Friday, March 16, 2007

San Francisco Valentine’s Day – Plenty of Heart

Birds eye view of Union Square at the annual Heroes & Hearts luncheon.
by Jeanne Lawrence

San Francisco Opera Guild Valentine’s Ball


San Francisco takes Valentine’s Day very seriously and what says “love” more than the spirit of giving. The San Francisco Opera Guild celebrated its annual gala, The Valentine’s Ball with a romantic black-tie benefit dinner/dance at the luxurious Four Seasons Hotel.

Event chairs Charlot Malin and Carla Zuber created an intimate evening full of champagne, flowers, entertainment, and dancing. In keeping with the mood, the ladies dressed in ball gowns of incredible shades of pinks, and reds, creating a visual delight.

Celebrating were: Guild President Teresa Medearis, Treasurer Susan Kulick, General Director David Gockley, Tom and Robin Selfridge, Kenneth and Dorothy Paige, Opera President George and Leslie Hume, Nicholas and Lucy Hume Koukopolous, Ed and Rosemary Baker, and Frank and Daru Kawalkowski.
Ball Co-chair Charlot Malin, Opera Guild President Teresa Medearis, and co-chair Carla Zuber
John Gunn and Opera President George Hume
John and Donna Speer with Opera General Director David Gockley
Others in the crowd: Bill and Marilyn Timoney, Robert and Gay-Lynn Blanding, John and Usha Burns, Dolly and George Chammas, Toni Wolfson, Pamela Joyner with daughter Morgan Joyner Love, Pamela and Theodore Deikel, Alan Morrell, Chandra and Robert Friese, Diane and Asher Rubin and Katie and Claude Jarman.

Also, Guild Past President Cheryl Baxter and Ralph, Judith Renard, Jan and Jon Zakin, Anne Marie Massocca, Victoria Kornblum and Inessa and Robert Dobkin.

And, what’s an opera event without music so along came the Opera’s Adler Fellows whose repertory included the romantic songs from Cole Porter and Irving Berlin.

The Opera Guild’s Valentine gift to the community: the proceeds go to their award-winning education and community outreach programs, which annually reach over 40,000 young people.
Chandra and Bob Friese
Asher and Diane Rubin
Lynn McDowell
Rosemary and Edward Baker
Susan Kulick
Teresa Medearis
Morgan Joyner Love (Pamela Joyner's daughter)
Toni Wolfson, Kenneth Paige, and Dorothy Paige
Dr. Janice Zakin and Mr. Jonathan Zakin
Joel Goodrich and Max Nugus
Josie Howard and Matt Page
Romantic atmosphere
Lisa Kieu in Varassi
Tom and Robin Selfridge
Charlot and Gregory Malin
Carla Zuber and Claude Hubert
It just wouldn’t be Valentine’s Day without the annual Heroes & Hearts luncheon, honoring five exemplary individuals in the community: Sergeant Mary Dunnigan, of SF Police Department, Margaret Hagan, a 35 year hospital volunteer; Laura Mahimeister a PhD in Nursing Science in the Birth Center, Pat Putney, an occupational therapist with Health at Home, and Niels Tangherlini a Paramedic Captain with the SF Fire Department.

The luncheon raised close to a $1 million for the San Francisco General Hospital Foundation, supporting patient care, regardless of ability to pay, at SF General Medical Center (SFGHMC). Among the Center’s many unique programs is the only Level 1 Trauma Center for all of SF and northern San Mateo County.

Held in a gigantic tent that covered Union Square, in the ‘heart’ of downtown shopping, was anchored by Neiman Marcus, Saks, Macys, Levi Strauss and William-Sonoma.

Michael Greening, of Mini of San Francisco donated a Mini Cooper for auction, a cute little car perfect for driving around the city and actually finding a parking space.  

Important enough for three mayors to attend, current Mayor Gavin Newsom, and former Mayors Willie Brown and Frank Jordon, the luncheon drew close to 800 supporters. Adding a little dazzle, Noah Gray-Cabey, star of NBC”s hit show Heroes, arrived to honor some real-life heroes.
Tony Bennet's Hearts, America's Greatest City By the Bay
Don Asmussen, Twenty Heart Beats as One
This year’s Chairs included Board President Judy Guggenhime and Julia Damasco. Hospital execs included SFGHMC CEO Gene Marie O’Connell, Executive Director Katherine Ripley-Williams, and Chief of Surgery Dr. William Schecter, who also received a Special Hero Award.

In 2004, civic-minded Nancy Bechtle and Ellen Magnin Newman conceived the public arts project Hearts in San Francisco with the idea of generating not only donations but some excitement after the dot.com bust. New York had its Cow Parade and Cincinnati had a Big Pig Gig, but for SF it had to have heart.

Over 130 artists created heart sculptures that were installed all over the Bay Area – sidewalks, plazas, and parks, which were later auctioned and have now become collector’s items.  

Of course, Tony Bennett, who left his “heart in San Francisco,” kicked off that event by unveiling of his own heart design – located at the corner of Post and Powell at Union Square.

This year’s artists were Jose Arenas, Don Asmussen, Rob Cox, Sidnea D’Amico, Roy de Forest, Matthew Frederick, Susan Verble Gantner, Anthony Liggins, Derek Lynch, Michael Osborne, Lewis Sykes, Daniel Tousignant, and Laurel True.
SFGHF CEO Gene Marie O’Connell and Chief of Surgery Dr. William Schecter
SFGHF Board Sec and Co-Chair Julia Damasco, Lifemark Group’s CEO Andy Bryant with Chuck Hotchkiss and Anthony Kan
2007 Heroes
Hearts in San Francisco founders Ellen Magnin Newman and Nancy Bechtle
SFGHF Board President and Co-Chair Judy Guggenhime, Noah Gray-Cabey, of NBC’s “Heroes” and SFGHF Exec Dir Katherine Ripley-Williams
Former Secretary of State George Shultz and wife Charlotte, Chief of Protocol
Former Mayor Willie L. Brown, Jr., Mayor Gavin Newsom, former Mayor Frank Jordon and Noah Gray-Cabey
SFGHF Board Member Pam Baer, wife of SF Giants’ GM Larry Baer, with former SF 49ers Keena Turner and Orlando Cepeda
Wells Fargo Regional Pres Lisa Stevens
Hearts in San Francisco
Daniel Tousignant, Single Tree
Gretchen and Andre de Baubigny
Akiko Yamazaki, wife of founder of Yahoo! Jerry Yang
Colorful décor
MINI of San Francisco’s Exec VP Michael Greening and Macy’s Director Patrick Smith
Michael Osborne, A Man's Dream
Christa Noél Hunter from Steve Silver’s Beach Blanket Babylon’
Lovable Mini Cooper
Nothing is as it Seems at the Stanford Cancer Center Valentine’s Day Ball

Another Valentine’s Day celebration was held at the fabulous home of Jillian Manus and her husband, venture capitalist Alan Salzman, in Atherton, the exclusive community south of San Francisco.

In the spirit of giving, more than 300 supporters raised over $1 million dollars for this noble cause, the Stanford Cancer Center.

This year’s theme: “Nothing is as it seems” inspired an evening of fantasy and playfulness, with the help of party planner Robert Fountain.

And what didn’t they dream up – a virtual world of fantasy! Live “Masterpieces” by Salvador Dali, a life-size ice sculpture of Michelangelo’s David, and a mock Italian Wedding, with a bride and groom on a five tiered wedding cake while illusionists and tarot card readers entertained the guests.

After dinner, the guests strolled into the magical world of an “Alice in Wonderland” tented ballroom for dessert and dancing – giant tea cups and floating flowers were proportioned to make everyone feel like they were children again.

Guests included businessman Steve Westly (Democratic former state controller who made a bid to run for governor) with wife Anita Yu, CEO of Healthline West Shell CTO OF Yahoo! Farzad Nazem and wife Noosheen Hashemi, Hal Edward Runkel, author of ScreamFree Parenting: Raising your Kids by Keeping your Cool, and CEO of Stanford Hospital and Clinic, Martha Marsh.
Jay Kajimura in the Tesla Roadster
Dod Nadeem and Noosheen Hashemi
Nazem, of Yahoo!, happily won the bid for a limited edition “Signature 100” Tesla Roadster, which Time magazine named one of the ‘Best Inventions of 2006’, and honored by Forbes as one of the years best vehicles - "the new car that lived up to the hype."

From Tesla Motors of San Carlos, California comes this sexy hi-performance, all electric car which sold out in four months at a base price of $92,000.
According to specs, the Roadster can go from 0 – 60 mph in 4 seconds, hit up to 135 mph, travel 250 miles on its lithium ion battery and cost only 1 cent a mile to operate.

The car utilizes the AC induction engine invented by the brilliant physicist Nikola Tesla, without whom electrical production as we know it today would not exist. Sometimes called “the man who lit the world,” could Tesla possibly be responsible for helping to save it?

Hopefully, it’s not too late to get on their waiting list. What a unique Valentine’s gift for a loved one – and a gift to the environment, too!
Alan Salzman and Charles Marsala
Claire Hagman, Barbara Stephenson, and Carolyn Lave
Cliff and Hildy Levine
Jillian Manus wore a vintage Chanel couture that she found in Paris
Robert Fountain and Nancy Greenback
Gary and Nobuko Cleary
Jennifer Solo (author) and Tom Jacoby
Anne and Jerry Down
Sherry Burke and Bob Wolf
Susan Dunlevy and Tina Frank
Life imitates art
Tad and Diane Taube
It's all a matter of perspective

Photographs by Drew Altizer