Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Outlook Awards Dinner

Here we are again, another Sunday, another day behind my pc spent writing until the wee hours of the afternoon, lol. I just finished a piece for Examiner on the Outlook Awards, which I attended last night with my pal Blanche and it didn’t quite come out like I expected it to when I began. I knew even before I went that I wanted to write something on it, only I thought it would have been more of a review than a social commentary, but whatever…

A couple of mentions about the sad state of Long Island’s nightlife got me going in that direction and that’s where I headed with the piece. I know that I am forty-something and that I am working through life in my own unique way, kind of backwards, I know, but I still enjoy going out and dancing and I am still a little bewildered about the nightlife scene here on Long Island. Most of the people at the dinner were my age and up, and there was hardly any representation of people from the bar scene, with the exception of Lizard Lounge’s Jay Antonio.

In my younger days, gay bars were the only places where gay people could meet other gay people, and other than the Internet, they’re still the only places for younger people to go to meet up. If we had had a better state of nightlife here on LI, then maybe there would have been a little more representation of that last night, which was the only thing about the dinner that was missing in my opinion.

The Event

The event itself was definitely enjoyable. The crowd of about 300 guests was in a partying mood and the dance floor was filled whenever the deejay was up and playing. I saw several familiar faces from the community, and met lots of new ones, too. Tom Malanga, the Editor in Chief of Outlook Magazine, ran the party smoothly. He seems like a really nice guy who gives his whole heart and soul to what he does. Ariel Sinclair was the Mistress of Ceremonies and she did a great job, providing comic relief and entertaining the crowd during throughout the night.

This was not only my first such event within the LI gay community, but it was also my first trip to the Thatched Cottage, a catering facility on the North Shore in Centerport. (Trekking all the way up there makes you realize how big this island is!) Anyway, the hall is a beautiful place and the food was good, and that’s all I’m gonna say about that.

The Awards

It seemed that the actual awards were simply an aside to the night, as they were given out in two separate segments, the first one flying by in the span of a quick fifteen minutes and the second marked by plenty of words. I didn’t keep track of all the winners…I know that comedienne Kit Stewart won for Entertainer of the Year, beating out my pal Ruby Diamond, and Cherry’s on the Bay won for Best Nightlife (nice choice!)…you can check Outlook’s FB page here in the coming days to see the rest.

Special honorees for the night included HRC Field Director Marty Rouse, longtime disc jockey/writer/entrepreneur Jimi LaLumia (who inspired the direction of my Examiner piece), and LI’s first openly gay member of the legislature, Jon Cooper.

The Star of the Evening

Though I’ve seen her a dozen times before, I had never truly appreciated the overall genius of Long Island’s own Auntie Barbara until last night. Auntie is one of the most colorful people I’ve ever come across, and she has found her own unique niche within the gay community and Long Island at large as Tupperware’s leading salesperson in North America.

With an imposing stature and a beehive to die for, Auntie Barbra stole the show with her often hysterical responses to the happenings around her. Carrying her signature Tupperware to-go cup, complete with straw, and her one-of-a-kind guffaws, she had everyone smiling that came anywhere near her on the dance floor, at the tables and of course on the stage. I hear she’s booked up with parties for up to a year in advance, but I would love to attend one of her parties.
Love her!!!

My Night

Personally my night was fun, too. I spent most of the party with my buddy Blanche and his contingent of friends, as well as my Circus peeps, Ozzie/Ruby, Manny and Jay. Crazy, those three, each in their own unique way! Ozzie is truly beautiful as Ruby and somehow through it all he can be very funny in his own way. Manny is the jokester of the group, nicknaming me “Nipples” and pinching them all night (ouch!). Jay is full of energy, all over the place and taking pictures like crazy right up until pulling out of the parking lot.

The three of them took off to Hombres Lounge in Jackson Heights afterwards with Ariel and I’m sure they got home a little before I woke up this morning, hehe. As for me and Blanche, we decided to go home instead, opting for our warm beds rather than venturing off into the cold night. Ah well, there’s always next weekend!

Images taken from Facebook

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