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GLAAD's Fab Awards Show

April 20, 2001, 12:00 AM EDT

GLAAD Media Awards Hilton New York Monday, 04.16.01, 6:30 PM onward
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The good thing about an event where inclusiveness is a theme is that there's something for everyone. And the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation's (GLAAD) 12th annual Media Awards had a lot of pieces: a Lucky Strike smoking lounge for smokers; Absolut bars everywhere for the drinkers; special lounges for the press; an after-party for the night owls, celeb-watching for the gawkers; auctions for the big spenders; cruising for the dateless and awards for the do-gooders. The event was part gala dinner, part award show, part bawdy entertainment and part all-night after-party. And the Hilton New York--one of the few places that can hold 1,800 people in a room with great sight lines--housed it all.

The event opened with a cocktail hour that included a very cool “Absolut GLAAD Pad,” designed by Spare Parts Inc., which served as a holding reception for the V.I.P.s who were ushered one-by-one into a packed press bullpen. The Lucky Strike smoking lounge--designed by Prime Access--was decorated as an elegant 1940's club, complete with pantomime human sculptures subtly shifting poses throughout the evening.

At the beginning of the entertainment portion of the show, Geraldine Nager Griffin of Sotheby's auctioned off a day on the set of Showtime's Queer as Folk for $15,000. The awards show followed, featuring celebs including Laurie Anderson, Sharon Gless, Richard Hatch, Susan Lucci, Natasha Richardson, John Ritter and Kathleen Turner, some of whom presented awards. (GLAAD special events manager Lane Brooks spent days recruiting these celebrities and organizing more than 200 volunteers to make sure that every detail was attended to at the event.)

GLAAD holds annual media award events in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., with different awards given at each. At this show, Vanessa Redgrave was awarded the Excellence in Media award for her several portrayals of lesbian characters on film, TV and stage. For coming out--barely--in her memoir, Natural Blonde, New York Post gossip columnist Liz Smith was given the Vito Russo Award, an award for an “outstanding contribution in combating homophobia.” Overland Entertainment produced the awards portion of the evening, and was able to accommodate some lengthy award speeches without throwing off the rest of the program.

More than 700 guests attended the fabulous after-party. With music by DJ Lady Bunny, guests danced and partied into the early morning. Along with ticket sales and the silent auction, the event raised about $850,000 for GLAAD.

--David Adler

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