Every now and then, Bill and I are called upon to “represent” Howard at an event. It’s always awkward. The fussing and cooing is very sweet but I know it’s my shared genes and memories that are the cause of the adulation, nothing I did myself.
Quick story –In 1991, I accepted the Golden Globe for Howard’s work on Beauty. Walking to the after party, following Jeremy Irons and Robin Williams on the red carpet, I saw people who looked like me – they were audience people, the ones who watch, and they were on the other side of the rope separating celebs from regulars. I’ll never forget the look on the faces of those people when they saw me come traipsing past. I was carrying the award, so I had to be “someone” but I knew what they were thinking…“I waited all night for this?”
But I digress.
When the people at Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC) decided that they were going to produce an evening of songs written by Howard, in connection with the AIDS Walk fundraising season, I wasn’t sure what to expect. But I couldn’t really stop them, and lord knows GMHC does good work, so, to paraphrase Audrey, “me, I said sure.”
Turns out it’s sometimes a good thing to go with the flow.
The event was simply wonderful. The depth of ridiculously talented people bopping around NYC always stuns me. And Monday night was no exception.
There were a whole lot of guys from Jersey Boys – which meant there were a whole lot of men who know their way around tight harmonies and aren’t afraid to show it. Which is no slur on the non-Jersey Boys (and Girls) who performed.
I refuse to play favorites but let me just tell you that the Belles of the Ball Mashup was outstanding. Audrey, Belle and Ariel singing their “I want” songs separately and together – if I were my Aunt Anne, I would have plotzed.
GMHC used the evening to announce the Howard Ashman Award, which will be “given annually by GMHC to honor musicians and songwriters who have made significant contributions to world culture and have utilized their success to make a difference in the fight to end the HIV epidemic.”
I don’t know if GMHC made much money from the event, but they should have. It’s an important organization – still relevant in the age of “cocktails” and longer lives. AIDS diagnoses are on the rise again in New York City. There was a recent article in the New York Times about the difficulties of living with the disease. It’s not easy, it’s not good and the people at GMHC are determined to help. If you’d like more info about the group, here’s a link.
I kind of like this bully pulpit thing but I promise to climb down off of my soapbox for the next post.