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.
For More Info & Tix: sundance.org


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.
For More Info & Tix: creatingchange.org