Saturday, June 7, 2008

Twas the Night Before Pride, and all through West Hollywood

for the parties tonight, scroll down to bottom of today's entry.

Hello My Darlings and Happy Pride!

Firstly, if you are reading this and I met you last night (all 97 of you) thank you for checking out my blog, and I can't promise I won't write something SCANDALOUS about you.

Welcome to the world of TheSmokingCocktail!

(in this photo: HRC - Jessica, Parker, Bud, Tom & Brandon)

I had just about one of the best Pride experiences of the past ten years last night. Seriously.

It all started up in the Hollywood Hills at the HRC Federal Club Pride Garden Party at the stunning, lush and warm home of David Beckwith and Dietrich Nelson (and their two adorable little rescue dogs!!)

(pictured to left, Brad, me, George Takey and Jessica at the HRC Garden Party)

You're heard a River Runs Through it, well at their house, a creek runs through it. We could not figure out whether it was real or man made, and as the sun set, you could even hear the sounds of crickets and frogs.

"Frogs," I proclaimed as I leaned over the bridge, "I have not ever seen, not even once a frog in Los Angeles. Is that a mike system!?" My friend Tom assured me (or lied to me) and said, "Those are real frogs that live here and they had them flown in."

(pictured here, myself and Jessica with our hosts David Beckwith and Dietrich Nelson - did they ship real frogs?!)

The highlight of the night, however, was not the amphibians, but was most definitely hearing the story, "Twas the Night Before Pride"

Instead of doing the usual dry rehearsed ask for money like we usually hear at non profit lgbt events, we heard the story of pride being told. It was wonderful!

Alan Uphold from the Board of HRC told the story and it was enchanting, heart felt and just LOVELY.

(pictured left, Alan telling the story of Pride)

It started, "Twas the Night Before Pride...."and continued with Alan telling the entire story of the Stonewall Uprising in 1969.

If you're reading this, you should already know this story, but in brush strokes - once upon a time in America in the 1960's, not too many people had civil rights, including women, blacks and us gays. At that time the police were regularly raiding what few skanky, hidden gay bars there were across the country and loading everyone up in paddy wagons (for you young people, the wagon was named as a derogatory term against another minority, immigrants, specifically the Irish because they assumed either all the cops, or all the drunks they piled in were Irish. As the old saying goes, "Immigrants! My family's been having problems with immigrants ever since we came to this country!)

It was the day of Judy Garland's funeral and when night fell that fateful June, the gays had just had enough (for reference it's how you feel today when you get to the Barney's Warehouse sale just as they're locking up the doors). When the police went to raid The Stonewall Inn - a small, rather "dive" bar in NYC- the customers just said "No." (it was before Gloria Gaynor so they couldn't continue with "walk out that door, just turn around now, etc)

Mainly comprised of drag queens, the Stonewall customers finally fought back.

This sparked a 5 day riot and protest in Greenwich Village. It also spawned several new Gay Rights advocacy groups and a new era of the gay rights movement.

That's why we celebrate Pride in June every year! To remind America that we are equal and proud and we won't be considered second class citizens. I hope some of you can appreciate the irony in this knowing that most pride parades consist of hairy men wearing buttless leather chaps, but you know, whatever, there it is.

Here's a bit of video I shot of Alan telling the story of Pride.

David and Dietrich also announced that they will get married (after being together 26 years!) and in lieu of gifts, they will be registered with HRC's Marriage Equality Fund so you can donate there!

George Takei (Heroes, Star Trek, The Howard Stern Show) gave me a fun bit of news - he has a cameo with Bruce Vilanch in Adam Sandler's new film ZOHAN (are you really going to see that if you can see SEX AND THE CITY a few more times?). He and Bruce play boyfriends. George's partner Brad sighed and said, "Now everyone's going to think Bruce is 'Brad' - the boyfriend you always mention in interviews that you've had for 22 years!"

Then we went to West Hollywood to have a bite of dinner and watch the tail end of the Dyke March. We all decided it's time to have an adjunct to Dykes on Bikes and we'd like to call it Lesbians In Luxury Convertibles. Two of the lesbians I was with had luxury convertibles and they seemed down with it.

The Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood, done up for Pride.

Out lesbian director Cheryl Dunye (who was just named one of the Top Ten Lesbians in the Entertainment Industry by Power Up) and her gf.

Brian Nolan and David Moretti from The Lair.

Out comedian Andre Kelly (Laughing Matters: The Men, currently running on LOGO), Jeff and Scott.

With Erik and Mike. (this is Erik breaking the restraining order that my liver has put on him!! Back man! 50 yards!!!)

Now, from Thursday night, photos from the Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Congress mixer at East/West.

They've asked me to be on their float on Sunday, so look for the white hair in the parade. They seemed less than enthusiastic when I offered to sing I WILL SURVIVE in my black bra on the float... like what's up people? It'll be almost as good as a drag queen, and I also know several Sylvester tunes!!

As for tonight, the place to be will be the Lifework's Fundraiser - check my HOMOSEXUAL AGENDA tab to the right to check in on details. If you're a lesbian, afterwards, Linda and Michelle of Fuse are having a huge lesbian party at Replubic. That info is also on my Homosexual Agenda Page.

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