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Scene & Heard


Gossip. gossip. gossip.
 Sharon Stone agreed at the last minute to help out celebrity auctioneer Jesse Metcalfe at the Arts for ACT Auction on Aug. 15, but this time around we got the serious Sharon more than the flirty, fun gal she’s been in her past two appearances here. Though in a modest gown with her hair slicked back into a double ponytail atop her head, she still looked like a Hollywood star. But Sharon knew she was into a different scene this year. The economy has made times tougher for the 700 guests gathered at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort & Spa, and she realized she had to reduce her price points for the art as the evening wore on. Still, she was determined to do her best to honor the late Robert Rauschenberg, her long-time friend, and his cause—Abuse Counseling and Treatment Inc.

At one point, when auctioneer Jesse was closing the deal on a painting, Sharon yelled to him on stage, “I call the numbers here, and we’re not selling this one yet.” Jesse’s a doll and just took all this in stride. Kudos to Jennifer Benton and Claudia Goode for their splendid job in organizing the gala. The always generous bidders Dr. John Fenning and his wife, Fran, won the much-prized offering of the night: spending an evening at artist Daryl Pottorf’s estate while he creates a personalized piece of art for them.



Comedian kathy griffin has nothing on me when it comes to the D list. I anchor, she jokes—but where’s the respect? Here’s one for laughs. I thought the extra $40 VIP fee, tacked on to the tickets I bought to her show at the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall in August, guaranteed me entry to the VIP lounge. The nice lady guarding the door let me in after about a 10-minute wait. The next day I got a bill for $175! Now I’m really feeling like a VIP. How honored is it to shell that out for a pre-show beverage and some peanuts? Not. Anyway, Griffin was hilarious and outrageous, and the audience loved her. She dishes on all the stars, even Oprah. A very brave woman in the world of Hollywood. The evening? A little D-meaning, a lot D-lightful.



It was wine, women and song—and much, much more—when Patty Baker threw her hubby Jay Baker a surprise 75th birthday party in New York back in June. Patty dug deep into her bag of tricks for this one. She secretly invited 200 of Jay’s friends and family members, including fraternity brothers, business partners and guests coming from as far away as Hong Kong. “Everybody loves Jay,” Patty told me, “and wanted to be a part of his celebration.”

Guests started the night at the trendy Mercer Kitchen restaurant, then moved on to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for a special concert by Little Anthony and the Imperials. The Bakers shared with guests a treasured bottle of Screaming Eagle wine—which Jay had purchased at the first Naples Winter Wine Festival. He was saving it for a special occasion, and this was it. But this was all prelude to the grand finale. Patty coaxed Jay into a John Lennon: The New York City Years exhibit. Jay is a huge Lennon fan. A few minutes later, a white phone on a wall nearby started ringing. It was for Jay. None other than Yoko Ono wanted to wish him a happy birthday! Music to his ears and an unequalled way to turn 75. Many happy returns, Jay.



The stars were also out just a few weeks later when Denise and Brian Cobb held their annual Fourth of July bash in their summer digs in Malibu. Several close friends from Naples joined the Hollywood celebrities in this sit-down dinner for 74 at the Cobbs’ beachfront home. The ladies got to change seats after every course. Martha and Jim Fligg, Retta and Elliott Singer, John Scot Mueller and fiancée Judith Liegeois, Jay and Patty Baker, and Jeff and Valerie Gargiulo all joined in the fun—along with Winter Wine Festival vintners Ann Colgin and Garen and Shari Staglin. Oh yes, the show biz crowd: looking carefully, you’d have spotted Dustin Hoffman, Florence Henderson, Michael Nouri, Leeza Gibbons, Jami Gertz and Steve Levitan. Grand fun ... and stars and stripes forever.



There was so much buzz all summer about the delightful Julia Child movie Julie and Julia, and local chocolatier Norman Love had a lot to add to the chatter. Love, founder of Norman Love Confections, had lots of encounters with the renowned chef over the years. He cooked for her many times, and had his recipes featured in one of her cookbooks and on the PBS series Baking with Julia. “She’s so inspiring, so witty ... a national treasure,” he says. I doubt if they ever stopped to count calories in the times they shared together.



Speaking of famous connections, Naples resident and President Harry S. Truman’s personal White House pianist, George Manos, has just released The President’s Pianist: My Term with Truman and My Life in Music. Manos was the only solo pianist ever retained by a president to play for him regularly, and the book recounts how the two bonded over their love for music.



A salute to skip quillen and his employees at Culinary Concepts, operators of five local restaurants, for helping raise more than $230,000 for the Children’s Museum of Naples. The museum is slated to open early next year. Quillen started the Karma Club as a way for employees of his restaurants, which include Pazzo! Cucina Italiana, Yabba Island Grill, Chops City Grill and Blue Water Bistro, to give back to the community. So far, they’ve raised a whopping $1 million for children’s charities and needy families in Southwest Florida. They make it fun, too, with the Pirate Ball at Yabba’s adding swashbuckling flair to the act of giving.



You won’t see this in TV-land anywhere else: In September NBC2 launched a 7 p.m. newscast that airs on sister station ABC7. NBC2 anchor Jamie Yuccas, meteorologist Robert Van Winkle and sports director Brian Colleran jump over to channel 7, joining ABC7 anchor Len Jennings for a newscast aimed at viewers who don’t get home in time for the six o’clock evening news. Let’s face it—using the talent and resources of the region’s No. 1 station to put on a newscast on another channel is an unusual call. (ABC and NBC operate out of the same building under a lease management agreement.) Why didn’t management just put the newscast on NBC? The answer—big surprise—is ratings. You don’t bump Wheel of Fortune out of that slot when it’s getting better ratings than any other show on the air during that time.


Gulfshore Life invites you to join us at these special events.



»Saks Fifth Avenue’s biannual ode to all things beauty, Megawatt Beauty, launches Sept. 24 through Oct. 4. The two-week event is a hallmark for fall and features numerous events such as national makeup artists and the highly anticipated Beauty Bash, an evening filled with special cosmetic demonstrations, live music and cocktails. This event takes place Oct. 1 at Saks Fifth Avenue, Waterside Shops, and is sponsored by Gulfshore Life and Blue Martini. While there, stop by Armani, Chanel and LaPrairie for some extra special offerings. For more information on Megawatt Beauty and Beauty Bash, call (239) 592-5900, Ext. 262 or
visit saks.com.


»Love the bachelors? Then come meet them at Gulfshore Life’s Bachelors Party on Oct. 22 at M Waterfront Grille from 6–8 p.m. Meet and greet with this year’s crop of handsome, charming and intelligent guys. Enjoy complimentary hors d’oeuvres, a specialty cocktail, stay for dinner and receive 20 percent off your entire check. Space is limited, and reservations are required. Call 449-4157 to RSVP.


»Celebrate 25 years of the Community School of Naples with its Angel Ball benefitting the school’s financial aid program. The event takes place on Nov. 7 at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort, Naples and features Starship starring Mickey Thomas. For more information, call 597-7575.


»Support a scholarship fund for children with autism and attend Fashion Focus on Autism on Nov. 9 at noon at Carrabba’s Italian Grill, Naples. This fashion show benefits Eden Autism Services Florida and features a silent auction and door prizes. Tickets are $40 and table sponsors are $250. For more information, call Patti Byers at (239) 293-4244.



»Come one, come y’all to the Naples Equestrian Challenge Fourth Annual

Bootstrap Boogie Barn Dance on Saturday, Nov. 14. Enjoy line dancing, live country music, lassoing, mechanical bull rides and tasty vittles. The event befits Collier county children and adults with disabilities who enjoy the weekly benefits of therapeutic riding through Naples Equestrian Challenge. For more information, call (239) 596-2988 or visit online at naplesequestrianchallenge.org


Mark your calendar for two Gulfshore Life signature events. On Nov. 9 join us for the Philanthropy Day luncheon honoring Southwest Florida’s outstanding philanthropists. Also in November, Gulfshore Life honors luminaries in the community with its Men and Women of the Year Awards Reception on Nov. 18 at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort, Naples. For more information or tickets for both events, call (239) 449-4154.


Want to know what is happening weekly in Southwest Florida? Log onto GulfshoreLife.com and sign up for the Weekend Insider.



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