Archive for the 'LGBT Leaders Interviews' Category

Charlotte Robinson To Be Honored

Saturday, October 20th, 2018

Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson and host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ will be honored with the Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition Appreciation Award at their 21st annual fundraising event Lesbians & Friends LGBTQ Dance Party For Prevention that takes place in Brookline, Massachusetts on October 20th. In these challenging times it is important to come together with hundreds of LGBTQ individuals and allies to celebrate life and the impact MBCC has achieved toward their goal of breast cancer prevention. In this exclusive audio interview Cheryl Osimo MBCC Executive Director talks about how MBCC was founded in 1992 by a few savvy lesbian women to establish the only breast cancer non-profit working closely with a research and sister organization Silent Spring Institute to investigate preventable and environmental causes of the disease. This work is funded through annual fundraising events like the upcoming Lesbians & Friends Dance: A Party for Prevention. Since 1994 Silent Spring Institute has conducted scientifically sound and environmentally focused breast cancer prevention research. Honoree Charlotte Robinson who is a breast cancer survivor talks about how breast cancer impacted her life and inspired her to establish OUTTAKE VOICES™ the online news network that for the last ten years has broadcasted to millions globally and has provided a voice for thousands of LGBTQ organizations and allies including MBCC.

When asked about being honored this year by MBCC Robinson stated, “It means a lot to me. I was diagnosed with breast cancer 22 years ago. It changed the course of my life. One of the things that really got me through it was someone told me that the Chinese believe that ‘When disease manifests itself it’s the beginning of healing’. So I took the journey of explore what in my life I needed to change in order to get back on a healthier course. In my exploration since breast cancer does not run genetically in my family I truly believe that it may exist in the water we drink because before 1996 I never drank filtered or spring water. I have since then and I have been cancer free for the last 22 years.”

The 21st Annual Lesbians and Friends LGBTQ Dance Party For Prevention takes place on Saturday October 20th from 8P to12A at the Brookline-Boston Holiday Inn located at 1200 Beacon Street in Brookline, MA. Hundreds of women will come together to celebrate and hope for a future free of breast cancer. Their goal is to raise at least $20,000. Directly before the event dance instructor Liz Nania will lead a free Merengue dance workshop for all interested participants from 7P to 8P. Refreshments including complimentary hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar will also be provided to all attendees. There will be a silent auction and DJ Shelly Cullen will provide the music. Tickets are $45 and $20 for students purchased in advance online and available at the door on the evening of the dance for $50 and $25 for students.
For More Info & Tix: mbcc.org

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“Dirty Secrets: A Golden Girls Lost Episode”

Wednesday, October 10th, 2018

Playwright/Director Michael Gaucher talks with Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™about his hysterical new show “Dirty Secrets: A Golden Girls Lost Episode” a drag, musical parody that runs from October 5th to November 18th, 2018 at Club Café at 209 Columbus Avenue in Boston, Massachusetts. The Bitter Bitch Production is based on one of America’s favorite sitcoms with an updated twist. Blanche is being blackmailed and the girls will do anything to get the money to save their friend’s reputation. The dilemma is clear as Blanche attempts to escape public humiliation while Sophia confronts her fears of ending up back in Shady Pines. Come enjoy a perfect night out and find out how this is resolved in this hilarious tribute for anyone who loves The Golden Girls. The show stars Blake Siskavich as Dorothy, Joshua Roberts as Rose, Brooks Reeves as Blanche and Joey Lachimia as Sophia with fabulous original musical numbers written by Fresh Fruit alumni Peter Gaioni and Michael Gaucher. So grab your BFFs and get ready to revisit Blanche and the girls in this must-see drag, musical parody event. We talked to Michael about his inspiration for creating “Dirty Secrets: A Golden Girls Lost Episode” and his spin on our LGBTQ issues.

When asked what he would like to accomplish with this show Gaucher stated, “Make some people laugh, make some money. If anyone hasn’t been exposed to The Golden Girls help to that but really just to expand on a much loved institution.”

Michael Gaucher received an MA in writing from Emerson College. He’s the author of a collection of short stories entitled “Fresh Graves”, several blogs and a contributing writer to multiple periodicals including Boston Spirit Magazine. He was a principle writer and performer in the drag cabaret comedy troupe “Fresh Fruit” and initiated “Herring Cove Beach Theater” along with Abe Rybeck from The Theater Offensive. “Dirty Secrets: A Golden Girls Lost Episode” performances will be on select Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8P with select Sunday matinees at 1P from October 5th to November 18th, 2018 at Club Café in Boston, MA. There will also be cabaret-style table service for dinner/brunch and a show plus a 20% discount on food with your show ticket.
For More Info & Tix: goldengirlsdirtysecrets.com

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Matthew Shepard 20th Anniversary Events

Friday, September 28th, 2018

Cathy Renna, managing partner at Target Cue an LGBTQ focused public relations firm talks with Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ about the 20th anniversary of Matthew Shepard’s death next month, the events she is working on nationwide to honor this sad milestone and her spin on our LGBTQ issues. In October 1998 Matthew Shepard a twenty-one-year-old openly gay student at the University of Wyoming was kidnapped, beaten, tortured and left to die tied to a fence in the middle of a prairie outside Laramie, Wyoming, simply for being gay. At that time Renna was the Community Relations Director at GLAAD where she played a central role in shaping the media coverage onsite of both the beating death of Matthew Shepard and the trial that followed, a tragedy that became a cultural marker for a shift in the level of media visibility of our LGBTQ issues. After leaving GLAAD Cathy has partnered with dozens of different organizations including the Matthew Shepard Foundation.

Cathy talked about events honoring this milestone including the Tectonic Theater Project celebrity reading of “The Laramie Project” that took place on Monday September 24th at 7P at the Gerald W. Lynch Theater at John Jay College in NYC which is a benefit to honor the progress made over the last two decades to erase hate. Performing in this event will be Judy and Dennis Shepard, Emmy Award winner Michael Emerson (Lost, Gross Indecency: The Trials of Oscar Wilde), six-time Tony Award nominee Danny Burstein (Fiddler on the Roof, The Drowsy Chaperone), Purva Bedi (Dance Nation, An Ordinary Muslim), Drama League and Outer Critics Circle Award nominee Andrew Keenan-Bolger (Newsies, Tuck Everlasting), Tony, Emmy and Golden Globe Award winner Mary Louise Parker (Proof, Weeds), Tony Award winner Billy Porter (Kinky Boots), Olympic bronze medalist and U.S. Figure Skating champion Adam Rippon in his stage debut, Emmy Award nominee Samira Wiley (The Handmaid’s Tale, Orange is the New Black), Critic’s Choice Television Award nominee Asia Kate Dillon (John Wick 3: Parabellum, Billions), YouTube star and comedian Randy Rainbow and the original company of The Laramie Project: Stephen Belber, Amanda Gronich, Mercedes Herrero, Andy Paris, Greg Pierotti, Barbara Pitts McAdams and Kelli Simpkins with Tectonic Theater Project company member Scott Barrow. Tectonic Theater Project founder and Artistic Director Moisés Kaufman and company member Jimmy Maize will direct this event and Emmy and Peabody Award winning journalist Anderson Cooper will host the evening’s benefit reception. Proceeds benefited both the Matthew Shepard Foundation and Tectonic Theater Project.
For More Info: laramiealegacy.org
For More Events Nationwide: matthewshepard.org

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HRC Demands Kavanaugh Blocked

Wednesday, September 19th, 2018

Chad Griffin, President of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) the largest LGBTQ civil rights advocacy group and political lobbying organization in the United States addressing why this Supreme Court nomination should be blocked. Last week Griffin stated, “Brett Kavanaugh’s refusal to answer very basic, very direct questions about the Supreme Court’s historic ruling bringing marriage equality nationwide is alarming and completely unacceptable. The Obergefell decision is settled law. If this nominee cannot so much as affirm that or the fundamental equality of LGBTQ people and our families, he should not and must not be granted a lifetime appointment to our nation’s highest court. Kavanaugh’s career has been defined by decisions that threaten LGBTQ equality, reproductive rights and access to affordable health care. And yet, there is still so much we don’t know about Kavanaugh because Senate Republican leadership is refusing to allow the public access to 97 percent of the documents from his tenure in the Bush White House. During that time, President Bush took stances opposing a federal hate crimes law and advocating for a federal ban on marriage equality. These are issues that impact millions of LGBTQ people and families across America. We deserve honesty and openness when considering a justice for the nation’s highest court. We can’t afford to have Kavanaugh confirmed to the Supreme Court, especially given the unprecedented lack of transparency surrounding his confirmation process.”

In this exclusive audio podcast Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ participated in a press conference call last month with Chad Griffin, President of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and hosted by The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights to discuss what’s at stake for LGBTQ rights in the Supreme Court vacancy and nomination process. Chad Griffin stated “For the LGBTQ community, the urgency of our fight against Kavanaugh’s nomination is not abstract. It is literally about millions of people having a right to live their lives free from discrimination and with access to affordable health care. For decades, anti-LGBTQ extremists have attempted to use our courts as an instrument of oppression against the LGBTQ community. Now, for the second time in two years, they have handpicked one of their own to sit on the nation’s highest court.”

While the Senate gets ready to vote on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh we will also hear from Vanita Gupta, President and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Rachel Tiven, CEO, Lambda Legal, Mara Keisling, Executive Director, National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) and Shannon Minter, Legal Director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR). Call Your Senators & Stay Tuned!
For More Info: hrc.org

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Stop Brett Kavanaugh Nomination

Tuesday, September 11th, 2018

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) kicks off our series of audio podcasts addressing Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and why this Supreme Court nomination should be blocked. At the Greater Boston Labor Council’s Labor Day breakfast U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren and Edward J. Markey called on Trump to release more than 100,000 pages of Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh’s records the White House is withholding as the Senate Judiciary Committee begins questioning the Supreme Court nominee today. Senator Warren stated, “After all, we have asked for the documentation, as this candidate has been part of government in the past and yet, the administration is hiding 100,000 pages of his records so that not only can the Senate not see it, the American people can’t see it. I think that’s enough to say, let’s hit the brakes on this nomination and until we get the full paperwork, nothing should go through.”

In this exclusive audio podcast Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ participated in a press conference call last month with Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and hosted by The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights to discuss what’s at stake for LGBTQ rights in the Supreme Court vacancy and nomination process. Senator Warren stated, “Brett Kavanaugh was handpicked by the anti-LGBTQ Federalist Society and Heritage Foundation. A Justice Kavanaugh would be a threat to people of color, women and the LGBTQ community. It’s time we raise our voices like never before and say no to Kavanaugh.”

Over the course of this exclusive podcast series we will also hear from Vanita Gupta, President and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Rachel Tiven, CEO, Lambda Legal, Chad Griffin, President of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), Mara Keisling, Executive Director, National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) and Shannon Minter, Legal Director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR). Call Your Senators & Stay Tuned!

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Non Binary Play Romeo/Juliet

Thursday, August 30th, 2018

Director Sharone Halevy talks with Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks about Romeo/Juliet the daring new LGBTQ+ adaptation of the classic play Romeo and Juliet premiering Off-Broadway at Metro Baptist Church in NYC from August 24th through September 9th. The play stars Juliette Gobin and Aigner Mizzelle as the star-crossed lovers Romeo and Juliet who span across the LGBTQ and non-binary spectrum in this loving recalibration of Shakespeare's eternal classic. Romeo/Juliet puts front and center the pratfalls, perils, pressures, pleasures and pains of growing up into our bodies, our beliefs and our sexuality. Seen wholly through the eyes of its star-crossed lovers Romeo/Juliet whittles Shakespeare's text into a tender and tragic celebration of youth and an exploration of how we define desire in a world bound by chains of faith, family, media and privilege asking what we honor most, where we came from or who we are. The cast also features Issa Best, Jac Ford, Jessica Fraser, Walker Harrison, Chris Murray, Cashton Tate Rehklau, Nick Sanchez and Hermon Whaley. This new adaption by Hailey Bachrach and Matt Minnicino is produced by Laura Elliott, costume designer Heather Barton, lighting designer Steven Spera, set designer Jacqueline Brockel and fight director Tate Rehklau. We talked to Sharone about what she hopes to accomplish with Romeo/Juliet and as a fierce LGBTQ ally her spin on our LGBTQ issues.

When asked how she sees our LGBTQ community or any minority moving forward in this Trump administration Halevy stated, “I’ve been thinking about this a lot especially working on this play and working with actors who are on a wide spectrum inside the community and just seeing so much fear coming out right now. I think the thing that was really so amazing during the Obama administration was that there was so much more understanding coming out and they were such beautiful leaders in terms of what it was to be accepting and to look at a community as a whole and to support one another. Right now the scary thing is the Trump administration is doing the same thing but at the opposite end of the spectrum. I hope that any minority or any part of the LGBTQ community is going to really come together and I think we’re all going to go through something that’s a bit harder for a while but moving forward staying strong and making sure our allies, and if you’re an ally like me, we stand up for one another. I can only do what I’m doing right now creating theater and trying to get people to understand things and keep nudging and keep kind of tittling away at the ideas of that weird word norm.”

Sharone Halevy is an NYC based director, teacher and painter who has worked all over New York from Chekhov to developing new works. She has worked for theater companies including INTAR, Crashbox, Distilled Theater Co., WAT Project, Playwright Horizons Theater School, Exquisite Corpse Company, NYU: Atlantic Theater Company Conservatory, The York, NYMF, Musical Theater Factory, Rockwood Music Hall, Atlantic Farm Team and more. She has also assistant directed at the Roundabout Theater Company, Waterwell Inc., The Atlantic Theater Company and the Public. She currently teaches at Playwrights Horizons: NYU as well as the Professional Performing Arts High School. Romeo/Juliet will be performed at Metro Baptist Church at 410 W 40th St, New York, NY August 24th thru September 9th.

For More Info & Tix…

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Mary Wilson “Help Is On The Way”

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2018

Mary Wilson Supremes legendary singer talks about Richmond Ermet Aid Foundation’s event “Help Is On The Way 24 Celebrating Music, Legends & Icons” with Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™. Ms. Wilson performed along with Debby Boone, Leanne Borghesi, Eileen Bourgade, Carole Cook, Davis Gaines, Debby Holiday, Kimberly Locke, Valerie Pettiford, Jai Rodriguez, Paula West, Top Shelf Classics, Eric Risenberg and Velena Vayn. For over twenty years the Richmond / Ermet Aid Foundation has raised millions of dollars by producing Broadway quality entertainment events and galas to advance HIV treatments and support AIDS services until there is a cure. Since 2015 REAF has expanded its fundraising focus to the Bay Area’s growing demand for two new areas by providing food for the needy and programs that support homeless, disadvantaged and disenfranchised youth. We talked to Mary about this tremendous organization and as a fierce ally her spin on our LGBTQ issues.

When asked what her personal commitment is to LGBTQ civil rights Wilson stated, “I have been involved in this fight against AIDS and HIV for years and now you know obviously it’s become something that we all are aware of. So a lot of my friends are in that community and so I want to be a part because they are my friends, my very dear friends. For me it wasn’t even a no brainer. I do it because it’s part of what I do for the people I love.”

Mary Wilson was a founding member and longest member of the legendary singing group The Supremes. Wilson remained with the group following the departures of other original members Florence Ballard in 1967 and Diana Ross in 1970 until the group disbanded in 1977. Since then she has released three solo albums, five singles and two best-selling autobiographies, “Dreamgirl: My Life As a Supreme” and “Supreme Faith: Someday We'll Be Together”. Wilson has also used her fame and flair to promote humanitarian efforts to end hunger, raise AIDS awareness and encourage world peace. The Richmond/Ermet Aid Foundation was founded by the late Barbara Richmond and Peggy Ermet in memory of their sons John Richmond and Doug Ermet who both lost their lives to AIDS. In 1995, the two women decided not to get mad but get even when they launched a musical AIDS benefit to honor their sons by raising funds for AIDS service organizations. "Help Is On The Way 24" directed by David Galligan and musical director Michael Sobie is Northern California's largest annual benefit concert benefiting HIV/AIDS and hunger programs. It's an elegant evening of wonderful music, delicious food and beverages tastings and most of all fun.
For Info & Tix: reaf-sf.org

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New Film “One Stride: Chosen Family”

Tuesday, August 14th, 2018

Director Stephen Winter talks about his new documentary “One Stride: Chosen Family” with Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ that was produced in collaboration with Ned Stresen-Reuter and Barefoot Wine premiering at Outfest last month. The documentary amplifies diverse stories of our LGBTQ community and speaks to the importance of finding one's chosen family. The documentary celebrates the stories of three sets of LGBTQ friends and families to shine a light on how the community supports each other through a “chosen family.” The cast features “Pose” star Mj Rodriguez with her best friend Mila Jam a transgender singer, songwriter, dancer, actress and LGBTQ activist. The film begins with the late LGBTQ civil rights trailblazer 82 year old Richard Leitsch founder of the Mattachine Society who is interviewed by his friend the much younger Paul Havern and joined by his fiancé Ricardo Guadarrama. The film also includes Danielle Rizzi and Daniela Ricci two Italian New Jersey wives celebrating their chosen and diverse families. We talked to Stephen about his fabulous short documentary and his spin on our LGBTQ issues.

When asked what he hopes to accomplish with “One Stride: Chosen Family” Winter stated, “The accomplishment that I’m looking for with this documentary is to give people a fifteen minute respite from all the noise and confusion that we usually get from the media that’s thrust upon us. You know we’re living in a rough time and LGBT rights are under attack, people are tense and nervous and there’s always bad news looming. What this documentary gives us is some good news which is the human condition is a beautiful thing and outside of your blood family there is a chosen family that you can have. Those bonds can be as tight or even tighter than the ones that you come from. I believe that if you watch this stuff that we made and you see these images and meet these people, these ladies and gents, it’s like chicken soup for the soul. I want to make people feel good for fifteen minutes and let that radiate for the rest of their day. Friendship is a thing that should be honored and sometimes in the rush of our day-to-day lives we forget to honor it. I want to give people a beautiful reminder and make them smile. There are a lot of laughs in this documentary. Every segment has a lot of humor to it because when you’re best friends with somebody you make each other laugh. You have through private jokes that only you guys know but watching two people share it can be a beautiful thing and that is what I wanted this documentary to do. Create a beautiful thing that makes people smile.”

Stephen Winter is an award-winning film director, screenwriter consultant and producer. He has been professionally helping people fix, repair, rearrange, renovate or otherwise resolve their short film scripts, feature edits and scripts for over 15 years. His films include Chocolate Babies (1996, premiere Berlin Film Festival), Young Men Big Dreams: Inside the World of the Steve Harvey Mentoring Camp (2014) for NBC/Universal and Jason and Shirley (2015). Some of the films he has worked on include Precious (2008, Sundance, Cannes), Paperboy (2010) and Lee Daniels’ The Butler (2012, Cannes) to name a few. Barefoot Wine that produced and presented the film has been a longstanding ally to our LGBTQ community since 1988. The brand sponsors over 200 LGBTQ events around the world each year and earlier this year in celebration of Pride Month Barefoot launched its Barefoot Bestie Label program benefiting Outfest to continue building community by celebrating stories of LGBTQ lives.
For More Info: barefootwine.com

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American Leaders Talk LGBTQ Issues

Wednesday, August 8th, 2018

In this exclusive audio podcast Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ participated in a press conference call hosted by The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights to discuss what’s at stake for LGBTQ rights in the Supreme Court vacancy and nomination process. American civil rights leaders included Vanita Gupta, President and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Rachel Tiven, CEO, Lambda Legal, Chad Griffin, President of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), Mara Keisling, Executive Director, National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) and Shannon Minter, Legal Director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR). The speakers emphasized how nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s troubling record on health care, discrimination and religious exemption would disproportionately harm the LGBTQ community.

Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference stated, “As the Trump administration continues its attacks against the LGBTQ community, more cases involving LGBTQ rights are expected to reach our nation’s highest court. With civil and human rights at stake, the Senate must demand the release and review of Kavanaugh’s full record. The American people deserve to know Kavanaugh’s involvement in the Bush administration’s anti-LGBTQ agenda.” Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) added, “We’ve made incredible strides on LGBTQ rights in recent years and it’s easy now to take many of those rights for granted but that would be a huge mistake. Brett Kavanaugh was handpicked off a list of far-right jurists who were vetted for their commitment to a very narrow view of justice, opportunity and equality for all, a view that embraces a license to discriminate against our LGBTQ community members. Fundamental rights like marriage equality are hanging by a thread and it’s up to the American people to push back and make their voices heard.” Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) stated, “Brett Kavanaugh was handpicked by the anti-LGBTQ Federalist Society and Heritage Foundation. A Justice Kavanaugh would be a threat to people of color, women and the LGBTQ community. It’s time we raise our voices like never before and say no to Kavanaugh.”

Rachel B. Tiven, CEO of Lambda Legal stated, “When Lambda Legal persuaded the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down state laws criminalizing sodomy in 2003, it freed us, we were no longer criminals just for being ourselves. But if the Trump-Pence administration succeeds in putting Brett Kavanaugh on the bench, the bedrock of LGBTQ rights will be under immediate siege. The question is not whether marriage equality can be overturned – it is much more likely and more insidious that it will be slowly undermined by religious exemptions. This nomination puts Trump within striking distance of his goal of overturning Roe v. Wade and of turning back the clock on LGBT rights.” Chad Griffin, President of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) stated “For the LGBTQ community, the urgency of our fight against Kavanaugh’s nomination is not abstract. It is literally about millions of people having a right to live their lives free from discrimination and with access to affordable health care. For decades, anti-LGBTQ extremists have attempted to use our courts as an instrument of oppression against the LGBTQ community. Now, for the second time in two years, they have handpicked one of their own to sit on the nation’s highest court.” Mara Keisling, Executive Director of the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) stated, “Before the ACA, merely being transgender was considered a pre-existing condition and cause for an insurer to turn you down for coverage Transgender people will never go back to being a pre-existing condition. We’re demanding the Senate refuse to confirm Judge Kavanaugh because no American should have to live in fear of having their coverage denied when they need it most.” Shannon Minter, legal Director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) concluded, “Trump Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh would tilt an already conservative court to the far right. In the coming years, there are a number of new issues that will likely come before the court that could result in lasting harm for the LGBT community—including attempts to chip away at marriage equality or permit state agencies to discriminate against LGBT families in adoption and foster care. Our families and constitutional protections are at stake.”

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 200 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. (Graphic by Richard Emmanuel)

For More Info: civilrights.org

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New Play “Waiting for Giovanni” In NYC

Tuesday, July 24th, 2018

Playwright Jewelle Gomez talks about her new play “Waiting for Giovanni” that runs now through August 4th at The Flea Theater at 20 Thomas Street in NYC with Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™. Written in collaboration with Harry Waters Jr. and directed by Mark Finley the play addresses author James Baldwin at a pivotal moment in his career in 1957 as bombs are exploding in Black churches and lynchings are a fact of life for many across America. From these ashes a young Black writer emerges to become a literary celebrity bringing with him both his boundless talent and personal insecurities. Director Mark Finley stated, “In Jewelle's play, Jimmy wrestles with his identity as a black writer and a gay man as a newly noted author and a truthful creative vessel. It dramatizes not only the creative process but also relationships between creative people how we love and limit each other and how we love and limit ourselves.” The New York premiere of “Waiting for Giovanni” is presented by TOSOS (The Other Side of Silence), the city’s oldest LGBTQ theater and performed as part of the company's partnership with the Flea Theater. We talked to Jewelle about what inspired her to write “Waiting for Giovanni” and her spin on our LGBTQ issues.

When asked how she sees our LGBTQ community or any minority moving forward in this Trump administration, Gomez stated, “I feel like this administration is presenting us with a really great challenge to have someone so obvious in their distain for equal rights, distain for the Constitution, distain for Democratic institutions and for individuals. That’s so obvious it’s horrifying but it also says to me this is where we as a community an LGBT community can step up. He’s kind of a plague and we have faced plagues before and we stepped up and pulled together and worked to change for better lives and to me this is very similar. We need to think individually and as groups. What are the acts we can take once we cry and moan and complain and harmonize; then we need to say what is our next step whether it’s voting whether it’s supporting some of these nonprofits that are stepping in to do the work the administration would like to cut. We can think about individual act; it’s all about individual acts that we can commit to. It takes a couple of individuals to figure out to do something to make change and to be relentless about it and to not think ‘okay well I’m going to go on this march and I’m done and now things are going to be better’. It’s something that you do in your everyday life.”

Playwright Jewelle Gomez is the author of eight books including the Lambda Award-winning classic, “The Gilda Stories” which has been in print since 1991. Her play “Bones and Ash” based on “The Gilda Stories” was commissioned by the Urban Bush Women Company. “Waiting for Giovanni” is the first play of her trilogy about African American artists in the early part of the 20th century. In 2017 the second play, “Leaving the Blues” about singer/composer Alberta Hunter premiered at San Francisco’s New Conservatory Theatre Center where she is Playwright in Residence. She is currently working on “Unpacking at Ptown,” the third play in the trilogy which will premiere in 2021. “Waiting for Giovanni” runs now through August 4th at The Flea Theater at 20 Thomas Street in NYC.
For More Info & Tix: theflea.org

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