Party Line: Diva dishes from Patti LaBelle

Fox 13’s Mearl Purvis (left) talks with Grammy Award-winning singer Patti LaBelle about her new healthy living cookbook, “Recipes for the Good Life,” at Baptist Memorial Health Care's Centennial Kick-Off Speaker Series. At right, Baptist chef Steve Meek prepares one of LaBelle’s new recipes for the sellout crowd.

Photo by Matthew Rutherford

Fox 13’s Mearl Purvis (left) talks with Grammy Award-winning singer Patti LaBelle about her new healthy living cookbook, “Recipes for the Good Life,” at Baptist Memorial Health Care's Centennial Kick-Off Speaker Series. At right, Baptist chef Steve Meek prepares one of LaBelle’s new recipes for the sellout crowd.

Grammy Award-winning singer Patti LaBelle didn't roll up her sleeves or wear an apron, but she taught audience members how to make her Seafood Salad at "An Evening With Patti LaBelle" on Thursday in the Garrett Auditorium at Baptist Memorial Hospital-Memphis. It was the kickoff event for Baptist Memorial Health Care's Centennial Kick-Off Speaker Series.

Patti shared the recipe from her new cookbook, "Recipes for the Good Life." She was assisted by Baptist Memorial Hospital chef Steve Meek, who showed the audience how to put the dish together.

"She was handing him ingredients and talking about why she picked ingredients for this recipe," said Claire Hick, the hospital's public relations coordinator. That might have been a good time for Patti to break into her 1984 song "Stir it Up."

Patti wore a long-sleeve, taupe-colored silk evening gown, Claire said. "I can see her in the kitchen really cooking, but this was more her in her formal attire."

About 280 people attended the event, which also included a question-and-answer session and a tasting of seven entrees from Patti's cookbook.

Future speakers will include Oscar-winning actress Marlee Matlin, who will be featured in early spring, Claire said.

On Friday, LaBelle gave a knockout performance at a concert at the Orpheum, presented by Cultural Arts for Everyone.

'A Magical Holiday Party'

Singer Marguerite Piazza was the recipient of the Amphion Award at the Memphis Symphony League's "A Magical Holiday Party" on Saturday night at the Crescent Center.

The Memphis Symphony Orchestra award honors people with Memphis ties for their national and international contribution and service to the arts.

For the occasion, Marguerite brought the silver jewelry box she was given when she performed at the first Memphis Symphony Orchestra ball. The inscription on the inside read, "In Appreciation for Making the First Sinfonietta Ball so Successful. Oct. 16, 1959."

One of the songs Marguerite sang at that event was "Till There was You," a song she introduced from the 1957 Broadway musical "The Music Man." Lura Turner, who chaired Saturday's party with her husband, Steve, sang "Till There was You" in Marguerite's honor. Lura, Memphis Symphony League president Billie Jean Graham, Babbie Lovett and Dr. Gary Beard presented the award to Marguerite.

In addition to Lura, music was provided by Chris Nemec and Dr. Gary Beard; Beg to Differ, the Memphis University School à capella group directed by John Hiltonsmith; and the Memphis Symphony Big Band.

Holiday Dance

"Sexy and I Know It" and "Party Rock Anthem" -- two songs by LMFAO -- were among the hot recordings at the Holiday Dance -- the Jingle Bell Ball for seventh- and eighth-graders -- at the Gibson Guitar Factory.

Deejay Cage Carruthers, who along with Robert Heard and Cody Webster, manned the equipment at the recent event, makes it his business to know what teenagers want to move to. It's pretty much the Billboard Top 20, Cage said. Favorite artists include LMFAO, Rihanna and Maroon 5.

"Back in the day, it was like Backstreet Boys, 'N Sync," he said. "It was like the boy bands." And Britney Spears, he added.

Cage, 24, owner of Ragin Cagen DJ Service, began deejaying at age 13. He's been deejaying at the Jingle Bell Ball for the past six years.

"It's gotten easier for me. I used to have to buy all the CDs. That was the worst part. There'd be one popular Backstreet Boys song, but you'd have to buy a 19-(song) CD for one song. Now you can go to iTunes or another music source and get one song."

And, he added, all the songs now are on his laptop. "It's a lot easier to type in 'slow' and pull up slow songs. It's a lot easier than flipping through CDs."

The Holiday Dance guests arrived at 6 p.m., and as usual, the girls removed their shoes and hit the dance floor. The guys kept theirs on, but they also made their way to the pizza and cookie tables and the soft drink bar.

The Holiday Dance is one of five parties held the same day at the same location. The others are the Children's Cookie Party for toddlers through second-graders, Jingle Bell Rock for third-and fourth-graders, the Mistletoe Mash for fifth-and sixth-graders and a party for special-needs children. Pat Kerr Tigrett is general chairwoman.

-- Michael Donahue: (901) 529-2797; donahue@commercialappeal.com

© 2011 Go Memphis. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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