Hilarious Chelsea Handler Hosts Gala, Honoring Funny Ladies Wanda Sykes and Miss Coco Peru (Clinton Leupp) as well as American Airlines
LOS ANGELES, -- Turn off the news and put down the financial pages; it's time to escape reality for an evening of humor that's too hot to "Handler!" Late-night TV queen Chelsea Handler (Chelsea Lately) will host the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center's 38th Anniversary Gala and Auction on Saturday, October 24 at the glamorous Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel. And with honorees Wanda Sykes (The New Adventures of Old Christine, I'MA BE ME) and Clinton Leupp, aka Miss Coco Peru (trick, Girls Will Be Girls) also bringing the funny, this year's gala will be a laugh-a-minute event; you won't know what these funny ladies will say next!
Handler, who served as the Grand Marshal at this year's L.A. Pride parade, will bring her edgy brand of sardonic wit to an evening filled with fine food and sizzling entertainment. Another outspoken comic, Sykes will be honored with the Center's Rand Schrader Distinguished Achievement Award. Both Handler and Sykes are outspoken about their opposition to Prop. 8. Handler, an ardent supporter of the freedom to marry for same-sex couples, starred with assistant Chuy Bravo in a web video opposing the proposition. Sykes came out as a lesbian this year at an anti-Prop. 8 rally and continues to fight for equal rights.
Drag performer extraordinaire Clinton Leupp, accepting as his alter ego Miss Coco Peru, will be recognized for his commitment to HIV/AIDS causes and the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community with the Center's Board of Directors Award.
This year's corporate honoree was, for the first time, chosen by the Center's donors, volunteers and other supporters. Hundreds voted and choose American Airlines, from among four very deserving nominees, to receive the Center's Corporate Vision Award. Noted one voter:
"American Airlines' support of LGBT organizations is too long to list but it makes me proud every time I take a seat on one of their aircrafts."
"This is going to be a gala unlike any other," said Center Chief Executive Officer Lorri L. Jean,
"with glitz, glamour and lots of guffaws. We're proud to recognize such fantastic honorees and grateful for their support, as well as Chelsea's, in making this an evening people won't forget. Best of all, this year's event is entirely underwritten by our generous corporate sponsors, so all ticket and auction proceeds will directly support Center services and programs."
The Center's anniversary gala is one of the premier events for the LGBT community of Los Angeles, attended by more than 1,000 community leaders, activists, supporters and friends of the LGBT community. The evening will begin with a chic cocktail reception and large silent auction featuring unique items, experiences and travel packages, followed by a night of fine dining and fabulous entertainment.
Event tickets can be purchased at www.anniversarygala.org.
This year's generous anniversary gala sponsors include: Platinum Sponsors: EMD Serono and Wells Fargo; Gold Sponsors: American Airlines, Allstate, Anita May Rosenstein, Lab Corp, Nordstrom, Sempra Energy, Southern California Edison and Verizon; and Silver Sponsors: AT&T, Boeing, Disney ABC, Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel, Pinnacle Contracting, US Bank, Warner Bros. and Frontiers IN Los Angeles Magazine.
Wanda Sykes: Rand Schrader Distinguished Achievement Award
Last October, Sykes starred in a ThinkB4YouSpeak PSA that humorously derided the phrase, "That's so gay." The following month she boldly and proudly came out as a lesbian; Sykes is a board member of Equality California and has continued to speak openly about equality for all. This fall she will premiere her new late night talk show The Wanda Sykes Show on Fox.
Clinton Leupp (Miss Coco Peru): Board of Directors Award
For more than 20 years -- as the hilarious and outrageous Miss Coco Peru -- Leupp has helped raise thousands of dollars for LGBT and HIV/AIDS organizations around the country. From the Maui AIDS Foundation to ACT UP New York, Leupp has put Miss Coco Peru to work helping community organizations serving those most in need, including the Center, where he has performed at the Renberg Theatre more than 10 times. Three years ago Coco hosted the Center's anniversary gala and brought down the house with her opening act, including a unique rendition of "Be Our Guest," which has since become a YouTube hit.
American Airlines: Corporate Vision Award
One of the first airlines to actively support LGBT organizations, and a Center supporter for more than 14 years, American Airlines is the only airline to endorse passage of the Employment Non Discrimination Act and to support federal tax deductibility for same-sex partner benefits. This summer, at the invitation of Congressional leaders, an American Airlines executive appeared on Capitol Hill to offer expert testimony on domestic partner benefits for federal employees.
About the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center
Since 1971 the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center has been building the health, advocating for the rights and enriching the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Our wide array of services and programs includes: free HIV/AIDS care and medications for those most in need; housing, food, clothing and support for homeless LGBT youth; low-cost counseling and addiction-recovery services; essential services for LGBT-parented families and seniors; legal services; health education and HIV prevention programs; transgender services; cultural arts and much more. Visit us on the Web at: www.lagaycenter.org .