Worldwide Maniac Brunch at Torres Residence

Sunday, July 17th, 2011

Worldwide Maniac Brunch at Torres Residence

By Michael Barnes via | Monday, June 14, 2010, 04:30 PM

We squint quizzically at new causes. In particular, ambitious donor parties devoted to new causes.

Michael Torres’ stripling foundation aims high: Nothing less than global sustainability. Its early focus: green housing and micro-lending for victims of disasters.


Michael Torres and Courtney Sanchez

His Worldwide Maniac Foundation — the name rattles — plans a large-scale launch party for Saturday at Austin Music Hall. New Orleans jazz musician Josh Charles and pop rockers Love at War will provide the tunes. Fashion connected to the runway show — something the Music Hall actually does well — will come from Maggie Norris Couture, Carson Couture and designer Richie Rich (see Marques Harper’s fashion column Thursday on the array of such shows this summer).

Sounds fetching so far.

Torres comes with platinum business credentials in high tech: A founder at CSIdentity (which provides identity security); strategic marketer for Infoglide Software and senior manager of corporate planning at Dell Inc. And his foundation has presented smaller-scale events since New York Fashion Week of 2009.


Coco Villarrubia, Allen Beuershausen and Connie Bakonyi

What really sells Worldwide Maniac — and the Saturday launch party — is Torres’ list of co-hosts. It gathers together social connectors like former Mayor Will Wynn, Make-A-Wish Foundation CEO Joanna Linden, Longley Group president Susan Longley, photographer Gray Hawn, Creative Consultants enchantress Victoria Hentrick, Ralph Lauren’s stylish Nina Seely and husband Frank, shooting social stars Dr. John Hogg and David Garza and charity up-and-comer Allen Bauerhausen.

More New Austin than Old, yet dripping with credibility.


Mark Halsell and Stephanie O’Neill

That very list drew me to Torres house in the gated Lakeway-area village of The Hills for brunch on Sunday. The fare was simple, unpretentious: quiche, pastries, fruit salad. Courtney Sanchez served as hostess, while Torres moved from one social pod to another. He talked up small-scale sustainability and personal responsibility, then showed the rough cut of a film, “Reclaiming the Garden,” on the subject.

Others at the party endorsed Torres’ cause, or at least the Music Hall party: Austin Fashion Association founder Connie Bakonyi, experienced marketer Mark Halsell and boutique owner Stephanie Coultress O’Neill among them.

OK. Sign me up. We’ll judge the results on Saturday.

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