My night at “An Evening w/Women” benefit starring Kathy Griffin, Natasha Bedingfield & Ozzy Osbourne!
Last night’s An Evening With Women event at The Beverly Hilton was a star-studded affair hosted by Kathy Griffin to raise funds for the LA Gay & Lesbian Center’s programs and services.
I’ve been attending this event for at least seven years now and it has gotten to be a not-to-be-missed evening of music and laughs. This year’s musical performers were Sia, Natasha Bedingfield and Ozzy Osbourne and all sounded great!
It was a blast.
‘I’m the ‘A’ in LGBTQIA,’ Griffith said. ‘In my many, many interviews as a global superstar, (I am asked) why do you feel so connected to the community? I always say I feel we can learn so much from (gays) because as a woman, and as a woman in a man’s field, the gay community does a better job than straight women at sticking together.’
Griffin has long been an outspoken advocate for LGBT equality and against bullying.
She shared with the crowd that she is not fond of the word ‘tolerant’ when it comes to LGBT people.
‘I don’t like the word tolerant for you guys, I don’t find it acceptable. Imagine if you said, “Oh, maybe someday we’ll be tolerant of African-Americans.’ It wouldn’t be acceptable.” Goddamit, you’re lucky to have us!’
LA Gay & Lesbian Center Executive Director Lorri L. Jean, known for giving powerful and inspiring speeches at these kinds of events, did not disappoint on Saturday as she reminded people of the legislative and cultural victories LGBT people and their allies have achieved in the past year alone.
‘I think all of us would agree that we are living in extraordinary times – truly extraordinary times for LGBT people,’ Jean told the crowd.
Music producer Linda Perry has been the driving force behind the event in recent years and when she addressed the sold-out crowd after hundreds of thousands of dollars were raised, she grew emotional and at one point, barely held back tears.
She joked that after three months of down time, ‘the whole fucking thing starts all over again’ with planning for the next year’s event.
‘Kill me now, I can’t believe I’m going to do this again.’
But it’s a good thing she’s committed because Perry’s involvement has helped draw top-flight musical talent year after year from Cyndi Lauper to Christina Aguilera, among others.
This year’s trio of performers were outstanding starting with Sia who did an acoustic version of her song Titanium. I had not been real familiar with her music but now want to go out and buy a CD or download something!
Same for Natasha Bedingfield only I’d actually buy a ticket to one of her concerts after thoroughly loving every minute of her three-song set which included Unwritten and Purple Rain. I think she also sang Pocketful of Sunshine but not sure of the title.
Other stars I spotted either on the red carpet or in the ballroom were Meredith Baxter, Sara Gilbert, Sharon Osbourne, Peter Paige, Greg Rikaart, and Teri Polo and Sherri Saum who play a lesbian couple in the new ABC Family series The Fosters.
I’ll have to update later with how much money was raised last night. Besides tickets and silent auction items, I know that at least $62,000 was raised during the live auction (a trip to Bora Bora looked like a dream) and more than $130,000 was raised during the live fundraising drive which included a $10,000 contribution from Elton John via telephone.
Congrats to all involved including Kathy Griffin whose boyfriend is very cute and very young! I snapped a photo of them as they watched Ozzy perform on stage (see bottom photo).