Tattlers Preview: SaratogaArtsFest’s Prelude at Prime at Saratoga National 4/10

1782077_10153899201530072_559279897_nA week from today on April 10th is the 2014 Prelude, SaratogaArtsFest’s annual fundraising event happening at Prime at Saratoga National. Tied to the theme for this year’s festival, It’s an Artist’s Life, the night is truly a prelude to their annual festival held June 11-15, 2014.

The Tattlers happily attended this event last year and had a ball dancing with Tango Fusion, and this year promises to be a fun night out. With dinner catered by Prime and featuring live music by Stony Creek Band with dancing by Tango Fusion, attendees at this year’s Prelude will have more than enough to enjoy, including an art exhibit of paintings by Honorary Chair Lidia Bazar. Adding to the evening’s festivities will also be complimentary signature cocktails, live painting by artist Tom Myott, and a stocked silent auction focusing on auction items that provide an experience. Guests will be able to bid on anything from wine tastings to a dinner and hot air balloon ride for two. But thrown in for good measure and highlighting this festival year’s Sport as Art program is an autographed Henrik Lundqvist jersey. In addition, a part of the evening will be devoted to honoring an amazing community leader and regional arts advocate, Ruthann Marcelle.

Tickets for Prelude are regularly priced at $100, or $75 for the junior price, and are available for purchase by clicking here.


Gala Saturday to Benefit the Children’s Museum at Saratoga

screenshot-2014-02-19-10-22-35This Saturday is the 5th Annual Children’s Museum at Saratoga’s Birthday Bash taking place at Prime at Saratoga National. The evening includes passed hors d’oeuvres and an incredible sit down dinner from the folks at Prime at Saratoga National, awesome live music from Two Girls and a Grand as well as The Blockos Band, a fabulous photo booth from Smile Lounge Photo Booth, complimentary signature cocktails, and the chance to have an elegant night out all while helping this great organization that is devoted to helping local kids grow and learn. We’ve heard they have a great list of silent auction items this year that includes a ten person tour of Yaddo and picnic and a four pack of Disney park hopper passes, among dozens of other exciting offerings.

Tickets are just $85 per person and $150 per couple and are available till Wednesday. For information about the event, or to reserve tickets, please call The Children’s Museum at Saratoga at (518) 584-5540 or visit online here.

The SPAC Winter Ball 2014: A Russian Whiteout

We showed up nice and early to SPAC’s Winter Ball on Saturday and apparently so did everyone else. The Hall of Springs started filling up as soon as the doors opened to guests and party goers wasted no time in getting into the swing of the Moscow Winter Wonderland in store for them as part of the fabulous Russian Whiteout theme of the evening. The ball was hosted by SPAC’s Junior Committee, and seems to be growing in size and popularity every year.

Fur was definitely the hottest accessory that night, but it wasn’t just for the ladies. Men and women alike sported Russian style hats and plenty of fur topped Saratogians were spotted weaving through the crowd. The dress code was cocktail attire “with a Russian twist”, and as usual the enthusiastic crowd at this event took this up a notch. We saw “winter brides” sporting long white gowns, men in white tuxes, traditional Russian garb tweaked with a modern style, and plenty of playful nods to this year’s Winter Olympic hosts.

There were plenty of hot spots to hit that night, and guests gathered around the Snow Cone Cocktail table as well as the vodka bar complete with an ice luge. Beautiful dancers from Northeast Ballet Company dressed in gorgeous winter themed costumes worked the crowd selling raffle tickets and their charm was very difficult to say no to, as was the chance to win some of the great raffles. Servers glided through the packed room carrying aloft trays of winter themed bites like tiny pots of french onion soup and the “Italian Outpost” featuring signature cocktails and imported cheeses was another high traffic spot.

photos courtesy of Heather Bohm Tallman

photos courtesy of Heather Bohm Tallman

photos courtesy of Heather Bohm Tallman

photos courtesy of Heather Bohm Tallman

photos courtesy of Heather Bohm Tallman

photos courtesy of Heather Bohm Tallman

Five piece party band Saving Atlantis got the guests on the dance floor quicker than usual with their perfectly chosen mix of cover songs, and we spotted Tina Nigro putting her white go go boots to good use dancing with husband Kyran. The dance floor bumped right up into the throngs of mingling guests, happy to be free of cabin fever for the evening, and spotted catching up with friends we saw Meredith and Paul von Schenk, Charles and Natalie Wait, Emily and Jerome Mopsik, SPAC Chief Marketing & Development Officer Shane Williams Ness looking stunning in a black leather shift from Piper Boutique, Natalie McClain and her fiancee Matt Pinckney, Amy and Chuck Pickney, Ryan Bouchey, Laura & AJ Palkovitch, Nick Pavoldi, Ray Bryan, Abe and Angie Sultan, Rick Partyka, there with daughter Cassandra, Justin Jordan, and Heather Varney. Rachel Uccellini, there with husband Tom, got our pick for the best dressed, looking every inch a glamorous ice queen in a to die for BCBG lace dress.

Perhaps one of the most popular spots of the night was the Heather Bohm Tallman photo booth. Guests waited in line for the chance to get their photo snapped by Saratoga favorite Tallman, and we adored the extra added fun of a little sprinkle of snow tossed onto guests just as they were about to say cheese. Before the night was through the “Russian Ice Queen” and “Moscow Mafia Man” Costume Contest winners were announced to much applause, and guests had a chance to get on the dance floor one more time. Overall a fabulously successful event for the SPAC Junior Committee, and we are certain we aren’t the only ones already excited to see what fun they come up with for next year.

We chatted with SPAC Junior Committee member Meredith von Schenk about the event, who told us, “We had record attendance at our winter ball this year and couldn’t be more thrilled with the outcome. We would not have pulled it off without the tremendous support of the SPAC Junior Committee and of course Kristy Godette and Mary Jane Sweetland”.

photos courtesy of Heather Bohm Tallman

photos courtesy of Heather Bohm Tallman

photos courtesy of Heather Bohm Tallman

photos courtesy of Heather Bohm Tallman

Planned Parenthood Celebrate Choice Event

There were some fabulous events that took place in our brief hiatus this winter, one of which was the Planned Parenthood Celebrate Choice Gala. Lucky for us, we got a chance to chat with the organizers at Planned Parenthood who shared some of the highlights of the event.

The 26th annual Celebrate Choice evening gala and silent auction was held at the Canfield Casino in Saratoga Springs, on Saturday, February 1st. The event was a great success with nearly 200 Planned Parenthood supporters from the area in attendance. The historic Canfield Casino was a fantastic venue for this lively mid-winter event as guests enjoyed a “Choice” signature cocktail, delicious hors d’oeuvres and desserts catered by The Lily & The Rose and lively tunes by the Neil Brown Trio.

Celebrate Choice picture 2

Planned Parenthood was thrilled to have so many businesses donate items for the night’s highly anticipated silent auction. Guests bid enthusiastically on several items including Proctors theater tickets, a box for the races this summer, antique jewelry and much more. Rob Mains was the lucky winner of the coveted ‘Celebrate Choice’ raffle this year, which consisted of 24 bottles of wine. .

The Celebrate Choice Gala is generously underwritten by Amy Durland and Rob Mains and Aime and Tom Richards. Funds raised help support Planned Parenthood Mohawk Hudson’s A.C. Riley Center in Saratoga Springs. Women, men and families visit this health center for medical services including annual exams, cancer screening, birth control, and testing/treatment of sexually transmitted infections to stay healthy.

Planned Parenthood Mohawk Hudson’s Celebrate Choice is an annual event in Saratoga Springs.

SPAC Winter Ball Tickets Giveaway

image003SPAC’s Winter Ball is coming up and we are loving this year’s theme. Inspired by SPAC’s upcoming Bolshoi Ballet engagement and the excitement surrounding the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, the theme for SPAC’s popular winter gala will be “The Winter Ball: A Russian Whiteout.” The event, slated for Saturday, February 22 at 8pm in Saratoga’s glamorous and historic Hall of Springs, is a fundraiser for classical programming presented by SPAC’s Junior Committee.

Guests at this year’s event will be transported to a virtual Russian winter wonderland as organizers plan to transform the ballroom of the Hall of Springs into a winter palace, complete with ice sculptures, martini ice luges, a Russian vodka bar courtesy of Tovaritch Vodka, generous and hearty Tsar-worthy fare, a blizzard photo booth by Heather Bohm Tallman, a raffle with glittering prizes, live music by Saving Atlantis and dancing. Guests are encouraged to don cocktail attire with a Russian twist for the chance to win SPAC event tickets and be crowned best dressed “Russian Ice Queen” and “Moscow Mafia Man,” respectively.

Marking its fourth year in 2014, the Winter Ball has quickly become known as a “can’t miss” among the region’s young professionals for its fun themes, great live music and mouthwatering cocktails and hors d’oeuvres.  With nods to pop culture and icons, time periods, and popular television shows, past themes have included “Mad Men,” “Bond: Shaken not Stirred,” and most recently, “Dallas: Everything’s Bigger in Texas.”

“Last year’s ‘Dallas’ Winter Ball was a huge success for SPAC and tremendous fun for guests with mechanical bull rides and a southwestern flavor,” said Meredith von Schenk, the Winter Ball Co-Chair. “This year we are putting the winter back in ‘Winter Ball’ for a truly elegant and enchanting evening complete with ice sculptures, martini ice luges, faux fur and of course, vodka. Guests will be blown away by this blizzard ball.”

“The Junior Committee’s Winter Ball has become one of SPAC’s most popular fundraisers. Not only does the Junior Committee throw a great party, but the evening is a wonderful way to support SPAC in our off-season,” said Marcia J. White, SPAC’s President and Executive Director. “Based on the success of last year’s sell-out event, we encourage people to purchase their tickets now.”

SPAC’s fabulous Junior Committee at last year’s Winter Ball

SPAC’s fabulous Junior Committee at last year’s Winter Ball

SPAC’s Junior Committee, formed in 2010, consists of rising young professionals from in and around the Capital Region. The goal of the Committee is to assist SPAC in fundraising, donor cultivation and outreach among their peers. Proceeds raised at the Committee’s Winter Ball help underwrite the classical programming and educational activities of SPAC’s summer season.

Here on Toga Tattlers we are giving away TWO tickets to this year’s Winter Ball courtesy of SPAC ($150 total value)! One winner will receive both tickets for this great event, and all you have to do to enter is make sure you “like” our page on facebook here and comment below with why YOU want to go to The Winter Ball: A Russian Whiteout. One winner will be drawn at random and notified via email on Friday, February 14th at 5pm.

For more information about The Winter Ball, click here or contact Kristy Godette, kristy@spac.org  or 518-584-9330 ext. 109.  For information on the special Gideon Putnam Winter Ball Overnight Package, contact Deanna Kirk at The Gideon Putnam at 518.226.4752. Tickets, $75 in advance and $80 after February 19th, are available at spac.org.

Hiatus: Over

togatattlersAfter taking a brief hiatus, the Tattlers are back and we have some news. While our print column that appears in the Saratogian will be taking a break till later in the spring, we are launching our online only column starting off with our coverage of SPAC’s Winter Ball on February 22nd. Our online column will give us a bit more freedom for a little more fun, a lot more photos, and a some more unique coverage that you can only find here. If you have a party you want us to cover, reach out to Robin at daltonrobin@gmail  with some information. In the meantime, stay tuned for some exclusive online only features that are brand new for the New Year. -J & R

We Have Two Words for You: Mardi. Gras.

1537938_10151992338919492_28189456_oTomorrow night Saratogians are going to take a break from their post-holiday hibernations to celebrate at one of the biggest bashes this town sees all year, Hattie’s 13th Annual Mardi Gras Soiree! This year’s beneficiary will be Saratoga Hospital’s Community Health Center and the festivities kick off at 6pm with complimentary cocktails for first hour, delicious food from Jasper Alexander of Hattie’s, an incredible silent auction and more. The annual Mardi Gras event has raised more than $300,000 for various charities since and will definitely make a splash again this year.

Michael Panza and his stylish team at Fine Affairs are sure to outdo themselves again with the decor, and Garland Nelson and Soul Session will surely maintain their status as Saratoga faves as they keep party goers on the dance floor all night. Grab some beads, a mask and your closest friends for a photo memory with Heather Bohm Tallman Photography, the only thing more fun than taking a group shot at the Heather Bohm Tallman photo booth is checking out the photos online to relive the memories!

Every thing about this event is larger than life, guests will even be led into the party by the professional dancers of Northeast Ballet Company, so take off those snow boots and put your party shoes on for one of the highlights of the winter social season. This party is sure to warm you up!

Call 518-583-8340 or email acarroll@saratogacare.org to make a reservation today, and maybe we will spot you sipping a Hurricane tomorrow night!

l-r: Beth Alexander, Heather Straughter and Julie Bonacio

l-r: Beth Alexander, Heather Straughter and Julie Bonacio

Stylish Saratoga ladies stepped out yesterday in support of Jake’s Help from Heaven at an exclusive shopping event at Piper Boutique. While they sipped bubbly donated from Crush & Cask and sampled bites donated by Jacob & Anthony’s, shoppers perused the well-dressed racks of the shop, which was generously donating 100% of the proceeds from the event to JHFH.

Spotted shopping were JHFH board members Julie Johnson and Jim LaVigne, Mary Gavin, Julie and Sonny Bonacio, Theresa Skaine and her daughter, Beth and Zoe Alexander, Briana Kuruzovich, Bridget Kraev, Ellen Cuminale, Erin Smith, and Jake’s Help from Heaven co-founder Heather Straughter and her mother Susana Hoffman.

The Tattlers chatted with Heather, who had her arms full of gifts for friends (and a few for herself ) that she found at the popular downtown shop. “We continue to be so grateful for the ongoing support of our community. When Piper reached out to us, we were immediately struck by their generosity and their willingness to create a successful event for JHFH. They donated all proceeds during a 4 hour span and it came in at about $3000. Without events like this and the continued support from friends, family and the community we would not be able to continue to help families who really need our support.” Since it’s inception in 2011, Jake’s Help from Heaven has awarded over $91,000 in grants. Their goal is to assist children and their families affected by debilitating illnesses including neurological impairments, mitochondrial and genetic disorders, and pediatric orthopedic problems.

Corks, Forks and Brews to benefit Saratoga Center for the Family

photo courtesy of Heather Bohm Tallman

photo courtesy of Heather Bohm Tallman

Corks, Forks and Brews packed the house at Prime at Saratoga National on November 14th in support of the Saratoga Center for the Family. It was a sold out event honoring Sonny and Julie Bonacio, and spirits were high with live music from Bad Medicine and wine tasting, food pairings, beer sampling and more.

Spotted in the crowd was event co-chair C.J. DeCrescente from event title sponsor DeCrescente Distributing Company who attended the event with his wife MaryBeth and three of his children: Jessica, Matt, and C.J. III, there with wife Brianna; and event co-chair Nicole Pitaniello from Fingerpaint. Also attending were Jane and Neil Golub, Michele and Ron Riggi, Patty and Vince Riggi, Neal Estano and Marcie Fraser, John and Suzanne Franck, Denise and John James, Walt Adams and Fran Dingeman from 101.3 The Jockey, Rick Partyka, Ashley Dingeman, Dan and Val Collins, Kimberly Ada, and Jeffrey Russell.

The planning committee, including Erica Dingeman of Social Radiant, Kate Otis from BlueShield of NENY, Erik Budrakey from DeCrescente Distributing Company, Ellen Brodie from M&T Bank, and Leah Slocum from Realty USA really outdid themselves and guests had their choice of samples to try while they chatted with friends. Heather Bohm Tallman’s photo booth was a popular spot as guests had a lot of laughs posing for snaps with her fun props.

When Saratoga Center for the Family first moved into their building over 10 years ago, Bonacio Construction did the renovations. On the night of the fire this past May, Sonny Bonacio was one of the first people that Deborah Tomaso, Executive Director of the Center called, because she knew that she wanted him to do the rebuild. She was worried that he wouldn’t be able to fit the Center’s rebuild in with such short notice given how busy he is, but when Deb called Sonny to ask him, he simply responded with “Whatever you need, consider it done”.

Sonny put the Center’s rebuild right into the mix and made the whole renovation process as easy as possible, making the Center a priority and did an incredible job getting them back into the facility as quickly as possible.

Guests took a break from the corks and forks for a minute to listen to Deborah Tomaso thank Sonny Bonacio for taking a personal interest in helping the Center rebuild. After she finished her speech, Sonny took the mic saying “My mom taught me two important things; first never cook bacon naked and second, never take credit for something that was already deserving of your effort” to much laughter and applause from the crowd.

Deborah Tomaso was thrilled with how the event turned out. “It was an overwhelming evening. To think this is our inaugural year, having so much support is really something special. To top it off, we got to properly thank Sonny. It was the perfect closure to a challenging 6 months and just another reminder of how special our community is”.




Saratoga Hospital Honors Terry Lee on her Retirement

Last Thursday evening friends and colleagues gathered at the Saratoga City Center to celebrate the retirement of Terry Lee, the Executive Director of the Saratoga Hospital Foundation who is retiring after 24 years. The evening was styled as a playful “Roast and Toast” and guest knew there would be some good hearted joking going on to celebrate the hard work of one of our community’s most dedicated citizens.

Guests included Michael and Linda Toohey, Charles and Candace Wait, Jeff and Heath Ames, the previous CEO of Saratoga Hospital David Andersen, Joe and Gloria Dalton, Dr. Desmond & Betsy DelGiacco, Jim & Agnes Gavin, Michael & Martha Iacolucci, Mike & Marlene Okby, Susan and Jeffrey Halstead, Barry and Cindy Potoker, and Andy and Kathleen Fyfe.

Saratoga Hospital CEO and President Angelo Calbone took to the stage to kick off the roast while Terry sat next to him on stage looking radiant as always.

“Terry’s Style rubbed off on people: bold, confident, demanding, won’t take no for an answer. I even started asking strangers on Broadway to give me money,” he joked as guests roared with laughter. “Seriously, I think I speak for everyone, particularly at the hospital, it has been an honor to work with you,” Angelo said as he finished his piece. “I have never worked with anyone in your business that has been as supportive, inspirational, and helpful in my entire career. The success of Saratoga Hospital has to a great extent been in your hands, and you’ve made me a better CEO, and I frankly just can’t find the right words to say thank you.”

Ellen Kerness, a colleague and also a good personal friend of Terry’s took the stage next, saying jokingly “Terry, as you can see there are a number of people who want to wish you well, and some who quite frankly want to get some things off their chest”. Messages from friends who couldn’t be there included Judy LeCain who sent well wishes from Paris, and some playful messages from Mark Harmon from NCIS, telling Terry she simply had to come out for an audition and to make sure she didn’t forget her “pink leather booties”, and one from Phil Mickelson, expressing his excitement about having Terry consult on his women’s golf clothing line.

Ellen then read a letter from the White House, assuring guests “this was not a joke”, in which President Obama said “I am pleased to join your family, friends, and colleagues in congratulating you on your retirement. Healthcare professionals enjoy the unique reward of knowing their efforts help improve, extend and even save the lives of patients in need. Their work touches countless lives, and I hope you look back on your contributions and accomplishments with joy and pride.”

Next up everyone’s attention was directed to the big screen as a special video started rolling. First up we saw the iconic Marilyn Monroe photo with the white dress billowing around her waist, and once guests realized Terry’s face was superimposed onto Marilyn’s body everyone knew they were in for a real treat.

Judy LeCain and Linda Toohey appeared on the screen, sitting next to each other both holding cards while Linda asked the first of a series of “Terry Lee Trivia” questions as the Jeopardy theme song played in the background. This got many laughs as they asked questions with deadpan expressions on their faces like “How many hair colors has Terry had in the past 24 years” and “How many pairs of shoes has she worn?” Answer: 912, apparently.

Next up Terry’s husband, Dave Povero, got perhaps the biggest laugh of the night. He took guests on a little tour of the closets at their home. He showed everyone how Terry, a notorious clotheshorse known for her signature flashy style, packs each of their closets with her own clothing and shoes, to much laughter from the audience. At the end of his tour he looked at the camera and said, “You’re probably wondering where I keep all of my clothes, then. Well, I have to wear them!” he said, as he started unbuttoning his shirt to reveal another shirt underneath, and then another, and another, then doing the same routine with his pants. The crowd was nearly in tears they were laughing so hard at this point. He finished off his piece with a joke about how despondent the UPS delivery guy was going to be with Terry ordering less shoes now that she’s retiring. “There’s nothing more sad than seeing a guy wearing brown crying over a Zappos box”. To much applause Dave took to his feet for a second and gave a happy little wave as everyone cheered his pitch perfect retirement send off for his wife.

Next in the video tribute we saw Charles V. Wait from Adirondack Trust sitting in his office. He wished Terry well on her retirement, and then told how he was going to give a chronicle of his experiences with the feisty fundraiser as John Mellancamp’s “Hurt So Good” began playing in the background. A series of snapshots flashed on the big screen from “previous years”, showing him first with a black eye, then with a bandaged head, a broken arm, a neck brace (that one really got the crowd in stitches) and finally hobbling out of his office at the present day with a cane, bent over in pain. As he limped out he joked “Terry I’m so glad you’re retiring”. It was a hilarious ode to Terry’s never give up attitude in finding the vital funds needed to keep our community’s hospital going.

As friends and colleagues appeared on screen to wish Terry well, it became clear to even an outside observer that this woman is a much beloved, and well respected member of our community. It wasn’t hard to imagine that the video could have gone on for hours if they had included everyone who wanted to wish Terry well, and wanted to commend her on her hard work and dedication. The amount of guests who came out to show their thanks that evening was also a testament to the impact she has made on our community.

Terry appeared next as Wonder Woman before Stephan von Schenk, executive vice president at Adirondack Trust Company came on to tell guests that Terry would be getting the largest wing at the National Museum of Shoes. Before the video was up Terry would appear on screen as Mona Lisa, Lucille Ball (“We Love Terry”) and Queen Elizabeth, each getting more laughs than the last.

The “Ga Ga Gala Girls” appeared next, and Julie Bonacio, Colleen Carlson and Mara King relived some of Terry’s finest moments running the always incredibly successful Annual Benefit Auctions for Saratoga Hospital, congratulating her in raising an astounding 6.2 million dollars in gala monies over the years.

The crowd was just thrilled with the hilarious video, and Terry herself was still laughing as she took to the stage to thank everyone for attending. She remarked on what a special community Saratoga Springs is, and expressed how thankful she was that they let an “outsider” (she’s from Chicago) into the fold. Terry graciously accepted all of the well wishes and kudos, and insisted that she could not have been as successful without having such a great team at Saratoga Hospital, a team dedicated to giving them best care possible for the community.  As she finished her speech, everyone was on their feet in a rousing standing ovation, so very well deserved.