Mayor Bill de Blasio and his wife, Chirlane McCray, on the Cutting Room stage at the August 28 LGBT for BdB fundraiser. | GAY CITY NEWS
In August 2013, as Bill de Blasio was just starting what turned into a meteoric rise from the back of the pack to a smashing victory in that year’s Democratic mayoral primary, an energized crowd of LGBTQ supporters turned out for a fundraiser at the Cutting Room on East 32nd Street headlined by many queer community marquee names. This past Monday, many of the same entertainers — joined by others — returned.
Though de Blasio faces weak opposition in the September 12 primary and a little-known Republican state assemblymember in the November general, hundreds were on hand for a show put together by actor Cynthia Nixon (“The Little Foxes,” “Sex and the City”) that featured Rosie O’Donnell, Denis O’Hare (“Take Me Out,” “American Horror Story”), Michael Urie (“Ugly Betty,” “The Government Inspector”), Taylor Schilling (“Orange Is the New Black”), Alan Cumming (“The Good Wife,” “Cabaret”), Mario Cantone (“Sex and the City”), nightlife maven Michael Musto, Randy Jones of Village People fame, and the women’s band BETTY.
Introducing the mayor, First Lady Chirlane McCray talked about her own leadership on forging a comprehensive city response to mental health challenges, citing specifically work that program is doing with LGBTQ youth and in the public schools. De Blasio opened his remarks by joking that Monday’s raucous and at times bawdy stage show was the “toned-down, more conservative” echo of the 2013 event. That evening, he said, when the polls still showed the race a tough one for him, he could feel the sense of “cutting away the bonds of the past and believing that we could make something different for this city.”
Comedian Rosie O’Donnell cracked a few jokes at Donald Trump’s expense, all in support of the mayor’s reelection. |GAY CITY NEWS
Looking to the more recent past, the mayor talked about a speech he gave at Cooper Union shortly after Donald Trump’s election, recalling that he told the crowd, “When we band together, we do change our reality for the better… We were going to find a path forward, and that it was not an end, it was a beginning.” Pointing to positive signs — from the largest women’s rights demonstration in US history on January 21 to town halls in red states demanding that Obamacare be protected — the mayor said he’s found reason for those optimistic words. “I just want to affirm to everyone that the spirit we felt in this room four years ago is not only alive and well, it’s growing,” de Blasio said.
Michael Urie, after jumping off the stage, takes it right to Bill de Blasio. | GAY CITY NEWS