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RENT CONTROL IS ON THE CALIFORNIA BALLOT WILL THIS BE THE ISSUE THAT GALVANIZES VOTERS?
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02 • JULY 20, 2018 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
Feinstein, de León race throws LGBT Democrats into a tizzy Both are strong LGBT allies By KAREN OCAMB firstname.lastname@example.org The world is still reeling from Donald Trump’s jaw-dropping news conference in Helsinki, Finland on July 16 when the American president stood shoulder-toshoulder with Russian President Vladimir Putin, a former KGB agent, and said he believed Putin over US Intelligence, despite having been briefed in advance that 13 Russian nationals were about to be indicted for interfering in the 2016 US elections. Trump tried to walk back his comments when he returned to the White House, but the shock was done and his pseudo apology was construed as shameless spin. Former CIA Director John Brennan tweeted that Trump’s performance “rises to & exceeds the threshold of ‘high crimes & misdemeanors.’ It was nothing short of treasonous. Not only were Trump’s comments imbecilic, he is wholly in the pocket of Putin. Republican Patriots: Where are you???” Who knows what other bleak events might befall the country before November? But Californians have time to decide whether to reelect Democratic icon Sen. Dianne Feinstein or her spirited rival, former state legislator Kevin de León, both of whom responded quickly to the Trump-Putin show in Helsinki. “President Trump has to stop kowtowing to Vladimir Putin, and his Republican allies in Washington have to stand up and say enough is enough. Whatever the reason behind President Trump’s cozy relationship with Vladimir Putin, it needs to stop. The president’s actions are undermining our national security,” Feinstein said in a statement, reflecting her credentials as the ranking member on the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Senate Select Subcommittee on Intelligence and on Defense. De León responded as a challenger, arguing that scornful words are not enough. “Congress, Democrats and Republicans alike, need to start acting like a co-equal branch of government and hold @realDonaldTrump accountable. His words siding with Vladimir Putin over our US Intelligence Agencies are nothing less than treacherous, unpatriotic, and anti-American,” the former State Senator Pro Tem tweeted. California LGBT Democrats know them both, well. Feinstein, 85, discovered the
Former state Sen. Pro Tem Kevin de León at an Equality California gala.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein at the California Democratic Party Convention in February.
Los Angeles Blade Photo by Karen Ocamb
Los Angeles Blade Photo by Karen Ocamb
body of her assassinated gay colleague, San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk, in 1978, a memory that fuels her passion against assault weapons. Her legislative prestige lent significant weight to the battle against Prop 8 in 2008 when she supported marriage equality. But her renowned penchant for bipartisanship turned her into an SNL character for a skit where she’s too eager to believe Trump wants gun regulations. De León has been ubiquitous at LGBT events, often as an honored ally as he backed LGBT legislation or offered support for LGBT Latino organizations, hanging out with longtime gay friends State Sen. Ricardo Lara and former Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez. Heauthored California’s sanctuary state law, SB54, the California Values Act, that limits local law enforcement’s cooperation with federal immigration officials, working with critics such as LA County Sheriff Jim McDonnell until it was a bill Gov. Jerry Brown could sign. There is an intense, but so far civil debate over who would best represent California: the seasoned elected official with seniority or the young activist lawmaker anxious for his turn at national power. On July 14, the majority of California Democratic Party activists at the CDP’s executive board meeting in Oakland thanked Feinstein for her decades of service then voted to endorse
de León. He secured217 delegates (65%) while Feinstein garnered only 22 with 94 votes cast for no endorsement. It was another rebuke after the CDP’s 2,700 delegates at the state convention in San Diego in February gave de León 54% of the vote, short of the 60% required for an outright endorsement, while Feinstein received 37%. The headlines were not kind but Feinstein only had to wait until June 5 primary when she captured 44% of the vote in a field of more than 30 candidates, compared to de León’s 12%. She also received more than two million votes and carried every county, including the county de León represented. Nonetheless, in the state’s top-two primary system, Feinstein faces de León in November, presumably with all the snarky circular firing squad shooting Democrats have been known to muster. “Today’s vote is a clear-eyed rejection of politics as usual in Washington, D.C.,” de León said in a statement after his CDP endorsement. “We have presented Californians with the first real alternative to the worn-out Washington playbook in a quarter-century.” With the CDP endorsement, de León now gets party money, volunteers, organizing help and promotion—all of which at least six Democratic candidates for vulnerable
Republican-held congressional seats felt should have come to them. “A divisive party endorsement for U.S. Senate would hurt all down-ballot candidates and our ability to turn out Democrats we desperately need to vote in November,” the candidates said in a letter to the executive board before the vote. Feinstein, who is independently wealthy, had $7 million in campaign cash while de León had $693,689 cash on hand as of May 16, the most recent campaign finance report. But de León also can count on his friend, billionaire Tom Steyer, who is actively pushing for Trump’s impeachment. “I don’t really feel that pressure” to give way to a younger generation, Feinstein told POLITICO July 17. “I’m sure some people think that way, but I look at my vote, and there aren’t a lot of people that can win every county in the state.” Feinstein’s campaign fired off an email after the endorsement saying: “yesterday doesn’t change this…,” reiterating laudatory endorsements from Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Jerry Brown, Kamala Harris, and Nancy Pelosi. Given the numbers, many politicos expect Feinstein to win reelection easily in November. Others, however, point to the progressive enthusiasm on the left and remind everyone that numbers became suspect after November 2016.
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04 • JULY 20, 2018 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
Anti-LGBT Rohrabacher in Russian spy trouble Putin’s favorite congressman tied to secret agent By CHRISTOPHER KANE & KAREN OCAMB “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump,” said House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) in a secret June 15, 2016 conversation on Capitol Hill about then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, the Orange County Republican long known for his ardent defense of Russian President Vladimir Putin and his knee-jerk antipathy toward LGBT people. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) cut McCarthy off and told those present to keep the remarks secret, according to a recording published by the Washington Post in May 2017. No one ever accused McCarthy, the possible next Speaker, of being prescient. But Rohrabacher’s name surfaced after the FBI arrested 29-year-old Maria Butina for being a Kremlin spy. The affidavit, released July 16, accuses Butina of using the National Rifle Association as a conduit to set up a back channel between Russian operatives and American congressional leaders and alludes to a meeting with a U.S. congressional delegation, now believed to be Rohrabacher and New York Democrat Gregory Meeks. “I know I had dinner with [Butina] along with another member, along with a visiting delegation to Russia,” Rohrabacher told Politico. “Is that something we should be worried about?” Rohrabacher dismisses the indictment as “ridiculous,” linked to the “deep state.” But in 2012, Rohrabacher— dubbed “Putin’s favorite congressman”—was warned by FBI and senior members of the House Intelligence Committee that Russian spies were trying to recruit him. Now he’s linked to others being investigated by special counsel Robert Mueller, including former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort; Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya; and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Democrat Harley Rouda, challenging Rohrabacher in California’s 48th District, called the news “deeply disturbing,” adding: “My campaign is not up for sale to the NRA,” noting Rohrabacher’s association with the NRA.
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher is long known for his ardent defense of Russian President Vladimir Putin and his knee-jerk antipathy toward LGBT people. Photo by Gage Skidmore; Courtesy Wikimedia
The news was also revelatory for LGBT politicos who have continuously battled with the unrepentant 30-year incumbent. Recently, during a lobbying conference with the National Association of Realtors (NAR), in Washington, the organization pressed Rohrabacher on whether he would endorse H.R. 1447, which would prevent housing discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. “Every homeowner should be able to make a decision not to sell their home to someone (if) they don’t agree with their lifestyle,” Rohrabacher replied, costing him NAR’s support. “What Dana Rohrabacher fails to understand,” Rouda said in response, “is discrimination is discrimination. It shows how backward his thinking is.” That thinking was also exposed in the recent This is America feature for Showtime by English comedian Sacha Baron Cohen. Rohrabacher meets with Cohen, disguised as Col. Erran Morad, a former Israeli commando, who proposes a “kinderguardian” program that would guard against school shootings by arming children aged three to 16 with deadly weapons. “Maybe having many young people trained and understand how to defend themselves and their school might actually make us safer here,” Rohrabacher says.
Rohrabacher was not amused. “At no time did I endorse training toddlers in handling guns. Nor was the idea even presented to me directly. If it had been, I would have rejected it,” he told the Los Angeles Times. “In just the last few days, Dana Rohrabacher has advocated for arming toddlers with guns and been connected to a Russian spy living in the United States,” Samuel GarrettPate, communications director for Equality California, wrote in an email to the Los Angeles Blade. “A couple months ago, he said homeowners should be able to refuse to sell or rent their houses to LGBTQ people. He has a long anti-LGBTQ record and has spent his 30 years in Congress taking taxpayer-funded trips to Moscow instead of getting results for his district. Orange County voters deserve better.” Garrett-Pate touted Rouda’s performance in the state’s hotly contested June primary election, as well as his success in raising money and winning over voters in the district. Rouda and three other Democrats taking on vulnerable anti-LGBT Republican incumbents on the Democratic National Campaign Committee’s target list in Southern California are out-performing their GOP rivals in fundraising, according to Politico. In the most recent numbers, Rouda beat Rohrabacher, $1.4 million to $294,000 (The Center for Responsive Politics’ Open Secrets indicates
Rouda has raised $2,686,620 overall to Rohrabacher’s $1,746,614.) In the must-win 25th District where bisexual Democrat Katie Hill is taking on Rep. Steve Knight, just as anti-LGBT as his infamous father Pete Knight (author of anti-gay marriage Prop 22), Hill brought in $1.3 million—more than triple the $442,000 secured by Knight; in the 39th, Democrat Gil Cisneros outraised popular Young Kim by about $3 million to $677,000 in the contest for retiring Rep. Ed Royce’s seat; and in the 49th District for outgoing anti-LGBT Rep. Darrell Issa’s seat, Democrat Mike Levin soared with $1 million to Republican Diane Harkey’s $389,000. “California Democrats are seizing on the unprecedented grassroots support we’re seeing across the state to run competitive, well-funded campaigns,” DCCC spokesperson Drew Godinich told Politico in response to the numbers. Godinich’s NRCC counterpart, Jack Pandol replied: “The more money that flows from Nancy Pelosi and wealthy Bay Area liberals to these Democratic candidates, the more we understand where their true loyalties lie.” After the recent revelations about Russian interference in the 2016 elections and other spy infiltration efforts, asking where Rohrabacher’s true loyalties lie may be a new top priority for voters in California’s 48th District.
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06 • JULY 20, 2018 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
Rent control, housing on November ballot California’s LGBT residents often considered the invisible homeless By CHRISTOPHER KANE & KAREN OCAMB Here’s a hypothetical: what if Democrats believed the polls and assumed Sen. Dianne Feinstein would easily win re-election and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom would easily win his gubernatorial contest against a Republican no one’s ever heard of—what would motivate California Democrats to turn out to vote statewide in the November 2018 midterm elections? What about rent control and affordable housing—voting on an initiative to repeal the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act that many point to as one of the root causes of the homelessness crisis in California? It’s a bread-and-butter issue that crosses partisan lines as unscrupulous developers and landlords threaten livelihoods and force individuals and families to spend half their paycheck on rent. The demand for rent control was one of the reasons gays, seniors and renters formed a coalition to create the City of West Hollywood in 1984, to ensure that the city had a say in regulating such price gauging. The city has been lobbying against Costa-Hawkins since 1995. On July 31, the Los Angeles County Boards of Supervisors will consider a proposal for an interim ordinance to temporarily limit rent hikes to three percent annually in unincorporated LA County. The freeze would be in effect until the Board votes on a permanent rent regulation solution at the end of the year. California voters, meanwhile, will decide on Nov. 6 whether to approve Proposition 10, the Affordable Housing Act, which supporters say will help to address the state’s growing housing crisis by allowing local communities to regulate rent control. The measure would effectively repeal the CostaHawkins Rental Housing Act —the 23-yearold law that prohibits cities and counties from setting limits on rent increases for buildings constructed after 1995 and, in Los Angeles, after 1978. On July 15, 95 percent of the California Democratic Party’s Executive Board members voted to endorse Prop 10, which
California’s first ‘Kasita’ micro home, a 352-square-foot state-of-the-art modular dwelling, is backed into position in the parking lot of the Madison Hotel on Skid Row in Downtown Los Angeles on Sunday, July 8, 2018. Advocates from the ‘Healthy Housing Foundation powered by AHF’ purchased and set up the Kasita at its Madison Hotel and will now open the Kasita for tours to the public, elected officials, housing advocates as well as Skid Row’s homeless population as a demonstration project as one possible alternative and innovative solution for homeless and affordable housing. Photo Courtesy AHF
is backed by the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (AACE Action), the Eviction Defense Network (EDN), Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, and the Healthy Housing Foundation, a project of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF). Yes on 10 Director Damien Goodmon, who also leads the Healthy Housing Foundation, told the Los Angeles Blade: “The time for rent gouging is over.” Critics contend that housing problems in California will only be exacerbated by the repeal of Costa Hawkins—which, they fear, would scare away developers at a time in which new construction is sorely needed. California ranks dead last in housing affordability and its citizens spend more of their income on rents and mortgages than people anywhere else in America. At the same time, the lack of new residential projects in the state has driven up prices and worsened overcrowding in major cities like Los Angeles. “I am committed to building and preserving affordable housing,” Garcetti told the LA
Blade, “to meet growing demand in every way possible—including strengthening our rent stabilization ordinance and repealing Costa Hawkins—to protect people from being priced out of communities where they have invested so much of their lives. That is true especially of our most vulnerable Angelenos, including the LGBTQ community, who have been disproportionately affected by the housing crisis.” California’s housing crisis has hit the LGBT community especially hard. LGBT youth, for instance, are 120 percent likelier to become homeless than their straight peers, according to a national survey of 26,000 young people released in November 2017 by Chapin Hall, a University of Chicago research and policy center. Additionally, according to True Colors Fund, of the nation’s 1.6 million youth 18 and younger who were homeless at some point in 2017, 40 percent were LGBT, even though they represent only 7 percent of that youth population overall. In California, the number of homeless children in K-12 schools overall has jumped 20
percent from 2014-15 to 2016-17, according to data collected by the California Department of Education. “Based on questionnaires filed by their families, more than 200,000 young people were living on the streets, in motels, in cars, in shelters or crowded into apartments with other families due to financial hardship,” EdSource reported last January. “There’s a myth of San Francisco as the ‘gay mecca,’” Jodi Schwartz, executive director of Lyric, a nonprofit community center in San Francisco that serves LGBT youth, told EdSource “It can be. But just for some,” who can afford it. “Of the 600 mostly LGBT young people enrolled in Lyric’s programs in San Francisco, 56 percent are homeless or have unstable housing situations and all are low-income,” EdSource reported. Additionally, research by the AIDS Medical Monitoring Project found that, in 2014, 12 percent of people in California who are living with HIV/AIDS were either homeless or unstably housed—which creates barriers to positive health outcomes, from HIV
LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • JULY 20, 2018 • 07
Coalition march in Sacramento April 23 2018 announcing signature submission for Costa-Hawkins ballot measure Photo Courtesy AHF
prevention to effective treatment. Among the recommendations presented in a March 2017 paper by the Southern California HIV/AIDS Policy Research Center is the adoption of State Assembly and Senate bills that “remove certain development and zoning restrictions, boost funding for construction of affordable housing units, increase tax breaks for renters, increase rent control, and establish a richer supportive services portfolio.” Prop 10 appears to address at least some of those goals, but economists have pointed out that while rent control favors existing tenants, it raises rents on future occupants. A case study: San Francisco passed a local ballot initiative in 1994 that expanded the city’s rent control policies, which in the short term saved tenants thousands of dollars per year. “However,” Stanford researchers wrote in 2017, “landlords of properties impacted by the law change respond over the long term by substituting to other types of real estate, in particular by converting to condos and
redeveloping buildings so as to exempt them from rent control. This substitution toward owner occupied and high-end new construction rental housing likely fueled the gentrification of San Francisco, as these types of properties cater to higher income individuals.” The study and its findings have been criticized by AHF. “It’s an article from Wall Street for Wall Street,” Goodmon told the LA Blade, pointing out that two of the Stanford University professors are UBS and Goldman Sachs alumni, respectively. “The speculators, Wall Street, the landlords,” he said, “the people who are coming in, buying rent-controlled buildings, evicting [tenants], pushing them out, raising the rent, doubling it, tripling it in some cases…they don’t want to see their profits cut into.” Prop 10 is a referendum, Goodmon said, on whether these folks should have authority over decisions concerning housing policy, or whether this should instead be the domain of local communities and the representatives they elect. The Healthy
Housing Foundation aims to wrest control from commercial developers and allow the democratic process to work out whether and how cities and small towns alike will enact rent control policies to address the housing crisis, he said. While it may seem like a departure for AHF to focus on affordable housing, Goodmon explained, it’s actually a return to the organization’s roots. AHF was originally founded as the AIDS Hospice Foundation and central to its mission was securing dignified housing for people who were dying of AIDS and affordable housing for those living with HIV— people who were routinely discriminated against, harassed, evicted or turned away by landlords and property owners. AHF aims to create 10,000 affordable housing units in the next five years through projects including the renovation of the Madison Hotel in Skid Row. “We’re able to pull that off the speculative market,” Goodmon said, “and make it permanently accessible to those who are homeless. We’re also doing something similar on Sunset,
where we bought a hotel and converted it into a facility for families who are homeless.” “We’ve added another lane,” AHF President Michael Weinstein said when asked about critics who say AHF should stay in its own lane. “Why is it that when a non-profit wants to help more people is that considered suspicious? AHF went from being a hospice organization to being a healthcare organization locally to being a national organization to being a global organization, from HIV and STDs, expanded into infectious disease, advocacy around Zika, Ebola and meningitis. This is a long and proud history of AHF meeting needs that no one else is addressing.” Weinstein says AHF is focused on the three “P”s—prevent, preserve and produce. “Prevention” starts with the Prop 10 initiative. “We can’t have skyrocketing rents and hope to solve the housing issue in California or any other major city,” he says. “Preserve” is fighting developers building luxury towers in working class communities and displacing people. And “Produce” is bringing more housing online. “We’ve taken on the issue of affordable housing with gusto,” says Weinstein. “I think it’s one of the most critical issues we face as a society and we have very enthusiastic support from all levels in the organization from the board to the management to the staff to the clientele,” noting that AHF be serving one million people sometime this year. AHF has purchased three Single Room Occupancy hotels or motels in LA, with over 400 units in operation. “We estimate there are 5,000 empty SRO units in LA in the midst of this terrible crisis,” Weinstein says. “What’s been happening is that these owners feel that it’s more valuable to kick the people out because they’re under rent control and sell the building mostly empty. That would make it more attractive to buyers.” That means there are “very valuable resources in these hotels that we have not been utilizing.” AHF is also trying to save Parker Center, the old LAPD headquarters downtown, and turn that into housing. The response, Weinstein says, “has been great, even among people at City Hall. They have to admit that spending $900 million on a city office building does not look good in the midst of this crisis.” Neither Equality California nor the Los Angeles LGBT Center has yet taken an official position on Prop 10.
08 • JULY 20, 2018 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
QUOTES “When few of us had the courage to be out and fighting the good fight, Jerry was there, ready to lead or simply to lend a helping hand.” - Vic Basile, Human Right Campaign Fund’s first executive director, to the Los Angeles Blade after gay lobbying pioneer Jerry Weller’s death July 8 in Oregon.
“Maybe having young people trained and understand how to defend themselves in their school might actually make us safer here.”
Photo Courtesy 100.7 kfm-bfm Radio
– Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher to disguised comedian Sacha Baron Cohen, in which Rohrabacher agrees that 4-12 year olds should be trained in a “Kinder-guardians” program, July 15.
“As a woman, as a black woman, as a native Chicagoan, I’m just tired of it.”
- Camilla Hudson, 53, after Trump-supporting CVS store manager Morry Matson, a Log Cabin Republican local candidate, called police after Hudson’s coupon failed to register at an automated checkout machine on July 13.
The 2018 San Diego Pride parade and festival July 13-15 are on track to break previously held records, a spokesperson for San Diego Pride said. A San Diego Police Department representative said Pride attendance was the largest single day event in the city. Parade numbers were estimated to be between 315,000 to 350,000 participants and spectators, San Diego Pride spokesperson Cal Strode told the Los Angeles Blade. Early indications are that festival ticket sales were 72% higher and attendance 40% higher than the 2017 festival, with the actual numbers between 40,000 to 60,000 festival-goers. According to both Strode and the police department, the San Diego Pride celebration is on par with the city’s renowned San Diego ComicCon, scheduled this year for July 19 to July 22. This year’s theme, “Persist with Pride,” played a role in the increased attendance, given the uncertainty in the nation’s political landscape, the upcoming midterm elections, as well as a plethora of anti-LGBT “Religious Freedom” bills and antiLGBT rhetoric, Strode said. He also pointed out that the Interfaith blessing prior to the parade kick off was also well received. The last time Pride numbers exceeded all expectations—especially for the festival—was 2013, the same year marriage equality was made legal in California, Strode said. The final numbers should be available at the end of this week. – LA Blade staff & wire service reports
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LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • JULY 20, 2018 • 09
Kennedy, Markey seek to ban anti-LGBT panic defense ‘Courtrooms should not be used as chambers of hate’ By CHRIS JOHNSON The use of a panic defense to justify antiLGBT violence in federal court will come to an end if new legislation introduced this week by a pair of Massachusetts Democrats becomes law. The bill, introduced by Rep. Joseph Kennedy III (D-Mass.) in the U.S. House and Edward Markey (D-Mass.) in the U.S. Senate, is called the Gay & Trans Panic Defense Prohibition Act and would ban the use of anti-LGBT panic defense from being cited as a legal defense in federal court. In a statement to the Blade — which learned exclusively about the legislation — Kennedy said an admission of committing a violent crime against someone because they’re LGBT “is not a defense, it is a hate crime.” “Legal loopholes written into our laws that seek to justify violent attacks against our gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender neighbors should never have existed in the first place,” Kennedy said. Markey said in a statement to the Blade a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity “cannot ever excuse violence, and our courtrooms should not be used as chambers of hate.” “Gay and trans panic legal defenses reflect an irrational fear and bigotry toward the LGBTQ community and corrode the legitimacy of federal prosecutions,” Markey said. “These defenses must be prohibited to ensure that all Americans are treated with dignity and humanity in our justice system.” Fear of being hit on by gay men and discovering a potential partner is transgender have been used for decades as a defense in court — either “gay panic” or “trans panic.” In the 1990s, the killers of Matthew Shepard — a gay college student murdered because of his sexual orientation near Laramie, Wyo. — invoked the gay panic defense to justify their hate crimes against him. There are signs use of the defense continues to this day. Earlier this year, a former police officer in Austin, Texas, received a lighter sentence for stabbing his neighbor in what some called an example of gay panic defense. James Miller, 69, admitted to stabbing Daniel Spencer, 32. Miller said he rejected
Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D-Mass.) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) introduced legislation against anti-LGBT panic defense. Blade Photo of Kennedy by Michael Key; Photo of Markey Public Domain
a kiss from Spencer when the two met at Spencer’s home in 2015, prompting Spencer to become violent and to charge at Miller with a glass. Miller said he then stabbed Spencer in self-defense. Reports surfaced Miller invoked “gay panic” defense in his claim, although according to an NBC News report Miller’s attorney denied that and said his client acted purely in self-defense. The sentence for Miller was for criminally negligent homicide, which carries a lighter sentence than murder or manslaughter. A jury recommended Miller receive 10 years probation, but a judge added six months jail time, 100 hours of community service and $11,000 in restitution to Spencer’s family. In a letter to Markey dated April 24, the American Bar Association expressed support for the bill on the basis that “gay panic” and “trans panic” legal defenses “are
remnants of a by-gone era” when anti-LGBT discrimination was the norm. “These defenses have no place in either our society or justice system and should be legislated out of existence,” the letter says. In 2013, the American Bar Association unanimously approved a resolution introduced by the LGBT Bar Association calling for an end to the use anti-LGBT panic defense in court. The April letter says Markey was set to introduce the bill at that time, but the bill was introduced only this week. A Kennedy spokesperson said there was no reason for delay except for a desire to continue to build support for the legislation before introduction. The Gay & Trans Panic Defense Prohibition Act includes an exemption that would allow courts “to admit evidence, in accordance with the Federal Rules of Evidence, of prior trauma to the defendant
for the purpose of excusing or justifying the conduct of the defendant or mitigating the severity of an offense.’’ The bill also would require the U.S. attorney general to submit to Congress an annual report detailing prosecutions in federal court of crimes committed against LGBT people motivated by their sexual orientation and gender identity. Although the Gay & Trans Panic Defense Prohibition Act would ban the anti-LGBT panic defense in federal courts, it wouldn’t apply to charges brought in state court. Some states have acted to ban the use of anti-LGBT panic defense. The first state was California in 2014, where now Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), then attorney general, pushed a measure in the California state legislature later signed by Gov. Jerry Brown to ban the legal defense. Illinois and Rhode Island have also banned the use of the defense.
10 • JULY 20, 2018 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
LGBT advocates outraged over Trump’s deference to Putin Anti-gay abuses in Chechnya ignored despite pleas for action By CHRIS JOHNSON The news conference that followed President Trump’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki led to jaw-dropping reactions across the globe, including from LGBT advocates and observers who say it had a negative impact on LGBT rights despite Trump’s backpedaling days later. Trump on Monday appeared alongside Putin at a news conference and sided with the Russian leader over the assessment of U.S. intelligence agencies and the Senate Intelligence Committee that Russia interfered in the 2016 U.S. election, which led to U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s indictment of 12 Russians who implemented the plan. “My people came to me — Dan Coats came to me and some others — they said they think it’s Russia,” Trump said. “I have President Putin; he just said it’s not Russia. I will say this: I don’t see any reason why it would be.” Trump also referenced conspiracy theories about servers for the Democratic National Committee and 33,000 emails Hillary Clinton refused to make public during the election. Additionally, Trump embraced a Russian proposal for an internal investigation of the 12 Russians as opposed to calling for their extradition to the United States. “So I have great confidence in my intelligence people, but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today,” Trump said. “And what he did is an incredible offer; he offered to have the people working on the case come and work with their investigators with respect to the 12 people. I think that’s an incredible offer.” Trump’s words gave credence to the notion Putin has compromising material on Trump that’s keeping the U.S. president under Russia’s control. When asked about it during the news conference, Putin cast doubt over the idea, but didn’t outright deny it. “When President Trump was at Moscow back then, I didn’t even know that he was in Moscow,” Putin said. “I treat President Trump with utmost respect. But back
President Donald Trump faced fierce criticism after his Helsinki news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Screencapture Courtesy Youtube
then, when he was a private individual, a businessman, nobody informed me that he was in Moscow.” Putin added it’s “difficult to imagine an utter nonsense of a bigger scale than this” and “please just disregard these issues and don’t think about this anymore again.” The comments during the news conference overshadowed the fact the meeting yielded nothing in terms of international policy, such as an agreement on nuclear arms reduction or Russian withdrawal from Crimea. The firestorm that erupted after the news conference wasn’t confined to Democrats and Trump’s opponents, but others who generally support him, including Fox News commentators and Newt Gingrich, who said Trump committed “the most serious mistake of his presidency.” LGBT advocates added to those concerns, saying the apparent deference to Putin undermined U.S. standing in advocating for LGBT human rights, especially in Russia which has a troubling record of anti-LGBT hostility. Recently, in the Russian semiautonomous region of Chechnya, reports have emerged that local authorities have
rounded up and even executed gay men in concentration camps. On the eve of the conference, the Human Rights Campaign arranged for a light projection on the presidential palace in Helsinki calling on Trump and Putin to “stop the crimes against humanity in Chechnya.” U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley issued a statement last year calling the reports of Chechnya abuses “troubling” and the Treasury Department sanctioned Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov late last year under the Magnitsky Act after the abuses were made public. However, Trump himself has yet to comment on them unlike other world leaders like Theresa May, Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron. David Stacy, government affairs director for the Human Rights Campaign, said Trump added to the debacle at Helsinki by not addressing anti-gay abuses in Chechnya. “Instead of standing up to Putin, Trump groveled before him in a shameful and unprecedented display of deference to a man who is intent on harming his own LGBTQ citizens and the United States,” Stacy said. “We will continue to work with Members of
Congress, from both parties, to raise these concerns with the Russian government, in the media, and in multilateral forums. On Election Day, the American people must hold Donald Trump accountable and any elected official who continues to enable his destructive incompetence.” Days after the news conference in Helsinki upon returning to the United States, Trump sang a different tune in a gaggle with reporters, walking back his comments and insisting he has “full faith in our intelligence agencies.” “I accept our intelligence community conclusion that Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election took place,” Trump said. Trump also said he misspoke when he said during the news conference he doesn’t see any reason why Russia would be responsible for the interference. “The sentence should have been: ‘I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be Russia,” Trump said. “Sort of a double negative.” But Trump’s reversal wasn’t enough for many observers who remain indignant over his performance in Helsinki. Michael Guest, who’s gay and a former U.S. ambassador to Romania, said Congress should step up efforts in the aftermath of the Trump-Putin meeting. “President Trump’s public comments and actions give no reason to believe that he cares about human rights, or that he pressed Putin to bring justice to those responsible for the atrocities carried out against LGBT people in Chechnya,” Guest said. “This was possibly the most appalling international performance, ever, by a U.S. president. It’s time for Congress to ratchet up its oversight of this bilateral relationship, America’s silence on human rights and the negative impact this president is having on our country’s standing in the world.” Daniel Baer, who’s gay and the former U.S. ambassador to the Organization for Security & Cooperation in Europe, said: “Russia’s terrible record on hunan rights has long been on the agenda for meetings between leaders and senior officials. Many of us hoped against all odds that Trump might raise the ongoing violent attacks on LGBTQ people in Chechnya and the broader state-sponsored homophobia of the Putin regime, or the Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov who is on a hunger strike as a political prisoner in Russia. Instead, Trump sold out America, our allies and the cause of human rights.”
LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • JULY 20, 2018 • 11
Violence prompts LGBTI Hondurans to migrate Gay asylum seeker’s friend raped, killed in front of him By MICHAEL K. LAVERS SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras — Members of Colectivo Unidad Color Rosa, an LGBTI advocacy group in the Honduran city of San Pedro Sula, on July 11 were sewing a transgender Pride flag for an upcoming march. On the wall behind them were the pictures of 19 local activists and community members who have been killed over the last decade. “You can be killed at any moment in this extremely violent country,” a lesbian activist told the Blade during an interview with three others affiliated with Colectivo Unidad Color Rosa who identify as transsexual women. Honduras has one of the world’s highest per capita murder rates because of violence that is frequently associated with gangs and drug traffickers. Violence and discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation remains commonplace in the Central American country that borders Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua. One of the activists with whom the Blade spoke at Colectivo Unidad Color Rosa has previously received death threats. She and her three colleagues asked the Blade not to publish their names or take their pictures because of concerns over their personal safety. One of the activists — a trans woman — said “nothing has changed” in San Pedro Sula since the Blade last reported from the city in February 2017. “What has increased and has changed is migration,” she said. “There are more trans girls migrating from the country.” The activists spoke with the Blade amid lingering outrage over President Trump’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy, which included the separation of migrant children from their parents once they entered the U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen last week met with the foreign ministers of Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico in Guatemala City. She announced the creation of an office within her agency that will advise their governments about the reunification of migrant children who have been separated from their parents. The activists with whom the Blade spoke said violence and a lack of economic opportunities are the primary reasons that prompt lesbian,
A picture of Roxana Hernández, a transgender Honduran woman with HIV who died in ICE custody in May, hangs on a wall inside the offices of Colectivo Unidad Color Rosa, an LGBTI advocacy group in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, on July 11. Blade Photo by Michael K. Lavers
gay, bisexual, intersex and especially trans Hondurans to leave the country. Statistics from Cattrachas, a lesbian feminist network that is based in the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa, indicate 15 people have been reported killed in the country so far this year because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. A gay Honduran man seeking asylum in Mexico told the Blade on Tuesday during an interview outside a refugee center in Mexico City that he fled San Pedro Sula earlier this year after gang members attacked him. The man said the gang members also raped his friend before they killed her in front of him. “The situation therefore never changes for the community,” said the trans activist in San Pedro Sula who has previously received death threats. “We always have poverty, insecurity for trans girls. This is the main reason for migrating.” The death of Roxana Hernández — a trans Honduran woman with HIV who died at a New Mexico hospital on May 25 while in ICE custody — sparked outrage among advocates in Honduras and in the U.S. Hernández, who was from the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa, was in San Pedro Sula
before she joined a 300-person caravan that traveled to the U.S. border. U.S. Customs and Border Protection took her into custody on May 9 when she asked for asylum at the San Ysidro Port of Entry near San Diego. Hernández’s picture is among the 19 that are on the wall at Colectivo Unidad Color Rosa’s offices. The four activists with whom the Blade spoke were quick to point out other trans Hondurans have also been killed after leaving the country. “Roxana’s case is being politicized at the moment,” said the lesbian activist. “It is being politicized in the sense that she represented a struggle when we were looking for martyred colleagues.” “Roxana became a colleague as a result,” she added. “There are many other colleagues as well.” Honduran first lady Ana García earlier this month visited a detention center in McAllen, Texas, after Trump issued an executive order that ended the separation of migrant children from their parents. CNN reported García urged Hondurans to remain in the country and “let’s look for solutions to support you.” García on June 19 made a similar plea on her Twitter page.
“Don’t migrate, don’t risk the lives of your children on that route,” she said. “Avoid traumas because with the U.S. ‘zero tolerance’ policy, you will be separated from your little ones when you arrive illegally.” More than 30 peopled died in violent protests that took place across the country after President Juan Orlando Hernández’s disputed re-election last November. The activists in San Pedro Sula with whom the Blade spoke said it is possible the Honduran government has not explicitly criticized Trump’s immigration policy because it does not want to lose U.S. aid. The U.S. Agency for International Development reports Honduras received $127,506,634 in U.S. foreign aid in fiscal year 2016. Full figures from fiscal years 2017 and 2018 are not yet available. The lesbian activist with whom the Blade spoke said the Honduran government has not implemented a socio-economic plan “to benefit the population.” She said the government has increased funding of the country’s Military and National Police, which have been accused of human rights violations. The lesbian activist also told the Blade a lack of legal protections for trans Hondurans and their inability to legally change the name and gender on their ID cards has also made them increasingly vulnerable to discrimination and violence. One of the trans activists noted the Honduran government “does not have a plan” to help LGBTI migrants. U.S. Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) last month told the Blade after he and other members of Congress traveled to South Texas there are no policies in place that specifically address the needs of LGBTI migrant children who the Trump administration separated from their parents. All four of the activists said they have no plans to leave Honduras in spite of the rampant violence and discrimination that exists in their country. One of the trans activists said she traveled to Mexico City three years ago to undergo cosmetic surgery. She said she returned to Honduras because her experience in the Mexican capital was “very ugly.” The lesbian activist said she would stay in Honduras because she has “stability.” “I would think about leaving, about migrating, if I didn’t have the stability that I have,” she added.
12 • JULY 20, 2018 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
VOLUME 02 ISSUE 20
Say it loud: ‘I’m Black and I’m proud’ Respect the real meaning of Black Pride
Jeffrey King is executive director of In The Meantime Men’s Group, Inc., a 20-yearold community-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to enrich, empower, and extend the lives of intergenerational black men, respectful of sexual orientation through social, educational, health, and wellness programs and services. ITMT cultivates a safe space for African-American gay men to meet while providing a variety of services, including HIV/AIDS prevention, outreach, counseling and testing.
This statement is not an attack on white people. It is a statement to ALL who are sleeping while Black people are being sold out. I’m alarmed and outraged that a small segment of the Black LGBTQ community would dare denounce their own history and ancestral struggle just to fit in, just to make someone else comfortable. The struggle for true equality for ALL people continues not because we elect to fit
in—but because people dare to stand up for what is fair and just. There are those within the LGBTQ community at large who would seek to neutralize the importance of LGBTQ Pride as a whole. There are those less conscious who question the importance and existence of Black LGBTQ Pride, in particular. We will not be silent while the less conscious among us try to monetize our Black existence, our Black Pride. We will not dumb down to fit into someone else’s comfortable stereotype. We will not be ignored! We will not be neutered nor neutralized by those Blacks who dare to denounce our existence, our value, our gifts, our culture and our contributions to the world just to get in and sit behind some white door. We are here! Our past, present and future matters! Let us not forget that our people fought, bled and died to get us to where we are today. Let us not forget that an openly gay community organizer Bayard Rustin organized the March on Washington. It is the same strategy of nonviolent resistance that we saw used to fight for marriage equality, women’s equality, and the fight for immigrant rights in America today. We Black and Black LGBTQ people stand on the shoulders of brilliant warriors who refused to be sold and to be sold out. We have a responsibility to stand up and be Black and Proud in our own LGBTQ community. But first we must be honest about how far off track we’ve gone.
I am calling on the true gatekeepers of the Los Angeles Black LGBTQ community to move beyond your memories of the At The Beach Pride celebrations and reclaim your position of not only gate-keepers of our history but as leaders of today charged with more than grabbing for a few dollars at the door. This year’s 4th of July celebration was nothing less than a co-opted disrespectful display of ego-driven narcissists grabbing for dollars. This year was not a reflection of OUR Pride, OUR brilliance, OUR artistry, OUR music, OUR history and ultimately OUR culture. You can call it what you want—but it was not Black Pride. Next year must feature every aspect of who we are as a people. Yes, the parties will be there as long as there is a promoter who is willing to host a party. That’s the easy part. But those of us who are older must ensure that our Pride includes more than a circus of nightlife parties and a parade. Let’s be clear that the “turn up” is only a small part of the PRIDE Celebration. So, to all woke people who will dare to STAND UP—please note that if you want to see and experience something different, you must take a seat at the table. And if the table that has been set does not accurately reflect what you desire to experience—then create your own! But make a contribution to insuring that Black Pride 2019 is something that you can be PROUD of!
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LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • JULY 20, 2018 • 13
Mister Rogers still inspires New documentary reminds us to resist cruelty with love
Kathi Wolfe, a writer and a poet, is a regular contributor to the Blade.
Alert the National Weather Service! Hell has frozen over. Republicans, Democrats, 80-somethings, millennials, LGBTQ people, straight folks, poets, Wall Street gurus – Attila the Hun (if he were still with us) – are all crying for the same reason. What’s got so many tear ducts leaking? “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?,” a new documentary about Fred Rogers, the beloved host from 1968 to 2001 of the children’s TV show “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.” You likely have fond memories of Fred Rogers, who died at age 74 of cancer in 2003. If you’re like me, you may not remember how radical, how innovative “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” was for its or any time. I didn’t know until I saw “Won’t You Be My Neighbor,” that Francois Clemmons, who played police officer Clemmons on “Mister
You may not remember how radical, how innovative ‘Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood’ was. Rogers’ Neighborhood” for 25 years, was the first black American to have a recurring role on children’s TV. Or that Clemmons, who is writing, “Vanity Fair” reported, a memoir called “DivaMan: My Life,” is now openly gay. Changing from his suit and loafers into his comfy cardigan and sneakers, Mister Rogers invited us all to be his neighbors. He used puppets to help children deal with feelings that are hard to express. After Bobby Kennedy was murdered, Mister Rogers told kids what assassination meant. Above all, Fred Rogers, an ordained Presbyterian minister, understood that, as he said, “love or the lack of it” is the root of everything. Because he didn’t want anyone to feel excluded, Rogers didn’t use religious language on his show. Rogers’ deceptively simple message for every child (and the child in every adult) was: You are not a mistake. You are valuable and loved for who you are. Few times have been more mean-spirited and fractious as our current era. Our country
is as, if not more, polarized and hurtful, than it was on Feb. 19, 1968 when Mister Rogers introduced us to his “Neighborhood.” Over the more than 30 years that his show ran, adults turned to Fred Rogers – seeking a way to explain sad, scary things from divorce to being in the hospital to our kids. He knew that tying your shoes or bathtub drains could scare tots. Young children watched Mister Rogers because he loved and listened to them even when other grown-ups from their parents to their teachers didn’t pay attention or talked down to them. Today, when meanness is a prized form of cultural expression and kindness is ridiculed on Twitter, we’re flocking to see “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?,” directed by Morgan Neville, who directed the doc “20 Feet From Stardom” and co-directed “The Best of Enemies,” a documentary about Gore Vidal and William F. Buckley Jr.’s feud. “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” reminds us that his “Neighborhood” was radically
inclusive for its era. Rogers, a lifelong Republican, and Clemmons, on the show in 1969 shared a towel after dunking their feet in a swimming pool. (At that time, pools in the South were racially segregated.) Grace Cavalieri was a colleague of Fred Rogers when she was associate director of children’s programming for PBS. Rogers was the same off-camera as he was on-camera, Cavalieri told the Blade. “You’d be having breakfast with him, and he wouldn’t eat a thing!” she said. “All the kids in the restaurant would come by. He’d talk to all of them.” Clemmons couldn’t be openly gay while he was on Rogers’ show. At the time when the program aired, there’s no way that he could have been out. Yet, in a moving moment in the film, he speaks of how Rogers was a “spiritual father” to him. No film, however touching, could mend the broken spirit of our time. Yet, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” shows us how resistance to cruelty can be waged through kindness and love.
At venues around Los Angeles, like the July 13 opening night event at Orpheum Theater, Outfest has packed the house with one of the best and most innovative film festivals Los Angeles has seen. Photo Courtesy Outfest
At 2018 Outfest, it’s a wrap After a week of highlights, Outfest still has more gems to offer By JOHN PAUL KING
If you’re a queer film fan in LA, chances are you’ve had a busy week. Outfest 2018 has been going strong since last Thursday night’s fabulous Opening Night Gala at the Orpheum Theatre, where attendees were treated to a screening of Matt Tyrnauer’s “Studio 54” documentary before dancing the night away at an outdoor reimagining of the legendary night spot. It’s been a week crammed full of cinematic delights. There have been some great homegrown narrative films like the luminous queer coming-of-age story “We the Animals” and the bittersweet AIDS drama “1985”; remarkable imports like the UK’s “Riot” and Colombia’s “Eva and Candela”; and a wide array of documentaries, exploring facets of queer experience in every corner of our community, like “Mr. Gay Syria” and “When the Beat Drops.” Then there were the shorts. Some of
Outfest’s most ardent supporters come to the festival just for the short films, and this year has offered an enormous crop for their enjoyment. For those with an interest in the issues behind and beyond the screen, there have also been fascinating and enlightening panels. Many films have included Q & A postscreening discussions, and special events have included an in-depth panel on the struggle for inclusion of more LGBTQ women in filmmaking and another exploring the experience of bisexual men and women in the movie workplace. But even though the week has been packed with memorable moments, it’s not over yet. As Outfest goes into its final three days, there are still a number of highlights left for you to catch:
FRIDAY, JULY 20
“Dykes, Camera, Action!”: One of the
A M E R I C A’ S
most glaring omissions in the film canon has been the work of queer women. Thankfully this once-hidden population picked up the camera and transformed the visibility of lesbians in cinema. In this documentary, pioneering lesbian filmmakers discuss how they’ve expressed their queer identity through film, revealing personal stories from their own experiences of looking for themselves on screen. Directed by Caroline Berler. “Postcards from London”: Broke and beautiful, Joe (“Beach Rats” breakout Harris Dickinson) chases his big-city dreams to London and lands in the company of the Raconteurs: an elite gang of escorts who mix sex work with an encyclopedic knowledge of art history. Buzzing with electric energy and awash in Caravaggio, Joe’s journey takes him through the neon-lit labyrinth of Soho and, even more fantastically, transports him into classical paintings themselves. Sculpted like
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Still from ‘Room to Grow.’
Still from ‘The Miseducation of Cameron Post.
Photo Courtesy Outfest
Photo Courtesy Outfest
the gods, he becomes a muse for the ages. Directed by Steve McLean, this screening takes place under the stars at the Ford Amphitheatre.
SATURDAY, JULY 21
“Man Made”: From surgeries and T parties to the struggles and joys of transitioning, follow four men as they prepare for Trans FitCon, the only bodybuilding competition exclusively for trans men. Glimpse the intimate relationships between these men and their partners, family and children as they train throughout the year. This powerful documentary culminates in a triumphant gesture of acceptance and an understanding of the shared struggles among them as they take the stage and embody their true selves. “Room to Grow”: For many queer people, some of our toughest years were when we were teenagers living at home. Homophobic parents and school environments often made life unbearable. Now meet the next generation of queer youth, forging a path of love, with the support of their families. In the face of one of the harshest political climates, with homophobia and racism on the rise, these fearless teenagers are claiming their identities and taking the world by storm. An intimate documentary look into what it means to be an LGBTQ teen today, directed by Matt Alber and Jon Garcia. Preceded by “Dances”
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(Dir: Ramon Watkins, 6 min). “They”: Possessed with the gentle grace and ethereal spell of fellow Iranian Abbas Kiarostami, Anahita Ghazvinizadeh’s feature debut explores the fragile spaces between body and soul in the life of 14-year-old J, a gender-fluid kid in the Chicago suburbs confronted with the decision of whether to transition. Executive produced by Jane Campion, this striking, evocative family drama uses unexpected textures and layered compositions to heighten the evolutionary rhythms of late childhood and the natural world. “Shakedown”: In this intimate and skillfully crafted documentary, we are taken deep into the world of Los Angeles’s African-American lesbian club scene. At this legendary weekly party, dancers like Egypt, who found her way to the stage by accident, and Mahogany, the Queen Bee and mother of the clan, spill their hearts out both behind the scenes and on stage. We are confronted with the realities of their lives as they navigate personal and professional relationships with fans, club owner Ronnie and each other.
SUNDAY, JULY 22
Trans Summit: Whether you’re an actor, artist, activist or academic, you’re welcomed here. The afternoon will begin with our Academy Award–nominated keynote speaker Yance Ford, followed by three compelling case studies focused on specific areas of need
A M E R I C A’ S
in media representation. The room will then come together for an unedited, organic, and dynamic conversation about issues relating to the trans and non-binary experience, moderated by the LA Times’ award-winning reporter Tre’vell Anderson. Closing Night Gala, Theatre at Ace Hotel – “The Miseducation of Cameron Post”: An adaptation of Emily M. Danforth’s celebrated queer YA novel, the film was awarded the Grand Jury Prize at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival for its warm, charismatic and fearless performances. Set in the early ‘90s, the film follows lesbian teen Cameron (Chloë Grace Moretz), sent to a religious conversion camp after she gets caught hooking up with her female best friend. Director Desiree Akhavan’s unapologetically queer lens delivers a refreshing take on the troubling topic of conversion therapy (which is, to this day, still used in some states) while exploring the themes of self-love, identity and chosen family, all with unexpected flourishes of humor. In addition to these, Sunday will feature encore screenings of several of the festival’s most popular selections. Check in with the Blade online for details as they become available. For ticket purchases and more information about times and venues, as well as a complete listing of screenings, visit Outfest.org.
16 • JULY 20, 2018 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
QUEERY 20 GAY QUESTIONS FOR JOHNNY SIBILLY
queery JOHNNY SIBILLY How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell? I’ve been out since I was in high school. I think my mom was the hardest to tell because she’s always been the most important person in my life so the stakes were always much higher when coming out to her.
Photo by Greg Vaughan
By TROY MASTERS firstname.lastname@example.org
With Johnny Sibilly, I think a star is born. If you caught Ryan Murphy’s Pose last week (and you should be watching), you will recall an intensely moving scene in which Billy Porter’s character brings an “AIDS Cabaret” to the residents of a hospice for terminally ill AIDS patients. “I’m gonna sing a song from one of my favorite artists, Mr. Donny Hathaway and I’d like to dedicate it to the love of my life, Mr. Costas Perez.” And with that Prey Tell (Billy Porter) delivers a stunning rendition of “For All We Know,” a short and simple 1930s ballad: “For all we know we may never meet again. We won’t say goodnight until the last minute.” Being in the moment: “Tomorrow was made for some. Tomorrow may never come. For all we know.” Johnny Sibilly, in the role of Costas Perez, delivered a stunning emotional response, clinging to the meaning of every nuanced word and turn of phrase took me right back to an era when most gay men had no concept of tomorrow, staring down an almost certain death sentence with determination to preserve every last second of life. I wept aloud and spent the evening remembering dozens of powerful moments with friends who died, some in the most indignant ways, every minute was filled with the emotions of an unknown tomorrow. That is precisely what great acting should achieve. And that defiance is really what Pose is all about. And what Johnny is all about. He is an ardent champion of transgender rights, a proud warrior for LGBT and the resistance. He is perfectly attuned to the times and the moment, present you might say. When NYTimes.com recently promoted a cartoon of Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump in love he took to Facebook in protest. “Being gay is not a punchline. Being gay is not an insult. The more you perpetuate this idea, the more you add fuel to fire of this toxic masculinity & threatened safety of queer people around the globe. Be better.” It was classically layered Johnny. He is known to push back fast and hard on anti-trans and anti-blackness narratives online. He is a protector for the ones he loves. Johnny grew up a Cuban Dominican military kid on the move — Germany, Texas, Miami — always knowing he would pursue acting. Since then he has pivoted between New York and LA and famously appeared as Susan Lucci’s pool boy on Discovery ID’s Deadly Affairs and played a drag queen on Law & Order: SVU, and now Pose. “I love the juxtaposition of playing uber-masculine types and super-feminine roles,” he told a reporter for IT-Film. Emmy, if you are listening, might we suggest Johnny Sibilly’s performance?
Who’s your LGBT hero? My LGBT hero doesn’t have a name but it’s all of those that have been fighting on the front lines for our community from the beginning without recognition. The collective of those folks that many times aren’t acknowledged by name. They are what drive me to be better. What’s Los Angeles’ best nightspot, past or present? I don’t go out very much anymore but I remember when I first came to LA years ago and bouncing around in WeHo from the Abbey to Here Lounge and Revolver. It was all a fun experience. Describe your dream wedding. My boyfriend and I talk about this often and the more we do the simpler the wedding gets. We just want great company, perhaps a destination and food people will actually like. People forget that when the food is great everyone is happy. What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about? Our national education system. It has such a large impact on our future and assurance that we move forward and learn from our mistakes. What historical outcome would you change? The 2016 election. What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime? I think watching Whitney Houston sing the national anthem was HUGE. On what do you insist? On coming from a place of love and abundance when dealing with others.
What was your last Facebook post or Tweet? I think both were articles about the importance of “Pose” actually, ha ha. If your life were a book, what would the title be? STEADFAST: a memoir If science discovered a way to change sexual orientation, what would you do? Absolutely not. What do you believe in beyond the physical world? I believe in heaven. What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders? That no matter how high up you get in the fight to always listen to those you’re advocating for that don’t have the means to make their voices heard. What would you walk across hot coals for? For my love, my family, for just about anyone that would need me to in order to help them. What LGBT stereotype annoys you most? That we’re victims. We’re nobody’s victim. What’s your favorite LGBT movie? I love “But I’m a Cheerleader” What’s the most overrated social custom? Asking people what they do for a living or where they live. How great would it be if we could just ask someone “what’s your favorite thing to do?” Instead of going straight for their livelihood or neighborhood. What trophy or prize do you most covet? An Emmy What do you wish you’d known at 18? That I was doing the right thing. Haha. It would’ve truly helped with all the crippling self doubt. Why Los Angeles? Hollywood darling! I love that the sun is out all the time. It does wonders for my mood and for my complexion.
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18 • JULY 20, 2018 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
An artful homage to LA queer space The mightily ambitious Dirty Looks: On Location arts festival honors the city’s LGBTQ legacy By DAN ALLEN
The original and decidedly alt LGBTQ film fest. Photo Courtesy Dirty Looks: On Location
A 50th anniversary tribute to LA’s first-ever gay film festival. A one-night-only recreation of iconic LA cruise bar Cuffs. A celebration of the work of Jewel ThaisWilliams, in the space that was once her Catch One club. These are just a few of the events that have already been a part of Dirty Looks: On Location, an incredibly ambitious and provocative multi-media exploration of the queer history of Los Angeles, making use of unique and often legendary queer spaces across the city to show rare films and mount special performances, with a different event happening every single evening of the month of July. We spoke with Dirty Looks Founder and Creative Director Bradford Nordeen about the stimulating and expansive On Location festival, which he organized with 13 local curators, and which continues daily through July 31.
passion towards bringing queerness to the surface of LA 2018. Also, LA’s history felt unwritten for so long, and it pops up in such fascinating and disparate events, so it felt silly to limit everything to movies.
LOS ANGELES BLADE: How did you and your curators go about choosing the films and locations to include as part of the festival? BRADFORD NORDEEN: We met over a series of dinners and bar moments, talking about the different LA stories that everyone was interested in telling. We passed around some books. It’s not a literal festival, in that what you’re watching doesn’t necessarily relate to the space directly, more like the combination of site and film evoke a historical moment or element. So we took those opportunities to get to know one another and kind of plan how this year was going to pan out.
BLADE: Were there any films or locations that you wanted to use in the festival, but just couldn’t get access to for whatever reason? NORDEEN: Yes, there were one or two. Los Angeles can be tricky for this approach because of how the industry creates a hypothetical economy for venue rentals. But I would say that, as a whole, the project is easier today than when we founded it in 2012 because now it’s more in vogue to be woke or to honor legacy. A lot of the venues said yes without batting a lash.
BLADE: Did the films always dictate the locations, or was it sometimes the other way around? NORDEEN: In a way, I would say it’s the action that dictates what’s going on. The history that we are celebrating becomes the glue that brings together the venue and the film or performance. I feel like our event above The Masque, LA’s first punk club (now World of Wonder’s production offices) was a good example of this, where the punk films weren’t about that exact venue, but about a distinctly Los Angeles, Latinx punk sensibility. That event was also made up of three separate proposals that we brought together to make a really strong and unlikely night that merged LA video art, documentary and live performance. It was funny, because someone came down from their office upstairs and was like, “I’ve always wanted to know the history of this space,” and I bit my lip and was kind of like, “Well…” BLADE: The schedule has such a broad spectrum of voices. Was that an important element for you? NORDEEN: 100 percent! I think the landscape of Los Angeles begets all of these amazing microcommunities of experimentation, with nightlife, noise shows, filmmaking, queer community organizing, so bringing together the performing arts venue Coaxial, with Women’s Center for Creative Work and Young Joon Kwak + Marvin Astorga — who front the band Xina Xurner and collaborate on the project Mutant Salon — covers so many different art forms and approaches, but each shares a kind of mutual respect and collaborative
BLADE: What are you most excited about that’s still to come? NORDEEN: I’m thrilled that we’re screening Gregg Araki’s “Nowhere” on 35mm at The Vista for a midnight screening on July 27th. I’ve watched that movie a million times on VHS, but I’ve never seen a print. I know that Graham Kolbeins from Massive has some great surprises in store for the closing night at Tom of Finland Foundation, which is centered around the art and inspiration of Gengoroh Tagame. The Tom boys always know how to host a real fun time — I never miss their Christmas party!
BLADE: Along the same lines, any films or locations that you felt especially lucky that you were able to include? NORDEEN: I have to say, doing our event at the Plaza just felt so amazing, there’s so much history there and it’s such a beautiful location. I’ve also never screened in the main theater at The Egyptian or The Vista. Our night resurrecting Cuffs bar in Silverlake was beyond special, I think because a lot of people went into it thinking it was going to be some kind of neutered, Epcot-style reenactment, but it was probably 110 inside without AC and wall-to-wall sweating flesh, so it felt kind of like the bowels of hell in a way that perhaps fidelitously recreated the original vibe of the space for 2018. BLADE: I know you’ve been asked about this before, but since On Location is happening at the same time as Outfest, do you see it as an alternative Outfest, or completely unrelated? NORDEEN: I ran Outfest’s experimental programming for four years. What I was able to do with that platform is SO different from what I’m able to accomplish with this one. Festivals tend to operate as a commercial network, and this project is about Los Angeles history and space. It was great when people went to a Platinum performance last weekend then popped into our event at Chico’s later that night. I mean, we work with film, and so naturally it’s somewhat related. But can’t we all just get along? Full schedule and ticket info for Dirty Looks: On Location is at dirtylooksla.org/map
LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • JULY 20, 2018 • 19
Since 2012, the Hammer Museum in Westwood has embraced its status as one of LA’s most cherished venues for art and the people who create it by presenting a biennial exhibit spotlighting some of the best artists in the city. Now running (through September 2), “Made in LA 2018” is the fourth installment of this nowbeloved tradition, and features 32 local artists in a bold, diverse, eclectic and vibrantly contemporary collection of works in a wide-ranging array of media, curated by Anne Ellegood and Erin Christovale. Among the various installations on display, four artists have provided work that addresses concerns and issues surrounding queer experience. Patrick Staff, a Silver Lake artist, is represented by “Bathing,” a video adaptation of a performance Staff developed featuring a solo performer moving in and out of a shallow basin of water. In her chaotic movements can be seen references to modern dance – incorporating Staff’s research into “the classical figure of the bather, chemical effects, drunken revelry, and the ‘spiritello’ figures that commonly adorn European fountains.” Interspersed throughout are images of oil, spit, fluid landscapes, and U.S. border patrol, with flashes of a dog lost to a blissful state of chaos. This juxtaposition invites contemplation about cross-contamination between body, mind, and outside world, drawing a parallel between pollution in both external and internal environments. Staff compares intoxication to “a queer mode of being” which provides a sort of liberation from cultural norms around ideas of what is “healthy.” However, he also asks us “to consider the inherent privilege in celebrating states of disorder and from whom those privileges are commonly withheld.” Working out of Riverside, taisha paggett also incorporates dance as a motif in her art, using it to explore “fixed notions of queer black embodiment and survival” and the politics of daily life. For “Made in LA,” she has contributed a multi-media piece called “counts orchestrate, a meadow (or weekly practice with breath).” Drawing on the idea that breathing is a fundamental activator of the body, the installation is immersed in audio recordings of breathing (solicited by paggett from fellow artists and friends) and videos of dancers creating movements based on the “sonic breath-scapes” heard within the space. A complex and multi-faceted presentation, paggett describes this ongoing work-in-progress as “an activated meadow—a metaphor… to explore how a portion of land, not unlike a dance studio, can be understood and imagined as political and a site of potential.” More traditional in execution, but no less complex, is the work of El Sereno’s Christina Quarles, whose large-scale paintings overflow with colors, textures, and patterns in what she has called an “excess of representation.” For this exhibition, two of her pieces – “Forced Perspective (Look on tha Bright Side)” and “Forced Perspective (And I Kno It’s Rigged, But It’s the Only Game in Town) – dominate a portion of the gallery with a wall-covering explosion of floral patterns and trompe l’oeil renderings of what appear to be individual paintings of abstracted bodies. Quarles, who describes herself as “a queer black woman whose fair skin often precludes her from being immediately categorized,” endows the people in her work with “skin tones ranging from orangey-pink and yellow, to shades of blue and washy black.” Here, these deliberately ambiguous figures seem simultaneously trapped within their individual spaces and yet spread throughout the canvas – intersected by planes of pattern and existing in more than one space at once. In this way, the artist suggests the false boundaries imposed upon identity by artificial construct, while also emphasizing “dislocation over location” – suggesting, perhaps, a kind of communal experience shared by those in marginalized communities. Breathtaking both in scope and execution, Quarles’ paintings draw on abstract, cubist and surrealist traditions while embracing an entirely contemporary sense of community and self-empowerment. Finally, Manchester Square artist E.J. Hill provides what is arguably the most striking of these four queer contributions with his installation, “Excellentia, Mollitia, Victoria.” Comprised of multiple elements, the piece takes place within the Hammer’s “Vault” gallery, which is adorned with several photos (made with the collaboration of Texas Isaiah) of the artist running “victory laps” around schools which he attended, along with artifacts from various athletic “tests of endurance.” At the head of the gallery, Hill himself stands frozen atop a podium (actually his own sculpture, “Altar (for victors past, present, and future),” a living statue serving as testament to endurance. Committed to maintaining his stance in the gallery for every hour that the exhibit is open, Hill considers his durational performance a form of meditation and “life-affirming action.” Inviting us to consider how “deeply-held prejudices and inequalities continue to render black, brown and queer bodies the targets of violence,” the piece reflects both the hardship that these bodies must endure and the resilience with which they face it. At once painful and inspiring to experience, Hill’s performance piece burns itself into the mind after even the briefest visit to the gallery; it is unquestionably one of the highlights of the entire exhibition. Continues at losangelesblade.com
Queer voices find inclusion at Hammer Museum’s ‘Made in LA 2018’ A tour de force of Los Angeles’ best and brightest artists By JOHN PAUL KING
Manchester Square artist E.J. Hill becomes a living statue as part of his installation ‘Excellentia, Mollitia, Victoria’ at ‘Made in LA 2018.’ Photo Courtesy Hammer Museum
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OUT & ABOUT
Terrence McNally’s life is filled with surprises The stars come to Outfest to celebrate a tapestry By MIKE SZYMANSKI
‘Every Act of Life’ is a revealing look at Terrence McNally. Photo courtesy of the film
20 • JULY 20, 2018 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
Playwright Terrence McNally admits there are some surprises in the new documentary about himself called “Every Act of Life.” He thought he wanted to be a journalist, but he enjoyed writing a play at Yale. Then, budding playwright Edward Albee asked him to come over for a nightcap and the decade-older man became McNally’s first boyfriend. McNally moved in as Albee was penning the classic “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” And later, McNally found himself in a three-year bisexual phase during a secret relationship with “Heidi Chronicles” playwright Wendy Wasserstein. McNally’s brother Peter was surprised to spot the pair embraced in “the biggest romantic kiss.” McNally’s friends thought he didn’t want to be gay anymore in the time of AIDS. “I was surprised to see all that in the movie,” McNally said. “I’ve never been very public about it. Wendy knew how to keep secrets.” McNally added, “I thought of myself as a person who gets in relationships with other men and suddenly I was in a significant relationship with a woman. It was just a surprise, and you know, life is filled with surprises.” The documentary is one of the surprise hits at this year’s Outfest, which has more than 10 percent of its 150 films listed as documentaries. On Sunday (July 15), the film had a star-studded red carpet premiere and post-screening party after a sold-out screening and a surprisingly raucous Q&A. Rita Moreno enchanted the audience with old Hollywood stories and she rephrased audience members’ questions like the one to actor Justin Kirk for his sexy role in “Love! Valor! Compassion!” — “They want to know if you showed your pee-pee during the audition,” she said. For health reasons, McNally couldn’t make it to the West Coast, and he’s doing fine after multiple surgeries for lung cancer. He is now writing three more plays, and doing occasional interviews about the movie. The documentary hits theaters nationally just before McNally turns 80 on Nov. 3, and will coincide with a book of the same name written by the documentary’s director Jeff Kaufman. “People don’t know how much of a trailblazer Terrence was then, and now in this time when we are seeing a regression in our rights he reminds us we cannot be complacent,” Kaufman said. “It’s great that we’re here at Outfest, because every film here was influence by Terrence. There’s a piece of Terrence McNally in all of them.” During a phone interview conducted in one of the DGA screening rooms along with Kaufman, I told McNally a personal story about interviewing Albee in the early 1980s for our school paper when he visited the University of Florida. I won a state award in high school for “The Zoo Story” and after the interview, Albee invited me to his hotel room to have me show him how I performed it. “I didn’t go, I was on deadline, and that may be one of the few big regrets of my life,” I told McNally. McNally laughed and sighed: “You probably did the right thing.” Albee and McNally’s tumultuous relationship was filled with alcohol, and it became such a problem that he was
berated by Lauren Bacall for spilling a drink on her at Stephen Sondheim’s birthday party. Later in the party, Angela Lansbury pulled him aside and gently begged him to stop drinking. That story was another surprise for McNally when he saw the movie: “I always blame Angela for getting me sober with that spontaneous gesture of kindness. I’m glad she talked about it on film. Maybe people will see they can be more loving rather than shaming them.” McNally’s successes include “Master Class,” “Kiss of the Spider Woman,” “Anastasia,” and plays put on film including the “The Fully Monty,” “Frankie and Johnny” and “Andre’s Mother.” The doc includes some of his flops as well, such as his first play in 1964 called “And Things That Go Bump in the Night,” which features a major out gay character and a same-sex love scene. “You have to realize that he wrote a groundbreaking play at the time with a multi-faceted gay character, but the critics just decimated him,” said the documentary’s producer Marcia Ross, who first met McNally when doing a documentary “State of Marriage” with Kaufman about same-sex marriage. That documentary includes McNally and his present husband Thomas Kirdahy, a former Broadway producer and civil rights attorney. Ross and Kaufman loved theater and realized that McNally’s life story also should be told, and they got married to each other while making the doc. McNally notes that the main problem he had in relationships with Albee and later with actor Robert Drivas was that they weren’t public about their sexuality, fearing career repercussions. “I think everybody knows the evils of the closet right now, and how it just corrupts the soul when you make that choice to stay in the closet,” McNally said, pointing out how things have changed now. “Any person not public about being gay does so at an enormous personal cost, and I would be surprised that anyone would make that decision in 2018. I think they are to blame, not society.” His friend, Moreno recalled, “Terrence paved the way for people to be out. He was very courageous back then.” As of a dozen people who have ever won a Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony award, Moreno credits McNally’s “The Ritz” with giving her a much-needed career boost. “The Ritz” takes place in a gay bathhouse and earned Moreno her first Tony, and she later starred in the film. McNally saw her doing a wild outrageous character at a party and then wrote the part for her — something he was known to do for other favorite actors like Nathan Lane, Christine Baranski, James Coco and Doris Roberts. Moreno — who is also having her own documentary being made about her life — summed the McNally’s documentary at the party after, saying: “I’ve seen a lot of biopics lately, and this one was done so well. As well as I know the man, it was still full of surprises.” Outfest is the oldest film festival in Los Angeles and is one of the largest LGBTQ film festivals in the world, attracting more than 40,000 viewers. This year, the festival is increasing its diversity with an ongoing Trans Summit, a Bisexuals in Hollywood panel and a focus on Taiwanese films. The festival ends July 22 showing the Sundance-winning film about conversion therapy,“The Miseducation of Cameron Post.”
LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • JULY 20, 2018 • 21
Remember tried-and-true sedans? They’re getting crowded out by popular crossovers and SUVs. Ford will even stop making almost all its passenger cars in a few years. But other automakers are fighting back, determined not to let their four-door mainstays go the way of saggy pants, studded belts and — yeesh — anything velour. From fashionable tweaks to full makeovers, sedans are getting sassier. GENESIS G80 3.3T SPORT $56,000 Mpg: 17 city, 24 highway 0 to 60 mph: 5.1 seconds
Sedans fight back Crossovers and SUVs may be all the rage but four-doors are hanging on By JOE PHILLIPS
Genesis. It used to be a Hyundai model but is now its own luxury brand: Genesis Motor America. Taking a successful entity like Hyundai and spinning off a more exclusive brand can be tricky but not impossible. Think Honda/Acura or Toyota/Lexus. Of the three Genesis models (all sedans) the G80 midsizer is in the sweet spot between the G70 compact (which just arrived this summer) and the fullsize flagship G90. While the G80 base model is just fine, things really pick up with the all-new 3.3T Sport. It boasts the same twin-turbo V6 as in the larger G90. But because the G80 3.3T Sport weighs less, it’s quicker and more responsive. Sure, a souped-up Mercedes E-Class AMG will eat this car’s lunch on the test track, but such a blistering Benz costs $104,000. This G80 holds its own, though, when it comes to svelte styling and a slew of standard features: steering-wheel paddle shifters, matte wood and aluminum trim, heated/cooled front seats, rear and side window shades, wireless charging pad, carbon-dioxide sensor on the climate control system, Lexicon 17-speaker stereo, tons of safety gear and, well, you get the idea. Basically, the Genesis game plan was to create a capable, fully loaded sport sedan with a bargain basement price. NISSAN MAXIMA SR MIDNIGHT EDITION $40,000 Mpg: 21 city, 30 highway 0 to 60 mph: 5.9 seconds
Genesis G80 3.3T Sport
Nissan sedans have always enjoyed edgier styling than their Honda and Toyota counterparts. But the midsize Maxima SR — the sportiest of five Maxima trim levels — goes even further with a special Midnight Edition package. The look is tough and rebellious, sort of like adding tats and piercings all over. The extra cost is just $1,200, and you can choose black, white or gun-metal gray for the grille, rear spoiler, 19-inch aluminum-alloy wheels and mirror caps. There’s also a rear diffuser and custom floor mats. The 360-degree parking camera is a nice touch, as are the outside mirrors with reverse tilt-down feature and the auto-dimming driver-side mirror. Other plusses include the robust and fuel-efficient V6, as well as an easy-to-use infotainment system. Because this is the SR trim, there’s also a sporttuned suspension, aluminum sport pedals, paddle shifters, heated/cooled seats, LED headlights and a dynamic control system for improved handling and braking. Minor quibbles include lack of rear-seat headroom and no all-wheel drive. Despite the in-your-face exterior design and tuner-like engineering, the high-quality cabin is actually quiet thanks to soundreducing glass and other innovations. Nissan Maxima SR Midnight Edition
VW PASSAT GT $30,000 Mpg: 19 city, 28 highway 0 to 60 mph: 5.9 seconds
Is the all-new VW Passat GT punching above its weight? A GT designation, which means Gran Tourer or Gran Turismo, take your pick, is usually reserved for high-end performance coupes, such as a $225,000 Bentley Continental GT. But the Passat is an everyday midsize sedan, more accustomed to traffic jams than jaunts to the Hamptons. Still, most Passats are equipped with four-cylinder turbos, while the GT model features a 280-hp V6. It’s not exactly a speedway racer but is certainly plenty quick. And few $30,000 sedans come with V6 bragging rights. To bolster its sporty bona fides, the Passat GT has a low, taut suspension, along with a slick black roof, red brake calipers and red accent trim around the grille. There’s even a slightly throaty exhaust rumble. Cabin highlights include faux carbon fiber accents, black headliner and two-tone, black and gray seats. For safety gear, there’s a blind-spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert and pre-collision warning. Gas mileage isn’t exactly noteworthy, but with sure steering, smooth shifting and little body roll when tackling curves, this GT is definitely fun — and very affordable.
VW Passat GT
22 • JULY 20, 2018 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
Billy Masters heads back to Broadway Summer in the big city that bares it all By BILLY MASTERS
‘Head Over Heels,’ the jukebox musical, features the music of the Go-Go’s, the ultimate ‘80s band, and is set to open July 26 at NYC’s Hudson Theatre. It also features the ﬁrst openly trans person to star in a Broadway musical, Peppermint. Photo Courtesy Twitter
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“Yes, I did oﬀer them acting jobs in exchange for sex, but so did and still does everyone. But I never, ever forced myself on a single woman.” — Harvey Weinstein’s justiﬁcation for his legal woes. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury - the defense rests. Last week, I was mad at all the politically correct people who didn’t want Scarlett Johansson, a biological woman, to play the role of Lois Jean Gill, another biological woman who lived and dressed as a man. Did Lois consider herself transgender? No one really knows - maybe she liked wearing suits. But due to the pressure, Scarlett backed out of the ﬂick, so this week I’m mad at her. My only hope is that without a “name” attached, the ﬁlm won’t get made, and then everyone else will be mad along with me. I, on the other hand, will be dancing a tarantella. I’m also mad that after 68 years, the Gypsy Robe will now be called the Legacy Robe. Why? Because Actors Equity does not want to upset the Romani people. For the last time, Broadway “gypsies” are performers who go from show to show...like gypsies. They’re not reading tea leaves, banging a tambourine, or dancing. No, that’s me! Someone else aggravated is Dame Diana Rigg. She is in the Broadway revival of “My Fair Lady,” playing Henry Higgins’ mother. Lauren Ambrose has decided that due to the burden of carrying a show, she will take oﬀ Sunday matinees. Well, Dame Diana is not amused. “I learnt, courtesy of a newspaper, that our leading lady will not be appearing in future Sunday matinees. Now call me old fashioned, which I unashamedly am, but I don’t think this development is fair to audiences. They have booked their seats in advance, paying an exorbitant price for them to see what they have been led to believe is the original cast. The very least we can do as actors is to acknowledge their presence as a privilege and take care never to abuse it. It is time management put their audiences ﬁrst and insist on the old adage, slightly adapted by me, ‘The show must go on - with ALL principals.’” Hear, hear! Another legendary lady got some bad news. Olivia de Havilland’s suit regarding how she was portrayed in “Feud” was rejected by the California Supreme Court. Even worse, the news came nine days after her 102nd birthday. We hear she is considering bringing the case to the Supreme Court. She’d better hurry! “The Boys in the Band” has added a special show as a beneﬁt for The Actors Fund on July 26 at midnight. Since it’s a late-night performance, perhaps someone getting out of the shower on stage will take a few extra minutes putting on his undies. Grab your tickets at ActorsFund.org. Tell ‘em Billy sent you! I’m already scheduled to be in NYC that night because that’s when “Head Over Heels” opens on Broadway. The long-gestating show featuring the music of The Go-Go’s will surely be a momentous occasion — not the least of which because it will feature (watch how skillfully I tie this whole column together) the ﬁrst openly trans person to star in a Broadway musical! Not only that, Scarlett, but Peppermint is playing a trans role — the oracle Pythio, who is described as “neither he nor she.” When it comes to replacement casting, the possibilities are endless. Harry Styles helped a fan come out to her mother. The fan, Grace, made a sign to hold up at Harry’s concert, which said, “I’m Gonna COME OUT To My Parents because of YOU!!!” Harry spotted the sign, stopped the show, and spoke directly to Grace. He asked where her parents were. Grace said her mom (Tina) was back at the hotel, Styles said congratulations, and then the whole audience chanted “Tina, she’s gay!” Grace showed her mom the sign and the video of Harry and the audience. Mom’s response? “Yes, I do love you and you can be whoever you want to be.” Now Grace is bringing Tina to see Harry in Los Angeles. So, the ball’s in your court, Harry. Not to be outdone, a gay couple got engaged at a Taylor Swift concert - well, anything to avoid listening to that twit! I’ll let one of the boys explain what happened. “He asked me to marry him while Taylor Swift was singing our song in front of us and I said ABSOFUCKING-LUTELY.” Samy (the proposer) knelt in front of Ric (the proposee) - I suspect guys get on their knees all the time at Taylor Swift concerts. And just like that, Samy popped the question. In this case, the singer played no part in the proposal - she was just background noise. When a gay couple is getting married in spite of Taylor Swift (you look at it your way, I’ll look at it my way), it’s time to end yet another column. Just after last week’s column went out, we heard about the death of Tab Hunter. As I wrote only weeks ago, he certainly deﬁned an era and was without a doubt one of the most breathtakingly beautiful men to walk the Earth. Of course, lots of other breathtaking men can be found at www.BillyMasters.com- the site that’ll take more than your breath away.
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Los Angeles LGBT Center provides services to many aspects of our community, including addiction services and assistance to homeless LGBT youth. See July 28. Los Angeles Blade Photo by Troy Masters
FRIDAY, JULY 20
All-Girl Friday at OutFest is today from 5 p.m.-midnight at Director’s Guild of America (7920 Sunset Blvd.). Five incredible queer women films will be presented: “Crazy Kinky Cool,” a 5 p.m. showing of sexy, unpredictable girl shorts will get your blood pumping and keep you up all night. “Dykes, Camera, Action!” at 7 p.m. presents a revealing journey through the history of queer women in cinema, the kick-ass women behind the camera and the politics that inspired their films. “Professor Marston and the Wonder Women,” 7:15 p.m., Angela Robinson introduces her latest feature about what inspired Harvard psychologist Dr. Marston (Luke Evans) to create the iconic Wonder Woman character. “Girl Shorts,” 9:30 p.m., Outfest’s signature program amplifies the unapologetic exhilaration of women living their truth loud and proud. “Show Me Love,” at 10 p.m. Outfest presents a swoony and romantic Swedish schoolgirl romance celebrating its 20th anniversary as a beloved date-night classic.
SATURDAY, JULY 21
The Ultimate Queen Celebration: Starring Marc Martel is tonight at 8 p.m. at the Show at Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa (32250 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage). When Queen’s Roger Taylor and Brian May handpick a singer, in this case Marc Martel, to take on the lead vocals for their Queen tribute tour known as the Queen Extravaganza you buy tickets and attend. Martel’s audition video of “Somebody to Love” garnered 13 million views on YouTube and not only does he sound precisely like Freddie Mercury, he channels Freddie with every song. You will be singing for days: “Radio Gaga,” “Tie Your Mother Down,” “Fat Bottomed Girls,” “Killer Queen,” “Somebody to Love,” “Bohemian Rhapsody” and more.
SUNDAY, JULY 22
Outfest Closing Night Gala: The Miseducation of Cameron Post is tonight at 7 p.m. at the Theater at Ace
Hotel (929 S Broadway). The 2018 Outfest Los Angeles wraps up another year closing the night on a special note. It kicks off at the Theatre at ACE Hotel by bringing back the award ceremonies for everyone. You will not want to miss who takes home the audience awards along with the prestigious jury awards. Following that, “The Miseducation of Cameron Post” will provide just the perfect ending to our fortnight of over 200 films. Come dance the night away as the festival closes at one of the hip locations in DLTA. Your first cocktail is on us as you reminisce and share your favorite memories from the last 11 days. Tickets available at outfest.org. AIDS LifeCycle Los Angeles Thank You Party is today from 5-7 p.m. at Wanderlust Hollywood (1357 Highland Ave.). After hundreds of people prepare for months, tapping their friends and family network for more than a million dollars and then biking 548 miles down the California Coastline, you give them a few weeks and then you celebrate them. Join AIDSLifeCycle Los Angeles team members for a celebration of life and help fight AIDS. Search social for more info: @AIDSLifeCycle Lesbian Bar Stories is today from 2-5 p.m. at June Mazer Lesbian Collection (626 North Robertson Blvd.). Los Angeles, like many urban centers across America is bereft of lesbian bars and a substantial nightlife. It was once a robust category of LGBT life, long before the L and G intersected. So often the most extensive documentation on lesbian bars is first hand (primary source) stories told by the women themselves. Come hear memories and personal stories told by and about the women who went to the old lesbian bars. Dr. Marie Cartier reads from her book. “Baby You Are My Religion” and Ardy Tibby and Shawn Marie Bryan read from the new book “Our Happy Hours”. Free. For details, search “Lesbian Bar Stories” on Eventbrite.
TUESDAY, JULY 24
10th Annual “Taste of the Farmer’s Market” is today from 11 a.m.-11 p.m. at the Grove (189 The Grove Dr.). Warning: Your belly will be full at the end of this $91.00
tour! The Farmer’s Market has been a favorite destination for locals and tourists since 1934 and every year, from the market offers an opportunity to enjoy an evening of mouth-watering tastes. Your ticket for the evening will allow you to sample food and drink from over 50 of the market’s top-rated restaurants, grocers and eateries. Since many of the merchants at Farmers Market have been located here for decades, they have an obsessively loyal fan following. The lines move quickly and there is plenty to eat! Combined with the Grove, Los Angeles’ retail and entertainment institution that offers beautiful fountains, trolleys and some of LA’s best people watching, it’s a seriously LA foodie thing to do.
SATURDAY, JULY 28
Dancing for Dollars is tonight from 6:30-10 p.m. at La Fuente Treatment Center (5718 Fountain Ave.). My 12 Step Store and La Fuente Treatment Center alumni, family and friends invite you to dance your queer ass off for a good cause and raise some much needed money for various youth services at the Los Angeles LGBT Center. It’s a seriously fun fundraiser that aims to engage the local LGBTQ community in greater awareness of addiction and treatment programs. We are excited to be a part of the dance-a-thon fundraiser benefiting the LGBT Youth programs, particularly those experiencing homelessness. The fundraiser will help support the adult mentor program, find ways to help youth feel safe at school and provide youth with fun and welcoming events along with support in many other challenges that our youth experience. DJs include Eddie X, Gary IRIZA and Quinn Callicott. Attire: skirts. Min. $25 donation required at the door. Search socials @dancingfordollars.
E-mail calendar items to email@example.com two weeks prior to your event. Space is limited so priority is given to LGBT-specific events or those with LGBT participants. Recurring events must be re-submitted each time.
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Losangelesblade.com, Volume 2, Issue 20, July 20, 2018