Last Saturday, I had a lot of fun covering the red carpet of the 23rd GLAAD Media Awards. Didn't I just do that? Yes, but that was the New York edition; as I was in L.A., I covered the West Coast gathering. See, GLAAD ain't dumb—they have two to make it so no celebrity can say, "Oh, I'm on the wrong coast! I can't go!"
I hired my sweet pal Brad as my videographer and met him at the Westin Bonaventure just in time to check in and take our places. I kind of hate how the carpet was set up—the guests were allowed to congregate behind us to stargaze, which was distracting. But it was nothing compared to the women two spots down from me whose entire goal was to flash a huge "FREE GAY HUGS!" sign and video themselves receiving said hugs from roughly two-thirds of the celebrities who walked. (And I thought I was lame with my aggressive pic-with requests!) They were so damn loud! Luckily, they didn't ruin any of my interviews, but only by sheer luck.
Brad's mic needed batteries (he's blond; sorry, Brad) so I wound up videoing my own first chat, with Jennifer Tyrrell. She's the lesbian mom recently booted as a den mother by the virulently homophobic Boy Scouts of America. Smart woman and immediately likable. Unreal that they're getting away with that crap. I was a cub scout (I bailed on Webelos mainly because...what the fuck is a Webelo???) and fondly remember my Pinewood Derby racing days as well as the hillbilly band we assembled for a talent night. Not to mention the father/son cook-off, in which my father and I had a well-appreciated coconut cream pie. But still, fuck the Scouts.
My first stars were Angela Featherstone (STUH-nning, but my campadre confessed she had been an ice queen on a recent shoot) and Michelle Paradise of Exes & Ohs. No Megan Cavanagh, but they were delightful.
Next, I snagged Grant Gustin of Glee. I don't really follow the show, but no one that cute is getting past me without a third degree. He's adorable and quite articulate, even if he refers to gay people as "homosexuals," which totally didn't offend me because he was totally doing it to sound smart, not homophobic. I had a homosexual crush on various parts of him.
Max Adler from the same show was equally adorable and charming. He's passionate about his role, even though it came as a total shocker that his bullying character would be written as a late-blooming man-lover.
If Herndon Graddick weren't GLAAD's new head honcho, he should be posing in Honcho, or somewhere. Talk about good looks! He was a bit reserved when I asked him how he'd reply to critics who had GLAAD and say it's just about parties. Maybe he thought I was ambushing him (I was considering doing so, later, outside his hotel), but I'm Team GLAAD so he had nothing to worry about.
Lady Bunny was walking with Raven for RuPaul's Drag U. She was funny if acidic (as always). I couldn't resist asking her about W.E. since she'd crashed that carpet, and she didn't hold anything back. "W.E for WHAT EVER?" She trashed the movie, though it sounds like she left after five minutes.
Peter Marc Jacobson wasn't surprised when I praised his fabulous Facebook—it's always up-to-date and newsy. He says he gets a lot of that, but that it's not so hard to be a social media queen. His ideal Happily Divorced guest would be Ricky Martin, who I gather will be busy for a while at the unfairly maligned Evita on Broadway. No Fran Drescher in sight doing press.
Others who shined us on include Ali Larter, who breezed past rather smugly, Laura San Giacomo, Jane Leeves (she did one question), Betty White (doing the grinning, harmless old lady bit, which never fails) and Trevor Donovan, among many others. Trevor was fucking hot. I think I found out where my ass when—he seems to have gotten two helpings when God made him. But he was a dick to saunter past without talking to anyone. Why go if you won't do some press? (Even Jesse Tyler Ferguson balked at talk.)
Probably my #1 most wanted pic-with was with Gilles Marini. When he came by, things were accelerating so I was only getting him briefly. I asked him why he felt he needed to stand up for gay rights and he gave an unaffected answer, ending with a statement that he could be asked to do anythign for us. So I asked for and received a pic-with, which due to the angle looks like we were standing there with our heads pressed together. We weren't, alas.
Celeb publicist Howard Bragman was busy teasing my next-door neighbor—the fabulous Greg Hernandez, who I finally got to meet—so didn't realize I wanted to interview him, and not just his client, Chaz Bono. I asked him if he'd ever told a star they weren't ready to come out (he has) and about the new Chely Wright documentary, which he and I both liked.
Chaz was sweet, but wouldn't accept my hypothesis that his appearances in the tabloids are a net positive for us as a whole because of the exposure. It wasn't until later that I realized I'd asked his mom the same sort of question 20 years ago at the launch of her perfume in Chicago. She'd told me then to read the 'bloids only for the pictures, not the words. Who knew his mom Cher would show up later and hog Chaz's spotlight by donning a frightening 'fro? I found it so touching that she'd surprise him but so annoying that she'd upstage him. I guess the good outweighed the bad. (I skipped the show and afterparty.)
Tabatha Coffey's handler made it seem she only had a moment for me, but when I got bogged down with someone else, she patiently waited and gave me a few minutes, not a few moments, of her time. I was especially glad to hear she likes her SNL spoof by Kate McKinnon.
Joshua Jackson was incredibly chill (is that MJ I smell?) and only too happy to talk up the gays.
Great guy, seems like he'd be a fun friend.
Marissa Jaret Winokur was practically levitating with glee over her experience on Retired at 35 (which she, thankfully, isn't) and was also excited to talk about her affinity for gay people. She seems to view the LGBT community as her own community—she's whatever comes next on the evolutionary journey of a fag hag. She's not just a sidekick, she's one of us.
I know Josh Hutcherson from my day job. His mom was kind enough to call me over and say hi, but I wasn't sure he'd have time for me. He did, and was as articulate as ever. He's devoted to being pro-gay, which is really unusual among Young Hollywood; they're almost all pro-gay privately, but few want to really put themselves out there for fear of gay rumors. His two uncles, who died of AIDS years ago, have inspired him to be the kind of leader who is getting an award from GLAAD.
My last get of the night was a quickie with Wendie Malick. She looked stunning and was gracious enough to answer a few questions from reporters. Since she's older (than she looks, by far), I wanted to ask her about the first gay person she ever met. She remembered him right away, a guy named "Steven Picarsky" (spelling anyone?) who she met and loved during a stint in summer stock 42 years ago.
That was all she wrote. All in all, a really fun line-up of gays and gay-friendlies. I really do think a lot of GLAAD, in spite of some valid criticisms I hear from time to time, and I think Herndon's comments about the less glamorous aspects of the org ring true. Plus, any time you can get Betty White and a lesbian den mother in the same room, you're doing something right.