Harry, Horses and In the Now

Posted by Maryanne Salvat On May - 9 - 2013

10By:  Mary Jo Almeida-Shore 

Harry Connick, Jr. Breaks Records at Arsht Gala 

Equal parts: gorgeous, talented and hilarious, Harry Connick, Jr., performed an intimate concert on the main stage of the John S. and James L. Knight Concert Hall for an audience of hundreds of South Florida’s philanthropists during the Adrienne Arsht Center’s annual gala on Friday, April 26. So moving was Connick’s performance that Gala Chair and Arsht Center Foundation Board Member Swanee DiMare and her husband Paul DiMare made a $1 million gift to the Center, right on the spot! What did Swanee get for the money? A stage in the Knight Concert Hall named after her and a big hug from Harry- not bad for a cool million. The latter, was well worth it.

Connick performed hits from the Great American Songbook, wowing the audience with his voice and charming sense of humor. He went on and on about his enormous deluxe room at the JW Marriott Marquis-complete with treadmill so that he could go for a jog after the concert, told of his harrowing experience taking his teenage daughters to the Ultra Music Festival, during which he lost them in the crowd of 30, 000.  He then proceeded to mimic the pervasive “thump, thump, thump” and drop bass throughout Ultra, kind of like the character from the old Police Academy movies, while jumping around the stage.  He also praised the James L. Knight Concert Hall’s acoustics, noting it was among the best-sounding venues in which he has ever performed.

“Harry Connick, Jr. performing as our headliner helped us break Arsht Center fundraising records, making this the most successful Gala in the institution’s history,” said Swanee DiMare.  Paul and I could not be more excited to be a part of the Arsht Center family. This is an institution we plan to support for many years to come, and we encourage our community to do the same.”

Notable attendees included:  Adrienne Arsht, who served as the Honorary Gala Chair; Co-Chairs Margaret and Mike Eidson, and Rick Schatz Chairman of the Adrienne Arsht Center Foundation, were also part of the gala leadership committee.  Gala sponsors in attendance included Margarita and Armando Codina, Jan and Daniel Lewis and Barton Weiss as well as Arsht Center President/CEO John Richard and Lynne Richard. Additional Co-Chairs in attendance included Robert Barlick; Trish and Dan Bell; Cathy and Jeff Bartel; Louis Brais,Bouygues Civil Works Florida, Inc.; Joyce and Tony Burns, Colson Hicks Eidson; Gilberto Neves,Odebrecht; Abigail and FJ Pollak; Lorena and Jorge Rossell,TotalBank; Judy Weiser; Jason Williams, Wells Fargo Private Bank and Rebecca and Jimmy Whited. Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez, City of Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado, Miami-Dade County Commissioner Audrey Edmonson, Miami-Dade County Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho, developer Jorge Perez and actor Christian Slater were also in attendance.


0793-LaMartinaPoloWorldCupThe Sport of Kings Gets Boozy on the Sand 

The ninth annual La Martina Miami Beach Polo World Cup, the world’s largest and most prestigious Beach Polo competition, which we nicknamed “Ultra for the over 30 set” was, at times, much more of a party than a sport.  In true South Beach style, the dance music was blaring, the cocktails were flowing and many guests were too busy partying to notice the horses and fierce battles on the sand. We heard that more than a few quinquagenarians had to be escorted out of the VIP tent for raucous behavior during the matches on Saturday afternoon. 

For those actually watching the matches, the highlight came on Sunday, during the tense final match between the tournament’s top two teams, resulting in a closely-fought win by defending champions the Raleigh/Comcast team, comprised of Bash Kazi, John Gobin, Juan Monteverde and David Totari.  The team trailed by two goals at halftime but exploded with six third chukker goals to ride past a talented La Martina foursome, consisting of Santi Torres, Carlos Gracida and Guillermo Steta, to win 12-10 in the final afternoon match.  Gobin and Monteverde scored six goals apiece for the Raleigh/Comcast team. Gobin was named MVP for the final match. Santi Torres’ mare “Mary West” received Best Playing Pony honors. Throughout the weekend, guests enjoyed themed Grey Goose vodka cocktails in the VIP tent.  After the matches wrapped up during the day, the festivities continued at The Raleigh Hotel, W South Beach Hotel & Residences and SLS Hotel South Beach.




Nigel Barker Helps Kick of In the Now @ Village of Merrick Park

Nigel Barker Helps Kick of In the Now @ Village of Merrick Park

In the Now @ Village of Merrick Park 

Top celebrity photographer and television host, Nigel Barker hosted the first ever, In the Now @ Village of Merrick Park event, which featured high-fashion runway shows, in-store experiences and live entertainment. Hundreds flocked to the Village of Merrick Park in Coral Gables for the two-days of fashion festivities, which benefited St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The weekend kicked off Friday, May 3 with an invitation-only VIP cocktail and fashion presentation of Carolina Herrera’s new collection, for which Barker, former America’s Next Top Model host and currently the host of The Face on the Oxygen Network was the evening’s guest of honor.  On Saturday, guests enjoyed fashion shows presented by Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom and Juicy Couture and a Q&A with Barker, where he shared insights on this season’s trends along with updates on his career in fashion and photography. Barker also held a meet and greet with shoppers.


The two-day event also served as the kick-off for Barker’s exclusive new photo series for Rock Paper Photo – RAW: The Fine Art Photography. A gallery exhibit showcasing images from the collection is available for viewing and purchase in the Artrageous Gallery located on the third floor of the center through the end of the month. Ten percent of photo sales in May are being donated directly to St. Jude in addition to the donations made by many of Merrick Park’s retailers, which donated a portion of their sales from the weekend to the hospital.

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