Mireille Schwartz Birthday

Last week I attended one of the most lovely, fun, events in some time — a birthday party for Mireille Schwartz.

Mireille (pronounced mere-ray) is one of the more active members of a new generation of philanthropists and art enthusiasts in San Francisco, and has been featured on SFluxe for her involvement in the Fine Arts Museums, the Friends of the Urban Forest, the Raphael House, and numerous fashion events (she is the editor of the fashion magazine, Bientot.)

Mireille, with daughter Charlotte.

The evening began with cocktails at her elegant Lake District home.

Mireille with Joy Bianchi, Ret. Judge George Mason, and Yetunde Schuhmann
Cameron Noble with Gordon Uhlmann of Half Wit Wines
Angela Holm with Jenny Thomas, a teacher at Ann Getty’s in-home playgroup
Mireille with Monica Maduro, who is on the Board of Trustees for the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco
Mary Conrad with Vivian Walsh, author of “Olive & the Other Reindeer” books and TV series
CR Lipton, San Francisco Ballet dancer Wendy Van Dyck, San Francisco Ballet Executive Director Glenn McCoy
Sophia Bekele

At the house, I enjoyed speaking with Sophia Bekele, who just returned to San Francisco from a fascinating trip to Rwanda where she’s involved in some important work improving their infrastructure. This a woman who makes true changes in the world — a real powerhouse.

After cocktails we all boarded a limo bus provided by Bauer Transportation. What fun!

Joy Bianchi, Damion Matthews of SFluxe, Christopher Bently of Kamalaspa

On the bus, I heard all about Joy Bianchi’s huge collection of fashion and design books. Her collection of Cecil Beaton material sounds divine!

Craig Lipton, with Joy and Damion
Emmy-award winning animator Charlie Canfield and Joy Bianchi
Glenn McCoy, Nadine Weil, CR Lipton
Amber Marie Bently, Sophia Bekele and Mireille Schwartz

The limo bus dropped us off at New Eritrea Restaurant & Bar, which serves the most amazing East African food. The owners know Mireille’s family from East Africa, and allowed her to create a special menu. She redesigned the dining room just for the evening, with Chuck Foss of FullScale Event Productions, Inc., who created a luminous tent within the room.


Princess Amber Marie Bently and Princess Sophia Bekele. Amber Marie and husband Chris just came back from something like 10 days of snowboarding. Sounds like they had an absolute blast.

Princess Amber with Princess CR Lipton of CRPR
Two princesses without their tiaras: Sarah Meier and Charlotte Jude Schwartz
Birthday Queen enjoying her friends

Punk rock legend David Ferguson shared a fascinating bit of information about Mireille’s family — apparently her great-grandfather Sir Apollo Kagwa was the first African to be knighted by the Queen. Queen Victoria! The birthday evening was dedicated to Sir Apollo, to Mireille’s grandfather, the great Uganda Diplomat Apollo Kironde, and to “all our ancestors who are no longer on Earth with us.”

Glenn McCoy
Cameron Noble
Joy Bianchi
Jenny Thomas
Damion Matthews
Amber Marie Bently, Monica Maduros of Monica Maduros Special Events, and Yetunde Schuhmann.

Dinner entertainment was provided by Youssou N’Dour’s band Ken Okolulu & the Nigerian Brothers.

Christopher Bently on drums
Sophia Bekele and Yetunde Schuhmann

As you can see, the party continued long into the night, with Glenn McCoy serving champagne and Chris Bently juggling two bottles of wine on the ride back home. Yes, we are loving the limo bus.

  • Restaurant: New Eritrea [907 Irving St, San Francisco, CA — 415.681.1288]
  • Photos: Drew Altizer [drewaltizer.com]


During the party, Amber Marie Bently grabbed Drew Altizer’s camera and turned the lens on the man himself. Gotcha, Drew!