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Originally published Monday, August 20, 2012 at 9:02 PM

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Guitar story has happy ending; in praise of food and wine

A Seattle guitar craftsman delivers something special to Jack White; a whole lot of wine flows for good causes at Pike Place Market's Sunset Supper; and "Cirque de Soleil meets Puyallup" at Chateau Ste. Michelle.

Seattle Times staff columnist

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For months, Randy Parsons had thought about the moment when he would present the Gretsch-style guitar he had crafted to client Jack White.

On Tuesday, the Seattle guitar maker got his chance, when the leader of the White Stripes, the Raconteurs and Nashville's Third Man Records was playing the WaMu Theater, and invited Parsons to deliver the guitar to sound check.

It wasn't the first time they had worked together. Parsons had painted guitars for White, and he'd made White's trademark "Triple Jet" guitar out of copper.

This new blue one was made of wood from the American holly tree, with three bars inlaid in the back (White has a thing about the number three).

But White wasn't feeling well, and skipped sound check. So his guitar tech looked the guitar over and told Parsons that there were some issues with the thing.

Dejected, Parsons left the guitar in White's dressing room with an amp so he could try it out, along with a note saying that he was happy to make fixes.

Just before the show started, Parsons saw that his guitar wasn't among those on the stage.

Ah, well.

"Then the lights go down, the crowd goes crazy, and here comes Jack," Parsons recalled the other day. "And he's got my guitar over his shoulder."

White did a long encore, seven or eight songs, and played Parson's guitar the whole time.

"He would not give it up," Parsons said. "The whole thing played out like a movie."

"One big nosh pit"

The first person to stroll into Pike Place Market's Sunset Supper Friday night was Jeremy Lazowska, of Seattle, who had been waiting 30 minutes to load his white paper plate with everything from duck-liver paté from Chef Daisley Gordon of Marché to stunning chocolate-dipped nuggets of strawberry sorbet presented by Chef Gavin Stephenson of The Georgian.

To wash it down? Lavender-infused gin from the Ellensburg Distillery. Fremont Mischief whiskey. Espolon Tequila Margaritas and 30 wineries popping corks. Holy cow.

"Do the food before doing the beer," Lazowska called over his shoulder before he disappeared into the happy crowd.

"It's one big nosh pit, and probably the coolest thing in town," said Lillian Hochstein, executive director of the Pike Place Market Foundation. The supper was expected to raise $200,000 for the Pike Market Medical Clinic, Senior Center, child care and preschool and the Downtown Food Bank.

One added bonus: Chefs and pourers could get out from behind the stove and the bar and mix it up.

"Everybody's in this together," said Mat Connolly of the Georgetown Brewing Co., who served a steady stream of food folk before the gates opened.

Among them, Uli Lengenberg, of Uli's Famous Sausage, and Todd Mera, who owns AniChe Cellars with his wife, Rachael.

"You know what they say," Mera said as he raised his cup. "It takes a lot of cold beer to make a good wine."

Take two aspirin and head to Woodinville

Which brings us to the Auction of Washington Wines' Picnic & Barrel Auction, where Judy Phelps from Hard Row to Hoe Vineyards met me at the gate and hit my glass with a splash of ...

What is this called?

"Good in Bed," she told me. "It portends what's to come."

Well, now. What did come was wine and more wine poured by the vintners, who walked around the sweltering grounds of Chateau Ste. Michelle with bottles tucked into plastic bags of ice.

The Tulalip Casino provided the food, including bacon candy for dessert.

"It's Cirque de Soleil meets Puyallup," explained Alan Aquila, who oversaw the spread.

Wendy Smith's daughter, Allison, was chosen as the honorary patient from Seattle Children's, which will benefit from the $1.9 million raised during the weekend of wine events.

"These people saved my daughter," Smith said, adding that Allison was headed to kindergarten in the fall.

It had been a long road for her — and for her mother, who was thrilled to be a part of things.

"They had me at 'wine,' " she said, then raised a glass. To life.

Names in Bold appears every Tuesday. Reach Nicole Brodeur at 206-464-2334 or nbrodeur@seattletimes.com.

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About Nicole Brodeur's Names in Bold

On Tuesdays, I tell you about my travels through some of the week's social and philanthropic events — not just the ones for the swells, but those for work-a-day folks who care about making this region move and improve.
nbrodeur@seattletimes.com | 206-464-2334

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