Saturday, August 27, 2016

Palm Springs Women's Jazz Festival

Grammy & Tony winner Dee Dee Bridgewater, Ann Hampton Callaway & Pamela Williams will headline at the 4th Annual Palm Springs Women's Jazz Festival that takes place Labor Day Weekend September 2nd to the 4th at the Annenberg Theater, Indian Canyons Golf Resort & Hard Rock Hotel in Palm Springs, California. Over 30 of today’s jazz greats & rising stars will come together to perform emphasizing the great stylistic & thematic diversity of women in jazz by featuring straight-ahead jazz, smooth jazz, contemporary jazz, blues & more. Ann Hampton Callaway stated, “I am excited to kick off the 4th annual Palm Springs Women’s Jazz Festival with a blockbuster show that celebrates the iconic ladies of vocal jazz & great women songwriters while sharing the stage with a stellar all women jazz quintet. It’s great to put goddess energy front and center this Labor Day weekend!” Ann will be performing with Lesa Terry on Violin/MD, Jane Getz on Piano, Carol Chaikin on Sax, Chelsea Stevens on Bass, Maria Martinez on Drums & with Music Director Sweet Baby J'ai on Vocals on opening night Friday September 2nd at the Annenberg Theater following the fabulous Dee Dee Bridgewater who performs at 5P. On Saturday Pamela Williams, The Saxtress will perform on September 3rd with a Cool Soul Jams set at Indian Canyons Country Club & the festival concludes on September 4th with a Divas Brunch at Hard Rock Hotel with a tribute to Ella Fitzgerald, Rickie Lee Jones & other great women of jazz. We talked to Ann about what she would like to accomplish with her work in this exclusive sound byte: LISTEN:

For Info & Tix: palmspringswomensjazzfestival.org
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Friday, August 26, 2016

Women's Equality Day 2016

Thanks to Congresswoman Bella Abzug who successfully introduced & passed the resolution in 1972 making August 26th Women's Equality Day to celebrate the anniversary of the 19th Amendment when women finally achieved the right to vote in 1920 in the USA. Then 96 years later finally a woman has become the democratic candidate for president. Stacey Long Simmons, Director of Public Policy & Government Affairs, National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund stated, “In so many ways, today’s on-going struggle for women’s equality calls to mind the line from A Tale of Two Cities…’It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...’ We have seen recent victories in the U.S. Supreme Court that protect vital reproductive rights; we cheered the record-breaking wins of women athletes at the Olympics that are in no small part due to the impact of Title IX & other civil rights laws; & we’ve collectively witnessed the historic moment when a woman has finally won the presidential nomination of a major political party. But far too many challenges remain for women in this society. Women still lack paid leave, face workplace discrimination, are persecuted for exercising their constitutionally protected freedoms & live under the ever-present threat of physical violence. For women of color & trans women of color, the disparities are greater and the conditions are even more dire.” So we’ve come a long way baby but there’s still much more to be done.
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Thursday, August 25, 2016

Calling For Federal Equality Act

After marriage equality became the law of the land The Equality Act of 2015 was presented to the United States House of Representatives & the Senate that if passed would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include protections that ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity & sex in the areas of employment, housing, public accommodations but nothing ever happened. Well the California Legislature has passed a resolution AJR 45 calling for the Federal Equality Act that urges Congress to pass the updates to 1964 Civil Rights Act to protect LGBT Americans. Rick Zbur, Executive Director of Equality California stated, "When more than 200 pieces of anti-LGBT legislation have been introduced in state legislatures in the past year across the nation, AJR 45 puts the state of California in support of strong federal LGBT protections. LGBT people in a majority of states can be fired from their jobs, turned away by doctors when they need care, or evicted from their homes because of their sexual orientation or gender identity & they have little or no recourse. It is time to pass the federal Equality Act to make sure that all LGBT Americans are protected equally & that LGBT Californians don't leave their rights at the border when they leave our state." With a growing number of states passing or are considering enacting so-called Religious Freedom Restoration Acts or similar legislation to justify discrimination against our LGBT community. The Equality Act would maintain exemptions for religious organizations & schools, but would make clear that religion cannot be used to justify refusal of service based on a person’s race, color, religion, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity. Let’s get this done.
(Symbol by Richard Emmanuel )
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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

GMHC To Honor Javier Muñoz

Javier Muñoz, Broadway star of "Hamilton: An American Musical" will be honored with Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC) 2016 Howard Ashman Award for his activism in the fight against HIV/AIDS. In 2002 Javier was diagnosed with HIV & he continues to speak out about his status-particularly in the media-because of the stigma directed at people living with HIV/AIDS. Muñoz stated, "I am truly moved by the honor from GMHC. As a gay man living with HIV, I know how important treatment & support are in order to have a healthy life. That's why I am committed to using my voice to raise awareness about HIV-related stigma & other barriers that block people from seeking care. GMHC's life-sustaining services & programs are vital to all of us." Kelsey Louie GMHC CEO concluded, "We applaud Javier Muñoz's success on Broadway and are thankful for his openness about being HIV-positive. We know that the consequences of stigma & discrimination are far-reaching for those living with & affected by HIV/AIDS…Stigma & discrimination undermine HIV prevention efforts by making people afraid to seek prevention, testing & care. In order for us to end the AIDS epidemic, we must end stigma. For over 30 years, members of the Broadway community have been some of our most devoted allies, advocates & fundraisers in this fight. The GMHC family is honored to celebrate & thank Javier with this year's Howard Ashman Award." The event takes place on September 19th at Joe's Pub at 425 Lafayette Street in NYC.  
For Info & Tix: gmhc.org
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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

California Transgender Update

The California Legislature passed a bill Monday by a bipartisan vote of 55-15 after clearing the Senate on August 18th that would establish the nation’s most inclusive restroom access law. The bill will require single-occupancy restrooms in California businesses, government buildings & places of public accommodation to be universally accessible to all genders starting March 1, 2017. Rick Zbur, Executive Director of Equality California stated, "This is a common-sense proposal. Our home restrooms are already all-gender. So are restrooms on airplanes & at many hospitals & gas stations. The benefits of this simple change will enable all Californians to use restrooms in a way that is more safe, fair & convenient." Kris Hayashi, Executive Director of Transgender Law Center stated, “This law is a simple measure that will make everyone’s lives easier. Having restrooms open to all genders will mean less hassle for everyone going about their day & will allow people who don’t fit neatly into expectations of what it looks like to be male or female to use the restroom without fear of harassment.” The bill now moves to Governor Jerry Brown for his signature or veto before the end of September. This advancement comes on the same day that a Texas federal judge ruled to prevent the U.S. Department of Education from implementing guidelines requiring school districts to allow transgender students to use restrooms that correspond to their gender identity, confirming once again that there’s still much more work to be done.
For More Info: eqca.org
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Monday, August 22, 2016

Tab Hunter Talks Confidential

In this exclusive audio interview I talked to Tab about “Tab Hunter Confidential” the fabulous documentary that’s being released by FilmRise in Blu-Ray & DVD August 23rd. This fascinating film is a must-see for our LGBT community, allies & beyond. In this intimate stylized documentary Tab narrates the true story of what it was like to spend his Hollywood years being gay in a precarious closet that repeatedly threatened to implode & possibly destroy him. Throughout the 1950s Hunter reigned as Hollywood's ultimate heartthrob in dozens of films & in the pages of countless magazines. Tab's astonishing looks & golden-boy sex appeal drove his fans to screaming, delirious frenzy, solidifying him the prototype for all young matinee idols to come. “Tab Hunter Confidential” is based on Tab's New York Times best-selling memoir & produced by Allan Glaser & directed by Jeffrey Schwarz (I Am Divine). Punctuating Tab's on-screen presence are rare film clips & provocative interviews with friends & co-stars including John Waters, Clint Eastwood, George Takei, Debbie Reynolds, Robert Wagner, Portia de Rossi, Noah Wyle, Connie Stevens, Robert Osborne & more. However most importantly Tab the man himself talks frankly about being a survivor of the Hollywood rollercoaster. I talked to Tab about his stellar career as he shared personal inspirational stories, lifelong survival philosophies & his spin on our LGBT issues.  LISTEN:
For More Info: tabhunter.com 
Download Interview on iTunes

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Saturday, August 20, 2016

Hollywood Comes Out For Pulse

Hollywood celebrities, industry powerhouses & advocates came together at a benefit for the onePULSE Foundation to honor & help those affected by the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history that took place at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando. The event was hosted by Lance Bass who stated, “I choose hope. Let us choose hope tonight & every night. Pulse was a place where you could dance freely and safely without the fear of being judged.” Via video presidential candidate Hillary Clinton stated, “We can’t ever let hate & violence break our spirit … Together we will fight for the right of every American to live freely, openly & without fear no matter what you look like, where you come from, or who you love. We will take commonsense steps to reduce gun violence & do everything we can to make sure what happened in Orlando doesn’t ever happen again. I’m proud to stand with the LGBTQ community.” Pulse nightclub owner Barbara Poma, joined by some of the survivors concluded stating, “It wasn’t until the aftermath of the tragedy that I realized many of our goals had not only been reached, but also exceeded beyond my expectations. I was overwhelmed by the thousands of Pulse stories people around the world shared with me: the love stories, the funny stories & the life-changing coming-out stories.” Attendees included Caitlyn Jenner, Matt Bomer, JC Chasez, Quinton Aaron, Torrey DeVitto, Arielle Kebbel, Sophie Watts, Natasha Rubin, Ashley Bell, Nicholas Littlemore & Gigi Rose Gray among others. Grammy winner Stevie Wonder gave a surprise performance of More Than a Love Song followed by speaking on the power of both love & hate. To donate to onePULSE text PULSE to 91999.
For More Info: onepulsefoundation.org
Listen: Nadine Smith Talks Disarming Hate After Orlando Massacre
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