September 18, 2018 at 11:29 pm PST | by Susan Hornik
Emmy’s 70th was a coming of age for LGBT

The 70th annual Emmy Awards gave the LGBTQ community historic, almost matter of fact visibility, with more LGBT winners than ever before. Los Angeles Blade’s Susan Hornik played a major part in her whirlwind week covering numerous awards events. Here’s a recap:

Winner Highlights

Executive producer Ryan Murphy was elated about winning the Emmy for FX’s “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story.”

“This was a story I was passionate about very early on,” he said backstage at the pressroom. “I wanted to tell the story. I was in L.A. five years when Andrew Cunanan started his spree. I felt it was a story that needed to be told. The themes and issues that we talk about in the show are as modern as ever, if not more so.”

Murphy added that he was always “happy” to make a political statement in everything he does.

“The statistic that I said, which was one out in four LGBTQ Americans will be the victim of a hate crime, is true and heinous. As a gay man who was told when I started off in the business that I could not even write in 1998 a gay character…the idea that now, 20 years later, I get to tell the story and proselytize for my community is important to me.”

RuPaul made Emmy history, with “RuPaul’s Drag Race” becoming the first competition show to win the Outstanding Reality-Competition Series and Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program award in the same year.

During the pressroom interview, the veteran drag performer/singer/actor talked about why the series is so popular.

“There’s an interesting balance of entertainment and deep stories that really touch our audience. We started out this show to celebrate the art of drag, and in doing so, we brought along a bunch of kids who had varied backgrounds.

“We have challenges that are fun, but these kids bring their courage and their stories, and that is what the heart is.” RuPaul also said the series “adds a little relief” during this time, in which “we’re living in a country that is very divided.”

We celebrate people who dance outside the box, and those are my favorite kind of people,” he noted. “Those stories need to be told, and I think there is value in those stories for everyone, not just drag queens.”

HBO hosted its 20th anniversary Emmy party at West Hollywood’s Pacific Design Center on Sept. 17 and it brought out some of the night’s biggest stars, straight and LGBT alike. (Photo by Susan Hornik)

HBO Party

This was HBO’s 20th large scale Emmy Party & the 16th consecutive HBO Emmy Party, held at the Pacific Design Center, was all designed by Billy Butchkavitz.

This year’s theme was the garden of eden, where Butchkavitz incorporated flora & fauna, insects & serpents all with a modern twist. The event’s structures, textiles, carpets, furniture, tabletop dressings, perimeter decor & large scale sculptures were all curated to create a fanciful garden setting.

Of course the food was impressive too, Wolfgang Puck Catering designed a custom buffet supper for the thousands of HBO guests.

At the party, writer/performer, Frank DeCaro, talked with the Blade about the excitement he felt after watching the awards.

“I can’t truly gauge the state of LGBTQ representation on screen — that’s a job for GLAAD — but I can say it was a banner year for LGBTQ wins at the Emmys. Ryan Murphy, RuPaul, ‘Queer Eye,’ ‘Drag Race,’ and ‘The Assassination of Gianni Versace’ all took home major awards,” he enthused.

“These aren’t sanitized-for-your-protection gays, either. These are full-strength gays. Some are quite literally screaming queens, and hooray for that!!! As one of Ru’s team once said to me, ‘When a drag queen wins an Emmy, we all win!’ Now let’s make sure the trans deliciousness of ‘Pose’ snatches armloads of trophies next September!”

Indie actor Massimo Dobrovic with Call Me By Your Name producer Howard Rosenman. (Photo by Susan Hornik)

Indie actor Massimo Dobrovic had a grand time dancing to the fabulous edm beats at the party, and felt hopeful about a more inclusive Hollywood community.

“I can’t hide my enthusiasm toward all the marvelous LGBTQ friends that won! Ricky Martin has been one of my biggest idols all my life, because of his charisma, dancing ability and persona. Ryan Murphy inspires me everyday of my life, as I also work on horror-themed programming.”

Massimo has three projects, “Behind the Curtain of the Night: Secrets of Karma” coming out this fall with Marcia Cross and Brandon Fraser; “Nation’s Fire” coming with Bruce Dean and the miniseries, “Age of the Living Dead.”

Gifting Suites

At the GBK’s gift lounge, Wen Hair and Bodycare was a gift from celebrity stylist Chaz Dean. (Photo by Susan Hornik)

GBK Productions produced their signature luxury gifting lounge for nominees and presenters. Over 100 celebrities, influencers and press enjoyed the music, food, and this season’s most exclusive products.

Among the many guests were gay nominee Titus Burgess (“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”) Tyler Henry (“E! Hollywood Medium,”) and Rex Lee (Young and Hungry). Gay hair stylist Chaz Dean, who runs Wen Hair and Bodycare, donated a years’ supply of products and dry styled the guests.

Guests were welcomed by title sponsor Pilot Pen, where they were gifted G2 pens, fountain pens, and a Plumix calligraphy set. Other highlights included chair massages from Burke Williams along with a gift bag containing Youth Cell activator, a pumpkin mask and a 3 day spa pass.

An innovative gift was the Athenromas candle therapy for pets—you burn the candle and the anxiety your pet has disappears! And there was a charity angle too; Stray Cat Alliance, Global Women’s Empowerment Network and Educating Young Minds were the nonprofits who all received donations. Guests also enjoyed sandwiches from Ike’s Place as well as a $1000 GC, and catering by Rib Line’s Award Winning chef, Brian Appiano.

Fig & Olive opened its doors to Bergman’s Style Lounge and Party. Over 100 of Hollywood’s finest turned out to celebrate and honor the television industry’s Emmy® Nominated actors, former winners, presenters, stylists and industry VIPS.

Hosted by Green Horizon and presented by Precious Vodka, the lounge featured an array of fashion for him and her including couture gowns, bespoke tuxedos & suits, men’s grooming products, beauty, skin & hair care, jewelry collections, accessories, fashion forward luggage, Napa Valley wines, luxury coffee, teeth whitening, chic chapeaus, fabulous fragrance, everything for the pampered baby, gourmet cuisine.

In the spirit of giving back, guests & sponsors made monetary donations and/or donated unwrapped gifts for young adults for a Pre-Holiday Gift Drive benefiting “Wednesday’s Child,” a weekly segment airing on KTTV FOX 11 News, with anchor Christine Devine.

The program highlights ‘harder to place’ young adults in the LA County foster care system who are in need of adoptive families. In Los Angeles County, alone, there are over 30,000 children receiving child welfare services,” said social worker, Dr. William Wong.

Bergman always invites at least 2 foster children to join in on the festivities and experience what it feels like to be treated as a VIP.

At Doris Bergman’s Style Lounge, guests were gifted Napa wines from (Photo by Susan Hornik)

Vendors at the event included Lollies & Lace couture baby clothing; Twisted Silver; My Saint, My Hero blessing bracelets; Porto Vino handbags and messenger bags; Sunder Sparkling Beverages; Hint Water; Sue Wong Couture and Fragrance; Nourish Modern Wellness Skin Care; Chef John of Emporium Thai; Mobile White; Kam Shield;; Goldinger’s Print Tees; Let’s Cake; Zirconmania; Diamond Veneer; Mind In Sole insole foot massage; Emmy’s Hope Dog Accessories; Rhonda Shear Aah! Bras; Rock Your Hair; Zangu Language App; Bitmar Streaming Subscriptions; Filam Luxury Coffee; Junkless Granola Bars; “Shark Tank” Winning BeatBox Portable Party Punch; Planet Beauty; Popsockets phone accessories; The Hollywood Trinity; Popcornopolis and VIP Gift Bags provided by Emmy’s Hope & Kam Shield.

(Photo by Susan Hornik)

Celebrity Connected featured an array of great gifts for the gay celebs that attended. One of the fan favorites was The Buttress Pillow—a pillow in the shape of your butt! (the perfect item if you are missing your honey!)

Said Cheryl Hines, “Curb Your Enthusiasm”: I love all the different fun items like this pillow at Celebrity Connected. It’s presented in such a fun way, my daughter and I have having a great time.”

Other highlights: Jade J gifted sleek power banks to charge one’s electronic devices, and Rescue Brewing served beer to guests while talking about their passion,raising money for animal awareness.

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