Nightlife » Special Events

OUTMusic :: And the Winners Are...

by JC Alvarez
Friday May 27, 2011

We don't need much of a reason to hit a red carpet! The promise of a major celebrity sighting is enough to get us all fired up, but it was a rare occasion when so many artists from our community gathered collectively to celebrate each other and their musical excellence within a couple of blocks away from pop-icon Lady Gaga who was appearing at a record signing for her fans. Perhaps it was kismet that this year's OUTMusic Awards held in Live Nation's Irving Plaza in New York City was being shined upon by the proximity aura of Mother Monster herself. The 7th Annual event honors excellence by recording artists in the LGBT community, and this year's honorees had much of which to be proud.

Artistically and politically the LGBT community has been a major headline grabber whether it's the continuing battle for marriage equality, the repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,' or the controversial lyrics spurned on by the aforementioned Lady Gaga who has single-handedly become the community's greatest ally. Pop-culturally the LGBT community has never been more present in the media whether in television or in music, the presence is very clear - and loud! And no more louder and prouder than among those musically talented.

Special Honorees

The night had many winners, certainly a distinct and monumental moment for artists that are still sometimes competing with mainstream commercial success. But most notably among the evening’s honorees were country star Chely Wright, who received a special award and is also celebrating her upcoming nuptials to her partner. For Wright, who has enjoyed mainstream success in her genre of music and challenged the stereotypes within country music, breaking barriers by recently coming out has only endeared herself to her contemporaries and elevated her popularity to new levels. The recognition from OUTMusic was a distinct achievement. Legendary member of the Village People Randy Jones received the Heritage Award for his continuous support of the arts and contributions to music over the years, and Marsha Ambrosius was the recipient of the Spirit Award.

Indications of how much the event has grown was going on outside on the red carpet before the event got underway inside. Passers-by were just as eager to snap shots of the local celebs taking a minute for the paparazzi, as artists were anxious to express their excitement at being at the night’s celebration. There was certainly electricity in the air - and it had little to do with the rain that was expected to drop from the cloudy skies above.

The Show Must Go On!

Favored nominee Athena Reich channeled her inner dance diva, arriving on the red carpet with an assorted troupe of sexy backup dancers, that could have been the envy of Dance Artist nominee Lori Michaels, who turned many heads all on her own. Reich put on quite a showstopper later on stage. With several nominations for his OUTstanding and politically inspired single "Stand for Something" Justin Utley stood proudly with his boyfriend at his side for photographers. He later took home the prize for Outstanding Folk/Country Song. Innovative glam-man Ariel Aparicio was also a winner for OUTstanding Rock Song for "People Who Died".

Various celebrities from hit LOGO series were on hand to pass out awards to the winners. Among those guests were distinguished photographer and A-Lister Mike Ruiz, his partner Martin Berusch and the Setup Squad’s Jonathan Lovitz and Helen Hong who were each other’s wingmen for the event. The biggest winners of the night were, of course, those who were drawn by the success and spirit of the event - that we artists in LGBT community are counted among and honored by our peers in mainstream music. As the reach continues to grow, it won’t be long before mainstream culture crosses over and into recognition perhaps at next year’s OUTMusic Awards.

For a full list of the winners and details of the evening goto OUTMusic website.

Native New Yorker JC Alvarez is a pop-culture enthusiast and the nightlife chronicler of the club scene and its celebrity denizens from coast-to-coast. He is the on-air host of the nationally syndicated radio show "Out Loud & Live!" and is also on the panel of the local-access talk show "Talking About".


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