Fashion Funds the Cure
Youngsters modeling at Fashion Funds the Cure earned thunderous applause from the 800-strong crowd absorbing sobering but inspiring statistics. In 11 years since the Pediatric Cancer Foundation asked cancer patients to be in the fashion show, 10 are in treatment, 70 no longer battle cancer, 15 passed away and $3.65 million has been raised for clinical trials and research, including $450,000 on Saturday night.
Charming as ever, celebrity designer Carson Kressley hosted for the fifth time, joking that his outfit came from Ringling Clown College and batting his eyes at the "adorable" Rays, Bucs and Yankees escorting the 13 models and the 43 alumni introduced by news anchor Heather Van Nest, WTSP-Ch. 10.
Pink is the color for spring, predicted Neiman Marcus' Kim Biehl at the $100-a-ticket runway show filling a Tampa International Jet Center hangar, where guests climbed into a private jet, and chic Mercedes and sampled from a dozen restaurants and bars. Tom's Shoes donated footwear; Pepito Photography donated a framed portrait of each model.
Equality Florida Tampa gala
Energy, diversity, history, pride — Equality Florida's Tampa gala overflowed with all of the above Saturday when Mayor Bob Buckhorn accepted the Voice of Equality award for Tampa's No. 1 ranking on Florida's Human Rights Campaign's Municipality Index. City Council members Yvonne Yolie Capin, Mike Suarez, Charlie Miranda, Lisa Montelione, Frank Reddick and former council member Mary Alvarez joined him to celebrate scoring 89 out of a possible 100. Director Nadine Smith shared good news/bad news on progress ending workplace and gay marriage discrimination and warned of backlash from extremists.
The band Jurika took the stage for nearly 500 guests at the Vault, a 1920s-era bank now party hall. ConceptBAIT's decor delighted, as did Puff 'n Stuff's cigar boxes full of Cuban sandwiches rolled to look like charred cigars. Lorrie White organized a silent auction of works by 25 artists, including Alberto Murrillo, Elizabeth Mitchell, Susan Livingston, John Costin and Jeff Monsein. That helped net $225,000 and sparked talk of reviving Art for Life, a fabulous party sponsored for years by Tampa AIDS Network.
Philanthropic Women of St. Joseph's luncheon
One of only eight living entertainers to win the EGOT — and Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony — Rita Moreno wrapped up a book tour with the Philanthropic Women of St. Joseph's Hospital on Feb. 20 at the Tampa Yacht Club. Not your Grandma's keynote speaker, Moreno, 82, grew up in poverty, prejudice and poor esteem. Her first elevator ride was to meet Louis B. Mayer, who called her a Spanish Elizabeth Taylor, signed her to a seven-year contract with MGM and typecast her "in every ethnic stereotype, Indian, Arab, Latina." During a Q&A with the 250 guests at the sixth annual sold-out lunch, she revealed Marlon Brando's jealousy when she dated Elvis; James Garner was her most genuine co-star and Jack Nicholson the hottest. Up next: an NBC pilot called Old Soul co-created and produced by Amy Poehler. The women's philanthropic network will soon reach $500,000 in donations to St. Joseph's Hospitals, co-founder Donna Jordan said. "You feel appreciated because you get a choice where the money goes."