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May 2014

MED Night Le Bon AppĂŠtit Krewes for Kids Brooks Uncorked Screen on the Green Flavors of Memphis Culinary Gala Phoenix Club of Memphis Mardi Gras & Casino Party Q&A with Leshundra Robinson


CONTENTS

Contents May 201 4

From the Editor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8 Signature Memphis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10 President and CEO of Health Choice, LLC, Mitch Graves, meets RSVP at one of his favorite Memphis spots – Christian Brothers University.

Le Bon Appétit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12 Chef Kelly English and the Le Bonheur Club team up to create one delicious fundraiser for Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital.

12 LE BON APPÉTIT Audrey Phifer

StreetSeens . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 & 22 She is turning the vacant lot of 1895 Madison Avenue into an organic garden. She is promoting one of the biggest Memphis nonprofit events of May. StreetSeens highlight Sarah Needham Taylor and Holly Ford.

MED Night . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .24 Guests were treated to an extraordinary musical line-up at the Cook Convention

54 PHOENIX CLUB OF MEMPHIS MARDI GRAS & CASINO PARTY Gabriel Fotsing

Center from several music legends.

The Ambassador Series . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .30 When the Lights Go Down M A Y 2 0 14

Eugene Pidgeon eloquently and honestly remembers Mickey Rooney and other ambassadors.

Vox Popular . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .32 Q&A with Leshundra Robinson, founder and CEO of UCAN of Memphis. Onsites . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .36, 40, 60 & 61 Gatherings that have earned an honorable mention.

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42 BROOKS UNCORKED Amanda Meredith and Lee Eilert

Brooks Uncorked . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .42 Oenophiles flocked to the Brooks Museum of Art for the latest installment of the museum’s Wine + Food series.

Screen on the Green . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .50 Memphians fell into the rabbit hole at the BRIDGES® Center’s annual movie-

66 FLAVORS OF MEMPHIS CULINARY GALA Jennifer and Tony Strafaci

themed fund-raiser.

Phoenix Club of Memphis Mardi Gras & Casino Party . . .54 New musical entertainment paired with Mardi Gras party touches made this event benefiting the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Memphis a success.

Krewes for Kids . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .62 The many krewes of Carnival Memphis came together to benefit several children’s charities at the Memphis Botanic Garden.

Flavors of Memphis Culinary Gala . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .66 Chefs from 11 different Memphis restaurants created a unique dining experience for guests at Hilton Memphis in support of the American Liver Foundation.

62 KREWES FOR KIDS Anita Howald and Sharon Fewell

RSVPhillippi . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .73 So Long Dave Dennis Phillippi recalls the impact David Letterman had on a young Phillippi and sends him off into retirement with his usual unflinching humor.

Cover Photo Daniel and Diane Weickenand at MED Night Photo by Baxter Buck

24 MED NIGHT Cornelius and Teryne Clark


Volume XIX

Number VIII

May 201 4 PUBLISHER

Roy Haithcock EDITOR

R achel Warren CONTRIBUTING WRITERS

Ruth Cassin Staci Fr anklin Emily Adams Keplinger Dennis Phillippi Eugene Pidgeon Suzanne Thompson Lesley Young ART DIRECTOR

Patrick Aker s PHOTOGRAPHERS

Baxter Buck Don Perry Steve Roberts

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ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES

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Chris Pugh Kristen Miller ACCOUNTING

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 publisher@rsvpmagazine.com WEB

www.rsvpmagazine.com 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 editor@rsvpmagazine.com Follow us on

RSVP Memphis Magazine

Copyright 2014 Haithcock Communications, Inc.


R SV P S TA F F

CHRIS PUGH,

Chris has been exercising his talent in the advertising world since 1999. He joined the RSVP team in 2009 and brought with him a love for laughter and creativity. Originally from New Albany, Mississippi, Chris has settled in Memphis and enjoys being active in the fashion community.

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ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE 901.276.7787, EXT. 103 chris@rsvpmagazine.com

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KRISTEN MILLER, ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE 901.276.7787, EXT. 104 kristen@rsvpmagazine.com

Having worked in print advertising for nearly eight years, Kristen Miller felt it was a natural fit to join the RSVP team as an account executive. Kristen, who lives in Arlington with her husband and four children, loves to cook, fish, watch college and Arlington Tigers football, spend time with her family and advertising, of course.


From the Editor

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think everyone can breathe a sigh of relief as Memphis is finally expe-

riencing some warmer weather as the month of May turns the corner. In a few weeks time, though, we will all be groaning about the inescapable heat and dreaming about fall again. In Memphis, there is small window of spring temperatures. I say, let’s enjoy it while we have it. Break out the patio chairs and gin and tonics and take in the city that really values the month of May.

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our busiest time of the season as many nonprofit organiza-

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ing about of the largest nonprofit party of spring: Memphis In

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Here in the RSVP offices, we have been gearing up for

May International Festival, Inc. I met up with the new

tions throughout the city roll out their spring fund-raisers. Of course, you can’t say the word May in our city without think-

Memphis In May Director of Marketing, Holly Ford, to discuss all the usual great things the festival brings to the city plus all the new cultural events celebrating the honored city of Panama that you may not be expecting. This year’s Memphis In May will not be one to miss. Beyond the many spring parties going on in town, May is a time to remember your Mama. Go out and give her a big kiss and some flowers! Since ancient times, May has always been a time when people take a moment to celebrate mother figures in religion, literature and daily life. Let’s not forget the women that have shaped our lives. The month of May is really all about remembering and honoring. We honor our mothers, and we honor those service men and women who have passed. We remember to enjoy ourselves with the traditional rites of spring. I encourage everyone to go out celebrate spring in a big Memphis way!

Rachel Warren editor@rsvpmagazine.com


SIGNATURE MEMPHIS

Mitch Graves President and CEO, Health Choice, LLC/Chairman Board of Trustees, Christian Brothers University

Hometown: Memphis, TN. First Car You Drove: 1972 Cutlass. Your Lucky Charm: My wife, Kelly Jo. Best Dish You Cook: Burgers on the grill. Favorite Southern Idiom: “God love ‘em.” Your Best Quality: Listening to understand. Favorite Song: Al Green’s “Love and Happiness.” Best Memphis Hangout: Bari Ristorante e Enoteca.

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Best Gift You Ever Received: Life after two bouts with cancer. Coolest Thing About Memphis: Levitt Shell and their free concerts. The Highlight of Your Day: Being with family and friends, especially my wife and daughter.

Best Advice You Ever Got: From a friend, Bud Pitts, “Mitchell, you don’t go on vacation to open a savings account.”

Proudest Moments of Your Life: Birth of my daughter, Caroline, and the opening of the Methodist Residential Hospice.

Who Inspires You: Servant leaders like Gary Shorb, Dr. Carter Towne, Dr. Scott Morris, Dr. Kurt Tauer, and the Christian Brothers.

One Goal You’d Still Like to Accomplish: Improve the health of our community through the clinical integration work at Health Choice.

Photo by Steve Roberts

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Place You Go to Think: Front porch of our midtown home.


EVENT

Le Bon Appétit

LE BON APPÉTIT

“Great Food For a Great Cause”

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Pam Kimery and Ron Wong

Chandler-Grace Michael and Pam Michael

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hen nationally recognized Chef Kelly English sets his sights on something he cares about, he doesn’t just dip his feet in; he dives in headfirst. English and his wife, Andrea, applied their usual unstoppable gusto and passion when they teamed up with the Le Bonheur Club to create Le Bon Appétit, one of the biggest culinary and charitable events of the year. Benefiting Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, this event brought together some of the biggest names in local and national cooking together under one roof for a night of decadent food, drinks and socializing. With over 30 chefs, this event paired local chefs with chefs from around the nation, giving Memphians the chance to try the exciting and innovative culinary creations that happen when two famous chefs put their heads together. “We believe in the community of Memphis and the future of Memphis. Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital is the future of Memphis,” said English remarking on the importance of the event. Held at Minglewood Hall, guests started the evening off by picking up their very own WineYoke™, a hand free wine glass holder that allows you to place a wine glass in a sling and drape it around your neck. With wine glasses secure and their hands free, partygoers cut to the chase and started the hard decision of choosing what to eat first. Each chef team was paired at a table, and attendees were free to circle the venue space, picking up a small plate here and a small plate there. English himself was partnered with award winning Chef Michelle Bernstein, owner of Michy’s restaurant in Miami, Florida. Bernstein served a Latin-inspired seafood dish that included a variety of seafood simmered in an inky black sauce. English, true to his New Orleans cooking-style, pleased the crowd with a rabbit and foie gras boudin. Another star appearance was from that of Memphis native and Television Food Network star, Claire Robinson, who acted as the evening’s illustrious host. Drinks were aplenty with Nick Talarico of Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen and Hog & Hominy and Jayce McConnell of Edmund’s Oast in Charleston, South Carolina mixing up cocktails. Carnivores were delighted with the charcuterie provided by Shanon Walker, Jeff Ross and David Rule of luxury hotel and resort, Blackberry Farm. When taking a food break, the plethora of goodies at the silent auction attracted its own crowd with GPAC tickets, a Memphis Grizzlies decanter set and, of course, several food gift certificates to restaurants like the Beauty Shop, Bar DKDC and Southward Food & Libations. The live auction really got things going with bids climbing for a Sunday brunch for 20 at Restaurant Iris and a three night stay for a lucky couple at Blackberry Farm, to name a few. All proceeds from the event went directly toward the purchase of a pediatric ambulance to assist Le Bonheur in providing the highest quality medical available for children. See all the party photos at rsvpmagazine.com Password: RSVP

Clare Nelson with Johnny and Kim Pitts

Story by Rachel Warren Photos by Don Perry

Kevin Danish and Shelley Hood

Suzana and Michael Lightman

Ryan and Tom Prewitt

Michelle Bernstein and Kelly English

Brad and Dina Martin with Laura and Dr. James Eason

Bettina and Remon Brown


EVENT LE BON APPÉTIT

Laura and Kelvin Hill

Mary and John Hightower

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Kim and David McLaughlin

Peggy and LaVerne Lovell

Sarah and Dennis Norton

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Tom Conlee and Jenny Vergos

Wendy and Ron Kay

Kendall Maykowski and Lara Holder

Sydney Eason and John Woods

Lauren and Stephen Bowie

Garrick Florence and LaTonya Washington


EVENT LE BON APPÉTIT Lauren Mitchell with Lynn and Dr. Jorge Calzada

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Scarlett Montesi, Jeannie Price and Heidi Shafer

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Denise Henning, Susan Graf and Carol Duffy

Stephanie Marino, Lisa Carpenter and Lauran Powers


EVENT LE BON APPÉTIT

Jeannie and Stan Evans

Dr. Jonathan and Nicole Ellichman

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Michael and Allie Varner

Carol and Grant Clark

April and Erik Proveaux

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Jamie and Tommy Turner

Trip and Margaret Monger

William Koerber and Ailsa Navarro

Marion Kello and Jim Brown

Terri and Nicky Shah

Larrie Rodriguez and Michael Ingalsbe


EVENT LE BON APPÉTIT

Scott and Rachel Bendure

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Karen and Kirk Johnston

Sirella Joyner with Dr. Esmond and Pamela Arrindell RSVP

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Lawson Kilpatrick and Caroline Harris with Carol and Michael Harris

Rawleigh and Julie Martin with Micki and Dan Martin


EVENT Chris and Connie Knott-Craig

Tamera Tielens and Cathy Edwards

Stephanie and Seth McMillan

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LE BON APPÉTIT Kevin and Rebecca Floyd

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Terry Lynch and Cathy Weaver

Peter and Allison Lemm

Chantal and Jeff Johnson

Steve and Sylvia Richey


STREETSEEN

Sarah Needham Taylor 1895 Madison Avenue

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e walk past them all the time. Overgrown, littered, they usually become part of the urban landscape of our city that Memphians hardly register anymore except to occasionally wonder what person, place or thing used to inhabit that space. Empty lots. Once you start to seek them out, they will jump out at you: one, two, maybe five all within a 2-5 mile radius. Empty blocks of urban space that were once bustling businesses or restaurants or maybe even failing corner stores. Either way, Memphis sure has a whole lot of these vacant lots. Slowly, the lots have gotten some attention by several nonprofits in the area that want to fill these blighted spaces with growth and renewal, reflecting a Memphis generation that has stopped viewing the empty lots as a lost cause, but instead a generation that sees the lots as a chance to fill our city with beauty. Sarah Needham Taylor, Gaia Movement Mid-South Community Representative, is part of this wave of change. Situated next to Huey’s Restaurant, the abandoned lot of 1895 Madison Avenue once housed one of Memphis’ favorite hangouts, Anderton’s Restaurant & Oyster Bar, but has sat empty, a ghost of slurped martinis and oysters, since 2005. The final pieces of the remaining Anderton’s were finally destroyed in 2009 with the promise of building an office building onsite. Five years later, the lot has remained empty, but was purchased by Huey’s Restaurant in 2013 with talk of some creative goals for the space. Taylor was the consummation of that goal. Pairing her work with Gaia Movement Memphis, a national nonprofit who’s mission is to create awareness of society’s environmental impact through education and recycling initiatives, and her passion to see the empty lot in her neighborhood become something as beautiful as it is useful, she approached Huey’s with the idea of turning the lot into an urban organic garden. “I emailed them, and asked if I could use the space for a garden. They said yes,” says Taylor, proving that a little gusto and enterprise can go a long way. If you have seen the bright green metal boxes throughout Memphis that ask you to donate your old clothes and shoes to them, then you have seen one of the Gaia Movement’s biggest endeavors, which is the recycling of used textiles, but Gaia is also is interested in converting unused urban space into productive gardens. While Huey’s still owns the land, Taylor is approaching this opportunity as a first step to show Gaia’s dedication to educating the community about sustainable food sourcing, the right to clean, healthy food and the simple value of knowing how to grow your own food. Taylor plans to grow greens, tomatoes, carrots, beans, herbs and broccoli to name a few of her initial garden goals. All harvested produce will be donated to the Mid-South Food Bank. Taylor remarks that the donation will be done because there are many in Memphis that need food, but it also shows that everyone should have the right to healthy foods. “The gardening project is one of Gaia’s main projects, and we just want to get the point across that everyone can have the opportunity to have access to clean, healthy food. Just because you can’t afford to shop at Whole Foods doesn’t mean that your only option should be McDonald’s. You can learn very easily and cheaply how to get access to or grow healthy foods,” remarks Taylor, touching on the issue of the many food deserts that dot the landscape of Memphis. Taylor suggests that instead of wondering when there will be a grocery store on every corner, why not convert the many blighted properties in Memphis into community gardens that can feed our neighborhoods in a way that promotes pride and dignity? Gaia Movement Memphis houses a small staff, but operates on a large scale with the help of volunteers. Goals for the future include more gardens, educating children through field trips to the garden and involving older children in the garden upkeep to create a cycle of generational knowledge of positive environmental impact. If you want to pitch in and get your hands dirty, check out the Gaia Movement Memphis Facebook page for the many volunteer opportunities coming up this spring and summer. Story by Rachel Warren Photo by Steve Roberts


STREETSEEN

Holly Ford Steward of Memphis

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t’s springtime, and everywhere people are gearing up for the summer by kicking back and partaking in some fun. Whether it is taking more bike rides, running or hanging out on your favorite pub patio, spring is here and relaxation is priority number one. In Memphis, there is only one way to begin spring – the Memphis In May International Festival, Inc. A nonprofit organization, Memphis in May (MIM) is the Memphis community’s official summer kick-off, and in the last two years the festival has had a $70 million direct impact on the Memphis economy. This year the festival is saluting the country of Panama with its usual steadfast excitement and zeal, offering several lead-up Panamanian parties and events. If you ask Holly Ford, the new Memphis in May International Festival Director of Marketing, what her favorite part of the festival is she says there are too many to chose from. “That would be impossible to say! It was always hard for me to decide what event to come home for when I didn’t live in Memphis,” exclaims Ford. In her first year as the Director of Marketing, Ford will be using the skills she gained from her history of broadcast journalism as the Director of Marketing and Special Projects at WREG-TV Channel News 3 as well as her extensive history of volunteering for nonprofits like Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the Junior League of Memphis to impact the MIM in a big way. “Collectively, working in the news side of things helps you to understand how their business works. So when you are communicating to a media outlet to promote your event, it gives you the professional courtesy and knowing of when their peak busy times are and when to call the newsroom. Being a good communicator and working on the nonprofit side has helped me a lot in this role,” explains Ford, adding that when people volunteer their time, they are giving an irreplaceable gift. Ford’s roles include overseeing all the marketing and public relations of MIM. She is the spokeswoman for MIM on all media fronts: radio, social networking, website, print and TV. Although leaving Channel News 3 was not an easy decision, she says the supportive staff of MIM has made the transition easier. As a Memphis native, Ford says that MIM has always played a big part in her life. “Now that I am part of the Memphis In May organization, it is really cool because it proves to me that it creates civic pride. Even back then when I was not attached to the organization, I was kind of being a steward to Memphis In May and telling people to visit during May,” says Ford. In addition to the usual three main components of MIM, Beale Street Music Festival, the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest and the Sunset Symphony, there will many ways to celebrate and learn about the culture of Panama. On May 9th, MIM will be hosting its International Gala, Panamanian Nights, in the Skyway Room at the Peabody Hotel at 6:30 p.m. Roberto L. Sanchez, architect and noted authority on Panamanian architecture and history, will present “The Architecture of Panama – Past, Present and Future” on May 6th at the University Club of Memphis at 11:30 a.m. On May 8th, Panamanian jazz musician and Grammy Award winner, Danilo Pérez will be performing at the Orpheum Theatre at 7:30 p.m. MIM also takes a group of Memphis students to the honored country every year, offering a trip of a lifetime to a group of lucky students who will get the chance to actually experience Panama. MIM is much more than a music festival and some barbecue, it is a time to immerse yourself in another culture and take pride in our city. MIM creates civic pride and makes us all stewards of our wonderful city, so go out there and enjoy yourself this month! Story by Rachel Warren Photo by Steve Roberts


EVENT

MED Night

MED NIGHT

Heart and Soul

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Brad and Dianne Champlin

Betty and Kober Sharp

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egional One Health Foundation hosted its annual MED Night: A Soul Celebration at the Cook Convention Center. Susan Arney and Sally Pace were co-chairwomen for the event. The gala served as a fund-raiser in support of state-of-the-art medical equipment and specialized training in the Regional One Health system (formerly known as the Regional Medical Center at Memphis). More than 900 people attended the event, which included a seated dinner with a live auction and high caliber entertainment. The live auction contributed to the overall fund-raising efforts with attendees bidding on enticing items including trips to Italy, Asia and Belize. During the meal, Dr. Reginald Coopwood, CEO of Regional One Health shared his vision for future advancements by the newly rebranded Regional One Health system. “There will be no reason for anyone in our community to look outside of Memphis for any treatment for any condition; in fact, what we build will draw others to our community seeking care,” said Dr. Coopwood. Tammie Ritchey, Regional One Health vice president of development/Foundation executive director, shared how donor gifts have been used to support special projects within the Regional One Health system: expansion and renovation of the Firefighters Regional Burn Center, establishment of a Nurse Residency Program, ongoing training and professional development for first responders in Arkansas and Mississippi, funding for no-cost mammograms for uninsured patients and simulation equipment to enhance training opportunities for doctors, nurses and medical residents. By the time dessert was served, the energy in the room was starting to build as Shirley Alston Reeves, one of the original members of The Shirelles, began crooning some of the tunes that made the group famous for its girl group sound. “Mama Said” and “Baby It’s You” brought people to their feet and onto the dance floor. Following Reeves, The Temptations Revue featuring Dennis Edwards brought back the magic of Motown. Wearing gold appliquéd and sequined jackets with gold tuxedo pants and gold shoes, Edwards, an original member of The Temptations, led the group through crowd-pleasing favorites like “My Girl.” This was the third year that the group had lent their support to the MED Night gala. When their set was over, Edwards and crew made a quick change into subdued black suits and joined the crowd for the final concert of the evening performed by Kool & the Gang. With the dance floor now packed, Kool & the Gang progressed through jazz, R&B and smooth pop-funk with hits like “Ladies Night” and “Celebration.” The evening’s musical showcase will live on in memories of the event attendees. The support the exceptional talent helped garner for specialized medical care at the Regional One Health system will live on in the lives of those it serves.

Ham and Julia Smythe

Honey and Rudi Scheidt

Story by Emily Adams Keplinger Photos by Baxter Buck See all the party photos at rsvpmagazine.com Password: RSVP Dr. Susan Murrmann and Troy Welch

Judy and Charles Burkett

Metcalf and Madeleine Crump

Steve and Amy Dennison with Emily and Steve Castle

Phillip Coleman and Mary Tate-Smith


EVENT MED NIGHT M A Y 2 0 14

Mike Wilson and Lori Turner-Wilson

Rick and Brenda Wagers

Bonnie and David Thornton

Kelli Mitchell and Kevin Cleveland

Phillip and Courtney Rix

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Rick and Lisa Rothman

Lauryce and Harrison McIver

Janice and Rusty Chambers

Taylor and Jessie Somerville

Pat and Mayor Mark Luttrell

Debbie and Rusty Taylor


EVENT MED NIGHT Henry Smith and Kim Harlow

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Dianne and Bob Laster

Natalie Cunningham, Kennon Adair and Kitty Taylor RSVP

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Lori Guy, Charles Vance and Brittany Church

Jamie Patterson with Tim and Denise Fabian


EVENT MED NIGHT M A Y 2 0 14

Christina and Ty Inmon

Sue and Chris Anderson

Malcolm and Pam White

Mary-Stuart David and Murray Hudson

Laura and John Clausen

Katy Langston and Dudley Langston

Eileen Cooper and Susan Cooper

Jim Holt and Brooke Tweddell

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EVENT MED NIGHT Elizabeth and Jeremy Given

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Reddy and Brezeetha Dhanireddy

Dr. Reginald Coopwood, Sally Pace, Tammie Ritchey and Susan Arney RSVP

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Stephanie and Robert Taylor

Carolyn and Bob Hicks

Tom and Gayle Sherry with Warren and Dana Goodwin


THE AMBASSADOR SERIES

The Ambassador Series By Eugene Pidgeon

WHEN THE LIGHTS GO DOWN

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advance work. Weeks ahead, I would be sent to cities across the country and Canada to announce our coming tour. This always culminated in an early morning press event with the standing mayor of each city we visited. Mickey Rooney would often accompany me. I was always clad in full costume with makeup and a wig. Mickey was not quite so relevantly emblematic. His costume was often golf shorts and a caddy’s cap. Initially, this surprised me. What do golf shorts and a caddy’s cap say about the

had bound him to this mortal coil like some cruel jailer. I recall one press event, where an ingénue reporter on the spiked heels of Barbara Walters declared how much she had loved him in “Boys Town” with Spencer Tracy. He breathed deeply, his neck furrowed and, as if a viper, he struck back at her, “That’s not all I’ve done, but how would you know! You young people think you know everything!” Maybe he had desperately tried to change with the times. Perhaps, it is us who wouldn’t let him. He had been the face and the heart of America’s Greatest Generation, the underdog who fought his way across the silver screen to create his own indelible American Dream; his own American destiny. I am just beginning to recognize how much he had contributed to mine. Sadly, I, like everyone else, could not look at him as an aging and imperfect human, in tatters and shredded by his hard life. To watch him disintegrate was to watch the American Dream disintegrate. The show must go on. No matter what it cost him. Ultimately, it would cost Mickey Rooney everything. Eight failed marriages, estrangement from his children and bankruptcy. There was not even enough money left in his estate for a proper burial, hardly a fitting tribute for a man who gave so much of himself to us. But there was one rare moment, a cogent and quiet interlude in the midst of his calamity where he revealed to me his secret. “The only way to survive in this business and in this life is to everyday make an effort to do something good for someone else without ever letting them know what you have done.” As May approaches, we take the time to celebrate veterans and friends who have honored our lives with their courage and their commitment to the quiet service of others. Memorial Day reminds me of how my life is blessed. I have a wonderful family and loyal friends. But there are so many people who helped to shape my life, in very personal ways who have passed without my ever having taken the chance to express my gratitude. These are Memphians who were a part of Mickey Rooney’s Greatest Generation. As I say thank you and goodbye to my colleague, I also remember Henry Loeb, George Clark, Al Austin, Owen Massie, Kemmons Wilson, Robert Jordan, Armour Bowen, Frank Jemison, Alec Dann, Lewis McKee and Dr. Vasco Smith. You were there for me even after the trumpets faded, and you stayed with me long after the lights went down. You are my ambassadors. This one’s for you. Photo by Kevin Steele

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y grand New York City adventure came in the spring of 1997 when I traded the balmy, lip glossed Utopia of Santa Barbara, California for a gig with a boutique publicity firm on Madison Avenue. However, when my romantic ideal collided with the immutable laws of providence, I realized the job was only meant as a means of conveyance to get me to the big city. It was not so much a staid career move. In less than two weeks, my employer and I reconciled our mistake and with an extra month’s salary and a hearty wish of good luck we parted company. A wiser man may have tucked his tail and headed back to California. Not I. I was in New York for a reason, and I would not be intimidated or muscled out of such a challenge simply because I was out of work and homeless. I had ventured east in April and had somehow managed to stay afloat and against all conventional wisdom. But fall was approaching rapidly and, just as rapidly, my resources were depleting. By November I found myself firmly wedged between a 30 Rock and a hard place I remember how it was such a cold and brittle dawn when my redemption manifested. The morning sky was a crisp and icy blue mural…and the mixing aromas of coffee and bus exhaust…commerce and ambition, routine and adventure were circulating on frigid shards of wind accosting the city from some barren and hostile polarscape in the North Atlantic. I was shivering as I pondered whether or not the few cents remaining in my torn shirt pocket were enough for my minimum daily requirement of nicotine and caffeine. Then suddenly, in an uncharacteristic fashion, I reached for a copy of Backstage Magazine, the dominant go to rag for all things theater in New York City. I didn’t want to buy it or to read it. I was just trying to keep it from dispersing in the wind when an open page before me revealed a casting notice for the Tin Man in a new touring production of “The Wizard of Oz” with Eartha Kitt as the Wicked Witch and Mickey Rooney as the Wizard. On a hunch, I crashed the Tin Man audition armed with nothing but gumption. Yet, with an earnest and biblical persuasion my ruse paid off. I was cast as Mayor of the Munchkin City. I would be on tour with Mickey Rooney. Finally, I was in my element, if not out of my league. This is how things happen if you are open to possibility in New York City. I spent two years on the road with Mickey Rooney. My experience with him was peripheral. As the Mayor of the Munchkin City, part of my job was doing

production? Then I got it. It didn’t matter what Mickey Rooney wore. He was Mickey Rooney. When I learned of his passing on April 6th, I was much sadder than I would have imagined. The Mickey Rooney I had known was coarse and moody. He was distant and somewhat aggressive. He was no longer the impish waif who succored, charmed and comforted an entire nation through an eviscerating depression and an even more tragic world war. After the tour concluded, I never saw Mickey again. I am still not certain he ever even knew my name. And I must admit, there were times when he really frustrated me. He almost never got his lines right. He even broke character, time and again, to acknowledge and absorb the thunderous applause that was accorded him as Mickey Rooney and not the role he was playing on stage when the curtain rose. Still, Mickey Rooney was our Ambassador. He never changed with the times. He couldn’t. He just aged. No one even knew how old he was on the tour. He died at 93. He seemed to be 93 in 1998. He reminded me of a ruddy cue ball…polish worn and faded, with pockmarks and a chalked stained demeanor. Where once he strode with boundless energy, he now struggled daily to purge the gravity that


VOX POPULAR

Vox Popular Q&A with Leshundra Robinson

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oday’s adolescents feel more pressure than ever in school and at home, and many struggle with issues of identification and self-esteem. Leshundra Robinson, CEO and founder of UCAN of Memphis, is embarking on a journey to positively impact young teens through mentoring, personal development and education. RSVP editor, Rachel Warren, met up with Robinson at the Dave Wells Community Center to discuss how UCAN (You Can Achieve Now) is offering Memphis teens a safe haven for constructive growth, college preparation and communication.

Robinson: We are providing a mentoring role to the community. We help middle school and high school children with their social skills, and we focus on the issues of bullying.

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RSVP: Specifically, what services does UCAN of Memphis provide?

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Robinson: We offer an image development workshop, and we do a program where we talk about bullying and what it means to be a young adult. We also offer a career and college development workshop. When students come in from schools like Manassas High School, Humes Preparatory and Gordon Elementary School, we are able to talk to them about their future. We ask them questions like “What do you want to do?” “What do you want to be?” We offer an etiquette class. We offer a social development class where we talk about social media. We talk a lot about dress and what clothes mean. Since the kids we see are from a lower income area, they may not always have the right clothing and because of that they may struggle with low selfesteem and feelings of low self-worth. We encourage the children to recognize what they are feeling. We try to show them that their zip code doesn’t make them who they are. It is about what you make yourself. With the career and college development workshops, we also present college and career fairs. We teach the students how to write a resume. We teach them about networking. Also, we start to identify some of the things that they may be interested in pursuing in college when they are choosing courses or thinking about majors. We really try to hone in on what they really enjoy doing or studying and not what someone told to do. We help them zero in on what schools will provide them with the best opportunities. We help them visit colleges so they can really judge which school might be the best fit for them. RSVP: Why is it so important for adolescents to have a place like UCAN in the community? Robinson: If you look at the statistics now, there are only 88 per-

cent of students graduating high school. That is a low percentage to me. You have five percent of high school students who have dropped out. When you have those types of low numbers, you have to ask the question: “Why is this happening to students?” You have students that are bullying each other for whatever reason. If a student doesn’t have a mentor, if they don’t have someone to guide them and help them understand what is right and what is wrong, then they may go in the wrong direction. Because this is a lower economic area, their parents may not want them to graduate for whatever reason. If that is the case, that parent may try to keep their child from achieving success in school. If these students have a mentor then they can get the support they may not be getting from home, and that mentor can help that student be the person they really want to be. We believe that when students have a mentor, they can have the opportunity to pinpoint what they want to be and have someone there to help them achieve that goal. Photos by Don Perry

RSVP: What role is UCAN of Memphis playing within the Memphis community?

RSVP: How was the concept for an organization like UCAN conceived of? Robinson: My friend Richardetta Kight and I founded UCAN. There was woman who came into my aunt’s place of work. The family was new to Memphis. Her daughter was thirteen at the time, and the mother said that she was acting rebellious. Her mother felt like her daughter was moving in a bad direction. The mother started asking friends if they know anybody that could help her out. I stepped in and began meeting with the young lady. I did not meet with her to try and go over her head and tell her what to do, but I met with her as someone who just wanted to build a healthy relationship with her. Once that relationship had been built with the young lady and with the parents as well, she began to open up to me. She began letting me know what was going on with her. Overall, we identified that the reason she had been acting out was because she was tired of moving, tired of changing friends. Her and her mother had moved several times. She was taking on a lot of responsibilities at home that were very big and difficult for a teenager due to several factors including financial ones. With me acting as


RSVP: What are some of the big challenges UCAN helps kids maneuver through? Robinson: We try to help them to find their identities. Sometimes they may be living in an environment that makes them feel as if they have no self-worth. They feel lost in class, too afraid to even raise their hand and ask a question because when they do, people bully them and call them dumb for asking or not understanding. So some students stay quiet, and when they are quiet, they are not getting their full education. Sometimes teachers may even pick on students. We

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her mentor, we were able to discuss feelings that she felt she was not able to discuss with her parents and come up with some solutions. She has been under my wing ever since. When a lot of our students and most teenagers sit down with an adult, they do not want to hear a lecture. Around the time that we started the organization, I noticed that my own children didn’t want to talk to me. I am a cool mom, and I thought we could talk about anything. My kids and I talked a lot, but I realized at some point that they didn’t want to tell me everything. At first, I felt hurt because I thought we had an open relationship. I realized that yes, we do have an open relationship, but there is only so much that kids want to tell their parents. When I heard that and felt that, I took that same information and transferred it to my services with UCAN students. I asked them how much they talked to their parents. Many responded that they talked to them a lot. When I asked them what they actually talked to their parents about, I realized that they were not talking about some of the more difficult things with them. That is when I realized that there was a need for more mentoring. That’s why we created UCAN, to give kids another outlet for them to speak to an adult that can help guide them through crucial times.


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have kids that are taking their own lives because of bullying. At 27, my brother took his life because of the bullying he experienced in his early years in high school. In his older age, my brother still experienced pain and depression leftover from that bullying. Imagine that, having experienced that at an early age, and you take that pain with you to college, and it happens again to you. It might happen to you on the field when you are playing your college sport and your team is calling you names. They might say, “We were just playing around. We were just doing a little hazing.� They don’t know what that person has been through in high school. Unfortunately, some people take their lives because of the bullying they encounter throughout school. We are working on a program designed to eliminate bullying and building character. RSVP: What are some of the ways that the UCAN bullying program will bring more awareness to the issues of bullying? Robinson: One way, recently, that we talked about bullying was through a play we did with the kids. The play showed a couple different aspects of bullying, especially why bullies bully and what happens when you bully. We incorporated that into the play as well as showed the students the different characteristics of bullying. We talked to them throughout the acting, and we had a counselor onboard that was also there to help the discussion. This allowed the students to feel free to talk about their experiences with bullying. For example, in our play we have three different bullies. One of the bullies is a student who has a mother who struggles with alcoholism. The character has to run the household, and when she gets to school she is usually stressed out. She takes these feelings out through bullying other characters in the play. Another character is fighting for the attention of her


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father. This character also bullies her peers at school. One character is the daughter of a preacher, and she also acts out in school. The play has been a good way for the students to see different bullying scenarios and the reasons why someone may be a bully and the right way to handle the situation. RSVP: Does UCAN Memphis offer its services to other schools or youth centers? Robinson: We actually go to Humes Preparatory Academy to mentor. We meet every other Thursday, and it is called a Boardroom Luncheon. We meet a group of kids in the library at lunchtime. We talk with the kids about leadership and come up with solutions to whatever might be holding them back from doing their best in school. We talk about certain challenges they face at school and home.

RSVP: How can Memphians get involved with UCAN Memphis? Robinson: Check out our website! We list all of our activities on our website. It is very accessible. We work with the Make-AWishÂŽ Foundation. We partner with the Neighborhood Christian Center for the Hallelujah Fest that they have. Our volunteer opportunities are also a chance for teenagers to gain those school credits. It is a great way for them to get involved and perhaps to stay on with UCAN as they become adults.

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Robinson: We also offer a health and fitness portion with our Dare 2 Dream program, especially during the summer time. In the past, we have done a Zumba class. The Zumba teacher is actually a former student. She took a lot of the popular line dances, and she turned them into a Zumba class. We talked about the food pyramid. It is easy to eat fast food, especially in the summer time. When the students are going back to school they may realize it is time to get back in shape. We have brought in health counselors from some of the health community centers to talk about what they should do health wise to take care of their bodies. They talk about how to handle stress. Stress is definitely one of the things that many students may not even realize they have, but it can be very stressful being a teenager. Many students come from single parent households where they are taking on a lot of the household responsibilities like cooking, cleaning and watching younger siblings. Then they have to try and do their homework. That’s a lot of responsibility for a teenager, and we talk about how to manage that stress. That way, when they go back to school, they will be less likely to act out and perhaps bully their classmates.

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RSVP: Other than social aspects, what are some aspects that UCAN is helping teens with?


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“Have Heart” Fund-Raiser

River Oaks Garden Club Mardi Gras Party

Local artist Danny Broadway’s career flourished even before he graduated with a fine arts degree from the University of Memphis, where his work was chosen to represent the university’s Black History Month for two years. Regardless of his blossoming success, Broadway has always maintained a sense of commitment to the Memphis community. That commitment was most recently demonstrated at the “Have Heart” event, held at Broadway’s studio on Wheelis Drive to benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. During the catered event, which included food provided by Southward Fare & Libations and Phillip Ashley Chocolates, Broadway unveiled 15 new paintings and offered up 26 paintings for sale. Several of Broadway’s paintings will hang in the new St. Jude tower. “We have created a good partnership, and I hope to help in any way I can,” Broadway said. Two of the artist’s prints were raffled off during the evening, as well as bottles of wine provided by Silver Oak Cellars, who also served beverages for tasting during the event. It was an opportunity for St. Jude supporters to get to know the artist’s work as well as a chance for Broadway fans to learn more about the world-renowned hospital.

What spells out Mardi Gras better than shrimp remoulade, beef grillades, grits and bread pudding? That was the thought of the River Oaks Garden Club’s event chairs as they planned the menu for the club’s Mardi Gras Party. Held at the Memphis Hunt & Polo Club, the evening was a festive night of food, fun and music. Guests arrived decked out in their best Mardi Gras gear including several sequined, green and gold ensembles and, of course, lots of beads. Sipping on cocktails, attendees warmed up for the main course by snacking on delicious crawfish fritters. Brian “Breeze” Cayolle started out the music for the evening and later joined forces with his three-piece jazz combo, the Brian “Breeze” Cayolle Trio for some proper New Orleans-style jazz to dance to after dining. Story and Photos by Lesley Young

Story and Photos by Lesley Young

Tennessee Shakespeare Company Valentine’s Gala Michael and Melissa Corry drove from Marshall County to spend their Valentine’s celebration at the Germantown Performing Arts Center. The couple is a big fan of the Tennessee Shakespeare Company. “We want to support them. Our son is big into theater, and we are sending him to their camp,” Melissa Corry said. Others came from the Mid-South area to the TSC’s annual Valentine’s Gala for the entertainment. Howard McGillin, known for his longevity on Broadway as the Phantom in the “The Phantom of the Opera,” treated guests to a 50-minute show featuring stories and songs from his 30-year career. There was a gourmet spread to entice guests as well as a silent and live auction featuring specialty trips, artwork and Shakespeare Treasure Dolls, which, upon purchasing a doll, guests were granted anything from piano lessons and beauty treatments to pet vacations and photo sessions. All proceeds from the night’s festivities benefit the TSC’s education programs. Stephen and Alicia Davis, Jack and Sandra Jones, Dr. Owen and Jeannie Tabor and Deborah Dunklin Tipton presented the evening.

Works of Heart Auction It’s a wonder attendees could see any art work, with close to 500 people barely squeezing in the doors of Memphis College of Art this February. One of the favorite events of Memphis, the Works of Heart auction was a success yet again this year. Each year, more than 100 area-artists design a creation using a heart-shaped piece of wood, or they could opt to create something out of a material of their choosing. All pieces were donated to the annual auction. This year’s event saw 115 artists contribute to the fund-raiser, which benefits the Memphis Child Advocacy Center. The CAC serves children who are victims of abuse through prevention, education and intervention. Attendees were given the option to purchase a Big Heart Lounge ticket, which included admission to the lounge designed by Holliday Flowers & Events, a t-shirt, a work of art and a spread of food and beverages that stole attendees’ hearts. Kym Clark of WMCTV Action News 5 helped host the event, and Murray Riss and Sheryl Bowen co-chaired. Story and Photos by Lesley Young

Story and Photos by Lesley Young

Debbie Binswanger and Hilary Harrison

Jennafer Marchetti, Lori Patton and Pat Chaffee Danny Broadway with Jeff and Mindy Pearson Michael and Melissa Corry

Moacir and Elma Schnapp

Rhynette Hurd and Deborah Northcross

Robin Greaves and Sara Cameron Blanche and Mike Deaderick with Sandra Lipman

Ray Morrison, Reema Wien and Lisa Morrison

Tom and Beth Ploch with Brenda Harris

Marilyn and Allen Hughes with Freddie and Chris McEwan

Shannon Cable, Dawn McKay, Gloria Dodds and Patrick Bolton


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Decadent Avenue Grand Opening Fund-Raiser Memphis Library Foundation Luncheon Local high-end furniture retailer, Decadent Avenue celebrated its grand opening with a bang with the added bonus of raising funds for Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital. Decadent kicked-off the party with an official ribbon cutting ceremony at the store’s 888 South White Station Road location and was attended by members of the Chamber of Commerce and representatives from Le Bonheur. Attendees noshed on light hors d’oeuvres and sipped on cider as they mingled and got the very first look at the fine furniture displayed throughout the warehouse. Decadent Avenue donated a portion of their total grand opening sales to the local children’s hospital. Story and Photos by Rachel Warren

Memphians gathered at the Peabody Hotel’s Continental Ballroom to commemorate the Memphis Library Foundation’s 20th Anniversary with a fabulous luncheon. Guests sat down at tables decorated with unique book centerpieces that were arranged to hold flowers. Mayor A C Wharton gave a proclamation and applauded the Memphis Library Foundation for their effort in “raising funds to enhance how people experience the library.” Wharton ended by remarking that “the need for a world class library will never expire.” Following a video presentation about the many ways in which the Memphis Library Public Library & Information Center serves the community, a delicious lunch was served. The Memphis Library Foundation works tirelessly to provide private funds to support the Memphis Public Library & Information Center. Story and Photos by Rachel Warren

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Polar Bear Plunge and Chili Cook-Off

Tea and Talk at the Top

Hundreds of daring Mid-Southerners donned their wackiest costumes and braced themselves for a long cold dip into the Wolf River to raise funds for Special Olympics of Greater Memphis at the annual Polar Bear Plunge and Chili Cook-Off. Held at Mud Island River Park, this highly anticipated event drew in over 500 people and included a chili cook-off with a people’s choice tasting, donut eating contest, a Polar Bear Plunge costume contest and a raffle. The competition was fierce on all fronts but especially for the costume contest with contestants dressed as bananas, retro eighties ladies, chili peppers and even Teletubbies. Plungers, who had raised money to sponsor their plunge, brought the event to a climax with their jump into the icy river. Over $95,000 was raised for the Special Olympics of Greater Memphis.

The 12th annual Tea and Talk at the Top Awards Ceremony was held at City Hall and hosted by Mayor A C and Ruby Wharton with Lindsey Brown of WMC-TV Channel 5 acting as the Mistress of Ceremony. Nine women were honored with the Ruby R. Wharton Outstanding Women Award and included: Meri Armour, Early Childhood Development; Henri E. Brooks, Youth and Delinquency; Rosalva King, Race Relations; Deborah Mariene Clubb, Women’s Rights; Carolyn Chism Hardy, Business; Gale Jones Carson, Public Awareness; TaJuan StoutMitchell, Public Awareness; Madison Dismuke, Public Awareness; and Lindsey Dismuke, Public Awareness. The Dimuke sisters, Madison age 11 and Lindsey age 10, warmed everyone’s heart with their work raising over $300,000 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. After the ceremony, guests celebrated with light hors d’oeuvres and pictures with Mayor Wharton. Story and Photos by Rachel Warren

Story and Photos by Rachel Warren

Robert Ajam with Susan and Neil Phillips Honey Scheidt

Jocelyn Wurzburg, Regina M. Newman and Reverend Dorothy Wells Ashley Howard, Megan Childers, Shannon Schilling and Lauren Coles

Claire Garat, Judy Boggs, Mary Droke and Ed Bridges

Rosalva King and Esperanza King

Grant Spangler and Leigh Lawyer Kelly Pittman and John Mathewson

Ty Legge and John Guthrie Jr.

Ravyn Patton and Salenya Davis

Kimberly Hill and Crystal Hill

Ruby Wharton and Jacqueline Watkins


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Brooks Uncorked

BROOKS UNCORKED

he Brooks Museum of Art stayed up past its usual curfew during the latest installment of the museum’s Memphis Wine + Food series, Brooks Uncorked for a night of good cheer and quality wine appreciation. In its 22nd year and benefiting the museum’s educational and community outreach programs, the series will continue to present several wine-themed fund-raising events like the Fleming’s Wine Dinner, the Private Winemaker Dinner, the Brooks Grand Auction, and Vin-A-Que throughout the year. Brooks director, Cameron Kitchin, emphasized the importance of the Brooks Uncorked event saying, “It is an event for all of Memphis to celebrate the city’s great art and art education.” Buster’s Liquors & Wines provided the wine for evening, offering guests the chance to try up 60 different types of wines from all over the globe. For those interested in taking a bottle or two home, Brooks also offered an extensive wine pull with bottles valuing anywhere from $20-$100. For those hungry partygoers, the event offered a broad selection of food from which to chose. Far from the dry cheese and crackers, 15 different local eateries were present and handing out tiny plates of some of their most original and, of course, delicious food for attendees to pair with their wines. The Capital Grille made waves with their tuna tartar and smoked salmon on crackers. Pete & Sam’s kept it traditional and offered the perfect base for a wine filled night: lasagna, Italian spinach and a big hunk of garlic bread. Phillip Ashley Chocolates sealed the deal with his specialty chocolates, beautifully painted and crafted so that they looked like their very own works of art. A silent auction also captivated the crowd’s attention with great buys like Memphis In May International Festival passes, a sky diving package, a barbecue-themed gift basket, and tickets to Vin-AQue in September, to only name a few. Several pieces of original art were available to the highest bidders. While wine was the drink of choice for many, Buster’s and Prichard’s Distillery mixed up some specialty cocktails for those who craved something shaken or stirred, and Budweiser of Memphis supplied craft beers. After one or two (or several) tasting glasses of wine, beer or cocktail, all roads led to dancing. DJ Mark Anderson couldn’t keep the crowd away from the dance floor on the outside patio as he spun new radio hits as well as some classics tunes. And, despite the torrential downpour outside, the tent cover kept everyone dry and warm. This amazing event continues to attract a large crowd of Memphians and stays true to its focus of raising funds for the Brooks Museum of Art to continue its legacy of providing the Memphis community with the very best in art and art education.

Artful Oenophiles

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Becky Baker Crucifixio and Jim Baker

Lindsay Howell and Angela Hunter

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Michael Whaley and Lydia Stoney

Story by Rachel Warren Photos by Don Perry

Lindsey and Josh Hammond

Kim Williams and Wes Burrow

Barry Yoakum and Emily Burnette

Lester Merriweather and Valencia Jeffries

J.O. and Cheryl Patterson with Shawn Hayden, Judge Jayne Chandler and Daryl Leven

Don Jamison and Sue Madden


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Bernard Farber and Natalie Boyatt

Mary and Brandon Hanmer

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Terry and Caprice Morgan

Drs. Dharmesh and Purvisha Patel

George Mironovich and Benita Ochoa

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Kent and Dana Farmer

Andrea and David Harano

Tom and Constance Conley

Rachel Harvey and Kerri Wilkinson

Amy Nash and Mary Helen Randall

Geoff Maddox and Kevin Kimberly


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Jack and Karen Roesle with Rena Chiozza and Jeanette Martin

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Matthew Hasty, Felix Pesce and Klay Lester

Chris and Mike Repischak

Al and Jan Lyons

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Carol Ann Jordan and Jessica Moran

Mike Sipes and Angela Hammond

Billy and Liz Boywid

Adam Fredrick, April Harris, Dawn Renee Haire and Mike Maness

Brian and Katie Leith

Jeff Kitterman and Kim Bowles


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Kelley and Ken Hayes

Brook and Ellen Lester

Staci and Adam Kilgore with Lara Butler

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Dakota Davis and Shayla Lawrence

Marne Anderson and Charles Warner

Melissa LaFrain, Julie Clark and Emily Wilson


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BROOKS UNCORKED Thayne and Anne Muller

John and Sandy Barrios

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Natalie LeDoux, Michael Scott and Claudine Nayan

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Curt and Elizabeth Griffin with Virginia Gilmore and Lee Harris

Jeshenna and Jonathan Watkins

Milton Ruiz and Julie Purdy


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Screen on the Green

SCREEN ON THE GREEN

“The Wonderland Affair”

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Jon and Sara Grizzle

Terry and Phil Woodard

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ow in its 26th year, Memphis Bridge Builders® has played an essential role in helping our community’s young people unite and find their voices. To continue its mission, BRIDGES® held its 3rd annual Screen on the Green Gala, bringing together individuals from all across the Mid-South to celebrate diversity and youth leadership through a movie-themed evening of merriment. This year the featured movie was Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland” and the BRIDGES® Center was transformed into a fantasy world that reflected different facets of the film’s storyline. As over 300 guests entered the center, they made their way down the “Rabbit Hole” to the Wilson “High Adventure” Hall where a plentiful and sumptuous array of hors d’ouevres tempted many taste buds. These were generously provided by Delectables Catering & Company along with Cuisine Sponsors including Café Society, The Brass Door, Tsunami and Charlie Vergos’ Rendezvous. A big hit with the crowd was the “Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum” room, which served as the bar. It was not unusual to see rabbit ears, tiaras, giant playing cards and, of course, a lot of “Mad Hats” as many guests opted to go with the theme and arrived decked out in costume, which gave them the opportunity to participate in the “Maddest Hat Contest.” Additionally, the “Hatter’s Shutter Party” room, furnished by Real2Reel Photography, let folks indulge in snapping fun party pics of themselves to take home as souvenirs. Guests were treated to a surprise appearance of The Memphis Grizz Girls, who performed their version of “Futterwacken” (the Mad Hatter’s dance from the movie). Tom Prestigiacomo served as Master of Ceremonies for the gala, and he kept the crowd engaged while they danced to tunes spun by DJ Bobby Smith. As the night progressed, many guests made their way onto the center’s beautiful greensward, where movie-themed tents contained a cigar bar and a specialty drinks bar provided by The Bacardi Family Foundation. The Presenting Sponsor of The Wonderland Affair was APCA Tennessee, Inc. Other sponsors included: Mahaffey Tent and Party Rentals, Hand Family Companies, Yendry and Brent Alvord and Gaskill Strategies. The Screen on the Green Gala is the largest fundraiser for BRIDGES® and all proceeds benefit the Bridge Builders program.  

Karen Kehbein and Eric Phillips

Ralph and Jeanette McKinney

Story by Ruthie Cassin and Staci Franklin Photos by Baxter Buck

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Hamp and Beth Bryan

Eldra and Richard White

Lissa and Heard Stoddard

Tenisha Wren, Felicia Mintah and Tracey Rouse

Lauren Anderson and Jarrett King


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Katie and Barry Lincoln

Susan and Paul Watts

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Roberta Moore and Anna Kushnir

Jerry Spore and Lisa Rumsey

Mark and Karen Whitby

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Ron and Quinn Slaughter

Bob and Sara Nardo

Caitlin McNally and Brittani Rumsey

Elizabeth and Gary Berglund

Kate and Will Bladt

Shawn Cole and William Woods


EVENT SCREEN ON THE GREEN Paul and Sheri Brockington

Lance and Kelsey Cummins

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Fredrick and Trina Gillam

David Knox and Susanne Salehi

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Matthew and April Jackson

Richard and Kristy Alley

Christopher Wiley and Jessie Walker

Jim and Martha Boyd

Tommy and Jackie Williams

Kenisha Jones and Joshua Conway


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PHOENIX CLUB OF MEMPHIS MARDI GRAS & CASINO PARTY

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Phoenix Club of Memphis Mardi Gras & Casino Party L aissez Les Bons Temps Rouler!

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Michael Wills and Andria Simonsen

he Phoenix Club of Memphis celebrated its 17th annual Mardi Gras & Casino Party at The Cadre Building. The elegant venue, transformed into a casino and dance club, brought together approximately 800 guests for what is traditionally the organization’s largest fundraiser of the year. In its early days, the Phoenix Club aligned itself with fundraising for the benefit of local youth and helped establish the first Boys Club of Memphis. Through the years, the organization has remained committed to that cause. The recent Mardi Gras & Casino Party served as a benefit for the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Memphis. Phoenix Club members Chad Cunningham and Michael Waters were this year’s event co-chairmen. From arranging the caterers to booking the bands, Cunningham and Waters utilized their personal friendships and professional networks to make a memorable evening for club members and their guests. The two men have known each other since high school and brought another former Memphis high school friend, Lane Shaw, to headline the evening’s entertainment. Shaw, the percussionist for Mansions on the Moon, now lives in Los Angeles. He brought his brand of electronic pop rock to the event to support his friends’ charity work. Memphis rapper Al Kapone was a featured musical guest and acoustical guitarist Scott Grimes rounded out the evening’s entertainment. A VIP area on the club’s mezzanine level offered guests an exclusive section where they could sit and relax while watching the party below. VIP guests were treated to a private complimentary full bar and food provided by Central BBQ, Local Gastropub, Budweiser and other sponsors. On the main floor, Amurica Photo Booth provided a 1959 teardrop camper that had been transformed into a photo booth for those who wanted to capture the moment in kitschy-chic style.  Colorful Mardi Gras decorations, set the mood and encouraged guests to “Let the Good Times Roll.” Partygoers were invited to try their luck at the charity casino. Guests purchased charity casino money called “Phoenix Bucks” and exchanged it for chips to participate in games of blackjack, roulette and craps. At the end of the night, guests cashed out their chips and were awarded raffle tickets based on their winnings. The casino’s prizes totaled over $10,000 and included several one-night stay packages at Harrah’s Tunica, as well as Peter Millar merchandise from James Davis, tickets to the FedEx St. Jude Classic, rounds of golf at Mirimichi and Windyke, Redbird box seats, Malco movie passes, a Folk’s Folly gift card and a Social Beach tote and towel. Silent auction items added to the funds raised with competition for a weekend getaway at Harrah’s Tunica, a Memphis Grizzlies package that included a basketball autographed by the entire team and a bar table from Worlds Away. All in all, the festive event raised $30,000 for Boys & Girls Club of Memphis that will be used to offer inner-city kids a chance to attend Camp Phoenix at Sardis Lake this summer. Campers earn the privilege to attend based on academic performance, good behavior and their service to Boys & Girls Club of Memphis. This fundraiser helps ensure that the kids are able to attend Camp Phoenix free of charge.  Story By Emily Adams Keplinger Photos by Don Perry See all the party photos at rsvpmagazine.com Password: RSVP

Alex Rainer and Stephanie Spurgat

Elizabeth Zuelke, George Connor, Emily Brueck and Justin Lee

Casey and Lindsey Cade

Bradley Cobb and Hailey Gillis

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Hart Burke and Caitlin Giovannetti

Brandon Stout and Kat Neunaber

Katie Adams and John Mills

Regan Sherwood and Michael Brannan


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Rachel and Matt Young

Elizabeth and Josh Walker

Bethany Harrell and Zac McRae

Jeff McAlexander and Katy Jeffrey

Amanda Wheeler and Ryan Hart

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Tres and Andrea LeTard

Elizabeth Coleman and Camille Casey

Elly Deyhle and Mark Awdeh

Valerie Burton and Chelsea Chandler

Jordan Brown and Carol Stout

Katherine Ray and Patrick Sala


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Sarah Sadlowski and James Clifford

PHOENIX CLUB OF MEMPHIS MARDI GRAS & CASINO PARTY

Geetika Bansal, Rami Lotay and Seemika Bansal

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Taylor Wynn, Jessica Taylor, Brooke McDonald and Joel Stark

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Emily and Jay Hazen

Brain Marks, Misty Welch and Justin Wiseman

Taylor Williams and Jack Jameson

Katy Rower and Katie Ellrich

Gabrielle Roy, David May and Marie Coode


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Janie Williams, Jeb Hart and Taylor Dunaway

Derick Garner, David Turner and Franklin Childress

Keeley and Bailey Childress

Sarah Katherine Faucheux and Alfred Cowles

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Candace Bell and Matt Tarbox

Chilton Simmons with Lara and Alex Scott

Tiffany Collins and Kyle Basarich

Kristen Talman and Chad Cunningham

Stephen Kuehl, Bradley Nieman, Tricia Black and Andrew Murphy


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Farm to Fork: The Second Line

The Grand Krewe of Sphinx held its Coronation Ball at Chickasaw Country Club, where the theme was “My Fair Lady.” Tables were

Chef Kelly English hosted the Memphis Farmers Market fundraiser, Farm to Fork: The Second Line at his new restaurant, The Second Line. Supporters of MFM braved the stormy weather along with other diners, who came out just for English’s signature fare with New Orleans flair. It was easy to forget about the nasty weather eating comfort food like macaroni and cheese and crawfish pimiento cheese fries. English, who is known for using farm fresh ingredients in his dishes, donated the proceeds from all the dinners served to MFM, a nonprofit, weekly outdoor market-place located downtown at the Central Station.

“Taking a Chance On Life” was the theme of the Grande Krewe of RaMet Coronation held at the Clark Opera Memphis Center. The 2014 Queen, Sandra Cooper, spoke about her survival of breast cancer and the importance of embracing each day. John Krondes, owner of Grecian Catering, provided the fare for the buffet, which included dolmades and spanakopita as well other crowd-pleasing dishes like lasagna. Following the program, M A Y 2 0 14

Backstage Pass took the stage and the guests partied well into the night. Story and Photos by Suzanne Thompson

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adorned with centerpieces fashioned using plumed hats as homage to the lavish hats worn by Eliza Doolittle in the famous film. The prestigious Jim Crow Award, presented by Ally Luciano and Crow’s widow, Shirley Crow, was given to Bob Bradley, after Queen Chrisann Conway and King Bradford Flynn were presented, along with their duchesses: Annie Taylor, Keri Taylor, Laura Alexander-Dodds, Kimberly Flynn, Gloria Dodds and grand duchess Jeni Diprizio.

love, that brought the members of the Memphis Symphony League together at the “Music from the Heart” Valentine Luncheon at the Chickasaw Country Club. The a cappella group from Memphis University School, Beg to Differ, performed during lunch, followed by a brief fashion show. Billie Jean Graham was awarded the prestigious Hebe Award for outstanding service to the league and Lura Turner, MSL president, sang a song to convey the appreciation for all Graham’s hard work.

Story and Photos by Suzanne Thompson Story and Photos by Suzanne Thompson

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Story and Photos by Suzanne Thompson

It is love of music, not romantic

Ally Luciano and Donna Renard Laura and Frank Howell Bradford Flynn and Chrisann Conway Lura Turner and Deanna Vaughn

Allison Cook, Kelly English and Christopher Cook Sandra Cooper and Leonard Pennock Anca Pop and Jere Gerard

Donna and Pat Hoffman

Suzanne Shelton and Pam Cain

Nancy Lou Jones, Billie Jean Graham and Jean M. de Frank

Lindsey Donovan, Patti Calvert, Carole Pruett and Judge Kay Robilio

Lee Hopson, Stephanie Connelly, David and Shanea McKinney with Mary Lenoci


As part of Memphis Botanic Garden’s Cocktails in the Garden series, the first event was held Feb. 13. Themed “Whiskey, Wines and Chocolates,” the event featured Phillip Ashley Chocolates, Clyde May’s whiskey and a variety of wines and other alcoholic beverages. Approximately 150 people attended the Valentine’s-themed party, circulating among five specific pairings of beverages and chocolates. One of the group’s favorites was the RumChata cocktail paired with pineapple banana rum chocolates. There was also a bleu cheese chocolate paired with champagne as well as a bacon caramel shortbread paired with whiskey. The Amazing Grayson (Grayson Smith) performed as a strolling magician and entertained the delighted crowd. Strategic Resource Management was the series sponsor. Whole Foods and Just Catering Memphis provided the food for the event. “Highballs and Hydrangeas” will be the next installment of the Cocktails in the Garden series and will be held outdoors in the garden on June 12.

Ami and Andy Austin graciously opened up their humble abode to host the American Cancer Society Harrah’s Hope Lodge Cocktail Reception. In an effort to commemorate the efforts of those who were involved in the building of and the support of the American Society Harrah’s Hope Lodge, the Austin’s opened their doors and welcomed current board members, members of the capital campaign and representatives of the Hope Lodge to an evening of mingling and cocktails. Sponsored by the American Cancer Society, Hope Lodge offers free, temporary housing units for cancer patients who are undergoing critical treatment. Story and Photos Submitted

Memphis In May Poster Unveiling

Mixed-Odyssey

The Memphis In May International Festival hosted the formal unveiling of the fine artwork honoring Panama, this year’s MIM country. Over 100 people attended the event, held for the 10th year, at the offices of United Capital Financial Advisors. Managing director Michael Deutsch welcomed the crowd and introduced Jim Holt, President/CEO of Memphis In May. After expressing appreciation for all of those who give of their time to make the annual festival an enduring success, Holt called this year’s MIM artist, Bobby Spillman, to join him in unveiling the artwork honoring Panama. Spillman’s imagery features the country’s natural beauty while also celebrating the rich culture of its people. 1910 Frameworks & Gallery provided framing of the original artwork. A taste of the honored country was offered through an appetizer buffet that showcased Panamanian cuisine. Reflecting the country’s diverse population, foods included a unique mix of African, Spanish and Central American dishes with black bean and corn dip, ceviche, empanadas and fresh fruit.

Volunteer Odyssey hosted MixOdyssey at the Jack Robinson Gallery in downtown Memphis. The event, the first fundraiser for this new nonprofit organization, was a sell-out with over 150 people in attendance. Seven stations, each featuring a signature drinks by a different bartender, kept the crowd mingling. Judges Brad Pitts of Bari Ristorante e Enoteca, Mark Edgar Stuart of Buster’s Liquors & Wines and Bret Rodriguez of Bacardi were tasked with choosing the best drink. Libations were judged based on drink name originality, balance, simplicity, presentation and overall effect. The creative effort was evident with drink names like “Hawaiian Unicorn Milk” and “Thai Flower.” The crowd got to weigh in with the People’s Choice award. Ultimately, the judges and the event attendees chose “The Fifth Leaf,” mixed by Dan Price, as the best cocktail. Appetizers were provided by the Bar-B-Q Shop, Bar Louie, Boxer Chef, The Brass Door and The Green Beetle, to only name a few. Memphis Grizzlies DJ Justin Baker provided the musical entertainment, while WMC-TV’s Lauren Squires emceed the event. Proceeds of the event will be used for the Volunteer Odyssey organization to further its mission by helping jobseekers during their Odyssey week. Since their start in March 2013, the organization has featured 20 individuals who have donated more than 1,000 hours of volunteer time to local nonprofit organizations. The goal of Volunteer Odyssey is to create a community of dedicated volunteers through immersive service experiences and the power of storytelling. 

Story and Photos by Emily Adams Keplinger

Story and Photos by Emily Adams Keplinger

Ami Austin and Pam Houston

Catrina Hardaway and Donnon R. Johnson

Story and Photos by Emily Adams Keplinger

Jim Holt, Bobby Spillman and Davey Weakes

Jesse Keaveny and Peter Pettit Rodney Baber, Lyman Aldrich, Leigh Shockey, Susan Scheidt Arney, Al Lyons, Ron Coleman and Tom Hutton

Samantha Davidson, Lauren Squires and Carrie Anderson

Jenny Robertson, Gina Myers, Michael Deutsch, Jeni Linkous, Darlene McGarrity, Mark Ruleman and Ryan Rogalski

Sarah Petschonek and Al Pickett

Charlotte Williams and Sabrina Tiller

Martha Rotzoll, Whitt Mitchell, Jon Mikulski and Leila Marten

Colleen Radish, Ashley Merchant and Natalie Cranford Evans

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Harrah’s Hope Lodge Cocktail Reception

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Cocktails in the Garden

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EVENT

Krewes for Kids “Night of the Carnival”

KREWES FOR KIDS

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Mike Roberts and Teresa Hurst

Rogers Gossett and Michelle Grider

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he Mighty Souls Brass Band played outside the Memphis Botanic Garden to welcome guests to the 2014 Krewes for Kids fund-raiser, one of Carnival Memphis’ biggest. Once inside, guests sampled goodies from more than a dozen local restaurants and enjoyed the music of Gary Escoe’s Atomic Dance Machine. This event started in 2009, when the 10 krewes of Carnival Memphis decided to pool their resources to raise money for the children’s charities selected as beneficiaries each year. While tickets are not sold to the general public for most of Carnival Memphis’ fund-raising events, the doors are thrown open for Krewes for Kids, which gives people who aren’t members a chance to see what it’s all about, said Ed Galfsky, executive director. “If you have a friend who is interested in maybe getting involved and wants to know something about this organization, you can invite them to this event, which is not as formal as a lot of the things we do,” Galfsky said, adding, “A lot of the krewe members do that – invite prospective members and folks to come. It’s a fun, neat party and we’re raising money for children’s charities.” The children’s charities this year are Baptist Memorial Health Care’s Kemmons Wilson Family Center for Good Grief, Binghamton Christian Academy and Juvenile Intervention and Faith Based Follow-Up. Carnival Memphis Queen Suzette Coors and King Jim McCullough held court at the party, which was planned by Grand Krewe chairpersons and the steering committee led by event co-chairs Elizabeth Coors, Joanie Lightman, Paula WhittingtonSansom, Margaret Steffner and Lucy Woodson. Chuck and Mary Stewart, Ally Luciano, Judith Johnstone, Ken Hall and Phyllis Fickling were among the revelers, as were those makers of merriment and occasional miscreants, the Boll Weevils. Galfsky stated that last year’s event raised about $80,000, and he’s optimistic that this year’s total will exceed that. In addition to hundreds of silent auction items up for sale, auctioneer Jeff Morris got the standing-room-only crowd bidding on a list of luxury items that raised more than $30,000.

Dr. Shelly and Michael Thannum

Jay and Kathryn Baker

Story by Suzanne Thompson Photos by Don Perry See all the party photos at rsvpmagazine.com Password: RSVP Caron Byrd and Calvin Miller

Hunt and Beth Campbell

Ricky and Catherine Harris

Elizabeth Coors with Joanie and Michael Lightman

Jim McCullough and Suzette Coors


EVENT KREWES FOR KIDS Jeff and Floy Cole

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Natalie Brown, Henry and Marjorie Porter with Caroline Sones

Karolina Garbowicz, Meredith Carrozza, Cristina Jabbour, Eric McEnerney and Jim Calhoun Jr.


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Melanie Jones and Dennis Wright

John Rutledge and Dee Stephens

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Jack and Chris Conway

Mike and Marcy McConnell

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Debra and Doug Ownings

Jennie and Walker Robbins

Karen and Kirk Johnston

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Pat and Donna Hoffman

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EVENT KREWES FOR KIDS Martha and Mike Hess

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S I N C E 1995

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More Than 120,000 Readers

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Average Household Income. . . . . . . . . .$184,500 per year. Average Net Worth . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$1,250,000 per year. Female Readers . . . 59.2% Male Readers . . 40.8% Marital Status . . . . . . . . . 62.2% married Home Owners . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .81.3% Education: Attended/Graduated College plus . . . . . .83.0% Have Post graduate degree . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21.6% 88.6% . . . . Purchased a Product or Visited a Store due to Advertising in RSVP. 42.6% . . . .Traveled Abroad during the past year. 52.% . . . .Eat out at least 3 times per week. 30,000 copies delivered monthly throughout the Affluent Shopping Areas of Greater Memphis From Harbor Town to Collierville.

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EVENT FLAVORS OF MEMPHIS CULINARY GALA

emphians, chefs, volunteers and guests all gathered for the gastronomic event of the year: the Flavors of Memphis Culinary Gala at Hilton Memphis. Benefiting the American Liver Foundation, this annual event draws in foodies from all over the Mid-South intent on sampling some of Memphis’ most original and delicious culinary creations. Unlike many events that have attendees mixing small plates at different food stations, this event is unique in that guests are assigned to one table manned by one renowned restaurant team that handcrafts several courses right at the table. The surprise that keeps guests coming back year after year is that the table assignment is a surprise. This year’s participating restaurants included Flight Restaurant & Wine Bar, Alchemy, Bluefin Edge Cusine & Sushi Lounge, Café Society, Chicago Steakhouse, Elfo’s, Hilton Memphis, Interim Restaurant & Bar, Jack Binion’s Steak House, Napa Café and Owen Brennan’s. As chefs and volunteers put the finishing touches on the food and tables, partygoers whetted their appetites with small sumptuous hors d’oeuvres prepared by the participating chefs. Caprese salad kabobs, crab cakes with remoulade sauce and sushi were some of the hits with the crowd. A silent auction attracted several fierce bids with offerings like Le Creuset cookware pieces, a one-month membership to the YMCA, tickets to the Dixon Gallery & Gardens’ Symphony in the Gardens concert and several bottles of top shelf wine. There, of course, were several food gift certificates up for grabs that included many restaurants like Folk’s Folly, Humdingers and Bluefin. Finally the awaited moment: dinner was served and guests could finally see which prominent chef’s table they would be eating at. Joe Birch of WMC-TV Channel News 5 was the evening’s delightful emcee and announced the winners: best table presentation, Alchemy; best menu, Bluefin; and the Grand Chef award, Chicago Steakhouse. A live auction got the evening underway with several chances to bid on a favorite chef to cook at your home or a fine bottle of Dos Lunas Extra Anejo tequila that was worth up to $2,999. With the knowledge that there are over 6,000 liver transplants a year, the bids were high and frequent. With chef’s stationed at each table, guests were given an intimate look into how their food was prepared and the care and pride each team put into their plates. Wines were also paired with each course, and it didn’t take long for this atmosphere to change from a strictly fund-raising event to an event that created memories as each table fell into deep conversations fueled by hardy fare and flowing wine. Going strong, this event continues to be an event that Memphians don’t want to miss. This year’s Flavors of Memphis raised over $51,000 for the American Liver Foundation.

M A Y 2 0 14

Flavors of Memphis Culinary Gala Relishing the American Liver Foundation

M Brad and Kim Van Frank

Christy Copeland and Anthony Pitts

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See all the party photos at rsvpmagazine.com Password: RSVP

Dr. Louis and Betty Britt

Story by Rachel Warren Photos by Don Perry

Katrina and Eric Burgess

Beth and John Eason

Hunter Underwood and Jacquelyn Sappenfield

Marianne Hartquist and Kim Humphries

Nick Seabergh and Shelby Kight

Joe Birch and Deri Whittaker


EVENT Munni Hall and Lisa Pendergrast

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Brad and Cindy Vangunda

FLAVORS OF MEMPHIS CULINARY GALA

Terence Ward, Anthony Cieplinski, Matthew Leggett and Chris Zelinski

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Barbara and Gerald Frazier

Ashley and Shan McAllister

Karen Kearbey and David Edwards


EVENT FLAVORS OF MEMPHIS CULINARY GALA

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Holly Cassin and Christina Anderson

Rolando and Cecilia Leal

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Corinna and Dr. Luis Campos

Mike and Charlie Stewart

Jason and Erika Vanatta

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John and Gaye McManus

Jason Dallas and Ysaac Ramirez

Andrew and Amanda Chandler

David and Rachel Harvey

Adam Domico, Scott DeLarme and Jody Moyt


EVENT William and Emma Mashburn

FLAVORS OF MEMPHIS CULINARY GALA

Edward and Rebecca Nenon with Emily and Oliver Banks

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Lance and Traci Denton

Randa Lipman and Bob Phillips

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Neal Lamb and Kristy Humber

Michael and Anna Rikard

Josh Dowdy and Nick Scott

Celeste and Andy Autry

Mert Guinn and Lee Clarke

Susie and Raif Elsakr

David and Andrea Harano


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AFTER HOURS

After Hours A photo collage of the latest business happenings

Betty Hays – A Style Experience Grand Opening

Doris McClendon – William Henry Trunk Show

Betty Hays and Gary Smith

Michelle McMinn with Diane and Greg Rich and Karen Davis

Pink Door – Tri Delta and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

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Grace Roberts, Semmes Humphreys and Mimi Taylor

Rick and Carolyn Patterson with Carol and Mike Duffy

Karen Martin, Susan Hinsley Prichard, Nicole Jones, Doris McClendon, Karen Davis, Adrienne Huntsman and Michelle McMinn

Kittie Kyle – Saundra Messinger Trunk Show

Jane and Mason Ezzell with Becky Rivalto

Gary and Jane Kimzey

Adrienne Huntsman, Karen Martin, Doris McClendon and Karen Davis

Adrienne Huntsman and Susan Hinsley Prichard

Cindy Gambrell and Saundra Messinger

Carol Furrs and Meg McCord

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18 ____ LaBelle 19 ____ Vergos Rendezvous

21 British noble

24 One of these

25 Mexican party

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36 Torso cover

39 Act division

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9 ____ Street Music Festival 10 Choose

11 Make lace

45 Diminish

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49 Zig ____

22 Ablaze

46 Young dog

47 Cozy ____

50 Two

53 Compass point 55 Resulting

57 Suggest

60 Wife of Zeus

15 Dash

20 Light source 26 Filmy

27 Sharp point

28 Wing shaped

35 Emir

36 Glance over

39 “____ and Stripes Forever” 40 High-school club 42 Wet

43 Large containers

46 2014 MIM honored country 48 Whinny

49 Nothings

50 Waitress on “Cheers” 51 Connect 52 Eyed

54 Word of comparison

56 Its capital is Salt Lake City 57 Tame animal

58 Bullfight cheer 59 Part of a min.

61 Terminal abbr.

30 Not here

34 Mideast capital

29 Lard

i t ’ s j a zz!

42 Look at steadily

43 ____ Lee Lews

62 Track

63 Lamenting poem 64 Minute particle

cl a ssy

31 Memphis in Mayʼs Great ____ Race 33 Unemotional

For underwriting information, call 901-678-2560 Visit us online at wumr wumr.memphis.edu .memphis.edu

Solution:

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37 Certain government agency

38 Tense

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B O T E P A A T T L E S T H A E P P E E E R R P

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A G E S I O T A S R O C K P E A R I E N Y F I G T W I N S H I R T S C E N E T A R E J A N E P U Z A P R E N S S T H E R A A T O M N A S A

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Edited by Ruth Cassin

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F I A T I D L E L A M A C H A R H O Y F S C R A T A U T O I L I R E C O R N E P O S I E L E G T E C H

RSVP Crossword


RSV PHILLIPPI

By Dennis Phillippi

largest head I’ve ever seen on a human being, but his getting the Tonight Show felt like he somehow betrayed me. I was one of the few people who watched Letterman’s short lived morning show. Some people belong on television in the morning, but David Letterman was not one of them. His brand of mayhem and sarcasm was not a good mix with your morning coffee. The first episode of Late Night is anoth-

That is how much of an impact seeing Letterman on Carson had on me. In my mind, I can still see that gangly, gap-toothed, big haired goofus telling those jokes. I can even remember his cackle and hand gestures. er moment I can recall with perfect clarity. Bill Murray, who had just played a version of Hunter S. Thompson, was still in gonzo mode and refused to give a coherent answer to a single question, giving us our first look at writhing, uncomfortable Dave. Then, incongruously, Murray sang “Let’s Get Physical”…from beginning to end while dancing. It was like televised alchemy. Something that had never really existed came to life. In the first decade Dave was not the cranky old man we associate with him today. He swam in milk wearing a Rice Crispy suit. He leapt against a Velcro wall wearing a Velcro suit. He had a monkey cam, a character played by Chris Elliot, who lived under the seats, and he dropped lots of things off of a five-story tower so we could watch it in slow motion. He was

good with the science kids and friendly with the Stupid Humans. Over time Dave became more and more obviously disenchanted with his own job. I remember once when he was interviewing some starlet, and she asked him if he had heard what she had just said, and he replied, “Honestly, I’m barely paying attention.” My wife and I have been to three Letterman tapings. A surprisingly easy thing to do if you were available in the late afternoon on a Thursday, when he taped his Friday show and didn’t look like you were from New York and happened to be, you know, in New York. He never had a comic warm-up the crowd before the show that I can recall, but he would come out for a very brief greeting and an even briefer question and answer before the show. The theater, as has been noted many times, was absolutely freezing, possibly to keep Dave from falling asleep. The band was raucous and really let loose during the commercial breaks, which were done in real time. The show was run very much as if it were live. The only time we ever saw a glitch was a top ten delivered by the then new Mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg, in which someone had put the list in the wrong order on the teleprompter. Dave stopped the show cold, apologized to the Mayor, and the list did not appear that Friday on the broadcast. Normally, during a commercial break people would rush at the desk like a pit crew to talk about what was coming up, futz with Letterman’s hair, or whatever. During the break, after that mistake, no one went any where near the desk. Dave just sat there and fumed. You could sense that the first person that made the mistake of going over there was going to be fired on the spot. Last year when all of the late night shows were shuffling hosts, some said, and again I’m paraphrasing: “Fallon treats his guests as VIPs, Kimmel treats them as drinking buddies, and Letterman treats them as job applicants.” It’s true that Dave had become a bit of a pill in his latter years hosting his show, but we will still miss him. I just hope that Fallon offers Dave the chance to host the Tonight Show one last time on the way out the door.

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’m paraphrasing: “Recently I was in line at the grocery store, and a lady in front of me had one of those over the counter sleep aids, and I noticed that the label said ‘Do not operate heavy machinery when taking this medication.’ I don’t know about you, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted to pop a couple of Sominex, crank up the bulldozer and clear a couple of acres. The other day I was driving here in Los Angeles when I found myself behind a dump truck that had a sticker that read, ‘This vehicle makes frequent stops. Do not follow.’ Another one of life’s simple pleasures ruined by a meddling bureaucracy.” Those are two bits I can clearly remember parroting to my classmates in the cafeteria of my junior high after I had seen some comedian named David Letterman on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. Again, that was my junior high cafeteria, making that performance somewhere around thirty-eight years ago. That is how much of an impact seeing Letterman on Carson had on me. In my mind, I can still see that gangly, gap-toothed, big haired goofus telling those jokes. I can even remember his cackle and hand gestures. Over the next four decades I was a devoted fan of Letterman. So much so, that shortly after I started doing stand up, a well-meaning older comic told me that I may as well have been doing an impression of Letterman. I had to take a couple of years off of Dave to find my own comedic voice. Having watched Letterman since I was a kid, I unconsciously thought that the way he did stand up is the way everyone was supposed to do stand up. When Dave didn’t get the Tonight Show, I took it personally, and, honestly, I never really forgave Jay Leno. Most people don’t remember that Leno used to be the edgiest comic around and made his name by complaining about things on Letterman. I’ve met Jay, and he is one of the nicest people in the world and, by the way, has the

M A Y 2 0 14

SO LONG DAVE


RSVPAST

Springtime Fun!

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group of Memphis youngsters took a brief break from the festivities at the Memphis Fairgrounds to have their picture made. Pictured from left to right in the front row are Shea Thompson, Leslie McKee, Ellen LeBlond, Mike Thompson, Martin Thompson and Nancy Smith. Seated in the back are Nelse Sharer, Catherine Roberts and Larry Thompson. PHOTO COURTESY OF NANCY SMITH If you have a past photo you would like to share with RSVP readers, please contact Rachel Warren at 276-7787 ext. 105 or e-mail the photo and caption to editor@rsvpmagazine.com All photos will be returned promptly.

Beautiful and lasting memories are as simple as

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RSVP Magazine May 2014  

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...

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