The annual fundraiser for women-specific services of the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center, "An Evening With Women," was held this past weekend in Los Angeles. Nearly $400,000 was raised, and AfterEllen.com was fortunate enough to have two correspondents, Lesley Goldberg and Sarah Witness (our L.A. Scene columnist) in attendance to provide both red carpet interviews and a wish-you-were-there overview of the night.
The benefit also honored community leader Jewel Thais-Williams and featured appearances by Gina Gershon, Sarah Silverman, Linda Perry and Pink, Clementine Ford, Heart, Renée Zellweger, Kat Von D and Jamie Lauren.
On the red carpet, Lesley Goldberg spoke to Perry, Ford, Ann Wilson (of Heart), and Zellweger.
Photo by Faye Sadou
AfterEllen: You’re continuing to raise awareness — and money — for the Center by co-chairing this event and raising the bar. What do you have planned for next year?
Linda Perry: Staples Center! Just kidding. Can you imagine?! It’s about getting people really banging down the doors and wanting to come in. This year we’re still struggling to get people to come out but it’s obviously better. As long as it keeps growing, that’s all I care about. It’s all about taking your time and making sure we’re not being pushy.
AE: Why do you think it’s important to continue to grow the size and scope of events like this?
LP: On a selfish note, it’s more about making it just a cool event. We’re making money for the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center and their legal services that they offer and the clinic, shelter, so many things. It would be great if people just started coming; it’s an all-gay event, all women. I mean, we don’t even have bars! We get everything taken away from us. I want this to be the new place to come every year.
AE: You wrote Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful,” which was just featured on Glee. What’d you think?
LP: That was awesome. I had never seen the show before. I OK’d it because I knew what the storyline was with it because it was amazing. I just saw it and was like, “Right on!”
AE: Glee’s planning and episode of all-original material. Would you be open to writing a song for the show?
LP: If they wanted me, I would.
AfterEllen: What does an event like this mean to you?
Clementine Ford: It’s fun to see one of my favorite bands ever, Heart, play. But I think it’s great because it gets the word out. Having the performers that we have tonight is really going to bring (the Center) to the forefront. We’re going to make it more mainstream so people know about it. That’s one of the things that’s lacking. There was a time when I didn’t have health insurance, I didn’t have anywhere to go and had I known about it, I would have gone; it would have really helped me. I think an event like tonight not only brings in money but it also brings in awareness of what they do.
AE: Do you think coming out has helped your career? Some actors have suggested that closeted gay actors should stay in the closet.
CF: I think that’s a load of horse s–t, personally, excuse my language. In my circumstance, I’m in a contract on a soap but they could have let me go, they could have treated me badly. But I have had nothing but support from everyone that I work with. They haven’t turned my character into a lesbian. They’ve let me be who I am and have been 150 percent supportive of me. If anything, it’s made me closer to the people I work with.
AE: Would you be open to having your character go gay on the show?
CF: Of course! Nobody wants to be pigeonholed into that but I also think if that was the only way to get a gay character on the show, let’s do it.
AE: What do you think of how lesbians are portrayed on TV right now?
CF: Where are they?! I don’t watch enough TV but I don’t see any from the little bit of TV that I do watch.
AE: Showtime has The Real L Word coming in June —
CF: I know someone who’s going to be on that, I just saw a preview. But I don’t know anything about it.
AE: Who do you know?
CF: I’ll leave that to your imagination.
AE: What do you think about Ilene Chaiken tapping into The L Word for a reality show?
CF: On the one hand, it’s a case of, really? Do we need the tabloid garbage and drama in the real world of lesbians? No. But on the other hand, if it brings more awareness and allows you to see that we’re just like everybody else, great.
AE: Do you think the press handles celebrity lesbian relationships any differently than hetero stars?
CF: They don’t really seem to care that much, which is great for us.