The Wexley School for Girls’ 10th anniversary bash Friday was like something “Saturday Night Live” ’s Stefon would describe on Weekend Update.
This ad agency’s party had everything: Trapeze artists flying through the air. Bars carved out of ice, with Jagermeister shots running through the pillars and into waiting cups. Waitstaff carrying trays of corn dogs and pretzels. Eight-foot-tall minotaurs trying to dance. People lined up, chanting “I ski, you ski, we all shot-ski!” and then tipping shots of whiskey into their mouths from vessels set upon, well, a wooden ski. People wearing masks, or blocks of blue or yellow face paint around their eyes. And, just to be safe, Uber cars regularly dropping off and picking up out front of the Emerald City Trapeze Arts.
“Roger Levesque is here!” said a girl in a white beret, and I looked over to see the retired Sounders player surrounded. There was Jason Finn, drummer for The Presidents of the United States of America; John Roderick of the Long Winters; David Burger of Stewardship Partners. There were ad people and artists and hacks like me. So many people, you didn’t see anyone.
In another cavernous room, ever-dapper Wexley co-founder Cal McAllister (clad in Hugo Boss and a shirt custom-made in Hong Kong, natch) stood with Mayor Mike McGinn, discussing plans for the “Butter Mayor” contest.
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Wexley has commissioned butter carver Linda Christensen to set up shop at Darigold headquarters and carve McGinn and challenger state Sen. Ed Murray out of butter. Darigold Facebook fans will be able to vote for the “Better Butter Mayor” starting Thursday, through election night.
“We’re going to ask, ‘Who’s the butter mayor?’ ” McAllister said. Guy’s got a million ideas.
McGinn got pulled away to pose for a photo with two women in football helmets who offered him one. He passed.
Trapeze artists called the “EC Flyers” swung overhead in flesh-colored leotards, with the Wexley “W” on their crotches and breasts. The crowd cheered, and then a few of us were asked to move out of the way. Unicorn coming through.
Sally Field slipped off her Christian Dior pumps and slid down a wall onto the carpeted floor of a room at the Four Seasons Hotel. I had little choice but to kick off my pumps and join her there to talk about Vital Voices, the nonprofit that brought her to Seattle last week.
Vital Voices identifies emerging female leaders all over the world and pairs them with mentors to help them improve their situations. Some are in physical danger, others are trapped in slavery or poverty, and still others are denied opportunities to work or enter politics.
Field got involved 16 years ago, during a trip to the International Women’s Conference in Beijing, and has been a believer ever since.
“If women don’t have a place at the proverbial table, people all over the world will suffer and be in turmoil,” she said, calling the unequal treatment of women around the world “the issue of our time.”
“As far as I’m concerned,” Field said, “time’s up.”
The organization was started in 1999 by then-first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton and then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. When the Clintons left the White House, Vital Voices became a nonprofit now headed by CEO Alyse Nelson, who came to the Seattle event with Danielle Saint-Lot, the women’s ambassador for Haiti. They were joined by Craig Johnstone, former U.S. ambassador to Algeria and United Nations deputy high commissioner for refugees.
The event marked the unveiling of the Vital Voices Northwest Council, composed of local women both powerful and passionate, including Kerry Murphy, Jacqueline Barton-True and Effie Gleason.
In the room: state Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Wells and Kent and Francia Russell-Stowell and their daughter-in-law, Angela Stowell.
It makes perfect sense, Nelson said, that Vital Voices finds a voice in Seattle, home of global changemakers like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and PATH. People here see far beyond their own lives.
Said Saint-Lot: “The problem of one woman is the problem of all women.”
Treehouse of hope
When it started in 1988, Treehouse was called the Children’s Fund and could do little more for the state’s foster children than get them haircuts and maybe a birthday present.
Now the nonprofit is serving more than 6,000 foster kids a year and helping them graduate from high school at the same rate as their peers. No small thing, and a reason for Treehouse’s 25th-anniversary bash at the Paramount Theatre the other night.
“In the beginning, it was about the little things,” Treehouse board member Rachel Antalek told me. “But the education piece has taken on a bigger role.”
How big? Well, 85 percent of the foster kids tapped into Treehouse programs graduate from high school.
Organizers made sure to thank people — including founder Mary Lou Dickerson, honorary co-chairs Julia Calhoun and Jim Sinegal, and Adam Zachs, who helped put on the party at the Paramount. But they also gave a moment to former client Samuel Martin, 23, to put a face to their mission.
“Kids need someone to believe in them, to be on their side, to tell them they are smart, to support their dreams and encourage them as they create visions for their future,” Martin told the crowd. “Treehouse did that for me, and together all of us in this room can do that for foster kids.”
In all, the event raised more than $550,000.
Nicole Brodeur’s column appears Tuesday and Sunday. Reach her at 206-464-2334 or firstname.lastname@example.org.