Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Debutantes Run Classy!

10 Debutantes from 10 different cities, all appearing in Houston at the Shamrock for something called (officially or unofficially) the Givenchy Ball... It was an added attraction for the customary Opera Ball given to benefit/celebrate Houston Grand Opera, and I trapped myself into representing Houston.

Two seasons before, I had been delivered reluctantly to the hallowed rite of Houston society’s most precious passage, the debutante Presentation Ball of Allegro... I had argued for months with my parents over the fact that this was not part of my great plan for life (I believe the words ‘not wanting to be sacrificed on the altar of society’ was my mantra)... refusing to be one until my father explained the theory of paying for my last year of college (as in, he wouldn’t if I didn’t). This logic proved eventually to be convincing, as my degree was to be my ‘road to freedom’... so I learned the St. James court bow (years of ballet at Miss Fanthom’s), practiced walking and smiling (a summer spent at Miss Kennerly’s Finishing Ranch... are we seeing a pattern here?) and made it through the overwhelming sense of ‘Here I Am! Ta-Dah!’ I was too shy to enjoy.

Two years later, out of college and working in New York, I was chosen to represent Houston at the aforementioned Opera Ball, the reason being that I had sung HGO chorus for several seasons besides being a deb. My job was swiftly going nowhere, so I thought I’d talk Walter Hoving, President of Tiffany’s (my boss in NY at the time) into allowing his jewelry from the newly-opened Houston store to be shown with the gowns... and my selling point was that one of the debs for this event was Tricia Nixon’s new sister-in-law, Mary Ann Cox. I accepted the ‘gig’, Tiffany’s backed out and I went to Houston on my own dime. Houston Grand Opera held a Tiffany Ball several years later. So much for the world of finagle and job-enhancement...

The Givenchy gown I wore to the ball was my mother's... spectacular, covered in beads and quite heavy. The gown for the runway (ah, yes, there was a runway) was more demure... Hairdressers had been sent down by Givenchy to coif us a la runway-style, and my look went from the mod ’60’s Vidal Sassoon look I had acquired in NY to something with pigtails out of Hansel/Gretel, but quite chic for the dress, apparently. My mother wore the ball gown herself several times, I wore it once again years later until my sylphlike self of the ‘Twiggy’ years began to resemble a normal person’s...

The society articles in those days, written by Beverly Maurice of the Chronicle, Betty Ewing of the Post, were often filled with lines like: ‘adrift in a sea of white chiffon’... and this ball in particular had attention to details like Faberge-style antique cigarette cases, decorator Harry Rice’s ‘fantasy forest of twinkling white willows’... I think creating images of society’s elite and their resplendent lifestyles was all part of society page erudition of the times. Truthfully... I had a good time (escort: longtime friend Paul Kelly), though my shoes hurt and my hair hurt and the dress was... very heavy.

Thanks for asking me to submit something for Debutantes Run Wild!, it makes me feel life comes full circle once in awhile.

-Diana Linder
Protocol Committee
Debutantes Run Wild!
(pictured above)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Countdown to the DiverseWorks Gala!

Hi I’m Patrick Keegan, and my wife Tracey and I are counting the days till February 19, when the 2010 DiverseWorks Gala, Debutantes Run Wild Gala! will unfold. We are excited to serve as co-chairs of the DiverseWorks annual gala and are focused on engaging more of our friends and other young professionals with the boundary breaking art space. We were introduced to DW through the annual Luck of the Draw summer auction; and we went home with some great art – and had a ton of fun. Our exposure to DiverseWorks fun and slightly raucous fundraisers lead me to serve as last year’s gala Silent Auction chair; and to accept the top hat as the gala co-chair with my wife this year. We are gathering our friends to purchase several gala tables (which start at $2,500 and up); and are psyched to bid on blue-chip art items at the Silent Auction including works by Aaron Parazette; Allison Hunter; Howard Sherman; Wendy Wagner, Frank White; and more. All proceeds from this annual fundraiser benefit and support DiverseWorks slate of outstanding exhibits, performances and programs. I plan to don an extravagant tuxedo complete with top hat; while Tracey is planning on wearing a sleek white gown to the party. But no matter what you wear, plan to be at the most playfully irreverent gala in February. Join DiverseWorks supporters at The Bell Tower, 901 West 34th Street, 77018 (HOT LINK: on Friday, February 19 at 7:30 PM to midnight. Practice your curtsy; and we’ll see you there.

(Above pic: Patrick & Tracey Keegan)

Check out the Debutantes Run Wild! Gala Facebook Fan Page!

Friday, January 8, 2010

2010 Idea Fund Grantees Reception

Join us as we celebrate the 2010 The Idea Fund grantees at a special public reception and presentation on January 27, 2010, 6-9pm at Diverseworks. The Idea Fund is an innovative re-granting program for Texas-based artists, administered through Aurora Picture Show, DiverseWorks Artspace and Project Row Houses, and funded by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. If you would like to attend, please contact Tracey Morton, 713-223-8346 or

2010 The Idea Fund Grantees and their Projects:

Bill Davenport: Bill’s Junk: A store where art, craft, nature and salvage are reconciled under the umbrella of commerce. (Houston)

Victor Payan and Sandra "Pocha" Peña: Rudos y Tecnicos: “Rudos y Tecnicos” incorporates a subversive “by any memes necessary” approach to guerrilla art interventions that explores latent historical and cultural conflict zones, while providing catharsis, participation and humor. (San Antonio)

Wura-Natasha Ogunji: one hundred black women, one hundred actions: 'one hundred black women, one hundred actions' is a performance of critical actions, gestures and movements from 100 black women around the world. (Austin)

Erin Elder, Nina Elder and Nancy Zastudil: PLAND (Practice Liberating Art through Necessary Dislocation): PLAND is an off-the-grid program that supports the development of experimental and research-based projects in the context of the Taos mesa. Houston is the host city because of its investment in sustainable building practices and alternative architecture, as well as its connection to radical, experimental, participant-based projects. (Houston)

Brett Koshkin: The Bayou City Soul Project: The Bayou City Soul Project will tell the story of Houston soul music. The scope of the project will include an audio documentary that includes oral first person narratives, sound clips and a historical narration. (Houston)

DumpTruck (Cory Wagner and Mat Wolff): How to make art in Texas and The Waiting Room: A collaborative video project comprised of interviews and performances featuring artists, curators, collectors, educators and other members of the Texas art community. Within the structure of the interview series, DumpTruck will present short video and/or documented performance works titled The Waiting Room. (Houston)

Mick Johnson: (v) = variable: (v) = variable addresses the re-use of existing architectural structures as temporary exhibition spaces. It intends to bring the collaborative effort of curator, artist and community closer together. (Houston)

Sketch Klubb (Seth Alverson, Jason Colburn, Rene Cruz, Russell Etchen, Sebastian Forray, Lane Hagood, Cody Ledvina, Nick Meriwether, Eric Pearce, Patrick Phipps, J. Michael Stovall, David Wang): Nerd Garage Sale: Sketch Klubb intends to publish a third book and celebrate the publication with an event called the Nerd Garage Sale which will take place in a public venue. Sketch Klubb intend to encourage drawing and other creative acts at some of the booths in the Nerd Garage Sale to facilitate a dialogue within the community. (Houston)

Potter-Belmar Labs (Leslie Raymond and Jason Jay Stevens): Panorama Marfa: As part of a larger body of work reinterpreting the traditional panorama and cyclorama forms, this multiple-screen, live cinema performance in Marfa will include video shot in the West Texas landscape along with an original score. (San Antonio)

Monica Henderson: Festival of African American Film: Film screenings of and discussions about works of little-known directors of color who celebrate life via honest, insightful, non-typical views of the struggles and accomplishments of people of color. (Houston)