Krewe of the Knights of Sant' Yago 42nd Coronation Ball
"Family friendships that last a lifetime, that's what the krewe concept is all about," said El Rey XLI James Eyer before turning the kingdom over to the 42nd Krewe of Sant' Yago royals: retired arson investigator James Urso and Northwest Elementary teacher Lauren Orihuela. Pages, maids and squires, ranging from tots to teens, sparkled in deep purple velvet costumes at the Jan. 4 black-tie ball chaired by El Rey XL Randy Conte.
El Rey XXVII Michael Sierra began retelling their forebears' struggles centuries ago on the Camino Real. Then father and son emcees, former barons Daniel Haya Sr. and Dan Haya Jr., honored a living inspiration, Joseph Lopez, one of five founders of the Latin men's club. The program book offered more history: a pictorial time line of all the past kings and queens.
Capt. Anthony Arena led 50-plus knights into A La Carte Event Pavilion, all cheering mightily as Baron XL Ray Favata dubbed Jose Ramos, Jason Accardi and Rick Caldevilla into knighthood for more than a decade of service each. A fourth, honorary knight was summoned: Mayor Bob Buckhorn. "Now you won't raise my real estate taxes now," King Eyer quipped.
Krewe of Venus XLIX coronation ball
Family ties and traditions tightly bind the Krewe of Venus, which installed its 49th royal court with a Mysteries of the Sea theme Saturday. King Venus XLIX Max Register, charter member and owner of Register Chevrolet, wears his crown with ease, having also reigned in 2009. At his side was his granddaughter, Queen Venus XLIX Laura Nell Smith, wearing the coronation gown her mother wore 38 years ago.
Some of the 155 guests applauding the Mardi Gras-lavish costumes and majestic Grand Promenade at the Marriott Waterside charted a family tree. King Max is the father of two queens: Debra Nell Register Smith, 1976-77, and Vickie Register Morrill, 1979-80. Granddaughter Kristie Pilliod, this year's emcee, was his Queen Venus XLIV, 2009-2010.
Stageworks' 'Hot Night in Harlem' gala
Founding director Anna Brennen closed the curtain on 30 years of running Stageworks Theatre, entrusting her "act of love" to Karla Hartley at the eighth annual gala Saturday. Nearly 300 guests, fashionable in feathers, fringe and fedoras, jazzed up Hot Night in Harlem at the Tampa Garden Club, emceed by Holley Sinn, WTSP-Ch. 10 anchor. Board president Simone Barefield and development chairwoman Andrea Graham ("Call me Minnie the Moocher," she said) thanked gala sponsor Monty Weigel of NorthStar Bank, 2014 season sponsor Raymond James, and auction donor Rustic Steel. The metal shop's comedy/tragedy mask fetched a $3,000 bid from Barry Levine, helping the Channel District theatrical group net nearly $50,0000 for its programs for at-risk youth.
No curtain calls for A Taste of Heaven caterer, which ran short of chicken and waffles, collard greens and peach cobbler at the Harlem-menu dinner buffet. Dancers from Velvet Productions and Suncoast School of the Art went "on with the show . . ." distracting the crowd with a lively Charleston.