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On Saturday, March 19th, Hollywood celebs, entertainment execs, and dressed-to-impress animal activists of all walks of lifeincluding a few of the four-legged varietytraipsed the red carpet and communed in a posh ballroom under a cascade of crystal chandeliers for the Humane Society of the United States 25th Anniversary Genesis Awards.
This annual event toasts news and entertainment mediawriters, producers, directors, and other media folk who raise the curtain on animal injustices worldwide. While star-studded, Genesis isnt your typical Hollywood awards dinner. In this circle, toasting calls for a flute of organic champagneor, just as sought after, a sprouted, whole-grain dinner roll with a smear of vegan spread.
This years nominees included How to Train Your Dragon, The Colbert Report, The Simpsons, Anderson Cooper 360, Larry King Live, The Oprah Winfrey Show, and more. Sex and the Citys Kristin Davis received the Genesis Awards top honor, the Wyler Award, for working to bring the plight of African elephants into public consciousness.
I am lucky enough to have attended this gala twice beforebut there was something special about this years event. I sensed it immediately although I couldnt quite define what it was. Valet: check. Press pass: Check. Dogs in evening gowns: check.
It wasnt until I caught up with HSUSs president and CEO Wayne Pacelle on the red carpet that I realized what made this years event so extraordinary. This was, of course, the milestone 25th Anniversary gala: we werent just there to celebrate the previous years outstanding works, we were there to celebrate the past 25 years of animal issues in the media.
The Genesis Awards really tracks the growth of our movement and you can see an incredible rise in awareness and media exposure of animal issues just by looking at the track record of the Genesis Awards, said Pacelle. I am convinced that the wind is at our backs and were going to continue to build awareness about food issues, about other domesticated animal issues, and about the protection of wildlife.
The three-course vegan menudesigned by Chef Tal Ronnen and Chef Manfred Lassahnincluded an arugula and faro salad, a chantrelle-dusted Gardein chickn filet served with chantrelle mushroom ravioli and broccolini drizzled in a beurre blanc (pictured), and either a Frangelico laced coffee and ladyfinger tiramisu or a maple cheesecake with graham cracker crust and berries. You could tell from the rounds of clean plates that were cleared from the table, the fare was a huge hit with the crowd.
While youll have to prepare your own 3-course vegan dinner, its not too late for you to raise your glass to this years winners, and to 25 years of outstanding works. Tune in or set your Tivo for The 25th Anniversary Genesis Awards one-hour special, which will air on Animal Planet on Saturday, April 30 at 7:00pm ET/PT and Sunday, May 1 at 9:00am ET/PT. (All other time zones, check your listings.)