Party Line: How sweet it is

"La Dolce Vita" was the theme of the Art of Good Taste Grand Auction Saturday night at Memphis Brooks Museum of Art.

In addition to the auction, where bottles of wine were sold for thousands of dollars under a tent in front of the museum, guests dined on cuisine from area restaurants, including Bari, Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen, Judd Grisanti's Tratoria, Lucchesi's, Elfo's and Felicia Suzanne's inside Brooks and on the patio.

Lidia Matticchio Bastianich signed copies of "Lidia Cooks from the Heart of Italy," the companion book to her 26-part Public Television series, "Lidia's Italy."

Lidia celebrated Memphis' good life earlier Saturday at The Cupboard, where she ate chicken-fried steak and ham with red-eye gravy.

Friday night, guest chefs Ken Vedrinski from Tratoria Lucca in Charleston, S.C., and Celina Tio from Restaurant Julian in Kansas City joined The Brushmark chefs Wally Joe and Andrew Adams to prepare the Patron's Dinner.

Their goal was $175,000, but $271,000 was raised Saturday night, said Lindsey Hedgepeth, Brooks development associate for fundraising events. About $50,000 was raised at the Patron's Dinner Friday night, she said. "We surpassed our wildest dreams," she said. "You never know what's going to happen in that tent."

Mark Parker and Frank Muscari were Art of Good Taste co-chairmen.

Land of Oz at Theatre Memphis

Debbie Litch dressed as The Wicked Witch of the West -- complete with pointed hat -- for Theatre Memphis' Emerald Party. She also had on ruby red slippers, which she apparently managed to wrest from Dorothy.

"She's too sweet," Debbie explained.

Whether a green gown or green necktie, guests wore some type of green to the "Wizard of Oz"-themed party Friday night.

Richard Glazier performed his multimedia presentation, "A Salute to Judy Garland and Friends." The California pianist performed songs and shared show-biz stories. As a preteen, Richard corresponded with Ira Gershwin by letters and at 12 was invited to the famous lyricist's home, which had been visited by Ira's friends Judy Garland, Oscar Levant and Harold Arlen. That same day, Richard played "Embraceable You" on Gershwin's piano, which now is housed in the Library of Congress. "From Gershwin to Garland: A Musical Journey with Richard Glazier" will air in August on WKNO-TV Channel 10.

A silent auction and music by Joyce Cobb was on Theatre Memphis' Next Stage. Following Richard's performance, guests were invited to dance the night away on The Lohrey Stage, which was converted to Club 90z.

Green also figured in the cuisine, which included a green vegetable medley and cupcakes with green sprinkles. The lamb chops with green mint jelly were popular, reported catering assistants Will Jasper and Ben Butkowski.

Monkey business

The monkeys were back at The Blues Ball fifth annual Spring Auction & Cinco de Mayo Celebration at the Warehouse.

Tim Lepard presented his "Ghost Riders" dog, monkey and goat show. Monkeys in sombreros rode border collies and then posed for photographs with fans.

Area restaurants provided food and performers, including Al Kapone, Young AJ and Muck Sticky, provided the tunes.

This year's Blues Ball will be Oct. 9 at the Gibson Guitar Factory, said Pat Kerr Tigrett, Blues Ball founder and general chairman.

To see a video of The Blues Ball Spring Auction, go to

Gift of Life recipients honored

Former Gift of Life Award recipients dating back to 1990 were honored at this year's Gift of Life Gala Friday night at The Peabody. The annual event is a fundraiser for the National Kidney Foundation of West Tennessee.

The Soul Shockers performed at the party, which included a silent auction and remarks by Susan O. Smith, National Kidney Foundation board president.

Michael Donahue: 529-2797

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