Public Broadcast Service tres chic supporters packed their imaginations for an evening of French food and culture at Sojourn, WEDU's third destination gala, a concept the public television station found so bankable it trademarked the name. Nonprofit WEDU broadcasts to 16 counties, so Saturday's 400-plus guest list mixed Tampa, St. Pete and Sarasota's boldfaced names at the Hilton St. Petersburg Bayfront. To drop a few: Alex Sink and Bill McBride, John and Susan Sykes, Pam and Les Muma, Mark and Linda Saul-Sena, Hazel and Bill Hough and Ray and Nancy Murray. Previous Sojourn galas featured South America and Australia.
Le menu, created by Cafe Largo chef Dominique Christini, boasted duck breast and chicken galatine. Premier Beverage paired and donated French wines with each course. Entertainers danced ballet, the can-can, a Josephine Baker-style "Danse Sauvage" and a red-hot Moulin Rouge number. A live auction detoured the journey and raised $65,000 on trips to Paris, Capri and China, a puppy and more. Overall, Sojourn will net about $100,000.
ConceptBAIT topped six feasting tables with roses, orchid balls, corsets and feathers for an ooh la la effect. A rose petal Eiffel Tower guarded the silent auction reception.
Chief exec Dick Lobo and board chairman Geoff Simon reminded guests they were celebrating the 50th anniversary "of the area's only locally owned TV station." Added Simon, "I look at you as owners."
Their first takeover? The dance floor, soon as Breezin' hit the first chord. Later Tom James, CEOof Raymond James Financial, nabbed the microphone and sang Johnny B. Good. Palladium director Paul Wilborn gave him some competition crooning Mustang Sally.
Ebony Fashion Fair
One look at Tampa Bay Buc Derrick Brooks and you knew he was where he wanted to be, in the front row of the annual Ebony Fashion Fair, and not in Glendale, Ariz., at Super Bowl XLII. Sunday afternoon, Glam Odyssey: A Fashion Journey into Bliss and Beyond filled Tampa Theatre with gorgeous models and a stylish audience, with a portion of ticket sales benefiting Derrick Brooks Charities Youth Auxiliary. Commentator Jada Collins scanned the well-dressed crowd of 600-plus and invited one standout to take a twirl on stage.
Brooks relished his involvement in the 50-year-old fashion road show. He gave the invocation, cheered the sexy, haute couture designs, drew door prizes, posed for pictures and stayed until minutes before the Super Bowl kickoff. He even threw in an extra prize - one of his signed jerseys.
So here's an idea for the NFL next year, when Tampa hosts the Super Bowl. Team up with Ebony magazine and make the fashion extravaganza the halftime show. Millions of people will get to see the hottest fashions, and local fans won't miss a minute of football.
Einstein on Wine
Grab a calculator because here's some higher math: 70 vintners plus 30 restaurants added up to more than $150,000 raised, thanks to 1,562 guests at the 13th annual Einstein on Wine benefit for the Museum of Science and Industry.
Tasters were on every floor, including the veranda, where Thompson & Co. offered cigars and WSJT-FM 94.1 jazzed. Anheuser-Busch offered a VIP beer tasting in the third floor Science Works Theater, while ABC Fine Wine & Spirits poured upscale samplings inside the Shipwreck! Pirates & Treasure exhibit. Violinist Laura Salata played the front door; Somos Musica played a Latin beat in the lobby.
Got gossip? E-mail Amy Scherzer at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 226-3332. Party online:For more party pictures, visit hillsborough.tampabay
Monday: Florida State Fair Governor's Luncheon; noon; $25; Charles M. Davis Special Events Center; 621-7821, ext. 216.
Thursday: Soiree a la Monet benefits Tampa Garden Center; 6:30 p.m.; 2629 Bayshore Blvd.; $50; 251-5059.
Thursday: Romancing the Heart dinner and comedy by Norm Crosby benefits Pepin Heart Hospital Coronary Care Unit; 6 p.m.; Pepin Hospitality Center; $200; 615-7663.
Feb. 21: Bowling "Ball" benefits prostate cancer research at Moffitt Cancer Center Foundation; 6 p.m.; Splitsville at Channelside; $75 and up; 745-3658.