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Archive for April, 2017

‘Kings & Queens in Their Castles’ is an intimate look at LGBT lives

Sunday, April 23rd, 2017

The Washington Post
‘Kings & Queens in Their Castles’ is an intimate look at LGBT lives
By Michele Langevine Leiby April
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When Tom Atwood decided to launch himself into fine art photography, it was mostly because he wanted to see a different image of gay men. Until not long ago, most photographic images of gay men fell into one of two categories: a display of the ravages of AIDS or a paean to the idealized, sexualized beauty of the masculine form (usually nude or in advanced stages of undress).

Atwood’s new book, “Kings & Queens in Their Castles,” offers an alternative view. His style, the photographer says, is a studied melange of portraiture and architectural photography.

“I try to challenge my subjects by showing as much of their environment as possible in the frame of the camera,” he says. “I also use a wide-angle lens and a wide depth of field so that both the subject and the background are in focus.”

Atwood, 45, a self-proclaimed autodidact, has no formal background in photography or art history. His approach was honed through trial and error and a passion for his subject matter.

“I started out photographing gay people at home because I am gay and knew a lot of gay people,” he says. “And I think a lot of gay men especially have a flair for design and live in some really playful places.”

Atwood’s subjects in “Kings & Queens” include more than 160 members of the LGBT community. They’re urban and rural, famous and anonymous, beautiful and plain, extraordinary and decidedly ordinary. His work, displaying an intimacy sometimes bordering on voyeurism, captures LGBT men and women in the process of living their private lives.

Some of today’s tumultuous social movements rely on a fair amount of identity politics. This book isn’t about that. Says Atwood: “I thought it would be interesting to photograph this group of people just in everyday moments since, for most people, their sexuality is a part of who they are, but it’s not the predominant part of who they are.”

Here are six of the book’s compelling stories:






Don Lemon

When Atwood arrived at Don Lemon’s Harlem home, the CNN anchor was getting ready to walk his dog. “He’s very friendly, very easygoing, very approachable,” Atwood says. “I realized he’s just a really a social person that’s part of a neighborhood.” He shot Lemon sitting on a skateboard on his balcony, his neighborhood as a backdrop. “I really wanted to shoot people in their everyday environment and show what their private lives are like rather than focus on their public images.”

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Holly Taylor and Alison Bechdel

Atwood photographed the women in the garden of their Jericho, Vt., home. Holly Taylor, a self-declared “compost maven,” and Alison Bechdel, a cartoonist and the author of the Broadway musical “Fun Home,” live in the woods. “I love this photo,” says Atwood, himself a Vermonter. “I think it really shows a real Vermont sensibility in a number of ways. They’ve got a garden. They chop their own wood. They heat their house with wood.”





Mother Flawless Sabrina

Considered a pioneer in the transgender and gay communities, Mother Flawless Sabrina ran a national drag pageant enterprise between 1959 and 1969 that put on shows across the country, culminating with an extravaganza in New York. The 77-year-old lives on Manhattan’s Upper East Side surrounded by a bevy of quirky possessions: a 1980s-era telephone with giant buttons, wigs strewn about, jewelry draped on an ornate desk. “She’s a female impersonator, which I guess is a little different from a drag queen, but don’t ask me the difference because I’m not sure I know,” Atwood says.

 

James McGreevey


The former governor of New Jersey will always be famous for the 2004 news conference in which he publicly came out of the closet, his pained wife by his side. “My truth is that I am a gay American,” he declared. Today McGreevey is a Prius-driving resident of Plainfield, N.J., where Atwood photographed him, clad in shorts and a hoodie, pruning ivy in front of his house. “He did go through some difficult times,” Atwood says, “but he seems to be still happy and proud and willing to share his life through this book.”

 

 





Bruce Vilanch

Loyal viewers of the television game show “Hollywood Squares” will surely recognize the unruly mop of comedian Bruce Vilanch, whom Atwood photographed ferrying groceries back to his West Hollywood apartment. “I think this is a fun shot because Los Angeles has a lot of outdoor/indoor living spaces,” Atwood says, and Vilanch’s apartment building has hallways that are outside rather than inside.




Randal Kleiser

“I don’t think it’s that common to keep barn animals in Los Angeles,” Atwood says of the menagerie of pets that share the home of film director Randal Kleiser. “It was an otherwise suburban ranch house.” Kleiser, known for such films as “Grease” and “Big Top Pee-wee,” enjoys a spectacular view of the L.A. skyline from his swimming pool. “I like that there’s this strong light from the side in this picture and you can see a lot in both the foreground and background,” the photographer says. (Can you find BOTH horses?)

Rosie O’Donnell, Bruce Vilanch, Randy Rainbow and More to Roast Michael Musto for Charity

Tuesday, April 11th, 2017

Broadway World
Rosie O’Donnell, Bruce Vilanch, Randy Rainbow and More to Roast Michael Musto for Charity
Apr. 10, 2017

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Lug Nut Entertainment (Daniel DeMello and Nathaniel Nowak) in association with the world popular dating app SCRUFF, has announced that it will present FORK ON THE LEFT, KNIFE IN THE BACK: BROADWAY ROASTS Michael Musto, a one night only charitable event, directed by Rachel Klein that will honor the pop culture journalist and New York Nightlife fixture Michael Musto along with Callen-Lorde, the vital community Health Center that provides sensitive, quality healthcare and related services targeted to New York’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities on Monday, May 22nd at 8PM at the Actors Temple, 339 West 47th Street. All ticket proceeds go to benefit Callen-Lorde. For more information, visit www.BroadwayRoast.com. For tickets (ranging from $60 to $175), go to www.telecharge.com/Off-Broadway/Broadway-Roasts-Michael-Musto/Overview.

Join film and television star ROSIE O’DONNELL (who will kick off the evening), Comedian and Emmy Award winner Bruce Vilanch (who will host the event); Insult Comedian & Winner of Ru Paul’s Drag Race Season 6, Bianca Del Rio! Actor, Director and Producer Michael Urie (ABC’s Ugly Betty); Singer, Songwriter and Tony Award Nominated Actress, ORFEH (Legally Blonde on Broadway); New York Post Journalist and Broadcaster, Michael Riedel; Creator of one of the biggest dating apps in the world, SCRUFF, JOHNNY SKANDROS; Television Personality, Model, Author and Singer COUNTESS Luann de Lesseps (Real Housewives of New York City); Actress and Comedian, Mindy Cohn (The Facts of Life); Season 5 Winner of Ru Paul’s Drag Race, Jinkx Monsoon; Lola in Broadway’s Kinky Boots CRYSTAL DEMURE; Satirist and Viral Sensation Randy Rainbow; Sultry Siren of Avenue Q, Lucy The Slut (and her talented puppet handler Elizabeth Ann Berg).

The evening will also feature special video appearances by Alan Cumming, Drew ElliotT, Mickey Boardman, LYNN YAEGER, KENYON PHILLIPS, Frankie Grande, Jesse Green, Patrick Pacheco, Susan Haskins, Cheyenne Jackson, Perez Hilton, Jackie Hoffman, Daphne Rubin-Vega, John Waters & Doug Wright.

These stars of theater, television, film, journalism, tech and social activism will pay homage to Mr. Musto by mercilessly hurling a slew of absolutely cruel, vicious, & tasteless jokes at him (and at each other) – all of which he and they have agreed to endure in order to raise money for the vital services that Callen-Lorde offers to the LGBTQ community in NYC.

Michael Musto is the long-running writer known from the Village Voice (where he wrote the popular “La Dolce Musto” column for 29 years and is currently a correspondent), Out.com (where he writes the weekly “Musto! The Musical!” column), Paper, and the New York Times “Styles” section. He is awell known commentator on all things pop culture-related on CNN and CNN International, is a recurring panelist on Logo’s “Cocktails & Classics” movie show, and is a regular on Theater Talk. Musto—who’s won seven Glam awards for Best Nightlife Writer and was named to the Out 100 of influential LGBTs—has written four books—the non-fiction guide “Downtown,” the roman-a-clef “Manhattan on the Rocks,” and the collections “La Dolce Musto,” and “Fork on the Left, Knife in the Back.” He rides a bike even through blizzards, and is proud to say it’s a girl’s bike from K-Mart.

Erik Ransom (Lead Comedy Writer) is a composer, playwright, librettist and performer with a diverse body of work. His musical, More Than All the World, which is a musical inspired by Christopher Marlowe’s Edward II will be presented in the reading series at the Drama Desk award-winning York Theatre Company in March 2016. Erik’s smutty opus, GRINDR The Opera premiered in concert in Spring of 2014 and had a high profile staged reading hosted by RAndy Jones (The original cowboy from the Village People) in April 2015. The reading was covered by The Daily Beast, The Guardian, Salon.com and the National Public Radio of the Republic of Ireland, among others, and was written up in 7 languages. Erik’s musical Coming: A Rock Musical of Biblical Proportions has been fully produced at The Prince Music Theatre in Philadelphia and Theatre 80 St. Marks in New York. He has a degree in classical music performance, and has studied with Metropolitan opera stars Jerome Hines and Enrico DiGiuseppe. His musical SAGA: The Ragnarok Opera was nominated for several Broadway World Philadelphia awards, and his musical Tragic Events has been performed at the Painted Bride Arts Center’s Ruckus Festival. Erik penned the lyrics for the recent Off-Broadway musical spectacular: The Anthem, which ran at The Culture Project’s Lynn Redgrave Theatre and he is slated to write for season two of the Emmy-nominated web-series, Tainted Dreams. He is also a two-time champion of Tune-in-Time, which is a monthly, timed, improvised musical theatre writing competition based in Manhattan.

Writer Matthew McLachlan is a comedy writer, Dramatist Guild Member, and resident playwright for Ruddy Productions. Most recently, his play Orionran Off-Broadway at Theatre Row on 42nd Street, having received an ever-rare positive review by Rex Reed. His play The Knowledge of Sin ran at the Hudson Guild Theater with an encore presentation and was nominated for Best Overall Play at the Venus Adonis Festival. His work Haywire was a finalist in the Manhattan Repertory Theater’s Fall One-Act Festival and has been adapted into a short film. His work Men’s Monthly closed out Ruddy Production’s sold out New Works Festival in 2015. In addition, Matthew was nominated for outstanding writing in a comedy at the LA WebFest for writing the entire third season to the highly acclaimed comedic web series, ADULTish. He has recently published a collection of his work entitled “A Collection of One Acts: and Other Things You May or May Not Enjoy” now available on Amazon.com.

Comedy Writer Jarrod Allan is also donating material for the evening.

Rachel Klein (Director) is a NYC based director, coined “Endlessly Clever,” (The New York Post), “Nothing short of brilliant,” (Broadway World) and of whose work The New York Times has praised: “What makes this show pop is the bracing vision of its director, Rachel Klein.” Off-Broadway: Around the World in 80 Days (The Davenport Theatre); The Anthem (Starring RAndy Jones, the Original Cowboy from the Village People); Gay Bride of Frankenstein (iStar Theatre Lab). Selected NYC Theatre: Tink! (New York Musical Festival); More Than All the World (musical adaptation of Marlowe’s Edward II); Coming: A Rock Musical of Biblical Proportions (Fringe NYC); Symphony of Shadows (a Jerome Robbins Foundation commission); Secret Summer (an immersive Midsummer Night’s Dream). Selected Regional and Workshops: Snow (Playwright’s Horizons); 54 The Musical (Axelrod Entertainment); A Midsummer Night’s Dream (New Brunswick Shakespeare Festival, NJ); Dracula (the Jenny Wiley Theatre in KY); The Severed Hand of Neverland (Musical Theatre Factory). Ms. Klein holds a BA in Theatrical Direction from Columbia College, studied at the International Directors Symposium in Spoleto, Italy, is an associate member of the SDC, and is Artistic Director of Belle Reve Productions, an immersive theatrical Production Company.

Joan Wyatt (Stage Manager) is a NewYork based stage manager, working primarily in theatre and dance. Broadway: Groundhog Day, Holiday Inn, Kiss Me Kate (benefit concert). Select New York credits: More Than All the World, Sleep No More, Baby Fat. Columbia ‘17.

Callen-Lorde is the global leader in LGBTQ healthcare. Since the days of Stonewall, the organization has been transforming lives in LGBTQ communities through excellent comprehensive care, provided free of judgment and regardless of ability to pay. In addition, it continuously pioneers research, advocacy and education to drive positive change around the world. Callen-Lorde Community Health Center provides sensitive, quality health care and related services targeted to New York’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities – in all their diversity – regardless of ability to pay. To further this mission,

Callen-Lorde promotes health education and wellness, and advocates for LGBT health issues. Callen-Lorde’s grassroots heritage dates back over 40 years to the St. Mark’s Community Clinic and the Gay Men’s Health Project, two volunteer-based clinics that provided screening and treatment for sexually-transmitted diseases. These clinics merged in 1983 to form Community Health Project, a mostly volunteer-staffed, episodic care program housing the nation’s first community-based HIV clinic.

Daniel DeMello and Nathaniel Nowak have been producing together since 2014, when they launched NYC’s Extreme Egg Hunt and Easter Extravaganza, Full Bunny Contact. Nathaniel is a producing member of Psycho Clan, and has co-produced Nightmare: Horror Show, the critically acclaimed theatrical festival version of Timothy Haskell’s popular haunted house, the distorted winter wonderland Santastical and Northern Pole Territory. Daniel is a publicist representing a diverse list of companies and individuals in New York and abroad. The pair are taking a year off from producing Full Bunny Contact in order to stage this inaugural Broadway-centric roast and give back to their LGBTQ community in New York City.