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  • Sally Gerak

Week of 2.11.19

Variety Chili, Wings & Soup(er) Bowl

Variety, The Children’s Charity tweaked its cold weather foodie fundraiser just a tad and 250 flocked to it at The Townsend. One tweak was substituting soup for mac’n’cheese, but the Rugby Grille didn’t pay any attention. They still delighted many by presenting their yummy lobster mac’n’cheese. The addition of wings was very popular and the other tweak, scratching the loud dance music, was much appreciated. “One can actually have a conversation,” observed a grateful Debi Knowles. A chance raffle of 28 lots provided more diversion, but mostly the comfort food chow from 17 eateries (see photo gallery) was the big appeal on the last Friday night in January. The culinary judges – Annabel Cohen, Kate Lawson and Matt Prentice – had their work cut out for them but they did decide the following: Best Chili - Town Tavern; Best Wings – One Under Craft Beer & Eats; Best Soup – Jim Brady’s Detroit. Guests who voted determined: Best Chili - 7 Greens; Best Wings- One Under Craft Beer & Eats; Best Soup - Souper Bowl. Thanks also to sponsors and benefactors (see photo gallery) the event, chaired by David King, Aubrey Tobin and Dante Rosa, raised more than $75,000. The next event for Variety supporters is Sunday, March 3 – the Fashion Show with models from Variety and FAR Therapeutic Arts and Recreation at Somerset Collection South.

Eisenhower Dance Detroit Gallery Benefit

After the performance of three energetic dance duets, most of those in the audience at Eisenhower Dance Detroit’s Birmingham school strolled to the neighboring Halsted Gallery to savor wine, hors d'oeuvres and the fine art photography on the gallery walls ($25 & up ticket). They were welcomed by Wendy Halsted Beard, daughter of gallery founder Tom and the late Carol Halsted, founding board president of EDD, to benefit Eisenhower’s Carol Halsted Legacy Fund for new choreography. Both Beard and board member Deborah Bernstein-Siegel toasted Carol’s creative vision and advocacy for dance education that spanned more than 40 years. In addition to EDD, her other roles included founding and heading the Dance Department at Oakland University and heading the dance council at the Detroit Opera House. “Carol was always curious about contemporary choreographers and would suggest …(those) she thought would be a good fit for Eisenhower,” noted Bernstein-Siegel. Beard told the assembled that a percent of gallery sales would benefit the fund. The current show runs through mid-March. The next EDD performance is March 23 at the Berman Center for the Performing arts.

Check in the coming weeks for reports & photos from these events:

Motor City Open Sponsors Party

Max Broock Foundation MS Benefit

Bates Street Society

St. Regis Gala

The Birmingham Education Foundation Unabashed Bash

Marian High School Mardi Gras


Beyond Basics 20th Anniversary Gala is 6 pm., Friday, March 1 at the Detroit Athletic Club. It will honor the Farbman Group as Partner of the Year and volunteers Sue Galambos and Sue Wilhelm. Plans also include cocktails, dinner and artwork. For sponsorships and tickets ($250, $500) call Sarah Kmetz at 248-250-9304 or go to Marcy & Dick Ford are chairing the Eton Academy Auction, March 2 at the school. The theme - Unmasking the Art of Learning - invites masks as accessories. For sponsorships and tickets ($200) go to Michelle Jonna and Karen Wilson are chairing the Academy of the Sacred Heart Benefit – The Secret Garden Gala – 6 -11 pm, Saturday, March 9 at Bloomfield Hills Country Club. Plans include cocktails, hors d'oeuvres, a silent auction, 52-card raffle, dinner and a live auction. For tickets ($185, $250-patron, include a 6 pm pre-party in the Colt Lounge and a special raffle sponsored by Miner's Den Jewelers) go to Tena Prevas and Diana Shoushanian are chairing The Women’s Division Project HOPE Hope on Safari, 6 pm, Saturday, March 9 at the Huron River Hunting and Fishing Club in Farmington. Plans include wine tasting, dinner dancing. For tickets ($100, $159) contact Tina at 248-568-0532.

Joy Levran, Lisa Rothberger and Carly Sanfield are chairing ORT’s WINGO, 5:30 pm, Thursday, March 14, at Knollwood Country Club. This women’s only bingo party offers lots of prizes, a strolling dinner, signature cocktails, a silent auction and lots of raffles with great prizes.

Ron & Katie Gantner are the Leadership Chairs of the Brother Rice Irish Nite 6 pm, Saturday, March 16 at Birmingham Country Club. Bro. David MacIntyre is the Honorary Chair. For tickets ($250-includes 5pm VIP reception, $100-friend) go to

The Detroit Zoological Society’s third annual Wildlife Conservation Gala, presented by Ford Motor Company, is 6-9:30 pm, Saturday, March 16 at the Detroit Zoo’s iconic Wildlife Interpretive Gallery. Plans include hors d’oeuvres, cocktails, a sit-down dinner, raffle and presentation of the Nautilus Award to an individual whose efforts have made a profound impact on the future of wildlife and embody the DZS’s mission of Celebrating and Saving Wildlife. Themed “Saving Birds Around the World”, the gala will include a presentation highlighting the DZS’s extensive field work with penguins in the Falkland Islands and Antarctica, as well as long-term work in the Great Lakes region with piping plovers and other avian species. For tickets ($250 and up) go to All proceeds will benefit the DZS’s wildlife conservation programs.

Faye Nelson and Pam Rodgers are chairing the Alternatives for Girls 30th annual Role Model Dinner 5:30 pm, Wednesday, March 27 at the MGM Grand. It will put the spotlight on Franklin Community Church’s Dr. Althea Simpson, the Detroit Police Department’s Lashinda Stair and Meritor’s Linda Taliaferro. Plans include valet parking, silent and live auctions, reception, dinner. And inspirational program. For sponsorships and tickets ($200) go to or call Taylor Gawlik at 313-361-4000 ext. 273.

The Girl Scouts of Southeast Michigan’s annual Cookie Gala is 6-9 pm, Thursday, March 28 at the MGM Grand.

Mindi Fynke is the honorary chair & keynote speaker at the JVS Trade Secrets benefit evening which Roz Blanck, Kristen Gross and Linda Schlesinger-Wagner are chairing 6 pm, Thursday, April 11 at the Troy Marriott. Plans include cocktails, dinner, and the signature raffle. For tickets contact Judy Strongman at 248-233-4213.

The Ted Lindsay Foundation Wine Tasting is Thursday, 6- 9 pm, Thursday, April 11 at the San Marino Club. Plans include valet parking, celebrity wine pourers, strolling dinner and desserts, silent auction and cash bar. Proceeds benefit autism research and educational programs. For tickets ($150) call Lynn LaPaugh at 248-310-2853 or go to

The Catholic Charities of Southeast Michigan Annual Celebration is 6 - 11 pm, Saturday, April 27 at Petruzzello’s of Troy. Plans include cocktails, a silent auction, dinner, a program honoring five parishes and dancing. For tickets ($200) email For sponsorship go to

Send ideas for this column to Sally Gerak, 28 Barbour Lane, Bloomfield Hills, 48304 or email

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