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May 04 2014
I Was Gonna Cancel: Kylie, Boy George & Other Stories From The GLAAD Trenches Comments (0)

 

Peter-DeeLast 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'.

Matthew-Rettenmund-Peter-DeeI was in good hands with King of the Selfies, Peter Dee!

IMG_6429 Peter DeeTrying 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.

IMG_6371 RollerenaNot 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.

IMG_6397 boy georgeBoy 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...)

IMG_6376 Swoosie Kurtz

IMG_6377 Swoosie Kurtz
IMG_6378 Swoosie Kurtz

Swoosie-Kurtz 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).

When Swoosie posed for a pic with me she said, “Oh, you've got a real camera.” I told her, “A real camera for a real actress,” and she graciously received my flattery.

Of the others on the carpet, we had a little miscommunication with Blake Skjellerup (sorry, Blake, we know more about your career than our questions implied...), who was lovely in person and so real. He wants to continue advocating for LGBT rights and visibility, which is so different from some jocks, who just want MONEY:

“If you do happen to be gay, sports isn't something that's closed off to you...The one thing that I struggled with myself is that I didn't have any role models or identities when I was learning and coming to terms with my sexuality. And that was the hardest thing. I think it's great that I can offer that for somebody else to come to terms with it, and understand that if they are in sports, being gay doesn't stop them from competing in any way.”

Derrick Gordon, recently out NCAA player, said Michael Sam and Jason Collins are his role models and mentors, noting they've been called “The Three Musketeers” of out athletes while making a prediction that more and more athletes will be coming out of the closet (hopefully in jockstraps):

“They're like big brothers to me, and I talk to them just about every day...People call us the 'Three Musketeers'..the 'Musketeers' is gonna continue to grow, because I'm sure it's gonna be a lot of other athletes just come out and be themselves. It took me four years to come out, but I say: Better late than never.”

IMG_6437 Noam AshNoam Ash did the carpet with Stafford Arima.

I finally got to meet Noam Ash, co-creator and star of My Gay Roommate, who told me Broadway director Stafford Arima will be directing this season's final, musical episode of the popular Web series. As for any guest stars, well, he is hoping Idina Menzel will get the positive vibes he's sending out into the universe.

Honoree George Takei was lovely to speak with and so giving of his time:

“This whole movement began at the Stonewall Inn in the Village so what a journey—from Stonewall, to Waldorf Astoria...it's an incredible, unimagined journey.”

He also had some funny advice on how to have a successful, long-lasting relationship: Basically, choose George Takei as your partner. Oh, myyyy.

IMG_6386 George Takei

IMG_6373 George Takei

IMG_6382 George TakeiTakei my husband...please!: George Takei & Brad Altman

IMG_6391 Taryn ManningManning Up: Taryn gave Peter Dee a much-craved earful about Britney Spears.

On the less specifically gay front, Orange is the New Black's Taryn Manning recounted making Britney Spears sing the National Anthem for her, live, during the filming of Crossroads:

“Everyone says she can't sing—not everyone—she has a beautiful voice...so screw any of you that think she can't sing, she can sing!”

Part of me wonders if teenage Britney somehow figured out a way to pull a Singin' in the Rain with a chick belting behind a nearby scrim, but if Taryn Manning says it happened, it happened.

IMG_6387 Dascha Polanco

IMG_6389 Dascha PolancoDascha Polanco told us she was “hot as balls” on the carpet.

And Selenis Leyva, also of Orange, warns that the new season of the insanely popular Netflix series will be “darker”:

“It's gonna get  a little bit more menacing. It's dangerous now.”

The big disappointment of the carpet for us was Kylie Minogue. Kylie, who looked smashing, did some red carpet press, but as she neared my section and I asked the GLAAD guys if I could get her for one question, they said no way. “I've covered this event for years, c'mon!” But they said, “Her Australian publicist sent a list of questions” (maybe approved outlets submitted questions in advance?), and then they formed a little chain around her and guided her back up the carpet so she didn't even walk past us for photos. (They had earlier said we could snap photos as she breezed by.) I can't say it's a case of the biggest stars doing no gay press—she definitely did a couple of the bigger gay outlets—but all the medium-sized and small gay outlets were not deemed worthy of even Kylie's mere presence. Red carpets are always a lesson in humility, though one would think after doing them for 15+ years it would be a lesson one wouldn't need repeated every single time.

IMG_6407 Kylie

IMG_6411 Kylie

IMG_6418 kylie

IMG_6421 kylieGet a good look, Sweetie, 'cuz she won't be giving you the time of day! Too busy posing for pic-withs.

Once inside, we'd been invited to sit for the show two floors up in the balcony. We wound up with a great view, though were later told we were in some kind of a staff section (no staff came by), so we wound up with a view, food and drinks, which was nice, though was not as satisfying as a single, solitary question with Kylie would've been.

Orange is the New Black

DSC05004 Laura Prepon Laverne Cox

DSC05025 Laura Prepon Laverne CoxOrange is the New Black (Laura Prepon & Laverne Cox in closeups) was a not very surprising winner.

DSC05058 Chely WrightOut country girl Chely Wright with anti-bullying kid-activist Marcel Neergaard

DSC05084 Kacey MusgraveKacey Musgraves sings about kissin' girls (if you're into that kinda thing)

Emmy-Rossum

Naomi WattsLadies in Red: Presenters Emmy Rossum & Naomi Watts (whose prescription pills are behind Naomi?)

DSC05140 George TakeiTakei was deeply moved to be given an award named for Vito Russo.

The show, hosted by Fortune Feimster, felt a little quicker than usual, with no draggy parts. Orange is the New Black won for Outstanding Comedy Series, presented by A-lister Naomi Watts. Emmy Rossum was also on hand to give out an award, and Takei was presented his Vito Russo Award by the aforementioned Stafford Arima (Takei's table was a lively mix of theatrical impresarios and twinks with rings on their fingers—good casting!).

Boy George TakeiBoy George Takei: '80s gay icon meets '60s gay icon @ GLAAD. How 2014!

DSC04850 Kylie Minogue Boy George

DSC05041 Kylie Minogue Boy GeorgeKylie and George take in the night.

Kacey Musgraves performed sweetly, causing Kylie and George—who were seated next to each other—to sway appreciatively.

At the very end, Boy George treated us to a short, colorful introduction of Kylie, who came out and gave a heartfelt, slightly odd speech about how much she loooves the gays, before launching into an a cappella, designed-to-feel-impromptu sing-along of her most famous U.S. hit, “Can't Get You Out of My Head.” She looked great, vamping on the front table as Gerald McCullouch, who seemed to be on a date with Derrick Gordon, iPhoned her.

IMG_6434 Samira Wiley

IMG_6435 Samira WileyAfter-Party Girl: OITNB's Samira Wiley & her date (she was so sweet and happy to be having success)

It was all in good fun, and don't believe those UK tabloids when they say she “tripped”—she did an awkward little stage dive to get from stage to table, but didn't miss a beat.

After that, it was on to the afterparty, but I was pretty tired by then, so called it a night. Another interesting GLAAD event. The next one will be here before I know it. Perhaps in a matter of days.

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