A Report from Ron Burkle’s ‘No on Prop 8′ Beverly Hills Fundraiser


I have a report from last night’s major ‘No on Prop 8′ fundraiser at Ron Burkle’s estate in Beverly Hills.

GreencacresOur source writes:

“First the good news: ‘No on Prop 8′ raised at least $3.9 million from last night’s event! Ron Burkle underwrote the entire evening so that every dollar donated went to the No on Prop 8 campaign. San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom donated $100,000. David Hyde Pierce donated $50,000. They also announced that in the past two weeks, ‘No on 8′ had taken in $10 million to the ‘Yes on Proposition 8′ campaign’s $2 million. If I’m doing my math correctly, at this point we should be fairly even with the bigots in terms of funds raised.

Fund_2“Mayor Gavin Newson opened the event by calling the fight for marriage equality the civil rights issue of our time.

“Patrick Guerriero stated that ‘No on Prop 8′ had just completed a Spanish language radio ad that was ready to air. He also announced that ‘No on Prop 8′ would soon be running recently completed ads specifically to address and counter the false claims made in the advertisements run by the Yes on Proposition 8 campaign.

“Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa stated that the campaign was trying to reach out to Hispanic voters and that he would volunteer to be the face of the television ads and the voice of the radio ads.

“Now for the entertainment!:

Melissa“Melissa Etheridge opened her set with Laura Nyro’s ‘Wedding Bell Blues’, only she changed the lyrics ‘Marry me, Bill’ to ‘Marry me, Jill.’ She also played Janice Joplin’s ‘Bobby McGee’. Throughout the set she made lots of jokes as well as pointed comments about what Yes on Proposition 8’s $25 million dollars could have bought (housing for people left homeless by Katrina, etc…) In the middle of her set, she said she wanted to help raise more money for No on Prop 8 by auctioning off a song, any song, for the highest bidder…with bidding starting at $50,000. There were no takers, so she started into her next song. She closed her set with ‘Bring Me Some Water’. After that, Lorri Jean (director of the L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center) announced that two anonymous men (David and Paul, I believe), had agreed to donate $50,000 to No on Prop 8 if Melissa Etheridge would sing a song at their wedding ceremony on December 20. She accepted their proposal!

Noonprop8“Mary J. Blige followed Melissa Etheridge. I don’t know her music, so I can’t really tell you much of what she sang. The only one of her songs that I’ve been able to figure out is ‘No More Drama’…very powerful! She also performed a cover of U2’s ‘One’. She looked AMAZING!”

Donate to the ‘No on Prop 8′ campaign HERE.

***As a footnote to this report, I’d like Towleroad readers to know that based on the tracking the campaign has done off links from this site, together you have raised at least $63,000 so far for the ‘No on Prop 8′ campaign.

More reports at Variety, The Advocate, and Bilerico.
(Etheridge/Blige photos Becky Sapp©Berliner Studio/BEImages)


  1. Mike says

    Andy. Does your source say if Barbra stayed home or showed up? I swear to God! After all the gay community has done for that diva if she sits this fight out I’ll be pissed off.

  2. Tom S. says

    That is amazing!! $63,000!!

    You don’t have to live in CA to vote, nor do you have to have a lot of money. I’m 24 and live in GA and I donated (via a link on this site).

  3. gabriel says

    Thanks for the continued coverage Andy! Really awesome that your readers have raised so much together! I hope that the momentum doesn’t stop now!!

  4. akaison says

    I am really happy to see the Spanish language ads are being cut. Wow, on getting the mayor of L.A. Too bad that weren’t get Mary J to agree.

    I also wish they were doing ads to talk about the actual impact of prop 8 rather than just saying will make us unequal. Show how, not just tell what.

    Still, overall, this sounds like a vast improvement.

  5. Eric says

    We are so close to make history! We are so close …just donated $150 dollars to No on 8-please please donate and talk to your friends in CA, get involved on youtube videos, myspace and facebook! Mormons are everywhere telling lies …please help NO ON HATE NO ON 8!!!

  6. Aaron says

    Andy! $63k! You rock! I’ve written all the check I can, I’ve emailed action alerts to 150 people, I’ve volunteer four nights a week for a month to phone bank. For those of us in CA doing all we can, appreciate you doing all you can.

  7. peterparker says

    @MIKE: I was the one who provided this report to Andy. Barbra Streisand was an Honorary Chair of the event. She was there. I did not see her, even though I was right up front where she would have been sitting. My guess is that she was behind the stage or sequestered in the house (the party was on that huge lawn that you see in the overhead shot). But Melissa Etheridge did mention from the stage that Barbra Streisand was in attendance.

    @Andy: $63,000… woohoo! Good work, Mr. Towle! (Hey everybody…can we have a few more donations to turn that $63,000 into $100,000?)

    @MATT…are you kidding? Out here on the left coast we love towleroad!

    @TOM S.: thank you so much for your donation!

  8. Matt says

    @ PeterParker…Oh I was under the impression that since Prop 8 was something going on in California only people who voted there and would be affected by it would be donating money. My bad.

  9. josh says

    does anyone know what madonna–or the countless other entertainers who make their $$ off of a [mostly] gay fan base– have done for this effort? in my opinion, it’s payback time…

  10. Gianpiero says

    3.9 million in one night is absolutely phenomenal! I know we’re down to the last days, but it’s still great to see these big givers step up publicly (as well as the rest of us 2-, 3-, and 4-figure donors).

  11. Eric says

    Even if you are not from California! Please donate money to NO ON HATE NO ON 8!! The Mormons are everywhere and they are spending tons of cash to take our rights away! Please talk to your friends in California, comment on those stupid videos on youtube, get involved!United we can make history!!

  12. Paolo says

    Eric is absolutely right. As other have mentioned, it’s crucial to the future of all of our civil rights that Prop 8 FAIL. PLEASE donate whatever you can.

    If California can’t say no to this bullshit, few other states will be able to muster the courage. No matter where you live or what your income, give $10, $20, $50, $100–whatever you can afford. Otheriwse this issue will haunt us for way longer than those measly dollars will affect your bank account.

  13. says

    Congrats — AND THANK YOU — for helping to raise so much money for our combined cause. We’ve been running No on Prop 8 ads almost exclusively in all editions of Gay List Daily to try to generate out-of-state funds as well.

    Keep up the great work!

  14. PeePee says

    I, PeePee, have lots of money and go to fancy parties!

    I, PeePee, have personally donated $1,057,362.47 to defeat Prop 8!

    You all better vote No on Prop 8 so all my money has not been wasted!

    I, PeePee, demand it!

  15. 24play says

    I, PeePee, usually post as LightningLad or LightningLord or LightningDouche. Regardless of the name I post under, I am a racist troll.

  16. akaison says

    there’s not been a poll out since Oct 17th by Survey USA- the only pollster outside of Field polling on the issue. Survey is the only one showing the No on Prop 8 trailing. The internals with Survey are also bad in that they don’t add up.

  17. GregV says

    “Wow! 63K! I didn’t realize Towleroad has so many California readers. Cool.“

    Matt, I don`t live in California, but I know that there is no jurisdiction of its sizze anywhere in the world that is so crucial. Everyone who believes in equality (gay or straight} who can scrounge forgo beers and lattes for a few days should give what he or she can to defeating this hateful amendment. California was the first state to legalize interracial marriage in 1949, and California always sets the trend for all other states and in a large way (being the undisputed international center for pokular media} for the entire world.
    If we lose this, it can have ramifications for decades to come all across America and elsewhere. If we win (and it IS within our grasp}, then we can expect the walls of bigotry to start dismantling themselves, domino style.
    I became convinced to donate by what I read on Towleroad (I knew how important it was. I just needed someone to remind me with a kick in the butt}. I actually called Equality California by telephone, though, so I`m not in that total. Towleroad`s total is higher than we can calculate.
    Those wishing to donate by phone can call Equality California at 323.661.2O71 (remember to tell them expiry dates on your card, etc.}. I asked the guy who answered if I could donate to the organization and he said, yes, but we really need money specifically for the NO ON 8 campaign“ so I told him to put it there.
    Again, to anyone who is reading, California is more CRUCIAL than anywhere I can think of. Even if, like me, you don`t live there, this result will affect all of us like no other vote ever has.

  18. fab says

    No on Prop 8 needs more gay people working together, not against each other!
    We are so close to make history and provide the new generation of gay kids the chance to have the same rights as straight people, please get out and vote, please talk to your parents, aunts, uncles and friends! we can ALL make history and we need to work together to make sure that hate does not prevail! please if you can, donate more money to support no on prop 8. Do it for yourself but mostly do it for those new gay kids…they deserve a better world and we can work to make sure that they look back at history and thank all of us for making their world a better place!

  19. one who knows better says

    Dear reporter, How can you not know Mary J Blige??!!! Who are you? She rocked the house with her diamante microphone. She sang REAL LOVE (an oldie but goodie), ONE LOVE (the U2 song), NO MORE DRAMA and then BE WITHOUT YOU. She was incredible. Please people, get up to speed with Mary J.