Sweet Dreams

Missives From the Jet Set

A Word to the Wise

(Top Left: Jonathan Soroff, James and Julie Gordon and Cassandra Chancy; Top Middle: Chris Shine ; Top Left: Tonya Mezrich with Asher and Arya ; Bottom Left: Bianca de la Garza and her daughter Danica; Bottom Right: The winning gingerbread houses) 

W. C. Fields was right when he said, “Never work with children or animals.” The Home for Little Wanderers’ annual Gingerbread House Decorating Competition, which was held at Legacy Place, raised money for the Big Wishes Gift Drive by pairing the philanthropic families who sponsored the event with top chefs like Jasper White and Evan Deluty and media personalities such as blond bombshell Bianca de la Garza, Red Sox scribe Peter Gammons and yours truly. Radio heartthrob Chris Shine was the emcee, and the judges included Celtics mascot Lucky the Leprechaun (because apparently the ability to do endless backflips qualifies one to judge this sort of thing).

Many fantastically beautiful and fanciful creations resulted, although there were definite inequities, like the fact that I was working not with a professional chef, but with a 4-year-old who was more interested in eating candy than putting it on the gingerbread house.

Lesson learned. Next year, I’m hiring an architect, kidnapping a pastry chef and making sure that James Gordon has his own stash so he doesn’t devour our building supplies. Other lesson learned: Jokes about diabetes are generally in poor taste, but nowhere more so than at events like this.

Plonk de Plonk

Forget turkey and mistletoe. Good South African wines are infinitely better for making the season bright. The African Presidential Center’s annual holiday gathering, hosted at its townhouse on BU’s campus by former ambassador to Tanzania Charles Stith, attracted a select group that included reformed academic and high-powered health care executive Deborah Prothrow-Stith, gorgeous skin care entrepreneur Charla Jones, dance impresario Anthony Williams and one woman who said, “I know nothing about wine, except that I like it,” to which her friend replied, “Are you kidding? I’ll drink Manischewitz if that’s what they put in front of me.”

Kill da Wabbit!

It might come as a surprise to some scholars of Norse mythology, but it seems that Valhalla is located inside Jordan Hall at New England Conservatory.

An Evening in Valhalla began with a cocktail reception where one could rub elbows with the likes of co-chairs Wendy Shattuck, Muffy Glauber and David Scudder, New York socialite Jane Scovell, the scintillating Enid Beal, broadcasting giant Ron Della Chiesa and the delightful Joyce, Boston’s answer to Martha Stewart, Holly Safford, music lover Jeffrey Marshall, Beacon Hillions Suki and Miguel de Braganca, opera patrons Steve and Jane Akin, Wagnerian extraordinaire Dalia Geffen and one woman who accidentally sent a chunk of foie gras flying across the floor and scrambled to retrieve it before anyone could slip on it.

A performance of Act III from Die Walküre—conducted by Robert Spano and featuring soprano Jane Eaglen and bass-baritone Greer Grimsley—earned a well-deserved standing ovation and was followed by an elegant dinner.

Lest it all sound terribly highbrow, know that there was one guest who critiqued the concert thusly: “It was lovely. I just happen to like the Bugs Bunny version better.”

Just the Tip

(Left: Kay Bernon, Ashley Bernon, Anne Vincent and Michelle Theroux; Right: Ronit Smolyar and Daniela Winston) 

How do you make a Bostonian feel better about dropping a bundle at Burberry? Make the evening a fundraiser for a charity as worthwhile as the Berkshire Hills Music Academy, which is precisely what Wellesley party pair Ashley and Paul Bernon did.

The school, which was founded by Bernon’s parents, Peter and Kay, offers music education to students with intellectual disabilities, so there was a chorus to regale the crowd with Christmas carols while a slew of snacky waiters passed snacks and trays of Champagne. Present and accounted for: brunette beauty Penny Fireman (looking very Lara Croft), hot ginge Adam Weiner and his equally hot wife, Rita, the naturally carbonated Betty Ann Blum, statuesque socialite Amber D’Amelio, the dapper Michael Winter and his state treasurer wife, Deb Goldberg, bespectacled hipster Sam Slater with his stunning other half, Jessica, and so on and so forth.

The evening’s most curious conversation: One guest introduced a friend to the doctor who performed his son’s circumcision, and the friend said, “I have to admit—I think it’s a barbaric practice,” to which the doctor responded, “Well, there’s a foreskin reclamation movement. Men attach weights to try and stretch the skin back.”

To which the first man said, “If you’re going to go to all that trouble, why not try to make the whole thing bigger?”

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