Saturday night I emceed the International Consular Ball here in Austin at the Bob Bullock Museum. I was fortunate, and blessed, to share the podium with Hector Guiterrez, a noble and zen gentleman. (He is one of the men from the night at the glass piano!)
I wore a ballgown that looked like a rainbow, with glitter in my hair and sparkles on my lips. Lance wore a beautiful pink tie with golden rings, his mint julep green wedding shirt and his black wedding jacket, with black jeans and black boots. (I had black toenail polish to compliment his dashing look.) He’s so very handsome, my prince charming. Now, if we could just get serious about taking ball room dancing lessons so we could stop looking like prom goons on the dance floor! How many times can we go in a circle? How many, I say!?
Obviously, lots and lots.
The event itself has so much potential…this is my second year in a row to emcee. Consuls come from countries as varied as France, Germany, Spain, Bulgaria, Morocco, Japan, you name it. They all look very elegant, and many of them come in their native dress. As their names were announced by the ex-Secretary of State, the consuls walked down a flight of stairs with an escort (or their spouse) and under the steely swords of Aggies, courtesy A&M University. This is my favorite part of the night because it has so much pomp and circumstance.
I have decided the Mayor (Mayor Will Wynn of Austin) is pretty hilarious. He is quite easy to talk to, and I keep running into him at all these events. At one point, I actually “shush!” ed the mayor as he was whispering with Hector. I told them they were very bad boys and needed to cut it out. I find it hilarious I am telling grown men to behave themselves at such a dandy affair. The mayor, by the way, had on black boots, too, and I started realizing that he and Lance look like brothers, except that Lance needs a haircut. (Don’t get me wrong, though…I like this crazy grown out phase of Lance’s hair because that means soon it is going to be down to his ankles, and won’t that be something? I will be able to braid my husband’s hair! Yea!)
So, the ball, as I was saying, has all this opportunity to really showcase each of this diplomats and their countries. But, what happens is this: Hector and I, basically, thank sponsors all night for putting on the event. It’s WIERD! I end up singing the sponsors names, otherwise…really, c’mon! SO DULL!…last year I sang the sponsors names to “Girl From Ipanema”…this year I sang them to “A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes…” This year everyone was talking and only one person really got the joke. Still, Hector and I entertained ourselves, I suppose that’s good.
I just think we should have the consuls speak in their native tongue and make presentations…have more exchange about what the consuls dream for their countries, the world. I was asked to sing one song, so I got up and tried, earnestly, to get everyone to turn to the person on their right and say (in their own language), “What an honor it is to be here with you this evening!” Then I had them turn to the person on their left and say, “You look very charming this evening!” That got them a little giddy. It brought down all the pretense these events can have…you know.
Then, I spoke on behalf of children everywhere. I said that we were all very fortunate to be eating such delicious food (medallions of steak, shrimp with chipotle sauce, potato cakes, berries with whipped creme) and wearing such beautiful clothes but that there were children all over the world who would never taste such good food or wear such fine things. I told them what I always do: that it only takes one voice to start a choir, and that I hoped they would join me in making the world safer, healthier and better for all children.
Then I sang “It’s Alright” a capella…And God reminded me to keep my eyes open and look at every face there. I still get nervous when I sing, but I felt so calm inside. I knew my purpose for the evening wasn’t to be an emcee; it was to be a messenger.
Then I sang a song with Andrew Heller (“A Time For Us” from West Side Story) and an ensemble of cool jazz cats from UT (the bass players name was UTAH, doesn’t that ROCK?!) Andrew was very sweet and took my hand as we sang. Everyone was up and dancing…very good!
So, hopefully, next year…the ball will be at a ranch with BBQ and casual wear (so the diplomats can just hang and chat) or it will be at the Governor’s Mansion with a string quartet and Al Franken as the guest speaker. Or Molly Ivans! (who is about the best there is…except for LILY TOMLIN!!!) Or Nelson Mandela! That would be about right. Maybe they’ll ask me to be a creative consultant…There you go! Make an interesting affair out of the whole shebang, I say!
Oh, and forget the string quartet…let’s get the Derailers!!! OR Brave Combo…THAT’s international!!!