Movers and Shakers

November Movers and Shakers

by Erin Carlson

Six high achievers on our radar this month, from Bay Area heavyweights to the next generation shaking things up.

Sudha Pennathur

The founder and CEO of the House of Pennathur joined Berkeley Rep’s board of trustees for the 2017–2018 season, along with Steven Goldin, Laura Severino and Kelli Tomlinson. “Having been on a number of nonprofit boards in the Bay Area, this was the first where my personal passion for music and theater and my mission to help the community came together,” Pennathur, who lives in Tiburon, tells the Gazette. “Working with such diverse and talented people was an instant draw.” Her namesake global design and manufacturing company provides unique, artisanal jewelry and textiles for museums and high-end stores including Saks, Harrods, Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman.

Ken Fulk

Our jaws dropped to the floor when we spotted the insane floral headgear on the models at Dolce & Gabbana’s fashion show in Milan this fall. The opulent bouquets, in rich jewel tones like fuschia and purple, were designed by none other than international man-about-town Fulk—though he may be headquartered in San Francisco, his talents belong to the world. Fulk’s flowers sparked the attention of the fashion house when Alexis Traina showed Domenico Dolce an Elizabeth Taylor-inspired headdress he made for her to wear at a gala in Venice last June. He recreated his magic for the label, crafting three copycats in 10 days and sending them off to Italy with each petal intact. Meanwhile, we must ask: Does Fulk sleep? Between his jet-setting, and his dogs, and his big life, we’re dying to know his secrets.

Ben Davis

On November 8, a dark day for some of us still recovering from the election, the maestro of San Francisco light shows has planned what will surely pan out to become another stunning public art installation—and one to lighten the mood. The executive director of Illuminate, the collective behind the breathtaking Bay Lights and the “Summer of Love” display at the Conservatory of Flowers, is organizing a tribute to Harvey Milk that sounds like a Care Bear Stare of sorts, with rainbow beams rising up into the sky from the plaza named for the gay rights icon in the Castro. “It’s almost a responsibility to remind the world of our beautiful nature,” Davis says. “We’re gonna keep that candle lit.”

John Ring

The Director of Development at Archbishop Riordan High School is working hard to raise the profile of the city’s oldest all-boys Catholic school. In two years, his department has raised the funds to renovate the Riordan gym in honor of esteemed graduate (and former USF and NBA standout) Kevin Restani and build a makerspace and 21st-century auto shop on campus. Ring, who spent 16 years as a trial lawyer for Lynch, Gilardi and Grummer, is next looking to improve Riordan’s athletic field. And he’s primed to work his fundraising mojo at the school’s Annual Downtown Lunch in the Sir Francis Drake Hotel on December 8, with San Francisco Giants great Will Clark as the guest speaker.

Chris Bleidorn

Compliments to the chef on his hotly anticipated restaurant Birdsong, slated to open in the former AQ space this winter. Bleidorn, who hails from Saison, Atelier Crenn, Benu and Alinea, brings with him a wealth of experience—not to mention a compelling vision rooted in the cuisine of the Pacific Northwest. “At Birdsong, we will pay homage to cooking techniques of the past, with a playfully refined and thoughtful menu that highlights the connection between city and nature,” he says, teasing the restoration of “ancient cooking methods: utilizing open fire and smoke, dry-aging meat and experimenting with a number of fermenting techniques. Also bringing back ingredients like cold water shellfish, wild game (like elk, buffalo, boar), berries, mushrooms and other seasonal ingredients” native to Oregon, Washington, Alaska and British Columbia.

Gwyneth Borden

Kudos to the executive director of the Golden Gate Restaurant Association for spearheading the Saucy Awards, now in its second year and quickly becoming one of the city’s most exciting events. The Saucies, to be held November 6 at the Herbst Theater, will bestow a Williams Sonoma copper saucepan (aka, the star of your Julia Child dreams) to 21 winners in categories such as Sous Chef of the Year, Wine Program of the Year and Exceptional Fast-Casual Restaurant of the Year. The festivities will begin with a tribute to those afflicted by the devastating fires in Northern California. “We must continue to be resilient,” says Borden. “I hope these awards will be an uplifting note during a trying time.”

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