|New Works Festival Closes Anniversary Season for SF Ballet
by Jeanne Lawrence
The San Francisco Ballet, America’s oldest professional ballet company, ended their 75th Anniversary Season with a brilliant display of the company’s virtuosity, the New Works Festival. "The most ambitious commissioning project in the Company's history" called for an equally momentous celebration.
San Francisco’s War Memorial Opera House was once again the scene of a glamorous black-tie gala, chaired by Ann Fisher, Mary Jo Kovacevich and Yurie Pascarella with dinner co-chair Kati Kadar Kynn. The cocktail reception segued to a lavish dinner in a swanky tent near the Opera House.
Artistic director Helgi Tomasson invited ten of the world’s top choreographers for the SF Ballet’s Diamond Anniversary centerpiece, the New Works Festival. Opening over three consecutive nights, the Festival premiered pieces by Julia Adam, Val Caniparoli, Jorma Elo, Margaret Jenkins, James Kudelka, Mark Morris, Yuri Possokhov, Paul Taylor, Stanton Welch and Christopher Wheeldon.
|Raphael House Gala
“One Home, Many Hearts,” the annual Raphael House Benefit Gala, celebrated 36 years of service to at-risk families in the Bay Area. Four hundred supporters helped make the night a success, raising nearly $370,000.
“Morrocan Chic” was the chosen theme, replete with lush jewel tones of red, pink, orange and gold. Robert Fountain donated the décor from his fabulous design collection for the May 8 dinner at the lux Four Seasons Hotel.
Among the guests were designers fashion designer Julie Chaiken, Father David Lowell, Rebecca Beeson, nightclub impresario Harry Denton, local radio personality Hooman Khahlili, Claudia Castillo Ross, Kate Smith, interior designer Sophie and Nourredine Azouaou, Lee Duran and Norm Kown of Worldware who donated ‘goodie bags,’ entrepreneur Gurbaksh Chahal and Simon Thieriot.
Others seen in the crowd were Lisa Grotts, interior designer Kendall Wilkinson, Jessica Moment, Ann Ferrell Millham, Robin Paret, realtor Joel Goodrich, Chris and Tina McCutcheon, Jean-Noel Fourmeaux, Bella Farrow, Pat Murphy, Mark Calvano, and Jorge Castillo.
|A champagne cocktail reception started the evening with Moroccan inspired hors d’oeuvres, followed by a gourmet dinner of braised beef short ribs with Israeli couscous with almonds and raisins, all paired with wines from Rutz Cellars, Rosenblum and Bremer Family Winery.
But the highlight of the evening were the live and silent auctions featuring a myriad temptations: two VIP tickets to Oprah - wildly popular, an all-inclusive 5-night stay at a totally eco-friendly resort in Patagonia, Chile and dinners from celebrity chefs like Clyde Serda, Paul Curley and Ian Morrison. Lufthansa donated a trip for two the benefit drawing.
|Urban Forest Benefits From Friends
A fabulous fundraiser was held at eco-elegant Greens Restaurant for the Friends of the Urban Forest. Chris and Amber Marie Bently, you may remember them from their funky pajama party recently, were the co-chairs so you know it had to be first class fun.
A special performance by local music fave Chris Clouse rocked the house while everyone enjoyed LIVE, the highly praised green tea energy drink. ‘Live’ not only donated the goodie bags but also gives 50 per cent of all of their profits to benefit global warming initiatives.
|Back in the days when vegetarian cafes were few and off the beaten path, Greens Restaurant pioneered a sophisticated, artisanal vegetarian cuisine on a par with mainstream fine dining. Built by SF Zen Center carpenters, Green’s serene art filled dinning space overlooks the Marina, the Marin headlands and the Golden Gate Bridge.
Greens’ highly acclaimed chef and two-time cookbook author, Annie Somerville created a special menu of vegetarian palate pleasers - potato pancakes with arugula pesto, mini pizzas with mushrooms and pine nuts, peanut spring rolls, to name a few - all organic, local and sustainable.
“It was one of the warmest, loveliest events I’ve attended,” remarked FUF Board member Mireille Schwartz.
|The restaurant, behind massive walnut doors, opened in 1979 in a converted warehouse at Fort Mason, itself a converted military base which is now home to more than 50 not-for-profit organizations, covering cultural, educational and environmental organization.
For more than 25 years, Friends of the Urban Forest and Greens Restaurant have partnered in their dedication to encouraging healthier values in the Bay Area. From promoting sustainable local organic produce and wines to planting more than 42,000 trees citywide, Friends of the Urban Forest endeavors to raise San Francisco’s green consciousness.
They both remind us all that taking care of our planet is taking care of ourselves, which is important, now and Zen.
|Photographs by DREW ALTIZER & JEANNE LAWRENCE|