Mightier Than the Sword

By Corey Scholibo

Originally published on Advocate.com November 10 2008 12:00 AM ET

In Los Angeles's
Silver Lake district on Saturday night, thousands of
people gathered to march in the streets to protest the
passage of Proposition 8.

One hundred miles
away, in Palm Springs, dozens of people gathered in the
home of author Anne Rice to celebrate gay and lesbian
literature at the Lambda Literary Foundation’s
annual cocktail fund-raiser, “Written in the
Sand.”

Guests sipped
wine and beer from crystal glasses and listened to the
Calypso band playing by the pool while admiring the many
religious accoutrements that decorated the house. But
Prop. 8 is exactly what was on everyone’s minds
and what Lambda’s president -- author Christopher
Rice, son of the famous vampire novelist -- spoke to
when addressing the crowd.

He said that a
crucial part of this struggle to maintain our equality
would lie in supporting gay and lesbian literature, which
has always and will always continue to tell our
stories. In attendance were members of the Palm
Springs LGBT community as well as a sprinkling of
notable authors such as David Francis (Stray Dog
Winter
), Noel Alumit, and Janet Finch (White
Oleander
). Ms. Rice was nowhere to be found for the
first hour of the party, but then she appeared to
an already packed house to say, “I just
came out to see if anyone was here.”

Bruce Vilanch Anne Rice at Lambda Literary Foundation’s annual cocktail fund-raiser, “Written in the Sand.” x100 (Charlesw Flowers) | Advocate.com
     

She spoke for a
moment when everyone gathered in the living room for
speeches and, just as quickly as she appeared, turned and
walked away. “She promised she would speak if
it could be under 30 seconds,” Christopher
joked before speaking of the importance of Lambda, which is
the only organization dedicated to the preservation and
promotion of LGBT literature.

Patricia Neal
Warren, who wrote the '70s best-seller The Front
Runner,
was also in attendance, talking at length
about the importance not only of gay books but also of
gay bookstores, a topic Christopher Rice also feels strongly
about.

“A big
part of our visibility is being visible in stores,”
said Christopher, who commented that ordering
anonymously from Amazon.com was a step
toward invisibility. Instead of asking for money at the end
of the evening -- though the foundation was
certainly not going to turn it down -- the
organization asked guests to buy a book from a selected
list at a book seller from another list. Admission to the
event was $65 (students were charged $40). 

Hosting the
evening, Bruce Vilanch kept the mood light and the
crowd laughing. He made jokes about everything from
Sarah Palin to one of the countless dolls that
surrounded guests in Ms. Rice’s house. The event
wrapped up fairly quickly after the speakers addressed the
crowd, and people filed out to find Warren personally
autographing their parting gift, a copy of
Harlan’s Race, the sequel to The
Front Runner.

To become a
member or to donate to the organization, go to www.lambdaliterary.org.