There was no need for attendees at Black Tie Dinner's inaugural On Stage event to adhere to the group's typical fancy dress code — the stunning surroundings of Bass Performance Hall did enough dazzling on their own.
But the crowd still arrived in their best party attire, ready to be #visible from a vantage point that's normally reserved for performers. A new partnership between Performing Arts Fort Worth and Black Tie Dinner (the nation's largest, one-night, LGBTQ fundraising dinner) got guests up onstage to celebrate equality and start the countdown to this year's big dinner on November 3, which has a theme of "VISIBLE."
WFAA's Ron Corning emceed the sold-out On Stage event, which was underwritten by Mercedes-Benz Financial Services and featured performances from DFW musicians Chris Chism and Abraham Alexander. The irreverent Sister Helen Holy (a signature character of local actor Paul J. Williams) roasted the crowd, who had plenty of Tito's vodka, Ruffino prosecco, and other Constellation Brands' spirits in them to help weather her hilarious and cutting commentary.
Guests — including Dustin Vyers, Scott Bates, Tim Berry, Jonathan Estridge, Matt Ginn, Kyle Christopher West, Jared West, Tony Joy, and CultureMap Dallas Stylemaker finalist Brad Pritchett — noshed on appetizers and sweets from Reata and other Sundance Square restaurants.
Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price and councilwoman Ann Zadeh offered inspiring remarks, while Black Tie Dinner's co-chair David Gifford-Robinson explained the nonprofit's mission. Each year, it selects up to 20 North Texas beneficiaries to receive proceeds from the dinner, as well as the national beneficiary the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. To date, Black Tie Dinner has distributed over $22 million.
Celebration Community Church has been a beneficiary since 2008, and Reverend Carol West announced that in that decade her church has received more than $300,000.