Thursday, February 15, 2018

Mariah Hanson Talks The Dinah Empowering Women (AUDIO)

In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with Mariah Hanson, founder and producer of the legendary Club Skirts Dinah Shore Weekend that’s in its 28th year and takes place in Palm Springs, California from March 28th to April 1st. Leading the way and making a difference for both the LGBTQ community and women in general The Dinah is cranking up the volume on its commitment to elevate women’s voices and push forth its enduring message of female equality. This year features a powerful all-female line up of inspiring women including rising star Jessie Reyez who has been taking the music industry by storm since she first released her debut EP “Kiddo”, 2018 double Grammy Nominee Rapsody, hip hop recording artist and actress Snow Tha Product, electronic music artist Madame Gandhi, Ariana and the Rose the synth-pop band from New York. Headlining "The Dinah Comedy Night" will be Dana Goldberg and Suzanne Westenhoefer. Also putting passion into action The Dinah is proud to be an active community collaborator teaming up with some of the top LGBTQ players in Arts & Entertainment to help promote and raise women’s visibility in films/TV & on the web, whether in front and/or behind the camera. This year The Dinah is partnering with Outfest, the Los Angeles LGBTQ film Festival, Tello, the first lesbian network producing and distributing high quality web series with a lesbian focus and Revry an LGBTQ digital streaming platform. We talked to Mariah about her inspiration for all the festivities planned for this year’s Club Skirts Dinah Shore Weekend and her spin on our LGBTQ issues.

When asked what she would you like to accomplish with The Dinah this year Hanson stated, “I’m committed this year, last year and every year in increasing women’s visibility. We do that through the artists that we pick. I look at artists not just at ‘Oh this is a great song’ but what’s their backstory? Is it an interesting backstory, are they a pioneer, are they a groundbreaker and so we are moving forward and kind of politicizing that party platform in a way because our attendees are finally on the same page with us in that they also see that we can be five days celebrating and having fun and living out loud and also making political statements about how we want women’s voices to be heard. So it’s really amazing and powerful statements throughout the weekend I’m so proud of.”

Mariah Hanson the mastermind behind this legendary world-class destination event is not just shaking things up but changing the game too. An exemplary community leader she’s single-handedly revolutionized her industry, overturned tradition and raised the bar on female achievement with an event that is entirely produced by women, for women. For many, The Dinah is an annual tradition between friends, for others it is a bucket-list goal, a pilgrimage to our very own Mecca that every queer woman should make at least once in her life.
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Monday, February 5, 2018

Joel Craig Talks Journey To Gaytopia & More (AUDIO)

In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with actor writer Joel Craig who is the creative mind behind the newly released LGBTQ graphic novel dubbed “Journey To Gaytopia”. Joel’s book comes at the right moment when we all could use a good laugh. There’s been so much negativity in the world these days people need a lift and where else would Madonna be getting kidnapped by Mae Dunaway, Faye Dunaway’s evil twin sister and that’s just the beginning in this illustrated novel that fills the void for LGBTQ Sci Fi. While the graphic novel genre continues to grow in popularity there just aren’t many gay science fiction graphic novels out there. Some of them have a gay character that shows up once in a while but are not major characters with really extensive storylines. Stretching the boundaries of the literary art form, Craig employs the graphic format for the more visually driven readers to delve into fictional subjects with no special super powers that anyone can relate to, providing a unique and original insight into his own ideal world, namely Gaytopia that’s just begging to be developed into an animated series with a graphic design application reminiscent of the early days of “The Simpsons” and “Family Guy” cartoons. We talked to Joel about his inspiration for creating “Journey To Gaytopia” and his spin on our LGBTQ issues.

When asked what advise he would have for LGBTQ kids struggling with the increase in bullying incidents since Trump took office Craig stated, “One of the sad things is they’re not just struggling with the Trump presidency, they’re struggling with bullying from kids at school, from family and I think that the important thing is trying to be safe. For example, when I was in college I was harassed by the jocks in the dorm and I said ‘Why don’t you call me another name instead of calling me, you know faggot. Why don’t you say as I’m walking down the hall sing the song Pretty Woman and instead put in Pretty Man’ and they did and I liked it and it took the sting out of what they were trying to do. However, with the kids of today they have to be careful of safety. What kind of bullying is this, is it mental; is it physical and it still has a negative impact on their lives. Hopefully now people will have more people to talk to. It’s not like the 1970’s when there wasn’t as much support. There’s more support and I’m hoping that the kids of today they talk to somebody.”

Joel Craig is a nurse by day but actor and writer by night and lives with his musician husband Donovan Holden. They have been married twice with the second time finally being legal. In addition to “Journey to Gaytopia” Joel has also written “Welcome To Nursing HELLo a Graphic Memoir”. Joel has appeared in the films, “Sideshow” and “Sordid Lives” as well as the web series, “What’s My Intention?” which he also co-wrote.
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Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Lambda Legal Hosts “State Of The Resistance” Chat (AUDIO)

In this exclusive audio podcast Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ participated in a conference call with representatives from some of the nation’s leading civil rights organizations to outline plans for resistance efforts in 2018 with an emphasis on judicial nominations. The call was led by Sharon McGowan, Director of Strategy at Lambda Legal who was joined by other resistance leaders including Todd Cox at the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, Kaylie Hanson Long at NARAL Pro-Choice America, Kristine Lucius at The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Nicole Berner at the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Scott Simpson at Muslim Advocates, Mara Keisling at the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) and Michele Jawando at the Center for American Progress (CAP).

Sharon McGowan, Director of Strategy at Lambda Legal stated, “President Trump and his Administration have gone after LGBT people and other vulnerable communities with every weapon in his arsenal. To this end, the president has spent the last year packing the court with judges who look like him, think like him and whose impact will stretch across generations. If long after President Trump has vacated the White House we have federal courts packed with Judges who share his values, our children and grandchildren will continue to suffer. That is why Lambda Legal will continue to speak out against dangerous judicial nominees and resist every other effort this administration uses to turn back the clock on civil rights for the LGBT community.”

Todd A. Cox, Director of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund added, “This Administration’s appointments to the federal bench are corroding our judicial system with nominees that are hostile to civil rights and the rule of law. LDF is committed to protecting the fundamental civil rights and protections that many before us fought so bravely to establish in the last century. Our democracy and the state of our union depend on it.”

Kaylie Hanson Long, National Communications Director for NARAL Pro Choice America added, “One of Trump’s biggest campaign promises was to fill the courts with biased, anti-choice nominees and use the judiciary as a way to roll back our reproductive rights, overturn Roe v. Wade and ban abortion entirely and now he’s delivering to the detriment of women and families. Instead of finding real solutions for the problems that hard working Americans face everyday, Donald Trump and the anti-choice GOP continue to nominate judges to serve lifetime appointments on the bench and carry out their obsession with controlling women’s lives and bodies for decades to come.”

Kristine Lucius, Executive Vice President for Policy at The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights stated, “President Trump may tout his record on judicial nominations but it’s not one he should be proud of. He and Leader McConnell have overly politicized the process, putting in place judges who lack the temperament and qualifications to serve fairly and without bias. The rubber stamping of judges who are hand-picked by the ultra-conservative Heritage Foundation and Federalist Society will remake the courts in Trump’s image but ultimately, the Constitution and we the people will suffer.”

 Nicole Berner, General Counsel at the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) added, "Despite its cynical campaign promises, this Administration has put all its effort into helping corporations and the wealthy, not working people. Millions of people are working second and third jobs, but still struggling to take care of their families, and immigrant families are being torn apart. The Administration is using the courts to attack working peoples' strength in numbers, and naming judicial nominees who are hostile to the rights of working people, people of color, women, LGBTQ people, and immigrants. But working men and women will continue to resist by calling their elected officials and flooding town halls, taking to the streets, voting, and making a loud and proud demand for good union jobs that provide financial security to families and strengthen communities."

Scott Simpson, Public Advocacy Director at Muslim Advocates stated, “For American Muslims, the past year was not just about resistance, it was about resilience. The Trump Administration continues to underestimate the American people, American Muslims and the institutions of this country. We will continue standing up for the Constitution’s promises of religious freedom and equal protection under the law. Like always, we will be here to respond, to organize, and to continue our resilience.”

Mara Keisling, Executive Director at the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) added, “The Trump administration has been attacking transgender people in visible ways throughout its first year—rolling back guidance on how to treat trans students respectfully, banning open service by trans troops and releasing a plan to promote discrimination by health care providers, just to name a few. But the President has also launched a more insidious attack—packing federal courts with unqualified, biased judges like Kyle Duncan and Matthew Kacsmaryk, who have both said that being transgender is a ‘delusion.’ How can we expect such people to make fair decisions when trans people walk into their courtrooms? Over 300 parents of transgender children wrote to the Senate expressing their opposition to Duncan and Kacsmaryk’s confirmations. Now the Senate must follow through and vote against these nominees.”

Michele Jawando, Vice President of Legal Progress at the Center for American Progress concluded, “Trump’s legacy after his first year is a record of ramming through judicial nominees that are both unqualified or have poor records on civil rights, voting rights and women’s health issues. These nominees – over 90 percent white and over 80 percent male – have been vetted by right-wing organizations for their ideological extremism and are likely to roll back recent gains in the areas of workers’ rights, educational equity and reproductive rights. And Trump’s own record on civil and legal rights is abysmal -- equating the views of Nazi sympathizers with civil rights protesters, targeting Muslim-majority countries for a travel ban, and seeking to undermine the credibility of the Justice Department and FBI.”

Lambda Legal is a national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of LGBTQ people and everyone living with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work.
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Friday, January 26, 2018

Erin Uritus Talks Out & Equal Workplace Advocates (AUDIO)

In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with Erin Uritus, the new CEO of Out & Equal Workplace Advocates which is the world’s premier nonprofit organization dedicated to achieving LGBTQ workplace equality. Since 1996 Out & Equal has partnered with Fortune 500 companies and government agencies to provide executive leadership development, comprehensive training and consultation and professional networking opportunities that build inclusive and welcoming work environments. They have worked with executives, human resources professionals, employee resource groups and individuals to provide leadership and professional development, education and research to create workplaces free of discrimination. Out & Equal also hosts their annual Workplace Summit where employees and experts from around the world gather to share strategies and best practices to create workplace equality inclusive of all sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions. The 2018 Workplace Summit takes place in Seattle, Washington from October 1st to 4th featuring 3 days of educational opportunities with over 90 workshops, panels, community advisory roundtables, special networking mixers, receptions and events including inspirational plenaries featuring prominent LGBTQ and fierce ally leaders and more. Out & Equal also will be hosting their 11th annual Executive Forum that takes place March 28th to March 30th in San Francisco, CA. We talked to Erin about what she hopes to accomplish in her new position at Out & Equal and her spin on our LGBTQ issues.

As a mother of two young daughters, when asked what advise she would have for kids struggling with Trump’s Administration Uritus stated, “Oh gosh, such a great question, so glad you asked it. You know so many of us, Charlotte, have been in what feels like a hopeless spot in some time of our life and what may be a cliché now but it does get better and more importantly though, it will get better because of you our LGBTQ youth. We will make it better. I encourage you to get engaged with your community and reach out to groups like The Trevor Project for support when you need it, offer support when you have it to others and come join us in this work for equality. It’s really important and we want you to be with us.”

Erin Uritus became involved with Out & Equal as an employee resource group leader at Booz Allen which sponsored her to attend her first Out & Equal Summit in Orlando. She went on to join the Out and Equal Board of Directors, co-founded the Out & Equal DC Chapter Affiliate and eventually served as Co-Chair for the Out & Equal DC Summit in 2007 before becoming Out & Equal’s CEO this year. Erin has a Masters in Organization Development from American University and two Masters certificates in Change Management and Performance Management from Johns Hopkins and Georgetown Universities. She lives in Washington DC with her two beautiful daughters Amira and Haneen.
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Friday, January 19, 2018

Equality Federation Advocating For LGBTQ Civil Rights (AUDIO)

In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with Amanda McLain-Snipes, Director of Advocacy Programs at Equality Federation the strategic partner to 40 state-based organizations advocating for LGBTQ people nationally. From Equality Florida to Freedom Oklahoma to Basic Rights Oregon to Equality California, the largest member of the Equality Federation, they amplify the power of the state-based LGBTQ movement. Equality Federation works collaboratively on critical issues from advancing workplace fairness and family recognition to defeating anti-transgender bathroom bans and HIV criminalization laws that affect how LGBTQ people experience the world from cradle to grave. Together with their partners Equality Federation works on cross-cutting issues impacting our LGBTQ community such as racial equity, reproductive justice and immigration. Their advocacy program partners with leaders on the ground to fend off attacks on our community and advance protections for LGBTQ people in state legislatures where hundreds of bills affecting our community are introduced every year. We talked to Amanda about what’s on the agenda in 2018 for Equality Federation and her spin on our LGBTQ issues.

When asked how she sees our LGBTQ community moving forward in this Trump administration McLain-Snipes stated, “It’s really tough but we’ve been under administrations that were really tough and mean and bullying. We know how to deal with this situation and what we do is organize; we change who the policy makers are. So I’m excited to see in the moments after the election where people were very scared and angry, now there’s a lot of momentum, that moment has turned into a movement and we’re seeing people come together and organize and do things like pick up a US Senate seat in Alabama of all places. We saw Danica Roem in Virginia win her special election seat becoming the first openly transgender elected in that neck of the woods and she unseated the person who authored the bathroom bill. So if anyone wants to take us on good luck because we know how to do these battles. Unfortunately we ended up with the leadership that we did nationally but I don’t think that’s going to happen again with as focused as people are going into 2018 and even talk about 2020. I do think that there’s a lot of momentum on our side.”

Amanda McLain-Snipes as Director of Advocacy Programs at the Equality Federation works with state affiliates on using data-driven field programs and legislative advocacy projects to secure fairness in all 50 states. Amanda works with other national LGBTQ organizations on data and analytics programs to inform movement strategy. She brings over a decade of field experience, specializing in targeted public outreach programs starting out in campaigns and elections. Amanda is always seeking to change the landscape and secure equality in the communities we all call home. As the campaign manager for Southerners for the Freedom to Marry she led the organization’s work to grow support for marriage across the South. Amanda resides with her wife in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
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Friday, January 12, 2018

Jeff Hiller Takes On “Bright Colors And Bold Patterns” (AUDIO)

In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with actor Jeff Hiller about the hit Off Broadway play “Bright Colors And Bold Patterns” that he’ll be joining on January 17th with a new opening night scheduled for February 4th. Hiller (“Nightcap”, “30 Rock” & Broadway’s “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson”) will step into the starring role of this devastatingly funny hit play directed by Michael Urie (“Torch Song”, “Buyer & Cellar”, “Ugly Betty”) and written by Drew Droege the play’s original star. Hiller will continue the play’s triumphant Off Broadway run through February 25th at the SoHo Playhouse in NYC. “Bright Colors And Bold Patterns” is about Josh and Brennan who are about to get married in Palm Springs on a lovely Saturday afternoon. However, the night before becomes a drunken, drug-fueled riot because their friend Gerry arrives furious that their invitation says: “Please refrain from wearing bright colors or bold patterns.” The play is produced by Zach Laks in association with Riki Kane Larimer and features set design by Dara Wishingrad. Tom DeTrinis serves as associate producer. “Bright Colors And Bold Patterns” was originally presented at VS Theatre in Los Angeles and directed by Molly Prather. We talked to Jeff about how thrilled he is to perform Drew Droege’s hysterical one man show and his spin on our LGBTQ issues.

When asked how he sees our LGBTQ community moving forward in this Trump administration Hiller stated, “It’s overwhelming isn’t it? I know just everyday a barrage and I am wondering if that’s on purpose for this administration because they have flooded us with just issue after issue. If it’s not banning trans folks from military service which is insane, literally banning volunteers who want to serve the country but they’re also ripping homelands away from native people, raping the land, denying a fair shot for basic rights to folks that aren’t rich or racist rhetoric after racist rhetoric. I’m feeling a little overwhelmed right now actually. What I do think the LGBTQ community is doing and obviously other communities as well people of color, women (laugh) you know the minority group of women, what these groups are doing so well is that they’re not just rolling over and letting it happen. Sometimes like when I first came of age and politically aware was during the Bush administration, the second Bush George W and my peers were saying things like, ‘I don’t even like this America anymore you know this isn’t an America for gay people’ and there was this romanticizing of Europe. What I’ve noticed about young people now and queer people and my friends is we’re not just rolling over. We’re saying we love this country. We’re saying that equal rights is not some sort of radical progressive idea, literally in the constitution. So we’re continuing to fight, we’re continuing to resist. I was just emailing with some friends about what we’re going to do at the Women’s March and how we’re going to stand up this year and we’ve been doing that for a year since the election. So I’m so excited and proud and heartened by how people are continuing to say, this isn’t right and we’re going to continue fighting.”

Jeff Hiller is a regular performer at the UCB Theatre in both New York City and Los Angeles. Jeff has also written and starred in a pilot for Universal Cable Productions as well as acting in pilots for NBC, Fox, and CBS. He will step in the role of Gerry in the hit Off Broadway play “Bright Colors And Bold Patterns” starting on January 17th at the SoHo Playhouse in NYC.
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Friday, January 5, 2018

Fabulous New Parody “The Menopausal Mermaid” (AUDIO)

In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with playwright and director Michael Gaucher about his new show “The Menopausal Mermaid: A Parody Reimagined” that runs from January 11th to March 25th at Club Café at 209 Columbus Avenue in Boston, Massachusetts. The show is a kaleidoscope of outrageous drag, sexy sailors, fabulous costumes and all your favorite 80s disco tracks reimagined and hilarious. The parody is about Ariel everyone's darling from The Little Mermaid (played by Blake Siskavich) just not feeling it after being betrayed by Eric (played by Joshua Rubenstein), so she’s ready to kiss ass and take names in this 90-minute musical. “The Menopausal Mermaid” picks up where the Disney fairy tale left off as Ariel becomes tired of playing by the rules and decides to reinvent herself. Along the way she finds love, fame, Walt Disney and takes on anyone and anything that's ever tried to keep a woman in her place. So grab your BFFs, throw on something cute and get ready to rock the house with Ariel and her boys in this must-see theater event. We talked to Michael about his inspiration for creating “The Menopausal Mermaid: A Parody Reimagined” and his spin on our LGBTQ issues.

]When asked how he sees our LGBTQ community moving forward in this Trump administration Gaucher stated, “Carefully. It’s a really difficult question to answer because it assumes that there is a group thing, that we’re monolithic and we all have the same goals and aspirations and just in my own personal life I know that is not true. So I would rather speak to how people should move ahead who have common goals, common aspirations, common mindsets like decency and equality. For these people I think that it’s time to raise our voices and that can be in a variety of ways. Sure there’s the marches you can go to those, you can write letters if you can’t march or you can create art that inspires people to be who they are. For gay people specifically I’d like to say that no matter how much money you have, no matter what race you are, your religion, anything, the current administration is coming after you. So you need to buckle down, get together with your people and figure out the ways that you’re going to make the world better, not only for you but for all people.”

Michael Gaucher received an MA in writing from Emerson College. He’s the author of a collection of short stories entitled “Fresh Graves”, several blogs and a contributing writer to multiple periodicals including Boston Spirit Magazine. He was a principle writer and performer in the drag cabaret comedy troupe “Fresh Fruit” and initiated “Herring Cove Beach Theater” along with Abe Rybeck from The Theater Offensive. “The Menopausal Mermaid: A Parody Reimagined” performances will be on select Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8P with select Sunday matinees at 1P from January 11th to March 25th at Club Café in Boston, MA. There will also be cabaret-style table service for dinner/brunch and a show plus a 20% discount on food with your show ticket.
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Wednesday, December 27, 2017

New Artistic Book Honors Pulse Nightclub 49 (AUDIO)

In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with best-selling author Joie Lamar about curating the new coffee table book “Cuarenta y Nueve”, (Spanish for 49) which pays artistic homage to honor the lives of the 49 we lost in Orlando at Pulse Nightclub Massacre. “Cuarenta y Nueve” is a unique compilation from 49 contributors including Lamar, to remember and honor the lives we lost on June 12, 2016. Joie was shaken to the core by this tragedy especially since she had lived in the Orlando area for 10 years as part of the Latino LGBTQ community and had partied at the Pulse nightclub many times, even knowing one of the victims. She wanted to do something that would honor the victims and came up with the concept of paying homage to the 49 lives lost by gathering 49 talented individual contributors and “Cuarenta Y Nueve” was born. The 49 diverse contributors come from our LGBTQ community including Cat Grant, a multi-media artist and writer in Toronto who began recruiting for the project early on. Filmmaker Kate Johnston also helped Lamar gather talent for this passionate project. The names and variety of talent poured in including photographer Angel Torres who designed both the front and back cover of the book as well as recruiting other contributors. All proceeds of “Cuarenta y Nueve” will be donated to support the work of Pride School Atlanta and GLAAD in perpetuity. We talked to Joie about what she hopes to accomplish with “Cuarenta Y Nueve” and her spin on our LGBTQ issues.

When asked how she sees our LGBTQ community moving forward in this Trump administration Lamar stated, “Well it’s two steps backward for every one step forward and even more under this administration and if you’re old enough to vote we need to get out there and vote with your heart and your head for what is right. I think we need to stay positive. We fight so much for our rights as LGBTQ people in the community but we need to fight for rights of people in general. This administration is very good at dividing and we need to find a unity and we need to keep saying we are human. I think we tend to say we’re lesbians and we want equal rights; we’re women and we want equal rights. You know what, we’re humans and we demand what we deserve as human beings. We have to keep saying that.”

Joie Lamar published her first novel volume 1 of a 2-part memoir entitled “Mambo Lips” in 2016 and volume 2 entitled “Salsa Hips” that are currently being developed into a feature film “Las Alas” directed by filmmaker Kate Johnston. Both books have been added to the curriculum and library portfolio at two LGBTQ schools. The Harvey Milk High School in New York City and Pride School in Atlanta. There will be three launch dates for “Cuarenta y Nueve” including Montreal, Canada on January 27th 2018 with launch dates in Toronto and New York to be announced. Joie Lamar lives in Canada with her wife, two fur babies and a growing number of world changing projects.
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