Day: May 21, 2013

BARBRA STREISAND: A Vintage Gay Icon Who Defines Longevity

If a tragically short life is one of the qualifications needed to become a gay icon, then Barbra Streisand fails miserably.

by Greg Mitchell | 21st May 2013

Barbra Streisand

71 this year she has lived, and is still living a richly fulfilling life, both privately and professionally. Only last year her latest movie, The Guilt Trip, was released and she is about to embark on another world tour, and she is still happily married to her husband of 15 years, James Brolin. Many icons (Judy Garland, Maria Callas, Marilyn Monroe, James Dean) tragically die young. Others (Elizabeth Taylor, Liza Minnelli) survive into old age, despite having disastrous private lives, but there are others (Cher and Madonna would be other examples) who somehow manage to take, and retain, control of their own lives. Maybe that is what makes them such icons.

Born in 1942, Streisand’s rise to fame was positively meteoric. Still only 18, she started out singing at various nightclubs in Greenwich Village, and by the time of her final engagements at the Bon Soir in 1962, she already had amassed an enormous (mostly gay) following. Never one to stick to the rules, her set would be a mix of eclectic songs, ranging from Arlen’s “A Sleepin’ Bee” (often her unconventional opener) to her crazy version of “Who’s Afraid Of The Big Bad Wolf”. She always considered herself an actress who sings, rather than the other way round, and in 1962 she made her Broadway debut in the musical “I Can Get It For You Wholesale” playing the minor role of Miss Marmelstein. Though the show flopped, she garnered great reviews, and around this time she was also signed to Columbia records, with whom she has remained ever since. Even back then Streisand, convinced she would be a star, was only going to be a star on her terms. Her recording contract, unbelievably for a newcomer, gave her complete artistic control over the material she recorded. Her first album gave her the first of her 15 Grammy awards!

Never conventionally pretty, most would have thought her destined for a career in character roles, but she knew that she was leading lady material. Though she was advised to fix her nose, to change her name, she never did, and the only concession she made was dropping the second ‘a’ from her name. Barbara became Barbra. She had a reputation for being difficult even back then, but, it is no doubt her uncompromising belief in herself, that propelled her to stardom. She knew she was different and she was determined to stay different.

In 1964 she appeared on Broadway as Fanny Brice in the musical “Funny Girl”, and the rest, as they say, is history. When the show became a movie, it was a foregone conclusion that Streisand would be its star, not often the case when a Broadway show becomes a movie. In between Broadway and Hollywood she had played Fanny Brice in the West End production of “Funny Girl”, made three TV specials, the first of which, “My Name is Barbra”, won five Emmy Awards, and even became a mother. (She had married her first husband, Elliott Gould, her co-star in “Wholesale”, in 1963). Inevitably, in 1969 she went on to win her first Oscar for “Funny Girl”. There was no stopping her.

Barbra

According to the Record Industry Association of America, Streisand holds the record for the most top-ten albums of any female recording artist – a total of 32 since 1963. Streisand has the widest span (48 years) between first and latest top-ten albums of any female recording artist. With her 2009 album, “Love Is The Answer”, she became one of the rare artists to achieve number-one albums in five consecutive decades. According to the RIAA, she has released 51 Gold albums, 30 Platinum albums, and 13 Multi-Platinum albums in the United States.

At the height of her fame, Streisand was the highest grossing female star in Hollywood and the only woman in the top ten box office attractions. Her co-stars have included some of the biggest heart throbs in Hollywood, amongst them Robert Redford, Omar Sharif, Ryan O’Neal and James Caan. She was also the first woman ever to produce, direct, script and star in her own movie. Never one to suffer fools gladly, she acquired a reputation for being difficult, a bitch and a ball breaker, though she would always aver that, if she were a man, she would simply have been called tough. A perfectionist, she would go over a scene a hundred times if she thought it wasn’t right, and this no doubt contributed to that reputation, though many of her leading men found her a joy to work with.

She and Elliott Gould split in 1971, and post her marriage, she was romantically linked with many high profile figures including the Canadian Prime Minister, Pierre Trudeau, Don Jonson and Andre Agassi, before finally settling down with James Brolin, to whom she has been married for the past 15 years. Her unconventional looks never seemed a barrier to her attracting some very attractive men.

Stridently political, she is an outspoken supporter of equal civil rights, which include gay rights. In 2007 she helped raise funds in an unsuccessful attempt to defeat Proposition 8 in California. She also has publicly raised $25 million for various organisations, both political and charitable, through her live performances. Her only son, Jason Gould, is gay and she very publicly supported him when he came out. They evidently enjoy a close relationship and, in her most recent tour, he appears on stage with her, singing in duet.

To understand what made so many gay men respond to Streisand in her early years, you really have to listen to some of those early records. Her recording career roughly breaks down into three different periods. In the early stuff, up to around 1969, she sings mostly standard repertoire, songs you might have heard sung by Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald or Julie London, but still puts her own inimitable stamp on them. With the Richard Perry produced “Stoney End” in 1971, she started to sing more contemporary music (she was, after all, only 29), and this change of musical direction broadened her appeal even further. Her most successful album, “Guilty” was a collaboration with Barry Gibb of The BeeGees. In 1985, she returned to her Broadway roots with “The Broadway Album”, which was another massive hit. That said, it marked another change in direction and, in my opinion, none of her subsequent albums has had the impact of her earlier work. They seem to have settled into a more comfortable, middle of the road, easy listening bracket. Her early records may well have been usually found in the “Easy Listening” section of a record store, but listening to Streisand at that time wasn’t always that” easy”. She demands attention. The bitterness with which she spits out the lyrics to such songs as “Free Again” or “Cry Me A River”, the pain and heartache enshrined in her rendition of “My Man”, at the end of the movie of “Funny Girl”, the vocal sparring with Donna Summer in the disco hit “No More Tears (Enough Is Enough”), the way she belts out the Laura Nyro classic “Stoney End”; if you only know Streisand from the stuff she has recorded from the 1990s onwards, then you really need to listen to these classics.

You also need to see the film that made her a superstar, “Funny Girl”. Not far into the film, Streisand sings “I’m The Greatest star”, falteringly at first, then growing in confidence. Believe me, by the time she has finished singing you will have no doubts. Streisand was, still is, and no doubt will be long after she has left us, the greatest star.

Vintage Icon : Madonna

Vintage Icon: Marilyn Monroe

Vintage Icon: Maria Callas

NEWS: Overwhelming Support For Same-Sex Marriage Bill

Landslide support for Same Sex Marriage Bill in House of Commons, with the Bill passing its third reading by 366 votes to 161.

by Newsdesk | 21st May 2013

House of Commons

MPs have again voted overwhelmingly in favour of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill. Moments ago the Bill passed its Third Reading vote in the House of Commons by 366 votes to 161 – a majority of 205. The Bill will extend the legal form of marriage to lesbian, gay and bisexual people and permit religious denominations to celebrate such marriages should they wish. It now heads to the House of Lords for debate in June.

In a statement Stonewall Chief Executive Ben Summerskill said, ‘This evening’s vote shows MPs are on the public’s side, as poll after poll shows a clear majority of people in Britain support equal marriage. Now that the Bill has cleared the Commons without any of the wrecking amendments tabled by opponents, we hope peers will show the same respect to public attitudes.

‘Sadly in recent weeks several peers have expressed deeply unpleasant views about gay people. Stonewall expects one of our toughest fights yet ahead of us. We’ll continue to work tirelessly every day to help secure this final modest measure of legislative equality.’

The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill passed its Second Reading with a majority of 225 votes on 5 February. MPs rejected a wrecking amendment - by 375 votes to 70 - during the Bill’s Report Stage in the House of Commons on 20 May.

10 Fantastic Places for A Great Gay Date in London

There are all the typical things to do in London; the bridge, the tower, the eye, and so on, but what if you want to network with other gays and meet people to take. Perhaps you want to take your friend to a new or different place. Here are 10 places you may not have thought of before.

by FirespinJay | 21st May 2013

London

Broadway Market

Broadway Market | http://www.flickr.com/photos/d1v1d/4563329921/sizes/m/in/

Get out and go to the market. In almost every city around the world there is an outdoor fresh market. In the London, this is the Broadway Market. Start your Saturday with a date at the market with all tastes and cultures that will satisfy any palate or shopping need. You will find the Market between Regent’s Canal and London Fields. There is everything from food, hand crafted items, and clothing. Bring your partner, take in the fresh air, and pick up fresh ingredients for a late picnic at London Fields and a candlelight dinner at home.

A London Fields Picnic

London Fields | http://www.flickr.com/photos/bryanesque/2575560381/sizes/m/

In East London you will find the idyllic London Fields Park situated at the end of the Broadway Market. Historically a pasture, the park is not the hub of activity in East London. You will find a cricket pitch, BMX track, swimming pool, tennis courts, and more. Bring your date here, pack a picnic and plan an activity that you will both enjoy. You are bound to be able to plan a fun, relaxing day with your love interest.

Hackney City Farm

Hackney City Farm | http://www.flickr.com/photos/yukino/6015665594/sizes/m/

Not every date is required to take place at a club or bar. For a bit of variety during the sunlight hours stop by the Hackney City Farm with your special one. Take a minute to feed the goats and donkeys and watch your partner melt as he cuddles a little bunny in his strong arms. There are weekend courses, classes in pottery and mosaics, or you could become volunteers. This is a great place to honor your need for animals and outdoors and show your variety to your partner.

London Gay Men’s Chorus

London Gay Men's Chorus | http://www.flickr.com/photos/51118464@N06/5963803

Do you have a song in your heart? Then you should join up with the guys at the London Gay Men’s Chorus to express yourself inner Sir Elton John and meet new friends. The choir is one of the largest most active groups for gay men in Europe. The mission is to entertain, educate, and inspire others through music while challenging the preconceptions of homosexuality. If you cannot sing, then sign up for their newsletter and attend their events, you might meet your next date who has the voice of an angel.

Soho London

Soho London | http://www.flickr.com/photos/alan-light/3896626936/sizes/m/in

If you’re looking for the fun, hip, diverse center of activity and fun, look no further than Soho London for your date. The atmosphere in Soho is contagious, pleasurable, and a must-see for your date. With live entertainment, unique cuisine, a pulsing nightlife, and celebrations like Pride London, this is where you want to spend your time to meet and network with fellow gay Londoner’s and tourist.

Gay Supper Club - The Hope, London

At The Hope, a pop up restaurant, you and your date can attend the Gay Supper Club where you will enjoy a gourmet meal prepared by a world renowned Michelin star chef. This is an intimate setting designed for gay men to get to know each other, network, socialize and make new friends. The event is organised and supported by the Grub Club & Urban Connections group. The aim of this event which will be held on June 19th, 2013 is to bring individuals together to hopefully find their soul mate. This is not speed-dating, each course is taken at a slow comfortable pace but you will rotate thought the restaurant to meet multiple people and intermingle. There is no age limit of dress code, so put this night on your calendar and plan for an impromptu chance to meet your one.

Vauxhall

Vauxhall | http://www.flickr.com/photos/stefz/4859926/sizes/m/in/photostrea

Within London is an inner city known as Vauxhall. This is where you come if you are gay and you want to party all night or through the weekend. This area is filled with bars, taverns, nightclubs, raves and parties. Get out into the night air, and dress up in your sexiest gear, you are bound to meet new likeminded friends at places like The Royal Vauxhall Tavern, The Hoist, Fire, and Barcode Vauxhall. Don’t stop there, there is so much to do in this area, you and your partner could party round the clock all weekend long.

Central Station, Kings Cross

Central Station

Known as one of the best pubs around, Central Station is known for Sweet Wednesday and diverse clientele that include transvestites and transsexuals. This is a wonderful place to take your partner for a little fun, exploration and ale. Events include cabaret and theme nights and can be found on Wharfdale Road in London.

The Underground Club

Located under Central Station you will find the Underground Club where the specialty of the day is the dark and mysterious. There is always a hopping party crowd and live DJ. One the weekends there is a light show to go with whatever the theme is. The Underground offers a fun place to go after you visit Central Station. So make a night out of this visit.

Hampstead Heath Ponds

Hampstead Heath Ponds | http://www.flickr.com/photos/ebarney/3588234467/siz

Located in North London is the Hampstead Heath Ponds, three large freshwater swimming points that are popular for same sex and mixed couples alike. For centuries people have been coming to the ponds for a relaxing dip in the waters. Take your partner to the ponds and have some wet fun. Let your playful side come out while enjoying an athletic dip.

There you have it a fine selection of cival and naughty places to take your hot date in the capital city perhaps you seduced your partner on the web or indulging in gay chat with hot men by phone on a line heaven forbid just in the real world in the local bar. Well after your great effort on securing your sexy dates time make sure it goes with a real bang and hit up London.

Follow James at https://twitter.com/FirespinJaySEO

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PRIDE LONDON: To Go Head on 29th June 2013

Organisers of Pride in London have announced that there will be a Pride in London this year.

by Newsesk | 21st May 2013

The new organisers of Pride in London, London LGBT+ Community Pride, have today announced that Pride in London will go ahead in 2013 as funding, volunteers and all the necessary operational plans are in place. This has been achieved in just three months since the appointment of London LGBT+ Community Pride by the Mayor of London to run this important public event.

As the Equal Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill continues to be debated in Parliament the organisers of Pride in London believe the event offers the LGBT+ community a unique chance to be seen and heard with the theme “Love (and Marriage)” uniting the community.

The week long festival programme includes:

The Festival programme includes, among others,

• A Gala dinner with Boris Johnson on 25 June at Claridge’s

• An Audience with Martina Navratilova hosted by Clare Balding on Sunday 23 June at the St James’ Theatre

• Summer Rites Pride in the Park music festival in Shoreditch Park

• Special Pride film screenings at the BFI and Channel Four

• A Gay Photographers’ Network exhibition at Foyles

• A London Gay Symphony Orchestra Concert

• A Chavurah at St John’s Wood Synagogue

• Panel events on LGBT+ health and campaigning issues

• Polari’s tour of Tate Britain, Queer Britannia

The parade will take place on the 29th June. The parade will start at 1pm and will follow the now traditional route from Baker Street along Oxford Street, down Regent Street and ending in Trafalgar Square. With over 120 groups already signed up to take part this year’s march looks set to bring over well over 10,000 marchers, roller-skaters, dancers and singers into the heart of the capital. The organisers believe that the Parade will be a great celebration of Pride in our community and our achievements but will also be a highly visible way to continue to fight for equality.

For more information visit: www.londoncommunitypride.org

Pride Toronto 2013

June 21, 2013toJune 30, 2013

Toronto, ON

Pride Toronto

Pride Toronto is the not-for-profit organization that hosts Pride Week, an annual event in downtown Toronto during the last week of June. Pride Week is one of the premier arts and cultural festivals in Canada. It is also one of the largest Pride celebrations in the world with an estimated attendance of over 1.2 million visits.

It celebrates the history, courage, diversity and future of Toronto’s LGBTTIQQ2SA* communities.

* Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer/Questioning, 2 Spirited, Allies

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Pride Houston 2013

June 21, 2013toJune 30, 2013

Houston, TX

Pride Houston

For more than 34 years, Pride Houston has been a central part of the local LGBT community in Houston.

It’s core mission is to strengthen equality and increase awareness around issues important to our community such as health, safety and marriage equality. Pride Houston celebrates the individuality and diversity of every person as we all strive for acceptance from parents, friends and society-at-large.

From annual charity events to aiding LGBT-support and -counseling networks, its activities continue to promote social awareness and enrich the diversity that helps the Houston community thrive.

Nearly a decade after the Stonewall Riots in New York, the Gay Rights Movement for equality made its way to Houston. The Celebration is typically held the last Saturday in June to commemorate Stonewall, and the parade, which is held in the evening after sunset. This tradition began in 1997, arranged by then-Houston City Councilmember Annise Parker, where a parade ordinance was revised to allow for the nation’s only nighttime Pride Parade.

Pride Houston is a registered 501(c)3 organization incorporated in the state of Texas, and is 100 percent volunteer-run. Its annual June Celebration takes more than 10,000 volunteer hours to produce, along side its other initiatives, which require more volunteers than ever.

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Oslo Gay Pride 2013

June 21, 2013toJune 30, 2013

Oslo, Iceland

Skeive Dager (Oslo Gay Pride)

Gay Days is the largest cultural event for the country’s queer audience.

Gay Days held each year in late June in Oslo. The purpose is to highlight gay culture and contribute to the acceptance and respect for gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people.

Pride Park is the gathering place during Gay Days.

Pride Park is free and open to everyone, and in 2012 there were around 40,000 visitors in the park.

In Pride Park on Rådhusplasssen can enjoy shows, concerts, DJs and crowds of people – all completely free.

The parade 2013 @ Oslo. Saturday 29 June.

Installation in Åkebergsveien, Saturday 29th June 2013, from 11:00, departing at 13.00.

The parade is for many the highlight of Gay Days.

In the parade we will mark Gay Pride Day theme, which this year is an individual right. The individual’s right about you and your right to be yourself. This we hope will motivate as many people as possible to attend, and we hope to see such a diverse parade as possible.

The parade starts normally in Greenland but staging area is new in 2013. Platous street is not big enough anymore. Therefore, we set up this year in Åkebergsveien. New this year is that the trailers are allowed in the parade.

In 2012 there were over 12,000 participants in the parade, while tens of thousands of people were spectators along the parade route.

Join the Pride parade facebook event!

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Pride Barcelona 2013

June 21, 2013toJuly 1, 2013

Barcelona, Spain

Pride Barcelona

For the fifth year running, Barcelona is well into the preparations to welcome you to the most important LGBT pride festival in the Mediterranean – Pride Barcelona’13. The main celebrations will be on the weekend of the 28th, 29th and 30th of June , but entire festival includes a program that runs from the 20th to the 30th of June!

30 charitable associations, many local businesses and the entire LBGT community have again united to organise a new pride for the city – offering ten days of culture, sport, debate, entertainment and parties. Pride Barcelona is a major free not-for-profit event that both celebrates the best of the Catalan capital.

Spain is a shining example of LGBT Rights, and is already on the global map for pride celebrations in Madrid and Maspalomas – always reaffirming our open, respectful and tolerant character. Barcelona is now firmly placed on that map – growing bigger and better every year.

Come and experience Pride Barcelona 2013. See for yourself why this new event is now among the greatest pride celebrations in the world!

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Columbus Pride 2013

June 21, 2013toJune 22, 2013

Columbus, OH

Columbus Pride

Central Ohio’s Annual Festival and Parade for the LGBTA Community

Festival Hours
Friday, June 21, 2013 – 3-11pm
Saturday, June 22, 2013 – 10am-8pm

Parade
Saturday, June 22, 2012 – Step-off at Noon

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NEWS: LGBT Helpline Scotland Open

Brand new LGBT Helpline opens in Scotland.

by Newsdesk | 21st May 2013

LGBT Helpline

A brand new LGBT helpline, called LGBT Helpline Scotland, has opened in Edinburgh and is open every Tuesday and Wednesday from 12PM - 9PM and will offer help, information and support for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community across Scotland

Stephen McCabe, the co-ordinator for the helpline said,

'I am delighted to announce that LGBT Helpline Scotland – Scotland’s first ever national helpline for LGBT people and their families, friends and supporters - will open next week on May 7th.

'For some time we have identified the need for a national Scottish LGBT helpline, and thanks to funding from the Scottish Government we now have a team of fully trained volunteers ready to take calls when we launch next Tuesday.

'Our volunteers are trained to answers calls relating to sexuality, gender identity, isolation, sex and sexual health, coming out, hate crime (we are able to report crimes over the phone via our Third Party Reporting Service), amongst other needs that LGBT people in Scotland may have.'

To speak to a volunteer call 0300 123 2523

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