Connie Britton to speak at Black Tie Dinner


Connie Britton

Actress Connie Britton will be a featured speaker at Black Tie Dinner.

Britton, who starred in the TV series Nashville, may be best known to Texans as Tami Taylor, wife of Coach Eric Taylor in the series Friday Night Lights.

Friday Night Lights took place in fictional Dillon, Texas and was filmed in and around Austin. The football field was the former Del Valle High School field directly across the highway from Austin Bergstrom Airport.

“I’m very excited to attend the 35th Black Tie Dinner on Oct. 1, and for an awesome celebration with Dallas and the LGBT community!” Britton told Black Tie representatives.

Look forward to meeting Britton at Black Tie, because she was as accessible and friendly on the set of Friday Night Lights as her on screen persona.

During the run of the show, I played a reporter, usually standing somewhere on the sidelines. I’m sort of easy to spot in any of the football scenes because I’m the only one on the field in a sports coat — because, you know, that’s how us reporters always dress, especially in the heat.

But we spent long nights out of the field filming each of those scenes that were cut down to less than five minutes.

Britton, who was usually in the stands during filming, was always accessible, chatting with the crowd. And while we usually filmed in summer, the season 3 championship game was done on a freezing November weekend in the UT stadium. I wasn’t on the field that game (because state championships were covered by the international press, not the local Dillon press corps). Britton sat for hours freezing in the stands along with the rest of us.

Also announced, comedian Dana Goldberg returns to Black Tie for a third year to host the luxury auction. Goldberg brilliantly increased bids and generated excitement during her previous turns as Black Tie auctioneer.

Previously announced were a performance by Deborah Cox and Kuchling Award winner Steven Pounders, who will not be portrayed on stage by Jennifer Garner.

—  David Taffet

Black Tie Dinner Sneak Peek: Kuchling Award winner, headline entertainer announced

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DVtv went to the Black Tie Dinner Sneak Peek Party on Thursday night, where Brad Pritchett talked to co-chairs Nathan Robbins and Mitzi Lemons about the plans for the 35th annual fundraising dinner, set for Oct. 1, and about Kuchling Award winner Dr. Steven Pounders and singer Deborah Cox.

Read more about Pounders, Cox, and the BTD here. And watch the video below.

—  Tammye Nash

Black Tie Dinner: The Evening in Photos, Part 1

This is the first of two posts of photos from the 2015 Black Tie Dinner, held Saturday night, Nov. 14, at Sheraton Dallas Hotel. The fundraiser featured speeches by Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, Houston Mayor Annise Parker, Kuchling Award winner Melissa Grove, marriage plaintiff Jim Obergefell, E! Entertainment Vice President Jim Olde, a representative of The Trevor Project, HRC President Chad Griffin and more.

Dana Goldberg emceed the evening, with entertainment by Well Strung, Ty Herndon and Betty Who.

First of two photo slideshow posts. Photos by Tammye Nash

—  Tammye Nash

Black Tie Dinner: The Evening in Photos, Part 2

This is the second of two posts of photos from the 2015 Black Tie Dinner, held Saturday night, Nov. 14, at Sheraton Dallas Hotel. The fundraiser featured speeches by Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, Houston Mayor Annise Parker, Kuchling Award winner Melissa Grove, marriage plaintiff Jim Obergefell, E! Entertainment Vice President Jim Olde, a representative of The Trevor Project, HRC President Chad Griffin and more.

Dana Goldberg emceed the evening, with entertainment by Well Strung, Ty Herndon and Betty Who.

This is the second of two photo slideshow posts. See the first one here. Photos by Tammye Nash

—  Tammye Nash

Black Tie Dinner confirms Annise Parker as speaker

Black Tie Dinner officials confirmed today (Wednesday, Nov. 11) that Houston Mayor Annise Parker will be a featured guest speaker at the 2015 fundraising dinner on Saturday, Nov. 14.


Houston Mayor Annise Parker

Parker is completing her third and final term as mayor of Houston, and is one of only two women to have held Houston’s highest elected office.  When she was first elected mayor in 2009, Parker made headlines around the world as the first openly gay mayor of a major U.S. city, and Houston became the most populous U.S. city to have elected a lesbian to its top public office.

As she finishes her third term — the Houston mayor’s office has a three-term limit — Parker saw the city’s equal rights ordinance, adopted by the council, forced into a referendum where it was voted down by city residents last week following a vitriolic anti-transgender campaign by opponents, who claimed the ordinance would allow men to harass and attack women and girls in public restrooms.

“This was a campaign of fear-mongering and deliberate lies. No one’s rights should be subject to a popular vote,” Parker said following the vote. “This will have stained Houston’s reputation as a tolerant, welcoming global city. I absolutely fear there will be a direct economic backlash.”

Dallas Black Tie officials noted that Parker and her wife, Kathy Hubbard, will be joined at the event by Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlins.

In a statement issued today, Black Tie Co-Chair Mitzi Lemons said, “We are excited and honored to have both Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlins and Houston Mayor Annise Parker and her wife attend this year’s event”. Support from city leaders is vital to our community.”

Black Tie Dinner co-chair John Lawrimore added, “Mayor Parker’s message, especially in light of the results from last week’s election results in Houston, we know will help further ignite the passion in all of us to continue our fight for equality.”

The 2015 Black Tie Dinner, with a theme of Ignite The Night, happens Saturday night, Nov. 14, at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel. A limited number of individual tickets are still available through the Black Tie Dinner website, but no additional tickets will be sold after midnight Friday, Nov. 13.

The Black Tie Dinner Preview Party takes place Friday, 8-10 p.m.. at the hotel, and is open to the public. Those attending have a chance to see silent auction items and place bids on those items.

—  Tammye Nash

Caitlyn Jenner still has a long way to go before being a true Friend of Dorothy

Jones, Arnold WayneWhen Bruce Jenner came out officially as transgender, and eventually as “Caitlyn,” I was extremely happy for her, and for what it meant to the wider culture. For people like me, Bruce Jenner was an iconic sportsman — think Michael Jordan or LeBron James, only bigger. He was a decathlete. Think about that: The best all-around athlete in the world. Better at doing 10 sports than most people are at one or two. For younger people, he was the spacey patriarch of the Kardashian clan — not, to my way thinking, a very reputable role, but one that put him into countless homes for years.

Coming out as trans meant that Jenner brought a lot of focus to issues of sexual orientation and identity. “Welcome to the party,” was my thought. Even when she claimed to be a conservative Republican, I said, “Now, now — let’s not ostracize her … yet. There are plenty of conservative (and racist, and ignorant) gays. Indeed, let her try to live as a trans woman in a GOP world. When she sees how slow John Boehner is to return her calls, maybe she’ll realize she was backing the wrong horse all the time.”

Some people objected when she won the Arthur Ashe Courage Award from ESPN, but I didn’t. This did require courage, to be known as a specimen of male physical prowess and say, “Yes, but I was a woman all along.” That’s not courage on the field, perhaps, but it showed a degree of character. Remember: Arthur Ashe, for whom the award was named, was given that honor because of his dignity in the face of adversity after acquiring AIDS. (Previous recipients include the family of a coach who was murdered who lobbied for protective legislation, Billie Jean King and Michael Sam.) It’s not like there’s this magical list of “courageous people” that gets ranked by the AP. It was an internal decision.

Then a few weeks ago, a friend of mine was lamenting what he considered an anemic lineup of celebriguests at Dallas’ upcoming Black Tie Dinner. “You know who they should get? Caitlyn Jenner,” he suggested.

I said, “Absolutely not.”

Because it is totally different than every other honor we have bestowed upon her.

Caitlyn Jenner, showing her true colors with Ellen.

Yes, it took courage to come out. Yes, she is a hero for many in the trans community. Yes, she is a popular figure. But this is the difference: The Black Tie Dinner is a fundraiser for a political organization, the Human Rights Campaign, which fights for political rights for the LGBT community. Not some esoteric concept of “courage.” Not a trade group (sports, TV) recognizing a member for something significant. The people who attend Black Tie Dinner are doling out money (a lot of it) to support a political action committee that fought (and fights) diligently for marriage equality, employment nondiscrimination and the like. And as Caitlyn’s appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show this week manifested, she’s not worthy of being included in that group.

Think about it: Among the speakers at this year’s Black Tie Dinner will be Jim Obergefell, the name plaintiff in the SCOTUS decision that made marriage equality the law of the land. Here is a man who stood up for the dignity he required to honor his husband. What, exactly, would the conversation in the green room backstage at Black Tie be like? Cait: “Pleasure to meet you Mr. Obergefell … I’ve only been part of the LGBT community for a few months, but I hear you spent years struggling to have your marriage recognized … I guess since it’s the law, I’m OK with that, but I’m a traditionalist who thinks ‘marriage’ should be between one man and one woman … By the way, do you know my friend Nino Scalia? I hear you’ve met.”

I found Cait’s Ellen interview interesting, but I think she still has a long way to go — not as a trans woman, not as a member of the LGBT community, but as a person. She has courage, I’ll give her that. But that’s what only the Lion was looking for. She needs to embrace the rest of the desires of the friends of Dorothy. When she has a brain and a heart, then we can talk again.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Black Tie Dinner announces entertainment and awards

Black Tie Dinner held a reception at Park Place Motors on Aug. 6 attended by more than 1,000 people to announce the entertainment and award winners for its Nov. 14 dinner.

Legacy Counseling Center Executive Director Melissa Grove will receive the Kuchling Award for service to the community. As ch-chair John Lawrimore said, everyday, Melissa saves lives in our community.

The Elizabeth Birch Award will be presented to The Trevor Project, the LGBT teen suicide hotline.

Comedian Dana Goldberg who entertained at last year’s dinner and helped with the live auction will serve as emcee for the evening.

The string quartet Well Strung, singer/songwriter Betty Who and country singer Ty Herndon will perform.

U.S. Supreme Court marriage-equality case winner Jim Obergefell will be back in Dallas as Black Tie Dinner Distinguished guest.

—  David Taffet

Black Tie Dinner 2015 Preview Party in Fort Worth

Posted on 27 Mar 2015 at 10:14am
Black Tie Dinner officials on Thursday announced the theme for the 2015 dinner, set for Nov. 14, and the 15 organizations chosen to share in proceeds from this year’s event. Dinner co-chairs Debra Davis and John Lawrimore made the announcements during a kickoff event held at the Fort Worth Botanic Garden. The 2015 local beneficiaries are AIDS Interfaith Network, AIDS Outreach Center, AIDS Services of Dallas, Cathedral of Hope, Celebration Community Church, Congregation Beth El Binah, Equality Texas Foundation, Lambda Legal, Legacy Counseling Center, Legal Hospice of Texas, Northaven United Methodist Church, Resource Center, Turtle Creek Chorale, The Women’s Chorus of Dallas and Uptown Players. The dinner’s national beneficiary is the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. Check out the full story in this week's edition of the Dallas Voice.

2014 Black Tie Dinner: The Night in Photos

The Sheraton Dallas hotel was wall-to-wall Saturday night for the 33rd annual Black Tie Dinner, which raised funds for local beneficiaries and the Human Rights Campaign.

The event featured the presentation of the Kuchling Humanitarian Award to Mike Anglin, the Black Tie Media Award to Dale Hansen and the Elizabeth Birch Equality Award to attorneys Ted Olson and David Boies, along with special appearances by NBA star Jason Collins and the Prop 8 plaintiffs.

Comedienne Dana Goldberg emcees the evening, which also featured entertainment by Alex Newell and Steve Grand.

Dallas Voice photographer Cassie Quinn captured the evening in photos:

—  Tammye Nash

Black Tie Dinner recap: Hansen kills it

DSC_9058 cropsmSaturday’s Black Tie Dinner was noteworthy in part because, for the first time in a long time, there was no keynote speaker announced to anchor the night. There as a lineup of guest appearances, sure, but the biggie? Never happened. (Organizers had one in mind, but negotiations couldn’t be finalized at the last minute.)

But that doesn’t mean there wasn’t a major speech. There was.

Although he was listed merely as making a “special appearance,” WFAA sports anchor Dale Hansen ended up delivering what many present felt was one of the best addresses to a Black Tie audience in memory. He got at standing ovation. And he deserved it. (To the organizers’ shame, Hansen wasn’t even part of the exclusive Speakers’ Reception where VIPs could have their photos taken with celebrities. Now everyone who was there wish they had one to put on their Facebook page.)

Hansen, of course, caused a sensation earlier this year when, after Michael Sam came out as gay prior to the NFL, Hansen took to the airwaves to chastise those who questioned his decision. It was a spirited, slightly chiding argument in favor of being a straight ally from a tall, burly, older-male sports nut — exactly the kind of ally we need because, like Sam himself, it destroys stereotypes. Hansen touted his status as an old-school liberal in Red State Central, and voiced hope for the future — “perhaps not in your lifetimes, and almost certainly not mine,” he sighed … but eventually. Gay rights are inevitable. Equality is a necessity.

Hansen was introduced by another out athlete, Jason Collins (Sam was not present at the evening), in what got the dinner started off in the right direction.

The rest of the guests were excellent as well, from Alex Newell‘s searing vocals to Dana Goldberg‘s side-splitting comedy routine (and surprising deftness as the live auctioneer) to Ted Olson’s speech (oddly, David Boies was present at the reception but ducked out before the dinner — kinda not cool, Dave) and Steve Grand‘s … well, grandness.

The photo of Dale here is by Cassie Quinn. Check out more of her photos from the night here.

See video of the evening by Barry Phillips and Brenna Hemminger here.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones