Party Line: Creative sock designs benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters

New York designer Vivek Nagrani and Gwen Cash from Oak Hall wear socks designed by Nagrani.

Photo by Michael Donahue // Buy this photo

New York designer Vivek Nagrani and Gwen Cash from Oak Hall wear socks designed by Nagrani.

Vivek Nagrani unveiled the new men's sock he created for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Memphis on Saturday at the Knock Your Socks Off benefit for the organization at Oak Hall.

"We wanted something the guys could wear as a normal sock," said Vivek, owner of V.K. Nagrani in New York.

The socks, which come in red, black and navy, "appear as a normal small-pattern sock, but if you look closely, you see stick figures of boys and girls holding hands."

Designing new socks can be stressful, but Vivek always thinks his newest socks are his "best work." The socks for each season's line are always evolving, he said. "They look different, but they have the same spirit — a sophisticated wit."

Twenty percent of the proceeds from the socks and merchandise sold by all the vendors who participated Saturday will go to Big Brothers Big Sisters. Ten percent of the Vivek Big Brothers Big Sisters sock sales after Saturday will go to the organization.

Adrienne Bailey, Big Brothers Big Sisters president/CEO, said that when people wear the socks "with the little figures, they'll think of our wonderful kids."

Super Gala

Kevin Dean dressed as The Flash for the Literacy Mid-South Super Gala Fundraiser on Friday night at the organization's office in Cooper-Young.

"It was the only costume that fit me at The Fun Shop," said Kevin, who stands 6-feet-4 inches. "I'm tall."

The red suit with the lightning-bolt design on his chest fit fine, but his yellow boots were too small. "They are supposed to go over my feet, but my feet are too big."

Guests were asked to dress as superheroes from their favorite comic books. Batman is Kevin's favorite, but The Flash had to do. The Flash was part of Justice League of America, which was Kevin's favorite superhero team when he was growing up.

Kevin came up with the party idea because he read that Bishop Desmond Tutu read comic books as a child because his father wouldn't allow him to read books. The party celebrated literacy through the magic of comic books.

Food was from Celtic Crossing, and music was from deejay Lil' Eggroll.

A Spirited Occasion

"Bereavement Chic" wasn't the dress code for "Spirits with the Spirits," Saturday night's fundraiser for Elmwood Cemetery; the invitation read "black and white casual."

Beth Dixon, who owns a collection of vintage clothing, wore some late-1950s widow's weeds: a black outfit with a little black hat and veil she found in her closet. She carried a handkerchief bearing the words "Go Vols."

Beth played the dearly departed, at least a portrait of her did, in the 1993 movie "The Firm," which was filmed in Memphis. She was one of the deceased partners depicted in a painting in the law firm's portrait collection.

Dan Conaway, chairman of the Elmwood board of trustees, said the event drew around 300 people.

Last year's Elmwood party, which was held under a full moon on a Thursday night, drew 85, said Jeanne Arthur, Elmwood vice president. That party was "just testing the waters," she said.Drinks including Ghost River beer, horror movies shown outdoors and carriage rides through the cemetery with commentary from some of the "ghosts" of famous people buried in Elmwood also were featured.

Brew fest

O'Fallon Wheach Peach Wheat Beer was Kyle Smith's favorite brew Saturday at the first Harbortown Beer and Food Festival in Harbor Town Square.

"It's a little sweet, but not too sweet," said Kyle of Cordova. "It tastes like beer, but not too much."

The event featured brews from 18 breweries, food from Tug's, Miss Cordelia's and Movie & Pizza Company restaurants and live music.

Matt Baltensperger from Tug's said the peach beer paired with one of the items they were serving at their station: "Peach chicken wrapped in a sushi roll topped with Wheaties," he said.

A concert starring Charvey McLemore followed the beer tasting.

The purpose of the tasting, a fundraiser for the Mid-South Food Bank, was to "bring everybody together to have fun," said event chairman Russell Carter, who also is chairman of Harbor Town.

Purple reign

The "purple" in the Purple Reign Ball title of Saturday night's YWCA Greater Memphis fundraiser at Minglewood Hall, is the color used for domestic abuse awareness, said Karen Clawson, the organization's board president.

The party's name didn't have anything to do with "Purple Rain," the hit by Prince, but Karen, who was wearing a shiny black and silver paisley 1970s-disco-looking outfit, said, "I'm kind of wearing his outfit. He could get away with it."

Chef Robert Hayes created a '70s disco food buffet as part of the theme. He included cheese fondue, kabobs, meatballs made with grape jelly and chili sauce and Eggo waffles with whipped cream, strawberries, strawberry jam and maple syrup.

Gary Escoe and the Atomic Dance Machine played appropriate mood music.

YWCA Greater Memphis, founded in Memphis in 1919, is dedicated to eliminating racism and empowering women. The Purple Reign Ball is YWCA's major event of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Monica Morgan was event chairwoman.

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