Scene & Heard
How do you say “thank you” to a legend? Well, when it comes to the grand send-off for our Myra Daniels, who is retiring, it will take two days, says Adria Starkey, co-chair of all the activities Jan. 14-15. The highlight figures to be a gala concert at the Phil on Saturday featuring Boston Pops conductor Keith Lockhart, a longtime friend of Myra’s and former guest conductor of the Naples Philharmonic Orchestra in the early ’90s. Look for many surprises during the course of the evening’s entertainment. Myra founded the Philharmonic Center in 1989 and—through her vision, savvy, relentless energy and fundraising skills—built it into a cultural colossus. The “Thank You, Myra” two-day celebration will be, says Adria, “a beautiful thank you to a woman who has done so much to make Naples a wonderful community to live in and do business in.” Yes, a standing O to you, Myra. Rave reviews for lifetime achievement.
Sip and shop
Talk about suave. Dan and Cathy Lubner are putting a high-end wine bar into their new venture, Clive Daniel. You can now sip and shop for their cool array of fine furnishings. The store will be in the old Robb & Stucky building on US 41 in Naples. Maybe there’s a whole new challenge, too, in pairing wines to designs. Go for it.
Foodies alert! Two much-anticipated restaurants opened in Naples this fall. Agave Southwestern Grill on Vanderbilt Beach Road, with 200 choices in its Tower of Tequilas, and Seasons 52 next to Mercato are offering exciting new taste thrills. In Lee County, the World of Beers in the Bell Tower Shops has been a big attraction for the “in crowd” for weeks now with its 400 kinds of beer from around the world. Welcome all.
Excitement’s building for the Feb. 21 Mending Broken Hearts with Hope luncheon at The Ritz-Carlton Beach Resort ballroom. The Shelter for Abused Women & Children is bringing in a compelling guest speaker, Jackson Katz, one of America’s leading activists in the fight against violence and sexist behavior. He has pushed the case on ABC’s 20/20 and has appeared on Oprah Winfrey’s show as well. “Dr. Katz’s prevention efforts not only inspire boys and men to join girls and women in ending gender-based violence but also provide women with insights into masculinity and gender stereotypes,” says Linda Oberhaus, The Shelter’s executive director. There should be a packed house, as ever, to listen, learn and help the cause in whatever ways possible.
Women and dresses? A dynamite connection. And the organizers for the Love That Dress! shopping extravaganza played that passion to great effect last September in raising $150,000 for the PACE Center for Girls. In two locations this time—the Embassy Suites in Estero and the Naples Grande Beach Resort in Naples—women bid for the discounts on 4,000 dresses supplied by the stylish ladies of Lee and Collier counties. It was a cheery sight on a rainy night to see flocks of women loaded with bags scurrying to their cars with their prized new possessions. Love That Dress! founder Christin Collins praised Tracy Taylor for pulling together the Naples event in record time. Christin tells me that what started as a small dress swap in Lee County is now being done at the state level, benefiting 17 other PACE centers across Florida. The power of the frock. Wow.
In a show of heart and sole, an anonymous donor saw a story on NBC-2 news about the Guadalupe Center of Immokalee’s “Back to School Shoe Drive” and made a generous proposal to bring in more shoes for needy children. The donor offered $1,500, if the center could match that total. In fact, the center’s Board of Trustees raised $4,300, and the drive was able to give 250 more children brand-new shoes. That sure got the school year started on the right foot.
Stand back. We’ve now got Dream Divas powering up in support of local charities. This exclusive group of high rollers and heavy hitters, headed up by Shelia Davis, along with Simone Lutgert and about a dozen others, will be putting their considerable fundraising energies and talent behind a number of worthy causes. These will include the Dream Gala on March 23 for the official launch of the Golisano Children’s Museum of Naples. Shelia promises a night of happenings that will dazzle even the Naples crowd. Child’s play for divas making dreams come true.
Sonya Sawyer, cutting a big swath these days through local business and social circles, has a secret. She drew a full house to a September media event she hosted at her company Home Tech’s showroom in Fort Myers. This was to help area businesswomen become more comfortable reaching out to members of the media and to teach them how to build their brands. Faces in the crowd included Gail Markham, Nancy Eckert, Margie Tann, Carolyn Rogers and Danielli Martel—but how did Sonya lure all the media types as well to help pack the house? She knows the dirty little secret about us media types: fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies will do it every time. Sweet logic, wouldn’t you say?