Daytime stars turn out for “Love Out Loud West” event in Hollywood to benefit AIDS Walk Los Angeles
The 25th annual AIDS Walk Los Angeles is taking place with morning and I’ll be there covering the star-studded festivities that are part of this worthy cause. Three night ago at the H.Wood club in Hollywood, I attended a pre-walk fundraiser presented by POZ Magazine called Love Out Loud West.
It gave fans the opportunity to meet some of their favorite daytime soap stars who came out in big numbers. Among those in attendance: Ilene Kristen (One Life to Live), Eileen Davidson (The Young and The Restless), Patrika Darbo (Days of Our Lives), Brandon Beemer (The Bold and The Beautiful), Thom Bierdz (The Young and The Restless), Kate Linder (The Young and the Restless), Greg Vaughan (General Hospital), Matt Borlenghi (General Hospital), Brandon Barash (General Hospital), Nadia Bjorlin (Days of Our Lives), and Lisa LoCicero (General Hospital). Also in attendance were David Moretti of Here TV’s The Lair and Queer Eye for the Straight Guy alum Jai Rodriguez who co-stars in the upcoming film Oy Vey My Son is Gay!
“There’s a battle to be won,” said Ilene Kristen (pictured above with Thom Bierdz). “I have friends who are HIV-positive who are alive and doing pretty well so I think we have made some progress. But there’s a lot of money to be rasied and we shouldn’t forget that this is still a big issue.”
Singer John Pagano (Pure Imagination) entertained the crowd with his amazing singing as did AIDS activist Sherri Lewis (pictured, left) who did a soaring version of Where the Boys Are. Since I only knew Sherri as an activist, I did not know she could sing like that! Then I discovered that she actually had two pop hits in the early 80s as Sherri Beachfront and even performed on American Bandstand, Solid Gold and The Merv Griffin Show.
Sherri told me about being in Washington DC the weekend before for the National AIDS Rally to End AIDS which took place the night before the National Equality March.
“We were psyched to get some grassroots energy,” she said. “From what I could feel from walking those streets and seeing the estimated 150,000 people was there was that the majority were young people which was fabulous. But this is our demographic of HIV, they really don’t have that history. They have drug treatment! So it’s a concern.”
But he’s already landed a role in an independent film and is looking ahead heartened by the steadfast support of his fans and fellow castmates.
Greg told me he didn’t hesitate for a second to appear at an event benefiting AIDS Walk: “I think what [organizer] Giovanno [Vitacolonna] is doing is real important. It’s bringing attention to something that is still going on around the world and something that we all need to be aware of. I’m glad to see there’s such strong support.”
“There’s a lot of wonderful human beings who have passed because of this disease and I think with all the research and the technology that we have, hopefully we can find a cure,” Greg added. “I know people who have had AIDS and been taken by the disease and it’s not goof to lose a family or friend. Even though we all know we all come to an end one day, it’s sad when people’s lives are cut short. I hope in my lifetime we can see a cure.”
I also asked Greg Vaughan about his shocking dismissal from General Hospital. Here is a LINK to that part of the interview.
Thom Bierdz returned to the role of Phillip Chancellor III on The Young and the Restless earlier this year after a 20-year hiatus from acting. Both he and his character were in the closet then. Now both are out and proud! Thom is pictured with fellow out stars David Moretti (The Lair) and Jai Rodriguez (Oy Vey My Son is Gay!).
Patrika Darbo (pictured, left) of Days of Our Lives could not have been nicer even though I mistakenly thought she was on One Life to Live!
Patrika had some important things to say about the cause she was there to support: “I think it’s sad that we’re into the 20-something year and we still don’t have a cure. As a woman of over-40, I think women need to be aware of the fact that you can’t just hop in the sack with people. I mean, if you’re suddenly single through divorce or your partner passing away, we area product of the free love and the 60s and we need to know that you can’t do that. Partners still need to be careful whether you;re 16 or 60, no glove, no love≥ It’s as simple as that.”
I ;posed for a photo with Bold and the Beautiful star Brandon Beemer which is crazy because there is just no way to look good next to someone who looks like that. But Brandon could not be a nicer guy and said of the event benefiting AIDS Project LA: “It’s important to come out and help.” Be sure to read my Greg In Hollywood interview with Brandon later this week!
Brandon Barash and Lisa LoCicero of ABC’s General Hospital were on hand to meet fans and mingle with other soap stars “It’s just always important to give back,” Brandon said. “The more we can give back the better.”