Monday, March 30, 2015

Erica Kay-Webster Addressing LGBT Homeless Youth

In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with Erica Kay-Webster, Founder of the Foundation For International Justice about the epidemic of homeless LGBT youth in this country. According to a study from the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law approximately 40 percent of homeless young adults in the U.S. identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender with 46 percent of these children committing suicide by the time they reach their 26th birthday. On Friday April 17th at the Marriot Copley Place in Boston the first annual gala will take place to benefit the Promise Place School an initiative of the Foundation for International Justice. The Promise Place School will include a residential educational complex for homeless LGBTQ youth ages 12-24 in Massachusetts that will combine classroom settings with a safe home environment. The school will be staffed by qualified professionals, offering services including a safe and stable home environment, a healthy diet, clothing, medical services, mental health services, substance abuse education, recreational and physical fitness programs and HIV/STD testing. All students will be offered education from 6th grade and up including a GED program, guidance counseling, life skills education and vocational skills training, college prep classes, career counseling, full continuing education scholarships and more. We talked to Erica about her inspiration for Promise Place School and her spin on our LGBT issues.

When asked what her personal commitment is to LGBT civil rights Kay-Webster stated, “Foundation For International Justice mission is our commitment to addressing human rights violations and rooting out discrimination wherever it occurs through compassion and peaceful action that includes advocacy, education and promoting social justice. Although I am a member of the LGBT community I don’t believe that discrimination in any form should exist and I truly believe in advocating for a human amendment to the constitution to end discrimination on any level. Whether it’s the LGBT community, whether it’s the Hispanic community, immigrants coming into this country, women’s rights, it encompasses all of that and we continue to work on that front to move towards a greater future. When the Constitution was written it was written by men for men primarily and it’s time to see a fully inclusive amendment because we know that in the LGBT community equal rights have been moving forward at such an incredible pace now that it’s not going to be very long until we see full equal rights. The question becomes who’s the next group that’s going to be picked on? Our mission is to make sure no one ever has to go through those experiences again in this country and that they’re fully protected under the law.”

Erica Kay-Webster knows homeless first hand after being cast out by her family at age 15 because of her status as a transgender individual and found herself on the streets of New York City enduring unspeakable hardships and attempting suicide twice by the age of 17. Kay-Webster is also a veteran of the Stonewall Inn riots in New York City in 1969 which were the catalyst for the modern LGBT movement. Promise Place School’s 1st Annual Spring Gala on Friday, April 17th in Boston will be honoring Congressman Joe Kennedy, Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz, Diego Sanchez, Carl Sciortino, Joe Finn and Elisabeth Jackson for their continued support of the mission to help homeless LGBTQI youth.
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Monday, March 23, 2015

George Brescia Style Expert & Author Speaks OUT

In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with George Brescia, style expert and author about his award winning Stage17 reality series “Dress Up! with George B Style” that just won the Best Reality Series Award at the 2015 Vancouver Web Fest in Vancouver, Canada. Created by Jacob Pinion and Executive Produced by Ondine Landa Abramson, “Dress Up! with George B. Style” goes behind the scenes with Broadway’s finest, including Kate Baldwin, Victoria Clark and Marin Mazzie for opening nights and red carpet events. When it comes to dressing Broadway’s most radiant stars for high-profile events, nobody makes them shine brighter than celebrity stylist George Brescia. We talked to George about the second season of “Dress Up! with George B Style” which airs on Stage17, his latest book “Change Your Clothes, Change Your Life” and his spin on LGBT equality.

Brescia has been in a relationship for almost eighteen years and believes in leading by example. When asked what would he would like to see happen for LGBT equality in the next few years George stated, “I think everyone should be able to marry who they want, live with who they want, love who they want, be who they are, feel proud and be able to have all the choices that everyone else has. I think it should be equal for everyone and I think we’re here to support and love each other and make the world the best that we possibly can. You know it might sound a little corny but I do think that everything comes from love and I think if you can treat every person you come in contact with as your best friend, no matter what their views are, you’re going to see people sort of come together and support each other and I think that’s really what it’s all about. So I think that everybody should be able to love who they want and be with who they want and I think that is very important.”

 Style expert George Brescia has spent the last twenty-five years working with top fashion and beauty leaders including Ralph Lauren, Donna Karan and Tommy Hilfiger as well as fashion directors at Bloomingdales, Bergdorf Goodman and Lord & Taylor. As the man behind George B Style he’s also a top-tier NYC-based stylist and image consultant with clients ranging from A-list celebrities to everyday men and women looking to improve their appearance and gain confidence. George has appeared as a resident fashion expert on NBC’s The Today Show, CBS, ABC, Fox and NY 1 as the official red carpet fashion critic for The Tony Awards. As an author, his personal lifestyle and fashion book “Change Your Clothes, Change Your Life: Because You Can’t Go Naked” (Simon & Schuster) debuted last summer. “Change your Clothes, Change your Life” is a groundbreaking, direct and honest how-to book that shows you how to transform yourself from the inside out. In addition to his book, George pens a regular column for Playbill, Resident and Venue Magazine. You can watch Brescia’s fabulous reality series “Dress Up! with George B Style,” on Stage17.
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Monday, March 16, 2015

Author K.B. Draper New Lesbian Dating Memoir

In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with K.B. Draper about her new book “The U-haul Diary” which is an extremely entertaining and relatable lesbian dating memoir. The title comes from the old U-Haul lesbian joke that lesbians tend to move in together on the second date. “The U-haul Diary” is a comedic view of the women that Draper dated who moved in and out of her life and her house. A woman’s name entitles each of the chapters from the relationships she had with one serial lover thrown in that returned causing more heartbreak and havoc in her life. This book isn’t an inspiring tale of the triumphant power of love or another coming out story but instead it’s an intelligent, honest and hilarious read about the lesbian dating scene. K.B. claims that she discovered a talent for storytelling at a Christmas Party when talking about her dating experiences and one of her friends told her that she was so freaking funny she should write a book. The idea stuck and she found that writing was cheaper than therapy and continued telling stories in her stylized rambling humor that resulted in “The U-haul Diary”. We talked to K.B. about what she hopes to achieve with her memoir and her spin on our LGBT issues.

When asked what her personal commitment is to LGBT civil rights Draper stated, “I think it’s really important for all of us to be educated on what is going on in the world. So I think if I educate myself and be part of the community and be a positive part of the community I hope that we will find some relief in the world. But for my personal commitment it’s really to try and stay true to myself, who I am and that happens to be a very happy, successful, passionate, lesbian and I think if I can communicate that and let people see that, I hope that will bridge some of the gaps that we may have out there. You know even for people coming out or straight people, whatever the case may be, if I can be just who I am and people can enjoy me and realize that it’s okay and you can be happy and successful and be a lesbian all at the same time, I think hopefully that is what I can personally do for people.”

K.B. Draper completed her degree in Criminal Justice Administration and Business Management at Central Missouri State University where she also played softball for four years. Directly out of college she went to work for the local sheriff's department. During her tenure there she was promoted to lead detective, working cases from theft, burglary, child abuse, rape, suicide and homicide. Seeking a position to utilize not only her criminal justice degree but her business education led K.B. to Kansas City where she has been working in the private sector of law enforcement/private security for over fifteen years. Currently she’s completed her second book “Close-Up” that’s more of a modern day fantasy series featuring two heroines Kanyon and Daylen, out to save the world from supernatural bad guys.
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Monday, March 9, 2015

Upcoming U.S. Supreme Court Gay Marriage Case (AUDIO)

In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with Janson Wu, Executive Director of Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) who are the architects of marriage equality in this country and co-counsel on the upcoming United States Supreme Court gay marriage case. Last November the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 against couples in cases coming from Michigan, Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee thereby creating a “circuit split” warranting the U.S. Supreme Court to settle the issue. The Supreme Court has agreed to hear all four of these cases. GLAD was instrumental with the Michigan case DeBoer v. Snyder. April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse are two amazing women. They are both nurses and the mothers of four children they fostered and adopted. They are devoted to each other, to their kids and they should be able to marry. Mary Bonauto GLAD’s Civil Rights Project Director is re-joining the DeBoer legal team after helping gather experts for their historic March 2014 trial. GLAD and Bonauto won the ground-breaking Goodridge case in 2003 making Massachusetts the first state in the U.S. where gay and lesbian couples could legally marry. GLAD also pioneered the legal strategy that brought down the Defense of Marriage Act. We talked to Wu about this historic journey towards national marriage equality and his spin on our LGBT issues.

When asked what his personal commitment is to LGBT civil rights Wu stated, “Personally as an openly gay man these issues effect me greatly. I actually just celebrated my five-year wedding anniversary last October and we married in Massachusetts thanks to GLAD the organization that I work for. I’m also committed as an ally because I understand that the entire LGBT community stakes an interest of those that aligned with mine and so I feel strongly about that responsibility of being an ally to the entire community. Then finally not just ending with LGBT rights, but think about the broader social justice movement and both GLAD’s place and responsibility in promoting that and my own personal one as well too.”

Janson Wu is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. Wu has served as GLAD’s Executive Director since December 2014 following eight years as a staff attorney and a seven-month tenure as deputy director. During his time at GLAD Janson has been deeply involved in the extent of GLAD’s work, including the rights of LGBT elders, family law and parentage, employment benefits, transgender rights, DOMA and marriage equality. He served on the legal teams of many of GLAD’s significant cases, including the DOMA challenges Gill v. OPM and Pedersen v. OPM and the successful asylum case of Ugandan activist John Abdallah Wambere. GLAD recently filed their U.S. Supreme Court brief arguing that barring gay and lesbian couples from marriage denies them a fundamental freedom and violates our nation’s most cherished and essential guarantees. We share in their belief that no family in our country should be excluded from the dignity, security, stability and legal protections that marriage confers. This injustice against our LGBT families and those we love has gone on far too long and it’s time to end it once and for all. This case is scheduled to go before the Supreme Court of the United States April 28, 2015.
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Monday, March 2, 2015

The Dinah Shore Weekend Palm Springs 25th Year

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 celebrating its 25th anniversary and takes place in Palm Springs April 1st to April 5th. A quarter-century ago Mariah Hanson launched what would become her enduring legacy to both the city of Palm Springs and the LGBT community. From a small one-night event at a Palm Springs museum with 1,500 participants 25 years ago to booking lavish locations at deluxe hotels over 5 days of epic pool parties and world-class entertainment, The Dinah has evolved into one of Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley’s largest tourism boosters. Today Club Skirts Dinah Shore Weekend rallies over 15,000 attendees not to mention major corporate sponsors and has cemented its status as the undisputed biggest lesbian event of its kind in the world. This year pop sensation and 2015 Grammy nominee Meghan Trainor known for her infectious hit “All About that Bass” headlines The Dinah Black Party and Billboard Top 40 superstar Christina Perri, the extraordinary voice behind the hits “Jar of Hearts” and “A Million Years” headlines the White Party. Joining them are pop music’s new “it” girls Bebe Rexha and Ivy Levan. We talked to Hanson about all the festivities planned in celebration of the silver anniversary of The Dinah Palm Springs and give us 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 the next few years Hanson stated, “My commitment is strong. I was on the board of Equality California for I think six or seven years and I’m really proud of the work that organization has done. I think that every LGBT American should be working to further our cause whether it’s with money or time because even though we’re seeing equality and more states embracing it, we still have a lot of work to do. We have a lot of legislation statewide that still needs to get up to speed with the LGBT community. I just think every community needs to be really accessing where we’re on parity with our straight counterparts and where we’re not and really address these issues so that equality is 100% in every way in every state.”

Mariah Hanson has continuously utilized The Dinah as a platform to mobilize the LGBT community around humanitarian projects and social issues. The Dinah has certifiably come to represent an ever-growing movement that has crossed over to mainstream bringing more and more visibility to the lesbian community - one that had never existed before. This year’s celebration will also include “The Dinah Comedy Night” hosted by Suzanne Westenhoefer with Dana Goldberg, Gloria Bigelow and Dinah Leffert as well as special performances by club diva Crystal Waters (“100% Pure Love”, “Gypsy Woman”), disco legend Rose Royce (“Car Wash”), Holy Child, Olivia Sommerlyn (Nick Jonas’ protégée), and E11leven. There will also be non-stop action with pool parties, dance parties with the best DJs and celebrity guests for the epic five-day world-renown event. This will be the first year we’ll be covering The Dinah for OUTTAKE VOICES™ as an official media sponsor.
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Monday, February 23, 2015

Filmmaker Jane Clark Soars With Diversity

In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with director/writer Jane Clark (“Meth Head” & “Elena Undone”) about her new comedy horror cult classic "Crazy Bitches". The movie is about eight gay and straight friends who go to a remote ranch for a week of gossip and fun but after a number of drinks on their first night a dark secret is revealed. The house they rented is the site of an unsolved mass murder of teenage girls fifteen years earlier and bloodstains are discovered under the replacement carpets. At first they take it as an intriguing horror story for a rainy night by a roaring fire but after one of them disappears and is discovered dead, the story isn’t fun anymore. Then one by one they die, killed by their own vanity and their fun-filled week turns into a race against death of who will make it out alive. The cast includes Mary Jane Wells, Cathy De Buono, Guinevere Turner and Candis Cayne just to name a few. We talked to Clark about casting her movies to reflect our evolving diverse society and her spin on LGBT equality.

When asked what her personal commitment is to LGBT equality Clark stated, “I don’t necessarily think of myself as an activist in any way. I’m a filmmaker and a storyteller first but I have quite a number of dear friends that are LGBT and I mean all of them. So the way I see the people around me, I see people just like me who love the same sex, love the opposite sex, love both, have chosen to change their gender because they feel more truthful about themselves and more whole as another gender. But they may be gay as another gender or they may be straight as another gender; I mean it’s all one piece to me. I see everybody as we’re just living in this world and love all my friends equally and don’t see a difference in them. So for me, telling stories that fit into the LGBT community because the characters in the films are in the gay community is just a matter of saying I don’t see a difference, truthfully. I think that it is important to tell stories that are unique to the LGBT community. I also think it’s important to tell stories where being gay is just part of a whole rather than unique on its own because in my world my friends are just a part of my whole. The only way to reach a wider straight audience and to say we are part of this whole community of human beings is to tell stories that bridge that divide as opposed to just fall separately into one category or another.”

Jane Clark began her career as an actress including a recurring role on “Chicago Hope”. She has spoken on panels covering film production, fundraising, marketing, distribution and most recently addressing the topic of filmmakers and social change. She is currently writing a book on making short films from idea through distribution and has devoted time as a board member and programmer to the Woods Hole Film Festival in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. "Crazy Bitches" is currently available online on VOD platforms and will be released on DVD and Blu Ray on April 1st 2015.
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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Walter Naegle Shares Bayard Rustin’s Legacy (AUDIO)

In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with Walter Naegle who was pioneer civil rights activist Bayard Rustin's partner for the last decade of Rustin's life who died in 1987. Rustin taught Martin Luther King Jr. strategies of nonviolence during the Montgomery Bus Boycott and reached international notoriety in 1963 as the openly gay organizer of the March on Washington. With the racial unrest in this country and in recognition of Black History Month Cleis Press has just published a new ebook edition of “Time on Two Crosses: The Collected Writings of Bayard Rustin” with the timely message of nonviolent and peaceful protest. In 2013 President Obama awarded the Presidential Medal of Honor posthumously to Bayard Rustin. Naegle accepted the award on Rustin's behalf stating "Being black, being homosexual, being a political radical, that’s a combination that’s pretty volatile and it comes along like Halley’s Comet. Bayard’s life was complex, but at the same time I think it makes it a lot more interesting." We talked to Naegle about what Bayard was really like, how they met, the importance of Rustin’s work and his spin on our LGBT issues.

When asked what his personal commitment is to LGBT civil rights Naegle stated, “My personal commitment is to be who I am as an LGBT person and more broadly a human being to support LGBT equality and issues whenever I can, which nowadays is very often speaking at colleges and community centers and libraries and lifting up the fact that Bayard was a very important leader in the civil and human rights movement who happened to be LGBT and lived during a time when these kinds of things weren’t discussed. And yet he was able to live fairly openly as a gay man. He paid the price for it but actions that were taken to try and quiet him never really succeeded. He rose above all that stuff and was able to make a significant contribution to the democratization of our society as a whole, so that is really the reason why a lot of younger LGBT folks kind of lift him up now as an inspiration and as a hero. I guess my commitment would be to sort of continue promoting his legacy and his values and to live as an integrated person myself.”

Beyond being Bayard Rustin's partner for the last decade of Rustin's life, Naegle has served as Rustin's executor and archivist and is the Executive Director of the Bayard Rustin Fund, which promotes Rustin's legacy and values. “Time on Two Crosses: The Collected Writings of Bayard Rustin” showcases the extraordinary career of this black gay civil rights pioneer. Spanning five decades the book combines classic texts from Bayard Rustin ranging in topic from Gandhi’s impact on African Americans, white supremacists in Congress, the antiwar movement and the assassination of Malcolm X, with never-before published selections on the call for gay rights, Louis Farrakhan, affirmative action, AIDS and women’s rights. Also included in the book are twenty-five photos from the Rustin estate with a Foreword by Barack Obama and Afterword by Barney Frank.
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Monday, February 9, 2015

First LGBT Millennia Scope Oscar Gala

In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks to Shahid Manning, Founder and Executive Director of Millennia Scope Entertainment Foundation about their upcoming gala for the LGBT entertainment community. The first annual Millennia Scope Gala is a post Oscar ceremony celebration event honoring the best, brightest and emerging LGBT talent shaping entertainment in Hollywood and takes place on Sunday February 22nd at Los Globos in Los Angeles, California. During this unprecedented fabulous event Millennia Scope will acknowledge the contributions of significant players whose creative work raises awareness and rewrites a modern image of our LGBT community in the world of entertainment and well beyond. Honorees include Martin Gero, Creator “LA Complex” (CW), Ben Cory Jones, Creator and Writer “Bro’s” (HBO), Producer Toni Newman “Heart of A Woman” and Actor Jeffrey Tambor, “Transparent” (Amazon Prime). We talked to Shahid about making the Millennia Scope Gala an annual event and his spin on our LGBT issues.

 When asked what his personal commitment is to LGBT civil rights Manning stated, “I’m a gay black man. I am 100% committed to it. My mother taught me in the seventies that ‘it doesn’t matter what other people think, it matters what you think of yourself. I love you for who you are.’ So that’s just who I am and of course as a member of the LGBT community I firmly believe we should have the same rights as any other citizen in this country. I am actually proud that we have more states than not who have equal marriage rights and that’s the way it should be. Equality, equality, equality, that’s what this country is suppose to be about anyway.”

Shahid Manning is a graduate of Howard University’s theatre and business schools. A former corporate executive, Manning moved from New York to Southern California to become an active participant in the theatre and film community in Los Angeles. He has worked in a number of capacities within the entertainment industry uniquely promoting LGBT media and film. In 2009 Manning launched Millennia Scope Entertainment Foundation a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that supports independent filmmakers of LGBT visual media. Millennia Scope is dedicated to fostering the careers of a community of artists traditionally underserved and underrepresented in mainstream media, who embody diversity, innovation, uniqueness of vision and the next generation of talented filmmakers. Their important fundraising event DIVERSIFYING HOLLYWOOD: 1st Annual Millennia Scope Oscar Gala takes place February 22nd in LA.
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Monday, February 2, 2015

Gay Veteran Making History In Boston Speaks OUT

In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with Bryan Bishop, Founder and Executive Director of OUTVETS, the first LGBTQ nonpartisan, nonpolitical veterans organization in the nation. OUTVETS mission is to recognize and honor the contributions and sacrifices of LGBTQ veterans through social interaction and community service. Last December OUTVETS made LGBT history when the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council (AWVC) voted 5-4 in favor of allowing this LGBT veterans organization to march in South Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade next month. Since 1995 when the U.S. Supreme Court voted unanimously to not allow LGBT groups to march via freedom of speech for the AWVC the parade has been boycotted by Massachusetts politicians. Whether other LGBT organization will be permitted to march is doubtful. AWVC’s decision to allow OUTVETS to participate was because of OUTVETS nonpolitical agenda and after OUTVETS’ historic appearance as the first LGBT group to march in Boston’s Veterans Day Parade last November. We talked to Bryan about the controversy surrounding the upcoming St. Patrick’s Day Parade and his spin on our LGBT issues.

When asked what his personal commitment is to LGBT civil rights Bishop stated, “Every person in this country deserves to be treated fairly and equally. Now to say that yeah yeah yeah, but does it ever happen? I do everything in my power to ensure that I treat everyone with dignity and respect and equally as the best I can. I mean I come from North Carolina. I come from a place where there is no equality, racially, socioeconomically, you know whether you’re gay or straight it doesn’t matter. I mean the bigots run wild down there. But living here (Boston) for the last 25 years I’ve moved beyond that and I think that my commitment to LGBT civil rights is the fact that we just keep going. We’ve won some major, major battles but we haven’t won the war. I think that struggle is something that we continue to do everyday but as I said before I don’t have a political pull in that. My commitment to LGBT civil rights is that LGBT veterans are honored for the service they gave to this country and nothing more, nothing less. I don’t get into the activism side of it other than that one agenda and that is to honor the service and sacrifice of LGBT veterans and all veterans, but that’s where I draw the line.”

Bryan Bishop retired from the US Air Force after twenty years of service. He now serves as Chief of Staff of the Boston Department of Veteran Service. OUTVETS is currently working on establishing OUTVETS chapters in all 50 states by the end of 2016 and making September 20th the day “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” was repealed as LGBT Veteran Freedom Day.
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