Happy 5th Anniversary to Greg In Hollywood!
Can you believe I almost forgot that today is the fifth anniversary of my blog Greg In Hollywood?
I knew the milestone was fast approaching and last night I decided I’d start doing a post for next week. As I looked into the archives, I saw that the very first post was March 1, 2009!
So, I threw this little collage together of me with many of the stars I’ve encountered over the past five years and yes, even I’m sick of my face right now!
But it’s as good a time as any to take a look back at this little adventure.
This blog was not a part of some big career plan. I was doing something very similar called Out In Hollywood for about two-and-a-half years as sort of a side project to my duties as an entertainment reporter and columnist for the Los Angeles Daily News.
Then on Oscar weekend 2009, I found out I was about to lose my job.
Word got to me through a friend who didn’t want me to be completely ambushed when I arrived at work that Monday.
The plan was to give me my walking papers the day after covering the Academy Awards.
So that abruptly ended what had been the happiest period of my career – seven-and-a-half years of pure bliss, endless creativity, amazing experiences, wonderful co-workers – really the time of my life.
I had previously left higher paying staff writer jobs at the Los Angeles Times and The Hollywood Reporter in search of my professional bliss.
After I’d found it, it was yanked out from under me during massive layoffs at the paper.
These are the times, I have learned, that you find out what you are made of.
I found myself unemployed for the first time in my 20-year career at a time when the newspaper industry was beginning its nosedive.
It wasn’t pretty.
I wanted to continue Out in Hollywood and its queer eye take on pop culture – that much I knew.
Since The Daily News did not want to part with my old blog’s archives, my independent blog needed a new name. Without much thought, I decided to call it Greg In Hollywood.
So in a crazy week or so, this blog was launched with the help of some amazing friends who made this trying time in my life feel more like a rebirth.
To read all about what my guardian angels Danny Sullivan, Kate Cohen, Val Cohen and Lorna Harris did for me five years ago, see my post From Layoff to Kickoff in Seven Days.
I wish I could say I instantly began to make a ton of money and was able to support myself on Greg In Hollywood alone.
It hasn’t happened – yet.
But I do make steady ad revenue thanks to a call I got in June 2009 from Michael Goff who is the business partner of Andy Towle of Towleroad fame. I was invited to become a part of their network of blogs which was a great boost – especially in those early days.
For most of the five years, I’ve juggled the blog with other gigs whether it be freelancing or covering media for the LA Business Journal.
Then there was my brief foray into politics as the communications dude for a state assemblyman. I’d be in front of groups giving legislative updates thinking: “What am I doing here? I’m Greg In Hollywood!”
No matter where I worked, I insisted that I be able to continue this blog – that has been non-negotiable.
The best fit came 27 months ago when I was hired as Los Angeles correspondent for Gay Star News. – a gig that came to me because the team that was launching the site had been impressed with Greg In Hollywood.
This current arrangement has allowed me to continue the blog and to also focus entirely on LGBT news at this extraordinary time in our history.
Whether it be gay marriage or celebrities or athletes coming out or draconian anti-gay laws being proposed or passed in foreign countries – or Arizona – I’m spending my days writing about it.
It’s where my heart is now.
Most days, I’m having a terrific time and I plow through my work with great enthusiasm. But I have the rare off day where I wonder how much longer I can keep juggling it all.
That happened one day in January.
Then a few hours later, in a total coincidence, I got a surprise email from Craig Zadan telling me how much he enjoys his daily read of Greg In Hollywood and appreciates my efforts.
Craig, who is once again producing the Academy Awards this weekend with Neil Meron, has no idea how much that meant to me right then.
Made me feel like I could go on at least another five years!
Pictured above with: 1. Lily Tomlin 2. Stefanie Powers, Florence Henderson and Dyan Cannon 3. Matt Bomer 4. Dustin Lance Black 5. Robbie Rogers 6. Darren Criss 7. Murray Bartlett 8. Pauley Perrette 9. Steve Grand 10. Craig Zadan
Pictured With: 1. Tuc Watkins 2, Chandler Massey 3, Freddie Smith 4. Betty Buckley 5. Dan Bucatinsky 6. Darryl Stephens 7. Suze Orman 8. Madison Hildebrand 9. Cheyenne Jackson 10. Jane Lynch 11. Mary Wilson 12. Nate Berkus 13. Carolyn Hennesy 14. Meredith Baxter 15. Matt Bomer (again!) 16. Ross Mathews 17. Wilson Cruz 18. Matthew Camp 19. Greg Rikaart 20. Lee Daniels 21. Crystal Bowersox 22. Sean Maher 23. Lance Bass 24. Alan Cumming 25. Charo 26. David Burtka 27. Linda Lavin 28. Mario Lopez 29. Thomas Roberts. 30. Melissa Etheridge. 31. David Ross 32. Denis O’Hare 33. Danny Roberts 34. Cory Monteith