched white apron, all dined prior to the 22nd annual Chefs’ Celebrity Gala benefiting the Memphis Child Advocacy Center. Simultaneously, a cocktail hour was held upstairs outside the ballroom. Hors d’oeuvres of chicken jalapeno poppers and salmon Boursin lollipops were enjoyed as guests perused silent auction items, mingled and sipped cocktails. When the doors to the ballroom were opened, a vision of grandeur awaited. White linen tablecloths were covered with embroidered organza overlays. Towering centerpieces five feet high adorned some tables, while others were accented with orchid-filled crystal vases of varying heights. Notable Memphians such as Penny and Pete Aviotti, Ray Pohlman, Steve Ehrhart, Michael Uiberall and Jim Prentiss Jr. participated as celebrity servers, whose job it was to stand ready for the 500 diners who purchased tickets to the sold-out event. The tables were set with gold chargers, which did not stay empty long, as the eager servers presented the first course, a salad of assorted spring greens wrapped in prosciutto, tomato concassé with grilled squash d’parma, whole wheat pasta, shrimp and melba toast. After salad plates were whisked away, an intermezzo course of blood orange sorbet, presented on a miniature ice carving, was served as a palate cleanser before guests received the main course, an array of delectable offerings. The plate was anchored by a chargrilled Black Angus filet and classic chicken Florentine served with a demi cassis. Savory lobster orzo risotto and a delicate bundle of lemon-scented asparagus, along with a slice of flash-fried Vidalia onion, complemented the meat. Individual miniature almond chocolate cakes topped with Chantilly cream and Italian meringue finished the meal. The servers also took orders for teddy bears. Called “Teddy Bear Surprises,” each adorable stuffed animal had an envelope attached that described the gifts the purchaser had won. Sold at three levels of $250, $500 and $1,000, the teddy bears were considered a surprise because no one knew what gifts each bear’s accompanying envelope contained. Some of the surprise gifts included certificates for jewelry, catered dinners, original artwork and travel vouchers. Like the dinner, the bears sold out fast. Jim Johnson provided entertainment throughout the dinner, and thanks to the expert planning of Carol Prentiss, who has chaired the event each and every year, this extraordinary function raised about $265,000 and could be considered one of the most memorable of the year. Story by Suzanne Thompson Photos by Baxter Buck

Rena and Henry Booth

Kaci Murley and Burton Bridges

See all the party photos at Password: RSVP

Jonathan and Angie Hackmeyer

Gina and Mike Warr

Mickie and Steve Nabers

Billy Pickens, Carol Prentiss and Matt Robinson

Darrell and LaTina Thomas

EVENT CHEFS’ CELEBRITY GALA Ann Winegardner and Kathy Appleton

Laura and Colin Campbell

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MIFA “Feed the Soul” Party Celebr ating MIFA in Memphis

T Tran Bui and Jenny Koltnow

Richard and Toni Baer



here is little doubt that among the quintessential charity events in Memphis, the Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association’s annual “Feed the Soul” Party ranks right up there at the top. Since 1968, MIFA has strived to meet and overcome the challenges presented by the poverty in our city, and the Memphis community has given generously to help the organization accomplish its goals. Accordingly, more than 900 folks came together at The Warehouse in the South Main Arts District to support MIFA’s cause. The fun began as soon as guests entered the grounds, where they were greeted by the lovely Memphis “Grizz Girls” and given glow necklaces to help get in the party mood. Many opted to have photos taken with “Elvis” on the paparazzi walk and enter the raffle to win one of a huge assortment of prizes donated by Bangkok Alley, the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, Dabbles Hair Company, Le Chardonnay, Gould’s and Buster’s Liquors and Wines, to name just a few. Back by popular demand, two oxygen bars did a brisk business right up until closing time. Outside, the MIFA Cave featured tastings of Bacardi Rum, Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey, suds from Ghost River Brewing and a Havana Mix Cigar Emporium. V101’s DJ supreme, Stan “The Bellringer” Bell, spun the hits in The Rhythm and Blues Pavilion as guests sampled appetizers from Rendezvous, L’Ecole Culinaire and Miss Polly’s Soul City Café and helped themselves to potables donated by Victor L. Robilio Co., Inc., PepsiAmericas, Inc., Coors Beer and Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Memphis. The long lines moved quickly as plates were filled with terrific soul food from Aramark, Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken, Memphis Pizza Café and Hog Wild BBQ, as well as a an array of tempting side items and desserts by Muddy’s Bake Shop. And the entertainment kept on coming with Michael Jackson tribute artist Pam Caudle performing on the Soul Stage, followed by one of Memphis’ premiere rock bands, WALRUS. Charlie Nelson, MIFA’s director of volunteers and fund-raising events, was excited by the large turnout and enthusiastic spirit of the event, saying, “Thanks to presenting sponsor SunTrust, the Memphis community and our lovely volunteers, it was a perfectly fun night; we raised over $100,000!”

Jeff and Rebecca McGoff

Ward and Jane Mayer

Story by Ruth Cassin Photos by Don Perry See all the party photos at Password: RSVP Carsolina Walton and Patrick Hendricks

Amber Palazolo and Jennifer Acchiardo

Tracy and Doug Christofferson

Missy Boyd, Holly Burrif, Ashley Hardin and Keri Bryson

Charlie Nelson and Ellen Whitten


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Kembree Darakshani Brown and Tony Brown


Diane and Stuart Polly


Babs Feibelman, Mark Finestone, Jeff Feibelman, Sally Heinz and Steve Montgomery

Christina Cupples and Kip Gordon

Clayton Gray and Kris Kourdouvelis

Beverly Williams, Major Currie, Debbie Desrochers and Amy Doville


Brooke Helsley with Courtney and Dana Richardson

Mary Bean, Wynn Sorsby and Chris Bean

Alan and Brooke Balducci

Becky and Chris Suhoza



Frank Howell and Laura Sandoval

Tod Holtzclaw, Cindy Moore and Anna Holtzclaw

Tiffany Evans and Justin Bailey

Bonnie Heringer and Judge Kay Robilio

Dustin and Becky James with Josh Heigel


After Hours A photo collage of the latest business happenings

Customer Appreciation Party at Dogs Rule

Taylor Waring, Buzzy Hussey and Lee Henry at Babcock Gifts

Michael Belz and Sally Hughes at Dogs Rule

Girls Night Out Holiday Party at James Davis

Laura O’Mell and Betty Hays at James Davis

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Baccarat Trunk Show at Babcock Gifts

Nigel and Tiffany Smith with “Presley” at Dogs Rule

Estate Sale at Post 31

Open House at Laser Aesthetics


55 Joy Metcalf and Gina Bartz at Babcock Gifts

Chris Pugh and Brandee Loving at James Davis

Debbie Eissler and Teresa Davis at Post 31

Martina Ashmore, Jessica Rippe and Stephanie Tompkins at Laser Aesthetics

Sharon Aicholls and Sherry Clothier at Post 31

Jeanette Gipson and Lori Reeves at Laser Aesthetics

Rob Joiner and Josh Pastner at James Davis


By Dennis Phillippi


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ere are a few things I will do virtually anything to avoid doing: getting this column in on time, babysitting, hugging strangers, arguing about politics, and, maybe at the top of the list, buying cars. I hate buying cars. Yes, part of it is the palpable desperation of the middle-aged guys standing an apparently prescribed distance from one another, waiting for you to park closest to them. I’m certain that, by and large, car salesmen are very nice people and good citizens who support the troops, but they’re at work, and their work is to get you to spend tens of thousands of dollars. That’s not the most important reason however. The fact that I know next to nothing about cars and I don’t really want to learn anymore would be the most important. There are car guys and not car guys, and I fall into the latter category. Can I appreciate a cool car and how cool I would look driving it? Of course, but that doesn’t mean I want to drive 15 of them to find out which one fits me the best. It definitely doesn’t mean that I want to learn about the engine of each and why this one or that one is better because the guy’s job is to tell me that the one he’s showing me is the best one, even if that means telling me it’s better than the one he told me five minutes ago was the best one. But, the time has come. My approach to vehicle maintenance is to get the oil changed every three to 12,000 miles, and that’s about it. I don’t think about getting my tires rotated, largely because I’m not exactly sure what that means other than the obvious, and I don’t know what else might be expected on a regular basis. As a sports fan, I can tell you that a NASCAR pit stop that lasts more than 14 seconds is probably too long, but as a not car guy, I can’t tell you what psi my tires should be. Also, I don’t care. This, as you can imagine, inevitably leads to me having a vehicle that ages before its time, like a ‘60s British rock star, and needs to be replaced well before more responsible people would need theirs

replaced. But, here’s the thing, I don’t replace it then, because I hate buying cars, so the thing just deteriorates until my wife finally hates the sight of it so much our Saturdays suddenly fill up with visiting parts of town we, as Midtowners, rarely see. That time has arrived. Don’t get me wrong, for a guy who drags his feet on big-ticket purchases like actresses putting off playing mom roles, I have had a lot of cars. My first was a beast: a 1976 Chevy Malibu Classic, silver with black interior and bench seats made for making out with hippie girls. It had a massive engine. At the time, brace yourselves youngsters, gas cost a dollar a gallon, and the Malibu got 10 miles to the gallon, so it cost me a dime a mile to drive that thing. This was when I was a junior

Don’t get me wrong, for a guy who drags his feet on big-ticket purchases like actresses putting off playing mom roles, I have had a lot of cars. in high school, and I had to scramble up a lot of dimes. After that I had an Audi, a Volkswagen Sirocco, another Malibu and a canary yellow 1972 Chrysler New Yorker that had to have been 20 feet long and turned like the Queen Mary driven by Joseph Hazelwood. This was all before I met my wife, who has always been meticulous about maintaining her vehicles, because she’s, you know, responsible and smart. When we met she was on her second car, a 1984 Corolla, that we finally grew weary of when we had to push it over the Smokies in second gear at 15 miles an hour with people literally screaming out their windows at us. And we could make out what they were saying. As a young couple trying to be grown up, we went searching for a nice, reliable sedan. We ended up buying one of the first Miatas to come to Memphis. As you can imagine, this was pretty much on

me, because I’m a guy. You have to imagine this slick, cool, little red convertible without a fingerprint on it that shined on the showroom floor. We’d never seen anything like it. No one had ever seen anything like it. Then we made the mistake of driving it “just for fun.” This was probably the only moment my wife ever truly regretted teaching me to drive a stick. Yes, you read that right. Here, for the first time ever, I admit it, my wife taught me how to drive a 5-speed. I told her at the time that I had known how, but had sort of forgotten. The truth is I had driven a stick, the Sirocco, briefly and very poorly, and years later, my wife taught me how to do it right. She may be learning this for the first time reading this column, so nobody show it to her. Through the years we had much more responsible cars, except for the one I have now, which I bought used because, and I’m not proud of this, it looked cool, and I looked cool driving it. Now it looks like something that has no business being on the road, and I look like an idiot driving it. Oh, I also almost never wash my car. Is that bad? So, we’re car shopping and we don’t know what we’re doing. We just learned that hybrids don’t have to be plugged in. Who knew? They get great mileage and seem pretty zippy. An electric car would be good for me, but she wants a little more range for her new car. Oh, that’s right, we’re shopping for her. My bad habits have caught up with me. She’s getting a new car. I’m getting her old car. Her old car, which is a little newer than mine, but has about the same mileage and because she took care of it, should run for many years to come. Or so she thinks. Wait til I get my neglectful hands on it.

Dennis Phillippi, your car shopping saga must come to an end soon because we’d hate for your wife to actually have to keep her car and for you to resort to renting a sleigh to deliver all of your holiday presents to the RSVP staff. Actually, that might be kind of humorous, and oddly fitting for Midtown, to see you turning the corner of Cooper onto Central in a bright red sleigh, which would definitely be longer than your 1972 Chrysler New Yorker.


After Hours A photo collage of the latest business happenings

Sister Schubert Book Signing at Palladio

Jennifer McCullough, Patricia “Sister� Schubert Barnes and Lee Jones at Palladio

Holiday Open House at Hampton Designs

Lisa Marcom, Daphne Cantu, Rosemary Burns and Kathy Burns at Hampton Designs

Designer Open House at Stash

Demetrica Jones, Sharon Jett and Karey Fleming at Stash

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Holiday Open House at Mrs. Post

Lindsey Cross, Chappell Paden, Sarah Spinosa and Kelly Smith at Mrs. Post

Eric Watts, Brooke Davis, Jeff Edgeworth, Pat Coughlin and Larry Hedrick at Stash

Open House at Amy Howard

Holiday Open House at More Therapy

Girls Night Out at East Memphis Aesthetics

Kevin Coble, Amy and Gene Howard and Ann Conrad at Amy Howard

Jamie Stacks, Mary Jo McCarver and Christy Muller at More Therapy

Melanie Saunders, Dr. Kris Leventhal and Mollie Curlin Smith at East Memphis Aesthetics

Leslie Carter, Neely Carter and Morgan Armstrong at Amy Howard

Jenny Ezzell, Courtney Smith and Janie Lowery at More Therapy

Emily Oliva, Andrea Hall and Erica Bookout at East Memphis Aesthetics


57 Joann Duncan, Irma Roberts and Ruth Williams at Palladio


Caroling in the Music Room

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hristmastime brings out family traditions, which for the Cobb household included singing carols at their home. In the photograph above, Ruth Moore Cobb plays the harp, while her daughter, Elizabeth Toff Cobb, age 8, assists at the piano. Singing bass are Charles Pittman Cobb Sr., Thomas Oliver Cobb, age 10, Charles Pittman Cobb Jr., age 5, and Oliver Perry Cobb, age 7. Charles Sr. was an attorney with Evans, Petree, Cobb and Edwards Law Firm, and Ruth was a principal harpist for the Memphis Symphony Orchestra. PHOTO COURTESY OF AN ANONYMOUS READER If you have a past photo you would like to share with RSVP readers, please contact Leah Fitzpatrick at 276-7787 ext. 105 or e-mail the photo and caption to All photos will be returned promptly.

Kimberly Falls Lentz AT TO R N E Y AT L AW









Call Me Directly ( 901 ) 729-9807


RSVP Magazine December 2011  

RSVP magazine is like no other publication in the city of Memphis. What began as simply “The Society Pages” more than a decade ago has evolv...

RSVP Magazine December 2011  

RSVP magazine is like no other publication in the city of Memphis. What began as simply “The Society Pages” more than a decade ago has evolv...