Monday, August 13, 2018

Icon Mary Wilson Talks Help Is On The Way Concert Gala (AUDIO)

In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with legendary singer Mary Wilson about Richmond Ermet Aid Foundation’s event “Help Is On The Way 24 Celebrating Music, Legends & Icons” with a concert and gala that benefits Meals on Wheels of San Francisco and AIDS Legal Referral and takes place on Sunday August 19th at the Herbst Theatre 401 Van Ness Avenue in San Francisco. Ms. Wilson will be performing along with Debby Boone, Leanne Borghesi, Eileen Bourgade, Carole Cook, Davis Gaines, Debby Holiday, Kimberly Locke, Valerie Pettiford, Jai Rodriguez, Paula West, Top Shelf Classics, Eric Risenberg and Velena Vayn. 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. Since 2015 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 Mary about this tremendous organization and as a fierce ally her spin on our LGBTQ issues.

When asked what her personal commitment is to LGBTQ civil rights Wilson stated, “I have been involved in this fight against AIDS and HIV for years and now you know obviously it’s become something that we all are aware of. So a lot of my friends are in that community and so I want to be a part because they are my friends, my very dear friends. For me it wasn’t even a no brainer. I do it because it’s part of what I do for the people I love.”

Mary Wilson was a founding member and longest member of the legendary singing group The Supremes. Wilson remained with the group following the departures of other original members Florence Ballard in 1967 and Diana Ross in 1970 until the group disbanded in 1977. Since then she has released three solo albums, five singles and two best-selling autobiographies, “Dreamgirl: My Life As a Supreme” and “Supreme Faith: Someday We'll Be Together”. Wilson has also used her fame and flair to promote humanitarian efforts to end hunger, raise AIDS awareness and encourage world peace. The Richmond/Ermet Aid Foundation was 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. In 1995, the two women decided not to get mad but get even when they launched a musical AIDS benefit to honor their sons by raising funds for AIDS service organizations. "Help Is On The Way 24" directed by David Galligan and musical director Michael Sobie is Northern California's largest annual benefit concert benefiting HIV/AIDS and hunger programs. It's an elegant evening of wonderful music, delicious food and beverages tastings and most of all fun.
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Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Stephen Winter Talks New Film “One Stride: Chosen Family” (AUDIO)

In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with Director/Producer Stephen Winter about his new documentary “One Stride: Chosen Family” produced in collaboration with Ned Stresen-Reuter and Barefoot Wine that premiered at Outfest last month. The documentary amplifies diverse stories of our LGBTQ community and speaks to the importance of finding one's chosen family. The documentary celebrates the stories of three sets of LGBTQ friends and families to shine a light on how the community supports each other through a “chosen family.” The cast features “Pose” star Mj Rodriguez with her best friend Mila Jam a transgender singer, songwriter, dancer, actress and LGBTQ activist. The film begins with the late LGBTQ civil rights trailblazer 82 year old Richard Leitsch founder of the Mattachine Society who is interviewed by his friend the much younger Paul Havern and joined by his fiancé Ricardo Guadarrama. The film also includes Danielle Rizzi and Daniela Ricci two Italian New Jersey wives celebrating their chosen and diverse families. We talked to Stephen about his fabulous short documentary and his spin on our LGBTQ issues.

When asked what he hopes to accomplish with “One Stride: Chosen Family” Winter stated, “The accomplishment that I’m looking for with this documentary is to give people a fifteen minute respite from all the noise and confusion that we usually get from the media that’s thrust upon us. You know we’re living in a rough time and LGBT rights are under attack, people are tense and nervous and there’s always bad news looming. What this documentary gives us is some good news which is the human condition is a beautiful thing and outside of your blood family there is a chosen family that you can have. Those bonds can be as tight or even tighter than the ones that you come from. I believe that if you watch this stuff that we made and you see these images and meet these people, these ladies and gents, it’s like chicken soup for the soul. I want to make people feel good for fifteen minutes and let that radiate for the rest of their day. Friendship is a thing that should be honored and sometimes in the rush of our day-to-day lives we forget to honor it. I want to give people a beautiful reminder and make them smile. There are a lot of laughs in this documentary. Every segment has a lot of humor to it because when you’re best friends with somebody you make each other laugh. You have through private jokes that only you guys know but watching two people share it can be a beautiful thing and that is what I wanted this documentary to do. Create a beautiful thing that makes people smile.”

Stephen Winter is an award-winning film director, screenwriter consultant and producer. He has been professionally helping people fix, repair, rearrange, renovate or otherwise resolve their short film scripts, feature edits and scripts for over 15 years. His films include Chocolate Babies (1996, premiere Berlin Film Festival), Young Men Big Dreams: Inside the World of the Steve Harvey Mentoring Camp (2014) for NBC/Universal and Jason and Shirley (2015). Some of the films he has worked on include Precious (2008, Sundance, Cannes), Paperboy (2010) and Lee Daniels’ The Butler (2012, Cannes) to name a few. Barefoot Wine that produced and presented the film has been a longstanding ally to our LGBTQ community since 1988. The brand sponsors over 200 LGBTQ events around the world each year and earlier this year in celebration of Pride Month Barefoot launched its Barefoot Bestie Label program benefiting Outfest to continue building community by celebrating stories of LGBTQ lives.
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Thursday, August 2, 2018

American Leaders Talk LGBTQ Civil Rights (AUDIO)

In this exclusive audio podcast Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ participated in a press conference call hosted by The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights to discuss what’s at stake for LGBTQ rights in the Supreme Court vacancy and nomination process. American civil rights leaders included Vanita Gupta, President and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Rachel Tiven, CEO, Lambda Legal, Chad Griffin, President of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), Mara Keisling, Executive Director, National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) and Shannon Minter, Legal Director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR). The speakers emphasized how nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s troubling record on health care, discrimination and religious exemption would disproportionately harm the LGBTQ community.

Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference stated, “As the Trump administration continues its attacks against the LGBTQ community, more cases involving LGBTQ rights are expected to reach our nation’s highest court. With civil and human rights at stake, the Senate must demand the release and review of Kavanaugh’s full record. The American people deserve to know Kavanaugh’s involvement in the Bush administration’s anti-LGBTQ agenda.” Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) added, “We’ve made incredible strides on LGBTQ rights in recent years and it’s easy now to take many of those rights for granted but that would be a huge mistake. Brett Kavanaugh was handpicked off a list of far-right jurists who were vetted for their commitment to a very narrow view of justice, opportunity and equality for all, a view that embraces a license to discriminate against our LGBTQ community members. Fundamental rights like marriage equality are hanging by a thread and it’s up to the American people to push back and make their voices heard.” Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) stated, “Brett Kavanaugh was handpicked by the anti-LGBTQ Federalist Society and Heritage Foundation. A Justice Kavanaugh would be a threat to people of color, women and the LGBTQ community. It’s time we raise our voices like never before and say no to Kavanaugh.”

 Rachel B. Tiven, CEO of Lambda Legal stated, “When Lambda Legal persuaded the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down state laws criminalizing sodomy in 2003, it freed us, we were no longer criminals just for being ourselves. But if the Trump-Pence administration succeeds in putting Brett Kavanaugh on the bench, the bedrock of LGBTQ rights will be under immediate siege. The question is not whether marriage equality can be overturned – it is much more likely and more insidious that it will be slowly undermined by religious exemptions. This nomination puts Trump within striking distance of his goal of overturning Roe v. Wade and of turning back the clock on LGBT rights.” Chad Griffin, President of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) stated “For the LGBTQ community, the urgency of our fight against Kavanaugh’s nomination is not abstract. It is literally about millions of people having a right to live their lives free from discrimination and with access to affordable health care. For decades, anti-LGBTQ extremists have attempted to use our courts as an instrument of oppression against the LGBTQ community. Now, for the second time in two years, they have handpicked one of their own to sit on the nation’s highest court.” Mara Keisling, Executive Director of the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) stated, “Before the ACA, merely being transgender was considered a pre-existing condition and cause for an insurer to turn you down for coverage Transgender people will never go back to being a pre-existing condition. We’re demanding the Senate refuse to confirm Judge Kavanaugh because no American should have to live in fear of having their coverage denied when they need it most.” Shannon Minter, legal Director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) concluded, “Trump Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh would tilt an already conservative court to the far right. In the coming years, there are a number of new issues that will likely come before the court that could result in lasting harm for the LGBT community—including attempts to chip away at marriage equality or permit state agencies to discriminate against LGBT families in adoption and foster care. Our families and constitutional protections are at stake.”

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 200 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. (Graphic by Richard Emmanuel)
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Monday, July 16, 2018

Jewelle Gomez Talks New Play “Waiting for Giovanni” (AUDIO)

In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with playwright Jewelle Gomez about her new play “Waiting for Giovanni” that runs now through August 4th at The Flea Theater at 20 Thomas Street in NYC. Written in collaboration with Harry Waters Jr. and directed by Mark Finley the play addresses author James Baldwin at a pivotal moment in his career in 1957 as bombs are exploding in Black churches and lynchings are a fact of life for many across America. From these ashes a young Black writer emerges to become a literary celebrity bringing with him both his boundless talent and personal insecurities. Director Mark Finley stated, “In Jewelle's play, Jimmy wrestles with his identity as a black writer and a gay man as a newly noted author and a truthful creative vessel. It dramatizes not only the creative process but also relationships between creative people how we love and limit each other and how we love and limit ourselves.” The New York premiere of “Waiting for Giovanni” is presented by TOSOS (The Other Side of Silence), the city’s oldest LGBTQ theater and performed as part of the company's partnership with the Flea Theater. We talked to Jewelle about what inspired her to write “Waiting for Giovanni” and her spin on our LGBTQ issues.

When asked how she sees our LGBTQ community or any minority moving forward in this Trump administration, Gomez stated, “I feel like this administration is presenting us with a really great challenge to have someone so obvious in their distain for equal rights, distain for the Constitution, distain for Democratic institutions and for individuals. That’s so obvious it’s horrifying but it also says to me this is where we as a community an LGBT community can step up. He’s kind of a plague and we have faced plagues before and we stepped up and pulled together and worked to change for better lives and to me this is very similar. We need to think individually and as groups. What are the acts we can take once we cry and moan and complain and harmonize; then we need to say what is our next step whether it’s voting whether it’s supporting some of these nonprofits that are stepping in to do the work the administration would like to cut. We can think about individual act; it’s all about individual acts that we can commit to. It takes a couple of individuals to figure out to do something to make change and to be relentless about it and to not think ‘okay well I’m going to go on this march and I’m done and now things are going to be better’. It’s something that you do in your everyday life.”

Playwright Jewelle Gomez is the author of eight books including the Lambda Award-winning classic, “The Gilda Stories” which has been in print since 1991. Her play “Bones and Ash” based on “The Gilda Stories” was commissioned by the Urban Bush Women Company. “Waiting for Giovanni” is the first play of her trilogy about African American artists in the early part of the 20th century. In 2017 the second play, “Leaving the Blues” about singer/composer Alberta Hunter premiered at San Francisco’s New Conservatory Theatre Center where she is Playwright in Residence. She is currently working on “Unpacking at Ptown,” the third play in the trilogy which will premiere in 2021. “Waiting for Giovanni” runs now through August 4th at The Flea Theater at 20 Thomas Street in NYC.
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Monday, July 9, 2018

Tab Hunter In His Own Words A Personal Reflection (AUDIO)

Very sad news out of Hollywood that screen legend and LGBTQ Icon Tab Hunter has passed away. A few years ago Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ had the opportunity to talk to Tab in this exclusive audio interview about his work and autobiography “Tab Hunter Confidential: The Making of a Movie Star” by Eddie Muller and Tab Hunter that was made into the fabulous documentary by filmmaker Jeffrey Schwarz. Interestingly Hunter talks about the importance about writing his biography in his own words rather than having it written by someone who didn’t know him after he died.

When asked about the documentary Tab stated, “Well you know we’re all on a journey and that was my journey, take it or leave it, that was it. Unfortunately we couldn’t put everything in it, there’s just so much you can do in that amount of time.” Our interview is filled with Hunter’s personal Hollywood stories that we feel so privileged to share with our global audience. One especially moving was when asked what advise he would give young LGBT kids dealing with bullying Tab stated, “I’m not a good one on advise, but I have to tell you a story that’s really interesting. Years ago I was doing a television show with Geraldine Page who was a brilliant actress and I said ‘God you know Gerry, the press they love you and they just hate my guts. They’re just despicable to me and I feel terrible about this.’ She grabbed hold of my arm and said ‘Remember this Tab. If people don’t like you that’s their bad taste.’ I thought Whoa, that’s powerful. I thought, I’m going to apply that to my life and furthermore pass that along to every person I know particularly young people because they don’t have the support and guidance while they’re growing up.”

Tab Hunter appeared in over 40 films. His breakout role in 1951 at age nineteen was with Samuel Goldwyn Studios in “The Lawless”. His Southern California “golden boy” good looks catapulted him to overnight matinee idol stardom and he enjoyed a robust film career throughout the 1950’s and 60’s. The 1970’s started out strong including a leading role in John Huston’s “The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean” starring Paul Newman but work began to wane in the later 70’s. A call from filmmaker and fan John Waters catapulted Hunter back into the limelight and took him into a new, freer direction with the now cult classic comedy “Polyester” in 1981 starring the infamous drag icon Divine.

Tab Hunter is survived by his partner Allan Glaser, who is currently working on a film about Tab’s relationship with actor Anthony Perkins.
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Monday, June 25, 2018

LPAC Leaders & Supporters Speak OUT (AUDIO)

In this exclusive audio montage Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with red carpet attendees at “Levity & Justice For ALL” a comedy benefit for LPAC at Town Hall in NYC. For the past three years the event has honored a true Champion of Change and this year LPAC honored equality activist and tennis legend Billie Jean King. Melissa Etheridge was the special guest presenter and comedian Kate Clinton hosted the event with a stellar entertainment line up including comedians Chaunté Wayans, Judy Gold, A. B. Cassidy, Pat Brown and the musical group Betty. LPAC is the country’s only political action committee that is committed to empowering and engaging LGBTQ women. Now in its sixth year LPAC builds the political power of LGBTQ women by electing candidates who champion LGBTQ rights, women’s equality and social justice issues. LPAC has successfully raised millions of dollars to reach these goals. With the 2018 Midterm elections in November it is crucial to back candidates that support our LGBTQ values and stop the Trump administration’s attempt to erase the progress our LGBTQ community has achieved.
First we talked to LPAC Board members Alix Ritchie and Diane M. Felicio about what they hope to accomplish at LPAC especially with the 2018 Midterm elections in November. Alix Ritchie also serves as secretary at LPAC and during the “Levity & Justice For ALL” performance she generously donated $20,000 which brought in over $50,000 in matching funds. Ritchie is a media strategy consultant, feminist activist, a member of the advisory board of Ms. Magazine, previous board member of GLAD and an advisory board member of the Stonewall National Museum and Library. Felicio serves as the Chief Operating Officer at Community Catalyst, a national health care consumer advocacy non-profit organization. Then we talked to attorney Lisa A. Linsky a partner at McDermott Will & Emery where she created and chaired the Firm-wide LGBT Committee and currently serves on the Firm's Pro Bono and Community Service Committee. Linsky talked about her involvement with LPAC and the Mattachine Society of Washington. Next we chatted with comedian Kate Clinton who hosted the event about how she sees our LGBTQ community moving forward in the Trump administration. Then we talked to Urvashi Vaid, an original founder of LPAC about what she hopes LPAC will accomplish this year. Urvashi is also Founder and CEO of Vaid Group LLC which works with social justice innovators, movements and organizations to address structural inequalities based on sexual orientation, gender identity, race, gender and economic status. Next we chatted with attorney Sharon L. Weiner who is the past President of the Women's Political Caucus of NJ and served on the Board of Garden State Equity, the largest gay rights organization in New Jersey about her spin on our LGBTQ issues. We concluded with Liz Abzug, the Founder and President of the Bella Abzug Leadership Institute, about film projects she’s working on honoring the groundbreaking work of her mother Congresswoman Bella Abzug and her commitment to inspire young women and girls to lead the future.

All funds raised from “Levity & Justice for All” at The Town Hall in NYC will be used for political education, organizing and mobilization efforts to support LPAC endorsed candidates.
LISTEN: New LPAC Leader Stephanie Sandberg Speaks OUT
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Monday, June 18, 2018

Back Lot Bash 15th Year At Chicago LGBTQ Pride (AUDIO)

In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with Amie Klujian and Christina Roberts Co-Founders of “Back Lot Bash” Chicago’s most attended women’s festival that’s celebrating its 15th year and takes place June 22nd to June 24th during Chicago’s LGBTQ Pride week. “Back Lot Bash” started in 2004 in response to the lack of women’s events and the limited presence of female artists in the Chicago LGBTQ community and has evolved into an iconic staple of Chicago pride week that draws over 6000 attendees from Chicago, the Midwest and around the world. Taking place in Chicago's Andersonville neighborhood this year’s events include a ‘Whiskey, Wine & Women’ A Pride Tasting Event on Friday June 22nd at 7P then on Saturday June 23rd their ‘Pride Family Fest’ takes place from 11A to 2P followed by Back Lot Bash’s Flagship Outdoor Music & Entertainment Fest from 5P to 10P. Then on Sunday June 24th Back Lot Bash’s Post Parade Outdoor Music Fest / Post Parade Bash takes place from 4P to 10P. Co-founders Roberts and Klujian strive to bring the community together by showcasing emerging and established talent and activating citizens by helping to raise money for community organizations. This year the Bash will be raising funds for Chicago Women’s Health Center. We talked to Amie and Christina about who will be performing at this year’s “Back Lot Bash” events and give us their spin on our LGBTQ issues.

When asked what they would like to accomplish with “Back Lot Bash” this year, Roberts stated, “From a personal standpoint we want to produce a world-class event with world-class performers that is welcoming and showcasing all of Chicago’s LGBTQ progressive environment and its active LGBTQ community to the world. Beyond that for the members of our community we hope that they leave inspired to be engaged in our community in a way that fits their passions and their beliefs. We want our attendees to know that they have a voice, to know that they have a community that cares and that we truly have their back in our community.”

Amie Klujian earned a degree in politics from Princeton University and a master's in integrated marketing communications from Northwestern University. She serves with pride on the Executive Board of Directors at Girls in the Game, a nonprofit that helps girls become empowered game changers. Christina Roberts attended Paul Smith's College and is President and Co-Founder of Spot Events, LLC created to produce “Back Lot Bash”. Christina's contribution to the Chicago LGBTQ community isn't just social. She joined the Board of Directors of Chicago Metropolitan Sports Association (CMSA) where she helps guide the nation's largest LGBTQ sports organization. Additionally Christina also supports philanthropic endeavors across the community through volunteering and using her marketing reach to promote organizations and charity events. The fabulous entertainment lineup for the 15th anniversary of “Back Lot Bash” will feature performances and appearances by Sarah Shahi (‘Carmen’ from Showtime’s original series, The L Word), KITTENS, Brooke Candy, rapper and Chicagoan Jade The Ivy, Bridget Lyons, Whitney Mixter, Rose Garcia & Chicago’s female rockers Catfight and Sami Grisafe. The rest of the slate is equally eye-popping with these trendy tastemakers on the bill: Dance Loud, DJ All the Way Kay and DJ Zel.
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Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Author Sue Katz Talks LGBTQ Senior Pride & More (AUDIO)

In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with author Sue Katz about her lesbian journey in the Boston area during her lifetime, her books and how things have changed over the decades. Katz’s first political involvement was as a working-class teenager in the civil rights movement in Pittsburgh in the early 1960s. She arrived in Boston in 1965 on a full scholarship to Boston University and became deeply involved in anti-racism and anti-war work. In the late 60s and early 70s she was a pioneer in the women’s liberation movement in Boston and in the lesbian and gay movement. Katz’s fiction and non-fiction work has been published for decades in anthologies, magazines, academic journals and online. Her two most recent books are her collection of short fiction about the love lives of older people “Lillian’s Last Affair and other stories” that evolved into her novel “Lillian in Love” about the love affair between two old women in senior housing. Sue Katz will be speaking at an event entitled “From Pioneer to Elder: One Arlington Woman's Journey from the Birth of Boston's Gay Liberation to LGBTQ Elder Activism Today” at Robbins Library at 700 Massachusetts Avenue in Arlington, MA on Thursday June 28th from 7P to 8:30P. Sue will address what it was like being queer in the Boston area during her lifetime and how things have changed. We talked to Sue about the inspiration for her books and her spin on our LGBTQ issues.

When asked how she sees our LGBTQ community moving forward in the Trump administration Katz stated, “I think our only hope is building a strong coalition and looking for strength in numbers. Like our community, what’s interesting about our community is that it overlaps with all the other threatened communities. Whether it’s people of color, women, immigrants, we’re kind of in a perfect position to build something multi faceted and I think that is the only way we’re going to survive, kind of mutual aid with all the other groups under attack.”

Sue Katz’s business card identifies her as a “wordsmith and rebel.” A lifelong activist for social justice she has lived and worked on three continents: first as a martial arts master, then promoting transnational volunteering and most recently teaching fitness and dance to elders. Katz enjoys reading her work in both the usual and some unusual settings. At the oldest LGBT synagogue in the world, Temple Beth Chayim Chadashim in L.A., the Rabbi and her wife invited everyone to a “Bodacious Brunch & Book Party” to celebrate “Lillian’s Last Affair”. She has read at bookstores, private parties, university orientations for freshmen, senior centers, life-long learning institutes, social work graduate classes and arts fairs. Sue’s next speaking engagement will be at Robbins Library Community Room at 700 Massachusetts Avenue in Arlington, Massachusetts on Thursday June 28th from 7P to 8:30P. For More Info…
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