Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Mariah Hanson Talks The Dinah Palm Springs 29th Year (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 29th year and takes place in Palm Springs, California from April 3rd through April 7th. The Dinah is the largest and most iconic girl party music festival in the world as tens of thousands of lesbian identifying women from around the world make the annual pilgrimage to celebrate, unite, empower and live OutLoud at this infamous 5 day event. The festivities includes high profile performances by nationally renowned recording artists, massive pool parties with world famous DJs, go-go dancers, red carpet events with celebrity guests, dance parties, meet and greets with your favorite celebians and so much more. It’s been recently announced that Philadelphia-based rapper, singer, producer, engineer and multi-instrumentalist Bri Steves and genre-norm bending pop star Dorian Electra are the newest additions to the performance lineup which already includes Grammy Award winner Daya, enigmatic musician Leikeli47, hip-hop sensations Kodie Shane and Diiamon'd Royalty. Comedians Fortune Feimster and Chaunte Wayans will headline "The Dinah Comedy Night" and special celebian guests will include Big Brother winner Kaycee Clark, massively popular tattoo artist TouShai and Bad Girls Club actress Kat Florek are all set to make appearances. We talked to Mariah about her inspiration for this year’s Club Skirts Dinah Shore Weekend and her spin on our LGBTQ issues.

When asked what question she wished people would ask about The Dinah Hanson stated, “I love when people who have never been to The Dinah write and ask what to expect or what events to go to. Of course my answer is to go to every event but I also think it’s really such an incredible weekend and my advise is to just get there and at least go to one event because the sense of community there is so empowering you just leave feeling like you can take over the world, that anything is possible…So at least go to one if not all and come experience this incredibly empowering, inspirational, energetic weekend that leaves people feeling like they can’t wait until next year.”

Mariah Hanson has continuously utilized The Dinah as a platform to mobilize our LGBTQ community around humanitarian projects and social issues. An exemplary community leader she has 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 has become an annual tradition between friends; for others it is a bucket-list goal or 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 4, 2019

Lee Wind Talks New Novel “Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill” (AUDIO)

In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with author Lee Wind about his novel “Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill” that centers around Wyatt a fifteen year old dealing with his sexuality in a homophobic small town of Lincolnville, Oregon where nobody knows that he’s gay, not even his best friend Mackenzie who accidentally and conveniently becomes his girlfriend. Wyatt then discovers the theory about Abraham Lincoln's close relationship with Joshua Fry Speed a Springfield, Illinois merchant who met Lincoln in 1837. At the time Lincoln was a successful attorney and member of Illinois' House of Representatives. The two men lived together for four years during which time they occupied the same bed and developed a friendship that would last until their deaths. Wyatt feels since everyone loves Abraham Lincoln that if the world knew about this relationship they would treat gay people differently and it would solve everything about his life. So Wyatt outs Lincoln online triggering a media firestorm that threatens to destroy everything he cares about and he has to pretend more than ever that he’s straight. Then he meets Martin who is openly gay and who just might be the guy Wyatt’s been hoping to find. We talked to Lee about his inspiration for writing “Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill” and his spin on our LGBTQ issues.

Lee Wind is the founding blogger and publisher of “I’m Here. I’m Queer. What The Hell Do I Read?” an award-winning website about books, culture and empowerment for LGBTQ youth and their allies. For over 11 years readers from 100-plus countries have racked up 2.6 million page views and counting. “Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill” is Lee’s debut novel and readers describe it as “a love letter for history geeks” that “perfectly captures teen angst,” “had my heart racing” and helped them feel “less alone.” Selected as the September 2018 Publishers Weekly “Indie Success Story” over 900 copies of “Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill” have been donated to LGBTQ and allied teens. It was also named a BookLife Prize semi-finalist one of Publishers Weekly’s top five independently published middle grade and young adult books of 2018. Currently Wind is Director of Marketing and Programming at the Independent Book Publishers Association and the official blogger for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Lee’s passion is writing stories to empower LGBTQ youth and their allies. He lives in Los Angeles with his husband and their teenage daughter.
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Saturday, January 26, 2019

Kyra Sedgwick Talks “Girls Weekend” At Sundance (AUDIO)

In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with Emmy Winner Kyra Sedgwick about “Girls Weekend” that will be premiering this week at Sundance Film Festival in the Indie Episodic section. Sedgwick along with creator Ali Liebegott, producers Valerie Stadler and Meredith Bagby and DP Michelle Lawler will all be in attendance at Sundance from January 25th - January 31st. “Girls Weekend” tells the story about when a queer daughter (Liebegott) returns home to Las Vegas for a “girls weekend” with her estranged homophobic sister and people-pleasing mother. Her gun-toting dad lets it slip that her mother’s cancer is back with a vengeance forcing her to decide whether or not she can rejoin her family. “Girls Weekend” explores the responsibility family members have to each other. It’s set in a suburban Las Vegas neighborhood and explores themes of LGBTQ acceptance, family, health, class and sacrifice. The cast includes Ali Liebegott, Linda Lavin, Amy Landecker and Ken Jenkins. “Girls Weekend” was produced by Big Swing Productions that was created by Sedgwick, Meredith Bagby and Valerie Stadler in 2017. Big Swing Productions is committed to telling stories that amplify bold new voices including our LGBTQ community in an attempt to bring our divided country together. They believe that when stories with heart and purpose meet talent and opportunity, magic happens. We talked to Kyra about what she hopes to accomplish with “Girls Weekend”, how the “Me Too” and “Times Up” movements have impacted Hollywood, her disappointment that the upcoming Oscars neglected to include a woman in the Best Director category and her spin on our LGBTQ issues.

Director and Executive Producer Kyra Sedgwick is best known for her starring role as Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson on the TNT crime drama “The Closer”. In 2018 Sedgwick received a DGA nomination for her directorial debut with the feature “Story Of A Girl” that premiered last summer at the LA Film Festival and Edinburgh Film Festival followed by its TV premiere on Lifetime. Sedgwick is a fierce LGBTQ ally and has served on the board of GLSEN. Currently she is a director on the Netflix comedy hit “Grace and Frankie” starring Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin as well as numerous projects with Big Swing Productions. Ali Liebegott creator and star of “Girls Weekend” is a three-time WGA Award Nominee for her work as Co-Executive Producer on “Transparent”. She currently serves as Co-Executive Producer and Actor on “The Conners” for ABC and is developing a half-hour project for Amazon with Jill Soloway and Michelle Tea. Ali is also an out queer comedian and author who has also earned two Lambda Literary Awards and her next book “The Summer of Dead Birds” is slated to be published by Feminist Press in 2019. Tickets for “Girls Weekend” are available at Sundance at Indie Episodic Program 1.
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Monday, January 14, 2019

Civil Rights Advocates Dispute Barr AG Nomination (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 the need for the Senate Judiciary Committee to determine whether Attorney General nominee William Barr is committed to upholding the civil rights of all people. With Barr’s confirmation hearings beginning on Tuesday January 15th it is crucial that the nation’s top law enforcement officer and leader of the U.S. Department of Justice is committed to our country’s ongoing progress toward equal justice. Civil rights leaders joining the call were Kristine Lucius, Executive Vice President for Policy, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Janai Nelson, Associate Director-Counsel, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., Michael Collins, Director of National Affairs, Drug Policy Alliance, Avideh Moussavian, Legislative Director, National Immigration Law Center and Sharon McGowan, Chief Strategy Officer and Legal Director, Lambda Legal.

First Kristine Lucius from The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights stated, “Under former Attorney General Sessions, we saw nearly unbridled disdain for the Justice Department’s vital role as the nation’s primary agency for protecting people’s rights. For nearly two years, Sessions destroyed families and communities by attacking voting rights, restarting the War on Drugs, failing to enforce constitutional policing policies, rolling back protections for LGBTQ individuals and justifying officials separating children from their parents and locking immigrant children in cages. William Barr’s record suggests more of the same. Our families and communities deserve better and members of the Senate Judiciary Committee have an obligation to seek assurances from Mr. Barr that he will not be Sessions 2.0.” Then Janai Nelson, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., added, “If confirmed, William Barr will inherit the abominable legacy of Jeff Sessions, who established policies that undermined and attacked the civil rights of communities of color. The Trump Justice Department has dismantled racial diversity efforts and rescinded guidance on racial disparities in school discipline and special education, promoted voter suppression and abdicated its obligation to protect the civil rights of persons who encounter the criminal justice system. Senators must determine whether Barr will continue to weaponize the Justice Department and eviscerate civil rights protections or whether his record suggests that he can repair and restore integrity and fairness to the Justice Department and ensure that all persons are treated equally under the law.

Next we heard from Michael Collins, Drug Policy Alliance, who added, “Trump is appointing someone who has long been a cheerleader for mass incarceration and the war on drugs. It shows the Administration’s true colors and undermines any recent criminal justice reforms. During this nomination process, I hope that Senators from both parties take Barr to task for his retrograde views on drug policy and criminal justice, instead of giving him an easy ride like they did with Jeff Sessions.” Then Avideh Moussavian, National Immigration Law Center stated, “William Barr’s own track record and his unmitigated support for former Attorney General Sessions is cause for serious alarm. In his own right, Barr has supported border militarization, criminalization of migrants, and subjecting vulnerable populations of HIV+ Haitian asylum seekers to indefinite detention. His open praise for Sessions -- from explicitly supporting the first and most egregious version of Trump's Muslim ban to implicitly supporting policies to turn immigration judges into mass deportation agents and forcibly cage thousands of children in order to coerce their parents to abandon their legal right to claim asylum -- shows he will continue to weaponize the role of the DOJ and Attorney General to devastate the rights of those who most need its protection.” Then we heard from Sharon McGowan, Lambda Legal and former senior official in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice who concluded, “Jeff Sessions transformed the Department of Justice from a guardian of civil rights into a weapon of discrimination and bigotry and William Barr has made clear that he is eager to pick up where Sessions left off. As Attorney General under George H.W. Bush, Barr defended what CBS News described as ‘the world’s first and only detention camp for refugees with HIV’ and only just a few weeks ago, William Barr ‘saluted’ Jeff Sessions for his efforts to nullify legal protections for LGBT people. The Department of Justice needs new leadership to get it back in the business of defending civil rights and equal justice under law for all people. William Barr, through his own words and actions, has proven himself unworthy for this important role.”

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)


Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Evangeline Weiss Talks Motown Creating Change Conference (AUDIO)

In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with Evangeline Weiss, Leadership Programs Director at the National LGBTQ Task Force about the 31st Creating Change Conference that takes place from Wednesday January 23rd through Sunday January 27th at the Detroit Marriott Renaissance Center in Detroit, Michigan. The Creating Change Conference is the foremost political leadership and skills-building conference for the LGBTQ social justice movement. Since 1988 Creating Change has created networking opportunities and inspiration for thousands of committed people to develop and hone their activist skills. This will be the first Creating Change Conference managed by Andy Garcia who succeeded Sue Hyde last spring as conference director. Garcia stated, “I think it is important to lift up the voices of the queer and trans activists of Detroit who are working to fight for social justice, end police violence and call out racism. Creating Change is a place for the queer left to come together to learn and connect with each other and strives to ensure a welcoming space for queer and trans people of color.” Over 4,000 people from all over the country will attend this five-day program that features over 300 workshops, training sessions, meetings and events. We talked to Evangeline about some of the highlights of this year’s Creating Change Conference and her spin on our LGBTQ issues.

The primary goal of the Creating Change Conference is to build the LGBTQ movement’s political power from the ground up to achieve our goal of full freedom, justice and equality for our LGBTQ community in the United States. Some of this year’s workshops include “Not My President, Organizing For Change” that will be centered around what the LGBTQ community can do to stop this administration from doing everything they can to destroy the rights our people have fought for; “Hack the Law: The Advocate’s Toolbox” that will explore the strategies the LGBTQ community can employ from legislation and litigation to policy and organizing to advance our goals; “The Hate Groups That Want To Take Your Rights Away” that will look at anti-LGBTQ hate groups including Alliance Defending Freedom and the Family Research Council and what the LGBTQ community can do to stop them. Other workshops include “Roadmap for Inclusive Sex Education”, “Moving the Equality Act Forward”, “OUT Millennial Elected Officials: Driving Equality Across America” and “Art For Social Change -- Using Creativity and Performance to relay a message and change society with Yuval David from the CBS TV show Madam Secretary.

Evangeline Weiss is part of the Creating Change Conference team. In her current role she builds relationships and organizes Queering Racial Justice in the conference host city, reviews proposals for the conference and facilitates for the Racial Justice Institute during Creating Change. Evangeline believes the conference is a place where the LGBTQ movement can experience its own power and potential as well as be held accountable for the ways in which we have more to learn. The National LGBTQ Task Force was founded in 1973 and works to build the grassroots political power of the LGBTQ community to win complete equality.
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Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Rep. Joe Kennedy & Transgender Advocates Talk Equality (AUDIO)

In this exclusive audio podcast Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ participated in a media conference call hosted by Congressman Joe Kennedy III and advocates fighting for transgender equality. The call followed an organizational meeting hosted by Kennedy with colleagues and representatives from organizations including the American Civil Liberties Union, Lambda Legal, National Center for Transgender Equality, the Palm Center, PFLAG and Human Rights Campaign to discuss the Trump Administration's efforts to ban trans troops, erode protections for trans students and workers and take away health care for trans patients. Kennedy has been Chair of the Congressional LGBTQ Equality Caucus’s Transgender Equality Task Force since 2017 and was outraged at the Trump administration attempt to erase the identities of approximately 2 million people in the country who are transgender by proposing that the U.S. Health & Human Services (HHS) legally define sex under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 to only be by the sex they are born with. Kennedy in his opening remarks talks about how the Trump administration from day one has been targeting our LGBTQ community especially members of our trans community including our youth in schools and strategically attacking trans soldiers by attempting to redefine our trans community out of existence.

First Congressman Kennedy introduced Luc Athayde-Rizzaro from the National Center for Transgender Equality, Policy Counsel who advocates to ensure transgender people can access life-affirming, nondiscriminatory health care at the federal and state level. Then we heard from Aaron Belkin, Founding Director of the Palm Center one of the most effective LGBTQ rights organizations in the United States who addressed the transgender military issue and more followed by Sharon McGowan, Lambda Legal, Chief Strategy Officer and Legal Director who talked about Lambda Legal’s efforts to resist any attempt by the Trump Administration or any other opponent of LGBTQ equality to roll back our community’s progress. Next we heard from Ian Thompson, American Civil Liberties Union, Senior Legislative Representative who works to advance the organization’s civil liberties and civil rights agenda in Congress and the executive branch by focusing on LGBTQ rights, HIV/AIDS and sex education. Thompson talked about the Amy Stevens Case twice delayed by US Supreme Court. Then David Stacy, Human Rights Campaign, Government Affairs Director talked about why the Equality Act should be a priority for the new Democratic Majority in the House of Representatives come 2019. Stacy leads HRC’s federal policy team including advocacy efforts on Capitol Hill and the executive branch. The call concluded with openly trans Diego Miguel Sanchez, PFLAG, Director of Advocacy, Policy & Partnerships who talked about the crisis facing our transgender youth in our school systems. Since 1973 PFLG has been advancing LGBTQ equality through its mission of support, education and advocacy. (Graphic Design by Richard Emmanuel.)


Thursday, December 13, 2018

Michael Petry Talks New Book “The Word Is Art” (AUDIO)

In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with Michael Petry, author, artist and Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art in London about his new book “The Word Is Art” that addresses how contemporary global artists incorporate text and language into their works that speaks to some of the most pressing issues of the 21st century. In the digital and online age words have become more important than ever with text becoming information and information striving to become a free form of expression. “The Word Is Art” looks at the work of a diverse range of artists including Annette Messager, Barbara Kruger, Cerith Wyn Evans, Christian Marclay, Christopher Wool, Chun Kwang Young, eL Seed, Fiona Banner, Ghada Amer, Glenn Ligon, Harland Miller, Jenny Holzer, Kay Rosen, Laure Prouvost, Martin Creed, Rachel Whiteread, Raymond Pettibon, Roni Horn, Tania Bruguera, Zhang Huan and many more interpreting how the digital and online age have made words more important than ever. “The Word Is Art” takes us on a fascinating and richly illustrated tour interpreting these trending global art forms. We talked to Michael about his inspiration for creating this book and his spin on our LGBTQ issues.

When asked what his personal commitment is to LGBTQ civil rights Petry stated, “I’m one of the ancients who’s been around fighting for LGBTQ rights since the early eighties and I’ve been involved in so many different ways over the years. I consider myself queer because I think that is a broader term that for me represents who I am and what I think and part of that commitment as a queer who is an artist and who also is an author and a curator is to try and bring queer artists to the foreground of the art world. We only have to think back a few years to realize that LGBTQ artists were very marginalized and that’s still the case for many people. In the LGBTQ movement every year I curate a Pride Exhibition in London which I really hope to introduce LGBTQ artists not only to that community but to the straight community and I work within all the structures that are available whether that’s museums or the corporate structure to get that recognition for LGBTQ people because I think what is at issue in the broader political sphere is this notion of fear. Fear of others and of course that fear is not limited to the general public. It’s also in the art world.”

Michael Petry has written a number of books, including “Installation Art”, “The Art of Not Making: the new artist/artisan relationship”, “Nature Morte: Contemporary Artists Reinvigorate the Still-Life Tradition” and his most recent work “The Word Is Art” all published by Thames & Hudson. In 2019 he will be speaking and exhibiting his work worldwide.
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Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Peter Tatchell Talks LGBTQ Equality & Human Rights (AUDIO)

In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with United Kingdom’s legendary LGBTQ and human rights activist Peter Tatchell, director of the Peter Tatchell Foundation. Tatchell began campaigning for queer freedom in 1969 at age 17 inspired by the teaching of Mahatma Gandhi, Sylvia Pankurst, Martin Luther King and Malcolm X adapting their peaceful protest methods and actually inventing a few of his own. In 1971 Tatchell was a leading activist in the UK’s Gay Liberation Front and was the defeated Labour candidate in 1983 which turned out to be the most violent and homophobic British election in the last 100 years. In 1990 he helped found the queer rights group OutRage! which outed 10 Anglican bishops in 1994 accusing them of hypocrisy for publicly conspiring with the church’s homophobic stance. He went on to remove outdated UK laws against our LGBTQ community and eventually created the Peter Tatchell Foundation, an independent, non-party political organization based in the United Kingdom which promotes and protects the human rights of individuals, communities and nations in the UK and internationally in accordance with established national and international human rights law. We talked to Peter about what he hopes to accomplish with his work and his spin on our LGBTQ issues.

When asked what his personal commitment is to LGBTQ civil rights Tatchell stated, “Well I have worked through in the early days the Gay Liberation Front in the 1990’s with OutRage! the queer rights direct action group and now as director of my own small human rights foundation the Peter Tatchell Foundation which works on both LGBT+ rights but also on other human rights issues as well supporting the struggle for democracy and human rights in countries like Russia, Pakistan, Uganda and many others. It’s very interesting the way in which my work on non LGBT issues has inadvertently helped raise the profile and awareness of LGBT rights. For example I’ve done work supporting the democracy movement in Pakistan and in particular the national liberation struggle of the people of Balochistan who have been occupied by Balochistan since the late 1940’s and because I am a gay man, an openly gay man and because I support LGBT rights even without mentioning it this has created an awareness, a mind change among many people in Pakistan who previously never met an openly gay person and who you know regarded LGBT people as demons or whatever. Because I have supported their struggle it’s helped bring about change in values and attitudes a much more sympathetic attitude towards LGBT+ rights.”

Recently during the 2018 World Cup games in Moscow, Russia Tatchell was arrested and released after bravely staging a one-man protest against Putin’s failure to act against Chechnya’s torture of our LGBTQ community that brought international attention to this issue. For almost fifty years Peter Tatchell has unselfishly fought for educating, advocating and lobbying for the elimination of exclusion and discrimination on the grounds of ethnicity, race, gender, disability, religion, belief, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, economic, social, cultural or refugee status.
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