Day: May 9, 2013

Philly Pride 2013

June 9, 2013

Philadelphia, PA

Philly Pride

PHILLY PRIDE PRESENTS, Inc. (PPP) is a group of volunteer coordinators under the leadership of an Executive Director and Senior Advisor which organizes “PrideDay” in June, “OutFest” in October. These are the only two events during which the Philadelphia Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community joins together and celebrates as a whole. PHILLY PRIDE PRESENTS is proud to be co-sponsors of the Phila. DYKE March and the Alternative Prom.

The purpose of our pride events shall be the advancement of LGBT rights through the visibility and awareness that our parades and festivals create. This purpose is to be achieved through our annual PrideDay parade and festival, our annual National Coming Out Day Block Party (OutFest) and other forms of community outreach as may be appropriate. “Coming Out” marks the beginning of the gay self-realization process, “Pride” marks its culmination. In addition to celebrating our uniqueness, our events help thousands discover the breadth of the LGBT community in the Delaware Valley, provide avenues for education, growth and self-realization, and increase the visibility and diversity of the LGBT community.

PrideDay History: The first official Pride Parade was organized in an impromptu fashion at the end of the 1980s and was intended to coincide with rally planned by the Lesbian and Gay Task Force at Love Park. It was so successful that community members met and started an organization (Lesbian & Gay Pride of the Delaware Valley, Inc.) whose goal was to produce a parade and festival at Penn’s Landing each year to continue the community outreach and visibility that was achieved with that one rally. That organization evolved into what we know today as Philly Pride Presents. And that first rally grew into the largest celebration of LGBT pride in the region, now attracting over 25,000 people each year.

OutFest History: OUTFEST is the largest National Coming Out Day (NCOD) event in the world The idea for a NCOD grew from the second march on Washington for gay and lesbian equality on October 11, 1987. The idea quickly took hold in the LGBT community, spawning celebrations in numerous cities around the country.  Philadelphia and Philly Pride was one of the first cities to organize around NCOD on a large scale by creating a block party to showcase the many facets of our community in 1990.  Our event quickly grew into what the greater Philadelphia region now uniquely celebrates as “OutFest.”    Held the Sunday prior to Columbus Day every October, OutFest attracts nearly  40,000 people.

OutFest is hugely popular because: (1) it had the feel of an old-fashioned block party, (2) it’s free, (3) it’s in the gayborhood, (4) all local bars, restaurants, and businesses do something outside, (5) entertainment showcases local talent, (6) all community organizations participate, (7) there are carnival attractions, (8) there is a massive flea market, (9) there is always something new and unique, and (10) everybody is there!

Pride is the foundation of our community, and on this foundation we build a better tomorrow for us all.

Philly Pride Presents is as about as grassroots of an organization as you can get, and duly proud of it. Philly Pride is a tax exempt 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Its meetings are usually Wednesday evenings at 7 p.m. at the William Way Community Center and are open to the public. It makes a public accounting of its funds to the community after each event. Its coordinators are elected by all community members present at their meetings. The organization has registered trade names of Philly Pride Presents and OutFest.

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Milwaukee Pride Parade 2013

June 9, 2013

Milwaukee, WI

Milwaukee Pride Parade

PrideFest was the first organization to hold a Pride parade in the Milwaukee area.  But unfortunately during PrideFest’s darker years when funding was low the parade was cut from the bill of events.

The original owners of Outbound magazine took the bull by the horns and one year after the parade was dropped by PrideFest, Jim and James pulled one together.

Their first parade (2005) lasted a little over 35 minutes, and had approximately 20 – 25 entries.  The parade has continued to grow every year.

For the 2006 parade there were shake ups within the organization as Jim and James had to leave the Milwaukee area, and have since relocated to Pennsylvania.  But the Parade still went off with out a hitch and grew by 25 minutes and almost 10 entries.

In 2007 the organization stood firm despite numerous changes which were out of their hands.  The parade grew in 2007 to include shuttle service provided by the Joseph Pabst Foundation, and to a length of 1 hour and 30 plus minutes and a total of 35 plus units.

In 2008 the Parade had to deal with severe weather but despite that the parade held firm that it is a rain or shine event.  Luckily the sky’s cleared about a hour and a half before step-off and the parade went off with out a single hitch!  this year the Parade grew to 48 units and lasted for 1 hour and 40 minutes.  As well as including the Pioneer Drum and Bugle Corps and Color Guard, as our surprise ending.  A marching band of this caliber had never been in the parade and now hopefully they will become a staple.

In 2009 the Milwaukee Pride Parade hit another record with 52 entries in the parade.  While still lasting approximately an hour and a half the parade was full of high caliber entertainment like that from Nut Hut, JC’s Pub and Grill, Milwaukee Brewing Co, and Windy City Cowboys.

In 2010 the parade grew even more.  The 2010 Parade had 54 entries and included everyone that we could possibly think of!  People had a great time with the theme of “Twisted Fairy Tales” With great twists like a “Dwarf” Snow white and 7 Go-Go boys and plenty of “damsels” in distress in castle towers. It was a great year with great weather.

In 2011 the parade held its own in spite of a very low economy and had 53 entries with over 5,000 people in attendance.  This was the first year the parade offered free entry to 501(c)3 organizations and the unit list showed that it was the right decision.  The parade also began work on itself going through a massive fiscal restructuring effort which culminated in the decision to begin work on a 501(c)3 arm of the Milwaukee Pride Parade.

In 2012, the parade once again held its own inspire of the sluggish economy with 53 units, and in doing so expanded the free entry for non profit organizations.  The parade completed its fiscal restructuring and emerged with a 501(c)4 status to show for it.  And while the 501(c)3 arm of the parade has been put on the back burner it remained on the minds of board members as a great way to give back to the community.  2012 also saw the Parade get greener as recycling bins were placed along the route, these were greatly received and used by attendees to the point that the amount of the recycling containers is being evaluated for an massive increase.

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Gay Pride Rockland 2013

June 9, 2013

Nyack, NY

Gay Pride Rockland

VCS Gay Pride Rockland (click here to see the Here! TV Video)
In early 1999, we tested the idea of developing a gay pride event with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) community members, local shop keepers, religious leaders, non-profit agencies and elected officials. From the onset, we shared that our mission would be to affirm the dignity of all LGBT people, their families, friends, and allies who live in every hamlet, village and town in Rockland County. And at the same time, we wanted to transform the stereotypes that adversely impact the LGBT community.

To achieve this, we promised that VCS Gay Pride Rockland Sunday would be organized and maintained as a fun-filled, family event – free, open to the public and welcoming to all. We knew that Rockland County was a wonderful place to live, work and visit; our mission would be to assure that these qualities extend to all – with no exceptions.

The community approved and showed their support. More than two dozen non-profit agencies and interested individuals joined the planning committee as Rockland became the first county in the lower Hudson Valley to organize and launch a Gay Pride event. More than 1,000 people attended the first event titled, “Gay Pride Rockland, It’s Not a Parade – It’s an Event for Everyone,” making it an unqualified success.

That was the beginning. Today, over 150 non-profit agencies, community organizations, faith communities, municipalities and elected officials from across the county and beyond co-sponsor Gay Pride Rockland. This number continues to grow and is matched only by the scores of businesses and individuals who advertise in our Directory of LGBT Friendly Businesses, Services and Community Organizations.

VCS Gay Pride Rockland has become a major part of Rockland’s summer calendar. Additional LGBT programs are presented at least monthly, throughout the year. See the VCS Gay Pride Rockland calendar of events to find out what’s happening this month.

Most of all, please join us!

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Rainbow Pride of West Virginia 2013

May 31, 2013toJune 9, 2013

Charleston, WV

Rainbow Pride of West Virginia

Based in Charleston, Rainbow Pride of West Virginia, Inc. is an all-volunteer 501(c)(3) nonprofit that provides social and educational resources for West Virginia’s LGBT community and our friends & allies. Rainbow Pride is made up of a 9-member Board of Directors, several subsidiary committees, and an ever-growing General Membership. We are always on the lookout for new volunteers and new ideas, so don’t hesitate to contact us if you’d like to get involved.

Rainbow Pride was founded in 1996 and our first Parade and Festival was held on the grounds of the West Virginia State Capitol a year later.  We have grown over the years and evolved as the times have changed, but we always aim to remain dedicated to serving our region’s LGBT community.

Our 2013 Pride Parade & Festival is set for Sunday, June 9th at Haddad Riverfront Park. Pride Week kicks off on Saturday, June 1st with the Miss & Mr. Pride of WV Pageant at the Charleston Civic Center. Look for our Pride Guide at all your favorite gay and gay-friendly businesses beginning around the first of May.  Additional events will be added to the calendar as June approaches.

As always, we extend our sincere thanks to all of our volunteers and to everyone who attends our events throughout the year. We’d also like to acknowledge each of our members and supporters. Our organization depends on donations from small businesses and private individuals for a substantial portion of our operating budget and we couldn’t do it without you. We hope you’ll join us as we celebrate our fabulous 17th year!


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‘Geoff And His Two Dads’ Book Aims To Help It Gets Better Project

In what is believed to be the first of its kind, Wompi Studios have released their first Book App.

by Newsdesk | 9th May 2013

The Book App, entitled “Geoff and His Two Dads in... Tomato Trouble”, follows the lives of a disabled dog called Geoff, and his two fathers and it's based on a real family.

Geoff is a Jack Russell Terrier, who had a life saving operation a couple of years ago, which meant he lost the use of his back legs.

The App Book, written by Adam Davies, is aimed at young children and their parents to help deliver a subtle little message.

App features include: 26 pages of full color original illustrations, interactive animated characters and scenery, highlighted read along text, narration, original music and adjustable audio levels.

A statement on the official website reads, 'We are so proud of the final result and the incredible amount of work that Jeff Wannberg from Wompi Studios has put into the finished product. Of course we are biased but we think the illustrations byTanya Cooper are absolutely beautiful and the work by Victor Anderson, our app coder, magnificent!'

Wompi Studios are also donationing a proportion of sales of 'Geoff and His Two Dads' to the It Gets Better Project

You can download the App Book from here

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MARIA CALLAS: A Vintage Gay Icon Who Defined Diva

There may have been divas before Maria Callas, but there is no doubt that the modern idea of what is a diva owes a great deal to the legendary opera singer, who, without ever singing a note of popular music, was as famous during her lifetime as a movie star.

by Greg Mitchell | 9th May 2013

Even today, 46 years after her death and almost 50 years after she last appeared on stage, her records outsell those of any other female opera singer.

Callas was born in 1923 in a New York hospital to Greek immigrant parents. Her mother, bitterly disappointed not to have had a son, wouldn’t even look at Maria for the first few days after she was born. Maria was an awkward, bespectacled, dumpy child with, in her mother’s eyes, one redeeming feature. She could sing. And, from an early age, Evangelia, Maria’s mother, decided Maria would become a star. No doubt here began the seeds of Callas’s burning desire to succeed, and also, what her record producer Walter Legge called, her superhuman inferiority complex. It was only by singing that she could get approval from her mother. It was a tempestuous relationship, and later they had a very public quarrel, leaving them estranged for the rest of Maria’s life.

Callas started out as everyone’s idea of the fat lady who sings, but shed 80lbs to become the svelte, elegant, iconic figure we know today, modelling her look on that of Audrey Hepburn. Some say this weight loss was also the reason for her relatively early vocal decline. Paradoxically, the more famous she became, the more her voice let her down, and her brilliance was relatively short, its peak lasting barely ten years, though as American opera star Beverly Sills once said, “Better 10 years like Callas, than twenty like anybody else.” She created a revolution in the staging of opera too, for Callas didn’t just sing, she could act, and it was her burning desire to fulfil all the dramatic demands of her roles, which was behind her decision to lose weight.

To her way of thinking, it was crazy to have a fat, healthy looking soprano supposedly dying of consumption.

From the very beginning she caused controversy. Her voice was not conventionally beautiful, but it was better than that. It was a voice like no other, instantly recognisable with an extraordinarily wide expressive range, which she exploited to searingly dramatic ends. It was a large, dramatic voice too, and yet she had the technique to sing roles usually associated with much lighter voices. Those who just wanted to close their eyes and listen to beautiful sounds were jolted out of their complacency, and they didn’t like it. In her early days she enjoyed showing of her versatility, and within a week she alternated one of the heaviest roles in the repertory (Brunnhilde in Wagner’s “Die Walkure”) with one of the lightest (Elvira in Bellini’s “I Puritani”). It was a feat unheard of at that time, and she began to be known as the soprano who could sing anything. The traditionalists didn’t like it and battle lines were drawn.

From 1951 until 1958 she was the reigning queen of La Scala, Milan and Luchino Visconti, lured into opera by the prospect of working with her, here mounted some of the greatest opera productions ever in operatic history. It was also at La Scala that she worked with Franco Zeffirelli for the first time, and with conductors such as Victor De Sabata, Carlo Maria Giulini, Herbert von Karajan and Leonard Bernstein. It was a period of amazing artistic achievement, and tenor Jon Vickers, often referred to Callas as one of the people most responsible for the revolution that occurred in opera after the second world war, rescuing it from the fustian stand and deliver concert in costume it had become, and creating living, breathing theatre. The La Scala audience was never an easy one, and she often had to deal with hostility from them, but, such was her genius, she could usually win a hostile audience over by the end of the evening. She was definitely a fighter.

The Callas myth is very much one made by the media. Her musical genius is often lost amongst the details of her private life and the scandals attached to it. The media concentrates on the occasional cancellations, the rows with opera managements, and often forgets the genius which made her a star. They build a picture of the capricious, temperamental, demanding opera singer, which, though partially true, tends to ignore the fact that she was intensely professional, dedicated and respected by most of the musicians she worked with. Her outbursts were usually brought about by what she saw as unprofessionalism. Unlike many divas who flounce in, do their bit and flounce out, Callas was often the first to arrive at rehearsal and the last to leave. She lived for her art. That is, until Aristotle Onassis arrived on the scene. Callas stupidly, blindly, fell in love and from that moment the media hardly ever left her alone.

When she met Onassis, she was still married (to a much older man, Gian Baptista Meneghini). Onassis, still married himself, was as taken by her fame as by her beauty and determined to make her his own. Callas, the ugly duckling who became a swan, was flattered by his attention, and became his mistress. She practically gave up her career for him, believing that one day they would marry, until, devastatingly, he married Jackie Kennedy instead. After the affair, Callas did try to pick up the threads of her career, but, along with the growing problems she was having with her voice, much of the fire had gone. In 1965 she made her final appearance in opera in Zeffirelli’s famed production of “Tosca” at Covent Garden.

After that she lived as a recluse in Paris, occasionally attempting to revive her career. She made a non-operatic version of “Medea” for Pasolini, which was not a commercial success, though she received enormous praise for her contribution, gave a series of master classes at the Juilliard in New York (the basis of Terrence McNally’s play “Masterclass”), and had an unsuccessful attempt at directing, with tenor Giuseppe di Stefano, at the Turin Opera. She was, by this time, having an affair with Di Stefano, and, probably unwisely, agreed to embark on a world concert tour with him, at which they would sing duets and arias, accompanied by piano only. She had only just turned 50, but her voice was a pale shadow of itself. She was only too aware of her shortcomings, and wryly noted how the critics were being much kinder to her, than they were years ago when she was singing brilliantly. Audiences, though, went mad, screaming for more, besieging the stage with floral tributes, as if finally acknowledging now, in her ruin, the great star that she was.

When the tour came to an end, she holed herself up in her Paris apartment. She never stopped loving Onassis, for all that he treated her so badly, and even secretly visited him on his death bed. After he died, it was as if all the fight was knocked out of her. Conductor Jeffrey Tate, who was working with her at this time, (she never completely gave up the idea of a comeback) felt that she simply gave up living.

She died in 1977 at the age of 53 in circumstance that are still unexplained. Officially she died of a heart attack, but she was on so many uppers and downers by then, that some think it may have been an accidental overdose. Whatever it was, dying young certainly contributed to her legendary status.

Nowadays she continues to enthral and inspire, and her influence goes far beyond the opera house. Aside from the aforementioned “Masterclass”, Terrence McNally also wrote a play “The Lisbon Traviata” (taking its title from an at that time unavailable live recording of Callas singing “La Traviata” in Lisbon), which focuses on two of McNally’s pet subjects; gay relationships and the gay man’s love of opera. During her lifetime she was something of a fashion icon, having fabulous gowns designed for her by Milanese designer Biki, by Pucci, Fendi and Yves St Laurent. Not so very long ago Dolce and Gabbana produced t-shirts with her image on them for their 2009 collection, and only last year American designer Zac Posen based an entire collection on costumes Callas wore in Argentina in her early years.

In the world of film her records are frequently used on film soundtracks. Most recently it is the voice of Callas we hear singing “Casta Diva” in “The Iron Lady”, and Gus van Sant used her recording of “Tosca” as a backdrop for much of his brilliant “Milk.” And who could possibly forget that scene in “Philadelphia”, in which Andrew Beckett (played by Tom Hanks) attempts to explain to his lawyer, Joe Miller (Denzel Washington), what opera means to him? As Maria Callas's recording of "La mamma morta" from Giordano's "Andrea Chenier" begins softly in the background and then swells to fill the theatre, Andrew translates the words and conveys the passions and emotional meanings behind this operatic excerpt. “I am divine, I am oblivion, I am love.” No wonder the Italians called her La Divina. After her death, baritone and colleague Tito Gobbi, said “I always thought she was immortal, and she is.”

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NEWS: Plug Pulled On Galliano Master Class

Parsons, the New School for Design announced that it has cancelled a number of discussions to be held by openly gay designer John Galliano.

by Newsdesk | 9th May 2013

The school received a number of complaints with regards to Galliano after it announced that the designer would be teaching a master class and was even sent a petition against the classes which amassed over 2000 signatures.

The Gibraltar-born designer, once considered one of the most talented names in fashion is making a comeback after he was fired by Dior in 2011 for making anti-Semitic remarks on camera in a Parisian cafe.

Galliano, 52, cited an addiction to drugs and alcohol as the cause for his out of control behaviour and that he was determined to make amends.

In a statement released to the press, Deborah Kirschner, a spokeswoman for the school, said “We could not reach consensus with Mr. Galliano on the conditions of this conversation, and the program could not move forward.”

The New York Times is reporting that a source close to the school said that the classes were cancelled because 'the size and the makeup of the audience that had been debated between the school and the designer. An agreement between them had never been finalized.'


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DUNCAN JAMES: Trolls Tell Star ‘I Hope You Get AIDS And Die’

Blue frontman Duncan James has spoken out about some of the homophobia he's endured after ITV aired The Big Reunion.

by Newsdesk | 9th May 2013

Duncan James | Instagram

In an interview with Now magazine, Duncan James, 35, said that he had a flurry of hateful messages from trolls on Twitter after ITV broadcasted an episode of The Big Reunion where he talked openly of his sexuality.

“These days people can be absolutely vile on Twitter,” Duncan said. “One troll wrote, ‘I hope you get AIDS and die, you faggot.’”

In the interview Duncan also said that he was worried that coming out would put him a risk of attack saying,

“When I first came out I thought people were going to gay bash me and call me a fggot walking down the street,” he added. “That never happened”.

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