Royal Reception XV and the week in review...

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John Heller, Post-Gazette
Guests take part in the revelry of Royal Reception XV.
Click photo for larger image.

Standing on a rolling hill at the 18th hole of Mystic Rock, a solitary bagpiper in full regalia played for the setting sun. Sitting on a chaise by the deserted infinity pool at the new Falling Rock hotel, Robin Williams watched the musician when his eyes lifted from the stack of papers he was reading and rereading. It was Saturday evening at Nemacolin Woods Resort & Spa, just hours before Williams would step onstage as the highlight in a weekend filled with them. Clearly he was rehearsing, hoping to be even funnier than George Lopez had been the night before. After Williams would come Huey Lewis & the News, topping Lionel Richie, who brought the house down when he followed Lopez on Friday night.

Welcome to Royal Reception XV, a spectacular three days of intimate entertainment, fine dining and the best relaxation in the region. This benefit for CureSearch attracted 700 guests from several states as well as from England, where the Hardy family's many royal titles have geographic ties.

King Joe and Queen Debbie Hardy were gracious hosts as always, along with his daughter Maggie (newly svelte after losing 120 pounds and dressed like a princess) and her husband, Pete Megerko. With "London to Camelot" as its theme this year, a giant castle of a tent was erected, complete with a moat, turrets and mist, to hold the event in grand style. Court jesters and assorted other royal entertainers roamed before brunch and dinner, and lots of new faces in the crowd vowed to come back again and again -- Count Tom and Michele Ridge, Dr. Ron and Harriet Herberman, state Rep. Bill Shuster, architect David Merritt, Dr. Stan and Ellen Marks and a lively contingent from Ligonier among them.

It was almost a hero's welcome Wednesday as more than 300 friends, family and film industry workers gathered at Cafe Euro to celebrate before the premiere of George A. Romero's "Land of the Dead" at the Byham Theater.

The reception was a benefit for the Steeltown Entertainment Project, and everyone was buzzing about famous directors Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez in the crowd.

Executive director Ellen Weiss Kander and co-founder Carl Kurlander mingled with board president Anne Lewis (with Eddie), Audrey Hillman Fisher, Dan and Shelly Onorato, Simon Baker, David Conrad, Tom Savini and Romero's wife Chris, son Andrew and daughter Tina. Michael Jordan turned up for the after-party at Deja Vu Lounge.

John Heller, Post-Gazette
Funnyman Robin Williams cranked up the laughs.
Click photo for larger image.J. Monroe Butler II, Post-Gazette
Lisa Pompeani and John Elway at the Mario Lemieux Sponsors party and auction.
Click photo for larger image.

The revelry coming from Bossa Nova could have woken a zombie Wednesday. It was the Celebrity/Sponsor Party to kick off the Mellon Mario Lemieux Celebrity Invitational, featuring major mingling with John Elway, Mario and Nathalie Lemieux, Steelers quarterbacks Ben Roethlisberger and Tommy Maddox, Kevin McClatchy, Andy Van Slyke, Rollie Fingers and lots of other big-time athletes. Bob Pompeani (with Lisa) ran the live auction, with Mountaineers Racetrack owner Ted Arneault snagging an original Jackson Pollock for a steal at $11,200. The evening raised more than $200,000 for the Mario Lemieux Foundation. Friday night 1,500 players and fans convened at Mellon Arena for the Winner's Circle Party "Twilight Affaire," where more funds were raised.

-- Patricia Sheridan

The exquisite home and gardens of Lee and Betsy Deiseroth formed an elegant backdrop for the Planned Parenthood of Western Pennsylvania's 75th anniversary kickoff party they hosted Thursday. Jim and Francine Abraham and Ed and Karen Linder co-chaired the evening, which featured fabulous food by The Fluted Mushroom.

The second annual Community Partners Concert featured Dionne Warwick at Heinz Hall Friday night, with the Parental Stress Center leading the pack of more than 50 nonprofits in ticket sales. It hosted a private reception before the concert that served to kick off its 30th anniversary year.

Maria and Goerdt Abel and Barbara Clark and Rick Shannon hosted a cocktail party for The H'art and Soul of Haiti Leadership Committee in their adjoining Sewickley gardens Friday night.

Paying tribute to donors who gave $1 million or more to the University of Pittsburgh was the Cathedral of Learning Society. Welcoming the generous, including Bill and Carole Baierl, John Jurenko and Dr. Ron and Judy Linaburg, to the Induction Dinner Friday in the Cathedral's common room was chancellor Mark Nordenberg with Nikki.

They were fraternizing at the Frick Art Museum Friday for the opening of "Margaret Bourke-White: The Photography of Design, 1927-1936" exhibit, which is the first major show in the country devoted to the photographer's early years.

Reeling from all the revelry were the 2,000 guests at Pittsburgh Filmmakers' "Media/Tonic 2" event Saturday. Lunch trucks in the alley behind the facility nourished the crowd as they explored the works of more than 60 artists including live stage performances, installations and interactive exhibits.

The Edgeworth Club in Sewickley was the venue for the 100th Anniversary Ball for the Auxiliary of the Sewickley Valley Hospital Saturday. All the past presidents and ball chairs were honored. Organizing "A Century of Serving" were Dotty Price and Peggy Robinette.

J. Monroe Butler II, Post-Gazette
Artist David Ludwig, Frick director Bill Bodine and Westmoreland Museum of American Art curator Barbara Jones at the opening of Margaret Bourke-White exhibit at the Frick.
Click photo for larger image.


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