June 1, 2009
Last Wednesday, I hosted an awards dinner at the Bronx Community Pride Center. Manhattan has the GLBT Community Center in the Village, and the only other one in all five boroughs is in the Bronx. It was especially meaningful to me because one of the main opponents to marriage equality is State Senator Ruben Diaz Sr. from the Bronx. The Center recently lost more than $300,000 of its funding, so this was an important fundraising event. The headliner was Julie Gold, who wrote the beautiful song “From a Distance.” She told us that she was working as a secretary in 1985 when she wrote the song, and even though many singers recorded it, it didn’t become a hit ’til the 90’s. It happened because Marc Shaiman was looking for a song to put on Bette Midler‘s new studio album, and he called New York Times critic Stephen Holden. Stephen recommended “From a Distance,” and since then the song won the Grammy Award, was recited into the Congressional Record by Senator Barbara Boxer and was used as a wake-up call on the Mir Space Station during the first space mission using both American and Russian astronauts. Before she performed, Julie asked us to sing along because she claimed that she’s a songwriter, not a singer, and she told us she was happy that the tables were so far away because, at her age, she looked better “from a distance.” Brava! However, her version of not being a singer, was actually being an amazing singer. It was so special to hear the song sung by the person who actually wrote it. She had so much feeling and, despite her contralto speaking voice, she sang it in a high key and belted all the top notes. I’m trying to convince her to come on the Rosie Cruise because her performance would be so moving being sung to all the families on the boat. Speaking of which, this week, Juli was made fun of at school by one of her classmates for having gay dads. When the teacher talked to the parent, the mother was unapologetic and said that her religion disapproves of gay people. How spiritual. I guess her religion thinks it’s okay to mock an eight-year-old girl for making the choice when she was a toddler to be adopted by a gay man. This is why the Bronx Community Pride Center and the Rosie Cruise are so important. Go to www.Bronxpride.org to find out more about the center and rfamilyvacations.com to find out about the upcoming cruise to Alaska.