Page 1

February 2011

Smiles for Life Gala Orpheum Auction Gala Liberty Bowl Presidents' Gala Q&A with Caron Byrd

Vaubel Necklace $3,000

Pink Diamond Heart Pendant

S TORE H OURS : M ONDAY - S ATURDAY 10 AM - 5 PM 9387 P OPLAR A VENUE • G ERMANTOWN , TN 38138 • 901.758.8605 •




Contents February 201 1

From the Editor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8 Signature Memphis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10 Renowned guitarist Lily Afshar plays some tunes for RSVP in front of the fire.

RSVP Watch List . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12 Cupid strikes this Valentine’s with everything gold in mind.


Liberty Bowl Presidents’ Gala . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14 Football and charity went hand-in-hand at the Liberty Bowl festivities, the first of which was held at The Peabody.

30 STREETSEEN George Whitworth

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Gatherings that have earned an honorable mention.


hands full, but collecting is always on his to-do list as well. StreetSeens spotlight Dr. David


Onsites . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .22, 23, 35, 44 & 46

Evans, Anthony Siracusa and George Whitworth.

StreetSeens . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .24, 28 & 30 He’s got an eye for detail at his day job and at his new venture as a movie director. This cyclist is going above and beyond as a bike advocate for Memphis. As a lawyer, he’s got his


Vox Popular . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .32 Q&A with the executive director of Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Memphis, Caron Byrd.

STREETSEEN Dr. David Evans

36 ORPHEUM AUCTION GALA Terri and Jim Witkosky

Orpheum Auction Gala . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .36 Auctiongoers united to support the Orpheum Theatre in a big way at the institution’s largest annual benefit.

Smiles for Life Gala . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .42 The Shelby County Drug Court was the chosen beneficiary at this elegant party hosted by the Memphis Dental Society inside Memphis Country Club.

RSVPhillippi . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .48 The “I” in Internet


Brace yourself for Dennis Phillippi’s challenge to forgo the Internet for a 24-hour period.

STREETSEEN Anthony Siracusa

42 SMILES FOR LIFE GALA Fred and Gayle Heros

Cover Photo Cooper and Mona Sandusky at Smiles for Life Gala Photo by Roy Haithcock

Volume XVI

Number V

February 201 1 PUBLISHER

Roy Haithcock EDITOR


Ruth Cassin Kelly Cox Jonathan Devin Dennis Phillippi Lesley Young ART DIRECTOR


Nathan Berry Don Perry Steve Roberts F E B R U A R Y 2 0 11






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 For editorial information or to request coverage of an event, please contact RSVP Magazine one month prior to the event. Call 901-276-7787, ext. 105 or fax to 901-276-7785. e-mail Follow us on

RSVP Memphis Magazine Copyright 2011 Haithcock Communications, Inc.

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From the Editor


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Photo by Steve Roberts

hh, February! You’ve brought me one month closer to spring, which officially starts March 20, but until then, I’m determined to make the best of what’s left of winter. For starters, party season picks back up this month, beginning with five parties alone on February 5 (Check out the RSVP online events calendar for details.). Then, there’s a slew of celebrations in conjunction with Groundhog Day, Valentine’s Day (See the RSVP Watch List on page 12 for exquisite gift ideas.), Black History Month, Chinese New Year and American Heart Month. Who knew February was such a popular month for events? One thing that will keep me sane throughout this busy time is my soon-to-be new favorite pastime—painting. I owe credit to the Memphis Brooks Museum League for inspiring me to take up the art form since the group asked me to be a part of the Celebrities on Canvas event coming up at the Brooks on March 5. When one of the members first told me I’d have to submit a painting, I grew nervous and instantly replied, “But, I’ve never painted before.” The league member somehow twisted my arm, and soon enough, I was relishing the chance to attempt something I’d always wanted to try. The ironic thing is that I grew up taking many an art class after elementary school and in college, however every medium I’ve tried thus far has been anything but painting. Heck, I’ve even done silk screen printing and taken a class where I constructed sculptures out of cardboard, but never did painting. Well, I’m happy to say that my first canvas creation turned out just fine, so now, there are lots of ideas swirling around in my head for the second masterpiece…maybe “masterpiece” is stretching things a bit. This is the point where I turn my attention to you dear readers by asking, “What helps you unwind or keep your sanity during hectic schedules?” Is it cooking, reading a juicy novel or maybe rock climbing? I want to know, so e-mail me your answers at, and if I get a good response, I’ll post your answers online next month. Also, let me know if you would like to answer more questions like this one, and I’ll start a section on for a monthly Q&A with readers. Last, but not least, I hope you enjoy an issue that’s filled with lots of love from the RSVP staff. A much-deserved thanks goes out to my ad reps, freelancers, production manager, office manager and publisher for aiding in the production of our fine magazine each and every day.



Leah Fitzpatrick

Classical Guitarist/Professor of Guitar at University of Memphis

Hobby: Hiking. Personal hero: My father. Stress Outlet: Swimming. Ideal vacation spot: Caspian Sea. First job: At the University of Memphis. One thing you can’t live without: My guitar. Historical figure you most identify with: Cyrus the Great. Your greatest achievement: Studying with Andres Segovia. Your mantra: Finish what you start and always be positive. Words or phrases you overuse: Practice, practice, practice. Favorite album: “You’re My Everything” by Santa Esmeralda. Movie you could watch over and over again: The Sound of Music. Last book you’ve read: Alfred Hitchcock’s Stories To Stay Awake By. One thing most people don’t know about you: I love medieval Persian poetry. Where you take out-of-town guests: Marciano Restaurant and the Mississippi.

Photo by Don Perry



Lily Afshar


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Liberty Bowl Presidents’ Gala Benefiting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

F Kristin Stevens and Trey Sinyard

Kaitlin Long and Bobby Lanier



ootball fans from far and wide flocked to Memphis for the AutoZone Liberty Bowl, which pitted the University of Georgia Bulldogs against the University of Central Florida Knights. The night before the big game, which was also the eve of New Year’s Eve, 1,000 of these football lovers donned black tie for the 52nd AutoZone Liberty Bowl Presidents’ Gala, held at The Peabody hotel. Traditionally, the gala has honored the spouses of the competing head coaches; if game day belongs to those coaches, the previous night is for their wives. Thus, the belles of this year’s ball were Katharyn, wife of UGA’s head coach Mark Richt, and Sharon, wife of UCF’s head coach George O’Leary. The affair began festively with a cocktail reception and music by Hudson and Saleeby in the Continental Ballroom, after which guests drifted to dinner and dancing in the Grand Ballroom. Among the dignitaries in attendance were UCF’s President Dr. John Hitt, UGA’s President Dr. Michael Adams, President of the AutoZone Liberty Bowl Association Willie Gregory, a great many past presidents of the Bowl, Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell, AutoZone CEO Bill Rhodes and Miss AutoZone Liberty Bowl Kaitlin Long, of Kansas City, Missouri. Charlotte Neal again served as event chair. In a prayer before dinner, Mayor A C Wharton invoked the name of the game when he urged the room to remember the blessing of liberty. Then, Master Sergeant Mary Kay Messenger, who is based at West Point, electrified the crowd with her bell-clear soprano as she sang “God Bless America.” Sergeant Messenger also sang the national anthem before kick-off the following day. Andy Childs and his band limbered up the galagoers with a set of irresistible classic Memphis rock and soul. Headlining were the platinum-selling, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees The O’Jays, who took the stage arrayed in white three-piece suits. At this point, the dance floor positively boiled over with a blur of cuff links and sequins, fancy footwork and swinging hips. When The O’Jays started in on “Love Train,” two or three enormous conga-line style dance trains formed and began locomoting throughout the ballroom, bringing people aboard as they grooved along. “That was really one of the outstanding moments from over the years,” said Steve Ehrhart, executive director of the AutoZone Liberty Bowl. Past President Les Dale (’92) attended with his friend Karen Mullins and members of his family who were in town from North Carolina. A delightful conversationalist, Mr. Dale confessed that while he’s at heart a Vanderbilt and U of M fan, he truly admires Georgia’s Coach Richt. All the same, he predicted a win for UCF. And on New Year’s Eve, he was proven right.

Doug and Mary McKillip

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Story by Kelly Cox Photos by Don Perry

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celebrities on canvas The Brooks Museum League Presents

Saturday March 5 from 7 until 10p.m. At the Brooks Museum

A premiere gala featuring a live and silent auction of over thirty paintings created by Mid-South celebrities exclusively for this event. Enjoy entertainment, live music and signature hors d’ oeuvres by Chef Wally Joe and Chef Andrew Adams.

Larry Hardy and Linda Farmer

Jenny and Nick Vergos

Tickets are $75 per person available at the museum or by calling 901.323.9152 or 901.484.4672

Celebrity artists include: D’Army Bailey, Claudia Barr, Joe Birch, Chuck Brady, Harold Byrd, Karen Carrier, Mei-Ann Chen, Steve Cohen, John B. Crowe, Jim Eikner, Leah Fitzpatrick, Pat Halloran, Carissa Hussong, Wally Joe, Kevin Kane, Al Kapone, Cameron Kitchin, Amy LaVere, Tom Lee, Richard Ransom, Josh Pastner, Elliot Perry, Johnny Pitts, Mearl Purvis, Jim Rout, Susan Schadt, Kevin Sharp, Linn Sitler, M. Dell Stiner, Jim Strickland, Pat Kerr Tigrett Proceeds benefit the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art


Mike and Peggy Callahan with Lisa and John Rucker


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Monica and Andre Wharton


Lois Stockton, Aleta Boyd and Evelyn Morrow

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February 19 – July 17, 2011

Ricky and Catherine Harris with Clayton Morrison

A wide array of more than 200 works of art illuminates Japan’s enduring influence on the West. 1-866-VIEW ART | 380 South Lamar Street, Jackson, Mississippi Additional support provided by Trustmark Bank, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi, and the Jackson Convention & Visitors Bureau. Support is also provided in part by funding from the Mississippi Arts Commission, a state agency, and in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.

Tawanda Knight and Malcolm Wilson

Sam Tweddell and Heather Younger

The Annie Laurie Swaim Hearin Memorial Exhibition Series

William Merritt Chase (American, 1849–1916), The Japanese Woodblock Print, circa 1888. oil on canvas. 20.16 x 24.25 in. Collection of Neue Pinakothek, Bayerische Staatsgemaeldesammlungen, Munich, Germany. Inv. 8401. Photo Credit: Bildarchiv Preussischer Kulturbesitz / Art Resource, NY. Unknown Artist (Japanese, 19th century), no title, circa 1870. watercolor, ink, metallic leaf on off-white paper. 15.75 x 25.39 in. Courtesy National Park Service, Longfellow National Historic Site.



RiverArtsFest Preview Party Backstage Ball Arc Benefit Gala “Tasty Ten”


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Bill Bradley, Kathy Gomes and Beth Bradley at Arc Benefit Gala



Mandy Compton with Tom and Natalie Harmeier at Arc Benefit Gala

Megan Denney and Zane Hartsell at Backstage Ball

lose to 70,000 Mid-Southerners made it downtown to browse booths, listen to live music and watch artists work at the RiverArtsFest on South Main. To thank those who made the event possible, a RiverArtsFest Preview Party was held the eve of the festival in the new Memphis College of Art Graduate Center, also located on South Main. In a setting apropos for artists, food and beverages were served in the college’s main Anguish,” setting the gallery with the visiting show, “A scene. Many of the festival artists’ wares were up for Barbara Nixon with Mike and Blanche Deaderick grabs in the silent auction, and all proceeds from the at RiverArtsFest Preview Party auction and ticket sales went to support the festival. Getting backstage at the FedExForum was made easy during Halloween. For the price of a ticket, folks could drive right up and waltz into the coveted VIP area at the Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum’s fourth annual Backstage Ball. Halloween costume contestants such as Sonny Bono were seen filling their plates with munchies provided by Levy Restaurants and Kooky Canuck, while a zombie Elvis and other ghoulish dead celebrities danced to the tunes of Dr. Zarr’s Amazing Funk Monster. Besides goodie bags of candy, partygoers also had the chance to walk home with silent auction items, photos from the photo booth and/or prizes awarded for the more inspired costume ideas. After 60 years of “empowering people and inSue Layman, Kristin Norwood and Carole Stevens spiring change” for those with disabilities, the Arc of at RiverArtsFest Preview Party the Mid-South took time to celebrate in style during its milestone Arc Benefit Gala at The Peabody. To honor those who have helped the organization maintain its longevity, the Arc recognized close to a dozen participants with awards. In addition to offering more than 70 silent and live auction items, a special celebration dinner and a program moderated by WMC-TV 5’s Joe Birch delighted group supporters, as did entertainment by Elvis and the Unusual Suspects and On the Move Band. Restoration Inc., a nonprofit that assists young ladies who have eating disorders, took advantage of Tasty Ten” fund-raisOctober 10, 2010 (10-10-10) for a “T er. The day began with a 10K race around the perimeter of Wolfchase Galleria, with ten restaurants providing free food afterward to anyone holding a “Tasty Ten” Extra Hands” division of the Junior ticket. The “E League of Memphis, led by Kristi Francavilla, adopted Megan Johnson, Trey Caldwell, Camille Anderson and Sita Robles the event, with Terminix Pest Control sponsoring it. at “Tasty Ten” Story Submitted and by Lesley Young Photos by Danny Patterson and Lesley Young

JaNae Cook with Christy and David Hale at Backstage Ball

Kerry Snyder and Jencie Escue at Backstage Ball

Don Russell with Anna and Andrew King at “Tasty Ten”



Harvest Celebration Tool Box Bash Friends For Life Halloween Party Scott Nelson Pettit Foundation Benefit Concert


James Horn, Skip Swords, and Ken McLillie at Friends for Life Halloween Party

Shelley McKee and Piper Dandy at Friends for Life Halloween Party

Joanne and Jim Steiner at Scott Nelson Pettit Foundation Benefit Concert

Story and photos by Kelly Cox and Jonathan Devin

Jim Pettit, Irwin and Sharon Berg and Nancy Pettit at Scott Nelson Pettit Foundation Benefit Concert

Rick and Brittany Saviori at Harvest Celebration

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Jill and Earl Lake at Harvest Celebration


Anthony Lee and Drew Roland at Friends for Life Halloween Party

he Memphis Farmers Market’s fifth annual Harvest Celebration brought growers and consumers together to celebrate the end of a delicious growing season. Central Station, adjacent to the MFM’s summer home, housed the party that included live music, silent and live auctions and food, food, food. Volunteers donned festive red bandanas but couldn’t quell the urban chic of the environment as sunlight spilled through high windows on a crowd of happy city-dwellers with plates of organic foods. How do ya like them apples? Some years Mardi Gras comes early and sometimes it comes late—like this past November, when Habitat for Humanity of Greater Memphis hosted its ninth annual Tool Box Bash sponsored by the Valero Memphis Refinery. Habitat turned the Bridges building into a collage of purple, green and gold in which attendees strolled among silent auction tables sampling king cake and red beans and rice. A New Orleans jazz band provided classic and modern standards, and wine tasting stations kept spirits lively. Best of all, this time no one had to give anything up for Lent. Masquerade-minded partiers brought their creativity to the popular Friends For Life Halloween Party, Shipwrecked” and once again held at Bridges. themed “S There were many mermaids, castaways and sailor boys, but how about a tribe of spear-wielding headhunters? Or a pair of tourists who went overboard during a seniors’ cruise? David McCaslin embodied a tropical depression, while Kevin Lawrence and Mark Hickey, as Victorian ladies adrift in a Queen Mary lifeboat, made the ultimate commitment: a tandem costume! Scenes from sea-themed films like Jaws and Finding Nemo were projected onto the sail of a giant ship, from the stern of which DJ Steve Anne manned turntables into the night. Lovers of the big band sound had reason for applause recently, as the Memphis Drum Shop and the Scott Nelson Pettit Foundation presented an evening with the Memphis Jazz Orchestra to benefit LifeQuest Counseling Center. For the first time in its six-year history, this charitable concert was held at Lindenwood Christian Church. Winningly emceed by musician Jeremy Shrader, the performance drew primarily from the Great American Songbook and featured a number of guest vocalists, including the smoky-throated JoJo Jefferies, Marcela Pinilla and LaDon Jones.

Tiffany Futch and Nichole Fontaine at Tool Box Bash

Chris and Kim Warner with Nikki Whitworth at Tool Box Bash


Dr. David Evans An Eye for Movie Making

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hemes of grace and reconciliation resonate with people universally, according to optometrist Dr. David Evans, and he just might be right, with movie audiences anyway, judging by the successful test screenings of The Grace Card, his directorial debut. Sony Pictures liked the faith-based film so much that the company got behind it, setting a nationwide release for February 25. Dr. Evans says the warm response not only from Hollywood, but also from test crowds of thousands of viewers, stems from a changing tide in movie preferences. “There’s been a new niche of movies created in the last few years for people who are wanting something they can see as a family—something with purpose and value, which is where a lot of movies miss out,” he explains. Though The Grace Card marks his first feature-length film, Dr. Evans actually began dabbling in home movies at an early age, but as an adult, he focused on theater, directing Calvary Church’s Passion play for the past 15 years. His attention turned toward movies again two years ago after seeing Fireproof, the number one-grossing independent movie of 2008 that happens to also be Christian-based. “Fireproof inspired me to do this, and now we’ve got the same team they had marketing The Grace Card,” he says. After Fireproof came out, Dr. Evans felt the climate was right to get his moving story about the relationship between two police offers, Mac and Sam, off the ground. So, he and his wife, Esther, produced the movie under their production company, Graceworks Pictures (in conjunction with Calvary Pictures), to make The Grace Card a reality. Auditions were held in March 2009, and soon thereafter, a friend connected Dr. Evans with notable screenwriter Howard Klausner, who restructured The Grace Card dialogue and made it stronger. Three pages into the rewrite, Dr. Evans realized that getting hooked up with Klausner was meant to be. Then, another unforeseen pairing happened. Dr. Evans says, “We couldn’t find the right person to play the grandfather, and since people in the faith community said we needed a known actor, I reached out to Academy Award®-winning actor Louis Gossett Jr.” A few days later, Gossett joined the cast of mostly newcomers, whom Dr. Evans touts as “amazing,” and filming at various Memphis locations began by mid-October 2009. Locals gave more than 10,000 volunteer hours to the project during the 30-day shooting schedule, and the result is pure silver screen magic. “Expect lots of surprises as far as turning points, and there’s some emotional changes the characters go through that families can relate to,” he offers. “Viewers might also realize things they can do better in their own lives, which encourages them to play the grace card.” Story by Leah Fitzpatrick Photo by Steve Roberts



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Anthony Siracusa Pedal Pushing

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y choice, Anthony Siracusa has never owned an automobile. Instead, the 26 year old utilizes a bicycle as his main mode of transportation and wishes others would do the same at least some of the time, whether that means riding a bike once a week or even once a month to a destination. Not one to simply make a suggestion and sit on it, Siracusa began literally empowering others with the tools to help change the public perception of bicycling when he founded Revolutions Community Bicycle Shop almost nine years ago. Occupying three rooms in the First Congregational Church basement, the nonprofit bike shop is open seven hours a week to anyone (from the homeless to kids and their parents) willing to put in some elbow grease, specifically volunteering a minimum of 10 hours to assist with shop maintenance and bike repairs, including tasks like disassembling a wheel or a hub. Bicycles worked on range from people’s personal bikes to those donated by local cycle stores, so not having a bike doesn’t prohibit participation. Siracusa and executive director Kyle Wagenschutz, also the bike pedestrian coordinator for the City of Memphis, both oversee the shop and offer repair instruction to all levels of experience. After 10 service hours have been met, volunteers are asked to make a $40 donation to fulfill membership at Revolutions, and they can receive a bike that must be assemled with Siracusa’s and Wagenschutz’s guidance. Siracusa points out, “In the beginning, my policy was just ‘Ya’ll show up!’ Then, Kyle created the system for people to work 10 hours and give a donation, which helped us see the folks who were really invested in the program.” The self-regulating policy has worked, enabling Siracusa to recognize the amazing commitment that many have put into the organization, which he estimates has recycled 2,500 bikes to date. He has even begun loosening the reins a little on his leadership role by training five people last month to become mechanics at Revolutions. Also in the works is a training class where people will learn how to implement similar programs in the New Chicago and Orange Mound neighborhoods. Fittingly, one of Siracusa’s favorite quotes is “Good leaders produce other good leaders.”—Ella Baker He adds, “If you do all the work, others won’t do it.” A big piece of the work he speaks of entails people taking the knowledge they learn about the health and environmental benefits of bike riding outside the doors of Revolutions. Siracusa explains that we as a city were built on an autocentric infrastructure, so it’s imperative that bikers speak up so that policy makers can rethink the use of urban spaces. He continues, “We have to think differently because more people than ever are moving to cities, and we can’t keep using fossil fuel the way we do.” Story by Leah Fitzpatrick Photo by Steve Roberts

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eorge Whitworth has been practicing law for nearly 48 years, but he’s been hard at work collecting historical objects for even longer at around 60 years. Glancing around one of his display shelves, it’s apparent that a collection of such vastness took years to accumulate and that no items are off limits, as long as some type of historical value is present. Whitworth reasons, “If you’re interested in any area of history, you’re interested in it all.” In the beginning, he was most fascinated with collecting signatures of famous people and says he was probably influenced by his parents, collectors themselves, to take up the hobby. Not until Whitworth was in his mid-to-late 20s did he start seriously collecting things, mostly books at that time. One still sees examples of both of Whitworth’s early interests, from a 1932 Tulane University yearbook signed by famous heart surgeon pioneer and inventor Dr. Michael DeBakey to a Union and Planters check signed by Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederacy, in his private holdings. He’s also placed similar types of items into an online bookstore called George’s Books and Autographs at He tells, “I sold a book once that I had gone so far as to correspond with former President Nixon to have him sign it. I also traveled to Jackson, Mississippi two or three times to have author Eudora Welty sign a 1926 Mississippi State College for Women yearbook.” Through the years, Whitworth’s collection has grown to include lots of things from yesteryear Memphis. For instance, he’s got one of the earliest known pictures of Beale Street, the first known composite photo of lawyers and judges taken in Memphis in 1900 and one of the earliest known photographs of Memphis’ first mayor, Marcus Winchester. One senses Whitworth has a passion namely for items related to Memphis’ legal history, and that assumption would be dead-on. Just a few years ago, he was the one that helped curate the county courthouse’s display cases. Going back to around 1980, Whitworth recalls taking such a vested interest in preserving documents, paper ephemera and valuable furniture the courthouse was going to throw away that he stood up in a Memphis Bar meeting to propose a Memphis Bar History Committee to the group’s president, Leo Bearman; Bearman ended up founding the committee. Though he’s running low on storage space, Whitworth admits he’ll never quit collecting, even when his wife urges him to sell everything. Whitworth’s response: “Do you want me to quit living?” Story by Leah Fitzpatrick Photo by Steve Roberts

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Vox Popular Q&A with Caron Byrd


love nonprofit work because every day you get to see the faces of the folks you’re serving,” says Caron Byrd, the executive director of Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Memphis. With Byrd’s beloved interactions with families of patients receiving treatment for pediatric cancer and other catastrophic illnesses also comes the responsibility of ensuring the best “home-away-from-home” experience possible for those staying in the 51-bedroom house. Not an easy feat considering the circumstances! RSVP editor Leah Fitzpatrick found that the executive director’s commitment to families in crisis is nothing short of amazing, however Byrd gives much of the credit to the volunteers, donors and board members who have helped the local Ronald McDonald House reach its 20th anniversary.

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Byrd: I spend a lot of time interacting with donors and volunteers. We are in the middle of a campaign [Hand in Hand for 20 Years] to renovate our building for our 20th anniversary, so a lot of my time is spent in the planning mode, executing the plans we’ve put together and a lot of communicating: telling people about Ronald McDonald House, introducing folks to Ronald McDonald House and getting people to take a tour of Ronald McDonald House. Quite a bit of my work is offsite as well, so I really have to structure my time here.



RSVP: What are some unique aspects of this Ronald McDonald House versus others in the nation? Byrd: One of the things that’s really unique is that we serve one hospital exclusively, and that’s St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. We’ve always been that way. There’s only one other Ronald McDonald House out of the 305 houses that serves just one hospital. The other thing is that at our Ronald McDonald House the kids stay with us, so that’s a different model than at most houses where the children are receiving inpatient care and the house is really populated primarily by the parents. Here, we have the whole family with us. That makes it special. Ronald McDonald House is about keeping families together—that’s what we do. This house is a perfect example of that. A family also never has to pay to stay at the Ronald McDonald House in this community, but in other communities, there is a nominal fee to stay at the Ronald McDonald House. RSVP: What is your yearly budget, considering that people stay at the house at no cost? Byrd: We have a $2.4 million annual budget that we work hard with our fund-raising events and with our outreach to donors to raise the money to meet the budgetary demands. We encourage and get a lot of support from the community with in-kind donations. That’s how we’re able to keep our budget low for 51 families at a time, or 500 families a year. We’re also able to do what we do because of tremen-

dous volunteer support, a loyal staff and a wonderful board that is passionate and engaged. RSVP: What are the requirements for someone to be able to stay at Ronald McDonald House? Byrd: They have to live more than 35 miles from Memphis. Most times though, if a family lives 37 or 40 miles away, they’re going to stay home because that’s the ideal situation. To live in this house, a patient will typically be receiving treatment anywhere from seven to 90 days. We’re what’s called a midterm-stay facility. Our model is a mix of private spaces, where people have their private bedrooms, bathrooms and living spaces, and then communal living, which gets people out of their bedrooms and gets them to interact with other families to form friendships and mutual support systems. We really don’t have to do a lot to facilitate that. Primarily, we have dinners here where volunteers come in and cook dinners for the families, and they come in and do karaoke, arts and crafts, bingo and scrapbooking, so that gets people into the social environment where they start interacting with one another, and that’s part of the healing process. RSVP: Is the Ronald McDonald House often at capacity?

Photos by Don Perry

RSVP: What’s a typical day like for you at Ronald McDonald House?

Byrd: We’re at 95 percent or greater capacity almost all the time. RSVP: Are all of the programs at the house volunteerdriven?

Byrd: They are all volunteerdriven, and that’s what’s really special about how the community gives back to Ronald McDonald House. We have groups that have been coming here once a month for the past 12-13 years doing dinners for the families. We have a wonderful group that’s a former family who comes round-trip once a month from Selmer, Tennessee, about 180 miles, and they do a dinner, carnival games and activities and worship services. Others groups come from businesses, churches and professional associations. It really is a community-driven outreach to the families. RSVP: What’s been one of the most effective activities that someone’s hosted here?

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Byrd: Families love all of the activities, but one they’ve gotten especially excited about is Edible Arrangements classes. It’s so cute, and there’s always a full house for that one. I think it’s exciting for kids and parents to see what they can create out of fruit. People also go crazy over bingo. It is a challenge though to always entertain a 4 year old and a 14 year old at the same time, and truthfully, sometimes our goals are to find groups who will come in and provide activities for teens. Teen years are very hard and to be a teen and be here means you’re disconnected from your friends, and you’re missing out on some of those high school activities. We do as much as we can for teens to recognize those special challenges that teens are having anyway when they’re healthy. When you couple the teen years with an illness, that’s very challenging. RSVP: What is the largest age group you have at Ronald McDonald House?

RSVP: What are some of the most-needed items people can


Byrd: It really varies, but probably on an annual basis, we’ll have mostly younger kids. Then, we have weeks where there are more boys than girls, so it always fluctuates, which makes it interesting. So, when you asked earlier about my typical day, there really isn’t one because there’s no typical family. The one thing I can say that most families share is how they receive the news when their child is diagnosed and how quickly they had to get here. For a lot of families, their trip to Memphis is less than 48 hours after their child has gotten a diagnosis. Just think about the anxiety and everything that’s got to be rolling around in a parent’s head, and then pair that with the fact they have to leave town to come here. For most families, it’s not that they came from 40 miles away, but a few hundred miles away. You really are leaving behind your community and support systems.


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donate to the house? Byrd: Gift cards are one of the items that we provide the families with, and we use those as well to buy supplies for the house. We do pantry drives about twice a year. Paper goods are a big item needed then, and we typically do the first drive of the year around May or June. When you hit those summer months, folks leave town and things kind of slow down in terms of giving, so that’s typically when we’ll launch a pantry drive. RSVP: Who provides the shuttle service that patients and families use while they’re here?

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Inn at Hunt Phelan

Byrd: St. Jude provides the shuttle that takes people from here to the hospital for appointments. The shuttle also takes those families to places like the grocery store. We do have outings for the families during the summer months because that’s typically when you’ll have more siblings here. We do things like a summer camp one week here and one week at the Target House. Then, we’ll secure transportation to take them to the theater and ball games. One of the things we’d really like to start doing, provided we have the volunteers, is to provide more services for our dads, who are a group that’s often overlooked. RSVP: Do you have certain days where people can come in for tours?




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Byrd: People just need to give us a call if they want a tour. We do have age limitations of 14 and older. That really is about infectious disease control and kids who have weakened immune systems. We do tours during business hours and have some availability on weekends. RSVP: What are some of the activities planned for Ronald McDonald House’s 20th anniversary coming up this summer? Byrd: The actual 20th anniversary date is August 25. We have a carnival planned for all of the families. We’ll be inviting some of those first families back, which we’re really excited about for the fact they’ll get to see all the changes that have been made here. We’ll be honoring our founders with a reception. We will also be doing a golf tournament that week, so we’ve got a full week of activities to celebrate the impact of Ronald McDonald House. We were the first patient housing facility in the community, and we’re proud of the patient housing facilities that are here now supporting and extending that care that we really started. We want to tell our story about the difference we’ve made in the lives of our families and how we’ve

kept families together during a crisis. We give families time to be with their kids while they’re sick. RSVP: What is your biggest goal you hope to achieve this year? Byrd: We want to raise the funds to renovate this facility. We actually received a matching grant from the Plough Foundation. We will get $1 for every $3 we raise for our Hand in Hand for 20 Years campaign, which entails raising $1.3 million. We want to get out in the community and tell our story, not only to meet our annual operating budget, but also the Hand in Hand for 20 Years campaign, so that we can continue to provide the standard of care that allows our families to find a home-away-from-home when they come to Memphis. We consider ourselves ambassadors to the world. We’ve had families here from as close by as Tupelo and as far away as Israel and South America. RSVP: With the Hand in Hand for 20 Years campaign, are you hoping to just renovate the existing facility or to expand also? Byrd: We’re renovating the existing facility. We have not had a major renovation since the house opened, so it’s really time. Our house is our program. This is what we do. We provide parents with comfort, inviting living spaces and the opportunity to mix and mingle with other parents and children who are going through the exact same things they are. This is home for them, so our goal is to continue to make it the most warm, up-to-date, family-friendly home as possible. RSVP: What’s been one of the most rewarding experiences you’ve had at Ronald McDonald House? Byrd: Getting to meet the families and being around the children, who are so resilient and positive. Just yesterday in a meeting, one of our committee members was saying how he was moaning and groaning over the holidays about his stomach hurting and about the flu bug. Then, he thought about how the kids he’d seen here, who had lost their hair, had lines or tubes going through them for medication and masks on because their immune systems are challenged, are still running down the hallways if they have an ounce of energy and are outside playing on the swings and slides. It put everything into perspective. That’s what’s most rewarding: to see the courage and strength that the families and kids have and to see what it means to kind of stare in the face of a life-threatening illness and continue to go on with life. It changes how you think about life.



Beale Street Snuggie Pub Crawl A Taste of Playhouse National Philanthropy Day Luncheon Methodist Cancer Center Luncheon go-round was twice as tasty for the Beale et Snuggie Pub Crawl participants, who sipped TsudsheStresecond for fun and charity, specifically for Amelia’s Voice.

Ryan and Laura Fleur at National Philanthropy Day Luncheon

Liz, Neil and Lona Sharpe at A Taste of Playhouse

Nancy Willis and George Mabon at A Taste of Playhouse

Story by Leah Fitzpatrick Photos by Leah Fitzpatrick and Libby Huff

Brittany Talarico, Jennifer Low, Marlow McKay, Amanda Priani and Holly Burton at Beale Street Snuggie Pub Crawl

Jackie and Dr. Jon Roberts at Methodist Cancer Center Luncheon

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Diana Kelly and Laura Bush at Methodist Cancer Center Luncheon


Dee Flood and Missy Rainer at National Philanthropy Day Luncheon

Guests (21 and up) kicked off the crawl just around the corner from Beale, at Kooky Canuck, before heading to B.B. King Blues Club, Club 152, Silky O’Sullivan’s, Rum Boogie Café and Alfred’s. Prizes were awarded for creative snuggies in the categories of Best Female, Best Male and Best Group Snuggies, and bingo was also played along the way. River City Management Group presented the affair. As Playhouse on the Square patrons danced the night away, The Bouffants belted out, “It’s a party!” And that it was at the Curtain Up fund-raiser, known as A Party in Three Acts.” Ron Childers of WMC-TV 5 “A hosted the progressive dinner, which raised just shy of $10,000 and began with Act One taking place in the lobby with Champagne, wine and Renee Kemper on piano, as well as upstairs in the event room with martinis, hors d’oeuvres and a performance by Brennan Villines. Act Two offered bluegrass tunes courtesy of Nay-Nay and the Do-Right Boys while guests dined on fare by Wade and Company. The grand finale, or Act Three, unfolded on stage with music by The Bouffants and in the lobby with cheesecake martinis and after-dinner drinks. Save room for next year! Doing good deeds doesn’t go unnoticed by the Memphis Chapter of the Association of Fund-raising Professionals, an organization that annually holds the National Philanthropy Day Luncheon. During the event, held at the U of M Holiday Inn, Joe Birch of WMC-TV 5 announced the Crystal Awards recipients: Alana Hu-Outstanding Youth in PhilanthropyIndividual; White Station High School, Ninth Grade Academy-Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy-Group; David Pickler, Pickler Companies-Outstanding Volunteer Fund-raiser; First Tennessee FoundationOutstanding Philanthropic Organization; Huey’sOutstanding Corporation; Ryan Fleur, Memphis Symphony Orchestra-Outstanding Executive Leader; Virginia Stallworth, Memphis Child Advocacy CenterOutstanding Fund-raising Executive; and Marilyn and Jack Belz-Outstanding Philanthropists. With former first lady Laura Bush as the guest speaker at the ninth annual Methodist Cancer Center Luncheon, it’s no wonder that the event had the earliest sellout ever with a record 1,156 attendees. Prior to the main event, Bush posed for pics during a meet-andgreet session with VIP ticket holders in The Peabody’s Hernando Desoto Room before delivering her keynote speech in the Grand Ballroom. Funds raised benefit Methodist Cancer Center.

Bob Nichie and Ian Franklin at Beale Street Snuggie Pub Crawl

Christina Ramsey and Amy Capoccia at Beale Street Snuggie Pub Crawl


Orpheum Auction Gala A Bidder’s Delight



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Michael and Clara Herr

Mori Welborn and Kimberly Larsen



ith a 2010 Honda Civic to raffle, a 2011 Kia Sorento to auction and other items including a mink coat and a $15,000 diamond necklace up for grabs, it was the auction to beat all auctions at the Orpheum Theatre. In its 32nd year, the annual auction is the former opera house’s largest fund-raiser, with contributions going toward preservation of the theater and to help fund its education programs. More than 400 items were open for bidding during the live and silent auctions. Throughout the evening, the 800-plus cocktail-clad guests walked through the parlor and foyer to peruse the coveted goodies while being serenaded by the sounds of the Six String Lovers and Ashley Wieronski. Partygoers eventually made their way to where the stars mingle in the backstage area, where they could dine on the many delicacies provided by local eateries and sign up to take home artwork, vacation packages or other entertainment prizes. Orpheum president Pat Halloran was honored with a brass-colored star bearing his name to be placed on the theater’s Sidewalk of Stars in front of the building. Laura Hettinger decided to make a night of it with her group of friends, dressing in some of her finest festoonery and arriving in a limousine to the downtown event. “It’s girls night out,” said Hettinger, of Germantown. “We got to leave the kids at home.” “We get to let our hair down,” said her friend, Doris Driscoll, also of Germantown. According to vice president of development, Leanne McQuown, the event has become so successful, the Orpheum staff continues the festivity throughout the year with a weekly online auction, “This auction features local dining packages, theater memorabilia, VIP ticket packages and much more,” McQuown said.

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Smiles for Life Gala


Benefiting the Shelby County Drug Court Foundation


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beautiful, traditionally decorated Memphis Country Club was the setting for the Memphis Dental Society’s black-tie holiday party, which each year raises funds for a different local philanthropy. This past December, more than 150 members and their guests disregarded Jack Frost’s impending threat and came together to help support the Shelby County Drug Court. The court, founded in 1997 by The Honorable Tim Dwyer, is an alternative year-long program that seeks to rehabilitate nonviolent adult offenders with drug-related criminal charges. While guests mingled and sampled hors d’oeuvres of shrimp cocktail and bacon-wrapped scallops, they had the opportunity to scope out an array of silent auction items. Included were a week at a vacation home on the Eagle River in Colorado donated by Dr. Stueart Hudsmith, a beach vacation from Dr. James Avery, dazzling jewelry given by Lynda Weaver and a University of Memphis Tigers’ basketball autographed by Coach Josh Pastner. Following a delicious repast of Caprese Salad, beef tenderloin, lamb chops and a create-your-own-macaroni-and-cheese bar, attendees got over any chill that remained thanks to the rocking sounds of the Memphis Icebreakers. The group performed its vast repertoire of Motown, soul and rock classics, rhythm and blues and today’s top hits. The evening was deemed a success by organizers, as generous guests helped raise approximately $10,000. Judge Dwyer was especially delighted with the outcome saying, “It was a wonderful event, and I am truly grateful for all that the Memphis Dental Society has done for the Shelby County Drug Court Foundation.”

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Story by Ruth Cassin Photos by Roy Haithcock See all the party photos at Password: RSVP

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MCA Holiday Bazaar Salvation Army Christmas Party Memphis Symphony League Christmas Party Duration Fine Arts Club Christmas Luncheon


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Ann Welch, Hilda Mullen and Gerry Thomas at Duration Fine Arts Club Christmas Luncheon

Mary Nelson, Donna Fuller and Gladys Hamilton at Duration Fine Arts Club Christmas Luncheon



Amy and Jonathan Welden at MCA Holiday Bazaar

Ryan Stewart and Katy Luxion at MCA Holiday Bazaar

ew partygoers left empty-handed at the MCA Holiday Bazaar, which offered a plethora of shopping opportunities for those ready to get a jumpstart on Christmas gifts. From original artwork by Memphis College of Art students, alumni, faculty and staff to a silent auction of goodies, there were lots of items to peruse at MCA’s Rust Hall, and for gift-wrapping, the school’s printmaking students offered their services in exchange for donations to help offset the costs of their trip to the Southern Graphics Council Conference. Photos with Santa and his elves topped off the season-friendly festivities that raised funding for the MCA Scholarship Fund. The Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary presentA Winter Wonderland” theme for its Christmas ed “A party at the U of M Holiday Inn. Prior to lunch in the ballroom, a crowd gathered in the lobby for a Christmas bazaar of items including soup mugs, cards, poinsettias and jewelry from the Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center. The lunch hour featured a Christmas message from Olin Morris and music by Ginger and Gabe Statom, Geordy Wells and Christy Young, leading the Westminster Academy Children’s Choir. There was also a surprise visit and words of encouragement from Melissa McFerrin, coach of the U of M Women’s basketball team, who said, “The U of M team is no different than the Salvation Army team; it takes a lot of members to be successful.” Memphis Symphony League members had a lovely change of scenery last December for their annual Christmas party, dubbed “C Christmas at the Woodlands Mansion.” Bobbie and David Ferraro hosted the affair that got under way at the Woodlands Club House with ladies enjoying a light lunch and shopping for jewelry by Olga King and sweet nibbles from Going Nuts Pecans, to name a few of the vendors. Afterward, guests toured the beautifully decorated mansion, savored bite-sized desserts and purchased fashions by designer Sami Lott. The recently formed Duration Fine Arts Club (formerly the Duration Club and Dur-Arts) treated members and guests with fine fare and warm company at the Duration Christmas Luncheon. Hilda Mullen, the club’s president, welcomed all to the group’s first Christmas gathering at the Memphis Country Club, where attendees dined on lobster bisque, smoked chicken and spinach crepes on mixed greens and wild rice salad. The program ended on a high note thanks to a musical presentation by the Houston High School Dickens Carolers,” directed by Dr. Billy Rayburn. “D

Melissa McFerrin and Glenda Brooks at Salvation Army Christmas Party

Blanche Tosh, Janet Branson and Nelda Hamer at Salvation Army Christmas Party

Arlene Southern, Eula Horrell and Charlotte Neal at Salvation Army Christmas Party

Story and photos by Leah Fitzpatrick

Billie Jean Graham, Ryan Fleur, Ellen Rolfes, Kathryn Black and Lyda Parker at Memphis Symphony League Christmas Party

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Room, which had beautiful table decorations, centerpieces and napkin rings designed by Debbie Baker that were sold to benefit the many programs the group does to “help others help themselves.” Art for Hope certainly delivered with works by 75 local artists and proceeds of more than $27,000 for the children of Hope House. Eight-hundred attendees flocked to the Memphis Botanic Garden to soak in fine art, savor wine and tasty appetizers and to see perform- Miranda Griffin, Kevin Dean, Bobbie Wonderly-McLaughlin and Anne Ferguson Nina Wilson and Kathy Smith at Art for Hope ances by Valencia Robinson, Michaela Caitlin, Melanie at “Rev’s” Dinner Hardage, Stephen McNeill and Lori Parker. The best part was knowing that 40 percent of purchases went toward helping kids infected or affected by HIV/AIDS. A jam-packed Earnestine & Hazel’s marked the setting for the fourth Harvest Party, benefiting the Cotton Museum. A silent auction, featuring such items as a hotel stay in Washington, D.C. with a tour of the Capitol, guided tour of the Smithsonian and lunch in the House of Representatives’ dining room, dinner at Itta Bena Restaurant, AutoZone Liberty Bowl tickets with a tailgate luncheon packed by Miss Cordelia’s and a night at The Peabody hotel, prompted guests to enter into a bidding frenzy. The Earnestine & Hazel’s House Band performed its great repertoire of rock classics downstairs, while upstairs, Lex Bonner tinkled the ivories and led a sing along of old favorites. The Muscular Dystrophy Association celebrated Brooks and Laurie Monypeny, Carolyn Dobson and DeeDee Laughlin the season of giving with a “H Holiday Red Carpet Jamie Hale and Ren Lecco Spectacular” at Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse. Thanks to at “Rev’s” Dinner at Art for Hope 46 several great gift-giving holiday packages for people to bid on, the event generated $50,000 for the local MDA chapter. Noteworthy auction items included a $2,100 Circle of Life diamond pendant from Mednikow Jewelers, two Lifetime Fitness memberships, Mona’s Spa & Laser Center package, a Crescent Club one-year membership and much more. Anne and Mike Keeney opened their home for the IRIS Orchestra Sponsors Dinner and for renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma, who kicked off the organization’s 10th anniversary season. Chef Jose Gutierrez catered the special dinner set among fall floral arrangements from Garden District. Some major concert sponsors in attendance were Barbara and Pitt Hyde, David Pickler, Milton Schaeffer, Martha and Bobby Fogelman and Mary Lee and Peter Formanek. Willy Bearden and the Earnestine & Hazel’s House Band at Harvest Party

Charlotte Brown and Julianne Thomas at MDA “Holiday Red Carpet Spectacular”

Story Submitted and by Leah Fitzpatrick and Ruth Cassin Photos Submitted and by Leah Fitzpatrick, Chris Pugh and Alan Ulmer

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Dr. Shubi Mukatira Indiana University School of Medicine University of Tennessee


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DORIS MCLENDON’S FINE JEWELRY ÂÄ:dRhj`fcRUZ_CDGA>RXRkZ_VÅEYReZdhYRehVYVRcWc`^d`^R_j`W`fcTfccV_e R_U_VhTfde`^VcdCDGAZd`_V`WeYVSVdee``]d`WRUgVceZdV^V_eeYReZdfdVUZ_`fc SfdZ_Vdd:ea`cecRjdeYVSVRfeZWf]aZVTVd`W[VhV]cjeYRehVYRgVZ_`fcde`cVeYReYRgV SVV_UVdZX_VUSjRhRcUhZ__Z_XUVdZX_VcdÃÁ5`cZd>T=V_U`_@h_Vc



GILD THE LILY Â2WeVcecjZ_XgZcefR]]jVgVcjacZ_e`aeZ`_Z_>V^aYZd CDGAYRdSjWRcSc`fXYe^VeYV^`decVda`_dV :WZ_UZee`SVRh`_UVcWf]WZeW`c^jSfdZ_VddR_U UVdZcVU_VhTfde`^VcdÃÁ=RfcR9`hV]]@h_Vc

SINCE 1995

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Get connected with your best customers. To find out how RSVP can help, Call 901-276-7787, ext. 101.

Average Household Income. . . . . . . . . . . .$147,000 per year. 88.6% . . . . . . . . .Purchased a Product or Visited a Store due to Advertising in RSVP. 58.16% have HH incomes greater than . . . $75,000 per year. Female Readers . . . 59.2% Male Readers . . .40.8% 42.6% . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Traveled Abroad during the past year. Marital Status . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .62.2% married 52.% . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Eat out at least 3 times per week. Home Owners . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .81.3% 3 0 , 0 0 0 c o p i e s d e l i v e r e d m o n t h l y t h r o u gh o u t Education: Attended/Graduated College plus . . . . . . .83.0% the Aff luent Shopping Areas of Greater Memphis Have Post graduate degree . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21.6% From Harbor Town to Collierville.

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By Dennis Phillippi


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ust a few years ago, a friend and I were doing what we always do: having a bar argument. Doesn’t matter what it was about. It could’ve been whether or not this actor or that was in this movie or that. It could’ve been about which player had the better career batting average. It could’ve been about whether or not some recipe included a certain ingredient. This is what we do…all the time. During that conversation, as in so many others, we lamented that there wasn’t some simple device we could carry with us to simply access the Internet and get the answer. That naturally led to another bar argument. Just a few nights ago, the same guy and I were having the usual disagreement when he pulled out his phone, pressed a few keys and just like that, the dispute was settled. It was a lot less fun. It did however lead to an experiment that was much more challenging than either of us expected. We decided to spend one day, one 24hour period, without using the Internet. If you haven’t attempted this, I highly recommend not doing so. It’s embarrassing to learn how reliant we all have become on technology no one controls. It was like finding out that you don’t just like chocolate, but you need chocolate. The next day I started the day with the usual stuff: a workout, a shower, some lunch. Then, I started to feel the weirdness. I hadn’t checked my e-mail. Granted, I don’t get a lot of important e-mails. I get a lot of offers to “like” things, a reminder from my editor that my column is even later than normal and maybe a notice that someone has tagged me in yet another humbling picture from high school that should’ve remained unearthed. These are not things I need. Still, it felt strange to not have a quick look to see if maybe something interesting was there. A while later, my wife and I were talking about dinner and when discussing whether or not we’d stay in or go out, I had to tell her that I couldn’t look up the recipe for Chicken Tetrazzini, or even how to spell tetrazzini for that matter. I also couldn’t look to see if the restaurant she was thinking about was open on Mondays. All are minor things since we have tons of cookbooks, a few dictionaries and a phone book, but it would’ve been so much simpler to just go to the Web, look up the info

and then see if Jeri Ryan had been spotted in a bikini. The day dragged on. I did some housework, realized that I hadn’t checked my e-mail, watched some TV, realized I didn’t know the name of an actor I saw and couldn’t look it up in any of my books, stared off into space for a while and really, really wanted to check my email. Later, I was with some friends and went to look something up on my phone.

I explained the experiment to these people, and they looked at me like I had declared my Bieber Fever. It was something I didn’t even consciously realize I was doing until I had almost done it. I explained the experiment to these people, and they looked at me like I had declared my Bieber Fever. The next morning, I was on my computer in my underwear before I had even brushed my teeth. For some people, this might be normal behavior, but it isn’t for me. Did I have any important e-mails? Good Lord, no. Was there information that desperately needed researching? Hardly. Nonetheless, there it was…sweet, sweet information. Of course, it was more along the lines of Kardashian/Funny Cat-in-a-tissue-box type of info, but I had it at my twitchy fingertips. I was so disturbed by this, I did the only thing I could do: I went online and looked around to see what would hap-

pen if the Internet collapsed. What I found was a steady stream of reassurances that under no circumstances could that ever occur. The Internet is a vast network of fiber optic cables and independent servers that are not subject to a single destructive force on earth. That was a relief. Then, I found the crackpots who pointed out that all of that could be what we’re supposed to think. And, they pointed out, what about a force not on earth? What if aliens decided we needed to be taken down a few pegs? What better way than depriving us of the rants of lunatics and pictures of Katy Perry? The loons also pointed out that terrorists and teenagers are said to spend a lot of their free time trying to cook up viruses, worms and other destructive codes that could cripple the infrastructure in ways even more devious than making my Facebook e-mail out diet secrets I’d never heard of. The crazy people would love to shut the thing down, the crazy people said. They didn’t mention that the crazy people in question communicate almost entirely over the Internet and would be just as bereft of lol cats as the rest of us. I read recently that some actress, I don’t know who it was but you can bet I read about it online, doesn’t ever use the Internet. All I thought was that actresses are just as dumb as everyone suspects. There are modern conveniences I could do without. There are probably 40 things on my DVR that I will never watch. The idea of getting one of those electronic books sickens me, although I could then read junk like the Twilight series in public. Not that I would, but I could. There will never come a time when I’ll walk around with one of those Uhura-inspired phone earpieces collecting wax. But the Internet? That has become indispensable. Consider this, in about five minutes, after lazily rereading this, I will e-mail it to the magazine without ever having to leave my house. I am, just so you know, wearing pants.

You are not one to shy away from candor Dennis Phillippi, and for that, we’ll gladly accept more of your pieces, which are as indispensable to us as, dare we say, event calendars. Oh yeah, we’re glad you’re clothed at said sending of this column.


After Hours A photo collage of the latest business happenings Holiday Open House at The Great Estate

Holiday Open House at Happi-Stores

Bonnie Belz, Kathy Menkel and Betty Hays at Seriously FUN! Apparel

Debbie Folk and Liesl Denton at The Great Estate

Shirley, the creator of Sweet Home Cook’n Cake Mixes, with a customer and Richard Holley at Happi-Stores

Bari Eiseman, Alla Olswanger and Jinny Wood at Seriously FUN! Apparel

Nancy Stephenson and Layne Vogel at The Great Estate

Kyle Holley, Braden Acuff and Carol Holley at Happi-Stores

The Industrie’s Saturday Night Soiree at The Nail & Skin Bar

Welcome Reception for Noma Bennett Anderson, the new Dean for the College of Allied Health Sciences at UT Health Science Center

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Holiday Open House at Seriously FUN! Apparel

Check Presentation by Harrah’s Tunica to Friends for Life

Jeff and Valerie Morris, Linda Safford, Shane Waldroup and Christopher Funke at Harrah’s Tunica Check Presentation Dorcas Young and Natasha Ashworth at The Nail & Skin Bar

Bill and Noma Bennett Anderson with grandson Robert at UT Health Science Center Welcome Reception

Monica Rejaei, Sara Greer and LaToya Carpenter at The Nail & Skin Bar

Michael Alston, Susan Appling, Chandra West-Alston and Keith Carver at UT Health Science Center Welcome Reception

Holiday Open House at Hampton Designs

Paula DeClerk, Heather Cope and Miki Grisham at Hampton Designs




First Communion

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econd graders stand still for a picture of their first holy communion on October 25, 1964 at Immaculate Conception Church (now the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception). Margaret McKee was the class teacher, and Sister Mary Celestine, R.S.M., served as the religious instructor. Pictured in the first row, left to right, are Bill Condon, Laura Townsend, William Trigg, Timmy Coradini, Kay Eleogram, Tommy Mosejei, Jill Fernandez, Gene Frulla, Kim Nash, John Palazola, Eddie McDonald, Marian Ewing and Huey Perkins. In the second row are Susan Gillenwater, Paul Quaranta, Ruthie McAfee, Tommy Sweeney, Tim Crone, Suzanne Coggins, Mark Chambers and Martha McDonnell. In the third row stand Joan Lukey, Cindy Fries, Vera Coradini, Drew J. Canale, Patrick Higgins, Tom Pinkel, Maria Hall, Elaine Mayer and Laura Robinson. Posing in the fourth row are (Altar Servers and Honor Guards) Peter Sweeney, Unknown, Unknown, Tim Parks, Monsignor Merlin F. Kearney, Unknown, Art Quinn, Unknown, Unknown and Dennis Eleogram. PHOTO COURTESY OF MARK CHAMBERS 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.

Rinaldo Grisanti 1890-1966 Elfo Grisanti 1914-1975 Rinaldo Grisanti 1939-

A Century of Grisanti Cucina Toscana at its finest

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RSVP Magazine February 2011  
RSVP Magazine February 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...