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

GLAAD Top Chef Invasion

On August 23rd, GLAAD held a fundraiser at a
private residence in Hancock Park (a gorgeous neighborhood in Los Angeles reserved for the gainfully

The crowd was a mix of button down-sporting
gay men, a handful of performers in risqué unitards, and celebrities like
Thea Gill (Queer as Folk), who was inexplicably convinced we somehow knew each
other. We don’t. So that was confusing.

Still, we had a lovely chat and it turns out
she’s a huge fan of AfterEllen.com.

Thea Gill

The afternoon’s unique entertainment featured a
Hedwig-esque drag queen and the unitarded peeps doing some sort of performance
art that involved writhing around on the ground and a series of fan kicks.

The Unitards

They were followed by a singing and dancing
girl group. I sincerely admired
everyone’s showmanship, which couldn’t have been easy on a 5 x 5 pallet of
parquet in somebody’s backyard.

The main event was a cook-off between Top Chef alums Jamie Lauren and Richard
. The contest was judged by celebs Robert Gant, Elizabeth Keener, and
the omnipresent and adorable Wilson Cruz (Rickie!). Richard won by a tiny margin and was awarded
a giant golden whisk. Jamie received a petite condolence whisk. She took it like a lady. Unlike Ms. Lauren, though, I forgot my
manners and sprinted across the lawn after spotting what appeared to be
chocolate ice cream cones. Tragically, they turned out to be steak tartare in
wontons. It was like something out of a
vegetarian horror movie.

Famished I went off to dinner with Jamie Lauren, Richard Sweeney, and Elizabeth Keener.
Going out to eat with chefs (and Elizabeth, of course) is highly recommended.

Elizabeth Keener and Jamie Lauren

We went to Street, which is
the first solo venture of out-lesbian chef Susan Feniger, half of the Too Hot
Tamales duo behind Border Grill and Ciudad.
Street is located in the former Highland Grounds coffeehouse space, a
place I’d been dragged more than once to hear earnest lesbian poetry
slams. The building has been totally
revamped to resemble an urban alley, albeit a very clean and hip one. The clientele is also clean and hip and not
likely to be found hanging out in actual urban alleys. The cuisine is Feniger’s take on street food
from around the world; that is, what you might buy from a street cart while
visiting, say, Egypt or India. It’s all served tapas-style to enable

Susan and her long-time partner (girlfriend
partner, not cooking partner), Liz Lachman sat with us. Liz, fyi, is an accomplished screenwriter and
a really great dinner companion. She and
Susan were both funny and charming and I’m trying to figure out how to make
them my best friends without seeming like a creepy stalker.

Liz Lachman, Susan Feniger, and Jamie Lauren at Street

In what seemed like a Lucy and Ethel conveyor
belt moment, Susan sent out everything on the menu. No really. And, to my total and unexpected delight, she
whipped up a vegetarian version of each dish!
I assumed she was being accommodating because of who I was sitting with,
but she assured me that she would actually make veggie versions for anyone who
came into the restaurant. That makes me
want to stalk her even more.

The food was amazing, Richard and Jamie were very impressed, and I was stuffed for the
week. Now if only Susan and Liz would
lift that pesky restraining order.

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