Parties: Elegant Twinkle Toes

Written by Catherine Bigelow | Photography by Drew Altizer

As Freud once, sorta kinda, said: Sometimes a party is just a party. And that was the fact December 14 at An Elegant Evening in the Court of Honor, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco’s annual holiday soiree held at the Legion of Honor.

This beloved black-tie dinner-dance — sans speechifying, live auctions and pledge pleas — dates to the early ’60s when society lioness and late shipping heiress Diana Dollar Knowles corralled the museums’ loyal, deep-pocketed donors to celebrate the season beneath a clear tent atop the storied Thinker’s Courtyard.

Honorary gala chairwoman and still-reigning FAMSF poobah Dede Wilsey was supported in her efforts by a host committee of FAMSF trustees: Jack Calhoun, Lorna Meyer Calas, Max Boyer Glynn, Carl Pascarella, Mariana Gantus Wall and Lisa Zanze. Designer Stanlee Gatti supplied understated yet supremely elegant decor (such as centerpieces overflowing with red Ecuadorean roses crowned by crystal chandeliers) that accompanied a divine four-course menu by McCalls president Lucas Schoemaker.

But first twinkle-toes hit the dance floor — led by Wilsey and financier Bob Hill — tangoing, waltzing and twirling to lively big band tunes by maestro Bob Hardwick.

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