Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero, left, and Phyllis Nichols, CEO of the Knoxville Area Urban League at the Equal Opportunity Awards Gala at the Knoxville Convention Center.
Right up there with the Knoxville Opera as a nonprofit that really knows how to throw a party, you’d have to put the Knoxville Area Urban League. And, like the Knoxville Opera, the Urban League stays true to its mission at its major fundraiser, ensuring that the evening truly is “a party with a purpose.”
Yes, there’s a reception and good food and excellent music. But there is also some important business at the Urban League’s Equal Opportunity Awards Gala. This year, Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero received the Corporate Leadership Award for her efforts in promoting equality. And longtime civil rights activists Gordon and Judy Gibson received the Whitney M. Young Jr. Lifetime Achievement Award for their body of work in the movement. Gordon Gibson, at the time a newly ordained 25-year-old Unitarian minister, was arrested during the historic march from Selma to Montgomery in 1965 — and he and his wife have been working for the cause ever since. Continue reading →
From left, Eddie Mannis, Chef Matt Gallaher and Caroline Farris. When you see these three, you are in for a good time! Read on!
I am as guilty as anyone of not redeeming auction items for which I have paid dearly at many a charity event. So, determined to remedy that situation, I recently visited my “prize drawer” where I keep the certificates for these items. Many were expired.
But I swallowed my pride and called nearly every donor who had provided them to the charity and guess what — each one said he or she would honor the gift even though they had long passed their expiration date. (There was one exception. I just couldn’t make myself call one donor whose gift had expired in 2010!)
Boy am I glad I did that — if only to redeem this stunningly delicious and interesting dinner experience. The certificate did not say at what charity I purchased this. But here’s the important thing. It was a dinner cooked by Chef Matt Gallaher and served at the elegant Kingston Pike home of my friend Eddie Mannis. I am not sure what I paid for this. But I am sure I got my money’s worth! Continue reading →
Everyone loves props! Danielle Hemsley of Johnson Architecture with her husband, Jim, behind the Butch Jones picture, at the Moxley Carmichael tailgate. Neyland Stadium provides a nice backdrop! (Photo by Pam Rhoades)
Here’s some welcome news for party and event planners.
The University of Tennessee’s College of Communication and Information has just opened a spacious new patio with an interesting view of Neyland Stadium and the Tennessee River. Moxley Carmichael used it for a tailgate prior to the Missouri game this past Saturday, but it would be appropriate for many other occasions, as well.
Picture this. Three thousand square feet of raised outdoor space plus access to a large indoor lobby with big screen TVs for viewing other games of the day. Another plus on game days: private access to restrooms. Continue reading →
Knoxville Opera’s Maestro Brian Salesky, center, visits with Pilot Flying J’s Ken Parent and his wife, Leslie. Pilot Flying J was the title sponsor of this year’s opera ball.
The Knoxville Opera Guild’s Streamliner Ball once again proved that the folks at Knoxville Opera know how to throw a heck of a party. Sure, there were the usual silent and live auctions and great music, as one would expect. But the opera folks always seem to come up with a “hook” to make their big charity event particularly memorable.
This year, the hook was the food. They enlisted the services of one of Knoxville’s hottest young chefs, Matt Gallaher of Knox Mason and Emilia, to provide the victuals at the event held at the Knoxville Museum of Art. In keeping with the Streamliner theme — honoring the glamorous days of train travel on the great Streamliners, the Super Chief, the 20th Century Limited and the Tennessean — Gallaher based his bill of fare on original dining car menus. The concept was a stunning success.
The whole evening, in fact, was a quick-moving blast. (These things can tend to drag.) Kudos to ball co-chairs Peter Acly and Kim Henry and all the hard-working volunteers and opera supporters who made it happen. All aboard! Continue reading →
Country singer Lyle Lovett performing at the Mill & Mine in October. If you are not a country music fan, you may know him for being married to actress Julia Roberts for two years.
Country singer Lyle Lovett was in Knoxville the other day providing a concert for a small gathering of Knoxvillians at the Mill & Mine on Depot Avenue. The occasion was the annual Alexis de Tocqueville Society dinner, a “reward” for those who give $10,000 or more to the United Way of Greater Knoxville in any given year.
Jim Haslam, the chair of the Tocqueville Society, loves several of the French philosopher’s famous quotes. But one he most often cites is this one: “America is great because she is good. If America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.” As you probably know from a civics or government or world history class, Tocqueville is most famous for his seminal work, “Democracy in America,” published in 1835.
It was a treat seeing Lovett in such an intimate and relaxed atmosphere. His kind of country music really is a fusion of country and swing and jazz. He played with just two accompanists: a bass player and a fiddle player. He was chatty and funny. At one point, he called Knoxville “one of the prettiest cities in the country.” (I like that description much better than “scruffy,” of which I am growing weary.)
Allyn Purvis Schwartz presents dinner — a Low Country shrimp boil at the Knoxville Botanical Garden. Lining up to fill their plates are, from left, Bruce Anderson, Carmen Hicks, Monique Anderson and Bill and Gay Lyons. (Gay’s a little excited!)
Since Alan and I downsized several years ago to a condo in downtown Knoxville, we have adopted a new strategy for all the charity auctions we attend. We don’t have much space to acquire more “stuff.” So, we have a pretty strict rule for ourselves: Bid on “experiences” instead of things.
As the end of the year approaches, I decided to clean out our “winnings” drawer. Here is one of the items I found in it: a Low Country shrimp boil courtesy of our friends John and Allyn Purvis Schwartz. We bought it at an event benefiting the Knoxville Botanical Garden and Arboretum — and that’s where the shrimp boil was held. We redeemed our prize when my brother and sister-in-law were visiting last week from Gulf Shores, Alabama. Check it out. You might want to adopt this same policy!
Thanks to our great hosts, Allyn and John, as well as to their daughter, Ashley Schwartz Giles, and her husband, John Giles, who helped prepare the feast. This was a great auction item! Continue reading →
Author Maria Cornelius, left, with Lady Vols basketball coach Holly Warlick. Warlick is a former Lady Vol player and was Pat Summitt’s assistant coach for 27 seasons. (Photo by Pam Rhoades)
I was lucky enough to receive one of the first copies of “The Final Season,” the new book about University of Tennessee Women’s Basketball Coach Pat Summitt’s last season coaching the legendary Lady Vols. The early copy was a gift from its author, Maria Cornelius, my friend and colleague at Moxley Carmichael.
As you surely know, Summitt, the winningest coach in NCAA Division I basketball, passed away this summer after a five-year battle with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.
I tore into the book the first Saturday after I received it. By page 13, I was weeping. Pat Summitt is not only an inspirational basketball coach, but an overall inspiration. Maria, who covered Summitt and her teams for many years as a reporter with the Knoxville News Sentinel and Inside Tennessee, was privy to Summitt’s inner circle and that’s where she got most of her insights. Continue reading →
Here’s the view from our table Sunday night as sun was setting on the “Dinner on the Bridge” to celebrate Knoxville’s 225th birthday.
What a great idea this was!
To celebrate Knoxville’s 225th birthday, the Arts & Culture Alliance hosted a dinner on the Gay Street Bridge Sunday night complete with keyboard music by Carol Zinavage Shane of the Knoxville Symphony and a reading of his inaugural poem by Knoxville’s new poet laureate, R.B. Morris.
The poem was called, “A Birthday Card to Knoxville,” and it was sweet and moving. Well-known auctioneer Sam Furrow auctioned off a painting of the Gay Street Bridge by well-known artist Mike C. Berry. And Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero announced that “contrary to speculation,” she would not be leaving her post early to accept a position in the Clinton administration should Hillary Clinton be elected president.
Former Knoxville mayor and ambassador to Poland, Victor Ashe, who was in attendance Sunday night, has been promoting that idea for months in his weekly newspaper column in the Shopper News. Continue reading →