Ordinary couple, extraordinary evening

Orin Kennedy, left, and Bernardo Puccio at a cocktail party in their honor in downtown Knoxville last week.

A little bit of old Hollywood glamour came to Knoxville last week as Positively Living, the organization that supports those touched by AIDS, hosted the premiere of the updated version of “An Ordinary Couple” at the Bijou Theatre.

The documentary film tells the story of Orin Kennedy and Bernardo Puccio and their 40-year relationship over a period of time when it was illegal to be gay, when AIDS ravaged the gay community and, finally, when same-sex marriage was legalized.

The original version of the film was produced 11 years ago when the pair, offended that they couldn’t legally marry, decided instead to throw themselves a party in a cemetery and unveil the special monument they had commissioned featuring both their names. That party was even covered by the Los Angeles Times (click here).

The men met each other after they moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting careers. When the acting didn’t work out, Puccio became an interior designer and Kennedy a location manager for films and TV shows. It was Kennedy’s connection to Knoxvillian Glo Klarich — they went to high school together in New York — that resulted in the new version of the film opening at the Bijou with proceeds benefiting Positively Living.

Prior to the film screening, Cliff and Jacque Hawks hosted a cocktail party in their downtown condo for Positively Living supporters. Following that, there was a buffet dinner on the stage of the Bijou Theatre.

From left, Cliff Hawks, Orin Kennedy, Jacque Hawks and Bernardo Puccio at the Hawks’ beautiful condo in The Elliott on Church Avenue.

Glo Klarich, left, went to high school with Orin Kennedy, right. Karen Kluge is in the center.

From left, Steve Drevik, Lee Ann Rogers, Dino Cartwright and Steve Jenkins at the party. Jenkins is executive director of Positively Living.

Haha. That’s Gay Lyons, director of marketing and development for Positively Living, with Tim Young, left, and R.J. Hinde.

Renee Repka, left, and Brenda Tackett.

Gay Lyons, left, with Mary Ellen Brewington and Fred Campbell.

Chris Davis, left, and Rene Yanes.

The hors d’oeuvres were fantastic. Nancy Kendrick catered.

Stuffed mushrooms got rave reviews.

Artistic shot by my friend Dino Cartwright.

From left, Randall DeFord, Wes Goddard and Steven Smith.

Ralph Cianelli, left, and Rick Fox.

Muffet Testerman-Buckner and Steve Jenkins.

Janet Testerman, left, with Chris Davis and Susan Brown.

Janet Testerman Crossley and Craig Shelton.

From left, Jackie Wilson, Martha Buchanan, Rene Yanes and Vicki Williams Baumgartner.

From left, Donald Thorne, Orin Kennedy, Steven Smith and Karen Kluge.

From left, Todd Cramer, Dino Cartwright and Ernie Hoskins.

Bill Lyons, left, with Glo Klarich and Orin Kennedy.

Matt McAdoo, left, director of Positively Living’s Choice Health Network, with Steve Jenkins.

From left, Jeff Cupp, Jim Harness and Ricky Kennedy.

A closer look at Jeff’s glitzy Alexander McQueen shirt!

His shoes were show stoppers, as well!

From left, Karen Kluge, Gay Lyons, Jacque and Cliff Hawks. (Photo by Dino Cartwright)

Soon, it was time to walk a few short blocks to the Bijou Theatre.

Yep. This is our destination.

On the stage, a delicious buffet by Holly Hambright awaited us.

Lee Ann Rogers and Sam Maynard enjoying the refreshments.

Jennifer Holder, left, and Deborah Franklin.

A few remarks by Master of Ceremonies Dino Cartwright and the guests of honor.

Holly Hambright thoughtfully passed out “to go” cups so we could take drinks to our seats.

And then, it was time for the movie. Here’s an excerpt: click here.

A few remarks from the stage.

Big applause.

It was a very special — and not so ordinary — night.

Filed under: Downtown, Events, Knoxville, Theater. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Ordinary couple, extraordinary evening

  1. Gay Lyons, on June 26th, 2017 at 2:27 pm said:

    Thanks for coming out & supporting Positively Living–and Orin & Bernardo. It was a special, one-of-a-kind evening. thanks to everyone who gave Orin & Bernardo such a warm welcome. They came away so impressed by Knoxville–especially downtown. They kept saying, “Everyone is so nice.” I’m so happy we were able to literally roll out the red carpet for them.

  2. MARY BREWINGTON, on June 26th, 2017 at 2:40 pm said:

    Cynthia you are so right, it was an extraordinary evening for Positively Living. Bernardo & Orin are inspiring with their love and humor! And like everyone else who comes to visit, they loved Knoxville and those they met here. Bravo! to Gay and her committee for creating such a special evening for us all.

  3. Orin Kennedy and Bernardo Puccio, on June 26th, 2017 at 3:02 pm said:

    Fabulous visit to Knoxville! Thank you to Gay Lyons and Glo Klarich for inviting us to share An Ordinary Couple and raise funds for Positively Living. We met so many gracious people!
    We will never forget this extraordinary journey!

  4. Cynthia Moxley, on June 26th, 2017 at 3:05 pm said:

    Gay: Great job. Definitely out of the ordinary!

    Mary Ellen: They were inspiring — and fun!

    Orin and Bernardo: We loved having you. Thanks for your generous contribution to Positively Living — and for sharing your story with us.

  5. Glo Klarich, on June 26th, 2017 at 3:46 pm said:

    I am honored and proud to be a part of the lives of Orin and Bernard and being involved in Positively Living.

    Thank you Gay, Steve and Dino and all involved with PL for the amazing reception and showing of love you gave to Orin and Bernardo.

    I, for one, and Orin and Bernardo will cherish the memories of this time they spent in Knoxville.

  6. Georgiana Vines, on June 26th, 2017 at 4:47 pm said:

    Thanks for sharing. Wish I had been in Knoxville so I could have attended.

  7. Carol Mayo Jenkins, on June 26th, 2017 at 5:48 pm said:

    This looks like such a wonderful evening, and what a fabulous story! Thank you, Cynthia for reporting on this marvelous event in Knoxville!

  8. Cynthia Moxley, on June 27th, 2017 at 11:07 am said:

    Glo: You are a rock star for helping pull this off. Great, great job.

    Georgiana: We miss you, but understand you are having a big time in California. You are amazing, friend.

    Carol: Thanks for reading and commenting on the Blue Streak. Alan and I are big fans of yours.

  9. Jennifer Holder, on June 27th, 2017 at 1:58 pm said:

    Loved the movie and the party on the stage!

  10. John Dominic, on June 28th, 2017 at 12:47 pm said:

    Home run all the way! Excellent news!

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