The Buzz

Tallahassee Magazine’s column created to share who’s where and what they’re doing in the months of September and October.



The singles, the bidding and the weather were hot, hot, hot for Tallahassee Magazine’s third annual Tallahassee Top Singles event, held July 21 at Hotel Duval. Presenting sponsor was The Hour Glass.

The Pyramid Center will be getting a hefty check thanks to “We Want to See Ya in a Kia” Melanie Lee, who got the top bid of the night, $11,500. Cliff Englert put on quite a show for the crowd, and Brandi Young had a cheering section complete with signs. WCTV anchor Gina Pitisci brought a guy on stage with her during her bidding, but no one seemed to care. The shih tzu puppy named Wally had his own auction and found his forever home with Monique Batchelor and raised an extra $1,000 for the Leon Country Humane Society.

Perhaps having the best time were singles from years past. Those spotted included Lance Lozano, Amy Foreman, Caroline Conway, Casey Walton, Lori Wilkey, Stephen Loebeck, Cal Brooks, Johnny Devine, Tracy Grant, Sarah Duncan and the night’s emcee, Greg Tish.

The live and silent auction items earned bids of more than $9,000, and a portion of this will go to benefit Maxin Reiss’ charity, the ABA Difference for Autism.

In addition to the night’s bidding, many Top Singles held mini-fundraisers prior to the event to raise money, including Bill Wilson, Leslie Connell, Lisa Barclay and Karen Smith.
Before their star turn, the singles bonded during a Happy Hour event at Andrew’s Capital Grill & Bar.

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Supporters of The Gadsden Arts center in Quincy recently traveled to New Orleans. The tour included visiting various museums and art galleries and tours of collections in private homes. Some of the art tour participants were Betty and Jim Rogers, Mark and Patsy Bates, Nan Nagy and Claire Nagy Kato, Beverly Frick, Paula Davidsen, Mart Hill and Gadsden Arts’ Director Grace Malloy and Curator Angie Barry.

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Shrouded in secrecy, Tallahassee’s newest nightspot had a VIP invitation-only secret grand opening Aug. 7. In the spirit of the speakeasy, Alchemy has a very low profile in Midtown and aspiring customers vie for entry via the online reservation system at alchemymidtown.com.

Alchemy is the brainchild of Hunter & Harp, a company with a penchant for turning a business golden, just like the name of their bar implies. On hand to greet guests were owners and operators Chad Kittrell, John McNeill, Marc Bauer and Alex Beltrami. Among those attending were Les Akers, Lee Daniel and Carrie McNeill.

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Once again Tallahassee’s artistic community and supporters of Big Bend Cares joined together for the Artopia art auction. Nearly 400 artworks by 96 artists were up for bid in a silent auction, as well as other goods and services donated by local businesses.

The crowd enthusiastically bid for the live auction items, which included the evening’s top three winners. Antonio Perez, Joe Kotzman and Neil Abell.

Attendees were invited to choose their favorite artwork, and longtime supporter Dan Taylor won the People’s Choice award for the second year in a row.

Mail Meds was Artopia’s presenting sponsor and the company was represented by Mark Theobald, Cindy Richardson, Valerie Mincey and Cynthia Albert. Others spotted in the crowd of more than 1,200 people were Alex Bello, Marlene Lalota, Kevin Hattaway, Tony Archer, Ann Taylor, David Poole, Edward Marti Kring and new mom Perry Snead.

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It was Sin City at Hotel Duval, all in support of Leon County Humane Society. Guests of “Vintage Vegas,” a ’60s style soiree, mingled with celebrity look-alikes and enjoyed sounds of the Zach Bartholomew Trio, as they tried their hand at poker, roulette and blackjack. While sipping signature cocktails and savoring cigars, gamblers played for big-time prizes. Dan Gilbertson won a luxury vehicle lease, while Chris Brown hit the jackpot with a trip to Las Vegas. Other high rolling guests included JT Burnette, Chad Kittrell, City Commissioner Andrew Gillum, LCHS Board Chair Dan Parisi and Marilyn Monroe. The real winner of the night was the Humane Society, which was presented with a donation of $2,500 from Hotel Duval on Aug. 2.

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Friends of Pam Forrester anxiously await invitations to her semi-annual “Girl Party.” Her latest ladies’ night was August 1, and her beautiful home on Lake Jackson was full of her pals from Red Hills Horse Trials, soccer moms, coworkers from VISIT Florida and other random folks. There was a sumptuous feast of salads, beautiful to look at and wonderful to eat. Mary Jo Peltier, who combs the New York Times for recipes, prepared quinoa-black bean salad with smoky lime dressing.

Carolyn Horwich, Barbara Ash, Jan Dobson, Linda Fuchs and Virginia Newman sat at one table, discussing book club favorites (“Cutting for Stone” got two thumbs up) and the newly relocated and renamed Marinated Mushroom (now Wild Greens Café) restaurant on Railroad Avenue.

There were two generations of Atkins there. Carol Atkins Goughnour brought her two daughters, Mary Linville Atkins and Courtney Atkins. Longtime friends, Christine Reker, Denise Redd and Elizabeth Smith Barranco still enjoy coming to ‘Girl Parties’ even after more than 20 years. Karen Cox was spotted reading tarot cards and others who attended included Becky Liner and Ann Shahaway.

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A contingent of Tallahassee oenophiles went all the way to McMinnville, Ore., to enjoy the International Pinot Noir Celebration. Wine legend Jancis Robinson describes the event as “one of the most enjoyable wine weekends in the world.” For three days, Lori and Bill Mattice, Nan Nagy and Ken Kato, Calynne and Lou Hill, and Su and Steve Ecenia sampled the wine from vintners worldwide, toured Willamette Valley wineries and enjoyed northwest cuisine, including a salmon bake.

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Drs. Selina and Saleh Rahman celebrated their recent successes with a joyful multicultural gathering of more than 60 people at their Summerbrooke home. They had traditional Bengali festive foods such as mutton biriani, mixed vegetables, lentil curry, chicken korma and several other ethnic dishes. The exquisite pool-side gathering of close friends included Drs. Debojoyti, Abdul Hatim, Abdul Hafiz, Rifat Fatema, Farzana Khan and neighbors Larry and Gina Davidson.

Both Saleh and Selina are trained physicians with PhDs in public health. Recently, Selina joined FSU’s College of Medicine and the TMH Internal Medicine residency program. Saleh, an associate professor of public health at FAMU’s College of Pharmacy and Clinical Research Faculty at the FSU College of Medicine, recently received (along with team-members) a $6-million grant from the National Institutes of Health to help prevent cancer in Leon and Gadsden County. Also an acclaimed international author and musician, Saleh and others entertained the group with music as the celebration of their achievements continuted well into the night.

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Sam Solomon celebrated his birthday at Publix’s Aprons Cooking school. Hosted by his wife Lynn Solomon, guests were treated to a crab cake cooking demonstration by Chef Tony and included guests Ann Jolley and Bobby Byrd, Ann Gabor and Jay Payne, Reynolds Arrington, Suzanne Wilson and Matt Solomon. Delicious Moroccan fare was also served and the wine flowed!

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Kristin Klein and Sidney Bigham are engaged and are planning a November wedding at a family farm in Georgia. In other good news, Florida Trend reported that Sid was named as an up-and-coming young attorney for 2012.

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Wilbur Jones celebrated his 100th birthday in style, greeting his guests in a bright red jacket. The event was hosted by his sons and their wives, Doug and Stevie Jones and Bruce and Julie Ann Jones.
Guests included longtime friends Mart Hill, Evie Hutchinson, Susie and Murray Wadsworth, Almena and Brooks Pettit and Nan Cherry. An oyster bar was the main attraction.

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Sweat Therapy Fitness Instructors packed their bags and headed to Atlanta Aug. 26–29 for the SCW Fitness Convention. Prepare to pedal — owner Kim Bibeau, Katie Goram, Tyler Finley, Laurel Fletcher Mobley, Kenzie Burleigh and Katie Bieneman participated in additional certification in Real Ryder bike.

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Goodwood reigned once again as the political salon of Tallahassee when the second annual Senator Hodges Dinner was held July 26 in the great hall of the Main House. Goodwood opened its doors to 40 generous supporters for a six-course meal prepared by a la Nella’s Nella Schomburger, a member of Goodwood’s board of directors, and her crew of volunteers.

Among the guests were Goodwood board Chairman Rick Barnett and his wife, Martha Barnett, Laurie and Kelly Dozier, Lamar and Anne Rowe, Al and Laura Lang, Robert Ervin and Mart Hill, Tillie Allen, JoAnn Bixler, Frank and Elizabeth Langston, Mac Langston and Robin Boyle, Dr. Charles Moore, Fred McCord and Flecia Braswell, William and Miriam Rodgers, Cindy and Douglas Sessions Jr. , Mike and Marty Sittig, Dennis Tribble and Vanessa Anderson, Susie and Murray Wadsworth, Dubose Ausley, and interim executive director Andy McLeod, dashing in his tartan kilt, and his wife, Kathy Baughman McLeod. Other board members in attendance were Evie Hutchinson, Fred Gaske, Jim Ashlock, Susan Thomas (with husband, John Thomas) and Anne Phipps (with husband, Colin Phipps). Board member Kathryn Travis helped coordinate the dinner, and her husband, Joe Travis, joined Ben Gunter, Betsy Gray, Bill Jones and Ruben Milan in providing musical entertainment.

Sen. Hodges was portrayed by Goodwood’s Mike Herrin. His lovely legal client was played by Amanda Street, while Marcy Palmer played reporter Kitty Lorgnette.

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