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Published: Monday, 11/24/2003

Spirits soar at dual events

Sold! Bachelor Number One. Bachelors braved it in the name of charity and were auctioned off for a dinner date and a bottle of wine. It was all part of the fun Friday night at “Wine and Roses: An Art Affair to Remember” at The Pinnacle to benefit the Kidney Foundation.

Couples, parents, friends of bachelors, and friends seeking a date for a friend and themselves — they were all there. Those not interested in bidding for bachelors, had other opportunities for chances to win everything from vacation, entertainment, sports, and dinner packages to jewelry, art, wines, and wine accessories.

HERE'S TO LOVE: Bachelors John LaRiche and Craig Smith toast with other bachelors and guests at The Pinnacle in Maumee for the benefit for the Kidney Foundation. HERE'S TO LOVE: Bachelors John LaRiche and Craig Smith toast with other bachelors and guests at The Pinnacle in Maumee for the benefit for the Kidney Foundation.
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Chairman Diana Kerr-Brown was surprised when the bachelors called her to the block so she could share in the experience before she retires from the position she's held for nine of the auction's 12 years.

Among the bachelors aged 25 to 63 and a variety of occupations were David Carpenter, Andre Cowell, Brian Epstein, Craig Frost, Joshua Hughes, Zach Lahey, John LaRiche, Geoffrey Loisel, Mark Maher, Lee Tebbetts, Rick Schmidt, Todd Strayer, Craig Smith, and Greg Haselhuhn.

Honorary chairmen Janine Ody, Allen Flickinger, and Eileen Cousino were pleased the event exceeded its goal of $50,000 that night, and they're still counting. In the meantime, everyone had fun, including Carolyn Ruge, who was there with a table of women on a girls' night out.

“You never know when you might meet Mr. or Mrs. Right!” said Mary Westphal, who met her husband when she bought his date package at the Cystic Fibrosis bachelor auction in 1987. They became engaged three months later and married the next year. Her husband, Bob, joked, “She made me do it!”

HERE'S TO OENOPHILES: Pam Haley and Mari Davis lift secret spirits at the Vineyard to benefit the Sight Center. HERE'S TO OENOPHILES: Pam Haley and Mari Davis lift secret spirits at the Vineyard to benefit the Sight Center.
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The Westphals were not at the Kidney Foundation event Friday, because they were sipping wine at the Blind Wine Tasting for the Sight Center at The Vineyard and Westgate Village Arcade. A half dozen bottles of wine in brown paper bags challenged oenophiles —that's a fancy name for wine connoisseur — to test their sense of balance or look, smell, and taste. Cindi Marcis, there with Jack Sculfort, proudly guessed all but one.

Also seen were board chairman Sakui Malakpa, Nancy and Stephen Gabalac, Larry Dillin, Kim and Steve Hanson, Tony Reams, Becky and Barry Vincent, Francis Dumbuya, Greg and Jamie Rosenthal, Bob Ruhlin, Tom and Connie Schmidt, Tom and Mary Zraik, Pat and John Eberly, Mark and Beth Stutler, Amy and Britt Eaton, and Tim and Chris Harrington.

Event chairman Kathryn Pilewskie reports a net of $10,000.

DOWN TO BUSINESS: From left, Jamie Dauel, left, John Hopkins Branam, Rob Dauel, and Brian Epstein hobnob. DOWN TO BUSINESS: From left, Jamie Dauel, left, John Hopkins Branam, Rob Dauel, and Brian Epstein hobnob.
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Sight and Sounds, a soiree for young professionals, was a recent event presented by the Toledo Museum of Art and the Toledo Symphony.

The evening included casual cocktails, the museum's art, a peek at the orchestra in rehearsal, and door prizes. The only cost: a business card.

The younger professional crowd had a chance to mingle with all ages. Betsy and Tom Brady said of the event, “This is economic development.” They may be right: These young folks have chosen to stay in Toledo, tying in with Richard Florida's ideas on talent, tolerance, and technology for a successful city.

Hobnobbing were Dave Parrish, Lambie and Mike Stout, Todd Hughes, Gretchen DeBacker and Brian Stenger, Greg and Michelle Sullivan, Rita Prior, Ellen Grachek, and John Hopkins Branam.

Jeff Robinson and Angela Kendziorski were guests of honor recently at a party in the home of his mother, Marianne Ballas. The couple are engaged to be married May 22 at St. Joan of Arc; the reception will be at Gladieux Meadows.

Paul White, accompanied by Jim Gottron on the piano, sang a love song.

The bride-to-be is the daughter of Linda and Larry Kendziorski, who gave a prayer.

PREVIEW REVIEW: William and Maxine Block, with outgoing museum director, Roger Berkowitz, reminisce over their collection before the display opens to the public. PREVIEW REVIEW: William and Maxine Block, with outgoing museum director, Roger Berkowitz, reminisce over their collection before the display opens to the public.
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“Contemporary Directions: Glass from the Maxine and William Block Collection” opened Friday in the Toledo Museum of Art, but some folks were privy to a sneak peek the night before at a reception honoring Mr. and Mrs. Block.

But the sneak peek was really special for the Blocks, who had not seen their pieces in the collection in the nearly one year it took to put the show together.

“It's like our children,” remarked Mrs. Block when she saw the show for the first time, before the guests entered the gallery. She reminisced about where each of the 63 pieces had been in their home and when and where they were purchased.

The Blocks said they didn't know much about collecting when they started buying little pieces of studio art to decorate their apartment. It grew from there.

The Blocks began their collection in the late '80s when they visited Toledo from Pittsburgh because of Mr. Block's involvement with The Blade. Mr. Block said, “I was already 72 years old when we started the collection. ... It recharged our batteries.” Collecting anything takes a certain passion and specialized knowledge, he said.

While everyone applauded the Blocks, Mr. Block was quick to say, “We're really the middle men — it's the artists that you should applaud. . . . I hope you enjoy it.”

Among the bigwigs at the dinner reception in the Libbey Court and Cloisters was Toledo Museum of Art Director Roger Berkowitz, who welcomed everyone and said, “The best part is, a number of the pieces are promised to the Toledo Museum of Art!”

Also there were show curators Sarah Nichols and Davira Taragin, Carnegie Museum of Art Director Richard Armstrong, Ferdinand and Kathy Hampson of Habitat Gallery of Contemporary Glass in Michigan, the Blocks' daughter, Karen Johnese, founder and executive director of the Pittsburgh Glass Center, and her husband, Dan, a glass blower. In addition, art aficionados, collectors, friends, and family present included Carol and Bill Block, Jr., Georgia and David Welles, Sara Jane and Bill DeHoff, Fran and Dick Anderson, Frank and Jean Voss, Susan and Frazier Reams, John and Molly Chiles, Clyde Scoles, Bob Savage and Julia Habrecht, Mary Bargmann and John Harms, Edith Franklin, and Bob Bell.

Toledo Museum of Art's director-elect Don Bacigalupi was there too. He said the show was dazzling and he would love to take credit for it, but as he had only been in town for four days, he was content to stay in the background and meet more new faces in the world of art in Toledo. Mr. Bacigalupi was welcomed to Toledo the previous night in the Perrysburg home of Mr. and Mrs. DeHoff during a private reception with the museum trustees, including President Jim Hoffman and his wife, Kristine. There, outgoing director Mr. Berkowitz said of his replacement: “What more could you ask for? He brings administrative talents, has a passion for the arts, and a sense of community, which are all vital to the position.”

HONORARY CHAIRMEN: Chuck and Jackie Sullivan underwrote the magic. HONORARY CHAIRMEN: Chuck and Jackie Sullivan underwrote the magic.
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Male students looking gallant in top hats, tails, and white gloves, and female students lovely in gowns and long gloves, welcomed guests as they arrived at Central Catholic High School's Sullivan Center for the “Do You Believe in Magic?” 12th Annual Dinner Auction Friday night.

The bird's-eye view of the scene was elegant: Top hats graced the black-linen-covered tables set with candle and flowers, a shiny black baby grand piano with a pianist played background music, Butch Schoen mesmerized guests with his magic, a lighted catwalk stage held center court, and silent auction tables around the perimeter sparkled with twinkle lights.

Chatter was constant as guests perused the auction items and sipped cocktails before the tasty dinner and live auction began.

GENERAL CHAIRMEN: Sue and Nick Spinazze weave their own special magic. GENERAL CHAIRMEN: Sue and Nick Spinazze weave their own special magic.
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Then it was every man for him or herself as bidding wars erupted for everything from wine furs, and vacation packages to fine art, including the bronze sculpture Flying Colors II by world renowned painter and master sculptor Lorenzo Ghiglieri, purchased by Carole Owen. There was also a grand prize raffle for a gold and diamond tennis-style bracelet, which was won by Dave Pienta.

Honorary chairmen were Chuck and Jackie Sullivan, who underwrote the dinner. General chairmen were Nick and Sue Spinazze.

Among the crowd of 500 were Karen Merrels, John and Elaine Bachey, Gehad and Jean Youseff, Sue and Bob Savage, Dick and Fran Anderson, Jan and Greg Bollin, Tony and Liz Sofo, Jack and Barb Altenburger, Ruth Lewandowski, and Joe and Leta Coyle, who were celebrating their eight-month wedding anniversary that night.

Net proceeds are a whopping $300,000.



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