More than 2,500 guests donned their glam finest for the 36th annual Black Tie Dinner, held at the downtown Sheraton Dallas Hotel. The nation's largest, one-night LGBTQ fundraising dinner has raised over $21 million since its inception, and if the fast and furious bidding during the live auction was any indication, that total has since risen significantly.
Auctioneer Robbie Gordy drummed up high totals for such opulent items as a $10,000 Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams shopping experience, a seven-night Mediterranean cruise, a guitar signed by Taylor Swift, and two tickets to Elton John's legendary Oscar party.
That's just a taste of the high-profile event that co-chairs Nathan Robbins and David Gifford-Robinson put together, but Black Tie Dinner is about more than just luxury. Being honored this year were Tony Award-winning playwright Terrance McNally (Ally for Equality Award), Rev. Eric Folkerth of Northaven Methodist Church (Kuchling Humanitarian Award), Brian Cross (David Taffet accepted the Richard Weaver Volunteer Excellence Award on his behalf), and the late Edith Windsor (spouse Judith Kasen accepted the Elizabeth Birch Equality Award on her behalf).
Chad Griffin spoke passionately about the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, which is the dinner's national beneficiary, and Mayor Jess Herbst shared her experience as the first openly transgender elected official in Texas history.
Performances from Waitress cast member Grace Stockdale and Neon Trees frontman Tyler Glenn punctuated the program, along with an opening number from the musical Chicago that was choreographed by local talent Jeremy Allen Dumont.
Even though guests had already enjoyed a generous cocktail hour and delicious dinner (including a slice of rainbow cake), they were ready to keep celebrating at the After Black After Party, where DJ Jeremy Blackwell kept the crowd dancing until the wee hours.
Spotted among the attendees were Jonathan Crouch, Stephen Toal, Andy Nichols, Laura Saldana, Amanda Silvera, Cole Morgan, Rebecca Conner, Anne Witherspoon, Toddell Morrell, Roy Ferrill, Mark Phariss, Vic Holmes, Cameron Wetzel, Raquel Wilson, Robert Wilson, Rob Corning, and CultureMap Stylemaker finalist (and Black Tie Dinner board member) Brad Pritchett.
Along with the national beneficiary, 19 other groups received support from this year's Black Tie Dinner, including AIDS Interfaith Network, Equality Texas Foundation, Legacy Counseling Center, The Trevor Project, Turtle Creek Chorale, and Uptown Players.