Cyndi Lauper's Urges Renaissance in Activism

Gay City News participated in a Pride Season kick-off party held April 28 at the Renaissance Time Square Hotel that was a star-studded fundraiser for Cyndi Lauper’s True Color Fund, which takes aim at LGBT inequality and, especially, homelessness among queer youth. The event was also, we’d like to think not so incidentally, a celebration of the 50th birthday of the newspaper’s founding associate publisher, Troy Masters.

An enthusiastic crowd packed the hotel’s RLife Lounge, enjoying great food, generous drinks, and, most spectacularly, unbelievably close-up views of the heart of New York’s bustling Times Square. Attendees enjoyed performances by the cast of “Priscilla Queen of the Desert” and electronic violinist Caitlin Moe, who –– by the way –– was fiddler to a president and a secretary of state at Chelsea Clinton’s wedding. DJ Mia Moretti and DJ Equality spun tunes for the crowd.

Among the more than 150 people who attended were New York City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer and his partner, Dan Hendrick of the New York League of Conservation Voters; Erik Bottcher, special assistant for community affairs to Governor Andrew Cuomo; Carlos Menchaca, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn’s liaison to the LGBT community; Carlos Melia, Mr. Gay International 2008, who is a representative of the city of Buenos Aires; American Airlines’ Elizabeth Gaerlan; Christopher Heywood of NYC & Company; Apoorva N. Gandhi, the vice president for multi-cultural markets at Marriott International; Randy Griffin, who handles Marriott affinity sales; Danielle Shapiro, a Renaissance Hotels sales executive; Richard Oceguera of the Corcoran Group and the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce New York; Dirk McCall, executive director of the Bronx Community Pride Center; Lawrence Moss, special counsel at Human Rights Watch; Earl Fowlkes from the Federation of Black Prides; Jose Carlos Brenes of Costa Rica Connections; attorney and human rights activist Jeffrey Campagna; Scott Gorenstein, whose public relations clients include Liza Minnelli; Alan Klein of Alan Klein Communications; and Gay City News’ Julio Tumbaco, the co-chair of the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce LGBT-2-B.

Masters was joined by other Gay City News colleagues, including Paul Schindler, editor-in-chief; travel editor Michael Luongo; contributing editor Dean Wrzeszcz; nightlife columnist David Noh; theater critic David Kennerley; political columnist Nathan Riley; and reporter and columnist Yoav Sivan. John Bayles, editor of Downtown Express, a sister Community Media publication; Aline Reynolds, a DE reporter; photographer J.B. Nicholas; and Cynthia Soto, who keeps the trains running on time, were also on hand.

In a special appearance toward the end of a generously long evening, Lauper gave an impassioned speech explaining the need for the True Colors Fund, which is currently promoting the Give A Damn campaign that encourages straight allies in the fight for gay rights.

Masters, who was accompanied by his partner, Arturo Jimenez, said, “I am so honored by the many people who turned out to support the True Colors Fund. To have so many people show appreciation for my efforts in gay journalism over the past 25 years is just amazing. And to be here at the Renaissance with Cyndi Lauper, well…”

Renaissance Hotels, along with American Airlines and Grey Goose® Vodka, partnered to sponsor an online auction featuring exclusive travel packages to Renaissance Hotels around the world, including the new St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel in London. Online bidding continues until May 12 at

Renaissance Hotels is deeply committed to making sure that gay and lesbian families feel right at home when they stay at any of our hotels around the world,” said Marriott International’s Gandhi. The hotel chain scores a perfect 100 percent on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index.