The Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Company, which helps over 3,000 residents in this underprivileged neighborhood, knows how to throw a fun fundraiser. At the recent 21st annual Celebrity Pool Toss at the Phoenix Hotel pool, the event raised over $265,000 by having celebrities tossed into the swimming pool if people paid enough to let them suffer. Past celebs thrown in for this charity include Robin Willians, MC Hammer, Don Johnson, Cheech Marin, Willie Brown and Kristi Yamaguchi. The highest bidder gets to push the celeb into the pool. Genelle Relfe, with the help of Board of Supervisors President David Chiu, had the privilege of tossing good friend Sharon Seto in full Chinese cheongsam into the pool filled with handsome young lifeguards. Sharon boasted that of the six tossed in, she was the only female and the only Asian being tagged as representing not only the female gender, but the Asian community as well. Great fun for fundraising, and congrats to good sport Sharon.
GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS
In China, the Golden State Warriors participated in a goodwill trip to play against the Los Angeles Lakers in Beijing’s MasterCard Center this month. Following a practice, the Warriors visited a local elementary school, the Taijing Migrant School, as part of an NBA Cares event. Players, coaches and staff spoke to the youth and participated in reading and learning events. Traveling to Shanghai, they hosted the Oriental Sports Center Fan Appreciation Day. Great experience for the Warriors players to visit China’s famed sights while letting the Chinese people firsthand their excellent playing skills. On another note, the team launched their official Warriors Chinese website (warriors.com/china) which features the latest team news, schedules, community efforts and more. Another account (weibo.com/warriors), their social media account will enable Warrior fans throughout China to stay up to date on latest team news.
FRIENDS OF CHILDREN WITH SPECIAL NEEDS
Friends of Children with Special Needs (FCSN) are hosting their annual fundraising gala Nov. 2 at the Santa Clara Convention Center at the Great American Parkway in Santa Clara. FCSN , a 501 © (3) non-profit organization, was formed by 10 Chinese American families, to support families with special need children in 1996. In 2006 FCSN built a Dream Center in Fremont, CA and has rapidly increased its membership to over 800 multi-ethnic families. It now provides comprehensive programs for thousands of special need individuals of all ages and their families. Its South Bay Center is now actively negotiating to purchase a 8,000 square foot office building in San Jose. Hoping to expand their activities in the South Bay, they plan to continue their Work Empowerment Program, which was funded initially by Chi Am Circle with a $30,000 grant. This program has provided training for basic life and social skills as well as vocational skills for teenagers. FCSN is now widely recognized as a model parent-led, professionally- run support service organization in the Greater Bay Area.
President Jim Chiao will take the baton from outgoing president, Tsai-Wei Wu who served for 6 years, while Limin Hu remains Chairman of the FCSN Board of Directors. My hats off to all the volunteers who have led this group to great success. For more gala dinner info vsiit www.FCSN1996.org or (510) 739-6900.
EATING IN PALO ALTO
Palo Alto citizens working and living in this great Silicon Valley city can now enjoy new and innovative cuisine without having to drive far. The Sea Alexanders is located in the old Trader Vic’s building on El Camino Real and specializes in great seafood dishes in a most attractive setting. Steak lovers of their Cupertino and San Francisco restaurants can also choose wonderful steak selections there too, according to General Manager Tim Halsted, who took a group of birthday celebration friends to meet the charming chef Yu Min Lin. Enjoying The Sea’s cuisine were Lovelle Shak, Nancy Mar, Virginia Bakken, Muriel Kao, Pat Lum, Pauline Fong and Mary Ann Sing. Info: www.TheSeaUSA.com
Palo Alto Grill has come to downtown Palo Alto’s University Avenue at the High Street corner, a high-end comfortable restaurant where the focus is on steaks, seafood and small plates with contemporary twists. Chef Ryan Shelton, formerly of Michelin-starred Baume, has teamed with restauranteur Luka Dvornik and his menu, when I dined there, showed his creativity in small plates. His corn dogs stuffed with avocado were a tasty bite, and pastry chef Yoomi Shelton’s pretzel epi bread served with mustard cheese dip was a real winner to our taste buds. My vegetable pot pie was delicious with a glossy browned puff pastry top above a delicious tomato based selection of crispy vegetables. We diners Dali Jones, Sarah Kan and Madelene Schwabacher told genial host David Fiore that Palo Altoans are in for a treat with this new restaurant . www.paloaltogrill.com
IN GRAND STYLE AT THE ASIAN ART MUSEUM
In Grand Style, Celebrations in Korean Art During the Joseon Dynasty, officially opened on Oct. 25 at the San Francisco Asian Art Museum, but the celebration began the night before at the Opening Night Gala with an over-capacity crowd of well wishers and celebrants. As Director Jay Xu explained, since both sides of the main floor were filled with dining tables separated by the Museum’s permanent Gift shop, he had speaker’s podiums set up on both sides. He welcomed all from one, and Gala Chair Elizabeth Pang Fullerton in full Korean costume, made her welcome from the other. Traditional Korean dresses were adorned by many of the ladies, along with a mix of beautiful western style evening gowns. The atmosphere was festive and lively during the spectacular reception where guests were led down the main staircase to the beat of rhythmic Korean drums. Congratulations to the Lead Major sponsors Samsung, The Chong-Moon Lee Foundation and Elizabeth and Richard Fullerton for supporting this important event for the AAM, and to Dinner Sponsors Jamie and Steve Chen, Choongia and Steve Kahng, Bill and Mary Kim, Doris and Ted Lee, Suno Kay Osterweis, Elizabeth Warner and Lauren Huguenin for supporting the impressive gala dinner opening. Was able to reconnect with Mr. Chong-Moon Lee, whom I honored during a Bicentennial Celebration in Silicon Valley in year 2000, and thank him and his AmBex Venture Group President Ted Kiem and Bong Joon Jung for their continued support of Asian American projects.
Asian Art Museum’s exclusive presentation In Grand Style celebrates the Josean Dynasty (1392-1910) showcasing more than 110 treasured objects that speak of the glorious heritage, focusing on celebrations, festivals, elaborate rites, music and processions. Visit the museum during its showing up to January.
MUSIC IN THE AIR
Broadway San Jose audiences will be in for a fun night with lively songs and gay wit when Priscilla Queen of the Desert hits its San Jose Center for the Performing Arts this coming week, according to Director Nanci Williams. Its an outrageously fun uplifting story of a trio of friends on a road trip of a lifetime, who hop aboard a battered old bus searching for love and friendship in the middle of the Australian outback and end up finding more than they ever dreamed. It’s become an international hit with over 500 dazzling 2011 Tony award-winning costumes, and I especially liked “It’s Raining Men” scene with singers coming floating down from the ceiling. Surprises throughout the performance, so don’t miss this one.