Losangelesblade.com, Volume 05, Issue 19, May 07, 2021

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(Photo Credit: Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board)

We are back! Rediscovering our city post-vaccination, PAGE 10


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5 charged in shooting of Lady Gaga’s dog walker

The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced last week that five people were arrested in the February shooting of 30-year-old Ryan Fischer, Lady Gaga’s dog walker and theft of two of her French bulldogs. In a statement by LA District Attorney George Gascón, James Jackson, 18, Jaylin White, 19 and Lafayette Whaley, 27, have been charged with attempted murder and robbery while Harold White, 40, and Jennifer McBride, 50, were each charged with accessory after the fact to attempted murder.

Los Angeles County District Attorney GEORGE GASCÓN (Screenshot via KABC 7 News LA)


“This was a brazen street crime that left a man seriously wounded,” Gascón said in the statement. “We have alleged very serious charges in this case and have faith that justice will be appropriately served as this case unfolds in court.” A spokesperson for the Los Angeles Police Department, (LAPD) said in a media statement that the five were taken into custody after search and arrest warrants were executed Tuesday by LAPD investigators. In addition to the charges of attempted murder and robbery, the DA’s statement indicated that Jackson also faces counts of assault with a semiautomatic firearm and a felon carrying a concealed firearm in a vehicle, while White was also charged with one count of assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury. White’s father Harold White faces an additional count of possessing a firearm and McBride has also been charged with a count of receiving stolen property. Fischer, who was gravely wounded in the violent robbery of Gaga’s two French Bulldogs had issued a bedside statement from multiple Instagram accounts while he was in hospital recovering. He posted two photographs and wrote a lengthy post noting that he was “still in recovery from a very close call with death,” and then expressed gratitude for all of the support he has received. In his posts, he called out his family — including his mother and brother, who he noted flew to Los Angeles to be with him, Lady Gaga, his client and friend whose dogs were taken, along with a host of others. Two days after the robbery, the stolen Frenchies were dropped off at the LAPD’s Olympic Community Police Station by a woman according to the LAPD statement. Investigators later identified her as McBride and said she had a relationship with Harold White. “McBride reported that she found the dogs and responded to the reward email to return the dogs,” the release stated. According to the LAPD, all four men are all documented gang members from Los Angeles. The five defendants were scheduled to be arraigned sometime Thursday, according to a spokesperson for the LA DA’s office. FROM STAFF REPORTS


West Hollywood debuts ‘Out on Robertson’

John M. Erickson. “COVID is not over and we all must remain vigilant about protecting Mayor Lindsey P. Horvath, Mayor Pro Tempore Lauren Meister, and city council members our own health, and the health of others. I’m looking forward to safely seeing you — at a John D’Amico, John M. Erickson, and Sepi Shyne celebrated the official launch and ribbon distance and with your most fabulous masks on — OUT on Robertson!” cutting of WeHo’s OUT on Robertson program May 1. OUT on Robertson will embrace, on weekends, what compact OUT Zones throughout Because of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on local businesses, especially the City have been offering for months: a place to enjoy sunny days and balmy nights while restaurants, in August 2020, the City began its Temporary Outdoor Expansion Permit maintaining social distance, aligning with the Los Angeles County Department of Public program, known as OUT Zones, by offering streamlined approval for businesses to use Health’s health and safety protocols, and supporting community businesses. sidewalks, on-street parking spaces, and private parking lots as areas to expand operations. People exploring West Hollywood’s Starting Saturday, April 17, the city OUT on Robertson are reminded expanded that program with a ‘soft launch’ that the City of West Hollywood has a of OUT on Robertson, a pilot program mandatory face-covering requirement that closes N. Robertson Boulevard south and people are urged to be mindful of of Santa Monica Boulevard and north of maintaining six feet of social distancing Melrose Avenue to vehicular traffic each for dining, shopping, and personal care Saturday and Sunday, between 6 p.m. under the sun and stars. on Saturday and late-night on Sunday, in Plentiful parking is available in order to transform the restaurant/retail the five-story West Hollywood Park area into a pedestrian zone with COVID-19 structure located at 625 N. San Vicente safety protocols. ISOhighly 12647-7traffi Digital Control Strip 2009 Boulevard, adjacent to the West “Closing this cked and 100 60 100 70 30 100 60 40 100 40 100 3 100 70 30 100 60 100 10 25 50 75 90 100 70 30 100 40 40 70 40 70 40 40 40 70 40 40 70 40 70 40 40 A Hollywood Library. Additional parking bustling stretch of Robertson will is also available at 650 N. La Peer Drive. provide a pedestrian-safe space that For those using rideshare services, the allows for appropriate social distancing City has established Drop Zones at as the Public Health Department B 100 100 the corner of40 Melrose N. eases capacity 60 100 100 restrictions 70 70 30 30 while 100 100 60 still 100 100 7.4 25 19 19 50 40 100 100 80 70 70 and 100 70 70 30 30 100 100 60 100 100 70 70 30 30 100 40 100 40 40 100 10 40 40 20 70 70 70 70 40 70 40 40 0000 3.1 2.2 2.2 10.2 7.4 75 66 66 100Avenue Robertson Boulevard. monitoring the spread of the virus,” said FROM STAFF REPORTS City of West Hollywood Councilmember 3%

(Screenshot via KCBS LA)


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Disney reopens California parks

of us can’t pay rent- one friend lost his Just shortly before the 9 a.m. scheduled car this makes it worse like for the partofficial reopening, an enthusiastic crowd timers especially,” they added. gathered at the gates to Disneyland Reached Friday for comment about cheered as the announcement went out the reopening the Cast member texted, that the COVID-19 pandemic mandated “WE ARE BACK, and I am so so glad.” safety required temperature check The Walt Disney Company Executive stations were opening. Chairman Bob Iger and Chief Executive The Walt Disney Company’s Disney Bob Chapek were present at Friday’s Parks, Experiences, and Products division reopening, waving in the admitted reopened Disneyland and Disney guests and invited them to freely roam California Adventure Friday after a year the grounds. and a month long closure of its California According to the company’s blog, attractions. theme park reservations will be available KTLA News 5 noted that in the 66-year online, in advance only, for a specific history of Disneyland, the theme park date, subject to availability. In order to has been shut for extreme circumstances comply with rules put in place for the only a few times — after the assassination COVID19 pandemic restrictions, not of President Kennedy and following everything will be open for opening day. the 1994 Northridge earthquake, for A company spokesperson said example — but before the pandemic that Disney will adjust and update struck in March 2020, none of those Disney has reopened its parks after a year of COVID closures. (Photo courtesy the Walt Disney Company) availabilities of some attractions in closures lasted longer than a day. keeping with Governor Gavin Newsom’s Last September, the Chairman of announcement last month that as the the Burbank-based Disney Parks, state has surpassed a major milestone in the fight against COVID — administering more Experiences, and Products Josh D’Amaro had announced that his division of Disney would than 20 million vaccine doses, including 4 million in the state’s hardest-hit communities, be laying off 28,000 staff known in the company as Cast Members. officials intend to fully reopen on June 15. Last Fall the Blade reached out to a cast member who identifies as non-binary queer and To enter a park, both a theme park reservation and a valid admission ticket for the works in a supervisory position at Disneyland in Anaheim. They spoke to the Blade on the same park on the same date is required for each Guests ages 3 and up. If you have a condition of remaining anonymous about D’Amaro’s announcement. multi-day ticket, you must make a park reservation for each date of your visit. Limit one “The past six months have really sucked because the park has remained shuttered. The park reservation per day. Until further notice, only California residents may visit the parks, virus isn’t getting better- at least not in new infections especially here in Orange County. and in groups no larger than 3 households, in line with current state guidelines. Proof of The state won’t let us reopen and this is hurting most of my friends who also work for the residency may be required. park,” they said. “The unemployment (insurance relief) is all screwed up too and many BRODY LEVESQUE

Caitlyn Jenner: Trans girls shouldn’t play girls’ sports Reality television star Caitlyn Jenner was asked Saturday by a reporter from celebrity news tabloid TMZ about her position on the multiple pieces of anti-trans youth sports legislation across the United States. Jenner responded that she saw it as a question of fairness saying that she opposed biological boys who are Trans- competing in girls’ sports in school. “It just isn’t fair,” Jenner said adding, “and we have to protect girls’ sports in our school.” When the reporter attempted to ask a follow-up question to Jenner as to whether or not that would delegitimize Trans people who have already transitioned, she deflected and got in her vehicle not answering. She announced last week that she is running for Governor of California. Jenner, 71, a Trans woman and longtime outspoken member of the Republican Party, would face incumbent Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom in a likely recall election against Newsom later this year. BRODY LEVESQUE


CAITLYN JENNER made her remarks to TMZ. (Photo screenshot via TMZ.com)


As LA County moves to yellow tier, vaccinations drop by half

The sectors with increases in capacity limits include amusement parks and fairs, gyms As Los Angeles County continues to meet the state’s yellow tier criteria for one more week, and fitness centers, yoga studios, private events, bars, hotels and short-term lodging rentals, the county could enter into the yellow tier in the middle of next week public health officials private gatherings, breweries, indoor playgrounds, restaurants, cardrooms and racetracks, say. indoor and outdoor live events and performances, wineries and tasting rooms, family Alarming officials however, is the fact that appointments for the first dose of the COVID-19 entertainment centers, and museums, zoos, and vaccine have decreased by about 50% in the county, aquariums. following a similar trend across California and the If the County moves to the yellow tier next week, nation. a modified Health Officer Order will be posted “I do know that across the county this past week we on Wednesday, May 5 that will go into effect on saw much fewer people coming in to get vaccinated. Thursday, May 6, after Blade print deadlines. (Visit For the first time ever, we’ve had appointments at losangelesblade.com for updates.) many vaccination sites that have not been filled,” said The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Dr. Barbara Ferrer, the County’s Public Health Director (CDC) issued new guidance indicating that vaccinated told reporters Thursday. people can do many outdoor activities in uncrowded It is likely to mean that for the first time, the county spaces unmasked including attending small gatherings will not administer 95% of its supply over a seven-day with unvaccinated people, dining outdoors with friends period, she noted. from multiple households, and walking, running or The Los Angeles County Department of Public cycling outdoors. Health confirmed 42 new deaths and 416 new cases of Fully vaccinated individuals are required to mask COVID-19 as of Thursday. up at crowded outdoor events, like live performances, Los Angeles County’s case rate remains relatively low parades, or sports events. The Health Officer Order and stable. A month ago, on March 21, the County was will be updated today to align with the change in CDC seeing 433 cases a day. A month later, on April 21, the recommendations around masking for fully vaccinated number of new cases dropped 34% to 337 cases a day. A masked server at work in LA as county loosens COVID restrictions. people. Over the same time period, daily average confirmed (Photo courtesy County of Los Angeles) Public Health has made vaccinations available hospitalizations dropped 38%. Daily deaths dropped without appointments at all of County sites for the past even more dramatically over the same time period, week, and this will continue through next week. Everyone 16 and older living or working in from 22 on March 21 to 4 on April 21, a drop of more than 80%. L.A. County can walk-in and get vaccinated. You should bring a photo ID with you and teens There are 410 people with COVID-19 currently hospitalized and 26% of these people are 16 and 17 should be accompanied by a parent or guardian. in the ICU. Testing results are available for nearly 6,500,000 individuals with 18% of people Visit: www.VaccinateLACounty.com (English) and www.VacunateLosAngeles.com (Spanish) testing positive. Today’s daily test positivity rate is 0.8%. to learn how to make an appointment at vaccination sites, what verifications people will L.A. County has remained in the State’s orange tier for more than three weeks and now has need to show at your vaccination appointment, and much more. Vaccinations are always met the yellow tier’s criteria for one week. If, as anticipated, Los Angeles County continues free and open to eligible residents and workers regardless of immigration status. to meet the State’s yellow tier criteria for one more week, the County could enter into the A total of 716 sites are offering vaccinations this week in L.A. County. Many of these yellow tier in the middle of next week. vaccination sites are concentrated in areas that have been hard hit by the pandemic and Moving into the yellow tier allows for increases in capacity in many sectors, and allows Public Health continues working with many partners to increase access to vaccinations at bars to begin providing indoor service at 25% capacity. All of these changes will still require their sites without appointments. safety modifications, including masking, distancing and infection control to reduce the risk BRODY LEVESQUE of transmission.

Lesbian community leader has starring role in LA’s comeback

MADONNA CACCIATORE (driving) and spouse ROBIN MCWILLIAMS in the new Discover LA advert.


Nearly 13 long months have passed since the coronavirus pandemic first gripped the greater Los Angeles region as well as the rest of the Golden State. However, now with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health reporting that its Health Metrics data continues to reflect reduced transmission of COVID-19 in the County and test positivity remains at the lowest levels of the pandemic- coupled with 53% of the population getting vaccinated, there’s a sense of relief and excitement as LA starts to reopen. Having a role in that reopening literally is Madonna Cacciatore and her spouse Robin McWilliams who are part of an ensemble cast in the recently released Discover Los

Angeles dot com television commercial celebrating the sights, sounds, places, and destinations in LA. Cacciatore, a transplant from the Lone Star State of Texas, in addition to being an actor is also Vice President of the Board of Directors at L-Project Los Angeles, the former Executive Director at Christopher Street West/LA Pride, and the former Director of Special Events at Los Angeles LGBT Center. McWilliams is the owner and CEO of MadCatch Entertainment, a management company representing some of the most amazing theatrically trained actors, singers and writers in the Los Angeles, and NY area. BRODY LEVESQUE




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We’re back! Rediscovering LA By BRODY LEVESQUE

It is safe to say that the past 13 months have been traumatic for the residents of greater Los Angeles and even at one point being the very epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic. This week, however, Los Angeles County met the threshold to move to the least restrictive yellow tier in the state’s mandated plans for recovery. The state of California is on track to reopen its economy June 15 if certain conditions are met including the ongoing vaccinations of Californians if the vaccine supply is sufficient for those 16 years and older who wish to be inoculated, and if hospitalization rates remain stable and low. Most capacity limits will be lifted, although large-scale indoor events, such as conventions, will be allowed only with testing or vaccination verification requirements, California Health and Human Services Secretary Mark Ghaly said. There’s a sense of renewed optimism among Angelenos as their favorite bars, restaurants, and other attractions re-emerge from the fog of the long months of lockdown. The Walt Disney Company’s Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products division reopened Disneyland and Disney California Adventure last Friday after a year and a month long closure of its California attractions. Last Fall the Blade reached out to a cast member who identifies as non-binary queer and works in a supervisory position at Disneyland in Anaheim. At the time, they told the Blade; “The past six months have really sucked because the park has remained shuttered. The virus isn’t getting better- at least not in new infections especially here in Orange County. The

Actor MADONNA CACCIATORE and spouse ROBIN MCWILLIAMS appearing in ‘Los Angeles, Your Comeback Starts Here.’ (Photo courtesy Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board)

state won’t let us reopen and this is hurting most of my friends who also work for the park,” they said. “The unemployment (insurance relief) is all screwed up too and many of us can’t pay rent- one friend lost his car this makes it worse like for the part-timers especially,” they added. Reached this past Friday for comment about the reopening the Cast member texted back; “WE ARE BACK, and I am so so glad.” It is a sentiment that has been expressed by numerous business owners in phone interviews with the Blade from across the Southland this past week or two as they gear up to recover from one of the worst economic downturns in over 80 years since the 1930’s era Great Depression. The economic lifeblood for a substantial portion of the economy in Los Angeles is tourism. As LA’s starting its comeback, safely reopening museums, indoor dining, theme parks and outdoor live events including spectator sports, (with appropriate capacity controls and safety protocols), the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board is inspiring lovers of L.A. to start their


comeback, whenever they are ready, with the launch of a new advertising campaign. The Blade spoke with Don Skeoch, who serves as the Chief Marketing Officer for the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board by phone Tuesday on the new campaign. The idea of L.A. being a comeback story – your comeback story – is a nod to the collective challenges we’ve faced over the past year while acknowledging the overflowing optimism for the future. L.A. is the place for visitors to come back to those moments of spontaneity, joy, romance, relaxation and more that were missed,” he said. Skeoch has been active in the tourism industry for more than a decade previously serving as Executive Board member of the San Francisco Travel Association and currently as Committee Chair of Visit California. He also formerly served on the Board of Los Angeles Pride and told the Blade he fully embraces inclusivity and the diversity that the LGBTQ+ community within greater Los Angeles represents. The current campaign advert, ‘Los Angeles, Your Comeback Starts Here’ embraces not only the reasons people travel to LA, but is a celebration of the area’s waking up from the Covid coma,” he told the Blade. “There’s two types of travelers to LA,” he emphasized. “Live>Like>Local,” and what I call the ‘Check List Tourist’,” he added. He explained that both tend to see the marquee attractions and the best known more highly visible landmarks and attractions in the LA area, but may miss the essence of the soul of the city. Those types of attractions- businesses, restaurants, parks etc and may be a bit off the beaten track and not as readily known to tourists. “Our new campaign is designed to broaden awareness of those parts of LA,” he said. The advert opens with a motion picture clapperboard and an actor who states ” Los Angeles is a movie….” he then narrates using motion picture terminology to describe a vignette of LA scenes coupled with the actors using descriptors that could easily be interchangeable with a trailer for a major film premiere. Talent played an integral role in presenting an authentic Los Angeles experience in the advert, which is why Los Angeles Tourism hand-selected real Angelenos who are representative of L.A.’s diverse and inclusive fabric, including: Open Mike Eagle, a hip-hop artist and comedian who co-hosted the Comedy Central series “The New Negroes”; Madame Gandhi, an artist and activist whose mission is to celebrate gender liberation and who has toured drumming for M.I.A. and others; Jon Park, a prominent Asian-American battle rapper better known by his stage name Dumbfoundead; Nancy Sanchez, an award-winning, bilingual ranchera singersongwriter; the Inner City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles, the largest majority Black orchestra in America; Brick Howze and Gage Crismond, co-founders of Black Sand, a Los Angelesbased surf & arts collective focused on promoting a “surf culture” of inclusivity, peace and accountability; and, Madonna Cacciatore, the former Executive Director for Christopher Street West, the nonprofit that produces the annual L.A. Pride Parade and Festival. Skeoch said that the direction now is to go deeper. “Because of COVID, the international travelers flipped to local and then the drive in markets, short haul flights and has slowly expanded to long haul flights, with the move to yellow tier we hope that all groups will stay longer and explore more,” he said. The goal is to expand a tourist’s footprint each time they explore LA and have them return again and again. These are also goals for the many different jurisdictions that make-up the Southland. For example, for the City of West Hollywood, in two separate recent phone calls with the Blade, Councilmember Sepi Shyne and Mayor Lindsey Horvath both expressed a sense of optimism pointing out the success of the city’s expansion of street closures to draw in guests for the restaurants and businesses. With the vaccination efforts ongoing, the safety protocols in place, Shyne noted that West Hollywood was ready for business and Mayor Horvath agreed saying that the city is committed to safely ensuring that visitors will enjoy their time. “Los Angeles has been incredibly deliberate and thoughtful in its reopening, and we are grateful for our ongoing partnership with state and local health department officials in developing appropriate protocols to ensure that we can safely and responsibly reopen our local visitor industry,” stated Adam Burke, President & CEO, Los Angeles Tourism.

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Anticipation builds amid delay: Will Biden name LGBTQ ambassadors? U.S. has never had openly lesbian or transgender envoys By CHRIS JOHNSON | cjohnson@washblade.com

Richard Grenell, named by President Trump as U.S. More than 100 days into his presidency, President Biden ambassador to Germany, currently has the distinction of has yet to name picks for a multitude of ambassadorial being the openly gay person with the most prestigious positions in a delay unusual for a presidency at this stage, ambassadorial appointment. Consistent with his reputation raising questions about whether he’ll miss an opportunity as a firebrand on social media, Grenell hit Germany hard to exhibit America’s LGBTQ community overseas through as ambassador to compel the G-5 country to meet its the appointment of the first-ever lesbian and transgender military spending obligations as a NATO partner. Grenell person as ambassadors. has something to show for his efforts: The country began Many of these ambassadorial vacancies, which to spend closer to 2 percent of its GDP on defense. complement the diplomatic corps of the U.S. government And yet for all these appointments, no president has to serve as a representation of American diversity overseas, ever named an open lesbian or trans woman for a position are in key positions. Nearly 90 ambassadorial positions, as U.S. ambassador, an oversight that stands out after including sought-after posts in Israel, the United Kingdom, the rapid progress on LGBTQ rights in recent years. At a Mexico, Italy and China, remain vacant according to an time when transgender rights are in focus amid anti-trans April article in USA Today. attacks in state legislatures, the appointment of an openly The delay in ambassadorial appointments appears to transgender ambassador would also send a signal of come from pressure on Biden to refrain from the traditional PRESIDENT BIDEN has yet to name his picks for many ambassadorial posts, a rarity after 100 days in office. solidarity with the transgender community. practice of naming donors who bundled for his presidential There’s no indication Biden won’t appoint an LGBTQ campaign to the prestigious posts as opposed to foreign person for a position as U.S. ambassador, which could be an easy achievement from him policy experts. Biden declined during his campaign to commit to refusing to reward donors with the LGBTQ community, but the delay raises questions on whether or not they will with ambassadorial appointments, but the issue has taken hold in progressive circles. happen, in addition to keeping the diplomatic corps from being fully staffed and functional. On the other hand, many donors and bundlers for Biden’s presidential campaign were Moreover, the position of LGBTQ international liaison at the State Department, a position LGBTQ people, who would reasonably expect an ambassadorial appointment as a reward Biden campaigned on filling after Trump let the position remain vacant, remains unfilled. for helping get Biden to the White House. During the Obama years, Randy Berry served in that role and travelled internationally to White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, under questioning from the Washington Blade work with LGBTQ groups overseas and demonstrate U.S. solidarity with them. on Tuesday on whether Biden is missing an opportunity to name lesbian and transgender It’s unclear why the international LGBTQ liaison position continues to remain vacant ambassadors in historic firsts, urged patience. within the Biden administration. A State Department spokesperson referred the Blade on “Given we haven’t named many ambassadors quite yet — and we hope to soon; stay Wednesday back to the White House on potential LGBTQ ambassadorial appointments or tuned — certainly the president looks to ensuring that the people representing him, not the international LGBTQ liaison role. just in the United States, but around the world, represent the diversity of the country, and To be sure, Biden has made several key LGBTQ appointments in the limited time in that certainly includes people who are LGBTQ, members of the transgender community,” his presidency. Among them are Pete Buttigieg as transportation secretary, making him Psaki said. the first-ever openly gay person to win Senate confirmation for a Cabinet-level role, and Asked to clarify her definition of “soon” in this context — whether it means days, weeks, Rachel Levine as assistant secretary of health, which made her the first openly transgender or months — Psaki declined to provide a more definite timeline. person to win Senate confirmation for any presidential appointment. “I think it depends on when the president makes some decisions,” Psaki said. “And he’ll In the past few weeks alone, Biden has signaled he’d name openly lesbian and transgender continue to consider a range of options for a lot of the positions that are out there and still people to high-ranking civilian positions at the Defense Department. Brenda Sue Fulton, remain vacant.” a lesbian activist who fought to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and the transgender military At the same time, Psaki made a point to commend the work of Foreign Service officers ban, got the nod as assistant secretary of defense for manpower and reserve affairs, while at the State Department with whom Biden has sought to restore trust after years of scorn Shawn Skelly, a transgender national security expert who served in the Air Force for 20 from former President Trump. years as a Naval Flight Officer, obtained the nod to become assistant secretary of defense “I will say, having served at the State Department for a couple of years, there are for readiness. Meanwhile, Gina Ortiz Jones, a lesbian Iraq war veteran who twice ran to incredible career service employees who are serving in these embassies around the world represent Texas’ 23rd congressional district, was nominated to become Air Force under who are representing the United States and our values.” Psaki said. “That continues to secretary. be the case, but, of course, we’re eager to have ambassadors in place and confirmed to Even the State Department itself has a person from the LGBTQ community serving as its represent the president and the vice president and the United States.” public face. Ned Price, who conducts daily briefings with the media as State Department The appointment of members of the LGBTQ community to ambassadorships has a spokesperson, is the first openly gay person to serve in that prominent position. significant place in the movement’s history. In 1998, Jim Hormel became the first openly gay The LGBTQ Victory Institute, which at the start of the Biden administration had signaled person to serve as U.S. ambassador after being named U.S. ambassador to Luxembourg. the appointment of a lesbian, transgender person and LGBTQ person of color as U.S. But the victory came after a struggle when anti-gay senators, including the late Jesse ambassadors were among its goals, expressed confidence Biden would name these Helms, refused to confirm Hormel explicitly because he’s gay. President Clint0n ended up appointments in due time. appointing Hormel as an ambassador through a recess appointment, which averted the “President Biden will roll out his picks for ambassadorships over the next few months need for Senate confirmation. and it presents an incredible opportunity to choose diverse and groundbreaking LGBTQ Presidents regardless of party have achieved historic firsts with the appointment of nominees,” said Ruben Gonzales, executive director of the LGBTQ Victory Institute. openly gay men as ambassadors. Michael Guest in the George W. Bush administration “As President Biden has already made history with the number of LGBTQ women and was confirmed as U.S. ambassador to Romania, making him the first openly gay person transgender people he has nominated for Senate-confirmed positions, we predict this to obtain Senate confirmation for an ambassadorship. Former President Obama over the commitment to LGBTQ diversity will continue when ambassadors are nominated. The course of two terms appointed a record seven openly gay men as ambassadors, including impact of our first LGBTQ women ambassadors, first LGBTQ ambassadors of color and first John Berry as U.S. ambassador to Australia and Daniel Baer as U.S. ambassador to the trans ambassadors would be enormous – an impact not lost on the Biden administration.” Organization for Security & Cooperation in Europe. 12 • MAY 07, 2021 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM

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Biden vows to support trans youth

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday President Biden will fulfill the pledge he made in his speech to Congress to have the backs of transgender youth by using the bully pulpit, deferring to the U.S. Justice Department on potential legal action against attacks from state legislatures. Psaki made the remarks under questioning from the Washington Blade in the aftermath of Biden’s speech last week before a joint session to Congress, when he called on lawmakers to pass the Equality Act and told transgender youth he’d have their back amid a flurry of anti-transgender attacks in state legislatures. “Well, certainly the president has put in place — has signed executive orders, he’s also used the power of the bully pulpit and his presidency to convey that transgender rights are human rights, and that is the view and belief of his administration and how he expects policies to be implemented,” Psaki said. Many of the state measures are aimed at restricting transgender youth’s access to school sports by prohibiting biological boys from playing in girls’ events, essentially transgender girls from participation. Other measures prohibit transition-related health care. Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee on Tuesday signed legislation requiring parental notification for LGBTQinclusive school curricula. Psaki specifically addressed measures that would prohibit transgender youth from

playing sports in her remarks on how Biden would follow up on his pledge. “That includes ensuring that transgender youth have the opportunity to play sports and to be treated equally in states across the country, so he will look to members of his administration to implement what his view and what his value is as president,” Psaki said. Asked in a follow-up if she would rule out legal action against states as part of that effort, Psaki deferred entirely to the Justice White House Press Secretary JEN PSAKI Department. said President Biden will have the backs “I will leave that to the Department of of transgender youth. Justice,” Psaki said. The Justice Department for weeks hasn’t responded to multiple requests for comment on whether it will take legal action against the measures against transgender youth, which critics say amount to unlawful sex discrimination under the law. CHRIS JOHNSON

Biden endorses Equality Act in speech to Congress

President Biden, delivering his first joint speech before Congress on the eve of his 100th day of his presidency last week, urged Congress to pass the Equality Act to protect LGBTQ people against discrimination, signaling support for transgender youth amid a flurry of attacks in state legislatures. “I also hope Congress will get to my desk the Equality Act to protect LGBTQ Americans,” Biden said. “To all transgender Americans watching at hone, especially young people who are so brave: I want you to know your president has your back.” Although the U.S. House has acted to pass the Equality Act, the legislation has remained at an impasse in the U.S. Senate, where 60 votes are needed to overcome a filibuster. Biden had pledged during his presidential campaign to sign the Equality Act within his first 100

PRESIDENT BIDEN delivered his first speech to a joint session of Congress last week.

days in office, but has fallen short of that goal. It remains to be seen whether Biden in his joint speech before Congress will create new traction for the Equality Act. In 2010, when former President Obama brought up “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal in his State of the Union speech, it made waves and led to Congress passing legislation that year during the lame duck session. Biden included the Equality Act in a speech where he articulated other agenda items, including passage of health care, corporate tax increases and the DREAM Act. Seated behind Biden were House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Vice President Kamala Harris, marking the first time in history two women sat behind a U.S. president in a speech before a joint session of Congress. CHRIS JOHNSON

Nat’l trans military group elects new president SPARTA, the nation’s leading transgender military service advocacy organization, announced Saturday that it has elected Bree Fram as its new board chair and president of the organization. She has been a member of SPARTA since 2014 and has served on the board of directors since April 2018, most recently as vice president. Fram is also a lieutenant colonel and astronautical engineer in the U.S. Air Force and will soon be recommissioning into the U. S. Space Force. She is currently a student at the U.S. Naval War College with a follow-on assignment to the Department of Defense at the Pentagon. “I’m honored and humbled to serve as SPARTA president on behalf of so many amazing transgender service member,” said Fram. “We will do our utmost to continue SPARTA’s a rich history of incredible dedication and progress. My heartfelt thanks go to the previous leaders of the organization, including Sue Fulton, Jacob Eleazar, Blake Dremann, and Emma Shinn, and all our members for the incredible achievements of the past eight years. Despite setbacks, their desire to make transgender military service possible is reality again as of yesterday as the new Department of Defense Policy went into effect.” The immediate past president, Emma Shinn served through a challenging time as President Trump’s ban on transgender service went into effect in April 2019. With the January 2021 executive order from President Biden directing the Defense Department to re-implement open transgender service, she and the organization


Lt. Col. BREE FRAM (Photo courtesy of SPARTA)

celebrated a major success. “Leading SPARTA for the past two years has been a tremendous honor and privilege,” stated Shinn as her time at the head of SPARTA came to an end. She continued, “I am confident that SPARTA will continue to help our military and nation recognize the value trans service members bring to the mission.” In a press release the organization noted that Fram’s remarks highlighted the fact that SPARTA’s mission is not over. “Although transgender service members have already proven they belong on the battlefield and here at home, we need to ensure they can’t be erased in the future by an administration set on turning back the clock. Beyond ensuring our members can thrive in their careers, my top priority is to ensure the opportunity to serve is enshrined in law.” BRODY LEVESQUE



TROY MASTERS is publisher of the Los Angeles Blade.

Pride march is needed more than ever

Let’s walk from Fairfax to Robertson on the morning of June 27 It’s supposed to be Pride season in Los Angeles, but you wouldn’t know it. It’s supposed to be a time you’d normally expect a thousand and one events at dozens of locations celebrating every color of the rainbow, glittering events replete with deep-pocketed corporate sponsors and breathless expectations for the celebratory Pride Parade. It’s supposed to be time for a Proud people to honor an heroic generation who, exhausted by institutionalized oppression and violence, donned their best drag and Birkenstocks, stood up and fought back, saying ‘fuck you’ to the closet of invisibility and second-class subjugation. Tragically, Pride events seem almost nonexistent this year, but Pride is bursting out all over. It has been hobbled by the unexpectedly erratic nature of public health restrictions during a pandemic that has killed more than 3 million people worldwide, 62,000 in California and 25,000 in Los Angeles County. For more than a year, we have sacrificed much of our local economy to make sure the disease could be contained and that lives were spared. And now, things have changed. Thanks to science, miracles in medicine, measures taken by thousands of heroic workers and our difficult sacrifices, we stand before the dawn of a brighter day. COVID cases, hospitalizations and deaths are, to quote a New York Times headline, “Dropping Like a Rock.” But Pride Month should be kicking into high gear by now, adjusting to and dealing with the ‘known unknowns’ that have made any kind of a traditional organized event impractical and nearly impossible. Unfortunately sponsors require liquidity and lead time to support organized events and many have been devastated financially by the COVID economy. Additionally, they have a heightened concern for liability in 2021 without an ‘all clear’ from the LA County Department of Health. But we are supposed to be a community that knows how to navigate these dark choppy waters. The 1969 Stonewall rebellion in New York was a spontaneous event. It lasted for days and has resonated for more than 50 years. Our response to the AIDS crisis was a spontaneous coming together as a diverse community that humanized our plight and moved science, politics, the arts and pockets of society to take action. We fought ignorance and wave after wave of significant attacks and violence against our people by creating grassroots infrastructures to serve our needs. The LA LGBT Center, GLAAD, even more recently, the launching of the Los Angeles Blade were all responses to our need to take care of our own. So, where are LA’s LGBT leaders now, when you need them? Are there any? Why isn’t anyone demanding a Pride celebration, even impromptu? We don’t need permission. We don’t need a budget. We don’t need any city to say we can take the streets and march in peaceful assembly. It’s our First Amendment right, after all. How is it possible that with less than a month to go, Christopher Street West — an organization that has hosted LA Pride in Los Angeles since 1970 — is silent on whether there will be any live events or even a march? After breaking up with the City of West Hollywood last year, the best CSW seems to be able to execute is a KABC broadcast. While that was great during the worst of COVID and I loved last year’s show, a virtual-only approach to a life with Pride is not enough. LGBTQ people are 12% of the population in Greater Los Angeles County – but are the haven cities of Los Angeles and West Hollywood even doing anything? They don’t seem to know much. During a mid-April West Hollywood City Council meeting, the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce proposed some ideas that would have utilized the services of Jeff Consoletti’s JJLA to create a series of interactive events and highlight WeHo businesses. But there were too many perceived unknowns — the status of LA County’s COVID restrictions being the biggest hurdle — 16 • MAY 07, 2021 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM

to fully embrace it. It was decided at that meeting that West Hollywood will host WeHo Pride during the weekend of June 25, 26 and 27. In addition to the City’s yearly One City One Pride programming (so far virtual), the Chamber of Commerce was tasked to work with businesses to have them develop Pride themes in their establishments and Out on Robertson will feature LGBTQ non-profit booths. Councilmember Sepi Shyne noted the lack of a march component, saying that a large gathering event should be expected. Councilmember John D’Amico agreed and called for funding of a trans-focused aspect of whatever event comes together. The LA City Council has yet to discuss Pride specifics. Yet, there are models for how to do Pride in uncertain times. Last year, a group of Black LGBT activists called for a solidarity march that replaced Pride. It was held in solidarity with Black Lives Matter, highlighting the murders of Black transgender people nationwide. It was called the ‘All Black Lives Matter March.’ That march was a nearly spontaneous event. It was an entirely trouble-free celebration march of inclusion and diversity — and it was among the most spectacular and most joyous Pride days of my nearly 40 years attending Pride marches and events around the world. It was cathartic for the hundreds of thousands of COVID-masked people who gathered that day, a day that gave hundreds of thousands of Angelenos who had felt bereft of a way to celebrate the 50th anniversary of one of the world’s largest and most important parades. The rage that built up after the May 25, 2020 police killing of George Floyd and the earlier fatal police shooting of Breonna Taylor finally awoke a nation to the thousands of similar murders exposing the cancer of systemic racism institutionalized in our society and culture. Our LGBTQ+ community woke up, spoke up and acted up, too. We’ve been on edge since the election of Donald Trump, which promised a near total erasure of all political and social progress we had made over decades of fighting. Trans people, in particular, were targeted by Trump. LA responded with the Resist March with thousands of people taking over Hollywood Boulevard and marching to a rally in West Hollywood. We wanted to put the Trump administration on notice that ‘we weren’t going to take it,’ we are not going back and we will not be erased! And then there was that morning of LA Pride’s Parade in 2016 when we all woke up to the horrifying news that 49 members of our community had been murdered by a madman at the Pulse dance club in Orlando, Fla. We soon discovered that another lone-wolf anti-LGBTQ attack had been planned for the parade in WeHo. One man from Ohio was arrested with guns in his car; we feared others had escaped detection. But we resolved to courageously march anyway, turning the Pride celebration into a remembrance of the lives lost in Orlando. We were so resolved in large part to our many years of experience celebrating Pride during the darkest days of the AIDS crisis. Those were remarkable in a year when we fought for our lives against another pandemic. And we fought in impromptu ways with anger and pride and always with overflowing joy. Now, after more than 14 months of COVID lockdown, we want to break free. Bouncing off the June 25, 26 and 27 WeHo Pride weekend announcement, I propose a COVIDsafe, socially distant and impromptu celebratory march from Fairfax to Robertson along Santa Monica Boulevard on the morning of Sunday, June 27. We have so much to celebrate. We have climbed out of a COVID-19 disaster. Our community has embraced vaccinations. We have a new president and there is renewed hope that many of us have never experienced before. It’s a liberation. Pride is bigger than any one of us. We must refer to the past lessons of Pride and celebrate together in 2021. But will we?

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is a longtime Republican-Libertarian AIDS activist whose most recent book is ‘How AIDS Activists Challenged America.’

Biden’s big gay opportunity

The best friend LGBTQ Americans have yet had in the White House President Joe Biden faces many tough challenges. Foreign adversaries are preparing to test him, rancorous political divisions confront him at home where COVID-19 has ravaged the American economy and spirit. With Washington gridlock threatening to block his most ambitious plans, opportunities for legacy achievements may prove scarce. Still, in one critical area, Biden can earn an honored place in history: LGBTQ rights. Of all major contemporary American political figures, Biden has been the quickest to take a stand for our rights. He is the best friend LGBTQs have yet had in the White House. I do not say so lightly, I am a lifelong Republican. From day one, Biden began rolling back the biased policies promoted by Donald Trump’s Marginalizer-in-Chief, Mike Pence. Much damage remains to be undone, especially because the media and many Democrats have gone easy on Pence and his cronies. But Joe himself got off to a fast start placing qualified LGBTQ officials in highly visible positions, including his Cabinet. Secretary of State Tony Blinken set the tone early by flying the rainbow flag at U.S. embassies and naming a special envoy for LGBTQ rights. What a welcome change to have an administration proud of, rather than wary of, its LGBTQ supporters. Yet much more needs to be done to rid this nation of the cruel blights of LGBTQ stigma and marginalization. There can be neither equality nor equity for people who are systematically stigmatized and marginalized. The cruelty of these violations is evident in a suicide rate among LGBTQ youth five times that of youth in the general population. A national commission studying patterns, causes, and consequences of LGBTQ stigma, marginalization, and bullying could help awaken Americans to the damage from the prejudices many of us still face. Indeed, older LGBTQs who feel comfortably protected, have a special obligation to defend gay youth who remain vulnerable. Stigmatization is worse for minority LGBTQs who bear a double burden of bias. BGLM!--Black Gay Lives Matter! Stigma impedes HIV testing and treatment; one consequence is a shocking rate of new HIV-AIDS infections among people of color four times the rate among whites. Even as we pursue our national struggle to end racial bias, America must recognize our equal moral obligation to expose and repudiate our ugly history of LGBTQ stigmatization and

marginalization. How do we stop these evils? Most crucial, we must pass a muscular Equality Act that protects the rights and dignity of all LGBTQs wherever they live in America. Yet to pass it soon, we must avoid “poison pills” that may doom it to failure. Protection for LGBTQ youth is urgent. Better a bill we can pass now giving us 90% of what we all need, than a failed bill promising 100% of what some wish for. Education is essential. Students must learn about the sufferings of LGBTQ people and our contributions to humanity and to America. All should be told about LGBTQ civil rights heroes like Bayard Rustin, Harvey Milk, and Barbara Jordan, scientists and thinkers like Alan Turing, George Washington Carver, and Plato, writers like Walt Whitman, James Baldwin, and Henry James, composers like Aaron Copland, Samuel Barber, and Billy Strayhorn, and artists like Michelangelo, Georgia O’Keefe, and Frida Kahlo— the full list is much longer. Formal recognition of the sufferings and achievements of LGBTQ people is long overdue. As a starter, let’s build an Equality Museum on the Mall to celebrate LGBTQ Americans. No politician has yet ventured to suggest building one; their omission reinforces our marginalized state. President Biden could make history by stepping up. Although Biden himself has made a strong start on LGBTQ rights, it is a serious mistake for the Democrats to take the gay vote for granted. Polls indicate Trump’s share rose from 16% in 2016 to 28% in 2020. LGBTQs followed a normal tendency to divide more evenly between the parties. In the 2020 campaign Democrats avoided reminding voters that Trump’s number two, Mike Pence, has been America’s number one stigma super spreader. At the same time, on the QT, they reassured closet Pences among their own. They took us for granted assuming all LGBTQs are Woke Groupthinkers. In the next election, more LGBTQs who agree with Republicans on issues like Iran, immigration, or taxes will vote GOP if the Democrats fail to raise their ante for us. More Democrats need to follow the leadership Biden is showing on LGBTQ issues. Biden himself has a big opportunity to become America’s president for LGBTQ rights. But to grasp that opportunity, he will need aggressive initiatives to end stigmatization, celebrate our contributions, and make a crystal clear national commitment to full equality for all LGBTQ peoples. LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • MAY 07, 2021 • 17

Final season of ‘Pose’ is must-see TV that matters Groundbreaking show prepares to end award-winning run By JOHN PAUL KING When the COVID pandemic hit in the early months of 2020, there were certainly more pressing and essential worries for us to grapple with than how it would impact the next season of a TV show. Yet it’s a testament to the power of “Pose” that many among its legion of fans were at least as concerned about the show’s disruption as they were about the possibility of running out of toilet paper. The powerhouse FX drama — which spotlights the legends, icons and ferocious house mothers of New York’s underground ball culture in the late 1980s — had already made history. Not only did it feature the largest cast of transgender actors in regular roles, it boasted the largest recurring cast of LGBTQ actors ever included in a scripted series. In its first two seasons, the show racked up accolades and honors (including a Primetime Emmy for Billy Porter as Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series) while breaking new ground for the inclusion and representation of queer people — and especially transgender people of color — in television, both in front of the camera, and behind it. With the end of its second season in August 2019, fans were hungry for a third — but thanks to COVID, its future was suddenly in question. So, when word came that the show’s third season would have its debut on May 2, it was the best news since finding out the vaccines were finally going to start rolling out. But it was bittersweet: Along with confirmation of the series’ imminent return came the sad revelation that the new season would also be the last. “Pose” would be coming to an end with a final, sevenepisode arc. As any viewer of show can attest, there were a lot of threads left hanging when last we saw its characters. That means there’s a lot of ground to cover in these last chapters in order to give everyone — characters and audience alike — the closure they deserve. The show’s official synopsis goes like this: It’s now 1994 and ballroom feels like a distant memory for Blanca, who struggles to balance being a mother with being a present partner to her new love, as well as her latest role as a nurse’s aide. Meanwhile, as AIDS becomes the leading cause of death for Americans ages 25 to 44, Pray Tell contends with unexpected health burdens. Meanwhile, a vicious new upstart house is emerging in the ballroom world, and the members of the House of Evangelista are forced to defend their legacy. Obviously, there are a lot of details left hidden in that broad overview, and fans are undoubtedly full of questions about what they can expect to see. Fortunately, the bulk of the show’s main cast convened on Zoom recently (along with show co-creator and Executive Producer Steven Canals and Executive Producer Janet Mock) for a press conference to discuss their “Pose” experience, and while they didn’t exactly give away any spoilers, they definitely dropped some tantalizing hints about what’s in store for audiences in the farewell season. In truth, most of the discussion was dominated by reminiscences and expressions of mutual appreciation, sure signs that the feeling of family we see onscreen is something that has taken hold off screen, as well. But in between the affectionate banter, the cast and creatives addressed several questions that might be most on viewers’ minds. Perhaps the most pressing of these — why, after only three seasons, is the critic-and-audienceacclaimed show calling it quits? — was taken on by Canals, who explained: “I always knew what the beginning and what the end of the narrative would be. And when Ryan Murphy and I first met in September of 2016, we felt really strongly that that particular narrative made sense. And so, while we certainly could have continued to create narrative around these characters and in this world, and we certainly had a conversation in the writers’ room about it … I think we all agreed that it just made sense for us to ‘land the plane,’ if you will, comfortably — as opposed to continuing to give an audience a story that just simply didn’t have any real core intention or a real thrust toward specificity.” Also of interest was the obvious subject of how the parallels between the current pandemic and the AIDS crisis that looms over the show’s narrative might be reflected in the new episodes. While he didn’t hint at any direct connections in “Pose,” Porter used the subject to underscore a theme that has always been one of the show’s most important elements: “I think the parallels are quite profound. I know that as a Black gay man who lived through the AIDS crisis, I have been dealing with a lot of PTSD during this COVID time. It’s very reminiscent of what it was like then. The best news about that is that I survived. We got through it, and there is another side to it. We can get to the other side. “I feel like that’s what ‘Pose’ really accomplishes this season, reminding the public that it’s when we come together and when we lead with love [that] we get to the other side.” Mock elaborated on the theme of resilience by discussing the importance of showing the strength of House mothers like Blanca and Electra (Dominique Jackson), who hold together — and lift up — their entire community: “It’s that matriarchal power and lineage that I think the ballroom is, and what trans women are 18 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • MAY 07, 2021

The cast of ‘Pose’ in a scene from the final season.

(Photo courtesy FX)

to one another, that then feeds everyone else and enables them to shine and have all the things that they want in the world. For me, it is [about] that celebration […] of Black trans women — that they’ve created this space, that they brought everyone else in with them, and that, at the end of the day, they are often the ones most often forgotten. “I think with this season, I want everyone across the industry, the audience, to realize that. I think it’s essential, and it’s important.” Mock also talked about the way “Pose” focuses on the small, day-to-day lives of its characters as much as it does the larger-than-life splendor of the ballroom culture in which they participate: “We wanted to ensure that we show the everyday, mundane moments, as well as the great, grand celebrations. The ballroom is are presentation of what it means to congregate and share testimony and to love on each other, and our show is a celebration of the everyday intimacies. So, for us, while we were plotting these big, grand moments […] we wanted to bring in traditions — weddings, matrimony, all this stuff — that our characters get to engage in. We wanted to be a part of the tradition of that, and all the moments that a family shares together. We wanted to make sure that all of those things were celebrated in this.” When discussion turned to the unprecedented level of support and collaborative inclusion with which the show’s queer cast were bestowed by Ryan Murphy and the rest of the creative staff — from the presence of trans women like Mock and co-producer Our Lady J in the writers’ room to the extensive reliance on the insights and talents of real-life members of the ballroom community — Jackson was quick to add that besides giving the show its ferocious authenticity, it gave her an increased recognition of her own worth: “I will never, ever, ever walk into a space thinking that I need to impress them […] I will never walk into a space being fearful of my identity stopping me from anything. Because of this journey, when I walk into spaces now, my identity is not because I’m an abomination. My identity is a plus. My identity is my value. So, when I walk into spaces now,they need to impress me. You can be the biggest Hollywood director, producer, whatever, but you’re not going to take my story or relay stories that are reflective of my life or my existence and make them into anything you want, because of ‘Pose,’ because of Ryan, because of Steven, because of Janet and Brad [co-creator/ executive producer Falchuk), because of Our Lady J, because of my cast members. “I will never walk into spaces or live a life or an existence thinking that I need to impress anyone.” If the cast members themselves have found themselves feeling more empowered thanks to “Pose,” so too have the millions of LGBTQ people — and allies — who have tuned into it since its premiere in 2018. The show is one of those rare entries into the cultural lexicon that simply allows its queer and trans people to live authentic lives, giving long-withheld representation to countless viewers who were able to see themselves reflected back from the screen for perhaps the very first time. It’s that powerful sense of validation provided by “Pose” that keeps it standing tall in an entertainment market now providing so much LGBTQ inclusion that it’s becoming dangerously easy to take it for granted. Whatever moments of heartbreak, joy, and celebration “Pose” brings us as it plays out its final act — and there are sure to be many — we can all be sure it will leave us with a message expressed through an oft-heard line of dialogue that Mock says she found herself writing “over and over again” during the series’ run: “You are everything, and you deserve everything this world has to offer.” It’s that nurturing sentiment the “Pose” has been instilling in us from the beginning, like a mother to us all. The first two episodes of its final season aired on May 2, on FX. The final five episodes will air Sunday nights at 10 p.m.


Laundry is his love language

New book explores author’s fascination with clean clothes By TERRI SCHLICHENMEYER

Tomorrow’s outfit is on a chair over there. That’s where it’s been since you last washed it. What you wore today came from a basket and off a hanger, the shirt needed ironing, there was a tiny stain on the pants but who noticed? and you just bought new socks, so there’s that. Time to do the wash? Yeah, but get a load of this: “Laundry Love” by Patric Richardson (with Karin B. Miller). In one of his earliest memories, Patric Richardson’s uncle holds him aloft so that Richardson could watch laundry swimming in the washer. He was almost a baby then, but the fascination was set: at age three, Richardson was “over the moon” when he received a toy washing machine as a birthday gift. He remembers that it was Harvest Gold. Growing up, Richardson absorbed washday secrets from an extended family of women and he learned the appeal of laundry hung on a line outside. While at the University of Kentucky, he met three professors who taught him about textiles, and employers educated him further. Love of fabric eventually became Richardson’s career and laundry is his love-language: “caring for your loved ones’ clothes shows them love.” The first thing to know, Richardson states, is that “our clothes are bossy.” If something you enjoy wearing says “Dry Clean Only” on the label, lay it on the kitchen counter, grab a pair of scissors, and cut that label off because, “anything can be washed at home.” Here, you’ll learn how to save time on wash day. Find out why bigbrand-name detergents are unsafe, and see what you need to care for your clothes properly. Learn to iron, eliminate horrible stains, wash woolens and other awkward-to-clean items, and see how to rescue yellowed linens and special-event clothing like a pro. Remember, says Richardson: “You don’t have to do laundry – you get to do laundry.” These days, though, author Patric Richardson doesn’t “get to” very often. His husband, he says, does their wash while Richardson runs a clothing store and offers “Laundry Camp” at the Mall of America. But since not everyone can be a happy camper, there’s “Laundry Love.” If you’re thinking that a book about joyfully washing clothes would be a mighty skinny book, you’re right but laundry is only a part of this story here. The rest is biography, and a love-letter to Appalachain and southern women. In giving props to the women who raised him, Richardson shows how his interest in fabric grew, too; the subject of textiles, which may be perceived as mundane by many, is treated in this light as something precious and accessible. If you come for the biography, you’ll be glad you stayed for the hints as Richardson shows how even the most delicate items can be safely home-cleaned. That fur you love? Done. That stinky-perfumed vintage item you found? Clean. Ahhhhhhh, so pick up the undies in the corner, use grandma’s linens, shop thrift stores with impunity. Go ahead, fearfree. Having “Laundry Love” should take a load off your mind.


‘Laundry Love: Finding Joy in a Common Chore’ By Patric Richardson with Karin B. Miller c.2021, Flatiron Books $25.99/185 pages

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‘Halston’ promises sumptuous look at rise and fall of a fashion icon Gay designer defined women’s style for an era

By JOHN PAUL KING is joined by a cast that includes Bill Pullman (as Halston’s business When we hear the name “Halston,” our first thought is not likely to be associate David Mahoney), Krysta Rodriguez (as Minnelli), Rebecca Dayan of his status as an LGBTQ hero – except in the sense that he designed (as Elsa Peretti, another close Halston friend), Gian Franco Rodriguez (as clothes for best friend Liza Minnelli. Halston’s sometime lover, Victor Hugo), David Pittu (as Halston illustrator Yet Roy Halston Frowick, who became the first “celebrity designer” in a and creative director Joe Eula), Rory Culkin (as Joel Schumacher), Kelly career that defined women’s fashion for an era and paved the way for the Bishop, Sullivan Jones, and Vera Farmiga – and as even a quick look at the age of influencers by making his identity synonymous with his brand, can publicity shots of each of them in full costume for their roles is enough to be clearly seen today as a queer pioneer. A gay midwestern boy whose verify that the series has gone out of its way to meticulously recreate the grandmother gave him a love of sewing, he rose to fame after designing look and feel of Halston’s glamorous world. the famed pillbox hat worn by Jacqueline Kennedy at her husband’s 1961 The series found its way to the screen thanks to Minahan’s interest inauguration, and spent the next decade building a reputation fueled in “Simply Halston,” a bio penned by Vanity Fair writer Stephen Gaines. by the celebrity of a growing list of famous clients while honing a style EWAN MCGREGOR as Halston and Working with producer Christine Vachon, he began work on adapting the that combined functionality, elegance and comfort in a way that seemed GIAN FRANCO RODRIGUEZ as Halston’s book as a feature-length film, but the scope of the story made honing perfectly in tune with the rising women’s liberation movement. sometime lover, Victor Hugo. (Photo courtesy Netflix) it into a two-hour-ish running time a daunting task, and the idea was The empowering ease and “effortless” sex appeal of his designs came shelved. The option on the book then passed through a series of other to epitomize ‘70s style, a signature feature of the Disco Era that has cast hands, but when the rights became available again, Vachon approached Minahan with the idea its not-so-subtle influence on every generation since, and the fashion house he started became of revisiting the project as a mini-series, and, as Minagan says, “it just clicked.” It wasn’t long until legendary in an industry that was still tightly controlled (like every other industry) by straight Ryan Murphy reached out (through Alexis Martin Woodall, president of his production company) men. It was an accomplishment that might have gone unheralded by most at the time, but which to express his interest, and things “started moving very quickly.” historical perspective reveals as a groundbreaking moment in the LGBTQ community’s rise from “Working with Ryan is a unique experience,” says Minahan, who previously worked with the the shadows. powerhouse producer on “The Assassination of Gianni Versace.” “He draws the best out of Unfortunately, Halston’s fall from glory – marked by his loss of control over the company he people, and he demands excellence from everyone who works with him. He has an uncanny started, through a series of corporate acquisitions that might fairly be described as nefarious – sense for story, and I’ve been fascinated for years by the tone he’s able to strike in his work and and subsequent 1990 death from AIDS-associated Kaposi’s sarcoma still largely overshadows his the depth of emotion that he’s able to express. reputation (if not the fashions he created) in the popular imagination. But thanks to the arrival of He also says Murphy had “a unique relationship” with the material that helped inform the the new Netflix limited series “Halston,” which drops on May 14, that is about to change. end product. “[He] grew up in Indiana […] then he worked building an empire as a gay man in a Created and directed by Emmy-winner Daniel Minahan, the five-episode biographical portrait corporate world as Halston did, so he was really generous with his experience. A lot of that made stars Ewan McGregor as Halston, and follows the legendary designer as he leverages his single, it into our scripts. We were very lucky to have him be involved.” invented name into a worldwide fashion empire synonymous with luxury, sex, status, and fame, literally defining the ‘70s and ‘80s era New York in which he lives, before a hostile take-over forces him to battle for control of his most precious asset – the name Halston itself. McGregor CONTINUES AT LOSANGELESBLADE.COM


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