Nov. 5: Pavilion XXVI annual black-tie gala benefits Tampa Museum of Art, 6 p.m. at the Museum; $600 and up; (813) 421-8370.
A virtual garden landscaped the atrium; a gleaming cityscape lit up the terrace. Finally, the Tampa Museum of Art's design and location was as integral to its Pavilion gala Saturday as the fine wine and fennel-rubbed lamb chops.
Guests arrived to cocktails and passed hors d'oeuvres in graphic artist Marc Dahl's wall-to-wall video privet. Petals drifted, fountains burbled, birds, crickets chirped.
As night fell, moonbeams and fireflies lit the greenery imagery. Moss covered 16-foot columns towered over a flock of flamingo topiaries and white hydrangea, roses and lilies, the work of Ian Prosser of Botanica.
Outside awaited the best view in the city, high-rises to the east, silver minarets to the west. O Som Do Jazz struck up a chill Bossa Nova for 275 guests cozying on white leather lounges arranged as mini-living rooms, each nook hooked up with a hovering butler.
Another 30 guests chose waterfront "dining room" tables to eat Mise en Place scallops, pumpkin ravioli and lamb porterhouse. Chocolate Pi flavored its petit-fours and macarons dessert garden with rosewater, lavender and elderflower.
If you are wondering, Pavilion tickets start at $600; patrons paid $1,250 each. At 9 o'clock, younger art lovers appeared, paying $100 to dance to DJ Papi, nab McDonald's cheeseburgers and apple pie and cheer/boo the Louisiana State-Alabama game blasting on two huge screens. That's when Nina Traviesa's girlfriends from Miami popped up for a 36th birthday surprise.
Credit the architects of the museum's 26th benefit ball, co-chairs Allison Adams and Renu Parker and committee, for three auction trips that pushed the evening's proceeds to $240,000, delighting executive director Todd Smith.
Dan Doyle Jr.'s $10,000 bid bought a Nantucket home for a week. Joseph Kokolakis $30,000 landed him a first-class London 2012 Olympic trip.
Joe Williams paid $17,000 for dinner for 10 at his home, prepared by his cousin-in-law, restaurateur and Iron Chef challenger Geoffrey Zakarian, plus a New York excursion. "Waiters" will include Allison Adams and Anderson Wakefield. Adams' parents, the late Bunny and Joe Casper, and Wakefield's parents, Tilda and John Brabson, served at a dinner party auctioned at a 1980s Pavilion.
Boys & Girls Clubs of Tampa Bay Steak Dinner
"My lucky number … 30," gushed Richard Gonzmart, named 2011 Community Hero, coincidentally at the 30th annual Boys & Girls Clubs of Tampa Bay Steak Dinner on Nov. 3. The Columbia Restaurant president wore 30 on his jersey playing high school football, he told the crowd dining at Busch Gardens on steak, baked potato and cheesecake donated by Outback Steakhouse.
Gonzmart paid tribute to previous honorees, Joe Garcia and the late George Steinbrenner and Lee Roy Selmon, for inspiring him in philanthropy, parenting, even marathon running. The 500 guests, including two kids joining each adult table, rose to applaud a video of Selmon's legacy. Gonzmart set another example as top auction bidder: $7,500 for a trip to New York, helping to net $180,000, says development director Chris Harrell, on his last day before he becomes membership director for Girl Scouts of West Central Florida.