Out of the Closet, In for the Cause

Stiletto Heels and Satin Hangers were sponsor level titles for LifeChronicles’s second annual benefit, Closets for a Cause. The silent auction could brag about celebrity donations like a golf jacket worn by Burt Bacharach, hats from Jim Belushi, a cheesehead from John Cleese, logo wear from Neil Diamond, Rhonda Fleming’s vintage Judith Leiber hand bags, John Forsythe’s tuxedo worn in “Dynasty,” autographed books by Tab Hunter and Suzanne Somers’s faux suede jacket. That was only a small part of the entire auction!

The Fess Parker DoubleTree ballroom was impressive with tall centerpieces filled with orchids and votive candles on each table. LifeChronicles founder Kate Carter had her handy artist husband, Russ, paint the columns for the stunning set of the long catwalk. Local models strutted their stuff for a “Cause” with fashions from Renaissance Fine Consignments (you’ve never seen a consignment store like this one in La Arcada Court), Blue Beetle the Men’s Store and Blue Bee Kids.

Sharon Morrow was chair for the whole event. Honorary Chairs were the board chairman, Warner McGrew, and his wife, Joan. Debby Davison was emcee and radio personalities Bill Pesso and Bonnie Campbell kept the audience bidding in the live auction.

LifeChronicles produces video recordings “to honor and preserve people’s personal histories and capture their essence for the comfort and guidance of those who succeed them,” says Carter. “We will also archive the tapes in case they are lost or damaged.”

Videos average about $3,500, so the organization employs high school and college volunteers behind the camera. No one is turned down due to lack of funds.

Call 966-3411 for more information or go to www.lifechronicles.org.

Smashing Success

On the morning of this year’s Las Aletas Auxiliary Spring Tennis Smash, visitors were greeted by Santa Barbara’s snowcapped mountains and a rainout of the 16th Annual Women’s Round Robin Invitational. But the intrepid committee went ahead with its luncheon – not around the pool at Mary Ann and Stephen Blick’s home on Campanil Hill but at the Assistance League’s Veronica Springs Road headquarters.

After lunch, Pam Vander Heide commentated the fashion show with member models in the latest from Natasha’s located in Victoria Court. The Montecito Tennis Shop has been in the show for years but the owner, Libby Hammond, had an emergency and couldn’t be there this time. Hundreds of tickets were sold for the dozens of items in the ever-popular raffle.

Keeping things rolling along were event chair Joan Winter; Becky Takayesu, chairman of the Auxiliary; Jan McGuire, chair of the tennis courts, who was helped by Ann Brinker; Heidi Stilwell (fashion show); and Kathie McClure and Gayle Young, co-chairs of the raffle. Lending support was the President of the Assistance League, Marty Silverman.

The theme was “Getting to Serve You!” and that is just what this group does as an auxiliary to the Assistance League. All proceeds from the Spring Smash go to three main projects: Operation School Bell, Operation Bookshelf and Kids on the Block.

Operation School Bell serves the kids in Goleta Public School District, ages 4-12, providing new clothing and hygiene products. In 2006, the program clothed more than 500 children. Operation Bookshelf serves homebound patrons with books from Goleta Library. Pick-up and drop-off service included. Kids on the Block educates local elementary children with fun, life-size puppets and scripts about safety, bullying and getting along with others. Good work from a good group.

Wine, Design & Cruising the Rhine

Once a year the Opportunity Shop, 127 West Canon Perdido Street, turns into a magical furniture design showcase with culinary delights from local chefs plus local wines. Cox Media’s “Cooking Local” show and TWIV Insurance Services sponsor Wine & Design, as Santa Barbara’s best local interior designers and chefs transform the store for Wine & Design, an all-out bash attended by 500 people.

Everyone brought a big appetite so they could sample the many food stations – such as Bacara Resort’s sake and shrimp shooter or the Hotcookie.com place – or taste from one of the many wineries. One room became a candlelit nightclub called the Lounge Tour.

James Marcinonis, head chef for Rodney’s Steakhouse, at Fess Parker’s DoubleTree Resort, was serving up (in the dark) spicy shrimp hand rolls.

Decorators had done their “rooms” completely with furniture and lighting fixtures from the Opportunity Shop. There was a silent auction with a buyout bid option so you could win your prize immediately if you chose to. What a good idea! Among the many items was a cruise on the Rhine from Switzerland to Belgium, a photo safari in South Africa or just stick around town at the Upham Hotel.

Elaine Mah Best is Wine & Dine’s event organizer, in addition to her positions as vice president and director of development for Work Training Programs, which owns the Opportunity Shop. All proceeds from the shop go to support people with disabilities and disadvantages. Work Training Programs has been providing job training and placement services and teaching independent living skills since 1964.

On July 1, Opportunity Shop will move to a new location at 516 East Gutierrez Street. Check it out next time you need something for your home.