2008 Marian Anderson Award Honoring Maya Angelou and Norman Lear

High Society was out in force last night at the 2008 Marian Anderson Award Honoring Maya Angelou and Norman Lear, which brought out an army of photographers, political figures, celebrities
Social columnists and and mover & shakers like Dr. Jerry Johnson, Kelly Boyd of KB Consultants, Raye Johnson, movie producer Jeff Erb
Only a select few are permitted to shoot this VIP reception and I am certainly honored that Philly Chit Chat rises to the occasion to be allowed in to bring to you some of what goes on behind the velvet curtain. Linda Wind of Wind Enterprises (Founded in 1996, Wind Enterprises, Inc., is a corporation committed to the personal and professional development of the business executive and career woman) with Deborah Willis from American Airlines and a major sponsor of all that Wind Enterprises does. Deborah is the Sales Promotion Manager of the Mid-Atlantic Region.

The lovely mother/daughter combo Carol and Nina Tinari. We last saw this combo at the John Legend Philly Style Party, and when I was doing research for this column I found that the duo had been published on Contact Music which is a site of significant celebrity photos of the day. Carol, not one to stay home now that the kids are out, has an impressive resume that includes Managing Director/Consultant for NVT & Associates. Formerly a resident of Overbrook Farms and active community leader, was appointed by Mayor Nutter to sit on the Zoning Board of Adjustment after he was sworn in. She is also Secretary of the Board. She is a Board member on Marian Anderson Corporation and a member of the Girard College Board of Managers.
Nina, a special assistant to Gov Rendell (see the Henri David Ball for one of her duties), greets one of the 2008 Marian Anderson Awards recipient’s Norman Lear. Dr. Angelou did not make it to the reception as she was not up to it. Sadly when I saw her before the VIP reception for the media photo ops, she was unable to wait for the whole media line and opted not to take photos after the first group allowed in to shoot her finished. Otherwise we would have that for you here. And without Maya, no one directed Norman Lear to stick around; he is just as important and I would have enjoyed photographing him with the step up and repeat behind him.

Update: I wish the Kimmel Center had picked a better room for the photo ops especially when they accepted RSVP’s from over 20 media folk. Dr Angelou is 80 and Norman Lear is 81, how long did they think they would endure flashes? I have photographed Dr. Angelou before and I could have put money on it that she wouldn’t be there for more than 10 minutes, and she wasn’t.

Next year, please have the VIP party in the Hamilton Garden where it should be, and do the photos in the lobby. It shouldn’t be such a big deal, only VIP are in building at that time, it’s more spacious and its not so warm and the space is beautiful. What you might not realize is that three of us shoot for the NATIONAL PRESS, we did not get the posed photos, nor did we get photos of both of them together. SO if you look on Getty (Filmmagic) you will see distant shots of all the named people. Then at my agency WENN, no full length shots of Maya in her beautiful gown; today my photo editor asked me if I had one, I don’t and now it won’t be published because it doesn’t exist in my file.

I can truly state that it certainly isn’t the money, what is about two great people receiving an amazing honor, in addition to giving great publicity for The Marian Anderson Awards and the great civic pride she conveyed and of course my desire to publish all things Philly to the world. So next time please, a bigger photo room for us. Thanks.

The VIP roomComcast’s David Cohen and Rhonda Cohen, Pamela Crawley and Jeremiah White

First Lady Midge looks great in her evening wear, as Nina tells her that she is not letting the Gov. eat cheeseburgers, drink too much coffee and excercise. (Nah I have no idea what she was saying)
Also on hand the girls from KB Consultants to assist us in the know of who we are shooting. The big names we know, their guests sometimes harder, so it is helpful when the publicists have lists and lists with photos to ID the people.
A little celebrity in the house CCH Pounder (the CCH standing for Carol Christine Hilaria, her birth name) from the hit TV show “The Shield”. CCH’s career has been going strong since 1979 when she first appeared in “All That Jazz” with Roy Scheider
Let the show begin:
Music Director of the Omaha Symphony Thomas Wilkins conducts the Philadelphia Orchestra at the 2008 Marian Anderson Awards

10 year old Aiyana Tedi Braun played an original piece for the evening. It was just amazing

Jonathan Demme talks about being the Chairman of the Marian Anderson Awards (Who knew he was involved)

Well we’re moving on up…

Ben Vereen made and appearance, channelling Sammy Davis Jr for an uplifting “Mr. Bojangles”

Norman Lear. I really must get out more, I had no idea he was the founder of the People for the American Way in 1981

Kirk Franklin got us all out of our seats, hey wait I’m a photographer I was already standing for the 2.5 hr show. The Queen. I bow down to you. I first met Dr. Maya Angelou when she was in NYC to ring the Nasdaq bell, back in the good ol’ days when I had money. Anyway, I had a chance to speak with her and express my love for her work, especially the book of poems for mothers, which I had just given to mine for Mothers Day 2006.