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Women and Wellness Weekend March 6–8

February 26th, 2015

By Teresa Rodriguez

Lounge poolside at the Westin Verasa Napa.

Lounge poolside at the Westin Verasa Napa.

Westin Verasa Napa is hosting the third annual Wine, Women and Wellness event March 6–8, 2015. Wine, Women and Wellness is an epic culinary, viticulture and health-inspired weekend getaway created expressly for us fabulous fems, in honor of Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day, which is celebrated March 8.

Wine Tasting

The festivities kick off Friday, March 6, when the Westin Verasa Napa hosts a Grand Wine Tasting Event from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Solara Courtyard. Girlfriends will have an opportunity to sample the wines of notable and award-winning female winemakers, including Pam Starr (Bridesmaid Winery and Crocker & Starr Wines), Heidi Barrett (Barrett & Barrett and La Sirena), Martha McClellan (Sloan Estate, Checkerboard Vineyards, Hamel Family Winery, Vineyard 7&8, Toymaker Cellars and Levy & McClellan), Mary Rocca (Rocca Family Vineyards) and Celia Welch (Corra Wines and Lindstrom Wines). The $25 per person ticket price includes small bites to be served during the wine tasting.

Wine Pairing Dinner

After the Grand Wine Tasting Event, enjoy a unique opportunity to dine with some of the winemakers during a four-course wine pairing dinner at the Michelin-starred La Toque restaurant. Chef Ken Frank has created a menu of sumptuous courses paired with wines expressly chosen for this event. The experience includes interaction with the female winemakers and four courses with wine pairings offered at $150 per person, including tax and gratuity.

Make it a Weekend

The Wine, Women and Wellness getaway weekend will also offer relaxing activities designed with women in mind. Ladies can begin their day with a renewing walk or run with the Westin Verasa Napa’s onsite running concierge, or take part in a morning yoga session led by Buddy Macha, a lululemon instructor. Girlfriends are invited to book in-room treatments with Gloria Curry Day Spa throughout their stay. And to close out the weekend on Sunday, Sophie Jaffe of Philosophie will be presenting a Superfoods Cleansing Smoothie Workshop showcasing ways to naturally recharge your body after a weekend of possible over-indulgence.

Westin Verasa Napa, 1314 McKinstry St., Napa; visit westinnapa.com or phone 707-257-1800 for details.

 

Pacific Orchid Exposition

by Fred Albert

February 3rd, 2015
Visitors admire a display at the Pacific Orchid Exposition. Photo by Brenda Hawkes.

Visitors admire a display at the Pacific Orchid Exposition. Photo by Brenda Hawkes.

Now in its 63rd year, the Pacific Orchid Exposition is the largest show of its kind in the country. More than 150,000 orchids from across the globe (including some varieties never seen in the US) will be on display at this year’s event, which takes place February 20–22 at Fort Mason Center’s Festival Pavilion.

Sponsored by the San Francisco Orchid Society, the exposition features tours, demonstrations and lectures, in addition to a panoply of blooms available for viewing or purchase. This year’s theme, “The Thrill of Discovery,” was inspired by artist Sally Robertson, whose iconic watercolors of the titular flower have been a staple of the Pacific Orchid Exposition for the last 20 years.

The exposition kicks off February 19 with a Gala Benefit Preview at 6:30 p.m. Guests will have an opportunity to view and purchase the orchids on display before the general public, while savoring gourmet hors d’oeuvres and wines. There will also be an auction, with some of Robertson’s watercolors included in the offerings.

Admission to the gala is $43 in advance and $50 at the door. Tickets to the general show are $11–$14 in advance and $12–$14 at the door. For more information, visit orchidsanfrancisco.org/poe.html.

Sally Robertson has been painting images of orchids for the show for the last 20 years.

Sally Robertson has been painting images of orchids for the show for the last 20 years.

Merla Zellerbach

December 28th, 2014

The Nob Hill Gazette staff and publisher Lois Lehrman are so very saddened to announce the passing of our dear friend and past editor Merla Zellerbach. We miss her terribly.

Cirque du Soleil’s Kurios Soars

by Fred Albert

November 20th, 2014
Martin Girard/shootstudio.ca

Martin Girard/shootstudio.ca

Cirque du Soleil was flying high last Friday with the opening of Kurios, the Montreal-based troupe’s 35th offering, making its US premiere under the blue and gold tent next to AT&T Park. The enthusiastic audience (including Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom and wife Jennifer Siebel Newsom) came primed for fun—some dressed in vintage garb in keeping with the production’s steampunk design motif.

While the various acrobats and contortionists are spellbinding, as usual, it’s that aesthetic vision that really makes this production soar. Kudos to director Michel Laprise and his design team, who realize a world of gadgets and gizmos that unspool before us like Alice’s journey through Wonderland.

At one point, a tea party that could have been straight out of Lewis Carroll’s fable is interrupted by a performer who scales an ever-higher stack of chairs upon the table. Suddenly, a mirror-image tea party appears overhead, all its guests hanging upside-down, while one descends his own pile of chairs, until the two men meet in the middle. Miraculous.

As with other Cirque productions I’ve seen, the storyline is so scant as to hardly bear mentioning, and the comedy routines pale beside the physical feats—an “invisible circus” act being the worst offender. (Where are Bill Irwin and David Shiner when you need them?) But these are minor quibbles in a night that otherwise levitates on currents of spectacle and wonder.

Kurios plays in San Francisco through January 18.

Drever Family Foundation hosts Hotbed Gala

by Fred Albert

November 12th, 2014
An old hand at red carpets, Kathy Griffin made a spectacular entrance.

An old hand at red carpets, Kathy Griffin made a spectacular entrance.

A Moroccan theme pervaded the air at the Drever Family Foundation’s annual Hotbed gala at the family estate in Tiburon. Comedienne Kathy Griffin presided over the evening’s entertainment, which included a Traver Rains fashion show and an auction. A custom bicycle donated by family friend Robin Williams fetched $20,000; all proceeds benefited education and the arts. Photos by Drew Altizer Photography

Robin Williams’ custom bicycle fetched $20,000 at the live auction.

Robin Williams’ custom bicycle fetched $20,000 at the live auction.

Ritz-Carlton Hosts a Night of Culinary Stars

by Fred Albert

October 29th, 2014
 Larry Mindel, Umberto Gibin, Ben Balesteri, Andrew Freeman and Joel Riddell greet the crowd.


Larry Mindel, Umberto Gibin, Ben Balesteri, Andrew Freeman and Joel Riddell greet the crowd.

Jacques Pepin poses with Susan Ungaro, president of the James Beard Foundation.

Jacques Pepin poses with Susan Ungaro, president of the James Beard Foundation.

New York’s James Beard Foundation took their act on the road this fall, staging “Taste America” dinners in 10 cities across the country. Their penultimate destination was San Francisco, where celebrated local chefs (and a ringer from Austin) displayed their culinary skills October 24 before an appreciative audience of several hundred in the Ritz-Carlton’s newly remodeled ballroom.

During a reception before the main event, guests savored hors d’oeuvres created by Tyler Florence, Daniel Patterson, Jennifer Puccio, Staffan Terje and the Ritz’s own Michael Rotondo, before being ushered into the ballroom where Michael Mina teamed with Austin’s Paul Qui for a four-course dinner. The fare ranged from sea urchin to squab, and was accompanied by wines from Wine Road and beer from Stella Artois (designed to serve as a palate cleanser, according to co-emcee Leslie Sbrocco, who had just returned from an appearance with Hoda and Kathie Lee on the Today show).

While diners savored their Flowering Ginger and Persimmon Panna Cotta, a live auction raised funds for the James Beard Foundation, named in honor of the late cookbook author and TV personality. One of his contemporary counterparts, Jacques Pepin, was in attendance, and graciously posed for so many photos it’s a wonder he got to sample any of the food set before him.

The Ritz-Carlton’s newly reminted ballroom was designed to banish any whiff of institutional banality. In place of sedate creams and beiges, the room was dominating by a graphic floral carpet rendered in Wagnerian grays and blacks—designed to evoke San Francisco’s foggy skies, the publicist explained. It was a welcome change, and a perfect complement to the bold flavors tickling guests’ palates.

Photographs by Gamma Nine

$9 Million Raised at Bruno Mars Concert for UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals

by Teresa Rodriguez

October 29th, 2014
Titans of Tech and Media: Peggy Bunker, MC Hammer, Ron Conway, Brandee Barker and Theo Ellington

Titans of Tech and Media: Peggy Bunker, MC Hammer, Ron Conway, Brandee Barker and Theo Ellington

Jennifer and Joe Montana

Jennifer and Joe Montana

It was a night of excitement and incredible fundraising when Bruno Mars appeared at the Civic Center for a high-energy concert that rocked the block. Before the concert, esteemed guests and San Francisco society gathered at City Hall for a beautiful pre-party. Attendees included Jennifer and Joe Montana, and the Honorable Gavin Newsom and Jennifer Siebel Newsom. Generous guests mingled with some of the children who have been saved through the hard work of the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals, and—as in a scene from a fairytale—granted some of the youngsters’ wishes.

Following the concert, Bay Area legend and internationally recognized artist MC Hammer hosted an epic after-party for supporters, alongside pop performer Will.i.am.

Nine million dollars was raised that night, with proceeds going toward UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital projects. The hospital’s new facility at Mission Bay will be part of a 289-bed, integrated hospital complex for children, women and cancer patients.

Photos by Drew Altizer drewaltizer.com

Paris Haute Couture Hits San Francisco

by Teresa Rodriguez

October 29th, 2014

On October 25, the Fairmont San Francisco was the setting for a glamorous evening reminiscent of Paris Fashion Week. Guests experienced the energy and passion of the City of Lights at the Replete Skincare Fashion Show featuring designers Franck Sorbier and on aura tout vu. The event was touted to be the most elaborate Parisian couture fashion event to arrive in San Francisco since Jean Paul Gaultier in 2012.

Presenting for the first time outside of Europe, Franck Sorbier is a living legend and one of the 10 permanent members of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture. After working with Chantal Thomass and Thierry Mugler, Sorbier presented his first collection in 1987. In 1996, he became a member of the French Federation of Couture and Ready-to-Wear, supported by Jean-Paul Gaultier and Sonia Rykiel. In 1999, Sorbier presented his first couture collection. A decade later, the Museum of Textiles in Lyon, France, honored him with a 20-year retrospective exhibition. Sorbier’s shows are always full of dramatic special effects; for San Francisco, he brought 20 looks from his current collection, along with special pieces from his Museum Collection.

Officially the wild child of haute couture, on aura tout vu (which roughly translates as “now that takes the cake!”) is a collaboration between two Bulgarians who are true Parisian fashionistas, Livia Stoianova and Yassen Samouilov. With a signature sparkle and a firm dedication to shock and awe, the creative duo likes to flirt with their inspirations and remix them with a dollop of flamboyance.

Between the two runway shows, Replete Skincare showcased the incredible voice of up-and-coming pop singer FRENCH. Named after his country of birth, this artist is the darling of the Parisian couture houses; the San Francisco engagement marked his American debut. His music was followed by a presentation of Konstantina Tzovolu’s Fall/Winter season collection of delectable shoes and booties, entitled “The Ballad of Heels.”

Replete Skincare is donating 10 percent of all ticket sales for the 2014 Haute Couture Fashion event to Reason to Party, an all-volunteer San Francisco 501(c)(3) nonprofit that raises funds in fun ways for local charities. Funds from the October 25 event are earmarked for Samasource, which helps connect poor women and youth to training and employment in the digital economy.

For a look at aura tout vu’s Fall/Winter 2014–2015 Paris Couture Fashion Week, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r3tUI8txIgc

For Franck Srobier’s Spring/Summer 2014 Paris Couture Fashion Week show, check out
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tnHMOpjUT5s

Photos by fashionising.com

Jimmy Choo Party Supports Rooms That Rock 4 Chemo

by Teresa Rodriguez

October 6th, 2014
Sophie Azouaou, RTR4C Gala Fashion Show Chair; Eric Thorne, Jimmy Choo Store Manager; Lisa Kang, RTR4C Gala Co-Chair; and Judy Davies, RTR4C Gala Co-Chair.

Sophie Azouaou, RTR4C Gala Fashion Show Chair; Eric Thorne, Jimmy Choo Store Manager; Lisa Kang, RTR4C Gala Co-Chair; and Judy Davies, RTR4C Gala Co-Chair.

On September 10, Jimmy Choo was abuzz with socialites buying shoes. This sole-filled soiree was a pre-gala launch party to help promote and raise funds for Rooms That Rock 4 Chemo (RTR4C). Founded in 2011 and based in San Francisco, RTR4C is a nonprofit organization devoted to transforming chemotherapy rooms into a renewal of health, hope and life.

The event attracted nearly 200 guests—which was way too many beautiful people in such a small space; at one point, the Jimmy Choos were flying off the shelves faster than they could pour the champagne. Guests mingled, nibbled, sipped and opened up their wallets to support a great cause. In addition to hosting the launch party, Jimmy Choo will also donate a percentage of the evening’s proceeds to support RTR4C’s mission. By the looks of the crowd, a lot of money was raised!

RTR4C will host its Inaugural Gala on Saturday, November 1, at the Hotel Nikko, 222 Mason Street in San Francisco. The gala will bring together Bay Area community leaders, business executives and leading corporations, along with family and friends, for a very special evening celebrating life through words, color and rooms that rock. The gala will be dedicated to celebrating the strength of the human spirit and making a meaningful difference for those fighting cancer every day.

Tickets start at $300 and are available for purchase at bit.ly/roomsthatrock.

Photo by Drew Altizer Photography

Wender Weis Foundation Celebrates 20 Years of Service

by Teresa Rodriguez

October 6th, 2014
Jessica Frushtick, Amy Wender-Hoch and Terri Tiffany

Jessica Frushtick, Amy Wender-Hoch and Terri Tiffany

Kate Coffino, Sol Coffino, Dan Real and Marcy Saleh

Kate Coffino, Sol Coffino, Dan Real and Marcy Saleh

From homeless shelters to the Ronald McDonald House, the Wender Weis Foundation has been touching the lives of at-risk children for the past 20 years. So, to celebrate their great achievements, the foundation, their board and generous sponsors gathered with founder Amy Wender-Hoch at the opulent penthouse in the Fairmont Hotel to toast two decades of success.
While sipping wine and savoring hors d’oeuvres, patrons and esteemed guests (including Patricia Ferrin-Loucks and Terri Tiffany) chatted about upcoming events for the foundation, including the fifth annual Holiday Heroes event on December 8.
Wender-Hoch founded the Wender Weis Foundation for Children to encourage and inspire underserved and low-income children throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. WWFC raises funds for (and awareness about) charitable organizations that provide assistance to children in need, helping young people develop their confidence and self-esteem.

More information is available at www.wenderweis.org.

Photos by Drew Altizer Photography


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