Monday, July 14, 2008

San Francisco Social Diary

Gerry Wong, Peng Peng, Sharon Seto, Brent Assink, Conrad Tao, Margaret Liu Collins, and Lesley Hu
SF Symphony Celebrates Chinese New Year
by Jeanne Lawrence

Rats! I forgot to tell you all about the amazing San Francisco Symphony celebration of the Chinese Lunar New Year.

Davies Hall filled to hear Carolyn Kuan, Associate Conductor of The Seattle Symphony, conduct a unique blend of Eastern and Western musical traditions – fitting for multi-cultural San Francisco.

Aerialist performance in San Francisco Symphony
Conductor Carolyn Kuan, SFS President John Goldman and Chair Sharon Seto
The inventive program included Spring Festival by Lee Woon Chi, Lantern Piece for Guzheng by Cao Dongfu and Golden Snake Dance by Nie Er along with pieces by Bach, Borodin and Mozart.

An unexpected highlight of the evening was Mozart’s Concerto No. 10 in E-flat major for Two Pianos, played with maturity and sophistication by 15-year-old Peng Peng and 13-year-old Conrad Tao.

Chinese born Peng Peng made his debut in Nanjing at age eight. Since then, he has circumnavigated the globe, performing and competing. He now studies at Juilliard, having composed 18 works for piano, eight chamber pieces and two for full orchestra. And this kid is only fifteen! Makes me feel like an underachiever.

You may remember Conrad; he played at last summer’s Festival del Sole in Napa Valley and is scheduled happily again this year. He, too, is a wunderkind, winning the pre-college division of the prestigious Gina Bachauer Piano Competition and the 2006 Prokofiev Concerto Competition.

Sharon Seto chaired the marvelous event with co-chairs Lauren Lai-Bellings and Lesley Hu with much of the fund raised benefiting the San Francisco Symphony’s education and community programs.

Guests included: SFS President John Goldman and his wife, Marcia Goldman, SFS Exec. Brent Assink, Board members Genelle Relfe, Margaret Liu Collins and Mark Jung with 2008 Gala Chair Karen Jung, composer Gang Situ, UCB CEO Tommy Wu, Ben-Fong Torres, Judith and John Renard, Susanna Kwan, Jessa Wu, Elaine LaMastra and co-chair Lauren Lai- Bellings’ husband David Bellings.

A spectacular Imperial Banquet with dishes fit for an Emperor was also a highlight along with lion dancers, fortunetellers and traditional Chinese music for entertainment, and a special performance by the imaginative Cirque de Soleil.

The Year of the Rat, 4705 to the Chinese, is a Brown Earth Rat Year, a year of plenty despite the predictable market fluctuations. There’s ample opportunity for accumulating wealth through carefully planned speculation. Sounds good to me!

P.S. I’m soon off to China for a few months so I’ll let you know what I discover hidden behind the Great Wall.
Chinese New Year Co-Chairs Lesley Hu and Lauren Bellings
Mingfang Ting, Clair Barnes, Frederic Smith, and pianist Conrad Tao
Pianist Conrad Tao and Imperial Dinner Performers
UCB CEO Tommy Wu and composer Gang Situ
Board Member Genelle Relfe with Chair Sharon Seto
Board member Margaret Liu Collins, conductor Carolyn Kuan, Sharon Seto, and Jessa Wu
Board Member Mark Jung and 2008 Gala Chair Karen Jung
Marcia Goldman and President John Goldman
Ben Fong Torres and Alan Barnes
Co-chairs Lauren Lai Bellings and David Bellings
Marcia and John Goldman with Judith and John Renard
Elaine La Mastra
Susanna Kwan and Co-chair Lesley Hu
Junior League Anniversary – A Model of a Gala

The Junior League of San Francisco (JLSF) celebrated the 82nd Anniversary of its annual Fashion Show, aptly themed American Beauty and the 20th anniversary collaborating with Macy’s.

Kimberly Hooker chaired this year’s affair, the longest running event of its kind in the nation. As one of the premier fundraisers in SF, it took two shows to do it justice.

There was a chic champagne luncheon and a dramatic black-tie gala, at the Fairmont Hotel on Nob Hill.

The fact that San Francisco based fashion designer Julie Chaiken, — she’s got a design room in NYC too - was this year’s guest designer says it all.
Junior League Fashion Show at the Fairmont Hotel on Nob Hill
Kimberly Hooker, Fashion Show Chair
Victoria Yeager Sawyer, Julie Chaiken, and Christine Keele
I love this event because it’s a real family affair and others must agree because more than 1500 attended in support. From the crowd, there were lots of hoots and hollers as they watched their friends and family model the clothes – real people with real bodies for a change.

The models, all Junior Leaguers, get a chance to strut their stuff down the catwalk along with husbands and kiddies and pre-teens – all gently coached by co-chair and model advisor Debra Leylegian and model trainer Charleston Pierce of Look Modes and teen chair Shaila Freyer.

Debra Leylegian with Macy's Larry Hashbarger at preview of Luce restaurant
Models of mention was sustainer model Carolyn Hanson who was the 1988 Fashion Show Chair and helped establish this wonderful relationship with Macy’s.

A big ‘thank you’ goes to the honchos at the newly opened InterContinental Hotel - Melanie Lindquist, GM Peter Koehler and Marc Sittenfield, and Chef Dominique Crenn – for hosting a pre-show cocktail party and sneak preview of Luce Restaurant before the doors opened to the public.

The modern designed Luce – pronounced LOO-chay – and Bar 888 were a big hit and, oh, the League models received a spa certificate courtesy of the hotel.

The funds raised from the fashion show and auctions this year focused on support for Strengthening Families in Need. What with everyone feeling the pinch these days, I can’t think of a better or more timely cause.
Kelly Grimes, Macy's Larry Hashbarger and Kimberly Hooker
Ann Elliot Paras in Tahari
Nicole Meyer in Yoanna Baraschi
All ages
I want my teddy
Christine Keele in Chaiken
Something for dads too
Julia Boudreau in Chaiken
Victoria Yeager Sawyer in Hugo Boss
Nicole Meyer in JS Collection
Kimberly Hooker leads finale
Teens involved too
Stacey Fleece, Junior League President with Kimiko Burton
Loree and Chris Dowse
Kimberly and Peter Hooker
Amy Ovlen, Emily Jane Dumitrescu, Nocile Aflague, Karen Hout, Hannah Dova and Jamie Jensen
Baubles & Ballet at Bulgari

What a year for the San Francisco Ballet. First there was the Ballet’s 75th anniversary opening night black-tie gala and then the Baubles and Ballet party and the season concluded with the innovative New Works Festival.

Bulgari hosts Baubles and Ballet
With all the pre-gala parties and after-parties, it’s enough to fill your calendar – and empty your closet. What’s a girl to do about gowns and jewels?

Inimitably Italian, Bulgari jewelers came to the rescue. For this splashy evening, Bulgari imported $25 million in priceless jewels for display, worthy of a museum.

One piece that garnered much attention was the 1950’s necklace – more than 120 carats of emeralds – originally worn by Italian actress Gina Lollobrigida – spectacular! They flew it in from Rome, but no one was allowed to wear it.

However, Dede Wilsey and Elizabeth Thieriot were seen eyeing the piece, maybe for own their collections?

Co-hosts for the evening were the New Works Festival Dinner co-chairs: Ann Fisher, Mary Jo Kovacevich, and Yuri Pascarella along with vice-chair Kati Kadar Lynn.

Ballerinas Ludmila Campos, Lorena Feijoo, Margaret Karl, and Yuan Yuan Tan floated among the crowd, their lithe ballet bodies weighted down with jewels.
Marlene and Helgi Tomasson, SF Ballet Artistic Director
Dancer Lorena Feijoo with Lisa Grotts
Lisa Grotts, previously the Ballet Auxiliary President laughed, “Can you believe I’m doing the PR now…I love it.”

Bulgari has a boutique on Post Street – thank goodness – so we don’t have far to go for those glam gems. Oh, did you know about the Bulgari Hotels and Spas – evidently as beautiful as their jewelry.
Co-host Ann Fisher with daughter Sidney Fisher Bernier
Phoebe Cowles and Vice Chair Kati Kaidair Lynn
Co-hosts Yurie Pascarella with husband Carl Pascarella
Benny Tabatabi and Paul Jackson
Bulgari's Hilary Heard and Maggie Borner
Paul Jackson and Daniel Diaz
Jola Anderson and Irlene Sullivan
Sean Dowdall and David Landis
Ann Caen and Ebersole Gaines
Daniel Diaz, Dede Wilsey, and Lorena Feijoo
Susan Dossetter, Wendy Bingham, and OJ Shansby
Elizabeth Thieriot

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