In December we wondered aloud about the OutMusic Awards, some ragtag ceremony put together in New York City that gives out awards like Outstanding Choral Song, of which the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus scored all five nominations. But little did we know just how ragtag this soiree was. So disjointed, uncoordinated, and mismanaged, Michael Musto — who was to present an award — wrote a whole column about the debacle. More impressive, we found three adjectives for “clusterfuck.”
We’re pulling entirely from Musto’s column, which is worth a read in full, but allow us to demonstrate the cacophonics.
THE BAD OMEN
Let’s start at the very beginning: A producer booked me as a presenter many weeks before the scheduled ceremony, but after that, all communication was strangely cut off and I started sensing that this could be the biggest LGBT disaster since the hets moved into Chelsea. No one seemed to be in charge, with not a single e-mail forthcoming about where to go and when, and what I’d even be doing there. This to-do—which they said would be televised on Logo—was clearly going to let things fly as if it were just some drunken drag show in daddy’s gay garage.
THE SAD SIGNS
Finally, I got a message the day before the event saying the stage show was at Webster Hall and would start at 6 p.m. (I was dubious, so I e-mailed back and got that start time confirmed.) “Your lines are below,” the e-mail added, followed by nothing but blank space!
THE PATIENCE TESTING
I figured I could just ad-lib something, but more annoying was the fact that the show really started at 8. The club didn’t even let people in till 6:40, at which point I barreled in and went downstairs, where the pre-awards were about to be given out.
Alas, once they started, you couldn’t hear anything since there was no microphone hooked in! God obviously does hate the gays. The Producer of the Year had to scream her thank-yous into the air as we strained to read her lips over the nattering of the crowd. Halfway through, someone finally slipped the hosts some equipment, but by then, the momentum was shot and a lot of people were moving upstairs for the real awards as if to slaughter.
THE SHOW MUST GO ON
In the balcony, sure enough, there was even more chaos. Rather than hand out a printed set list, the folks in charge told the presenters and performers to locate someone named “Evelyn” (I’ve changed the name) for instructions. The result was the equivalent of a blank e-mail. After 10 minutes of searching the balcony’s recesses, I found Evelyn in a dark corner, where she was telling a mass of people to line up and announce themselves to some guy sitting there with a script, and then he’d provide them with their appearance info. Thirty minutes later, I finally got to the man, who blithely flipped through his pages and said my name wasn’t there at all! … It was decided that I could present the very first award since the woman who was set to do that couldn’t be found. But just as I was about to go onstage, she showed up, so now I was told I could give the second award. But then those people materialized, so they decided I could just present something called “the Heritage Award of 2009” to Toshi Reagon, a lesbian singer who was certainly available, having just performed. All they told me was, “Just say, ‘The Heritage Award of 2009 goes to Toshi Reagon!” There was no time to tell me who she is, why she was getting the honor, or any other mildly relevant info.
THE DANCING IN THE DARK
I hear that, later, singers Adam Barta and Brian Kent were all ready for their presenting moment, but they had nothing in their hands to do it with until they were finally granted a black envelope. Two production assistants were arguing about what these presenters should say, ultimately deciding, “Go out and just read the name of the winner. There will be no nominee list.” So Barta and Kent went out, opened the envelope, and it simply said, “The Out Music Awards. Logo. Keep Bringin’ Sexy Back Award.” That was it—no winner, just the name of the award! Eventually, the hosts came back out and said they’d already announced the winner before! Embarrassing!
THE POST-PRODUCTION SAVE
After that, I hear, a few acts were bumped because the show was running overtime, and some kind of fight even broke out onstage to break up the monotony. None of this made it to the final cut. In fact, all Logo aired from the whole night, wisely enough, were quick clips on its music show, often right before cutting to a commercial. A couple of performers got a tiny bit of exposure out of that, but I got gay bupkes. I guess my panicked recitation of “The Heritage Award goes to blah, blah” was not deemed an electrifyingly airable sound bite that would change the face of minority culture.
But hey, not everybody was unimpressed: