Monday, August 20, 2018

Director Sharone Halevy Talks New Play Romeo/Juliet (AUDIO)

In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with director Sharone Halevy about Romeo/Juliet the daring new LGBTQ+ adaptation of the classic play Romeo and Juliet premiering Off-Broadway at Metro Baptist Church in NYC from August 24th through September 9th. The play stars Juliette Gobin and Aigner Mizzelle as the star-crossed lovers Romeo and Juliet who span across the LGBTQ and non-binary spectrum in this loving recalibration of Shakespeare's eternal classic. Romeo/Juliet puts front and center the pratfalls, perils, pressures, pleasures and pains of growing up into our bodies, our beliefs and our sexuality. Seen wholly through the eyes of its star-crossed lovers Romeo/Juliet whittles Shakespeare's text into a tender and tragic celebration of youth and an exploration of how we define desire in a world bound by chains of faith, family, media and privilege asking what we honor most, where we came from or who we are. The cast also features Issa Best, Jac Ford, Jessica Fraser, Walker Harrison, Chris Murray, Cashton Tate Rehklau, Nick Sanchez and Hermon Whaley. This new adaption by Hailey Bachrach and Matt Minnicino is produced by Laura Elliott, costume designer Heather Barton, lighting designer Steven Spera, set designer Jacqueline Brockel and fight director Tate Rehklau. We talked to Sharone about what she hopes to accomplish with Romeo/Juliet and as a fierce LGBTQ ally her spin on our LGBTQ issues.

When asked how she sees our LGBTQ community or any minority moving forward in this Trump administration Halevy stated, “I’ve been thinking about this a lot especially working on this play and working with actors who are on a wide spectrum inside the community and just seeing so much fear coming out right now. I think the thing that was really so amazing during the Obama administration was that there was so much more understanding coming out and they were such beautiful leaders in terms of what it was to be accepting and to look at a community as a whole and to support one another. Right now the scary thing is the Trump administration is doing the same thing but at the opposite end of the spectrum. I hope that any minority or any part of the LGBTQ community is going to really come together and I think we’re all going to go through something that’s a bit harder for a while but moving forward staying strong and making sure our allies, and if you’re an ally like me, we stand up for one another. I can only do what I’m doing right now creating theater and trying to get people to understand things and keep nudging and keep kind of tittling away at the ideas of that weird word norm.”

Sharone Halevy is an NYC based director, teacher and painter who has worked all over New York from Chekhov to developing new works. She has worked for theater companies including INTAR, Crashbox, Distilled Theater Co., WAT Project, Playwright Horizons Theater School, Exquisite Corpse Company, NYU: Atlantic Theater Company Conservatory, The York, NYMF, Musical Theater Factory, Rockwood Music Hall, Atlantic Farm Team and more. She has also assistant directed at the Roundabout Theater Company, Waterwell Inc., The Atlantic Theater Company and the Public. She currently teaches at Playwrights Horizons: NYU as well as the Professional Performing Arts High School. Romeo/Juliet will be performed at Metro Baptist Church at 410 W 40th St, New York, NY August 24th thru September 9th.
For More Info & Tix…


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.
For Info & Tix: reaf-sf.org


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.
For More Info: barefootwine.com
Watch Documentary

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)
For More Info: civilrights.org