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Amy Scherzer's Diary

Amy Scherzer's Diary: Karamu, United Way and the Art of Safe Sex

The Art of Safe Sex

A Picasso chatted with a Roy Lichtenstein. Jackson Pollock (a.k.a. Charles Mahan) and Lee Krasner (aka Dee Jeffers) eyed a Degas ballerina. Carolyn and husband Bob Johnson brought Grant Wood's classic, American Gothic, to life, pitchfork and all. All were guests dressed as artists or artworks to support local Planned Parenthood health centers at the Art of Safe Sex benefit.

With museum as muse, chairwomen Sara Scher, Natalie Rella and Loy Skaggs merged their passions for cultural arts and quality health care April 13 at the Tampa Museum of Art.

Adding to the late-night allure: Mise en Place bruschetta bar, dotted with "condom confetti"; Cigar City beer; DIY hot doughnuts ready to be glazed and sprinkled; drag queen entertainers; DJ Carl Webb and a birth control pill-shaped birthday cake for Barbara Zdravecky, CEO of Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida.

United Way of Tampa Bay's Art of Giving

Call her Ugly Betty and America Ferrera smiles, still appreciating the impact of her role as the stereotypical "chubby Latina girl" on ABC's sitcom. More college student ("On the 10-year plan," she quipped) than Hollywood celebrity, Ferrera's honesty touched the 650 guests at United Way's Art of Giving dinner April 12 at A La Carte Event Pavilion. As the youngest of six kids born in seven years to a single mother, the 28-year-old's goals resonated with dynamic Dennis Miller, 16, who shared his own.

Emcee WFLA-Ch. 8's Gayle Sierens stayed on message, from serious (every 26 seconds a kid drops out of high school) to frivolous (auction bids on Neiman Marcus' handbags averaged $930 a purse), helping net more than $100,000 to pay for summer childcare and financial education classes for working families.

Karamu XXIV

Ornithologically and fashionably inspired by Lowry Park Zoo's tropical aviaries, Karamu co-chairs Sharon and Chris Chapman chose "Flights of Fancy" for the theme of Saturday's black-tie gala. The grandson of the late former Tampa Bay Buccaneers owner Hugh Culverhouse directed 400 guests, through a clever airport corridor to golf carts lined up for takeoff. Disembarking outside a glammed up Safari Lodge, the crowd migrated to mojitos as Cahoon Elementary animal science students perched at their drums. The Latin American dinner menu marked Ovations' formal debut as the zoo's new food service, noted CEO Craig Pugh.

A lively auction included Jackie and Jose Toledo's $7,000 bid to fly to the San Diego Zoo, get to know a koala named Budaru then fly back to Tampa with him, to his new zoo home. Next, medical director Ray Ball, curator Lee Ann Rottman and trustee Ryan Nece's "Keys to the Kingdom" appeal snared $45,000, including $15,000 from trustee Curt Harbsmeier and other Lakeland donors. That put gala proceeds over $200,000 for animal care and education programs.

Karamu translates as "party" in Swahili, and partiers who stuck around until 11 p.m., like entertainment chair Correll Collins, danced to top New York DJ Mick Boogie.


Wednesday: Sixth annual Chamber of Commerce Women of Influence Luncheon, 11 a.m.; A La Carte Event Pavilion; guest speaker Giuliana Rancic (E! News anchor), $75 members; $90, nonmembers;

April 27: Sixth annual R.A.C.E. luncheon & Hub Cap Awards benefits Wheels of Success, 11:30 a.m. A La Carte Event Pavilion, donation requested; wheels or (813) 417-1090.

April 28: 19th annual Stepping Out gala, Enchanted April, benefits St. Joseph's Hospitals; 7 p.m.; Yaffe estate in Avila; black-tie, $300; (813) 872-0979.

April 28: Man & Woman of the Year Gala benefits Leukemia & Lymphoma Society; 6 p.m.; Hyatt Regency Tampa; $125; or (813) 963-6461.

Amy Scherzer's Diary: Karamu, United Way and the Art of Safe Sex 04/19/12 [Last modified: Thursday, April 19, 2012 4:30am]
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