by Matt Kalkhoff


I've always wondered what it would be like to sit through one of those drawn-out awards shows without the luxury of my remote control. On April 7, I finally found out when I attended the 14th Annual GLAAD Media Awards at the Marriott Marquis.

I may have been slightly overdressed for the occasion (tuxes were as scarce as objective news reports on Iraq), but I didn't let that stop me from enjoying frivolous cocktail chatter and a surprising flurry of celebrity sightings (the open bar helped). We may still have a long way to go before achieving true equality, but the fact that so many mainstream entertainers actually showed up to support the GLAAD Media Awards shows just how far our community has come.

Standing out in what seemed like an endless parade of outspoken luminaries were the evening's two honorees, Diane Sawyer and Rosie O'Donnell. Betty DeGeneres presented GLAAD's Excellence in Media Award to Sawyer, while Cyndi Lauper helped pay homage to O'Donnell, recipient of GLAAD's Vito Russo Award.

Thirteen other media awards were handed out in New York. Others will be presented at ceremonies in Los Angeles and San Francisco on April 26 and May 31, respectively.

Other highlights included k.d. lang and Tony Bennett, who serenaded us with a duet, Marlo Thomas who amused us with the evening's most confusing presentation, and Nicole Kidman who simply dazzled us with pure Hollywood glamour. But more important than any designer fashion was the heartfelt and empowering words delivered by each person who graced the stage.

I'd personally like to thank Heritage of Pride's Anthony Dean and representatives of Anheuser Busch for their generous hospitality. After all, scoring a seat at a front row table ain't too shabby for my first time at this rodeo.

'Exploit Yourself'

What promises to be an even more fabulous and star-studded extravaganza will commence on Saturday, April 26, and continue well into Sunday afternoon. You only turn 29 once, right?
So to commemorate this miraculous (if not revisited) milestone, I'm going to party like it's 1999. Coincidentally, a couple of my favorite DJs are also celebrating their (29th?) birthdays that weekend as well, so I'll be kicking off my bi-borough dance marathon with Peter Rauhofer and a few thousand of our closest friends at Roxy.

The revelry continues afterwards across the East River at the Brooklyn Loft (visit for more info) where DJ That Kid Chris and I will shift things into high gear at our after-hours birthday bash.

Chris will assume control of the turntables at 8 a.m., and he won't stop spinning until we tell him we've had enough. These parties often go until late Sunday afternoon, so plan accordingly.

All we ask is that you obey a few important guidelines. Fierceness is always welcome, but nonsense will not be tolerated; this party is for mature people who know how to do it properly. A "no-drama" policy will be strictly enforced, so please check your baggage at the door. You are encouraged to "exploit yourself" on the dance floor — however you may interpret that.

The basic two-story warehouse space continues to evolve weekly, and is already well-equipped with a phenomenal sound system, trippy lighting installation, and, perhaps best of all, not a single window in the joint. Come experience that cutting-edge, underground club vibe you've been craving for far too long.

Cherry Season

You'll have a full week to recover from the birthday chaos should you wish to head down to our nation's capital for Cherry 8 (May 2-4). This is one of the few remaining all-volunteer circuit parties that donates all of its proceeds to gay charities: $173,000 in 2002; $773,000 since the Cherry Fund's inception in 2000.

This weekend holds a special place in my heart, as I helped produce several Cherry events while living in Washington. I don't know how they've managed without me, but the boys have clearly persevered considering this year's impressive line-up.

Kudos to the Cherry Fund for wisely limiting the weekend's sanctioned events to a sensible six (including a new women's party on Friday night). DJs Billy Carroll, Blaine Soileau, Lucky, Richie Rich la Due, Brett Henrichsen, Lydia Prim, Abel, Don Bishop and lighting guru Ross Berger will operate all the heavy machinery — so you don't have to — at a variety of venues that includes über-hotspot Nation and a floating tea dance on the Potomac River.

Thankfully, this year's main event finally breaks free from the restrictive shackles of the Old Post Office Pavilion. Now held at Washington's spectacular new convention center, guests will enjoy dancing from 9 p.m. until 6 a.m.

They'll also witness the Circuit debut of international superstar DJ/producer Tom "Superchumbo" Stephan. Need I say more? Please visit to quench your thirst for further knowledge.
Until next month -- Be Smart. Be Safe. Be Yourself.

© 2003 Matt Kalkhoff

These articles appeared in NY Blade on April 21, 2003