South of Nowhere stars Maeve Quinlan, Mandy Musgrave, and Gabrielle Christian provided introductions for each of the 10 â€œAmazing Gay Women in Showbizâ€ honored that night. Among them was writer and editor Diane Anderson-Minshall, lauded for her work as Executive Editor of Curve Magazine and her behind-the-scenes support of lesbian filmmakers.
FX Networks Executive Vice President Stephanie Gibbons was recognized for developing the trade advertising and promotion campaigns that propelled programs like The L Word and Queer as Folk to success. Although she was unable to attend the ceremony, Tony and Obie Award-winning stage and film actress Cherry Jones was honored for her stellar work both on and off-Broadway, including Doubt, The Heiress and Angels in America.
Meredith Kadlec, Vice President of Original Programming for here! Networks was recognized for her work as a director and for overseeing development and production of here!'s features and original series. Also honored was entertainment attorney Dina LaPolt, who co-produced the 2005 Academy Award-nominated documentary Tupac: Resurrection and is now co-producing the feature film Live 2 Tell.
With 20 years of experience as a music industry executive, head of International A&R, Marketing and New Media at Tommy Boy Rosie Lopez was a natural choice to receive the Power Up award. Lopez produced and released both the Queer as Folk and L Word soundtracks, and actively expanded the scope of the label to include and celebrate LGBT artists.
Honoree and Senior Director of Programming and Operations for the acclaimed Outfest film festival Kirsten Schaeffer was lauded for her 12 years of work in festival programming and for championing the work of queer filmmakers. Actor/model/producer Jenny Shimizu received one of the ten awards for breaking stereotypes as an out Asian lesbian. Shimizu is currently executive producing several television shows in development.
Berkeley-based entrepreneur and activist Lisa Thomas was recognized for her contributions as the Co-Founder/former CEO of Clif Bar, and for her work as an executive producer for the Grammy award-winning album Sacred Ground and the award-winning documentary Homeland: Four Portraits of Native American Action.
Finally, AfterEllen.com founder Sarah Warn was honored by POWER UP for promoting the work of out lesbian and bisexual actors, writers, filmmakers, and musicians and for her advocacy for lesbian visibility in mainstream media. Upon taking the stage, Warn joked, "In the words of Law & Order's Serena Southerlyn, 'Is this because I'm a lesbian?'"
The event was marked by notably high spirits all around. Last Comic Standing finalist Michelle Balan entertained the crowd with the sardonic wit that carried her so far in the recent reality television comedy competition, and several honorees professed an increased optimism about the future of LGBT visibility in light of the results of the recent midterm elections.
For more info about POWER UP, visit their official site.