Tuesday, April 30, 2002

Urban League rolls out red carpet

By Jim Knippenberg, jknippenberg@enquirer.com
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Strong families and equality were themes on a weekend party circuit full of right well-dressed people mixing, mingling and, well, cutting loose.

        • Friday's annual Urban League of Greater Cincinnati Hooray for Hollywood Gala 2002 brought in more than 800 exceptionally well-dressed souls — seriously well dressed, from glittery head dresses to glittery ankle straps on the stiletto heels — to support the league's mission of “strong families — strong children.”

        Party-goers entered on a red carpet — Hollywood, don't you know — and filled five rooms of the Cincinnati Club, munching creations from Cafe Cin-Cin Chef Henry Warman — chicken carbonara, pork loin with orange barbecue sauce, creole beef ragout and gigantic shrimp.

        As always, a lot revolved around entertainment, including impersonators Cookie Watkins (Tina Turner) and Robert Brantley Jr. (Little Richard), plus jazz singer Kathy Wade and a ton more. A major dancing crowd, this.

        And a generous one — guests paid $100 a head and spent big at the silent auction, something that kept smiles on the faces of co- chairs Ross Love (president, Blue Chip Enterprises) and wife Cheryl, and John Taylor (president, PNC Bank) and wife Lori.

        • On the other side of the river, a sold-out crowd was elbow to elbow Saturday at Margo's restaurant for the first fund-raiser of the Northern Kentucky Fairness Alliance, a chapter of the state-wide Kentucky Fairness Alliance.

        Guests — the room holds 71 — at this one paid $50 to $250 to support NKFA's mission of “equality for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people through leadership development, public education and by encouraging participation in the democratic process.”

        Said support was obvious during cocktail hour, dinner — pecan chicken was the top draw — and stirring words from Kentucky State Sen. Ernesto Scorsone, D-Lexington.

        A success? Here's how you know: Way more than 71 people tried to get tickets but couldn't. Many who couldn't get in still sent donations, according to co-chairs Frank Caliguri and Denny Kidder, pushing the proceeds close to $100,000.


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