Tag Archives: GLAAD Media Awards

GLAAD Media Awards 2012

Last Saturday, I was a volunteer for my fourth annual GLAAD Media Awards in San Francisco.  Once again I was a talent escort, making sure my assigned presenter had everything she needed throughout the evening.  I won’t go into detail about that, since I’ve covered it in previous posts in 2010 and 2011.  As always, working with the GLAAD team and being a part of this special evening was a wonderful experience.

The GLAAD Awards recognize outstanding representations of the LGBT community in the media.  This time around, the host was Dianna Agron of Glee.  Presenters included John Gidding (HGTV designer and host of Curb Appeal), Mario Lopez (Dancing With The Stars), comedians Chris Frangola and Fortune Feimster, actor Adam Palley (Happy Endings), Rita Moreno (you name it, she’s done it), and actor Sean Maher (Firefly).  Well, there were lots of others, too!  Up-and-comers Guillermo Diaz and Katie Lowes joined Kerry Washington (all from ABC’s Scandal) to present the Golden Gate Award to creator Shonda Rhimes. (Rhimes is best known for Grey’s Anatomy.)  Wells Fargo Bank and Facebook were also honored.

Each year, I get to see some amazing folks up on that stage.  Jennifer Tyrrell is the Ohio scout leader who was removed from her volunteer position because she’s a lesbian.  She gave a heartfelt speech, surrounded by her lovely family.  It was very moving.  I was proud that I’d already signed her petition, and I encourage everyone to sign, if you haven’t already.  It’s at change.org/scouts. I was also moved by activist Zach Wahls, the young man whose speech in Iowa for marriage equality went viral on YouTube.  Another inspiring young activist was Brittany McMillan, founder of Spirit Day, who presented a special recognition award to Facebook.

The performers from Cirque du Soleil’s Mystere were stunning.  When one acrobat did a one handstand on the other acrobat’s head, I was able to get a photo of the big video screen.  Wow.  Just, wow.

Last year, host Naya Rivera auctioned off a couple of kisses.  Dianna Agron did the same this year, begging the audience to bid so her mom and brother didn’t have to.  Rita Moreno joined in the fun, auctioning off a party in her home.  Sadly, I’m not going to be one of those lucky party guests, since the winning bid was $15,000.  Go, Rita!

Be sure to check out the great photos at GLAAD.org since my little digital camera doesn’t do the evening justice.  All the 2012 Media Awards around the US are linked here.

A great time was had by all, and I’m already looking forward to next year.

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GLAAD Media Awards 2011

I spent Saturday night as a talent escort at the San Francisco GLAAD Media Awards.  These awards recognize outstanding representations of the LGBT community in the media, and they are held each year in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco.  This was my third year participating, and last year I blogged about my volunteer experience.  A talent escort is assigned one of the presenters, award recipients, or performers, and their job is to make sure they arrive on the “red carpet” to meet the press, find their table at the banquet, get to the green room backstage, and make it onstage at the right time.  This allows the participants to relax and enjoy the event.

As before, I got to witness some of the intense work and coordination involved in putting together a successful Awards ceremony. The GLAAD staff is always impressive, and they work long hours behind the scenes to ensure a smooth-running presentation.  This night has become one of the highlights of my year, and I always look forward to seeing Jackie and Tom and the other staff members.   It’s wonderful seeing the other talent escorts again, and we spend our breaks  in the volunteer room catching up and taking silly photos.  I’m on facebook with many of them, and there are new escorts to get acquainted with each year.  Of course, there are other volunteers besides the talent escorts: many people work in teams checking in attendees, taking tickets, running the fundraising auctions, etc.  Most of the volunteers live in the Bay Area, but some of them travel around the US to help out with all three events, and I’m in awe of their commitment to GLAAD.

John Gidding, designer and host of HGTV's Curb Appeal: The Block.  Photo by Araya Diaz/WireImage.com.  All rights reserved.

John Gidding, designer and host of HGTV's Curb Appeal: The Block. Photo by Araya Diaz/WireImage.com. All rights reserved.

It was a particularly good presentation this year.  I got to watch most of the show, since the presenter I escorted went onstage near the beginning.  The host was Naya Rivera (Santana on Glee) and some of the participants were Milk screenwriter Dustin Lance Black, Top Chef winner Yigit Pura, HGTV designer John Gidding, True Blood‘s Nelsan Ellis, rugby player Ben Cohen, actress Kim Cattrall, The Kids Are All Right director Lisa Cholodenko, DWTS‘s Louis Van Amstel and Mario Lopez, actor and musician Christian Chavez, Sara Ramirez from Grey’s Anatomy, and Gbenga Akinnagbe from The Wire. 

Zumanity by Cirque du Soleil

Cirque du Soleil's Zumanity performer

Two performers from Cirque du Soleil’s Zumanity provided some jaw-dropping entertainment.   A platform with a short pole was placed in the center aisle, and this amazing dancer performed gymnastic moves while balancing on the pole.  He was beautiful.  My photo doesn’t do him justice.

Naya Rivera and the Glee quiz

Naya Rivera conducts a Glee quiz with audience members

Naya Rivera selected two members of the audience for a Glee quiz.   She also auctioned off kisses to benefit GLAAD, and they went for $3500.  One of the winners did a little dance of delight onstage before receiving his kiss.

Naya Rivera auctions off kiss for GLAAD.  Photo by Araya Diaz/WireImage.com

Naya Rivera and one of the kiss auction winners. Photo by Araya Diaz/WireImage.com. All rights reserved.

Some of the other highlights for me:  Lisa Cholodenko’s little boy, brought onstage with her when she accepted the award for Outstanding Film—Wide Release.  He was about four years old and completely adorable.  Kim Cattrall’s acceptance speech for the Golden Gate Award, which was funny and passionate.  Social worker and activist Janice Langbehn receiving a standing ovation for her fight to get LGBT families equal hospital visitation rights throughout the United States.

After the Awards, there was an after-party where we had a chance to relax and interact with the attendees.  I’m not much of a party type, so I didn’t stay for long.  I came away from the hotel with a bag of free goodies, some fun photos, a bunch of new programs to watch (inspired by all the folks I met), and lots of good memories.

To see more photos from the event, check out GLAAD’s website.  Watch this video of Dustin Lance Black’s acceptance speech on YouTube.  His award was presented by Louis Van Amstel and John Gidding, who can be seen at the beginning and end of the video.

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GLAAD Media Awards 2010

Last Saturday I participated in my second San Francisco GLAAD Media Awards, volunteering as a talent escort.  It’s such a privilege to spend a day with the GLAAD staff, who are all so capable and competent and hardworking.  The volunteers are also great, and I’ve been on facebook with several of the folks I met last year, so this year was like a big, happy reunion.  Of course, there were many new faces, and I really enjoy meeting new people, especially the young volunteers who are so full of energy.

 I volunteer for organizations like GLAAD because of my favorite uncle.  He died ten years ago from HIV-related complications.  I also have someone close to me who’s gay and in the military. Besides, I majored in theatre production, so I’ve always been fascinated with the entertainment industry and the media.  How lucky am I to live in San Francisco where the GLAAD Media Awards are held?  Of course, I’d love to participate in the Los Angeles and New York Awards as well, and who knows what the future will bring!

 This year’s Awards were held in a big hotel, and after we first gathered in the volunteer room, we were taken on a tour of all the places we would be escorting our assigned talent.  The GLAAD Awards consist of a pre-ceremony reception, a silent auction, a banquet, the Awards program itself, and then an after-party.  It’s a long, exhausting day, but for a few hours you get to feel a part of something bigger and better than yourself.

As a talent escort, you are assigned one of the guest presenters, or one of the award recipients, or one of the performers.  You take them where they need to go, making sure they make it onstage when needed, so they can relax and enjoy themselves.  It’s exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time. All of us have radios with headsets, and that is the secret to knowing where to be and when.  In between escorting, volunteers get to watch the Awards show, and it’s always very moving and inspiring.

 The GLAAD people really treat their volunteers well.  We get lots of great food, free T-shirts, books and badges, but the best part is being appreciated and treated as a member of the team.  The hardest part is leaving the hotel and standing outside waiting for the bus to go home.   Both years, I’ve felt like Cinderella after the ball, my coach turned back into a pumpkin, or should I say, a MUNI bus.  Going back to regular life, after being a part of something so special, is a shock to the system.   But at least there’s always next year!

GLAAD talent escorts on the red carpet

GLAAD talent escorts on the red carpet

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My Summer Vacation

I haven’t been writing very much lately, because I’ve actually been busy.  I almost forgot what that was like!  These last couple of weeks I’ve been getting ready for some of my summer volunteer work, so soon I will have plenty to write about.  First there’s the GLAAD Media Awards, then the Frameline Film Festival, and then July’s San Francisco Silent Film Festival. 

 I love the Silent Film Festival as an audience member, and each year I consider volunteering for it.  I think I actually did leave a message once about volunteering, but I never heard anything back.  I’ve already bought tickets for the newly restored Metropolis and Capra’s The Strong Man.  Kevin Brownlow is going to be attending The Strong Man and receiving an award.  I really want to meet him, since he’s one of the first and best silent film historians.  Leonard Maltin will also be back this year introducing several films.  I want to see more than just two films, and I wish I could set up a cot in the Mezzanine at the Castro Theatre and just sleep there for the weekend!

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Filed under Movies, Volunteer Work