Thursday’s amfAR Inspiration Gala at Milk Studios was filled with a parade of Ryan Murphy’s blockbuster talent that populate his shows and his offscreen life as well. The event was filled with stars such as Julia Roberts, Sharon Stone, Gwyneth Paltrow, Matt Bomer, Cheyenne Jackson, Angela Bassett, Emma Roberts, Chloe Sevigny, Lea Michele, Jamie Lee Curtis and boasted a special performance by Lady Gaga, the centerpiece of “American Horror Story: Hotel” and as Bomer phrased it, “Ryan Murphy’s creative soulmate.”
After joking that the evening was being referred to as “Ryan Murphy’s Bar Mitzvah,” CAA Managing Partner Kevin Huvane gave the first of many testimonials to Murphy’s devotion to amfAR and the work the organization does for the gay community. When Murphy took to the stage to accept the Inspiration Award, after joking that he was “honored to be amfAR’s big gay of the year,” he spoke from the heart, recalling the first time he picked up a guy as a teenager in Indiana and being scared to death when he first read about AIDS. Citing how he’s often referred to as prolific, and not always in a complimentary way, Murphy observed, “When it’s ingrained in you that you may not have a tomorrow, you wring every drop out of today.”
He also emphasized how lucky he feels to be living as an out, proud gay man working in the industry. Recalling when he and longtime friend Nina Jacobson started Out There, a support group for gay people working in entertainment, Murphy remembers agonizing over whether he should wear a bracelet to a network meeting or if that was “too much.” Now, after many years of success in the business, Murphy reaffirmed, “I feel lucky to be here and to have the right to marry, which I never thought I’d have. You only get one life and one chance to tell your story.”
Stone acted as celebrity auctioneer for an auction of items including a classic photo of Dame Elizabeth Taylor flipping the double bird donated by photographer Timothy White, a pair of earrings donated by Harry Winston, a custom Fiat 500 Cabrio, an African safari, lunch with Diane Von Furstenberg that includes seats to her runway show and a DVR dress, and, not surprising, a walk-on role in “AHS: Hotel” that includes a selfie with Gaga.
Lady Gaga made her presence known by bidding $200,000 for the aforementioned Timothy White print and then performed a lengthy set comprised mostly of standards including “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered,” “Lush Life,” and “La Vie en Rose.” Clearly, Gaga is still feeling the influence of her recent collaboration with Tony Bennett. Though she performed with a jazz trio, her voice was no less strong, evocative and gorgeous. She summed it up beautifully when she sat down at the piano to sing “Til It Happens to You,” an emotional ballad she penned with Diane Warren. Gaga simply remarked, “We’re all in this together.”
The amfAR Inspiration gala raised over $3 million for AIDS research and amfAR CEO Kevin Frost said the focus is now on finding a cure for AIDS by the year 2020.
|amfAR Inspiration Gala Honors ‘American Horror Story’s’ Ryan Murphy|