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Amy Scherzer's Diary: Tampa Choice Affair, Einstein on Wine, Tampa Museum of Art

Tampa Choice Affair

Planned Parenthood touches the lives of one in five American women, said Dawn Laguens, the health care organization's national chief experience officer, to the sold-out crowd at the Tampa Choice Affair luncheon held Tuesday to mark the 40th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade. She praised the 265 supporters filling Maestro's at the Straz Center for "fighting to keep people healthy" and for making the Southwest and Central Florida affiliate "one of the best in the country." She urged them to focus on demographics and technology to "move beyond labels as millions of people now gain affordable health care."

An appeal by president Barbara Zdravecky and board members raised more than $16,000 for women's sexual health programs in Hillsborough County, where nearly 8,000 patients are seen annually.

MOSI's 18th annual Einstein on Wine

Personality is Fabio Viviani's chief ingredient and the crowd at Einstein on Wine ate up everything Bravo's Top Chef contestant dished out at the Museum of Science and Industry benefit. The exuberant chef mixed it up with 1,200 tasters Saturday as they sampled from 25 restaurants and 100 vintners stationed on three floors of exhibits. Early-arriving VIPs caught Viviani cooking in a festive lounge where Lisa Casalino sang and premium wines flowed from behind a sleek, 30-foot circular bar.

People's Choice votes ranked Brio Tuscan Grille top restaurant. Viviani judged Shells No. 1 to win a $1,000 prize, giving No. 2 to Timpano's ($750) and No. 3 to Toffee To Go ($250). His visit boosted MOSI's event net to $82,000, a 40 percent increase over last year.

The night prior, Viviani entertained 100 patrons at the Interbay waterfront home of board member Joe Hodges and Steve Armstrong with a gnocchi-making lesson and nonstop charm, touching on topics from Berlusconi to the best olive oil. Four entree choices followed his recipes for the alfresco dinner, dubbed Annus Mirabilis (wonderful year in Latin, in this case referring to 1905, when Albert Einstein published breakthrough discoveries, including the theory of relativity).

Tampa Museum of Art members' preview party

Being among the first to see 100 masterpieces of American art (Georgia O'Keeffe, Jackson Pollock, Edward Hopper, Grandma Moses and 70 other renowned artists) on loan from the Phillips Collection brought the biggest crowd to Tampa Museum of Art since it reopened three years ago.

More than 700 enjoyed the membership perk of premiere raving rights at the Feb. 1 opening party for "To See As Artists See."

Board members toured first, then gold patrons, then general members. Diane Scheidle happily remembered her first date with husband, David Schaffer, was a visit to the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C.

"This is what this building was built for," said board chairman Peter Hepner, noting it was the museum's most expensive exhibition to date, made possible by an unprecedented 90 individual, foundation and corporation sponsorships.

Events

Thursday: Pepin's Red Hot Valentine's dinner benefits Florida Hospital Pepin Heart Hospital; 6 p.m.; TPepin's Hospitality Centre $250; (813) 615-7886.

Thursday: For the Love of a Garden dinner/auction benefits Tampa Federation of Garden Club Circles; 6:30 p.m.; Tampa Garden Club, 2629 Bayshore Blvd.; $50; (813) 251-5059.

Friday: Pair to Remember luncheon and fashion show benefits Easter Seals Florida; 11 a.m.; Tampa Yacht Club; $250; fl.easterseals.com or (813) 769-5925.

Friday: Death by Chocolate: A Decadent Dessert Affair; bachelor and bachelorette auction benefits Tampa Bay Chapter of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, 7-10 p.m.; Tampa Club, 101 E Kennedy Blvd.; $30; (813) 368-3324.

Amy Scherzer's Diary: Tampa Choice Affair, Einstein on Wine, Tampa Museum of Art 02/07/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 6, 2013 3:01pm]
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