L.A. Scene October ’09: Gay Bingo, Lesbian Attack, and Honoring Wanda Sykes

L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center 38th Anniversary Gala and Auction

Having unpacked enough to locate appropriate Gala gear, I headed off to the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center’s 38th Anniversary Gala.It was held at the Hyatt Regency in Century City, where they serve vegetarians the same pseudo risotto at every event. The Center is a fabulous organization that serves the GLBT community (not risotto) with a huge focus on youth programs.

I sat with two gentlemen who met at the same Gala thirty years ago and have been together ever since. Lovely, unlike the geriatric woman to my right who repeatedly informed me that she was “not a lesbian,” apparently so that I wouldn’t try to bed her right there atop table 34. Then she accused me of eating all the bread, which I did. It was delicious.

The evening was hosted by Chelsea Handler. It’s cool that she’s so into gay rights, but that lady needs to be nicer to lesbians and stop pandering to gay men. We need pandering too, dammit! Lots of jokes about gay men being fabulous and lesbians being obsessed with Home Depot. Boo. She also kept leaving out the “B” in GLBT. Louder boo.

That being said, she looked very pretty.

Amber Riley (Glee) performed. She was totally amazing. That girl has some pipes! I thought the walls would implode.

Amber Riley

Photo by Beck Starr

Amber introduced the Forever Young Chorale, which is a musical gaggle of GLBT senior citizens. They wore Britney-esque costumes and did very provocative renditions of “Don’t You Want me Baby?” and “Rock With You.” It was … quite something.

Famed drag queen Coco Peru accepted an award, presented by, of all people, Zachary Quinto (Heroes, Star Trek). Quinto has been popping up at a ton of GLBT functions. Very cool. Coco gave a great performance and an even better speech. She talked about how drag queens are often dismissed by the community, despite having been first into battle during both the Stonewall Riots and the beginning of the AIDS crisis.

Gay and Lesbian Center CEO Lorri L. Jean gave an equally moving speech, in which she described herself as a “patriot,” and said she loves this country “not for what it is, but for it’s aspirations.”

The night’s major honoree was Wanda Sykes. She was hilarious, of course. Funny and self-deprecating, Wanda also took the time to praise all of the night’s performers. She said she felt like she was Obama receiving the Nobel Peace Prize. Although she’s thrilled to be receiving all of these awards, she explained she felt weird about it since she only recently came out, while so many others have been fighting the good fight for decades.

Wanda Sykes at the awards

Jay Leno presented her award. This was not some big televised event, and with absolutely nothing in it for him, I was really impressed that he agreed to do it. He said he is a huge supporter of gay marriage, and I hope that is a message that will reach his frequently right-leaning audience.

To see more photos and video clips from the Gala, go to here.

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