Thursday, January 24, 2013

Gay Activist Mike Ruiz Speaks OUT

In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with world-renowned Photographer Mike Ruiz about his book “Pretty Masculine” that's now available on a new app. When Mike released his first book of images entitled "Pretty Masculine" last year it was an exploration of breaking stereotypes specifically in males as an effort to deconstruct the preconceived ideas about masculinity. Though the coffee table book, which all the profits went to GMHC, played with masculine and feminine imagery, the new app is inclusive to our entire LGBT community. The app is an all-encompassing experience that allows users to witness the full scope of the creative process. It provides behind-the-scenes-footage and interviews of models, make-up artists, hair stylists and more. This whimsical app also allows users to upload and manipulate their own images and apply a variety of elements, such as lighting and costuming to their photographs creating "Pretty Masculine-izing" imagery. We talked to Mike about this and his spin on our LGBT issues.

When asked what his reaction was to Obama finally including our LGBT community in his inaugural speech, Ruiz stated, “I burst into tears. I anticipated him including the LGBT community in his inaugural speech because he has been very vocal about it. But you know actually hearing it in the content, in that form and seeing all the people respond in a positive way was really overwhelming. It just made the whole thing so mainstream. You know it made it like a civil rights movement that anyone who doesn’t participate in is going to be on the wrong side of history and that made me realize this is so awesome. This is a pivotal moment in history. I remember when Reagan wouldn’t even acknowledge AIDS and HIV you know by allocating any funds to research. And now the President is including our community in his inaugural speech. It’s really amazing and emotional but it’s really something we should be taking for granted. He shouldn’t even have to be discussing this stuff. It’s the same way with the civil rights movement. Everyone should have equal rights. It should be a given. It shouldn’t be something that you should be so grateful to be acknowledged for. Once we’re given any kind of rights we have to give that person a metal. We deserve it, we’re human beings. The short answer to your question is “I burst into tears.”

Whether it's Kim Kardashian, Betty White, Nicki Minaj, Katy Perry or Prince, Mike has seen and shot them all. His work has appeared in Conde Nast Traveller, Elle, Interview, Paper, Flaunt, Spanish & Brazilian Vogue, Citizen K, Vanity Fair, Verve and other publications. Mike's keen eye and astute entrepreneurial skills have landed him positions in a wide array of fields. He founded Aardvark Aartists, an agency representing photographers, art directors and set designers. In the past year, Mike worked to create a t-shirt line that helps raise funds and awareness for The Ali Forney Center and currently has a public service announcement airing on LOGO creating awareness for HIV/AIDS testing. Mike also has partnered up with fashion designer J. Cheikh to create a line of red carpet menswear.
For More Info: mikeruiz.com

Monday, January 14, 2013

Religion, Sexuality & LGBT Issues

In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with Rev. Richard Emmanuel about why the quest for LGBT equality continues to create such a commotion with the Christian, Judaic and Islam religious communities. Emmanuel brings clarity to this dilemma by giving us a history lesson to why our LGBT people present such a threat to conservative religious leaders. Before Christianity there wasn’t even a word for homosexuality. This is because it was just part of self-discovery. Emmanuel is the minister of a Church that has no members. Why no members? He states how can one join something other than the quest to “Know Thyself”. He reminds visitors to his Experimental Church that those are the words inscribed above the portal of the Ancient Greek Temple of Apollo. We talked to Emmanuel about this and why in 2013 LGBT homophobia still persists.

 Emmanuel stated, “Let’s look at the passing of the wonderful person Gore Vidal, a great person in terms of understanding history and the narrative of how things work. He was liberated in terms of his own identity, in terms of his sexuality and, basically, set an example despite all of the criticism, all of the harangue, he walked through it and was himself. Just before he died he was asked ‘What is the greatest mistake humanity has made?’ Without hesitation Gore Vidal said one word ‘Monotheism’. And out of that you got to understand if you trace this, Monotheism is the mechanism to describe one way or the highway. My way or no way and that is the problem of the issue of human sexuality. Let’s look at how we label one another. The idea when Gore Vidal said Monotheism is a word that allows for the concept of authoritarian dictate. So this is where we all start to define ourselves. This is gay, this is lesbian, this is transsexual and this is straight. Back 2000 years ago in the Greco Roman period do you realize there wasn’t a word for homosexual? People just used their sensuality and their sexuality to become who they are and there was no guilt. This is where LGBT people are consistently made to feel guilty about their own thought process. We have to look at what the three western faiths Christianity, Judaism and Islam are doing to us and why are we so sexually dysfunctional in our culture.”

 On issues of beliefs Richard cautions, “Belief creates its own prejudice. Even the notion 'Scientific Truth' creates its own rigid constellations of the celestial configuration of stars, planets, comets, galaxies, the Universe and the Cosmos. The Real Questions: Are you conscious? Do you know that you must construct your own story of Being?” Rev. Emmanuel understands that LGBT issues are the greatest clues for the transcendence of human sexual guilt however he needs your help. “Human Sexual Guilt? Get Over it!” he concludes. (Photo by Chad Carlberg) Listen to 2009 Interview w/ Rev. Richard Emmanuel "2012 What An Awakening"
For More Info: thechurch.org 

Monday, January 7, 2013

Gay Activist Singer Janis Ian Speaks OUT

Update: Janis Ian Wins Grammy For Best Spoken Word Album for "Society's Child: My Autobiography" :) Congrats Janis!!
 In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with singer songwriter Janis Ian about her autobiography “Society’s Child” that’s been nominated for a Grammy in the Best Spoken Word Category. The title comes from her Grammy nominated song of the same name she wrote when she was only 15 years old that also gave her a place in the Grammy Hall of Fame. This is her 9th nomination in categories from jazz to folk with two Grammy wins. This year the Best Spoken Word Category is dominated by three extremely talented and respected gay women including Ian, Rachel Maddow and Ellen DeGeneres. The other nominees in this category are Bill Clinton and Michelle Obama. During the 1960’s most adults could not have survived the scorn and controversy that surrounded her debut single and first hit “Society’s Child” that focused on an interracial couple in an era when tempers flared at even such a mention. Ian stated, “The first song I had a hit with was a song called “Society’s Child” about a black boy dating a white girl and it became very controversial. Radio stations were burned down and people were fired for playing it, so it was a baptism by fire and the book starts with that and continues until I meet my partner of now 24 years, Pat, here in Nashville. And we go through some adventures together, but at the end of the day it all works out.”

 When asked what her personal commitment is to LGBT civil rights Janis added, “The same as my commitment to any civil rights, to women’s rights or children’s rights. Of course I have a different vested interest in the gay community because I am gay and I would certainly enjoy the tax advantages that straight people have and the inheritance advantages and things like social security. But I’ve always been a civil rights advocate across the board. That’s how I was raised.”

 Janis Ian has shared a stage with Tom Paxton, Lou Gossett Jr., Judy Collins, Phil Ochs, and a host of other singer-songwriters. In 2013 she will be touring throughout America and with Tom Paxton in the UK in the fall. The 55th Annual Grammy Awards will be held on February 10th 2013 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles and will air on CBS at 8P ET/PT.
For More Info: janisian.com