Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Amy Scherzer's Diary

Amy Scherzer's Diary

Ryan's Rockin' Holiday Party

The first hint that you arrived at a rockin' holiday party was the $200,000 snow white "sleigh" piled high with gifts parked outside Ceviche restaurant. Upon closer inspection, that sleigh was a 2011 Bentley Continental GTC Speed Edition.

The second clue was a warm hug from Ryan Nece, charming 200-plus guests at his foundation's annual benefit Dec. 9. Huddling with the former Tampa Bay Buc linebacker were former Bucs Shelton Quarles, Anthony Becht, Corey Ivy, Antoine Cash and Dwight Smith. A stroll through the bar turned up Bucs owner Bryan Glazer and linebacker Adam Hayward.

"Naughty or nice?" queried Santa, a.k.a. Jim Henning, when guests — none football players — clamored for photos with the big guy.

Admission was $25 cash or gift cards to Walmart, Best Buy or Target. Nece racked up more than $6,000 cash and almost $2,000 in cards. For the past five years, Nece has sponsored a Good Samaritan holiday celebration for youth identified by the county Department of Children's Services. Boys play laser tag with Nece at Qzar; girls get makeovers at Neiman Marcus.

Opera Tampa holiday brunch

Opera benefactors Zena Lansky and Warren Rodgers turned their annual holiday brunch into a private concert at the Belleair Country Club. They were eager to share their passion for opera with friends and colleagues from Morton Plant Hospital, and Tampa aficionados Judy and Ernie Lisi, Troy and Anne Atlas, Wit Ostrenko and Stan and Lea Davis. Lea Davis is chairing the Feb. 24 opera gala honoring Plácido Domingo and sponsored by Lansky at the Straz Center.

"Two of the three greatest opera singers in the world will be there, Plácido and Sherrill Milnes,'' said Rodgers, calling the gala "the cultural event of the year."

In a cozy room overlooking the golf course, the hosts introduced renowned baritone Milnes, Opera Tampa artistic adviser, and the associate director, his versatile wife, Maria Zouves. They brought on future stars Ashley Dannewitz, Courtney McKeown, Ian O'Brien and Alex Tyink.

"They sang gorgeous opera and some Broadway tunes appropriate for their voices," gushed board member Stephanie Amberg.

Zouves also sang Ave Maria, dedicated to her late mother and to Rachel Lisi, who recently passed away.

Club NACE

Chefs and caterers get to enjoy the fruits of their labors, too, right? Local members of the National Association of Catering Executives threw themselves a holiday bash that impressed even themselves. On Dec. 14, event planners, florists, DJs and photographers were the guests at TPepin's Hospitality Centre, dubbed Club NACE for the night. Marvelous Mark's band rocked, and Warren Dietel's Puff 'n Stuff Catering crew produced a witty presentation.

The lively show kitchen turned out lamb, halibut and pumpkin ravioli, and a revolving bookcase displayed lobster beignets, and jumbo crab mango melange. Books between the bites identified the hors d'oeuvres on each shelf.

Drinks started with blueberry mojitos and hot ritas and ended with espresso shots.

Proceeds from Club NACE's $50 tickets go to the chapter's scholarship fund, said vice president Sandy Rule.

Help with Thanksmas

Wearing a Tampa Bay Rays Santa hat and a jolly apron, bespectacled Rays manager Joe Maddon worked the 717 South crowd Dec. 9, soaking up compliments on the spaghetti, meatballs, sausage and pierogies he made from recipes borrowed from his mother and his aunts Flo and Fray.

"Joe was in the kitchen cooking by 8 a.m.," said 717 South owner Michael Stewart, who invited the guest chef in celebration of Thanksmas. For the fifth year, Maddon has cooked and served dinner at homeless shelters between Thanksgiving and Christmas, hence the name Thanksmas.

The guest bartenders Maddon brought along, including Rays players Matt Garza and James Shields and coaches Don Zimmer, Tom Foley, Jim Hickey and Derek Shelton, hustled to serve the packed house.

"All their tips were used to buy hoodies to give out at the four shelters where Joe cooked for Thanksmas," said Stewart, who has already offered to host Maddon and team again next year.

Events

Jan. 8: "On Broadway," Masquerade Ball V benefits Stageworks Theatre; 6:30 p.m.; Centro Asturiano; $125; (813) 784-6832.

Jan. 12: Elegant Evenings, private concert to benefit Brighter Tomorrows, 7:30 p.m.; Culbreath Isles home of Ted and Bobbie Taub; $45: (813) 868-7705.

Jan. 20: Philanthropic Women of St. Joseph's annual luncheon; guest speaker Erin Andrews; 11:30 a.m.; Palma Ceia Country Club; $50; (813) 879-8605.

Jan. 21: Tampa Bay History Center annual black-tie gala; 7 p.m.; 801 Old Water St.; $250; (813) 228-0097.

Amy Scherzer's Diary 12/23/10 [Last modified: Thursday, December 23, 2010 3:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Gradebook podcast: On hate speech at UF, and education reform in the Florida Legislature

    Blogs

    National events hit Florida hard this week, as the white nationalist group at the center of violent protests in Virginia worked to cement plans for a rally in Tally. Uni …

  2. Mother of woman killed in Charlottesville say she will not speak to Trump

    Nation

    The mother of the woman who was run down by a car during violent clashes in Charlottesville, Va., said Friday that after seeing President Donald Trump's comments equivocating between white supremacist protesters and those demonstrating against them, she does not wish to speak with him.

    Susan Bro, mother to Heather Heyer, speaks during a memorial for her daughter on Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2017, at the Paramount Theater in Charlottesville, Va.  Heyer was killed Saturday, when a car rammed into a crowd of people protesting a white nationalist rally.  [Andrew Shurtleff | Daily Progress via AP]
  3. Florida's unemployment rate remains the same

    Markets

    After four consecutive months of decline, Florida's unemployment rate is leveling out. The state's unemployment rate was 4.1 percent in July, the same as June according to state figures released Friday.

    Florida's unemployment rate was 4.1 percent in July, unchanged from June, state figures released Friday said. Pictured is a job fair. | [Times file photo]
  4. Tina Fey urges Americans: Stay home from neo-Nazi rallies. Eat a sheet cake instead. (w/ video)

    The Feed

    Tina Fey is fuming about last weekend's violence in Charlottesville, home to her alma mater, the University of Virginia.

    In a surprise appearance on SNL's Weekend Update: Summer Edition Thursday night, Fey urged Americans not to get into screaming matches with neo-Nazis. Instead, she said, "order a cake with the American flag on it ... and just eat it." [Photo from video]
  5. Trump bashing aside, Democrats struggle for united message

    State Roundup

    It should be a golden opportunity for Democrats: The nonstop controversy surrounding President Donald Trump and the failure of Republicans on Capitol Hill to get much done.

    Democratic Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., speaks at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC, on July 26, condemning president Trump's tweets stating that he plans to limit the ability of transgender people to serve in the military. (Alex Edelman/Zuma Press/TNS)