Date: January 16
Location: City Hall, War Memorial Opera House
Cause: The annual affair raises funds to benefit a wide range of SanFrancisco Ballet artistic initiatives, including new works, scholarships for San Francisco Ballet School students, and community education programs for thousands of youth, families and seniors.
Party planning wizard Riccardo Benavides outdid himself last month, transforming City Hall into a magical forest for San Francisco Ballet’s most memorable opening gala in recent memory. While running the big-ticket event — no easy feat — Benavides managed to snap photos of women in attendance. (Gotta show that gown on the ’Gram! Riccardo gets it.)
The pre-performance dinner and cocktail reception matched the night’s theme: Spellbound, a nod to the ballet’s 2020 season, including A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Cinderella. McCalls catered, naturally, and for dessert, guests feasted on chocolate mousse enshrouded in chocolate shells shaped like ballet shoes. Rodney Strong Vineyards and Scharffenberger Cellars provided the wine, and VIPs in attendance stepped out in all their finery.
Paul Pelosi schmoozed with fellow movers and shakers while waiting for his wife, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, to arrive after her flight from Washington, D.C. (Reader, she made it in time for the performance, and hours later, flew to LA for her appearance on HBO’s Real Time. Meanwhile, we still need to pick up our dry cleaning.)
Also spotted in the crowd: the delightful Emmy-winning actor Tony Hale, who’s currently starring in the play Wakey, Wakey at American Conservatory Theater; Deepa Pakianathan, looking like a queen in Zac Posen; Mary Beth Shimmon; Mourad Lahlou; Ivy Getty; Judy Guggenhime; Malin Giddings; Christine Suppes; Dede Wilsey; Jack Calhoun; Jane Mudge; Lisa Zabelle; Paula West; Karen Caldwell; Christopher Lawrie; Jarrod Baumann; OJ Shansby; Elaine Mellis, and Lorenzo Ortona.