A Night to Remember in Albany

gay soiree 1001

Red spotlights lit the sky-high columns of The State Room, while candles glowed intimately among the cozy vermilion-accented tables. A bar in the corner served wine and cocktails, while sharply decked-out servers whirled hot appetizers ranging from Beef Wellington to bacon-wrapped scallops around the space. A virgin bar for the non-boozers among us (of which I counted myself last night) was located in another corner, offering several scintillating concoctions, including the ‘Mommie Dearest’ (served with a wielding of a wire hanger – for real!) It was The Gay Soirée, and I was sitting and watching it all unfold with my friend JoAnn who drove in from Cape Cod to be part of the spectacle.

As the guests arrived, in one fabulous outfit after another, the room filled with a collection of Albany’s finest in their most fashionable get-ups. After seeing such a wonderful and diverse group of people enjoying themselves on the dance floor, JoAnn remarked that the night gave her hope. It was such a simple statement, but so powerful, and an indication that the evening was accomplishing much more than a presentation of pretty people.

As Honorary Chair of this party, I didn’t do much other than lend my name and some FaceBook and website promotion to the event, so I want to thank all the people who did most of the work that resulted in such a fabulous party. First and foremost is everyone at the Capital Pride Center – especially Executive Director Curran Streett and Deputy Director Michael Weidrich, as well as the burgeoning staff of that great organization. As the oldest continually-operating Pride Center in the country, they have a legacy that they continue to nurture and embolden, and this event was further proof that they are at the top of their game.

Next, thanks to the amazing musical performers of the evening. Sonny and Perley opened the night with their cabaret act of romantic standards, sultry torch songs, and velvety smooth vocal performances that warmed the winter night. It was followed by the bass-pumping mastery of DJ Robb Penders, who set the dance floor on fire with an evolving mix of music that ran from classic tracks (‘Lady Marmalade’) to the most recent crowd-pleasing hits (‘Get Lucky’). He and his dancing dynamo of a husband Jason (who showed off moves I never dreamed existed) kept the evening on a high-octane shuffle.

Finally, my most important bit of thanks goes to everyone who came out and made the evening what it was. I can’t list everyone, but it’s you who made this matter. I loved seeing friends from FaceBook and real life collide and meet – and it was wonderful meeting and talking to some of my favorite people – Jeze Bel, Gloria, Peter, Ken, Lauren, Gene & Jeff, Rosy, Curran and Corbin, David, Scott, Pilar, Jim, Rick, Janet, Jim, Michael, Eric, Joe, Steven, Vinny, and Ulysses.

Let’s do it all again next year.

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