Inner City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles raises a baton PAGE 08
S E P T E M B E R 1 8 , 2 0 2 0 • VO LU M E 0 4 • I S S U E 3 8 • A M E R I CA’ 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 . CO M
Buck seeks bail deal for temporary release amid COVID outbreak Prosecutors to argue he remains danger to the community FROM STAFF REPORTS According to a New York Times story published on Sept. 15, deaths in Los Angeles County related to meth overdoses have increased 707 percent over the past decade, from 50 in 2007 to 320 the year Gemmel Moore, 26, died in 66-year-old Ed Buck’s West Hollywood apartment on Laurel Avenue. Buck pleaded not guilty Sept. 4 to additional charges of multiple felonies that include injecting or administering drugs to Moore on July 27, 2017. He is also charged with soliciting Moore for prostitution and enticing him to cross state lines for that purpose. Additionally Buck is accused of knowingly and intentionally distributing meth, and of using his apartment for the purpose of distributing narcotics such as meth, gamma hydroxybutyric acid (GHB) and clonazepam. A bail reconsideration hearing is set for Sept. 25 and Buck’s attorney’s will argue for release, offering a $400,000 bail and submission to electronic monitoring for home confinement. COVID-19 is sweeping through the jails and Buck’s health is jeopardized, they will argue. Prosecutors argue that because Buck, who is also scheduled to face nine counts in federal court, has a history of injecting men with drugs and offering payment for sexual favors he is a danger to the community therefore disqualified for pretrial release. Trial is scheduled for Jan. 19. In his Federal case, prosecutors allege that Buck “engaged in a pattern of soliciting men to consume drugs that Buck provided and perform sexual acts at Buck’s apartment,” a practice described, according to court filings, as “party and play” Buck, who allegedly solicited victims on social media platforms and gay sex apps, may face trafficking charges if it can be proven, as prosecutors suggest, that he used a recruiter to solicit potential victims. Buck is said to have prepared a crystal meth concoction that he then personally injected
ED BUCK in custody Sept. 2019.
into Moore and other victims by syringe (with and without consent) and sometimes while they were unconscious. A second gay man also died in Buck’s home. Timothy Dean, the indictment says, suffered a fatal overdose in Buck’s apartment, on Jan. 7, 2019. Charges involving narcotics that resulted in death can carry a mandatory minimum federal penalty of 20 years and possible maximum of life without parole if found guilty.
LA Center & Equality California Raise Millions In Separate Virtual Events One televised, the other online only but both homeruns By Staff Reports
LOS ANGELES – The two largest California LGBTQI+ non-profits raised nearly $3 million dollars in two separate celebrity driven fundraising events this past weekend. The events were a first for both as The Los Angeles LGBT Center and Equality California, were unable to host in-person events due the restrictions imposed by the coronavirus pandemic and instead were held online in a virtual setting. The LGBT Center is approaching the $1.3 million mark in support from its first-ever live telethon Love in Action which aired on KTLA 5 and livestreamed on Saturday, September 12.The incredible two-hour fundraising show, presented by The Ariadne Getty Foundation, earmarked the Center’s inaugural effort to raise money for its vital programs and services during the COVID-19 pandemic through a live television event. Co-hosted by Emmy-Award winning actress and former member of the Center’s Board of Directors Jane Lynch and KTLA 5 news anchor Cher Calvin and with drag superstar Manila Luzon emceeing the in-studio tote board as the telethon’s “Cash Queen.” The event showcased appearances and performances by a roster of A-list entertainers. On Sunday, September 13, Equality California hosted its first-ever statewide “Golden State Equality Awards” virtual celebration. Led by “Pose” star Angelica Ross, the evening was filled with powerful tributes and inspiring moments highlighting the essential work carried out by Equality California in the fight for LGBTQ+ civil rights and social justice, raising over $1.75 million for the cause. International superstars Gloria Estefan and Rita Moreno honored their longtime friend and collaborator Norman Lear with the Ally Leadership Award for his lifelong commitment to civil rights and increasing onscreen representation of Black, Latinx and LGBTQ+ people. Pete & Chasten Buttigieg received the Equality Trailblazer Award, following Pete’s groundbreaking run for president. Executive Producer Laverne Cox, Director/Producer Sam Feder and Producer Amy Scholder accepted the Equality Visibility Award on behalf of the impactful Netflix Original Documentary Disclosure. U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi honored the late U.S. Representative John Lewis, a civil rights
Advertising campaigns from Equality California and the Los Angeles LGBT Center as seen in Los Angeles Blade.
legend and longtime ally to the LGBTQ+ community, with a moving tribute to his life and career, accompanied by a poignant performance from Rufus Wainwright. “The money we generated in support of our telethon began being used the very next day to help some of the most vulnerable people in Los Angeles, which means the Center can continue to serve as a first-responder for the LGBTQ community during the pandemic,” Center CEO Lorri L. Jean. “A heartfelt thank you to our friends in the entertainment industry who lent their time and talent for this urgent cause. And extra special gratitude to the always compassionate and determined Ariadne Getty for her foundation’s generous support. On that magical evening, we collectively showed the true power of love in action that will reverberate throughout the LGBTQ community for months to come!” LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • SEPTEMBER 18, 2020 • 03
California State Sen. SCOTT WEINER (Photo Harvard Law School Association)
QAnon, ‘right-wing Christian’ groups attack Sen. Wiener Homophobic broadsides from QAnon are escalating nationally By BRODY LEVESQUE SACRAMENTO — The ink had barely dried on Gov. Gavin Newsom’s signature making Senate Bill 145 law last week when those opposed launched renewed attacks including death threats from the web by QAnon supporters on its legislative sponsor, San Francisco Democratic State Sen. Scott Wiener. The gay lawmaker had sought to bring California’s sex offender statues, which had not been given recent legislative revision to take into account sexual relations between persons outside of vaginal sex, other forms of sex, including that which could happen between LGBTQI individuals. Right-wing groups including QAnon conspiracists immediately labeled the law has giving licence to pedophilia. Christian extremist Dr. Michael Brown wrote in several ‘Family Values’ Christian websites, “First, why would we want to protect an adult who commits a sexual act with a minor as young as 14? Second, how prevalent is adult-minor sex in the gay community? [...] read more about the life of gay icon Harvey Milk. Note also that I’m not talking about pedophilia but rather so-called “consensual” acts between adults and teens as young as 14.” The law actually defines: “[that] if an adult has voluntary penile-vaginal intercourse with a minor aged 14, 15, 16, or 17 and is up to 10 years older than the minor, the offense is not automatically registrable. Rather, a judge has discretion whether or not to place the defendant on the sex offender registry depending on the facts of the case. By contrast, if the act is oral sex, anal sex or sexual penetration, the court must place the defendant on the sex offender registry regardless of the facts of the crime and even in cases where the prosecutor and judge do not want to place the defendant on the registry. “This distinction in the law is irrational and discriminatory towards LGBTQ young people. For example, if a 19-year-old and 17-year-old couple have voluntary oral sex, the 19-year-old must be placed on the registry. But if it’s vaginal sex, the judge has discretion to place the older party on the registry or to keep them off. SB 145 ends this irrational distinction by treating all voluntary sex the same way that the law currently treats penile-vaginal intercourse,” Wiener’s spokesperson said to the Blade. However, the fact is that the law does not legalize statutory rape. It also does not give California judges discretion to keep adults off the registry who victimized a child under the age of 14 or adults who engaged in sex with a teenager more than 10 years their junior. 06 • SEPTEMBER 18, 2020 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
Adding more controversy were detractors such as other state lawmakers including Senate Minority Leader Senator Shannon Grove, a Republican from the 16th district which is heavily conservative who called the bill disgusting and proceeded to use the [Hashtag] savethechildren which has been popularized by QAnon and right-wing extremists as a way to flag socalled online posts about pedophilia. The resulting outrage generated angry tweets, comments, Instagram messages, death threats, doxxing, (the online publication of a person’s home address) and anti-semitic/homophobic memes. In response to the attacks, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors introduced a resolution this week “condemning the antisemitic and homophobic attacks on Senator Scott Wiener and urging social media platforms to protect their users from hate speech.” Wiener represents the city in the state Senate. “I stand unequivocally with Senator Wiener as he faces some of the worst online harassment I have ever seen,” said San Francisco Mayor London Breed. “Antisemitism and homophobia are unacceptable and disgusting, and we must stand firm against this hatred. Senator Wiener is a fierce fighter for LGBTQ rights, and as a city, we strongly support him.” “It is a righteous bill,” said Wiener, “It is supported by civil rights organizations and law enforcement and sexual assault survivor organizations. And it’s a bill that will address an inequity that is destroying the lives of LGBTQ people.” Wiener told the Blade that he is grateful for the support in the face of the extremism. “Sadly, we’re living in a time when- as with the Salem Witch Trials or the McCarthy era- leaders are using fear and mistrust to turn people against one another. The Republican Party is stoking the flames of misinformation by sharing false and slanderous news stories, and it’s been terrifying. I’ve received over 1,00 death threats and tens of thousands of harassing comments and messages- often using hate speech. But I will never stop standing up for LGBTQ people, especially queer youth. We are fighting for equal rights and I will never give up this fight,” Wiener told the Blade. SB 145 was also co-sponsored by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office and Equality California. The bill was signed into law by Newsom on Friday, September 11th and will begin to take effect January 1st, 2021.
’11 years ago was magical’
Disney brings unique story of Inner City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles to ﬁlm By BRODY LEVESQUE
Inner City Youth Orchestra performance at Disney Hall.
(Photo courtesy Charles Dickerson, director of Special Ensembles at California State University)
For Calhoun, his fellow orchestral members, for Dickerson, the news by the Disney Company In the late summer of 2009, during an August backyard birthday celebration, a group this week that its live-action team is in early development on a movie for the Disney+ channel of twenty-four teenage orchestral musicians begged their conductor to please make the about ICYOLA is, as Calhoun jokes, “a true Disney moment.” experience of that summer last—forever if possible, but to please keep the orchestra and Hollywood screenwriter Bobby Smith Jr. known for his 1994 its music going. What made that such an inimitable moment for ﬁlm Jason’s Lyric, a story dealing with misunderstood young black those in attendance was that all of those young people were DOMINIC CALHOUN (Photo courtesy Calhoun) adults learning how to deal with love and maturity, will be the growing up in some of the poorest neighborhoods of Los Angeles, principal screenplay author and the ﬁlm’s executive producer. and were- like their conductor, Black. Longtime Disney executive and studio producer Brigham Dominic Calhoun was one of those young people that summer Taylor (The Jungle Book, Lady and the Tramp) will produce under day. A student at Hamilton High School in Central Downtown his ‘Taylor Made Film Productions’ company for Disney+. LA that year, he remembered the excitement that had been “Chuck made us all feel empowered- we were a part of generated by being able to perform classical music in recitals that something special,” Calhoun said. “Every young person, regardless for the ﬁrst time showcased music he loved and able to publicly whether they were Black, Latino, Asian, LGBTQ, didn’t matter,” play his beloved violin. he tells Los Angeles Blade. “Chuck gave us that safe space to be “Chuck made it a diﬀerent vibe,” Calhoun said. “It was so ourselves. I mean there weren’t many options at our schoolsdiﬀerent from orchestral practise and performances at school,” well save for football, basketball you know, But he gave us that he added, then paused and reﬂected, “eleven years ago was opportunity.” magical.” Asked about Disney’s interest in making a ﬁlm telling their ‘Chuck’ is Charles Dickerson, the Director of Special Ensembles stories, Calhoun reﬂected, “Makes me feel amazing that my Black at California State University, Dominguez Hills, but the title he Life matters enough to have Disney tell the world about it.” tells Los Angeles Blade that he is the most honoured to possess Dickerson is pleasantly shocked but grateful that Disney is going and which is beloved by his young orchestral musicians, is as to tell the story of his amazing young people. For the past eleven the Executive Director and Conductor, of the Inner City Youth years, save for this year because of the coronavirus pandemic, Orchestra of Los Angeles. (ICYOLA) he and his young charges have put on eight to ten concerts and Calhoun told Los Angeles Blade this week that more than the recitals per year with the highlight performance always being the mentoring and the empathetic teaching, arranging, and guiding season ﬁnale at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los that Dickerson gave his young charges, it was the fact that as a Angeles. young gay Black youth trying to ﬁgure things out, Dickerson was “I am so honoured,” he tells Los Angeles Blade. “There are now a critical part of his life. 111 young people on stage performing the very best in classical “Chuck really was a father ﬁgure especially after my parents orchestral music. They are unique- the only youth orchestra completely composed of 75% divorced in 2006 and my mom and I moved from Koreatown to Central Downtown—she was a Black, 20% Latino, and 5% other minorities in the entire United States.” He added that the single parent, he helped me,” he said. “He was accepting and even gave me advice.” young people are not required to audition to join and he welcomes all. Now in his twenties and busy working as a Health Educator and Technical Assistant for the Dickerson noted that ﬁnancial support comes from the community and some foundations Los Angeles County Department of Health assisting the LA Uniﬁed School District as it prepares and that ICYOLA never has a fee or burdens its members. to return to in-person in-classroom instruction, Calhoun is still actively part of the ICYOLA, Dickerson said that he feels blessed and grateful to “showcase the very best of our playing ‘Second Chair Violin’ as he helps mentor others in the orchestra the same way he was. community.” “Chuck gave me the opportunity to be myself, as a young Black queer person, as a musicianhe gave me- all of us that safe space we needed,” Calhoun said. 08 • SEPTEMBER 18, 2020 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
LOCAL EQCA, Honor PAC Stonewall Democrats and the Stonewall Young Democrats. I really feel that they are passionate about LGBT causes but also the fact that they don’t shy away from holding us LGBT leaders accountable.
QUEERY David Vela
What’s Los Angeles’ best nightspot, past or present? I will always feel at home at Redline in Downtown LA. I feel Oliver Alpuche the owner has really opened up his spot for people of all colors and ages. He has the right attitude to survive in LA. Describe your dream wedding. Awww very simple on a remote island with close family and friends.
Queery: David Vela
The LA Community College District leader answers 20 queer questions By ROMAN NAVARRETTE Angeleno David Vela is a member of the Board of Trustees for the Los Angeles Community College District, Seat 3, and a familiar face around town. You may have heard from him recently and if you haven’t yet, you will. He’s passionate about college affordability and access and has always been a strong champion in the community to see others succeed, and, well, he wants your vote. For the past two years, Vela has pushed the system to make sure students come first, demanding cutting edge curriculum and fighting for budgets that are fair and balanced. And he has made looking out for LGBTQ students of color a particular priority. Vela is passionate about making it possible for students to reach their educational goals as quickly as possible and without putting them in debt in the process. As a current trustee, former community college instructor, County Supervisor’s Deputy and school board member, Vela has the experience to govern in times of crisis. His experience and knowledge of government proved to be an asset during the COVID-19 pandemic that plagues the district. Vela ensured that the district converted to online
courses immediately to avoid the interruption of studies, again, proving his dedication to his students in the LA community colleges. Vela grew up in Los Angeles and early on, knew that education was the key to get him to where he wanted to go, having been encouraged by his mom who raised him by herself and instilled in him the importance of going to college and graduate school. Vela holds his undergrad degree from UCLA and his master’s degree from Pepperdine University. His interest in education continued and he served an eight-year tenure on the Montebello Unified School District Board of Education, from 2007-2015. Vela currently resides in Montebello as well.
What non-LGBTQ issue are you most passionate about? Access to higher education. It’s extremely important to advocate for members of our society to receive some type of education whether it’s formal or vocational - it really does even the playing field and improves quality of life. What historical outcome would you change? Obviously it’s the fact that the electoral college is outdated and needs to be revised. What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime? Definitely my Madonna concerts and when I went to see Depeche Mode in Northern California. On what do you insist? I insist on people having genuine and meaningful discourse before judging anyone or anything. So many evil entities have used a divide and conquer devise or weapon in order to gain power and we have to understand that or else we will never ever overcome that evil What was your last Facebook post or Tweet? It was to encourage enrollment in the second year of community college for free!
How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell? I have been out for the last 15 years. The hardest person to tell was my mother because I feared that she would reject me but I was wrong. Ultimately she became my biggest supporter and friend.
If your life were a book, what would the title be? “It can wait till tomorrow.” A big positive characteristic about myself is that I am passionate and I respond quickly and I am a hard worker but sometimes if you weigh a better and more calm solution, it will arise.
Who’s your LGBTQ hero? My biggest LGBTQ heroes are Victory Fund,
If science discovered a way to change sexual orientation, what would you do?
I would not take part in it but I would not judge anyone who would. What do you believe in beyond the physical world? I believe that we release energy that is currently held in our bodies and serve another stage in our universal lives. What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders? Unification! I find it perfectly understandable that we feel a lot of frustration but at the end of the day you cannot get anything done without unifying. What would you walk across hot coals for? Pizza. What LGBT stereotype annoys you most? Probably that we are always single or free. I have always had to really be a big part of my family’s life and whether financial or emotionally I have always supported them. What’s your favorite LGBTQ movie? I don’t know if it’s LGBTQ but definitely think “Mean Girls” is the most hilarious movie ever. What’s the most overrated social custom? I get annoyed when we have to define people by their sexual identity or sexual orientation or even race. I kind of wish we just call each other “fabulous.” What trophy or prize do you most covet? I really treasure my university and graduate school diploma What do you wish you’d known at 18? I wish I’d known that I could take my time and make decisions about my career and not necessarily try to keep up with others. I wish I had known that I could have just studied abroad or perhaps done research on Mayan ruins. Why Los Angeles? Los Angeles is everything! I mean it figuratively but I also mean it literally because this is a town where you have a microcosm of the world. It’s a town literally where you can feel anonymous and with family at the same time. To me LA represents opportunity. It’s a place where no matter where you come from you are a part of Los Angeles whether you have been here for an hour or would you have been here for generations. I love the weather and the warmth because at the end of the day you always want to curl up to a warm and friendly sky.
LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • SEPTEMBER 18, 2020 • 09
Andrew Gillum comes out as bi
Andrew Gillum, a Florida Democrat who after a narrow loss in a 2018 gubernatorial run was engulfed in a scandal after being found in a hotel room with drugs and a male sex worker, has come out as bisexual. Gillum made the announcement about his sexual orientation in an interview with journalist Tamron Hall that went online Monday. “You didn’t ask the question, you put it out there whether I identify as gay. The answer is I don’t identify as gay but I do identify as bisexual,” Gillum said. “And that is something that I’ve never shared publicly before.” In March, the Tallahassee Democrat reported Gillum was one of three men, one of whom was suﬀering from a drug overdose, found by police with “plastic baggies of suspected crystal meth” in a hotel room in Miami Beach, Fla.. The person who overdosed has been reported by numerous outlets as a gay male escort. According to police reports, Gillum was found vomiting in the room too inebriated to speak with oﬃcers while another man was passed out. At the time, Gillum denied using any drugs and said he had “too much to drink.” Days later, Gillum said he would enter
rehab, citing struggles after losing his race to now Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Alphonso David, president of the Human Rights Campaign, commended Gillum on Twitter for coming out, saying “coming out as bi+ looks diﬀerent from every person.” “No matter the circumstances, all people deserve respect,” David tweeted. “@AndrewGillum sharing his story will no doubt help others who may be struggling with coming out on their own terms.” Gillum, who was known for supporting LGBTQ rights before coming out, is married to his wife R. Jai Gillum and previously was mayor of Tallahassee. David Johns, executive director of the National Black Justice Coalition, said in a statement Black people in the LGBTQ community welcome Gillum’s announcement. “Black members of the LGBTQ+ community across the country watched Andrew Gillum’s interview with Tamron Hall today with empathy and love, as so many of us can relate to the complex issues and feelings he conveyed,” Johns said. “I applaud Gillum’s willingness to be vulnerable about his struggles and journey on national television, and deeply
ANDREW GILLUM, who ran for Florida governor, has come out as bisexual. (Photo public domain
appreciate the raw emotion he conveyed in his conversation with Hall alongside his wife, R. Jai.” CHRIS JOHNSON
Facebook to fact-check ads stoking anti-trans fears The tech giant Facebook has slapped a fact-check protocol on an anti-transgender ad run by the American Principles Project that seeks to stoke fears that transgender athletes would “destroy girls’ sports.” David Kearns, a Facebook spokesperson, conﬁrmed to the Blade via email the tech company had placed a fact check on the ads, citing determinations from Politifact and its thirdparty checking program. “Our third-party fact checkers have rated this content which means it is not allowed to run as an ad and any organic posts will receive a label,” Kearns added. According to Facebook’s ad library, the American
Principles Project spent between $2,000 and $2,500 to run the ad, which was shown entirely in Michigan to criticize Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) for co-sponsoring the Equality Act and Joe Biden for supporting the legislation. The ad has received 60,000 to 70,000 impressions. “All female athletes want is a fair shot at competition, at a scholarship, at a title, at victory,” the ad claims. “But what if that shot was taken away by a competitor who claims to be a girl but was born a boy? Sen. Gary Peters and Joe Biden support legislation that would destroy girls’ sports.“ CHRIS JOHNSON
HRC examines LGBTQ hospital policies, impact of COVID A greater number of the nation’s hospitals and other healthcare facilities have adopted policies and practices in the past year providing equal treatment and support for LGBTQ patients, visitors, and employees, according to the 13th annual Healthcare Equality Index report released Aug. 31 by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. The report says a record 765 hospitals and other health care facilities participated in the annual Healthcare Equality Index survey at a time when they faced unprecedented challenges in caring for patients in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. It says 495 of the hospitals and other facilities participating in the survey earned a top score of 100 on their LGBTQ-related policies and practices. In a separate report released on Sept. 4, the HRC Foundation provides national survey research data showing that during most of the nation’s ﬁrst phase “reopening” period related to the COVID pandemic, LGBTQ people are “still 30 percent more likely than the general population to be experiencing higher unemployment rates.”
The report says the data also show that LGBTQ people are 20 percent more likely than the general population to have experienced a reduction in work hours during the reopening period. According to the report, the data, collected in partnership with the D.C.-based market research and polling services company PSB Insights, show that LGBTQ people are 50 percent more likely to have taken a pay cut than the general population. “As some states and municipalities across the country have begun to institute policies for reopening their economies, signiﬁcant attention must be paid to communities who are most vulnerable and living at the intersections of multiple marginalized identiﬁes,” the report says. “New data and analysis from PSB and HRC now show that LGBTQ people are being left behind even as some businesses and public spaces across the country try to reopen,” the report states. The report, entitled COVID-19 Continues to Adversely Impact LGBTQ People, provides these additional ﬁndings: • The LGBTQ population was 20 percent more likely than the
10 • SEPTEMBER 18, 2020 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
general population to have experienced a reduction in work hours since some states initiated reopening policies. • LGBTQ people of color are 150 percent more likely to have taken a pay cut than the general population since some states began reopening policies. • LGBTQ people of color are 44 percent more likely and transgender people are 125 percent more likely than the general population to have had a reduction in work hours since states initiated reopening policies. • HRC and PSB data show that 73 percent of the general population and 78 percent of the LGBTQ population preferred containing the virus over reopening the economy before the states initiated policies to reopen. As parts of the economy reopened, 69 percent of the general population preferred containing the virus over reopening the economy and 80 percent of LGBTQ people preferred containing the virus. LOU CHIBBARO JR.
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Ross Victory is an L.A. based singer/songwriter, rapper, graphic designer, travel enthusiast, and author of the award-winning books: Views from the Cockpit and Panorama. After the back to back loss of his father and brother, and a five-year healing journey, Ross uses his unique perspective, life experiences traveling the world, and creativity to create stories that inspire and music that entertains.
Coons blasts report Philippines leader pardoned Marine for COVID vaccine Duterte’s surprise pardon of Pemberton on Sept. 7 REHOBOTH BEACH, Del. — U.S. Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) sparked widespread outrage and condemnation among last week blasted a report that suggests the president of Philippine activists. Agence France-Presse on Thursday the Philippine pardoned a U.S. Marine who was convicted reported Duterte spokesperson Harry Roque told reporters of killing a transgender woman in exchange for coronavirus during a virtual news conference the pardon should allow vaccines from the U.S. the Philippines to receive doses of coronavirus vaccines “That (Rodrigo) Duterte could pardon a murderer who produced in the U.S. killed someone who deserves to be alive today and that that “As we all know our president has emphasized the need could possibly be seen as a trade oﬀ for a vaccine to save for a vaccine,” said Roque, according to Agence Francelives from the latest pandemic strikes me as a new low, even Presse.\ for this administration,” said Coons, referring to President “The grant of a pardon to Pemberton is in line with our Trump. president’s desire that the Philippines should also beneﬁt Coons made the comment in response to a Washington when Americans do develop a vaccine,” he added. Blade question during a fundraiser for the Blade Foundation The State Department has yet to publicly comment on the that took place at the Blue Moon in Rehoboth Beach. pardon. Philippine prosecutors contend Lance Cpl. Joseph U.S. Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) (Blade photo by Michael Key) Pemberton on Sunday left the Philippines on a U.S. Pemberton in October 2014 murdered Jennifer Laude in a military cargo plane. The New York Times reported the U.S. motel in Olongapo City on the Philippines’ main island of Embassy in Manila in a statement said Pemberton “fulﬁlled Luzon after he discovered she was trans. The murder took his sentence as ordered by Philippine courts and he departed the Philippines on Sept. 13.“ place after Pemberton met Laude at a local nightclub while his ship was docked at the “All legal proceedings in the case took place under Philippine jurisdiction and law,” said Subic Bay Freeport. the embassy. A court in 2015 sentenced Pemberton to 6-12 years in prison, but he received credit Philippine oﬃcials said Pemberton is barred from returning to the country. for the time he spent in custody before his trial. A judge the following year reduced MICHAEL K. LAVERS Pemberton’s sentence.
Bachelet highlights rights abuses in U.N. speech U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on Monday highlighted LGBTQ rights abuses in Poland and Honduras during her speech at the opening of the U.N. Human Rights Council’s latest session in Geneva. Bachelet expressed concern “about the continuing repression of LGBTI people and activists (in Poland), including restrictions on their freedom of assembly, and the government’s support for towns that have termed themselves — using unacceptable language — ‘LGBTI-free zones.’” A magazine that supports Polish President Andrzej Duda’s government last summer distributed “LGBT-free zone” stickers. Duda in June said LGBTQ “ideology” is more harmful than communism. Justyna Nakielska of Kampania Przeciw Homofobii, a Polish LGBTQ advocacy group, told the Washington Blade earlier this year that Duda’s Law and Justice party ahead of last October’s parliamentary elections
U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights MICHELLE BACHELET (Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)
described LGBTQ Poles as “a threat to the family” and said they “want to sexualize children.” Duda won re-election in July. “The scapegoating and targeting of a minority group, for political purposes, feeds intolerance and discrimination, damaging all of society,” said Bachelet. Bachelet also noted “attacks on and violent deaths of LGBTI persons continue to increase” in Honduras. She said the Oﬃce of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights in Honduras has “documented” the murders of seven transgender women in the Central American country since President Juan Orlando Hernández’s government declared a state of emergency in March because of the coronavirus. Bachelet noted three of these killings took place in July. MICHAEL K. LAVERS
Lesbian from Cuba granted asylum in U.S. An immigration judge on Monday granted asylum to a lesbian from Cuba who has been in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody for 10 months. Judge Pedro J. Espina, who is based in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, via videoconference granted asylum to Yanelkys Moreno Agramonte, 36, based on the harassment and discrimination she suﬀered in Cuba because of her sexual orientation. Espina said Moreno would face future persecution if she were to return to her country. Moreno, in an article the Blade published on June 18, said her family and neighbors never accepted her. Moreno also said Cuba’s National Revolutionary Police in Zulueta, a small town in the center of the country where she lived with her girlfriend, Dayana Rodríguez González, 31, subjected her to homophobic treatment. The context of rights for the LGBTQ community on the island is extremely limited, because same-sex couples cannot legally marry and they do not have the right to adoption. Cuba’s Labor Code does not protect transgender people and only those who undergo sexreassignment surgery can change their gender and photo on their identity document, a process that can take several months. Rodríguez and Moreno entered the U.S. together on Nov. 3, 2019, through a port of 12 • SEPTEMBER 18, 2020 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
entry in El Paso, Texas, but were separated as soon as they began the asylum process. Rodriguez was released from the El Paso Service Processing Center on Feb. 4, 2020, on parole and a $7,500 bond. Moreno was transferred to the South Louisiana ICE Processing Center in Basile, La., where she remained until her ﬁnal immigration hearing. Rodríguez, who now lives in Arizona, in a message she sent to the Blade said she was very happy when Moreno called her and told her she had won her case. “I felt a lot of emotion in my heart,” Rodríguez declared. “I couldn’t help it. I still can’t stop crying. We will be together again soon.” Liza Doubossarskaia, a legal assistant for Immigration Equality, which assisted Moreno with her parole petitions, welcomed the decision with joy. “We are all extremely happy for Yanelkys and Dayana,” said Doubossarskaia. “It has been a diﬃcult journey for her, but fortunately it has a happy conclusion.” Moreno won asylum without legal representation and she will be released soon, according to Rodríguez. who added her girlfriend will ﬁrst move to Houston and then meet her again after 10 months of forced separation. YARIEL VALDES GONZALEZ
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Vote Proposition 21, a firewall against COVID-19 A looming housing crisis impacts the LGBTQ community, too By TROY MASTERS In case you haven’t heard, our national and local economies are in the worst shape since the Great Depression. Jobs have been lost. Unemployment benefits are beginning to expire for millions of people who managed to get them. Tax receipts are down. Our industries are in shambles. Government is forced to cut services as public assistance programs have tapped out. Los Angeles is experiencing its worst ever epidemic of homelessness, an emergency that will be inflamed by a looming spike in evictions. That spike in evictions will most definitely result in a cascade of social problems, too many to name here — and the impact on the already-strained LGBTQ community safety net is unimaginable. There are no easy answers. But shockingly California Gov. Gavin Newsom is siding with the big real estate developers, even though a recent audit by out gay Los Angeles City Controller Ron Galperin found construction costs for each new affordable housing unit inflated up to $531,000 per unit, and in the case of two projects, $750,000 per unit. That’s very expensive affordable housing when rehabbing an old motel might work for now, as Galperin suggests. But there certainly are political fixes that can help right the ship and change laws that currently offer little protection for those who are housing vulnerable. Enter Proposition 21, an initiative that would amend CostaHawkins and allow California’s cities to adopt better rent protections. Costa-Hawkins is a law that prohibits California cities that did not have rent control laws in place from applying rent control on apartments built after 1995. For Los Angeles, which had existing controls before Costa-Hawkins, the law applies to apartments built after 1978. Proposition 21 proposes to change the law to cover apartments older than 15 years, increasing the inventory of regulated units. Some say the change would spur the construction of new developments for a city that, at least prior to the pandemic, was expected to grow exponentially. Proposition 21 would also allow implementation of rent controls on some single-family homes and condos, but exempts mom and pop and other small landlords who own up to two properties. Proposition 21 would end “vacancy decontrol,” preventing landlords from automatically moving rent controlled apartments to market rates when a rent controlled tenant moves out. Proposition 21 seeks to put the brakes on costly rent increases. The Los Angeles Blade agrees that renters need more protections in California’s expensive housing market and the proposition would afford local governments the ability to expand more of those protections. Manhattan, with its dozens of empty billionaire towers, is a prime example of what happens when a city favors the creation
A Center volunteer assists with an application for a subsidized apartment at the Ariadne Getty Foundation Senior Housing on the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s campus. (Photo courtesy LGBT Center)
of housing to attract only the 1 percent of the world’s population with only “poor door” regard for affordability. Los Angeles likes to think of itself as a similarly booming real estate market, but so much of it is aspirational fantasy. Aspirational folk are often checked. They are the very people who are first to leave when times get tough, as LA and SF are beginning to see. But who doesn’t leave? Look at West Hollywood for the answer, a city where a majority of residents are renters, a city where most residents are more than 55 year old who even before the pandemic were struggling to age in place. Proposition 21 was not written to specifically address the emerging economic and housing challenges of the pandemic, but the timing is kismet. It is needed now more than ever. More than 40 percent of homeless people are Black families. More than 40 percent of homeless youth in Los Angeles are LGBTQ. Cities like Los Angeles are on the front lines of a manmade disaster of greed and the pandemic has pulled the rug out from under the illusion that ever higher price points and valuations are sustainable. Our cities require flexible policies that control inflation and allow for management that can avert social upheaval. This does not prohibit investment. It makes Los Angeles and California more sustainable and more likely to bounce back from an economic crisis that will get worse before it can get better. In the meantime, people first must be the heart of every policy where people’s shelter is concerned. Landlords deserve tax breaks, rights, and recourse. But they do not deserve primacy over people in our legal and social contract. We endorse Proposition 21.
14 • SEPTEMBER 18, 2020 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
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KAREN OCAMB is an award-winning journalist and writer for the Yes on 21 movement. She is the former news editor of the Los Angeles Blade.
A COVID-19 related eviction crisis can be averted
Yes on 21 campaign seeks to strengthen renters’ redress against predatory collections By KAREN OCAMB said he was still studying the state law but After COVID-19 came in like a wrecking expressed concerns that AB 3088 could ball, smashing the lives and livelihoods of override some local protections. Listing Californians, anguished renters and housing renters protections in the city ordinance, justice advocates momentarily breathed O’Farrell said, “All of these protections are a sigh of relief when Gov. Gavin Newsom now in question.” signed Assembly Bill 3088, a compromise “The legislative cycle has ended and the bill intended to forestall a predicted tsunami window to help 17 million renters closed of evictions. But soon the panicked gasping with AB 3088, the atrocious compromise bill began again as renters realized AB 3088 that Gov. Newsom and the State Legislature was generating more of a confusing fog of reached with the blessing of the California war than clarity – a crisis Proposition 21 is Apartment Association (CAA) and other designed to clear up and ease, as protesters landlord lobbyist groups,” the coalition said made clear on Sept. 1. in a press release before the demonstration. Supporters for the Yes on 21 campaign “AB 3088 is about landlords collecting rent joined a coalition action to stop evictions, rather than protecting tenants. AB 3088 will planned before the AB 3088 was signed. saddle renters with nearly a year of back While Proposition 21 is an important piece rent with no forgiveness and no protections in solving the housing crisis, the Yes of 21 against eviction. Rent debt will claim the campaign has not taken an oﬃcial position economic future of millions of renters in on the new law while also supporting California, many of whom lost their jobs grassroots activism that calls attention to and wages by no fault of their own.” how millions of renters face eviction or the Yes on 21: Grassroots Coalition Protests California’s Eviction Compromise Bill. (Photo by Karen Ocamb) Renters and housing justice advocates loss of their homes. did not take the anxious confusion lightly. Proposition 21 is the November ballot In what Trinidad Ruiz, Campaign Organizer for Housing Is A Human Right, described as a measure that puts limits on unfair, sky-high rent increases. It protects people against “brilliant show of solidarity,” more than 10 organizations and nearly 200 tenants carrying predatory landlords and keeps people in their homes. It’s supported by trusted civil leaders signs with slogans saying “#cancelrent” and “#noevictions” shut down the Stanley Mosk and organizations, such as U.S. Bernie Sanders, labor and civil rights activist Dolores Huerta, Courthouse. They noted it’s “the epicenter of eviction orders issued against tenants in Los Congresswoman Maxine Waters, the California Democratic Party, and numerous others. Angeles.” The passage of AB 3088 caused local lawmakers to be concerned that unintended “Until the governor and the state legislature gets it right, tenants won’t stop ﬁghting for consequences will undermine local control – a provision speciﬁcally provided for in Prop. 21. our housing, for canceled rent, and an end to evictions during a pandemic,” says Rev. Rae “The new law, dubbed the Tenant, Homeowner, and Small Landlord Relief and Stabilization Chen Huang, Lead Organizer for LA Voice, member of Faith in Action. Act of 2020, preempts tenant-protection ordinances passed by cities throughout California. “The weak protections that Newsom passed through AB 3088 and the recent unenforceable Though the bill grandfathers in municipal ordinances already enacted, it does not allow and unresourced statement by the Trump administration oﬀers no long term solutions for cities to extend them after they expire,” Courthouse News reports. renters,” Huang says. “Simply, all the protections that are being oﬀered only delays and “We are likely to see confusion both on the part of landlords and tenants about what temporarily anesthetizes the cancer that has leached the working class of their dignity and protections apply to them — and likely to see some group of landlords trying to circumvent” livelihood. If our elected leaders are genuinely committed to repairing the racist and classist the new law, Sasha Harnden, a public policy advocate with Inner City Law Center, told the structures that continue to displace our working families and individuals, they would create Los Angeles Times. a legislative path towards debt forgiveness and community-based and community-rooted On Sept. 1, as the L.A. City Council debated spending nearly $10 million on a new ownership of land and property.” program for “emergency eviction defense” in court, out City Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • SEPTEMBER 18, 2020 • 15
Must-see queer content for fall
TV, ﬁlm merge on our home screens during COVID By JOHN PAUL KING
In any normal year, fall would be the time for us to look ahead and get a rundown on all the LGBTQ+ content coming our way on television and in the movies during the coming months. This, of course, is 2020, which means normalcy is temporarily (we hope) on hold. The impact of COVID, among other things, means that the line between TV and ﬁlm – already growing very thin – has been all but erased, for the duration; for most of us, whichever of these two media we choose to experience will be showing up on exactly the same screen, and that means distinguishing between them is an exercise in splitting hairs. Another consequence of the current pandemic is that the usual certainty about what new and returning content is showing up – not to mention when it’s likely to get here – is a lot less certain. The good news is that, in this age of streaming entertainment, there are plenty of options for LGBTQ+ viewers to turn to as they continue the longest couch-sitting marathon in recent memory, with a vast library of queer content available on all the major streaming platforms. Yes, a lot of it has been around for a while, but odds are good there’s still more to explore – and even if productions have been slowed or stopped for a lot of the industry, there’s also still a lot of new stuﬀ coming our way. That’s especially true on Netﬂix, which continues to lead the charge for queer inclusion in its programming (despite the streaming giant’s recent and controversial cancellation of three popular shows with lesbian leads due to “COVID-related circumstances”). With all that in mind, here’s the Blade’s short list of movies and shows to be on the lookout for as the temperature begins to drop on our annual journey toward winter – and the 2021 awards season. “Antebellum” This high-proﬁle, sci-ﬁ-ish thriller isn’t speciﬁcally LGBTQ+ in its focus – instead it’s a thinly disguised, time-hopping exploration of racism in America – but its directors, Gerard Bush and Christopher Renz, and two of its stars, Janelle Monáe and Kiersey Clemons, are all out and proud. Even without that connection, though, this tense-looking drama would deserve inclusion here for the timely relevance of its story about a successful author (Monáe) who ﬁnds herself trapped in a horrifying reality – in which she is forced to confront the past, present, and future before it’s too late. The directors (who brand themselves as Bush / Renz), known for their advertising work in the ﬁght for social justice, make their feature ﬁlm debut with what looks like a smart social allegory, fueled by a ﬁerce spirit of activism; that makes it a must-see when it drops for premium On Demand streaming on Sept. 18. “The Fight” It’s not technically new, having oﬃcially been given a theatrical release in July, but it’s unlikely many have yet had the chance to see this Kerry Washington-produced documentary about the legal challenges taken up by the ACLU during the Trump era – and it feels like essential viewing. Following a scrappy team of heroic lawyers as they battle for abortion rights, immigrant rights, LGBTQ rights and voting rights in this deﬁning moment of American history, it currently holds a 100% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and it streams on Hulu starting Sept. 18. “The Boys in the Band” The Big Gay News onscreen this fall, of course, is the much-anticipated ﬁlmed adaptation of 2018’s Broadway production of this queer classic, which reunites the revival’s cast and director for a fresh take on Mart Crowley’s acerbic portrait of gay friends gathering at a birthday party in 1968 New York. Joe Mantello guides an ensemble of talented out actors headed by Zachary Quinto, Matt Bomer, Jim Parsons, and Andrew Rannells (among other familiar faces), bringing contemporary perspective to a play that was criticized for presenting a dated and negative image of gay life before being reassessed and embraced as a slice-of-life snapshot from an era when being gay was something safer kept behind closed doors. By all reports its bitter and acerbic wit was tempered in the Tonywinning remount by humanity and insight – along with some strategic editing – that will presumably translate onto the screen when this must-see cultural touchstone hits Netﬂix on Sept. 30. 16 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • SEPTEMBER 18, 2020 • A&E
“Grand Army” A gritty new young adult drama from playwright Katie Cappiello, this nine-episode series follows ﬁve students at the largest public high school in Brooklyn as they take on our chaotic world in a ﬁght to “succeed, survive, wild out, break free and seize the future.” Featuring a diverse cast of youthful stars and at least one gay storyline, it’s an intriguing new entry on the ever-growing list of shows oﬀering hope for a fresh new era, with publicity materials describing it as a show that “tunnels into a generation that’s raging and rising.” It drops on Netﬂix Oct. 16. “Monsoon” Written and directed by Cambodian-born British ﬁlmmaker Hong Khaou, this queer romantic drama features “Crazy Rich Asians” heartthrob Henry Golding as a young man who returns to Ho Chi Minh City for the ﬁrst time since ﬂeeing with his family in the aftermath of the Vietnam-American war. Now a stranger in his own country, he returns to scatter his parents’ ashes and reconnect with his estranged family; he also connects with – and falls for – Lewis (Parker Sawyers, “Southside With You”), an American whose father had fought in the war. Diversity and a strong Indy pedigree make this one a safe bet when it opens in theaters, virtual cinemas, and On Demand premium video platforms on Nov. 13. “Ammonite” Another weighty contender is this new ﬁlm from another British ﬁlmmaker, Francis Lee, whose “God’s Own Country” was a favorite of queer critics and audiences alike in 2017. Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan star in a ﬁctional story about real-life pioneering paleontologist Mary Annon, whose bleak life selling fossils by the seashore in 1840s England is unexpectedly brightened when she makes an arrangement with a tourist to care for his young wife as she recovers from a personal tragedy. According to the oﬃcial synopsis, that’s “the beginning of a passionate and all-consuming love aﬀair that will defy all social bounds and alter the course of both lives irrevocably.” Sounds like just something we could all use, at this point. Slated for theatrical release on Nov. 13. “Uncle Frank” Amazon gets into the race with this Alan Ball-directed coming out story set in 1973. Sophia Lillis stars as a rural southern teenager studying at NYU, where she soon discovers that her beloved Uncle Frank (Paul Bettany), a respected professor there, has been secretly living with a longtime male partner (Peter Macdissi) for years. A sudden death in the family necessitates a return home for both uncle and niece to attend the funeral, forcing Frank to ﬁnally face a long-buried trauma from which he has been running away for his entire adult life. Also starring Steve Zahn, Judy Greer and the magniﬁcent Margo Martindale, this 2020 Sundance contender is slated for release to Amazon Prime on Nov. 26. JIM PARSONS and MATT BOMER star in ‘Boys in the Band.’ (Photo courtesy of Netﬂix)
SARAH PAULSON in ‘Ratched.’ (Photo by Saeed Adyani)
‘Ratched’ brings back iconic cinematic villain Paulson, Murphy reunite for chilling Netﬂix series By BRIAN T. CARNEY Are monsters born or made? That’s one of the questions Sarah Paulson and Ryan Murphy are tackling in their latest collaboration, “Ratched.” Paulson is playing Nurse Mildred Ratched, one of the most iconic villains in movie history. Louise Fletcher won the Academy Award in 1976 for her chilling work as the sadistic nurse; in a poll by the American Film Institute, Ratched was ranked as the ﬁfth-greatest villain in cinematic history. In preparing to play the twisted character, Paulson studied the novel and the ﬁlm in detail and even borrowed some gestures from the movie. Ratched’s famous keychain is a link between Fletcher and Paulson. To create a credible (and terrifying) backstory for the sadistic nurse Paulson, Murphy and their talented colleagues also drew on a variety of other sources: the Technicolor melodramas of ﬁlmmaker Douglas Sirk; the brutal conditions faced by nurses in front-line ﬁeld hospitals in World War II; the barbaric history of psychiatric medicine and the forced institutionalization of homosexuals; and, the daily toll of living in a sexist environment. As the series opens, Nurse Ratched is trying to land a job at California’s Lucia State Hospital. The head nurse, Betsy Bucket (Judy Davis), objects to hiring her, but Ratched quickly blackmails Dr. Richard Hanover (Jon Briones) into oﬀering her a position. Ratched is soon at the center of several intrigues: the imprisonment of serial killer Edmund Tolleson (Finn Wittrock); the reelection campaign of the callous California governor (Vincent D’Onofrio) and the schemes of his clever press secretary (Cynthia Nixon); the arrival of a new patient with multiple personalities (Sophie Okenedo); the investigations of an inquisitive hotel clerk (Amanda Plummer) and a mysterious private gumshoe (Corey Stoll); and, a wealthy widow with revenge on her mind (Sharon Stone).
Paulson found Ratched’s core in an unexpected place. She noted, “she’s a work in progress. She’s had a very traumatic childhood. She has been abandoned at a young age, has lost contact with her brother and the most fundamentally acute quality about her is that she is lonely.” The actress, who also served as executive producer for the series, adds, “It wouldn’t be the worst thing if people were to feel sympathetic to her once they understood what she has endured. Even though what she’s doing is sometimes very self-serving, and sometimes it’s downright menacing, she still has her reasons. I think as an actor your job is simply to be committed to those reasons.” Paulson’s castmate Cynthia Nixon adds, “What we see in Sarah’s performance is somebody who has had horriﬁc things happen to her. Somebody with less strength may not have made it. Her Nurse Ratched is able to take these terrible traumas that happened to her, compartmentalize them and keep moving forward. She can be ruthless, but she can also be shy and fragile. She can be incredibly sexually aggressive, or she can be very frightened when someone just touches her hand. I think that’s what we do if we want to survive.” Paulson also worked closely with the costume team to develop a signature look for Mildred Ratched. Everyone felt strongly that this was a character who didn’t possess a lot and who used clothes as camouﬂage and a form of armor. Designer Lou Eyrich elaborates, “If Mildred needs to be a quiet mouse, she dresses one way, but if she needs to go in for the kill, she might dress another way.” Season One (Episodes 1-8) of “Ratched” binge-drops on Netﬂix on Sept. 18; season two (Episode2 9-18) is expected to run in 2021. A&E • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • SEPTEMBER 18, 2020 • 17
Books galore, from Tom of Finland to Megan Rapinoe New season oﬀers plenty of LGBTQ-themed reads By TERRI SCHLICHENMEYER
So many books, so little time. If you’ve been feeling that way during the pandemic (who knew there were SO MANY books published each year?), then hold on to your seat. For readers who are gay, lesbian, bi, queer, or trans, 2020’s not all bad. Check out these fall books you can ﬁnd.... Megan Rapinoe has a new memoir coming out at the end of the year.
SEPTEMBER Yes, September has already started, but your fall reading wouldn’t be complete without these great books. To start your next reading pile, Tom of Finland has a new book out in September, as does Chasten Buttigieg, Jonathan Van Ness, and Tony Kushner. This month you’ll ﬁnd a book on non-binary pronouns and language, and one for queer and gestational mothers. Look for “If These Ovaries Could Talk: The Things We’ve Learned About Making an LGBTQ Family” by Jaimie Kelton and Robin Hopkins. Go ﬁnd a new book about being Ace. Read something new about Susan Sontag. Treat yourself to a new novel from this fall or maybe from this summer that you might’ve missed, or check out a new LGBTQ book for the kid in your life.
OCTOBER Your TBR pile isn’t big enough yet, so look for these great October releases: for the history fan, “The Lexington Six: Lesbian and Gay Resistance in 1970s America” by Josephine Donovan; or “Others of My Kind: Transatlantic Transgender Histories” by Alex Bakker, Rainer Herrn, Michael Thomas Taylor, and Annette F. Timm. Miles McKenna has a new book about being your true self releasing in October. Look for “In Their Shoes: Navigating Non-Binary Life” by Jamie Windust, as well as a new book for parents of non-binary kids by Andrea Bennett. You’ll ﬁnd a cookbook-slash-biography about James Beard this month. Also look for “Love After the End: An Anthology of Two-Spirit and Indigiqueer Speculative Fiction,” edited by Joshua Whitehead. There are new novels waiting for you in October, mysteries for cold, dark nights, and romances to put you in the mood. Hey, and don’t act surprised that you’ll ﬁnd gay ghost stories, too....
18 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • SEPTEMBER 18, 2020 • A&E
NOVEMBER & DECEMBER The season starts to wind down some this month, but there are still new books to be read. Look for lots of Holiday books in November and December. If you’re eyeing an engagement ring this year, look for “What Obergefell v. Hodges Should Have Said: The Nation’s Top Legal Experts Rewrite America’s SameSex Marriage Decision” by Jack M. Balkin. Look for a new memoir by Megan Rapinoe this month. Find a colorful book on “The Rainbow Revolution.” Read about anti-Nazi lesbians and their bravery during World War II. Look for your favorite manga books. And for the younger reader, you’ll ﬁnd “Sylvia and Marsha Start a Revolution!” by Joy Ellison, illustrated by Teshika Silver; it’s a kid-friendly story of Sylvia Rivera, Marsha P. Johnson, and LGBTQ history. The housekeeping: remember that titles change, release dates change and stuﬀ happens. If you need more help, ask. That’s why book sellers are paid the Big Bucks (just kidding, so be doubly kind to them). Season’s readings!
THE CITY OF WEST HOLLYWOOD IS WORKING TO ACHIEVE A COMPLETE CENSUS COUNT IN CENSUS 2020. It’s important that we’re all counted in order to ensure our community’s fair share of federal funding for vital services and to determine California’s accurate apportionment in Congress.
AN INITIATIVE OF THE CITY OF WEST HOLLYWOOD IN SUPPORT OF THE CENSUS 2020
Learn more at weho.org/census2020
TV PERFUME GENIUS plays LA’s Palace Theater and you can watch online.
Arts and culture for a pandemic-weary LA Virtual treats for fall while we await a post-COVID world
If you’re a fan of live arts and music, it won’t be news to you that such enrichments to our lifestyles, like everything else that involves people gathering together in person, have been turned into a bittersweet memory – at least for now – by the ongoing pandemic. It should go without saying, then, that this fall’s lineup for LA’s art and performance scene won’t include the usual gala premieres, Broadway imports, beneﬁt concerts, music or theater festivals — you get the idea. Instead, most of the city’s big cultural arts institutions – Center Theatre Group, the Geﬀen, the LA Phil, the Wallis, GMCLA and all the rest – are looking ahead, working on strategies to evolve in a post-COVID world, while oﬀering various virtual treats to culture-hungry subscribers via their websites in the meantime. While there is some exciting content on tap from each and every one of those organizations (which the Blade heartily encourages you to explore), the online experience – especially after six months of livestreams and binge watching – is likely to leave most of us still yearning for something a little more special. With that in mind, here’s a list of sort-of-in-person events still slated to take place this fall. Even if we can’t really have the full course when it comes to live entertainment and culture, we can at least have a taste to hold us over for the duration – and each of these strikes us as expressing the unique spirit and character of Los Angeles in some essential way. The Ford’s Summer Season, Sept. 17-Dec. 8 This year marked the ﬁrst summer that the LA Phil is tackling the programming at the Ford; it didn’t go according to plan. But the show must go on, and so, now, is the Ford’s season— online, at least. Originally supposed to be a centennial celebration for the outdoor venue, the season now includes four main streaming series, all available for free: “Ford Digital Festivals,” which use performances and discussions to tackle topics like wellness in communities of color and contemporary Native artistry; “L.A. Soundscapes,” a combo lecture and family-friendly crafting workshop; “State of L.A.!,” which spotlights up-and-coming ﬁgures in the L.A. arts scene with conversations and performances; and “From the Ford,” an archive of footage from previous shows at the venue that includes TAIKOPROJECT and Lula Washington Dance Theater, among others. Visit www.theford.com for more details.
By JOHN PAUL KING Perfume Genius, Sept. 19 The delicately melancholic, queer singer-songwriter (his real name is Mike Hadreas, and his track, “Queen,” is already iconic) has evolved over the course of a relatively short career from a dark, minimalist sound to a scaled-up tonal palette that oﬀers grandiose crescendos, glitzy synth shimmer, and an exuberant sense of uplift. His most recent album, “Set My Heart On Fire Immediately,” debuted into the tour-less world of COVID, but now he has the chance to play the tracks with his band in a live setting – for the ﬁrst time – from the stage of LA’s Palace Theater, and even if audiences can’t be there in person, it’s still a chance to get the kind of in-the-moment excitement of experiencing talented musicians do their thing in one of Los Angeles’ classic venues. For an extra ﬁve bucks, fans can enjoy a special solo acoustic after show performance from singer-songwriter, too. Visit www.stgpresents.org for tickets and details. Late Night Drive-In Movies, Andaz West Hollywood, Sept. 18-Oct. 10 Movies qualify as art anywhere – but that’s especially true in LA, and one of the few good things about 2020 is the return of the drive-in. Just like old times, you can watch a movie from the comfort (and virus-free safety) of your car – and while there you can ﬁnd plenty of pop-up drive-ins happening all over LA with just a quick search on sites like Timeout or Eventbrite (or even Facebook’s Events page), there’s something about the idea of watching screenings and comedy shows from smack dab in the middle of the Sunset Strip that seems like a quintessentially LA experience. A mix of ’70s classics alongside tales of counterculture and rebellion will be oﬀered, in partnership with civic engagement group YEA! Impact, and each event comes with the option to order oﬀ of the Andaz menu, if you’re hungry. You’ll ﬁnd the screenings atop the third level of the hotel’s open-air parking garage. Visit https://latenightdrivein.cargo.site for the details. World Festival at the Hollywood Bowl Radio Broadcast Series, Sept. 20-Oct. 11 Wish you could relive one of your favorite shows at the Hollywood Bowl? Or missed out on what ended up being a classic concert? KCRW and the LA Phil are giving you a chance to step back in time with these radio broadcasts of sets from the past decade. Each Sunday from 6:30-8 p.m., KCRW will present highlights from its World Festival series, including archived
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recordings from Kraftwerk, Blondie, Santigold, Janelle Monáe, Robyn, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Sigur Rós, St. Vincent and more. You can catch each broadcast on-air at 89.9, or streaming on KCRW’s site and app. Get the schedule at the Hollywood Bowl website. Los Angeles Asian Paciﬁc Film Festival, Sept. 24-Oct. 31 This annual ﬁlm festival—now in its 36th year—simultaneously celebrates and launches the careers of Asian and Asian-American ﬁlmmakers. For this virtual edition, the fest expands to ﬁve weekends with streaming Q&As and movies from more than 225 ﬁlmmakers. In a season where anti-Asian American sentiment and violence is alarmingly on the rise, LAAPFF’s programming hopes to mobilize and engage audiences towards social activism and civic engagement - a cornerstone that is part of the Festival’s foundation. This year’s productions by Asian American & Paciﬁc Islander artists from across the globe will amplify themes, including race, immigration, gentriﬁcation/economic security, and the upcoming US election.The Festival will be presented online to stay in guidelines that protect the health and safety of the Festival community. Visit the Festival’s website at vcmedia.org for details about the lineup, venues, schedule, and tickets. The Drag, Sept. 26-27 While most theater-lovers are by now getting their ﬁx via subscriptions to Broadway.com and other such plays-on-screen sites, this livestreamed play reading is of special interest to fans of LGBTQ theatre, not to mention hidden queer history and the Golden Era of Hollywood itself. Subtitled “A Homosexual Comedy in Three Acts,” it was written by Mae West under the pseudonym Jane Mast before she became a blockbuster Hollywood star. With a closeted gay socialite for a hero, this comedy about the cost of living a secret life enthralled and scandalized, audiences in theatres when it opened in 1927, and performances were shut down by authorities for portraying homosexuality and drag queens before the show could make it to Broadway, as West had hoped. This ahead-of-its time piece of queer and Hollywood history will get live readings from LA’s Classical Theatre Lab in two performances, presented by the City of West Hollywood’s Arts Division and oﬀered to the public free of charge – though donations are accepted, if you’re able. Tickets can be reserved at www.classicaltheatrelab.org.
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A Victory for the bisexual community Celebrating a day of visibility for people who love By ROMAN NAVARRETTE
For Black and Latino gay men, having that extra layer of cultural expectation — of being masculine and living up to the ideas of manhood — expectations that our fathers have put upon us since the day we are born, is nothing new. Layer and layer of stereotypes and pressure that is passed on to us as we navigate through childhood. But what about when the child is growing up questioning desires for both males and females. What about when the child is growing up with feelings of something they don’t know or hear much about – bisexuality. These are feelings that author and award-winning American recording artist, Ross Victory, knows all too well, as a 34-year-old Black bisexual male trying to live his truth in Los Angeles. Victory is the author of father-son themed memoir, “Views ROSS VICTORY from the Cockpit: The Journey of a Son” and bisexual themed “Panorama: The Missing Chapter,” where he examines his experiences around culture, race and his sexuality. Using his talent and creativity proved to not only be therapeutic for Victory but also a powerful form of exploration about intersectionality within the LGBTQ+ community. With his creative content, Victory is giving a much needed voice to an often ignored community within a community. “Growing up Bisexual, even as a pre-teen in a Christian household who was always in church, I wasn’t even aware of what was going on or what was happening to me,” explained Victory. He described that it’s almost like there is a separate closet for bisexuals, particularly in the Black community and that often it can give “Living on the DL” a whole new meaning, especially as he was growing up in his teens. Victory recalled a time in college when he had an “Aha!” moment while he was seeing the school Psychologist and she referred to him as Bisexual. He then realized that he was and ended up coming out to his straight best friend and was met with doubt – “Guys can’t be Bisexual, only Women can,” his friend exclaimed. This is something we see in society even now. Women can easily move into these intimate spaces with other women even in public, touching each other, and it doesn’t get called out. 22 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • SEPTEMBER 18, 2020 • A&E
Dealing with trying to come to terms with who he was and identify eventually caused him to become physically sick often and it wasn’t until he dealt with the grief of losing his father and his brother that he accepted his sexuality as a Bisexual Black man living in America. Victory tapped into his creative juices to express what he was feeling inside and turned to writing and music, fueling his storytelling and ability to educate and express his own views of who he is and his place within the LGBTQ+ community as well as his relationship with his father as he was growing up full of expectations. “Now I feel that my job is to shine a light on how I see myself in the midst of it all. I also think there should be spaces for Bisexual people to meet where they can be comfortable and (Photo courtesy Victory) meet other people just like them,” added Victory. “You get to a point where it becomes less about meeting someone that is one or the other – Male or Female, and more about who do I want to date? Who is going to be there and show up during those hard times and what does that look like overall? Who am I connecting with?” added Victory. Finding space to be himself can still be a challenge as well, even in a city like Los Angeles. Even here we question the authenticity of our Bisexual community family members and Victory knows ﬁrsthand what that feels like. Yet, he is open to continue to connect and immerse himself in the community. As we near “Celebrate Bisexuality Day” on September 23, 2020, it’s important to make sure we are aware of the people around us or in our lives who are Bisexual and make space for them and their stories as continue to educate and learn more about the “B” community within our LGBTQ+ family. Books and music from artists like Ross Victory should be shared and enjoyed not only with each other but our allies who sometimes might ﬁnd it easier to understand other sectors of our community. To learn more about Ross Victory or purchase his music and books you can go to his website: https://www.rossvictory.com
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