The Center was hard hit by Superstorm Sandy, but director Carl Siciliano told everyone that their new place will actually be even better than what they had before, including being open 24/7.
It seems to be a case of something good coming from something bad. Maybe there is a case to be made for optimism after all.
Carl Siciliano: The #1 hottest charity director?
Carl also told me he'd seen my list of hottest TV actors around a lot and suggested I do one of hottest charity directors. Where do you think he'd fall on that list? (And how long would it be?)
Randy alone, with Carl and performing
Before the show, I spoke briefly with Queer as Folk gay icon ("People say that and I don't even know what that means," he laughed) Randy Harrison, who was all smiles, and with dashing Max von Essen, currently wowing them in Evita...at least until January. (I actually really like this production, so if you haven't seen it yet, give it a try.)
Carl Siciliano, founder and executive director of the Ali Forney Center, has been chosen as a "Champion of Change in the Fight Against Youth Homelessness" and will attend a special reception at the White House on July 12. Siciliano (pictured above and, at left, as a teen) says:
"It is thrilling that as we celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Ali Forney Center, we are also being recognized by the White House for our pioneering work on behalf of homeless LGBT youth...I am very grateful to President Obama for recognizing the needs of homeless LGBT youth."
As a member of the Host Committee, I'd pledged to sell $500 worth of tickets, which I absolutely did—mostly to myself! I took José, brought my pal Jason along (VIP tickets including the afterparty) and the rest went to a Boy Culture reader who later informed me he'd been a homeless gay youth just a couple of years ago and to a lucky, last-minute couple.
As much work as it was trying to interest people in tickets, the show would go on to sell out, raising a record-breaking $75,000.
Arrived early to cover the junior red carpet, but it was kind of a bust for me because as a hobbyist blogger, I don't have pro lighting and it was in a 100-degree antechamber that might as well have been a cave.
I grabbed a few quick tidbits from the contestants but skipped everyone else, including judges Jackie Hoffman, Michael Musto and Tonya Pinkins, feeling bad about taking up anyone's time when they were impossible to see. Speaking of which,I didn't see expected guests Paul McGill, Rachel Dratch or John Glover, but I did at least make the acquaintance of Broadway expert Richie Ridge, one of whose helpers turned out to be Alex, a Boy Culture reader who kept my spirits up in the stifling heat.
Probably lots of Preparation H on those fresh faces (in some cases, perhaps coincidentally)
Sat down just in time to see the show open, featuring hysterical emcee Tovah Feldshuh who, as she pointed out, starred in Broadway's longest running one-woman show—take that, Lena Horne. She cracked wise about Grindr, Boy Butter and her many unconsummated Tony nominations. She was, without a doubt, 10 times funnier than last year.
Tonya Pinkins, Jackie Hoffman, Ali Forney's Carl Siciliano & Michael Musto
With Body (& Soul) Beautiful, Carl Siciliano, the director of Ali Forney
KEEP READING FOR TONS OF PICTURES & VIDEO, SOME OF IT RATHER REVEALING...
This year, I'm on the hosting committee for The Broadway Beauty Pageant, a way-too-fun event taking place March 19 at 8PM at the Peter Jay Sharp @ Symphony Space here in NYC.
Some of Broadway's hottest chorus boys compete for the title of Mr. Broadway in the areas of talent, interview and swimsuit—if they were forced to give BJs, it would be just like a casting call for a real Broadway show! I kid. But I'm not kidding when I say the show is fabulously fun and delightfully lugubrious.
Tickets are $150, $40 or $25 now through Valentine's Day, after which the $40 tickets bump up to $50. CLICK HERE TO BUY.
All monies raised go to the Ali Forney Center, a charity well worth your time and funds.
If you decide to go because of my info, please comment my blog below so I'll have an idea of how many tickets I've sold; I've pledged to get $500 for the cause.
Here is my coverage from last year in case you're on the fence.
Legendary gay-rights advocate David Mixner was Bill Clinton's most trusted gay advisor until the president waffled on his promise to end the ban on military service for gay people, gifting the country with Don't Ask, Don't Tell. For decades, he's been a prominent voice in the struggle for our equal rights, a tough critic of our enemies as well as our fair-weather friends and an inspiration for everyone following the trail he's blazed.
During Dixon Places's 20th Annual Hot Festival on July 11th and 18th, Mixner will appear on stage in From the Front Porch: An Evening with David Mixner, a unique musical show about his life—and about ours. With Josh Zuckerman playing and singing his original songs to highlight the "chapters" of Mixner's life story, it's a can't-miss opportunity.
The July 11 show, a benefit for The Ali Forney Center, is all but sold out. But there are still cheap ($15!), good seats available for July 18, a performance the venue and the star hope will be especially appealing to the next generation of LGBT activists.
Boy Culture: What inspired this show—why did you want to tell your life story in this way?
I just returned, with my at-gunpoint cameraman José, from the 25th annual Night of a Thousand Gowns, a benefit thrown by the Imperial Court of New York to honor LGBT activist David Mixner and Princess Boy author Cheryl Kilodavis that raises cash for the Trevor Project and the Ali Forney Center.
As you know, I have done drag—I made a right camp Sam Fox. However, the Imperial Court is not bullshitting around when it comes to drag. They're a serious (and seriously regimented) org; camp was in short supply even if half the sequins on the East Coast were in the Marriott with me.
We arrived to find a larger-than-expected area for the press line. However, as guests began arriving—I'm not sure why some queens did the photo call and others didn't—it was apparent that NO print press showed up and very few online outlets, leaving me as the first person on the line. It was awkward, so we just began grabbing interviews where we could, either as attendees arrived or after they'd posed for the photographers. I was especially interested in (my new pal) Ally Sheedy, Honeymooners legend Joyce Randolph (who later received an award for which she was asked to kneel—not cool to ask of someone cruising toward 90, girls) and Carson Kressley...so of course not one of them did the carpet. Still, the people who did were quite diverse and easy to grab and I was able to chat with Joe of Joe.My.God. and more formally meet Mr. Broadway, Michael Cusumano.
Bill Cunningham (and Matthew Rettenmund) New York
I was most excited to meet and chat briefly with Bill Cunningham, the legendary octogenarian fashion shooter for The New York Times. A new documentary on him (Bill Cunningham New York) is getting lots of good press, something he seemed a bit shy about when I mentioned it. "I haven't seen it," he told me, "but I understand the filmmakers deserve a lot of praise." He remembered my name when thanking me. It was fascinating to watch him work the line; so many of the queens had no idea who he was and seemed bemused when he would hand them a pad to write down their names. (This old-school method is fail-safe, though, if you want to avoid being Miss Identified.)
Mike Ruiz of The A-List: New York and his partner Martin Berusch are supernice and supersexy each time I meet them. Ruiz noted that two more A-Listers are on the way for season two—and that the show was seeking supervillains. Super!
Don't ask—we won't tell
I grabbed Dan Choi—with a new friend, as in, a drag queen he met at the elevator, on his arm—and asked him a bit about marriage equality. He's a nice guy to talk to always. I feel like he has his regular personality—a little shy, nervously joking around—and then when he speaks about serious subjects he kicks into his activist persona. It's nice that he has a sense of humor; he needs one considering the schism in the community over whether he is our new Harvey Milk or is just milking every opportunity for attention. I don't think he's a messiah (and I don't think he thinks he is, either), and I occasionally disagree with him, but I like him and there's no denying he's had a major, grassroots impact on DADT and other gay issues. And he's hot in a suit.
As a bonus, I finally got to meet LGBT activist David Mixner, a gracious dude with a righteous sense of conviction about getting 'er done, rights-wise.
Amanda LePore walked right past me as I asked to take her picture. It felt like there was no way she didn't hear me, but she was as methodical as a glacier if a bit faster about it. It was...odd.
Ari Gold knows how to make an entrance...
...but his slaveboys know a thing or two about making an exit!
Ari Gold—who released his new single as "Sir Ari Gold" thanks to being knighted by this group last year—made an entrance that would have had Lady Gaga gagging with jealousy: He waltzed in clad in a gold Arabian number with two boyslaves on leashes. I hope he curbed them. I wish I'd seen the reaction of the gorgeous hospice dog that was in the house! (Dude brought his parents. He's one of the lucky ones who could do such a thing.)
He looked sexy in his version of drag, but it was soon back to the more traditional, can-I-pass-as-a-flamboyant-chick style of drag.
I would be one of the ones running away if Mike came at me with his mic—I hate being on the spot!—but I think his trip to the Oasis party to benefit the Ali Forney Center is one of his funniest excursions.