Losangelesblade.com, Volume 05, Issue 43, October 22, 2021

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Students steal Pride flag, defecate on it for TikTok ‘An act of hate directed at the LGBTQ community’ By BRODY LEVESQUE

Earlier this school year two students walked into a science teacher’s classroom at Paso Robles High School, they proceeded to rip down the LGBTQ+ Pride flag hanging in the room and fled out the door. The theft took place as there was a classes break and as science instructor Evan Holtz took out after them he lost them in the throng of students in the hallway. Holtz, who is a chemistry teacher, tutor, and swim coach, has been teaching at Paso Robles since 2019. In an interview with the San Luis Obispo Tribune, Holtz told the paper he had displayed the Pride flag to show solidarity with the school’s LGBTQ students, making sure that they knew they were welcome and safe in his classroom.

Paso Robles High School via Google Earth

What happened immediately after the theft has left the high school’s LGBTQ+ students angered and alarmed. First, the Tribune reported, a video surfaced on TikTok of students attempting to flush the rainbow Pride flag down a toilet. Then, the video showed one student defecating on the flag in the toilet, according to those who had seen and heard about the video. “It was definitely an act of hate directed at the LGBTQ community,” Geoffrey Land, a social sciences teacher told the paper. “And a lot of students felt it, you know, felt that attack very acutely.” The Paso Robles Joint Unified School District said that administrators at the high school had taken “disciplinary action” after being alerted to the situation and the TikTok video by students. The next action undertaken on October 1st by the school district has left LGBTQ+ students disillusioned and further upset. District Superintendent Curt Dubost sent a memorandum letter to faculty that read: “The Paso Robles Joint Unified School District has received multiple concerns about certain flag displays in teacher classrooms, including those that are large and distracting and those that alter the American flag. I want to start by reiterating my statement from last year that rainbow flags mean different things to different people but to many are a symbol of safety, inclusion and equity. All students deserve protection against bullying and harassment. A safe, caring


learning environment is essential if students are to achieve their academic potential. We have a duty as a school district to ensure that hate speech and bullying conduct does not create an unsafe campus environment. Students in protected classes are often among the most vulnerable and susceptible to bullying and discrimination.” Superintendent Dubost then laid out the new district policy: No flags bigger than 2 feet by 2 feet may be displayed in classrooms, and no flags that are “alterations of the American flag” may be displayed in classrooms. In a follow-up interview with the Tribune Dubost justified his actions telling the paper, “We don’t want to turn it into a politicized issue where a student enters a classroom and looks up, ‘Oh, there’s a rainbow flag here, or there’s a blue lives matter flag here — that determines what the partisanship is of my teacher.’ We think that that’s a real slippery slope. And so we continue to believe that this is a very reasonable compromise solution that allows rainbows, but within reason.” In an op-ed written by PRHS students on National Coming Out day last week, they expressed their dismay over Dubost’s actions. October 11 is National Coming Out Day, when lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people can celebrate support for LGBTQ equality. But in Paso Robles, where we attend high school, we cannot celebrate. Too often, LGBTQ students feel unwelcome, unsafe and targeted by hate. After briefly mentioning the theft, video, and the action to ban flags other than a U.S. National flag taken by Superintendent Dubost they added: Eventually, the school imposed minor discipline upon the offenders, and nearly two weeks later issued a policy statement that includes a ban on rainbow flags larger than 2’ x 2’. As the standard flag size is 3’ x 5’, the school purposefully banned the very flag that was desecrated. What message does this send to students? The flag ban means the school has allowed the haters to win, while LGBTQ students feel punished for wanting to be seen and supported. The students cited a 2018 oral history project at PRHS which interviewed students in the Paso Robles Joint Unified School District area high schools of Templeton, Atascadero and Paso Robles. They found that offensive slurs and open hostility directed at LGBTQ+ individuals were commonplace in classrooms. LGBTQ+ students reported not feeling included in their school culture. Students interviewed reported that teachers who wore rainbow colored pins or posted supportive flags or posters in their classroom walls helped create welcoming, safe spaces. Over the years, PRHS has witnessed loss of life, violence and intimidation — all in the name of anti-LGBTQ hate. In their call to action the students stated that; “Enough is enough. How many more students will be traumatized by systems and people who fail to embrace the beauty and diversity of their students? The school’s response is a collective slap in the face of all LBGTQ students at PRHS. From our perspective, the school’s flag ban means they’re more interested in appeasing the bullies than protecting the safety of the victims of hate.” There is a community forum event scheduled for Wednesday, October 20 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the PRHS performing arts center. Organized by students, the event, “Coming Out Against Hate,” is an opportunity for students to “share their experiences and visions for a more welcoming, inclusive educational environment,” and it’s the first forum of its kind in Paso Robles, according to a news release sent out about the event. “With the forum, we’re hoping that things change and they stop normalizing hate against us,” a senior told the Tribune, “I’m really proud of the fact that so many people are brave enough to come up against the adversity that is very obvious here. We might get a ton of hate for this. We might get hate-crimed ourselves. “But we can’t let this continue. We have a culture of homophobia here. We literally have no other option than to put ourselves kind of at risk and in danger. Because we can’t let this continue.”


LA City Councilman Ridley-Thomas indicted on 20 charges

Los Angeles City Councilman Mark RidleyThomas, 66, was indicted Wednesday by a federal grand jury with 20 federal counts of conspiracy, bribery, mail and wire fraud alleging he took bribes from a former dean at the University of Southern California, USC when he was a member of the County Board of Supervisors. The Los Angeles Times reported that in exchange for the payoffs, Ridley-Thomas allegedly supported awarding county contracts worth millions of dollars to USC. In the indictment Ridley-Thomas is charged with conspiring with arilyn Louise Flynn, then dean of USC’s School of Social Work, to steer county money to the university in return for admitting his son Sebastian into graduate school with a fulltuition scholarship and a paid professorship, the Times reported. The indictment also alleges that Flynn and

LA City Councilman MARK RIDLEY-THOMAS and LA LGBT Center CEO LORI L. JEAN during a Pride 2021 video.

Ridley-Thomas also concocted a scheme to funnel 100,000 from one of his campaign committees through the university to a nonprofit where his son would work. Ridley-Thomas has been a longtime ally to LA’s LGBTQ community. In November of 2018 while still a Los Angeles County Supervisor, he and Supervisor Sheila uehl pushed for an additional 5 million for public health programs, along with 1 million in grant funding for clients with substance abuse disorders, over a period of two years. Ridley-Thomas and his fellow Los Angeles County Supervisors unanimously passed a motion on Nov. 20, 2018 to approve the allocation of emergency reserve funds for organizations, including the Los Angeles LGBT Center, for public health initiatives like STD testing and treatment. BRODY LEVESQUE

Screenshot via acebook video


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Streaming giant Netflix has terminated a Black organizer of the Oct. 20 walkout by its trans employees last week, according to The erge. According to the magazine, the employee, “who is Black and currently pregnant, asked not to be named for fear of online harassment.” The growing outcry by LGBTQ+ advocacy groups and allies since the release last week of the Netflix Dave Chappelle’s comedy special The Closer, regarding transphobic and other anti-LGBTQ innuendo and statements by the comedian escalated on onday after the company suspended one of its Trans employees. After the special aired, Terra Field, an Out Trans Netflix senior software engineer based in San Francisco, posted a series of tweets that expressed anger over Chappelle’s blatant transphobia. Field in her Twitter thread countered the position laid out by Sarandos, pointing out that Chappelle’s promoting the kind of ideology and speech can result in real-world consequences especially death for Trans people. The employee terminated on Friday was alleged to have disclosed an internal Netflix document regarding metrics on Chappelle’s special including about how much the streaming company paid for and how many people it reached in the various market penetrations. That data was part of a report by Bloomberg Wednesday. The erge reported that “While the employee had shared the metrics internally, they spoke out against the leaks to colleagues, worried they might hurt the walkout movement.” A Netflix spokesperson confirmed the employees’ dismissal to the magazine saying; “We have let go of an employee for sharing confidential, commercially sensitive information outside the company,” they said. “We understand this employee may have been motivated by disappointment and hurt with Netflix, but maintaining a culture of trust and transparency is core to our company.” Adding more fuel to the ongoing controversy in a memorandum to the company’s staff members obtained 04 • OCTOBER 22, 2021 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM

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by entertainment trade news magazine ariety, sent last week by Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos, the company executive defended Chappelle. “Chappelle is one of the most popular stand-up comedians today, and we have a long standing deal with him. His last special ‘Sticks Stones,’ also controversial, is our most watched, stickiest and most award winning stand-up special to date,” Sarandos wrote. “”As with our other talent, we work hard to support their creative freedom — even though this means there will always be content on Netflix some people believe is harmful.” The company’s intransigence was the catalyst for the call for the walkout by Netflix Trans employees. As reported by The erge, a leader of the streamer’s trans employee resource group wrote the following in a message to members: “Trans Lives atter. Trans Rights atter. And as an organization, Netflix has continually failed to show deep care in our mission to Entertain the World by repeatedly releasing content that harms the Trans community and continually failing to create content that represents and uplifts Trans content. We can and must do better ” The Blade spoke with Emmy and Peabody award winning journalist Imara Jones, the creator of TransLash edia, a cross-platform journalism, personal storytelling and narrative project, which produces content to shift the current culture of hostility towards transgender people. Jones said Friday’s actions clearly underscores the transphobic environment of the company, especially as ” co-CEO Ted Sarandos has very much been vocal about his views regarding Dave Chappelle.” “The problem is plainly that they don’t see Trans people as real human beings,” she said and added. “They see Trans people as ‘fake.’” “This underscores the work that needs to be done- it shows the true values of Netflix and its corporate hypocrisy on Trans and LGBTQ issues,” Jones said. BRODY LEVESQUE


WeHo to host annual youth Halloween Carnival

(Photo courtesy County of Los Angeles)

The City of West Hollywood’s Recreation Services Division will host its annual free Youth Halloween Carnival on Saturday, October 23, from 2-5 p.m. on the Vista Lawn at Plummer Park, located at 7377 Santa Monica Blvd. Youth Halloween Carnival highlights will include games, a pumpkin patch, a trackless train, costume showcases, ra es, and entertainment by community groups. Children are welcome to show-off their Halloween costumes and participate in ra es. For a fur-raising good time, pets are also invited to display their “Howl-O-Ween” best (but must follow Plummer Park rules to always remain on a leash). In accordance with COVID-19 safety protocols, all activities will take place outdoors along with appropriate physical distancing. The Youth Halloween Carnival will adhere to a series of CO ID-19 health and safety measures in compliance with Health O cer Orders and Protocols established by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. The event will: take place outdoor-only with reduced capacity (approximately 50 percent of maximum occupancy); employ mask-wearing and physical distancing;

utilize procedures to reduce crowding; use advanced registration and communications to convey COVID-19 safety plans; and post visible signage that attendees must not enter the premises if sick or symptomatic. The LA County Department of Public Health recommends that everyone wear a face mask and notes to “incorporate a face mask that covers your nose and mouth snugly into your costume. A costume mask is NOT a substitute for a face mask that protects against COVID-19.” To register for this event, visit the City of West Hollywood’s West Hollywood Recreation Online portal at www.weho.org recreation or follow this direct link: https: apm.activecommunities.com weho Activity Search youth-halloween-carnival-2021-in-personevent 1228 . For more information about the City of West Hollywood’s Youth Halloween Carnival, please contact the City’s Recreation Services Division at 323 8 8-6530 or at recreation weho.org. For people who are Deaf or hard of hearing, please call TT 323 8 8-6 96. FROM STAFF REPORTS

LAX opens new parking structure in time for holidays Mayor Eric Garcetti celebrated the opening of the LAX Economy Parking, a new LAX parking faculty that opened on Tuesday. The 29 -million, ,300 parking space structure is located a half mile away from LAX’s Central Terminal Area. Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA), the City of Los Angeles department that owns and operates Los Angeles International (LAX) and Van Nuys (VNY) general aviation airports announced that there will be a dedicated shuttle bus to take travelers to the parking facility and the terminal area’s arrivals level. The four-story facility will have electric vehicle charging, automatic entry and exit, and allow drivers to pre-book parking online for a discounted rate. Initially, pre-booking discounts will give drivers up to 0 off the drive-up rate of 25 per day. Previously, parking at LA was only available on a firstcome, first-served basis, with no reservation system available. For those travelers who have furry canine companions or service dogs, the airport authority noted the new LAX Economy Parking facility features a pet relief area. FROM STAFF REPORTS Mayor ERIC GARCETTI and


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(Photo courtesy City of Los Angeles and LAX Airport)


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Former LA Blade editor Ocamb named journalist of the year Honor follows powerful coverage of COVID and its impact on LGBTQ people By BRODY LEVESQUE

Former Los Angeles Blade editor Karen Ocamb was awarded Journalist of the Year for 2020 at the 63rd annual Los Angeles Press Club’s Southern California Journalism Awards gala, which was held Saturday evening at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Press Club was founded in 1913 and honors journalists through its annual National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards and SoCal Journalism Awards. The annual gala is held to celebrate the best of Southern California journalism and features and honors journalists working in all media platforms of print, radio, television or digital (online). Ocamb won in the category of ‘print’ with a circulation under 50,000. Her fellow nominees were Lina Lecaro, LA Weekly and Hayley Munguia, Long Beach PressTelegram. The LA Press Club judges noted in their decision bestowing the award, “Karen Ocamb’s passionate reporting of the struggles of the LGBTQ community and journalists covering LGBTQ issues during the pandemic earns her a Print Journalist of the Year award.” She was also a runner-up in two other categories securing second place in ‘Pandemic Reporting Digital’ (Online) with awardee Jon Regardie, Los Angeles Magazine, “A Month Inside the COVID-19 War Room with Mayor Eric Garcetti” securing first place. aren Ocamb, Los Angeles Blade, “Seeking Truth in the War on the Coronavirus”) Ocamb also secured second place in the category of ‘Commentary: on political, social, cultural, investigative, judicial, economic or other serious subjects.’ The awardees were Ryan Lo and Chandra Bozelko, Reno Gazette Journal, “ lobuchar’s Own Central Park Five Situation” aren Ocamb, Los Angeles Blade, “Strong at the Broken Places”) Ocamb, who now works in media relations for Public Justice, a national nonprofit progressive legal advocacy organization that has been fighting for civil rights, environmental protection and consumer and workers’ rights for more than 35 years, was the founding news editor of the Los Angeles Blade in 2017. After spending the 1960s as a student against the war in ietnam, fighting for civil rights and exploring the countercultural movement, Ocamb joined CBS News in New York and learned to be a journalist under the mentorship of such icons as Walter Cronkite, Dan Rather and Bob Schiefer. Her final job for the network was producing the 198 Olympics coverage for CBS News a liates at T City in Los Angeles. Free to pursue her social justice passions and discuss

Los Angeles Blade publisher TROY MASTERS, CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. SANJAY GUPTA, and former LA Blade News Editor KAREN OCAMB at the 63rd annual Los Angeles Press Club awards gala. (Photo by Troy Masters)

her opinions, Ocamb volunteered on the ballot campaign for West Hollywood cityhood. It was during that time that her friends started dying of AIDS. By the late 1980s, serving as a quasi-healthcare worker was not enough and Ocamb returned to journalism, this time freelancing for Frontiers News Magazine and other gay press publications. The AIDS crisis was her entry into the movement for LGBTQ liberation and equality. She has worked in LGBTQ and independent media since then, culminating in her position as news editor and reporter for the Los Angeles Blade. In 2019, Ocamb won a special recognition award from LGBTQ media watchdog group GLAAD. “After initially starting her career at CBS News and producing the 198 Olympics in Los Angeles, Ocamb joined the LGBTQ press in the 1980s after more than 100 friends

died from AIDS,” GLAAD said in a release at the time. “She has since become a leading force and champion for LGBTQ media. She is known for her smart, fair, and professional writing style as well as her staunch dedication to shining the spotlight on underreported LGBTQ people and issues.” Troy Masters, publisher and founder of Los Angeles Blade, said of Ocamb’s award, “There is truly no one I have worked with over the past 35 years in LGBT journalism who has a greater integrity or devotion to the community than aren. Her work always explores the evolution of every subject she covers, giving it rich and lucid context that helps the stories jump off the page. She always knows when more than a ‘just the facts’ story is needed and she steps it up in a way that bridges generations and ideas. She’s the writer and editor I always dreamed of having and I can think of no one more deserving of this honor.”



Colin Powell dies at 84, leaving mixed legacy on ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ ey figure once opposed gays in military, then backed review

By CHRIS JOHNSON | cjohnson@washblade.com

COLIN POWELL leaves behind a mixed legacy on ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’ (Photo public domain)

Colin Powell, the first Black secretary of state who served in top diplomatic and military roles in U.S. administrations, died onday of coronavirus at age 8 , leaving behind a mixed record on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” The world continues to grapple with the pandemic and the public grows increasingly frustrated with its persistence as many remain unvaccinated despite the wide availability of vaccines. Powell was fully vaccinated, according to a statement released upon his death. Powell reportedly suffered from multiple myeloma, a condition that hampers an

individual’s ability to combat blood infections. Rising to the top of the military as chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Powell supported in 1993 Congress moving forward with “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” a law that barred openly gay people from serving in the U.S. military. During a key moment congressional testimony, Powell and other top military o cials were asked whether or not allowing gay people in the military would be compatible with military readiness. Each o cial, including Powell,” responded “incompatible.” Congress would enact “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” that year. Things changed when President Obama took o ce 15 years later and advocates for repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” were eager to claim Powell’s voice among their ranks. After


all, Powell was highly respected as a bipartisan voice after having served as secretary of state in the administration of George W. Bush and endorsing Obama in the 2008 election. After the Obama administration in 2010 announced it would conduct a review of the idea of allowing gay people to serve openly in the military, Powell came out in support of that process. Advocates of repeal called that a declaration of reversal, although the statement fell short of a full support for gay people serving openly in the military. “In the almost 1 years since the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ legislation was passed, attitudes and circumstances have changed,” General Powell said in a statement issued by his o ce, adding, “I fully support the new approach presented to the Senate Armed Services Committee this week by Secretary of Defense Gates and Admiral ullen.” Congress acted to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and the policy was lifted in 2011. At the time, Powell was widely considered a supporter of ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and publicly counted among supporters of repeal, although the Blade couldn’t immediately find any statements from him to that effect. In 2012, Powell had similar vaguely supportive words on same-sex marriage, saying he had “no problem with it” when asked about the issue. “As I’ve thought about gay marriage, I know a lot of friends who are individually gay but are in partnerships with loved ones, and they are as stable a family as my family is, and they raise children,” Powell said. “And so I don’t see any reason not to say that they should be able to get married.” The Blade also couldn’t immediately find any statement from Powell on transgender people serving in the military. After the Obama administration in 2016 lifted decades-old regulations against transgender service, former President Trump issued a ban by tweet the following year. President Biden reversed that ban and allowed transgender people to serve and enlist in the military in his first year in o ce.


Levine on becoming four-star admiral: ‘It comes from my desire to serve’ Trans o cial sworn in to U.S. Public Health Service By CHRIS JOHNSON | cjohnson@washblade.com

Although the Public Health The U.S. Public Health Service, For Rachel Levine, the appointment to her new role as Service is primarily focused Levine said, has deployed “many, a four-star admiral complementing her existing duties on addressing public health many times,” including its greatest as assistant secretary for health is another way for the disasters within the United number ever of deployments to first openly transgender Senate-confirmed presidential States, Levine said it has a vulnerable populations during appointee to serve. record of deployments overseas, the coronavirus pandemic. “I think that this just really comes from my desire to serve including years ago when it was Among the places the service in all capacities,” Levine said in an interview Tuesday with deployed to Africa under the has deployed, Levine said, was in the Washington Blade. “To serve the first day in my field of threat of Ebola. her home state of Pennsylvania, academic medicine and pediatrics, but then in Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Human where she recently served as and now in the federal government, and it furthers my Services avier Becerra had high secretary of health. ability to do that.” praise for Levine in a statement Not only is Levine the first Levine, 63, also recognized the importance of the upon news of taking on a openly transgender person to appointment as a transgender person within the U.S. Public ‘I think for the LGBTQ+ community, it is a further leadership position in the service. serve in the uniformed health Health Service, for which she was ceremonially sworn in on sign of progress and our president’s commitment “This is a proud moment for service as a four-star general, Tuesday to equity, to inclusion and diversity,’ Rachel Levine ISO LGBTQ+ 12647-7 Digital Control Strip 2009 told the Blade in an exclusive interview this week. us at50 HHS,”75 Becerra said. “Adm. but she’s also the fi rst woman to “IA think for the community, it is a further sign 100 60 100 70 30 100 60 100 70 30 100 60 100 70 30 100 40 40 100 40 100 40 70 40 70 40 40 40 70 40 40 70 40 70 40 40 3 10 25 90 100 Levine — a highly accomplished serve in that capacity. of progress and our president’s commitment to equity, to pediatrician who helps drive our “We have 6,000 dedicated inclusion and diversity,” Levine said. “So I think that it is a agency’s agenda to boost health access and equity and to committed public servants really all focused on our nation’s very important milestone, and I’m pleased to serve.” strengthen behavioral health — is a cherished and critical health, and they serve in details to the CDC and the FDA and As part of her duties, Levine will lead an estimated 6,000 B 100health partner to25build NIH,70but also with the public populations, 100 60 100service 100 70 o 70 cers 30 30serving 100 100 60vulnerable 100 100 100 100 10.2 7.4 7.4 19 19 a 50healthier 40 40 75 66 66America.” 100 100 100 80 70 70 100 70 70 30 30 100 100 60 the 70 30 30 clinically 100 40 100 40 40 100Indian 10 40 40Health 20 70 70 Service, 70 70 40 70 40 40 0 0 0 0 in 3.1our 2.2 2.2 work Levine, however, was careful to draw a distinction and the federal prison system,” Levine said. “They’re also including deployments inside and outside the country for between her appointment within the Public Health Service detailed and deployed throughout the country, and they communities beleaguered with the coronavirus, according and being a service member within the U.S. armed forces. deployed like never before for CO ID-19 as well as the to the Department of Health Human Services. The role border, as well as dealing with floods and hurricanes and involves working closely with U.S. Surgeon General ivek T:10" tornadoes.” Murphy, whom Levine called her “friend and colleague.” CONTINUED AT LOSANGELESBLADE.COM 3%



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Buttigieg calls out Tucker Carlson over attack Appearing remotely on SNBC’s Nicolle Wallace’s politics program last week, U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg called out Fox News host Tucker Carlson for the attack on his parental leave. “This attack is coming from a guy who has yet to explain his apparent approval for the assassination of Harvey ilk, ” Buttigieg said. During his Thursday evening program Carlson said, “Pete Buttigieg has been on leave from his job since August after adopting a child—paternity leave, they call it—trying to figure out how to breastfeed. No word on how that went. But now he’s back in o ce as the transportation secretary and he’s deeply amused, he says, to see that dozens of container ships can’t get into this country.” STAFF REPORTS

S Trans ortation Secretar PETE BUTTIGIEG was criticized by Fox News for taking paternity leave. lade le hoto

Biden endorses Roem for re-election President Biden on Tuesday endorsed irginia state Del. Danica Roem D- anassas for re-election. Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn D-Fairfax County is among the other Democratic members of the irginia House of Delegates who Biden backed. Biden in his tweet also stressed his support of Terry cAuliffe, who is running against Republican Glenn oungkin to succeed Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam. “Building back better starts in the states,” tweeted Biden. “Since flipping the legislature in 2019, irginia Democrats have been a model of progress—including helping us vaccinate folks to beat the pandemic. To keep our progress, we must elect Terry cAuliffe

irginia state el DANICA ROEM anassas s eaks to supporters following her re-election on Nov. 5, 2019. President Biden has endorsed her for re-election. lade hoto b

and Democrats up and down the ballot.” Roem, a former journalist, in 2018 became the first openly transgender person seated in any state legislature in the U.S. Biden called Roem on the night she defeated then-state Del. Bob arshall and congratulated her. A Washington Post picture that showed Roem crying moments later went viral. The anassas Democrat who represents the 13th District in 2019 easily won reelection. Christopher Stone, the Republican who is running against Roem in this cycle, opposes marriage and adoption rights for same-sex couples. STAFF REPORTS

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Daily Wire host says gays, lesbians shouldn’t be allowed to adopt Anti-LGBTQ Daily Wire podcast and ouTuber att Walsh joined the growing chorus of far-right and conservative voices outraged that U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg went on paternity leave from his job in August after he and his husband Chasten adopted two children. On his show onday Walsh not only criticized Buttigieg, but he attacked same-sex couples adopting children altogether. “It’s absurd for any public employee, paid on taxpayer dime, to be given that much time off. Now, you can make an argument for women on maternity leave but not for men. Paternity leave is a nice luxury for private companies that can afford it. The U.S. government is not a private company it’s a public institution, deeply in debt, failing in just about every way and everywhere. So this is not a time and not the place for those kinds of luxuries. But that’s the somewhat safer point to make, right? ou are in a much more hazardous place, you are in more hazardous waters when you go away from that and, instead, you start saying mildly critical things about paternity leave in general as a concept. “I also didn’t say that there’s nothing at all for a man to do for his family after a child is born. I said that as far as caring for the newborn himself, most of that is going to be done by the mother. She, in most cases, will be feeding the child. The child also needs and wants his mother’s presence, his mother’s touch, her voice. The father should be interacting with the baby also, obviously, but the infant is far more focused on his mother at that age. And needs his mother more. There is no mother in the Buttigieg household, but that doesn’t 10 • OCTOBER 22, 2021 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM

change the point here. “Babies need their mothers, which is why two men shouldn’t be allowed to adopt babies in the first place. And the outrage mob can now start a secondary campaign over that comment. But I’ll say it again. Two men should not be allowed to adopt babies because babies need mothers. They also need fathers, which is why two women shouldn’t be allowed either.“ STAFF REPORTS

‘Two men should not be allowed to adopt babies because babies need mothers,’ said MATT WALSH. Screenshot via ouTube


Jamaica man attacked after using gay dating app An 18-year-old man in Jamaica remains hospitalized in critical condition after he was targeted on a gay dating app. The Jamaica Gleaner reports the victim on Oct. 11 went to a neighborhood in ontego Bay, a resort city that is the capital of Jamaica’s St. James Parish, to meet the man with whom he was speaking. The newspaper reports the man and two other men abducted the victim, robbed him and partially severed his penis before they set him on fire. O cials said the three men took his cell phone and used his bank card to withdraw money from his account. “He is a very lucky young man because although they left him in a critical condition, he managed to make his way to a security checkpoint in the community where they assisted him to the hospital, where he was admitted in critical condition,” a local police o cer told the Jamaica Gleaner. The Jamaica Gleaner reported a 3-year-old man in St. James Parish disappeared in January 2020 after he went to meet someone with whom he had spoken on a gay dating website. Authorities later found the man’s body, and two men have been charged with his murder. iolence against LGBTQ Jamaicans remains commonplace. Consensual same-sex sexual relations also remain criminalized in the country. J-FLAG, a Jamaican LGBTQ rights group, has condemned the latest attack. “Like all well-thinking Jamaicans at this time, JFLAG is outraged at the recent attack on an 18-yearold man in St. James,” tweeted J-FLAG on Sunday. “His attackers must be brought to justice.” MICHAEL K. LAVERS

a aican and Pride flag fl on the beach in Bay, Jamaica, on Oct. 15, 2018. Photo courtes of


aurice To linson s acebook age

ots ana o cial seeks to recri inali e ho ose ualit GABORONE, Botswana — On June 11, 2019, Botswana moved toward being a state that no longer held some of its citizens and, by extension, visitors as criminals if they identified within the LGBTQ spectrum. However, the government didn’t take too long before it declared its intention to appeal the High Court judgment that asserted that consensual same-sex sexual activity in private was not to be a criminal act. The appeal hearing took place on Oct. 12. There are some key things to understand about what the High Court did for people in Botswana. The judgment, written and delivered by Justice Leburu, not only put a clear delineation between the state’s powers to intrude in people’s private sexual lives, but it also stated that laws that served no purpose in the governance of the people they oversaw were most likely worthy of “a museum peg” more than being active laws of the land. In the hearing on Oct. 9, a full bench of five judges of the Court of Appeal was treated to the government’s case—as presented by advocate Sydney Pilane of the Attorney General’s Chambers—along with hearing the rebuttals from the legal counsel representing Letsweletse otshidiemang, who brought the original case against the government, and LEGABIBO, an NGO admitted as amicus curiae, a friend of the court. The appeal, two years in the making, would have been expected to be based on facts rather than opinions of what could and could not be accepted by hypothetical Batswana. Pilane even went so far as to contest that President okgweetsi asisi’s utterances about how people in same-sex relationships were “suffering in silence” were taken out of context as he was talking about gender-based violence and not endorsing their relationships. The 2019 ruling of the High Court, the most supreme court of incidence in the country, not only declared people who were or had interest in engaging in consensual same-sex sexual activity not criminals, but it also allowed non-queer people to engage in sex acts that would otherwise be considered “against the order of nature” freely. The latter clause had often been interpreted as being solely about non-heterosexuals but on greater interrogation one realizes that any sex act that doesn’t result in the creation of a child was considered against this ‘order of nature’ and that nullified much of heterosexual sexual exploration—further painting these clauses as out of touch with contemporary Botswana as Leburu expressed. In some of his appeal arguments, Pilane stated that Batswana “do not have a problem 12 • OCTOBER 22, 2021 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM

with gay people”, yet he based his contention on the fact that Batswana “respect the courts’ decisions;” as such they would not take up arms at the court’s decision to decriminalize consensual same-sex sexual activity. Pilane maintained that the decision to decriminalize should be left to the Parliament on the recommendation of the courts. The bench was swift to query whether a body of politicians elected by a majority would be the best representatives of a minority that was oppressed by laws that the very politicians benefitted from. Botswana’s legal system allows for the High Court ruling to remain the law of the land until such a point as it’s struck down. The Court of Appeal ruling in favor of Batswana’s sexual liberties will be a nail in the proverbial co n of residual colonial sex-related laws plaguing Botswana. This will not be the end by any means though. Where the attorney general can form a case stating that decriminalizing consensual same-sex relations could be likened to people locking themselves in their houses with animals and having their way with them, we know that mindset changes need to be prioritized to ensure that all Batswana understand their constitutionally protected rights to privacy, expression, and freedom of association as relates to their personal and sexual lives. The 2010 Employment Act of Botswana already protects people from being discriminated against based on their sex or gender identity. The nation’s sexual violence laws were made gender neutral, thus covering non-consensual sex rape in all its possibilities. In upholding the ruling of the High Court, the Court of Appeal will allow the LGBTQ and SOGIESC sexual orientation, gender identity and expression and sex characteristics movements in Botswana some respite as attention is then channeled toward other pressing matters such as name changes, access to healthcare, and other culturally pertinent issues. The Court of Appeal is expected to hand down a judgement following their deliberations in -6 weeks mid to late November , however, this remains at their discretion. As it stands, since the High Court ruling in 2019, Botswana has experienced increased social accommodation for LGBTQ matters and figures—however, this is not to say there have not been any negative instances. With the continued sensitization, the expectation is that the courts, the government and NGO players will all contribute to a broad, national, culturing of LGBTQ rights in Botswana devoid of colonial residues. KATLEGO K KOLANYANE-KESUPILE


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is a senior analyst at a D.C.-area think-tank, and is the author of ‘American Fascism: How the GOP is Subverting Democracy.’

Chappelle won’t get cancelled for his transphobia In latest Netflix special, comic again attacks our identities

Recently, prominent Daily Wire podcaster and frequent Fox News guest att Walsh proclaimed on his show that the Spanish Inquisition “was far more defensible than modern-day cancel culture is, especially the cancel campaigns waged by trans activists.” This accusation against transgender people is a high bar to clear, given that the tortures of the Inquisition are both well documented and legendary in their cruelty. They included ripping peoples arms out of their sockets with ropes the strappado , the rack, water torture, burning people alive, the “Spanish tickler”, and slowly crushing people’s skulls in a vice. Perhaps worst was the “Judas Chair”, in which people were seated naked on a sharp, pointy pyramid, and weighted down until they were impaled to death rectally. As far as I can determine, “trans activists” haven’t done anything as bad as this, and it’s hard to imagine something worse. However, if they were doing things worse than the Spanish Inquisition to thousands of people for “heresy” every year, you would think transphobes would be a lot more circumspect expressing their views. But they’re not, because being anti-trans is profitable, a quick way to get media exposure in big mainstream outlets, suck up to the right-wing base, and otherwise prove you bona fides as “edgy”, “anti-woke”, and contrarian in a way that’s still socially acceptable. It is, in effect, one of the last ways for people to “punch down”. It’s like beating up the most unpopular, misfit, neurodivergent kid in school to make yourself more popular. For example, att Walsh is unabashedly transphobic, has more media exposure and followers than any trans person, and isn’t going away. Transphobic conspiracy theories were given a full segment on 60 inutes, and it isn’t going away. The New ork Times Editorials under Bari Weiss who’s openly hostile to transgender people gave fellow travelers aty Herzog and Jesse Singal plenty of exposure. While both writhed around on the ground like a French soccer player looking for a card, neither of them seems to have suffered any real consequences for supposedly being cancelled. Herzog continued to write for the gay press after she was supposedly cancelled. Jesse Singal got his book published by a major outlet. Despite taking the position that trans people should be banned from public spaces, denied health care, banned from sports, and denied access to government ID, J Rowling is doing just fine. Far from being cancelled, continues to have hundreds of millions of dollars, book deals, an agent, a publisher, movie deals, and invitations to rub elbows with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres set in the U . A few transphobes have been “black-listed,” but not for anything they said about transgender people. Rosanne Barr had a long

history of transphobia, but didn’t suffer consequences until she made racist tweets. Similarly, former LB player urt Schilling had a history of anti-trans commentary, but was fired from ESPN for making racist statements. ilo iannopolous went from college to college singling out local trans students for hate, but only lost his position within conservative media when he defended pedophilia. Which brings us to Dave Chappelle, who has once again doubled down on his long-standing disgust at trans people. In his latest special on Netflix, Chappelle once again attacks trans people’s identities, and mocks them as part of his act. This follows his 2019 special also carried by Netflix which also targeted trans people. This presents us with a testable hypothesis. If people like Walsh are right, something worse than being burned alive or getting a ride on the Judas chair will happen to Chappelle for offending trans sensibilities. A less extreme hypothesis is that if Weiss, Herzog, and Singal are right, Chappelle will be black-listed and venues will refuse to host his performances. Or, if I’m right, nothing significant will happen. And that’s a bet I’ll take any day. Netflix knew there was transphobic content in his show in 2019 and put it out anyway, the same as they did with his first two shows on the network. They went and put him on contract for another show. And when that show also had transphobic content in 2021, they again chose to post it. Dave Chappelle will not be “cancelled” unless he targets some other group with a similar level of offensive scorn. Indeed, Chappelle proclaimed that, “If this is what being canceled is like, I love it.” But you know who did get cancelled? Trans employees of Netflix who got suspended for speaking out publicly, and pointing out that of the record-setting trans people murdered so far this year, were people of color. Apparently, it doesn’t feel like a supportive work environment when your employer pays Dave Chappelle millions of dollars repeatedly to spew anti-trans invectives to the masses and proclaim he’s on the side of bigots who want to see your fundamental human rights eliminated. The fabricated narrative of trans “cancel culture” is another rightwing dog-whistle for a crisis that doesn’t exist. Like Critical Race Theory CRT in elementary schools or trans athletes taking away scholarships from cisgender girls. It was created to stir up the rightwing base and weaken support for an already marginalized group to provide post hoc justification for whatever is done to trans people by the government, and preemptively create the narrative that what suppression falls on trans people was necessary. The right wing wants people to see fascism an appropriate response to manufactured left-wing outrages, and believe trans people “had it coming”. And Chappelle is merely their useful idiot.


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is author of ‘Mission Possible: The Story of Repealing ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’’

‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ clouds Powell’s legacy A final act of redemption

meager gains under “Don’t Ask, Don’t The legacy of General Colin Powell Tell” if we had been able to prevail upon is complicated for those in the LGBTQ Powell to help us, but he wasn’t ready. community. On the one hand, we In 2003, he told Teen Ink magazine that celebrate that Powell was the first while discrimination is wrong, “I think African-American chairman of the Joint it’s a different matter with respect to Chiefs of Staff and Secretary of State. the military, because you’re essentially On the other, he is also the person who told who you’re going to live with, who disobeyed the strategic choice of his you’re going to sleep next to.” Commander in Chief, Bill Clinton, on Four years later, he called me, gays in the military. prompted by an opinion essay in The Powell stood on the steps of the New ork Times that I had sent him. Pentagon reporting how many calls “Second Thoughts on Gays in the had been received opposing lifting the ilitary”—written by retired Army ban. He testified before the Senate General John Shalikashvili, Powell’s Armed Services Committee that the successor as chairman of the Joint service of openly gay troops would Chiefs—called for repeal of “Don’t harm unit cohesion. He argued that Ask, Don’t Tell.” Powell and I spoke race was a “benign characteristic” and for 45 minutes. “I agree with General being gay was not. Congress codified Shalikashvili that America has changed into statute what had been a regulatory and is ready for gays to serve openly,” he ban on gays in the military, making the said. My heart leapt. “I am not convinced, law that much harder to change. Almost however, that military commanders are 14,000 lesbian, gay and bisexual service ready for that change.” My heart sunk. members were dismissed under “Don’t It was clear to me, though, that he Ask, Don’t Tell,” a rate of two-four General COLIN POWELL was moving in the right direction. I put service members every day. Some (Photo courtesy of Bigstock) it on the line. “Sir, you will be a critical were subjects of witch hunts. Others voice on ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ when it faced criminal charges. Many endured comes up for debate again. I need you to support repeal if we are going to win. Do you harassment, assault and threats. Private First Class Barry Winchell was murdered. know that?” Michelle Benecke and I knew when we founded Servicemembers Legal Defense Network “Yes,” he said. that for “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” to be repealed, we would have to either win the support or Finally, on Feb. 5, 2010, 10 months before final repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and neutralize the opposition of Powell, one of the previously undisclosed strategies described days after Admiral ike ullen had testified before the Senate that he supported repeal in my new book, “ ission Possible.” ichelle and I first met him at the Arlington, a., of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” Powell released a statement. “If the chiefs and commanders are headquarters of America’s Promise. We offered to brief him on the ban’s implementation comfortable with moving to change the policy, then I support it. Attitudes and circumstances as he was being asked on the Sunday shows about the law’s e cacy. He agreed to see us. have changed. Society is reflected in the military. It’s where we get our soldiers from.” The The question was whether we could find common ground on which to build a new stage was set for final repeal. consensus. My theory was that Powell genuinely believed that “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was We too often look for heroes and villains when the record can be complicated. Powell a better policy than the one before it. After all, he had testified before the Senate, “We will deserves opprobrium for defying Clinton, rallying opposition, and allowing 60,000 troops not ask, we will not witch-hunt, we will not seek to learn orientation.” under his command to suffer the indignity of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” He deserves credit, “General Powell,” I said, “we have received nearly a thousand calls from service members though, for changing his mind. I admired his willingness to speak with me over nearly two who have been impacted by ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’ We have documented that most are decades. I find that the best leaders engage in a lifelong process of learning and challenging being asked point blank about their sexual orientation in contravention of ‘Don’t Ask.’” assumptions. Powell will receive deserved accolades for his service to our nation, but for “That’s not supposed to happen,” he said. us, his legacy includes a profound betrayal with a final act of redemption. That was our first conversation. We might have been able to better enforce some of the


Michael Kearns, the godfather of LGBTQ authenticity First ‘out’ actor in Hollywood on his road from porn to fatherhood to latest film By ROB WATSON

The arc of LGBTQ+ history over the past 50 years has been one of constant upheaval As gay men captured their identities in the ‘90s as husbands and fathers, ichael was there too — becoming one of the first gay men to adopt a child. It is that role, as a father, and evolvement. From a period when it was both illegal and insane to be gay, through that Michael has said is his greatest. the achievement of being able to serve openly in the military, to marriage equality and Today, Michael has been a driving force behind QueerWise, a multigenerational writing the ability to create families to today’s fight against the tyranny against Trans people, the collective and performance group. Through QueerWise, Michael gives poetic voice to movement has not stopped to take a breath. talent that would otherwise be voiceless. Its members include published poets, writers ichael earns, the first recognized “out” actor on the Hollywood landscape, has been of fiction and non-fiction, playwrights, singers, musicians, social activists, dancers, actors, a visible presence through it all. More importantly, he has always been visible on the gay artists and teachers. scene. In the seventies he epitomized the free love and erotic freedom that many gay QueerWise launched its latest work on Oct. 1 , “The Ache for Home.” men lived. He was featured in classic gay porn movies and did a PR stint as the face of the “The Ache for Home is a video presentation of heartfelt stories from formerly homeless “happy hustler.” unhoused individuals in and around West Hollywood. It “That was my introduction to a lot of people,” ichael was developed through a mentorship program facilitated told me when we sat down for a chat on Rated LGBT by QueerWise members. The production represents Radio. “I kind of captured the zeitgeist of the times, the citizens-turned-writers who share their inspirational freewheeling seventies. We forget that there was that stories from those glamorous streets and sidewalks, period of time when sexuality was joyful and exciting and ranging from soaring self-acceptance to narratives of thrilling.” truth-telling defeats,” said ichael. The production can In the eighties he was visible in mainstream media be seen on QueerWise’s YouTube channel. as a gay man playing gay men characters. In 1983, The “Ache for Home” features a young cis male with ichael was cast in a minor role on the “Cheers” Emmya passion for music and art, who finds joy “when I can winning episode “The Boys in the Bar.” He was instantly put a smile on someone’s face and give back”, a retired recognized for his gay sexual iconic status by LGBTQ mixed race bisexual government worker who is a audiences, even though the population at large did voracious reader and literacy advocate, two trans males not know who he was. The casting director who fought who share their experiences of living on the street, and for his casting was Stephen olzak, who would himself a former resident playwright who was homeless for 44 become a prominent AIDS activist before he died at 37 days and nights in the city. “I am thrilled at our inclusion in 1990. Stephen cast ichael to make a statement. He of trans men in this work,” ichael says. “It is a poorly wanted to signal to the LGBTQ community that “Cheers” represented community within a poorly represented had our backs. “He was one of the only ones that had the community.” guts,” ichael remembers. On current controversies, particularly the Dave “There were a lot of stereotypes in television regarding Chappelle issue, ichael notes, “I am glad it is generating gay portrayals. I was pegged and cast in some of those passion. It is bringing up conversation on the plights of roles. I did play the stereotype, but rather than a straight Black trans women who are victimized at an alarming guy playing those roles, I brought authenticity. I was real. MICHAEL KEARNS rate, we should not say victimized we should say Straight guys playing gay would always spoof the role. (Photo by Keida Mascaro) murdered. I am glad we are shedding light on that.” They were always ‘winking’ and signaling to the camera ichael’s work has been described as “collisions of sex and death, of eroticism and grief,” ‘I am not really that way.’ So, the performances are by in large horrible, even with some but he has truly dug to an even deeper level. “The Ache for Home” takes its inspiration Academy Award winners. The actors were constantly saying that it was not who they were from the aya Angelou quote, “The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where — if they weren’t making that clear on the talk shows, they were doing it in the performance we can go as we are and not be questioned.” ichael earns’ work has always encouraged itself,” ichael says. us to go, and live, “as we are.” He is the amalgamation of eroticism, grief, healing, and ichael soon morphed into an HI -positive man playing HI -positive characters, while appreciating the richness of life itself. off camera becoming a visible and vocal AIDS activist. “It was a new kind of clich . They He is the godfather of LGBT+ authenticity. In earlier days, he may have represented had to always make me look horrible. The ghastlier the better. They could not have an HI sex; he may have walked us through a period of darkness and death into the arms of the character who looked normal — as I did when I arrived at the set. Finally, I had enough and creation of the new family. He has now brought us home, and when we look at him, we see refused to do that anymore.” ichael then immersed himself in theater where he found a new quality: wisdom. greater character honesty and truth.


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New music documentary is ‘Velvet’ perfection

A piece of pure cinema that exemplifies its genre while transcending it By JOHN PAUL KING

When it comes to great music documentaries – the ones that stick with you after you watch and make you want to come back to them again and again – there is one ingredient that stands out as a common thread: immediacy. From D.A. Pennebaker’s fly-on-the-wall chronicle of young Bob Dylan’s 1965 tour of the U in “Don’t Look Back,” to artin Scorcese’s joyful document of The Band’s final concert performance in “The Last Waltz,” to Jonathan Demme’s thrilling cinematic rendering of the Talking Heads in performance at the peak of their creative genius in “Stop aking Sense,” all of these now-revered films have endured indeed, even grown in popularity over the years because they captured the talent, the personality, and the power of their subjects on celluloid and preserved it for the ages, allowing generations of audiences, fans and soonto-be-fans alike, to feel as if they were there. But none, perhaps, have ever done it quite so viscerally as Todd Haynes’ “The elvet Underground.” This is a remarkable feat when you consider that the films listed above, as well as most of the other highly regarded “rockumentaries” of the past, were all concert films, showing the performers at their center in the full bloom of their musical gifts, and Haynes’ film is not that. It’s something else, something singular, a piece of pure cinema that exemplifies its genre while transcending it entirely. The basic outline of the band’s story is well known, now. Coalesced in the early ‘60s New ork art scene around a pair of charismatic geniuses John Cale and Lou Reed , the elvet Underground was swept into the orbit and under the wing of Andy Warhol, who turned them into the house band at his famous “Factory,” added to their mix an exotic European chanteuse named Nico, and launched their record career by producing their first album and designing an instantly iconic cover for it featuring a banana, to boot. They were, for a while, the darlings of the New ork underground set, birthing a handful of additional albums across the latter years of the decade; but their sound, which was experimental, rough, and a far cry from the flower-power sound being embraced within the status quo of iddle American music fans, did not catch on. That, combined with the volatility of the relationships at its core, ensured an ignoble and unsung dissolution for the band; though its two front men went on to forge expansive solo careers on their own, the elvets themselves remained a kind of blip, an ephemeral presence in the history of rock and the history of New ork remembered by anyone who wasn’t actually on the scene as nothing more than a buzzy band they never actually heard with a catchy name and a familiar album cover. As one of the voice-over interviewees in Haynes’ movie points out, however, the counterculture wasn’t actually the counterculture it was the culture. The rest of the world just didn’t know it yet. Decades later the elvet Underground is credited with, among other things, providing early inspiration for what would become the punk rock movement, to say nothing of influencing the aesthetic palate of surely without exaggeration thousands of musicians who would go on to make great music themselves often sounding nothing like the elvets, but somehow cut from the same raw, edgy, white-hot honest cloth, nonetheless. et in their moment, they were doomed before they had even begun to become a sideshow attraction, hurling performative realness in the face of a curious-butdisinterested glitterati crowd that was already embodying the superficial fakeness that would be so aptly monikered, both as an ethos and a watchword, as “Plastics” by Buck Henry and ike Nichols in “The Graduate” barely a year after their first album was pressed. Frankly, it’s the kind of story that makes for a perfect rock ‘n roll legend, and the kind of legend that deserves to be explored in a film that befits its almost mythic, archetypal underpinnings. There’s nobody more qualified to deliver that film than Todd Haynes. Haynes, of course, is a pioneer of the ‘90s “New Queer Cinema,” whose body of work has maintained a consistent yet multi-faceted focus on key themes that include outsiderism, dysfunctional socialization, and the fluid nature of sexuality and gender. Each and any of these interests would be enough to make him a perfect fit as the person to tell the story of the elvet Underground, but what gives him the ability to make it a masterpiece is his ongoing fascination with music and nostalgia. Beginning with his controversial debut short “Superstar: The aren Carpenter Story,” the musical landscape of his formative years


The Velvet Underground (Photo courtesy Apple TV)

has been inseparable from his milieu, and films such as his glam-rock fantasia “ elvet Goldmine” or his post-modernist Dylan biopic “I’m Not There” have dotted his career like cornerstones. Likewise, his painstaking recreation of the past in period pieces like “Far From Heaven,” “Carol,” or “Wonderstruck” has proven his ability not just to capture the look and feel of a bygone era, but to transport audiences right back into it. In “The elvet Underground,” it’s more like he transports the era to the audience. His comprehensive chronicle is not just the story of the band or its members, but the story of the time and place that allowed them to exist, in which a generation waking up from the toxic artificiality of their parents’ “American Dream” took creative control of the future through an unprecedented explosion of art and culture. Art was a by-any-meansnecessary endeavor that now demanded a fluency across various forms of media, and a blending together of any and every thing that worked to get the message across. And yes, sometimes the media itself was the message, but even within that depressingly superficial reality was room for an infinite layering of style and substance that could take your breath away. That description of the era in which the elvet Underground thrived, in which Andy Warhol turned the shallow into the profound whether he knew it or not , in which music and film and photography and poetry and painting and every other form of expression blended together in a heady and world-changing whirlwind, is also the perfect description of Haynes’ film. es, there are famous veterans of the age sharing their memories and their insights, yes there is copious archival footage including the godsend of Warhol’s filmed portraits of the legendary faces in his orbit , yes we get to hear about Lou Reed’s struggle with his sexual identity and it’s refreshing that Haynes makes no effort to categorize or finalize that aspect of the rock legend’s persona, but merely lets it be a fact. But even though “The elvet Underground” checks off all the boxes to be a documentary, it’s something much more. Thanks to Haynes’ seamless blend of visuals, words, history, and always and above all music, it’s a total sensory experience, which deserves to be seen in a theater whether you subscribe to Apple T or not. It puts you right in the middle of a world that still casts a huge shadow on our culture today. And it’s unforgettable.

Mama G plans wild Halloween celebration

Join Ariana Grande’s mom for music, costume contests, and more By SUSAN HORNIK

“Each night is themed — with every costume contest, the main contributing factor for Want to attend an exciting, unique party for Halloween hosted by Ariana and Frankie me is EFFORT and S ART I love a well thought out, complete costume...you know, no Grande’s mom? Check out Diamond Dog Entertainment’s inaugural “Mama G’S Halloween (grave) stone unturned!” she quipped. Happenings 2021,” which takes over The Bourbon Room Oct. 28-31. Mama G’s son, Frankie Grande, a fan favorite during his time on CBS’ “Big Brother,” is “I adore Halloween and have been known on the East Coast for hosting grand and wild thrilled that his mom has been working so hard on this event. Halloween parties,” enthused Joan Grande in an exclusive interview with the Los Angeles “I am so proud of my mom for all that she has achieved in her life as a mother and Blade. “After last year’s pandemic and cancellation of almost every holiday, we were all in businesswoman and now she has this overwhelming desire to give back through the arts. desperate need for a Mama G Halloween event!” I’m so honored to be her partner in Diamond Dog Entertainment. So come party with us The soiree is jam packed with intrigue, and will feature the world premiere of “Horror this Halloween — we’ll have a gay old time!” Camp: A Musical Massacre,” an abundance of live music and costume contests. HalloweenAnother highlight of the event: a special midnight themed food and drinks will also be available for screening of the cult classic “The Rocky Horror Picture purchase. Show.” “‘Horror Camp,’ is a 80’s and 90’s jukebox musical “I loved Rocky Horror from a very early age, because that spoofs the horror movies of the past,” she noted. of my mother playing it for me as a child and seeing “This year we are joined by the greatest cast of people the Broadway show,” said Frankie. “The first time I known from Broadway and television: Marissa Jaret dressed up as a character from the show was when Winokur, Frankie Grande, Constantine Maroulis, I was cast as Frank N Furter in the LA production of Emma Hunton, YouTube’s Queen of Reactions, Maya ‘Rocky Horror.’ And of course ever since then, he is Tomlin, and many other surprise veterans of song, one of my favorite characters to dress up as.” stage, and TV.” Even though they have been busy planning the Mama G Grande thinks of Halloween as an event, Frankie and Mama G have found time to watch “incredibly special” holiday. television, seeing Ariana make her debut as a judge “I love the rush and thrill of the unexpected scare, on NBC’s The Voice.” the music associated with Halloween, the strong “I love everything about Ariana being on ‘The tones, chords and orchestrations used to create that Voice!’ She is a brilliant musician, both technically underlying feeling of fear and fright … sometimes and naturally gifted, with a heart bigger than the you hear a melody and your hair stands on end, that universe, which she doesn’t hesitate to share. I think is wonderfully fun for me,” she explained. I also love that is why she is such a gift to the show.” the feeling of being free to dress up in a way that If you are headed to New York for Halloween, perhaps you wouldn’t normally, whether it’s using a Mama G has activities for you there as well. lot of makeup, putting on wigs and being in different “We are producers for a pair of plays on Broadway. characters.” ‘Is This A Room,’ which just opened last week to rave “Following the Musical, the party, which is hosted reviews including The New York Times’ Critics Pick, by Drag Queens greats Shangela and Eureka, and ‘Dana H,’ which opens this weekend. These two continues, with performances as well as their judging plays are about two extraordinary women and their our costume parties, with prizes totaling $1,500 each harrowing experiences told in their very own words. night,” she added. I highly recommend that you see these shows when “I am thrilled to work with Mama G and bring some you are in New York City, they are glorious.” HalleBOO to Hollywood!” Shangela told the Blade. ‘Mama G’s Halloween Happenings 2021’ takes over Tickets, which start at $39, and VIP packages are “Anytime a Grande is involved, whether it’s a family The Bourbon Room Oct. 28-31. now available for purchase online at https://feverup. party or a full-out function, I know it’s sure to be a com/m/103970. All guests must show proof of good time ” vaccination or proof of a negative PCR COVID test To win the cash prizes, plan on wearing a costume within 48 hours. Masks will also be required when guests are not eating or drinking. that will stand out.