by Nicole Crews

The Golden Age of Hollywood was alive and well on Saturday as the Guilford Green Foundation hosted its annual Gala & Green Party at Greensboro’s own glamorous Proximity Hotel.

The red carpet unfolded for some 500 attendees adorned in finery and cinematic homages to stars past and present. The ghosts of Charlie Chaplin, Mae West, Judy Garland, Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn and James Dean haunted the lobbies, ballrooms and private VIP bars of the event. Tom Cruise, pantless, made a cheeky reference to Risky Business. Tina Louise gave a gingery wink to “Gilligan’s Island.” Betty Boop was the scoop on the dance floor and Golden Gods gave a nod to Oscar as they paraded through the silent auction where bounty aplenty lay in wait for bidders.

Don Vaughan, Jessica Mashburn and Ogi Overman
Don Vaughan, Jessica Mashburn and Ogi Overman

Oil paintings, antiques, china, trips and jewels spilled into the downstairs lobby as meticulous waitstaff proffered tiny skillets of gourmet meatballs and duck confit while gourmet sliders and truffle fries sidled up barside. The silent auction evolved into a progressive dinner as stations of lamb, grouper, prime rib and platters of veg filled a ballroom.

Wine and spirits flowed like the diaphanous gowns of an ingenue as Evan Olson emceed the events of the evening and GGF Senior Event Co -chair Jessica Mashburn entertained the troops with more costume changes than Beyonce and Cher combined.

Greensboro Mayor and recently-named Director of Guilford Green Foundation Nancy Barakat Vaughan dazzled in a black, sleeveless evening gown as she made brief remarks about the organization that was founded 17 years ago to assist the LGBTQ community.

Evan Olson


Mashburn said it best when she wrote, “The journey to the present has been paved with scenes of resistance and sorrow, but also pride and progress…. The foundation of our city was built by peaceful people and then grown by soldiers of justice. Guilford Green Foundation was formed by courageous and dedicated members of the LGBTQ community who fought to carry the torch of equality to this moment. To the sound of their voices, GGF will proudly keep moving forward with our mission of uniting community.”

The evening was topped off with a dance party at 10 p.m. when the “Sunset Strip” Green Party opened, paying its respects to the event’s origins in a downtown Greensboro hotspot Club Babylon in 1995.

It was Boogie Nights meets Strictly Ballroom meets Shall we Dance as Greensboro’s LGBTQ family and friends gathered on the dance floor. One thing’s for certain, this year’s party, themed Everyone’s a Star! — was aptly named.

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