It was a dark and stormy night in West Hollywood during the Season 5 premiere party for The L Word at The Factory. But that didn’t stop hundreds of devoted (and rambunctious) lesbian fans from lining up around the block to get into the star-studded, Human Rights Campaign-sponsored gala. And it didn’t stop AfterEllen.com either. We lined up with the rest of the press to snap photos and talk to both new and returning cast members from the hit Showtime program. (See the following pages for the photos and some of the comments made by the attendees.)
With cheap umbrella in one hand and cheap tape recorder in the other, I had the opportunity to talk to villainous new vixens like Elizabeth Keener (Dawn) and Alicia Leigh Willis (Cindi), as well as Clementine Ford (Molly Kroll) — yep, that’s Cybill Shepherd’s daughter in real life and on The L Word — and Malaya Rivera Drew (Jenny’s assistant Adele). I had the pleasure of meeting Patricia Velasquez, the Venezuelan model/actress who will be joining the cast this season as Begoña. Velasquez was just as eager to talk about her work with the Wayuu Taya Foundation, the nonprofit organization for indigenous communities, as she was about joining the cast of The L Word.
But the undeniable stars of the evening were the returning cast members, Jennifer Beals, Laurel Holloman, Pam Grier, Mia Kirshner, Kate Moennig, Leisha Hailey, Rachel Shelley, Rose Rollins and Daniela Sea. While they took some razzing from a small part of the drenched and ornery crowd (a handful of them sang the song “Maniac” when Beals appeared, while others chanted "traitor" at Laurel Holloman, ostensibly for her character’s bisexuality last season), the majority of noise was made by adoring fans who stood in line for hours waiting to get into the event.
Even inside The Factory, the screams of approval reached eardrum-shattering levels at times. Ilene Chaiken, Beals and the rest of the main cast took the stage to talk about the work of the HRC and raffle off a handful of mystery prizes. Finally, the lights dimmed for the preview film, a Lizzie the Lezzie animated short, and then the screen lit up with the first L Word episode of what could be its final season. The capacity crowd howled its delight before the first plotline could even unfold, serving as a reminder of the unconditional love so many lesbian and bisexual women have for the groundbreaking show.
Afterward, I headed home soggier but with my quota for small talk with gorgeous women more than met for the next couple of months. Or at least until my next red carpet assignment.
All photos by Faye Sadou
L Word creator and executive producer Ilene Chaiken: "I feel like we were part of a cultural wave. There were moments when we appeared to be at the crest of the wave. I’m thrilled to think that we actually had some influence on the culture at large. But it was happening in our culture, and it’s a wave of acceptance. We’re coming forward in the culture and I think that our issues, our civil rights issues are moving in a progressive way. And we’re thrilled to have been part of that conversation in any way."