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A U G U S T 0 2 2 0 1 9 • V O LU M E 0 3 • I S S U E 3 1 • A M E R I C A’ S LG B TQ N E W S S O U R C E • LO S A N G E L E S B L A D E . C O M
02 • AUGUST 02, 2019 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
Do FIFA’s anti-homophobia rules matter? Crowds yelled anti-gay slurs at LA Galaxy match FROM STAFF REPORTS The LA Galaxy is scheduled to play the Leagues Cup Semifinal match against Cruz Azul on Aug. 20. But after the adoration showered on lesbian soccer players such as Megan Rapinoe after their celebrated World Cup victory, fans may also be watching for how professional soccer deals with the constant homophobic chants that mar the game. During the LA Galaxy’s recent 2-0 win over Club Tijuana, chants of “puto” (slur for “faggot”) were as loud as cheers for the two penalty kicks
at Dignity Health Sports Park. “Aside from goals, a controversial homophobic Mexican chant that accompanied Galaxy goalkicks constituted the loudest cheers,” the Los Angeles Times reported July 23. They were loud enough to be picked up by ESPN, according to broadcast analyst Taylor Twellman. Last May, “Puto” chants were heard during the LA Galaxy’s “Pride Night,” as well, according to Cyd Zeigler, co-founder of Outsports. The LA Galaxy was home to Robbie Rogers and the Major League Soccer promoted LGBTQ inclusion in its Soccer For All campaign. “It is time for Major League Soccer to choose whether it is going to end this behavior or equivocate on it. There is no longer a middle ground,” Zeigler wrote. On July 11, the Fédération Internationale
de Football Association (FIFA), the global organization that governs soccer, updated its Disciplinary Code rules for racism, homophobia, and discrimination to “fight against this appalling attack on the fundamental human rights of individuals.” The new rules say: “discrimination of any kind on account of race, skin color, ethnic, national or social origin, religion, and/or sexual orientation is strictly prohibited and punishable by suspension or expulsion.” Now a referee can suspend a match after applying a three-step procedure: “Referees would first stop the match and request a public announcement to insist that the discriminatory behavior cease. If this has no effect, he or she can then suspend play again and, if the racist,
behavior persists, abandon the match.” Additionally, penalties are increased to a 10game suspension for players engaging in racist or discriminatory activity on the field. In Europe, the sport has had a decadesold problem post World War Two with racism and homophobia and Mexico is notorious for homophobic abuse of players and coaches from spectators. A spokesperson with the FIFA-affiliated US Soccer Federation told the Los Angeles Blade that given the recent Women’s World Cup championship, “it’s hoped that referees will take immediate actions to prevent these behaviors.” Obviously, wishing and hoping aren’t working.
Hyatt Hotel near Palm Springs accused of ‘unlawfully’ firing gay chef Supervisor allegedly expressed ‘disgust and repulsion’ for gays By LOU CHIBBARO JR. A lawsuit that accuses a Hyatt Regency hotel located near Palm Springs, Calif., of supporting a supervisor who allegedly hatched a scheme to fire a gay chef after expressing “disgust and repulsion” for gay people is scheduled to go to trial on Aug. 9. The lawsuit charges the Hyatt Corporation on behalf of its Hyatt Regency Indian Wells Resort and Spa hotel located in the city of Indian Wells, Calif., near Palm Springs, with wrongful termination and four other employment-related offenses for its decision to fire Dewy Rains, 58, an openly gay chef. The lawsuit was filed in May 2018 in the Superior Court of the State of California for the County of Riverside. It says Rains worked at Hyatt hotels at various locations since 1998 and worked as a banquet chef at the Hyatt in Indian Wells since 2007. It says he had an “exemplary” work performance record for 19 years without a
single blemish up until November 2017. It was at that time, the lawsuit charges, that Lawrence Eells, a newly hired executive chef who became Rains’ supervisor, “fabricated” allegations to “unlawfully and pretextually justify his wrongful termination” four months later on March 23, 2018. The lawsuit names Eells as a defendant in addition to the Hyatt Corporation. “In or around October 2017, and within just mere days of Eells’ start as the Executive Chef at Hyatt Indian Wells, Eells pulled aside [Karine] Moulin (the kitchen manager and pastry chef),” the lawsuit says. “During this conversation, Eells ‘demean[ed] and belittle[ed] other Hyatt employees,” the lawsuit states. “For no legitimate work-related reason, Eells also demonstrated personal disgust and repulsion for Rains and another gay Hyatt employee in the culinary department, and Eells’ disagreement with their gay ‘lifestyle,’” the lawsuit attributes Moulin as saying in a sworn statement. The lawsuit also charges the Hyatt Corporation on behalf of Eells and other company officials with engaging in age and disability related discrimination against Rains for not providing reasonable accommodations for his status as a cancer
patient and his need to take off from work for medical tests. The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBT advocacy group, has given the Hyatt Corporation a perfect score of 100 in its 2019 annual Corporate Equality Index, which rates U.S. corporations on their polices for protecting the rights of LGBT employees. A spokesperson for the Hyatt Corporation didn’t respond to a phone message from the Blade seeking comment on the lawsuit. In court documents responding to the lawsuit, the Hyatt Corporation denies all of Rains’ allegations of discrimination, saying that Eells and other hotel officials fired Rains for legitimate job performance issues. Among other things, a Hyatt court brief calling for a dismissal of the lawsuit on summary judgment alleges that Rains was subjected to disciplinary action because he falsified an employee time card to hide the fact that the employee showed up for work late. “After a few weeks under a new supervisor, Plaintiff was placed on a Performance Improvement Plan [PIP] that identified over twenty areas of deficiency in his performance and did not mention anything about his age, sexual orientation, or yearsold cancer diagnosis,” Hyatt’s attorneys
state in a motion to dismiss the case. “Four months later Plaintiff was fired for failing to improve his performance in the areas outlined in the PIP and for altering the schedule of one of his subordinates to conceal the subordinate’s tardiness,” the Hyatt court filing says. It adds that Rains “never witnessed” Eells or company personnel officials say or do anything to suggest the adverse personnel action was motivated by his age, sexual orientation, or cancer diagnosis. In his response to the Hyatt motion to dismiss, Rains’ attorney, Kamran Shahabi, argues that Hyatt’s claim that Rains suddenly performed poorly at work after Eells became his supervisor lacks any credibility. “There is no coincidence that, after zero performance-based issues for nearly 20 years of employment with Hyatt, Rains was given a pretextual performance improvement plan (that was subsequently retracted) – and fired just months after Rains made complaints of discrimination against defendant Lawrence Eells, who was newly hired as Rains’ supervisor in late 2017,” according to court papers filed by Shahabi opposing the motion to dismiss. Continues at losangelesblade.com
04 • AUGUST 02, 2019 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
LA City open for LGBTQ contract business Certification expands diversity for possible big bucks By KAREN OCAMB firstname.lastname@example.org Ever since Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley appeared at the APLA AIDS Walks in the 1980s, worked with the LA Gay and Lesbian Community Services Center to provide contracts for homeless youth and other programs, and hired a pro-equality police chief after Daryl Gates there has been a sense that the city supports its LGBTQ community. But support is not the same as affirmative action and last month, to ensure that the City of Los Angeles actually reflects the city’s diversity, out Board of Public Works President Kevin James announced that LGBTQ certification would be added to the Los Angeles Business Assistance Virtual Network (BAVN), the free online portal that connects businesses with City contracting opportunities. This adds LGBTQ businesses to the certification list enabling disadvantaged business enterprise (DBE) owners; disabled veterans; minority-owned businesses; women-owned businesses; small, emerging, and local businesses to compete with major businesses and large corporations for city contracts. “I applaud the City’s efforts to expand opportunities in public procurement for our local business community. LGBTQ certification is another step towards further leveling the playing field for small and diverse businesses,” James said in a press release. “BAVN is a free and accessible resource that allows us to provide these businesses with the proper tools to succeed and thrive in Los Angeles.” Inspector of Public Works John L. Reamer Jr. and the Bureau of Contract Administration verifies documentation and oversees all city contracts. But this process begins with the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), acting as an exclusive third-party certification body, verifying that applicants are majorityowned by LGBTQ individuals. Then a business can sign up on BAVN to be notified when contracts are open for bidding. The business can then receive guidance on how the bidding process works. And one city
From Left to Right: Los Angeles Board of Public Works Commissioner Mike Davis, Commissioner Jessica Caloza, Vice President Cecilia Cabello, Les Amer from StreetsLA, Gaye Chapman from Bureau of Contract Administration, Doug Walters from LA Sanitation and Environment, Commissioner Aura Garcia, and President Kevin James. Photo courtesy Public Works
contract can lead to others. LGBTQ certification began July 1st. Hidden behind this social and economic justice measure is a huge fiscal incentive. “Nationally, certified LGBT businesses contribute $1.7 trillion to the U.S. economy and create more than 33,000 jobs, according to the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC),” CNBC reported July 26. “Certified LGBT-owned businesses generate an average revenue of $2,475,642, according to the NGLCC.” The city is now “the largest municipality, by both population and economy, to formally include LGBTQ-owned businesses in the city’s billions of dollars in contract procurement. Reports show that similar contracts in LA amount to as much as $8 billion over roughly 40 departments,” CNBC reports. “The important point is that we get to open doors and increased opportunity,” NGLCC co-founder and president Justin Nelson told CNBC. Long Beach was actually the first California city to launch an LGBTQ-inclusive contract process. And in 2014, the Legislature added LGBTQ-owned businesses to legislation mandating that contracts awarded by the state-regulated utility industry “encourage, recruit, and utilize” businesses owned by
women, minorities, and disabled veterans, without setting target goals. “In the future, Mayor Garcetti or the LA City Council could implement policies to set specific targets or expand resources for citywide supplier diversity initiatives, but for now we are elated to be called out by name as a business community,” Jonathan Lovitz, senior vice president at the NGLCC, told CNBC. “The beautiful thing here is these announcements are a catalyst for businesses in the community to stand up, be recognized and get certified,” said Nelson. “And the benefit of that is not only to potential businesses, but it opens them up to a vast array of corporations across the country that are looking to do business with firms, not despite the fact that they’re LGBT, but because they’re LGBT.” “Companies now can show that they are also utilizing diverse suppliers to meet requirements that may be a part of their city contract, and they’re also able to show that to other clients that they have a commitment to empowering and utilizing diverse companies just as other major Fortune 500 [companies] do,” Nelson added. “For those that will ask why do we need to know this? The reality is, if you’re spending
time worrying about losing your contract or not being able to bid because you’re LGBT, you’re not focusing on delivering a quality product at a competitive price,” said Lovitz. “We’re not just a social squeaky wheel. We are a vibrant part of the small business engine that makes the U.S. economy run, and that’s good for everybody.” The Board of Public Works underscored their announcement by recognizing outstanding employees for raising LGBTQ awareness and being good at their jobs: Gaye Chapman, Senior Electrical Inspector, Bureau of Contract Administration; Doug Walters, Chief Sustainability Officer & Chief Resiliency Officer, LA Sanitation and Environment; and Les Amer, Accounting Clerk, StreetsLA. “Los Angeles has been at the forefront of championing equality since 1967 when Silver Lake’s Black Cat became the site of one of the first LGBTQ demonstrations,” said Board of Public Works Vice President Cecilia Cabello. “While tremendous strides have been made since then, the fight for equal opportunity continues. I’m honored to recognize a few of our LGBTQ brothers and sisters who dedicate their lives to enhancing the quality of life for Angelenos and advocating for inclusiveness in the workplace and beyond.”
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**NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A PURCHASE WILL NOT IMPROVE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING. The Ashley Home Sweet Home Sweepstakes (the “Sweepstakes”) is sponsored by Stoneledge Furniture LLC (“Sponsor”), 755 Ashley Way, Colton, CA 92324 (the “Sweepstakes Address”). Eligible entrants may enter the Sweepstakes from May 17, 2019, at 12:00 a.m Pacific Time (“PT”) through September 8, 2019, at 11:59 p.m. PT (the “Sweepstakes Period”). Entry is limited to legal residents of California. The Sweepstakes is comprised of forty eight (48) random drawings (each a “Drawing”) to determine the Prize winners. The Game Dates, Drawing Closing Dates, and Drawing Dates for the Drawings are set forth in the chart below. The Prize in each Drawing is four (4) Ashley Home Sweet Home seat tickets for winner and three (3) guests for one (1) Los Angeles Dodgers home game played on the designated Game Date corresponding to such Drawing as shown in the chart below. The Sweepstakes is in no way sponsored, administered, executed or produced by any MLB Entity (as defined below). SEE WEBSITE FOR SWEEPSTAKES OFFICIAL RULES (takemeouttotheballgameashleyfurniture.com). ***NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A PURCHASE WILL NOT IMPROVE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING. ELIGIBILITY: Open to legal residents of California, 18 or older residing within 100 miles (determined by Google Maps driving directions) of 19800 Hawthorne Blvd., Torrance, CA 90503 Ashley HomeStore, who are not an employee, contractor, officer, or director of Stoneledge Furniture LLC or Southwestern Furniture of Wisconsin LLC, 755 Ashley Way, Colton, CA 92324, its subsidiary and affiliated entities, and agencies involved in this promotion, or immediate family or household member of such persons. PROMOTION DATES; GAME CARDS; PRIZES; ODDS: Promotion begins 8/30/19 at 9 a.m. PT and ends 9/1/19 at 9 p.m. or sooner if all Game Cards are distributed (“Promotion Period”). Visit the Store during Store hours during the Promotion Period to get an official Game Card while supplies last. To reveal whether a Game Card is a prize winning card, scratch off the circle on the Game Card. If it reveals “5,000” then to claim the prize, a $5000 Ashley HomeStore shopping spree (ARV $5,000), you must present the card to a Store Manager. Prize claim must be made in person at Store by 12/1/19. Prize must be used at store within Eligibility Zone by 12/1/19. Determination of winner subject to verification of eligibility and compliance with Official Rules including timely providing signed Affidavit of Eligibility and Liability and Publicity Release. 500 total Game Cards available in the promotion, 1 is Winning Game Card. Odds: 1 in 500 at beginning of Promotion. If due to a printing, production or other error, more than one (1) Winning Game Card is submitted for a prize claim in the Promotion, then the intended prize in this Promotion will be awarded in a random drawing from among all verified and validated prize claims received by Sponsor. One Game Card request per eligible person. If prize is not claimed by 12/1/19 it will be awarded in Second Chance Drawing. For complete Official Rules by which all participants are bound and details of Second Chance Drawing see store. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. *Offer applies only to single-receipt qualifying purchases. Ashley HomeStore does not require a down payment, however, sales tax and delivery charges are due at time of purchase if the purchase is made with your Ashley Advantage™ Credit Card. No interest will be charged on promo purchase and equal monthly payments are required equal to initial promo purchase amount divided equally by the number of months in promo period until promo is paid in full. The equal monthly payment will be rounded to the next highest whole dollar and may be higher than the minimum payment that would be required if the purchase was a non-promotional purchase. Regular account terms apply to non-promotional purchases. For new accounts: Purchase APR is 29.99%; Minimum Interest Charge is $2. Existing cardholders should see their credit card agreement for their applicable terms. Promotional purchases of merchandise will be charged to account when merchandise is delivered. Subject to credit approval. §Subject to credit approval. Minimum monthly payments required. See store for details. ‡‡Previous purchases excluded. Cannot be combined with any other promotion or discount. Discount offers exclude Tempur-Pedic®, Stearns & Foster® and Sealy Posturepedic Hybrid™ mattress sets, floor models, clearance items, sales tax, furniture protection plans, warranty, delivery fee, Manager’s Special pricing, Advertised Special pricing, and 14 Piece Packages and cannot be combined with financing specials. Effective 1/1/2018, all mattress and box springs are subject to a $10.50 per unit CA recycling fee. SEE STORE FOR DETAILS. Stoneledge Furniture LLC., many times has multiple offers, promotions, discounts and financing specials occurring at the same time; these are allowed to only be used either/or and not both or combined with each other. Although every precaution is taken, errors in price and/or specification may occur in print. We reserve the right to correct any such errors. Picture may not represent item exactly as shown, advertised items may not be on display at all locations. Some restrictions may apply. 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06 • AUGUST 02, 2019 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
Democratic candidates singe each other in second debate Attacks expose Harris’ strength and weakness By KAREN OCAMB email@example.com Expectations were high that the second Democratic presidential debate hosted by CNN on July 31 would be a televised slugfest rematch between frontrunner Joe Biden, a former senator and vice president under President Barack Obama, and Kamala Harris, the California senator, former State Attorney General and San Francisco district attorney many thought was Obama’s female doppelganger. “Go easy on me, kid,” Biden said to Harris as they shook hands mid-stage, referring to her prosecutorial dissection of Biden’s affiliation with segregationists in Congress with whom Biden proudly said he got along in the first debate. But this round went to Biden, who not only took incoming from most of the other nine candidates onstage but poked holes in Harris’ new “Medicare for all”style proposal, which he called “a bunch of malarkey,” a “Biden-ism” that may not appeal to the millennial voter. “I don’t know what math you do in New York,” Biden said to Mayor Bill de Blasio. “I don’t know what math you do in California. But I tell ya, that’s a lot of money,” referring to what he says would amount to $30 trillion that the progressive structural plans might cost, with deductibles that would be an out-ofpocket expense for taxpayers. That sounded like a Republican talking point to some, even though Republicans appear to have given up on the old principle of fiscal responsibility. Christopher Nikhil Bowen, president of Stonewall Young Democrats, couldn’t believe Biden insulted New York and California as if the voter-rich states were insignificant or already wrapped up for him. Bowen represented the West Hollywood/ Beverly Hills Democratic Club at the debate watch party at The Abbey in West Hollywood co-hosted by HRC/LA, Heart of LA Dem Club, ROAR! Resistance, with a Kamala Harris contingent present, as
Second row, middle: Los Angeles County Democratic Party Chair Mark J. González, Stonewall Democratic Club Political Vice President Jane Wishon and California Democratic Party Chair Rusty Hicks at Democratic Debate watch party in Santa Monica on July 30. Photo courtesy LACDP
well. Harris supporters held another watch party at Beaches in West Hollywood, where supporters could pose with an almost lifesize cardboard cutout of the smiling senator. But Harris failed to meet those high expectations, explaining her version of “Medicare-for-all” better to interviewers after the debate than onstage. “She whiffed,” said one debate watcher at The Abbey. “I think she did well in the first debate,” said West Hollywood City Council member Lindsey Horvath who attended the KamalaNation party. “I think she didn’t do as well tonight—which doesn’t mean she didn’t have a strong showing. [New Jersey Sen.] Cory Booker had a strong showing. He was clear, confident, showed a strong command of the issues and spoke to everyone. I think Cory won the night.” Biden made sure Harris experienced the harder side of being a frontrunner.
He brought out his campaign’s opposition research and challenged her years as a DA when 1,000 cases were dismissed as the result of a crime lab scandal that involved her office. Harris was also stunningly slammed by Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, who went after her AG and DA record, including that Harris “blocked evidence that would have freed an innocent man from death row until she was forced to do so.” “Both of these statements are accurate,” declares the Sacramento Bee in factchecking the debate. This is critical because while many would clap for joy seeing Harris the black/Asian female prosecutor go toe-to-toe with unabashed racist, liar and white nationalist President Donald Trump, the scheming real estate developer would no doubt twist his opposition research into jaw-dropping whoppers that
some voters might find credible. Harris has dealt with challenges from black activists for years on these issues, so she should have been better prepared for Biden and Gabbard’s charges. They both chomped into her Achilles heel—which, ironically, may also be her strength with independents and disenchanted Republicans. On the 1,000 cases dismissed: “While the San Francisco Police Department was responsible for running the lab, not Harris’s district attorney office, a court ruled in 2010 that the district attorney’s office violated defendants’ constitutional rights by not disclosing what it knew about the tainted drug evidence” after the prosecutors’ lead technician on drug cases “was found to have systematically mishandled the drug samples seized from suspects, even consuming some herself.” The Bee notes that, “Harris has denied being aware of those issues until the scandal
LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • AUGUST 02, 2019 • 07
Christopher Nikhil Bowen (lower left) intently watching second CNN Democratic Debate July 31 at The Abbey. Photo by Karen Ocamb
exploded and also noted that her office implemented reforms once it had.” Harris gave a similar explanation to the Los Angeles Blade about denial of transition healthcare to a transgender prisoner. The innocent man on death row refers to Kevin Cooper who was blamed for the murders of an adult couple and two children in San Bernardino in 1983. He persistently proclaimed his innocence but in 2004, he came hours within execution. By 2009, five federal appeals court judges signed an opinion saying Cooper “is probably innocent of the crimes,” according to the San Francisco Chronicle. He asked Gov. Brown for a stay of execution so DNA evidence found near the scene could be retested with modern equipment. Harris was attorney general from 2011 to January 2017 and “had the evidence in her custody and opposed new DNA testing.”
In February 2016, Cooper’s lawyers again requested new DNA testing of Gov. Gavin Newsom, who agreed. Harris changed her mind without explanation, tweeting that she is a “firm believer in DNA testing” and encouraged Newsom to approve the request. Later Harris told a New York Times columnist “I feel awful about this.” In response to Gabbard’s charge, Harris dismissed the messenger, saying the Afghanistan war vet was a cheerleader for the murderous Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria. On the Detroit debate stage, she also defended her criminal justice record. “As elected attorney general of California I did the work of significantly reforming the criminal justice system of a state of 40 million people, which became a national model of the work that needs to be done, and I am proud of that work.”
Some debate watchers were seriously concerned about Harris’ response but with so many issues and so many candidates confronting each other, they let it slide. “Whether acknowledging on national television that Donald Trump is a predator and has lied to the American people, to hitting the question of pay inequality out of the park, to being able to discuss her healthcare plan which has been misconstrued and misunderstood,” says attorney Patrick Blood, 31, organizer of the KamalaNation watch party at Beaches with Bros4America, “the Senator did an outstanding job with the time frames she had. But Blood, like other debate watchers, is also practical. “The reality is—and I believe this was from Sen. Corey Booker— all Democratic candidates have one goal in mind: to defeat Donald Trump. Candidates clearly disagree on issues, we saw that. The
LOCAL brilliance of a debate is the American people get to hear [the candidates]. Being informed as a voter is critical.” For Bowen, the 2020 elections are deeply personal. He and his husband Danny Ariel are immigrants. “So much is on the line for us,” he says. “We don’t have the luxury of a Susan Sarandon,” referring to the actress who voted for Green Party candidate Jill Stein out of dislike for Hillary Clinton. Longtime HRC/LA stalwart and campaign bundler Sue LaVaccare, who hosted The Abbey party, agrees. “The Democrats have a bunch of formidable candidates,” she says, adding that so many had good substantive and memorable moments on night two that the DNC may have to make the next debate in September two nights, as well, so voters can become better educated. “But it all comes down to who can get people out to vote. Our voting system is broken and the Trump administration and the red states don’t want to fix it so Democrats have to have such a massive turnout, it compensates for the voter fraud and suppression that is going to happen.” That means, even though LGBTQ issues have been largely ignored during the debates and on the road, LGBTQ voters must be pragmatic and practical and vote for what HRC calls an “equality ally.” “We must still look at who is the best candidate not only to beat Trump but to get into office and move laws that integrate LGBTQ issues into policy and other decisions,” LaVaccare says. “Yes, of course our issues should be discussed. But we can’t get mad and sit out 2020 in protest. Our lives are at stake.” “After these debates, the contrast between President Trump and the Democratic field of candidates cannot be clearer: The choice is between Trump who uses xenophobic tweets as policy, and the Democrats’ substantive conversation on how to make America a more perfect union,” says out LA County Democratic Party Chair Mark J. González. “Our Democratic Party is the ‘Big Tent’ with the ideas to move America forward. What we heard last night and tonight are passionate patriots who are ready to lead our country and improve our broken healthcare system and make our economy work for everyone, not just for the few,” Gonzalez says. “We continue to look forward to a lively debate throughout the primary season. Most importantly, we look forward to winning in 2020 and putting America back on the right track to progress, prosperity, and equality.”
08 • AUGUST 02, 2019 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
Newsom signs bill requiring presidential candidates to disclose tax returns Some worry about slippery slope FROM STAFF REPORTS California is the first state in the country to make the disclosure of tax returns a requirement for a March primary ballot spot under a law signed July 30 by Gov. Gavin Newsom. Though Senate Bill 27, the “Presidential Tax Transparency and Accountability Act,” clearly was inspired by Donald Trump’s persistent refusal since 2016 to disclose his returns, as has been a custom for decades, the law applies to Democratic and other party candidates, as well. SB 27, authored by Sen. Mike McGuire (D-Healdsburg) and out Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), requires that all candidates running for president or governor submit the last five years of their personal income tax returns to California’s Secretary of State. The information would then be published online for the public to see, with contact information, Social Security numbers and medical information redacted. “These are extraordinary times and states have a legal and moral duty to do everything in their power to ensure leaders seeking the highest offices meet minimal standards, and to restore public confidence. The disclosure required by this bill will shed light on conflicts of interest, self-dealing, or influence from domestic and foreign business interest,” Newsom wrote in his signing statement Tuesday. “The United States Constitution grants states the authority to determine how their electors are chosen, and California is well within its constitutional right to include this requirement.” Trump’s 2020 presidential reelection campaign spokesperson, Tim Murtaugh, calls the move “unconstitutional.” “There are very good reasons why the very liberal Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed this bill two years ago— it’s unconstitutional and it opens up the possibility for states to load up more requirements on candidates in future elections. What’s next, five years of health records?” Murtaugh said. In fact, as the Los Angeles Times, points out,
Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill that requires that all candidates running for president or governor submit the last five years of their personal income tax returns. Photo by Karen Ocamb
“neither then-Gov. Jerry Brown nor his GOP challengers would divulge details on their finances during the 2010 and 2014 campaigns.” In 2017, Brown vetoed a similar measure, arguing that it is probably unconstitutional and sets a bad slippery-slope precedent. “Today we require tax returns, but what would be next?” Brown argued in his veto message. “Five years of health records? A certified birth certificate? High school report cards? And will these requirements vary depending on which political party is in power? The law does not apply to gubernatorial candidates until 2024 but the bill takes immediate effect for 2020 presidential candidates who must file their returns by late November to get a spot on California’s Super Tuesday primary ballot. The law, therefore, will likely be challenged quickly as happened with Trump’s lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York challenging a law signed earlier this month by Gov. Andrew Cuomo that requires the state to turn over
Trump’s New York state tax returns to House committees investigating the president’s business and other dealings. The Los Angeles Blade spoke with a lawyer, who requested anonymity, familiar with the New York filing. He said Newsom’s action would likely bring an immediate legal challenge the California law. “Because of the campaign process and the time requirements, I can see this challenge getting fast tracked through the Ninth Circuit and landing at SCOTUS by next Spring 2020,” he said. That timing might keep Trump off the March Primary ballot—unless he mounts an exempted write-in campaign. But he could still get a spot on the November 2020 election ballot. Trump’s reelection spokesperson seemed to flag the campaign’s argument—that states cannot add requirements to presidential candidates’ qualifications for running. “The Constitution is clear on the qualifications for someone to serve as president
and states cannot add additional requirements on their own,” Murtaugh said. “The bill also violates the 1st Amendment right of association since California can’t tell political parties which candidates their members can or cannot vote for in a primary election.” Constitutional expert Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean of the University of California’s School of Law, disagrees. “SB 27, which requires that presidential candidates disclose tax returns, is constitutional. It does not keep any candidate from being on the ballot so long as he or she complies with a simple requirement that is meant to provide California voters crucial information,” Chemerinsky said in a statement. “This is the state acting to make sure that its voters have information that might be very important to them when they cast their ballots as to who they want to be President of the United States.” David Boies, Chair of Boies Schiller Flexner LLP, famous Democratic litigator in Bush v Gore and the federal lawsuit against Prop 8 (with Ted Olson), also argued that point. “The U.S. Constitution gives each state the authority to determine how that state’s electors are chosen, limited only by compliance with other constitutional provisions, such as equal protection. No other constitutional provision is implicated or violated by a state’s requirement that a Presidential candidate disclose tax returns,” Boies said in a statement. “Moreover, California, which permits electors to be chosen by popular vote, has an important interest in insuring that its voters are informed. I also would note that people are regularly required to produce their tax returns pursuant to state law for far less consequential matters than a Presidential election, such as civil litigation or obtaining a loan from a bank.” Newsom has been challenging Trump since the then-Republican presidential candidate refused to release his returns because he claimed to be under IRS audit. “Folks think @realDonaldTrump is avoiding tax release because he pays a very low rate,” Newsom tweeted in May 2016. “I think its because his finances are a house of cards.” The real house of cards, scarier than the Netflix version.
LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • AUGUST 02, 2019 • 09
Steven Romero, 6, was shot in the back July 28 when Santino William Legan, 19, opened up his AK-47 style riﬂe and randomly sprayed the Gilroy Garlic Festival in Gilmore, Calif. The gunman also fatally shot 13-year-old Keyla Salazar and college student Trevor Irby with the semiautomatic weapon he purchased legally July 9 in Nevada. Twelve others were wounded during the chaos before the gunman was killed by police. No motive has yet been revealed, but the shooter posted a now-deleted photo of ﬁresafety symbol Smokey Bear telling people to read “Might Is Right” by Ragnar Redbeard, an 1890 novel touted by white supremacists. “The notion that people of color are biologically inferior is a key tenet of this book, and that biological determinism, the Darwinian view of the world, justiﬁes aggression against diverse people and vulnerable people,” Brian Levin, director of Cal State San Bernardino’s Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, told the Los Angeles Times. “I have no problem with the 2nd Amendment, you have a right to bear arms but not weapons of goddamned mass destruction,” said a frustrated Gov. Gavin Newsom. “Our communities will not be spared from heartbreak and pain until Washington is rid of NRA greed and there is willingness to act to prevent more innocent deaths. I’m thinking of the victims of the shooting in Gilroy and calling on my Senate colleagues to help us #EndGunViolence,” out Rep. Mark Takano tweeted, referring to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocking House bills on gun regulation.
“Seeing it gave lots of feelings for me, even some goose bumps….”People don’t know the history. This is a chance to learn about it.”
- Sister Amor Ah’Quality, 51, a member of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, getting a sneak peek at the huge new temporary exhibit Harvey Milk Terminal 1 at the San Francisco Airport, named for assassinated gay icon, San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk, via Bay Area Reporter July 24.
“This honor would represent my life coming full circle, and my complete belief of having a commonplace for the community, where all are equally welcome and have access to visit, learn, and grow.” - Tennis and equal rights icon Billie Jean King in a letter to Long Beach City Council, which named its main library for the Long Beach native, via QVoiceNews.
“Homosexuality is usually a problem transferred to a fetus, when a pregnant woman has anal sex and enjoys it. It happens during the parent’s intercourse or pregnancy. It follows an abnormal sexual act between the parents. To be more clear, anal sex.” – Rev. Metropolitan Neophytos of Morfou of the Church of Cyprus to a group in Akaki, via Towleroad July 20.
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10 • AUGUST 02, 2019 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
Former ‘Don’t Ask’ activist is now a Trump supporter Rob Smith decries ‘nuttiness’ of modern LGBT movement By CHRIS JOHNSON Nine years ago, gay Army veteran Rob Smith chained himself to the White House fence, protesting “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” But last week, Smith stood before hundreds of MAGA hat-wearing Donald Trump supporters in D.C. and lamented more young people weren’t joining the conservative movement. In a speech to the Turning Point USA summit, he hammered the need to re-elect President Trump. “I don’t like the fact that I lost all my gay friends in New York City when I came out as a conservative,” Smith told the Washington Blade. “I don’t like the fact that I lost the rest of my gay friends when I came out as a Trump supporter. I don’t like it. It doesn’t make me feel good, you know, but I can’t tell these kids not to stand up for what they believe and not practice what I preach.” Smith isn’t alone. In Trump’s America, he’s among the emerging gay voices in the world of conservative political commentary, whether it be Twitter, YouTube or podcasts. Want to read the latest from these gay political commentators? Open up the conservative Washington Examiner. Among the columnists is Eddie Scarry, a gay protege of conservative media queen Ann Coulter, and Brad Polumbo, a Zillenial writer who boasts a 4.0 GPA from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst where he joined Young Americans for Liberty. Smith didn’t shy away from his sexual orientation on stage at the summit, where he said he was gay during his speech and referenced his husband. For the attendees, many of whom wore MAGA hats and frat attire consisting of a sport coat, khakis and top-siders, it didn’t seem to matter. When Smith was on stage, they lined up to ask questions about being a youth in the conservative movement. Topics included Big Tech’s alleged censorship of conservatives on social media, teacher hostility to conservative viewpoints and whether it’s possible to be in a relationship with someone who has opposing political views. After Smith was done, attendees continued to mob him to snap group selfies and offer words of support and solidarity. Speaking with the Washington Blade at
the summit after his remarks, Smith said his sexual orientation at conservative events has “never really been a thing.” Any concerns, Smith said, are generally quickly resolved because he says people in the conservative movement “are unafraid to offend you by asking questions.” “So sometimes I do get questions,” Smith said. “They’re like, ‘I’m a conservative Christian, but I support you as a gay person, but my beliefs are differently, how do I reconcile those two things?’ And then I would just say, ‘You really lead from love, you lead from the fact that we all have the same fundamental values, like we’re all here for the same reason, we just have a different sexual orientation, different skin colors, different religions, different whatever.’” Of course, the conservative movement isn’t exactly known for accepting LGBT people. In fact, conservative forces have long opposed LGBT equality — whether it be marriage, assurances of non-discrimination in employment or military service — let alone offered LGBT voices a platform to speak. The welcoming attitude, Smith said, is a direct consequence of social media, which he said has enabled gay people with conservative viewpoints to become more vocal and visible. And yet, Smith also said he sees a “societal change,” which constitutes a more accepting attitude from Millennials and Gen-Z conservatives toward gay people than older conservatives. “We ascribe so many things to like, the government needs to change all of this stuff, and this needs to happen,” Smith said. “Change does not start from the top down, it starts from the bottom up.” Another gay conservative commentator is Guy Benson of Fox News Radio, where he works as a contributor and hosts a daily radio show/podcast. Neither Trump nor Democrats escape the barbs of his commentary, which, Benson told the Blade, demonstrates he’s “not a MAGA-hat wearing Trump supporter by any stretch of the imagination.” Speaking with the Blade at the Turning Point USA conference after his speech, Benson said there’s a new environment in the conservative movement for gay people. “I think that it’s a changing society, and I think I recognize that younger conservatives, in particular, have very different views on some of these than older generations,” Benson said.
Benson pointed to data from the Pew Research Center that found growth over time among Republicans who support same-sex marriage. (There has been growth, but still a minority of conservatives support gay nuptials. In 2019, 44 percent of Republicans said they support same-sex marriage compared to 23 percent in 2001.) “So, there has been a sea change,” Benson said. “And I think there’s a recognition that politics is sort of an addition and multiplication game. It’s a coalitional game. And it’s more about ideas, or at least I hope it’s more about ideas than identity.” Charlie Kirk, a 25-year-old rising star in the conservative movement and founder of Turning Point USA, said via email to the Blade gay people with conservative ideology are more than welcome in the movement. “This generation of conservatives is marked by increasingly diverse and charismatic voices like Guy and Rob, who love their country and value timeless conservative ideas like small government, freedom of speech and individual responsibility,” Kirk said. “We celebrate patriots like these regardless of whether they’re gay or straight, black or white, male or female, rich or poor, tall or short. We’re so grateful for their leadership and for inspiring so many others in their own journeys in what has really become an all new conservative movement.” It should be noted Turning Point USA faces accusations of racism, despite employing black conservatives like Smith and “Blexit” leader Candace Owens, in addition to objections to churning out an army of youth in support of Trump. To be sure, large swaths of the conservative movement are still vocally opposed to LGBT rights and to promoting LGBT people to positions of visibility within the movement. Just last week, a failed U.S. Senate candidate in California announced a “Straight Pride” event to celebrate “whiteness” and “heterosexuality” as the Family Research Council President Tony Perkins hailed a new State Department commission widely seen as hostile to LGBT rights. The path for the emergence of these gay conservatives takes different forms. Benson has long been a conservative, but came out as gay in 2015 on a Fox News during an interview with Megyn Kelly. Smith went in the opposite direction, starting as an openly gay progressive who voted for Bernie
Sanders in the 2016 Democratic primary, then becoming a conservative, then becoming a Trump supporter. But Smith’s voice as a gay conservative is especially unique because years ago he was not just a progressive, but an activist with the now defunct LGBT grassroots group GetEQUAL opposing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” These days, Smith doesn’t talk much publicly about when not even the Democratic Party was supportive enough of LGBT rights to pass muster for him. On that cold November day in 2010, he was arrested protesting outside the White House where President Barack Obama was in charge. Giving voice to the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal effort as a gay Army veteran who served in Iraq and Kuwait, Smith was among 13 activists who in protest of the military’s gay ban chained themselves to the White House fence. For the act of civil disobedience, Smith and others were subsequently arrested. Joining Smith at the time was former Lt. Dan Choi, who gained notoriety for being the first activist to chain himself to the White House fence in an effort to encourage thenPresident Obama to end the discharges under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” To Smith’s immediate left was Autumn Sandeen, a San Diego-based transgender activist and Navy veteran, to his immediate right was longtime gay military activist Michael Bedwell. After Choi became the first activist to chain himself to the White House fence in 2010, Smith penned an op-ed for the Huffington Post saying more activism like Choi’s was needed. “I think what we needed was to see something like this to light a fire under each and every one of us that cares as deeply as he does about ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ repeal, and about full equality in general,” Smith wrote. “This movement needs him as much as it needs me, or Jarrod Chlapowski, or Lt. Col Victor Fehrenbach, or any of the other gay veterans who share our past of silent service knowing that it reflects the present of thousands of gay soldiers currently serving.” Although times have changed, Smith said he looks back on his days as an LGBT rights activist with no regrets and said that work helped him reach where he is now. “When I look back at that now, and when I look back at standing up for LGBT soldiers, and doing all the things that I did at the White House, I look back on it fondly,” Smith said.
LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • AUGUST 02, 2019 • 11
“And I’m proud of every single thing that I did. And when I look back on that all of that stuff really did inform the change to conservatism that I’ve had over the past few years.” Smith said the experience of being with GetEQUAL helped him “see how organizations work,” which is why he’s “so critical of a lot of things that are going on in not just in the transgender ideology, [but] very critical about things that are going on in the LGBT movement in general.” “There was a moment when ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ repeal happened and marriage equality happened, there was this whole moment where people didn’t know where we were going to go, because fundamentally, the rights for the gays and lesbians have more or less been achieved,” Smith said. “And those were two really big things, right? And so I think that the embrace of a lot of the nuttiness that that’s going on in the name of the LGBT nowadays is motivated not by a genuine desire to help people, but by a desire to keep that sort of money train coming.” As an example, Smith took particular issue with the Human Rights Campaign deciding to endorse Hillary Clinton in 2016 — even before the Democratic primary with Bernie Sanders had yet to conclude. “That wasn’t about the people; it was about Chad Griffin,” Smith said. “That was about the people that were on the boards of these things, trying to put access to power. And what I hate the most, is that they use young LGBT people, and they’re using young LGBT people of color to push these leftist messages out, and they’ll put their faces all over the place, and they’ll send them out to interviews and all that stuff. And these people are still not represented on the boards, they’re still not represented in leadership positions.” But at least one of his fellow activists from that time doesn’t see it that way, especially when policies like Trump’s transgender military ban are still on the books. Robin McGehee, who served as co-chair of GetEQUAL and was another of the 13 activists arrested at the White House, criticized Smith for his political transformation from an LGBT activist into a Trump supporter. “Although I deeply believe in the personal freedom of choosing your political positions and candidates, that does not mean I am not saddened by Smith’s desire to support a person and party that clearly discriminates, promotes classism, sexism, homo/ transphobia and operates in a fashion that is demeaning to the liberty and justice for all that Rob helped protect and promote fighting as a solider for our country, on and
Rob Smith is among the gay conservatives who spoke at the Turning Point USA conference. Photo courtesy of Turning Point USA
off the battlefield,” McGehee said. McGehee took particular issue with Smith supporting an administration that enacted a transgender military ban, which she said is “damaging to the same soldiers he took the fence with who defended his right to serve openly as a gay man.” “His desire to support a president and an administration that would so clearly discriminate against transgender service members seems self-centered, but for that — disappointingly — he has picked the right candidate and party,” McGehee said. In terms of rhetoric, there may well be a changing environment that has enabled gay conservatives to emerge under the Trump administration, which despite its antiLGBT record has embraced some symbols of LGBT rights. On one hand, Trump recognized Pride month in a Tweet and a global initiative to decriminalize homosexuality in the more than 70 countries where it remains illegal. Per White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, Trump was the first president to enter into the White House “approving of gay marriage.” On the other hand, Trump has presided over anti-LGBT administration in terms of policy, mostly in terms of attacks on the transgender community. Among his administration’s initiatives are a transgender military ban and disavowing protections for transgender workers under federal Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. (But the Trump administration also has argued federal civil rights law doesn’t
apply to gay people.) As part of this schizophrenia, there’s a perception the Trump administration has approached gay people and transgender people differently, which is also reflected in the conservative movement. We may be living in a post-gay world, but we’re not living in a post-trans world. Benson recognized an “addition and multiplication game” within the conservative movement to reach out to gay people, but said that isn’t the case with transgender people. “That’s a trickier piece at the moment,” Benson said. “I think there’s a lot of people who don’t understand transgenderism. I think there’s a lot of people who are just wrapping their brains around same-sex marriage for the first time. And now, they feel like there’s this new frontier that is, you know, aggressive and challenging biological sex and all these sorts of things.” Despite the inclusive approach of the LGBT movement, many gay conservatives themselves see a distinction between the fight for gay rights and transgender rights. Among them is Smith, who said he sees a distinction between the “L” and the “G” in the LGBT movement and the other letters. “There’s so much confusion about all the other letters, because they are confused about who they are, what they want, what the goals are, what constitutes this, what constitutes that,” Smith said. “They’re confused. There are a lot of people that are literally making these things up as they go along. So they’re confused. They’re
NATIONAL confusing each other. And they’re confusing everybody else.” Smith said he faces constant accusations he’s transphobic, but denied that was the case and said instead he’s “shamelessly gender critical.” “I’m shamelessly critical of some of the roads that transgender ideology is going down to when it comes to invasive medical intervention for kids and teenagers, when it comes to silencing the voices of women, of lesbians, silencing lesbian icons like Martina Navratilova,” Smith said, “Or silencing lesbians like Julia Beck, or silencing anybody who dares to stand up against what I like to call super-radical transgender ideology.” It’s that kind of thought Smith said informs his opposition to the Equality Act, LGBT rights legislation that would enact long sought-after federal LGBT nondiscrimination protections into law. (The White House has said Trump opposes the legislation based on unspecified “poison pill” amendments in the bill.) Smith said he shares that view on the Equality Act because he wants to ensure women (“not people that identify as a woman or I feel like a woman today — like I think about the actual women”) have access to sex-segregated spaces, like restrooms and lesbian bars. (Transgender advocates would call the exclusion of transgender women from these spaces discrimination.) “Now there is a form of legislation that I think conservatives and liberals and Democrats can probably come together on, that protects LGBT people and still keeps women with the rights that they have fought so hard for,” Smith said. “But you don’t, I’m not asking them to give up their rights, so that the LGBTQI or whatever can can get whatever rights that they want.” On the Equality Act, Benson said he wasn’t familiar with the legislation, but said some kind of legislation “to add some just very basic protections that exists for other groups should exist for LGBT people as well.” At the same time, Benson also said a religious exemption within such legislation would be “very important.” “I think that we should be able to coexist in a way that people are protected and not discriminated against because of who they are, and then people aren’t trampled on, if they are religious dissenters,” Benson said. “I know that that’s a tricky needle to thread, but that’s one of my goals is fostering the type of culture and the type of country where we can exist side by side.” Continues at washingtonblade.com
12 • AUGUST 02, 2019 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
Mother of trans Salvadoran woman who died in ICE custody demands answers Claims daughter was denied medical care while detained By MICHAEL K. LAVERS SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador — The mother of a transgender woman from El Salvador who died last month shortly after U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement released her from its custody said she was a “respectful, educated person.” “She always watched out for other people,” Patricia Medina de Barrientos told the Blade on Wednesday during an exclusive interview in the Salvadoran capital of San Salvador. “[She was] very happy, respectful, always helping other people … she had many goals, dreams.” Johana “Joa” Medina León passed away at Del Sol Medical Center in El Paso, Texas, on June 1. Medina, 25, worked as a private nurse in El Salvador. Her mother, who cried at several points during the interview, said Medina left the country
on Jan. 13 because she had been attacked and threatened because she was trans. “She decided to leave because she wanted to be a free person,” said Medina de Barrientos. Medina de Barrientos said Medina entered Mexico and received a humanitarian visa that allowed her to legally travel in the country. Medina made her way to Ciudad Juárez, a city that is across the Rio Grande from El Paso, and stayed at a shelter for LGBTI migrants run by Respetttrans Chihuahua, a local advocacy group. ICE in a press release it released after Medina died said she “illegally” entered the U.S. at the Paso del Norte Port of Entry between El Paso and Ciudad Juárez on April 11. Medina de Barrientos conﬁrmed Medina arrived in the U.S. on that day. ICE in its press release said Medina entered its custody on April 14. Medina had been detained at the Otero County Processing Center — a privately run ICE detention facility in Chaparral, N.M., outside of El Paso in which a dozen gay men and trans women earlier this year alleged they suffered
mistreatment — before ICE “transported” her to the hospital on May 28 after “she complained of chest pains.” ICE in its press release said Medina on the same day requested an HIV test and tested positive. ICE noted Medina on May 18 “received a positive credible fear ﬁnding” and four days later was summoned to appear before an immigration judge. Its press release said Medina on May 28, the same day she was admitted to the hospital, “was processed for release on parole.” Medina de Barrientos said Medina described the conditions at the Otero County Processing Center as “bad.” Medina de Barrientos also told the Blade that Medina did not receive adequate medical care while detained there as her health deteriorated. Otero County Processing Center personnel reportedly denied Medina’s request for water, sugar and salt that would have allowed her to prepare her own IV. Officials also allegedly ignored her request to be deported back to El Salvador in order to receive treatment. “She became worse, worse, worse,” Medina
de Barrientos told the Blade. “She asked for help because she was a nurse, but they refused. She was denied help. There was no medical attention.” Medina de Barrientos said Medina’s partner in El Salvador, who is also a nurse, spoke with Medina shortly before she died. “She didn’t feel well because (she said) they were not treating us well,” she said, speaking through tears as she recalled what Medina’s partner told her. “They were not giving them medications.” Medina de Barrientos said Medina’s partner had spoken with a detainee at the Otero County Processing Center who did not know she was at the hospital. Medina de Barrientos said she wanted to get a visa that would have allowed her to travel to the U.S. to be with Medina, but she died before she was able to get it. “I wanted to be with my child,” said Medina de Barrientos. “My child needed me because she was alone.” The Salvadoran government paid to send Medina’s body back to El Salvador for burial.
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14 • AUGUST 02, 2019 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
VOLUME 03 ISSUE 31
Our racist president Treacherous gay conservatives are enabling Trump’s madness
Kevin Naff is editor of the Washington Blade. Reach him at email@example.com
President Trump this week, responding in a C-SPAN interview to a question about his overt racism, says the word is overused and essentially meaningless. Thus he won’t be bothered by our cover this week, which rightly labels the sitting president a racist. As if Charlottesville hadn’t confirmed his white supremacist sympathies, Trump in the past couple of weeks has insulted a group of four sitting members of Congress, all of whom happen to be women of color, telling them to “go back” where they came from, ignoring that some of them have been here longer than his own immigrant wife. But he didn’t stop there. This week, he turned his attentions — and his overused Twitter account — to Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), who just happens to chair the House Committee on Oversight & Reform, which is probing various scandals of the administration. His attacks extended beyond Cummings personally to include the city of Baltimore and Cummings’s district, which Trump described as a “filthy & dangerous place … No human being would want to live there.” As someone who lives in Baltimore not far from Cummings’s district, I can assure you that many people live quite well in the 7th congressional district. Of course Baltimore has its well-documented problems but, as usual, Trump conveniently ignores facts while propagating his racist agenda. He doesn’t attack red states that voted for him like Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi and
Louisiana, which rank lowest in education, highest in poverty, most dependent on federal aid, most polluted and most dangerous, as highlighted this week by USA Today. Instead, Trump’s targets are largely limited to black and brown lawmakers, reporters and other critics who condemn his racism. Make no mistake that his embrace of racist tropes is a deliberate attempt to distract mainstream media attention from the myriad investigations and scandals plaguing his administration — and to gin up his redneck racist base for 2020. But calling out Trump’s racism isn’t taking the bait. It’s merely the right thing to do. Sensible Americans of all backgrounds must denounce this reckless, dangerous use of the bully pulpit. It will lead to violence and already has. When Trump labels the media the “enemy of the people” and then a gunman storms the Capital Gazette one year ago, killing five journalists, he has blood on his hands. When he embraces white supremacist ideology and plays footsie with David Duke and a racist protester plows his car into a crowd, killing a counterprotester, he has blood on his hands. When he denounces four members of Congress as somehow un-American or illegitimate and they subsequently receive a torrent of death threats, the link is undeniable. Trump is using the power of the bully pulpit to incite violence against his critics.
All of that leads us to this week’s Blade cover as we join the chorus of voices calling all of this what it is: racist, plain and simple. And the silence from gay conservatives is disturbing, disappointing and hypocritical. Where are the Log Cabin Republicans, who ostensibly have at least some access to the administration? Under former executive director Gregory Angelo, Log Cabin declined to endorse Trump in 2016. But his successor, Jerri Ann Henry, is silent amid Trump’s racist Tweet storms. Charles Moran, a Log Cabin spokesperson, told the Blade this week when asked about the racist Tweets: “Coupled with a roaring economy and a focus on improving the lives of the average American worker, I think it’s safe to say that gay conservatives and Log Cabin Republican members are still quite pleased with their support of President Trump and are unwavering in their support.” “Unwavering support” for a racist. There you have it. His response will not age well. And the silence of gay conservatives, including Log Cabin, Trump’s own gay appointees and media personalities like former “Don’t Ask, Don’t’ Tell” activist Rob Smith, equals complicity. Perhaps the term “racist” is overused as Trump asserts. But sometimes the shoe fits. Those who remain silent or, worse, continue to support Trump, are enabling a wannabe authoritarian whose reckless impulses will lead to more violence.
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LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • AUGUST 02, 2019 • 15
My religious liberty is being violated Who gets to determine life, anyway?
Jon Cutler is the out Rabbi at Beth Israel Congregation in Philadelphia, and a Captain in the U.S. Naval Reserve, having retired from active duty after 32 years of service.
Several years ago, I met with a 19-year-old Jewish woman from Israel and her 42-yearold husband seeking my advice as a rabbi. She married a much older man to escape a very bad family situation. She wanted to divorce her husband and return to her family in Israel in hopes of reconciliation but she was afraid that she would be further rejected if she had a child and could financially support neither herself nor a newborn. She had already attempted suicide after hearing about her pregnancy and was
thinking about trying suicide again. They were there in my office, both the husband and wife, to discuss whether abortion was an option under Jewish law. Had we been in Alabama or a number of other states, this would have been a discussion about committing a crime. Last May, Alabama’s governor signed a bill that criminalizes nearly all abortions, threatening providers with a felony conviction and up to 99 years in prison. Six states have passed similar legislation. However, from the Jewish legal understanding, a fetus is a potential life and the mother is an actual life (Mishna Oholot 7:6, Babylonian Talmud Bekhorot 21b). If the fetus is a direct threat to the life of the mother, the fetus has to be aborted. Therefore, actual life always takes priority over potential life. This would include a real, substantial threat to the sanity of the mother as well as more overt physical threats to her wellbeing. Judaism recognizes psychological as well as physical factors in determining the potential threat that the fetus poses to the mother. However, the danger posed by the fetus (whether physical or psychological) must be probable and substantial to justify abortion. For this reason, it is the Rabbi, in conjunction with the woman and/or husband or family
members, that a decision is made. At the same time, because a fetus is a potential life, abortion is forbidden as a means for birth control and under certain circumstances, in cases of abnormalities or deformities. Because of this young woman’s attempted suicide and threatened second attempt, I determined, after consulting with rabbinic colleagues, that the fetus was a direct threat to this 19-year-old’s life and an abortion would be permitted. She did have an abortion, divorced her husband, made amends with her family and moved back to Israel. As a committed Jew and a rabbi, Judaism is my guide on how I live and interact with the world. But with the ever-more restrictive measures curbing abortion, these civil state laws come in direct conflict with my religious practices and beliefs and undermines my ability as a Rabbi to counsel my congregants. Although Roe V. Wade provides a Supreme Court-mandated federal standard, state lawmakers, politicians and lobbyists raising radical challenges to its definition of life are actually criminalizing actions condoned, and in special cases, encouraged by my tradition. The debate about abortion is about constitutional rights, the First Amendment: “Congress shall make no law respecting an
establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” The state, by restricting and even eliminating, safe means for a woman to have an abortion violates the religious liberties of a woman and/or her family when her religion dictates that she is permitted, and in some cases obligated, to have an abortion. Even more basic is that the state has no standing to define when life begins. These recent state laws violate the free exercise of religion when they determine when life begins and imposes this definition upon me and my community. It certainly appears that certain sects of Christianity are driving these laws forward (and these views by no means represent the majority of Christians in the United States!), crushing not only the civil rights of women but the religious rights guaranteed clearly by the Constitution for all citizens. This very attempt at tyrannical theocracy was what our Founders wanted to eliminate in our new nation. One group of people cannot use their beliefs as means to discriminate and oppress Jews, women, people of color and LGBT people. The reason that there is the First Amendment is to stop religious zealots from trying to beat people of other faiths into submission.
For Outfest 2019, that’s a wrap A successful focus on diversity, intersectionality in lineup By JOHN PAUL KING
With the most attendees in more than a decade, the 38th annual Outfest Los Angeles LGBTQ Film Festival – which came to a close last Sunday night with a closing gala and screening in DTLA’s fabulously gothic Theatre at the Ace Hotel – can officially be called a success. Screening more than 240 films from 33 countries, with more than two-thirds of them directed by filmmakers who are women, trans, and people of color, this year’s festival was focused on diversity and intersectionality within its lineup. The closing night crowd was jubilant and supportive as some of Outfest’s leadership opened the evening with remarks that often underscored the importance of that mission. Damien Navarro, the new Executive Director of Outfest, started things off on an inspirational note by saying, “We are the magic that we create, and we are the changes that we envision.” He also teased possible developments in the works for Outfest’s future, saying that the Outfest organization is working on “really trying to understand, ‘How can Outfest be there for you always – always on, and always there.’” Kerri Stoughton-Jackson, Outfest Deputy Director, joined Navarro to thank the board, staff, and volunteers that worked to make the festival come together, as well as the sponsors who made it possible. She also expressed her personal gratitude to the festival, saying, “When we come together to share our experiences, to share our differences, to share our struggles and our triumphs, that – that coming-together peace – is where we create community, and we remind each other that we’re not alone in this ongoing fight for LGBTQ equality, and we are also privileged to be part of this community.” Christopher Racster, in the last day of his tenure as the festival’s outgoing executive director, also expressed gratitude for Outfest, saying, “I am humbled to be a part of Outfest’s legacy.” He also pointed to his own success as a filmmaker as an example of the organization’s
importance in the fight for representation and equality, both onscreen and off. “For 12 years I thrived as a producer of queer film,” he said, “because there is Outfest. Outfest was behind me, Outfest stood beside me, Outfest pushed me – and help me start and maintain my career. And I’m not alone in that.” It was director Nisha Ganatra, the recipient of this year’s Outfest Achievement Award, who may have brought home the importance of the festival’s mission. Ganatra is an Outfest alumnus, who made her feature debut with “Chutney Popcorn” and subsequently forged a career as a prolific television director. Her most recent work, “Late Night,” starring Emma Thompson and Mindy Kaling, was an audience favorite at this year’s Sundance before receiving a wide release earlier this summer. She was introduced by “Transparent” actress Amy Landecker, who said, “Nisha is not just a woman, but she’s also a woman of color, and a lesbian, and a mom, and that is a big fucking deal in Hollywood.” In her acceptance speech, Ganatra eloquently explained the power of representation. “When we go see a film, when we watch a television show, we participate in a dialogue,” she said, “and one that can help us know ourselves and the world around us in a more deep and beautiful way. Making our art is an opportunity to transform the landscape of the culture.” She went on to add, “When the conversation becomes about the civil rights of transgender people, or racism, or misogyny, or homophobia, it decreases the level of danger for our community. So, we’re celebrating our art tonight, but we’re also celebrating the inherent activism of simply being the artists that we are.” After the opening speeches, the house went dark for the evening’s gala screening of “Before You Know It,” another Sundance favorite. In this Manhattan-set comedy, writerdirector Hannah Pearl Utt stars alongside co-writer Jen Tulloch as a pair of sisters who run a Greenwich Village theatre with their
father (Mandy Patinkin). More truthfully, it is Rachel (Utt) who runs the theatre, depriving herself of a personal life while her actress sister Jackie and playwright father seem only to create messes for her to clean up. After an unexpected development, the sisters find out the mother they thought was long dead (Judith Light) is still alive – and not only that, but a famous soap opera star. The resulting upheaval in their family dynamic provides the fuel for a smart, warm-hearted comedy about growth by trial-and-error. The film offers an excellent model of queer representation and inclusivity done right, with a leading character in Rachel who is identified as a lesbian, but whose sexuality is merely a condition of the character and not a conflict or complication in the plot. With charming and funny performances from its two leading ladies, as well as a star turn from Light and scene-stealing appearances by Patinkin and Alex Baldwin (whose scenes as a deadpan analyst are among the film’s highlights), it was met with an enthusiastic response from the full festival audience. Earlier on Sunday, Outfest announced the winners of its various film awards in a ceremony held at the TCL Chinese Theater in Hollywood – the iconic venue which served as the central location for this year’s festival, putting queer visibility front and center in the middle of the movie industry’s historic hub. Among the big winners were Alex Thompson’s “Saint Frances” (Audience Award, Best Narrative First Feature), Sofie Edvardsson’s “TOP 3” ( Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature), Michael Barnett’s “Changing the Game” (Audience Award, Best Documentary Feature), Tom Shepard’s “Unsettled” (Grand Jury Prize, Documentary Feature), Marie Kreutzer’s “The Ground Beneath My Feet” (Grand Jury Prize, International Narrative Feature), and Daniel Laabs’ “Jules of Light and Dark” (Grand Jury Prize, U.S. Narrative Feature). Performance prizes went to Juan Pablo Olyslager for “Temblores” (Grand Jury Prize,
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Tallie Medel in ‘Jules of Light and Dark,’ winner of the Outfest Grand Jury prize.
Performance) and Nicole Maines for “Bit” (Grand Jury Award, Performance). The complete list of winners is below
AUDIENCE AWARDS Experimental Short: FRAMING AGNES Documentary Short: HOW TO MAKE A RAINBOW Narrative Short: TIME & AGAIN Documentary Feature: CHANGING THE GAME Narrative Feature: TOP 3 Narrative First Feature (presented by HBO): SAINT FRANCES
GRAND JURY AWARDS Prize for Best Documentary Short: SWEETHEART DANCERS, dir. Ben-Alex Dupris Documentary Feature Special Mention: WHY CAN’T I BE ME? AROUND YOU Prize for Best Documentary Feature: UNSETTLED
International Narrative Short Film Special Mention: I Prize for Best International Narrative Short: THRIVE (United Kingdom) U.S. Narrative Short Special Mention: SKIN Prize for Best U.S. Narrative Short: BABY Special Mention for Performance: Juan Barberini, Ramon Pujol, and Mia Maestro in END OF THE CENTURY (Argentina) Special Mention for Directing: Lisa Zi Xiang for A DOG BARKING AT THE MOON (China) Prize for Best Performance in an International Narrative: Juan Pablo Olyslager in TEMBLORES (Guatemala) Prize for Best Screenwriting, International Narrative: Santiago Loza for BRIEF STORY FROM THE GREEN PLANET (Argentina) Prize for Best International Narrative Film: THE GROUND BENEATH MY FEET Special Mention for Ensemble Performance: MOTHER’S LITTLE HELPERS Special Mention for Directing: Rhys Ernst (ADAM)
Prize for Best Screenwriting: TU ME MANQUES Prize for Best Performance: Nicole Maines in BIT Prize for Best U.S. Narrative Feature: JULES OF LIGHT AND DARK, dir. Daniel Laabs
SPECIAL PROGRAMMING AWARDS
Emerging Talent: PIER KIDS Freedom: QUEERING THE SCRIPT Artistic Achievement: VISION PORTRAITS
CORPORATE AWARDS Vimeo Staff Picks Award: CATHERINE OPIE, B. 1961 Hyundai’s Vision for Better Award: WONDER HBO Award (Best Narrative First Feature Audience Award): SAINT FRANCES
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18 • AUGUST 02, 2019 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
OUT & ABOUT
Stay Golden: Meet the men of ‘Girlz!’ Long-running drag show delivers evening of classic comedy
By SCOTT STIFFLER
The cast of ‘Golden Girlz Live’ Photo by Chris Haston
Los Angeles gets a double dose of Miami this August, when an intrepid troupe of queens step, twice, into shoes of four women whose penchant for cheesecake, wicker, wicked banter and multiple suitors are the stuff of sitcom legend—and repeat viewing by gay men of good taste. Set to take place at Aug. 2-11 at the Cavern Club Celebrity Theater, “The Golden Girlz Live!” is the longrunning stage show created by drag legends Jackie Beat and Sherry Vine, who play respectively, Dorothy and Blanche. Internet sensation Drew Droege is dimbut-sweet Rose, and comedic character actor Sam Pancake is feisty Sophia. Together, with special guest Jonny McGovern (aka The Gay Pimp and host of “Hey Qween!”), they lovingly present two episodes of the 1985-1992 TV show about four female roommates of a certain age who, when not nailing memorable punchlines, manage to address HIV, gay marriage, body image issues, undocumented immigrants, homelessness, suicide, and chronic fatigue syndrome. You’ll see none of that sobering stuff on stage this particular time around, but that doesn’t mean the cast isn’t serious about the business of delivering a solid evening of classic comedy. The Blade spoke with Jackie, Sherry, and Jonny about what makes their show, and the original, tick. Los Angeles Blade: The two episodes you’re doing, “Joust Between Friends” and “The Artist,” find the Girls in a competitive mode. Why pair these particularly combative episodes? Jackie Beat: They are both just great episodes, but I guess in today’s reality TV world, everyone seems to get off on negativity. Let’s be honest, there is nothing more entertaining than a good catfight. Sherry Vine: I actually didn’t even notice that until you pointed it out, lol. There are quite a few episodes where there’s some form of competition, usually romantic. It’s a great way to have conflict that can be easily resolved, because the man of interest usually turns out to be the one not worth keeping, and the girls can be like, “Oh, I was so silly,” and all is forgiven. Blade: Has your appreciation of the show changed in any way over the years? JB: Sometimes I’m watching and I am literally blown away at the comic thing or a choice one of the actresses made. Bea Arthur is my spirit animal, and she is a genius with her dryness and scalding double takes. SV: I have watched certain episodes hundreds of times, and still laugh my butt off. And 35 years later, kids to seniors (Jackie) love the show. We have had people come to our show who have never seen the TV show! And they fall in love. Jonny McGovern: As a teenager, I had not pictures of rock stars, but pictures of “The Golden Girls” on my wall. I loved it, but I loved it for different reasons than now. It’s like watching master class in comedy… I’m not sure [young] people know it as much, today.
There was a time, if you put the gay gene under a microscope, you’d see cheesecake. Blade: Talk about the cast: who plays who, and how. JB: Well, I simply AM Dorothy Zbornak: fierce, intelligent, manly. Sherry is a huge slut, so playing Blanche comes naturally to her. Not much of a stretch. SV: Well, we knew Jackie was going to be Dorothy because she IS Bea Arthur! We had worked wth Sam Pancake a lot, and I was a big fan of Drew Droege, so we kind of let them pick Sophia and Rose. The very first time we did “Golden Girlz,” it took me about two shows to let go of the “impersonation” approach and turn the volume up on the essence of Blanche, as the other actors had. Blanche is the cat on the hot tin roof, and I just keep that in my body. So she’s always moving or swaying, always “in heat,” even if she’s just standing there. It is the most delicious role I’ve ever played! JM: I never got to go see a live taping of “The Golden Girls” when I was a kid, which was my dream. This is as close as you can come—and Jackie Beat as Bea Arthur is as close as you can get to the real thing… I play Mr. Allen, Dorothy’s boss at the museum [in “Joust”]. It’s a key character, and this episode has the classic line, “Eat dirt and die, trash!” I mean, that’s some of my favorite parts of “Golden Girls,” when they’re really battling back and forth… Jackie and Sherry are both hilarious and work incredibly well together. When I’m not on stage, I’m going to get my popcorn and watch. Blade: Are there any dream episodes or guest star “gets” yet to be gotten? SV: Our first production was August 2014. So this is our five-year anniversary. We bring them to life every January and August, and have done about 14 episodes, I believe, including a clips “Best Of” episode. Some of my favorite episodes have too many characters or locations, or there are hilarious scenes, but the episode as a whole just doesn’t appeal to us. But we have quite a few we have been saving for certain special guests stars! JB: We would love to get Ginger Minj to play Nurse DeFarge and Blanche’s former fashion model daughter, who has gained a lot of weight. Bob The Drag Queen would make the perfect Marguerite, the Jamaican maid who gets fired and puts a curse on the girls. And Bianca del Rio really wants to play Dorothy’s old college BFF Trudy McMann, who has a heart attack while the two are playing tennis. Please pray to whatever you believe in that these dreams come true! “The Golden Girlz Live!” plays the Cavern Club Celebrity Theater at Casita del Campo (1920 Hyperion Ave.) for 14 shows, Aug. 2-11. For tickets ($35), visit brownpapertickets.com. For artist info, visit sherryvine.com, missjackiebeat. com, and heyqween.tv.
Sunny With a Chance of Puppies. Follow @WeHoCity for alerts on local freebies from pet care to bike share.
City of West Hollywood
Two New Dog Parks Now Open at West Hollywood Park!
20 • AUGUST 02, 2019
TRIO’s recipe for success is equal parts cut-loose and compassionate. Owner Tony Marchese has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to local charities, including AAP Food Samaritan and Dining Out for Life for the Desert AIDS Project. There’s a great reason why the restaurant’s motto is Where Palm Springs Eats: TRIO provides stellar customer service, endless devotion to the community, and mindfulness in food creation and presentation. Even after a decade of unparalleled, unconventional, unbelievable dishes, the menu still elicits rave reviews. TRIO’s 3-course $22.99 ($45 Value) Prix Fixe option is always a winner with a wide array of plentiful first, second and third course choices. If brunch is more your scene, TRIO’s morning menu offers an intoxicating mix of diversity and flavor. Avocado Toast has become the go-to gotta-have in recent years. TRIO serves that gem with poached eggs, alfalfa sprouts and avocado on perfectly prepared wheat toast.
A dog knows how to be spoiled in the August desert La Quinta in Palm Springs oﬀers pet-friendly getaway bargains
Breakfast sandwiches abound! Three that piqued our interest: the 4-Cheese Grilled Cheese with Applewood smoked bacon and an heirloom tomato), Fish Tacos, and an Ahi Tuna Melt.
By REBEKAH SAGER
TRIO’s lunch crowd is a mix of some of the valley’s coolest cats, businessmen, social sirens, and visitors. Plentiful fresh salads vie for our attention alongside several egg dishes, and all of TRIO’s. The dinner experience at TRIO is a real showstopper. It’s a time to revel in an inviting atmosphere, mingle with familiar pals, and linger at the table or bar area, enjoying orders of specialty craft cocktails, an array of California wines, or a fine selection of scotch or rye. Guests enjoy $4 House Cocktails, Wine & Beer and $5 Bar Bites daily from 11am to 7pm in the bar and on the patio. 707 N Palm Canyon Dr, Palm Springs. Ph: 760.764.TRIO (8746)
A $600-a-night hotel for $99 is the best way to justify a summer trip to the desert. Photo by Rebekah Sager
We jumped in the car. I curled up on the ﬂoor in my bed behind the passenger seat and oﬀ we went to Palm Springs, heading to a place called La Quinta Resort & Club. Just 120 miles from home, and a couple hours later and we arrived. The car stopped and the heat stung my paws when I jumped out. But, a very nice man welcomed us over to a water bowl, where I got a sip of fresh, cold water, along with a crunchy treat while we waited in the cool lobby to be assigned our room. Nestled beneath the beautiful Santa Rosa Mountains, I overheard the woman at the desk say the resort oﬀered championship golf courses, an award-winning 23,000-square-foot spa, ﬁtness center, 23 tennis courts, 41 pools and ﬁve outstanding restaurants. This was going to a real treat, where I was 100 percent welcome. There are even pet friendly services including in-room massages. La Quinta Resort was established in the 1920s by San Francisco businessman Walter H. Morgan, who envisioned creating a relaxing retreat for his friends and
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family. Once referred to by the Cahuilla Indians as the “Land of the Eternal Sun,” the area we now know of as La Quinta has a rich history dating back hundreds of years. The hotel opened in January 1927 after a total investment of between $150,000 and $200,000, and included 20 casitas. Morgan’s idea was to create a retreat for Hollywood’s movers and shakers to have privacy and find respite from the hustle and bustle. After a long day basking in the California sunshine – there was a pool directly outside of our casita (one of 617 guestrooms and 161 villas) – my fur-parents enjoyed a day in the water, while I slept in one of the comfy lounge chairs. The Spanish-style casitas and suites offered views of the garden or mountains – gardens in our case — and was appointed with a huge bathroom with a double sink, king bed, oversized tub, walk-in shower, a Keurig coffee maker, refrigerator and ice maker. After a great sleep in the big comfy bed, I got a long walk in the cool early morning dessert, along the acres of paths on the property. Then we got a tour in a golf cart — this is the way to travel. We were told that La Quinta has been visited by several Hollywood legends – Greta Garbo, Clark Gable, Frank Capra and Bette Davis. Frank Capra is said to have penned “It Happened One Night” in one of the casitas. Today, the less legendary, but still impressive visit the resort — Will Smith, Barbra Streisand, Andre Agassi, and Al Pacino, to name a few. Today, the resort hosts all the Coachella kids, it’s sold out a year ahead for the festival, and the property is a hot spot for weddings where everyone is welcome. There are plenty of hotels that claim to be dog friendly, but La Quinta Resort & Club is a getaway furry friends can truly enjoy – it’s gone to the dogs, but not in a bad way. It’s just perfect for Desert Pride. There’s so much to do at La Quinta but you will also want to take advantage of the many August highlights in the desert while you are there.
FRI, AUG 2 Taste of Summer Rancho Mirage 2019 at various restaurants in Rancho Mirage, CA – daily through Aug. 18. The Rancho Mirage Restaurant Association, the Rancho Mirage Chamber of Commerce and the City of Rancho Mirage have
teamed up once again to kick off the 4th Annual Taste of Summer Rancho Mirage, an event whereby participating Rancho Mirage restaurants and resorts have created cool summer specials.
SAT AUG 3 Mid-Summer Dance Party is today from 5:00 PM to 2:00 AM at Chill Bar Palm Springs (214 E Arenas Rd, Palm Springs, CA). Get your 80s on and come ready to dance till the “Last Dance.” $20 entry benefits Desert AIDS Project and Qchella Media, the non-profit organization that brings you KGAY, the deserts gay radio station. DJ Eric Ornelas spins in the front bar and DJ Matt Consolo lights up the back room with remixes all night long. Contact email@example.com for details. Ace Hotel’s Craft Beer Weekend is all day today through Sunday at Ace Hotel and Swim Club (701 E Palm Canyon, Palm Canyon Drive, CA). The desert modern former Westward Ho with a Denny’s dusted hotel in the desert is ready for you to love some beers. Join over 30 breweries, mostly from California, pouring golden elixirs all weekend. For more info visit acehotel.com/craftbeer.
THU AUG 15 Big Bear Romp 2019 is today through Sunday at The Lodge at Big Bear Lake (40650 Village Drive, Big Bear Lake, CA). Created in 2015, Big Bear ROMP brings hundreds of men back each year for mischief in the great outdoors. Love Big Bear? Beyond having a great time, Big Bear ROMP is about giving back to a local wildlife rescue organization, Bears of course. Call 909-866-3121 for more information.
FRI AUG 16 The Next Best Thing II is tonight from 8:00 PM to 10:30 PM at Spotlight 29 Casino (46-200 Harrison Place, Coachella, CA). Spotlight 29 Casino is proud to present a tribute concert series running every Friday night. On Friday, August 16th the tribute is Elton John: The Early Years. Tickets are $10 at the door; booths are $150, including six seats and a bucket of beer.
22 • AUGUST 02, 2019 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
Faye’s ‘Mommie Dearest’ meltdown Dunaway fired from play after outbursts By BILLY MASTERS
Faye Dunaway reportedly threw her salad on the ground, proclaiming that since she was watching her weight, ‘the salad would be better on the floor than in her hand.’ Photo by Denis Makarenko / Courtesy Bigstock
“Faye Dunaway playing a legendary film star – what could go wrong?” - Billy Masters on “The Take” way back in April. If there’s one thing I enjoy more than starting a column by saying I was right, it’s starting a column by sharing a Fayewatch item. Miss Dunaway will NOT be appearing as Katharine Hepburn on Broadway — or anywhere else, for that matter. While I predicted this outcome months ago, I wasn’t completely right. Sure, I knew she wouldn’t make it to Broadway, but I didn’t predict that Faye would be FIRED. And this makes me sad. Not because she was good in the role — it was an ill-advised pairing from the getgo. But from the stories that are now circulating from the limited run in Boston, the hijinx that would have engulfed an actual Broadway production would have given me fodder for endless columns. At least we can now tell you about her unhinged behavior in Boston. It seems things were never good on the “Tea at Five” set. At a photo session announcing the play, Dunaway reportedly threw her luncheon salad on the ground, proclaiming that since she was watching her weight, “the salad would be better on the floor than in her hand.” Sources confirm that she never learned her lines (as I reported, an earpiece had to be used onstage), she frequently cancelled or was late to rehearsals, and would not allow people - including the playwright and director - to look at her. When she did show up, she insisted that nobody around her wear white “because it distracts me.” You know what might have helped with that? Learning the lines! And, while it seems implausible, sources claim that shortly before opening night, Faye had staffers get down on their hands and knees and scrub the floor of her dressing room. I’m sure the words, “Now clean up this mess!” were uttered. More believable, however, is that people working on the show would get “troubling, rambling, angry” voicemails in the middle of the night. Hmmm - this sounds familiar. And you can hear it on BillyMasters.com. Of course, some entertainment ventures end by choice. It’s just been announced that the upcoming third season of the “Will & Grace” reboot will be its last. “We think of the ‘Will & Grace’ reboot episodes the way Karen Walker thinks of martinis - 51 is not enough, 53 is too many. That is why, after consulting with the cast, we all have decided this will be the final season of ‘Will & Grace’,” say the executive producers. But not so fast. My sources tell me that everyone involved in the production has left the door open for occasional future specials and seasons - much like British shows do. That’s how “Absolutely Fabulous” managed to crank out six seasons over 20 years. When we last heard from George Michael’s ex, he had barricaded himself in the late pop
singer’s house...despite the fact that he was completely left out of the will. A neighbor took some photos of the property revealing numerous smashed windows and water damage, which Fadi Fawaz claimed was part of his “home improvements.” The family tried to evict Fatty...I mean Fadi (although, from recent photos, it’s an honest mistake). Finally, the police arrested him on suspicion of aggravated criminal damage. While in custody, the family changed the locks and boarded up the broken windows. Since his release, neighbors say Fawaz has been seen sleeping on the balcony. I kept hearing that a revival of “Little Shop of Horrors” was planned for off-Broadway this fall. Details were unknown until now. Leading the cast will be Jonathan Groff as Seymour and Tammy Blanchard as Audrey. And taking on the role of the Orin the dentist will be Christian Borle. The show opens on Oct. 17 at the Westside Theatre. This may be an off-Broadway production, but something tells me it could transfer to the Great White Way. You all know how proud I am to be a Bostonian. After all, Beantown is the place where many great things have begun - like the fight for freedom, and gay marriage (to name but two). Alas, we were also going to be the first city to have a Straight Pride Parade. However, a similar event is under consideration in Modesto, Calif. If it happens, that will take place on Aug. 24 — one week before the Boston parade. In this isolated instance, I am totally OK with Modesto taking bragging rights for being first. Our “Ask Billy” question comes from Russ in San Francisco: “I just watched ‘Russian Doll’ and think Charlie Barnett is absolutely gorgeous. Do you know anything about him? Has he ever done nudity?” I LOVED “Russian Doll” and have now watched it about five times, each time picking up something new. As for Charlie Barnett, he’s having quite a year. In addition to “Russian Doll”, he’s also in the new “Tales of the City” on Netflix. He previously played gay on “Chicago Fire,” which was not a stretch since he’s openly gay. Regarding nudity, parts of his anatomy seem to pop up in several productions, as you’ll see on BillyMasters.com. When we’re delivering assets, it’s definitely time to end yet another column. As we go to press, Valerie Harper’s husband has revealed that she is near the end of her long journey with brain cancer. We send her all our love. I’m sending the rest of you to www.BillyMasters. com - the site that delivers love, plus a whole lot more. If you have a question, you can send it to Billy@BillyMasters.com and I promise to get back to you before Faye Dunaway endorses Hidden Valley salad dressing! Until next time, remember, one man’s filth is another man’s bible.
LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • AUGUST 02, 2019 • 23
Hundreds of ﬁlms, dozens of awards and thousands of attendees made OutFest one of Los Angeles’ largest ﬁlm festivals this year.
Outfest volunteers and staﬀ.
Photo courtesy OutFest
Photo courtesy OutFest
Battling Ed Buck: Activist and blogger Jasmyne Cannick is seen here holding a vigil at the home of Ed Buck on the second anniversary of the death of Gemmel Moore.
Billie Jean King: The other gay city in Los Angeles County, Long Beach, has named its new library after the tennis legend and lesbian icon. Photo courtesy City of Long Beach
Country star: Lil Nas X is on top of the world after becoming the ﬁrst gay man to top the country charts. He also topped charts worldwide with his megahit “Old Town Road.” Photo Nas’ Instagram feed
Mayor Pete’s peeps: Political fundraising maven and West Hollywood macha, John Gile (R) attends the Detroit Democratic debate on July 30.
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