Thursday, February 25, 2016

The Dinah Shore Weekend Palm Springs 26th 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 in its 26th year and takes place in Palm Springs, California from March 30th to April 3rd. In 1990 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 26 years ago to booking lavish locations at deluxe hotels over five 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. The legendary 5-day Palm Springs extravaganza is packed with non-stop activities, spectacular comedy shows, live concerts headlined by top 10 Billboard recording artists, activism, massive pool parties, and premier talent in music, film and television. This year pop sensation and 2016 two-time Grammy nominee Elle King known for her hit single “Exs & Ohs” headlines the White Party on Friday night April 1st at 9P. We talked to Mariah about all the festivities planned for this year’s Club Skirts Dinah Shore Weekend and her spin on our LGBT issues.

When asked what her personal commitment is to LGBT civil rights Hanson stated, “I’ve always been very committed to our work in obtaining civil rights. I was on the board of Equality California for six years and fought with other board members to achieve the right to marry in California and that was a huge victory for all of us because it was a lot of work and had a lot of ups and downs where we felt like at times it would never happen and then at times we were so close and then we finally made it. So that was a huge achievement for me and my life but I’ve also been very concerned with bullying and we’ve done a little bullying work at The Dinah just in terms of working with organizations that have really strong messages like ‘It Gets Better’. I think when you have a venue like The Dinah when people are coming to enjoy themselves and celebrate and party for five days that we kind of weave in subtly a social message and we try to do that every year.”

Also appearing for this epic 5 day event will be “Orange is the New Black” stars DJ Taryn Manning and comedian Lea DeLaria, celebrity DJs Samantha Ronson, “The L Word” iconic star Kate Moennig and UH HUH HER’s lead singer Camila Grey who together form The X-Names, international top model Madison Paige and one of the most exciting figures of today’s rap scene Angel Haze. They’ll be joined by pop newcomer JoLivi and Hunter Valentine the all-female power pop/punk band and “The Real L Word” Season 3 cast members who will be performing their farewell show. Then there’s the “Hot as L Party” bringing back the magic of Showtime’s hugely popular lesbian drama series and reality TV show, “The L Word” and “The Real L Word”. “Hot as L” will feature some of our community’s most beloved and popular stars including Elizabeth Keener, Clementine Ford and Tracy Reyerson. tello films is also sponsoring an event that takes place Saturday and Sunday from noon to 6P pool side. It will showcase some of the community's hottest films and webseries with actors and filmmakers onsite including Bridget McManus and Fran Nichols from “Maybelle”, Amanda Bearse from “Skirtchasers” as well as Tucky Williams and Amanda Morales just to name a few. All official events take place at the Hilton Hotel, the Palm Springs Convention Center and Zelda’s Nightclub.. This will be the second year we’ll be covering The Dinah for OUTTAKE VOICES™ as an official media sponsor.
For More Info & Tix: TheDinah.com

Thursday, February 18, 2016

LGBT Activist Brian Silva Speaks OUT (AUDIO)

In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with Brian Silva, Executive Director of Marriage Equality USA (MEUSA) that will be closing down later this year after accomplishing their mission of marriage equality in all 50 states and at the federal level. Silva will then shift his efforts as director of grassroots engagements for Freedom for All Americans (FFAA), an organization focused on achieving national nondiscrimination protections for our LGBT community. In 33 states LGBTQ people are still not fully protected from discrimination whether in employment, housing or in public spaces like restaurants or hotels. The National Equality Action Team (NEAT) developed by MEUSA in 2012 will now have a new home at FFAA. Through NEAT, volunteers will continue to be able to make phone calls to residents in states with pending legislation, knock on doors to urge residents to contact their lawmakers and assist with a variety of other actions that places NEAT volunteers right in the middle of these important historic campaigns. We talked to Brian about his transition to FFAA and his spin on our LGBT issues.

When asked what his personal commitment is to LGBT civil rights Silva stated, “It starts with the personal as a gay man who is about to marry his partner this year. Having equality and being treated equally is something obviously very personal to me and my fiancé and something we will definitely benefit from. But I think in addition to that the idea that we would have a two tiered system for just about anybody in our community or in our nation is to me highly offensive and really goes against what I think the majority of Americans believe what our country is about. I think it’s also important to make sure that we’re looking at our community and our community’s issues not just from the traditional LGBT lens, you know marriage, nondiscrimination and conversion therapy, things that just effect the LGBT community. Those are all very important but the members of our community are also people of color who are affected by a discriminatory criminal justice system. They are women who are having their access to reproductive health and rights attacked. They are undocumented families and kids and parents whose families are being torn apart by a broken immigration system. So my commitment is to look at our community and the people in it holistically and to use some of the privileges I have been given and the opportunities I have been given to make sure that other people have opportunities and privileges and I’m fighting for all of those things in our community that need to be fought for to really create the American dream for each of us.”

Brian Silva’s leadership expanded MEUSA’s grassroots education and advocacy work into communities across the nation contributing to the passing of marriage equality in all 50 states especially with the establishment of the National Equality Action Team (NEAT) coalition. NEAT’s work is already underway in Massachusetts where a bill is pending that would ensure that transgender people cannot be turned away or denied service at a public place on the basis of their gender identity and in Florida where advocates are working to update Florida’s nondiscrimination laws to include sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.
For More Info: theneat.org

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Groundswell A New LGBT Retreat & Ecovillage

In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with Kyle DeVries one of the founders of Groundswell, a new LGBT retreat center and ecovillage two hours north of San Francisco. Just over a year old, Groundswell is about to begin its first full lineup of queer-focused programs starting with a forestry camp and an artists gathering. Groundswell’s retreat center is a rustic former kids camp set in a stunning natural environment. Across a year-round creek from the campus is Groundswell’s ecovillage, a residential and agricultural complex that aims to model sustainable queer-spirited living. The first program of the year is Forestry Camp held February 18th to 22nd which is an opportunity for people to learn about sustainable forest management and some woodsy crafting projects. In addition there will be an exploration of the connection between our LGBT community and nature around a roaring fire pit with s’mores. Then March 3rd to 6th Groundswell is organizing MUSE: Inspire which is an LGBT creatives retreat. A gathering for LGBTQ artists of all types, MUSE offers skill sharing, artistic inspiration, creative collaboration and plenty of time to connect with other LGBT creatives. This year’s focus is on who or what sparks inspiration and how LGBTQ people inspire the world. MUSE is a community creation and each year extends the opportunity for people to present their passions as an artist. We talked to Kyle about his inspiration for Groundswell and his spin on our LGBT issues.

When asked what his personal commitment is to LGBT civil rights DeVries stated, “As a gay man myself I feel full accomplishment of LGBT civil rights is a very personal means of legal protections for what I consider my extended community. I’ve been doing activism in the LGBT community for over a decade now starting with civil disobedience and community organizing actions like the equality ride and then continuing to do community organizing once I moved to California more in the arts spectrum. And Groundswell is another part of my commitment to LGBT equality because again we are trying to create a space that is advocating for the celebration of that otherness of being gay, or lesbian, or transgender or bisexual.”

Kyle DeVries also manages the nonprofit retreat center, helps care for the many animals and works with wood. Its non-human domestic residents include goats, alpacas, llamas, sheep, chickens, pigs, rabbits, guinea fowl and dogs. In addition to their content another unique aspect of Groundswell’s programs is their accessibility for people of all incomes. Every event offers work trade and scholarship opportunities for those who cannot afford the event registration fees so that financial means are not a barrier to access. The programs and retreat center are run by Groundswell Institute a non-profit that manages this accessibility through donations and renting out the facilities to other groups. The non-profit retreat center is just one aspect of Groundswell. The other is a residential community committed to sustainable, queer-spirited living. Currently with four full-time residents, the community plans to grow to become as many as 30 over the years.
For More Info: groundswell.institute

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Diedra Meredith Leads LGBT Academy of Recording Arts

In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with Diedra Meredith, CEO of OUTmusic Inc and Chairwoman of the LGBT Academy of Recording Arts that recently presented their 9th annual OUTmusic Awards. OUTmusic Inc. a 501(c)3 non-profit charitable organization was founded in 1990 by life partners Daniel Martin and Michael Biello in their East Village Apartment in New York City. They wanted to create a place where LGBT and queer music people could exercise their authentic freedom of expression openly and proudly. For 17 years Dan and Michael headed the organization until they sought new leadership in 2006. In 2007 Diedra Meredith, aka Deepa Soul, Billboard chart topping recording artist, was appointed as the new Chairwoman. Under her new leadership OUTmusic was re-founded as the LGBT Academy of Recording Arts creating the acronym LARA. LARA defines what OUTmusic is as the alliance of LGBT recording artists, creative industry professionals and patrons of the arts. We talked to Diedra about what she hopes to accomplish with LARA and her spin on our LGBT issues.

When asked what her personal commitment is to LGBT civil rights Meredith stated, “I am a person who sits on the great intersect because I’m Afro-American, I’m a woman, I’m openly lesbian and I can’t imagine not doing the work that I’m doing without bringing to the table the way I was raised in the deep south of New Orleans. We were born into the civil rights movement; there wasn’t a choice from the first breathe that we took we became civil rights activists just because of what we were up against. I still saw signs when I was a little girl No Coloreds Allowed. In 1970 I still saw atrocities of what happens to people like me and it’s still happening. So when it comes to LGBT civil rights I don’t have a division but unfortunately in the Afro-American community I sit at the intersect where they don’t want me to bring up that I’m a lesbian but I do because it is a civil right. I’m an American. I’m a law-biding citizen. It is my right and I am right. I’m Afro-American, I’m a woman, I’m lesbian and I deserve every civil right that every man has. It’s my commitment to human civil rights period”.

Diedra Meredith in her early years as a recording artist landed twice in the top 4 on Billboard Club Play Charts. She hit instant success with her first record when she was discovered and produced by Superstar DJ/Producer Junior Vasquez who is responsible for producing mega crossover dance hits for Cher, Madonna, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Beyonce, Mary J Blige, Elton John and many more. She is currently in discussions to obtain a broadcast or streaming deal for the 10th Annual OUTmusic Awards in the same cultural vein as The Grammys, Country Music Awards, The Black Music Awards and the Latin Grammy Awards. Diedra believes that with a more commercial presence, LARA will help support the growing LGBT music and entertainment industry.
For More Info: thelara.org