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04 • APRIL 06, 2018 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
Equality California endorses Feinstein and two Republicans Many wondering if labor and youth will kick in for de Leon By KAREN OCAMB email@example.com Equality California did what the California Democratic Party didn’t do— endorse longtime Sen. Dianne Feinstein in her bid for re-election. The LGBT lobbying organization also took a step beyond the expected by endorsing two Republicans in their Assembly races, a first in EQCA’s nonpartisan history. The endorsements are bold moves at a time when the race between Feinstein and former Senate Pro Tem President Kevin de León, a strong LGBT ally, and the backlash against Donald Trump’s Republican Party are energizing youth and the previously unengaged to participate in the political process. In fact, CDP’s stunning, sometimes rude rejection of Feinstein, a Democratic icon with seniority in the U.S. Senate, has not been unique—other Democratic groups, such as Stonewall Democratic Club, have come to positions of “No Consensus” as new voters clamor for change. Additionally, some are concerned about the 84-year old’s age as she seeks another six-year term. Ironically, Feinstein, who was elected to the Senate along with Barbara Boxer in 1992’s “Year of the Woman,” is facing the surprising primary challenge during a “Pink Wave” when an unprecedented number of women are running for office in the second “Year of the Woman.” And Feinstein is also a national leader on the second issue of primary importance (after immigration) to California voters, according to a recent Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) poll—gun control. Though the March PPIC poll shows Feinstein far ahead of de León, 42% to 16%, she is taking the challenge seriously, increasing her online and email presence, securing high profile endorsements such as former Vice President Joe Biden and exercising her clout as ranking Democratic member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. On March 29, for instance, Feinstein and Judiciary Chair Chuck Grassley sent a letter to Trump’s campaign lawyer asking for additional email records related to their investigation into Russia’s interference in
U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein Los Angeles Blade Photo by Karen Ocamb
the 2016 election. While impressive, Equality California’s endorsement and grassroots work on the ground may serve Feinstein better as de León asserts that the senator has had a scant actual presence in the state and as a more conservative/moderate Democrat, has had to be pushed into support for progressive issues such as marriage equality and support for DACA. Feinstein’s supporters, however, note that she fought for early AIDS funding and, thanks in large part to her former gay deputy Trevor Daley, came out in support for marriage equality and actively worked against Prop 8 before the more liberal Sen. Barbara Boxer. And like the young survivors of the recent mass shooting at the Parkland, Florida high school, gun control is personal for Feinstein, who was on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors with California’s first out gay elected official, Harvey Milk, who was assassinated in 1978. “I was the one that found Supervisor Milk’s body, and I was the one to put a finger in a bullet hole, trying to get a pulse,” Sen. Feinstein told reporters Jan. 24, 2013 as she introduced her assault weapons ban. “Once you have been through one of these episodes, once you see what the crime scene is like, it isn’t like the movies — it changes your view of weapons.” Experience like that matters. “We respect and are very grateful to Kevin
de León, who has been one our strongest allies in the legislature and in California generally and has partnered with us on a whole host of LGBTQ and other priorities while he was Pro Tem of the Senate and before that in his career,” Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur tells the Los Angeles Blade. “He is a steadfast ally and one that has an unblemished record with us. I want to make that very clear.” But while both Feinstein and de León have 100% voting records, Feinstein has worked for LGBT civil rights over a longer period of time. Additionally, EQCA’s office in Washington, D.C. works closely with Feinstein’s office, as well as the offices of Sens. Tammy Baldwin and Kamala Harris and Reps. Mark Takano and Barbara Lee. Feinstein, Zbur says, “is an amazing and dedicated ally for the LGBTQ community. She’s always with us, helping us with strategy.” Zbur says incumbency plays a major role in their endorsement process. “We were also mindful of the significant role Sen. Feinstein plays in the Judiciary where there have been so many anti-LGBTQ Trump appointments,” Zbur says. “Part of the reason why we tipped the scale in favor of incumbents is because of the fact that seniority in these committees can make a senator more effective in helping us combat some of these bad appointments and Sen. Feinstein has been with us in opposing bad
appointments across the board.” Endorsements also bolster the integrity of the organization. “In order to be effective, we need our allies to know that when they are advocating for us, working with us, and supporting the interests of the community, that when they’re up for re-election we are not going to endorse a challenger even when that challenger is also very strong,” Zbur says. “That’s the basis for the endorsement.” That thinking is also key to EQCA’s endorsement of Republicans Assemblymember Catharine Baker running for reelection in Assembly District 16 and Assemblymember Brian Maienschein, running for re-election in San Diego’s Assembly District 77. In fact, EQCA duelendorsed Maienschein along with his out Democratic challenger Sunday Gover. “Achieving full equality and social justice for the LGBTQ community requires independent champions like Assemblymember Catharine Baker — allies who aren’t afraid to stand up for what’s right, even when anti-equality voices in their party disagree,” Zbur said in a press release. “Catharine has been a great friend and ally to LGBTQ Californians and consistently fights for her constituents, rather than the red team or the blue team, earning our endorsement for another term in the Assembly.” Gover, a small business owner and mother, would clearly increase the Legislative LGBT Caucus. “While folks in Washington work to roll back protections for our LGBTQ community, immigrant communities, women and communities of color, Sunday is fighting to continue California’s role as a beacon of hope for the rest of the country,” Zbur said. “If San Diegans send her to Sacramento, they can count on Sunday to help ensure every child has a safe and supportive public school, that California families have access to quality affordable healthcare and that everyone has a shot at the American Dream.” Zbur acknowledges that Gover’s incumbent Republican opponent has not always had a 100% voting record with EQCA – but close enough, Maienschein scoring 100% on Equality California’s 2015 Legislative Scorecard, 80% on in 2016 and another perfect score in 2017. Continues at losangelesblade.com
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06 • APRIL 06, 2018 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
Assemblymember Garcia calls Speaker Emeritus Perez a ‘homo’ Former gay staffer alleges sexual harassment By KAREN OCAMB firstname.lastname@example.org During her historic speech as the newly elected California Senate President Pro Tem, out Sen. Toni Atkins addressed the cultural trip wire felling long-held corrosive beliefs in the State Capitol about sexual harassment and power. “To some extent, we bear the burden of past sins too often swept under the rug. We can’t change the past. But we can and should be judged on how we shape the future,” Atkins said on March 21. “We know that true culture change cannot be legislated or decreed. It doesn’t occur overnight. And it doesn’t get solved simply by electing women to leadership.” And, as it turns out, women are also susceptible to the corrosive influence of power and the objectification and abuse of men for willful personal privilege and gratification. Connecticut Rep. Elizabeth Esty, for instance, was finally forced to admit that she protected her former chief of staff, Tony Baker, instead of female staffers until three months after allegations of abuse and harassment surfaced against him. “I could have and should have done better. To the survivor, I want to express my strongest apology for letting you down.” Esty said in statement April 2. Esty says she will no longer seek re-election but nor will she resign, which is what many of her constituents want, according to WTNH/News8. California Assemblymember Cristina Garcia, meanwhile, is being investigated for allegations of sexual harassment, which she has denied. But she has not denied calling Los Angeles-based gay Assembly Speaker Emeritus John Perez a “homo,” a slur she apparently feels entitled to use since she’s been supportive of LGBT rights. “I did make that remark in a moment of anger. I have no reason to lie about something that is true,” Garcia said in a statement after an admission in a March 26 interview with KQED. “However, in no way was my use of that term meant to belittle Mr. Perez for his sexuality….I have a long and chronicled history of being a straight ally of the LGBTQ community.”
Assemblymember Cristina Garcia
“I realize that words can be harmful and I humbly and sincerely apologize to Mr. Perez and any member of the LGBTQ community who feels offended by the comment,” Garcia added. But it’s the casual mindset behind the slur that may prove problematic since pejorative terms like “homo” and “faggot” are not only intended to harm, offend and dehumanize the individual but slander the entire LGBT community. Additionally, the formerly
closeted male staff member alleging sexual harassment and a toxic work environment claims Garcia has called Perez a “faggot,” too. “I don’t use the [word] ‘faggot.’ It’s not in my vocabulary,” she told KQED. “I think that terms like ‘faggot’ are purely derogatory. There’s no good way to use that word.” But David John Kernick, 38, who worked for Garcia for five months in 2014, told Politico on March 27 that Garcia’s denial on
KQED about never using that word was “a bald-faced lie.” “The ex-Marine said he is a member of the LGBT community, but he was not out when he worked for Garcia - and so had to remain silent when he ‘routinely’ heard Garcia use both those words [‘homo’ and ‘faggot’] ‘distinctly about the speaker [ John Perez], but it was also part of her regular vocabulary. It wasn’t unusual. ... And so I just had to internalize it. I had no choice,’” Politico reported. “I’m incredibly disturbed by the interview I heard on KQED and a pattern of rationalization and minimization of the impact of the use of homophobic language,” Perez told the Los Angeles Blade by phone March 27 while on vacation in Japan. “The lack of appreciation for the impact on staff— and quite frankly, for every kid in society.” What’s so “disturbing,” Perez said, “despite all the progress we’ve made—to see this additional example of homophobia in the workplace. Not because it was a negative statement about me. I assumed as Speaker of the Assembly that at some point every member would be upset with me about something and be angry at me and say something angry. But it is different to say something in anger, something in frustration based on facts and based on circumstances than it is to immediately go to base-level homophobic attacks. Because when you go to base-level homophobic attacks—not only is it an attack on that individual—but it’s attacking the whole community. And it’s borne out of a notion of dehumanizing us based on that which makes us unique.” Perez wants the Assembly investigators looking into issues of sexual harassment in the State Capitol will look into the anti-gay slurs against him, too. “I’m hopeful that the fact-finders will look into this as they look into the totality of the allegations,” Perez said, “because of the impact on staff. And quite frankly, what it means for how we view people and whether we see our obligation to represent everybody. It’s hard to reconcile divisive language with the notion of representing all people and our constituencies.” The toxic environment mandating Atkins’ culture change is made all the more confusing by the fact that Garcia was a leader of California’s #MeToo movement, which landed her on the cover of Time magazine.
LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • APRIL 06, 2018 • 07
Ironically, it was the publicity around that movement that prompted Daniel Fierro, a 25-year-old staffer to Assemblymember Ian Calderon, to come forward. Fierro, claims that in 2014 an apparently inebriated Garcia cornered him in the dugout after an Assembly softball game and “began stroking his back, then squeezed his buttocks and attempted to touch his crotch before he extricated himself and quickly left,” Politico reported last February. He told Calderon, who referred the matter to the Assembly Rules Committee for investigation. “If the person leading the charge on [sexual harassment] isn’t credible it just ends up hurting the credibility of these very real stories,” Fierro told the AP. The day after the Politico report, Garcia went on an unpaid leave of absence. “Upon reflection of the details alleged, I am certain I did not engage in the behavior I am accused of. However, as I’ve said before, any claims about sexual harassment must be taken seriously, and I believe elected officials should be held to a higher standard of accountability,” she said in a Feb. 9 statement announcing her voluntary leave. Then new allegations surfaced claiming that Garcia “urged staffers to play ‘spin the bottle’ after a political fundraiser,” Politico reported Feb. 18. “It was definitely uncomfortable,’’ said Kernick, who alleges he was fired after questioning the propriety of trying to engage staffers in a kissing game in a hotel room after a night of heavy drinking. He’s filed a formal complaint with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing. Kernick and three other ex-staffers sent an open letter to Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon complaining about the “toxic” workplace environment “where activities included regular heavy drinking with staffers, sexually charged meetings and raunchy conversations highlighting intimate details of her sex life,” Politico reported. A day later, on Feb. 19, a letter critical of Kernick, signed by Garcia’s 2014 Chief of Staff Tim Reardon, was taken from Kernick’s personnel file and circulated around the State Capitol. Presumably this breach of privacy is being investigated as well as the allegations of sexual harassment and use of slurs. “I do not comment on ongoing investigations,” Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon told the Los Angeles Blade. “That said, using homophobic language is inappropriate
California State Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez at the PRIDE 2010 parade in Los Angeles Photo by J M Rosenfeld; Courtesy Wikimedia
and indefensible. Words have consequences and can cause harm. Officials who are elected to represent everyone in their districts should know better and do better.” Assemblymember Evan Low, Chair of the California LGBT Legislative Caucus, said: “It’s disappointing to hear a respected former Speaker be subjected to hurtful homophobic comments. It’s upsetting but not surprising—it reflects the everyday struggles that our LGBT community faces on a daily basis. We must continue to work to educate others about the importance of eradicating all forms of homophobia—and
the ignorance and bigotry behind them.” The California Democratic Party endorsed incumbent Garcia via their consent calendar. But neither out CDP Chair Eric Bauman nor out LA County Democratic Party Chair Mark Gonzalez are happy with Garcia. “The use of pejorative terms of any kind is ALWAYS unacceptable, even more so from those who claim to speak to others about morality from on high. This is positively unacceptable and attempts to rationalize, minimize or mitigate the pain caused by the use of slurs only makes it even more offensive,” said Bauman.
Garcia “has stood behind the LGBT community in her record as a legislator, but as a leader of California, Assemblymember Garcia and all elected officials need to show that they walk the talk. Language contrary to what one has a history of standing up for has a chilling effect on staff and on the community,” said out LA County Democratic Party Chair Mark Gonzalez. “Any language that is derogatory or inflammatory is unacceptable.” Will all the outrage matter? Perhaps Atkins can use the results of the investigation as leverage in creating culture change in Sacramento.
08 • APRIL 06, 2018 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
Is La Brea and Santa Monica becoming too dangerous? A murder and a stabbing raise fears on WeHo’s east side By JASON HOWE Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies have increased their presence near La Brea and Santa Monica Boulevard on the east side of West Hollywood following two unrelated violent incidents that have shaken area residents. The most recent incident was a non-fatal stabbing on March 3, which followed a murder earlier this month in which a transgender woman allegedly stabbed her longtime male partner (possibly husband), causing his later death. The latest attack appears to be random. Earlier on the evening of Wednesday, March 3, Kieth Vroman-Nagy, 26, speaking incoherently, allegedly approached two women waiting for an Uber ride on La Brea and stabbed one of them in the arm. The victim was taken to Cedars Sinai Medical Center with what appeared not to be a lifethreatening wound, Sgt. Jeff Bishop of the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station told the Los Angeles Blade. Vroman-Nagy fled on foot after recovering the weapon but was arrested at about 2 a.m. after a brief search by sheriff’s deputies and officers from the Los Angeles and Beverly Hills police departments. VromanNagy, whose last known address was in the Redding area, frequents the La BreaSanta Monica area at the West HollywoodHollywood border. Vroman-Nagy was arraigned in LA County Superior Court and faces charges of assault with a deadly weapon and possession of drug-related paraphernalia. He is being held at the Men’s Central Jail on $50,000 bail. Deputies say the second incident, on March 4, appears to be related to domestic violence. Bernar Jivan Arlain, 32, died following a verbal argument that turned into a physical altercation with 45-yearold Tamyka Arlain, a transgender woman with whom deputies say he had a long-term relationship. Tamyka Arlain allegedly stabbed Bernar Jivan Arlain, the man to whom she was apparently married, in front of a McDonald’s
Bernar Arlain and Tamyka Arlain Photo Courtesy Facebook
at 1153 N. La Brea and fled. Investigators say that Bernar Arlain staggered around the corner, leaving a trail of blood, and collapsed near a bus kiosk at 7111 Santa Monica Blvd. He was taken to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead a short time later. “The following days we searched for the suspect, we interviewed a lot of witnesses, we searched for video, which led us to the suspect,” said Sheriff’s Det. Joe Mendoza. Tamyka Arlain was arrested March 13 at a coffee shop near Downtown LA. She pleaded not guilty to murder charges on March 22
and is being held without bail pending a hearing on May 16. Arlain has apparently not legally changed her name and is therefore identified in legal records as Carl Jonathan Edwards. She has a long history of arrests, dating back to 1991, for charges including prostitution, drug possession and arson. She has been sentenced to prison several times, including in January, when she was sentenced to one year of probation on drug-related charges. The couple’s social media pages show them living in the Inland Empire as recently
as 2016, though deputies say that interviews with witnesses, friends and family members have led them to believe that the two were homeless at the time of the stabbing incident. Bernar’s Facebook page also announced his marriage to Tamyka in 2015, the last post appearing there, though it’s unclear if the couple was legally married. “The city and our department—we’ve hired extra foot patrols down in that area, both day and night, just to show a presence in that area so that people feel safe,” Bishop told the Los Angeles Blade.
LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • APRIL 06, 2018 • 09
Gay ally Steven Bochco dies at 74 Producer helped LGBT people in entertainment industry By KAREN OCAMB email@example.com “Steven Bochco, boundary-pushing TV creator behind ‘NYPD Blue’ and ‘Hill Street Blues,’ dies at 74,” declares the April 1 Los Angeles Times headline. The Emmy-winning television writer-producer died in his sleep Sunday after a battle with cancer. He was 74. The Times and other media outlets chronicle Bochco’s impact over the TV landscape, bringing edgy, complicated, more realistic plotlines and large cast diversity into people’s homes, often with studio heads and advertisers biting their fingernails. But creatively bucking lockedin commercial broadcast trends in the 1980s and 1990s yielded 30 Emmy nominations and 10 wins. “Steven reinvented the television drama by creating and executive-producing ‘Hill Street Blues’ [in 1981],” said TV executive Warren Littlefield, who worked with Bochco at NBC. “At first, television wasn’t quite ready for this groundbreaking drama, certainly not on a network known for a talking car. Television critics celebrated it and at the Emmy Awards following Season One, a star was born. The DNA for quality drama at NBC was created by Steven Bochco and all of broadcasting would join NBC and covet what Steven was capable of doing.” Missing from the obituaries is any reference to Bochco’s subtle but profound impact on LGBT rights and how gays were perceived through his shows’ characters. Additionally, he launched the careers of actors, directors and crew. At least one gay HIV-positive actor, Stephen Pender had a small role on “Hill Street Blues” in the early 1980s. Neil Patrick Harris is so talented, he surely would have come to America’s attention at some point. But it was “Doogie Howser, M.D.” that Bochco created with David E. Kelley that served as Harris’ breakout role. And while the 1991 kiss between CJ Lamb (Amanda Donohoe) and fellow lawyer Abby Perkins (Michele Greene) on “LA Law” is now derided as the initiator of future sweepsratings generator “lesbian kiss episodes,”
Steven Bochco Photo by S Buckley; Courtesy Bigstock
at the time, it was groundbreaking, casual, and in-the-moment affirming. And neither character wiped their mouths afterwards, as Roseanne Barr’s gay-positive character did three years later. But it was Bochco’s “NYPD Blue” running on ABC from 1993 to 2005 that really made an impact both on and behind the camera— including boosting the career of gay go-to African American director Paris Barclay, whose crew often included a bevy of out lesbians. In three years on the show, Barclay, who also became a producer, received two Emmys for best directing. In 2000, he, Bochco and Nicholas Wootton created the medical drama “City of Angels,” with a largely black cast that included Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Vivica Fox, Maya Rudolph and Blair Underwood (who had also been on “LA Law”). “I will always be grateful to you Steven, for hiring me on #NYPDBlue, making me a producer for the first time, and allowing me to
create a series with you. You taught me so much. I honestly wouldn’t be able to do what I do if it hadn’t been for you. Peace,” Barclay tweeted. In front of the “NYPD Blues” camera, actor Dennis Franz’s evolution from crass, alcoholic, homophobic, racist Detective Andy Sipowicz to a still-flawed but caring Sargent who ran the squad became the heart and soul of the series. All the profanity, sexual suggestiveness and nudity prompted Rev. Donald Wildmon and his crusading religious right American Family Association to call the show “soft-core porn” and call for a boycott in the first season. Another once-familiar rabidly antigay right-wing figure. Brent Bozell, apparently founded the Parents Television Council because of perceived vulgarity on “NYPD Blues” about which he filed several complaints with the Federal Communications Commission. One complaint registered with the FCC—the “Nude Awakening” episode that aired on Feb. 25, 2003. Five years later, the FCC fined ABC $1.4 million due to scenes of “adult sexual nudity.” The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the fine in 2011. Here’s how Bozell described the episode to his followers: “In the opening scene, Detective Andy Sipowicz’s young son, Theo, walks in on Sipowicz’s live-in girlfriend, Connie, as she is getting out of the shower. She is shown at full length with her bottom and left breast visible. Instead of grabbing a towel, or simply closing the bathroom door, she turns around to the camera and Theo, with only her hands covering her breasts and groin.” Interestingly, what Bozell does not complain about is the fact that gay actor Bill Brochtrup’s gay character, John Irvin, the PAA (police administrative assistant) at the station, is Sipowicz’s friend and Theo’s regular baby-sitter. And how that friendship evolved served as a model for both personal and professional relationships for seven seasons and allowed gay people to see themselves reflected on TV in the larger world. Brochtrup, who came out to People magazine in 1997, had been been a series regular on two other Bochco series, “Public Morals” and “Total Security,” before “NYPD Blues.” In an LA Times interview in 1995, two years before he official came out, he says the interaction between Sipowicz and his gay character “mirrors the audience’s
own prejudices against gays, and they’ll see Dennis saying things they themselves had said….The very last thing last season was to have them shake hands. He looks at me skeptically. It’s a slow learning thing between them. That’s real.” What was also real was the decision to play him, toned-down, not flamboyant as the casting director first wanted for his twopart temp role. “They’d initially told me in the audition I wasn’t playing it fey enough and so I went waaaaah, ” he told The Times, throwing out his arms wide, indicating he played it very big. “They wanted the broadness.” But executive producer David Milch told him to tone it down on day one. “Frankly, they were right,” Brochtrup said. “A guy that flamboyant would never survive in that NYPD.” “It’s clear they wanted Irvin to be openly gay, but not a snap queen,” he said. Irvin is “efficient and gets the job done. I was happy to oblige and it was a very smart thing to do. What I originally gave them was very funny, but stereotypical, and it wouldn’t have had legs for more than two episodes. By making him more real, more lowkey, he had a chance to grow.” Brochtrup, who lived in West Hollywood at the time, said his gay character is centered in the squad room. He “has a ‘won’t beat me down’ attitude that’s refreshing. He’s also got a wonderful open heart. I wish more people were like him. People have said to me, ‘I wish he was more militant, I wish he would stand up for himself.’ There are people who’d do that and have made strides [for gays] in the workplace by doing that, but others work in other ways, approach problems as Irvin does, one person at a time.” The role went from a virtual cameo to several seasons with his own arc—from dealing with homophobic remarks, to shaking hands, to giving Sipowicz haircuts and advice to babysitting the son of a cop who once probably believed all gay men were pedophiles. Bochco told The Times that Brochtrup deserved the credit for how the gay PAA fit in at precinct. “Bill’s so centered, so confident in his skin, in life, that it completely informs his character so that [being gay] not withstanding, Irvin’s something of an odd duck in that squad room.” An odd duck with whom other LGBT odd ducks could identify. And a relationship arc the public could watch evolve from cringe-worthy homophobia to a real caring friendship—thanks to Steven Bochco.
10 • APRIL 06, 2018
Screencapture Courtesy Guardian News
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Cuban bisexual senior Emma Gonzalez, 18, and fellow student leader David Hogg, 17, survived the mass shooting that killed 17 fellow students and teachers on Valentine’s Day. Now they’re fending off an onslaught of rhetorical ﬁre from NRA-loving right-wing adults. “There is nothing about this skinhead lesbian that impresses me,” Maine’s GOP 57th Congressional candidate Leslie Gibson tweeted March 12 about Gonzalez. But Gonzalez’s 6:20 minute appearance at the March 24 March For Our Lives—2:00 reciting the names of dead friends and 4:20 in silence remembering the rapid ﬁre from the 19-year old assassin’s AR15—proved more profound than hate speech. Hogg, slammed as a “crisis actor” by conspiracy agitators, was dubbed a “bully” after calling for an advertiser boycott of Fox News’ Laura Ingraham after she mocked him as a whiner. She apologized “in the spirit of Holy Week” after a third of her advertisers dropped her. “If she really wants to do something, she could cover inner-city violence and the real issues that we have in America,” Hogg told CNN, pressing the expansion of the #NeverAgain movement to police shootings of unarmed black men, such as the March 18 shooting of Stephon Clark, 23, a father of two, in his grandparents’ backyard in Sacramento. - Karen Ocamb
“You taught me so much. I honestly wouldn’t be able to do what I do if it hadn’t been for you. Peace” – tweet from out producer/director Paris Barclay on the April 1 death of Steven Bochco.
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“Costa Rica today gave its strong and decisive support to human rights.”
-LGBT rights advocate Margarita Salas to the Washington Blade after the April 1 election victory of Carlos Alvarado over a major anti-LGBT opponent.
“I’m Karl Schmid, and I’m an HIV-positive man!” – KABC7 TV reporter Karl Schmid announcing March 23 on Facebook that he has been HIV-positive for 10 years.
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Mytesi (crofelemer): • Is the only medicine FDA-approved to relieve diarrhea in people with HIV • Treats diarrhea differently by normalizing the flow of water in the GI tract • Has the same or fewer side effects as placebo in clinical studies • Comes from a tree sustainably harvested in the Amazon Rainforest What is Mytesi? Mytesi is a prescription medicine that helps relieve symptoms of diarrhea not caused by an infection (noninfectious) in adults living with HIV/AIDS on antiretroviral therapy (ART). Important Safety Information Mytesi is not approved to treat infectious diarrhea (diarrhea caused by bacteria, a virus, or a parasite). Before starting you on Mytesi, your healthcare provider will first be sure that you do not have infectious diarrhea. Otherwise, there is a risk you would not receive the right medicine and your infection could get worse. In clinical studies, the most common side effects that occurred more often than with placebo were upper respiratory tract (sinus, nose, and throat) infection (5.7%), bronchitis (3.9%), cough (3.5%), flatulence (3.1%), and increased bilirubin (3.1%).
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What Should I Know About Taking Mytesi With Other Medicines? If you are taking any prescription or over-the-counter medicine, herbal supplements, or vitamins, tell your doctor before starting Mytesi.
What If I Have More Questions About Mytesi? For more information, please see the full Prescribing Information at Mytesi.com or speak to your doctor or pharmacist. To report side effects or make a product complaint or for additional information, call 1-844-722-8256.
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Please see complete Prescribing Information at Mytesi.com. NP-390-26
• Upper respiratory tract infection (sinus, nose, and throat infection) • Bronchitis (swelling in the tubes that carry air to and from your lungs) • Cough • Flatulence (gas) • Increased bilirubin (a waste product when red blood cells break down) For a full list of side effects, please talk to your doctor. Tell your doctor if you have any side effect that bothers you or does not go away. You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
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12 • APRIL 06, 2018 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
Washington State bans ‘ex-gay’ therapy
A federal jury in Orlando, Fla., on March 30 acquitted Noor Salman on charges that she helped her husband carry out the Pulse nightclub massacre.
Widow of Pulse nightclub gunman acquitted A jury last week acquitted Noor Salman of charges that she helped her husband carry out the 2016 massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla. Federal prosecutors charged Salman with obstruction of justice and providing material support to a foreign terrorism organization in connection with the June 12, 2016, shooting that left 49 people dead and 53 others injured. Salman’s trial began earlier this month at a federal courthouse in downtown Orlando that is roughly two miles from the Pulse nightclub. The Orlando Sentinel reported Salman was crying after the jury reached its verdict. The newspaper also noted Barbara Poma, owner of the Pulse nightclub, and several of the victims’ relatives did not speak when they left the courtroom after Salman was acquitted. “I respect the criminal justice process, and we all have to trust that the jury made its decision free of bias and emotion,” wrote Poma on her Facebook page. “Those of us directly affected by this tragedy must find peace in our hearts and remember that he (the gunman) was the one who pulled the trigger that night. He was the perpetrator, and he should not have one more minute of power over our lives.” The massacre was the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history until a gunman on Oct. 1, 2017, killed 58 people and injured nearly 500 others during a country music festival in Las Vegas. Brandon Wolf, a survivor of the Pulse nightclub massacre who is vice president of the Dru Project, a gun control advocacy group, is among the hundreds of thousands of people who participated in the “March for Our Lives” that took place in D.C. on March 24. “I have not been watching the trial,” he wrote on his Facebook page after the jury acquitted Salman. “I am not personally invested in the outcome, but I know this: True justice, in my eyes, comes from creating a world our 49 angels would be proud of. A world where we are celebrating life, not running from bullets.” “I love you all,” added Wolf. “Stay strong. We do it for them.” Poma in her Facebook post said the verdict “cannot and will not divide us.” “The survivors, families, and first responders as well as the community of Orlando and everyone around the world must now focus on the work ahead of us,” she wrote. “We will always carry the pain of what happened at Pulse, and we will never forget those who were taken. We will wrap our arms around all affected today and in the days to come.” “It will be difficult, but we will focus now on healing, and we will continue to work to help communities emerge from violence and hate,” added Poma. “It is as important today as it was 21 months ago.” MICHAEL K. LAVERS
Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee signed into law last week a ban on “ex-gay” conversion therapy, making the Evergreen State the 11th in the nation to prohibit the widely discredited practice for youth. Inslee signed the measure, SB 5722, at a ceremony in Olympia, Wash., making it illegal for licensed mental health therapists to engage in conversion therapy for individuals under the age of 18. “Conversion therapy is not so much therapy, it’s abuse, and we are today prohibiting the abuse of our children, conversion therapy, which has caused scars for decades across the country of something that is inhumane and not acceptable in the State of Washington,” Inslee said. Joining Inslee at the signing ceremony were several LGBT advocates, including Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, who commended Washington State for enacting the measure. “For far too long, con artist peddling junk science have been allowed to get away with inflicting deep, lasting and irreparable harm to far too many LGBTQ people,” Griffin said. “Make no mistake about it: So-called conversion therapy is a child abuse.” The practice of therapy aimed at changing an individual’s sexual orientation or transgender status is considered ineffectual at best and harmful at worst. Major medical and psychological institutions, including the American Psychological Association, the World Health Organization, the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics, widely reject conversion therapy. Carolyn Reyes, “Born Perfect” campaign coordinator and youth counsel for the National Center for Lesbian Rights Youth Policy Counsel, praised Inslee for signing the bill. “We are heartened by the progress made by legislators to uphold the safety, health, and well-being of LGBTQ individuals in Washington state,” Reyes said. A total of 11 states and D.C. have banned “ex-gay” therapy for youth either by law or regulations. The 11 states are Connecticut, California, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Illinois, Vermont, New York, New Mexico, Rhode Island and now Washington. CHRIS JOHNSON
Trump gets poor numbers in poll on LGBT rights A recent Economist-YouGov poll on President Trump and a range of other issues gives him poor numbers for his handling of LGBT rights just days after the administration reaffirmed its ban on transgender military service. A total of 29 percent of U.S. adults said they approve of the way Trump is handling gay rights, with 12 percent saying they strongly approve and 17 percent saying they somewhat approve. Meanwhile, a total of 44 percent said they disapprove of his handling of this issue, with 9 percent saying they somewhat disapprove and 35 percent saying they strongly disapprove. Twenty-seven percent had no opinion. The poll was conducted between March 25 and March 27 among 1,500 U.S. adults and has a margin of error of 3.4 percent. The poll also asked respondents about a variety of issues, including views of foreign countries, trade and social media websites. On whether respondents approved of Trump’s performance as president generally, a total of 39 percent said they approve, with 19 percent saying they strongly approve and 20 percent saying they somewhat approve. But 49 percent said they disapprove, with 9 percent saying they somewhat disapprove and 40 percent saying they strongly disapprove. Twelve percent weren’t sure. Respondents were specifically asked about their views on transgender people in the U.S. military and Trump’s attempt to ban them from the armed forces — a move he reaffirmed with a memo last week. Despite the memo, the Pentagon is continuing to assess and retain transgender service members in accordance with court orders against his earlier policy. A plurality of 49 percent said they support openly transgender service, with 31 percent saying they favor it strongly and 18 percent saying they favor it somewhat. Meanwhile, 11 percent said they oppose it somewhat, 23 percent said they strongly oppose it and 17 percent didn’t know. CHRIS JOHNSON
LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • APRIL 06, 2018 • 13
Marriage opponent loses Costa Rica presidential election A vocal opponent of marriage rights for same-sex couples on Sunday lost the second round of Costa Rica’s presidential election. Official results indicate Fabricio Alvarado lost to Carlos Alvarado by a 39-61 percent margin. Fabricio Alvarado — a Pentecostal minister, singer and former journalist who is a member of the National Restoration Party — and Carlos Alvarado of the leftist Citizen’s Action Party won the election’s first round on Feb. 4. Fabricio Alvarado and Carlos Alvarado, who are not related, faced off on Sunday because neither of them received at least 40 percent of the vote in the election’s first round. Sunday’s election took place less than three months after the Inter-American Court of Human Rights issued a landmark ruling that recognized same-sex marriage and transgender rights. Outgoing Costa Rican Vice President Ana Helena Chacón subsequently announced her government would comply with the ruling. Fabricio Alvarado made his opposition to the decision a centerpiece of his campaign. Carlos Alvarado publicly supports marriage rights for same-sex couples. He is also a member of outgoing President Luis Guillermo Solís’ party. “I am very happy,” Margarita Salas, a Costa Rican LGBT rights advocate, told the Washington Blade on Sunday after Carlos Alvarado won the election. “Costa Rica today gave its strong and decisive support to human rights.” Marcela Martino of the Center for Justice and International Law agreed with Salas. “This result allows the country to firmly advance with the conviction that Costa Rica is a country in which everyone belongs,” Martino told the Blade. Other LGBT rights advocates throughout Latin America also celebrated Carlos Alvarado’s victory. “Costa Rica won,” wrote Andrea Ayala, executive director of Espacio de Mujeres Lesbianas por la Diversidad, an LGBT advocacy group in El Salvador, on her Facebook page. MICHAEL K. LAVERS
Judge: Puerto Rico birth certificate policy unconstitutional A federal judge has ruled Puerto Rico must allow transgender people to change the gender marker on their birth certificates. Lambda Legal last April filed a lawsuit on behalf of three trans Puerto Ricans and Puerto Rico Para Tod@s, a local advocacy group. U.S. District Court Judge Carmen Consuelo Cerezo in her ruling that she signed on March 28 said the U.S. commonwealth’s birth certificate policy, which the Puerto Rico Supreme Court decreed in 2005, is unconstitutional. “This is a tremendous victory for our clients and all transgender people born in Puerto Rico,” Omar Gonzalez-Pagan, a staff attorney for Lambda Legal, told the Washington Blade on Tuesday in a statement. “The Puerto Rican government must now allow transgender Puerto Ricans to change the gender markers on their birth certificates so that they accurately reflect and affirm their identities.” Pedro Julio Serrano, founder of Puerto Rico Para Tod@s, on Twitter described the ruling as “historic.” “At Puerto Rico Para Tod@s we are proud to be part of this case that allows trans people to amend their birth certificates,” he wrote. “Thank you Lambda Legal and this case’s trans plaintiffs for their coverage.” Gonzalez-Pagan told the Blade the policy was “not only discriminatory” but it “also was a relic from the past reflecting archaic views about who we are as a people and a society.” “A birth certificate is an essential identity document,” he said. “Birth certificates are necessary to access an array of rights and benefits such as employment, education, housing, travel and the ability to vote. It is vital for identity documents to accurately reflect who we are. We are pleased that the court recognized that the government cannot interfere with transgender people’s ability to live as their authentic selves and that attempts to do so are unconstitutional.” Consuelo issued her ruling less than seven months after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico. MICHAEL K. LAVERS
Julie Guerrero, right, takes part in a march in support of marriage rights for same-sex couples in Puerto Vallarta, on Sept. 10. Photo Courtesy Guerrero
Puerto Vallarta safe after gay couple attacked: officials Tourism officials in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, insist the resort city is safe after a gay couple was attacked in what they describe as a hate crime. The Desert Sun and other media outlets have reported that Carl Blea — a real estate agent who lives in Palm Springs, Calif., with his husband, Marc Lange — were holding hands while walking to their condo at around 2:30 a.m. on March 24 after they spent the night dancing. Blea and Lange said a man with a gun yelled at them as they walked through a park in Zona Romántica, an area of Puerto Vallarta in which several gay bars, clubs, guesthouses and hotels are located. Lange on March 25 told the Desert Sun during a telephone interview from a Puerto Vallarta hospital that the man shot Blea in the right buttock. Lange told the newspaper the bullet passed through Blea’s right thigh. Lange also said the man would have shot him as well if Blea hadn’t pulled him to safety. Blea is recovering from his injuries in Palm Springs. The Washington Blade’s attempts to reach Blea and Lange for comment this week were unsuccessful. The couple continues to maintain the attack was a hate crime, even though authorities in Puerto Vallarta insist it was an attempted robbery. The man who shot Blea remains at large. “Probably within 15 minutes all the police were there and they just kept asking me if it was a robbery,” Blea told Out & About Puerto Vallarta, a gay website, on Monday during a Facebook Live interview he recorded before returning to the U.S. “I kept saying no, it was not a robbery. This guy just had evil eyes. He had a tattoo on his left face and he just wanted to kill us, wanted us dead.” The Puerto Vallarta Tourism Board and the LGBT Business and Tourism Association of Puerto Vallarta in a joint statement they issued on Wednesday expressed “sympathies” to Blea and Lange. “We stand in solidarity with the members of our local LGBT community and condemn any acts of crime,” reads the statement. “As a community, we take all incidents involving visitors very seriously and we have all been taken by surprise by this incident as it is not normal in Puerto Vallarta,” added Puerto Vallarta Tourism Board Director Javier Aranda Pedrero. “We, along with the police, and authorities across local, state and federal government have been monitoring this situation along with the LGBT associations and leaders of the destination.” Puerto Vallarta, which is located in Mexico’s Jalisco state, is a popular vacation destination for LGBT people from the U.S. The drug cartels and related violence that has ravaged Acapulco and other Mexican cities in recent years has left Puerto Vallarta largely untouched. “We deeply regret what Carl Blea and Marc Lange experienced this weekend and we hope for a speedy recovery,” said Armando Sánchez, president of the LGBT Business and Tourism Association of Puerto Vallarta, in the statement his organization and the Puerto Vallarta Tourism Board issued on Wednesday. “We believe this is a random and isolated incident, and definitely not part of the daily life in Puerto Vallarta.” MICHAEL K. LAVERS
14 • APRIL 06, 2018 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
VOLUME 02 ISSUE 07
Judge Reinhardt’s legacy of love and justice Gay legal eagle remembers the 9th Circuit ‘liberal lion’
Jon W. Davidson has been a leading LGBT legal rights advocate and constitutional scholar for more than 30 years. He recently stepped down as the national legal director of Lambda Legal.
Judge Stephen Reinhardt, who sat on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit for more than 37 years, passed away March 29 of a heart attack, at the age of 87. Frequently referred to as the “liberal lion” of the federal circuit courts, he worked tirelessly till his last day to protect those without privilege or clout. Among those he spoke up for were immigrants, women, the terminally ill, victims of police brutality, dissidents from political and religious orthodoxy, and people who have been incarcerated or charged with criminal activity. Those in the LGBT community will long remember Judge Reinhardt fondly for his fierce defense of the rights of same-sex couples. In 2009, Judge Reinhardt decided in In re Levenson that Ninth Circuit public defenders could not be denied employment benefits covering their lawfully-married, same-sex spouses. Presaging the Supreme Court’s ruling four years later in United States v. Windsor, Judge Reinhardt concluded that there was not even a rational basis for the Defense of Marriage Act’s attempt to exclude married same-sex couples from protections
and rights afforded those allowed to marry. In 2012, Judge Reinhardt wrote the Ninth Circuit’s politically-savvy opinion in Perry v. Brown, which affirmed the lower court’s decision holding California’s Proposition 8 unconstitutional. The Supreme Court subsequently vacated that appellate decision, holding that the Prop 8’s opponents had no right to appeal the trial court’s ruling, but Judge Reinhardt’s opinion still shines with insight and humanity. He saw that, because California extended all the rights it afforded married couples to same-sex couples who registered as domestic partners, the only point of Prop 8 was to deny same-sex couples the “status and dignity” of marriage. “That designation is important,” he wrote. “A rose by any other name may smell as sweet, but to the couple desiring to enter into a committed lifelong relationship, a marriage by the name of `registered domestic partnership’ does not.” Adding a litany of cultural references to marriage, he quipped, “Had Marilyn Monroe’s film been called How to Register a Domestic Partnership with a Millionaire, it would not have conveyed the same meaning as did her famous movie, even though the underlying drama for same-sex couples is no different.” Because Prop 8 furthered no legitimate government objective and was only an expression of the majority’s view of samesex relationships as less worthy than their own, it violated the Constitution’s guarantee of equality for all. Two years later, Judge Reinhardt wrote the majority opinion in Latta v. Otter, striking down both Nevada’s and Idaho’s exclusions of same-sex couples from marriage, again on equal protection grounds. Leading the way for the Supreme Court’s subsequent decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, Judge Reinhardt added a separate concurrence to explain why the exclusion also violated the fundamental right to marry. That concurrence movingly ends, “We, as judges,
deal so often with laws that confine and constrain. Yet our core legal instrument comprehends the rights of all people, regardless of sexual orientation, to love and to marry the individuals they choose. It demands not merely toleration; when a state is in the business of marriage, it must affirm the love and commitment of same-sex couples in equal measure. Recognizing that right dignifies them; in so doing, we dignify our Constitution.” As co-counsel in the Nevada marriage case, I feel a special tie to Judge Reinhardt. I also was fortunate to have met him on numerous occasions, as he was married to Ramona Ripston, the former Executive Director of the ACLU of Southern California, where I worked for 7 years. Their love and dedication to both one another and to social justice was an inspiration I long have carried with me. I was hardly alone. Many of his former law clerks went on to leading roles in the progressive legal community, academia, and politics, including (to name but a few) Tom Saenz, the Executive Director of MALDEF; Hector Villagra, the Executive Director of the ACLU of Southern California; Yale Law School Dean Heather Gerken; former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick; and Joshua Matz, the publisher of the influential Take Care legal blog. Nick Tarasen, one of a number of openly LGBT law clerks and externs Judge Reinhardt had over the years, who I worked with in challenging North Carolina’s infamous HB 2, said of his former boss and mentor, “His legacy lives on in lives made better, law made more fair, and a sea of law clerks inspired by his tireless example to make the world a better place. His is the voice inside my head telling me to be a ruthlessly clever lawyer in the service of justice, and reminding me — in dark times such as these — that we should know hope, and carry on the fight.” I know the judge would smile at that legacy.
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LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • APRIL 06, 2018 • 15
Why I’m challenging Trump’s trans military ban ‘Don’t turn away qualified, capable, and willing service members’
Aiden Stockman is a plaintiff in Stockman v. Trump, one of four legal challenges to the ban on military service by transgender individuals.
I remember staring at the screen. Just staring at it. Rereading the words the president had tweeted – “we will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military” – as I tried to piece together what my life was going to look like now. In just three tweets, my military future had come crashing down. Serving my country has been my dream for so long. Living in Yucca Valley, near the Marine Corps base at Twenty-Nine Palms, I have had the opportunity to talk to so many
brave service members and to be inspired by their stories. I remember the first time a family friend of ours told us about his tour in Afghanistan. I hung on every word. He was doing one of the most important things you could do for our country, and he was so proud. I knew I wanted to be like him, and that I wanted to serve my country the same way. In 2016, following extensive study by military experts, the Department of Defense announced that transgender service members could serve openly and transgender people would be eligible to enlist beginning the following year. I was thrilled. I knew that I could finally pursue my dream of joining the United States Air Force, to access training and educational opportunities I would never have otherwise, and, most importantly, to give back to the country from which I get so much. Right away, I started taking steps and making plans for my future enlistment. But before that date arrived—in a few abrupt lines and seemingly without any reason at all—President Trump reversed the military’s decision. I felt sick—crushed, like someone had just pushed me to the ground. But I’m a fighter. And I know that I am just as capable of serving in the military as any of my peers. I knew that I needed to
find a way to stand up for myself and for my community, which is how I eventually became the “Stockman” in the Equality California lawsuit Stockman v. Trump challenging Trump’s ban. In attempting to justify his ban, President Trump has called into question the physical and mental health of transgender people and our ability to serve. But transgender people have been serving honorably for years. By all estimates, thousands are currently doing so. The issues raised by Trump have no basis in facts or data. They play to public fears based on nothing other than stigma and prejudice. There is nothing about being transgender that makes me—or the thousands of other patriotic transgender Americans who want to serve or are already serving right now— any less qualified. All any of us is asking is to be evaluated based on our own abilities. Shouldn’t anyone who meets the military’s already rigorous standards and is willing to put their life on the line for their country be not only able, but welcomed, to serve? The state of California agrees with me and it has joined this fight, becoming a plaintiff alongside me in this case. The state of Washington, likewise, has joined another challenge to the transgender military ban originating there, Karnoski v. Trump. And the Attorneys General of fourteen other
states have spoken out against the ban, submitting an amicus brief in yet another case, Doe v. Trump. California has more LGBT people and more people in the military than any other state. It has a strong interest in supporting the LGBT community, as well as the strength of our military. When California Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed a motion to intervene in our case and become a plaintiff, he noted that Trump’s ban would hurt the California National Guard’s ability to recruit and retain members to protect our state’s natural resources. I live in California and my family all lives here, as well. Particularly after last year’s devastating wildfires, I know that we need every qualified person who is willing to serve. We should not be turning capable people away just because they are transgender. If I could say anything to President Trump, I would tell him that I am strong, I am capable, and I am ready to serve my country. And I am not alone. A recent Williams Institute study found that transgender Americans are twice as likely to have served or be serving in our nation’s military. Countless qualified transgender Americans are committed to serving: committed to doing the right thing for our country. President Trump, are you?
Harmless nostalgia or insidious normalization? LGBT critics debate whether to watch or boycott as Barr returns to culture wars By SUSAN HORNIK
Photo by kathclick; Courtesy of Bigstock
The original “Roseanne” series, which aired from 1988 to 1997, was a television breakthrough for its diverse gay storylines—who can forget that controversial episode in which the veteran comedian kisses Mariel Hemingway (and wipes it off in surprised disgust)? Fast forward 20 years and the award-winning comedy series returned to ABC last week with a whopping 29 million viewers. President Trump even called Roseanne Barr to congratulate her on the show. On the radio series, “Here & Now,” NPR TV critic Eric Deggans was asked why the show was so immensely popular again. “The series appealed to people who don’t see themselves depicted authentically on television that much,” he said. “There’s a lot of dynamics that came together to make this happen. ABC promoted the heck out of this, we saw ads for this during the “Oscars,” “American Idol.” We saw the stars everywhere, at NASCAR rallies, on “Howard Stern.” This is a beloved show that was the number one show on television at its height, when the show was on the air. And I think a lot of people were just curious about what did they come up with.” While the show has Sarah Gilbert (a lesbian) starring and exec producing, Wanda Sykes (also a lesbian) writing, Laurie Metcalf (a feminist) starring and a gender non-conforming child featured in the show, the LGBTQ community has been sharply divided on whether or not to watch a woman who continues to support President Trump and has made her own transphobic comments. The Los Angeles Blade talked to LGBTQ fans and critics about the show.
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Photo Courtesy DeCaro
Photo by S Buckley; Courtesy Bigstock
Photo Courtesy Brito
Frank DeCaro, Author/Comedian:
Jeff Rosenberg, Screenwriter:
“I’m willing to give ‘Roseanne’ a chance” is the same kind of thinking that got us into this mess in the first place. You SHOULD be estranged from EVERYONE in your life who voted for Donald Trump. Hollywood would renew “My Little Adolph” if the numbers were good enough. Watching “Roseanne” put me in a foul mood. It was like watching a reboot of “Hogan’s Heroes,” but being told that Col. Klink is now the real hero. The last thing this country needs is a loveable Trumper, which is exactly what we’re getting in Roseanne Conner. The liberal characters were portrayed as bubble-dwelling boobs. Life coaches? Placenta eating? A few of us are smarter than that. The conservatives, on the other hand, were presented as unsophisticated, but loving and ultimately wise, and, worst of all, probably right in the end. I don’t buy it. Roseanne Conner is not Archie Bunker, who was the fool of “All in the Family,” she’s the hero of this piece. We’re meant to understand her embrace of the worst political candidate our country has ever had foisted upon it. “Roseanne” isn’t nostalgia. It’s normalization at its most insidious.
As a gay man, I was a fan of Roseanne’s original sitcom. Yes, it represented middle America, and I am more of an East Coast guy, but it showed the best of the Midwest. Their inclusiveness. Their love, warmth. Her character in particular. It showed “their” struggles, fears and hopes were the same as “ours.” She served as a bridge between the two worlds. We saw ourselves in her and her family. We laughed, and cried, along with them. Why? Because she was a friend, and her show was a safe place. A place we knew we were not only included, but welcome. That changed when Roseanne abruptly did a political 180. She sided with, and remains steadfastly loyal, to the single most anti-LGBTQ administration in U.S. history. While she has heralded Trump’s false accomplishments and furthered ridiculous conspiracy theories, she has remained ominously silent as Trump and his cronies erode LGBTQ civil rights and try to make us second-class citizens. Sad that she once again has the voice and platform, yet instead of bringing our country together, she is trying to divide us by making hate a “family value”. Sad. Bigly.
Bruce Vilanch, Writer/Songwriter/Actor: Another distraction from what’s really happening in Washington. Resist.
Victoria Brito, MUSE Model: I think it’s a missed opportunity for our community to check out a show that features diverse, interesting storylines rarely found on network TV. If we push a strict litmus test of political alignment on every form of entertainment, we lose out on a rich, layered world. I hope LGBTQ viewers can give this show a chance, as it’s an amazing reflection of the variety of our whole country and we all benefit from breaking outside of the echo chamber of our opinions.
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Jasper Cole, Actor: I was never a fan of “Roseanne” in the ‘90s for the same reason I’m not today: she created a volatile work environment and treats people horrifically. Roseanne had no TV experience and was given a show much like Trump himself, and she ruled the set like a tyrant as well. She was and still is hate-filled, but was fortunate to surround herself with talented actors and writers who do the best they can to make her look good. Her off-screen “antics” have always revealed who she really is and sadly, via her undying support for Trump, just how crazy she really is. That said, I’m most disappointed in the so-called progressive women who have chosen to work with her on the reboot: Sara Gilbert, Wanda Sykes, Whitney Cummings, Laurie Metcalf, and Sandra Bernhard. Most of them, with the exception of Gilbert — who rarely seems to have an opinion of her own that isn’t scripted by either a writer on “The Talk” or the “Roseanne” reboot — have been die-hard anti-Trumpsters. In my opinion, choosing to work with Roseanne cannot be justified
Photo Courtesy Cole
Photo Courtesy Olde
Photo Courtesy Padovan
by saying, “we don’t agree with all the hate she spews.” I don’t care how well-written or well-acted the show is, Archie Bunker was a bigot, Carroll O’Connor wasn’t. Roseanne Barr is just pretending to hide behind Roseanne Conner, but they are one and the same. Both are hate-filled, egomaniacs like Trump. I admire people who actually have morals and convictions and stick to them regardless of the paychecks. Ironically, none of the women I mentioned working on the reboot seem to be hurting for money allegedly. But who am I to judge?!
Jeff Hollingsworth, Publicist: I’m with Roxane Gay, who wrote the recent op-ed in the New York Times. I watched and laughed and I adore the gender fluid grandson character, but I can’t overlook the feeling that Roseanne, the person, is a calculated, cheap shot provocateur not to be taken seriously. I loved “All in the Family” and think comparing Carroll O’Connor to Barr or his show to hers is a false equivalence. If you read Gay’s opinion piece it doesn’t much quibble with the show’s humor. “All in the Family” and Norman Lear never wanted to normalize bigotry or proselytize or romanticize “real people” (Trump voters in the current show) — he cleverly and bitingly satirized these things. This show seems to be all about bait and switch politics of culture.
Jeff Olde, Longtime Television Programming Executive: I think Trump is repugnant as a person and certainly as a president, but I have to say I really loved the first two episodes of “Roseanne.” It is an equal offender on all political sides and I found it funny, full of heart, and full of potential. From what I have seen so far, I think you really see the influence of lesbians Sara Gilbert, as both a star and an executive producer and certainly, in the sharp writing of Wanda Sykes. And actress Laurie Metcalf is basically saying everything I’m thinking when I get into social media screaming battles with conservatives. If millions of people in middle America are seeing positive storylines about the LGBTQ community and specifically about a gender-fluid kid, I’m good with that. It is very early in this journey and we will see how it goes. Roseanne and her bat shit crazy right-wing conspiracy theories could push me over into
A M E R I C A’ S
the boycott zone. I would not want to support any platform she has if she continues to publicly fan those divisive (not to mention insane) flames. But for now, if I step back from her politics, dare I say that I think “Roseanne” has the potential to become an important show in perilous times like “All In The Family” was back in the ‘70s. We’ve all got to find a way to talk to each other again, and maybe laughing at (and with) each other is a start. For me, this gay is willing to give it a shot. But of course the thing that could immediately blow that is Roseanne herself. I hope she doesn’t, as the work on screen is good, needed and potentially a powerful pop culture moment for the LGBTQ community.
Michael Kape, Theatre Blogger: I do not understand why the LGBT community would not watch. True, Roseanne’s politics suck. But I think the show did a good job of balancing her views with an opposing opinion. And having a grandchild who likes to dress like a girl has brought back the very heart of the original show. There was a lot to really like and admire.
David Jay Lasky, Film Producer and Screenwriter: The two episodes were sardonic, hilarious, and smartly written. Roseanne Barr, Laurie Metcalf, Sara Gilbert and John Goodman were all terrific. I’m a registered Republican. I would never boycott a show. I like listening to all sides and all ideas from every American patriot in our country. God Bless America. This is a step in the right direction. President Trump is our president and I respect our commander-in-chief.
Greg Padovan, President, Insurance Sales: Although I find her acting atrocious, her support of Trump in the show I HOPE can only be seen as educational, for what can happen in a family dynamic when a family is split in a political support situation. I think her character is a perfect match for a Trump supporter and will develop into how bad a mistake people made in November, thinking this man was in their best interest for changing America for the better as opposed to listening to who the man made clear he was and continues to be.
20 • APRIL 06, 2018 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
QUEERY 20 GAY QUESTIONS FOR ROBERT SEPÚLVEDA JR.
queery ROBERT SEPÚLVEDA JR. How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell? I came out to my family when I was 17 going on 18. I was afraid to tell them, not knowing how they would react, but the fear was unwarranted. They are such a huge support system and fully embraced me. I really over thought it. Who’s your LGBT hero? Gilbert Baker - the designer of the Rainbow flag. He truly created something iconic. As well as all members of the LGBTQ+ community who are living their true lives.
Photo Courtesy Sepúlveda
By REBEKAH SAGER
Robert Sepúlveda Jr. is a true renaissance man. He’s an accomplished interior, jewelry, skincare and fragrance designer, artist, LGBTQ+ activist and reality TV star. Sepúlveda has appeared as a suitor on Logo TV’s “Finding Prince Charming” (the first ever all-male dating show, hosted by Lance Bass) and on MTV’s “Room Raiders” (MTV’s first all-male dating competition show). Blogging about his experience on “Finding Prince Charming,” exclusively for People magazine, Sepúlveda wrote, “Wow, I can’t believe I’m watching myself on TV – how surreal!!!!! I feel so blessed for this amazing opportunity I’ve been given to meet 13 amazing men – with the potential of leaving with a life partner – with the man of my dreams. This certainly isn’t the most conventional of ways of finding love, I get that, but I will take it. I’ll take this chance that’s been given to me.” He made history creating the Atlanta Rainbow Crosswalks – an historic public art installation in conjunction with Atlanta’s Cultural Arts Department, meant to represent unity and tolerance within the LGBTQ+ community. “The journey of this project has been filled with many joyous moments of progress, as well as moments when we thought we couldn’t go any further,” Sepúlveda wrote on the The Rainbow Crosswalks website. Sepúlveda originally contacted the City of Atlanta in 2014, with a proposal about installing The Rainbow Crosswalks at the 10th St. & Piedmont Ave location in Midtown before Pride that year. Although the project didn’t happen then, thanks to a GoFundMe campaign, over $44,000 was raised, and the crosswalks were installed in time for Pride 2015. His interior design career started in the textile industry, where he worked with such well-known hotels such as The Biltmore, Caesar’s Palace, Mandarin Oriental, Le Meridian, W, Ritz Carlton, and Loews, to name a few. Today his firm specializes in luxury residential and commercial spaces. And this year, he will launch a jewelry line called the RSJ Collection – an array of sophisticated, one-of-a kind, unisex items.
and photos from that. If your life were a book, what would the title be? “How to create your dreams from thin air.” If science discovered a way to change sexual orientation, what would you do? I would be VERY concerned. Hopefully that never happens! What do you believe in beyond the physical world? I have a strong faith. I believe in karma, and the more positivity one gives, the more they will receive.
What’s Los Angeles’ best nightspot, past or present? LA has so many great places. Soho House is always great to have a relaxing private drink and food. Delilah is also is one of my faves!
What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders? Just to continue fighting the good fight. But also to understand the other side - then one can better explain what they’re fighting for.
Describe your dream wedding. I have always imagined getting married in Florence at the Palazzo Scala Della Gherardesca, Four Seasons. It’s an old Palace turned into a small, beautiful hotel with beautiful gardens.
What would you walk across hot coals for? I have always wanted to try walking over hot coals - I’ve seen videos and they explain how it’s done. So, the experiences alone would be worth it.
What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about? When I lived in Atlanta I created the Atlanta Rainbow Crosswalks - and a nonprofit around the crosswalks. But I work with many nonprofits. The two I am most passionate about is PAWS, which is a no-kill animal shelter, as well as Project Angel Food, which helps provide food to ill patients. I help prepare food, make soup - whatever they need, I’m there to help. What historical outcome would you change? Unfortunately if one changes something that happened in the past, it could change everything in the present. Sad things happen that shouldn’t: JFK being assassinated, the murder of Martin Luther King, we can go on and on - but all things happen for a reason. What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime? I suppose it would be being on Finding Prince Charming - that’s definitely a pop culture moment, and I’m so glad I was part of that. On what do you insist? Loyalty and honesty are so important to me. I surround myself with a close circle of friends and I need to be able to trust them. What was your last Facebook post or Tweet? I just had an Easter party, so I posted videos
What LGBT stereotype annoys you most? The bear, or woof, or cub thing - I find that strange. What’s your favorite LGBT movie? “Mean Girls” is pretty gay, lol. What’s the most overrated social custom? Having good manners is essential, but overdoing it or being fake is terrible. What trophy or prize do you most covet? I try not to “covet” physical objects. What I see as my best prize, if one wants to call it that, is helping others who may be going through something I’ve gone through. We are much more alike than we are different. If my life experiences can help someone else, that’s a huge prize! What do you wish you’d known at 18? So many things! My niece is 18, so I know how much 18-year-olds think they know, but really don’t. I don’t believe in regret, but I definitely would have done some things differently. Why Los Angeles? I’ve lived in NYC, Miami, and many other cities in between, but LA really has a beautiful outdoor vibe. The weather is generally always good, the beach isn’t that far away, and it’s a great location for business.
22 • APRIL 06, 2018 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
Wes Anderson goes political with ‘Isle of Dogs’ But is the message marred by racism? By JOHN PAUL KING
Wes Anderson’s dog-filled dystopia is his darkest work yet. Image Courtesy Twentieth Century Fox Animation
For fans of filmmaker Wes Anderson, the arrival of a new movie by the quirky auteur triggers an excitement akin to that of a 10-year-old boy opening a coveted new toy at Christmas. For them, something about the director’s style conjures a nostalgic glee; the puzzle-box intricacy with which he builds his cinematic vision combines with the detached whimsy of his characters to create an experience not unlike perusing a cabinet of curiosities, bringing out the viewer’s inner child and leaving them feeling something they’re not quite sure of for reasons they can’t quite put their finger on. Those who love his work – and there are a lot of people in this category – find it immensely satisfying. Those who don’t are left scratching their heads and wondering what the point was to all that tiresome juvenilia. Anderson’s latest, “Isle of Dogs,” is likely to meet just such a split in opinion – and this time, thanks to accusations of cultural appropriation, marginalization, and outright racism, it’s not just about whether you like the directorial style. His second venture into the field of stop-motion animation (the first was “Fantastic Mr. Fox” in 2009), it’s an ambitious fable set in a fictional Japanese metropolis named Megasaki, 20 years in the future. The authoritarian mayor, the latest in a long dynasty of cat-loving rulers, has issued an executive decree that all the city’s dogs must be exiled to “Trash Island” – including Spots, the beloved pet and protector of his 12-yearold ward, Atari. The boy steals a small plane and flies to the island, where he enlists the aid of a pack of other dogs to help him rescue Spots from the literal wasteland to which he has been banished. Meanwhile, on the mainland, a group of young students works hard to expose the corrupt mayor and the conspiracy he has led to turn the citizens against their own dogs. In usual fashion, Anderson has made a film that expresses his unique aesthetic, marked with all his signature touches: his meticulously chosen color palette, the rigorous symmetry of his framing, the obsessive detail of his visual design, and the almost cavalier irony of his tone. These now-familiar stylistic trappings give his movies the feel of a “junior-adventurer” story, belying the reality that the underlying tales he tells are quite grim. The cartoonish quirks of his characters often mask the fact that they are lonely or emotionally stunted – and the colorful, well-ordered world they inhabit is full of longing, hardship, oppression, and despair. “Isle of Dogs,” though ostensibly a children’s movie, is no different. Indeed, it is possibly the director’s darkest work so far, and it is certainly his most political. Though it would be misleading to attribute a partisan agenda to this film, it’s not hard to see the allegorical leanings in its premise of a corrupt government demonizing dogs to incite hysteria and support its rise to power, nor the social commentary in the way it portrays bigotry based on the trivial surface characteristic of preferring dogs to cats. Make no mistake, despite its cute and fluffy surface and its future-Japanese setting, “Isle of Dogs” can easily be read as a depiction of a world possessed by the specter of Nationalism, and a clear statement about life – and resistance – in Trump’s America. In terms of visual artistry, Anderson has outdone himself with his latest work. The painstaking perfection of the animation is matched by the overwhelming completeness of the world he and his design artists have executed around it. Myriad elements from Japanese culture are used to build the immersive reality of Megasaki (and Trash Island, of course), and the director adds to his own distinctive style by taking cues from countless cinematic influences – Western and Eastern alike. Of course, the film’s setting and story invite comparisons to the great Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa – whose iconic Samurai movies were an acknowledged influence. Anderson mirrors the mythic, larger-than-life quality of those classics; he uses broad strokes, with characters who seem like archetypes and a presentation that feels like ritual. These choices may have served the director’s artistic purpose well – but they have also opened him up to what has surely been unexpected criticism. Many commentators have observed that, by setting “Isle of Dogs” in Japan (when he himself has admitted it could have taken place anywhere), Anderson is guilty of wholesale cultural appropriation, co-opting centuries of Japanese tradition and artistry to use essentially as background decoration for his movie. In addition, he has been criticized for his tone-deaf depiction of Japanese characters; his choice to have their dialogue spoken in (mostly) untranslated Japanese serves, it has been said, to dehumanize and marginalize them and shift all audience empathy to the English-speaking, decidedly Anglo actors who portray the dogs. There has also been objection to his inclusion of a female foreign exchange student as the leader of the resistance, which can be seen as a perpetuation of the the “white savior” myth. Such points may be valid, particularly in a time when cultural sensitivity and positive representation are priorities within our social environment. It’s not the first time Anderson has been criticized for seeming to work from within a very white, entitled bubble, after all. Even so, watching “Isle of Dogs,” it’s difficult to ignore the fact that it’s a movie about inclusion, not marginalization. It invites us to abandon ancient prejudices, speak up against institutionalized bigotry, and remake the world as a place where there is room for us all. It’s a message that seems to speak to the progressive heart of diversity. Whether or not the delivery of that message comes in an appropriate form is a matter for individual viewers to decide for themselves. For Anderson fans, it will probably be a moot point.
LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • APRIL 06, 2018 • 23
Disney Channel star comes out in emotional essay Disney Channel star Alyson Stoner got candid about her sexuality in an essay penned for Teen Vogue. Stoner, known for her roles on “The Suite Life of Zack and Cody” and “Cheaper by the Dozen,” described meeting and falling in love with a woman in an essay titled “How I embraced my sexual identity.” “After I dizzied myself from doing knee spins, she walked toward me to correct my form,” the 24-year-old writes. “My heart raced wildly and my body grew hot. Was I nervous to fail in front of an expert? Was I breathing heavily from being out of shape? Her smile was the most electrifying thing I’d ever seen.” She recalls telling her mother and best friend that she felt something for the instructor but wasn’t sure what was going on. Later, Stoner and the woman started a relationship. “I fell in love with a woman,” Stoner says. “In its purest sense, I felt awakened, more compassionate and like my truest self,” Stoner continued. “She strengthened and inspired me, creating a space for me to discover myself without judgment. We were an example of true love,” Stoner adds about their relationship. The star says she struggled with understanding her identity and hoped she wasn’t gay. “I had internalized some of the harmful beliefs and misconceptions about LGBTQ people and identities. At the time, I thought... Maybe it’s because I’ve experienced abuse from men and therefore I’m scared of intimacy with them (and in general). Maybe it’s because open sexuality is prevalent in my artistic community and I subconsciously just want to fit in,” she writes. “Maybe I actually want to be her, and I’m mistaking idolization for romance. Anything besides being gay, please!” Stoner continued that people in the industry encouraged her not to come out because it would hurt her career. However, Stoner decided to be open about her sexuality and, while she did not label herself, she explained that she is attracted to “men, women, and people who identify in other ways.”
Kacey Musgraves regrets not standing up for bullied gay kid Country singer Kacey Musgraves counts the pro-LGBT anthem “Follow Your Arrow” as one of her singles but in an interview with Billboard she revealed she wasn’t always an ally. Musgraves says in high school she would laugh along when a gay person was being bullied. After a close friend came out to her, she says her views changed. “At 18, I was a lot more redneck than I am now,” Musgraves says. “I think back to who I was then: being in a small-town high school and seeing a gay guy get made fun of, I’d like, laugh along and not really think much about it. A best friend came out to me right after high school, and that’s when I started getting it - my perspective completely changed.” After moving out of her small town of Golden, Texas to Nashville, Musgraves was exposed to more diversity. “I started hanging out at this gay club, called Play, all the time, and I made so many friends,” Musgraves says. “It really hurt my heart that I had ever even been close to being the opposite of that.” Musgraves was later inspired to write “Follow Your Arrow” and was able to see how far she’s come with accepting the LGBT community. “I met Shane (McAnally) and Brandy Clark and we ended up writing ‘Follow Your Arrow,’ and it became this unintentional anthem,” she says. “It was really redeeming for me, because I come from where I come from. Part of me felt a little guilty that I was the Arrow girl... it has not always been my viewpoint. But I guess people can change.” MARIAH COOPER
Dan Reynolds showed his support for the LGBT community by waving a rainbow flag. Photo Courtesy Twitter
Imagine Dragons singer waves rainbow flag in Brazil Imagine Dragons lead singer Dan Reynolds showed his support for the LGBT community by waving a rainbow flag at the Lollapalooza Brazil Festival in Sao Paulo. Reynolds, 30, documented the moment with a special Twitter post. “Celebrate our diversity. embrace our LGBTQ youth. to ‘accept’ does not simply mean to ‘love’ - it means you give true validity and fully embrace and support diverse sexual orientations and do not see ones sexuality as ‘incorrect’ or ‘sinful.’ love is an empty word otherwise,” Reynolds tweeted. Reynolds was raised Mormon and previously taught that homosexuality is a sin. Last year, he apologized to the LGBT community in his acceptance speech for the Trevor Project’s Hero award. “I knocked on thousands of doors. For those two years when people asked me what the doctrine was and they said, ‘Hey, I’m gay,’ I thought that it was a sin because that’s what I had been raised to teach,” Reynolds said at the time. “I hold regret about that until this day. I wish I could re-knock on those doors and tell them I was wrong. I can’t do that. All I can do is come forward to you today and say I’m sincerely sorry.” He will also appear in the documentary “Believer,” which will chronicle he and gay Neon Trees lead singer Tyler Glenn as they advocate for LGBT Mormons. The documentary received a standing ovation during its screening at the Sundance Film Festival. It premieres on HBO this summer.
24 • APRIL 06, 2018 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
‘Significant Other’ explores perennial problem through millennial lens What happens when you’re the last single person among your friends? By JOHN PAUL KING
Will Von Vogt is making his Geffen Playhouse debut with Significant Other. Photo Courtesy Geffen Playhouse
There comes a time for most people, usually in our twenties, when the circle of friends in which we move begins to peel away; one by one, they reach a point when the bustle of a busy social life is suddenly less appealing than the traditional comfort of domesticity, and they pair off with some special someone with whom they think they are ready to settle down. Inevitably, the group dwindles until there is only one person left. Being that person, to put it succinctly, pretty much sucks. It’s this phenomenon that is explored in “Significant Other,” a comedy by playwright Joshua Harmon which officially opens its West Coast premiere at the Geffen Playhouse on April 11. The show, which has already enjoyed successful OffBroadway and Broadway runs, follows a young man named Jordan, a single professional who also happens to be gay. When his close group of female friends each begins to slowly drift away and get married, he finds himself feeling left alone while he searches for his own “Mr. Right.” Will Van Vogt, who plays Jordan, says it’s a play that hits him pretty close to home. “I’ve been living with the same woman, my best friend, for eight years, and just before I came to L.A. she moved in with her life partner – so we sort of broke up this domestic partnership that we had developed. I’m so excited and proud for her, but it’s sort of like, ‘well, now what’s going to happen to me?’” He says that same kind of uncertainty is at the core of his character, and of the play itself. “Jordan is trying to figure out what adult life looks like for him. He begins to look around and realize that he doesn’t have everything in place the way that he’d like to, and it sends him into a bit of a spiral – worrying about things he wants, things he’s afraid he’ll never get. It’s a very human story about things I think we’re all afraid of at the end of the day.” He’s also thrilled to be part of a show that, as he puts it, is so “queer-centric.” “One of the things I love most about this play, as a gay man, is that we have this person, front and center, who’s going through major life events that are applicable for everybody who shows up to that room. It’s wonderful to have a queer character deliver those messages – so often we’re reduced to playing side characters, or characters facing great tragedy, but Jordan is this layered character who goes through these relatable human emotions across all levels. Whether you’re a gay man in your twenties or an elderly woman in your nineties, or anybody in between, you’re going to recognize the struggles that he’s going through.” Even so, at a time in entertainment culture when the watchword is “inclusiveness,” he says that the character’s sexuality is relevant because it is, essentially, not relevant at all. “This play isn’t about Jordan being gay, it’s about him being a human being. The problems he’s trying to tackle are heightened because they’re reflected against heteronormative traditions, but underneath they are really just human experiences.” Melanie Field, who plays Laura, says the play is not just
about Jordan’s issues. The other characters are all trying to find their way, too. “Laura is closest to Jordan, they have a special bond. They are pretty aligned when it comes to their views about life, and about marriage. They don’t really subscribe to the whole idea of marriage and romance – but when their other friends start meeting people and settling down, she catches the bug too. And then it becomes about how this challenges their friendship. They have to figure out how they are going to remain best friends, and what that really means, as their relationship status changes.” Just like Van Vogt, she says she sees a lot of herself reflected in her role. “I’m starting to ask myself the same kinds of questions about my own life as these characters. It hurts to grow up – it’s difficult, it’s confusing, it’s infuriating at times. We’re looking for all the answers, we’re wanting to know what’s going to happen and how we’re going to get through it.” She thinks this is what will give the show heightened resonance for millennial audiences – especially the young, urban professional types represented by its main characters. “A lot of millennials, because of access to education or focus on career, are late-bloomers compared to older generations. The play addresses the idea of looking at how things were for them and comparing your own life to that, even while you’re trying to deal with how the world has changed and the culture has shifted. What does your ideal relationship look like while you’re trying to maintain your independence? Do you even want children? And if you do, how do you meet the person you want to have them with? So much of dating now takes place on a phone screen or a laptop. It’s more complicated now, and I think our show reflects that beautifully.” “There are several scenes in where Jordan talks to his grandmother about where she was at as his age. We have that presence in our show, of this older generation that did things so much differently in terms of dating, and marriage, and children and all of it. It’s a really nice foil for what Jordan is going through.” Playwright Harmon has been lauded for his skill at creating “richly funny comedies with appealing, exasperating and infinitely recognizable characters.” Even so, with all this deep talk about relationship challenges, intergenerational comparisons, and cultural shifts, it might be easy to forget that “Significant Other” is a comedy. Not to worry, says Van Vogt. “There are so many laugh-out-loud moments. It’s a totally funny play. ‘Significant Other’ Written by Joshua Harmon Directed by Stephen Brackett Starring Melanie Field, Vella Lovell, Preston Martin, Keilly McQuail, John Garet Stoker, Concetta Tomei, and Will Von Vogt. Geffen Playhouse, Gil Cates Theatre – 10886 Le Conte Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90024 Previews begin March 3, performances March 11 – May 6 Tickets available at www.geffenplayhouse.com
26 • APRIL 06, 2018 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
Glitzy green rides Hybrid and diesel models give you earth-friendly cred with pizzazz By JOE PHILLIPS
A plucky Prius? A mod Mercedes hybrid? A dynamic diesel from Jaguar? Yes, it really is possible to find fuel-sipping green rides that mix in plenty of pizzazz. TOYOTA PRIUS $24,000 Mpg: 54 city/50 highway Zero-60 mph: 10.5 seconds From butt-ugly to beautiful, the Toyota Prius has blossomed since it first arrived in the United States in 2001. Sure, some drivers may opt for a more conventional look, but kudos to Toyota for pushing the design envelope once again. Today’s fourth-generation model, with its severe karate chops to the sheet metal, was introduced in 2016 and combines origami-like styling with high-tech glitz, especially those elongated, Z-shaped tail lights that look like bolts of lightning. This year, the higher-end models get an 11.6-inch touchscreen infotainment system, similar to what you find in a Volvo and other more expensive rides. While this is no Lamborghini, acceleration is peppy around town, just not so much on the highway. And the Prius is quiet, with very supportive seats and despite all the plastic, a nice interior finish. Lots of high-tech gizmos are all standard, including keyless entry, push-button start, rearview camera, lane-keeping assist and a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection. A big plus: the Prius has exceptional resale value. MERCEDES C 350e $48,000 Mpg: 45 city/61 highway Zero-60 mph: 5.8 seconds For a step up in price and panache, there’s the Mercedes C 350e plug-in hybrid. It looks like your typical cocky C Class, with a premium cabin full of high-quality aluminum, natural-grain wood and subtle soft-edge plastics. And it drives just as well, too, with frisky acceleration, grabby brakes and impressive maneuvering, especially when battling traffic or navigating nasty roads. This isn’t a high-performance AMG model, but it sure tries to act like one. The heart of this hybrid is the gutsy four-cylinder turbo paired with an efficient electric motor. An air-spring suspension works nicely with the various drive settings: eco, comfort, sport, sport+ and even an individual mode that can be customized. Plenty of amenities, of course, including a power trunk lid, ambient lighting, smartphone integration, panoramic sunroof, head-up display, heated/ventilated seats, and an air purification system with fragrance enhancer.
Mercedes C 350e
Jaguar F-Pace Diesel
JAGUAR F-PACE DIESEL $56,000 Mpg: 26 city/33 highway Zero-60 mph: 8.2 seconds It’s called the Jaguar F-Pace 20d R-Sport. A clunky name, to be sure, but this is one very sophisticated ride. Inspired by the sleek and sexy F-Type sedan, the F-Pace crossover has received rave reviews since it debuted last year. This is the diesel version — the 20d — with almost 20 percent better fuel mileage than the traditional gas model. The engine is so quiet, smooth and clean, you don’t even notice this is a diesel. Standard features include power liftgate, automatic wipers, heated windshield, heated steering wheel, emergency communications system and a panoramic sunroof that seems to stretch forever. The R-Sport trim level adds 20-inch wheels, special bumpers, foglights and exceptional, form-fitting front seats. But it’s the handling and pricing that are the real stars here. Few crossovers can corner and glide through traffic as well as the F-Pace, which is priced less than similar offerings from BMW, Land Rover and other trés chic automakers.
28 • APRIL 06, 2018 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
E-mail calendar items to email@example.com two weeks prior to your event. Space is limited so priority is given to LGBTspecific events or those with LGBT participants. Recurring events must be re-submitted each time.
Great books haunt Laurie Anderson’s bold experimental performance at The Wallis Annenberg Center for Performing Arts; from Moby Dick to The Tibetan Book of the Dead, works of literature are part of an eventful night out on April 20. Image courtesy Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts
SAT APRIL 7
Dragtastic NYC - World Premiere Screening! Sat Apr 7 @ 8 PM at Los Angeles LGBT Center (1125 N. McCadden Pl). World premiere screening of DRAGTASTIC NYC, a movie shot in 2010 for Logo but finally available to the public. Enjoy live performances by Pandora Boxx, Kelly Mantle, and Harmonica Sunbeam and perhaps more of New York’s finest queens. Meet the film’s producer/director Andrea Meyerson. Free!
SUN APRIL 8
Barnsdall Arts and Craft, Sun Apr 8 @ 10 AM to 4 PM at Barnsdall Art Center (4814 Hollywood Boulevard). The Barnsdall Art and Craft Fair showcases diverse works of the center’s students and faculty members including handcrafted jewelry, ceramics, cards, prints, paintings, drawings and photography. Browse work from local artisans and find the perfect Mother’s Day gift. Or maybe support the next Keith Haring. Bairnsdale is located in one of the most iconic of LA destinations, located next to the world renowned, Frank Lloyd Wright designed Hollyhock House, and a stone’s throw from the prestigious Los Angeles County Municipal Art Gallery, Search eventbrite.com for tickets. Up to $20.
THU APRIL 12
29th Annual GLAAD Media Awards, Thu Apr 12 @ 5:30 to midnight at The Beverly Hilton (9876 Wilshire Boulevard). One of Los Angeles’ most glittering Red Carpet
affairs, the GLAAD Media Awards Britney Spears is this year’s special honored guest and it will be a lot of fun to see Adam Rippon and Britney mix it up with Jim Parsons and Wanda Sykes. Maybe Roseanne will make a surprise appearance.The GLAAD Media Awards honor media for their fair, accurate, and inclusive representations of the LGBTQ community and the issues that affect their lives. The GLAAD Media Awards also fund GLAAD’s work to accelerate acceptance of the LGBTQ community. The GLAAD Media Awards ceremonies will be held in Los Angeles on April 12, 2018 at The Beverly Hilton, and in New York on May 5 at the New York Hilton Midtown. Ticket prices run the gamut, so visit glaad.org for more info. RuPaul Drag Race Season 10 Viewing Party, Thu Apr 12 @ 5:00 PM to 6:00 PM at The Chapel at The Abbey (696 North Robertson). Lord, the gurls are just getting started on what promises to be the most sizzling year yet of the new Hollywood Boulevard starlet’s Drag Race season. Get ready for some knock down drag and enjoy it with a few of your favorite Absolut Elyx cocktails. You won’t believe your eyes but it will just get more and more fun the more you watch. Cost is up to you!
FRI APRIL 13
Dada Masilo’s Giselle, Fri Apr 13 @ 7:30 PM to 9:00 PM at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts (9390 Santa Monica Boulevard). Acclaimed South African choreographer Dada Masilo, who stunned audiences around the world with her feminist revisions of Carmen, Romeo & Juliet and Swan Lake, takes on another classic in
her distinctive style of African dance and classical ballet performed at astonishing speed. This is one of the best dance events of the season. Learn more at thewallis.org.
SAT APRIL 14
Documentary Film: Hockney, Sat Apr 14 @ 1:00 to 3:00 PM @ LACMA, Los Angeles County Museum of Art (5905 Wilshire Boulevard). “Hockney” sees the charismatic artist take director Randall Wright on an exclusive tour of his archives and into his studio, where he still paints seven days a week. The film looks back at Hockney’s formative years in the British Pop Art scene and his experience of being a gay man as the AIDS crisis took hold, as well as his years working in California. A window into the artist’s work, the film weaves together a portrait that includes frank interviews with close friends and never-before-seen footage. Google LACMA HOCKNEY for ticket information.
THU APRIL 19
Earth Day, Los Angeles, Thu Apr 19 @ 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM at Grand Park (200 North Grand Street). Grand Park joins The Music Center: Performing Arts Center of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power to celebrate Los Angeles’ largest earth day event. Earth Day L.A. offers Downtown L.A.’s residents, workers and visitors ideas and solutions on how to live clean and go green. The annual event features performances, tours, plant giveaways and demonstrations of the latest in green technology, which are all
free to the public.
FRI APRIL 20
CineArte: A Latinx Queer Film & Art Festival, Fri Apr 20 @ 7:00 PM to 10 PM at Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Lily Tomlin/ Jane Wagner Cultural Arts Center (1125 North McCadden Pl). CineArte is dedicated to showcasing the stories of LGBTQ twospirited, Latinx, Chicano, Afro-latinos, and Indigenous identities through film, art and videos. Los Angeles Blade last year called the event “one of the most deeply drawn banks of talent and yearning of any arts festival in Los Angeles. A must attend event.” Tickets $25 on eventbrite.com. Laurie Anderson: Los Angeles, Fri Apr 20 @ 7:30 to 10:30 PM at Wallis Annenber Center for the Performing Arts (5905 Santa Monica Boulevard). Laurie revisits “All the Things I Lost in the Flood” in a rare Beverly Hills appearance, this month celebrates 70 years of walking on the wild side. From her website: “One of the most revered, and inventive artists working today, Laurie Anderson is a musician, performance artist, composer, fiction writer, and filmmaker (Her Heart of a Dog, 2015, was lauded as an “experimental marvel” by the Los Angeles Times). Anderson moves seamlessly between the music world and the fineart world while maintaining a stronghold in both. A true polymath, her interest in new media made her an early pioneer of harnessing technology for artistic purposes long before the tech boom of the early 21st century.” Ticket info: thewallis.org.
30 • APRIL 06, 2018 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
Kathy Griffin makes it to Carnegie Hall — and the Correspondents’ Dinner What will Billy wear to the Royal Wedding? By BILLY MASTERS
Comedian Kathy Griffin plans to attend the upcoming White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner as a guest of the Blade. Screencapture Courtesy Youtube
“You want Pence? You want Pence for the fricking president? Then you zip that fucking lip.” — Roseanne Barr tells Jimmy Kimmel why she hopes Donald Trump remains in office. Finally, something Roseanne and I agree on. In recent columns, I’ve talked about how Kathy Griffin was on the road to career recovery. Well, it would appear that she’s there...and I’m taking some of the credit. No, I had nothing to do with her selling out Carnegie Hall in under 24 hours. But I was pleased to hear she will be attending the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. No, she won’t be hosting - although she offered to do it for free. Instead, she will be there under the auspices of the Washington Blade and the Los Angeles Blade - home of the popular Billy Masters column. You’re welcome! While I’m tooting my own horn (and, frankly, any other horns that come my way), I am thrilled to announce something I’m sure you’ve already heard - the Los Angeles Blade is moving to a weekly format. In these days when gay papers are disappearing at an alarming rate, this fledgling paper is not only thriving, but expanding. Congrats! I have about a month before I have to unexpectedly head overseas. But, don’t ask me for details. All I can say is that my first stop will be London. But, that’s it. I can disclose no more. Like Stormy Daniels and that bitch who bit Beyoncé, I had to sign an NDA. Now, all I have to figure out is what to bring as a wedding gift (that was a hint). Here’s what I’m thinking - what about offering the happy couple the chance to sleep in Nick Jonas’ bed? Yes, you too can rent out Nick’s tour bus for a mere $1,500 - presumably that is the price sans Nick. But at least you’ll be close enough to leave behind a note, a scent, or perhaps an unexplained stain on some bedding. You may have seen headlines that an ABC on-air reporter came out as HIV-positive. Certainly the dashing Karl Schmid looks familiar in that way I can’t quite place. Then I went through the archives on BillyMasters.com and saw that two years ago, the irrepressible Carson Kressley was openly flirting with Karl post-Oscars. Schmid is a 37-year-old Aussie who is on Los Angeles’ local ABC affiliate. He says he wanted to come out earlier, but “industry professionals said, ‘Don’t! It’ll ruin you.’” So why now? “I’m me. I’m just like you. I have a big heart and I want to be loved and accepted. I may be on TV from time to time, but at the end of the day I’m just an average guy who wants what we all want. To be accepted and loved by our friends and family and to be encouraged by our peers.” Bravo! Many of you were quite annoyed when I told you that Armie Hammer and Timothée Chalamet had a “no frontal nudity” clause in their contracts for “Call Me By Your Name.” You know who else was annoyed? Oscar-winning writer James Ivory! “Certainly in my screenplay there was all sorts of nudity. But according to Luca, both actors had it in their contract that there would be no frontal nudity, and there isn’t, which I think is kind of a pity. Again, it’s just this American attitude. Nobody seems to care that much, or be shocked, about a totally naked woman. It’s the men.” Originally, Ivory was supposed to write AND direct the flick. Wonder what his version would have been like! Remember the case of Dame Olivia de Havilland against Ryan Murphy and FX over how she was portrayed in “Feud?” Well, she scored a major victory. She fought the network’s attempt to get the case thrown out of court, and won. This was a win that sent shockwaves all over Hollywood - by siding with Dame de Havilland, the court was allowing a real person the right to dictate how they were portrayed. This led to a rare demonstration of solidarity as many of the major studios and Netflix joined FX against the 101-year-old legend. An appeal was quickly filed, claiming that the ruling “threatens to doom entire genres of fact-based motion pictures, including docudramas and biopics.” As expected, the appeal was successful, although we hear that Livvy is contemplating her options. Our “Ask Billy” question comes from Jason in San Francisco: “I just saw ‘Game Over, Man!’ and couldn’t believe Adam DeVine was totally naked. Do you have pics? Was that all him? And what about that gay sex scene?” For the benefit of my readers who have no idea what Jason is talking about, “Game Over, Man!” is a movie Netflix released last week. It’s sorta like a cross between “The Hangover”, “Die Hard”, and one of the later Cheech and Chong efforts. It is true - Adam DeVine goes full frontal. He also goes full backal. That leads to more conversation about buttholes than I thought straight men had - but what do I know? Anyway, he is hiding in a closet, not wearing any pants, and faking death by autoerotic asphyxiation when two hit men come into the hotel room and decide to have sex! It’ll all make sense if you ever watch the film. Aside from DeVine, my attention was captured by the sight of the sizzling Steve Howey, who is playing one of the two hit men. Of course, we’ve seen him nude before in “Shameless,” but it bears repeating. You can see the full scene on BillyMasters.com. When DeVine is going where Hammer and Chalamet didn’t, it’s definitely time to end yet another column. Maybe that “Call Me By Your Name” sequel should just go to Netflix - they don’t seem to back away from a little dick. The same could be said of www.BillyMasters.com - the site that backs right into a dick...as often as possible! If you have a question, send it along to Billy@BillyMasters. com, and I promise to get back to you before I tell my British host I’m allergic to corgis! Until next time, remember, one man’s filth is another man’s bible.
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Losangelesblade.com, Volume 2, Issue 7, April 6, 2018