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RSVP / INTO THE NIGHT

They Managed to Give as Much as They Boogied

November 25, 1996|MICHAEL QUINTANILLA | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The Scene: A gala at the Century Plaza Hotel where a packed ballroom of proud gay men and lesbians rocked, rolled and raised more than $500,000 (including the silent auction's $100,000 take) at the 25th anniversary ball of the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center. By all accounts, the celebration garnered the biggest crowd, biggest celebrities, biggest single donation and the biggest auction bid in the organization's history.

The Biggest Crowd: More than 2,000 donned eclectic black-tie threads. For men, the look ranged from Viva Las Vegas sequined tuxedo coats to capes and silk brocade dinner jackets to elegant Armani, Byblos and Donna Karan designer suits. Many women also opted for tux deluxe duds--ruffled shirt, bow tie and tails--while others shimmered in rhinestones or went the way of sheer veneer.

The Celebrities: Living legend Elizabeth Taylor (who received the longest standing ovation), presented her friend Elton John with the Rand Schrader Distinguished Achievement Award, the center's highest individual honor. Grunge queen-turned-actress Courtney Love presented MTV president Judy McGrath with the Corporate Vision Award that recognizes companies for combating homophobia. Among the guests were actors Judith Light, Kate Linder and Dan Butler, MTV's "Singled Out" co-host Carmen Electra, singer Richard Marx, U.S. Congressman Barney Frank, California Lt. Governor Gray Davis, California assembly members Sheila Kuehl and Carole Migden and City Council member Jackie Goldberg, who boogied in the aisles while tables were being torn down to make way for the dance floor.

The Biggest Donation: The crowd clamored to its feet when kilt-clad entrepreneurs John McDonald and Rob Wright, a former center board member, were recognized for their $1.75 million donation, the largest single gift ever made to the nonprofit center. "Giving should be part of everyone's life," McDonald later said. "Not everyone can give money, but they can give time to good causes like this one."

Quoted: "My hair and I would like to thank you very much," said Elton John after La Liz introduced him to whoops and whistles. Then to his fans, he quipped: "My 2,000 boyfriends, I'm glad you could all get in."

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