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News from LA Gay & Lesbian Center’s 39th Anniversary Gala

By Greg Hernandez RED CARPET SCENE: Among the celebrities on hand were Lily Tomlin, Kathy Griffin, honoree Jane Lynch, presenters Ryan Murphy and Matthew Morrison, Queer as Folk alum and board member Peter Paige, True Blood star James Frain, Kat Graham of Vampire Diaries, saxophonist Dave Koz, and blogger Perez Hilton.

Morrison was the first big name to arrive. He posed for photographers then was hustled off by a publicist who explained that he had to prepare for the show (he was presenting to Lynch approximately three hours later). But Matthew did return to the red carpet to join Lynch, Griffin and Tomlin for a group photo. The trio of ladies seemed delighted to be in each other’s company and all worked much of the press line. Unfortunately, I was so far down that none of them got to Greg In Hollywood!

CONTROVERSY: When guests arrived at The Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel on Saturday night for the LA Gay & Lesbian Center’s 39th Anniversary Gala, they had to navigate their way past protesters fro UNITE HERE Local 11. LA hotel workers who are in the process of negotiating a new contract.

It was explained at the dinner that The Center found itself between a rock and a hard place when they found out about a month earlier that there would be pickets outside. If they had canceled, the non-profit (which is unionized) would have lost approximately a half-million dollars in revenue.

A decision was made to carry on despite the pickets and special tribute was paid to the hotel employees including those inside the dinner.


THE CROWD: The dinner drew more than 1,100 guests and was expected to raise at least $600,000. Host Lily Tomlin joked: “We will soon have to hold this event at The Hollywood Bowl.” But one person who was not in the crowd was legendary Carol Burnett who had been at the hotel earlier in the day rehearsing for her part in the show. She received word that her brother-in-law had died and had to leave to be with her family. Meredith Baxter was also reportedly present although I did not see her with my own two eyes. Tomlin referred to her as “Meredith Birney Baxter.”

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