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A Halestorm Hits SOMA

BY Damion Matthews - May 21, 2010


denise hale, ken fulk, ann getty
Denise Hale, Ken Fulk and Ann Getty

When Ken Fulk throws a party you know it is bound to be great from the moment you get a “a save the date” notice, which this time came in form of an email with a black mask and a link to a teaser where Truman Capote spoke of his legendary 1966 masked ball, Duffy recited “Mercy” while “CELEBRATE AN ICON” and a photo of Denise Hale appeared.

The invitation and the reminder were no less intriguing. The former came large and in letter press with an actual black mask for those who may realize last minute that their busy lives let them forget to get the appropriate disguise, and the latter in form of another email with the title “A NOT SO GENTLE REMINDER” had Chris Isaak crooning “Baby Did A Bad Bad Thing” while the words HALE and FULK, “BABY IS ABOUT TO DO A BAD THING” and “DRESS TO KILL” appeared consecutively in big red letters on a black background.

Well, Ken Fulk and his creative director at large Nelson Bloncourt did the kind of bad thing that is a really good thing.

Approximately 600 of San Francisco’s creative and society crowds descended on Ken’s Soma loft in tuxedos, gowns and elaborate masks. When it comes to design, Ken and Nelson are known for their attention to detail, wit, drama, thought-provoking juxtapositons and a bit of mischief. Their events are no exception, and so “Halestorm” unfolded, as Ken and his partner Kurt Wootton celebrated Denise Hale’s birthday with a private dinner followed by a masked ball for the Denise Hale Fund to benefit the SPCA.

Guests seated at the pre-party dinner
Denise Hale with Senator Mark Leno and friends

Outside guests in their fineries were greeted by a slew of handsome bare-chested men in black leather harnesses and pants, harkening back to the building’s history as the home of Mr. S. Leather.

Nelson Bloncourt instructing the Guard
Performer in display window

Performers in provocative turn-of-the-century garb inside the building’s display windows added to the unique welcome.

Ricky Serbin and Jennifer Raiser
Tatiana Sorokko and Andre Spearman
Jorge Maumer and Clara Shayevich
Dorka Keehn
Priscilla Guimarais and Lindsey Shook

Among the illustrious party goers were Senator Mark Leno, California Supreme Court Justice Ron George and wife Barabara, Jennifer Siebel Newson & Gavin Newsom, Michael Tilson Thomas, Chief of Police George Gascon, Ann Getty, Vanessa Getty, Amy Tan, Joy Bianchi, Sloan and Roger Barnett, Tatiana Sorokko, Angelique and Troy Griepp, Jo Schuman Silver, Gary Friedman, Suzie Kellems Dominik, Olympian Dan Veatch, Elizabeth Touw, Betty Kay Coakley, Alyson Jackson and Brad Harrington, Nirav Tolia, Kate Harbin, Clara Shayevich, Joel Goodrich, Mark Calvano, Jorge Maumer, Marta Benson, Tyler Mitchell and Stephanie Oshana, Kimberly Miller and Michael Polenske, Holly Baxter, and Mark Bussacca.

vanessa getty
Vanessa Getty
Alyson Jackson and Brad Harrington
Nirav Tolia and Sarah Leary
Roger Barnett
Roger Barnett

And of course many of my fellow designers came out, such as Roger Thomas, VP of Design for Wynn Design & Development, Paul Wiseman, David Oldroid who spent four and a half hours creating a stunning rhinestone skullcap for his partner Ronnie Genotti, Steven Miller, Benjamin Dhong, Stephen Shubel, Charles de Lisle, Steven Volpe, Candra Scott and her team with dog masks they made themselves to honor the SPCA, and Myra Hoefer who is recovering from a severe back injury, but who would not let a wheelchair stop her from coming to a ball.

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Denise Hale and Ann Getty
Denise Hale and Ann Getty
Ann Getty
Ann Getty
Daniel Kraft and Nadine Weil
Allison Speer and Susan Niven
Dan Veatch and Elizabeth Touw
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Vanessa Getty and Steven Volpe

Also joining the celebration were the San Francisco Decorator Showcase’s newest stars Brian Dittmar and Matthew Turner, architect Andrew Skurman and his lovely wife Francoise, landscape architects Stephen Suzman and Todd Cole who are featured in this month’s California Homes Magazine, columnists Jennifer Raiser and Carolyne Zinko, authors and editors Diane Dorrans Saeks and Zahid Sardar, California Home & Design’s editor Sarah Lynch, and antique dealers Candace Barnes, Ed Hardy, Gabriela Sarlo, and Tod Donobedian.

David Oldroyd, Ronnie Genotto, Ralph Dennis
Kenneth Wingard, Michael Gotham, Charles De Lisle
Mary Bess Willard, Joel Goodrich, Cindy Osbourne, Michelle Cheatham
Betty Kay Coakley
Betty Kay Coakley
Leslie Sullivan, Ian Murray, Candra Scott, Carol Thosath
Jacob Sills and Shannon Bavaro

The also party was not short on libations from various local vineyards, plus the popular Halestorm cocktail, and hearty bites provided by Paula LeDuc. Neither was it lacking in entertainment.

James Clausen and Jennifer Raiser Antoinette

A DJ planted under the hosts’ bed canopy pumped dance music from all decades throughout the third floor, while life performances by actress and singer Connie Champagne, jazz vocalist Paula West and drag queen Fauxnique delighted guests on the 2nd floor. Throughout the evening also numerous performers appeared here and there including dancers in Ken’s and Kurt’s personal shower and the whole cast of “Pearls Over Shanghai” in full regalia.

connie champagne
Connie Champagne and Birdie Bob Watt
Michael Phillis, Jeff Valentine

At the bewitching hour the elegant guests finally unmasked and then continued to dance into the wee hours, alongside many colorful creatures of the night. We finally made our way down to the exit by 1:30am, but were delayed by a huge table filled with chocolate delights on the second floor. A few indulgences later we reached the door and were sent out into the night with a Halestorm CD, comprised of musical selections from the evening, and a collection of clever cards from the fine letter press printer Studio Mendocino.

Russell Blackwood, Jeff Valentine, Eric Wertz
Russell Blackwood, Jeff Valentine, Eric Wertz
A dancer performing in the host’s shower
A lively dance floor

Oh, don’t let me forget the waxed paper bag with a black mask printed on it, which contained a breakfast sandwich that put McDonalds’ Egg McMuffin to shame, of course, and kept us very happy while we were waiting for the valet to return our car.

Ken and his team did not miss a single detail!

Denise Hale, Jean Franco
Denise Hale and Jean Franco



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