RENÉE ZELLWEGER GOES OVER THE RAINBOW IN ‘JUDY’
S E P T E M B E R 1 3 2 0 1 9 • V O LU M E 0 3 • I S S U E 3 7 • 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 • SEPTEMBER 13, 2019 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
CDC warning: Stop vaping Sixth respiratory death linked to popular practice By KAREN OCAMB firstname.lastname@example.org
5 WEEKS ONLY
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration state and local health departments, and other health experts issued a stark warning Sept. 6 for young smokers to stop vaping after more than 450 possible cases of severe pulmonary disease associated with the use of e-cigarette products were reported to the CDC in 33 states and 1 U.S. territory, including California. The outbreak has resulted in six conﬁrmed deaths, the most recent in Kansas on Sept. 10, when state health departments reported conﬁrmed or suspected cases at 478, a jump of 28 cases in four days. The CDC notes the “clinical similarities” among the cases is e-cigarette use aligned with the CDC emergency health advisory issued on August 30. While most patients have been in their 20s and 30s, the Kansas woman was in her 50s with a history of health problems, NBC News reported Sept. 10. “She had some underlying medical illnesses, but nothing that would have foretold the fact that within a week after starting using e-cigarettes for the ﬁrst time, she developed full-blown acute respiratory distress syndrome and died,” Dr. Lee Norman, secretary for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, told NBC News. “It’s a reminder that older people with pre-existing illnesses are probably going to have worse clinical outcomes if they do develop problems with vaping….I’m sure we’ll see more.” Meanwhile, On Sept. 9, the FDA warned popular e-cigarette maker to stop marketing their product as much safer than other nicotine/tobacco products without evidence to back up the claim. This is particularly concerning for the LGBTQ community which is seeing a comeback in smoking, as the Los Angeles
Vaping has now been linked to at least six deaths.
Blade reported last July. The Truth Initiative reports: “Overall, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender adults smoke at rates up to 2.5 times higher than straight adults, due in part to targeted marketing by Big Tobacco. For years the tobacco industry has made efforts to appeal to LGBT consumers through things like targeted advertisements in LGBT press, cigarette giveaways and free tobacco industry merchandise. Today, the LGBT community is among the hardest hit by tobacco.” “One thing has always been clear — Big Tobacco only cares about proﬁts, regardless of the deadly consequences. And they’ll continue to target the LGBTQ community — and LGBTQ kids in particular — because they don’t see us as people; they see us as ‘scum.’ The products may change, but Big Tobacco will continue proﬁting off our deaths until we stand up and ﬁght back,” Beatriz Valenzuela, spokesperson for Equality California, told the Los Angeles Blade. The CDC suggests contacting your local poison control center if you’re concerned after using an e-cigarette product at 1-800-222-1222.
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04 • SEPTEMBER 13, 2019 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
Biden, Warren, Harris, Buttigieg in Iowa and HRC/CNN LGBT forums Queer voters cast more than 7 million ballots in 2018 By KAREN OCAMB email@example.com Two days before the third Democratic presidential debate on Sept. 12 at Texas Southern University, a historically black university, California Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy posted a tweet thanking President Trump “for once again leading us to victory” in two North Carolina congressional races. Trump took credit for the wins and tweeted out a “Trump 2024” campaign sign, again suggesting he should get a third term. The dangerous absurdity of the Trump presidency will no doubt be one of the questions asked at the Sept. 20 Democratic presidential forum on LGBTQ issues sponsored by The Advocate, GLAAD, One Iowa, and The Gazette at Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Coe is a private liberal arts college, historically affiliated with the Presbyterian Church, ranked by Forbes “as one of the best schools in the country” in 2019. While Iowa voted overwhelmingly for Trump in 2016, it was also the state that gave wings to Sen. Barack Obama’s candidacy in 2008; was the third state to recognize marriage equality in 2009; and in 2011, gave America college student Zach Wahls, whose speech before the Judiciary Committee about his lesbian mothers in opposing a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage went viral. Wahls is now a member of the state legislature and an honorary sponsor of the forum. C-Span hasn’t (yet?) scheduled coverage of the 90-minute event, but Zach Stafford, The Advocate’s editor-in-chief and a moderator with Gazette columnist Lyz Lenz, and One Iowa Policy Director Keenan Crow, tells the Los Angeles Blade that details about livestreaming will be announced soon. “It should be accessible to all folks who have access to the internet around the world,” he says. The lineup is impressive since most of the candidates seeking the Democratic
Cardboard image of Sen. Elizabeth Warren at RuPaul’s DragCon. Photo via Xorje Olivares on Twitter
nomination to challenge Trump’s reelection in 2020 have not been seriously asked about LGBTQ issues on the campaign trail, though some have referenced the Equality Act, homophobia and the epidemic of murders of black trans women. Since the forum was first announced in August, Stafford says the lineup currently features out South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, former Vice President Joe Biden, former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro, Senators Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Amy Klobuchar, Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, former Pennsylvania Rep. Joe Sestak, and self-improvement spiritual leader Marianne Williamson. “The style will be one candidate with one moderator at a time,” says Stafford. They are “not being pitted against each other. It’s a time for them to speak to the community.” Some already have. Buttigieg spoke with the Washington Blade before announcing his candidacy and has since addressed the Human Rights Campaign and the Victory Fund receiving their endorsement, as well as low-dollar community fundraisers targeting the LGBTQ community at The Abbey in West Hollywood, and elsewhere. Biden, Booker and Harris have been featured at HRC events, including in Los Angeles and Harris rode in the San Francisco Pride
parade and has spoken with the Los Angeles Blade. Williamson, well known in LA for cofounding Project Angel Food, has spoken with both the Washington and the LA Blades. Warren took her presidential campaign outreach to another level, sending a video and setting up a booth at RuPaul’s Drag Con in New York City recently, apparently the only candidate who accepted an invitation to participate. The Iowa LGBT forum, Stafford says, “will be an opportunity for us to dig deep into specific topics through an LGBTQ lens that aren’t being discussed in the other debates. We are interested in knowing more about how these folks are thinking about our community when they are creating health care bills or immigration legislation.” Less than one month later, the candidates will have an opportunity to clarify, expand, or revise their pitches to LGBTQ voters and allies at the Oct. 10 forum sponsored by HRC and broadcast live by forum partner CNN at The Novo at LA Live. According to HRC, LGBTQ voters were 6 percent of the electorate in 2018 and cast more than 7 million ballots. The HRC/CNN town hall may have an additional element of drama, considering Trump’s Twitter hatred of CNN and out anchor Don Lemon. Unlike the Iowa forum, the event, entitled
Power of Our Pride, will abide by CNN standards and practices and Democratic National Committee rules for candidates to qualify for their debates. So far, six of the 10 candidates who met those qualifications for the Sept. 12 debate have confirmed their participation: Biden, Buttigieg, Castro, Harris, Klobuchar and Warren. “This town hall comes at a critical time in our fight to achieve equality for (LGBTQ) people in this nation,” HRC President Alphonso David said in a statement. “Today, in 30 states, LGBTQ people remain at risk of being fired, evicted or denied services because of who we are. Thirty-five states have yet to ban the dangerous and debunked practice of ‘conversion therapy,’ which is harming our young people. Hate crimes are rising, and more than 100 transgender people — most of whom are transgender women of color — have been killed in the United States in the last five years. Although the federal government should be protecting all residents, the TrumpPence Administration is directly attacking our community by banning transgender troops from serving our country openly, undermining health care services for people living with HIV, and seeking to erase LGBTQ people from protections under law.” Who’s got a plan for that?
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06 • SEPTEMBER 13, 2019 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
Kuehl on historic LGBTQ death data collection order Data to help develop policies By KAREN OCAMB firstname.lastname@example.org It’s an old adage: You don’t know what you don’t know. To which might be added: you won’t find out if you don’t care. All of which makes the motion passed Sept. 3 by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors historic, moving and possibly precedentsetting. LA County became the first local government body in the nation to pass a motion requiring culturally competent trained medical examiners and coroners to investigate violent deaths— including suicides, hate crimes, and homicides—to see if they involve the LGBTQ community, to collect data on the victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity data, and regularly report back to the Supervisors so they might develop better prevention and safety policies. “Most of what I know, I get from CSI shows or those kinds of things where medical examiners are quite prominent” in determining if and what kind of crime occurred, out Supervisor Sheila Kuehl tells the Los Angeles Blade. “This adds another kind of layer to the work that they already do, which is, if possible, to identify that this is a subpopulation group that we want to look at specifically,” Kuehl says. “Sometimes, it can help and sometimes, we’re not sure what to do about it. But we do want to be able to create greater understanding and protection of, especially, trans women who have been very vulnerable to violence and murder. I think that this is just the beginning.” In fact, the motion says: “The work of the Medical Examiner and Coroner’s [Office] is vital, as it often is used to gather evidence and information that can be used in a criminal proceeding. However, this work can also highlight disparities in mortality rates, and provide valuable insight that can be used to guide policies, resources, and law enforcement efforts to protect at-risk communities. “Many Medical Examiner and Coroner’s
County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl
offices, including our own, do not currently collect and aggregate data pertaining to sexual orientation and gender identity,” the motion says. “In the absence of this data, it is impossible to detect the presence of disparities in mortality rates of the LGBTQ community. By tracking this data, it will allow us to better understand these disparities and develop policies that seek to address them at the County level.” Kuehl co-authored the motion with Supervisor Kathryn Barger, who succeeded her former boss, conservative Republican Mike Antonovich. But while Antonovich had a reputation for being anti-LGBTQ, Barger has long appeared to be an LGBTQ ally. Kuehl says she cares “deeply” about the LGBTQ community. “Because [Barger’s] not part of the community or in a community that’s part of the community, I think the data about suicide among our young people in our
community, about murder and violence against trans people and the data about how much higher a percentage of our young people are in the foster care system than exist in the general society—it came to her a little bit later than I had seen it,” Kuehl says. “She was very moved by it and just decided that it was something we wanted to know about in the county.” Barger’s original motion “asked Dr. Lucas, our coroner, who’s also the chief medical examiner, just to develop a plan for collecting the data because it’s not always clear what a person’s sexual orientation might’ve been or motive if it’s a hate crime, etc. We need to know how we’re going to do that,” says Kuehl. Additionally, Barger directed them “to hire a consultant or a subject matter expert to do tightening in the department. If there’s any way, in terms of sensitively, to figure out… if there’s a way to even help collect this
data without asking somebody’s parents, which would not always be sensitive. Then, we want a report back every three months on how they’re coming along figuring this out. It seemed like a reasonable way to start collecting the data, and a very, very necessary thing because we have no real data in the county to back up our larger understanding of the experience in the community.” One source for the data that so impacted Barger was The Trevor Project, which just updated their statistics in time for the new school year. The Trevor Project’s 2019 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health reported that of 34,000 LGBTQ youth surveyed, 39% of LGBTQ youth seriously considered attempting suicide in the past 12 months, with more than half of transgender and non-binary youth having seriously considered. “The same study found that 14% of LGB youth had a suicide attempt in the previous 12 months, rising to 29% for
LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • SEPTEMBER 13, 2019 • 07
LA County Supervisors Sheila Kuehl and Kathryn Barger Via Barger’s Facebook page
transgender and nonbinary youth,” the motion reported. “Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and non-binary youth are more than 4 times more likely to attempt suicide than their peers, so it’s imperative for school suicide prevention policies to also be LGBTQ competent. In addition, our research shows that more than half of LGBTQ youth are not out to a single adult in school; these policies show LGBTQ youth, out or not, that their school is a safe place for them to learn, and that school staff are prepared to help them in times of crisis,” said Sam Brinton, Head of Advocacy and Government Affairs for The Trevor Project. The motion also cited the current data for hate crimes. “The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) statistics show that in 2017, 7,175 hate crimes were reported, 1,130 of which were based on sexual orientation bias and 119 on gender identity bias. According
to the National Center for Transgender Equality, one in four transgender people have been assaulted simply because they are transgender. The report went on to say that of these incidents, the majority of deadly attacks against transgender people are against women of color,” the motion reported. Though press stories on the motion tend to emphasize LGBTQ youth, Kuehl says “they’re not going to limit themselves here. But we will probably ask them to aggregate the data by age, as well, because it is important when we have so many youth in our foster care and juvenile justice system who identify as LGBTQIA. It’s important for us to know because the outreach that we do or the work that we do in the Department of Children and Family Services, in Probation, in the Office of Diversion and Re-entry, which has a juvenile division now—we want to have some sensitivity to the community, as well. So, we’re probably going to slice and dice the data, but it
won’t be limited” to youth. First, staff needs to be trained to be able to figure out how they can collect the data. “The core for us, actually, is to see if we need additional or different kinds of services that the county can provide to help, particularly, with messages about suicide prevention that could be more targeted, working with outside entities, like Trevor. We already have an LGBTQ youth project in five departments where I ask for a report back every quarter about how they’re improving their services and sensitivity about this youth population,” says Kuehl. “It’s not like we know what we’re going to do with it yet, but we do have these other projects that could incorporate new data,” Kuehl continues. “We might also want to make certain that we have some idea about safety in our various areas in the county. No one is ever safe from being attacked and harmed. You just can’t watch everybody at
every minute, but there may be something. We could see there’s a zip code where trans people are more in danger or something. “There are a lot of touchpoints in the county,” Kuehl says, “but I don’t think they will analyze the experience of our community in terms of why. What we can only try to do is aggregate data and take it for the truth and try to work with it.” Let that sink in. LA’s local governmental body—the most populous county in the country with more that 10 million people— wants to collect LGBTQ data and “take it for the truth” instead of erasing LGBTQ data at the federal level. Perhaps the idea might catch on. Reminder: September is Suicide Prevention Month. If you, or someone you care about, is in a crisis, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255 or text “Home” to 741-741 or call The Trevor Project 24/7 at 1-866-488-7386 or text START to 678678.
IMPORTANT FACTS FOR BIKTARVY®
This is only a brief summary of important information about BIKTARVY and does not replace talking to your healthcare provider about your condition and your treatment.
MOST IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT BIKTARVY BIKTARVY may cause serious side effects, including: } Worsening of Hepatitis B (HBV) infection. If you have both HIV-1 and HBV, your HBV may suddenly get worse if you stop taking BIKTARVY. Do not stop taking BIKTARVY without first talking to your healthcare provider, as they will need to check your health regularly for several months.
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BEFORE TAKING BIKTARVY Tell your healthcare provider if you: } Have or have had any kidney or liver problems, including hepatitis infection. } Have any other health problems. } Are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. It is not known if BIKTARVY can harm your unborn baby. Tell your healthcare provider if you become pregnant while taking BIKTARVY. } Are breastfeeding (nursing) or plan to breastfeed. Do not breastfeed. HIV-1 can be passed to the baby in breast milk. Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take: } Keep a list that includes all prescription and over-the-counter medicines, antacids, laxatives, vitamins, and herbal supplements, and show it to your healthcare provider and pharmacist. } BIKTARVY and other medicines may affect each other. Ask your healthcare provider and pharmacist about medicines that interact with BIKTARVY, and ask if it is safe to take BIKTARVY with all your other medicines.
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POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECTS OF BIKTARVY BIKTARVY may cause serious side effects, including: } Those in the “Most Important Information About BIKTARVY” section. } Changes in your immune system. Your immune system may get stronger and begin to fight infections. Tell your healthcare provider if you have any new symptoms after you start taking BIKTARVY. } Kidney problems, including kidney failure. Your healthcare provider should do blood and urine tests to check your kidneys. If you develop new or worse kidney problems, they may tell you to stop taking BIKTARVY. } Too much lactic acid in your blood (lactic acidosis), which is a serious but rare medical emergency that can lead to death. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you get these symptoms: weakness or being more tired than usual, unusual muscle pain, being short of breath or fast breathing, stomach pain with nausea and vomiting, cold or blue hands and feet, feel dizzy or lightheaded, or a fast or abnormal heartbeat. } Severe liver problems, which in rare cases can lead to death. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you get these symptoms: skin or the white part of your eyes turns yellow, dark “tea-colored” urine, light-colored stools, loss of appetite for several days or longer, nausea, or stomach-area pain. } The most common side effects of BIKTARVY in clinical studies were diarrhea (6%), nausea (6%), and headache (5%). These are not all the possible side effects of BIKTARVY. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you have any new symptoms while taking BIKTARVY. You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.FDA.gov/medwatch, or call 1-800-FDA-1088. Your healthcare provider will need to do tests to monitor your health before and during treatment with BIKTARVY. HOW TO TAKE BIKTARVY Take BIKTARVY 1 time each day with or without food. GET MORE INFORMATION } This is only a brief summary of important information about BIKTARVY. Talk to your healthcare provider or pharmacist to learn more. } Go to BIKTARVY.com or call 1-800-GILEAD-5. } If you need help paying for your medicine, visit BIKTARVY.com for program information.
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10 • SEPTEMBER 13, 2019 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
Alejandra is Free! Trans asylum seeker out of ICE detention after 20 months By KAREN OCAMB email@example.com Bamby Salcedo could hardly contain her joy. Alejandra Barrera, who fled violence in El Salvador and faced deportation after 20 months in Cibola County Correctional Center, ICE’s for-profit contracted detention center in Milan, New Mexico, was freed on parole Sept. 6. The release in the dark of night came after an intense and sustained campaign by her attorney Rebekah Wolf from Equal Justice Works, Salcedo’s TransLatin@ Coalition and Amnesty International, as well as numerous members of Congress, 75-plus organization, and 36,150 Change.org petition signers to #FreeAlejandra! “My heart is so full of joy because it’s just amazing that the efforts of so many different people participated in making sure that she come home. There was no reason why she was being denied the opportunity to fight her case on the outside,” Salcedo said in a video posted on the TransLatin@ Coalition Facebook page. Salcedo thanked everyone who participated in the successful but arduous #FreeAlejandra campaign. “It was because of all of your calls, because of all of you signing petitions, showing up to the rallies, showing up the press conferences, her lawyers – everyone – all of you who wrote letters to Alejandra, everyone who participated in la campaigna de #FreeAlejandra – should be very proud because this is one more victory and we should be able to celebrate,” Salcedo said. Alejandra was released into the care of her TransLatin@ Coalition sponsor Ala Rose to fight her asylum case outside of the prison-like facility. Rose put her name and house as a “down payment” to get Alejandra out of detention, says Salcedo. Just three days earlier, Salcedo was still pleading Alejandra’s case via Facebook. “Alejandra’s case represents the mistreatment of all trans women while in ICE custody,” Salcedo wrote. “It is clear that ICE only intends to harm us! We have filed a habeas corpus for Alejandra, what is a legal
Alejandra Barrera and friends after her release Sept. 6 Screengrab from Facebook video
process that reports her unlawful detention for almost 2 years, brings her case to the court, and calls for her release on the basis of prolonged detention.” Last July, The National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus saying Alejandra’s prolonged detention “violates the Fifth Amendment’s due process protections against indefinite detention. Ms. Barrera, an arriving asylum seeker, has requested parole a total of five times since her arrival in the United States in November 2017, but has never had the opportunity to appear before a judge to determine whether her detention is justified,” NIJC said in a press release. “Alejandra’s detention for over 19 months highlights the difficulty asylum seekers face in getting released from detention, particularly where their only chance of release rests solely on ICE’s discretion,” said NIJC Senior Attorney Tania Linares Garcia. “The women of the Cibola transgender ward have written letters attesting to the lack of food, medical care and other basic needs. Alejandra has been held in these conditions without an opportunity to have a judge determine whether her detention is justified.” The power ICE wields is frightening. ICE
denied Alejandra’s release “even after the government conceded that her asylum case should receive further review by the Board of Immigration Appeals, and after the Tenth Circuit granted a stay of removal in her case finding that she is likely to succeed on the merits of her appeal.” “ICE is acting with total impunity in this country right now,” Wolf told the Los Angeles Blade last April, describing the byzantine, Catch 22 twists and turns Alejandra’s case has taken, leading to deep depression. “Even falsified documents — it feels like spitting into the wind. And then I talked her this morning, and she’s like, ‘One last battle. One last battle.’ So that’s what we’re on.” Alejandra, 44, was an activist, educator and a campaigner for trans and LGBT communities and for people with HIV in El Salvador, Wolf says. She also lived through the El Salvadoran civil war (1979-1992) and “had been targeted a number of different times by the El Salvadoran military at checkpoints who terribly abused her.” Alejandra escaped with her trans niece, Zulay, fleeing through Mexico, where she endured threats and abuse from gangs, which she attempted to report. They arrived at the U.S. border in November of 2017,
entered legally through a Port of Entry, but they were detained immediately and transferred to Cibola, some of the first trans women detained there. Alejandra should have been released after maximum two months of detention. “She got a positive, credible fear determination,” Wolf said. “We requested parole five times. In the beginning they just told her there is no parole. So, she and Zulay both have their hearings and Zulay was granted asylum and has been out now for a year. Alejandra was denied.” “This is not the last time we’re going to hear from Alejandra,” her sponsor Alma Rose, the TransLatin@ Coalition’s rapid response coordinator inside immigration detention facilities, says on her Facebook video of Alejandra’s release. “She is free tonight – an historic night.” “Alejandra was an organizer and activist in her country. Her life was in danger,” Salcedo says. “We know she has so much potential. She’s already outspoken for people’s rights in the fight for social justice.” Alejandra’s release, Salcedo says, “is an example of solidarity work – of when people come together, when people fight for what is right – and the fight for justice wins. This is one example of a victory we can all savor.”
LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • SEPTEMBER 13, 2019 • 11
QUOTES “I am profoundly grateful for how supportive the school district has been and how courageous they’ve been at opening the door for deeper understanding for kids like mine.”
– An anonymous mother to KCBS-TV after a contentious Sept. 10 meeting over Oak Park Unified School District teaching gender diversity to children in kindergarten through fifth grade.
“What’s especially wonderful about this celebration is that in an age of so much division and partisan anger, our friends and family from across the ideological spectrum have joined us to celebrate our love.” - Fox News’ Guy Benson to People on marrying Adam Wise in Napa Valley Sept. 7, with guests like Megyn Kelly.
“There was no picture snapped of me at Wall nightclub or any other nightclub.” – Homophobe Jerry Falwell, Jr. to Politico in an explosive Sept. 9 expose showing religious conservative Liberty University scion partying in a Florida nightclub in 2014.
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Truvada, the other famous little blue pill for pre-exposure prophylaxis, may soon be more accessible to prevent the spread of HIV. On Sept. 10, the California Assembly unanimously passed SB 159, legislation authored by Sen. Scott Wiener and Assemblymember Todd Gloria, authorizing pharmacists to furnish a 60-day supply of PrEP and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) to patients without a doctor’s prescription or insurance authorization. Pharmacists can already provide the birth control pill without a prescription in an emergency. The bill goes to the full Senate before heading to Gov. Newsom’s desk. “By allowing pharmacists to furnish these revolutionary medicines without a prescription, we will help more people — especially low-income people and people of color — stay negative. In addition, insurance pre-authorization requirements for PrEP serve no actual purpose and create significant barriers to access the medication,” Wiener said in a press release. “With PrEP, we can end new cases of HIV in California. The challenge we face is access – more Californians should have easy and equitable access to this life-saving medication,” said Gloria. “California can — and will — eliminate HIV transmissions, HIV-related deaths and stigma against people living with HIV,” said Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur. “PrEP and PEP are critical tools in that effort, and the Assembly’s bipartisan vote to expand access to these lifesaving drugs is another giant leap forward.”
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12 • SEPTEMBER 13, 2019 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
2020 hopefuls highlight Medicare for All, PrEP to ﬁght HIV/AIDS 7 candidates respond to AIDS United survey on how to address disease By CHRIS JOHNSON The reinvigoration of the White House Office of HIV/AIDS, access to generic PrEP and the award of cash gifts for HIV/AIDS innovations as opposed to U.S. patents were just three ideas 2020 hopefuls articulated in responses to a survey conducted by HIV/ AIDS advocacy groups. The candidates expressed those ideas in a survey conducted by AIDS United, which composed its questions in conjunction with a coalition of HIV/AIDS groups and made the responses public this week. William McColl, director of health policy at AIDS United, said in an interview with the Blade his organization undertook the survey because elected leaders need the “political will…to actually commit to ending the HIV epidemic, including [making] the signiﬁcant investments in the programs and services that are needed.” “Basically, the people who are running for president in 2020 have a really unique opportunity to work toward the end of the epidemic in the United States,” McColl said. “It’s really an amazing time for HIV, and what that means for the epidemic. The fact of the matter is we have an ability and the technologies right now — with a great deal of work — even to end the epidemic.” Seven candidates vying for the Democratic nomination — Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, Pete Buttigieg, Cory Booker, Beto O’Rourke and Kirsten Gillibrand — returned responses. (Gillibrand has since dropped out of the presidential primary.) Read a summary of their responses here. McColl said his coalition submitted the survey questions to every candidate running for president — Democratic, Republican and Libertarian — but thus far has received only those seven replies. Asked whether the coalition is satisﬁed with the responses, McColl said they would
let them speak for themselves. (AIDS United is a 501(c)(3) and unable to endorse political candidates.) “I think that what we’re going to do is just put the responses up for people to see themselves and they’ll have the opportunity to decide, who, I think, has the most convincing plans,” McColl said. “We’re not taking a position on them.” For Warren, whose mantra is pharmaceutical companies are taking advantage of the American people, the plan for HIV/AIDS consists of Medicare for All, expanding HIV research and treatment and repeal of HIV criminalization laws. Buttigieg calls for reinvigorating the White House Office of HIV/AIDS, which has gone dormant in the Trump administration, and addressing substance abuse. Other candidates who are U.S. senators tout legislation they’ve introduced. Harris points to the PrEP Access and Coverage Act, which requires insurers to cover PrEP, Sanders points to legislation to award cash prizes for HIV/AIDS innovations as opposed to patents and Booker points to the Real Education for Healthy Youth Act, which would require comprehensive sex education. Drew Gibson, policy manager for AIDS United, said the survey responses are “a ﬁrst step” for candidates, which he hopes is followed by in-person meetings. “While we’re very happy with the answers they provided — for the candidates who provided the answers — this is just an opening salvo of trying to start a dialogue with these candidates and ensure that issues related to HIV are an essential part of their campaigns,” Gibson said. McColl said the 2020 election isn’t the ﬁrst time AIDS United collected survey responses from presidential candidates. The group has conducted the survey with presidential candidates every four years since at least 2012. For congressional candidates, AIDS United has conducted surveys in presidential years and in 2016 and 2018. For this cycle, the group is focused ﬁrst on presidential candidates, but has plans to reach out to congressional candidates later.
7 Dem hopefuls outline plans for combating HIV/AIDS
LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • SEPTEMBER 13, 2019 • 13 By CHRIS JOHNSON CJOHNSON@WASHBLADE.COM
Asked if anything jumped out in any of the candidates’ responses, McColl identified acknowledging no single strategy can beat HIV/AIDS and the need to use every tool available, including PrEP. “I really should note that some of the candidates were very specific about speaking about the opioid epidemic,” McColl said. “I think that that was particularly useful.” McColl also commended candidates for identifying state laws criminalizing the transfer of HIV as stigmatic and an “impediment to ending the epidemic.” As of 2018, 26 states had laws criminalizing at some level exposure to HIV, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Also noteworthy, however, are the candidates who didn’t respond to the HIV/ AIDS questionnaire. Among them are President Trump, whose administration has articulated a plan to beat the HIV/AIDS epidemic by 2030, and former Vice President Joseph Biden, who’s the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination. Erin Perrine, a Trump campaign spokesperson, said the Trump campaign doesn’t fill out candidate surveys as a general practice because his policies emanate from the White House, but added the incumbent president “has a strong record of taking bold action to eradicate the HIV/AIDS epidemic in United States within the next 10 years.” “During this year’s State of the Union address, President Trump announced the Ending the HIV Epidemic: A Plan for America, which will use data, innovative tools, and medical research to tackle the epidemic head on,” Perinne said. “President Trump’s approach is one that faces the HIV/ AIDS epidemic in a way that has never been done before.” In his fiscal year 2020 budget request, Trump called on Congress to appropriate an additional $300 million to fight HIV/ AIDS on the domestic front, although it also proposing slashing contributions to global programs like PEPFAR and the Global Fund. The Biden campaign didn’t respond by the Blade’s deadline to comment on why the campaign didn’t return a survey response to AIDS United. Last month, however, Biden pledged to beat HIV/AIDS by 2025, which would cut in half the goal set by the Trump administration, in response to a question at a New Hampshire town hall from a health care worker. McColl said the Biden campaign signaled they intended to provide a response and will continue to collect responses beyond their deadline, which was Monday. McColl added Biden’s 2020 commitment at the town hall
Repeating her mantra “Washington works great for the big pharmaceutical companies and it’s not working for people who are trying to get a prescription filled,” Elizabeth Warren says there’s “no single answer” to beating HIV/AIDS. Her plan includes Medicare for All, expanding HIV research and treatment and repealing state HIV criminalization laws.
Elizabeth Warren Washington Blade photo by Michael Key
Pete Buttigieg Photo courtesy of CNN
Pete Buttigieg says insurance coverage is essential, but “the nature of the care and the benefits provided are equally important.” Calling for regulations to ensure existing public health programs adequately cover people with HIV/AIDS, Buttigieg also pledges to restore the White House Office of National AIDS Policy and address substance abuse to fight HIV/AIDS. Kamala Harris points to legislation she introduced in the U.S. Senate, the PrEP Access and Coverage Act, which requires insurers to cover PrEP, but also pledges to increase funds for the Ryan White program and enact Medicare for All. Harris also plans executive action to set ceilings for prescription drug prices, including HIV medications.
Kamala Harris Washington Blade photo by Michael Key
Bernie Sanders Photo by Shela F; courtesy of Bigstock
Bernie Sanders points to legislation he introduced to award cash prizes for HIV/AIDS innovations as opposed to patent protection and his work with Rep. Jim Clyburn to expand Community Health Centers. Setting a goal to end the national HIV epidemic by 2025, Sanders on the international front pledges to restore funds to PEPFAR and the Global Fund. Cory Booker emphasizes comprehensive sex education “that is inclusive of all youth,” pointing to legislation he introduced known as the Real Education for Healthy Youth Act. Booker also pledges to fill vacancies on the Presidential Advisory Council for HIV/AIDS for recommendations on prevention, treatment and research.
Cory Booker Washington Blade photo by Michael Key
Beto O’Rourke Photo by Gage Skidmore; courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Kirsten Gillibrand Photo by Gage Skidmore; courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Beto O’Rourke backs additional funds for Special Projects of National Significance and AIDS Education & Training Centers. With people with HIV/AIDS becoming an aging population, O’Rourke calls for federal protection against HIV-based discrimination to ensure Americans aren’t forced to hide their health status “for fear of losing their access to nursing home facilities.” Kirsten Gillibrand (who has now dropped out of the primary) pledges to increase funds to address HIV/AIDS and work with the Centers for Disease Control to make generic PrEP more available. Gillibrand also backs ending the ban on federal funding for syringe exchange and touts a comprehensive plan to address HIV/AIDS in the AfricanAmerican community.
*Survey conducted by AIDS United
was “significant.” The Democratic candidates’ plans as a whole, McColl said, contrast with the Trump administration plan by focusing on the importance of insurance coverage, such as Medicare for All. “Some of those things, potentially, are different from the focus of the administration plan, which basically takes the current health care structure and assumes that it will stay in place,” McColl said. “I think that a lot of the Democratic
awareness that there is really an opportunity plans look at different ways to take a look toMdo• this,” McColl said. at either insurance or1 4ensuring to DE. CO • WA SHI Naccess GTO N BLA SEPT EM BER 13, 2019 • N AT I O N A L N EW S The Act Now: End AIDS Coalition treatment and care.” consists of AIDS United, the New YorkMcColl expressed confidence the future based Gay Men’s Health Crisis, Health administration — Democrat or Republican GAP, Housing Works, the International — will be able to combat and potentially Association of Providers of AIDS Care, defeat HIV/AIDS, saying it has “remained a Lambda Legal, Positive Women’s Networkbipartisan issue.” USA, Sero Project, the San Francisco“We believe that there is now a floor in based Transgender Law Center, the U.S. place, that there will be a commitment to People Living With HIV Caucus and 41 other working to end the epidemic and, I think, community based organizations. that there just needs to be this much greater
14 • SEPTEMBER 13, 2019 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
Gay U.S. ambassador marches in first Bosnia Pride parade The gay U.S. Ambassador to BosniaHerzegovina is among the thousands of people who took part in the country’s first-ever Pride parade on Sunday. The U.S. Embassy in Sarajevo tweeted a picture of Eric Nelson participating in the parade that took place in the Bosnian capital. Nelson also posted a message in support of the parade on the embassy’s Facebook page. “The Pride March is fundamentally about equal human rights for everyone,” reads a statement the embassy issued alongside embassies from several European countries, the European Union and the U.N. “Everyone in BiH — regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity — is entitled to all the same rights and freedoms. However, the fact remains that vulnerable groups are still suffering. It is everyone’s responsibility to support those U.S. Ambassador to Bosnia-Herzegovina Eric Nelson, who are marginalized and face discrimination center, who is gay, marches in the first-ever Sarajevo and injustice.” Pride parade on Sept. 8. Emina Bošnjak, executive director of the Photo courtesy of U.S. Embassy in Bosnia-Herzegovina Sarajevo Open Centre, which organized the parade, told the Washington Blade that 3,000 people marched. Bošnjak said they included members of “the LGBTI community, parents and families of LGBTI (people), our allies and supporters.” Media reports indicate more than 1,000 police officers were stationed along the parade route in anticipation of any potential violence or protests. The parade took place without incident. “Yesterday’s Pride March was just like I dreamed and knew it would be, and it still made my heart burst with joy,” Bošnjak told the Blade. “It was a crucial event for all the lesbians, gays, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer people in Bosnia and Herzegovina. As a community, we feel like there is now more freedom and a lot more support, although we still have much work ahead of us to reach full equality and acceptance in our society.” Mona Eltahawy, an Egyptian-born feminist and author who lives in New York, was among those who also participated in the parade. Tanya Domi, a professor at Columbia University who also participated in the parade, described it as an “unqualified success.” “People were longing to hold a Pride and today Bosnia and the Western Balkans region showered love and their approval of LGBTI Bosnians,” Domi told the Blade. The parade took place nearly 23 years after the end of the former Yugoslav republic’s civil war that left upwards of 100,000 people dead between 1992-1995. Nelson’s participation also coincides with continued criticism of the Trump administration’s LGBTI rights record in the U.S. A nondiscrimination law that includes sexual orientation and gender identity took effect in BosniaHerzegovina in 2016, but anti-LGBTI discrimination and attitudes persist in the country. Organizers of the first Queer Sarajevo Festival in 2008 cancelled the event after dozens of people attacked participants during the opening exhibition. Three people were injured in 2014 when a group of people wearing masks attacked a festival the Sarajevo Open Centre organized. “(The) Pride March also gave hope to many of our citizens that BiH can be live up to its image of a vibrant, diverse and tolerant country, and that makes me proud as well,” Bošnjak told the Blade. Domi agreed. “It was a tremendous first step,” Domi told the Blade. “(There is) much more work to do.” The Blade has reached out to the State Department for an interview with Nelson. MICHAEL K. LAVERS
Bahamas LGBT activists join Dorian relief effort LGBTI activists in the Bahamas have joined efforts to help victims of Hurricane Dorian in their country. Alexus D’Marco, executive director of the D’Marco Organization, told the Blade her organization is providing support to people who are now living in shelters in the Bahamian capital of Nassau and assessing the specific needs they may have. D’Marco and her colleagues are also tracking missing people and reporting them to Bahamas’ National Emergency Management Agency. D’Marco, who is also the executive director of the Bahamas Organization of LGBTI Affairs, noted the Rustin Fund for Global Equality and the Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition have created a Dorian relief fund. “CVC has teamed up with the Rustin Fund to get rapid and urgent assistance to our LGBT brothers and sisters in the Bahamas,” reads the fund’s website. “This is a direct lifeline of support managed by CVC through LGBT groups in the Bahamas ensuring emergency funds reach them quickly.” D’Marco said she and her colleagues are “trying to be here for the long haul.” “We’re trying to raise funds for adequate shelter to put displaced persons of the LGBTI community, or the vulnerable population,” D’Marco told the Blade from Nassau during a WhatsApp interview. “So, we’re not just focusing in and zeroing in on key populations, but also the elderly, LGBTI persons who have families that are affected.” Dorian had 185 mph winds when it made landfall in the Abaco Islands on Sept. 2. The Category 5 hurricane remained over Grand Bahama Island for more than 24 hours before it moved away from the Bahamas on Sept. 4. Bahamian officials say Dorian’s death toll is currently at 43, but this figure is expected to rise significantly. Erin Greene, an “intersectional human rights advocate” who lives in Nassau, on Friday told the Blade during a WhatsApp interview that some people who live on New Providence, the island on which the city is located, saw up to three feet of water in their homes. Greene said the situation in Nassau is “relatively fine” compared to that on Grand Bahama and Abaco. “We dealt with a lot of rain and significant flooding in some areas,” she said. Greene said her brother and sister-in-law live on Grand Bahama and she knows from social media posts they are “good.” Greene told the Blade she hadn’t heard from a friend “who is a member of the LGBTI family in Abaco.” “I’ve gotten word that she’s safe, but I’m sure she hasn’t been able to make any communication yet,” she said. Greene since Dorian has been sharing information about relief efforts on her Facebook page. She has also suggested people should include boxer and boxer briefs for women who may not wear “feminine underwear/ panties.” “For members of the community, particularly gender non-conforming and non-binary people, this is a very basic thing,” Greene told the Blade. “A choice of underwear is a great psychological need for them and could make dealing with a tragedy or travesty of this nature easier simply with the comfort of knowing I can continue to wear the underwear of my choice.” Both Greene and D’Marco told the Blade they have not heard of any reports of Bahamians denied access to shelter and relief efforts because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. “We are definitely monitoring that situation,” said D’Marco. “We are making ourselves very visible to ensure that this does not happen during this process.” MICHAEL K. LAVERS
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16 • SEPTEMBER 13, 2019 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
VOLUME 03 ISSUE 37
Celebrating those who are aging with HIV Getting older and still walking in AIDS Walk LA
Frank Gulli is a longtime HIV survivor. He lives in LA.
I was living in the Castro in San Francisco in 1978 where optimism and liberation were in the air. Harvey Milk was an openly gay City Supervisor, gays and lesbians marched in the street for equal rights, and gay liberation was on display from Folsom Street to Golden Gate Park. There was a real sense of belonging to a community. Our world shook when Harvey Milk and Mayor Moscone were assassinated by former Supervisor Dan White that year. Then it shook again when San Francisco became ground zero of the AIDS epidemic. By 1985, the city was full of heartbreak and dying. My friends and I lived among it, terrified that we would be next. I was diagnosed with HIV that year, forever making 1985 a pivotal year. Many of my friends who hadn’t been tested for HIV ended up in the ER at San Francisco General in respiratory failure. I was blindsided as an entire group of my friends and neighbors seemed to disappear overnight. There were no medical treatments, other than some antibiotics that seemed to prolong death for many. For whatever reason, maybe by the grace of God, or good Italian food, I don’t know, I never got sick from HIV and I held on to hope for a better day. But my life and times
would never be the same as it was back in 1978, before the shooting death of Harvey, when we felt liberated, before AIDS wiped out my entire phonebook. In 2000, I moved to Los Angeles and was on effective medication that suppressed my virus. I couldn’t go back and look at the photos from my past; it was too painful. The photo box still sits in my closet. I lost 100 friends, literally. Life in LA was cautiously optimistic for me. I was living pretty well, despite my diagnosis, and my fear of death had gone away. Life went on like that, but then suddenly, my new gang of friends started getting older. I started to see a lot of isolation and unhappiness take over. I did what I could to stay healthy, connected and relevant. I got more educated on HIV, I socialized as much as possible and entertained. I cooked good Italian food, like family used to make in New York City where I grew up. I still love to cook good Italian food for people. I believe that we are now in a place where HIV is no longer chaos and an uncontrolled crisis. However, the HIV/AIDS epidemic is still a topic that needs our attention and requires everyone’s attention. There are several organizations that do not have the funds for programs that benefit clients like me. For me it is essential to come together as one community and be able to show support and show that we are there for one another. I’ve been participating in AIDS WALK Los Angeles for several years now. It’s one day of the year we can come together and walk in solidarity, to show pride of the wonderful community we are, and celebrate our brotherhood and sisterhood. Although there are several reasons why I do it, there is always one specific reason why I keep coming back—and that is because I am a man of my word and I am honoring a promise that someone else couldn’t fulfill. I had a lover whose brother passed away from AIDS and when he passed, my lover promised his brother that he would
march, that he would walk and celebrate his memory. But my lover was not able to fulfill that duty due to his physical limitations. Therefore, my lover could not participate in AIDS Walk. I decided to take it upon myself and honor that promise. So for the many years that I’ve participated in AIDS Walk LA, I show up, I am physically there, and I do it—for me, for him, and for you. I am adding another reason to my list of why I participate in AIDS Walk. This year I am celebrating the fact that many of us who are aging have survived. We are survivors, we are fighters, we are human beings who are in the position to celebrate our longevity and our many years of struggle. In particular, this year I am walking with HIVE (HIV-Elders), a program through APLA Health (formerly AIDS Project Los Angeles) that has provided me with a new view of life. I will be walking alongside those men who have gone through similar difficulties but have overcome the adversity. We are building a new community and I want to thank HIVE for the constant support in helping me and others build a space where we belong. Today, I am a 68-year-old long time survivor of the HIV/AIDS crisis. I am grateful for my life, my smaller group of friends and for social groups that cater to my aging HIV community. I am happy to be a HIVE member where I can socialize, have fun and learn some new life skills. I brag about my age and how my life is full, but I take nothing for granted. I often get asked if I have survivors’ guilt. My answer is “Hell, no. I’m looking forward to being the oldest HIV survivor, living well through my 90s. I wish everybody a long and prosperous life…and a bowl of pasta with gravy!” Sept. 18 is National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day AIDS; Walk Los Angeles will take place on Sunday, Oct. 20, aidswalkla.org.
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LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • SEPTEMBER 13, 2019 • 17
The Wall Las Memorias Project celebrating 25 years What started as an idea became lifelong passion project
Richard Zaldivar is the founder and executive director of The Wall Las Memorias Organization, a non-proﬁt organization dedicated to being a catalyst for social change among the Latino populations affected by HIV/AIDS.
Thirty years ago, my best friend shared with me that he was HIV positive. Not only was he devastated by the news, but so was I. In the early days of the epidemic, being diagnosed with HIV was an immediate death sentence. My friend was ashamed and ﬁlled with embarrassment. Being the ﬁrst to learn
his news, I understood the shame and guilt he felt, as I had just come out of the closet myself. I knew so well the stigma and isolation that gay men experienced. Although my dear friend passed away, I was also determined not to let his death be in vain. What started off as an idea, became a lifelong passion project. I was determined to build an AIDS Monument that would honor those who died from AIDS, and ﬁght for those affected by the stigma and shame associated with the disease. At the time, HIV prevention was not addressed by the Latino community, which sparked an inherent urge for action Founded in 1993, The Wall Las Memorias was created with the mindset of bringing HIV/AIDS awareness to the Latino community. Since then, our organization has served low-income and hard-to -reach communities throughout Los Angeles— educating community members on the importance of HIV/AIDS, substance abuse prevention, and community building in the LGBT community. We oversee the largest faith based HIV prevention program in the nation which saw us reach out to over 950 churches in Los Angeles County and hosting
12 faith conferences. We provide mental health prevention services to the LGBTQ transitional age youth. Today, The Wall Las Memorias Project has made it their mission to provide access to specialized services designed to prevent HIV/AIDS, substance abuse and to promote societal wellness,guaranteeing that individual voices of the community are heard and that all are in agreement on the essential need for social change while promoting the use of The AIDS Monument as an acknowledged catalyst for change and action and engaginge the LGBTQ and faith communities, making both entities full partners in promoting wellness and eliminating stigma among ALL people. In 2004, after years of battling the opposition, the ﬁrst publicly-funded AIDS monument in the nation was dedicated before thousands of supporters and community leaders. The Wall Las Memorias AIDS Monument now has over 450 names etched into it — remembering those who died of AIDS. What began as a local community project, blossomed into the ﬁrst publicly funded AIDS monument in the nation. The project also staged some of the
largest AIDS awareness events such as Strike OUT AIDS, which was hosted for 15 years at Dodger Stadium and led the LGBTQ voice in supporting our friends in organized labor. With the help of L.A. County Board of Supervisor Hilda Solis and Los Angeles City Councilmember Gilbert Cedillo, over $800,000 will be spent on the renovation of the monument which will be dedicated late this year. If someone were to ask me today about our greatest impact, I would say that The Wall Las Memorias has laid the foundation for a greater acceptance of the LGBTQ community in Los Angeles and the ability to change our community. A great bit of gratitude to the volunteers, staff, board members and community members who have made this dream become a reality for so many. As we move forward to the great challenges that we face together in this nation, we are ready to continue the ﬁght for justice, equality and liberty. We only live once my friend. We have only one opportunity to impact the world.
Gear up for fall arts at LA’s vanguard venues A busy season of exhibits, gardens and more By SCOTT STIFFLER
As the seasons change, Los Angeles cultural institutions remain steadfast in their commitment to challenge, inspire, and stimulate. Anticipating what fall has to offer, the Blade recently spoke with reps from some of the area’s most iconic destinations about current and upcoming offerings that speak to the heart of our community, and the soul of their mission. The Marciano Art Foundation | This contemporary art space in the heart of Los Angeles contains a collection representing well-established, mid-career, and emerging artists, predominantly from the 1990s to present. The Foundation, they note, was “built by a family whose passion and dedication to the arts initiates special projects by artists working in all areas of artistic production, in order to encourage curiosity and contemplation of art and the ways it impacts and enriches our lives.” Senior Creative Director Olivia Marciano says the MAF offers “a welcoming, inclusive environment for all. As part of our ongoing mission, we work to embody this fully.” Throughout the fall, they’re hosting Donna Huanca’s solo exhibition, “Obsidian Ladder,” which Marciano describes as “a femme intervention in a formerly male-dominated space of the Scottish Rite Masonic Temple.” Painted femme models will inhabit the environment every Saturday, asserting, says Marciano, “their freedom against the power structures and hierarchies in our society.” Of further interest to LGBTQs, Sept. 28 sees a work produced alongside REACH LA. “The Awt (say it out loud) of Measuring Resilience” is an afternoon of visual and performance demonstrations representing REACH LA’s 25year history of serving queer youth of color, as well as its current activities in the house and ballroom community (as facilitated by Sean/Milan Garcon). The Marciano Art Foundation is located at 4357 Wilshire Boulevard. Call 424-204-7555 or visit marcianoartfoundation.org. The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens | This treasured triple threat offers gardens, galleries, and hundreds
of rare materials in the Library Exhibition Hall, along with programming that includes public lectures and botanical workshops. On view as of Sept. 21, “Nineteen Nineteen” celebrates The Huntington’s centennial, via 275 objects from their vast collection. (Vast is an understatement—the institution has some 11 million items.) Interim Chief Curator of American Art James Glisson, who created the exhibition with Curator of Photography and Visual Culture Jennifer A. Watts, recalls that rather than an overview of their last 100 years, “We decided we would just tell the story of the year of our founding.” Everything on display was copyrighted, edited, or exhibited in 1919. In doing that, Glisson says, “We found a variety of materials that will surprise people familiar with The Huntington,” including a 39-foot-long map of the LA street car line. “What this shows,” says Glisson, “is that 1919 was a tumultuous year” in which The Huntington was founded against the backdrop of extraordinary global changes. “Keep in mind, back in Europe, the Treaty of Versailles was negotiated, and an entire new world order was being formed. Locally here in LA, there was a streetcar strike in August. Nationally, the summer of 1919 is called the ‘Red Summer,’ because of the extraordinary violence against returning African-American soldiers.” Glisson says LGBTQ visitors will find their community represented by materials on modern dance pioneer Ruth St. Denis, books hand-printed by Virginia Woolf, and suffragist material about women, and the passage of the 19th Amendment that year. The Huntington is located at 1151 Oxford Road, San Marino. General admission includes all exhibitions, galleries, and gardens. Call 626-405-2140 or visit Huntington.org. The Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles | Founded in 1984 as the Santa Monica Museum of Art and reestablished in 2017 with a new identity, ICA LA prides itself in being “an epicenter of artistic experimentation and incubator of new ideas.”
Opening Sept. 29, “No Wrong Holes: Thirty Years of Nayland Blake” is the largest survey show of the artist, says ICA LA Deputy Director Samuel Vasquez. It also marks their first solo institutional presentation in Los Angeles. “Not only is Nayland an artist,” says Vasquez, “but also an educator and a mentor—a very important figure in the art community, given the wide range of work.” Blake is, notes Vasquez, “a queer-identified, non-binary individual, and a lot of the work deals with issues of representation [Blake is biracial; African American and white].” Identity is a theme that comes up, says Vasquez, “because Nayland is what would be considered ‘passing,’ because they have a ‘white’ appearance. But the general theme is this notion of ‘play.’ There are a lot of objects such as bunnies, references to S&M culture, and the punk culture.” Particular focus, press materials note, “will be paid to work produced while Blake lived on the West Coast, first in the greater Los Angeles area as a graduate student at CalArts, followed by a decade in San Francisco—years bookended by the advancement of the HIV/ AIDS epidemic in the 1980s and the ‘culture wars’ of the 1990s.” Also at ICA LA, through Jan. 26, 2020, is “Sadie Barnette: The New Eagle Creek Saloon.” Barnette, a Bay Area-based artist, has crafted, says Vasquez, “this incredibly colorful, vibrant installation that is a homage to her father’s bar, which was the first black-owned gay bar in San Francisco, at a time that coincided with the Black Panther movement.” (Rodney Barnette was founder of the Compton, CA chapter of the Black Panther Party.) The installation’s title, notes Vasquez, “is the name of the bar, and it’s an actual bar that is activated through performances, programming, and talks, as an homage to what her father created—a safe space for the community.” Vasquez says these two offerings speak to what has been “in our DNA since we were the Santa Monica Museum of Art. And going beyond the LGBT community, we’re a space for all communities, regardless of class, social
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Lari Pittman, “Untitled #8 (The Dining Room),” 2005. Cel-Vinyl, acrylic, and alkyd on gessoed canvas over wood. 86 × 102 in. (218.4 × 259.1 cm). Collection of Christen Sveaas. © Lari Pittman, courtesy of Regen Projects, Los Angeles
position, or identity.” ICA LA, he adds, creates that safe space by “hiring staff not only from diverse backgrounds, but from a wide range of representation. When you come in, you are greeted by, maybe, someone who is nonbinary or identifies as queer.” ICA LA is located at 1717 E. 7th St. Admission is free. Call 213-928-0833 or visit theicala.org. The Hammer Museum | The Hammer believes in, they note, “the promise of art and ideas to illuminate our lives and build a more just world.” They’re currently expanding on their commitment to that notion—literally. A multiyear construction project is taking place, which will see 40,000 square feet of newly acquired space, along with the renovation
of their current facility. Throughout, the Hammer remains open to the public. Case in point: Opening Sept. 29 is the comprehensive retrospective “Lari Pittman: Declaration of Independence.” As both painter and social critic, Pittman has been, Museum press material notes, “a strong presence in both the international sphere and the LA art community.” This retrospective takes visitors from the early days of collage and decoration, to iconic 1990s paintings that reference the AIDS crisis and culture wars of the 1990s, to more recent works. “In addition to being an extraordinary painter, Lari has been an important figure in the Los Angeles art community for the past
four decades as both artist and teacher. He has influenced generations of artists as a professor in UCLA’s art department, and is part of a generation of artists who emerged internationally in the 1990s,” says Hammer Director Ann Philbin. “His paintings confront history, politics, violence, and sexuality in a highly aestheticized manner that is both exquisitely painted and deeply responsive to the issues of our time.” The Hammer Museum is at the corner of Westwood and Wilshire boulevards in Westwood Village, three blocks east of the 405 Freeway’s Wilshire exit. Admission is free. Call 310-443-7000 or visit hammer.ucla.edu. Continues on Page 31
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20 • SEPTEMBER 13, 2019 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
OUT & ABOUT
LA LGBT Center celebrates 50 years with star-packed concert Rufus Wainwright, Kathy Griffin among entertainers By SCOTT STIFFLER
The Center’s first formal headquarters, at 1614 Wilshire Blvd. Photo courtesy of the Los Angeles LGBT Center
Even by the exacting standards of celebrity-strewn LA, Sept. 21 is going to be a starry, starry night at the Greek Theatre, as the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Gold Anniversary Vanguard Celebration brings an entertainment-packed crescendo to their half-century mark, in the form of its “Hearts of Gold” concert. Well, 50 years, give or take. “We don’t know the actual date,” says Lorri L. Jean, the Center’s CEO. “It’s amazing how much of our history gets lost.” Until recently, the Center celebrated its anniversary from 1971, the point at which it filed formal papers for incorporation as a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization. Then, in 2011, recalls Jean, “We received a box from the estate of one of our founding board members, who had been lost to our history.” Among the contents was a Feb. 1972 article from the newspaper Gay Sunshine, in which five of the Center’s seven co-founders were interviewed. “They were asked about the genesis of the Center,” says Jean, “and it turns out we were already providing services in 1969. They were doing it as volunteers, on a catch-ascatch-can basis, leasing buildings in their own names.” At that point, the Board of Directors elected “that this history was too important, and we changed when we celebrate. We feel incredibly proud that our anniversary is happening in the same year as Stonewall 50,” says Jean. “So we celebrate not only our own history, but also the history of LA, which has often not gotten its due. The very first riot against police harassment of LGBT people was Cooper’s Donuts, in downtown LA, in 1959. Most LGBT people in LA don’t even know that. So this year, we’re celebrating all kinds of wonderful things.” Its own 50th anniversary notwithstanding, 2019 is still a milestone year for the Center—which, in April, opened the Anita May Rosenstein Campus. The intergenerational facility for youth and seniors features 100 beds for homeless youth, a new Senior Community Center, a Youth Drop-In Center, and The Ariadne Getty Foundation Youth Academy. Now serving as its flagship facility, the Center’s four-story McDonald/Wright Building will be transformed into a health center. By the middle of next year, Phase II of the Campus is scheduled to open, offering 99 units of affordable housing for seniors, and 25 supportive housing apartments for youth. In an April 7 press release, the day of its grand opening, Jean described the Campus as “proof that a committed group of people who have the audacity to dream big and work hard are capable of creating something the world has never seen, something that now stands as a testament to the fact that we will not turn back in our
march toward full equality and humanity.” The struggles and triumphs of that march, notes Jean, will be front and center when guests enter the Greek Theatre for the Center’s “Hearts of Gold” event, which she describes as “an immersive experience that begins from the moment people arrive. They will learn about our history, and our movement’s history. There will be all kinds of interesting things to look at and read. Then, we have a five-act show that is going to go by the decades. It’s going to kick off with the fabulous Sia, and she’s going to knock it out of the park.” Making there own bids for home runs will be an A-list roster of storytellers, musicians, and entertainers— including singer-songwriter and composer Rufus Wainwright, two-time Emmy and Grammy-winning comedian and activist Kathy Griffin, actor and comedian Nico Santos, comedian Tig Notaro, Grammy-nominated and Dove Award-winning country artist Ty Herndon, and comedian/writer Bruce Vilanch—among, as they say, many, many others. Fans of the Netflix show “Grace and Frankie” will get a two-for-one: Tony and Emmy Award-winning actor and activist Lily Tomlin and two-time Academy Awardwinning actor and activist Jane Fonda are also slated to appear. Like many others on the bill, Tomlin is a longtime supporter. “Lily’s relationship with us began in the 1980s,” recalls Jean, “when she got a call form one of the women at our Center, telling her the roof was leaking. And she and Jane [Wagner, Tomlin’s wife] gave money to fix it. Lily’s been doing a lot of behind-the-scenes work, in helping get people [“Hearts of Gold” performers] to come. It’s not easy. People have [other prior] commitments. But Lily has been there for us every time we have asked. In fact, she’s just gotten us tickets to a Cher concert, with a meet-andgreet, to auction off [at the pre-concert Gold Anniversary Vanguard Celebration sit-down dinner].” The “Hearts of Gold “ lineup, assures Jean, “will reflect the phenomenal diversity of our community, and will have people leaving not only incredibly entertained, but feeling hopeful for the future. And I feel our community can really use that hope, given the attacks we’re getting from the Trump administration. We have come through the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, and we have always prevailed. We’ve made progress that would have been unimaginable 50 years ago. And we shall also prevail over these current difficult times we’re facing.” Gold Anniversary Vanguard Celebration tickets are available at lalgbtcenter.org/gala. Individual tickets to “Hearts of Gold” can be purchased via lalgbtcenter.org/gala.
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You might never have heard his name, but Kiff Scholl is one of the hardest-working men in Hollywood. Like so many actors, he arrived here hoping for stardom, and came maddeningly near a shot at it when he was almost cast as the lead in the 1998 film, “Billy’s Hollywood Screen Kiss,” but lost out to another gay actor – Sean Hayes, then on the brink of TV icon status as Jack McFarland on “Will and Grace.” It was a blow, but he got some screen time in the movie anyway, and that was enough of a taste to keep him pushing for more. Two decades later, Scholl is still pushing. He’s done a few roles, some voice work, and a lot of walk-ons and commercials (lately, he says, his forte has been playing dads). He’s even dabbled in filmmaking, most notably, perhaps, with the kooky “Scream of the Bikini,” a bizarrely hilarious satirical pseudo-vintage meta-mashup of a badly-dubbed foreign language spy thriller, but also with the short film “Surprise,” an official selection at the Reel Affirmations Film Festival of which he is very proud. That successful screen career of his dreams has yet, so far, to materialize, but that doesn’t mean he’s ready to give up yet. In the meantime, he’s built another kind of career – adjacent to, and often intertwined with the other – spreading his creative wings on the many 99-seat-andunder stages of Los Angeles, an arena in which he is now a fixture. He has built a reputation on edgy, risktaking projects and helmed an impressive number of award-winning and nominated plays over the years, and his lengthy experience on both sides of “the process” has made him the kind of director that other actors are eager to work with. He’s garnered both praise and pans from critics over the years, but has endured the perils of each to emerge as a force to be reckoned with in the local theatre community – no small feat when that community is a city that attracts the best actors and artists from all over the world. Lately, he’s parlayed that status into expanding his horizons even further; using the same “both-sides” perspective that makes him an actor’s director, he has taken on the mantle of dramaturg (or “script doctor,” if you’re more Hollywood-minded), sharing his insights to help inform and shape the vision of writers as they bring their work to life. The latest of these collaborative efforts is about to come full blossom when “Last Swallows” opens at The Other Space in West Hollywood on Sept 21. Written by Cailin Harrison, it’s a “modern family dramatic comedy” set in present day New England, where retired patriarch Robert is happy to see life go by through binoculars birdwatching. His wife Elizabeth, however, is convinced he’s at death’s door; ever the
doting matriarch, she is determined to bring their whole dysfunctional brood home for one final holiday together. Framed through the contemporary scope of a diverse family including the spouses of the families’ adult siblings, it’s a darkly funny look at a bickering family that also throws some powerful and dramatic curveballs along the way. Scholl initially started working with Harrison when a friend recommended him to help her write a web series. In the process of their work together, it grew into the script for film so large and expensive to make that it had to be set aside. Still the two had enjoyed the collaboration, so they talked about other projects they might take on. One of these turned out to be “Last Swallows,” and he was on board for it almost before he had even looked at the script. “She brought it to me and said, ‘Here’s this play that I’ve been writing,’” remembers Scholl. “’It’s about my husband’s family, I wrote it about how when one of his parents was dying, I wasn’t allowed to go to the funeral.’ And I immediately thought, ‘Oh my God! That’s a story I want to direct!’” He elaborates, “Right away, all the characters are onstage, in four different homes, all talking at the same time. They repeat things that the other ones said, they comment, they talk, and it tells a story – almost like gears in a watch, where we get one part from this character and another part from this character, and it just folds into each other. It’s a director’s wet dream, to be able to tell that story when you’re given that challenge.” He began working with Harrison as a dramaturg as well as a director (“She put her complete trust in me,” he beams) and helped her to think through the fine details of her script until it became the play that opens next weekend – one he says he’s “immensely proud” to be a part of. “I knew this was going to be something remarkable,” he says with a sense of lingering awe. “Sometimes, you just know. And with this one, I knew. I think that by working together, we were able to take this play to a place where, at auditions, the actors were saying, ‘I know I’m not supposed to say anything, but I loved your play!’” If his instincts are to be trusted (and his track record is strong evidence that they are), audiences can be expected to have the same reaction. “Last Swallows,” says Scholl, has exactly the qualities that attract him as a director. Continues at losangelesblade.com
Veteran director Scholl embraces challenge of ‘Last Swallows’ A modern family dramatic comedy set in New England By JOHN PAUL KING
Kiff Scholl takes on ‘Last Swallows’ at The Other Space Sept. 21-Oct. 20 in West Hollywood. Photo courtesy Scholl
22 • SEPTEMBER 13, 2019 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
Just ‘Judy’ Renee Zellweger channels la Garland circa ’69 By BRIAN T. CARNEY
Renee Zellweger as Judy Garland in ‘Judy.’ Photo by David Hindley; courtesy LD Entertainment/Roadside Attractions
The fall movie release schedule is so crowded that the highpower holiday feature “Last Christmas” with Emilia Clarke, Emma Thompson, Henry Golding and Michelle Yeoh is opening Nov. 8 to avoid the holiday crunch. Following in the wake of “It: Chapter Two” which opened last Friday, the fall movie season gets off to a busy start today with several notable openings: “Hustlers,” a stripper drama with Constance Wu, Jennifer Lopez, Cardi B, Lizzo, Julia Stiles and trans actress Trace Lysette; the documentaries “Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice” and “Raise Hell: The Life & Times of Molly Ivins;” the prestige prep school drama “The Goldfinch;” the excellent documentary “Fiddler: Miracle of Miracles” about the beloved musical; and, the queer indie coming-of-age drama “This Is Not Berlin.” The following Friday (Sept. 20) offers a little something for everyone: The posh historical drama “Downton Abbey” with Maggie Smith, the action-packed “Rambo: Last Blood” with Sylvester Stallone; and the philosophical space drama “Ad Astra” with Brad Pitt. Two very different pieces of queer history get spotlighted on Sept. 27. The biopic “Judy” stars Renée Zellweger as the legendary Judy Garland set in 1969 (the year of her death) as she preps for a run of concerts at London’s Talk of the Town; the documentary “Where’s My Roy Cohn?” about the ongoing legacy of McCarthy protégé and Trump mentor Roy Cohn. Some of the other interesting fall releases include: “Joker” starring Joaquin Phoenix (Oct. 4) “Lucy in the Sky” starring Natalie Portman (Oct. 4) “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” with the magnificent Angelina Jolie (Oct. 18) “Zombieland: Double Tap” a sequel to the 2009 comedy with Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, Woody Harrelson and Abigail Breslin (Oct. 18) “The Current War” about the electric battle between Thomas Edison (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Michael Westinghouse (Michael Shannon) (Oct. 25) “Terminator: Dark Fate” with returning stars Edward Furlong, Linda Hamilton and Arnold Schwarzenegger (Nov. 1) “Doctor Sleep” (Nov. 8) based on the Stephen King novel “Charlie’s Angels” (Nov. 15) directed by camp goddess Elizabeth Banks, and “Ford v. Ferrari” (Nov. 15) with Christian Bale and Matt Damon Before the holiday onslaught begins (with “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” “Frozen II,” “Aeronauts,” “Bombshell,” “Cats,” “Knives Out,” “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” “1917,” and Greta Gerwig’s fresh take on “Little Women”), there is one movie that should be on everyone’s list: “Harriet.” Directed by Kasi Lemmons (“Eve’s Bayou”), the movie stars Cynthia Errico as Harriet Tubman and features Janelle Monáe, Joe Alwyn, Vanessa Bell Calloway, Vondie Curtis Hall and Leslie Odom. Jr. (Nov. 1).
PRIDE IS AGELESS And so are you. Still blazing new trails, tearing down barriers and empowering yourself to live a longer, healthier and more fulfilling life. Count on AARP to be by your side every step of the way — opening doors and exploring a new vision for aging that’s full of real possibilities. Today is your day to live life as you choose — equally, openly and proudly. Learn more at aarp.org/pride
24 • SEPTEMBER 13, 2019 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
It’s a wrap for ‘Modern Family,’ ‘Transparent’ ‘AHS’ revisits ‘80s with new season; ‘Dark Crystal’ prequel is unexpected hit By BRIAN T. CARNEY
From top: Judith Light and cast in ‘Transparent Musicale Finale’ Photo courtesy Amazon; Ruby Rose as ‘Batwoman’ Photo courtesy CW
The fall 2019 TV season got off to a delightful and unexpectedly queer start with the arrival of “The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance” on Netflix. A prequel to the 1982 cult classic movie directed by Jim Henson and Frank Oz, the 10-episode series returns to the world of Thra where a brave band of Gelflings are fighting against the evil Skeksis. Like the movie, the series uses amazing puppetry (with some mechanical augmentation) instead of CGI. The all-star voice cast includes Taron Egerton, Helena Bonham Carter, Sigourney Weaver, Eddie Izzard, Lena Headly, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Alicia Vikander, Simon Pegg, Harvey Fierstein and Awkwafina. As the series unfolds, it is revealed that Deet (voiced by Nathalie Emmanuel), one of the leaders of the Gelfling rebellion, has two dads. The show also features a lesbian relationship between Tavra (Caitriona Balfe) and Onica (Natalie Dormer). Described as “’Game of Thrones’ with puppets,” the series has premiered to popular and critical acclaim, especially from LGBT fans. Netflix has also dropped season two of “Élite,” a Spanish language drama that includes a resident gay couple and frank discussions of sexuality, HIV, polyamory and murder. The ninth season of “American Horror Story” will start stalking FX viewers on Sept. 18. Inspired by horror/slasher movies from the 1980s, “1984” will star Emma Roberts and openly gay Olympic silver medalist Gus Kenworthy. The cast will also include Sarah Paulson, Billie Lourd, Cody Fern, Matthew Morrison and trans actress Angelica Ross (“Pose”); exhausted series regular Evan Peters is taking the season off. Pro tip: If you don’t subscribe to FX, you can start streaming AHS season eight (the excellent “Apocalypse”) on Netflix on Sept. 24. On Sept. 22, ESPN will present “Mack Wrestles,” a 30-minute documentary film about Mack Beggs, a high school transgender wrestler from Texas. The ground-breaking Amazon series “Transparent” will go out with a big splash on Sept. 27. After the fourth season dropped in September, 2017, the series was buffeted by accusations of sexual harassment against star Jeffrey Tambor, who was fired from the show. Creator Jill Soloway decided to end the series with a feature-length musical instead of the planned fifth and final season. “Transparent: Musicale Finale” will include the death of Tambor’s character, trans woman Maura Pfefferman. The latest series from gay media guru Ryan Murphy
premieres on Netflix on Sept. 27. “The Politician” stars out actor Ben Platt as a ruthless teen who wants to be president of his high school class, and then president of the United States. Gwyneth Paltrow plays his mother; the cast also includes gay icons Bette Midler and Jessica Lange. Several shows with LGBT characters will be starting their final seasons in September, including “9-1-1” (Sept. 23), “The Good Doctor” (Sept. 23), “Empire” (Sept. 24), “Modern Family” (Sept. 25), “The Good Place” (Sept. 26) and “How to Get Away With Murder” (Sept. 26). Returning series with prominent LGBT characters include in “The Conners” (Sept. 24) and “Grey’s Anatomy” (Sept. 26) and “Superstore” (Sept. 26). Meanwhile on the CW, LGBT and LGBT-affirming series new and old will leap into action in October. New to the schedule is “Batwoman,” which stars Ruby Rose as Bruce Wayne’s lesbian cousin Kate Kane. Returning superhero shows include “Supergirl,” “Arrow” (series finale), “Black Lightning” and “The Flash.” Other returning series include “Dynasty,” “Supernatural” (series finale) and “Riverdale.” Netflix continues to taunt the Academy by offering its movies in (very) limited theatrical release before it streams them. (It’s not clear yet if these movies will hit D.C. theaters.) This fall’s hybrid prestige projects include “The King” with Timothée Chalamet as King Henry V and Joel Edgerton as the troublesome Falstaff (streaming on Nov. 1), Martin Scorsese’s three-and-a-half hour crime epic “The Irishman” (Nov. 27), and Noah Baumbach’s “Marriage Story” with Adam Driver and Scarlet Johansson (slated to stream on Dec. 6). HBO will air the documentary “Very Ralph” about openly gay fashion designer Ralph Lauren starting on Nov. 12. Other HBO programming with queer content includes the final season of “The Deuce” starring James Franco and Maggie Gyllenhaal (already underway) and “Mrs. Fletcher” (Oct. 27). Other notable programming includes “Watchmen,” based on the DC Comics series and starring Regina King, Jeremy Irons, Don Johnson, Jean Smart (Oct. 20) and “Catherine the Great” starring Helen Mirren as the imperious czarina and Jason Clarke as the infamous Potemkin (Oct. 21). Also expected in 2019 is an adaptation of Philip Pullman’s award-winning trilogy “His Dark Materials.” Continues at losangelesblade.com
SAVE THE OA Whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s on the other side of the Rose Window? TheOA is Rated #1 Show of 2019 by Thrillist and EmpireOnline
26 • SEPTEMBER 13, 2019 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
‘Judy’ soundtrack, Lana, Taylor and more New record is first in four years from gay pop wunderkind Mika By THOM MURPHY
Karen & The Sorrows, Michael Longoria, Mika and Tegan and Sara are among artists slated to release new albums this fall. Photos by Leah James, courtesy Skollar PR, Julian Broad and Sire/Warner respectively
To say that new album releases have started with a bang this fall would be an understatement. Taylor Swift and Lana Del Rey have both just released highly anticipated albums. And there are several more to look forward to in the coming months. Taylor Swift just released her seventh studio album, “Lover,” which was preceded by singles “Me!,” “You Need to Calm Down” and “Lover.” And it has been doing incredibly well on the charts, hitting the Billboard No. 1 spot. As many have remarked, Swift is becoming more politically outspoken and the new song “You Need to Calm Down” speaks directly about LGBT issues. Longtime favorite Lana Del Rey came out with the new album “Norman Fucking Rockwell!” that has already become a subject of controversy with critics. It was preceded by a number of singles, including the popular “Venice Bitch.” It’s a formidable new album, in step with her best music. Charli XCX’s new album “Charli” comes out today, her first full album since 2014’s “Sucker.” Preceded by six singles, it includes many of the hits that have made her popular on the dance floor, including the lead single “1999.” Also today, singer-songwriter Paula Cole will release her ninth studio album entitled “Revolution.” In the lead-up, she has released the single “Go On.” And the Denver-based indie group The Lumineers is coming out with “III,” their first release since their 2016 “Cleopatra.” On Sept. 20, American pop-rock group Blink-182 will release “NINE,” continuing the band’s comeback that started with the 2011 album “Neighborhoods.” Five singles have already been released from the new album, including “Blame It on My Youth,” “Generational Divide” and most recently “I Really Wish I Hated You.” Kristin Chenoweth is set to release her new album “For The Girls” on Sept. 27, and there is much to look forward to. The album will feature a rendition of “I Will Always Love You” performed as a duet with Dolly Parton. The track “I’m A Woman” features both Jennifer Hudson and Reba McEntire, and “You Don’t Own Me” was recorded with Ariana Grande. On the same day, Renée Zellweger will come out with soundtrack for the new film “Judy,” the anticipated biopic about the life of Judy Garland. The soundtrack seems as though it will have no shortage
of gems, including a duet with out singer Sam Smith on the song “Get Happy,” and a new rendition of the holiday classic “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” with gay songwriter/singer (and frequent Garland interpreter) Rufus Wainwright. Also on Sept. 27, the indie group Tegan and Sara are scheduled to release their ninth album entitled “Hey, I’m Just Like You.” The out twins have long been vocal supporters of LGBT rights. The new album will focus on their teen years and will be released in conjunction with their new memoir “High School.” In anticipation of the new album, they have released the lead single “I’ll Be Back Someday.” On Oct. 4, multilingual pop artist Mika will release his fifth album “My Name Is Michael Holbrook.” The gay singer has had successful pop hits in several languages, including the French track “Elle Me Dit” from his third studio album. So far he has released the singles “Ice Cream,” which is heavy on theatrics in a way reminiscent of Jake Shears, and “Tiny Love.” The queer country group Karen & the Sorrows is set to release the new album “Guaranteed Broken Heart” Oct. 11, with the title cut having been released as a single. The group joins an ever-growing number of out singers, songwriters and musicians in the country music scene. On the same day, Michael Longoria, one of the original cast members of the musical “Jersey Boys,” will release his third solo album entitled “Like They Do In The Movies.” The aptly titled album is filled with classic songs from films like like “Wind Beneath My Wings” from the movie “Beaches,” “Rainbow Connection” from “The Muppet Movie” and “My Heart Will Go On” from “Titanic.” Also anticipated sometime this fall is the new album “Courage” from Celine Dion, as well as the album “Sketchbook” from American Idol-winner Fantasia, who will be bringing her “Sketchbook Tour” to town in October. On vinyl, look for Kim Petras’ “Turn Off the Light Vol, I” (Sept. 20), Goldfrapp’s “Black Cherry” (Sept. 27), Christina Aguilera’s eponymous first album on picture disc (Oct. 4), Freddie Mercury’s “Mr. Bad Guy,” “Never Boring” and “Barcelona” (Oct. 1), Fleetwood Mac’s “Rumours in Concert: the Legendary Broadcasts” on limited edition clear vinyl (Oct. 18) and Cyndi Lauper’s 1998 release “Merry Christmas — Have a Nice Life” on colored vinyl (Nov. 1).
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28 • SEPTEMBER 13, 2019 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
Revisiting Gilead ‘Handmaid’s’ sequel, Van Ness and Rippon memoirs, posthumous Windsor bio, epic Sontag study and more among fall releases By PHILIP VAN SLOOTEN
Inspirational “tell-alls” from athletes, activists and celebrities comprise many of the highly anticipated LGBT books slated for release in the coming months. Kicking things off Sept. 3 was the release of former NFL player Ryan O’Callaghan’s memoir “My Life on the Line: How the NFL Damn Near Killed Me and Ended Up Saving My Life.” O’Callaghan’s work reveals the physical and emotional pain driving his addictions and suicidal thoughts while struggling as a closeted lineman for the New England Patriots and later the Kansas City Chiefs. His journey to selfacceptance is challenging as it detours through the hyper masculine world of professional football. “We are Lost and Found” by Helene Dunbar is a comingof-age story of a group of gay friends struggling to find their identities against the backdrop of the early 1980’s AIDS crisis. This YA novel provides an interesting way for youth of all backgrounds to explore a dark history that is rarely discussed. It was released Sept. 3. Finding poetry in Drunktown, N.M., where men “only touch when they fuck in a backseat” is exactly what Jake Skeets had done with “Eyes Bottle Dark with a Mouthful of Flowers.” This debut collection finds beauty in brutal sex against an unforgiving landscape, yet also reveals unexpected love. Blending Navajo history with mining culture, Skeets’ work was selected as a winner of the 2018 National Poetry series. It was released Sept. 10. Also released earlier this week was “The Testaments: the Sequel to the Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood. Since the hit Hulu series captured fire, Atwood opted to finally write a follow-up to her acclaimed 1985 novel upon which the series is based. It picks up Offred’s story 15 years after the first book and weaves in strands of story from the show that weren’t in the original book. “Sontag: Her Life and Work” by Benjamin Moser explores the writing, public radicalism and private thoughts of queer activist Susan Sontag, who wrote on feminism, homosexuality, drugs and fascism long before these issues went mainstream. She was there for the Cuban Revolution, the Vietnam War and the fall of the Berlin Wall. She covered it all while enduring intense relationships with glamorous lovers. This hefty work — it’s more than 700 pages — explores her public successes and private failures with an eye toward history that makes it a must read. Out Sept. 17. Releasing the same day is “Space Between: Explorations of Love, Sex and Fluidity” by gender-fluid actor and model Nico Tortorella, who has had roles in “Scream 4,” “The Following” and “Younger.” It investigates love, sex, gender, addiction, family, fame and fluidity through their personal story and through the lens of their nonbinary identity. This memoir tells of their dark journey through pain and addiction toward sobriety and an unconventional marriage outside the
gender binary. This title is available for pre-order on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. “Queer Eye’s” Jonathan Van Ness’s memoir “Over the Top: A Raw Journey to Self-Love” is out Sept. 24. Poet (and regular Blade contributor) Kathi Wolfe’s new book “Love and Kumquats: New and Selected Poems” will be published by BrickHouse Books in October. She will read selections at Busboys & Poets (14th and V) on Oct. 20. “The Boy Who Listened to Paintings: A Memoir” by Benjamin Saltman Poetry Award winner Dean Kostos explores a point in his life when he was bullied to the brink of suicide and spent two years in the mental hospital where his mother had stayed. This work addresses mental illness in adolescents and celebrates the transformative power of art. Available Oct. 1. Edie Windsor sued the U.S. government for the right to marry Thea Spyer, her partner of 40 years, and she won. “A Wild and Precious Life” is her posthumous memoir (she died in 2017) describing gay life in 1950s and ’60s New York and her longtime activism which opened the door to marriage equality. Available Oct. 8. Selected by O Magazine, Marie Claire and others as one of the most anticipated books of fall 2019, “How We Fight For Our Lives” by Saeed Jones is a memoir about a young, black gay man coming of age in the South as he fights to carve out a place for himself in his family as well as his country. Fans of the film “Moonlight” will appreciate the honesty and vulnerability displayed in this work. Set for release Oct. 8. Olympic medalist Adam Rippon’s memoir “Beautiful on the Outside” releases Oct. 15 and blends humor with history as he shares his journey through the world of competitive figure skating. Deborah Levy’s “The Man Who Saw Everything” is novel that blurs the sexual and political binaries of masculine and feminine while telling the story of a narcissistic young historian who travels to Communist East Berlin in 1988 to publish a story favorable to the regime. It’s slated for Oct. 15. “A Year Without A Name” by Cyrus Grace Dunham is a memoir detailing their painful evolution from lovable little girl, to gay woman to nonbinary queerness. Dunham lays bare their personal experience to help readers feel the anguish of binary limitations but also the profound freedom of acceptance without resolution. Dunham’s book also releases Oct. 15 and is available for pre-order. “Find Me,” the sequel to queer love story “Call Me By Your Name” by Andre Aciman, is slated for an Oct. 29 release and will let the world know what became of Elio, Oliver and Elio’s father, now divorced. Aciman was inspired to revisit the characters after the hit 2017 film adaptation by Luca Guadagnino became a monster hit. Continues at losangelesblade.com
30 • SEPTEMBER 13, 2019 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
OUT & ABOUT
WeHo ready to celebrate Bi Pride Three days of programming includes march By SUSAN HORNIK
A scene from last year’s Bi Pride. Photo by Jon Viscott
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The City of West Hollywood along with the Human Rights Campaign LA and the amBi bisexual social community will host the city’s second annual Bi Pride Celebration on Sept. 21, 2019, in the West Hollywood Park Auditorium and Sky Room. The social event is part of three days of programming around Bi Visibility Day, also known as International Celebrate Bisexuality Day, which takes place on Sunday, Sept. 23, 2019. Ian Lawrence-Tourinho, Executive Director of the Bi Foundation and Lead Organizer of amBi Los Angeles - a social group for bi people across LA County that is helping put on WeHo Bi Pride—is thrilled about the upcoming event. “Last year’s Bi Pride really made me appreciate the importance of simple, understandable, positive messaging,” Lawrence-Tourinho acknowledged. “As a community that is so often actively erased from public discourse, the importance of that kind of bi visibility almost can’t be overstated.” Lawrence-Tourinho hopes that this event creates a lot of visibility for Los Angeles’ dynamic bi community and energizes people in California and beyond. “I was at an LGBT conference in Korea earlier this month and it warmed my heart to hear from activists working in places as far away as Thailand and Mainland China. They heard of our 2018 event and that it inspired them. One of my hopes is that people in other cities and countries will start hosting these kinds of celebrations as well, bringing our bi community together in a spirit of joy. I think our movement is ready to.” Across the world, events around Bi Visibility Day have tended to be very grassroots affairs, such as community art festivals and talent shows, noted Lawrence-Tourinho. “At one point, last year’s event was possibly going to be called ‘Be Here,’ which would include a series of panel discussions mixed with slam poetry and music performances. All that is beautiful too, but we eventually realized that with the city of West Hollywood’s support, we had a chance to do something bigger - and yet simpler.” When people hear “Bi Pride,” they have an idea what that means, said Lawrence-Tourinho. “They imagine fun, celebration, and a chance to really feel good about being bi. That promise brings out a diverse crowd from all walks of life.” Last year, more than twice as many people attended as they anticipated. “We really got a sense of how much pent up demand there is for an event like this. And so Bi Pride 2019 is going to be a bigger and better. “ Sprouts, Starbucks, The Abbey, and Trader Joes are donating food and drink. There will also be some organizations with tables. “But we didn’t want this to be a dry ‘org fest’ with a bunch of nonprofits handing out flyers,” said LawrenceTourinho. The organizers didn’t want the event to be corporate. “Instead, we insisted that everyone exhibiting at our little festival have something to offer the community - something fun, interactive, and of relevance. Expect a lot of games and giveaways.” He continued, “We’ll also have a few short speeches from politicians and community leaders and then we are going to take to the streets! We will be marching down the main drag of West Hollywood with the world’s largest bi flag, being as fabulously and visibly bi as the world has ever seen. After that, we’ll return to the Auditorium for ‘Glow,’ a dance party that takes place all in black light. I can’t wait!”
Bi Pride: Mike Szymanski The Los Angeles Blade talked to attendees about the importance of bi pride and the challenges they face as a bisexual. “Bi Pride is important because bisexuals are usually overlooked or caught up in LGBT and completely forgotten,” said Mike Szymanski, who co-authored “The Bisexual’s Guide to the Universe.” Continues at losangelesblade.com
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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
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ALSO OF NOTE Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust | This “primary source institution” commemorates those who perished, honors those who survived, and houses the precious artifacts that miraculously weathered the Holocaust. Free Holocaust education to students and visitors are among its offerings, as part of a mission to “build a more respectful, dignified, and humane world.” Through Oct. 22, “Women at the Frontline of Mass Violence Worldwide” is a traveling exhibit that gives voice to female survivors of mass violence and genocide, via portraits and excerpts of testimony from, among others, Roma female survivors of the Porajmos (the genocide against the Roma during World War II) and indigenous women from Guatemala, victims of the internal armed conflict in the 1980s. The exhibit is presented in English and Spanish. Located at 100 S. The Grove Dr. Call 323-651-3704 or visit lamoth.org. Los Angeles County Museum of Art | With LACMA construction taking place, original collection galleries are closed, BCAM and Resnick Pavilion feature art from the collection in ongoing exhibitions. A new building for the permanent collection—the David Geffen Galleries—opens in 2024. Upcoming offerings include the Sept. 22 debut of “Thomas Joshua Cooper: The World’s Edge,” featuring 65 large-scale and 75 8 x 10 black and white photographs showcasing Cooper’s “The Atlas of Emptiness and Extremity, The World’s Edge, the Atlantic Basin Project,” a charting of chart the Atlantic Basin from the extreme points of each north, south, east, and west coordinate. “For him,” the LACMA website notes, “each place is a point of departure allowing contemplation of the ocean’s emptiness beyond the extreme points of the land.” Located at 5905 Wilshire Blvd. Call 323-857-6000 or visit lacma. org. The Broad | A major survey by groundbreaking artist Shirin Neshat opens on Oct. 19. “I Will Greet the Sun Again” spans roughly three decades of creative output, which, they note, “engages with Iranian history, the experience of living in exile, and the human impact of political revolution.” “Greet” also includes the global debut of “Land of Dreams,” a feature-length film addressing social injustice and major cultural changes in America. Located at 221 S. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles. More info at thebroad.org. The J. Paul Getty Museum | The Museum collects, presents, conserves, and interprets great works of art. Its collection of more than 120,000 separate objects inspires curiosity about—and enjoyment and understanding of—the visual arts, among audiences of all ages. On view through Nov. 10, says Head of Public Affairs John Giurini, “is our major exhibition, “Gordon Parks: The Flávio Story.” Parks (1912-2006) was, notes Giurini, “an African American photographer who was very active in the 1960s, and this particular series, he did on assignment from Life magazine, to do a photo essay on poverty in Brazil.” A young boy by the name of Flávio da Silva became a subject of focus, with Parks returning to Brazil multiple times, to document Flávio’s life. “It
Installation view of “Sadie Barnette: The New Eagle Creek Saloon.” Photo by Robert Divers Herrick
shows,” says Giurini, “how a photographer interacts with a subject, and they develop a relationship, a bond.” The exhibition is accompanied by another called “Once. Again. Photographs in Series,” which, Giurini notes, “looks at how photographers, over the years, revisit the same subject” to observe change. Giurini says photography allows the Getty to address present day concerns, via a medium still in its infancy when compared to the majority of their collection, which is “very defined by Western European works prior to 1900,” in which LGBTQ subject matter is rarely overtly addressed. An exhibition premiering on Dec. 17 promises diversity in content and theme, as “Unseen: 35 Years
of Collecting Photographs” looks at photography accumulated (and still being acquired) by the Getty. “Within that,” says Giurini, “there will be artists who are LGBT. It will show the way we’ve worked hard to develop a very diverse body of artists and work… Photography, particularly because it brings us into the present day, allows us the freedom to expand and grow—and our curators do ask the question, ‘How do we present it [the rest of the collection] in a way that allows us to explore different topics and subject matters?’ ” The J. Paul Getty Museum is located at 1200 Getty Center Drive, Los Angeles. Admission is free. Call 310440-7300 or visit getty.edu.
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