Party Pics

Inside the Embrace Gala, a Black-Tie-And-Sneakers Soiree

Plus, a Winter Walk fundraiser at the American Repertory Theater and the 34th annual Boston Wine & Food Festival.

Reverend Liz Walker, with Adage Capital Management partner Demond Martin, his wife, Dr. Kia Martin, and Reverend Jeffrey Brown. / Photo by Flavio D Photography

Like the sculpture whose unveiling it was held to celebrate, the Embrace Gala was a grace note for Boston—a giant group hug across all walks of life. Held at the Omni Boston Hotel at the Seaport, the black-tie-and-sneakers soiree attracted the likes of power broker Darryl Settles, the incomparable Colette Phillips, the righteous Reverend Liz Walker, Boston Ballet head honcho Max Hodges, newly anointed GBH boss Susan Goldberg, and streetwear mogul Ferguson Herivaux. Winner of the evening’s most creative photo op, though, was canna-businessman and former City Councilor Tito Jackson, who posed for a photo with digital creative Tito Bottitta holding a bottle of Tito’s vodka—both men, coincidentally, wearing red.

Guests dined on a salad of heirloom vegetables and “Chicken, Two Ways,” and the roster of talent included DJ Jazzy Jeff and Amandi Music. The speeches were blessedly brief, while the bonhomie was unmistakable. Not surprisingly, the monument itself was a major topic of conversation, with praise heaped upon sculptor Hank Willis Thomas, MASS Design Group, and Embrace Boston executive director Imari Paris Jeffries. The general consensus? The bronze, abstract depiction of Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King’s arms entwined around each other is a modern masterpiece. As for the haters? They’re “old-school Boston,” one guest observed, “either stodgy traditionalists or a tiny bit racist.” (Read contributor Dart Adams on “The Real, Essential Backstory of ‘the Embrace.’“)

The only divisive thing about the gala was the dress code, which called for everyone to wear their spiffiest kicks. “I ran out frantically to the Nike store,” said one man apologetically. “I’m a size 13, and this is all they had.”

The woman to whom he was speaking snorted. “Don’t expect sympathy from me,” she said. “Any opportunity to trade high heels for sneakers….”

State Street bigwig Paul Francisco and his investment guru wife, Betty, with Embrace Boston executive director Imari Paris Jeffries. / Photo by Flavio D Photography

Huntington Theatre Company mogul Naheem Garcia. / Photo by Flavio D Photography

Revelers on the dance floor / Photo by Flavio D Photography

Patriots safety Devin McCourty and his other half, Dr. Michelle Powell. / Photo by Flavio D Photography

Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley mingles with the crowd. / Photo by Flavio D Photography

Winter Walk

Supporters of the Winter Walk, which aims to eradicate homelessness in Boston, gathered at the American Repertory Theater for a special performance of Life of Pi, hosted by Winter Walk executive director Ari Barbanell and radio personality Sue Brady Hartigan.

Photo by Sophia Paarz

Dr. Brooke Sikora of SkinCare Physicians, Jean-Remy Behaeghel of Moderna, Melissa Steffy of Herb Chambers, and philanthropist Julie Gordon of Brookline.

Photo by Sophia Paarz

The aptly named Zahirah Truth of Building Audacity and the fashion-forward Elle Tillery of Roxbury Youthworks.

Photo by Sophia Paarz

Boston Children’s hospital VIP Arlenin Dushku and pharmaceutical exec Chelley Casey of Wave Life Sciences.

Photo by Sophia Paarz

Homeless children’s champion Alicia Ianiere of FamilyAid, professional bookworm Andrea Chiang of Hummingbird Books, and real estate pro Maggie Lawler of MGS Group.

Opening Night of the Boston Wine & Food Festival

The 34th annual Boston Wine & Food Festival got off to a rollicking start at the Boston Harbor Hotel’s Wharf Room, where more than 200 guests sipped, supped, and whooped it up. The three-month bacchanalia included more than 50 dinners, classes, and seminars.

Photo by Binita Patel

The Providence Journal food editor Gail Ciampa with narrow-gauge railway enthusiast David Buczkowski.

Photo by Binita Patel

Brand strategist Brittany Di Capua with NBC10 coanchors Priscilla Casper and Colton Bradford.

Photo by Binita Patel

Festival organizer Nancy Bean with PR queen and über-foodie Nicole Russo.

Photo by Binita Patel

Modern Luxury editor Madison Duddy with Bank of America corporate audit analyst Charlie Costa.

A version of this was first published in the print edition of the April 2023 issue with the headline “Love Is in the Air…”