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02 • MARCH 08, 2019 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
Moore case now wrongful death civil lawsuit Family seeks to spur investigation By STAFF REPORTS A lawsuit filed Feb. 25 in Superior Court for the County of Los Angeles accuses LA County District Attorney Jackie Lacey and Assistant Head Deputy DA Craig Hum of failing to prosecute a West Hollywood, Calif.based progressive political fundraiser and part-time LGBTQ activist in part because he is a white male of privilege. LaTisha Nixon, the mother of 26-yearold Gemmel Moore, who died of a methamphetamine overdose July 27, 2017 at the Laurel Avenue apartment of Ed Buck, filed the wrongful death suit on her own behalf as his mother/parent and as a ‘Successor In Interest’ under California law as there are no representatives for Moore’s estate. Protests were touched off by a ruling of an accidental methamphetamine overdose by the office of LA County Medical ExaminerCoroner Dr. Jonathan Lucas, followed by a decision by LADA Lacey to not file charges and prosecute Buck in the Moore case. According to the coroner’s report,
Gemmel Moore Photo courtesy Facebook
Buck’s apartment where Moore died was littered with drug paraphernalia and that LACFD paramedics found Moore naked on a mattress in the living room with a “male pornography movie playing on the television.” The report also noted that the drug was injected into his body. The LA Sheriff’s Robbery-Homicide Commander, Captain Chris Bergner, told the LA Blade that an initial review by his investigators who were dispatched found nothing suspicious. Less than a month later in mid-August, a community African-American civil rights
activist and blogger from Culver City, Calif., Jasmyne Cannick, published the contents of Moore’s journal, providing portions to LA media outlets, which led to Moore’s mother and others questioning whether the drugs that killed him were self-administered. Bergner said that his detectives reopened their investigation and then submitted their findings to the DA’s office. Nearly a year later to the day of Moore’s death on July 26, 2018, Assistant Head Deputy DA Craig Hum ruled that there was insufficient evidence that Buck had administered the lethal dose or in fact provided the methamphetamine to
Moore. As a result the DA’s office declined to charge and prosecute Buck in the case. Buck’s attorney, Seymour Amster, says that he and his client “categorically deny each and every allegation and look forward to litigating this matter in court.” The lawsuit is asking for unspecified financial damages to be determined at trial along with damages against Ed Buck for wrongful death, sexual battery, drug dealer liability, premises liability, negligence per se, intentional infliction of emotional distress and hate violence. “Our hope is that this lawsuit will bring some modicum of justice for Gemmel and all of Ed Buck’s victims,” Nana Gyamfi, human rights and criminal defense attorney and co-counsel for Nixon said in a statement. “Gemmel cries out to us in his journals and his words to family and friends to hold Ed Buck accountable for his torture and death at Ed Buck’s hands. There is an aspect of this lawsuit that is about holding Ed Buck accountable in the language that he as a wealthy political donor understands—money. Reporting by the staff of the Los Angeles Blade, wire service reports and Troy Masters.
Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles replaces key leadership team Says fundraising efforts have been successful By TROY MASTERS It’s almost like the fates decided to dump a chorus of scandalous outrage on West Hollywood’s LGBT community at the same time. But this week, as if in harmonic lockstep, there was movement on almost every one of them. Latisha Nixon, mother of Gemmel Moore, filed a civil suit against Ed Buck just as the West Hollywood Sheriff’s office announced it has reopened its investigation into Moore’s death; the West Hollywood City Council race is finally over; and John Duran has resigned as mayor of West Hollywood, bowing to public pressure after a sexual misconduct complaint by a member Gay
Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles (GMCLA) drew fierce criticism. GMCLA has been busy cleaning up after a multi-layered-whammy of bad PR. Executive Director Jonathan Weedman had been accused in December 2017 of inappropriate contact with a 20-year-old Chorus member, whom he hired to work in his home. GMCLA Executive Board members ordered an independent investigation that determined there was “insufficient credible evidence of wrongdoing by Weedman.” And though the board accepted the findings and no action was taken, Weedman’s contract was not renewed. Simultaneously the group faced a much more high-profile storm when a Chorus investigation into West Hollywood Mayor John Duran failed to find “sufficient evidence” to substantiate complaints by a chorus member who claimed Duran placed his fingers into
the waistband of his underwear. The chorus membership was left reeling and pressure was applied. Duran eventually agreed to immediately step down as Board Chair and leave the Board altogether in August 2019. At an executive session of the Board on Feb. 13, board members decided against dissolving GMCLA in the face of $175,000 in debt and despite some board members, reliable donors and corporate sponsors distancing themselves from the 40-year-old LGBT institution. This week, GMCLA announced that Steve Holzer, a board member and member of the chorus for many years, will replace Duran as chair. “The chorus has been a fundamental part of my life for the past 16 years,” said Holzer. “I’m delighted that Lou Spisto has graciously agreed to step in to serve as our Interim
Executive Director.” Spisto, a Tony-nominated producer will become the group’s interim Executive Director having served on the board of GMCLA. “I am delighted to continue work with my friends here at GMCLA in this new role and honored to be asked to step in at such a critical time. I’ve loved this organization since the days of Artistic Director John Bailey in the ‘90s and I know that GMCLA’s very existence is essential to the community we represent and to the great Los Angeles.” GMCLA says it has raised over $75,000 and that its upcoming concert “Turn Back Time: The Best of the Last Forty Years of GMCLA” is selling well. No final announcement has been made on the group’s largest fundraiser of the year, the Voice Awards, though efforts are afoot. Last year the Voice Awards raised more than a quarter of GMCLA’s annual $2 million budget.
04 • MARCH 08, 2019 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
In WeHo Council race, incumbents prevail Candidate Sepi Shyne shines, hopes absentee ballots push her over By TROY MASTERS 4,574 votes were cast, 16 percent of all registered voters in West Hollywood on March 5 after more than $400,000 was spent as 11 candidates vied for three seats in the 2019 campaign for West Hollywood City Council. As of press time, 864 ballots have yet to be folded into the total. But it was the incumbents who had the clear advantage as their profile was pushed ever higher by multiple controversies swirling around former Mayor John Duran. Lindsey Horvath received the most support with 2,917 votes (24 percent), Horvath, an incumbent, was most recently elected in 2015 but also served on the council from 2009-2011. She now becomes Mayor Pro Tem. Incumbent Council member Lauren Meister was a close second top vote, winning reelection with 2,708 votes (23 percent). Meister was first elected to the Council in 2015. Incumbent Council member and now Mayor John D’Amico, received the third highest number of votes, 1,840 (or 15 percent). He was first elected to the Council in 2011. Official vote totals will be announced in April, however the differences among the top three vote getters and the runners up suggest that without a very large number of absentee and mail-in vote count the differences are insurmountable. With one exception. Among the challengers, Sepi Shyne had a strong showing, receiving 1,582 (13 percent) votes and guaranteeing a solid base of support for a future run. Shyne congratulated the three incumbents but noted “Our Election Day poll checks indicate a not insignificant number of uncounted provisional and absentee ballots and my team and I are keeping our fingers crossed for good news in Friday’s vote count update.” James Duke Mason, candidate in two prior council races, showed some strength, attracting 963 votes (8 percent). First-time candidate Marquita Thomas, executive director of the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, member of the Lesbian and Gay Advisory Board and a former Christopher Street West Board member, earned 766 votes or about 6 percent. Brendan Hood
Clockwise from left: West Hollywood Mayor Pro Tem Lindsey Horvath, Councilmemeber Lauren Meister, West Hollywood City logo, and Mayor John D’Amico. Photo via Facebook
received 351 votes, 3 percent. The remaining candidates in the race failed to attract 1,000 votes collectively. Tom Demille, Shwan Davis Mooney, Jack Cline and Eric Jon Schmidt each earned less than 3 percent of the vote. Also on the ballot in West Hollywood were two measures on which advocates in favor spent nearly $1 million to garner public support. Measure B allows actress Gwyneth Paltrow
and Arts Club chairman Gary Landesberg’s Arts Club project to move forward, a nine-story building that will house a chapter of the Arts Club, a London-based private social club. Measure Y also passed, requiring a 7.5 percent tax on the sale of cannabis products. It is hoped the tax will raise $5,500,000 annually to be used on municipal services in West Hollywood. In another significant race in Los Angeles County, Jackie Goldberg is the
presumptive winner in her quest to return to the Los Angeles school board where she served many years ago, then as president. She was elected to LA City Council, then to state Assembly. She is one of the pioneering founders of the California LGBT Legislative Caucus. When she decided not to run for re-election, she returned to teaching in Compton. With all precincts now reporting she has garnered more than 48 percent of the vote.
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06 • MARCH 08, 2019 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
For John Duran, time’s up — or is it? As WeHo City Council votes to censure, city attorney says ‘not so fast’ By TROY MASTERS After a sometimes contentious public meeting session, the City Council voted 4-0 Monday, March 4 to have West Hollywood City Attorney Mike Jenkins and city staff draft a resolution for the Council to censure city councilman John Duran for what the Council in its public remarks deemed inexcusable personal behaviors “which reflected badly on the city’s reputation.” Duran resigned his ceremonial post as mayor earlier Monday in a Facebook post followed by a communique to fellow Council members and the city manager. He has consistently maintained his innocence in the sexual assault allegations first levied against him by members of the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles (GMCLA) over the past several months. In his public social media statement, Duran did not heed numerous public calls for his resignation from his City Council seat. Instead, he declared he would serve out the remainder of his current term, which ends in 2020, but didn’t indicate if he would stand for reelection. In his post Duran wrote, “handing the Mayor’s gavel to my friend John D’Amico… to fill the remaining two months of my Mayor’s term.” He added, “I am not resigning from council and will complete this term which expires in November of 2020.” The former mayor wrote that the need to focus on his health was the reason for his decision. “My sobriety and God come first. My health comes next.” Duran then added: “I continue to work with my doctors to try and get my blood and body in the right balance. I am supposed to slow down to half speed and rest for the next 30 days.” The motion to censure came after public comments from city residents and community business leaders who expressed their frustrations with Duran’s alleged sexual behaviors and public statements deemed inappropriate attributed to him.
Former Mayor John Duran says he will not resign his Council seat. Photo by Karen Ocamb
Several of the public members queued up from the audience present in the Council chambers to speak including businessman Will Hackner, founder and CEO of the WeHo-based national LGBTQ+ Recreational Sports League organization, Varsity Gay League LLC, who called upon the Council to remove Duran from all offices including his Council seat. Under California state law governing, it is impossible for the Council to remove a sitting member from office. When a young Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles member alleged that Duran made an unwanted sexual overture in October 2019, the incident, even though dismissed after an investigation found no evidence of wrongdoing, revived public sentiments about other well known incidents involving the Council member. In 2016, Duran and the city government had been sued by a
former city deputy, Ian Owens, over his claim of sexual harassment by Duran. An out-of-court settlement of $500,000 was paid by the city’s insurer to Owen though neither the city nor Duran admitted any wrongdoing. At the time Duran was not filling the mayoral role. Owens, prior to filing the lawsuit, had been suspended from his position over an accusation of bugging the phone conversations of fellow deputy Fran Solomon, and of sharing her email correspondences with other city employees. During the investigation, he insisted he had been a “whistleblower” over inappropriate campaign funding activity by Solomon on behalf of then-Mayor John Heilman, and that he had acted in part because his boss, Duran, had been unwilling to listen to his assertions, which he believed was because of his own
rejection of Duran’s sexual advances. Duran met Owens on the gay dating mobile app Grindr in 2012 and had sex with him prior to his employment with the city. Duran insisted that had no bearing on Owens being hired as his deputy and that there had been nothing inappropriate about his relations with Owens while Owens was an employee. The resulting scandal led to the dismantling of the city’s deputy program in 2015. The Owens affair resulted in numerous city residents and some business owners to call for Duran’s resignation or for punitive measures be taken by the council at that time. Duran was re-elected to his seat after the Owens scandal was made public. In February of this year, as the sexual misconduct allegations against Duran from three former members of the GMCLA
LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • MARCH 08, 2019 • 07
against the backdrop of the #MeToo movement, Duran’s critics renewed their calls for him to step down. As the city prepared for the election on Tuesday March 5, in which three incumbent Council members, John D’Amico, Lindsey Horvath and Lauren Meister, were standing for reelection, the resulting allegations spurred a heated public controversy. On Feb. 11, the vice chair of the city’s Safety Commission, Robert Oliver, unexpectedly resigned from his post during the commission’s Public Safety meeting in protest of what he perceived as the council’s inaction over the allegations against Duran. “I have been honored to serve on this commission with you, but I cannot continue to serve on a commission that stays silent on issues of such importance” Oliver said. The next day on Feb. 12, three members of the Council — Horvath, D’Amico, and Meister — posted on Facebook calling for Duran’s resignation. “First and most importantly, I condemn in the strongest terms sexual harassment and assault in all its forms. No matter whether it is perpetrated against a woman or man or gender non-conforming person, this behavior is wrong and it is unacceptable.” Horvath wrote adding, “Our City cannot focus on the work of the people when we have to address new and numerous allegations of sexual misconduct, including whether our Mayor used his title to solicit sexual favors. It is not fair to the people of this City to continue seeing ‘West Hollywood’ in the same sentence as these allegations. Our City deserves better.” D’Amico, in his post, noted the allegations were “dividing” the Council and pulling its “attention“ away from “the long list of good, regular city business we can accomplish every day.” “To get our city back on track,” he said, “John Duran needs to step away from being Mayor immediately and consult his conscience about what happens next.” In her statement, Council member Meister wrote: “West Hollywood as a city is suffering as a result of the numerous and repeated allegations against Mayor Duran,” […] “he should step down from
the position of mayor, and perhaps, step away from the council position so that he can focus on these issues and the city can focus on moving forward.” In the time slotted for public comment during the Feb. 18 Council meeting one city resident Tai Sunnanon, a seated member of the city’s Public Facilities Commission, told the Council: “Lately, I have been exhausted, and I have been embarrassed, I have to defend this city with relatives and friends who live out of state because we have not sought the proper due justice to two black men who have died in our neighborhoods,” he said. “I am also exhausted and embarrassed by a mayor who uses gay and sexual liberation as a front with undue and unnecessary behavior that is really unbecoming of this city.” As the calls for his resignation grew, Duran himself became combative. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times the following day, Duran, referring to his fellow Council members told the paper, “If the three of them are talking about this, and it sounds like they are, that’s a violation of the Brown Act, and the district attorney should investigate. You can’t have meetings outside of public view. Do I think that they all got the idea to put up their statements, all three, at the exact same time without talking to each other? No.” In a phone call with WeHo city attorney Mike Jenkins on Feb. 20, the Los Angeles Blade was told that the statements posted on Facebook “reflect the individual views of each council member and are not the result of a coordinated effort.” The Los Angeles Blade then learned that a complaint had been lodged last week alleging a violation of California’s Brown Act with the office of Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey against Horvath, D’Amico, and Meister, for their Facebook posts. In an email statement, Shiara DavilaMorales, a spokesperson for the District Attorney’s office responded writing; “We have received a complaint, and it is being reviewed.” According to Council members and public comment during the March 4 Council meeting, Duran’s own Facebook posts showed that he was out of touch with the realities of today’s climate regarding sexual assault and victimization.
Duran responded to the calls for his departure with his own Facebook post, writing, “I have never hidden from any of you that I am a fully fledged sexual being… We fought too hard in the 70’s and 80’s for the right to be, the right to create a gay male subculture, the right to maintain sexuality in the midst of plague and to come out on the other side into marriage equality. To express yourselves sexually just like any other subculture in America.” He added, “Now, I understand that the ground has shifted in a tectonic way with the ‘Me Too’ movement. I get that. But the pendulum swings too far when accusation is treated as truth.” “So, will I resign? HELL NO,” he said. “If my colleagues shorten my Mayoral term, so be it. I didn’t wage this fight for 40 years to cower now.” With his resignation from the ceremonial position of mayor Monday morning, Duran in effect negated proposed actions by the rest of the Council to remove him. That action had been one of five items listed on the published City Council agenda on the city’s website under Council new business section 5C as prepared by the city attorney Mike Jenkins and city staff. All of the items had been directed by the council during the February 19 session to be placed on the March 4 agenda. Duran had not be physically present for that session as he had been hospitalized for a blood clot condition. As a result the council delayed actions to remove him from the mayoral role. Other suggested actions included denying Duran travel funds and reimbursement for funds for any travel associated with city business. Removal from one or all of the subcommittees he serves on as a city official. Denying him reimbursement for any expenses incurred in the performance of city business or his conducting official business on behalf of the city. The last of the five items was preparation of a motion to censure him. Council member John Heilman initially had argued against censure. “What we’re essentially inviting is another public meeting with all the people who think he should resign, all the people who think he should be censured,” he said. “John will have his supporters there
as well.” Heilman asked his fellow other three Council members to defer any decision on censuring Duran. He also pointed out that remarks made during the discussions regarding the agenda item by Horvath, D’Amico, and Meister, stating that their viewpoint Duran’s behavior had also made it quite clear they were issuing a censure of his behavior. Heilman then commented that Duran should have an opportunity to review the censure resolution before the Council adopted it, which would make for quite an awkward public session. The discussion was intensified when city attorney Jenkins then objected to being ordered to draft a censure resolution strongly articulating his viewpoint that allegations of sexual misconduct by Duran have not been proved. Horvath interrupted noting that allegations were in fact documented by an independent investigator investigating previous complaints of sexual harassment alleged by Duran’s former deputy Ian Owens. She conceded that while the investigator was unable to substantiate those accusations of sexual harassment by Owens, he did report back that Duran had made inappropriate comments to city staff personnel. Following Horvath’s remarks, D’Amico suggested that Jenkins should consider public statements made in recent weeks by Duran that indicated inappropriate behavior, alluding to the former mayor’s Facebook posts. After Jenkins indicated that he would draft the proposal but cautioned the language may not be ready until April. Heilman, after the other actions taken by council regarding stripping Duran of most duties and included the a clause inserted by Horvath that a city staff person would always be present at any meeting between Duran and others while in the course of conducting city business, then joined in the final unanimous vote to censure Duran. The council then elected D’Amico mayor to serve until the new Council was seated after the certification of the election results on April 15 along with Horvath to serve as mayor pro tempore. (Additional reporting by John Paul King and the staff of the Los Angeles Blade)
08 • MARCH 08, 2019 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
Luke Perry, former teen idol of “Beverly Hills, 90210” and “Riverdale” star, died on Monday after suffering a massive stroke. He was 52. “Perry was surrounded by his children Jack and Sophie, fiancé Wendy Madison Bauer, exwife Minnie Sharp, mother Ann Bennett, stepfather Steve Bennett, brother Tom Perry, sister Amy Coder, and other close family and friends,” Arnold Robinson, Perry’s representative, told Variety. “The family appreciates the outpouring of support and prayers that have been extended to Luke from around the world, and respectfully request privacy in this time of great mourning. No further details will be released at this time.” Perry was born Coy Luther Perry III in Mansfield, Ohio and was raised in Fredericktown, Luke Perry Photo via Wikimedia Commons Ohio. After high school, Perry moved to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career. He appeared on the soap operas “Loving” and “Another World” before landing the role of Dylan McKay on “Beverly Hills, 90210” in 1990. The role skyrocketed him to teen heartthrob status and he appeared in the role from 1990-1995 and then 1998-2000. His filmography also included a couple of gay roles. He played a gay character in a 1997 episode of “Spin City” and portrayed Jack’s nerdy crush on “Will & Grace” in 2005. GLAAD remembered him as a “friend” to the LGBTQ community releasing in a statement: “The news of Luke Perry’s death is absolutely devastating. He was a friend to our organization and to the LGBTQ community. Our hearts go out to his loved ones.” - Mariah Cooper
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DR. ALEXANDER GERSHMAN
10 • MARCH 08, 2019 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
Injectable, long-acting PrEP could be next in combating HIV ‘London patient’ treatment not viable for masses: expert By CHRIS JOHNSON email@example.com News the “London patient” has become the second-person ever found in remission of HIV has been hailed as a medical triumph, but new developments with pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, could mark additional steps in combatting the disease. In the works for potential approval in the next couple of years is medicine based on PrEP, but for long-acting treatment, such as an injectable drug and antibodies that block HIV infection as well as PrEP-on-demand for use on a case-by-case basis for sexual encounters. Anthony Fauci, an immunologist and head of the National Institute of Allergy & Infectious Disease, said during an interview with the Washington Blade a number of studies are ongoing to develop drugs for patients at risk of contracting HIV so they don’t need to take a pill every day. “People sometimes get pill fatigue, and it becomes onerous to have to take the medicine every single day of your life, particularly a medicine that you know is important for a disease that’s potentially lethal,” Fauci said. One alternative evaluated in clinical trials, Fauci said, is a long-acting injectable drug version of PrEP a patient would take at first take every four weeks or so, and then every two months, and then every four to six months. “So instead of having the obligation of remembering to take a pill every day, you hopefully, we’re not there yet, can have an injection that you get maybe two or three times a year to allow you to essentially suppress the virus,” Fauci said. The same drug, Fauci said, would be able to work for both HIV prevention and treatment, so patients both with HIV looking to suppress the viral loads and patients at risk of contracting HIV would have use for the medication. Fauci said the injectable drug is “the most common and optimistic one and promising one,” but other options are in the works. A large study, Fauci said, is taking place in developing countries, mostly in Southern Africa, where individuals would have to use a device intermittently about every
Studies are ongoing for drugs that would take Truvada’s PrEP to an injectable, long-acting form.
eight weeks that would transfer a broadly neutralizing antibody, or a natural protein, that acts against HIV. “And you give that to people who are at risk of getting infected, so that’s for prophylaxsis,” Fauci said. “So instead of taking that single pill every day to prevent infection, you can get an infusion of any antibody about every eight to 12 weeks or so to prevent infection.” Another possible alternative, Fauci said, is PrEP-on-demand that individuals would take on an intermittent basis when they expect they would have a sexual encounter. But Fauci cautioned PrEP-on-demand is “a little bit risky” because it might require expecting a sexual encounter before it happens and “often people, they get into situations where they can’t anticipate what’s going to happen.” Carlos del Rio, chair of the Hubert Department of Global Health at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health, told the Blade new medications would be effective as a compliment to existing treatment. “I think it’s another strategy,” del Rio said. “I think it’s something that we can clearly do, and I think it’s something that needs to be looked at. For some populations that may be the way to go. If I was infected, maybe I’d rather take a pill a day, but some other people may want to get an injection once a month.” For each of the possible medications, Fauci said the timeline for approval is “tough to say” with trials ongoing. The medication, he said, won’t be made available to the public for “at least a year or two.” “Nonetheless, that PrEP-on-demand is a study that is being conducted to see how
effective it is,” Fauci said. “It might be as effective as a pill a day. We don’t know. Hopefully it will be because we could save people the obligation of taking a pill every day.” “You’d have to have a clinical trial that shows that it’s highly effective in preventing HIV infection, or, in the case of the people who are infected, and using it as a treatment, you’d have to show that compared to taking a pill every day that the people who get the injection every several months, they suppress their virus as well as if you take a pill every day,” Fauci said. “That’s the data that are generally end points of the study.” James Driscoll, a Nevada-based HIV activist who supported Donald Trump for president in 2016, said the long-acting medicine for HIV prevention and treatment is “an essential tool” for combatting the disease. “Current efforts are not doing the job,” Driscoll said. “An aggressive campaign to get out long-acting PrEP, will reduce new infections, but also increase AIDS awareness and lower stigma.” The Food & Drug Administration, Driscoll said, should move expeditiously on the approving the medication. “In the 1990s, FDA delays in approving new treatments resulted in unnecessary deaths,” Driscoll said. “It is crucial that President Trump and Secretary Azar stress to FDA the urgency of avoiding the errors of the past with this critical new weapon in the war against AIDS.” The new medications are being studied as news recently broke in The New York Times an individual known as the “London patient” has become the second person found to have been in remission after HIV infection. (The first was the “Berlin Patient,”
whose apparent remission was announced in 2008.) The treatment consisted of a bone marrow transplant from donors with a genetic makeup resistant to HIV infection. Del Rio, however, said the treatment provided to the “London Patient” is “not feasible” for widespread treatment of HIV. “That’s a very nice science discovery, but it’s not a feasible result,” del Rio said. “You are not going to be able to do bone marrow transplants for 35 million people globally. It’s a good science study, we’re learning a lot from it, but this is not something that can be implemented.” The achievement, del Rio said, was comparable to John Glenn becoming the first American to orbit the Earth in 1962. “From that to say that we’re going to be traveling in space, all of us, is not the case,” del Rio said. Del Rio said the existing medication and long-acting treatments in development, on the other hand, are practical in combatting HIV. “But at the end of the day, we do need to find a cure, and I think research and cure has advanced with this patient, but there’s still a lot of research to be done.” Development of these medications to treat and prevent HIV occur as President Trump announced in his State of the Union address his administration’s plan to end new HIV infections by 2030. The effort will target areas in the United States where new infections are taking place: 48 counties in the United States, D.C., and San Juan, Puerto Rico, as well as seven states where the epidemic is mostly in rural areas. The seven states are Missouri, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama and South Carolina. Fauci said the development of alternative treatment for HIV and prevention “certainly could wind up being helpful” in achieving the administration’s goal of ending new infections. Gilead didn’t respond to repeated requests from the Washington Blade to comment for this article, nor did ViiV respond to a request for comment. The new drugs are being developed amid calls for Gilead to make the existing product generic, and therefore less expensive for purchase. Although Gilead offers a coupon for Truvada and many insurance companies cover the medication, the average retail cost is $2,000 a bottle and many say the existing mediation is out of reach.
12 • MARCH 08, 2019 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
Trump global plan to decriminalize homosexuality finds fans at CPAC But support for gay rights doesn’t extend to trans troops By CHRIS JOHNSON firstname.lastname@example.org NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — The Conservative Political Action Conference isn’t known for being a confab for supporters of LGBT rights, but this year brought surprise support for the Trump administration’s recently announced global initiative to decriminalize homosexuality. Attendees at last weekend’s 2019 Conservative Political Action Conference who spoke with the Blade — many of whom were wearing business suits and “Make America Great Again” hats as they moved from event to event — were uniformly in favor of the plan. One such attendee, who wore a MAGA hat as well as a button on his lapel with the phrase “Socialism sucks” in a style mocking Bernie Sanders’ campaign logo, was Charlie Honkonen, president of the University of Maine College Republicans. Honkonen told the Blade he “absolutely support[s]” the initiative, which was announced last month by U.S. ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell, the highestranking openly gay person in the Trump administration. “I love gay rights,” Honkonen said. “I think gay people are great. I have no problem with them.” Asked by the Blade how he could support the initiative while backing Trump and deriding Sanders, Honkonen said he sees no conflict with those positions. “I think socialism has nothing to do with gay rights,” Honkonen said. “I think Donald Trump has always been a proponent of gay rights…You see the picture of him back in the campaign with the LGBTQ flag?…I don’t think he’s ever said anything that he’s led for me to believe that he’s against gay rights and I think this initiative proposed by his office shows exactly that.” In an exclusive report last month to NBC News, Grenell announced the Trump initiative, which seeks to decriminalize homosexuality in the 71 nations where it is illegal. The initiative seems focused on Iran, a longtime adversary of the United States where homosexual acts are punishable by
death. The Jerusalem Post, a conservative publication in Israel, reported recently Iran executed a gay man in a public hanging. Mike Cernovich, a conservative activist and filmmaker closely associated with the “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory against Hillary Clinton, told the Blade he supports the Trump initiative “in the abstract,” but has questions about it. “How do you make Iran or nations decriminalize homosexuality?” Cernovich said. “What do you do? So yeah, but is it a good idea? How are you going to tell Qatar quit killing gay people, right? I agree that it should be done, but what the plan looks like, we’ll see.” Asked whether he’s generally in support of gay rights, Cernovich said opposing them has “never been a thing” for him as a libertarian. “If you just start from the fundamental proposition that people ought to be able to live their lives largely unmolested by the government, then you would realize most things just aren’t your concern,” Cernovich said. “So, whatever consensual activities you’re engaged in, I’ve never in my whole life cared about that. To me, if I say, gay rights, that means the same thing as can I watch the TV I want to watch? It’s a question that never really made much sense to me. Of course, you ought to be able to.” Theodore Milk, a 21-year-old student at the University of Jamestown, North Dakota, also said he supports the Trump administration global initiative. “I don’t think gays should be persecuted,” Milk said. “At this point, I think it’s almost a human right to kind of be supportive and what your sexual preferences are. I don’t think that should be something that should be persecuted around the world.” Asked whether he thinks being in support of the initiative is inconsistent with being a conservative, Milk said younger conservatives are changing the movement. “It’s funny because I think there’s a branch of younger conservatives that are a little bit more socially liberal, a little bit more libertarian,” Milk said. “I think that’s just a fact of the times are changing. I think the Republican Party is changing a little bit, especially from my more youthful standpoint, conservatives are kind of shifting to be a little bit more socially liberal.” Milk admitted “not all” conservatives are ready to accept gay rights, but insisted a
sect of younger Republicans are coming into the movement with a different mindset as a result of the “changing of the times.” James Dorsey, who’s 22 and from Hampton Roads, Va., said he “absolutely” supports the Trump administration global initiative. “I don’t think that any human being should have to live in fear or live in shame of who they are,” Dorsey said. “I’m not a homosexual myself. I can’t say that I have many homosexual friends or family members, but, frankly, I think it’s a very archaic belief that people should be… persecuted for who they are and that’s about the most un-American thing I can think of.” Dorsey said “there’s a breed of conservatism that would agree” the movement is anti-gay, but that represents a misunderstanding of conservative principles. “True conservatism I think, is ideologically opposed to those kinds of misconceptions about people,” Dorsey said. “I think that investing in a person and not the group is more conservative. I think that looking at someone based on the content of their character and not by the color of their skin and what they belong to, what their sexual preferences are, things like that. That’s about the most conservative thing I can think of, and that’s about the most American thing.” The most prominent attendee at CPAC after President Trump — Vice President Mike Pence — has previously indicated through a spokesperson he supports Trump’s global initiative, even though Pence is notorious for his anti-LGBT record. (During his speech at CPAC, Pence again defended his wife and second lady Karen Pence for teaching at a Christian school that refuses to employ LGBT teachers or admit LGBT students on religious grounds.) Things got trickier when the Blade asked attendees about the Trump administration initiatives criticized for being anti-LGBT, including the transgender military ban and “religious freedom” initiatives seen to enable to discrimination against LGBT people. Last year, the Trump administration interceded in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case, siding with Colorado baker Jack Phillips who asserted a First Amendment right to refuse to make custom-made wedding cakes for same-sex couples on religious grounds. The U.S. Justice Department filed a friendof-the-court brief before the Supreme Court and sent U.S. Solicitor General Noel
Francisco to argue before the Supreme Court on Phillips’ behalf. Honkonen said he doesn’t think either the transgender military ban or the religious freedom issue are gay rights issues. On the transgender military ban, Honkonen said the issue is “about having the fullest level of service you can.” “To be able to serve in that capacity to a high level that you need to in the military, a lot of times folks who are transgender don’t have that ability to serve,” Honkonen said. “They can be hormonal, they can have struggles to achieve the same levels, so I don’t think that’s an issue about gay rights at all.” The House Armed Services Personnel Subcommittee recently held a hearing on Capitol Hillwhere five transgender service members testified about their commitment to service and having no impediments to their ability to perform their duties. The American Medical Association and the American Psychological Association have both concluded there are no medical or mental health reasons to ban transgender people from the military. Honkonen said refusing services to LGBT people for religious reasons is “not a gay rights issue, that’s a First Amendment issue.” “I think that there’s so many places in the United States where a gay person can go to get their wedding cake made,” Honkonen said. “I don’t think they should worry about mom and pops who run a nice Christian bakery and maybe don’t agree with them. I think there are many places for them to go and they shouldn’t focus on the negativity, they should focus on the people who want to support them, and there’s going to be people who disagree with them. I think that’s OK, that’s what made America so great is that everyone can have their own opinion.” Cernovich, when asked about the Trump administration’s anti-LGBT policies, reiterated his general support for LGBT rights, including transgender rights. In contrast to the Trump administration, Cernovich said he supports allowing transgender people in the military. “People should be able to live how they want to live,” Cernovich said. “So if you’re trans, you’re trans, you ought to be able to live your life without being fucked with. That’s just my general outlook.”
14 • MARCH 08, 2019 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
Scrutiny over 2020 hopefuls’ remarks on anti-LGBT Pence Biden gets backlash; Buttigieg calls him ‘nice guy’ but ‘fanatical’ By CHRIS JOHNSON email@example.com Former vice president and potential 2020 hopeful Joe Biden sparked criticism last week after referring to Mike Pence as a “decent guy,” but another Democrat pursuing a presidential run — one who is openly gay — made similar comments calling the vice president a “super-nice guy” two years ago. South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg called Mike Pence “a super-nice guy” during an interview with the Washington Blade two years ago when he was running to become chair of the Democratic National Committee. Asked about the experience of being openly gay in a state where Pence was governor, Buttigieg called Pence a “super-nice guy,” but also said he pursues “divisive and backwardlooking policies.”
Pete Buttigieg called Mike Pence a ‘super-nice guy’ in a Blade interview. Blade photo by Michael Key
“The thing about Mike Pence is, he’s a supernice guy, who just genuinely believes this stuff,” Buttigieg said. “He operates from a different reality than the rest of us operate from. He’s written that cigarettes don’t kill, he thinks climate change is made up. He must assume that people get up in the morning one day and decide to be gay. And so, as nice as he’ll be to you in person, when it comes to policy, like a moth to a flame, he goes in for these divisive and backward-looking policies and I think is having the same influence in the White House right now that he did as governor.”
Biden’s remarks calling Pence a “decent guy” during an event in Omaha, Neb., emerged last week as a result of reporting from the Wall Street Journal’s Reid Epstein. The comments drew criticism on Twitter from LGBT rights supporters who said Pence’s anti-LGBT record demonstrates the vice president isn’t decent. Among those condemning the comments was queeridentified “Sex and the City” star and 2018 New York gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon. Pence has a long anti-LGBT history that includes votes as a congressman against “Don’t
Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal and opposition to marriage equality. His record notably includes signing into law as Indiana governor a “religious freedom” bill widely seen to enable anti-LGBT discrimination. More recently, Pence as vice president has defended his wife, Karen Pence, for teaching at a Christian school that refuses to admit LGBT students or employ LGBT teachers. As a result of the criticism, Biden was forced to walk back his comments on Twitter, saying he was discussing Pence in terms of foreign policy, but “there’s nothing decent about being anti-LGBTQ rights, and that includes the vice president.” Lis Smith, a Buttigieg campaign spokesperson, said the full quote from Buttigieg is “critical to understanding his views on Pence.” “He had a whole chapter in his book about this…and he’s addressed [it] on the campaign trail, as reporters and voters ask a fair amount about Pence,” Smith said. “I can’t speak to what other potential candidates say about the VP, but what Pete has always said is that Pence’s ‘nice’ demeanor masks a very fanatical ideology that is out of step with reality and one that is very anti-LGBTQ.”
New agreement ends litigation in Masterpiece case State withdraws action against Jack Phillips By CHRIS JOHNSON firstname.lastname@example.org Masterpiece Cakeshop — famed for its case that reached the U.S. Supreme Court after its owner refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple — has reached a new agreement with the State of Colorado to end subsequent litigation against him. As part of the new agreement, the Colorado Civil Rights Commission will withdraw its administrative action against owner Jack Phillips. The commission found probable cause the bakery violated state law by refusing to make a cake celebrating a gender transition for a transgender person’s birthday. In turn, Phillips will voluntarily dismiss his federal court case against Colorado, which cited ongoing harassment from the state in the aftermath of the narrow ruling
in his favor by the U.S. Supreme Court. Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser, a Democrat, said in a statement the decision is beneficial for all parties involved. “After careful consideration of the facts, both sides agreed it was not in anyone’s best interest to move forward with these cases,” Weiser said. “The larger constitutional issues might well be decided down the road, but these cases will not be the vehicle for resolving them. Equal justice for all will continue to be a core value that we will uphold as we enforce our state’s and nation’s civil rights laws.” Last year, the Supreme Court stopped short of asserting a First Amendment right for Phillips to refuse service to a samesex couple based on freedom of religion and freedom of speech, but ruled in his favorbased on the facts of the case, finding anti-religion bias on the Colorado Civil Rights Commission. On the day the Supreme Court decision was handed down, an attorney asked Phillips
to create a cake with pink on the inside and blue on the outside to celebrate a gender transition from male to female. Phillips declined the request on religious grounds. Weeks later, the Colorado Civil Rights Commission declared it had found probable causeColorado law requires Phillips to create the requested gender-transition cake. In turn, Alliance Defending Freedom, an anti-LGBT legal group, filed the federal lawsuit against Colorado, citing ongoing harassment of Phillips. Kristen Waggoner, who argued the Masterpiece Cakeshop case before the Supreme Court as senior Vice President of the U.S. legal division of Alliance Defending Freeedom, said in a statement the agreement is a victory for Phillips. “The state of Colorado is dismissing its case against Jack, stopping its six and a half years of hostility toward him for his beliefs,” Waggoner said. “Jack’s victory is great news for everyone. Tolerance and respect for good-faith differences of opinion are essential in a diverse
society like ours. They enable us to peacefully coexist with each another. But the state’s demonstrated and ongoing hostility toward Jack because of his beliefs is undeniable.” Daniel Ramos, executive director of One Colorado, said in a statement Colorado’s Anti-Discrimination Act remains in effect despite the agreement. “Despite the mutual agreement between the State of Colorado and Masterpiece Cakeshop, the law is still the law,” Ramos said. “No matter who you are, who you love, or what you believe, Coloradans across our state – including LGBTQ Coloradans and their families – are still protected under Colorado law from discrimination in the areas of employment, housing, and public accommodations. According to the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, each side will bear their own costs and attorneys’ fees and the agreement doesn’t affect the ability of Autumn Scardina, the transgender complainant in the state administrative case, to pursue a claim on her own.
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18 • MARCH 08, 2019 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
VOLUME 03 ISSUE 10
The warped world Trump has wrought We must continue to fight GOP fools and hypocrites
Peter Rosenstein is a longtime LGBT rights and Democratic Party activist. He writes regularly for the Blade.
Are you racist for defending a racist? Are you despicable for defending Trump? We are living in an altered universe when Congressman Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) parades one African-America woman in front of the world trying to prove Trump isn’t racist and then gets upset when he is called a racist. The same Meadows who said in 2012, “We will send him back to Kenya or wherever that is” about President Obama. There is a saying “if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck it’s a duck.” I felt sorry for the woman who stood behind Meadows looking like a deer in the headlights until I read a story in the paper about her loving the attention. Apparently she wants to star in a reality show. Donald Trump has verbally attacked immigrants and people of color. He has defended white nationalists and anti-
Semites. He promotes a host of policies harmful to African Americans, the LGBTQ community, women and immigrants. One can say considering him racist is being too kind. He is a totally disgusting individual lacking in any empathy or decency. Listening to their attacks on Michael Cohen in their zeal to defend this president we must feel free to question Meadows and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), among his top defenders, about their beliefs and principles. It is clear after listening to Meadows go after Cohen and how in the past he has defended the outrageousness of Trump he doth protest too much when attacked. I don’t know about his nieces and nephews being people of color but that fact alone doesn’t make him not a racist. It speaks to the saying: “some of my best friends are,” which some people use to explain why they really aren’t racist. Trump hiring his son’s wedding planner to work at HUD clearly doesn’t make him not a racist. Republicans falling over themselves to hitch their wagon to Trump once again have managed to make themselves look like fools. When they attack Cohen for being a liar he readily agrees with them reminding them it is the reason he is about to go to prison. But these Republican fools can’t see the hypocrisy in attacking him while defending the sad excuse for a man in the White House who it has been proven has lied thousands of times to the American people since being elected president. Listening carefully to most of Trump’s sycophants on the Committee while attacking Cohen they
weren’t actually defending Trump though one of the blithering idiots, Jim Jordan, has said in the past he has never heard Trump lie. This the same Jim Jordan who has been accused by his former athletes when he was an assistant coach at Ohio State of knowing team doctor Richard Strauss sexually abused athletes but failed to report it. So I guess pretending to not hear Trump lie is really a minor thing for him to pretend not to hear or see. So what does it make all Republicans who continue to defend Trump? As Cohen said maybe it makes them all like him. We can only hope Trump and his family will be punished for their lying and cheating and even serve time in jail. The way the American people can punish Trump’s congressional defenders is by defeating them in an election. They can continue to sputter and make excuses for him and attack those who would call him out but in the long run that is like pissing in the wind and with any luck the wind will be at their faces. We must demand those like Rep. Matt Gaetz who issued an explicit threat to Michael Cohen to intimidate him before he testified will be held accountable to the full extent the law allows. We are at a point when even though each day brings another surprise we are no longer shocked. Yet there are still many Americans who believe what he says. There are still Republicans on the Hill who defend him. This is the world Donald Trump has wrought. We must fight together to bring this despot and his cohorts down and restore some semblance of sanity.
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LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • MARCH 08, 2019 • 19
The GOP’s sickening slide into servility Whatever happened to embarrassment?
Richard J. Rosendall is a writer and activist. Reach him at email@example.com.
Have you ever witnessed something so mortifying that you wished you were invisible and could slink away unnoticed? I wonder if any Republicans had that impulse last week. Their president did not introduce incapacity for embarrassment into our politics, he just took it to another level. The week was too much. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) threatened Michael Cohen before a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing. Sebastian Gorka compared Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) to Joseph Stalin. Diamond and Silk were treated as A-listers at CPAC.
At the heart of the chaos was Mr. Art of the Deal, hugging the flag and giving another unhinged pep rally speech after returning from his Hanoi summit, where his vanity and dictator envy left him empty-handed, though he fatuously absolved Kim Jong-un in the torture of Otto Warmbier. At the hearing, Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) told Cohen, “You’re a pathological liar. You don’t know truth from falsehood.” Cohen rejoined, “Are you talking about me or the president?” Not only did Gosar say, “Liar, liar, pants on fire,” the Republicans displayed the schoolyard taunt on a poster. Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) had a live exhibit: Lynne Patton, a wedding planner Trump made an administrator at HUD. Meadows thought Patton’s blackness refuted Cohen’s charge that Trump (the birther, Central Park Five slanderer, and Nazi defender) is a racist. Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) was having none of it. She said using a black woman as a prop is “racist in itself.” Meadows, who talked in 2012 of sending President Obama “back home to Kenya,” was near tears as he demanded Tlaib’s remarks be stricken. He cited nieces and nephews of color as proof he couldn’t be racist. Perhaps he forgot that our third president enslaved his own
black children. Committee chair Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), whose indulgence of the Republicans may have been in the spirit of giving one’s opponent enough rope to hang himself, persuaded Tlaib to say she wasn’t calling Meadows a racist. Thus, typically, it fell to people of color to soothe a colleague’s fragile whiteness. Author Robin DiAngelo writes, “White fragility is not weakness per se. In fact, it is a powerful means of white racial control and the protection of white advantage.” Only through a privileged lens can calling someone out on his racism be offensive while deleting black people from voting rolls is fine. Falsely conflating white identity with national identity divides and diminishes us. You cannot see other people’s struggles if you insist on being the protagonist of every story. We are all in the American project together, and will rise or fall together. We need to take our blinders off. The day after the hearing, an MSNBC reporter asked a white man in a pancake house, “Do you believe Michael Cohen or the president?” He answered, “I’m gonna have to put my faith in the president.” He followed that with “because,” but I missed the rest as I threw my shoe at the screen. Trump’s performance art distracts his fans
from the con job he is pulling on them. Former Maine Gov. Paul LePage says that without the Electoral College, white people will be forgotten. Seriously? Reality was in the loo when Trump told the CPAC crowd, “We believe in the American dream, not in the socialist nightmare.” If you’re a Trumpist, socialism is anything that helps brown people, while benefits you receive are considered an entitlement, even if they’re the same program. If we let ourselves be cowed by Trump’s provocations, if we focus on what stirs the rabble instead of what serves the greater good, we will lose our country and squander centuries of struggle. We must believe enough in ourselves, our values, and our fellow citizens to seize the moment and not be diverted by a demagogue‘s crude cavortings. Instead of fighting on Trump’s favored ground of fear and resentment, we should impart an honest vision—not just advancing policy goals, but recognizing our diverse human resources as an asset and not a threat, demanding the best in ourselves as in each other, and reclaiming our decency and honor. That reclamation requires an historic Republican loss. Copyright © 2019 by Richard J. Rosendall. All rights reserved.
Spring events blooming in Los Angeles Alvin Ailey, Stephen Varble and more By JOHN PAUL KING
As we emerge from the not-so-chilly chill of another Los Angeles winter, it’s time to look ahead to the cultural highlights of the coming spring in our fabulous city. Fortunately, the Blade is here to give you a rundown of the must-see events of the season. The Gutter Art of Stephen Varble: Genderqueer Performance Art of the 1970s, Photographs by Greg Day, March 1-May 17 (ONE Gallery, West Hollywood) In costumes made from street trash, food waste and stolen objects, Stephen Varble (American,1946–1984) took to the streets of 1970s New York City to perform his “Gutter Art,” making the recombination of signs for gender a central theme. At the pinnacle moment of Varble’s public performances, the photographer Greg Day (American, 1944-) captured the inventiveness and energy of his genderqueer costume confrontations. Together, Varble and Day worked to preserve the radical potential of Gutter Art for the future. This exhibition, with its focus on their collaboration, explores the ways in which Varble’s disruptive guerilla performance art has lived on primarily through Day’s vibrant photographs, that captured his inventive costumes, transformed trash and public confrontations. For more information, visit one.usc.edu. “Rotterdam,” March 28-April 7 (Kirk Douglas Theatre) Last year’s Skylight Theatre Company production of this smart and sensitive comedy by Jon Brittain was a runaway hit that enjoyed an extended run at the company’s small space in Los Feliz. Now, it’s being remounted as part of Center Theatre Group’s third annual “Block Party LA” at the Kirk Douglas, celebrating local Los Angeles theater at its best. On New Year’s Eve, 2018, in the city of the title, Alice has finally found the courage to come out to her parents as a lesbian. But before she has the chance, her girlfriend, Fiona, reveals that she has always identified as a man and now wants to live as one,
sending their relationship into a tailspin. A bittersweet comedy with deeply human characters, both flawed and hilarious, “Rotterdam” poses powerful questions about love and identity. The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, April 3-7 (The Music Center) The legendary dance company celebrates 60 years of performance art with both classic Ailey works and contemporary pieces including Ailey’s masterpiece “Revelations.” There will be a Dance Talk, a preperformance discussion with members of the company, one hour before each performance. The discussion will conclude with a mini dance lesson from “Revelations” taught by a member of the company. Tickets range from $34-$125. For more details, visit musiccenter.org. Turn Back Time: The Best of the Last 40 Years of Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles, April 6-7 (Alex Theatre, Glendale) The Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles may have faced some challenges of late, but that hasn’t stopped them from going ahead with their mission to change hearts and minds with music – just as they have done for the last 40 years by connecting hundreds of thousands through song. This spring, they will be celebrating the past 40 years with some of their favorite musical memories at the Alex Theatre in Glendale. Join GMCLA as they reminisce and rally, looking back on significant moments and memorable achievements, and looking forward to what the next 40 years have in store. Some crowd favorites they’ll be bringing back include “True Colors,” “Creep” and “The Trolley Song.” Whether you’ve been in the audience for years or recently discovered the chorus, you’ll want to join this historic pillar of Los Angeles’ LGBTQ community as they turn back time to highlight the hits from their first 40 years. Rick Castro, Fetish King: Seminal Photographs 1986 – 2019, April 6-27 (Tom of Finland Foundation’s TOM House) A powerful and imaginative figure that emerged
in the Los Angeles underground during the late ‘80s, Rick Castro has been dubbed “the fetish king” by all that know him. His clients over the years have included Bette Midler, David Bowie, Herb Ritts, Joel-Peter Witkin and magazines like Interview, GQ, Rolling Stone and Vanity Fair. The artist’s sex positive imagery is darkly erotic, elegant, and at times, sinister. His photographs are characterized by potent and visceral tableaux, tinged with sadomasochism, leather and sexual pleasure. He continues his pictorial career and fascination with lust, desire and kink producing elegant portraiture of celebrated artists and the demi-monde. For more information visit tomoffinlandfoundation.org/foundation/events. TCM Classic Film Festival, April 11-April 14 (Multiple Venues) Call us old-fashioned, but there’s always been a strong connection between the queer community and the big screen classics of an era long gone by. This must-visit for classic film buffs showcases four days of beloved movies—from the iconic to forgotten gems—courtesy of Turner Classic Movies, who are celebrating their 10th annual festival and their 25th anniversary delivering these time-honored favorites into your living room. During this year’s festival, themed “Follow Your Heart: Love at the Movies,” a robust lineup of films – from “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” to “Steel Magnolias” – will be seen the way they were meant to be, on the big screen, in some of Hollywood’s most famous movie houses, including the Chinese and Egyptian Theaters. It’s a fourday happening sure to be full of many-splendored moments, where you can revel in romance and obsessions, delight in faithful friendships and surrender to the enduring allure of the silver screen with fellow classic movie lovers – and be on the lookout for celebrity guests, as well. For more information visit filmfestival.tcm.com. “Falsettos”, April 16-May 19 (Ahmanson Theatre) There’s a reason Center Theatre Group’s Ahmanson
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series always has a presence on these lists – they offer a chance for Angelenos to taste the best of Broadway right here in our own home town, and there’s always sure to be something particularly relevant to the LGBTQ community. This season, it’s this groundbreaking musical by William Finn and James Lapine, which returned to Broadway in 2017 in an all-new production (directed by Lapine) from Lincoln Center Theater, and was nominated for five 2017 Tony Awards, including Best Revival of a Musical. Revolving around the life of a charming, intelligent, neurotic gay man named Marvin, his wife, lover, about-to-be-Bar-Mitzvahed son, their psychiatrist and the lesbians next door. It’s a hilarious and achingly poignant look at the infinite possibilities that make up a modern family, and a beautiful reminder that love can tell a million stories. Based on three 1980s oneacts, this touring production of the revival will feature the talented Eden Espinosa and Max von Essen, so it’s sure to be a stellar theatrical experience. Grand Park’s Our LA Voices – L.A. Arts Festival, April 27-28 (Grand Park, DTLA) Grand Park’s week-long spring arts experience, Grand Park’s Our LA Voices – LA Arts Festival, is a regional arts gathering that focuses exclusively on the diverse and powerful artistic talent in Los Angeles County. Envisioned as an annual “best of LA arts festival,” this free, two-day performing and visual arts showcase will bring dance, music and theater performances, as well as visual artwork by LA artists to Grand Park. The festival’s 2019 theme, Origin Stories, explores and showcases distinctly Los Angeles narratives and questions about where we are, how we got here and where we are going. For the week before the festival, Grand Park will offer free workshops on creative practice, as well as the pragmatic side of making art in LA Topics range from street dance activism and acting, to intellectual property and copyright protection, marketing, entrepreneurship skills and fundraising.
Rami Malek stars as Freddie Mercury in ‘Bohemian Rhapsody.’ Photo by Bryan Singer
These workshops are open to all and require preregistration. For more information on the festival and workshops, visit grandparkla.org/event/our-l-avoices-l-a-arts-festival. Jacob Jonas The Company, May 10-11 (Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts) After a sold-out run in The Wallis’ 16/17 Season, Jacob Jonas The Company returns as the 18/19 Season Company-in-Residence. The Company – led by its dynamic namesake - is gaining international acclaim for its honest storytelling, visceral performances and cutting-edge content creation – including the #CamerasandDancers visual arts movement. Whether you were lucky enough to catch The Company at The Wallis, their To the Sea festivals at the Santa Monica Pier or are new to their mix of contemporary ballet and acrobatic movement, or their intimate engagement at the Wallis earlier in the 18/19 Season, you won’t want to miss the excitement this spring as they present the world premiere of a new work. For more information visit thewallis.org. Allen Ruppersberg: Intellectual Property 1968–2018, through May 12 (Hammer Museum) Perhaps more than any other artist of his generation, LA’s Ruppersberg has mined the nuances of culture
through its visual details, unsung conventions, and modes of the everyday, often encouraging the involvement of the viewer as social participant, an aspect of his work that has had particular resonance with a younger generation of artists. He devours books, typically teasing apart their aesthetic nature: The entirety of Oscar Wilde’s “The Picture of Dorian Gray” is scribbled onto over a dozen huge canvases while Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl” has been phonetically written across a wall-filling series of fluorescent Colby Poster prints. Found-object sculptures, photo collages and massmedia–inspired posters sound like typically humorless pieces of conceptual art – but there’s a wry wit to these works, and a sincere reverence of the cultural sources he mines, be it a Ruppersberg-less series of portraits with index cards that ask “Where’s Al?” to oversized comic book cutouts of Scrooge McDuck. For more information visit hammer.ucla.edu. Weho Reads, various dates through May 29 (West Hollywood City Council Chambers) Book lovers get equal time this spring also, with the WeHo Reads series, a city-sponsored series of literary events that puts the focus on queer works by queer authors. Stage-and-screen star Andrew Rannells may not be reprising his Broadway role in “Falsettos,” but he will be turning up in WeHo to discuss his memoir, “Too Much is Not Enough,” and “Modern Family” star Jesse Tyler Ferguson will spend an evening discussing Jacob Tobia’s book “Sissy, A Coming-of-Gender Story” with the author. Renowned poets Richard Blando, Kim Dower, and West Hollywood City Poet Laureate Charles Flowers will be additional participants in the series, with wraps up as readings of the finalists for the annual Lambda Literary Award are presented as part of the City’s “One City, One Pride” LGBTQ Arts Festival. For more information, visit weho.org/ community/arts-and-culture/weho-reads.
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Melissa, P!nk, Reba, oh my! Queer favorites return with new music By THOM MURPHY
Openly gay Broadway actor/singer Ben Platt releases his solo debut in late March. Image courtesy of Atlantic Records
This year seems so far to be a quieter one for major pop releases, but there’s still plenty of new music to look forward to in the coming months. First, some recent releases you may have missed. Ariana Grande just released “Thank U, Next,” her second album in six months, on the heels of “Sweetener,” which won the Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Album. R&B legend Chaka Khan came out with her 12th solo studio album, “Hello Happiness,” her first in 12 years. On Feb. 22, non-binary artist Beth Jeans Houghton, known as Du Blonde, released a third album entitled “Lung Bread for Daddy.” And Australian folk rocker Julia Jacklin, who is also the frontwoman for Phantastic Ferniture (which released its self-titled debut last year), released her second solo album, “Crushing.” Young Norwegian singer and songwriter Sigrid is coming out with a debut album entitled “Sucker Punch,” on March 1, following the release of her 2018 EP “Raw.” For the project, she’s working with writer and producer Oscar Holter, who has co-written and produced music with artists such as Tiësto, Carly Rae Jepsen, Katy Perry, P!nk, Troye Sivan and Charlie XCX. On the same day, American rock band Weezer is scheduled to release its 13th studio album, entitled “Weezer (The Black Album).” On March 8, the English pop singer Dido is expected to release a new album entitled “Still On My Mind.” This would be her first release since her 2013 album “Girl Who Got Away.” Lead single “Give You Up” was released in January and landed at No. 22 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart. It’s a sign of some momentum for a singer who has been out of the spotlight in the U.S. since 1999 (though she has remained a fixture in Europe). On March 29, Ben Platt releases his first solo album, entitled “Sing to Me Instead.” Platt is well known for his major Broadway roles, most recently as Evan Hansen in the acclaimed musical “Dear Evan Hansen.” He also played the role of Benji Applebaum alongside Anna Kendrick in the movies “Pitch Perfect” and “Pitch Perfect 2.” The same date will see the release of the legendary Marvin Gaye’s “You’re the Man,” an album that was recorded four decades ago but
never released. While there’s no official release date, P!nk’s “Hurts 2B Human” is expected to be released in April. The first single, “Walk Me Home,” from the singer’s eighth studio album was released last week, signaling the arrival of the new album relatively soon. On April 5, country music legend Reba McEntire will release her 29th studio album, entitled “Stronger Than the Truth.” And on the same date, American psychedelic-pop singer Weyes Blood will release her album “Titanic Rising.” Weyes Blood has risen in popularity since her most recent album, “Front Row Seat to Earth,” and has been touring extensively in Europe and the U.S. The new album is her first on the Sub Pop label (Warner Music Group), which signed artists like Nirvana and Father John Misty. Sara Bareilles will likewise release her new album, “Amidst the Chaos” on April 5. Bareilles has been enjoying the spotlight a lot recently, following the Broadway production of “Waitress,” for which Bareilles wrote lyrics and music. She also recently appeared in the widely acclaimed television adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber musical “Jesus Christ Superstar.” “Amidst the Chaos” is Bareilles’ first album since the 2015 release of “What’s Inside: Songs from Waitress.” Lesbian rock icon Melissa Etheridge releases “The Medicine Show” April 12. She said in a Blade interview last year the album contains some of her strongest-ever writing. Welsh singer Marina (formerly Marina and the Diamonds) is slated to release a new album on April 26 called “Love+Fear.” It’s her album since the 2015 “Froot.” Marina remains popular among gay audiences and has performed at New York Pride. On May 10, Chicago artist Jamila Woods is scheduled to release her second album, “Legacy! Legacy!” Woods, who is regularly collaborates with Chance The Rapper, is producing music that directly engages with her home in Chicago. She is definitely someone to keep an eye on. New album releases are rumored from Adele, Frank Ocean, Carly Rae Jepsen, Sheryl Crow, Vampire Weekend and Madonna, though there have been no official announcements. And there will most certainly be a few unexpected releases along the way.
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24 • MARCH 08, 2019 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
From Captain Marvel to Elton John New film season filled with queer representation By BRIAN T. CARNEY
Brie Larsen as ‘Captain Marvel.’ Photo courtesy Marvel
Now that the Oscars are over, movie theaters and new releases are in bloom. The season got off to a frightening start with “Greta,” a stylish thriller written and directed by Neil Jordan (who won an Oscar for the LGBT classic “The Crying Game”). The dazzling Isabelle Huppert plays a lonely widow whose interest in her new friend (Chloë Grace Moretz) slowly turns sinister. March 1 marked a somber cinematic milestone. Tyler Perry has announced that he’s hanging up his wig and retiring the character of Madea after her appearance in “A Madea Family Funeral.” On March 15, writer/director Sebastián Lelio, creator of the Oscar-winning trans drama “A Fantastic Woman” and the lesbian drama “Disobedience,” returns with “Gloria Bell,” a reworking of his 2013 Spanish language film. The movie stars Julianne Moore as an older woman searching for love in the dance clubs of Los Angeles. The supporting cast includes John Turturro, Brad Garrett, Sean Astin, Jeanne Tripplehorn and Holland Taylor. Also slated for a March 15 release is “Giant Little Ones,” an intimate drama about coming out and discovering love. Franky Winter (Josh Wiggins) and Ballas Kohl (Darren Mann) have been best friends since childhood, but their relationship takes an unexpected turn during Franky’s wild 17th birthday celebration. Maria Bello and Kyle MacLachlan (“Twin Peaks”) play Franky’s parents. March 15 also marks the return of controversial queer photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. Mapplethorpe’s provocative 1989 exhibition “The Perfect Moment” made headlines when the Corcoran Gallery of Art in D.C. decided his prints were too hot to handle and cancelled the show. The new biopic “Mapplethorpe” stars Matt Smith (“Doctor Who” and “The Crown”) as the rebellious artist, with John Benjamin Hickey as his lover and patron Sam Wagstaff, Rotimi Paul as his lover and frequent model Ken Moody and Marianne Rendón as his lover and collaborator Patti Smith. Two years ago, the multi-talented Jordan Peele scared audiences around the globe with “Get Out,” his searing indictment of pious white liberalism. This year he returns on March 22 with the home invasion thriller “Us” starring Elisabeth Moss, Anna Diop, Lupita Nyong’o and Winston Duke. On April 6, HBO premieres “Native Son,” a powerful indictment of systemic racism in America based on the classic novel by Richard
Wright. The screenplay is by Pulitzer Prizewinning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks. The film is directed by renowned visual artist and first-time director Rashid Johnson and Ashton Sanders (“Moonlight”) plays Bigger Thomas. On March 29, “The Brink,” a new documentary about conservative firebrand and former Trump adviser Steve Bannon opens. Director Alison Klayman, the youngest filmmaker included in the 2013 New York Times international list of “20 Directors To Watch,” also helmed “An Attack on Equality,” an examination of the rising number of hate crimes occurring in New York City. With the arrival of “Captain Marvel” (March 8), “Shazam” (April 9) and “Avengers: Endgame” (April 26), caped crusaders will be everywhere this spring. On the anti-hero side, “Hellboy” stomps into the cineplex on April 12. On May 3, the entire family can enjoy an animated musical adventure in “Ugly Dolls.” Molly and her friends love their life in Uglyville, where weird is celebrated and strange is special, but curiosity leads them to explore what lies outside their town. The amazing voice cast includes such LGBT heroes and allies as Kelly Clarkson, Nick Jonas, Wanda Sykes, Gabriel Iglesias, Emma Roberts, Blake Shelton, Pitbull and Janelle Monáe. Also for the entire family, Disney presents live-action remakes of its animated classics “Dumbo” (March 29) and “Aladdin” (May 24). May 10 brings the comedy “The Hustle.” Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson star as female scam artists who team up to take down the dirty rotten men who have wronged them. Some of the other new spring releases include “The Hummingbird Project,” a high-stakes business thriller with Jesse Eisenberg, Alexander Skarsgård and Salma Hayek (March 15); Mike Leigh’s historic drama “Peterloo” (April 5); Elle Fanning singing in “Teen Spirit” (April 5); a remake of the Stephen King horror classic “Pet Semetary” (April 5); Seth Rogan and Charlize Theron in the comedy “Long Shot” (May 3); “Ask Dr. Ruth,” a documentary about the diminutive sex advisor (May 3);the biopic “Tolkien” with Lily Collins and Nicholas Hoult; and Octavia Spencer making her horror movie debut in “Ma” (May 29). Finally, the spring film season comes to a fabulous finale on May 31 with the release of “Rocketman.”
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26 • MARCH 08, 2019 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
Stonewall 50th inspires new books By JAMES WELLEMEYER
In “I.M.: A Memoir” (Flatiron Books, just released), American fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi shares his experiences growing gay in a Syrian Orthodox Jewish family, living through the AIDS epidemic and struggling with weight, insomnia and depression. In their highly anticipated “Sissy: A Coming-of-Gender Story” (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, March 5), LGBT rights activist and host of MSNBC’s Queer 2.0 Jacob Tobia reflects on their relationship with gender from being labeled male at birth to identifying as genderqueer today. “Love and Resistance: Out of the Closet into the Stonewall Era” (W. W. Norton & Company, March 5) brings together over 100 powerful photographs from the LGBT liberation movement, with a focus on queer activism in the ’60s and ’70s. Put together by Jason Baumann, Kay Tobin Lahusen and Diana Davies, the book will come out just in time for the 50th anniversary of Stonewall. First released as a play at the Young Vic Theatre in London, Matthew Lopez’s “The Inheritance” (Faber & Faber, March 5) gives a glimpse into the lives young gay men living in New York City after the peak of the AIDS epidemic. “When Brooklyn Was Queer: A History” (St. Martin’s Press, March 5) takes a new look at LGBT life in Brooklyn from the mid-1850s to modern day. Written by queer historian Hugh Ryan, the book explores LGBT history in New York beyond Greenwich Village, Harlem and the rest of Manhattan. In “Real Queer America: LGBT Stories from Red States” (Little, Brown and Company, March 5), Daily Beast reporter Samantha Allen offers a glimpse into LGBT life in Red America. A trans woman who holds onto an undying love for “flyover country,” Allen shares the incredible stories of the activists and everyday Americans who chose not to leave their homes for the coasts. In “The Last 8” (Sourcebooks, March 5), debut YA author Laura Pohl tells the story of Clover Martinez, a bisexual aromantic girl and one of the few survivors of an alien invasion on Earth. After the invasion, Clover meets a group of other teens her age but suddenly becomes conflicted about her decision to join them when she learns they don’t want to fight back. Award-winning playwright and debut author Mariah MacCarthy introduces us to Jenna Watson in her novel “Squad” (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, March 12). A cheerleader whose life turns on its head when the girls she views as her best friends stop inviting her out with them, Jenna starts to date a trans boy and explore life beyond cheer. Award-winning writer and former public school teacher Mathangi Subramanian provides a glimpse into queer life in India in her first work of literary fiction. “A People’s History of Heaven” (Algonquin, March 19) tells the story of a group of five girls — queer, trans or otherwise marginalized — who fight back against the government officials who want to tear down their homes in the 30-year-old slum they call Heaven. In “Unbecoming: A Memoir of Disobedience” (Atria Books, March 26), former U.S. Marine Captain Anuradha Bhagwati reflects on her experience as a bisexual woman growing up with strict Indian parents and her fight that ultimately allowed women to serve in combat roles in the
U.S. military. In “This One Looks Like a Boy: My Gender Journey to Life as a Man”(Greystone Books, March 31), Canadian writer and former police officer Lorimer Shenher shares the story of his transition, from his gender dysphoria and struggles with alcohol to his decision to be open about his identity and receive gender reassignment surgery in his 50s. “This One Looks Like a Boy” is Shenher’s second book, following “That Lonely Section of Hell: The Botched Investigation of a Serial Killer Who Almost Got Away.” In “He Said, She Said: Lessons, Stories, and Mistakes from my Transgender Journey” (Harmony, April 2), famous beauty Youtuber Gigi Gorgeous shares the story of her transition, from her early years as a self-described “high school mean girl” to her decision to be open about her gender identity and sexuality. Soraya Zaman’s “American Boys” (Daylight Books, April 2) showcases a visual representation of trans-masculine identity across the United States. With an introduction from trans porn star, director and icon Buck Angel, the book offers a new look at gender expression and what it means to be a man. In “The Meaning of Birds” (HarperTeen, April 16), young adult author Jaye Robin Brown gives a glimpse into Jess’s world after the love of her life Vivi passes away. Jess abandons her plans to attend art school and finds some new friends as she processes her grief. Gay screenwriter Dustin Lance Black won an Academy Award for his work on “Milk,” the 2008 biographical film that depicted the life of Harvey Milk. He also comes from a Mormon family that didn’t initially want to accept him. In “Mama’s Boy: A Story from Our Americas” (Knopf, April 30), he tells the story of his coming out and how his family remained close in the years following. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, The New York Public Library put together “The Stonewall Reader” (Penguin Classics, April 30). With a forward from gay novelist Edmund White, the book shares diary entries, literature, articles and more from the years preceding and directly following the uprising. Debut author Arabelle Sicardi is giving LGBT kids a few icons of their own in “Queer Heroes” (Wide Eyed Editions, May 7). The children’s book shares the lives of 52 prominent LGBT figures throughout history, from Audre Lorde to Frida Kahlo. Debut author Tanya Boteju’s “Kings, Queens and InBetweens” (Simon Pulse, May 7) mixes drag, identity and self-discovery. In the novel, Nima Kumara-Clark grows bored with her life in Bridgeton and heads to the other side of town for a change in scene. She becomes wrapped up in a world of drag and learns more about herself than she expected. The much-anticipated coffee table book “We Are Everywhere: Protest, Power and Pride in the History of Queer Liberation” (Ten Speed Press, May 7) takes a sweeping look at queer history from the pre-Stonewall era to modern day. Written by the creators of the widely popular @lgbt_history Instagram account, Matthew Riemer and Leighton Brown, the book combines about 300 photographs with extensive historical narrative to provide a new and more comprehensive window into LGBT life and resistance.
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The spring television season includes some exciting new shows, some old favorites returning for a new season and some shows returning after their winter break. The controversial HBO documentary “Leaving Neverland” explores allegations of sexual abuse made against Michael Jackson by James Safechuck and Wade Robson who were befriended by the pop star when they were boys. Despite a lawsuit filed by Jackson’s estate, HBO aired the doc as a two-part miniseries this week so it’s now available on demand. Anarchic queer filmmaker Gregg Araki moves to the small screen with “Now Apocalypse” which premieres on STARZ on March 10. Known for the “Teen Apocalypse Trilogy (“Totally Fucked Up,” “The Doom Generation” and “Nowhere”), as well as the cult favorites “The Living End” and “Mysterious Skin,” the Japanese American writer/director has created a 10-episode comedy series that focuses on the sexual and romantic escapades of four friends in Los Angeles. The series center on Ulysses (Avan Jogia) who is not sure if he’s stumbled on a massive conspiracy or if he is just paranoid from smoking too much weed. NBC ups its representation game with the premiere of “Abby’s” on March 28. The series is about a bisexual ex-Marine who runs an illegal neighborhood bar with very specific rules in her backyard. Abby will be played by out actress Natalie Morales, whose credits include playing Rosie Casals in “Battle of the Sexes.” In a fun twist, the series will be filmed outdoors in front of a live audience in a multi-camera format. Snap your fingers and roll your hips for the dramatic entrance of “Fosse/Verdon” on FX on April 9. Directed by Thomas Kail (“Hamilton”), the series explores the tempestuous relationship between legendary choreographer Bob Fosse (played by Sam Rockwell of “Vice” and “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”) and his wife and muse Gwen Verdon (played by Michelle Williams of “Manchester by the Sea,” “My Week with Marilyn” and “Brokeback Mountain”). Fosse and Verdon were married in 1960. They separated in 1971, but never divorced and worked together until his death in 1987. “Catch-22,” Joseph Heller’s darkly satirical novel about men and war, comes to life as a Hulu miniseries on May 17. Christopher Abbott stars as the hapless bombardier Yossarian. The cast also includes Kyle Chandler, Hugh Laurie and George Clooney, who also served as executive director and directed some of the episodes. Season one of “American Gods” surprised viewers with the graphic gay relationship between Salim (Omid Abtahi) and the Jinn (a mythic being of fire played by Mousa Kraish). Season two of the series based on the novel by best-selling author Neil Gaiman, premieres on STARZ on March 10.
Details are scarce, but the “star-crossed lovers” are expected to be regular characters. “Queer Eye,” the award-winning reboot of “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” returns to Netflix on March 15. The fifth and final season of “Jane the Virgin” will premiere on the CW on March 22. Loosely based on a Venezuelan telenovela, the parodic soap opera has included a number of LGBT characters, including Petra Solano and her latest love interest Jane “JR” Ramos. Season two of “Killing Eve” premieres on BBC America on April 7. Sandra Oh recently won a Golden Globe for her performance as Eve Polastri, an MI5 officer who is tracking Villanelle (Jodie Comer), a psychopathic Russian assassin. The two women become obsessed with each other, both personally and professionally, and their complex love-hate relationship becomes both violent and erotic when they finally meet. Out actress Fiona Shaw plays Eve’s superior Carolyn Martens, head of the Russia section at MI5. Season two of “9-1-1” returns to Fox on March 18. Co-created by the unstoppable team of Brad Falchuk, Tim Minear and Ryan Murphy (known for their work on “Glee,” “American Horror Story” and “Pose”), the show focuses on the intense personal and professional lives of first responders in Los Angeles. The show’s current LGBT characters include Aisha Hinds and Tracie Thoms as paramedic/firefighter “Hen” Wilson and her wife Karen Wilson, a lesbian couple raising Hen’s son from a previous relationship. Season four of “Legends of Tomorrow” returns to the CW on April 1. The time-traveling rag-tag team of heroes and villains trying to save planet earth is currently anchored by bisexual Captain Sara Lance (Caity Lotz), also known as White Canary. After a holiday break (and a special Christmas episode), “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” returns to Netflix for season one, part two on April 5. Developed by gay writer Roberto AguirreSacasa from his comic book novel of the same name, the show centers on Sabrina Spellman (Kiernan Shipka), a half-mortal, half-witch teenager fighting the evil forces that threaten her family. While not all of the show’s queer content has been embraced by LGBT critics, two queer characters have enchanted both critics and audience members. Chance Perdomo plays Sabrina’s cousin Ambrose Spellman, a pansexual warlock from Britain who is Sabrina’s partner in crime. He’s been placed under house arrest by the Witches Council for trying to blow up the Vatican. Non-binary actor Lachlan Watson plays Susie Putnam, a close friend of Sabrina who identifies as genderqueer and who has been assaulted by members of the high school football team. With Sabrina and other friends, Susie becomes a founding member of WICCA (the Women’s Intersectional Cultural and Creative Association).
Small screen delights New standouts and old favorites return for the season By BRIAN T. CARNEY
Caity Lotz as Sara Lance in ‘Legends of Tomorrow.’ Photo courtesy CW
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Hammer Museum features the revolutionary work of Pat Rocco. See Friday, March 15.
SATURDAY, MARCH 9
Spring Garden Social is today from noon-3 p.m. at Triangle Square (1602 Ivar Ave.). Join the USC Lambda LGBT Alumni Association, Rotary Club of Hollywood, and Center Membership for a day of service and networking and build a community garden for our seniors at our Triangle Square Affordable Housing facility. Participate in the revitalization of the community garden and celebrate our senior residents by joining them in a BBQ at 12 p.m. Tickets available at Eventbrite. Eternos Indocumentados is today from 5-8 p.m. at Southern California Library (8120 South Vermont Ave.). Xenophobia toward Central American refugees can be erased if their stories are told by the migrants themselves. This documentary brings their voices to the fore and facilitates a community discussion about their lives and the issues driving them to seek a better life. This bilingual film uplifts their stories and our struggles knowing their humanity. Based on interviews with recently arrived Central Americans and organizers leading the struggle on the ground in Central America and the U.S., this film captures the stories of refugees and uncovers the root causes of forced migration as well as migrant incarceration. Free. For details, visit eternosindocumentados.com/iximscreening. Hir by Taylor Mac is today from 5-8 p.m. at the Odyssey Theatre (2055 South Sepulveda). The Odyssey Theatre presents the darkly funny, shockingly absurd and endlessly surprising vision of a world in transition by MacArthur genius Taylor Mac, directed by Bart DeLorenzo Somewhere in the suburbs, Isaac has returned from Afghanistan with a dishonorable discharge, only to discover a household in revolt. The insurgent: his mom. Liberated from an oppressive marriage to Isaac’s father by his debilitating stroke, and with Isaac’s newly out transgender sibling as her ally, Paige is on a crusade to dismantle the patriarchy. For more information, visit odyesseytheatre.com.
SUNDAY, MARCH 10
Lesbian Yacht 2019 by Lez-Connect is today from 4:309 p.m. at Newport Beach Harbor (2527 West Coast Hwy, Newport Beach). An exceptionally private and elegant event aboard the only 120-foot private yacht located on the West Coast. It’s a 4 hour tour that includes hors
d’oeuvres, dinner and entertainment. Dine and dance on the upper deck, enjoy the lower deck lounge and bar, or take a stroll around the yacht and experience the 360° view. After dinner, enjoy an in-cruise comedy show, and if you’re feeling lucky enter the luxury raffle. Set sail on the shimmering water along the coast. It’s a women only event. You will fall in love. Tickets are available on Eventbrite and cost from $99 to $135. No refunds if you miss the boat.
TUESDAY, MARCH 12
4th Annual HERstory Awards & Reception Honoring Chela Demuir is tonight from 7-8:30 p.m. at West Hollywood Library Community Meeting Room (625 North San Vicente Blv.). Hollywood NOW presents its 4th Annual Herstory Awards & Reception event, this year featuring toasts & roasts of Chela Demuir, founder and executive director of the Unique Woman’s Coalition. Chela’s journey in the LGBT community spans over two decades. Her pioneering work has been at the nexus of HIV/AIDS and social justice. She has made enormous contributions to the trans community, addressing the lack of access to and the availability of resources for trans people and started a weekly support group at Unity Fellowship Church in Los Angeles for and by black trans women. She also established Trans Pride LA and the Los Angeles County Transgender Task Force. For more information, search Eventbrite.
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 13
Transgender + Non-Binary Career Fair is today from 1-4 p.m. at Los Angeles Trade Tech-Technical College (400 West Washington Blvd.). Meet with 60+ transaffirming employers in a variety of industries including entertainment, healthcare, social services, education, retail and film production. For those without access to computers, LA Trade Tech’s Workforce Development Center will be providing access to their computers on a first come, first serve basis for folks to complete and print resumes and/or to apply for positions online. A variety of employers will be present, including SONY, Paramount Pictures, UCLA, Bank of America, Starbucks, MAC Cosmetics, Trader Joe’s, The Trevor Project, Via Care Community Health Center, Planned Parenthood, Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants, Margo Romero (Movie Producer/Director) and more. Many employers will be
interviewing and/or hiring on the spot. Lunch courtesy of El Pollo Loco at 12:30 p.m. Starbucks will also be providing complimentary coffee. RSVP is required at EventBrite.
FRIDAY, MARCH 15
Pat Rocco Memorial Tribute and Screening is today from 7:30-10:30 p.m. at Hammer Museum (10899 Wilshire Blvd). Los Angeles’ LGBTQ community recently lost one of the earliest chroniclers with the passing in November of filmmaker and activist Pat Rocco. As he revolutionized the representation of gay love on screen, Rocco also used his camera to capture the simultaneous revolution of gay identity in the streets. He documented the city’s earliest Gay Pride parades, the flavor of local nightclubs and in Sign of Protest (1970), the landmark demonstrations against the homophobic policies of Barney’s Beanery in West Hollywood. For a community long forced underground, Rocco shot movies guerilla-style on location all over the city, in Griffith Park, Los Feliz, Echo Park, Hollywood and, most notoriously, inside Disneyland, the surreptitious setting for his tale of young gay love Disneyland Discovery (1969). Rocco also led LA Pride for more than a decade. Tickets available at cinema.ucla.edu. WBA LGBT Economic Summit is today from 9 a.m.-8 p.m. at Westin Bonaventure (404 Figueroa St.) Whether speaking to the niche concerns of our community or offering products and services whose consumer appeal casts the widest net possible, LGBT businesses are at their best when their owners are able to learn from peers, access available resources, and create new opportunities. The Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (LAGLCC) will host this year’s incarnation of the annual Western Business Alliance (WBA) LGBT Economic Summit & Conference. Founded in 1992 to further LGBT economic equality, the WBA’s current membership draws upon the collective knowledge of over 3,000 businesses from LGBT chambers of commerce and thought-leaders on the West Coast of the U.S., as well as Vancouver, British Columbia. Visit laglcc.org/events for details.
E-mail calendar items to firstname.lastname@example.org 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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Cannabis Culture Provided by NORML
San Francisco District Attorney GEORGE GASCÓN said the move to expunge is ‘the morally right thing to do.’ Photo via Twitter
San Fran to expunge 9,000 marijuana convictions San Francisco — The Office of the San Francisco District Attorney has announced that it will automatically expunge more than 9,000 marijuana-related convictions. Last February, city officials announced efforts to proactively review and vacate past marijuanarelated crimes. To date, the office has sealed several thousand cases and is taking actions to re-sentence an estimated 5,000 additional felony cases. On Monday, officials said that they have identified a total of 9,362 convictions eligible for expungement. “It’s incumbent that we, as law enforcement leaders, continue to evolve how we advance fairness and public safety in our respective communities,” San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón said. He added, “It [is] the morally right thing to do.” In October, state lawmakers approved legislation requiring “the Department of Justice, before July 1, 2019, to review the records in the state summary criminal history information database and to identify past convictions that are potentially eligible for recall or dismissal of sentence, dismissal and sealing, or redesignation pursuant to AUMA (the Adult Use Marijuana Act).”
Retail marijuana sales pass $6 billion in Colo. DENVER — More than $6 billion of cannabis and cannabis-infused products have been legally sold by licensed retailers in Colorado since 2014, according to data provided by the Colorado Department of Health. Colorado became the first state to permit licensed marijuana sales on Jan. 1, 2014. In 2018, total retail sales revenues were more than $1.5 billion, a figure that was largely in line with 2017 sales data. It is more than double the amount of revenue reported in 2014. The majority of retail sales were purchased by recreational marijuana consumers. According to data compiled earlier in the month by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, state and local excise taxes collected on retail adult use cannabis sales nationwide surpassed $1 billion in 2018 — a 57 percent increase over 2017 levels.
Lenient laws not associated with higher pot use: study KENT, U.K. — Changes in the legal status of
marijuana are not associated with an increased likelihood that more adolescents will consume it, according data published in the International Journal of Drug Policy. A University of Kent professor of sociology and social research analyzed three separate waves of global marijuana use data from 38 countries over a period of nine years. The author reported, “[D]ata do not reveal a statistically significant association between policy ‘liberalization’ and higher odds of increased cannabis use.” The findings are consistent with those of several prior studies finding that changes in marijuana’s legal status in jurisdictions in the United States is not associated with upticks in either teens’ use of cannabis or access to it.
Del. AG calls for civil penalties for pot violations DOVER, Del. — Delaware prosecutors will no longer be encouraged to pursue criminal charges against those who possess marijuana for personal use, according to guidelines issued last week by the state’s new Attorney General, Kathleen Jennings. In a Feb. 15 memorandum, Jennings called for sweeping changes to help prioritize resources toward the prosecution of violent criminal offenders and away from non-violent defendants. These changes include encouraging prosecutors and “police agencies to expand the use of civil citations [for] marijuana possession in lieu of criminal arrest.” News radio station WHYY reports that the decriminalization policy will apply to possession cases involving up to 175 grams of cannabis. Under state law, the possession of up to one ounce of cannabis is a civil violation. By contrast, offenses involving the possession of marijuana in greater amounts (between one ounce and six ounces) are classified as criminal misdemeanors punishable by up to three months in jail and a criminal record. The Attorney General’s actions to cease criminally prosecuting minor marijuana possession offenses are similar to steps recently taken by municipal law enforcement officials in other jurisdictions, including Baltimore, St. Louis, and Philadelphia. (Cannabis Culture news in the Blade is provided in partnership with NORML. For more information, contact Paul Armentano, NORML deputy director, at email@example.com.)
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ALL RENDERINGS, FLOOR PLANS, AND MAPS ARE CONCEPTS AND ARE NOT INTENDED TO BE AN ACTUAL DEPICTION OF THE BUILDINGS, FENCING, WALKWAYS, DRIVEWAYS OR LANDSCAPING. WALLS, WINDOWS, PORCHES AND DECKS VARY PER ELEVATION AND LOT LOCATION. IN A CONTINUING EFFORT TO MEET CONSUMER EXPECTATIONS, CITY VENTURES RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY PRICES, FLOOR PLANS, SPECIFICATIONS, OPTIONS AND AMENITIES WITHOUT NOTICE OR OBLIGATION. SQUARE FOOTAGES SHOWN ARE APPROXIMATE. BROKER/AGENT MUST ACCOMPANY AND REGISTER THEIR CLIENT(S) WITH THE ONSITE SALES TEAM ON THEIR FIRST VISIT TO THE COMMUNITY IN ORDER TO BE ELIGIBLE FOR ANY BROKER REFERRAL FEE. PLEASE SEE YOUR SALES MANAGER FOR DETAILS. ©2019 CITY VENTURES. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. BRE LIC # 01979736.
Losangelesblade.com, Volume 3, Issue 10, March 8, 2019