The annual “Evening With Women: Celebrating Art, Music & Equality” event was held this past Saturday at the International Ballroom of the Beverly Hilton hotel in Beverly Hills. The night was made possible by singer/songwriter/producer Linda Perry, event producer Brent Bolthouse and the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center. The event benefits the Center’s services for women, including legal assistance, domestic violence services, health and mental health services and cultural arts programs. According to the Center’s Communications Manager Stevie St. John, this year’s event raised over $360,000.
Showing up on the red carpet to show their support this year’s event included Chely Wright and fiancée Lauren Blitzer, singer Grace,actress Jodie Sweetin, Kat Von D (with boyfriend Jesse James) and Queer as Folk alum Peter Paige. The show itself was a great mix of raunchy/hilarious comedy by Sarah Silverman and performances from Cat Power, Juliette Lewis and headliner Cyndi Lauper. AfterEllen was there for the entire night.
AfterEllen: This is the third year for this event. Why does it continue to be so important to the LGBT community?
Linda Perry: I think it’s important that everyone just get involved because basically this is a human event, it’s not just a gay event. It’s about parents who throw their kids out on the street for being gay.
Some of these parents — you see them in the courtroom when their kid committed murder and they’re crying “How did this happen to my son?” but they throw the child out for being gay! I have a hard time with that. I don’t understand that. It’s the parent. They should support who they choose to be.
That’s my number one reason that I’m involved with this not to mention all the wonderful things they do for the community. It’s a human event about people supporting people.
AE: Tonight we’re celebrating women. What is it about the power of women when we come together for a cause?
LP: Women — we have the feline, we have the instinct and the intuition and men are not as clued into stuff like that. When women go to the movie theater they group together, sharing popcorn but when guys go to the movie theater they sit apart, skip a seat, and it’s like “Who wants to see that?” Guys don’t want to be connecting. Women are connected and they’re chatty and they talk and it’s fun. They’re strong and powerful and it’s fun to see women in their element.
AE: We’re also celebrating women in music tonight. How is someone like Lady Gaga changing images for women in her music?
LP: I don’t know her well enough, to be quite honest. I’ve heard some songs [but] I feel that she’s really going out there and doing stuff and being supportive and that’s all that really matters. What is she doing for the women community? Hell, I don’t even know what I’m doing!
AE: From where you stand, is it harder for women in the music biz?
LP: It depends on the time of year and what trend is in. Sometimes the trend is women are hot. Sometimes the trend is they’re not. A few years ago you had Sara Bareilles, Amy Winehouse, Lily Allen — it was like a trail of women taking over and then it stops and then another whole breed comes in. The music business is always fickle. It doesn’t know what it wants because it doesn’t really choose things that last.