Linda Perry: Keeps Gettin’ Better 



Before Perry’s involvement, the event was more of a low-key affair, she says.

“It was just $10, and you learn some awareness at a dingy club — it wasn’t sexy. I mean, shit, I don’t even know if they were making money,” she says. “We needed to really take it up a notch, right down to changing the name,” says Perry. “I said, ‘Your center is far too important to be charging $10.’”

As cochair, Perry was involved in every aspect of the event, down to the flower arrangements and menu. “I was in the kitchen tasting the food, making sure we were serving good food ... and that the flowers looked beautiful and smelled good,” she says. “We all got together and created a very special event for people to walk out of and say, ‘Fuck yeah, I can’t wait till next year.’”

She got celebrities to sign up, upped tickets to $300 a pop, and her bet seems to have paid off. “The awareness we got last year was so wonderful and so massive that this year it’s making it easier for us to do it again,” Perry says. “A lot of people have been showing up to the table earlier on this year, so that’s been great.”

Even with last year’s success, the songwriter-turned-event-planner is feeling the pressure to raise money for a cause she so believes in. “The night before, I’m going to be pulling out my hair wondering if we’ll sell out because we have to do this for the center — there’s no reason to put a charity on if you can’t make money for them,” says Perry. “This is a human event; this is about not turning your back on people in need. The [center] doesn’t turn their back on anybody — everybody is welcome.”

Part of the reason Perry supports the center is to keep kids from suffering through something she hasn’t. “I told my mom I was gay when I was 16, and my mom said with her heavy Brazilian accent, ‘OK, but at least look good at it,’” Perry laughs. “She didn’t want me to be a big bull dyke; that was the biggest thing for her.

“And that’s the way it should be — I had a beautiful experience coming out,” she says. “I’m 44 and I’ve never had a problem being gay, and maybe I dodged a lot of bullets and maybe I’m one of the lucky ones. I want to make sure every kid can have that experience ... I believe in life and I believe that everyone should have a fucking great one.”

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Tags: Music