So, I know every other post has been all gala gala gala, but indulge me a bit more while I share a few more behind-the-scenes details about the amazing Our Time event ;) If you're just joining in, you can read Part 1, here.
It really was a special night, and even though every year the event gets fancier, the thing that makes it so memorable is not material. I am talking about the energy and intent that is at the heart of the organization, which has remained the same since Our Time's very first season, ten years ago. An ethos of acceptance, support, fun and LOVE pervades everything that Our Time does, but gala night is always the night that those things are celebrated with glamour and panache and a dash of showbiz, and it is always a thrill to be a part of it.
For many Our Time company members, the gala gives them their first opportunity to speak, sing, and dance onstage. Other company members have been in the spotlight many times but nevertheless are still thrilled to share their voices with the world. To say that the kids get excited about this opportunity is an understatement. They tend to dress for the occasion, revealing sartorial talents that rival those of seasoned red-carpet-walkers. Just look at the flair:
When I arrived at the venue on Monday night, it was just in time to steal backstage and join Taro for the traditional pre-show "hype" which is basically a rousing pep-talk crossed with a warm welcome of the Guest of Honor into the Our Time family, crossed with impassioned reminders about the power and importance of listening and being there for each other, and respecting one's own voice. Hype usually results in a room full of teary-eyed folks grinning from ear-to-ear, clapping and stomping a call-and-response with Taro:
"When I say Our Time, you say 'bout time -- OUR TIME"
Pretty soon the whole room of kids, guest performers, Our Time volunteers and press were worked up into a cheering, stomping frenzy, and Carly Simon (last year's recipient of the Our Time Award) and David Seidler (this year's recipient) were busting a move in the middle of it all, arm-in-arm.
David, Taro, and Carly taking a breather after hype:
Members of the press interviewing our Oscar-Winning Honoree:
Yours truly. Happy, proud, and excited (and running to make it out to my seat in the auditorium before "places"):
Part 3 coming soon ;)