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Amy Scherzer's diary

Amy Scherzer's diary

Published October 20, 2006


Got gossip? E-mail Amy Scherzer at or call 226-3332.


Today: Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, luncheon and shoe auction benefits Savita Society; 11 a.m.; One Urban Centre; $35, $25 for students; 471-4380.

Saturday: Hearts of Fire gala benefits Muscular Dystrophy Association; 6:30 p.m.; A La Carte Pavilion; $250; 727 577-4217.

Thursday: - NAACP Annual Freedom Fund Dinner; 7 p.m.; Higgins Hall; $50; 234-8683.

- Hot Havana Nights; fifth annual Champion for Children Awards; 7 p.m.; Renaissance Tampa Hotel; $75; 545-6931.

Oct. 27: -Morticians Ball costume party benefits New Tampa Patriots; 7 p.m.; Tampa Palms Country Club; $55; 929-7957.

-Mustang Sallies Luncheon benefits Ophelia Project; 11 a.m.; A La Carte Pavilion; $55; 514-9555, ext. 234.

Too bad Tampa Bay Bucs Chris Simms ruptured a spleen instead of a prostate, quipped emcee Jack Harris to 260 guests at the Celebration of Hope dinner benefit for the Florida Prostate Cancer Network at the Hyatt Regency Tampa on Oct. 12. That would have brought more attention to the disease, he said, before introducing "the pope of Tampa" Monsignor Laurence Higgins for the benediction and Blake High senior Danielle Ipasso to sing.

Board member Herb Berkowitz brought good news when he announced the Florida Prostate Cancer Network will move into the Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, under the direction of Brian Rivers. Honorary chairman Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf presented the annual award that bears his name to Dr. Julio Pow Sang, chief of genitourinary oncology at Moffitt, where he is known as the guru of laparoscopic prostectomy.

Two other awards were well-deserved: Board chairman Russ Sloan lauded Elaine Miller for assuming the executive directorship and unraveling an employee's embezzlement disaster and the first Bob Samuels Award went to 11-year volunteer Jim Wallace.

Network founder Bob Samuels had to be in Houston and missed the gala dinner but returned to throw a surprise birthday party Sunday for his wife, Lillie, who thought they were having a 10th anniversary party. She then surprised Bob by having Belinda Womack call him up to renew their vows.

The Monty Python Broadway hit Spamalot set the theme for Ye Olde Broadway Ball on Saturday and kicked off the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center's 20th anniversary celebration. (Watch for $20 concerts coming soon.)

Patel Conservatory and Alonso High students in Elizabethan-era finery led 400 guests from the Morsani Hall lobby to the stage. Lush Della Robbia fruit centerpieces topped brocade tablecloths. No Spam on the dinner menu.

Chairman of the Board Martin Silbiger honored the "belles of the ball," Martha Ferman, Louise Lykes Ferguson and the late Winkie Howell, for chairing the 1987 Great Gala. "Really the first Broadway Ball," said this year's co-chair Kasey Shimberg Kelly. A video tribute to the three ladies was fun to watch, especially the '80s fashions.

Auctioneers Laura York and Denis Phillips brought up Lanette and Doughtrill Cezair and their five children, ages 5 to 13, who study ballet, orchestra, chorus and theater at the Patel Conservatory.

To nurture such talent, they asked for 25 donations of $1,000 to match an anonymous $25,000 gift. Instantly, 44 hands shot up.

Tony Award-winner James Naughton's lounge act concluded dinner. Guests could choose the Eastman Jazz Ensemble in the Patel Conservatory or martinis in the riverside tent to close the show. The ball netted more than $300,000 for TBPAC programming.

Warm fuzzy feelings for exotic felines pervaded the seventh annual Fur Ball benefit for Big Cat Rescue. Pith hats and painted whiskers, animal prints and traditional tuxedoes turned A La Carte Pavilion into a costume contest jungle. Finalists included Steve Carter in a Detroit Tigers uniform and Casey McCarthy, who won a week in a Pennsylvania mountain resort.

Nearly 600 guests dipped into chocolate fountains, danced to the Wholly Cats band and joined Jana Broder's tribal drumming circle. Magic 94.9 deejays Chadd and Kristi Thomas got bidders purring over three trips in the live auction. No silent auction, but plenty of gifts and certificates sold at significant discount.

Friday the 13th proved lucky for players at the slots and 50 casino tables. Winners cashed in chips for raffle tickets to win a trip to Kenya or use of a Jaguar for a month. The kind with four wheels, not four legs.

Big Cat Rescue advisory board chairman Howard Baskin expects the ball to net $50,000. Founder Carole Baskin singled out Candace Barbara as the biggest donor of the year.

[Last modified October 19, 2006, 12:16:22]

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