by contributor Donna Shor
Photos by Neshan H. Naltchayan
President Obama strode to the podium at the Human Rights Campaign Gala at the Convention Center, saluted the crowd celebrating progress in human rights and the recent New York gay-rights decrees, then broke into a broad grin.
“I appreciate the chance to join you tonight. I also took a trip out to California last week, where I held some productive bilateral talks with your leader, Lady Gaga. She was wearing 16-inch heels. She was eight feet tall. It was a little intimidating.” Full transcript here.
It was a night of speeches and declarations: Wisconsin representative Tammy Baldwin declared she was going to run for the senate. Betty DeGeneres, Ellen’s mother, declared she was proud of her daughter. Both Sarah Jessica Parker and Mayor Bloomberg declared themselves proud and happy about New York.
When Cyndi Lauper went onstage she said there had been many speeches, but “I’ve come to perform.” Then. looking wistfully toward the speaker’s corner, she darted across the stage and struck a pose as if about to begin a speech.
Thinking better about it, she went back to her spot to sing her heart out, belting “Girls Just Want To have Fun” and her other hit songs, climbing down from the stage into the audience, then climbing up on furniture. The crowd loved her, roaring approval.
Boyish and Greyson Chance - a discovery of Ellen's - played the piano and sang.
Seen: Tipper Gore, DC Mayor Vincent Gray, Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese, Hilary Rosen, former Sen. Harris Wofford, OPM Director John Berry, Congessman Earl Blumenauer, Congresswoman Betty McCollum. and DC Councilmember David Catania.
Mayor Bloomberg made a curious point by suggesting you go tell all your conservative friends that they should welcome the gay rights laws because people can now live without worries of government intrusion in their lives, the bane of all conservatives.