The 23rd Annual GLAAD Media Awards at the Marriott Marquis last night was a fun time once I decided I was for sure not dashing to Connecticut to support a friend's event starring Mickey Rooney. I'd already committed to GLAAD and couldn't quite wrap my mind around three hours (both ways) of travel for an hour of notoriously curmudgeonly Rooney fielding questions about his career and undoubtedly griping about the filth that passes for entertainment today, but I was happy to hear later that Mickey's gig was a treat in the end.
José was my camerman (which removes a lot of the stress; having to stick a video camera directly into someone's face is awkward, especially when they're not performing sexual acts and high on whatever people get high on these days).
He and I and everyone I ran into were kvetching about how tired we were, didn't wanna do this massive red carpet, etc. But it wound up being rather cool.
I was next to a really fun girl whose hair, nonetheless, kept creeping into my face and all over my body (she had a mane on her). At one point, it worked itself under my MEDIA sticker and tugged it partially off like one of those cartoon vines. She apologized and I accepted, but I have enough hair all over me.
This year was really fun, with one major exception—I was red-carpet robbed by this jerk who was with Ricky Martin. More on that later.
GLAAD was happy with my past coverage, so they granted me an extra body on the carpet—my partner José attended as my cameraman. We were placed just after a large column and between an adorable guy working for AfterElton (Tim O'Leary) with his pretty friend and someone's tripod. I liked our positioning in that we were at the very front of the online media and the column meant no pushing.
But the first star we encountered had been before we even got to our spots—we'd run into Joe Jervis of Joe.My.God. checking in. Joe was a nominee for his blog (the first time GLAAD has nominated blogs...about time!) and was convinced Pam of Pam's House Blend would win. "I'd bet the Powerball on it," he'd confided. (Later, he totally won, as I expected, but he had no idea until some attendees informed him since the category wasn't deemed worthy of inclusion in the actual program.)
Joe rocks (every time someone said "rock" or "Rokk," Rokk Vodka donated $100 to GLAAD)
Considering some of the stars scheduled, I wasn't altogether thrilled with the carpet—Tina Fey was a nominee but didn't walk (come the fuck on, Tina), Patrick Wilson was a presenter but also was a no-show (perhaps wisely fearing being devoured and eaten a la Sebastien Venable) and the Rev. Al Sharpton was on hand to give an award to Russell Simmons but did not do press. Vinny Guadagnino from Jersey Shore? Fuhgeddaboudit.
We made the evening our belated anniversary celebration
But on the other hand, the stars who actually did the carpet were nice and fun, and even Ricky Martin himself did lots and lots of press. Just not me. We're getting to it.
My first carpet catch was 17-year-old Bianca "Nikki" Peet, a dynamic girl who was initially denied the opportunity to form a gay-straight alliance at her Corpus Christi high school but whose perseverance against Principal James Crenshaw paid off—she now has her GSA club! She was the picture of intestinal fortitude in her wheelchair, her eyeshadow as sparkling as her personality.
Next up was Jarrett Barrios, who explained to me how GLAAD decides what's offensive and what isn't; a hard task, I can agree, considering the varied opinions my own occasionally outraged posts sometimes elicit. You think something is duh-obviously offensive—like that Vanity Fair piece casually calling the Glee boys "fags," GLAAD (among many others) points it out, then you read AfterElton sniping that it was no big deal. (In context, the writer was gay and felt it was an ironic or "cheeky" usage...which to me was not as readily apparent as, say, during a viewing Wet Hot American Summer.) I asked him about this more in reference to Ron Howard's "so gay" joke, which I think is a lot more in those troubled waters of nuance where a large part—if not the majority—of the public would not go along with calling it offensive.
Dapper Mike Ruiz, from The Gray List
Mike Ruiz was warm and quite dashing up close—no poodle hair! He was happy to talk about why The A-List: New York seems to have at least as many haters as lovers and to introduce his boyf to anyone who asked.
I'm not a regular The Fabulous Beekman Boys watcher, but José is, and he warned me not to ask about "the pig." I knew it referred to them killing a pig they'd raised, but I imagine, "Don't ask them about the pig!" could be good advice before interviewing just about any reality TV stars.
Boys of the red carpet Zac Young (Top Chef: Just Desserts) & Wilson Cruz
Of course I dirty-love and clean-admire Wilson Cruz—who doesn't, and why don't they? I asked him about the Glee kiss, his recent excursion into shirtlessness in bars and his pet cause (and it's much deeper than that phrase), LGBT teen homelessness.
Gail Simmons of Top Chef: Just Desserts—I don't think it was a boob query
Jane Velez-Mitchell—with her bombshell girlfriend, who she meet at last year's GLAAD Media Awards—was the picture of poise and confidence, picking the Westboro clan as the gay story of the year when I asked her to choose something. The carpet had gotten a bit clogged up, so I almost missed her while jockeying to get some time with the event's host, Andy Cohen.
I'd never met Andy, so wasn't sure what to expect. I think I thought he'd be bubblier or more flirtatious but he definitely wasn't a stick in the mud. I stumped him with a question, but he recovered and was game to talk Housewives a bit. As he departed, he muttered, "My breath is atrocious!" and got some kind of oral relief from his PR walker, but it really wasn't...maybe it was mine!
Laverne Cox of TRANSform Me is as stunning as you'd expect, about eight feel tall and not shy with her "girls" or her opinions—her desire to transform Charlie Sheen was genuine and fierce.
My third Broadway Bares, directed by Josh Rhodes and assistant director Lee Wilkins and produced by Jerry Mitchell with a Monopoly theme, was the best yet even if the star power was not as jaw-dropping as one might expect for a 20th anniversary show—no matter, because who the fuck cares about Missy Tony Winner when you've got a stage filled with the country's best, brightest and nakedest Broadway dancers? The night was like one big no-handed edging session. I'm not sure if the experience is untoppable, but if it isn't, it's definitely a power bottom in sequins.
Shiny, happy people
Jason and I (pictured, above) showed up at 10:35 last night to line up for the midnight show, only to find the line snaking out of Roseland and about three-quarters of the way to 53rd already. It was already a gay-list day—not only did I spot both Leslie Jordan and Paolo Andino on Ninth Avenue, but I got all blogged down by brunching with Kenneth from Kenneth in the (212) and running into Jesse Archer, Joe Jervis (pictured), Jared Eng and Andy Towle at BB. See, not all bloggers spend their lives in the pajamas...though I'm in mine as I type this. Hmmm.
The lovely AJ Thorpe ushered us in
They let us in around 11:30, whereupon we made a beeline for the middle, settling on the inside edge of stage right. It was packed and quite warm (a 90-degree day had preceded) but not too bad. I feel terrible for the cute guy adhered to me from the front (I felt bad, but he felt good) because my camera must have poked him 200 times later on. I saw some of the usual pervs—myself included—many of whom pop up in my videos from previous years.
The show started 20 minutes late, but it unfolded at whiplash pace. Dapper Euan Morton (so brilliant eons ago in Taboo) kicked off the opening number "The Best Game in Town" in a top hat and tails a good little monopolist, introducing us to the lovely ladies who stood in for the iconic game pieces. Each and every one was described in sexually suggestive ways, even the wheelbarrow—you can guess what she's capable of carrying away.
No, THIS is the best game in town
There she is, Miss...Vanessa L. Williams
The show's biggest star opened the whole thing
With no build-up, he introduced the biggest stars of the night, the resurging Vanessa Williams (don't even dream that she would be dumb enough to get naked again) and everybody's favorite Christian Broadway bombshell Kristin Chenoweth. The ladies were on point and suitably glam, sporting nice gams.
Josh's entrance (the other one is available to view here.)
Joshua Buscher, a West Side Story dancer in possession of (this must be official somewhere?) the greatest white behind on the Great White Way was someone I picked out last year as a dazzler; this year, he starred in a show-stopping number called "The Bank" set to Lady GaGa's "Money Honey" (OMG, or was he copying Madonna???) that culminated with him dancing totally nude while basically wearing two male peers. It was a well-tailored fit.
Josh puts it allll behind him
If you want all the minutiae about what the ladies accomplished this year, you might need to search for a Girl Culture blog; I love women, but I was so boycrazy I fear I will not do justice to the female-driven numbers. I do know that soon after a rowdy lipstick-lezzie lingerie number called "Connecticut Avenue", a talented, black-bustiered female Alysha Umphress crooned Journey's "When the Lights Go Down in the City" so well that I do hope someone went down on her after the show.