Society / Featured Parties

Cyndi Lauper and Tony Buzbee Rock a $2.8 Million Party for Houston Children’s Charity — the ’80s Never Looked So Good

Laura Ward Works Her Usual Magic

BY // 10.10.21

It wasn’t just the persuasive encouragement of trial lawyer Tony Buzbee, dashing in a black-sequined dinner jacket, that sent proceeds soaring for the many youngsters served by Houston Children’s Charity. The nonprofit’s CEO Laura Ward did her share to nudge loose considerable dinero while auctioneer Vikki Vines wielded the gavel that confirmed it all. The final take for the charity’s gala held at The Post Oak Hotel was a record $2.8 million.

The live auction, where this threesome successfully worked the crowd, added $420,000 to the bottom line. While most live auctions cast a dim shadow on gala ambience, this one actually rocked as Michael Hoctor made the winning bid of $135,000 for the 2022 BMW 4 series convertible (MSRP $64,595). And as David Ybarra of Gringo’s Tex-Mex bought four $40,000 vans in the Chariots for Children raise, Gary Petersen bought three and all total 22 vans were on the books for wheelchair-confined children. (An additional five had been purchased previously at the underwriter party, hosted by the Buzbees in their River Oaks home.) Contributing a five-figure enticement was Valobra Master Jewelers, which contributed an amazing pair of $25,000 diamond and sapphire earrings to the live auction.

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Paige Fertitta, Tony Buzbee & Frances Moody Buzbee at the Houston Children’s Charity gala. (Photo by Gary Maltz, Alexander’s Fine Portrait Design)

Buzbee and his bride, Frances Moody Buzbee, chaired the 24th annual Houston Children’s Charity Gala that featured ’80s icon Cyndi Lauper as headliner. The sellout crowd of 597 was encouraged to dress in homage to the 68-year-old wild-maned singer, who held her own on stage. Femmes in wigs, ’80s dress and finger-less gloves along with costumed gents crammed the stage front and danced in the aisles as Lauper belted out her infinitely singable tunes including “Time After Time”and “True Colors.” She saved her most popular tune, “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,” for the finale which had the entire ballroom of partygoers on their feet.

Even emcee ABC Channel 13 news anchor Gina Gaston Elie gave a nod to Lauper by donning a frothy pastel-hued tulle skirt, undoubtedly far from her fashion comfort zone but plenty of fun.

Applause, applause for BMW of West Houston and Momentum BMW Southwest which once again donated the BMW outright for the auction, even at a time when car sales lots are emptying due to supply shortages.

Kudos to Ward for masterminding a contactless registration system, with table hosts informed of their table numbers via email. The only lines on this evening were at the bars during the cocktail hour.

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