Tiger Ball 2019: Celebrates Asia Society Houston’s 40th Anniversary

HOUSTON: This year, the Asia Society’s fabulously decorated Tiger Ball was held in memory of Founding Member Barbara Bush. The event also recognized honorees Phoebe and Bobby Tudor and was co-chaired by Michelle and Hector Herrera and Y. Ping Sun and David Leebron, as well as honorary chairs Hushang and Shahla Ansary, Maria and Neil Bush, and Molly and Jim Crownover.

As the 670 guests arrived on Friday evening, March 1 at the ASTC’s Southmore Blvd. facility where they proceeded along the red carpet into the award-winning Asia Society Texas Center (designed by famed architect Yoshio Taniguchi), which was thematically decorated and registrated in the Fayez Sarofim Grand Hall. Amid hors’deouvres and appertitifs, guests perused the auction items during the cocktail hour which filled up the building.

Dancers from Huaxing Arts Group and Samskriti lit the way with Asian lanterns to the lavishly decorated 82’x180’ Chevron Gala Pavilion, a white canopied and lined structure put up just for the evening covering 1700 square feet of the Asia Society parking lot.

A 10’-tall archway flanked by enormous candelabras greeted guests, and inside, the Pavilion was adorned by a 60’ video wall, ambient projections of wishing lanterns, 8’-tall custom-built cast-iron floating lanterns suspended from the ceiling, a variety of centerpieces, as well as lighting festooning the 13 live oak and Shumard red oak trees that are a part of the property.

A sumptuous Pan-Asian dinner was served in the Pavilion (catered by a remarkable 130 City Kitchen staff members). A brief program followed, with a ceremonial candle-lighting to honor the memory of ASTC’s Founding Member Barbara Bush.

After dinner, guests returned to the ASTC building. A highlight of the dessert options was bananas foster flambéed on the Green Garden. Dancing kicked off in the Education Center, and guests placed final bids on their favorite auction items.

Throughout the evening, guests participated in the big board auction and bid on one-of-a-kind items and experiences, including the opportunity to throw the first pitch at an Astros game; a week’s stay in the Tudor family’s 10-bedroom Nantucket home with ocean views, infinity pool, and spa bathrooms; luxury accommodations in NYC, with exclusive tours at the Big Apple’s most famous museums; two sets of first-class United Airlines airfare to Asia, Australia, New Zealand, India or the Middle East; dinner for 10 with Rice University president Dr. David W. Leebron and his wife Y. Ping Sun in their 1920’s mansion; artwork by Japanese painter/woodworker Ayomi Yoshida; exquisite jewelry by Tiffany & Co., Chopard, David Yurman, and Mariquita Masterson; and a necklace boasting 73 pearls honoring the 73-year long marriage of Barbara and George Bush, by Texas designer Becky Hollands. The auction items are valued at almost $195K.

The décor choice this year revolved around the symbolic 40th anniversary motif (ruby). The variety of roses included black magic, freedom, big fun, and coral reef, plus Calla lilies, red tulips, hand-dyed willow eucalyptus, and curly willow.

Décor was by Prashe, tent by Aztec Events & Rentals; catering by City Kitchen; Music by DJ Senega of Karma DJs; and lighting by GTX Production.

In addition to the Ball honorees, honorary chairs, and chairs, the Gala’s special guests included Sushila & Durga Agrawal, Nancy Allen, Muffet Blake & Bob Murray, Laurie & Milton Boniuk, Kristy & Chris Bradshaw, Leslie & Brad Bucher, Anne & Albert Chao, Anne & Charles Duncan, Chinhui Juhn & Eddie Allen, and Diane Lokey Farb.

Other dignitaries included Lily & Charles Foster, Kathleen & Glen Gondo, Kathy & Marty Goossen, Marie & Vijay Goradia, David Harvey, Sultana & Moez Mangalji, Duyen & Marc Nguyen, Hong & Dorion Ogle, Cabrina & Steven Owsley, Sylvia & Gordon Quan, Leigh & Reggie Smith, Stephanie & Frank Tsuru, Mayor Sylvester Turner, Margaret Alkek Williams, Lynn Wyatt, plus members of the consular corps from Australia, China, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, and TECO.

Proceeds from the Tiger Ball support Asia Society Texas Center’s 150+ public programs each year. At press time, the fundraising has grossed $1.3 million+ (excluding auction), making it the highest-earning gala in ASTC’s history.