Archived entries for NLGJA

NLGJA Headlines & Headliners

The annual New York benefit for the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association is always a blast – a great party for a great organization.

The gang (very Vanity Fair, if you ask me):

With Aaron:

Eva and CNN’s Don Lemon:

NLGJA

Last night I headed down to Mitchell Gold on Lafayette Street for NLGJA’s annual Headlines and Headliners benefit, the biggest annual fundraiser for the organization. As usual it was a star-studded but not stuffy affair, emceed this year by the hilarious Kathie Lee and Hoda (see the clip below for the pair’s thoughts on the event during the next morning’s Today Show).

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Everyone and their mother seemed to be there: ex-Newsom babe Kimberly Guilfoyle, the fabulous Megyn Kelly from FOX, Andy Cohen, Andy Towle, Kenneth Walsh, Manuel Gallegus, Jeanne Moos, Jill Dougherty, Carl Quintanilla, Andrew Shue, Jane Velez-Mitchell, and fellow Mainer Contessa Brewer. But the best looking group was definitely this trio:

Seen around Montreal

Cheap rents (and fine photo ops) abound in places like this one in Montreal near McGill University:

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Chess at Place Émilie-Gamelin (Berri Square):

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Place des festivals, a new public square just opened in the emerging Quartier des Spectacles:

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A random market:

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I didn’t even know there was a club/restaurant (737) atop Place Ville-Marie, the soaring crucifix-shaped tower design by Henry Cobb (that’s I.M. Pei’s partner for those of you interested), but my friends and I sure had a good time there on Friday night!

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While Place Ville-Marie (designed by friendly North Haven neighbor Harry Cobb) has lost some of its luster over the years — Air Canada long ago moved its headquarters out of the building, and its claim to fame as the tallest building in the Commonwealth didn’t last long — it still has some neat touches like 737, and this fountain in the central plaza.

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Along Sherbrooke Street, a great example of Montreal’s distinctive greystone architecture:

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Below is “The Illuminated Crowd” on McGill College Avenue. The plaque on the sculpture reads: “A crowd has gathered, facing a light, an illumination brought about by a fire, an event, an ideology – or an ideal. The strong light casts shadows, and as the light moves toward the back and diminishes, the mood degenerates; rowdiness, disorder and violence occur, showing the fragile nature of man. Illumination, hope, involvement, hilarity, irritation, fear, illness, violence, murder and death – the flow of man’s emotion through space.”

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I always thought it was a nice touch that Montreal renamed one of its main drags after René Lévesque, the famous Quebec politican (and firebrand if there ever was one) who struck and killed a homeless man while driving drunk.

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NLGJA

I spent this week in Washington at the annual convention of the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association. This was my (gasp!) seventh year attending the NLGJA confab, which brings together leading journalists, bloggers, and communications professionals. Here I am posing with my BFFs at a reception with the now-famous former Ambassador to Romania, Michael Guest, on Thursday night. He was a great speaker and I was glad to be able to corner him for ten minutes so he could provide me some tips on a potential trip to Bucharest this fall.

Those who keep tabs on the goings-on at the esteemed State Department will recall that Ambassador Guest, only the country’s second openly gay ambassador, sharply criticized the State Department and Secretary Rice in a very public resignation last year. In that resignation, which the New York Times called a “rhetorical hand grenade” thrown in to his party, he explained:

“I’ve felt compelled to choose between obligations to my partner — who is my family — and service to my country. That anyone should have to make that choice is a stain on the Secretary’s leadership and a shame for this institution and our country.”

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Photo courtesy Jason Smith

NLGJA in San Diego

Last night during the closeout of the NLGJA convention, the Canadian Tourism Commission threw a fab ending party replete with white feather boas, (gay) Mounties, and “Torontinis”: 2 ounces vodka, 1 ounce blue Curacao, and a splash of white cranberry juice — delish! Best of all, the Torontinis came dripping out of an ice sculpture in the shape of a British Columbia Orca whale. Together with Matt and Jason, we cornered the Mounties and snapped this all-feathered-out shot.

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This is what trouble looks like…

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Everyone’s fav girl: Yo from Vancouver…love you honey!

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Brandy and Jason (not visible: the girls) showing off their perfect pearly whites.

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This was my sixth NLGJA convention and it was by far the worst. And it wasn’t just the water spots on my hotel room carpet, the slow under-reno elevators, and the no-A/C exhibit hall that made it all less than appealing! It felt like the organization has had its energy sucked out of it. NLGJA was founded largely to fight for equal benefits and non-discrimination policies for gay journalists in the workplace. Now that those goals have been largely achieved, the group has moved its mission toward promoting fair and equal coverage in the media. Certainly a great goal, but there does not seem to be the same energy that was there five years ago. People have understandably become more complacent. That said, NLGJA plays a crucial role in bringing together journalists and media people of all ages and from communities of all sizes, who might not otherwise know others like them…and to me, that alone makes its annual convention worthwhile.

Gay journos

LOGO’s After Elton last week ran an good piece on journalists coming out, including the stories of two of my fav people in the whole world, Manuel Gallegus from CBS and Jeffrey Kofman from ABC. You may remember Jeffrey from the 2003 “gay and Canadian” White House scandal when an effort was afoot to undermine his credibility, after he filed a controversial war report, by outing him as gay and Canadian (one tiny problem was that everyone already knew he was gay and Canadian).

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“Like Gallegus, Kofman links his decision to be out with his mission as journalist. ‘I do believe that we spend a lot of our time asking people to be honest and straightforward with us. … While I don’t think a reporter’s public life should be the center of his or her work, I think at some point you can’t dodge the reality of your life and pretend you’re being honest.'”

Not only are they two of the best journalists around, but Jeffrey’s one of the nicest and smartest people I’ve ever met, and is a total big brother — not to mention the constant source of comic relief in the wee hours via BlackBerry (especially when we find ourselves marooned in various cities foreign to us). And Manny…quite possibly the funniest person I’ve ever met…and with the best deck, which gets a shout out in my piece Romancing the Roof Deck. Love you mean it!

Headlines and Headliners

Last night I attended the annual benefit for the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, held at ABC Studios in Times Square. As always, it was an excellent event, and was especially fun this year since I happened to run into my college journalism professor, below, and my classmate Chagmion, who’s a reporter/anchor at CBS News on Logo. Also in attendance at the event were Meredith Viera, Thomas Roberts, John Amaechi, Martina Navratilova, and a blogger overdose with Kenneth in the 212 and Andy Towle there, too (just kidding guys – love you!). Kenneth and I wandered over to Vlada in the rain with John — really nice guy, with the biggest hands you’ve ever seen!

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And of course I had to take a vanity shot with two of my hottest friends, Dan and Cyd.

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Thomas Roberts

thomas_roberts2Today marked the biggest splash in the gay media world in some time: everyone in the blogosphere seemed to take note of CNN anchor Thomas Roberts’ public coming out this weekend, which happened mere days before today’s announcement that CNN is canceling his 4-6 p.m. news slot on Headline News.

I was shocked when I first read of the outing news on my friend Johnny’s blog–not the news itself, since I’ve always known Thomas is gay, but because I never realized how outing can be such a story for some people. It feels different when the news is about someone you know and is highlighted and magnified by someone else you know. And every other gay blogger in New York. (To be straight, Thomas outed himself–the news just spread like wildfire.) I won’t go on and on about the details: you can read more over at Towleroad.

On Thursday night Thomas and me and our friend Javi whiled the night away at Buck 15 in Miami Beach. We laughed and drank and danced till we couldn’t stand anymore. I never could have imagined that four days later his sexuality would become the obsession that it has become. Coming out was his own decision, and we applaud him for that. But right now it feels as though the fuss surrounding coming out would be easier to stomach if it was about a complete stranger.

Miami

I spent the weekend down in Miami, where the temperatures never dipped below 100 and the humidity always seemed to exceed 200%. I shot this photo on Saturday afternoon from the 16th floor of the Loews Hotel on Collins Ave. in Miami Beach. In the distance, across Biscayne Bay, you can see the soaring skyline of downtown Miami.

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I was in town for the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association’s annual conference (my fifth–I’m getting old), which was was fabulous as ever. Below, from one of the many conference events, my friends Itay and Javi look just a touch devilish.

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Excuse me while I name drop

thomas_robertsI was lucky to spend last night on the arm of an attractive and charming date, my friend Chris, at the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association’s annual benefit in New York. I had a good chat about fashion and flying with Laurie Dhue, as we stood in line waiting for our third or fourth cocktail. Across the room, one of my best friends was sizing up Thomas Roberts, the CNN anchor I’ve loved since he first joined the network (he’s been named one of the 50 Most Beautiful Atlantans). Nearby, Greta Van Susteren’s plastic surgerywas sagging.

It was a great event that raised a lot of money for NLGJA, a group I’ve been involved with for five years. I only heard one complaint about the high ticket price: One well-known talking head muttered to his date as the sidled up to the bar for yet another glass of cab, “for the price of this event, I’m going to get my liquor’s worth.”

CNN gives to the gays

CNN today announced a $100,000 donation to the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association to endow a new scholarship fund for LGBT college students who plan a career in journalism.

God, I can look like a dork sometimes

Today I was checking out at Banana Republic when the cashier asked me, “are you a writer?” I was rather confused, but it turns out my mug had been in the local gay ragas part of a feature on the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association’s holiday party. The shot below, by Eric Hess, is with James Lopata, the editor of In Newsweekly. Jim’s great! I love him to death, and I forced him to take this picture with me so we could “test the camera.” I guess it worked.

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Pink ladies

Slowly coming back to life online after five days in Chicago. Below is a shot of my friend Joe and I at the Gay Journalists Hall of Fame induction on Saturday night. And on the right is a shot of friends David and Javier, my best girl.

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Below, my college classmate Chagmion from LOGO television and my college journalism professor Robyn. My friend Paul and I at the Hall of Fame.

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Everyone seemed to have a great time at the Hall of Fame dinner; here my friend Joe strikes a pose with our friend Neil Giuliano, the new president of GLAAD. On the right is my friend Manny, whose roof deck in Los Angeles I rave about in an old article.

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Roy Aarons is Dead at 70

Roy Aarons, founder of the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, died yesterday in Sonoma, Calif. Roy was a mentor of mine when I interned with NGLJA’s Student Project in Philadelphia in 2002. He was an invaluable source of wisdom, advice, and professional support. He was also a deeply kind man, and surely everyone who knew him will miss him. Read the statement from NLGJA

New York – NLGJA and Gay Pride

NLGJA generally puts on an awesome conference, but this year was not as hot as the two previous conventions I’ve attended.  Still, it was great to see good friends and hear John Roberts tell hundreds of journalists that “Everybody’s a little bit homosexual.”

I inadvertently bought a date with Chip Arndt of Amazing Race fame, after trying to up the prices in NLGJA’s silent auction to benefit NLGJA’s student journalism project, of  which I took part in Philadelphia during college.  Oh well.  There are worse people to pay money for.

In a SoHo loft, PlanetOut threw a rockin’ party as usual, and afterward, Ed, Matt and I headed to Persian night (Beirut Britney belly dancing and all!) at a funky bar in Manhattan.

Gay Pride was also this weekend, and my first time at New York’s.  At the parade, you couldn’t always tell whether it was a gay pride parade or a anti-Bush rally (see picture below).  Had a fantastic time with my NYC friends, including Derek, Joe, Javi, Alvaro, and Jason at Hell on Gansevoort Street (we shared couches in the back with Tom Dolby, whose new book “The Trouble Boy” is making a splash).  All this excitement before going to deliver cannolis and cookies to Alison and Mesah, splayed out watching Lifetime movies at 1 a.m. in their Chelsea apartment.

When I boarded the Shuttle tonight, the flight attendant asked me if I was coming from Mardi Gras.  After all, I had the requisite beads around my neck — but I was also wearing a business suit, so it was quite an ensemble.  Is it possible to drink too much on the Shuttle?  Thirty-two minutes in the air isn’t much time, but thanks to Sunday night Laguardia departure delays, an extra on the ground sure was.  

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