I had a great time at an intimate cocktail party last night in honor of the new documentary To Be Takei—available now through August 6 on DIRECTV—which follows the daily life of Star Trek icon and out LGBT advocate George Takei and his husband, Brad Takei (né Altman).
Brad told me he hopes the film shows people that while, yes, they are a gay couple, they are also simply a couple, with all the same ups and downs of any other couple. He also marveled of George's late-in-life career resurgence, saying:
Kylie's for gay rights, her handler was against gays' right to snap photos while she spoke...too bad!
Last night was The 25th Annual GLAAD Media Awards. Or at least, the latest 25th Annual; GLAAD likes to hold the same event with different stars for a different pool of potential donors in different cities. I just covered L.A. weeks ago. The Oscars might consider doing this—then everyone could win! Best Picture (L.A.): Crash! Best Picture (Every Other City): Brokeback Mountain!
Held at the Waldorf Astoria, the event had a pretty darn good list of celebrity attendees, perhaps in part fueled by the fact that medium-sized gay stars who would normally have to pay good money like any other schlub in order to share air with Kylie Minogue—who was performing, perhaps her new UK single “I Was Gonna Cancel”—would get to kibbitz with her on the carpet free-for-nothin'.
I was in good hands with King of the Selfies, Peter Dee!
Trying something new, I got a mic and asked Peter Dee (pictured) to do the honors as my red-carpet face man. It was nice having his optimistic energy (“Maybe we'll get Kylie and maybe Lindsay Lohan will show up!”) to temper my...own energy (“We'll never get Kylie. We'll be lucky if they remember to give us a spot.”)
We arrived early and discovered that my two spots on the carpet were non-existent. Score one point for the power of negative thinking. GLAAD knew I was supposed to be there, so squeezed me between a Howard Stern reporter (I had nightmares of stuttering insult questions, but he was a doll, very off-brand) and some lesbians who were having a blast. One of them told Peter, “It's like everyone in New York is 25.” Yes, it is.
Not everyone in NYC is 25: Ageless Disco Era icon Rollerena!
The carpet went fairly well; we were able to squeeze in interviews with most of the names we wanted (we missed Looking's Frankie J. Alvarez and Raul Castillo, had to skip Laura Prepon for Boy George, Natasha Lyonne bypassed everyone—boy, that GBF cast sure loves to promote their adorable movie!—didn't recognize country star Kacey Musgraves, another of the evening's performers, and never saw Emmy Rossum, Abigail Breslin, Chely Wright or Naomi Watts on the carpet), and a few interesting things happened, which is all you can ask for when you're not People, Us or, at this one event only, Logo and Instinct Magazine.
Boy George was in the pink while chatting with Mike Diamond.
The toughest get was Boy George. He caused a huge commotion when he arrived in what reminded me of a pink and red hat tip to Madonna's recent Colonel Sanders look, as if the photographers were going to make a mint off of posed Boy George photos. I think that no matter what he does or what year it is, Boy George is a real-deal icon of the '80s, and an original character, so he (you should pardon the expression) engenders genuine excitement.
I was not excited when his handler had him skip over three or four outlets only (mine included)—he did extensive interviews with the big press to my right and then also did long chats with everyone further down the carpet, inexplicably. Got his PR's attention and gestured that I just wanted one question. She said, “You can do photos.” I shook my head no; one question. He was doing stand-up comedy with some of these other outlets. It was nuts. She agreed, then ignored it when George continued down the carpet, further away.
So we just went to the end of the carpet and grabbed our one question. I was happy that we were able to ask about his recent Kylie and Madonna faux-quotes scandal, because he told us we were the only ones to ask it (hello, Kylie is at the event!) and he gave us a great take on the situation, was playful, noted the name of my site in relation to his own name and did a high-five. The only thing that would've made it better would be if he'd initially been steered to stop and talk to us like we existed in the first place. George himself was great. Good moment:
“Rubbish. And in fact, I knew someone was gonna ask me this. I sued the TETU Magazine and they've actually taken responsibility for printing...and they're gonna pay me some money as well, so I might buy a new hat...I'm here to give Kylie an award, and I've traveled a long way to do it. I've actually had four hours' sleep. If I didn't love her, I wouldn't be here, would I?”
I was personally psyched to speak with Swoosie Kurtz, and to have Peter ask her about her 1981-1982 TV series with Tony Randall, Love, Sidney. After all, that show—the first with a gay (albeit subtly) gay character as a lead—made her kinda like the first “Grace.” (The first “Jack” was “Mr. Mooney”! The first “Karen Walker” was Eva Gabor on Green Acres! I like this game...)
Swoosie talked about Love, Sidney...yayyy!
Swoosie was pure class. When I admitted I, the cameraman, was the Love, Sidney fan, she said I must have been a very little boy (in truth, I'd been close to puberty).
George Takei launches a Web series, Takei's Take, on YouTube in partnership with AARP. This might make those of you who began receiving literature from said organization right at age 50 feel a bit better...