The theme of the 2010 Out 100 portfolio is 'celebration.' In a year marked by battles won and lost, high hopes and bitter letdowns, we thought it important to focus on events that might not have been celebrations when they happened, but were pivotal in the evolution of the LGBT cause. So, we asked our honorees to recreate three such moments in recent history ' Truman Capote's Black and White Ball shot by legendary photographer Larry Fink, the Stonewall riots shot by Out 100 veteran Roger Erickson, and Studio 54 shot by Jason Schmidt.
In the coming days we will reveal select Out 100 honorees shot by each of the photographers and situated in each of the three celebrations. All 100 honorees, including our five amazing cover stars, will be revealed on November 11.
Continue to visit Out.com/Out100 every day to see new photos, read new bios, and celebrate the LGBT people of the year with us.
Ricky Martin, Entertainer of the Year
On March 29th of this year, Ricky Martin made a decision that would change everything. He posted a letter on his website and linked to it from Twitter. The letter outlined the process of writing his upcoming memoir, during which Martin came to realize that he needed to free himself of a particular burden. Writing about it, he added, was 'a solid step toward my inner peace and vital part of my evolution.' He closed the letter, with a beautiful, eloquent, and simple declaration: 'I am proud to say that I am a fortunate homosexual man. I am very blessed to be who I am.'
Johnny Weir, Diva of the Year
It's difficult to deny the dynamism of Johnny Weir's ice skating. Since he entered the sport 14 years ago at what many would consider the advanced age of 12, he has made two Olympic appearances, won three U.S. championships, and is currently ranked 12th in the world by the International Skating Union. But, ultimately, it's his commitment to glamour and pageantry and his dexterous, playful handling of the controversies that dog him off the ice that have made him such a fascinating and beloved figure.
Julianne Moore, Artist of the Year
Is there anyone you'd rather ask to ride a white horse bareback in a Ferragamo gown than Julianne Moore? On the day of her shoot, she doesn't hesitate for a second to seize her Bianca Jagger moment. For a woman known for her propensity for, or rather, her superiority at crying on camera, Moore's easy warmth, enthusiasm, and infectious laughter immediately ease the tension in a room where the person least nervous about Julianne Moore getting on a horse is the actress herself. Because as you quickly learn, Moore, who turns 50 in December, does more than just show up.
Rachel Maddow, Newsmaker of the Year
'Things are moving, so there's an unpredictability that makes covering the news very exciting,' says Rachel Maddow, whose nightly MSNBC show is appointment TV for anyone even halfway interested in the surreal theater of American politics amid the surging tide of anti-Washington sentiment. Maddow, a wry, mischievous counterweight to the brawling style of her rivals on Fox, is proof that not all political debate has to be reduced to schoolyard taunts, perhaps because she's more interested in the concept of change. She's described herself as having been 'a weird, depressive little kid' who thought she might grow up to be an Olympic athlete. Instead, thanks to a series of injuries, she found herself engaged in a different kind of sport'politics. The trigger was AIDS. Growing up in the Bay Area in the late l980s, Maddow was galvanized by the unfolding tragedy and inspired by the philosophy of AIDS activism. 'I came up in that movement, in which there's not only a sense of community, but people frantically trying to document their community that is dying, that is disappearing, and trying to make the country understand the importance of what was being lost,' she says. 'It gave me a more nuanced appreciation of which political tactics work and which don't that I wouldn't otherwise have.'
Nate Berkus, Stylemaker of the Year
Nate Berkus has plenty of reason to pop the cork in 2010. This past May, after executing 127 home makeovers, he left The Oprah Winfrey Show to launch his own nationally syndicated TV project. But wasn't it only a matter of time before the Empress of Media's go-to home and design guy had his turn in the spotlight?
Chris Colfer, Actor
It's hard to imagine Glee without Kurt Hummel, the hit show's resident countertenor and fashion iconoclast. But until director Ryan Murphy met Chris Colfer, who was auditioning for the role of Artie at the time, the character didn't exist. Now it's 20-year-old Colfer, in his first professional role, who is responsible for much of the show's heavy lifting, giving it heart when it veers too far into fluff or farce and infusing it with panache and absurdity when things run too dark and hopeless'often in the same episode. Though only a nominee at last year's Emmys, a recent episode that follows Kurt confronting the possible death of his father and greater issues of faith suggests he'll be bringing home his first big award the year he turns 21.
Scissor Sisters, Musicians
Before there was Lady Gaga there was Jake Shears, Ana Matronic, Babydaddy, and Del Marquis. The Scissor Sisters unleashed a barrage of infectious dance hits in 2004, which propelled their eponymous debut album to the top of the British charts where it became the biggest-selling record of the year. Six years later, the band is riding high again with their third album, Night Work, inspired by Shears's extended sojourn in Berlin and harking back to the gay heyday of pre-AIDS New York City. Appropriately, the album art'a pair of tight butt cheeks in slinky pants'is from a photo by Robert Mapplethorpe. After the band was joined by Kylie Minogue in front of the 170,000-strong audience of the U.K.'s Glastonbury Festival this summer, Night Work shot to number 2 in the British charts. Although it only just squeaked into the Billboard Top 20, a U.S. tour supporting Gaga in 2011 may yet bring their glam-theatrical shtick the wider American audience it so clearly deserves.
T.R. Knight, Actor
Is it possible that more fuss was made of T.R. Knight's departure from Grey's Anatomy last year than when he came out in 2006? Fans of the show weren't sure how to respond to a Seattle Grace without him (and ratings have indicated he's missed), but as promised, Knight immediately jumped back into his first love'the stage. First up was a critically acclaimed turn in the L.A. production of Parade, then this fall he took on his third Broadway role, more than holding his own up against his costar, theater heavyweight Patrick Stewart, in David Mamet's A Life in the Theater.
Prabal Gurung, Fashion Designer
Thanks to his sexy, flirty dresses, designer Prabal Gurung is the newest name on the lips of young fashion lovers everywhere. After studying in New Delhi at the National Institute of Fashion Technology, he apprenticed with some of the world's top stylists before settling in New York City to study at Parsons while interning at Donna Karan. Following stints with Cynthia Rowley and Bill Blass, he debuted his sultry cocktail dresses under his own label for the fall 2009 season, to critical acclaim. When asked his inspirations he says: 'Women. Their layers, how complex and intriguing they are. As a man, I find them so interesting, challenging and inspiring.' Women, it seems, are inspired right back. His designs have been donned by the likes of Leighton Meester, Demi Moore, Oprah Winfrey, and Michelle Obama.
Jasika Nicole, Bruno Tonioli, Armistead Maupin, Bill Silva, Actress, Dancer/Reality TV Judge, Author, and Promoter/Producer
Signing on to a J.J. Abrams project doesn't always guarantee job stability (see: Lost), but Birmingham native Jasika Nicole took a risk and moved to Vancouver in 2008 when she was cast in Abrams's latest TV series, Fox's Fringe. Fortunately, the show's brightest light, Nicole's character, Astrid Farnsworth, has narrowly avoided death in its many Abramsian forms and returned this fall for Fringe's third season. Nicole is currently the only out lesbian of color on prime time.
The loquacious Italian with the booming laugh has helped propel ABC's Dancing With the Stars into a ratings monster. As a choreographer for everyone from Elton John to Bananarama, Bruno Tonioli presided over 11 seasons (and counting) of the reality show, in which celebrities battle it out for dance supremacy. Notorious for his biting quips''What you need is a postmortem not a critique,' he told Kate Gosselin in the last season; Michael Bolton demanded an apology when Tonioli dismissed his jive as the 'worst' he'd ever seen'he grew up in a soccer-mad culture where his preference for musicals over sports marked him out in the crowd. Watching him let go on DWTS, however, is a sport we can all enjoy (Mr. Bolton, excepted).
To quote the inestimable Quentin Crisp (upon introducing a friend), 'This is Mr. Maupin, he invented San Francisco.' Not just San Francisco either. For millions of fans around the world, Armistead Maupin (above) might as well have invented gay culture. When the first of his Tales of the City series was published in 1978, the idea of a society in which gays, lesbians, and repressed straight office girls from Ohio could happily coexist was, well, novel. But what is often overlooked is his radicalism'1984's Babycakes was among the first novels to address AIDS; his 2007 Tales update, Michael Tolliver Lives, took on the closeted subject of gay aging. Doubtless his latest Tales novel, Mary Ann in Autumn, published in November, will extend this groundbreaking legacy. An upcoming stage musical of Tales, written by Jeff Whitty and composed by Jake Shears, will cement it.
Impresario Bill Silva (right) started his eponymous entertainment company from his apartment while still a student at the University of California, San Diego, when he was producing small shows for local clubs. Now a powerhouse producer and promoter, Silva has overseen concerts for the Who, Nirvana, Madonna, the Killers, and LCD Soundsystem, to name a few. If you've seen a show at the Hollywood Bowl'which happens to be the largest natural amphitheater in the U.S.' chances are you've got him to thank.
Steven Slater, Working-Class Hero
Steven Slater became an overnight hero for beleaguered airline staff everywhere after his headline-grabbing exit down an evacuation slide in August. His flameout cost him his job and sparked a national conversation about the miserable state of air travel and the decline in civility. For a week, his story pushed the economy and the 'Ground Zero mosque' to the margins. While his Facebook page quickly notched up 203,000 fans and venerable New York City costume store Ricky's announced a Steven Slater outfit for Halloween, his former employer, JetBlue, weathered the fallout'passenger figures for September were 15% higher than the previous year.
Marisa Demeo, Chely Wright, Rostam Batmanglij & Marc Wolf, Superior Court Judge, Musicians, and Playwright
Judge Marisa Demeo's history of support for gay rights and work with the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund made her recent appointment to the D.C. superior court a contentious one. Senate Republicans, led by South Carolina senator Jim DeMint, obstructed her confirmation for more than a year before it was approved by a two-to-one margin in April. Demeo, a former D.C. magistrate judge, is a member of the Human Rights Campaign and Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund.
'I needed to show folks how low I got'this was do or die for me,' Chely Wright told Out in May, discussing the opening scene of her memoir, Like Me, in which she describes the moment she nearly took her own life with a 9-millimeter. The release of the book and her seventh album, Lifted Off the Ground'both of which recount her struggle as a closeted lesbian'marked the first time a major country music artist had come out publicly. Soon after, Wright became a national spokesperson for the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network and joined Nate Berkus, Tim Gunn, Wanda Sykes, and Kathy Griffin on an episode of Larry King Live to speak out against gay bullying.
So much for a sophomore slump. Indie rock sophisticates Vampire Weekend more than surpassed the high expectations for this year's Contra, the follow-up album to their gushed-over 2008 self-titled debut. The member doing the bulk of the work? Producer and multi-instrumentalist Rostam Batmanglij, whose perfectionism and knack for jaunty electronic details helped take the record to number 1 on the Billboard 200 within the first month of its release, making it one of only a handful of independently distributed albums ever to top the charts.
A decade has passed since Marc Wolf first performed Another American: Asking and Telling, his play focusing on the lives of gay men and women in the military, but with 'don't ask, don't tell' back in the headlines, the piece, which the playwright-actor revived in July at New York City's DR2 Theatre, feels more relevant than ever. Wolf interviewed some 200 people, from war veterans to government officials, to craft the one-man show, which, with the help of director Joe Mantello, won him an Obie Award in 2000. 'This issue brings up knee-jerk stereotypes of how terrible gay people are and also of how bigoted military people are,' Wolf says. 'Neither of them is true.'
John Benjamin Hickey, Actor
Fans of Love! Valour! Compassion! will remember John Benjamin Hickey's Obie-winning performance as Arthur Pape, but as Laura Linney's Dumpster-diving brother, Sean, on Showtime's The Big C, he might be less recognizable. A more clean-cut Hickey has also popped up recently on Brothers & Sisters and Law & Order as well as in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3.
Kevin Carrigan, Fashion Designer
'My starting point can be a combination of different emotions'tough, sexy, sensual, pure'and it's always contemporary,' Kevin Carrigan says of the sensibility he draws on as global creative director of Calvin Klein, ck Calvin Klein, and Calvin Klein Jeans. Carrigan grew up watching his grandmother, a seamstress and tailor, drape and cut cloth without the use of any patterns. 'It's what inspired me, as a child, to become a designer.' He's led the company in its mission to remain relevant and vital to youth culture and in translating its sophisticated minimalist main collection into covetable street wear. 'I'm fascinated with youth and the way they wear their clothes: the proportions, the androgyny, the immediacy, and the timelessness.'
Amos Mac & Rocco Kayiatos, Editors
'Original Plumbing started because I didn't see anything in the media representing transmen other than frenzied talk shows and porn,' says editor in chief and photographer Amos Mac (left), who, along with editor Rocco Kayiatos, conceptualizes, edits, and produces the female-to-male quarterly. Each issue highlights a particular theme (e.g., 'hair' or 'the bedroom') and features photography, personal narratives, fiction, and interviews with transmen and allies like Margaret Cho. Original Plumbing, which celebrated its first anniversary in October, was named Best Zine of 2010 in the San Francisco Bay Guardian's yearly readers' poll.
Fatima Robinson, Choreographer
Fergie, Sade, and President Obama have all taken orders from Fatima Robinson, who choreographed both artists' music videos and HBO's inauguration event in 2008. Most recently, Robinson, whose big break came when she was hired for Michael Jackson's 1992 'Remember the Time' video, has served as creative director for the Black Eyed Peas on their latest album and directed Old Navy's Thanksgiving commercial. She is also lined up to direct the 2011 Super Bowl halftime show.
Ebs Burnough, Bruce Seidel, Ellie Schafer, Jordan Pious & Pedro Segarra
One of the reasons Michelle Obama pulled in Ebs Burnough (far left) to be her deputy social secretary was to wake things up a bit at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue after years of social dormancy. The Northwestern grad served as the First Lady's political director during the campaign and, before joining Obama's team, as the executive director of Congressman Jerry Nadler's political action committee.
As senior vice president of program planning, Bruce Seidel (top) brought a slew of top shows, including Iron Chef America, to the Food Network, and he reinforced his reputation for innovative, smart content after being picked to lead program development for the network's new Cooking Channel. We'd expect nothing less from the man who introduced Jamie Oliver and Nigella Lawson to these shores.
Many people consider themselves gracious hosts, but Ellie Schafer (center), director of the White House visitors office, most definitely has them beat. Schafer, who worked with Obama on the road during his two-year campaign, is in charge of coordinating public events hosted by the First Family. An avid sports fan who first perfected her networking skills when she was involved in the San Francisco Gay Softball League in the '90s, Schafer is responsible for making everyone who comes to the White House feel welcome. It helps to have a boss who is as genuine as he seems: President Obama even took time, on his birthday, to call and congratulate Schafer and her partner on their commitment ceremony.
Jordan Pious (center) and his brother Dan made worthy and, above all, entertaining winners of The Amazing Race this season, with Jordan's determination, optimism, and on-tap charm in the face of endless obstacles endearing him to viewers and his frankness and maturity about his sexuality winning him a special place in gay fans' hearts.
Last June, Pedro Segarra (far right) became the second openly gay mayor of a U.S. state capital (David Cicilline of neighboring Providence, R.I., on page TK, was the first) when he stepped into the shoes of a disgraced predecessor to oversee the affairs of Hartford, Conn. A founding member of both the Latino Law Student Organization and Hartford's Hispanic Health Council, he has wasted little time reducing city health care costs, boosting the tax collection rate, and announcing plans to demolish the city's notorious 'butt ugly building' on Main Street. For that alone, he'll receive the everlasting thanks of his 124,000-strong constituency.
Lisa Cholodenko, Filmmaker
Thank writer and director Lisa Cholodenko for introducing straight America to the idea that lesbians like to watch gay male porn. Cholodenko's The Kids Are All Right, a film about family that happens to involve a lesbian couple, will almost certainly earn the four-time filmmaker (who also wrote and directed High Art and Laurel Canyon) her first Academy Award nomination.
Aaron Walton, Gary Gates, Yoruba Richen, Joe Machota & David Bromstad, Business Leader, Academic, Filmmaker, Agent, and Designer
Who the hell thought Busta Rhymes would want to be a spokesperson for Mountain Dew? That would be Aaron Walton (far left, bottom). He's also the man who paired Pepsi with Michael Jackson, Doritos with Enrique Iglesias, and Whitney Houston with AT&T. As cofounder of advertising firm Walton Isaacson, Walton has steered clients in unexpected directions, oftentimes to the boon of LGBT people. It was Walton who successfully convinced Lexus to sign on as a corporate sponsor of GLAAD, the HRC, and Outfest.
Gary Gates (far left, standing) is an academic pioneer. His doctoral dissertation included the first significant research study using U.S. census data to explore characteristics of same-sex couples. With degrees in computer science, divinity, and public policy, his next feat was coauthoring The Gay and Lesbian Atlas in 2004, an encyclopedic text on the demography of gays and lesbians. In his current position as the Williams Distinguished Scholar at the Charles R. Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation Law and Public Policy at UCLA's law school, he continues to explore such topics as technology, tolerance, and diversity among same-sex couples with children.
Filmmaker Yoruba Richen (right, standing) doesn't shy away from the thorniest of issues. Earlier this year, the Fulbright winner's film Promised Land, which aired on PBS, exposed the ongoing fight over the redistribution of land promised by the African National Congress. Richen's film explores the nuanced conflict by profiling both the struggle of blacks claiming back land from which they were evicted and whites who wish not to be held individually responsible for their state's transgressions several generations back. Her film-in-progress The New Black, focusing on the complicated and often combative histories of the African-American and LGBT civil rights movements, promises to be equally provocative and illuminating.
If Joe Machota (right, leaning) has it his way, Scarlett Johansson won't be the only movie star who has thanked him from the podium at the Tony's. The Creative Artists Agency theatrical agent is responsible for negotiating Johansson's way onto A View From the Bridge, Zachary Quinto's ascent to this year's production of Angels in America, and Ricky Martin's rise to power in the upcoming Broadway revival of Evita. Machota comes by his theater fixation honestly'before he joined CAA in 2005, he starred in the original Broadway production of Mamma Mia!.
Upon winning the first season of HGTV Design Star in 2006, David Bromstad (right, seated) was handed the keys to his own show, Color Splash. After six seasons in San Francisco, the designer headed east and overhauled his series, turning it into Color Splash: Miami, currently taping its third and fourth seasons. In December, Bromstad and HGTV will celebrate the 100th episode of the Color Splash franchise.
Mary Glasspool, Bishop of Los Angeles
She was the centerpiece for this year's national gay clergy debate, but bishop Mary Glasspool steers clear of the political heat she sparked. The 56-year-old New York native takes a traditional approach to her work for the Episcopal diocese of Los Angeles, where she became the first elected openly lesbian bishop last May. Glasspool never set out to march a pride parade down the center aisle on Sunday'her life, she says, is less about grandstanding and more about scripture, a value instilled by her Episcopal rector father.
Chris Pureka, Musician
Longing, loss, and hope'those are the threads that weave through Massachusetts-born Chris Pureka's critically acclaimed 2010 album, How I Learned to See in the Dark. And ever-more obvious in her work is an edginess that shows that the introspective singer (right) is still evolving.
Emma Donoghue, Author
Emma Donoghue's latest novel, Room, details the life of a young woman who is kidnapped, impregnated, and kept in a one-room shed for seven years, all heartbreakingly narrated by her 5-year-old son. The Dublin-born writer, who lives with her partner and their two young children in Ontario, was short-listed for the 2010 Man Booker Prize, and Room quickly became a best seller when it was released this fall. She has previously won the Lambda Literary Award and the Stonewall Book Award for her work.
Geoffrey Nauffts, Writer/Director
Fans of Geoffrey Nauffts's deftly crafted, Tony-nominated play Next Fall only have to turn on ABC to catch more of the writer-director's work'he is now a staff writer on Brothers & Sisters. He continues to serve as the artistic director of the Naked Angels Theater Company, which he's been a part of for 23 years. Nauffts is also currently collaborating with Elton John and Ben Stiller on a feature film project.
Scott Elliott & Michael Mayer, Directors of 'The Kid' and 'American Idiot'
Scott Elliott's off-Broadway theater company, the New Group, has firmly established itself as influential beyond many of its Broadway counterparts. As founding artistic director, Elliott (left) has led the company in producing a cavalcade of successful productions in the 15 years since its inception. Eminent writers, directors, and actors are drawn to the company, which touts 21 Drama Desk award nominations among its prestigious honors. Its first foray into musical theater, Avenue Q, went on to secure a Broadway run and then won the 2004 Tony for Best Musical. This year, Elliott directed the The Kid, a musical adaptation of the memoir by Dan Savage, which chronicles his journey with his boyfriend in adopting their son.
The Tony-winning director behind Spring Awakening, Michael Mayer (right) pushed Broadway's boundaries even wider with this year's American Idiot, a post-9/11 coming-of-age story inspired by Green Day's album of the same name. The show, which Mayer wrote with Billie Joe Armstrong, took home two Tony Awards this year and netted Mayer his fifth Drama Desk Award.
Michael Stipe, Musician
Of all the over-employed designations one can use for Michael Stipe, renaissance man might come closest to describing the febrile, stimulating quality of pop's great warrior philosopher. Together with his REM bandmates, Stipe created the cauterizing soundtrack for a generation weened on the bilious politics of the Reagan-Thatcher years, and used his profile to address touchstone issues from the environment to Burma to handgun control.
The success, in particular, of Out of Time and Automatic for the People, elevated R.E.M. into rare territory, without apparently vanquishing the muse that inspired them -- the group's 15th studio album, Collapse Into Now, is due next spring. But music is only the half of it. Stipe has a restless interest in photography, fashion, art, and film (he was executive producer on Being John Malkovitch and Velvet Goldmine, among others) and a capacious appetite for ideas.
On the cover of Out as long ago as 1995, Stipe describes himself as queer rather than gay (in a wonderfully playful interview with Wolfgang Tilmans for a 2004 issue of Butt magazine he said he considered it more inclusive), and has dismissed suggestions that he was ever closeted. 'I was never photographed with a woman on my arm, trying to pretend that I was something that I wasn't,' he told Tilmans. 'I was always extremely frank and very open with the people around me.'
David Cicilline, Chuck Wolfe, David Medina, Michael Adams, Politician, Advocate, White House Official, and Advocate
The first openly gay mayor of a U.S. state capital made history again in early November. David Cicilline, mayor of Providence, R.I., replaced 15-year congressional veteran Patrick Kennedy and joined Barney Frank, Tammy Baldwin, and Jared Polis to become the fourth openly gay member of the House of Representatives. Having started his political career in 1994, with his election to the state house of representatives, Cicilline has been responsible for cleaning up a city long known for its corruption and helping to make it, as The Wall Street Journalrecently called it, one of the top 10 up-and-coming global tourist destinations.
As the president and CEO of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund and Leadership Institute, Chuck Wolfe oversees the organization's identification, training, and support of LGBT political candidates, campaign staff, and public officials, including the 164 candidates the fund endorsed in 2010. 'We know out elected officials can be a leading political indicator of real change,' he says. ' So it's exciting to see so many candidates stepping up to run for office this year.'
David Medina's background working with international and minority issues made him a perfect choice for a First Lady whose focus includes a passion for working mothers' challenges, particularly in the military. As deputy chief of staff to Mrs. Obama, Medina also serves on the public policy committee of the estimable Human Rights Campaign. Most recently, he has served as the Peace Corps' public engagement director.
Since he became executive director of Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders, Michael Adams has brought LGBT concerns to the forefront of the national discourse on aging. He has turned SAGE, which was the first official LGBT delegate at the White House Conference on Aging in 2005, into a multimillion-dollar powerhouse, recently earning the organization a $900,000 grant from the Department of Health and Human Services to establish the first national resource center on LGBT aging. Fortunately, not everyone is trying to pretend we aren't getting older.
Andy Cramer & Al Farmer and Chris Armstrong, Digital Pioneers and Student President
It's hard to imagine there was ever a time when hooking up online was novel, and for that you have to thank Andy Cramer (left) and Al Farmer (far right). Frustrated with the intrusive monitoring on AOL's gay chat rooms, Cramer launched Gay.net (later merged with Gay.com) in 1993, radically expanding the opportunity for gay men and women to meet one another. Cramer had been spurred on by the AIDS epidemic in 1980s San Francisco, where he operated a chain of lifestyle stores that offered flexible shifts and support for people with HIV. When the Internet first materialized, he was quick to recognize its potential in building community (and for making money'within two years, Gay.net had more than 10,000 members paying a $9.95 monthly premium). Farmer, an early member of Gay.net, joined Cramer in expanding the site's outreach work in 1997. The couple legally married in San Francisco in 2007.
>America is living through a surreal political moment, but for all the weirdness that will be remembered from 2010, it's hard to top the tale of Chris Armstrong (center), president of the University of Michigan's student body, who was forced in September to file a restraining order against the state's assistant attorney general, Andrew Shirvell. Under the sway of his own prejudice, Shirvell launched a blog accusing Armstrong of 'pushing a deeply homosexual agenda.' This apparently included his efforts to extend the hours of the university cafeteria (presumably to facilitate nighttime homosexual liaisons). Shirvell's cyberstalking extended to pasting an image of a swastika over a rainbow flag onto a photo of 21-year-old Armstrong, who maintained a dignified silence until a swathe of teen suicides prompted him to speak out about the larger issue of bullying.
Derek Hartley & Romaine Patterson, Radio Personalities
You know you've made it when Time magazine says your show 'would be fined out of existence if the FCC had its way.' Not that Derek Hartley (left) and Romaine Patterson (right) needed that affirmation, but it's good to know the duo's drive time show is hitting ever-bigger audiences. Hartley came from gossip blogs and online columns offering advice; Patterson's route was through activism after her friend Matthew Shepard was killed. The two were united for the show, and their chemistry is sheer genius.
Katie Miller, Student/Activist
When Katie Miller transferred colleges at the end of her sophomore year, it wasn't for any of the reasons common to mercurial 20-year-olds. As politicians like Sen. John McCain (who graduated 894th out of 899th in his Naval Academy class of '58) continued to insist that armed forces'enrolled students like Miller (ranked ninth out of her class of 1,157 at West Point) were not welcome if they were honest about their homosexuality, Miller saw no other choice but to withdraw. Arguing that such a policy was not only discriminatory but in conflict of the school's hallowed honor code, she issued a statement: 'At present, I find military service to be incompatible with personal values.' She transferred to Yale University, where she's currently studying political science while squeezing in a few select television appearances to promote the repeal of DADT: A repeat guest of Rachel Maddow's show, she also escorted Lady Gaga to this year's MTV Video Music Awards.
Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2010 Palme d'Or Winner
Apichatpong Weerasethakul has plenty to smile about. The 40-year-old Thai director, known to friends as Joe, picked up this year's Palme d'Or in Cannes for his sensual, gentle reincarnation ghost story, Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, which also played at the New York Film Festival to standing ovations. As much art project as movie, Weerasethakul favors fluid, unpredictable filmmaking over traditional storytelling. Or, to quote Guardian film editor Jason Solomons, his tales "have a beginning, a middle, and an end, but not necessarily in that order."
Joe Wilson & Dean Hamer, Filmmakers
If you haven't seen Out in the Silence, make sure you do. The startling documentary begins with filmmaker Joe Wilson (left) announcing his marriage to Dean Hamer (right) in his small hometown's newspaper. The unexpected controversy that follows leads the mother of a tormented gay teen in that town to reach out to Wilson and Hamer, and the movie they made follows the journeys Wilson and the teen take, together and separately. Tough, wrenching, inspiring.
Rufus Wainwright, Musician
It's been 12 years since Rufus Wainwright released his self-titled debut album to a torrent of critical acclaim. Since then, Wainwright's career trajectory has been anything but expected. With work ranging from maudlin, sentimental music hall songs to folkie, lyrically nuanced hymns, his inclinations are so unexpected that his records are events'not because of, but despite, his sexuality. Whether he be archly recreating Judy Garland's campy turn at Carnegie Hall or flexing his more ostentatious muscles in his full-length opera, Prima Donna, the performer is as comfortable churning out splashy ditties as he is caustic odes to modern love.
John Cameron Mitchell, Film Director
No, he's not about to turn into Michael Bay, but John Cameron Mitchell is about to show the world how he handles his first A-list cast, with the Nicole Kidman headliner Rabbit Hole, which opens in December, a movie he describes as 'surprisingly funny, sweet, and hopeful.' Mitchell, whose small-budget hits Shortbus and Hedwig and the Angry Inch made him a darling of the indie world, has also directed a video campaign for fashion house Dior, after being sought out by Oscar winner Marion Cotillard, a fan of Hedwig. Sir Ian McKellen also stars as a wheel-bound suitor to Cotillard, whom Mitchell compares to 'a cross between a burlesque dancer, Mary Poppins, and Jesus.' We'll take that.
Jennifer Knapp & Lee Schrager, Musician and Food Guru
Jennifer Knapp made waves back in 1998 with her acclaimed debut album, Kansas, which built up a strong Christian following. Success followed success, and 2001 saw a Grammy nomination for Lay It Down. Then, in 2004, Knapp announced a hiatus from the music world, which lasted until 2009.'I didn't play, I didn't write'my guitars collected dust for five years,' she says. 'I really left the music business with the idea that I might not ever do it again.' In 2010, though, both the musician and her eagerly awaited new album, Letting Go, came out. Her stripped-back folk and country sound was worth the wait.
Pay attention to this man behind the curtain. Lee Schrager has overseen the Miami Wine and Food Festival since its inception a decade ago, as well as the birth of its New York City sibling in 2007. The Long Island native got his start as a waiter in a Miami hotel and today serves as vice president of corporate communications and national events for Southern Wine & Spirits, the nation's largest beverage distributor. Under his capable hand, attendance at the South Beach must-eat event has grown steadily each year, topping 50,000 in 2010.
Ned Rorem, Composer/Writer
Ned Rorem is one of classical music's most prolific masters, with more than 1,000 songs to his name, in addition to a series of revelatory diaries for which Alex Ross, writing in The New Yorker in 2003, rightly heralded him 'a pioneer of modern gay culture, speaking freely and fearlessly of his desires.' Born in Richmond, Ind., in 1923, Rorem has not always received his due from our premier concert halls, despite winning a Pulitzer in 1976 for his suite Air Music. It's time to change that legacy. As Ross reminds us, 'Anyone who writes music for a living is a hero, and Rorem is more heroic than most, because he has compromised so little of what he holds dear. His prose will outlast the sneering of his critics, and his music is too mysteriously sweet to die away.'
Owen Pallett, Sia & Alan Cumming, Musicians and Actor
Owen Pallett (left) doesn't do small. And Heartland, the acclaimed album he released last January, was no exception, containing the Toronto singer-violinist's most vibrant, ambitious songs to date. The work was as captivating as it was metaphysical, so much so that it was short-listed for Canada's 2010 Polaris Music Prize. The performer formerly known as Final Fantasy followed the record in September with his multi-instrumental EP, A Swedish Love Story, and a national tour with the Dirty Projectors and the National.
This summer, Aussie singer-songwriter Sia (full name: Sia Furler) (center) shelved her token soulful balladry and strapped on her dancing shoes for We Are Born, her album with producer Greg Kurstin (Lily Allen, Ke$ha). But she's still adept at crafting quality pop tearjerkers, as she proves on the recent tracks she wrote for Christina Aguilera: four for her latest album, Bionic, and one for her role in the movie-musical Burlesque.
Multihyphenate Alan Cumming's varied choice of projects makes it hard to classify the charismatic performer (right) and keeps his fans on their toes. In addition to his work as an actor, singer, and writer, Cumming is an activist for LGBT organizations, including GLAAD and the Human Rights Campaign, and he received the Point Foundation's 2010 Courage Award. This year, he was nominated for an Emmy for his performance on ABC's The Good Wife and returned to the big screen, costarring with Cher and Christina Aguilera in Burlesque and Helen Mirren and Russell Brand in Julie Taymor's adaptation of Shakespeare's The Tempest.
With his unnaturally perfect grin and matinee-idol good looks, Cheyenne Jackson (third from right) could have easily avoided questions about his sexuality in exchange for a more traditional career path. Instead, the performer chose to blaze a unique course for himself'and he's now reaping generous rewards for his candor. In addition to his vigorous concert schedules, he's made the leap from stage to screen by guest starring on some of the most adored shows currently on TV: 30 Rock, Glee, and Curb Your Enthusiasm.
In 2010, Bloc Party front man Kele Okereke (far right) dropped both his last name and his postpunk sound for his first solo project, The Boxer. From its butch, moody cover art to its electro-rave tracks 'Walk Tall' and 'Tenderoni' to the singer's newfound frankness about his sexuality while he was promoting it, the album was Kele's big personal statement. 'I've always tried to break down boundaries,' he says. 'With this record, it was important to show that there were other things I could do and that there's more than one way of seeing the world.'
A piece for the New York Philharmonic, works for the English National Opera and New York's Metropolitan Opera, a collaboration with Benjamin Millepied for the Dutch National Ballet, contributions to new records from Sigur R's's J'nsi and Antony and the Johnsons'is there anything Nico Muhly (second from right) didn't do this year? The 29-year-old classical composer, conductor, and performer also wrote the ballet score for Stephen Petronio's 2009 Joyce Theater production of I Drink the Air Before Me and this fall released A Good Understanding, his new album of choral music for Grant Gershon and the Los Angeles Master Chorale.
Nathan Lane, Actor
Two-time Tony winner Nathan Lane's career has encompassed film, television, and theater, and he's played everything from the histrionic, cross-dressing paramour of Robin Williams to the morbidly devoted husband of Bebe Neuwirth, which he does eight times a week in the Broadway show The Addams Family. But his most sublime trick is that one cannot tell where Lane ends and the characters he portrays begin. His elastic face easily renders anything from curmudgeonly resign to whimsical clownishness all the while allowing him to stay true to his signature 'lan, which he threads through all his performances. In addition to his current Broadway gig, Lane, who came out in 1999, guest starred this year on Modern Family.
Michael Musto, Kimberly Reed, Laverne Cox & Jincey Lumpkin, Columnist, Filmmaker, Life Coach, and Filmmaker
As with Patrick McMullan, you can hardly go out in New York without stumbling into Michael Musto (lower left), often on his bicycle'a girls' Durocycle'as he hops between parties. Unlike McMullan, he has an oddly shy way of deflecting attention, always in the room, but never entirely part of it. All the better to pen his sly, witty columns for The Village Voice, where his La Dolce Musto column has been the paper's chief attraction for 25 years. Asked what keeps him motivated as the city's chronicler-in-chief, he replies, 'The fact that every event seems brand new to me. There's something about New York at night that frees people to tap into their inner fabulosities and act up in wildly entertaining ways. I'm there!'
New York City'based transgender lesbian filmmaker Kimberly Reed (n'e Paul McKerrow) (left) came out to her hometown in a huge way: at her 20th high school reunion in Helena, Mont., in 2005. Then in 2010, Helena High School's onetime quarterback and valedictorian came out to the world in her film, Prodigal Sons, in which she documented her reunion with her classmates as well as with her troubled adopted brother. Met with critical accolades, the film landed Reed a guest appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show and turned the film editor into an indie-doc darling.
Toiling under the manicured iron fist of rapper P. Diddy on 2008's I Want to Work for Diddy earned Laverne Cox (center) the honor of becoming the first African-American transgender woman to appear on an American reality show and a GLAAD award for her trouble. This year she returned to VH1 to teach clueless, straight biological women the finer points of being a lady with her VH1 makeover series Transform Me.
'Lesbian porn made by men is mostly women with huge tits, long nails, and blonde, fake hair using purple, sparkly dildos. And that is obviously not how most of us have sex,' says lawyer-turned'porn mogul Jincey Lumpkin (right). Serving as the 'chief sexy officer' of her own production company, Juicy Pink Box, Lumpkin oversees all aspects of her women-for-women-by-women adult empire'from casting to directing to editing.
Kalup Linzy, Artist
Kalup Linzy has parlayed a childhood obsession with soap operas into a successful career as a video and performance artist whose work is included in the public collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum, and the Studio Museum in Harlem. In his short films (e.g., Da Young and da Mess, All My Churen), Linzy comments on race, sexuality, friendship, and love, often singing and usually playing multiple characters in drag. His Southern-inflected, category-defying, hysterical oeuvre has drawn comparisons to everyone from Cindy Sherman to Eddie Murphy and has led to collaborations with the likes of James Franco and the designers behind Proenza Schouler.
Levi Kreis, Actor/Musician
Levi Kreis picked up the Tony for Best Featured Actor in a Musical for his feverishly energetic portrayal of Jerry Lee Lewis in this year's Million Dollar Quartet, his Broadway debut. The Tennessee native has released four independently produced albums of his own'a mix of pop, gospel, and rock'and toured the country extensively, performing with a diverse roster of artists, including Herbie Hancock and Melissa Etheridge.
Casey Spooner, Musician
He may never shake his association with the early-aughties electroclash movement, but trust us, Casey Spooner has moved on. This year, the Fischerspooner founder continued his tour for the duo's 2009 album, Entertainment; self-released his solo album, Adult Contemporary; DJed worldwide; presented his photography in the Milan exhibit 'It's Not Only Rock 'n' Roll, Baby'; performed with the Wooster Group in a Bucharest, Romania, production of Hamlet; and toured his new one-man show with Scissor Sisters, also serving as a creative director for the band's U.K. arena tour. Up next? 'I have no idea,' Spooner says, 'and that's exactly the way I like it.'
Bryan Rafanelli, Chelsea Clinton's Wedding Planner
This year it is all about superlatives for event planner Bryan Rafanelli , named 'man of the moment' by Town & Country for creating Chelsea Clinton's 'wedding of the decade,' after having managed several fund-raising events for the mother of the bride and inauguration events for President Obama. We imagine the affably accommodating Rafanelli handled the equally demanding client he found in Andrew Sullivan with similar aplomb in 2007 when he executed the pundit's Provincetown nuptials. Boston-based Rafanelli got his start as an event planner when, at 22, he lost a friend to AIDS and began coordinating fundraisers for the city's AIDS Action Committee.
Kyle Dean Massey, Michael Greif & Brian Yorkey, Actor, Director and Playwright
Since 1918, the Pulitzer Prize for Drama has been the gold standard in the theater community, but only eight have been awarded to musicals. This year, that honor was bestowed on the musical drama Next to Normal, the story of a suburban housewife crippled by mental disease and its effect on her family. Kyle Dean Massey (front), the winning young actor who currently plays Diana's spectral son in the show, boasts a r'sum' that also includes Wicked, Xanadu, and Altar Boyz. His sensitive and energetic portrayal is the pitch-perfect combination of youthful vanity and ephemeral longing.
Director Michael Greif (center) infused the work with a searing understanding of the complexities of the ways families function, and it wasn't the first time he crafted a critical and commercial triumph that captured the prize'he was also the director of the original production of Rent. Greif is currently directing the New York City revival of Angels in America, starring Zachary Quinto.
By giving a voice to the woman struggling with bipolar tendencies in Next to Normal, playwright and lyricist Brian Yorkey (back) was able to exercise a variety of emotions through the prism of familial conflict. Yorkey, who won the Tony in 2009, lends a tone of authenticity and savage acuity to an art form that even he acknowledges can become effete. 'People bursting into song can be ridiculous. But musicals that go right can be sublime.'
Vince Aletti & Klaus Biesenbach, Critic and Museum Director
Credited as the first man to write about disco (in Rolling Stone in 1973), Vince Aletti's contribution to the music and art worlds has endured far longer than any musical trend. He served as a senior editor at The Village Voice for almost 20 years before departing in 2005 and is celebrated for his unerring awareness of early cultural developments in New York City. A curator as well as a critic, Aletti (left) now writes for The New Yorker, where he covers photography.
For the director of the MoMA-affiliated P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center in New York, Klaus Biesenbach (right) there is no typical workday. Biesenbach, whose appetite is particularly voracious for performance and video art, is as comfortable in an East Village dive bar taking in a drag performance as he is in a Chelsea neighborhood gallery, and it shows in the impressive and varied shows he's curated at both MoMA and P.S.1. He champions young maverick artists such as Paul Chan, Kalup Linzy, and James Franco and ensures the legacy of midcareer artists like Marina Abramovic (whose MoMA retrospective he oversaw this spring).
Penn Bullock & Brandon K. Thorp, The Men Who Broke the Rekers Story
Though it may sound like a kicky pitch for a Bravo remake of Cagney & Lacey'two gay journalists, who are also partners, exposing the hypocrisy of a homophobic lobbyist and medical practitioner'it's actually just another day at the office for journalists Penn Bullock (left, in dark jacket) and Brandon K. Thorp (right, in light jacket). The young writers broke the story this year in the Miami New Times that George Alan Rekers'a Southern Baptist minister and psychologist who championed conversion therapies in children and used his doctoral status to testify against gay rights issues'had used the services of a young 'travel assistant' he found on the male escort website Rentboy.com during his 10-day vacation. The media quickly took note of the scoop, and Rekers's despicable career unraveled at the hands of his own self-hating duplicity. Who says print journalism is dead?
Tyra Sanchez & Patrick McMullan, Performer and Photographer
Being branded a bitch can be the best thing that ever happened to a girl. Just ask James Ross'aka Tyra Sanchez'who spun street-smart sass (he was dubbed 'Satan's Baby' by a fellow contestant) and a flawless sense of style into gold on the second season of RuPaul's Drag Race. Along with the spoils of his victory ($25,000 and a gig as the new face of NYX cosmetics) came the chance for Ross to parlay his triumph into a full-fledged career as a female illusionist, dazzling clubs and cruise ship crowds around the world with his spot-on channeling of Beyonc' and Nicki Minaj. '
If you've lived in New York City for any length of time and not been photographed by Patrick McMullan, you are doing something wrong. In the age of TMZ and Gawker stalkers, it says something of McMullan's old-school amiability that spotting him across the floor of a crowded party has the spark of bumping into an old friend. McMullan, who likes to say he majored in business and 'minored in Studio 54,' was given his first camera, appropriately enough, by Andy Warhol, who encouraged his budding career. Diagnosed with testicular cancer at the age of 23, McMullan recalls how friends and acquaintances initially assumed he had the 'gay cancer,' as the then-unnamed AIDS virus was initially dubbed. McMullan recovered; the early '80s scene he'd so assiduously recorded was less fortunate. Three decades later, McMullan retains his position as the consummate chronicler of New York City's social life. The parties have changed; the shutterbug hasn't.
Gerald McCullouch, Actor
Actor, singer, writer, and director Gerald McCullouch may be best known for playing firearms expert Bobby Dawson on the popular CSI franchise, but what audiences may not know is that the performer doesn't need to rely on weaponry in real life. McCullouch, a trained boxer, has twice defended himself against assailants off-screen. In addition to his work on CSI, the Alabama native, who received a degree in musical theater from Florida State University, took some time this year to work on two upcoming film projects: The Mikado Project and BearCity, a comical take on the lives of a group of hirsute city boys.
Nate Silver, Nick Denton & Jim Nelson, Pollster, New Media Pioneer, and Editor
If psephology sounds like something you get after washing down a tandoori chicken with one too many cocktails, you haven't been following the career of America's leading psephologist, Nate Silver (left), who has reinvented the science of electoral analysis. Back in the heady days of the 2008 election, Silver propelled his website, FiveThirtyEight.com, to prominence after a series of remarkably accurate projections for the primaries, made in part by appropriating an analytical tool developed for baseball. Now hosted by The New York Times, FiveThirtyEight is a barometer of America's changing landscape, tracking everything from gay marriage polling to the psychodrama of this year's elections.
As evidenced by his willingness to let us shoot him with a pie in his face, Gawker founder Nick Denton (center) seems to relish the brickbats that routinely rain down on his 'empire of barbed news and gossip sites' to use the words of Michael Idov, whose recent profile of Denton for New York magazine reported that Gawker Media's popularity ranks ahead of TMZ and NYTimes.com. (A rival profile in The New Yorker put the figure at 17 million unique visitors a month.) Collectively, that empire'which includes Gizmodo, Jezebel, and Lifehacker'represents a populist version of the social and cultural moment America is living through, from the soap opera of the Tea Party to the hubris of Apple to the car wreck that is Lindsay Lohan. But beyond the search-and-destroy factor that made him such a potent force, Denton is creating a new paradigm for digital media. Most everyone else is just playing catch-up.
There's only room for one enigmatic diva at Cond' Nast, and that role is taken. As editor in chief of GQ, the company's flagship men's title, Jim Nelson (right) has put his stamp on the magazine without subjugating it to his peccadilloes. And at a time of intense challenges on print media, the Maryland native, who began his career as a writer and producer at CNN before landing himself an internship at Harper's magazine, has largely resisted pressure to Maxim-ize the 53-year-old title in favor of serious reportage and candid profiles. 'Every detail matters,' he says. 'I've learned never to waste a page' or a page view'to never miss out on the chance for a memorable photo assignment, an ambitious story, a provocative idea, or even a perfect headline.'
Andrew McIntosh, Athlete
In light of the recent media attention to homophobia on college campuses, it may come as a surprise to find that earlier this year Andrew McIntosh, a senior lacrosse captain at SUNY College at Oneonta, came out to his teammates with barely a blip on the campus's cultural barometer. Instead of a maelstrom of controversy or rallies of intolerance, the incident was greeted with acceptance and humanity. McIntosh, who admits to having struggled with thoughts of suicide in the past, bravely gave a face and voice to gay athletes while his fellow lacrosse players redefined sportsmanship.
Christine Quinn, Politician
As council speaker, it's Christine Quinn who is called upon to be the voice of New York City's 51-member city council on everything from MTA fare hikes, teachers' union strife, and the ongoing Islamic cultural center debate. But the 11-year rep is really executing two jobs, also serving as New York's most high-profile, politically effective gay rights champion. As the city's most eligible candidate to succeed Mayor Bloomberg, Quinn has been especially vocal about the rash of gay teen suicides this year, gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino's repeated homophobic remarks, and, as always, the importance of marriage equality.
Leslie Jordan & Heather Cassils, Performer and Performance Artist
Emmy winner Leslie Jordan (left) is a perennial scene stealer, but this year he ditched the ensemble and stood firmly in the spotlight with his one-man off-Broadway show My Trip Down the Pink Carpet, based on his 2008 memoir, and a national stand-up tour. Next year, he'll costar in Mangus! with Jennifer Coolidge, Heather Matarazzo, and John Waters and will have a smaller but no doubt memorable part in The Help, based on the New York Times best seller and starring Emma Stone and Sissy Spacek.
Personal trainer and performance artist Heather Cassils (center) has made a career of challenging antiquated notions about gender and the body, but this year, she got a little extra help from Lady Gaga, who cast Cassils as her jail-yard girlfriend in the 'Telephone' video. 'My body is a complete construction,' Cassils says. 'When you can present people with an image of something that's 'other''something in between that doesn't have binaries'it offers them more options.' In June, Cassils exhibited Hard Times, a live performance informed by Los Angeles body building culture, Greek mythology, and experimental film, at the Movement Research Festival in New York City. Her piece Tiresias was also presented in 2010 as part of the Gutted benefit at the Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions.
For John Crocco, creative director of Perry Ellis, designing is less about results than it is about the process. 'It can be very gratifying to see something from its inception all the way through to the final product and then, hopefully, its success,' he explains. The brand, known for its casual, clean cuts and elegant take on American sportswear, has thrived for 30 years in the cutthroat clothing business despite a slew of competitors. In fact, it has experienced a bit of a revival recently, thanks in part to the resurgence of preppy sensibilities. The secret to Crocco's success? 'Stay young and relevant, and be open to new ideas. Flexibility is key.'
Jonathan David Katz & Dale Peck, Art Historian and Author
As cocurator with historian David C. Ward of the National Portrait Gallery's recently opened exhibition 'Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture,' Jonathan David Katz (left) has made history. The landmark exhibition is the first major museum show exploring the influence of homosexuality on modern American portraiture and includes works by Marsden Hartley, Berenice Abbott, Keith Haring, David Wojnarowicz, and Catherine Opie, among many others. Katz, a longtime actvist, who is currently director of the doctoral program in visual studies at the State University of New York at Buffalo, also has the distinction of having been the first-ever tenured gay studies professor in the U.S.
Curmudgeonly critic Stanley Crouch dismissed Dale Peck (right) as a 'troubled queen' but forgot to include the important qualifier 'talented.' His 1998 Now It's Time to Say Goodbye is a neglected masterpiece, and his elegiac memoir, What We Lost, did not deserve to be overshadowed by his notorious review of The Ice Storm author Rick Moody, whom Peck described as 'the worst writer of his generation.' Lately, the author has focused on children's novels and his sci-fi trilogy, Gate of Orpheus, cowritten with Heroes creator Tim Kring, of which the first book, Shift, was published in August. He is also a founding member of the just-launched publishing collective, Mischief & Mayhem. Expect plenty of it.
The California-bred, University of Texas at Austin-educated filmmaker PJ Raval (top) has been busy since he codirected the award-winning 2008 documentary Trinidad, about the Colorado town known as the 'sex change capital of the world.' This year, he served as cinematographer on the forthcoming features Habibi Rasak Kharban and Cooler, as well as a short film about sexual intimacy executive produced by Michael Stipe. Currently in development: a documentary about LGBTQ retirement communities and a narrative feature called Manhandled about a lesbian couple's journey as one of them undergoes a sex change.
Fancy hotels, skimpy bikinis, giant pool parties'Mariah Hanson's (left) the Dinah could easily be described as spring break for lesbians. But the producer behind the annual Palm Springs, Calif., gathering sees it as more than that. 'I want it to be the most amazing, show-stopping, mind-boggling, blockbuster event that one can imagine,' she says of the bash, the largest of Club Skirts Dinah Shore Weekend. 'I think lesbians deserve it. And I'm willing to invest back into that concept and attract top-tier talent.' That talent has included Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, the Pussycat Dolls, and Ke$ha, who headlined the Dinah's 20th anniversary party, which Hanson and some 20,000 attendees celebrated this year.
Don't let Nathan Barr's (right) sunny smile fool you. The Tokyo-raised composer, who began his career as assistant to famed cinema scorer Hans Zimmer, has written and performed the score of every episode of HBO's dark series True Blood. And as a favorite of modern horror master Eli Roth, he's also lent his songwriting and multi-instrumental talents (he plays everything from cello and dulcimer to piano and harmonica) to the scores of Hostel and Hostel: Part II, as well as Roth's latest, The Last Exorcism.
Mike Ruiz & Tracy Young, Photographer and DJ
Transforming Wendy Williams into Jessica Rabbit and Adam Lambert into a cross between Errol Flynn and Rudolph Valentino is all in a day's work for Mike Ruiz, but this year the photographer had a hard time staying behind the camera. Guest-starring stints on America's Next Top Model, RuPaul's Drag Race, and Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List served as warm-up laps for Ruiz's pole position role on Logo's guilty pleasure The A-List, a gay take on The Real Housewives of New York City.
After scoring 40 number 1 hits on the Billboard Club Play chart, including remixes for Madonna, Christina Aguilera, and Shakira, Tracy Young is arguably the world's most famous female DJ. But it was the release of 'Tardy for the Party' by The Real Housewives of Atlanta's Kim Zolciak on Young's Ferosh Records'and being featured on the first episode of the Bravo reality series'that kept her name bobbing in the cultural current this year. Gossip bloggers are still trying to decipher whether or not the two are, or ever were, a couple.
Meredith Baxter, Actress
In December 2009, Meredith Baxter, who epitomized the 1980s American mom with her role as Elyse Keaton in the sitcom Family Ties, announced publicly that she's a lesbian. 'I feel like I'm being honest for the first time,' the 63-year-old actress and real-life mother of five told People, revealing that she'd been in a four-year relationship with her partner, Nancy Locke. Baxter continues to helm her skincare line, Meredith Baxter Simple Works, from which she donates a portion of the profits to the Meredith Baxter Foundation for Breast Cancer Research. Next up: a memoir in which she'll discuss her fight with breast cancer, her 19 years of sobriety, and her decision to come out.