Perfect Party

April’s Perfect Party: A Storied Evening

Gather ’round, y’all!

By Catherine Matusow April 7, 2014 Published in the April 2014 issue of Houstonia Magazine

From left: Capt. Jesus V. Cantu, Jennifer Daiker, Booker T, Bill McKibben, Kiran Verma, Nina Magon, Maria Elena Galán, and Judy Matney

There’s nothing quite like good, stimulating dinner conversation, is there? And this month, the roster is filled with so many guests with stories to tell, we’ll likely never get a word in edgewise. Capt. Jesus V. Cantu, a US Navy sailor from Houston, is retiring this year after 30 years of service, and if he doesn’t have a treasure chest full of tales from his travels, most recently through Singapore and the Western Pacific and Indian oceans, we’ll be sorely disappointed. Jennifer Daiker, cofounder of The Motherhood Project, is in the business of collecting stories herself—her new book New Life Within, written with partner Jillian Amodio, features 40 women from all walks of life recounting their experiences of pregnancy. Meanwhile, homegrown wrestling champ Booker T, who was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame last year and runs a gym here in town, has so many yarns to spin they gave him his own TV show, Reality of Wrestling. Environmentalist Bill McKibben (giving a Progressive Forum talk April 21), has a new book, Oil and Honey, about getting arrested after protesting the Keystone XL Pipeline in front of the White House and producing his own honey—there’s gotta be a story there, right?—which for all we know might interest Kiran Verma. She’s the purveyor of delicious Indian cuisine at her eponymous restaurant and now her own popular brand of chai, available at Revival Market and Relish Fine Foods. There’s also interior designer and Houstonian Nina Magon, who recently made her primetime debut as a competitor on NBC’s American Dream Builders, and simply must tell how that delicious reality TV sausage gets made. And if by some miracle there’s a lull in the conversation, we’ll have two teachers on hand with stories to tell: Maria Elena Galán, a third-grade pedagogue at Scroggins Elementary—also HISD’s 2014 Bilingual Teacher of the Year—and Judy Matney, the Science Bowl Coach at Dulles High, whose team is advancing to the national finals this month. Anybody for a moment of silence?

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