(B)I am not a martial artist, but because I'm married to one I have been introduced to a wonderful group of talented and remarkable people. The Mark Gerry Roast was entertaining for me on many levels, but started late and went a little long. It was nice to see our good friend Frank Dux on stage and to get a warm hug from him after the show. It was a doubly pleasant surprise to see my husband get his tribute award for his novel and to see his face on the big screen during the Dux introduction presentation, as Gordon makes a cameo appearance in the recently released "Put Up Your Dux" documentary. The Ernie Reyes Performance group and Team International performances were extraordinary!
(G)Thanks to the World Martial Arts Masters, The Golden State Karate Association and Tiger Claw, Barbara and I were granted VIP access to the Master Mark Gerry Celebrity Roast on June 17th, 2011. As you might suspect, it was as much a party as it was entertainment for the five hundred or so in attendance. Though, I have to say, the entertainment supplied by The USA International Team and Ernie Reyes’ Youth Performers (with a special performance by Ernie Reyes, Sr.) were definitely highlights of the evening, it was great to see the star-studded dais get together for this delightful tribute. Panel members included Cynthia Rothrock, Eric Lee, James Lew, Art Camacho, Ernie Reyes, Frank Dux, Harry Mok, Sonny Sison and Nicole Gerry (Mark’s daughter and Miss California Model of the Year). Comedian jeff Applebaum warmed up the crowd with an excellent set.
Most of the celebrities put some thought and effort into the roasting and the audience was treated to a video introduction for each of the dais members in attendance, as well. However, Team International and the Ernie Reyes performers were awe-inspiring. I wondered how the great stunt and competition champions who were on stage felt about the performances, which were as technically good as any martial arts demonstrations that I’ve ever seen. In the “olden days” when I participated in competitions (or when the on stage stars were performing) some of the things that were being routinely done by these kids were merely fantasy! “Great job,” to all the performers (especially Ernie Reyes, who is still participating with the kids at age 60).
I did not have a chance to speak with any of the celebrity roasters afterward, but the two standing ovations spoke volumes about the level of appreciation by all. The show lasted a little longer than expected, but I did get a chance to accept my Legends of the Martial Arts Hall of Fame Award from Cynthia Rothrock and Eric Kovaleski, for both the Journalism and Book of the Year categories after the event.
Cynthia Rothrock and Eric Kovaleski were kind enough to peel themselves away from the after show flash of cameras to hand me my award that Eric had taken the trouble to carry from Pennsylvania to California for the Gerry Roast and the Syd Campbell Memorial Martial Arts Open Tournament that took place the next day, June 18th. I was humbled that Master Kovaleski wanted to personally hand me this plaque during a weekend of festivities that was really meant to honor a living legend (Mark Gerry) and one who has just passed (Syd Campbell). Thanks again for allowing Barbara and I to attend the show.