I am so in awe of the marathon runners. It’s an amazing feat to be able to run 26 miles over the bedrock pavement throughout New York City. Even those who start out running and end up walking deserve a big round of applause. I can assure you that it could never be me. My challenge would be to walk across the Verrazano Bridge and stop there—that I believe I could do. Each year, I appreciate the ability of those who can more and more. Thank goodness there were no major incidents to mar the event.
Halloween was so much fun this year. Actually, it’s fun every year, as everyone everywhere seems to dress up as his or her alter ego. The Mitchells dressed as Supergirl, the Enchantress and Dracula (that’s Julia, me and Charles, respectively). I got on my broom and tricked and treated up and down 121st Street between Lenox and Seventh avenues. The whole block was lit up with ghosts, goblins and even former mayoral candidate Bill Thompson, dressed as himself. Thompson was handing out loads of goodies.
Beatrice Siblies was most definitely the good witch of the block, as she not only handed out the goods, but took pictures as well. Little Jordan Bracey, granddaughter of Donald Marquez, was dressed as the sweetie pie that she is. It was hard to tell who was who behind most of the masks, but it didn’t matter because everyone was having a creepy good time.
Seen having more than a creepy good time were those attending the American Ballet Theatre’s (ABT) annual Opening Night Fall Gala benefit. One in particular was Valentino Carlotti, Goldman Sachs partner and head of the Securities Division Institutional Client Group, who was sitting side by side with super socialite Susan Fales-Hill. What a yummy-looking couple they make.
Carlotti was pictured with Misty Copeland, whose dress was as different as it was beautiful, and that was nice (yes, both the dress and the picture).
Carlotti just may be the flavor of the month, as you may also remember Carlotti from last summer’s fourth annual Diversity Affluence Brunch & Awards at B. Smith’s Restaurant in Sag Harbor, N.Y., where he was among those recognized as outstanding professionals who practice a multicultural business agenda and make a positive social impact. Here, he was pictured with supermodel Alek Wek. Guess you could say he’s a “super” kind of guy.
Anyway, getting back to the ballet, altogether, the gala raised over $1.5 million, a percentage of which will benefit ABT’s education and community outreach programs. Also in attendance were Bryant and Hilary Gumble, Star Jones, actress Sigourney Weaver and actor Taye Diggs.
The ballet was beautiful as everything always is. Held at the David H. Koch Theatre, the program featured a one-time-only gala performance, a world premiere, a new production of George Balanchine’s “Theme and Variations” led by Gillian Murphy and James Whiteside, and a pièce d’occasion choreographed by ABT principal dancer Marcelo Gomes, set to “Souvenir de Florence” by Pyotr Tchaikovsky.
Meanwhile, a little down yonder, Dr. Rod Paige received the inaugural Blue Cure Foundation Award in Houston, Texas, for his outstanding career in education. Paige’s career path in education has been outstanding indeed. He was born in 1933 in segregated Monticello, Miss., the son of a principal and a public school librarian. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Jackson State University and then a master’s and a doctoral degree from Indiana University; his commitment to education was destined to take him far.
Paige began his career as a classroom teacher. Advancing up the ladder, he later served as dean of the College of Education at Texas Southern University (TSU) for a decade. In this position, Paige took note of the obstacles teachers faced and created opportunities to ensure that teachers would receive the training and expertise necessary to transform the classroom into a true place of learning. He established the TSU Excellence in Urban Education Center, a research facility that focuses on instruction and management in urban school systems.
Refusing to be comfortable at this level of accomplishment, Paige pushed on. He didn’t get caught up in the glory of the long list titles bestowed upon him. Paige was a trustee and an officer of the board of education of the Houston Independent School District (HISD) and a superintendent of HISD, the nation’s seventh largest school district. He was named one of “Houston’s 25 Most Powerful People” in guiding the city’s growth and prosperity and named National Superintendent of the Year by the American Association of School Administrators. Paige is the first school superintendent ever to serve as secretary of education.
As the seventh United States secretary of education serving under the Bush administration, it was Paige who pushed the laws concerning the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. With wife, Stephanie Nellons-Paige, standing elegantly by his side, perhaps this latest award was the best one yet.
Augusta Clark, another beloved educator and former Philadelphia City Council member who fought tirelessly for children and quality public education, recently passed away. A librarian and a lawyer who always used her professional skills to help build community amongst friends, family and associates, Clark is fondly remembered by many. Condolences also go out to Barbara Boulden, whose mother has recently passed away, and the family of Walter Lomax of Philadelphia, a longstanding physician and entrepreneur. We send our best to the family of Sheila Evans Trainer, whose sister, Sandra Evans, passed away after a long illness. Our prayers for comfort are with you all.
Happy birthday to Shameria, Nola Whiteman, Claudia Singleton and Tony James.
Esperanza Spalding, Terri Lyne Carrington and Valerie Simpson were looking good while they hung out at the Carnegie Hall Gala. Thelma Golden, actress Cicely Tyson and Marva Smalls were also looking good at Kathy Chenault’s tête-à-tête.
The El Museo del Barrio Junior Committee hosted it annual Dia del Los Muertos on Nov. 1, All Saints’ Day. Featured was a dazzling artist-created altar by Yaocihuatzin, curated by Chief Curator Chus Martínez, a perfomance by Latin–fusion star Xenia Rubinos, music by DJ David Lipke and Kyra Caruso, a fabulous silent auction and special holiday drinks and food, including pan de muerto.
This year, El Museo’s Honorary Artist Committee members are David Antonio Cruz, Alex Nuñez, Alejandra Regalado, Angel Otero, Maria Cristina Marrero, Rafael Esquer, Jordan Vogt-Roberts and Timo Weiland. Siempre Mujer is the official media partner. Mexico Tourism Board is an event partner, as is Veuve Clicquot, which provided the evening’s drinks. Event proceeds benefited El Museo’s arts and education programs. The Junior Council of El Museo del Barrio is a membership group composed of young, philanthropic art lovers who assist the museum in presenting and preserving the best of Latino, Caribbean and Latin American art and culture. With Veuve Clicquot, just like the ballet, everything is beautiful—siempre.
Until next week … kisses