Posted by: facetothewind | October 13, 2003

Upon Receiving the Murrow Award

New York
October 13, 2003

Hi All,

Well I know some of you have been wanting to hear how the “Eddies” went – the Edward R. Murrow Awards dinner in New York tonight.

Tom Hostetler and I jumped in a cab from our semi-flea bag hotel and descended upon the Murrow dinner. I wore my new second-hand tux with my too-big, hand-me-down shoes double socked and padded with Dr. Schol’s gel inserts to keep them from slipping off. No problems there. They stayed on. They even survived shrimp soccer.

The dinner for 70-something honorees and their 400 something guests was held in the ballroom where Hillary Clinton accepted her senatorial victory at the Grand Central Hyatt. Silk flowers in the lobby – must’ve been budget cuts. The dinner was great, though. Excellent food. But, oh that poor shrimp.

CBS hosted a massive buffet of very elegantly prepared appetizers. Well, unbeknownst to the hundreds of people milling about and exchanging cards and pleasantries in formal attire, a large shrimp freed itself from some journalist’s hors d’oeuvre plate. The shrimp landed on the floor, somewhat blending in with the ballroom carpeting. I watched first as Ann Compton, the White House correspondent from ABC News, unknowingly kicked the shrimp across the floor, volleying it to 60 Minutes’ Bob Simon. Well, then Chris Hansen from Dateline NBC was seen standing on the shrimp’s head while chatting with Dan Rather.

OK, I am exaggerating. All these celebrities were there mingling and people were actually unwittingly kicking and standing on the shrimp. I found it to be quite hilarious.

Alright, zooming out from this and on with the evening. The evening’s awards progressed and when my time came to receive mine, I was happily relieving myself in the men’s room. Tom comes rushing in – “Weedie!” (short for Tumbleweed), “get up there – you’re on.” So I come zipping myself out of the bathroom and they’re already introducing our show as I enter the ballroom. The stage manager rushes me up and bing bang, I’m handed the award by Chris Hansen from Dateline NBC and them off the stage. I did manage to notice that Dan Rather was adjusting himself in his seat while listening to the clip from our show.

The actual trophy is a desktop one – about 8 inches high, an acrylic monolith on black pedestal. Inside is a bronze medallion with Murrow’s face (no cigarette). It has Outright Radio’s name and then the winning show name: “Out on the Rez: Stories from Gay Native America” etched on the face of it. Definitely the most swank award we’ve won yet.

After the awards, when everyone was milling about and moving toward the exits, Tom and I shamelessly begged for photo opportunities with all the above-mentioned celebrities. It actually became hilarious, how many celebrities I could weasel in next to. I grabbed my award and thrust myself upon anyone whose face looked familiar, kinda like the family dog who gets frisky with your leg under the dinner table. First, Dan Rather quietly obliged after hanging up from a cell phone call. Flash. Click. He congratulated me and shook my hand with a very large paw both before and after the picture. It was odd to see him milling around in the back of the ballroom and no one was talking to him. Ann Compton was buzzing about in a rather frumpy, yet shiny, beaded outfit. She was very bubbly and happy to be photographed. Flash. Click. Bob Simon was quite gentlemanly about it. He told me his name (as if I didn’t know) and I guffawed, “Of course I know who you are. I grew up watching you.” He laughed and said that was the best and worst thing I could say. Flash. Click. We yanked ABC’s Bob Woodruff out of his limo for a picture on the street in front of the hotel. Handsome guy. Bad haircut. Flash. Click.

And finally, a picture with the guy selling hot pretzels at his push cart amid the hubbub in front of the hotel on a Monday night…a significant moment in my life and just another Monday night on 42nd Street in New York for him. Flash. Click.

I’m back in San Francisco now reflecting on all the reasons I don’t live in New York anymore. Hot pretzels, notwithstanding.

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