I'm way behind on my blogging thanks to a last-minute trip to Vegas and some work drama, but I wanted to be sure I wrote about GLAAD's 10th Annual OUTAuction, held this past Sunday at the Metropolitan Pavilion on W. 18th St.
I landed at JFK, went home, showered and readied myself, and immediately turned around to get to the carpet on time. The event had originally included Jonathan Groff (who I've seen four times in the past couple of weeks but resisted assaulting for a pic-with since I'd be seeing him here), but Groff was suddenly unavailable after confirming. He wasn't the only one—it was pretty ridiculous how many people scheduled to attend did not, including Ramona Singer (who was lazily tweeting about a romantic weekend she was having out of the city), Anika Noni Rose and Anthony Rapp.
I was the only person on the carpet doing video interviews, and I didn't do many, just the event's special performer Kimberely Locke ("Do I look good???" she playfully asked me before we began) and the most famous face to attend, MSNBC's Thomas Roberts. I asked them both what part of them would go for the most money if they were to auction it off, thinking they'd opt for something like "my sincerity" or "my loyalty." Instead, Kimberley opted for her "girls" (they are spectacular) and Thomas, smiling at the implications, settled on his eyes. (Though any fool knows his behind is the anchor of the Thomas Roberts show!)
Mark MacKillop & Rich Ferraro
The funniest part of the carpet was when my "date," ginger model (and model ginger) Mark MacKillop, arrived and crashed it. Hey, he's over six feet tall and is striking so gave the carpet some much-needed glamour, but I was dying and hoping GLAAD wouldn't be mad. They weren't. Mark's got an expression that says "I mean business," so it was cute when BroadwayWorld.com's Linda Lenzi encouraged him, "Can I get a tiny smile?" only to be met with an even more intensely brooding glare. Loved meeting her and her sidekick, Broadway star/hottie Ruben Flores. (Linda's amazing coverage is here.)
I got to see my buddies, Ben & Dave of The Six Pack, who are always stimulating to talk to. They brought along their baby-faced producer, David, who rose to that position after having started last year as an intern. He assures me he did this without having to sleep with either of them. Ben later got into a discussion about being a ginger with Mark, and while they agreed that their least fave opening line is, "Does the carpet match the drapes?" they had a bit of a stand-off. It was a ginger snap! Loved watching. Hot!
The Empress & Emperor of the Imperial Court of New York
Singer Eli Lieb
With belle of the ball Kimberley Locke
The point of the event was two-fold—to honor emerging artists and for guests to bid on a multitude of donated art. The awards part was accomplished pretty quickly by Laverne Cox and Isis King (the latter of whom said, "I feel like I'm at an awards show!" prompting an attendee to offer, "You ARE!"), who also spoke of International Transgender Remembrance Day. As moving as it was to reflect on the fact that people are being killed simply for being transgender (as if that isn't already a big hurdle in like considering societal disapproval and the fact that medical intervention is not as perfect as it will be one day), it was kind of shocking to hear the statistic that eight people in 2011 had been murdered due to their status as transgendered citizens. I have to assume this is a remarkably underreported crime for various obvious reasons because more people have died falling down in their bathrooms.
The awards were anti-climactic as hell, with one winner literally taking the stage and saying, "Thanks." GIve me a break. Think of a few sentences—no one is expecting mind-blowing oration, but you're not Michael Jackson.
True Blood's Carrie Preston, who meant business in her fashion-forward ensemble, was well received as she introduced some new GLAAD PSAs.
A couple of things to criticize would be that when acting prez Mike Thompson was speaking, he emphasized that GLAAD is there to tell people [paraphrasing], "You don't get to use the 'f' word when talking about gay people, you don't get to use the 't' word when talking about members of the transgender community." I very much appreciate when GLAAD hauls people to the carpet for outrageous language, but I think the jury is out on whether it's a good thing to absolutely forbid the use of "fag" and "tranny," especially when so many fags and trannies embrace those words. I've never gotten into using either indiscriminately. I find myself using "fag" often to emphasize a closet case who's pretending not to be gay is gayer than gay. I don't know if I've ever said "tranny," as in "hot tranny mess." But I have encountered plenty of gay people and transgendered people who use it. I think context is almost everything for most words.
The other thing that really bummed me out is that the GLAAD powers that be kept churlishly shushing everyone during the auction. I understand they wanted everyone to be enthralled by the bidding and to raise money, but what they might not have realized is that their sound system and auctioneer Kathleen Guzman, love her, were flawless and everyone in that room could hear every word, even over the conversational din. It came off as scolding and unpleasant.
The auction part was really fun, though, with about 10 items going on the block (and dozens more available for silent bidding—I think I won one). The item I most wanted sold for eight grand, "URBC4" by Jordan Eagles, made with blood and probably some sweat and tears. It was the highlight and significantly outsold a 91-year-old Matisse lithograph. I encouraged Mark to take note of the people bidding thousands of dollars in this economy as potential future husbands.
Also got to see my Madonna pal John and Scooter LaForge, who I have gotten to know via Kenneth Walsh. His piece had many bids, so he was in a good mood, even if he was angrily auditioning to be my new Madonna husband (watch out, Jason).
And it was great to see a couple of artists, and artists who are a couple, whose work I own—Slava Mogutin and Brian Kenny. Slava had a piece up for auction but Brian was just there for immoral support. I can't wait to see their studio again—highly interesting stuff always.
I didn't get a gift bag since I am a member of the media (but I did get in free, so no complaints), but I did get to listen to Locke's two-song performance of her new cover of "Silver Bells" and her old hit "8th World Wonder." She really has a voice, that's for sure.
Then people sporadically danced, macked (The Real World's Davis Mallory, sporting a shaved head, passionately made out with his sexy boyfriend in front of some of the art) and ate before the gavel came down on the evening.