One Night Stand

Article excerpt

Britain, The Netherlands, India, Spain, Norway, Slovenia ... the Pittsburgh International Festival of Firsts has put our town on the world map as a mecca for the hottest performing talents and visual arts that the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust could possibly telescope into 16 exciting nights ('til Oct. 25).

And so to Germany, my little strudel, for a One Night Stand with Berlin's Max Raabe & Palast Orchester, a charming baritone and his big band who lit up the Benedum Center stage with their versatility and talent. With comic asides that basted the mostly German musical passages together from the '20s and '30s, crooner Raabe delightfully segued from joyous jump tunes to ballads to a hilarious send-up of "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf" and Britney Spears' "Oops! I Did it Again." Everyone agreed they were wunderbar.

Saturday's night on the town began with cocktails in a spectacular, clear acrylic tent that spanned a city block. Harking back to the '20s of Jay Gatsby and Daisy, 600 swanks entered a razzle-dazzling cafe society setting that glittered with Toadflax's snowy bouquets on high, potted palms, champagne and caviar, art deco furniture and the sophisticated swing of the Tom Roberts band. The women dressed to kill and thrill, and the men all looked like somebody.

Then we strolled under a tented walkway to the Benedum's stage door for a pre-concert wine and dine. The Duquesne Club stood and delivered a luscious menu of tossed bitter greens and warm pancetta, juicy beef tenderloins and, jawohl, German chocolate cake torte over tables covered pale and long that floated bowls of fragrant gardenias. The fun bubbled on in the tent at the Afterglow party for dancing and desserting.

Thanks to chairs Becky and John Surma, the abfab eve broke all records in attendance and fundraising at $700,000 for the Trust, a visionary force in the arts that has reshaped Downtown into a safe, livable oasis of galleries, smart restaurants, hotels and theaters. Does that make Becky and John, chairman/CEO of U.S. Steel, patrons of the arts with a capital P? You bet your pianoforte it does.

The crowd was laced with heavies of the corporate, arts and social stripe. Like Dick's Sporting Goods chief Ed Stack with Donna Burnett; iGate founder Sunil Wadhwani and Nita in a divine red chiffon sari beaded in Swarovski crystals; Peggy and Steve McKnight; Audrey and Don Heberle, Bank of NY Mellon prez; Nadine Bognar; PCT chair Ken Melani; Toto Fisher; Chuck Brodbeck and Jill sporting a fab chalcedony pendant; Curt and Kim Tillotson Fleming; Gwen and Steve Manto; Christopher Hahn and Ron Booth; Veronica and Lou Guarino; Pat and Alan Siger; Catherine Loevner; Scott Deaktor and Marsha, stunning in mauve; Susan and David Matter; Steve Robinson and Katherine Fraenkel; Colleen and Dr. Paul Hennigan; Ken Lehn and Marina, a knockout in a cafe-au-lait column.

Moving along with Pam and Ken McCrory; Selma and Leon Sherman; Barbara Barry and Dr. Michael White; Bonnie and Tom VanKirk; Neil Barclay; Marsetta and Dick Schweiger; Joanie and Sam Kamin; Joan and Bob Pierce; Kathy and Lou Testoni; Helen and Jack Stabile; Lynn and Ron Davenport; Sue and Mark Gleason; Susan Nitzberg; Jeannie and Luke Desmone; Steve Feinstein; Jane Arkus; Juliette Grauer; Ellen and Jay Brooks; Lu and Syl Damianos; Cynthia Carrow; Beth Wainwright and Russ Kemerer; Carol Savage and Bob DiBella; Michelle and Andy Aloe; and Nancy Byrnes who coordinated the glam to-do.

Breakfast at Tiffany

"Today I am fulfilling one of my longtime fantasies," beamed the Pittsburgh Public Theater's Ted Pappas, "having breakfast at Tiffany." Yes, Ms. Golightly, after a trumpeting fanfare and the flurry of two models wearing pale blue gowns and sparkle-plenty bijoux, the doors to the city's first Tiffany & Co. in Ross Park Mall opened Thursday for breakfast and bling-bling to 150 thrilly- thrilled guests. …