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Amy Scherzer's Diary

Tickled pink over fundraiser

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AMY SCHERZER'S DIARY
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By AMY SCHERZER, Times Staff Writer

© St. Petersburg Times
published February 28, 2003


LADIES LUNCH: Although dubbed "Pink, A State of Mind," the LAMPlighters Luncheon of Light began with a medley of red fashions from Saks Fifth Avenue. Heeding Richard Gere on the Chicago soundtrack, Saks proceeded to Razzle Dazzle guests Feb. 21 at the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay. Surprisingly, the St. John Knits wearers (the unofficial LAMPlighter uniform) in the audience outnumbered knits modeled in the show. Jeanene Jensen and her daughter, Erika Wallace; Joan Steinbrenner and her daughter, Jenny Swindal; and Grace Giunta and her daughter-in-law Gloria were among those in the classic knits.

LAMPlighter president Suzanne Cleckler, tickled pink in a fuzzy boa, and show co-chairwomen Karen Richardson and Bernadette Schurr thoughtfully presented roses to Elaine Newman and Betty Wood, fashion show chairwomen emeritus.

Proceeds from the 450 guests -- more than half the women bought $100 patron tickets -- will be divided between Metropolitan Ministries and Joshua House, a new recipient of the auxiliary's fundraising.

* * *

FROM THE HEART: Between Brie puffs and stone crabs, the $3,000-and-up patrons and sponsors of the upcoming Heart Ball received thank-yous, glass bowls and plaques of appreciation from Ball chairman Tom Snow and vice chairman Irving Cohen. Few guests left empty-handed from the Feb. 20 Patron's Reception on the ninth floor of the Vaughn Center.

Heart Ball decorations chairwoman Barbara Majors hinted that the April 5 gala, to be held at the home of Al and Beverly Austin, will be a vision of crystal, silver and white "with a touch of red for heart."

* * *

PERFECT EMCEE: Jan Gentry of recent Survivor: Thailand fame emceed "Walk on the Wild Side," New Tampa Junior Woman's Club's annual Night of 5000 gala at the Hyatt Regency Downtown last Saturday.

"She was perfect, sharing her stories from Thailand, and, as an elementary school teacher, she knew all about OASIS," said Kelly Faysash, club vice president. Party proceeds went to OASIS, social workers who find food, clothing and toiletries for needy kids.

Each $75 ticket included the chance to win $5,000, donated by sponsor Ferman BMW. Gentry pulled 10 names, then auctioned off the chance to be the 11th finalist. (No. 11 paid $650.) Again, Gentry drew names. All 11 won something, and Nancy Roussos of West Meadows took home $5,000. In the past five years, the gala has raised more than $100,000 for charities.

* * *

GIRLFRIENDS UNITE: Who are the Divas of Heart? Six women, all recent newcomers to South Tampa, who decided to organize for "occasions of goodwill and love," says Annette Granger of New Suburb Beautiful. For their first event, they decided to raise money for Granger's friend Beth Lyle of Atlanta, who was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 30 while pregnant with her son PJ. Shortly after his birth, PJ was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disorder.

Well, the divas will be sending the Lyle family about $18,000 from ticket sales and donations to Saturday night's bash at Jackson's Bistro on Harbour Island. The gondola rides got rained out, but Ay Mama sizzled with hot Latin rhythms all night. Among the 120 Diva fans were Patrice and Steve Tresser, Bruce and Susie Kudryk and Cindy and Casey Gonzmart.

"You can make a difference," said Granger. "People were skeptical, but we learned anything is possible."

* * *

ARTISTS NIGHT OUT: The Channelside District showed its potential Saturday night when three arts groups entertained art lovers. Artists Unlimited's 12th Annual Black and White "Night and Day" show displayed works of 12 artists, including Debbie Cason Rankin's ink portraits done on Wall Street Journal newsprint. "The 71s" rocked (two members of the band are artist-tenants) and belly dancers shimmied under the direction of Gazahriel, a graphic designer also known as Gayle Deal. Her 21-member troupe rehearses at Artists Unlimited every Tuesday night. She teaches beginning belly dancing on Wednesdays at the New Place in Ybor City. Artists Unlimited offers 32 studios on three floors, rented for $1.20 a square foot.

A few blocks away, Brent Gardner and Kim Lawler showed off their new Studio Core Gallery at 108 N 11th St. in a former crack house they turned into a custom framing shop. The gallery plans shows every six weeks or so to promote works of local artists. Don't miss their Cuban art collection.

A block or two north at the Dance Project, 204 N 12th St., Luisa Meshekoff hosted an Argentine Tango party, with Victor Crichton offering lessons. Their steps got more complicated and passionate as the night went on, and they switched to salsa and cha cha.

* * *

CLEVER IDEA: Creative minds at the annual Addys Awards got to play like kindergarteners at "The Ultimate Challenge," hosted by the Tampa Bay Advertising Federation at A La Carte Pavilion Saturday night. Their task: create your own centerpieces. Colorful foam blocks, toys, skewers, feathers, ribbons, tools and tape waited at each of 38 tables. Those ad types really got into it, even adding garnish from their dinner plates. First place went to the Mallard Group of Clearwater.

What's next, making their own dinner?

-- To pass along tips to Amy Scherzer, reach her at 226-3332 or scherzer@sptimes.com .

Datebook

SUNDAY: Tampa Woman's Club Past-Presidents Fashion Tea; 2 p.m.; 2901 Bayshore Blvd.; $10; 839-7457.

MARCH 8: 10th annual Stepping Out Gala to benefit St. Joseph's Hospital Foundation; 6:30 p.m.; Hyatt Regency Tampa; $175; 872-0979, ext. 233.

MARCH 8: Dancing in the Street benefits Kid City Children's Museum; silent auction, dinner, dancing, 7-10 p.m.; 7550 North Blvd.; $50; 935-8441.

MARCH 9: Sunday in the Arts; Las Damas de Arte exhibition and sale of artworks by 50 women artists; food and entertainment; University of Tampa Scarfone/Hartley Galleries; 5:30-8 p.m.; $25 in advance, $30 at the door; 253-6217.

MARCH 11: Girl Scouts of Suncoast Council Women of Distinction Luncheon; A La Carte Pavilion, guest speaker Alma Powell; $50; 281-4475, ext. 247.

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