GLAAD Media Awards: My red carpet recap
A version of that dream came true for me at last night’s GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles. I was an hour late for the red carpet!
I had written down in my planner that celebrity arrivals began at 6 p.m. so I arrived at the Nokia Theatre promptly at 6 p.m. As I was checking in, the woman who was helping me said: “You better get in there, you’re late.” I said: “Don’t arrivals start at 6?” She said: “No, 5 o’clock.”
I immediately get that sinking feeling and dash in. I see Teri Hatcher standing in the wings ready to go on and think, “At least I’ll get Teri Hatcher.”It ended up okay though. I ended up chatting with Dustin Lance Black, Gus Van Sant, Bill Paxton, Dana Delaney, Wilson Cruz, Chad Allen, Peter Paige, Coco Peru, George Takei and his husband Brad Altman, Tuc Watkins, Kevin Rahm, Brad Rowe, Nichelle Nichols, Clark Gregg, Andrea Bowen, Gregory Michael, got a big kiss from lovely Thea Gill as she rushed in and got in a few words with Kathy Griffin before riding up in the elevator to the show in a group that also included Julia Louis Dreyfus.
I never got to Teri Hatcher but not so bad for a latecomer!
Here are some of my encounters but some of my red carpet interviews will be appearing as individual pieces during the week.
My first two interviewees could not have been better: Tuc Watkins and Kevin Rahm of Desperate Housewives! Anyone who has read my blogs knows that I am a huge fan of the oh-so handsome and talented Tuc who also plays David Vickers on One Life to Live. But I’d never met Kevin before so it was nice to see him. They laughed because I had just got to my spot and was still fumbling with my tape recorder and camera.
“We’ll work each other into this,” Tuc said.
Kevin will appear in tomorrow night’s episode of Desperate Housewives where Edie (Nicolette Sheridan) dies and joked that Tuc was “working late again in (One Live to Live’s fictional town of) Lanview.”
Having recurring roles in two popular shows – shot on different coasts – can sometimes be daunting, but, Tuc said: “I haven’t really had to do any juggling since January so it’s been pretty easy but it’s a real treat for an actor to get to work in Los Angeles and to get to work in New York and as long as that continues to work, I’m very lucky. It’s a lot of fun.”
While I don’t think we see enough of Tuc on Housewives, we see even less of Andrea Bowen these days. She was very much a presence during the show’s first four season as Teri Hatcher’s daughter Julie but once the plot jumped forward five years at the start of season five, she has been limited to only a few guest spots.
“I’ve been recording a lot and am about halfway through an album now and setting up a lot of live performances and touring,” said Andrea, a seasoned stage performer.
“It’s one of those shows where you see people pop up on the show all the time and theuy give me a call and say, ‘We want you back!’ and if I’m available, I’ll go back because of course I absolutely love being part of the show.”
When she does appear, it’s as a twenty-something Julie Mayer.
“I started playing the character when I was 13 and she was 12,” Andrea said. “So I went from playing younger then myself to older so it’s very tricky. I’ve been the ages of 12 to almost 25 on the show. It gives me lot to play with.”
While Andrea lamented that her on-screen mom and stepdad (James Denton) had split on the show, Susan’s Mayer’s loss has been Dana Delaney’s gain! I next chatted with the Desperate Housewives star who now gets to share romantic scenes with the dreamy Denton.
“Mike the plumber and I have a romantic announcement coming up which I’m happy about,” Dana teased.
I had to know: how’s it been playing scenes opposite that hunk of man? Dana had a one-word response: “Delightful.”
I mentioned that I was glad she didn’t get hit by a bullet while hiking in a recent episode and she remarked: “Yeah, well you know, we’re all expendable on Wisteria Lane.” That led to my next question: what were her thoughts on the death of Nicollette Sheridan’s character?
“I’m sorry that she’s gone,” she said. “I think that it was a really great character and I think (tonight’s) episiode is a wonderful tribute to her.”
It was great to see Wilson Cruz, as always, who remarked that our last interview during closing night of Outfest Fusion had caused quite a siir. I wanted to know what he’s up to next and it’s a good gig – the last episode of ABC’s Pushing Daisies airing June 14.
“I’m in in, in a speedo,” said the very fit actor. “I play a synchronized swimmer and get into it.”
Then I spot Coco Peru, the evening’s hostess. Now I know Coco is really a character who is played by Clinton Leupp but I just think of her as a person and it’s easier for me to relate to her that way. BTW, I love Coco Peru and mention to her that her star has never been bigger and in the past three weeks alone, she has hosted the high-profile Gay Mens Chorus of LA and LifeWorks’ Laugh Out Loud events.
“Word’s gotten around,” she said. “I think I’ve hit my groove, my stride and I’m riding the wave. You know in this town, one minute you’re up and the next minute you’re down (laughs).”
It was great to see Brad Rowe, the handsome star of the GLAAD winning film Shelter and another LGBT classic Billy’s Hollywood Screen Kiss.
“It’s a beautiful movie, it’s a beautiful love story and it’s got a great message about love and about taking care of other people regardless of what you sexual orientation is,” he said lf the superb Shelter. “I was honored to be a part of it.”
“I was excited to be here especially because my partner and I are going to be sitting with Bishop Gene Robinson who is a dear, dear, dear friend,” Chad said. “I just came from an 80-mile bike ride getting ready for AIDS Life Cycle. I do more hands-on work than I ever have and that’s where the real rewards are.”
Chad may be a busy activist but he’s also in demand as an actor. I asked him to update me on what he’s up to on that front.
“I’ve just come back from doing Looped in San Francisco, the show I had at the Pasadena Playhouse with Valerie Harper, I’m producing a new feature called Spork with my partner Christopher Racster and directed and written by JB Ghuman and hope to have that completed by the end of summer in time for Sundance.”
And what about the wonderful Donald Strachey movies he does for here! TV?
“Two of the films are nominated tonight which is awesome. We have two more books to do (four have been done so far)and I imagine we’ll get them done this year.”
When I spotted a relaxed Gus Van Sant, I couldn’t help but notice how relaxed he seemed and remarked that he seems to be getting for comfortable about award shows.
Gus: “Why? Have you just noticed?”
Greg: Well, I remember I saw you at something last year and you seemed a little more uncomfortable. You just seem more at ease as all of this goes on. Is that true?
Gus: Yeah. You know, practice makes perfect. This particular instance is a good way to promote the movie.”
Will have more of our chat this week.
When I saw Nichelle Nichols, I wanted to ask her about the wonderful movie she did last year where she played the wise and salty grandmother of a gay high school student. I was blank on the title so tried to bluff: “I saw the movie you were in where you played the grandmother…”
Nichelle: “Which movie?”
Gulp. I remembed that Jasmine Guy had played her daughter in the film and that triggered the title from the Star Trek legend: “Oh! Tru Loved!”
“It was such fun to do,” she said. “I said with lines like that you can’t go wrong. We had a wonderful time making it. … I was the bigot, essentially, until it comes to my front door, until it’s my grasndson. So she had to step up to the plate and say, ‘So this is what life is..’ Although I knew Jasmine before, to play her mpm and to get into that kind of rapport with her was wonderful. So we’re much closer now.”
She has every intention of watching the new Star Trek movie coming out this summer: “My dear, yes. A gorgeous young woman is playing my role.” Nichelle also told me how proud she is of her old co-star George Takei for his activism since coming out publicly several years ago.
“He’s an incredible human being and wonderful man and (his husband Brad Altman), I can’t say enough about him. I adore them both. George is like this daring yoing man on the flying trapeze. There is nothing that will stop him. Once he made his decision in this society to be who he is, then he took the bull buy the horn so to speak and ran with it and twisted it around in his favor. I think he’s happier than he’s ever been and it’s wonderful to see them together.”
Okay, at this point I’ll just admit to you that my heart skipped a beat when I spotted Bill Paxton, a longtime crush who is the star of HBO’s Big Love. He came over to talk and I was able to remain composed – mostly. He was invited to be a presenter and agreed to come because GLAAD “is an important organization that does a lot of good. At the end of the day, so much of the gay community has created so much of this town and conceived and birthed so many of the great cultural happenings.”
Bill has been a big movie star for awhile now with such hits as Apollo 13, Twister, Titanic, True Lies, Tombstone, A Simple Plan and the Spy Kids movies, but Big Love has become a phenomenon.
“It’s as big as anything I’ve ever been in,” he said. “What’s interesting about it is it’s drawn every group of people, every age group, every demographic. It seems like they’re all really getting off on the show so that’s cool.”
And, I remark, all the women want him (he has three wives on Big Love).
“It’s not bad,” Paxton said. “Let’s hope the Viagra holds out.”
Then, I can’t resist: “Some of the guys like you too.”
Bill laughs and says, “Thank God! More in the old days though.”
Not so sure about that. He’s still a cutie!
I asked him about the storyline that has old Christine (Dreyfus) married to her best friend Barb (Wanda Sykes). They did so to ensure Barb health insurance.
“It seems perfectly natural to me,” he said. “In an environment where something as basic as people being able to love each other within the sanctity of the law, when that’s being repealed, I feel it’s the duty of any funny show to go after anything that absurd.”
What did he think about Wanda Sykes coming out last fall?
“I think it was cool. She wasn’t somebody who was so much in as she was just a private person in life. I thought it was kind of inspiring and kind of gutsy for her to step out and I think it’s symbolic of if there is a silver lining to this silliness, it’s that it seems to be mobilizing and polarizing a lot of people who just assumed that everything was moving in the right direction.”
Okay, let’s get to what I really want to know: are we going to be seeing more of his hot gay brother this season?
“I hope so,” Clark said with a laugh. “Because he’s hot!”
And finally, Kathy Griffin was one of the last celebs down the red carpet but was being rushed by those who did not have a TV camera. I had to have something so I blurted out: “Tell us about that bikini shot!” (I was talking about the recent OK! Magazine spread, I had no idea she was going to accept her award in a bikini just hours later).
Kathy stopped and said: “My banging bikini bod? I’m here tonight to share my banging bikini bod with the gays. And by the way, my bikini bod is so banging, I might switch a couple. A couple gays might join my team tonight. I am like the Susan Boyle of bikini bods where you didn’t know I had it in me! But it’s been here the while time. I dreamed a dream.”
Stay tuned: More GLAAD Media Awards coverage coming soon on Greg In Hollywood!