I recently had an opportunity to speak with Linda Perry. If you don’t know her, you should. She is a successful singer, songwriter, producer and an out lesbian. Originally known as a musical force with her band The 4 Non Blondes, Linda is one of the most sought after names in the music industry. The Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center holds an annual event called An Evening With Women. Linda Perry and Brent Bolthouse, along with Shannon Del, Annie Goto and Kelly Lynch, have co-chaired this event at the Beverly Hills Hilton Hotel for the past five years.
PWB: How did you come to be involved with An Evening With Women?
LP: The Center had come to me a couple times about participating in an event; I also received a Creative Integrity Award from them. I think it was the 4th time they invited me, I decided to do it and it was held at a place called The Music Box. The event had been going on for years but was much smaller then, at a different type of level. I decided if I was going to be involved with it then I would have to make it over so it could be a bigger, more solid event that would help make more money for The Center; to get the word out to more people, more advertisements, get more celebrities involved. Basically, to team up to make more money for The Center was my number one goal and it is really a fun event.
PWB: Do you do other work with the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center? Or is this your primary focus there?
LP: No, this one event is pretty time consuming. I have my work that I do and I’m pretty busy all the time. Besides GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network) and obvious things, I’m always a part of The Center. I dedicate my time to this event for the women’s portions of the programs and services there because, you know, the women struggle more. It’s just the way it is. We don’t have as much going on as a lot of the men’s services; they get a lot of money. There are a lot of gay men out there that are so awesome, they’re out, they’re spending money, and they are being a part of things. They go out and support gay bars and events; they’re wonderful. But part of why women’s bars can’t stay open is because women aren’t like that; we don’t go out as much. We want to hibernate, be in bed at 8:00pm with our girlfriends, snuggling, drinking tea and watching a movie with our dogs. We don’t want to go out, go to bars, and be out there “doing” the nightlife. This event is that one time a year where I go after them and say, “Hey ladies, can we seem to gather up the momentum to be a part of this and make it happen?” It’s not so much a male/female thing, but, if you go to the (The Center’s Anniversary) Gala, it’s huge, it’s massive, and it’s very male-dominated in attendance. The guys are out supporting the bars, the scene, you know? Women, we’re not like that. We want to pack up the U-Haul and move into our new girlfriend’s house that we’ve known for three days. That’s what we do. (laughs)
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PWB: I think it’s great that all this is going to the women’s programs at The Center, but is the event open for attendance by men?
LP: Oh yeah! This is not a chick-flick event. It’s just catering to the women’s services at The center, to get more support there, because we don’t get as much support there, so this is to get more. I hate the segregation of men and women in the gay community. That’s not this event. We are targeting the women’s support system, and yes, get involved. Men, women, everybody!
PWB: I heard the event is a formal, dress up event. Are people expected to wear tuxes and formal gowns?
LP: No it’s not like that! There are no tuxes or ball gowns. This is a very chic, rock-and-roll chic, vibe. Yeah, you can’t come in your flannel shirt and flip flops but you have to show up in like cool dress attire. I call it rock-and- roll chic.
PWB: Can attendees look forward to hearing you perform?
LP: Yes, this year I am performing. We also have Courtney Love, me and Camp Freddy, is an awesome band, a total celebrity band that rocks the house. So we will be performing with them. Courtney will get up and perform a couple songs with them and I will get up and do a couple songs with them too, so they become our cool celebrity house all-star band. It’s going to be awesome. I’m very excited. There’ll be some surprise guests as well. It’s going to be cool.
PWB: You have to have some surprises of course.
LP: It’s going be very rock and roll this year!
PWB: I’ve never heard of Camp Freddy before this event. Who is Camp Freddy?
LP: They are a great group of rocker dudes…Dave Navarro, Slash, and Duff…it’s all rock and roll dudes. They have a great following; they’re really nice guys. And their support is awesome because it makes it easier because they know every song! It’s challenging to get artists to get involved sometimes; it’s hard to get their whole band together or there are financial reasons. Camp Freddy enlisting and saying “we’re in” for this event just makes it way more rock and roll and cool. Everybody will have a great time!
The L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center and event co-chairs Linda Perry, Brent Bolthouse, Annie Goto, Kelly Lynch and Shannon Del invite you to An Evening With Women, an elegant dinner and show featuring some of the most influential women in music and entertainment. The event, which raises funds for the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center’s vital services for women and girls, starts off with a cocktail reception and silent auction, and is followed by dinner and a program that includes performances from some of the most recognizable names in the music industry. Held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, 9876 Wilshire Blvd in Los Angeles, home of the Golden Globe Awards, An Evening With Women continues to draw top talent and leave people with an intimate experience that celebrates the life-saving programs of the Center through the powerful medium of music. The event takes place Saturday, May 19, 2012. For more information on An Evening With Women, purchasing individual tickets or tables or directions, go to http://www.lagaycenter.org/AEWW