Point Honors Gala Honoring Cherry Jones

Point Honors Gala Honoring Cherry Jones

This is an article I wrote about the Point Honors event held here in LA recently, reprinted here with permission from SheWired.  The photos and captions only appear here in this blog though.

 
 
 

 
LILY TOMLIN PRESENTS POINT HONORS COURAGE AWARD TO CHERRY JONES
 
 

EVENING OF LAUGHS AND TEARS RAISES FUNDS FOR LGBT SCHOLARSHIP FOUNDATION

The Point Foundation honored actress Cherry Jones and Motorola at the Point Honors in Los Angeles at the Hollywood Renaissance Hotel on September 26 with plenty of celebrities on hand to praise The Point Foundation, which provides scholarships to deserving GLBT youth. Presenters Lily Tomlin, Swoozie Kurtz, Carrie Preston and others offered many bright and hilarious moments, but it was the students themselves who stole the spotlight with their poignant stories of triumph over adversity.

    

Hanging with Cherry Jones on the red carpet. She would have won hands down “Who Wore it Better,” and our dresses weren’t even similar. 
Actors Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Eric Stonestreet, who play a gay couple with a baby on ABC-TV’s Modern Family, opened the program with Ferguson lamenting that after two hours at the gala he was still single, and on Facebook. He then bantered with Stonestreet, calling him “gay for pay.” The straight actor acknowledge he did indeed “like boobs.”
    

 Me and the guys from Modern Family, which I hadn’t seen yet, and I had no idea how great these guys were.

 

 Later in the evening, before Lily Tomlin’s presentation of the Point Courage Award to Cherry Jones, Tomlin remarked that, like Stonestreet, “I like boobs too.” Tomlin went on to “more important things,” and then added, “Not that boobs aren’t; they are.” 
  

 This was right before I found out Lily didn’t remember me AT ALL. (see editor’s note below)

Tomlin then told of meeting openly lesbian stage and screen star Cherry Jones when Jones was a drama student at Carnegie Mellon University, when Tomlin went with a group of students “up in the hills.” “We were not alone, and I was in a committed relationship,” Tomlin assured. Tomlin then asked, “Did I mention I like boobs?”
 
 A gracious Jones accepted her award, dragging a reluctant Tomlin back on stage to share in her glory. Jones told how Tomlin inspired her as a 14-year old girl watching television, when nobody in media was openly gay, but Tomlin was “brilliantly, subversively” out.

The Courage Award recognized Jones as an example to young people as an out, proud and accomplished individual. Jones recently won an Emmy for her supporting role as the President on FOX-TV’s series 24 and has won two Tony awards for her Broadway roles in Doubt and The Heiress. She has also appeared in feature films including Amelia, Ocean’s Twelve, Erin Brokovich, The Horse Whisperer, The Perfect Storm, The Village and Signs.

 

Jones said she was “honored and humbled” to receive the award and “proud to be associated with such as worthy cause.”

 The other major award of the evening, the Point Inspiration Award went to Motorola for the company’s continued support of the GLBT community.

The evening was not without politics, as Adam Shankman, So You Think You Can Dance judge and film director (Hairspray, The Wedding Planner), began his presentation with an unscripted announcement, “Fuck this Prop 8 shit.”  

Shankman continued, to rousing applause, “These fights are won in the court room. This is a legal issue, not a spiritual issue, and we will win.”

The crowd gave it up for other presenters and performers throughout the evening including red-hot Swoozie Kurtz, True Blood’s Carrie Preston, Lost’s villain Michael Emerson, former American Idol Frenchie Davis and violinist and Point Scholar alumnus Zach Zyskowksi, who performed an exquisite rendition of Massenet’s Meditation from Thaïs.

The most affecting moments of the evening came from the scholars themselves. Point scholar Angela Clements told of her challenges growing up gay in her rural hometown of 600 people in Nebraska. “I could stop there,” she joked. After coming out, her conservative Christian family subjected her to reparative therapy and eventually disowned her. With the help of the Point Foundation she persevered to become a gay rights leader at her university where she graduated with honors.  She now attends the University of California – Berkeley law school and aspires to be a civil rights attorney to defend the rights of LGBT people.

 

Scholarship recipient Kyle Rapinan of North Seattle, Washington moved some audience members to tears when he told of physical abuse by his brother and rejection by his mother when he came out as gay. He escaped the violence by “couch surfing” at friends’ homes, but he had little hope for his future until receiving a Point Foundation scholarship that enabled him to attend the University of Washington. He plans to attend law school next and fight for LGBTQ equality.

 

 

 

 

 

The evening featured a video presentation introducing a handful more of the 67 current scholars supported by the Point Foundation and its 72 alumni. One lesbian scholar described her alienation from her family and hopelessness before becoming a Point Scholar. She proudly announced at the end of the video, that she was now, Doctor Judy Schell,” thanks to the Point Foundation.

 

The event was made possible by premiere sponsors Audi and PricewaterhouseCoopers; principle sponsor HBO; and Point friends Barefoot Wines, the Palette Fund, Tahoe Ridge Winery and Time.
 
 
 

Editor’s note: It was my second time meeting Lily Tomlin. In this pic from 199something, Lily and I got chummy in her hotel suite at the Washington Hilton after her keynote at an HRC gala. She actually gave me an exclusive interview about her soon-to-be released video collection which came with a lock of her hair in a crystal pendant. In this pic she was pretending to be Ernestina the operator. She and her friends prepared an entire skit for my interview. It was an unforgettable experience for me, with my brother Stephen as my cameraman, and Lily hanging with our crew until she almost missed her plane back to LA.
I reminded Lily of this memorable occasion, and she had NO RECOLLECTION whatsoever. Guess she also does not remember me sending a copy of this photo to her, and her sending it back signed, “With love and affection.”
 
 
 

 

 
 
  
By | 2009-12-13T13:18:54+00:00 December 13th, 2009|Uncategorized|0 Comments

About the Author:

Writer, blogger, PR pro — traveler, tech geek, health and wellness believer, parent. Wrote my first book at age 5, still living my dramatic autobiography.

Leave A Comment