The acorns were the only unexpected guests. It was the night of the annual fall gala known as Two x Two for AIDS and Art, and a red oak stood tall over the tent that welcomed invitees to the North Dallas home of Howard and Cindy Rachofsky. Just as they had for the past thirteen years, the couple had opened their three-story house and backyard for the city’s most anticipated party, a sit-down dinner and art auction whose multimillion-dollar proceeds would benefit both the Dallas Museum of Art and amfAR, an AIDS research foundation. All evening, the stately tree had been releasing its fruit onto sequined and jeweled, bow-tied and boutonniered guests, whose calligraphed place cards inside the tent read names such as Perot, Jones, and Marcus. For anyone in Louboutins, the acorns now scattered outside presented a treacherous walk to the restrooms.
They did not, however, put a dent in the mood. The buzz for this year’s party had begun as far back as April, when news broke that New York artist Richard Phillips, renowned for what critics describe as “hyperrealistic” paintings that are both beautiful and disturbing, had agreed to donate a nearly eight-foot-tall portrait of Lindsay Lohan for the auction. Then word spread that Lee Ufan,