Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Point Foundation Gala - Photos and Dish

This past Saturday, the Point Foundation hosted a gala at the Hollywood Renaissance Hotel and - as usual - it was a star-studded evening with laughs, tears and fun.

(pictured left, Cherry Jones with Point Executive Director Jorge Valencia)

"I like boobs too," Lily Tomlin said starting her tribute to actress Cherry Jones. 

She went on to riff for about fifteen minutes and she had the entire crowd in stitches. "I remember meeting Cherry Jones when she was at Carnegie Melon - undiscovered and very young. Of course, I was a huge star at the time," Tomlin said with her usual deadpan style reminicent of her work in 9 to 5 and Laugh In. She continued with, "Some of the drama students took me up into the hills where we smoked pot....oh, but not Cherry, of course."

Tomlin blamed her irreverent speech on Hairspray director Adam Shankman, "He's sitting at my table and is a very, very bad influence on me."

When Cherry Jones took the stage, she refused to let Lily leave and the two of them continued an off-the-cuff routine that had the entire ballroom falling on the floor laughing.

Miss Jones recently won the Emmy for best supporting actress in a drama for her work playing the president on "24".  Jones has always been an out lesbian, and rose to fame on the New York stage, winning two Tony's there and being compared as the modern day Colleen Dewhearst.

Oddly enough, I heard most of the male audience members didn't know Lily Tomlin was out, and a few didn't even know who Cherry Jones was (admit it, you have to be a theatre queen), yet that didn't stop the huge pile-up on these two at the meet-and-greet afterwards.  Their stage show was so heartfelt and hysterical, they made about 500 insta-fans.

Other highlights included Frenchie Davis from American Idol taking the stage to belt-out I Am Changing from Dreamgirls along with the current Point Scholars themselves, nearly bringing the audience to tears with their stories of coming-out, and conquering discrimination.

The Point Foundation is an organization whose goal is to educate the future generations of lgbt folks. They provide full college scholarships to those of merit and need, and also provide an lgbt mentor. In addition, the students become part of the Point family, and have weekly, monthly and yearly meetups with other Point Scholars across the country. It's a very powerful, and empowering organization that literally saves lives.

It's hard to pinpoint highlights of this evening, since the entire show was absolutely flawless. 

It was hosted by the actors who play the gay couple from ABC's new comedy MODERN FAMILY, Jessie Tyler Ferguson and Eric Stonestreet. They were hysterical and charming. Mary Murphy - the judge from So You Think You Can Dance - ran the live auction - loudly, humorously and all the while outbidding everyone herself ("Well, I want to to go on that trip!"). 
An award was given to Motorola which meant.... you guessed it, lots of goodies in the gift bags (I got a fancy bluetooth headset!) Point Alumni Zach Zyskowski performed a piece on the violin that absolutely stunned the audience (you coulda heard a pin drop during his performance). The "voice of god" for the evening (that's what we call the announcer in the biz) was the hunky Ben Patrick Johnson, author, model and all around fabulous guy.

Those in attendance also included Swoozie Kurtz, Michael Emerson (Ben from LOST!!!!), Lee Rose, Calpernia Adams, and out-gay stars Darryl Stephens, Doug Spearman (Noah's Arc) and Reichen Lehmkuhl.

Anyway, here's all the photos:

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