S’Wonderful, S’Marvelous, trilled a trio of New York singers, tempting Broadway Ball guests with a Gershwin medley in anticipation of An American in Paris, the Tony Award-winning play coming to the Straz Center for the Performing Arts next month. Dining tres chic on the Morsani Hall stage Saturday, amid yellow roses and crystal chandeliers, two live auction surprises: CEO Judy Lisi found herself with a new Shih Tzu puppy, a gift from top bidders Charlene and Mardy Gordon. And auctioneer Jason Alpert sold a Zululand, South Africa safari 18 times at $3,500 each, making ball co-chairmen Jill and David Weinstein very happy. Add in pitch-perfect Patel Conservatory scholarship student appeals and proceeds topped $375,000 just as a round of After Dark partiers arrived for closing curtain drinks, dancing and dessert.


If Mark Sharpe bottled his enthusiasm for transforming the University Area into a high-tech Innovation Alliance District, he’d surely corner the energy market. Renowned urbanist Richard Florida buys in, telling an Oct. 26 gathering that Tampa’s “nexus of creativity, diversity and urbanity,” or Nerdistan, as he likes to call the cluster, sits right within the Top 10 of 40 economic mega-regions in 200 nations.

“Believers” named Buckhorn, Genshaft and Vinik joined dozens of entrepreneurs and students, restaurateurs and artists offering samplings at University Mall, including Nate Baranowski, Daniel Mrgan, Zulu Painter and Hermes Berio who climbed on platforms to paint four traits of the District: Smart, Empowered, Multicultural and Vibrant.“Big, hairy, audacious,” Hillsborough County administrator Mike Merrill said of the long-range vision, “but achievable.”

 10TH ANNUAL EYE BALLPetite and passionate April Lufriu’s powerful plea at the annual Eye Ball on behalf of the Lions Eye Institute Foundation helped CEO Jason Woody raise $100,000 for services to the blind and visually impaired in our area, including the former Miss World 2012 herself, her two children and her sister, all who inherited retinitis pigmentosa.

WTTA-Ch. 38 anchor Jennifer Holloway emceed the “Vintage Hollywood” gala as the Light of Sight award went to chief counsel Ron Christaldi and an Innovation & Research award to University of Chicago ophthalmologist Kathryn Colby. Singer Don Juceam charmed the crowd with Frank Sinatra’s greatest hits Oct. 21 at the Westly Event Center.