Mystery Dates, Wine, Women, Shoes and Celebs

Posted by Maryanne Salvat On February - 17 - 2014

Dinner_at_Marcella_and_Dan_NovelaBy:  Mary Jo Almeida-Shore 

MOCA Mystery Dates 

MOCA (Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami) kicked off the month of February in style with its highly anticipated, seventh annual Mystery Dates fundraiser during which guests enjoyed a dazzling evening at the homes of ten private collectors who graciously held dinner parties in support of the museum.  The night began with a stylish cocktail party at MOCA, where 275 guests were Jason_Clarke_and_Belkys_Nereygreeted with Grey Goose vodka specialty cocktails,  including the “La Poire Mystere” and a letter revealing their dinner destination- a “mystery” no more. Partygoers had the opportunity to bid on over 60 luxury auction items and tour Tracey Emin’s Angel without You exhibition as Australian musician Owen Campbell performed a live set on slide guitar, before heading off to their dinner destinations.  

Each Mystery Dates host thoughtfully added personal touches to make the evening extra special. Mary and Raul Guijarro de Pablo, who served Mexican gourmet, cleverly matched guests with art works in their collection to mix up the dinner seating. Lorena and Evelio Gomez, founding MOCA Visionary members, surprised guests with a performance by the Spam Allstars Band.  Jessica and Elliot Dornbusch gave an extensive tour of their collection, sharing personal anecdotes about each piece.  For dessert, they served sweets in the shape of iconic artworks.  Marcella and Daniel Novela’s romantic candle-lit dinner was held in the palm garden of their 1920’s Mediterranean home.  

Alexandra_Bach_Lagos_and_Christos_Lagos_at_MieksellsGuests at Gloria and Sergio Leyva’s home on Old Cutler Road danced late into the night.  A DJ at Alana Burstyn’s set the mood at her hip Upper Eastside apartment, with sweeping ocean views- where she gave an extensive tour of her art pieces, many of which she’s had since childhood, and George Sanchez Calderon held dinner in his studio on the Miami River.  Dinner at Adriana Pinehero and Michael Stein’s was held on the treetop terrace of their contemporary home in Coconut Grove and Lizzie Dascal served vegan gourmet in her South Beach apartment.  Guests to Kathryn and Dan Mikesell’s toured their Miami Modern style home and mingled with artists from their Fountainhead Residency. 


After dinner, Mystery Dates guests who had a bit of steam left after hours of mingling, dining, and merriment, met at SET for a late-night rendezvous and dancing.

Mystery Dates 2014 was  co-chaired by Ashley Abess, Jessica Acosta-Rubio, Alana Burstyn, Nina Johnson-Milewski Jessica Katz, John James Lin and Alexis Rivera who lead a dynamic committee of Jourdan Binder, Michelle Chala, Ricky Do, Sarah Farsh, Fabiola Fleuranvil, Jimena Guijarro de Pablo, David Herzberg, Alexander Kushner, Cori Mizrahi, Bernardo Ortiz, Maile Rodriguez, Jeremy Roth, Camila Souza, and Matthew Vander Werff.  With the support of presenting sponsor Braman Motors, the sold-out party raised funds for upcoming MOCA exhibitions. 


Wine, Women & Shoes Presented by Roger Vivier Paris 1. Lucy Morilo, Criselda Breene, Carola Pimentel, Stephanie Sayfie Aagaard

Wine, women and shoes- were created to go together- especially for the purpose of helping children.  It comes as no surprise that the third Annual Wine, Women & Shoes event, presented by Roger Vivier Paris, raised nearly half a million dollars to benefit the Miami Children’s Health Foundation.  On February 10, five hundred of Miami’s most philanthropic and fashion-forward ladies who lunch squeezed into their stilettos to gather at the Coral Gables Country Club to shop and mingle at the sold-out event. 

“It was inspiring to see so many women showing their support for our children and families, while having a wonderful time enjoying fashion and friendship,“ said Lucy Morillo Esq., President & CEO, of Miami Children’s Health Foundation. 

Fittingly, Roger Vivier Paris, the fashion house credited with the design of the first stiletto heel, served as presenting sponsor. Guests were treated to a fashion show by Neiman Marcus Coral Gables and a creative shoe contest. The ladies also enjoyed signature wine tastings sponsored by Premier Beverage, a one-of-a-kind silent auction, and a delicious lunch. 


“This has been our most successful Wine, Women & Shoes event to date,” said Criselda Breene and Carola Pimentel, this year’s co-chairs. “We are very proud of the hard work of our committee members and the support we received from the Hospital and Foundation board throughout the year.”


For the third year in a row, the hunky “Shoe Guys” were the highlight of the afternoon.  Dressed in black, the guys displayed the latest in women’s fashion on silver platters for everyone’s enjoyment, as evidenced by the excited ovation they received upon taking the stage.  Stephanie Sayfie Aagaard proudly served as this year’s Mistress of Ceremonies, introducing Diane Breslow, who shared a moving story about her son, Harrison, a 12-year-old whose life was saved by Miami Children’s Hospital Emergency Department and the talented staff of the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit. Harrison was in attendance with his mother and presented a video testimonial featuring interviews with some of the doctors who saved his life. “As a parent you don’t really imagine anything like this happening to you. Harrison was perfectly healthy one day, and the next- we had no idea what was wrong with him,” said Diane during the presentation. “On behalf of my entire family, I want to thank everyone who has donated to this wonderful cause for making a difference not just in my son’s life, but also in every patient’s life who walks through the doors of Miami Children’s Hospital.”  For more information about the Wine, Women & Shoes event or Miami Children’s Health Foundation, contact Lisbet Fernandez-Vina at 786.268.1845 or visit

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