L.A. Scene May ’09: The GLAAD Awards, an Evening with Women, and The Abbey


On April 24 I went to the appropriately, if obviously, titled event, “An Evening With Women,” at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. The annual party, formerly known as “Women’s Night,” is a huge fundraiser for the L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center, with proceeds supporting the Center’s women-specific services, including health, medical, and legal assistance, cultural programs, domestic violence prevention and education, self-enrichment courses, social events, and discussion groups.

I took a cab to the event because I still think I live in New York. It took about fifteen minutes for my cab to get from the entrance of the hotel to the drop-off point because every lesbian in the Southland arrived at the same time. I checked in and because I had told the coordinators that I would be writing about this event for AfterEllen.com, some misguided soul gave me a wristband, which entitled me to stand on the red carpet and take creepy paparazzi photos of the arriving celebs. I opted for the bar instead, which was positioned within the silent auction. The auction items ranged from a scooter signed by Pink to a series of free therapy sessions.

I looked around for familiar faces. It took longer than usual to identify people because everyone was wearing their big-girl clothes — shockingly, mostly dresses.

I finally located Dara Nai who had gone the fancy suit route.

Dara Nai with actress Eliza Dushku at the event

Maybe Dara had been drinking or maybe she’s just a big bully, but she somehow convinced me to go back to the red carpet and take pictures. I don’t need to do that again. I’m not cut out for standing on a milk crate listening to people shriek the names of dazed looking celebrities and insults at each other for “blocking the shot with overflash.” Also, I have a little point and shoot that can’t fire off 10 shots in a row so I mostly wound up taking pictures of Cybill Shepard’s ear. 

When Paris Hilton showed up some burly camera guy pushed me off my (stolen) crate and nearly blinded me with his elbow so he could get his perfect shot. I went back to the bar…I mean auction.

Eventually everyone was herded into the main ballroom and seated. Food came flying onto the tables at breakneck pace. I’m a vegetarian and normally at “chicken or fish” functions the veggie option is some Frisbee shaped mushroom, so I was shocked when an artfully arranged tofu steak arrived. I would also like the dessert chef to contact me about a marital arrangement. I guess everyone was transfixed by the food because they waited for everyone to finish eating before starting the show.

Linda Perry was the brains behind the operation this year. She also purchased three tables and raffled off tickets at local lesbian events so that those who could not otherwise afford tickets had a shot at coming. I must admit, I don’t think I’ve heard her sing since “What’s Up” topped the charts during a particularly unfortunate dermatological point of my adolescence. When she took the stage and belted out “Letter to God,” she was absolutely astonishing. I know Linda has a huge career as a songwriter/producer for others, but why on earth isn’t she still a prominent recording artist? 

Speaking of prominent recording artists, Christina Aguilera (a recipient of Perry’s songwriting genius) performed as well, singing Perry’s “Beautiful” and John Lennon’s “Mother.” She was un-freaking-believable. Ever since she went back to being a blond she’s been en fuego. Blonde people are spectacular. 

Linda Perry and Christina Aguilera

Photo by Faye Sadou

Sharon Stone hosted the Live Auction and I’m sure brought a great deal of money to this great cause so I won’t dwell on the fact that she didn’t seem to be particularly…uh…lucid. She was probably just hungry.

Jennifer Coolidge was the evening’s host, replacing Gina Gershon who couldn’t make it. She was hysterical, opening with the line, “I had no idea I was gay until I got here tonight,” and kept everything moving flawlessly and brilliantly. 

Leisha Hailey and Camila Grey’s band Uh Huh Her performed after an intro by Shane… I mean Katherine Moennig. 

Leisha Hailey, Kate Moennig, and Jane Lynch

Photo by Faye Sadou

The crowd also went wild for Sarah Silverman.

The night’s five honorees were women of significant contribution but limited celebrity, and a great job was done of giving them their due while keeping the party rolling. A number of women who had been well served by the Center also spoke. When the official show was over, Samantha Ronson spun for the lively and lengthy after-party.  

Samanatha Ronson

Photo by Faye Sadou

See more photos from An Evening With Women

NEXT: Sunday at the Abbey

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