There were just as many new faces such as all-grown-up Full House star Jodie Sweetin, Russian rock singer Grace and Fashion Police’s George Kotsiopoulous and Chely Wright with fiancée Lauren Blitzer by her side. (After having such a great chat with them on the red carpet, I was more than a little bummed Chely didn’t sing! Maybe next year.)
The theme of the night, besides the obvious support for women and the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center, seemed to be women who rock. That’s understandable when event co-chair Linda Perry called up some of her best friends in the business to come and entertain the packed ballroom at the Beverly Hilton.
The show started with a bang when Cat Power burst onto the stage and sang three pulsating, hard-rock songs that made the crowd want to hurry up and finish eating their chicken or vegetable dinner and get out of their seats and dance.
CEO of the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center Lorri L. Jean next came to the stage and, instead of merely talking about the work that the Center does day in and day out, she brought 15-year old Syd Fox and her mother Franne Golde onto the stage. Fox talked firsthand about the profound direction she’d received from the Center from the time she was 12 years old. Fox’s emotional and powerful speech was matched only by Golde’s, who broke into tears talking about the time when she’d drop her child off at school (which she compared to a war zone) knowing that her daughter would be picked on and ridiculed merely for being true to herself.
Thanks to the Center, they’ve both been able to overcome the animosity and turn it into strength. After a standing ovation for both of them, Lorri L. Jean returned to speak proudly about the 40th anniversary of the Center, which opened its doors in 1971.
All that sentiment aside, it was time to raise some money and Linda Perry led the live auction, which offered up items such as an amazing house rental in Kauai, a ticket to the American Idol finale taping in Los Angeles and a tattoo done by none other than Kat Von D, at item which fetched $12,000 for the Center.
Next up was a rocked out performance by Juliette Lewis. Having never seen her perform her music before, Lewis is definitely not the same kid who captivated film audiences in Cape Fear. Instead, wearing tight white pants, a mid-drift top and bandana, Lewis channeled the energy from the room and thrust it back ten-fold. In fact, her closing number of “Proud Mary” was pretty damn amazing and brought the room to its feet. Tina Turner would’ve been proud.
Photo by Lok Hwa
A break from the music came when comedian Sarah Silverman stepped out for some comedy where, like last year, she brought the subject of her parents’ genitalia into the conversation. Regardless of how inappropriate and crude the fearless Silverman can get, the audience always ends up laughing and that’s what it’s all about, right?
Photo by Lok Hwa
For example, she talked about the fact that a kid’s main wish in the Make A Wish Foundation has gotta be “not to die,” so the organization should actually be called “Make Another Wish Foundation.” So, so wrong but the laughter in the room was uproarious. (This reporter had heard the joke from her before and still couldn’t help but laugh at its inappropriateness!)
Finally, nothing closes out a night like the amazing Cyndi Lauper coming to the stage with her Appalachian dulcimer, which she played to perfection during that song that gets everyone crying – “True Colors.” She then ventured into the blues arena with her moving song “Shattered Dreams” before ending the night on a high note with the entire ballroom singing and dancing to her huge hit, “Girls Just Want To Have Fun!”
Photo by Lok Hwa
That was the end of another great event that raised over $360,000 for the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center. If you’d like to get involved in the Center or make a donation, go to www.lagaycenter.org. Until next year.