The accent was on French at “Les Bijoux,” Saturday night’s opening gala for the “Bijoux Parisians: French Jewelry from the Petit Palais, Paris” exhibit at Dixon Gallery and Gardens.
After they gasped at the brilliant gold, silver, platinum, diamond and emerald jewelry from famous French houses, including Cartier and Lalique, inside the gallery, guests gasped again when they entered an enormous clear plastic tent, which was seductively lit, and decorated with flowers.
And when Priscilla Presley, dressed in white, arrived, gasps could be heard again.
“I wanted to do something totally different from what we’ve ever done before,” said Chantal Johnson, who chaired the event. “The main tent had 16-foot-walls and peaked to 20 feet. The two cocktail tents had 10-foot walls. It was just to make you feel like you were in New York or Paris.”
As for Priscilla, Chantal said, “She is a huge supporter of the Dixon.”
Priscilla was a guest at the June 2011 opening gala for the “Jean-Louis Forain: La Comedie Parisienne” exhibit at Dixon.
Another special guest at Saturday night’s event was Gilles Chazal, former director of The Petit Palais Museum in Paris.
The dinner prepared by Jose Gutierrez from River Oaks began with spring pea soup with vichyssoise mousse and shrimp salad, continued with pheasant and ended with a dessert made by pastry chef Andre Renard. The dessert, which included candied jewels and calla lilies made out of sugar, was titled “Dessert Incroyable.”
The Pat Patrick Orchestra performed.
Riverside fest takes wing
People with greasy hands didn’t do a lot of hand shaking at Sunday’s Southern Hot Wing Festival on Riverside Drive. Instead, they bumped elbows, or, as Perry Williams called it, “do the ‘chicken wing.’”
A team called Sauced featured hot wings made with fermented cayenne pepper, fresh Habaneros and four other types of chilis, said member Colin Bailey.
Asked why they called their team “Sauced,” Colin said, “’Cause the wings are sauced, and so are we.”
A cast on his arm from a recent car accident didn’t slow down Connor Glennon, a player on the University of Memphis tennis team, when it came to eating wings. “It sped me up,” he said. “I love eating when I’m not playing. I have an excuse to eat more. I can eat as much as I like.”
Sixty teams took part in this year’s event, said founder Paul Gagliano. The festival, which drew more than 7,500 people, also included live music and a hot wing-eating contest.
Bunch of characters
Guests dressed as their favorite book character Friday night at the first Libration party at the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library. The event benefited the Public Library and Information Center.
Louisa Munn wore the green drapery outfit as Scarlett O’Hara and her husband, Aaron, wore a mustache and high boots as Rhett Butler.
Keenon McCloy, director of the Memlibrary system, wore a blonde wig as Alice in Wonderland.
Special guest Hampton Sides, author of “Hellhound on his Trail” and “Ghost Soldiers,” dressed as himself in jeans and a jacket.
Stereo Joe performed. Guests also wore headphones and danced to whatever music they chose at the “Silent Disco.”
Me and My Tea Room Catering provided the food.
Dishing out wishes
Several restaurants participated in the eighth Dishes for Wishes fundraiser for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of the Mid-South recently at Felicia Suzanne’s restaurant. Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen, Bangkok Alley, Blue Monkey, eighty3, The Majestic Grille, McEwen’s on Monroe, Rendezvous, Sweetgrass and South of Beale provided cuisine for guests inside the restaurant and on the patio. Pat Register performed.
The event, which drew 350 people, was a sellout, said Make-A-Wish director of community relations Miranda Harbor. Over the past seven years, Make-A-Wish has raised $890,000 at Dishes for Wishes, Miranda said. “This year will get us over our $1 million mark,” she said.
This also makes the eighth year that Steve Conley, Karen Perrin and Ron Olson have emceed the event.
On the Cover: Austin Rice at the Southern Hot Wing Festival.