The Julep  was a fun party held at the Galt House as a fundraiser for the James Graham Brown Cancer Center. The star studded gala had many celebrity guests and entertainment to please. Although it wasn’t as glamorously decorated as I expected, it was adequate. Since it is a fundraiser, I guess it is fair to say they need not splurge on excess luxuries. Although ice sculptures and acrobats are always cool. I would say the cocktail reception area definitely could have used more décor. There were a few small tables setup, the Mint Julep fountain, and the red carpet, but there were no extra decorations here. Some more ambient lighting would have made the cocktail lounge more extravagant. The red carpet was long and in a great location allowing the media, including Tom Fischer with BourbonBlog  (a blog site dedicated to Bourbon), to get great pictures of all the celebrities.
The party was delayed a little past 7pm due to the Oaks starting late because of the bad weather (which we got stuck in walking back to our car at the Oaks and had to run home to freshen up). Guests were able to line up behind the media line to watch all the stars enter. In case you didn’t recognize any of the celebrities The Julep had someone manning a white board writing down names of who was walking in. The Julep program also had a bio and picture of each celebrity. There were a few celebrities who were not in the program, but still attended.
The first celebrity down the red carpet was Gabriel Amar, hat designer for Von Maur. He was one of the friendliest celebrities and when we asked him what he thought about all the Derby hats he said, “I’ve seen a lot of great hats so far.” Mr. Amar also said he is currently undecided on his Kentucky Derby horse. A little later in the party we ran into Gabriel Amar again and he commented, “I like your tattoo. You all have very nice hats, but come see me before next Derby to get a hat.”
After Gabriel Amar we spoke briefly to Charlie Strong, UofL’s football coach, and his wife Vicki Strong who said he was also undecided on his Kentucky Derby horse. Vicki Strong had on a gorgeous, long pink gown that definitely stood out from the rest.
Conrad Bachmann, famous actor, was the next celebrity we spoke with. Conrad is actually from Louisville, KY and was appointed to the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s Film Commission by Governor Beshear. Bachmann was also undecided on his Kentucky Derby horse although he did joke that he was betting on, “My own horse.” I must have looked like I was taking him seriously, which I was unsure if he had a horse in the derby or not, he reassured me he really didn’t have a horse in the derby. A little later at the Mint Julep fountain he jokingly told me, “It has a way of checking ID’s.” I guess that could be a compliment that I look under 21. I’ll take that. I did find out at the Oaks that the Mint Julep is over rated. I about gagged on my Mint Julep, my first one ever. It tasted like mouth wash. The Oaks Lily is way better. Maybe The Julep should have had an Oaks Lily fountain instead since a) it was the day of the Oaks and b) it would have been pink for cancer awareness.
Next Jeff Walz, UofL’s head coach of the women's basketball team, and his girl friend went down the red carpet followed by ‘hero mom’ Stephanie Decker, who saved her children in the Henryville tornado causing her to lose parts of both legs, and her husband Joe Decker. We expressed our admiration for what Stephanie did and told her we were glad to see them there. Stephanie looked elegant in a black dress.
Next we talked with Max Adler, actor best known from Glee. Adler’s horse pick to win the Kentucky Derby is Daddy Nose Best. Jenna teaches music at a grade school and formed a ‘Glee Club’. When asked what advice he would give to her students he said, “It’s all about being yourself.” Max was very friendly and a joy to talk to.
Dr. James R. Ramsey, UofL’s president, was next down the red carpet followed by Angie Johnson, singer on The Voice and her husband. Angie’s Kentucky Derby horse is On Fire Baby.
Miss Kentucky, Lee Ann Herring Olvedo, worked the red carpet next. She had two Kentucky Derby horses picked out: Daddy Nose Best and Union Rags.
Then one of the celebrities we were most excited to meet came down the red carpet, Doris Roberts, actress well known for being Marie Barone on Everybody Loves Raymond. She was funny to talk to and said she didn’t have a particular Kentucky Derby horse picked out yet, but she would pick the horse with the best name. She accidently knocked my wine over, but didn’t seem to notice. I’ll have a memento of a wine stained program. It’s all good Doris. You can knock my wine over any day.
Mark Hapka, an American film and television actor, told us his Kentucky Derby horse is the one that looks the fastest. How he decides which one looks the fastest we don’t know.
The best strategy for picking a Kentucky Derby horse came from Jonathan Kite. His strategy is to smell the jockey. Then whoever smells like ‘shit’ the most will be the winner. It’s an interesting strategy for sure, not sure where it came from. Jonathan did not currently have a particular jockey sniffed out yet.
Then another of our favorite celebrities came down the red carpet. Rodney Atkins and his band talked to us about their Kentucky Derby horse picks. They started naming off horse names I didn’t recognize. I guess I looked confused or they were making fun of me for looking like I knew what they were talking about because one of them pointed out they were naming off micro brews: English Breakfast, Northern Lights, etc. That would explain why I didn’t recognize any of those horse names. They were all really fun to talk to.
Then Zach Bryan, actor from Home Improvement, and a girl he was with arrived on the red carpet. They literally ran through the red carpet like he was in the Kentucky Derby. It was obvious he didn’t want any pictures, interviews, or any socializing with the media. He was snagged by Mark Hapka to take a group photo, but he didn’t seem too thrilled about it. We didn’t bother approaching him the rest of the night. It is a fundraiser; you’d think he would be more obliging. It’s not like we were all paparazzi showing up at his home or getting all up in his business. We found it to be rude.
Then we met Star Jones, TV host, attorney, best-selling author, and former prosecutor, who was shimmering in a sequined gown. Star was also very friendly and lovely to talk to. We asked her how she was enjoying the Derby and she said, “I love Louisville. The people treat you well and the Kentucky Derby is the best sport event.” She didn’t currently have a Derby horse picked out because she was waiting to see the condition of the track tomorrow. Through statistics and the track’s condition, wet or dry, she picks her race horse. Right next to Star, actress, Vanessa Bell Calloway, says she bets on whatever horse Star Jones bets on. Sounds like Star Jones is an expert horse racing gambler.
After Star Jones, we had the honor to meet award winning actress, Shohreh Aghdashloo. Her Kentucky Derby horses are Daddy Long Legs, Optimizer, Union Rags, and Alpha.
Then we had the privilege to talk to David Arquette, actor, producer, writer, and director. For an actor of his caliber, I was expecting an ego, and was delightfully disproved. He was super nice and even volunteered to take a photo with me. He said he doesn’t drink, but I reassured him he wasn’t missing out on the Mint Julep and that it was really gross. His Kentucky Derby horse is Creative Cause. That’s a good choice. I always bet on the grey horses. He said that this was his second Kentucky Derby and that he loves the tradition of it. From his tweets  on Twitter, he seems to have a fascination with the fascinator. When asked if he enjoyed anything else in Louisville he said he visited the big Louisville Slugger bat. On twitter looks like he also saw the giant, gold, naked David at the 21C Museum Hotel. He failed to mention that to us though.
Fred Willard was next on the red carpet and was donning some awesome blue suede shoes and a paisley tie. We took a photo of his shoes which he seemed to think was strange, but let us anyway. His betting strategy for the Kentucky Derby is to research the horses’ race history.
Corey Miller from LA Ink told us he heard some horse experts talking about Union Rags, so that will be his pick to win the Kentucky Derby.
The Julep announcer and Emmy award winning broadcaster, Jean West, told us her Kentucky Derby horse is Done Talking, funny choice for a broadcaster.
After everyone made it down the red carpet dinner was started. Some lovely dinner music was provided by Nashville’s popular party band, Pat Patrick Band and orchestra. They played some great big band and swing music. The Grand Ballroom where dancing and dinner was served was very beautifully decorated with ambient up lighting and rose center pieces.
After dinner there was the presentation of the 2012 patient ambassadors: Jessica Rizzo and Reginald Caldwell. There was a very heartfelt video on a few projector screens talking about how the James Brown Cancer Center helped the ambassadors. The 2012 Julep Scientist of the Year, Geoffrey Clark Ph.D., was announced as well as the 2012 Clinician of the Year, Lynn Parker M.D. Jean West then introduced all the celebrity guests.
After this presentation Rodney Atkins’ band performed for an hour. They put on a great show and the audience ate it up. He gave Jenna his guitar pick right in the middle of a song. He seemed to have a couple picks on his microphone that he was giving out to people. Unlike some other country artists, *cough Taylor Swift, Rodney Atkins was phenomenal live and sounded just as good as any of his recordings. As a music geek I was checking out the guitarist’s pedal board. He seemed to have a couple things going for him. After they finished playing the auction closed and the stage got setup for DJ Brendan Fallis and Angie Johnson.
The auction lounge was also very well decorated with a pink glow for cancer awareness and VIP white couches. The auction items seemed to do well. Many of the items ranging from UofL sport items to race photos and artwork were going for more than $600 and some double that.
After the auction ended Angie performed a couple cover songs like Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep”, which the Pat Patrick Band also happened to play earlier that night. I actually think the singer in the Pat Patrick Band did a better rendition. Grant it she also had a full live band backing her up. Angie was accompanied by a recording. She looked a bit odd being on stage all by herself without a backup band. It would have been neat to have some of the Pat Patrick Band members backing her up. She sang well and that was all that mattered in the end. There were people dancing, although not as many as Rodney Atkin’s had, but people seemed to enjoy it.
When Angie finished singing White Castles and Coco’s Confectionz were served. I saw Christian Siriano snag one of those White Castles too. These seemed to be a hit with everyone. I grabbed two cake pops myself. They were mouth watering. At the same time DJ Brendan Fallis got some good beats going and everyone danced the night away. I guess we will find out today which celebrities know how to pick their race horse. It was a fun, successful event that everyone seemed to enjoy.
Photos: courtesy of Anna Blanton and Jenna Rae