Guests gathered to eat, drink and network at the Leadership Memphis Alumni Holiday Party Dec. 4 at Mercedes-Benz of Memphis.
Martin Dinstuhl, a 2012 Leadership Memphis graduate, said he learned everything from "true poverty levels to real issues going on with the school system" during the nine-week program.
"I've always had the impression someone more educated or more important than me was handling some of these big issues like poverty, education," he said. "What I learned was we are all involved in this whether we know it or not."
Asked what he got out of Leadership Memphis, Trey Browder said, "I got work. I made a contact with one presenter and that lead to a career opportunity."
Trey now works with Performance Point, a business consulting company.
Will Tucker on guitar and Kyle Neblett on cajon, a wooden box drum, performed. Catering was from food trucks inside the dealership. Proceeds from the event benefited the Mid-South Food Bank.
Rat pack holiday soiree
Frank, Sammy, Dean, Joey weren't at the Third annual Rat Pack Holiday Soiree, but they were there in spirit.
All races and demographics, "a breakdown of the city," comes together and has "a good party," said Trey Carter, one of the hosts. "It's not about race or what your job is, but to have a good time and to do something to help the city at the same time."
The parties began with a group of guys who met each other in the 2011 Leadership Memphis and Leadership Academy classes. They began going to Memphis Grizzlies games and then after game get-togethers at restaurants.
"We require everybody to bring a small toy, like $10 or $15," said Carlyle White, another host. "We collect them and make a toy donation to Knowledge Quest, a nonprofit in South Memphis. They work with youth in that ZIP code area. They do an after-school program and also have a garden in the neighborhood for youth to work in."
About 100 attended Saturday's party at Playhouse on the Square. Music was by DJ BlueBoi aka Anson Bryant.
Also hosting the event were Gabe McGaha, Mike McGhee, John Owen, Andrew Schaeffer and Mikal Stevenson.
Sugar plums were about the only thing missing from the array of food and drink at the Toy Bash Friday night at Minglewood Hall. Cupcakes, cookies and chocolate and doughnut bars shared space with herbed goat cheese tartlets, barbecue sliders, beef tenderloin, hummus, black olive tapenade and other cuisine at the fundraiser for Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Memphis.
The event moved from the Memphis Pink Palace to the larger Minglewood. "We were in a bigger venue and we had a lot more food," said Jon Van Hoozer, who chaired the event with his wife, Donna. "We doubled the food. We doubled the wine and beer."
Assisting with the food serving and preparation were young members of the Boys and Girls Clubs Technical Training Center.
About 550 attended the fundraiser, Jon said. Guests were asked to bring toys. "Assuming everybody brought one or two toys, we had 750 toys for the kids.
"We raised about $90,000. It was a great event."
Memphis Soul Revue performed.
Hattiloo Christmas party
Regi Hinson did some great acting at Hattiloo Theatre, but he wasn't on stage. Regi portrayed Santa Claus Wednesday at the theater's annual Christmas party.
Ekundayo Bandele, Hattiloo's founder/creative director, also greeted guests inside the jam-packed venue. Among those attending were Dorothy Gunther Pugh, Ballet Memphis artistic director; and Jackie Nichols, Playhouse on the Square executive producer. Dorothy and Jackie will be Ekundayo's neighbors when the new Hattiloo Theatre opens near Overton Square.