Thursday, October 20, 2016

Sandro Isaack Creates “Ava - The Lucky Girl With Two Dads”

In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with storyteller Sandro Isaack about his new Kickstarter animation project “Ava - The Lucky Girl With Two Dads”, the sequel to his book “Stork M.I.A.” that was published in 2010. The book tells the story of two dads who get tired of waiting for the stork to bring them a baby. Instead, they decide to find the stork taking them on an adventure around the world which results in gracing them with a beautiful little girl Ava. Now it’s six years later and we have Ava, this fun, smart, determined little girl deciding that she's going to be the first woman president of The United States of America or likely second or third, depending on how history writes itself in the next few weeks, but first she has to figure out how to become president of her second grade class. As innocent as this project appears it’s important for our LGBT community to support Sandro’s project because too many children of same gender couples as well as heterosexual couples are watching cartoons that do not reflect our evolved society. It’s time to introduce kids to a cartoon that features same gender couples and their kids as a regular part of life. We talked to Sandro about his inspiration for “Ava - The Lucky Girl With Two Dads” and his spin on our LGBT issues.

When asked what his personal commitment is to LGBT civil rights and what he would you like to see happen for LGBT equality in the next few years Isaack stated, “It’s the same I have for all civil rights. I want everyone to have opportunities in life and be treated with respect and I think it needs to start as early in life as childhood and that’s where I come in. Most children live a huge chunk of their lives in their imagination. That’s where I want to help by showing we all belong and we can be anything we want to be. That’s why I’m creating a cartoon that features same gender parents and their kids as a natural part of life, not as something special or different and I also want kids to know and understand that they can be anything they want to be especially little girls. The possibilities are endless.

Definitely I would love to see things to be simpler for people to understand that two people that love each other and want to build a family together are a threat to no one; that people being who they are, are a much smaller danger than the violence just trying to control the lives of others and that people understand that The Bible is a book of tales, not a moral manual. It would also be great if separation between church and state became a real thing and not just an idea.”

 Sandro Isaack is a storyteller who started as an actor and can be currently seen in Amazon Studios' Golden Globe winner series, “Mozart in the Jungle” playing Pavel. He's also the author/illustrator of the children's book “Stork M.I.A.” published in 2010. Sandro’s Kickstarter campaign for his animation series “Ava - The Lucky Girl With Two Dads” will only be funded if at least $58,000 is pledged by Friday December 22nd 2016.
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Thursday, October 13, 2016

Country Artist Brandon Stansell Sings OUT (AUDIO)

In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with country artist Brandon Stansell about his new EP and music video “Slow Down”. Stansell brings a fresh face to the country music scene and there’s more that meets the eye with this crooner with Nashville roots breaking into the epicenter of his "California Country" sound. He is also navigating the path of an openly gay country artist. Though Brandon’s not the first to chart these waters, he is one of few people in the industry willing to lay everything out for the listener and the result is an honest, beautiful musical experience. “Slow Down” co-written with Mylen, was produced by Nashville-based producer, writer and guitarist Erik Halbig. Stansell met Erik a few years ago through mutual friend Ty Herndon who is also featured on the track. Director Trent Atkinson once again joined his team directing the “Slow Down” music video building on the cinematic scope after their first collaborative work “Dear John” which was released in early 2016. We talked to Brandon about his inspiration for “Slow Down” and his spin on our LGBT issues.

When asked what his personal commitment is to LGBT civil rights and what he would like to see happen for LGBT equality in the next few years Stansell stated, “I think that really the first step for anyone is just being honest and being genuine to who you are. For me that is I write and sing country music so I think it is my responsibility to be genuine in the music I put out there and how I portray myself. I think it’s really important that you see me with someone that I would be with and that is a man. If it’s a song about heartbreak or breakup or anything that we country people like to write about the visual is genuine to the artist. I think that is the first step for anyone.

Well I think over the past few years we’ve made great strides thanks to people better than I and I am so thankful and grateful for that and benefit from those things. I think we still have a long way to go and I would love to figure out my part to help in that. One of the things that I think about is the fact that we still have states including my home state where people just like me can be fired from their jobs just for loving the people they love and I think that is grossly unfair and un-American and not right and something I would love to see changed. I came out as a 22 year old man and at the time was working at a job where I didn’t know how my boss felt about me being gay. They didn’t know and I really relied on my paycheck like most people do. I don’t think that anyone should have to go through fear of coming out to their boss for fear that they are going to lose their jobs. It is a horrible feeling and experience and something I personally had to go through and something I just want to shield others from ever having to experience. So I would love to see that pushed forward and make this something that people in the LGBT community don’t have to worry about anymore.”

Brandon Stansell grew up in Tennessee about an hour away from Nashville. He spent five years living in Nashville before moving to New York and then eventually landing in Los Angeles California where he is based. “Slow Down” is available for purchase via iTunes. 
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Monday, October 3, 2016

Playwright Peter Darney New Work “5 Guys Chillin”

In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with UK writer-director Peter Darney about his award winning play “5 Guys Chillin” that opened September 27th for fourteen performances through October 9th at the SoHo Playhouse in NYC. Darney script was born from more than 50 hours of interviews with guys contacted through apps like Grindr about their experience with the toxic exploration of meth driven gay sex parties. From surgeons to students this is an original look into a drug-fuelled, hedonistic, highly secret world of Chem-Sex, Grindr and instant gratification. The resulting play comes with unexpected humorous perspectives as well as brutally hard-hitting moments. The play also tackles crucial issues like HIV status, STDs and the less glamorous side of this recreation activity that may seem foreign to some but for others this kind of party will be painfully familiar. “5 Guys Chillin” is winner of the Brighton Fringe Award for best LGBTQ theatre 2016, winner of the Doric Wilson Intercultural Dialogue Award at the Dublin International Gay Theatre Festival and winner of Boyz Scene Award for best London play. We talk to Peter about his inspiration for “5 Guys Chillin” and his spin on our LGBT issues.

Being from the United Kingdom when asked what his personal commitment is to LGBT civil rights and what he would like to see happen for LGBT equality in his country Darney stated, “I’d say that my commitment is more to fighting discrimination of any kind. Through my art, through my theatre I shine a light on untold stories to make people think about things, to make people get out of their own box, get out of their own comfortable norm and think about other people. So I’d say it’s more about that than specifically targets towards LGBT civil rights for me although obviously I have worked on a lot of plays that are trying to push those rights forward but inequality in general and ignorance in general is what I try to fight.

(In the UK) I would like to see people able and this is starting already in some cases, people able to come out at a very early age. I would like to see people not have to go through school denying their sexuality. I would like there to be open dialogue and education within our school system and our community group so that young people do not have to grow up holding a secret that makes them feel bad and guilty and ashamed and different and don’t have to form a lie behind every relationship that they have through this secret as they grow up because I think ultimately that is what we need in order to be able to achieve a better or happier level of intimacy as adults.”

 Peter Darney was trained at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. His credits include: Signal Failure (Soho Playhouse-Off Broadway 6 week run). Kindness- BBC Radio 4 (Pick of the week- the Independent), Frank Sent Me (Soho Theatre/ The Underbelly/ Theatre 503), Githa (St James Theatre, W/E and York Theatre Royal), Pinocchio (Sutton Theatres), Tom’s Midnight Garden (Orchard Dean: open air production), 6 Degree’s (Soho Theatre: Main House, Edward II (The Rose Theatre), Mysterious Skin (Gilded Balloon, The Drill Hall, Teacher’s Club, Dublin), Arden of Faversham (The Rose Theatre) and Beautiful Thing (BAC). Peter is also a recipient of the prestigious BBC Carlton Hob’s Award. “5 Guys Chillin”will return to the King's Head Theatre from the October 15th to November 5th in London, UK.
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Monday, September 26, 2016

Out & Equal Workplace Advocates Annual Summit

In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with Selisse Berry, Founder and CEO of Out & Equal Workplace Advocates about Out & Equal’s Workplace Summit that takes place in Orlando, Florida from October 4th to 7th at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort. Out & Equal is the world’s largest non-profit dedicated to achieving LGBT workplace equality and works with Fortune 1,000 companies and government agencies around the world to provide a safe, welcoming and supportive environment for LGBT employees. This three day global conference will feature hundreds of educational opportunities including workshops, expert panels, networking mixers and plenaries with keynotes from prominent LGBT and ally leaders. More than 3,500 LGBT employees, executives, CEOs, celebrities, politicians, advocates, activists and allies are scheduled to attend including Abby Wambach, former US Women’s Soccer Team Captain; Lance Bass, Pop-star / Dancer / Actor / Producer; The Pointer Sisters, Pop Group; Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer; George Kalogridis, President of Walt Disney World Parks & Resorts; Diana Nyad. record-breaking athlete; Margot Slattery, President of Sodexo; Sarah Saldana, Director of US ICE and many more. We talked to Selisse about this fabulous event and her spin on our LGBT issues.

When asked what she would like to see happen for LGBT equality in the next few years Berry stated, “Well absolutely we’re committed to passing the Equality Act. We are supporting the work that’s happening around legislation that supports our community and I’m very excited about having the first woman president of the US and feel like our options are clear for the future of LGBT equality, that Hillary Clinton has been a supporter of our community, will continue to support our community and so I am looking forward to her tenure as president and having the Equality Act passed because so much of our work has been going company by company because there’s no federal law to protect us. We still live in this interesting time in history where we can be married on Saturday and then in 22 states in the country we still can be fired on Monday for putting our wedding picture on our desk because there are no federal laws to protect us. So I’m looking forward to federal protections in the United States and also looking forward to continuing this work globally so everyone around the world can be out and equal.”

Selisse Berry founded Out & Equal Workplace Advocates 20 years ago in 1996. Since then Selisse has built the Global LGBT Workplace Equality movement by creating a network of multi-national companies and federal agencies to work toward LGBT education, empowerment and visibility. In the past 20 years her work has impacted more than 40 million people in over 50 countries and she has brought the promise of equality to Fortune 1,000 companies and US government agencies. Selisse has been awarded with honors from universities, corporations, media institutions and legislators around the world. Selisse is the editor of Out & Equal at Work and the namesake of the San Francisco Business Times Selisse Berry Legacy Leadership Award. In 2015 she opened Out & Equal’s first East Coast office in Washington DC where she lives with her wife Cynthia.
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Monday, September 19, 2016

Producer Sue Maslin New Movie “The Dressmaker”

In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with Australian producer Sue Maslin about her new feature film “The Dressmaker” directed by Jocelyn Moorhouse and stars Kate Winslet, Liam Hemsworth, Hugo Weaving, Sarah Snook, Judy Davis and Caroline Goodall. “The Dressmaker” set in the 1950’s is about a glamorous worldly dressmaker who returns to her small Australian hometown to seek the truth behind the scandal that banished her as a young woman. This dark and quirky comedy stars Oscar winner Kate Winslet as Tilly Dunnage who cares for her eccentric mother played by Judy Davis and schemes with the local cross dressing sergeant (Hugo Weaving) who becomes something of a buffer between Tilly and the town’s people who haven’t forgotten the tragedy they believe Tilly caused as a child that tore the town apart and led to her exile. As she starts to unravel her scandalous past, she transforms the town’s women with her exquisite creations. Armed with only her sewing machine and haute couture style Tilly shows she is a force to be reckoned with and that revenge never goes out of style. “The Dressmaker” opens in theaters September 23rd. We talked to Sue about her inspiration for producing this film and her spin on our LGBT issues.

When asked what her personal commitment is to LGBT civil rights and what she would like to see happen for LGBT equality in her native country of Australia Maslin stated, “Well, I’m gay and I love seeing movies where you have kind of complex interesting female and male characters that are not just stereotypes. They’re that kind of movies that I like and the great thing about “The Dressmaker” is that it plays on a camp sensibility. So we have the gorgeous Hugo Weaving who plays Sergeant Farrat and he knows how to handle those fabrics and he does it with such humor as well. So I guess that sensibility of subversion comes from my perspective I guess of being a lesbian and engaging in popular culture. You like to put a twist in it when you get an opportunity.

 (In Australia) I would like to see everyone LGBT have the choice on how they want to live their lives and choices that they want to make to be actually legally recognized in our country. It’s insane that we’re one of the only English speaking western democracies that has not gone down the path of marriage equality and it doesn’t look like it’s going to change anytime soon. This is happening when it’s the vast majority of Australians are going Hey what’s the big issue here? Let’s get it happening but we have some politicians that are still so resistant to making those legislative changes. So we’re stuck in this weird strange limbo.”

Sue Maslin is one of Australia's leading screen producers. She has a 35-year track record of producing award-winning feature and documentary films. She was the inaugural recipient of the Jill Robb Award for Outstanding Leadership, Achievement and Service to the Victorian Screen Industry and is currently Adjunct Professor of the School of Media & Communication, RMIT University; Patron of Women in Film and Television Victoria; and President of the Natalie Miller Fellowship, an organization dedicated to increasing women's participation in creative and business leadership of the Australian screen industry. “The Dressmaker” opens nationwide September 23rd.
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Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Nick Verreos New Book “A Passion For Fashion”

In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with Nick Verreos celebrity fashion designer and former Project Runway contestant about his new book “A Passion for Fashion: Achieving Your Fashion Dreams One Thread at a Time” that he co-authored with his business partner David Paul addressing how to break into the fashion industry and more. Behind every fashion label flawless magazine cover and perfectly produced runway show there are thousands of people working behind the scenes in entry level jobs and unpaid internships each one hoping for their own big break. Making a mark in the fashion industry can be a daunting and overwhelming prospect. During their careers Verreos and Paul have created a number of successful fashion ventures. They co-founded NIKOLAKI in 2001 which was sold in over 150 stores and featured in WWD, Lucky, US Weekly and People Magazine. They then launched the signature label, NV Nick Verreos in 2003 that currently appears on EVINE Live, QVC UK and Italy and TSC Canada. In their new book published by Post Hill Press Nick and David have created a must-read for aspiring fashionistas to guide them step by step on how to prepare for or launch their fashion careers. We talked to Nick about the inspiration for his book and his spin on our LGBT issues.

With the school year beginning and LGBTQ teens continuing to face overwhelming bullying incidents, when asked what advise he has for these kids Nick stated, “We need to continue to let our LGBTQ teens know that they are not alone and there is a support system; wonderful non-profits such as Trevor Project do wonderful work. It pains me when I see them in pain meeting teenagers at the events that I do especially kids that are interested in going into the fashion industry. I try not to play favorites when I’m doing meet & greets but when I see one of my own and they’re so cautious thinking how I’m going to react to them because they’re wearing make-up or heels and they begin to cry and I just pull them aside and I give them a 10 or 15 minute it will get better, I love you, I’m here for you, look at me it’s okay, you know it will pass, I understand. I got bullied when I was in high school. I remember the football guys in my high school calling me the f-word as I walked by with my Hermes scarf and Gucci loafers and yes I would go home and cry but I would just draw and revert to my own little world of fashion and reading Vogue. That was my way of coping and it did get better. I went to college. I met other people who were gay and it was okay. Years later I was on Project Runway. I remember going to my high school reunion and several of those guys who called me names came up to me and all of sudden wanted to be my best friend and apologized for some of the things they has said. I try to tell those teens that it does get better. I know it’s hard to hear when you’re in that moment of being bullied. Surround yourself with a support system. I think that’s really important and look for somebody that can guide you to a better path and be positive about it.”

Nick Verreos received worldwide attention after appearing on the television show Project Runway and later became the winning mentor on Under the Gunn. Since then he has dressed celebrities including Beyoncé, Katy Perry, Heidi Klum, Carrie Underwood and Academy Award-winning actress Marlee Matlin under his label NIKOLAKI. He has also enjoyed impressive success with his NV Nick Verreos sportswear line on major TV shopping networks in the U.S. and Europe.
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Thursday, September 8, 2016

Bruce Vilanch Hosts “One Night Only Benefit Cabaret”

In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with Bruce Vilanch about hosting One Night Only Benefit Cabaret for the Richmond/Ermet AID Foundation on Monday Sept 12th at Marines’ Memorial Theater in San Francisco. Philanthropy and stellar entertainment take center stage as REAF presents a special one-night-only benefit cabaret with the Broadway Touring Cast of “Beautiful”(The Carole King Musical) in “Motown & More, An Evening of Music, Dance & Comedy” hosted by Bruce with Countess Katya Smirnoff-Skyy. Songs from “Beautiful” will not be performed. As we have been reporting, for over twenty years the Richmond / Ermet Aid Foundation has raised millions of dollars by producing Broadway quality entertainment events and galas to advance HIV treatments and support AIDS services until there is a cure. Recently REAF has expanded its fundraising focus to the Bay Area’s growing demand for two new areas by providing food for the needy and programs that support homeless, disadvantaged and disenfranchised youth. We talked to Bruce about this fabulous organization and his spin on our LGBT issues.

With the upcoming presidential election just months away, when asked what he would like to see happen for LGBT equality in the next few years Vilanch stated, “Well a lot depends on what happens in this election clearly. I mean if the Nazis actually win and I call them Nazis because they would like us to be eliminated. Read the Republican Party Platform, the reptilian party, as I call it, platform, you’ll see that they would like us to just shrivel up and die. They would like to enable us in that effort and I think if they win then we’re going to see a period of regression and of people feeling their oats so they can attempt to beat us into the ground. If the democrats win and Hillary is in charge I think we’re going to see a continued path towards complete civil rights. That means no rollback on marriage equality, which is what the republicans would like. We’ll see it extended and obviously the most important thing about this election is the next president will choose a bunch of Supreme Court Justices who will issue to the ultimate ruling on all things that affect our lives. So I think at the moment we have the coin in our hands and as a nation we’re going to toss it in November and we’ll see what happens. So I’m hoping it comes down on the girl side.”

Bruce Vilanch is one of the most sought-after jokesmiths in the entertainment industry. He began contributing to Academy Awards telecasts in 1989 collaborating with the likes of Billy Crystal, Whoopi Goldberg and David Letterman and graduated to head writer in 2000. Since then Vilanch has become a recognizable face in his own right thanks to the feature-length documentary "Get Bruce” and his one-time stint as a regular on "Hollywood Squares" for which he also served as head writer. One Night Only Benefit Cabaret is produced by the Richmond/Ermet Aid Foundation, founded by the late Barbara Richmond and Peggy Ermet in memory of their sons John Richmond and Doug Ermet who both lost their lives to AIDS. To date REAF has raised well over $3 million dollars for AIDS services and beginning in 2015 expanded to support hunger programs and programs for homeless and underserved youth.
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Monday, August 22, 2016

LGBT Global Business & Leadership Conference

In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with Jonathan D. Lovitz, Vice President of External Affairs of the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce about the NGLCC International Business & Leadership Conference that takes place August 23rd to 26th in Palm Springs, California. The event brings over 1,000 entrepreneurs, corporate decision-makers, affiliate chamber leaders and government officials from across the country and globally. There are also fabulous special events including a performance by legendary singer-songwriter Melissa Etheridge. The three-day educational conference delivers innovative leadership programming, networking and engagement opportunities which lead to expansive economic impact and meaningful community services. These cutting edge educational programs include important keynote speakers, the annual B2B Boot Camp for LGBT Business Enterprises, a chamber development track, marketplace expo, one-on-one matchmaker meetings and more. The NGLCC International Business & Leadership Conference offers vigorous programming designed to meet the interests and needs of their corporate partners, LGBT-certified business owners and entrepreneurs, allied companies and NGLCC affiliate chambers from around the country. Packed with education sessions, this world-class networking the conference offers incredible exposure and opportunities for LGBT owned and allied businesses to build relationships with more than 140 corporations, federal government agencies and each other. We talked to Jonathan about the NGLCC International Business & Leadership Conference and his spin on our LGBT issues.

When asked what his personal commitment is to LGBT civil rights Lovitz stated, “I’ve personally been involved in LGBT civil rights and advocacy movement for several years now. I started off as an openly gay Broadway and television performer years ago and worked as an openly gay actor for a long time. During that time organizations like the Human Rights Campaign, Trevor Project and GLAAD approached me and said you’re young and passionate and interested in doing great work for the community, what would you like to do? And I said put me out in the field; I want to be on college campuses; I want to be at events getting particularly young people to care about this movement, especially as we saw marriage equality come closer and closer to fruition. We didn’t want to lose momentum after it happened so I’ve stayed in this fight ever since and one of the first organizations that I got to speak with and for was the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. I’m really honored to be on staff heading up their communications and messaging and public policy and help making the world a better place for LGBT people do business.”

The NGLCC was co-founded in 2002 by Justin G. Nelson and Chance Mitchell. Nelson has served as President since the NGLCC was founded and Mitchell has served as CEO over the same period. In 2002 the pair were named in OUT Magazine's Top 100 Success Stories for their role in founding the NGLCC Instinct Magazine and named Nelson as one of their 25 leading men in 2006. NGLCC is a U.S. not-for-profit advocacy group that aims to expand the economic opportunities and advancement of the LGBT business community. The Washington, D.C. based group acts both as a national certification body for LGBT-owned businesses and as advocates for LGBT supplier diversity.
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