Working the Room: First, Find Right Party

Article excerpt

ACTION CITY: My breath mint clicked rapidly against my teeth, because I got impatient. In a party crowd Saturday night at Tower Grove Park, I didn't recognize one face. I turned to my curious friend, who wanted to see what it was like "working the rooms" with the Bergermeister, and pleaded, "I must've misread my database." The country music played on as the hip-wonky crowd - some in jeans - guzzled beer. No, this can't be the Party at the Palm House, where for the first time the 63124 crowd was to leave the rarified air to mingle with the 104, 110 and 116 ZIP coders, thanks to the efforts of Anne C. Stupp. "You're right," said one of the guests, when my face registered disappointment. "You're at the wedding reception for David Brawley and Kathleen MacManus."

We drove through a maze and found the right party. Never did I think I'd see in the confines of the Victorian Tower Grove Park the likes of attorney Millard Backerman and wife Renee together with Seventh Ward Alderman and mayoral candidate Marit Clark, Democratic committeewoman Bevery Buchheit and Barbara and Don Bryant Jr. But, there they were, in the park that is one of only four on the National Register of Historic places. Almost $45,000 was raised to renovate the interior of the 117-year-old Palm House - the oldest remaining building of its kind west of the Alleghenies. The house was designed by George I. Barnett for Henry Shaw. Almost 400 guests paid $50 each, along with contributions from major underwriters and donors, including Marion and Vern Piper. Guarantee Electric supplied the power for the evening, which included dinner, dancing and an auction.

"My dad (Irvin Stupp) grew up on Shenandoah Avenue, a few blocks away from here," hailed Bob Stupp, head of the Tower Grove commissioners and a major underwriter of the evening. Also on hand were the park's director, John Karel; Beverly and Joe Curtis; Denny and Bonnie Coleman; Tom and Ginger Purcell; Janet and Tom Keller; Tim Hayes with Suzie Gudermuth; do-gooder and Botanicals maven Dan Hill; Carolyn Ellis, the Scottsdale, Ariz., caterer who has been nominated as Arizona's "entrepreneur of the year;" Bud and Mary Barnes; Donald Bergmann; Suzanne and Dr. Bob Bruce; and Sister Margaret Brady of St. Elizabeth's Academy, who is a member of the Tower Grove Park Friends board. Some volunteers gushed how Sister Margaret had written to prospective workers, "You haven't signed for anything yet. …