tpac gala : kinky boots Photographs by Sophia Forbes
WIT H E M M E PHOTOGRAPH BY ALAN POIZNER
Emme Nelson Baxter is a ninth-generation Nashvillian and an owner of Boulevard Communications, LLC.
by Emme Nelson Baxter
ou walk into a party on a sultry Saturday night. It’s late August. The venue entices with cheerful red light and the upbeat lilt of Katrina and the Waves’ pop hit “Walking on Sunshine.” In a sea of about 400 tuxedoed gents and ladies in fabulous footwear, five vivacious drag queens are strutting their stuff. Now for the real non sequitur: The event you’re attending honors a megabank and a football player.
The only event that routinely mixes up such a zany social cocktail is the TPAC Gala. No one pulls off theatrics like this crew.
In addition to raising funds and throwing a great bash, the night was about showing the love for two of TPAC’s leading champions: Bank of America and athlete/actor Eddie George. Each received the organization’s Applause Award. Tennessee president John Stein graciously accepted on behalf of BofA. “ E d d i e , ” T PAC p r e s i d e n t a n d C E O Kathleen O’Brien said, “is an extraordinary role model, a unique individual who’s at the top of his game in whatever he does as an athlete, an actor, an entrepreneur, or humanitarian.” She also presented Bank of America with the award for its steadfast support since TPAC’s inception in 1980.
Christine Bradley, Mike Bradley and Lynn Maddox
Gala Chairs Anita Cash and Marci Houff
Ron Corbin, Brenda Corbin, Lynn Queener and Hugh Queener
This year’s TPAC Gala Chairmen Anita Cash and Marci Houff chose the tantalizing Broadway blockbuster Kinky Boots as the gala’s theme. Kinky Boots raked in Tonys in 2013; the show hits TPAC in February as part of its first national tour. The Kinky Boots theme offered delicious possibilities for perennial TPAC Gala planners Bob Deal, Jason Bradshaw, and Theresa Menefee. Whimsical touches started with the invitation’s attire instructions cuing guests to wear “Black Tie or Red Carpet Kinky.” Another detail came in the form of napkin holders that mimicked racy red-leather spats. Others involved in the planning included Phillipe Chadwick, Melissa Mosteller, and Amy McDaniel. Sargent’s Fine Catering handled the culinary aspects. This year’s gala fetched $340,000 for
Michael Gomez, Trish Gomez, Valerie Levay and Kurt Dittrich
TPAC’s educational and cultural programs that have served 1.6 million children in the past three decades. TPAC president and CEO Kathleen O’Brien shared that TPAC ended its year with record income and ticket sales, producing an estimated $70 million in economic impact from the combined presentations of TPAC and its professional resident companies Nashville Ballet, Nashville Opera, and Tennessee Repertory Theatre.
Aurora Sexton, DeeDee Renner, The Princess and Jaidynn Diore Fierce — all from Play Dance Bar 102 | October 2014 NashvilleArts.com
Scene out: Linda and Jere Ervin, Suzanne and Grant Smothers, Julie and Dale Allen, Lauren and Andrew Tavi, Beth Fortune and Debbie Turner, Barbara and Jack Bovender, Ansel Davis, Kristin and Don Taylor, Legare Vest, and Beth and Richard Courtney.