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Venuti La Vita – Maria Venuti 70th Birthday Party & 50 Years In Entertainment

March 22nd, 2011

Maria Venuti celebrated her BIG 70th birthday on the 13th of March in opulence and elegance – with a hint of cheekiness!

The 450 guests arrived at Doltone House, Pyrmont for Venuti La Vita with Variety, the Childrens Charity on an evening of perfect weather and stunning city backdrop. With a red theme for the party, the guests were greeted with the Maria Venuti signature Campari red cocktails with either blood orange or POM Wonderful Juice, Yellowglen Sparkling, De Bortolli wines and canapés to enjoy before the life of the party arrived.


But how on earth does a person with 50 years of entertainment experience and an exuberant personality arrive with a grand entrance? In a Carabinieri (Italian Police Car) of course! Sirens blazing, as the car came speeding down the wharf. The guests in amazement and hysterics as the larger then life Maria Venuti is escorted from the car by Dancing With The Stars dancer, Carmelo Pizzino.

Covered head to toe in red sequins, feathers and diamantes, Carmelo and his Dancing With The Stars friends liven up the mood while dancing and posing around Maria, as she waves to the guests, smiles for photos and sprawls herself over the Carabinieri.

“Welcome to my boudoir” Maria said to the guests, inviting them inside the  absolutely breathtaking red and black room, suitable for a King and Queen, complete with chandeliers, candelabras and a red baby grand piano on stage. With table settings fit for royal guests, chocolate gift boxes from Dolci D’oro and platters of Adriano Zumbo macaroons are waiting to be enjoyed.

To the back corner of the room, stylist and emcee for the night Glenn T created a phenomenal display of Maria’s dresses, right back from the start of her career – it was like stepping into the museum of a drag queen! Feathers, sequins and diamantes splashed around all over the place. Outrageous outfits and colour, colour, colour!


With some of Australia’s biggest names in entertainment, politics and business – the stars came out to play and celebrate a fabulous 50 years of entertainment and 70 years of life with Maria. Some of the guests included Alan Jones AO, Michael Caton, Barry Crocker, Vince Sorrenti, Trevor Ashley, John Foreman, Peter Everett and Susie Elelman just to name a few.


Glenn T, the emcee for the night conducted himself in nothing but a 10 out of 10 manner, with class, humour and nothing but love and admiration for Maria.

Maria started off the evening, in a fabulous gold number with “Let’s Get My Party Started” and the jazz classic, “Almost Like Being In Love”… To finish off with an emotional standing ovation.

To continue on with the night entertainment was the wonderful John Paul Young singing his world famous 1978 track “Love Is In The Air”. Getting the room intimate and in the mood, all of the guests young and old got into it – every person in the room had a smile from ear to ear.

Three chefs chosen from three of Maria’s favourite Italian restaurants, each course was specifically designed for the 450 guests. To start off the Italian culinary feast, the gorgeous entrée is served. Luca Ciano, executive chef of Casa Barilla whips up Orecchiette pasta with goat ragu, chestnuts and baked ricotta. Delicious! Both Michael Yabsley and Alan Jones were sitting beside me and raved on about how delicious it was!

Alan Jones AO made an outstanding and heartfelt contribution to the evening, speaking beautifully about Maria’s life, about the book she recently launched and about the wonderful mark she has embedded in the entertainment industry and how Maria is a true Australian icon. And that she most certainly is.


Lucio Galletto of Lucio’s prepares the main, fish with cuttlefish and silverbeet. As this is being served, Carmelo and Alana from Dancing With The Stars dance for everybody.

The entertainment just doesn’t stop. It’s now time for Barry Crocker to get up and do his thing. Sounding tremendous, he brought Maria up on stage to sing with him – both creating a very special moment for all.


Vince Sorrenti. I am laughing as I write this. This man is a master at making people laugh. He had the room in stitches and there were tears running down faces from being in hysterics. He is a very funny man, with alot to say and had every person in that room completely in the moment with him – including Maria laughing away at our table.


The sole purpose for Maria’s birthday is to raise money for the charity she has long been an ambassador for – Variety. Up came Variety Vice President Penny Docherty along with Glen Wheeler to do the auction and raffle which guests spent many dollars on buying tickets for and bidding. Thousands of dollars were raised, with several luxury packages including a trip to New Zealand and other goods such as a face lift from All Saints Cosmedical, Catherine Manuell designer luggage (won by John Foreman), 14 vouchers of Sydney’s best Italian restaurants, a Carla Zampatti dress, a John Serafino suit, Master/Slave shoes tickets to the Opera and Hairspray, products from Troy Thompson hairdressing, pearls from Nader Jewellers, a Rachel Gilbert dress, Fashion Identity company package, Chrissy L jewels, a couple of nights at The Cullen Hotel, Top3 by Design, Social Royalty, NathanPaul Swimwear (won by Vince Sorentti), V Club Gym membership a luxury Hunter Valley package plus much much more!


There is even an extra auction thrown in there by Glen – the chance to see Michael Caton from Packed to the Rafters sing to all 450 guests! Raising $700 for Variety, Michael sang “Volare”, an Italian love song. (Stay tuned for the footage!)

Dessert is served. Darren Simpson of La Scala on Jersey serves guests his divine pannacotta with whole figs stewed in Vin Santo. Perfect in taste and perfect in texture – I ate both my dessert, and Alan Jones’.

Everybody knows the event is coming to an end. But there is still a vital part missing. The cake.

Now this isn’t just any cake. This is a birthday cake so fabulous, so over the top, so Maria Venuti it’s not funny! Designed by Antony Bullimore from Planet Cake in Balmain, this magnificent 3 tier cake, each tier a different animal print, covered in diamantes, with stars and a diamante encrusted microphone protruding through the top of the cake! But wait, there has to be a candle right? Seventy candles to be exact! Maria blows out her candles and cuts the cake, with her astonishing daughter Bianca beside her, wearing an jaw-dropping Patrîcia Nascimento gown.

As cake is prepared for the guests (as if the dessert wasn’t enough!), there is yet another surprise in-store. Trevor Ashley who stars as Edna in musical ‘Hairspray‘ spent the remainder of the evening trying to upstage Maria, coming on in drag as Maria, with one of the most hilarious routines I’ve ever seen. This time, every single guest was laughing uncontrollably, with tears streaming down their faces.

It’s clear that Trevor Ashley has a close relationship with Maria as he was able to do mannerisms, voice pitches and other little Maria-isms perfectly. This was most certainly the highlight of the event, I’ve never laughed so much!

It has come to an end – a night that I had hoped would go on for much longer, but was over with in what seemed 30 minutes. A truly successful evening for both Maria and Variety. Glenn T gave Maria a gorgeous bunch of flowers from Merci Bouquet which were wrapped in leopard print. Maria said her thankyou’s and sang one final time with a medley of her favourite tunes, dedicating them to everyone that was there to share her special night.


The big band played a few songs to dance to, by this time people started to leave with their substantial gift bags in tow – containing pasta, pasta sauce and Grissinni from Barilla, Coast To Coast magazines, a bottle of Lindemans Pink Chardonnay, Cocolo Chocolates, Pukka Tea, vouchers for ParaMedical Skin Clinic, Master/Slave, Survivor Fitness and to top it off, a cute thankyou card from Maria with a cartoon of herself by Brett Willis Cartoons.


A magical night, a rollercoaster of emotions and a mutual love for a very special lady. I have no doubt Maria Venuti will never forget her night, as it was made for her and all about her.


Happy milestones Maria. Love Adrian xox

Who Got Crowned Mr Bondi For 2011?

January 21st, 2011

Two weekends of Bondi hospitality, beach and sun was enough to crown the first Mr Bondi.

Week one saw nearly 30 Mr Bondi hopefuls fight head to head in games, talent quest and quizes tp test the male emotions, all while trying to please the lovely judging panel, Elle Halliwell, Corby Sue, Donny Galella, Grant Dwyer, Julie Lawless and Nat Ayres at Bondi Social.

The somewhat crazy, eclectic group of guys made the audience laugh, made their mouth drop and made them scrunch up their faces in embarrassment for the guys who were simply just having fun.

Twelve men were short listed and asked to attend Bondi FM the following Saturday to go under more examining by the judges, and announce the winner.

plenty of alcohol, on air interviews and speed dating were part of the nights shenanigans, which went well into the night. Familiar faces were in the top 12, like seventy year old social photographer Bill Rankin, Mike Goldman and Russ Ayres, owner of Bondi FM.

But it was the quintessential man who took the tiara, the man with the great smile, fun personality, good sense of humor and the all round ‘Bondi’ guy – Anthony Marich. Long blonde hair, perfect tan and perfect white teeth, Anthony just scraped past Mike and Russ to take the title.

With a plethora of gifts, including a 12 month modeling contract and $2000 garage makeover, Anthony was chuffed with his new title, Bondi fame.

The Most Charming Newsreader Of All – Ricardo Goncalves

July 26th, 2010

Well dressed, witty humour, charasmatic and quick in his responses, it’s no wonder Ricardo Goncalves is a popular guy.

A Presenter/Reporter for SBS World News Australia and also coming from Sky News, Ricardo is an educated man, growing up on the South Coast of Sydney. He is a heavily researched reporter who knows his job inside out and takes pride in himself and the work he does.

I met Ricardo at a mutual friend’s dinner party, where he instantly charms both the men and women in the room. He is warm and approachable. He listens to people as much as you listen to him and as any educated communicator does, he asks questions about you and want’s to know what you have to say.

A very funny guy, who has substance, presence and charm, I’d like you to get to know more about him. This is Ricardo Goncalves…

What projects are you currently working on or have in the near future?

Right now I’m enjoying working as a presenter and reporter for SBS World News Australia after a long stint with Sky News Australia and Nine News Melbourne. It’s been a dramatic learning curve taking on the big global issues after years of business journalism.

I’m also very keen on the public speaking/MC circuit.

Who or what influences you most in Fashion and home décor?

When it comes to fashion, I’m known for being quite conservative, love my blacks, although I’m most comfortable in my Adidas gear. Let’s just say I’m very thankful for the wardrobe department at SBS. When it comes to the apartment, I’m very much a minimalist. I love clean lines and surfaces.

What is your favourite piece of clothing or accessory?

When it comes to dressing up, I’m a big fan of Farage, and a mate of mine, Donny Galella, does some great evening wear which I like also. Again though, show me something with the Adidas logo, and I’ll wear it.

Do you have one feature in your home you love most?

Does FOXTEL IQ2 count?

Which foods and drinks most excite your taste buds?

I’m very much a vodka, lime and soda kind of guy, but when the sun is out and the heat is on, then it’s a Hahn Super Dry. There’s also nothing better than that sound a can of Coke Zero makes when you open it.

What is your greatest extravagance?

iPhone. It’s one of those things you buy that you don’t really really need, but really really want.

Greatest lesson learnt?

Never write anything you don’t understand. As a junior reporter working for David Koch almost 10 years ago, I wrote a couple of financial terms in an article I thought I should include, because they sounded right, even though I didn’t know what they meant. Kochie then called me to ask me to explain to him what those terms were. I didn’t know. He then told me what he thought of that. From then on, I never wrote something I didn’t understand 100%

What advice would you give someone if they were thinking of a career in your industry?

Persist and persevere. My UAI wasn’t high enough to get into a well regarded Journalism degree, so I wrote dozens of letters to well known journos asking for their advice. Again, dozens actually wrote back and a couple suggested I do a business degree because there was a demand for business journalists. They were right. Also, getting work experience and learning on the road is in my opinion the best way to do it. When I was 17, I called WIN TV Wollongong once a fortnight asking for work experience. After six months, they eventually let me come in. I worked one day a week there, for free, putting stories to air, for two years before getting paid. Finally, don’t expect to start at the top. Get a good grounding about what journalism actually is and practise the craft of telling a story. I first started by holding a flecky board for another journo’s piece-to-cam. Don’t know what a flecky board is? Then you haven’t started at the bottom….

How do you maintain a life balance between work and home?

I am a news junkie, so I’m constantly flicking between the news programmes to compare their stories and presentation even at home. However, I’m keen on the gym and my shift work means I have my mornings free to have a bit of a life. I’m also very lucky to have weekends off, so I’ve always got time for myself, family and friends.

My Mother/Father always told me…

It’s not ok to spend your money frivolously, but it’s ok to spend money on good food.

Where is your favourite place to relax in Sydney?

I’ve got a couple of favourite breaky spots in Surry Hills and Potts Point that serve amazing coffee, brilliant breakfast and enough room on the table to have all of that, plus the newspaper spread out to read.

How often do you eat out and cook at home?

I haven’t located the stove at home yet….

Signature dish?

Does cereal count?

The one thing I can’t leave home without is…

My white gold neckchain and crucifix. It’s a gift from mum.

What frustrates you most about Sydney?

Peak hour traffic.

If you were Clover Moore, what would be the first thing you’d inject money into fixing?

Pushing the State Government for better transport infrastructure.

Favourite beach in Sydney and why?

North Bondi. Great place to chill and swim after doing the Bronte to Bondi walk..

Three pet hates?

1. Dog hair

2. People that stand at the end of an escalator

3. Selfish drivers

Where would be your ultimate holiday destination?

Anywhere on a beach in the Mediterranean or on the island of Madeira.

What is one quality you have, that you hope your children will get and carry through life?

Getting the balance of work, family and friends right.

When was the last time you cried? If you wish to divulge, why?

Watching Toy Story 3. The bond of a good friendship. Amazing.

What is a fashion trend you hope will never resurface?

Flouro colours. Enough said.

What car do you drive, best thing about the car and why you bought it?

A black Honda Civic Sport. Added a spoiler and blue lights to the interior of the car. Why did I buy it? I needed something a bit meatier than the green Suzuki Swift I had for years after being a poor University student.

If you were in a position where millions and millions of children globally admired you, what would be the one thing you would want to be a role model of?

Determination.

What is one of the most embarrassing moments you’ve had?

At Sky News presenters don’t often have time to pre-read and check scripts. One day, I read “paradigm” as “para-didg-im”. My colleagues have never let me forget that since.

Your best grooming tip?

With all the make up we use in the studio, getting it off is most important and moisturise…..well that’s what the make up girls at SBS said, so I just do what I’m told.

Keep an eye for Ricardo on SBS Evening News at 9:30pm.

For more information on Ricardo, contact romel@romelmanagement.com.au

Galella – Winter 2010

March 17th, 2010

Donny Galella has come back for another season with his hot men’s shirts. They are fun, appealing and have a great fit!

Whether you are after a peach coloured shirt with silver satin lining bib, a blue and white striped shirt with elegant red satin cuffs, collar and button panel or a black shirt with red stitching and red tartin trimmings, Galella has a style to suit every man.

The shirts are fitted, classic and elegant, with a modern twist to make you stand out. Priced at $125, it’s a small price to pay for a big reaction when you wear it out. Every time I’ve worn my Galella shirt out, compliments come left, right and center. It’s great!

Check out the website www.galella.com or see the full range in-store at Style Council – 22 Oxford St, Paddington.