L.A. Scene July-August 2011: GLAAD Hancock Park “Top Chef” Invasion, Marja-Lewis Ryan’s “Dysnomia”

L.A. Scene is a monthly column that chronicles lesbian nightlife and events of interest in Los Angeles. Sarah Witness, an East Coast transplant and obvious femme, has been navigating the snark infested waters of Hollywood since 2001. Although she’s an NYU trained actress, she prefers sipping vodka and making idle chit-chat at really gay nightclubs.

GLAAD Hancock Park Top Chef Invasion

Every year GLAAD holds a fundraiser at a private residence in the tony L.A. neighborhood Hancock Park.  This year’s event was at the home of Dean Hansell and officially hosted by Lisa Vanderpump (Real Housewives of Beverly Hills). Everyone was in particularly cheery spirits because that Sunday marked the first day of enforced marriage equality in New York. Lisa gave a lovely speech, which included the statement, “Tolerance. I hate that word. How about acceptance?” The crowd went wild.

A number of great restaurants had set up cooking stations across the yard, and guests were invited to pig-out, to the degree that any gay Angelenos actually do such a thing in public. Susan Feniger had a particularly popular cooking station set up with ceviche from The Border Grill. Rokk Vodka was a sponsor as well. Fabulous.

There was, of course, a silent auction where you could bid on everything from Vegas vacations to gay plates.

Top Chef Masters contestants Antonia Lofaso and Fabio Viviani had a cook-off, which was judged by Jamie Lauren, Susan Feniger, and Shonda Rhimes. We didn’t get to judge the challenge, but we got to eat it.

Antonia won and was rewarded with a giant whisk. Fabio got a tiny consolation whisk. Other celebrity guests included Jessica Collins and Dustin Lance Black, who seems to be this year’s Wilson Cruz, in terms of his omnipresence.

Best of all, there was SWAG! The gift bags contained Starbucks coffee and a book entitled Steven Petrow’s Complete Gay and Lesbian Manners: The Definitive Guide to LGBT Life. Did you know that when you are hosting a sexual encounter you should “Take the time beforehand to tidy up, put new sheets on the bed, hang clean towels in the bathroom, and if necessary, hide any photos or mementos of anyone else you’re currently seeing?” Is this catering to gay men or to The Real L Word‘s Whitney? The lesbian version might read, “Take the time to lint roll the cats, buy lots of beer, and try not to cry.”