On Saturday, September 21, the Los Angeles LGBT Center celebrated its momentous 50th anniversary and five decades of the fight for LGBT equality with two star-studded celebrations on one magical evening.
The festivities kicked off with the Gold Anniversary Vanguard Celebration, an elegant dinner among friends and supporters, followed by a star-studded Hearts of Gold concert and multimedia show starring Sia, Rufus Wainwright, Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda, Queer Eye’s Karamo Brown & Bobby Berk, Melissa Etheridge, and more at the iconic Greek Theatre saluting a half-century of struggles and historic victories of the Center and the entire LGBT community.
The A-list entertainment at Hearts of Gold included performers Sia (Pop Icon), Rufus Wainwright (Singer-Songwriter/Composer), Ty Herndon (Country Artist), Jenifer Lewis (Actress, Black-ish), Valentina (RuPaul’s Drag Race: All Stars, FOX’s Rent: Live), Thelma Houston (Singer/Actor) and surprise performer Melissa Etheridge. Evening’s presenters included Lily Tomlin (Actor/Activist, Grace and Frankie), Jane Fonda (Actor/Activist, Grace and Frankie), Kathy Griffin (Comedian/Activist), Frankie Grande (Dancer/YouTube Personality), Karamo Brown (Queer Eye), Bobby Berk (Queer Eye), Hayley Kiyoko (Recording Artist), Nico Santos (Actor/Comedian, Crazy Rich Asians, Superstore), Zeke Smith (Survivor), Tig Notaro (Comedian), Bruce Vilanch (Comedian/Writer), the cast of Good Trouble including Maia Mitchell, Cierra Ramirez, Emma Hunton, Josh Pence, and Zuri Adele, and pre-produced segment with Margaret Cho (Comedian).
Additional guests in attendance included August Getty (Fashion Designer), Brigitte Nielsen (Actress/Model/Singer), Kevin Alejandro (Actor, Lucifer), Lesley-Ann Brandt (Actress, Lucifer), Jake Borelli (Actor, Grey’s Anatomy), Manny MUA (Make-up Artist/YouTube Personality), Alexandra Grey (Actress, Transparent), Jasmin Savoy Brown (Actress, For the People), Ariadne Getty (Philanthropist), and more.
Prior to the concert, more than 1,000 of the region’s most important leaders and influencers in the civic, corporate, entertainment, and philanthropic communities attended the Gold Anniversary Vanguard Celebration sit-down dinner to celebrate the achievements of the Center – the world’s largest LGBT organization – over the past 50 years. Guests enjoyed cocktails, dinner, live auction, performance by recording artist LP, and remarks by Kathy Griffin, U.S. Rep Adam Schiff (D-CA), and Los Angeles LGBT Center CEO Lorri L. Jean.
Highlights from the evening included the following:
- During the Gold Anniversary Vanguard Celebration, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) introduced Los Angeles LGBT Center CEO Lorri L. Jean on-stage and remarked how proud he was to represent the Center in Washington DC.
- Pop icon Sia opened the Hearts of Gold concert performing her classic hits “Titanium” and “The Greatest” joined by dancer Maddie Ziegler on-stage.
- After posing for photos together on the “Rainbow Carpet”, Grace and Frankie stars Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin gushed about the services that the Los Angeles LGBT Center provides for the community, spanning categories of Health Services, Social Services and Housing, Culture and Education, Leadership and Advocacy.
- Frankie Grande spoke out passionately about the recent struggles the community has faced, stating they have been “stripped of their rights” by the current administration.
- Couple Nico Santos and Zeke Smith took the stage together to speak about representation, specifically in the media, and how vital it is to the community. Earlier in the evening while on the “Rainbow Carpet,” Smith shared, “the torch we carry is representation… we’re there to spread the message and to spread hope to the young people.” Santos added, “I moved to LA about ten years ago and I was so broke when I moved to LA that the only place I could get healthcare was the Center.”
- Melissa Etheridge came out for a surprise performance, singing and strumming her iconic hits “Come to My Window” and “I’m the Only One”.
- Rufus Wainwright captivated the audience with crowd-pleasing hits, including “Over The Rainbow.”
- Drag icon and RuPaul’s Drag Race Veteran Valentina sashayed on stage to wow the crowd with a 70s lip-sync and dance performance.
- Singing straight from the soul, Ty Herndon performed “What Mattered Most”.
- Thelma Houston got the crowd on their feet with her iconic 80s hit, “Don’t Leave Me This Way”.
- The one and only Jenifer Lewis closed out the show, performing “You’re All I Need to Get By” and “Ain’t No Mountain” featuring a surprise dance appearance by Kathy Griffin.
2019 Diamond Sponsors: American Airlines, Ariadne Getty Foundation, LIVING OUT, Nederlander Concerts, and Wells Fargo; Platinum Sponsors: Audi of America, Comcast NBCUniversal, Bill Frew, HBO, and Warner Bros.