Social Scene


Scene & Heard: Travolta Sings

Saturday Night Fever thrust John Travolta into superstar status in 1977 with his disco dance moves. Forty years later, on a Saturday night in Naples, he again left the audience wanting more.  The John Travolta casually walked in off the Third Street South sidewalk—drawn by music to the patio of Barbatella restaurant. Pianist Michael Hennessy immediately recognized him and calmly acknowledged, “John.” The actor known around the world for his dancing and singing leaned into Hennessy’s microphone and joined in on the song Luck Be a Lady. No white suit or leather jacket. Travolta wore an unassuming black sweatshirt and baseball cap. “It was incredible,” recalled Tanya Buchanan, director of operations for Sea Salt and Barbatella. “[Travolta] took a few candid photos, made a right down 13th, and then he just vanished. We were all just star-struck.” The quick drop-by no doubt left the crowd at Barbatella wondering, “Did that really just happen?” Gotta believe things are Stayin’ Alive on the streets of Naples this season. …

Two Naples community leaders with deep roots in the TV biz went back to their old stomping grounds in Los Angeles to say goodbye to a TV icon. Denise and Brian Cobb were among the friends of Florence Henderson who gathered in January to celebrate Henderson’s life and trade memories of the woman who played Carol Brady on The Brady Bunch. Henderson was a mother to four and a TV mom to millions. In the same week she attended a taping of ABC’s Dancing with the Stars, the 82-year-old passed away suddenly from heart failure. The Cobbs first met Henderson at a television convention more than 20 years ago. She was “probably the kindest person I’ve ever met,” Denise told me. “We had a house in Malibu and had many dinners and parties, and [Florence] was always on the guest list because she was so much fun,” recalled Denise. It was during those intimate gatherings in which “America’s mom” showed a side most TV viewers wouldn’t expect, Denise said: “She could tell the funniest and bawdiest jokes I’ve ever heard.” Denise said there was an outpouring of people who spoke about Henderson’s genuine kindness and her unique ability to make everyone she met feel special. Indeed, a life story of a lovely lady. …

Dazzle at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort, Naples lived up to its name. The January event raised more than $1.5 million for the Guadalupe Center to benefit children and families in Immokalee. Longtime Scene & Heard columnist Kellie Burns told me the most electric part of the night came when guests raised their paddles for various amounts of money. A donor surprised them in the middle by announcing a matching bid if they could get to 100 $1,000 donors. “We worked the room over and over,” Burns recalled. “I think nearly every person there donated.” …

April could bring the reemergence of a longtime voice in Southwest Florida sports radio. On a Monday in January, David Moulton sent a tweet in typical straightforward Moulton style: “Got fired today.” His 17 years with Beasley Broadcasting ended abruptly after Moulton gave a candid interview with The News-Press in which he didn’t hold back frustration with the company’s decision to end Miller & Moulton after nearly a decade on the air. “After they fired Mark Miller, I really did not want to stay,” Moulton admitted to me. “I asked out of my contract and [Beasley Broadcasting] refused.” The article was the breaking point. “By the morning of Jan. 17, we looked at one another and our faces said, we had been through a lot together, but it was time for both sides to move on.” Moulton’s three month non-compete clause ends in mid-April. There is, after all, another game in town in the form of Fox Sports Radio. “Ultimately, I will go where the work takes me.” Despite parting ways, Moulton said he’s grateful for all the Beasleys did for him and for his loyal Southwest Florida listeners. “I mean, besides being in a rock ’n’ roll band, what is better than talking sports for a living?” Here’s hoping the Moulton band gets another gig in the 239 area code. …

Guests love posing in front of Pamela Templeton’s metalwork wings to bring out their inner angels, but that’s not the only amazing artwork in what Pamela and Bruce refer to as “Pameloft.” The condo, which the couple mostly designed themselves, is filled with work from local and international artists and has become the perfect space in which to throw a party. At a Heights Foundation event, Pamela and Bruce bid on, and won, a cocktail soiree featuring local celebrity chefs Gloria Jordan and Andy Hyde, who whipped up a delicious tapas and dessert buffet on a Sunday afternoon, as Elijah Gromalski kept guests entertained with musical stylings on a gorgeous baby grand. It was a delight for all the angels who attended. …

Meanwhile, a LOVE-ley little angel has joined the Love family, as chocolatier Norman Love and his wife, Mary, have recently become first-time grandparents. If Mary’s Facebook feed featuring lots and lots of adorable photos of their daughter Carly’s beautiful baby girl, Lincoln, are a clue, the Loves are in love. Congratulations to the entire Love family for the sweet new addition. …

You can congratulate them yourself if you’re one of the lucky attendees at Chefs Cooking for Kids on April 6 at the Sidney & Berne Davis Arts Center—the event benefits Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Sun Coast, and Norman will be there along with a variety of other chefs cooking up deliciousness for a great cause. …

If you haven’t yet, you MUST pop by a monthly SoCo event at Royal Palm Square and Alliance for the Arts at the corner of Colonial and McGregor in Fort Myers. SoCo, which happens the second Saturday of each month, is the brainchild of Art Walk co-founder and artist David Acevedo of the Daas Gallery just a few doors down from Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre. SoCo stands for South of Colonial, and David, along with a variety of other local artists and musicians, is creating a whole new cultural district to enjoy in the Fort.

When popular philanthropist Pamela Templeton and her husband, Bruce Bauman, throw a party, everyone is an angel (like Audré Mahle, pictured). It’s all because of an interactive art installation in their newly renovated, custom-designed riverfront condo in downtown Fort Myers. Pamela found the 4-foot-high expansive metalwork angel wings by an unknown artist in Blowing Rock, North Carolina, two years ago. “I fell in love with them and instinctively knew I wanted them in this new space,” Pamela says. “Once we moved into the downtown condo, it occurred to me to hang them as an interactive art piece.” And because the wings dress up the HVAC closet at the end of a hallway, Pamela credits it as “one of the more fun and functional decisions” she’s made.