Party Line: 'A Magical Night' in Overton Park

'Formal gardens' setting for Overton Park anniversary soiree

Guests partied in tents in the Overton Park formal gardens Saturday night at 'A Magical Night.'

Photo by Michael Donahue // Buy this photo

Guests partied in tents in the Overton Park formal gardens Saturday night at "A Magical Night."

Some guests were mystified when they heard "A Magical Night" was going to be held in the "formal gardens" of Overton Park.

"I've been in this park for 60 years, and I didn't know they were here," said Jimmy Jalenak, who attended the party Saturday night with his wife, Natalie.

Three tents glowed as guests listened to live music and ate and drank at the 111th anniversary of Overton Park. The gardens, which include the original paths and some newer crape myrtles, were added in the early 1900s, said Naomi Van Tol, Overton Park director of operations and capital improvements. They're located on the west side of the park near the Levitt Shell.

Susan Green, director of events and volunteers, and Belinda Anderson, chairwoman of the events committee and member of the board of directors, organized the party.

Penczner on display

The flamboyant Wanda Wilson, former owner of the P&H Café, was a favorite subject for the late artist Paul Penczner. She is included in several of his works now on view at Memphis Botanic Garden.

Asked what the artist liked about her, Wanda said, "My outrageous dressing." Wanda was among the guests at a preview party Thursday night.

Pat Kerr Tigrett, who studied with Penczner for 10 years, described his painting style as a combination of "Rembrandt and Michelangelo."

The University of Tennessee Health Science Center is showcasing Penczner's works through the end of the year. In spring 2011, more than 400 works were donated to the university by the artist's widow, Jolanda Penczner, who was at the reception. All proceeds from the sale of the Penczner collection will support an endowment in his name at the UT department of physiology.

Harvest Celebration

Memphis Farmers Market moved its Harvest Celebration/A Barnyard Ball outdoors this year. Instead of being held inside Central Station, the recent event was held in the Central Station Pavilion.

"We thought it was appropriate (to move it) to where the market actually takes place," said founding board member Mac Edwards. "We also outgrew our previous spot."

As for the warm weather in November, Mac said, "We just got lucky."

Twenty-one restaurants provided food for the event. Bluff City Backsliders and Deering and Down performed. About $17,000 was raised from the silent and live auctions, Mac said.

Beth Brock, Memphis Farmers Market president, attended with her husband, Ben.

Art for Hope

Works by more than 50 artists, live music, wine and food were featured Thursday evening at Art for Hope at Clark Opera Memphis Center.

"I did my entire Christmas shopping," said Anne Curtis, who bought several paintings.

About 300 people attended the benefit for Hope House, said Craig Locke, the organization's director of development. Craig and Hope House executive director Betty Dupont were event chairmen.

Antiques Arcade

Trevor Pittinger, a member of the Tennessee Shakespeare Company, obliged when asked to come up with a line from Shakespeare to describe the 41st St. George's Antiques Arcade.

"Rings and things and fine array," said Trevor, quoting a line from Petruchio in "The Taming of the Shrew."

Jewelry was included among the offerings at this year's antiques show, which ended Sunday. More than 20 antique and art dealers were on hand. Trevor was a guest at Thursday night's preview party, which included a buffet and live music. Proceeds from the show will benefit the Samaritan Counseling Centers of the Mid-South Inc.

Father Gary Sturni, St. George's rector, and his wife, Cynthia, were among those attending. Marie Hayden and Karen Blocker were event co-chairwomen.

'Curtain Up'

If guests got tired of one party, they could go one floor up or down and hit another one at "Curtain Up: Passport to Playhouse" on Friday night at Playhouse on the Square.

Guests sipped margaritas and listened to classical guitarist Mark Pergolizzi at the Mexico City party on the second floor; drank wine and martinis at the Paris party on the roof; downed beer, ate sliders and listened to bluegrass music by Nay-Nay and the Do-Right Boys at the Franklin County, Va., Party in the Café; gambled with fake money at casino games at the Monte Carlo in the Trap Room beneath the stage; and, on stage, listened to Alexis Grace and her band and music by DJ Brad Patrick.

"Curtain Up" is one of three Playhouse on the Square fundraisers, said executive producer Jackie Nichols, who relaxed in front of a fire pit at the Paris party on the roof. The others are the Great Wine Performances and the annual Art Auction.

Orpheum Auction

Guests didn't sing or dance, but they did do some writing on stage Saturday night at the Orpheum: They filled out their names on bid sheets at the theater's 34th auction.

More than $450,000 worth of merchandise was included in the live and silent auctions to benefit the theater's new Performing Arts and Leadership Centre, a state-of-the-art facility that will allow the theater to grow its list of 19 performing arts programs to more than 30.

In addition to jewelry, art, restaurant and vacation certificates, the auction also included chairs designed by Memphis artists.

'Wine, Women and shoes'

"Shoe Guys" mingled through the crowd carrying shoes, boots and bracelets on trays Thursday night at "Wine, Women and Shoes" at Mercedes-Benz of Memphis.

Jewelry, handbags as well as shoes were featured at the event, which also included food tastings from Memphis restaurants and other food purveyors. Wines were provided by Buster's Liquors & Wines.

The jam-packed event was a benefit for Livitup Inc., which helps people with disabilities.

Best Buddies gala

Best Buddies Memphis held its first Champion of the Year Gala on Friday night at Esplanade Banquet Hall.

"We are raising funds to try to bring the Best Buddies office to Memphis," said Melissa Todd, chairwoman for the Best Buddies advisory board. "We have one office in Nashville."

Best Buddies is a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating one-to-one friendships and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

"Nine people, ranging from students in middle school all the way up to professionals within the community, took on a six-week challenge to raise the most money for Best Buddies," Melissa said. "Brooke Swain from Arlington Middle School, an eighth-grade student, raised the most money from all the candidates. She raised close to $10,000."

Bill Courtney, the star of "Undefeated," the Oscar-winning documentary about the Manassas High School Tigers football team, was the speaker.

The evening included a silent auction, dinner and live music. Grammy and Dove awards-winning singer Bruce Carroll performed "Sometimes Miracles Hide." Front & Beale played music for dancing.

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