A grand old party offstage

It’s hard to reconcile the images of Maria Shriver as a child of Camelot playing aboard the Honey Fitz in front of her uncle, President John F. Kennedy, with the modern Maria, wife of one of the stars of the Republican Party. But there she was in the Madison Square Garden greenroom – the see-and-be-seen spot of the RNC convention – with her kids in tow. She was one of many interesting sights in the backstage holding area.

With a former Dallasite occupying the Oval Office, one couldn’t head for the greenroom’s WC without running into prominent Texans. Among those seen were former Dallasite and current HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson and his wife, Marcia; former Dallas Museum of Art COO Clay Johnson (now deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget ) and his wife, Anne, director of the State Department’s Art in Embassies program; Midland-oilman-turned-Secretary of Commerce Don Evans; Dallas County DA Bill Hill and his wife, Candy; former ambassador to Hungary Nancy Brinker; Dallas oilman Bill Moss (he headed a presidential commission on drug policy for the first President Bush) and his wife, Dianne; Texas House Speaker Tom Craddick and his wife, Nadine; Midland friends Jan and Joe O’Neill (Laura and George W. Bush first met at the O’Neills’ house); as well as the usual suspects like Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Gov. George Pataki; Senate hopeful from Colorado Peter Coors and former VP candidate Jack Kemp.

Wonders never cease

The real Republican wingding took place on board the USS Intrepid, the aircraft carrier and museum berthed on the Hudson River, following the president’s speech. Dallas event producer Dennis “Wemus” Grubb staged the gala for roughly 5,000 people. He lined up the Pointer Sisters to headline but also booked Dallas band the Wonders.

“The Wonders flat-out kicked some major musical butt,” says Dennis. “I kid you not. Everyone who attended went crazy over them, including the Pointer Sisters.”