A Night Out: Knock Out Abuse Gala

Hundreds of women and a ’60s theme? This year’s Knock Out gala was the place for sequins, bouffants, and lots of Dolman sleeves.

By: Emily Leaman

>> See more Knock Out photos in our slideshow here 

What: Knock Out Abuse Against Women 16th anniversary fundraiser.

Where: Ritz-Carlton, Washington, DC.

When: Thursday, November 5.

Ticket price: $500.

Attire: Cocktail or “groovy ’60s attire.” Lots of women got into the spirit with sequined minidresses, psychedelic prints, headbands, and touches of tie-dye. More than one sported afro wigs, and several wore perfect bouffants that would have made Jackie O. jealous.

Who: The sold-out gala, created by DC events planner Andre Wells, hosted more than 750 Washington women. The more notable names in the crowd included Channel 9’s Andrea Roane, who played emcee for the evening; Knock Out founders Cheryl Masri and Jill Sorensen; actress and domestic-abuse survivor Robin Givens; socialite blogger Pamela Sorensen; and two of Bravo’s Real Housewives of DC, Mary Amons and Lynda Erkiletian. Among the handful of lucky men in attendance were fashionisto and founder of Evolution Look modeling Paul Wharton and hair guru Erwin Gomez. Hunk-of-beef Clinton Portis was scheduled to attend, but word around the party was that the Redskins star got sick and had to cancel.

Food and drink: Absolut vodka was the liquor du jour during the reception and for good reason—parent company Pernod Ricard was one of the sponsors. During dinner, red and white wine and Champagne were served by tuxedo-clad male volunteers, who did their best to keep glasses full and women entertained. The three-course dinner included a cold shrimp-and-tomato salad, herb-crusted sea bass and beef tenderloin, and—the highlight—ramekins of warm apple cobbler with a dollop of vanilla ice cream. Coffee ended the meal, a pick-me-up in anticipation of a night of dancing ahead.

Scene: Knock Out’s annual girls night out got underway at 6:30 with a cocktail reception and silent auction, featuring nearly 200 goods and services up for grabs. Guests mingled and posed for photos in the cramped—and sweltering—lobby, where a pair of artists painted scenes of the capitol building and Washington monument and an “Instant Karma” booth hawked scarves, jewelry, and other goods.

The doors for dinner opened after 8. Guests were ushered into a psychedelic ballroom that looked like something out of Austin Powers—think flower-power flowers, orange and green lights, gerber-daisy centerpieces, and bold colors at every turn. A ’60s cover band, dressed for the occasion, danced and played while guests found their seats. Roane opened the event and, after a brief word from the organization’s founders, dinner was served.

Givens gave a heartfelt, if lengthy, keynote address on domestic abuse. She talked about her experience with ex-husband and boxer Mike Tyson, who she says abused her, and shared how she’s overcome the trauma of abuse by becoming an advocate for the cause.

Roane took the stage next to get the live auction underway. A collective squeal erupted when a black-and-white Coton de Tulear puppy went up for bidding. The auctioneer started at $500, and within minutes the pup found a home—to the tune of $3,250. Other live auction items included tickets to ABC’s Dancing with the Stars and Fox’s So You Think You Can Dance, dinner for four with Clinton Portis at Teatro Goldoni’s chef’s table, and a private tango lesson with actor Robert Duvall.

When the frenzied auction ended, guests were ushered back into the lobby, where men from the Knock Out’s brother event across town, Fight Night, began to file in. Back in the ballroom, tables were removed and the space was flipped into a dance club. The men and women danced and drank until the wee morning hours.

>> Get the full photo gallery here

Ratings:
Boldface names: 3 out of 5.
Swankiness: 3 out of 5.
Food and drink: 3 out of 5.
Overall exclusivity: 2 out of 5.

Total: 11 out of 20

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