Celebrities, Cocktails, and Koi: ABSOLUT Hancock Park
The “power gays” were out in full force on Sunday afternoon for GLAAD’s annual summer cocktail fundraiser, ABSOLUT Hancock Park. The “Absolut” part meant free booze and the “Hancock Park” part was in reference to Wes Walraven’s beautiful mansion located in a swanky area of Los Angeles.
The party took place on the grounds outside of the home and only the staff and select VIPs were allowed inside. The word on the street was that it was very “museum-like” on the inside. The shaded grassy area was sprinkled with tables and two bars nearby served as the main mingling area–at least until the sun calmed down a bit and more people started to venture out around the pool and Koi pond.
Read Wayne’s highlights from the party and what celebrities were spotted after the jump…
Here are my highlights from the evening:
1. We arrived a bit before 4PM and immediately found ourselves test-driving a new 2007 Lexus SC Luxury Coupe Convertible. Actually, I was too nervous to drive so I let Jon do the honors while I sat in the passenger seat and, like an annoying child, pushed every button I could reach. “How’d you like it?” the Lexus guy asked upon our return. “Lots of buttons, I’m sold!” I said as I picked up a couple $1,000-off coupons with the swift bravado of someone who actually had the funds to swing by the dealership on the way home.
2. The party picked up pretty quickly and the regular list of Gay “Who’s Who” sauntered in to chat each other up and trade tips on how to become even more famous. That’s all famous people do right? Over the course of the evening, we spotted Robert Gant (“Queer As Folk”), Wilson Cruz (“Noah’s Ark”), Tony Tripoli (“Fashion House”), Jai Rodriquez (“Queer Eye”), Marc Cherry (creator of “Desperate Housewives”), Paul McCullough (“The Next Food Network Star”), Chad Allen (“Save Me”), Honey Labrador (“Queer Eye for the Straight Girl”), Ian Roberts (former pro-rugby player), Reichen Lehmkuhl (“Amazing Race”) and my favorite sighting of all, Christine Devine (Fox 11 News).
3. The Neiman Marcus fashion show began around 5PM with male and female pairs of models strolling through the crowd and around the pool, with a short platform stop at the end. The clothing started off with very classy gowns and timeless tuxedos, but seemed to go in some odd directions after the first few models. One guy was forced to wear a top that looked like it was made from Christmas tree tinsel and a pair of tiny red short-shorts. Nonetheless it was a favorite of the crowd.
4. We cornered celebrity chef Paul McCullough, who was eliminated week six on “The Next Food Network Star,” to tell him how good the catering was. Except he didn’t do the catering. Oops. Oh well, Paul seemed like a very nice, down-to-earth guy and we talked to him a while about the show. Or, I should say Jon talked to him about the show and I pretended to know what was taking place. He said that he is still in contact with The Food Network and is still hoping something will come of it. We do too.
5. At some point, I had to use the bathroom, during which time I heard someone looking through the piles of swim trunks on a shelf and commenting to his friend that one of these pairs must be his because he knows he left a pair. As I turned around to leave, I noticed that it was Chad Allen. This conjured up images of a modern day version of the flashback scene in “Gods & Monsters,” where aging Hollywood elite throw elaborate summer pool parties. Can I get an invite, Wes? Thanks.
6. GLAAD President Neil Giuliano gave a short speech announcing that the GLAAD Media Awards would be back at the Kodak Theatre next year and listed the dates for the four shows. Read the full press release here. The other big news was that content from LGBT media outlets will now be able to submit and be considered for all awards.
Seven vodka tonics later, at around 7PM, I was finally beginning to feel a little tipsy, so we decided to head home before I single-handedly attempted to turn the event into a pool party (I’m sure Chad Allen would have been with me). “Let’s go to Fiesta!” I yelled as we drove away. Sparing me a miserable Monday morning, Jon only laughed a little and headed home.