Society / The Seen

Kevin Spacey’s Epic Houston Night

A Kennedy, an Olympian, a Gorgeous Mansion and $500,000 Raised

BY // 11.16.15

What: Dinner with Kevin Spacey benefitting Best Buddies. 

Where: Maison Thrash, aka the home of John and Becca Cason Thrash.

Who: Becca Cason Thrash served as both chairman and host of this epic evening, another chapter in more than a decade of memorable fund-raisers to date for the Best Buddies cause (she is a stalwart board member for the nonprofit that fosters friendship between those with and without intellectual disabilities); Kennedy dynasty Best Buddies’ founder and chairman Anthony Kennedy Shriver, joined by Texas director Sharyn Casey; Best Buddy Ambassador Charles Calhoun, who brought down the house with his moving remarks; and a contingent of glamorous and big-hearted socials from near and far including Duyen Huynh and Marc Nguyen, both donning Tom Ford and the lucky winners of the fabulous silent auction gold-and-clover necklace from Van Cleef & Arpels; Van Cleef CEO Alain Bernard, who flew in for the night; Rhonda McDonald of Moët Hennessy, among the big live auction donors, with a posse of VIP pals including Nancy and Marcus Hiles of Fort Worth and Ebony and Jet magazines’ media mogul Linda Johnson Rice in from Chicago; Olympian Carl Lewis, a Best Buddies Global Ambassador; shoe designer Joyce Echols with beau Steve Wyatt; Amy and Jim Lee; Carla and Jack McDonald in from Austin; Heart of Fashion’s Vivian Wise; Tootsies’ Fady Armanious (the luxe retailer donated nearly a dozen goodies to the silent auction, including the McQueen purse nabbed by Rafael Chavez for wife Carmina Zamorano); and Kevin Stolle.

PC Moment: There were many exquisite moments in this evening — including Miz Thrash’s vision for décor featuring three striking tables arrayed poolside carried out by Richard Flowers, and the three-course seated epicurean dinner crafted by SaltAir Seafood Kitchen, B&B Butchers, and Grotto Ristorante, with Brasserie 19 contributing opening bites. Natch, the lively tête-à-tête between Spacey and Miz Thrash was another high point. Spacey got into his House of Cards character, Francis Underwood, for the Q-and-A held poolside; Spacey also good-naturedly obliged by posing during the cocktail hour for party pics.

Finally, the live auction added a perfect frisson of excitement, as three posh packages found patron types: Casa Fiesta in Zihuatanejo was won by Jordan and Dylan Seff; lunch with the Oscar-winner went twice, to Sue and Lester Smith and Fay and Salim Zakhem; and the Hennessy Cognac chateau experience was split between hotelier Patrick Levantino (there with pal Samantha Boles) and Nancy and Marcus Hiles. Along with silent-auction lots — led off by coveted donations from Tootsies (amounting to half the alluring offerings including brands Valentino, Naeem Khan, Oscar de la Renta, Lanvin, Emily Armenta and more), as well as Hublot, Tom Ford, Asprey, Ferragamo, Dolce (shopping spree and tickets to a show in Milan), The Webster, Bulgari, plus a rare Hennessy cognac — an astounding $500,000 was raised during this intimate night featuring just 148 guests. (From the history books: the first ever Best Buddies event was also the first benefit ever at Casa Thrash, before the couple was even living in the house … the year was 1998, headlined by special guest Prince Albert, so some 17 years and 10 million dollars later, here we are … )

Soon after, this Tweet reached Mr. Spacey’s 4.3 million followers: “Thank you Becca & John Thrash for hosting tonight’s @BestBuddies fund-raiser —‘everything’s bigger in Texas’ may now be an understatement!”

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