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Arts Social Intercourse 

Networking masquerades as family activities this Halloween season

As I write this, Halloween is looming - and the scariest thing about the holiday? The cost of costumes for all four of my kids. When did we transition from a society that dressed its kids as ghosts, gypsies, bobby-soxers, and cowboys to one that dresses the little darlings in $40-plus costumes from Lillian Vernon? (Which, by the way, did NOT deliver one daughter's costume by the promised date.) But I digress.

Last weekend offered family fun in the form of the Woodridge Elementary School Fall Carnival. This is how '09 kicks back with its moguls-in-training: games, karaoke, food booths, a silent auction, music, a costume contest, and ... networking. I caught myself saying, "Sure, I'd be happy to," while talking to Annie Lutz, president of the Alamo Heights School Foundation, when she mentioned needing help with a newsletter. Spotted chasing their children among the crowd were KSAT meteorologist Mike Osterhage and his journalist wife, Bonny Osterhage; attorney Kipper Burke and his wife, Catherine; and decorative artist Paige Holland. I managed to steer my girls clear of a perennial favorite game that awards winners with a small goldfish, and convinced them to participate in the cake walk with the bribe that I would buy them a cake if they didn't win. Even with those deft maneuvers, we still blew through $40 in an hour.

The D.R. Semmes downtown YMCA held its first Boo @ the Blue fundraising event at Blue Star Contemporary Art Space. For a first-time event, it drew a sizable crowd, about half of which were in costume. The event format was predictable - buffet, silent auction, costume contest, music - and toward the end of the party, the DJ cranked up the sound for a little dancing. I was impressed, though, with the party check-in procedure: Guests were asked to sign in and provide their e-mail addresses, and the check-in staff noted the ticket number by each guest's name. Very smart, as they now can track which means of distributing tickets were most effective. I love it when marketing and parties collide. Photographer and YMCA board member Morris Goen made the rounds as the silent-auction bidding reached its climax. I regret missing the opportunity to snag a session with his crew for half the cost.

After the initial plans were derailed by Hurricane Rita (well, Hurricane Rita hysteria) San Antonio Magazine finally last held its launch party at the Southwest School of Art & Craft October 25. Better late than never, and the huge crowd present certainly seemed to agree. Publisher Jeff Miller, ad-sales representative Jenny Ulm, and the rest of the publication's staff cleverly dressed in orange, which made them easy to spot and instantly recognizable among the crowd. Rod Rubbo, executive director of theFund, was on hand to showcase the organization's partnership with the new magazine, chat up attendees about theFund's successful first workplace giving campaign `see "Artifacts," TK date`, and to promote the upcoming its full-fledged annual campaign, which begins in January. Essentially the plan is to have a "united arts" campaign in the spring, while United Way has its campaign in the fall. Several affiliates of theFund provided the evening's entertainment, and many cultural arts leaders put in some face time before heading out to the Cultural Arts Board meeting, including Rosemary Catacalos from Gemini Ink - who has such a lovely way of making me feel both important and intelligent -- , Jon Hinojosa from SAY Sí and Paula Owen from the Southwest School of Art & Craft.

Erin Berry, wife of San Antonio Spur Brent Berry, was the guest of honor at the It Takes Two luncheon presented by San Antonio Kids Exchange, a local organization that provides supervised visitation and neutral exchange services for parents and children. Special guests Representative Carlos Uresti, Judge Karen Crouch, Judge Rebecca Simmons and numerous other legal and political notables paid tribute to Berry's volunteer and advocacy efforts on behalf of the Exchange. My tablemates, a group of family law attorneys who shall remain nameless, best illustrated the need for the Kids Exchange by sharing eyebrow-raising updates on some of their cases.

By Beverly Ingle

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