Archive for the ‘Social Work’ Category

What a Rush

Posted by Mary Jo Almeida-Shore On March - 19 - 2009

Kim KardashianKim Kardashian served as the gorgeous and gracious hostess for Russell and Danny Simmons’ Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation‘s star-studded Art For Life Miami Beach gala to benefit art programs for disadvantaged youths at the Fontainebleau on Saturday. Despite Kardashian’s inability to pronounce the word, “philanthropic,” the reality star has demonstrated her commitment to the organization by answering, “Yes,” time and time again when asked for support, explained Danny Simmons. This year, Kardashian auctioned off the dress she wore when she met Prince Albert of Monaco. No word on what happened while she was in the dress or if there’s any incriminating evidence on it, (ala Monica Lewinski’s infamous blue Gap dress). Kardashian’s dress is still on the auction block, in case you’d like to run some tests on it before you get it dry cleaned. Other items up for bid at through March 24, include VIP passes to Beyonce’s upcoming tour; a meet and greet with Kanye West; portraits of Will Smith and Morgan Freeman by celebrated photographer Robert G. Zuckerman; a trip to Four Seasons Great Exuma; and a roundtrip seaplane excursion for eight courtesy of V1 Jets.

Honorees at this year’s gala, which was chaired by Forge owner, Shareef Malnik, included Anheuser-Busch, Inc., the Rubell Family Collection and Jeffrey Soffer, Chairman of Fontainebleau Resorts. A visibly surprised Alonzo Mourning, was given a congratulatory tribute on the retirement of his Miami Heat jersey and an award for his numerous philanthropic endeavors through Alonzo Mourning Charities. Celebrity attendees included, charming actress Vivica Fox, who assured us that the upcoming Curb Your Enthusiasm season will be the funniest yet; extra crispy actor-turned-author, George Hamilton; New Orleans Saint/Kim Kardashian-beau, Reggie Bush; Miami Dolphin, Brandon London; former Mexican President Vicente Fox and his wife Marta (no relation to Vivica); Miss Africa USA 2008-2009, Nyasha Zimucha and legendary soul singer Betty Wright.

Upstairs at the Fontainebleau, in the Glimmer Ballroom, the Wellness Community held its 8th annual Heart & Star gala, co- chaired by real estate developer/hospitality entrepreneur/ nightlife impresario, Michael Capponi. What the event lacked in celebrity muscle, it made up for in elegance and glamour. Over 400 VIPs gathered to support the Wellness Community, which provides services and support to families living with cancer. Among the A-listers in attendance: CBS-TV’s chief weathercaster Lonnie Quinn; Alan and Diane Lieberman; South Beach publishing magnate, Jerry Powers; CEO and founder of Niche Media, Jason Binn; attorney Danny Weiss and his wife, arts activist Merle; Brazilian neo-pop artist, painter and sculptor, Romero Britto; and Rock Band, founder, Lee Dahlberg. Among the top-selling items in the live auction were: a custom painting by Romero Britto, a chance for a young basketball fan to be a “ball manager” on the court during a home Miami Heat game and a full day aboard Capponi’s yacht, complete with gas, food and drinks. Because two of the most well-respected nightlife impresarios, Shareef Malnik and Michael Capponi, chaired galas on the same night at the same time, a number of socialites were forced to shuttle between the two, much like Katherine Heigl’s character in 27 Dresses. Leaving them to wonder, “Doesn’t anybody own a calendar around here?”


The official Art for Life Miami Beach after-party took place the next night at the Forge’s Soul Kitchen, where guests Queen Latifah, Indianapolis Colt, Dwight Freeney, Kansas City Chief, Larry Johnson, San Francisco 49er, Vernon Davis, Arizona Cardinal, Darnell Dockett, Dallas Cowboy, Marion Barber, Tampa Bay Buccaneer, Antonio Bryant, and congressman, Kendrick Meek feasted on traditional Southern cuisine. Hosted by, you guessed it, Russell Simmons and Shareef Malnik, the event raised additional awareness and funding for the Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation.


Destination Fashion

Posted by Mary Jo Almeida-Shore On March - 12 - 2009

SealOn Saturday night, Destination Fashion hit the Shops of Bal Harbour, with an over-the-top party two years in the making. Barton G. transformed the luxury mall into a celebration through the ages: 70s, 80s, 90s and today, with enormous displays representing each decade. Over 2, 000 fashion-forward VIPs including celebrities, sports stars and philanthropic icons were able to get their groove on at Studio 54, munch on sushi with the Star Wars characters, sip cosmos with the girls from Sex and the City, and ponder the fabulosity of it all with the cast from Dynasty. The evening began with a call to action from award- winning actor and event co-chair, Tommy Lee Jones and superstar, Gloria Estefan, followed by testimonials by Nick Buoniconti and son, Marc. Next, Sultan of Style, Project Runway star, Michael Kors, wowed the crowd by presenting his spectacular fall collection straight from the runways of New York Fashion Week. The jaw dropping, bank-breaking, college fund-depleting show was set to a high-energy soundtrack which included Coldplay and New Order. Overheard among the crowd, approximately every fifteen seconds, “Gasp, I’m buying that!” After a lavish dinner at Neiman Marcus, the Pointer Sisters took over, performing a concert of their greatest hits, including He’s So Shy, Fire, Slow Hand, Automatic, Jump and, of course, I’m So Excited. There was barely any time to relish in the carbolicious rapture that was set up across the mall at Saks, where Willy Wonka challenged you to try one of the hundreds of dessert creations which covered every inch of every cosmetic counter before the Seal concert. Seal’s supermodel spouse, Heidi Klum was a no-show, but the crowd didn’t seem to mind, as Seal performed over 10 songs including Kiss from a Rose, Crazy and Prayer for the Dying. Famous faces at the bash included: Tommy Lee Jones, Gloria and Emilio Estefan, Michael Kors, Anna Kournikova, Jerry Rice, Jack Nicklaus, Scottie Pippen, Pat Riley, Don Shula, Romero Britto, Edgerrin James, Clay Adler, Seamus Dever, Asante Samuel, Nat Moore, Carl Lewis, Tim Hardaway, Helio Castroneves, Robin Quivers, Nanette Lepore and Ed Reed among others. By all accounts, Destination Fashion was a huge success, raising over 3.8 million dollars for the Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis. To see the feature on Extra, go to:

This article was originally published in the Miami SunPost on March 12, 2009.

Go Red!

Posted by Mary Jo Almeida-Shore On February - 21 - 2009

1-lead-photo-nick-dannunzio-tara-solomonNick D’Annunzio and Tara Solomon, the self proclaimed “King and Queen of Hearts” celebrated Go Red for Women at a heart-healthy brunch at the Intercontinental Hotel to benefit the American Heart Association.   Elaine Lancaster spun some great tunes, as many South Beach locals and Miami socialites and philanthropists enjoyed a one-of-a-kind afternoon- dressed in red, of course.

Celebrating with a BAM!

Posted by Mary Jo Almeida-Shore On February - 12 - 2009

Renowned Chef Emeril Lagasse celebrated the fifth anniversary of Emeril’scelebrating-with-a-bamromero-britto-presents-emeril-lagasse-with-a-painting-during-his-five-year-anniversary-celebration-2 Miami Beach last Wednesday with a bash benefitting the Miami Children’s Hospital Foundation. Lagasse’s larger-than-life personality shone through as he addressed the crowd of 400, encouraging them to continue to support MCH. To get everyone’s attention, Lagasse threatened to cut off some of the delectable signature dishes that were being served. “This is how it’s gonna go,” Lagasse shouted, “first go the crab cakes, next is the lamb.” This quieted the rowdy bunch for a short while, just long enough for Lagasse to receive his Key to the City and a gorgeous portrait by Romero Britto, which the artist unveiled on-stage, bringing Legasse almost to tears. Following the presentations, New Orleans jazz vocalist and trumpeter, Jeremy Davenport, a featured musical guest on “Emeril Live” performed. Next up was famed eight-year-old pianist Ethan Bortnick. The pint-sized prodigy really showed his age during his rendition of Billy Joel’s Piano Man, during which he sang, “Singing love to his Sonic and Gym.” Adorable! Bortnick then performed a song he wrote for Legasse, entitled, “Bam – Kick it Up a Notch!” and presented the chef with the song’s lyrics. As expected, the food at Emeril’s anniversary party was plentiful and outrageous, including a raw bar, three carving stations, (one with Kobe churrasco), made-to-order Jambalaya, and tons of passed hors d’ oeuvres- all prepared according to Lagasse’s strict specifications and infusing his unique flavors and essences. VIPs in attendance, who helped raise more than $100,000 during the event included, Michael Aller, Jerry, Sandi and Jacqueline D. Powers, Michael Capponi, Lee Schrager, Gene and Hannah Bortnick, Romero Britto, Thomas and Patricia Cornish, Juan Carlos and Vivian Mas, Shawn Hauver, Emeril and Alden Lagasse, Eric Linquest, Lucy Morillo, Mario and Bibiana Murgado, Luis and Norma Quintero, Leticia Pino, Rick and Monica Schatz, Jerry South, Lyle Stern, Jonathan Tisch, Edgar and Nicole Lozano and Eric and Jocelyn Woolworth.

Some Enchanted Evening

Posted by Mary Jo Almeida-Shore On November - 12 - 2008

The InterContinental Hotel was transformed into an enchanted forest for the14th Annual InterContinental Miami Make-A-Wish Ball, one of the premier and most well-attended events of the Kim Kardashian, The Forges Shareef Malnik, Richie Rich, HBO Entourage Star Adrien Greniersocial season.More than 900 A- listers were treated to a night of surprises from the moment they entered the hotel’s lobby, replete with mythical creatures including living tables, talking trees, centaurs, nymphs, and of course, little people, (the new requisite party props), think Narnia meets Neverland. Enormous butterflies of every color hung from the ceiling throughout the lobby and ballroom and there were even fairies swinging from bejeweled swings above the dance floor. Several of the well-heeled guests were surprised while waiting for delicacies from the lavish raw bar, for which this gala is known, to find that one of the columns of the surrounding gazebo, moved or tapped them on the shoulder. During the sumptuous dinner, the gracious and gorgeous reality television personality, Kim Kardashian, emceed the extravagant live auction, the most unusual items of which included a 2009 Aston Martin DBS, an Aspen home rental, a package of 10 Lasik procedures, and a walk-on role on the set of HBO’s Entourage. Charming and adorable cult favorite, Entourage star, Adrian Grenier capped off the gala with a musical performance by his band, The Honeybrothers.


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