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This Yellow Brick Road Rocked

Date: 1/22/2010
Written By: Shelby Hodge, CultureMap



I said last year that The Social Book honchos Scott Evans and Jeff Henry had taken the launch party for the latest edition of their social calendar over the top — had I only known what was coming in 2010.

Thursday night, they blew the public party scene out of the water with "The Emerald City at Discovery Green" bash. Not that this invitation-only party was truly public. But by night's end, as many as 1,000 movers and shakers had poured into the massive party tent erected next to the Grove at Discovery Green. The Wizard of Oz-themed evening featured lavish presentations of food, drink, fashion, song, dance and introduction of the 2010 Social Book "Houston Treasures."

The talk of the night was the knockout tent from Aztec Events & Tents, a massive clear-sided, two-story-high construction that featured a balcony at one end and a second-floor terrace, opening to the lawn overlooking Avenida de las Americas, at the other. (It's yours to rent for the sweet sum of $150,000 a night, including climate control. Crystal chandeliers extra.) Big, bold and bodacious — that would describe both the tent and the party. Event-planner extraordinaire Lisa Newburn had asked to attend just to get a look-see at the party site.

We have to anoint Evans as the king of solicitation — the one man in town who can rustle up more freebie contributions than anyone. Liquor and wine distributors, General Cigars, Nino Shbeeb with his fab flowers, party designer Darryl Murchison, the Hilton's Paul-David Van Atta, Elizabeth Swift's Swift & CoRichard Brown and his musiciansBright Star Productions, LD Systems, Aztec, on and on and more restaurants and caterers than you could count contributed in big ways to make this party sing. And entertainment ranged from the Ensemble Theatre cast of The Wiz singing "Ease On Down the Road" to the warbler from New York crooning "Somewhere Over the Rainbow."

Flavored 360 Vodkas flowed from fantastic ice sculptures by IceWorks. That cutie chef Chip Hight from 17 at Alden whipped up mac and cheese with fresh-shaved truffles and fries with truffle oil. Who Made the Cake's Nadine Moon crafted a stellar "Emerald City" cake while pastry chef Glenna Artripe of Finalé contributed a vast array of desserts plus a host of Wizard of Oz-themed character cakes including the Wicked Witch. Grotto 610La Griglia, the Grove, SushicLandry's and more contributed to the feast.

And did we mention the Chivas Regal and cigar bar, an open-sided tent where stogies were legal for one night, despite the smoke-free zone of Discovery Green? The entire evening was a fantasy on every level. 

And we are just scratching the surface. So on to the honorees, who were introduced by Evans and The Social Book founder Warner Roberts: The Rev. Kirbyjon Caldwell and theRev. Suzette Caldwell; sisters Ann Berry, Leila Gilbert and Liz Jameson; Nancy Dinerstein; Debbie and Rudy Festari; Aileen Gordon, Frann Lichtenstein and Jill Deutser; Holly Moore and Jim Kastleman; Anne and Dr. John Mendelsohn; Beth Sanders Moore and Jess Moore; Kappy Muenzer; Barbara and Corbin Robertson Jr., Anita andGerald Smith and Evin Thayer.