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Originally published July 29, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified July 29, 2007 at 2:01 AM


Goddesses, gods and socialites

In certain social circles, JJ McKay has been called "the Perle Mesta of Seattle. " Mesta was a celebrated society hostess known for bringing...

Seattle Times columnist

In certain social circles, JJ McKay has been called "the Perle Mesta of Seattle." Mesta was a celebrated society hostess known for bringing artists, business leaders and political luminaries together at her high-class soirees in Washington, D.C. "On such jolly occasions, the food is always bountiful, the liquor excellent and plentiful," proclaimed a March 1949 Time Magazine cover story. "She likes everybody to be gay, but not to get out of hand."

Which brings us to the Grecian Bacchanal, a private themed party hosted by JJ and celebrity caterer Russell Lowell to "celebrate the arrival of summer in Seattle and the goodness of life"; invitations were sent out to Seattle's "gods and goddesses" and promised an evening of plentiful charm, beauty and laughter. To wit:

Seattle philanthropists Jack and Becky Benaroya, who stayed for the first dance because "my husband's attendant likes to dance, so one dance and we'll go home" ... Leigh and J.P. Canlis, who turned up late after having a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day involving a car break-in ... Pennie Lane of "Almost Famous" fame, wearing hair extensions and a flowy blue gown created by director Gus Van Sant's costume designer ... the "very social Barriers," i.e. Jimmy and Patty Barrier of Seattle and Palm Springs ... Sen. Ed Murray and his longtime partner Michael Shiosaki, who were not wearing togas (no fun at all!) ... celebrity jewelry designer Bruce Magnotti, wearing an ornate necklace, glitter, flip-flops and, frankly, not much else ... Barneys store manager Anne Smith, who looks like a Greek goddess no matter what she's wearing ... and Seattle Metropolitan publisher Nicole Vogel sporting a sleek and flattering Anna Wintour bob.

Oh, and Stephanie Kron Raffetto. Who is she, you ask? That's what I said when she approached me as I was walking out the door. "I just moved here from Washington, D.C. How do I get my name in your column?" Well, Stephanie, that's easy: All you have to do is ask. ...

SEATTLE SOUNDERS FORWARD Roger Levesque may be a high scorer on the field, but his rock-paper-scissors game could use some work. After losing a bet to an opposing player following a game against the Rochester Raging Rhinos (best team name ever), Levesque had to grow a mustache for two weeks. "It was a moment of weakness," he said. "When we play them again, I have to show up at the stadium, clean-shaven except for the mustache." By the way, did you know Seattle has a professional soccer team? It's called the Seattle Sounders. ...

FORMER SEATTLE MARINER Jeff Nelson rounded up some baseball pals for celebrity bartender night at the Metropolitan Grill July 19, a fundraiser for Northwest Children's Fund. The bartending tab combined with live auction raised nearly $8,000, despite Dave Henderson's misguided attempt at generosity: "Drinks are on the house!" Henderson spent much of the night mixing Jack Daniels and coke. When customers ordered singles, he served doubles. There's a baseball joke in here somewhere, but I can't find it. ...

WHAT DOES $3 MILLION get you in Belltown real estate? How about a dramatic "designer" condo with panoramic views from the founders of swanky interior design company Two Downtown? Life and business partners Howard Weiner and Lance Kostrobala have put their 2,609-square-foot condo on the market and are moving to a small village in Thailand. The couple plans to maintain a transcontinental lifestyle as they pursue photography and painting and, Lance writes, "once again ask the question of ourselves: 'What do we want to be when we grow up?' " ...

CELEBRITY SIGHTINGS ROUNDUP: Megan Mullally from "Will & Grace" dining at Lola ... Vicki Gunvalson from Bravo's "The Real Housewives of Orange County" having cocktails and appetizers with her film crew at The Parlor in Bellevue ... Has anyone seen Tom Skerritt? I'm getting worried.

Girl About Town appears every Sunday in Northwest Life. Pamela Sitt: 206-464-2376 or

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

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