Monday, December 6, 2010

It Gets Better: The Benefit Gala for The Trevor Project rocks the Hollywood Palladium at Trevor Live

As Kathy Griffith so rightly announced from the stage, "You don't say 'no' to the gays", and indeed the celebs turned out en masse to help celebrate and support the work of LGBTQ organization The Trevor Project last night.

If you haven't heard of The Trevor Project, you've surely seen the It Gets Better videos floating around the internet (Obama made one) in response to the recent rash of teen suicides. This viral activism was started by Dan Savage for The Trevor Project which hosts a national teen suicide hotline, along with educational programs and outreach to help reach LGBTQ youth in crisis.

Check out the opening number, which set the tone for the entire evening - Darren Criss, the new kid on the GLEE block, singing with Katie Perry.

Executive Director Charles Robbins started off the evening with a wonderful introduction explaining the organization, it's services, history and impact. One could think an evening dealing with suicide could quickly turn maudlin, but Robbins speech celebrated the victories and show director Adam Shankman's (Hairspray) production was a loving tribute to the victories in LGBT lives.

I especially liked how Robbins started off the entire evening with a quote from one of my favorite lesbians Eleanor Roosevelt, "The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams."

Among those performing included husband and wife team Idina Menzel and Taye Diggs with a mash up of Cole Porter and Ebony/Ivory, where they played around the themes of mixed marriages: "I could star in Yentl, I could star in Roots". Katy Perry kicked off the night with a fantastic performance of Teenage Dreams accompanied by GLEE's Warblers and that hunky new Darren Criss.

An homage to marriage came with the musical number by James Marsden and Neil Patrick Harris, which was accompanied by photos first of classical Hollywood scam marriages (Liza Minelli/David Guest, Spence/Heidi) then gay marriages (Ellen/Portia, Elton/David).

David Arquette sang "Single Ladies" with Dave Navarro, alumni from the casts of Rent did a stirring rendition of "Seasons of Love", Queen Latifah belted out her showstopper from Hairspray "I Know Where I've Been" and comedian Sarah Silverman sang a song I think was called "Cunt" (that was the most used word in the lyrics at least).

Recent Entertainment Weekly cover girl Jane
Lynch gave an award to Kathy Griffith who was
off the wall funny and outrageous (as usual). Griffith recently announced that she's going to donate her salary from her upcoming Gibson Amphitheatre show to Trevor, and commented, "I see Google and Levi's gave $15,000 - well they can suck my dick, I'm giving way more and I'm an individual." She then lifted up her award and announced, "That's right I bought this award!"

Levi's also received an award during the evening for their years of LGBT support, including their work in the 1980's during the HIV/AIDS early days. Someone leaned over to me at our table and said, "Makes you want to buy Levi's doesn't it?" after the presentation.

Hot Hollywood hunk Josh Duhamel presented with Fergie - not his girlfriend - Jesse Tyler Ferguson from Modern Family, who cooed over the hottie. Jessica Alba and Justin Long also made an appearance introducing a mother and son who were highly affected by The Trevor Project. The mother/son spoke about calling the Trevor Project hotline - a call that ultimately saved the boy's life. They were both in tears, and the crowd stood to their feet.

Other celeb presenters included Anna Kendrick and Emma Stone (two of my favorite young up and coming actresses) and Amy Poehler.

We also heard from a young lady who had been so bullied and rejected by her family, that she moved onto the streets, turned to drugs, joined a gang and was raped - all before finding her way of that environment. "If it can happen to a nice girl from Beverly Hills," she warned as she told her story. She is currently a volunteer at The Trevor Project having committed her life now to helping other young people avoid tragedy.

LGBT teens are 8 times more likely to attempt suicide. Sarah Silverman explained it pretty well invideo response to the recent rash of teen suicides..

Here's some photos from the rest of the evening:
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