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Nutcracker Ball

| Monday, Nov. 11, 2002

Think a promenade of pirouetting flowers, scampering mice, a flock of sheep, tiny clowns and acrobats and, by Herr Drosselmeier's mustache, you have Saturday's fairy-tale setting for the seventh annual Nutcracker Ball , Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre's grand jete into the holiday season at the Omni William Penn.

Enchantment dripped from the branches and eaves on this night to see and be seen. On the fashion front, the lovelies did themselves proud in a glittering parade of ballgowns and killer bijoux. And there were plenty of handsome princes to flirt with. Looks were long and grandiose — slinky silhouettes, bejeweled bodices over pouffy skirts, all manner of velvets, and gowns cut to the nether regions in the back. Luxe, luxe and more glamorous luxe.

What to bid on• What not is more to the pointe with this tony collection of holiday goodies and bijoux by Orr's in the silent auction.

But nothing and no one stole center stage from PBT's prima ballerinas and principal danseurs in performance. These high flyers commanded the dance floor with dazzling artistry and oeuvres from the company's new Nutcracker Ballet. The ball's major moment, 'tis true, 'tis true.

From their post on the balcony, sensational Special Effect played soft and sweet during the elegant dining and wining. And didn't hold back afterwards. Had you looked up from desserting on the creme brulee that had us falling off the Weight Watchers wagon, you would have seen Tim Condron's beautiful rosy red and white orchid bouquets perched above golden pedestals.

A Fanfare to ball chairs Steve Elliott of Mellon Financial and Beverlynn in a stunning Melinda Eng champagne silk ballgown with beaded top. No less than resplendent in shimmering gold by the Name Dropper was Diane Waldman and Hal , PBT's new board chair.

Past ball chairs Jan and Howard Engelberg turned out, as did Drs. Loren and Ellen Roth in a swirl of iridescent purple taffeta by Escada; Jim McCarl and Carol, wearing a crimson strapless confection; and David Dick and Barbara in a platinum bejeweled and mink-cuffed knockout by Badgley Mischka.

Who was among the 470 other swelegants• Who wasn't• Let's start with Christina and Rob Cochran; Ruby and Dr. James Kang; Barbara and Gerry Chait with Hilary Tyson (the ladies chaired the silent auction!); Jane Treherne-Thomas and Bill Dietrich; Herb Torbin and Becky, in a divine pale blue strapless cum train by Helen Morley; Colleen and Dave O'Brien; Jim Liken dancing with Liz Truter; Jan and Art Boni; Judy and Ty Alexander; Jeanne Gleason and David Clemens; Carolyn and Bill Byham; and Eric Werner and Melanie, who led the drop-dead fashion honors in a platinum lace jacket edged in mink over tawny silk pants by Valentino from Paris.

Couldn't miss Charles Franklin and Susie, turning heads in a fab red strapless slink; PBT's managing director Steven Libman and Keitha with artistic director Terry Orr and ballet mistress Marianna Tcherkassky ; grand Patricia Wilde; Tricia and Bill Kassling; Jackie and Dr. Bob Capretto; Liz and Tom Sweeney; E.T. Kaplan-Goldstein; Beth Wainwright and Russ Kemerer; Lynda and Joel Coslov; Maureen and Ron Puntil; Susan and Dr. Mike Brody ; Orr's Marcia and David Gordon with Marilyn and Bob Sittig; Charlotte and Henry Beukema; Patty and Jeff Kendall; Darryl Brandon and Heidi in a stunning Nicole Miller bronze gown; and Weida Tucker and Jim Richardson .

Plus, Ann and LeRoy Metz; Dottie and Fred Beard; Tara and John Lewis ; ballet master Robert Munoz; Renee and Bob Denove; Rhodora and Dick Barton; Sue and George Froehlich; Debbie Dick; Peggy McKnight in a divine one-shouldered black velvet slink; Teresa and Joe Anania; Susan and Dave Matter; Deb and Mark Dilliplaine; Janet and Bob Cline; Felicia and Mark Bennett; Carol and Jack Scalo; Jamee and Tom Todd; Claudia and Lou DiNardo; Jean and Gary Gentile; Susie and Dick Wyatt; Jean and De Tuthill ; 2001 Mrs. Pennsylvania Melanie Crockard and Jim; Meena and Raj Dadoo ; Cyndi and Don Stewart; Ying Li and Jiabin Pan; and Ruthie and Bill King .

Ballet high.

Bold and the Beautiful

All great architects are artists. All push the limits of the possible. All take risks. As seen in the monumental traveling retrospective Out of the Ordinary: The Architecture and Design of Robert Venturi, Denise Scott Brown and Associates , dominating the Carnegie's Heinz Architectural Center, Venturi and Scott Brown are great artists who helped shape our times.

A long-standing favorite of the red-carpet set, the Founder-Patrons Day black-tie pulled in 300 local biggies to preview the exhibit that touches on almost every aspect of contemporary design … from architecture and city plans to furniture and tableware.

Artist Lu Damianos chaired the gala in the Hall of Architecture that, like the show, was witty, whimsical and wow all over. Although Parkhurst's menu and service were works of art, it was the smashing centerpieces by her master builder, Syl Damianos , that were the eve's major buzz. He merely replicated VSBA's Seattle Art Museum and the Vanna Venturi house that RV built for his mother. Take that for flash and panache.

HAC's founder, Drue Heinz, was guest of honor at the eve that also included new Women's Committee prexy Janet Hunt and Bill; Suzy and Jim Broadhurst; Betsy and Mike Marcu; Jean and Brooks Robinson; Lou and Henry Gailliot; Gail and Tom Murphy; Diane and Cliff Rowe; Henry Hoffstot and Lee Gordon; Jessica and Tim O'Brien; Ruth and Dr. Art Levine; Ranny and Jay Ferguson; Pam Bryan; Sheila and Milt Fine; Beth Smith; Bill Boyd; Jenifer and Mark Evans; Nancy and Dick Scarton; and Diana and Dr. Peter Jannetta .

Of course, Ellsworth and Dottie Brown were there, as were Toto and Jim Fisher; Suzie Steitz; Ruth Garfinkel; Vange and Nick Beldecos; Susan Santa-Cruz and Art Stroyd; Garth Massingill and Jim Stevenson; Izzie and Lee Foster; Teri and Damian Soffer; Amy and Ira Morgan; Janie and Harry Thompson; Lea Simonds; Evelyn Pearson; Caryn Rubinoff and Craig Dunham ; and Betty and Irving Abrams, who commissioned VSBA to design their Shadyside home.

Home is where the art is.

Beauty and the best

Come November, the ladies who lunch go shopping. Pair Jay Strongwater's hot picture frames sculpted into glittering art objects from Louis Anthony Jewelers and a fashion show for 225 power lunchers with more than canapes on their mind, and you have the

The Twenty-five Club's Tres Chic afternoon.

Wednesday's runway sashay at the Duquesne Club, orchestrated by Gloria Gelb and Linda Bucci of Shadyside's Ruth Young Designer Boutique, put models in looks to thrill. From serious to smashing, from sportswear and sophisticated suits to big-night glamour gowns, the collection was singing along with Joe Negri's jazzy trio, "You're once, twice, three times a lady." And it was the best, most elegant show of the season. To fund research for the most fragile newborns in neonatal intensive care at Magee-Womens Hospital , the beneficiary of 25 Club's generosity for 63 years.

Indulging in more than the fab menu, made even more so by Tim Condron's glorious bouquets, were such as benefit chair Carol Massaro with assists by Diane Doherty ; M-W chief of pediatrics Dr. Jon Watchko and prez Irma Goertzen ; RY's fashion maven Nijole, narrating the show; Veronica and Lou Guarino; Patti Dolan; Frances Kane; Bobbi Aiello; Marie Ganassi; Leslie Sargent; Barb Mendlowitz; Marsetta Schweiger; Dani Grego ; and Jettie Mooney , a M-W volunteer for over 50 years!

Plus, Anne Hanna; Nathalie Lemieux; Helen Hanna Casey; Terri Hastings ; emcee Eleanor Schano Feeney; Tricia Kassling; Catherine Loevner; Judi Collins; Debbie Barbarita; Jeanne Caliguiri; Julie Uram; Denise Quinn; Carol Berkman; Bonnie Anton; Kitty Gleason; Joanie Kamin; Helana Pietragallo; Katherine Freyvogel; Maryann dePalma Burnett; Edith Hughes; Mary Ann McKnight; Rose Kutsenkow; Connie Rockwell; Dottie Urda; Patti Berman ; and Norma Sobel .

I shop, therefore I am.


A true story. Life, as we know it, is about choices and timing. Ten years ago, Dick Scaife had a vision for Pittsburgh. He envisioned a strong city, a growing city, a city and its surrounding suburbs where readers had a choice for their news. So it came to pass, while cities from coast to coast were being reduced to a single newspaper, he gave Pittsburgh another voice. A voice to mirror the full story of the country and the world that's changing every day, every hour.

Fast-forward to the present, and the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review is on a winning streak. We hit our stride and never broke it with — oh, all right — awards from national organizations for newswriting excellence, photography, sports reporting and on and on. Just a few bragging rights that the Trib celebrated on Thursday when it took over the Andy Warhol Museum with a 10th-anniversary boss party to thank the advertisers whose success stories have made ours possible.

Here are some of those 300 believers being thanked by Trib prez Ed Harrell , editor Frank Craig and marketing VP Kraig Cawley : John O'Connor; John Warren; Rob Borrella; Bill Woods; Meg Cheever; Mark Weinstein; Bill Bodine; Wendy West; Perry Sigesmund; Keith Rosenstock; David Walther; Kevin McMahon; Van Kaplan; Cindy Opatick; JoAnn Jenny; Bob Altmeyer; Richard Piacentini; Merrill Stabile; John Warren; Dorothy Andreas; Pam and Ben Chapple; Paul Warhola; Stephanie Spence; Jen White; Amy Nelson; Yale Gutnick; Ben Elisco; Wendy Hutchinson; Cindy and Wes Blaha; Pat Wockley; Victoria and Paul Sammartino ; and Lou Castelli .

It was a ten.

Club 40

Sometimes, a booming sound system, music that won't quit and brew with a kick are more than enough. The bottom line is, Are you having a great time• They were at Friday's 40 Under 40 blowout in the Regional Enterprise Tower that was jumping to Flipside DJ's pounding beat. And PUMP (Pittsburgh Urban Magnet Project)-ing Pittsburgh Magazine's class of movers and shakers who are helping to mold the future of our region.

From entrepreneurs to artists to lawyers to techies to a blazing spectrum of young turks, these fab 40 wouldn't live, work or play anywhere else. By choice. Better wear shades when checking them out in PM's current cover story. Man, do they shine.

Inside Norville

Look up "swell talker" in the dictionary, and you'll find Deborah Norville's picture. A spark plug of unbounded energy, the Emmy Award-winning journalist and "Inside Edition" anchor was here Thursday to keynote Magee-Womens Hospital's "Celebration of Women" at the Hilton.

How does she squeeze three youngsters, marriage and a high-powered career into a day that cannot be stretched beyond 24 hours• Having a nanny and a driver helps, but she's learned to "just say no," Norville told the crowd which included M-W prexy Irma Goertzen and Don; Melinda Edwards; Cecilia Griffen-Golden; Bill Pietragallo; Katherine Henderson; Julie Faneca; Diana Napper; Dr. Holly Gallion; Dee Delaney; Mary Zubrow; Dr. Stephanie Nicholas; Amy and Fred Leasure; Inez Miles ; Dr. James Roberts; Margaret Joy ; and some 400 other industry leaders and trailblazers who also happen to be women.

You go online, girls.

Morris on the Mark

This fete had feet. Half the city's dance demimonde turned out for Thursday's party deux at the Wood Street Galleries. Take it from us, you couldn't swing a cat without walloping a danseur or danseuse .

The occasion was the bravura performance at the Benedum Center by the Mark Morris Dance Group, presented by the Pittsburgh Dance Council . Following the curtain, the action moved across the street to the gallery's third floor, site of the "For Real" exhibit by Margi Geerlinks. Mark Morris himself held court as his company of charismatic dancers mingled with guests.

Present were PDC director Paul Organisak ; Cultural Trust's Kevin McMahon with Kristen; Gail Eaton ; the Dance Alloy's Mark Taylor, Cheryl Difatta and Andre Koslowski; Murray Horne; Julie Farr ; Attack Theatre's Peter Kope and Michele de la Reza , who schmoozed with Mark Morris dancer John Heginbotham , an old school chum from Julliard. Terrence Orr , artistic director of Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, chatted about the upcoming world premiere of PBT's brand new $2.5 million Nutcracker. Orr's wife, Marianna Tcherkassky, still looked fit enough to play Giselle, a role she made her own as prima ballerina with American Ballet Theatre. And was that a writer from The New Yorker we saw scribbling on a notepad• Seems she's chronicling the tour for a profile of Morris.

Also: Steven Sucato; Dan Catanzaro with Craig McDonald ; and winsome gamine Brynn Taylor , quite possibly the only Mark Morris dancer ever to have a degree in molecular biology.

Quite a divertissement.

— William Loeffler


Ahoy. Friday night and a band of able-bodied merrymakers hoisted up their signals in the Omni William Penn ballroom and sailed on the ocean liner SS Seton-La Salle . Wining and dining was first cabin all the way. And the bidding on luxe trips, furs and bijoux means the purser's check for $75K will help fund the high school's computer tech needs.

On the promenade deck, we spotted honorary chairmates Ken McCrory (Class of '65) and Pam ; captains Barb and Rich Soeder ; Debbie and Steve Vargo; Pauls and John Hotz ; SLHS principal Wayde Killmeyer; Shayne and Auralee Banner; Karen and Ed Linder; Allyson and John Sveda; Joe Ellen and Dr. Alan Yeasted; Kay and Herman Dieckmann; Gus Gillespie ('64) and Susie ; Beth Wainwright and Russ Kemerer; Pauline and Sam Gruber .

Giant Honor

Pardon us for putting a new spin on a familiar jingle. But it takes a giant to make life better . Which is why

Chuck Porter and Ed Moravitz of Giant Eagle accepted the Shalom Award on Saturday at Heinz Hall during Kollel Night at the Symphony . Now in its fourth year, the award recognizes organizations and individuals whose work strengthens the Jewish community in Pittsburgh and abroad.

Following the PSO's performance of Bartok's "Third Piano Concerto," featuring Krystian Zimerman and conducted by music director Mariss Jansons, 180 VIPs gathered in the Regency Room for a dessert and coffee reception. Applauding the good deeds of the area's largest food chain were notables such as PSO concert master and past Shalom recipient Andres Cardenes; event chair Dr. Jennifer Rudin; Rabbi Aaron Kagan; board prez Dr. Robert Lebovits; Rabbi Levi Langer; Marsha Brauner; Dr. Harvey Henteleff; Judy and Chuck Perlow; Dr. Sheila Posin; Rayna Clark; Jerri Kay; Marilyn and Norman Sindler; Brenda Smith and Dan Wiseman; Dr. Manny Kanal and Judi; Philip Milch; Dr. Zalman and Evelyn Shapiro; Batya Moses; Rabbi Yale Butler and Balai; and Joann and Brad Perelman .

— John Altdorfer

Big Brother/Sister Act

Trust us on this one. Bankers are a real hoot. Just ask National City boss Tom Golonski , the man on the front burner at the Big Brothers Big Sisters Corporate Roast . Turning up the heat Wednesday were Mellon Financial chief Marty McGuinn , Federated Investors' prez Christopher Donahue , Hunter Associates chair David Hunter , and Citizens Bank of PA CEO Steve Steinour . And with "head teller" and chief county exec Jim Roddey on board, these jokemeisters transformed the Omni William Penn ballroom into comedy central.

While the evening's theme, "Dollars & (non)Cents," promised that no punchlines would be pulled, the cause was anything but a laughing matter — providing boys and girls with supportive adult role models. Setting good examples were roast chair Dolly Ellenberg; BBBS director Walter Jenkins and Laura; Ellen Golonski; Nate Hunter; Laura Candris; Pat Lucas; Kim and Stephen Sanker; Janet Palumbo; Steven Irwin; Celeste and Kip Sobel; Denise and Kurt McConville; Jeff Witte; Edna Scarpaci; and Suzy and Jim Broadhurst .

Hilarious• You can bank on it. — J.A.

Everyone's a Winner

Always put your money on the sure thing. That's what nearly 200 high rollers did Friday during the Allegheny Valley School 's annual gala at the Renaissance Pittsburgh Hotel. With everyone's favorite wild card Myron Cope as the honorary chair and Queen of Hearts Sally Wiggin hammering down the live auction, the winner-take-all event lived up to its apt theme, "A Bet You Can't Lose," to help children and adults with mental retardation lead fuller lives.

Event chair Courtney Borntraeger (with Tim ) cashed in more than a few chips to feed the kitty, as did AVS prez Regis Champ and Cindy ; Parie and John Duggan; Robin and David Durr; Bonnie and Tom VanKirk; Peggy McKnight; Nancy and Harold Weitz; Nanette and Ira Gordon; Lisa and David Keefer; Joe Wilson; J.D. Fogarty; Margie and Dave Damico; J.R. Philp; state Rep. John Pippy with Kathy; Mardi and Jim Royston; Bonnie and Joe Dell; Diane and Tony Barna; and Rhea and Guy Squillante .

— J.A.

Lidia's Lunch

No, it's not the name of the city's newest diner. But restaurateur Lidia Bastianich seems to be the special du jour on the fundraising scene of late. The NYC-based culinary celeb dished chef's secrets during a cooking demo and best-selling book signing Thursday at the Ladies Hospital Aid Society luncheon and fashion show at the Fox Chapel Golf Club.

Fresh off the success of its Seinfeld fundraiser, LHAS served a four-star entree of haute cuisine and couture to benefit research for women's heart care, Alzheimer's disease and cancer prevention at the Hillman Cancer Center. Spotted at table were event chair Adrienne Kaltman; Carole Kamin; Peggy Smyrnes-Williams; Violet Marcus; June Yonas; LHAS prez Marcia Weiss; and past presidents Gertrude Caplan , Ann Kann , Mary Novick and Hannah Kamin .

Decked out in numbers from the Doncaster and Elana collections, LHAS "model" members such as Kathy and Rachel Arnheim , Rosalyn Wein , Wendy Kaplan , Sandy Chernew and Barbara Coffey showed plenty of style. Among the ladies picking up the tab for a good cause were Minnie Caplan , Linda Miller , Susan Wolf , Catherine Loevner , Beverly Harlich , Barbara Mendlowitz , Dee Dee Troutman , Ethel Gelman , Jackie Sambol , Linda Indovina , Donna Muscari , Mary DiCarlo , Shirley Green , Norma Sobel and Ruth Rubinstein .

— J.A.

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