San Francisco Social Diary: SF Ballet 73rd Opening Night Gala

City Hall Rotunda, Patron and Benefactor dinner.


Regular Diary readers may have noticed that we occasionally run sections on social activities in San Francisco. These are provided mainly by Jeanne Lawrence, a longtime friend of ours who maintains a home there as well as in New York. Jeanne is one of those people with a natural yen for travel and change, hence her enthusiastic bi-coastal presence. Recently she has joined NYSD in the role of Editor-at-Large and will be regularly providing readers with coverage from, among other places San Francisco, that brilliant city by the bay.

JH keeps a large map of the United States on a wall in his apartment. The other day during one of our business meetings I found myself staring at it, still-astonished, always astonished by the vastness of this territory known as the United States of America. I found myself considering the great differences and the even greater similarities that make up this land. New Yorkers tend to think that this huge metropolis is indeed the center of the world. But looking at that map and the other side of the continent, I was thinking how fortunate we are here at NYSD to be able to share some of the other great cities. The New York Social Diary is ultimately about celebrating community. We are very gratified to be able to extend that community to San Francisco.

The San Francisco Ballet’s 73rd Opening Night Gala raised a whopping $1.4 million. In my opinion, it’s one of the most glamorous, romantic, and enchanting evenings, no matter how many times I attend.

With a sold-out crowd of 1,400, the opening committee, including Gala Chair Debbie Messemer and Dinner Chair Cathy Post, was ecstatic.

The white/black-tie evening began with a cocktail reception, followed by the Benefactor and Patron’s Dinner in the majestic Rotunda of City Hall. This year’s theme, “Reflections,” paid homage to the performance piece choreographed by Principal Dancer Yuri Possokhov.

Encore! Gala Chair Dana Marie Sanchez treated the younger set to a marvelous “Surreal Rendezvous” themed dinner in the Opera Cafe.

The Champagne Promenade crowd flowed across the street for the War Memorial Opera House performance at 8. The Company presented 10 classical and contemporary works, including the premiere of George Balanchine’s Harlequinade Pas de Deux.

Since 1985, Artistic Director Helgi Tomasson (a former principal dancer with the New York City Ballet) has shepherded the company to great acclaim – Dance Europe Magazine’s “Company of the Year” award in 2005.

After the curtain calls, the gala-goers meandered back to the stately Beaux Art City Hall for a Post Performance Party: Three Nightclubs under the Dome to dance the night away. The crowd, dressed to the nines, strolled through the diversely decorated rooms, each with different bands and flavors.

As “a-muse-ing” an evening as ever there was, just what Terpsichore would have wanted.

Chair Debbie and Jim Messemer.

Helgi and Marlene Tomasson.

Smashing Pamela Joyner in a B. Michael couture dress.

Jannick Littlefield and her son Jacques Littlefield.

Lucy and Fritz Jewett and George and Charlotte Schultz.

Meet and greet.

Yuri and Carl Pascarella.

Vanessa Getty and director Garry Marshall.

Akiko Yamasaki and Yahoo’s Jerry Yang.

The irrepressible Bella Farrow.

Jim Messemer, Daru and Frank Kawalkowski, and Garry Mars.

Ex-NY’er Sloan Barnett.

Lois Lehrman, Nob Hill Gazette publisher.

Garry and OJ Shansby.

Brenda Jewett and longtime Trustee Lucy Jewett.

Fanfare for the Uncommon Ballet.

Designer Jean Larette.

Sako Fisher in a red velvet couture Gaultier coat worn backward.

Elizabeth Thieriot.

Lorrae Rominger.

Barbara Brookins-Schneider, Ingrid Hills, and Norman Stone.

Marybeth LaMotte in Chanel and Cheryl Baxter.

Beautiful sisters Janet Hobby and Chair Debbie Messemer, and Sarah Cashman.

Claudia Ross and Rosalina Lydster.

Jim Herbert and Pamela Joyner, Board co-chairs.

Gail and Harvey Glasser.

Robert Anderson and Nicola Miner.

Judy and Rich Guggenhime.

Oliver and Karen Caldwell.

Generous gift from Burberry.

Jenny Joron McCall and Jim McCall, Chapin Alumna.

Matthew and Diana Kelly.

Ken Rainin, Norah and Norman Stone, and Sloan Barnett.

Victiore Reynal and Owsley Brown.

SF City Hall by night.


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