Sure Fire Winner – Adam Lambert and the Equality Awards
Exclusive report by Julie McCoy (@AZGlamFan ). All photos copyright 2011 by Julie McCoy unless otherwise indicated.
Entering the International Ballroom at the Beverly Hilton for the Equality California Awards pre-party, I had no clue about what was to happen. The room was buzzing with fabulous looking people chatting, smiling, sipping their Blue Angel cocktails and enjoying delicious hot hors d’oeuvres. Jim and I were thrilled to be there to see Adam Lambert receive his Equality Idol Award and support marriage equality for all. We surveyed the silent auction items and met some great people. I was thrilled to see @Suz526. It was wonderful seeing my friend @Suz526 again and also meeting Carol. We had a fun group and toasted to the start of a great evening. Someone said they wondered when Adam was arriving and I said I was going to go out and see what was happening.
When I walked out of the room I immediately recognized Sam Sparro, who is good looking and very striking. I was not far away and told him his suit was great. He was summoned to the red carpet and I got a few pictures of him. People were talking to me and introducing themselves and I ended up at the edge of the red carpet. The scene was hectic and it was exciting seeing the arrivals, the paparazzi and the interviews from the perfect vantage point that I had.
Through the large lobby windows, I spotted Adam, Sauli and Leila arriving outside. They were being greeted by the EQCA Executive Director and staff. A crowd had gathered near the entrance to the event to welcome Adam and I heard screaming. The next thing I knew, Adam came around the corner with his female handler, Sauli and Leila. One of my pictures shows Adam looking down at his phone. He looked up, seemed surprised to see me standing there in an evening gown, gave me a big smile and said “Oh Hi!” He recognized me and it makes my heart happy that he always does. I smiled and responded “Hi Adam!” He was immediately called and rushed onto the red carpet.
At that point, Adam’s mom Leila and his partner Sauli were right in front of me. Sauli was directly in front and I told him it was an honor to meet him, that I thought he was great and that he truly was sunshine. I touched my heart with my hand and held it out toward him in a gesture of love and respect. I asked if I could take a picture of him and he said thanks, sure and smiled. His eyes sparkle when he laughs, he’s charming and he’s definitely more handsome in person than in his photos. He looked sharp in his black suit with black shirt and silver metallic tie.
Leila is also much more beautiful in person and in amazing shape. She looked stunning in her coral red cocktail length dress with silver bag and shoes. I told her it was an honor to meet her and that she must be so proud of Adam. She told me yes and smiled. I’d spoken to Leila online several times, but this was the first time I’d met her. Next they were both being called by the handler to join Adam on the red carpet. Adam, Leila and Sauli looked totally at ease, as if they’ve always been together. Still in shock, I managed a few pictures of them and some of Adam being interviewed. There seemed to be a great rapport between Sauli and Leila. Adam looked amazing as always in his John Galliano three piece suit with black shirt and his signature black leather half gloves. When Adam was on the red carpet being photographed I said “Outlaws of Love”, but doubt that he could hear me. He finished his pictures and interviews, met some celebs and headed down the opposite corridor with the other celebrities.
Dazed, I returned to the pre-party and was asked when Adam was coming. I replied he was already there and gone.
We entered the beautiful and very impressive International Ballroom. This is where the Golden Globe Awards have been held since 1961. The room was set up with round tables in a u shaped configuration on the upper level with more tables below on the lower level. The colored accent lighting gave the room a gorgeous glow and coordinated with the color on the multiple video screens and wall projections. The room was filled with gay and straight supporters of equality, EQCA donors, sponsors and board members, politicians, celebrities and Adam Lambert fans and supporters.
I was pleased to see we were seated at the right front of the room with great views of the podium and the large screen. There was excitement and joy in the air. The food was delicious and the service by the Beverly Hilton staff was excellent. One of the photographers who covered Adam on the red carpet was among the guests seated at our table. The Equality Awards program featured a picture and full bio page on Adam as well as pictures of him in tribute ads by 19 Entertainment and Frontiers INLA.
One of the highlights of the night was meeting Ashley. Ashley is a human rights advocate and media critic from NYC. She‘s extremely nice, a dynamo, and knew everyone in the room. We met her earlier in the evening and she joined us at our table for dinner.
My time was split between the table and being introduced to people down on the floor and around the room. I was very excited to meet the sponsor of the NY Marriage Equality Act and winner of the EQCA Equality Leadership Award New York Assemblyman Daniel J O’Donnell. Assemblyman O’Donnell is Rosie O’Donnell’s brother. I told him what an honor it was to meet him and congratulated him on getting the marriage bill pas sed. He said there was still more work to do. I also remarked that I saw he had chosen his wedding song. His eyes brightened and he asked if I had listened to it and told me how beautiful it was. I have and it is. The song is “You Are” by Todd Alsup.
I also had the good fortune to meet Ross Matthews of Chelsea Lately and The Tonight Show. He was very warm, friendly and funny and we agreed that it was a very special evening.
Ben Patrick Johnson, twitter friend and EQCA board member, was the one responsible for preparing the video intro presentation and the voice-over for Adam’s Award. When I met him, he hugged me and I told him it was great to meet him. He thanked me and said he really enjoyed my tweets.
It was a nice surprise that Jasmine Jonas sang “Defying Gravity” from Wicked. It was especially fitting considering Adam had performed with both the Los Angeles and touring companies of Wicked.
I bumped into Sam Sparro, the epitome of class and cool, crossing the room and told him I was a big fan. He smiled and thanked me.
When comedienne and LGBT supporter Kathy Griffin was at the podium, I was in front of her on the lower level. She sang “Mad World” and tried to get Adam to come up and join her on the stage. When he didn’t comply, she went down into the audience to his table. I was only a few feet away during the wonderful Adam Lambert/Kathy Griffin Mad World duet. The beauty and clarity of Adam’s voice singing a cappella is testimony as to why he’s such an extraordinary artist and world superstar. Adam and Kathy were adorable together. I think she did a great job singing Mad World. She finished by calling Adam a dreamboat and she’s right. Fortunately @suz526 captured all the magic on video. Kathy Griffin presented Facebook with the Equality Advocate Award for changing the landscape of social media.
Someone I’d met earlier called me over to his table to talk and I ended up right beside Adam’s table. Adam was seated at lucky table #7 with Sauli, Leila and Sam Sparro. We talked for a while and I heard Adam say he was there with his family (Leila and Sauli.) I am so thankful that I had the opportunity at that moment to congratulate Adam on receiving his Equality Award and shake his hand. He said “Thanks so much!” and we both smiled.
Sam Sparro took the podium to introduce and present the Equality Idol Award to his friend and colleague Adam Lambert. His comments included “Not only is Adam an out and proud entertainer he is and outstanding and highly visible advocate for our community who’s courage is an inspiration to young people to be bold and brave and stand up against hatred. “
The video introduction prepared by Ben Patrick Johnson was beautiful. It thoroughly documented Adam’s life from childhood to Glam Nation, “It Gets Better” and more. The introduction featured EQCA Executive Director Roland Palencia’s poignant message about Adam: “His impact will be felt for many generations to come. Our kids will grow up not only hearing it gets better, but seeing it as well.” Adam’s taped message included: “I strive to lead by example…. I strongly believe that all people have a fundamental right to love who they want to love and if they so choose have their union recognized by the laws of this country regardless of sex, race, age or religious affiliation…”
Sam presented Adam with the crystal EQCA Equality Idol Award. Adam said in his speech that when he was growing up he had no role models to look up to. The whole awards presentation was very moving and you could tell that Adam was truly touched. It was clear he was extremely honored to receive this significant award that celebrated him as a person and as a role model. It was a proud and very emotional moment seeing Adam win this award, knowing how much it meant to him and how much he deserved it.
The awards after-party was held in an adjoining room and terrace area overlooking the Beverly Hilton pool. We talked to people we met earlier and DJ Jacquie was playing some hot dance music. I asked if she would play Adam Lambert and she said that she had something special. She played an amazing “Mad World” dance remix. I thanked her, asked for more Adam and she played “If I Had You”. We enjoyed the great atmosphere, new friends, dancing, laughs and having our pictures taken at the photo booth. It was an amazing and inspirational night that benefitted a crucial cause – equality.
What a full circle moment going from seeing Adam perform at the American Idols Live Tour in July 2009 to being there to support him at the Equality Awards in August 2011. It was great to be part of this memorable evening and a privilege to be there when Adam was on the red carpet hand in hand with his partner and mom. It was exciting and very emotional to see Adam receive this award, knowing how much it meant to him and how much he deserved it.
I’m a firm believer in destiny and karma. The stars aligned and the universe reunited me with Adam Lambert once again. I could not have dreamed of a more perfect night or a more perfect artist to support for two and a half years. Adam is an incredible performer, person and role model who is changing the world with his songs, his words, his actions. I know there is amazing new music to come. There will be more challenges Adam will overcome, walls he will breakdown, hearts he will win and minds he will open. For now, I’m going to reflect on this amazing experience and how blessed I am that my Adam Lambert connection continues…
On our way home from Equality the next day, we ran into Tommy Joe Ratliff’s mom Dia. What a surprise! It was great to get to see her again and to chat for a while.
Looking forward to my next Glamventure… Until then Peace, Love and Equality.
EQUALITY AWARD PROGRAM AUCTION TO BENEFIT THE TREVOR PROJECT
In the spirit of Adam Lambert I am auctioning four extra 2011 Los Angeles Equality Awards Programs to benefit the Trevor Project. The Program contains the program page featuring Adam’s picture and listing his award, a full bio page and picture, his photo in a 19 Entertainment tribute ad and in a Frontiers INLA ad.
The minimum bid is $20 and you can tweet your bids to me @AZGlamfan in this format:
“I’m supporting @adamlambert & Equality bidding $— on the Equality Awards Program to benefit @TheTrevorProject.”
All bids will be noted and the top four bidders will be notified by September 3, 2011. I will post updates on twitter periodically as to what the top bids are. Once I receive confirmation of the top bidders donation receipt to The Trevor Project, I will ship the programs (international Glams will need to pay shipping.)
@AZGlamfan Julie McCoy
We received this great note from @AZGlamFan about her auction of programs from the Equality Awards to benefit the Trevor Project: “We raised $896.50 via 5 bidders. All bids were made directly with the Trevor Project site. The top bidders/donations are as follows: 1) @4Adam4Life $160 2) @jaysjenten $160 3) Bid anonymously $201.50 4) @Dreemr $175 5) @marianbpainter $200. Am very pleased with the results and the top bidders are thrilled to be able to get Equality Programs and donate to a worthy cause…”
Congratulations Julie on the success of the auction!!