Monday, February 6, 2023

Virginia Apuzzo Talks The Task Force Celebrating 50 Years (AUDIO)


In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with LGBTQ pioneer activist Virginia (Ginny) Apuzzo who served as Executive Director of the National LGBTQ Task Force from 1982 to 1986. The Task Force is the country’s oldest LGBTQ advocacy group celebrating 50 years of advancing freedom, justice and equality for LGBTQ people. This milestone year will recognize and celebrate the Task Force’s rich history of driving progress within the LGBTQ community from its early days lobbying the American Psychiatric Association to remove homosexuality as a mental illness and advocating for AIDS funding to longstanding campaigns to Queer the Census, Queer the Vote, work for trans rights, fight for reproductive justice and bringing an intersectional approach to the LGBTQ movement. The celebration kicks off this month with their Creating Change Conference from Friday February 17th to Tuesday February 21st in San Francisco, CA at the Hilton Hotel Union Square. This year’s theme is “The State of the Movement: Our Past. Our Present. Our Future”. Creating Change is the foremost political, leadership and skills-building conference for our LGBTQ social justice movement. The event will include speakers Angelica Ross, activist X Gonzalez and more. Then the 50th celebration will continue next month in Miami Beach, Florida at the 30th Annual Winter Party Festival with this year’s theme “Live Free Play Hard Give Back” that takes place Wednesday March 1st to Tuesday March 7th. Other events related to the 50th celebration will include the Task Force Gala on October 22nd, its premier annual celebration of South Florida’s LGBTQ community with more details to be announced as they are confirmed. We talked to Ginny about what it was like when she led the National LGBTQ Task Force in the 1980’s and her spin on our LGBTQ issues. 

Virginia "Ginny" Apuzzo became a nun in 1967 at the Sisters of Charity in the Bronx and left the convent in 1969 after the Stonewall riots. During the 1970s she became a member of the Coordinating Committee of the Manhattan Women's Political Caucus and earned a Master of Science in Urban Education from Fordham University. In 1978 she co-founded the Lambda Independent Democrats and ran for the New York State Assembly. In 1979 she served as the assistant commissioner for operations in the New York City Department of Health and became a strong advocate for people with AIDS. She then served as executive deputy of the New York State Consumer Protection Board and as the vice chair of the New York State AIDS Advisory Council. She was also President of the New York State Civil Service Commission and Commissioner of the New York State Department of Civil Service. In 1996 she became the Associate Deputy Secretary of Labor at the United States Department of Labor and in 1997 she became the Assistant to the President for Management and Administration under the Clinton administration. In 2007 she began serving on the Commission on Public Integrity where she worked until her retirement. The National LGBTQ Task Force advances full freedom, justice and equality for LGBTQ people. They are building a future where everyone can be free to be their entire selves in every aspect of their lives. For More Info…

Monday, January 23, 2023

Craig Coogan Talks “Music Triumphs Homophobia” Film (AUDIO)

In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with Craig Coogan about his new documentary "Music Triumphs Homophobia" that’s available on Amazon Prime Video. The film chronicles the impact of the Boston Gay Men’s Chorus (BGMC) as they perform for audiences in New England and around the world. Using archival material, news footage and interviews “Music Triumphs Homophobia” documents how a small Boston-based chorus became global cultural ambassadors educating people about LGBTQ lives and encouraging acceptance and respect for our LGBTQ community. Written and directed by multiple award-winning filmmakers Michael Willer and Craig Coogan the film is scored with original compositions by Chad Weirick BGMC’s Principal Accompanist and Assistant Music Director and features choral cover performances of songs by Katy Perry, Janet Jackson, Andrea Day, Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein II, Stephen Schwartz and Benji Pasek. Since 1982 BGMC has created musical experiences to inspire change, build community and celebrate difference. It’s a mission that has brought BGMC to some unlikely venues including a Congregational Church in rural Vermont, Worcester’s College of Holy Cross, Berlin’s iconic Brandenburg Gate, conservative Catholic-dominated Poland, a kibbutz by the Dead Sea, a university parking lot in Istanbul and the shores of South Africa. In South Africa the city of George welcomed BGMC for a free community concert as part of its inaugural Pride celebration. The invitation by George’s city council was marred when George Mayor Melvin Naik took to the airwaves to lambaste BGMC and the city’s support for its LGBTQ residents. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa responded by inviting BGMC to join him for the country’s annual Youth Day march where he personally greeted each member of the chorus and publicly welcomed them to South Africa. We talked to Coogan about what he hopes to accomplish with "Music Triumphs Homophobia" and his spin on our LGBTQ issues. 

Craig Coogan served as Executive Director of the Boston Gay Men's Chorus from 2012-2022. Currently he is the Interim Executive Director of the Seattle Choruses. Coogan’s expertise is in developing strategies and programs to help LGBTQ and other nonprofit organizations achieve their operational and artistic goals. A graduate of Syracuse University he brings experience in both the for-profit and non-profit arenas. Craig has also produced independent films, award-winning documentaries and acclaimed original plays that tell the LGBTQ experience. For More Info…

Friday, January 6, 2023

Joe Gantz Talks New Book “A Secret I Can’t Tell” (AUDIO)


In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with writer-filmmaker and fierce LGBTQ ally Joe Gantz about his new book “A Secret I Can’t Tell” available on Carpenter Hill Publishing. Originally published in 1983 the nonfiction book was the only record of American gay and lesbian headed household family life during the heyday of the homophobic Moral Majority. In republishing the book Gantz revisits the families 40 years later with new interviews and a new unparalleled look at how far we’ve come and underscores how close we are to returning to a dark past. In Florida in 1977 a county ordinance was passed which banned discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodation based on sexual orientation. After Anita Bryant’s successful “Save Our Children” campaign which demonized gays and lesbians the law was overturned and it launched a wave of repeals of civil rights for gays and lesbians in other states. Though in 2020 the United States Supreme Court finally ruled that 1964 Civil Rights Act protects LGBTQ employees from discrimination based on sex our LGBTQ community is still dealing with over 300 discriminatory bills this year alone including Florida’s recent “Don’t Say Gay/Trans” law that has made 2022 the worst year ever for legislative attacks on LGBTQ people. The updated 2022 version contains fascinating new interviews with some of the children who are now adults in their 50s with children of their own. The new foreword written by Scott Gatz founder and CEO of Q.Digital tracks the effects of keeping their parents’ relationships a secret in a time when it was dangerous to be out particularly as a gay or lesbian parent who could lose custody of their kids. The book shows that parents also struggled coming out to their children without any community or legal support or even representation in the media at that time. The secrecy these families had to maintain forced the kids into a kind of a closet along with their parents and the effects lasting for decades. We talked to Joe about his inspiration for republishing “A Secret I Can’t Tell” and his spin on our LGBTQ issues. 

Joe Gantz is an Emmy-winning writer and documentary filmmaker known for examining personal stories with honesty, humor and depth. He is the producer of Taxicab Confessions which was on HBO for 16 years as well as many feature length documentaries including American Winter, Ending Disease and The Race to Save the World. For More Info...

Friday, December 16, 2022

Dr. Jason Peplinski Talks Sin City Classic Sports Festival (AUDIO)


In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with Dr. Jason Peplinski, Commissioner of the Greater Los Angeles Softball Association (GLASA) and Co-Executive Director of the Sin City Classic Sports Festival that takes place January 12th to 15th in Las Vegas, Nevada. GLASA created the Sin City Classic in 2008 as an LGBTQ softball tournament meant to provide a safe and competitive atmosphere for LGBTQ athletes. Over the past 16 years the tournament has grown into the largest annual LGBTQ sporting event in the world including 24 sports and approximately 10,000 athletes and fans. As the Sin City Classic continues to grow and evolve this year they’re adding two new competitions: pickleball one of the fastest growing sports globally and sand volleyball. Hosted at the Flamingo Las Vegas GLASA remains committed to creating the best experience possible for a diverse roster of dedicated athletes who participate and the fans and allies who come to enjoy the festival. The Sin City Classic Sports Festival kicks off with the Opening Night Registration Party held at the Flamingo Las Vegas. Competitions and nightly social events then take place around the city with the weekend culminating in the Closing Night celebration to be held at the LINQ Promenade’s Brooklyn Bowl as a way to celebrate the weekend’s activities. The festival will also be presenting the second annual Ken Scearce Leadership Award. The award was created in 2022 to honor the memory and legacy of Ken Scearce the Executive Director of the festival who passed away in 2021. The award recognizes athletes, leaders, coaches, referees and other volunteers who dedicate their time and skills to promoting the value and importance of LGBTQ sports. We talked to Jason about what he hopes to accomplish at this year’s Sin City Classic Sports Festival and his spin on our LGBTQ issues. 

Dr. Jason Peplinski began his stellar teaching career in Lancaster, California. In 2004 he accepted a job as the Assistant Principal of Royal High School and from there he served as Principal of Abraham Lincoln School in Simi (2004-07), Moorpark High School in Moorpark (2007-09) and then Santa Susana High School from 2011-13. He then became Director of Educational Services at the Simi Valley Unified district office and was promoted to Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services. In October of 2014, Dr. Peplinski was named Superintendent of the Simi Valley Unified School District. In June of 2022 Dr. Peplinski retired from his superintendency with the Simi Valley Unified School district and began a full-time faculty position with California Lutheran University. The Sin City Classic Sports Festival takes place annually in Las Vegas Nevada over Martin Luther King weekend with presenting sponsor Lexus as well as Caesar’s Entertainment, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Piranha Nightclub, the Los Angeles Dodgers, AIDS Healthcare Foundation and Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority. For More Info & Tix…


Thursday, December 1, 2022

Sarah Shoffner Talks BGMC Holiday Concert Series (AUDIO)


In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with Sarah Shoffner the new Executive Director of the Boston Gay Men’s Chorus (BGMC) about their upcoming holiday concert series entitled “Joyful & Triumphant & Gay.” Founded in 1982 this fabulous 200+ voice ensemble is presenting their first live holiday concert since 2019. Performances under BGMC Music Director Reuben Reynolds are December 4th at 3P at Mechanics Hall in Worcester and evening performances December 9th, 16th, 17th and 18 at New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall in Boston, MA. The title of the show is a tribute to Dean X. Johnson the accompanist and assistant director of the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus (NYCGMC) who died of AIDS in 1998 at age 42. Johnson composed “Joyful and Triumphant!” with fellow NYCGMC member Jeff Baron at the height of the AIDS crisis in 1992. “Joyful & Triumphant & Gay” opens with the traditional French carol “Sing We Now of Christmas” and features classics like Bruckner’s “Ave Maria” and “Locus iste” alongside modern holiday fare that includes Cyndi Lauper’s “Christmas Conga”, “A Place Called Home” from “A Christmas Carol: The Musical” and Kylie Minogue’s “Christmas Isn’t Christmas ’Til You Get Here.” The concert will also feature two pieces by American composer Jacob J. Narverud including “Sisi Ni Moja” which means we are one in Swahili and a performance of the powerful “Ukrainian Bell Carol” as a reminder of the horrible human costs of war and our capacity for joy despite them. The chorus will also debut a new suite by BGMC Principal Accompanist and Assistant Music Director Chad Weirick which draws on classic carols and Christmas music to reflect his experience of the COVID-19 pandemic. We talked to Sarah about what she hopes to accomplish with BGMC and her spin on our LGBTQ issues. 

Sarah Shoffner joined BGMC as Executive Director in September 2022. Sarah’s expertise is in developing strategies and programs to help arts and other nonprofit organizations achieve their operational and artistic goals. Shoffner most recently served as Boston Ballet’s Benefactors’ Circle Development Officer. Previously she served as BGMC’s Engagement Manager for six years where she modernized the organization’s development systems including ticketing processes and launched the Ovation Society, BGMC’s donor loyalty program. In addition to the leadership roles Shoffner has held in nonprofit arts organizations Sarah holds a Master of Science in Arts Administration from Boston University and two degrees from the University of South Florida in Business Management and Dance Studies. BGMC’s fabulous holiday show “Joyful & Triumphant & Gay” celebrates the season with traditional favorites, modern classics and just lots of gay camp fun. For More Info & Tix…

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Kimberly Peirce Talks “Boys Don’t Cry” Reframed On TCM (AUDIO)


In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with filmmaker Kimberly Peirce about her award-winning film “Boys Don’t Cry” that’s featured on the second season of Turner Classic Movies series “Reframed” on November 26th at 10:15P. “Reframed” addresses famous/classic films that may have been controversial when they were released due to their themes like homophobia, misogyny, racism etc. The series that airs throughout November is also taking a look at pioneering LGBTQ films from an historical perspective. Each film is shown along with a discussion from film experts about these issues. Peirce will be co-hosting the show with Ben Mankiewicz who will engage in a conversation about how this 1999 breakthrough film raised awareness to the lives of our transgender community and the discrimination they faced that unfortunately continues today. “Boys Don't Cry” was directed by Kimberly and co-written by Peirce and Andy Bienen. The film is a dramatization of the real-life story of Brandon Teena played by actress Hilary Swank who won a Best Actress Oscar for her performance. The story is about a trans man who attempts to find love in Nebraska but falls victim to a brutal hate crime perpetrated by two male acquaintances. The film co-stars Chloë Sevigny who was nominated for Best Supporting Actress as Teena's girlfriend Lana Tisdel. The conversation concludes with Mankiewicz and Peirce on Sunday November 27th at 10P when they present the 2005 LGBTQ award winning film “Brokeback Mountain”. We talked to Kimberly about what she hopes to accomplish with her work and her spin on our LGBTQ issues. 

Kimberly Peirce received a BA from the University of Chicago and an MFA from Columbia University Graduate Film. She also graduated from Sundance Institute's Writing, Directing & Producing Labs. Her unflinching debut feature “Boys Don’t Cry” earned numerous honors and was inducted into the Library of Congress as a National Treasure in 2020. Her second feature “Stop-Loss” was released by Paramount Pictures in 2008. In 2013 she directed a remake of the horror film “Carrie”. Kimberly is a Governor of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences and a National Board member of the Directors Guild of America. Recently she co-founded the first ever DGA LGBTQ+ Committee to expand the rights, representation and protections of LGBTQ+ people at the DGA and the industry. For More Info…


Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Erin McHugh Talks New Obsession In "Pickleball Is Life" (AUDIO)


In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with author Erin McHugh about her new must-read book “Pickleball Is Life: The Complete Guide to Feeding Your Obsession” just in time for the holiday season. Pickleball is the fastest growing sport in America. It’s easy to learn but impossible to master making it the sports craze that’s sweeping the nation. Nearly 5 million people nationwide have picked up their paddles and taken to the court. In her new book McHugh highlights the rules and the fun of the game in a fabulous user-friendly handbook published by HarperCollins and illustrated by Jackie Besteman. “Pickleball Is Life” is the first book of its kind celebrating the wild and wonderful world of pickleball taking the readers on a journey from the sport’s quirky origins to its modern-day cult following. Erin shares a vast pickleball history and knowledge including etiquette tips, a DIY court, obscure rules and pointers for good-natured trash talk. Along the way with its visual graphs and illustrations you’ll be inspired to get on board to the current trend that has embraced everyone of all ages and attracted a huge celebrity following. Erin also includes interviews with members of the three founding families from Bainbridge Island, Washington who are still very much involved in the sport and its growth. People of all athletic abilities and backgrounds have fallen in love with pickleball but it’s also an excellent way to exercise, interact and socialize with others something we’re all craving now more than ever. We talked to Erin about her inspiration for writing her new book and her spin on our LGBTQ issues. 

Erin McHugh is the author of 30 books of humor, inspiration, trivia, children’s, history and LGBTQ topics. A former publishing industry executive she has worked for various publishers and was Executive Vice President and Creative Partner at Franklin Spier the publishing advertising agency. McHugh also has enjoyed a second career as a Barnes & Noble bookseller in New York City, a judge in Barnes & Noble’s national Discover Great New Writers program and the moderator of a popular local book group. A devoted pickleballer Erin was recently featured on a CBS Saturday Morning segment about the sport. “Pickleball Is Life: The Complete Guide to Feeding Your Obsession” shares the passion behind this global sport sensation. For More Info…

Friday, October 28, 2022

Cathy Renna Talks LGBTQ Midterm Election Agenda (AUDIO)


In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with Cathy Renna Communications Director for the National LGBTQ Task Force about joining forces with Equality Florida and Equality Texas to fight anti-LGBTQ extremism ahead of midterms including a new election animated ad campaign. The ads are adapted from an innovative campaign developed by Wide Angle Research inviting voters to fight extremism and fight for our freedoms. Equality Florida is targeting Governor DeSantis for his repeated attacks against our LGBTQ community, especially highlighting his signing of the vicious "Don't Say Gay" legislation and his repeated attempts to censor school curriculums and ban books. Equality Texas is focusing their efforts on Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton for his anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and promises to defend the Supreme Court with any law criminalizing sodomy enacted by the Legislature. The ads are in English markets and also target Latino audiences with Spanish subtitles. These ads raise awareness around the increasingly aggressive attacks on our LGBTQ community and communities of color including legislation that bans hundreds of books and censors curriculum covering slavery or mentioning LGBTQ people. As extreme politicians strip away freedoms by banning abortions even in cases of rape and incest they’re also working to criminalize and charge parents with child abuse simply for supporting their transgender child. Renna also talked about the National LGBTQ Task Force “Queer The Vote” campaign that builds grassroot efforts in key battleground states to inform voters of the crucial issues they’re facing in the midterm elections as well as driving LGBTQ people and allies to the polls. We talked to Cathy about what she hopes to accomplish with these campaigns and her spin on our LGBTQ issues. 

Cathy Renna has been part of the Task Force’s extended family for decades. Renna is a veteran in the communications industry and serves as the Principal of Target Cue and LGBTQ focused communications consultancy. Cathy has played a role in shaping nearly all major issues affecting the LGBTQ community from the beating death of Matthew Shepard in 1998 to the fight for marriage equality and the repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” to the increasing visibility of trans and non-binary people. She also worked with the team that coordinated historic coverage for the 50th anniversary of Stonewall in 2019 with NYC Pride. Renna lives in Montclair, New Jersey with her wife Karen and is the proud Mom of Mars who attends HSPVA High School for Performing and Visual Arts in Houston, Texas. For More Info… 

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Cheryl Osimo Talks 25th MBCC Party For Prevention (AUDIO)


In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with Cheryl Osimo, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition about the 25th anniversary of their premier fundraising event the Lesbians and Friends LGBTQ Dance Party For Prevention that takes place in person at Club Café in Boston on October 22nd from 6P to 9:30P and virtually via Zoom. This year they’re honoring the event’s founder Attorney Susan Wilson. Osimo stated, "Susan is a true humanitarian, scholar, visionary and friend to MBCC and all of those who have been touched by breast cancer. I don’t know of anyone who excels beyond Susan in the spirit of service and leadership – she is truly a remarkable person." Funds raised from the Party for Prevention help support MBCC’s education programs designed to provide our communities with vital health information on ways to reduce exposure to toxic chemicals in the products they use and in the environments in which they live, learn and work. MBCC is the only breast cancer non-profit working closely with a research and sister organization Silent Spring Institute to investigate preventable environmental causes of the disease. This work is funded through annual fundraising events like the upcoming Lesbians and Friends LGBTQ Dance Party For Prevention. The in-person Dance will be held at Boston’s best LGBTQ venue Club Café with DJ Andrea spinning and there will also be a dance lesson from OUT to Dance’s founder and director Liz Nania. We talked to Cheryl about what she hopes to accomplish with her work at MBCC and her spin on our LGBTQ issues. 

Cheryl Osimo is a fierce LGBTQ ally and devoted breast cancer activist and advocate since 1991 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 41. She has been a catalyst in raising public awareness of the possible environmental links to breast cancer. Her commitment to breast cancer prevention and awareness benefits women worldwide. Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition is the leading breast cancer organization dedicated to preventing the environmental causes of breast cancer through community education, research advocacy and changes to public policy. Tickets for the in-person Club Café 21 years or older event are $40 in advance and $45 at the door. Student tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door for 21 years or older with a student ID. Tickets for the virtual event are $20 via Zoom. For More Info…