L.A. Scene September ’09: Mia Kirshner’s Benefit, GLAAD “Top Chef” Invasion, and The Gay Marriage Plays

 
 

L.A. Scene is a monthly column that chronicles lesbian nightlife and events of interest in Los Angeles. Sarah Witness, an East Coast transplant and obvious femme, has been navigating the snark infested waters of Hollywood since 2001. Although she’s an NYU trained actress, she prefers sipping vodka and making idle chit-chat at really gay nightclubs.

I Live Here

While
browsing for lattes in the bookstore a few months ago I noticed the book I
Live Here
by Mia Kirshner (and others). I assumed it was something trite about the experience of playing a WEHO
lesbian on Showtime. I didn’t bother to flip it over. Turns out it’s a seriously intricate portrait of war, globalization, ethnic cleansing, and AIDS. So I’m an ass.

It
seems that Mia has been seriously committed to bettering the world for the past eight years. Now you feel bad about knocking Jenny, don’t you? Well probably not, but this isn’t a dialog ladies.

Mia
recently held a benefit for the Kachere Juvenile Prison in Malawi, where
she is trying to improve conditions for the young inmates, many of whom are
held in sordid and dangerous conditions for petty crimes.

Thankfully, Dara Nai already covered the
situation in
Malawi
in her AfterEllen interview with Mia last month. So I’ll just tell you about the party.

It
was held at the Causecast headquarters in Santa
Monica

, a really cool space that looks like a barn
that’s been converted into a nightclub. On arrival I noted a very attractive woman loitering outside in a dress
and heels, who turned out to be Rose Rollins who played Tasha on The L Word.

On
entry all guests were handed a flashlight and instructed to head toward the
exhibit, where dark corridors were covered with art and writing created by
Kachere inmates.

The exhibit

The display was
beautiful, agonizing, and fortunately spit us out at the bar. Perfect.

Suddenly
it was a wild party filled with lesbians, hors d’oeuvres, even a photo
booth!

Rose Rollins,Dalila Ali Rajah and Dutchess Davis

Eventually
we were brought back into the main room to hear more about the
organization. Mia kicked off the
auction, and she was very gentle and demure, i.e. Canadian. That kind of attitude can get people to open
their hearts, but not their wallets. Fortunately, the louder and taller Rose Rollins stormed the stage, took
the mic, and successfully got the ball rolling.

Rose Rollins and Mia Kirshner on stage during the auction

The auction wound up being a huge success, with people bidding on
elaborate Mexican vacations and agreeing to purchase necessities like soap for
Kachere inmates. There was a silent
auction as well. Bridget McManus was the
ecstatic highest bidder on a giant basket of colorful undergarments.

Karman Kregloe, Mia Kirshner, Dara Nai, and Bridget McManus

The
event struck the perfect balance of raising awareness and allowing the guests
to just have fun. After the auction
everyone was released to mingle once more. 

“Oh,
are you one of those people who wanted me dead?” was Mia’s opener when I introduced myself and
admitted to writing a column for AfterEllen.com. I assured her that Jenny was already dead before I turned in my first
article and anyway I don’t usually write about television because that would
involve research.

I didn’t admit that I
had totally misjudged her.

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