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Archive for the ‘GLBT’ Category

Stoli® Vodka Honors the Legacy of LGBTQ Bartenders in the Movement for Equality, Kicks Off Fourth Annual Key West Cocktail Classic Competition

Sunday, March 12th, 2017

PR Newswire
Stoli® Vodka Honors the Legacy of LGBTQ Bartenders in the Movement for Equality, Kicks Off Fourth Annual Key West Cocktail Classic Competition
Mar 01, 2017, 08:57 ET

4-27-2013 3-29-19 AM

NEW YORK, March 1, 2017 /PRNewswire/—Today, Stoli® Group USA, LLC in partnership with the Key West Business Guild, is returning to New York to kick off the world’s largest annual LGBTQ bartending competition, the Stoli Key West Cocktail Classic. Now in its fourth year, the competition will feature more contestants, participating cities and charitable donations than ever before.

In addition to recognizing the talents of the industry’s top LGBTQ bartenders, the Cocktail Classic celebrates the role that gay bars have played in the movement towards equality as original community centers. The competition will culminate in Key West, FL, a diverse and accepting city with a thriving LGBTQ community.

The world’s largest annual LGBTQ cocktail competition, The Stoli Key West Cocktail Classic, returns for its fourth year, showcasing the creativity and talent of mixologists and bartenders in the LGBTQ community. Seventeen regional finalists will compete for the 2017 Cocktail Classic Champion title at the Grand Finale during Key West Pride 2017.
The world’s largest annual LGBTQ cocktail competition, The Stoli Key West Cocktail Classic, returns for its fourth year, showcasing the creativity and talent of mixologists and bartenders in the LGBTQ community. Seventeen regional finalists will compete for the 2017 Cocktail Classic Champion title at the Grand Finale during Key West Pride 2017.
The Fourth Annual Key West Cocktail Classic finale is generously being hosted and judged by actor and musician, Jai Rodriguez, and past as well as returning celebrity judges include president of the Harvey Milk Foundation, Stuart Milk; writer and Emmy Award-winner, Bruce Vilanch; American Idol’s Latoya London; fashion designer and nightlife personality Andrew Christian; and Key West’s drag queen star, Sushi.

“Every year we look forward to bringing together the people, charities and business that make up our extraordinary LGBTQ community,” said Patrik Gallineaux, Stoli’s National LGBTQ Ambassador and Brand Manager. “While our mission is to recognize the most talented and innovative bartenders, community will always be at the heart of Cocktail Classic. It has been a privilege to support and grow together over the years.”

A maximum of six LGBTQ trade staff and/or allies from 17 cities across North America will be selected to create an original cocktail using Stoli Vodka as their primary ingredient. A panel of judges and 100 eligible audience members will evaluate each cocktail based on taste, balance and presentation, as well as each bartender’s authenticity, knowledge, and creativity in presentation and performance.

The finalist from each regional competition will win a six-day, all-inclusive trip to participate in a week of events and celebratory entertainment culminating in the grand finale during Key West Pride 2017. In addition to being named the 2017 Stoli Key West Cocktail Classic Champion, the winner of the final event will ride in the Key West Pride Parade as Honorary Grand Marshall and receive:

$12,500 grand prize for a pre-selected charity of his/her choice;
a victory celebration and charity check presentation at champion’s home bar hosted by Stoli Vodka;
and an all-expense paid exclusive Stoli Vodka destination event
The first runner up to the 2017 Champion will also receive $2,500 for their chosen charity.

“Stoli’s work through the Key West Cocktail Classic is an example of how companies can use their resources to make a difference both large and small,” stated Matt Hon, Executive Director of the Key West Business Guild. “From the charitable monetary donations to general awareness, the Cocktail Classic has significantly impacted our local community by becoming a destination event for the city of Key West. In 2016, we saw tourism and revenue increase by 20-percent on the island during Pride!”

The 2017 Stoli Key West Cocktail Classic Tour Schedule:

Kick Off: New York, NY: Boxers – March 1
Dallas, TX: Round-Up Saloon – March 6
San Diego, CA: Rich’s – March 22
Los Angeles, CA: The Abbey – March 25
Denver, CO: Hamburger Mary’s – March 27
Atlanta, GA: Swinging Richards – March 30
Miami, FL: Score – April 5
New Orleans, LA: Oz – April 12
Philadelphia, PA: Franky Bradley’s – April 18
Washington, D.C.: Nellie’s Sports Bar – April 24
Chicago, IL: Sidetrack – April 26
Dayton, OH: MJ’s on Jefferson – May 1
Boston, MA: Club Cafe – May 4
Toronto, ON: Gladstone Hotel – May 11
Portland, OR: CC Slaughters – May 16
Vancouver, BC: Numbers Cabaret – May 18
Northern California (San Francisco): Club 21 – May 22
Finale: Key West, FL: Bourbon St. Pub– June 10
Last year’s Champion, Rocky Collins from the Round-Up in Dallas proudly competed for DIFFA/Dallas and which raises funds for organizations that support education programs, treatment and direct care services for people living with or impacted by HIV and AIDS. Rocky also won a matching $5,000 donation to the Wesley House Family Services in Key West, an organization he represented on behalf of the Key West Business Guild. Rocky’s winning cocktail and presentation best embodied the spirit of the Key West community and the heart of the competition. Named ‘The Key West Kitty Kat,’ Rocky’s original Stoli cocktail is made with 2 oz. Stoli Vanil, 2 oz. coconut simple syrup, 1.5 oz. pineapple juice, 0.5 oz. key lime juice, coconut cream, grenadine, cinnamon and garnished with a pineapple slice and served over ice.

For more information about the Stoli Key West Cocktail Classic including how to apply, rules, guidelines and the full schedule of events, visit http://www.out.com/keywestcocktailclassic.

About Key West Business Guild

The mission of the Key West Business Guild is to promote LGBTQ travel to Key West through marketing and the promotion of specialty events; to support gay-owned, gay-managed, and gay-friendly businesses; to strengthen the Gay community’s position within the local community by supporting relevant LGBTQ issues. The KWBG was founded in 1978 by 8 local gay business owners and has grown to approximately 400 members, which work together to continue efforts to brighten the rainbow over the island, an island now known as Gay Key West. Promotion of events, such as Key West Pride, Tropical Heat and Womenfest, has made Key West a year-round LGBTQ travel destination. For more information visit www.kwbgonline.org.

About Stoli Group, USA
Stoli Group USA, LLC is a U.S. importer and marketer of alcoholic beverages, headquartered in New York City. Stoli Group USA is a subsidiary of SPI Group based out of Luxemburg, one of the world’s most dynamic wine and spirits organizations. Formed in 2013, Stoli Group USA’s current portfolio of brands includes the Stolichnaya® brand of premium vodkas and Stoli Ginger Beer, ultra-premium elit®Vodka, Louisiana-distilled Bayou® Rum, artfully designed KAH® Tequila, Achaval-Ferrer™ from Argentina, and Arinzano wines of Spain.

Media Contact:
Patrick Rizzuto
Golin for Stoli Group, USA
T. +1 212.373.6015
PRizzuto@golin.com

SAGE honors Vilanch, Jewel Thais-Williams in L.A.

Sunday, March 12th, 2017

Washington Blade
SAGE honors Vilanch, Jewel Thais-Williams in L.A.
March 10, 2017 at 11:38 am EDT | by Karen Ocamb

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LOS ANGELES — The fundraiser for SAGE USA March 4 in the Hollywood Hills felt like a reunion, a coming together of a generation of LGBT people with shared memories and a desire to confront aging, an issue, SAGE Board Development chair Bill Weinberger said, he heretofore had avoided thinking about. Honorees Jewel Thais-Williams and Bruce Vilanch, however, exemplify how LGBT people can age as respected elders with grace, continued activism, and humor.


Weinberger introduced Phill Wilson, founder of the Black AIDS Institute, whom he has known since the early 1980s. Shortly after, Wilson discovered he was HIV positive. He noted that while “many of us were dealing with whether we would survive or not, SAGE has always believed we would.” Wilson shared how Thais-Williams bravely opened Jewel’s Catch One Disco as a refuge for LGBT people desperate for a place where they could be themselves.


“Jewel has been a leader, a hero, and a visionary and an advocate for a long, long time,” Wilson said. “Jewel was one of those ‘bridge’ people,” linking the LGBT African-American community to organizations such as AIDS Project Los Angeles and her alma mater, UCLA. You always speak up, whether you’re afraid or not.”


Thais-Williams joked that she was honored to be honored, having spent the last 42 years at Catch One “partying,” adding that she will turn 78 in a couple of months. “To be of service to my community has been a great joy,” she said. “But there is still a lot of work to do. Remember to always reach out to those in need.”


“There has never been a more important time to come together,” SAGE CEO Michael Adams told the diverse crowd of SAGE board members, staffers and supporters at the elegant home of James Frost and William Yi. “We are living in very challenging times,” a notion received with a knowing chuckle for its understatement.


A civilization is historically measured by how it cares and supports its children and most vulnerable and how it supports its elders, Adams said, not just the “right kind of elders….We owe it to our elders, the pioneers who paved the way for the equality we celebrate today….We need the wisdom of our pioneers, our elders.”




Demographic estimates predict that there will be 6 million LGBT people age 65 years or over in America by 2030. That sets the stage for a potentially disastrous future since, as SAGE notes, LGBT seniors are “twice as likely to be single, twice as likely to live alone, and four times more likely to be without children than their heterosexual peers.”  And, Adam said, facilities that take care of the aging population are “woefully unprepared” to take care of LGBT seniors who fear having to go back in the closet in order to get care and treatment without discrimination.


In introducing comedic writer/actor Bruce Vilanch, SAGE Board co-chair Elizabeth Schwartz—whose co-chair is former LA-based board activist Kevin Williams—said Vilanch’s appearances on “Hollywood Squares” were “instrumental in shaping gay images.” Watching him, “we didn’t have to speculate obsessively” about whether he was gay “as I did over Kristy McNichol.”  She was also grateful that he was also out about being chubby. Vilanch, she said, has a “tireless dedication to the LGBT community.”


In accepting the handsomely shaped glass award, the legendary Oscar writer said that when he was told he was being honored by SAGE, his first thought was: “You have the wrong envelope,” referring to the Best Picture mishap at the Academy Awards.


However, a recent interview with a young journalist underscored that he is now arcing “into my dotage.” The young gay man had no idea who Ted Mack was, though “Ted Mack’s Amateur Hour,” the variety-show precursor to shows like “American Idol,” launched the careers of such future celebrities as Pat Boone and Ann-Margret.  The young man sat stone faced at the mention of her name.


“When queens don’t know who Ann-Margret is, we’re in trouble,” Vilanch said to an uproar of laughter.


“Senior gays are not venerated,” he said. “But we are valued because we can pick up the check or write it.”


As to his decision to be openly gay at a time when being out was a brave decision, Vilanch noted that he worked in the more accepting entertainment industry. But early on, he worked as a journalist writing features for the Chicago Tribune and tried to get gay stories into the paper. Vilanch cited a quote that stuck with him: “A faggot is a homosexual gentleman who just left the room.” He determined to be “the faggot who stayed in the room.”


LGBT progress is result of taking action. “We did the bravest thing—we came out and that changed everything,” Vilanch said. But the LGBT community cannot rely on help from outside. “We have to do it for ourselves….[and] we’re not done yet.”


SAGE CEO Michael Adams also announced the launch of a new initiative in conjunction with AARP—SAGETable— to build “intergenerational connections in the LGBT community” by “breaking bread with your LGBT family on May 18. Visit sagetable.org.

Is It Okay To Make Fun Of Caitlyn Jenner?

Wednesday, September 7th, 2016

Instinct Magazine
Is It Okay To Make Fun Of Caitlyn Jenner?
Instinct Staff | September 6, 2016

Boy Culture interviewed legendary comedy writer Bruce Vilanch, who had his own opinions on the joke and the response to it:

BC: Bette Midler recently took it on the chin when she was perceived as mocking Caitlyn Jenner for being trans.

BV: Personally, I thought that was insane. She wasn’t making a joke about transgenders, she was making a joke about the monetizing of transgenderism, which is being done by Caitlyn Jenner.

BC: I guess the waters are muddied because people want to mock Caitlyn, and she’s so famous for being trans.

BV: Exactly. Anybody who would make that leap is out of their mind. It’s not a joke about transgenders, it’s a joke about this person who will do anything to remain in the public eye—and who is not our friend, by the way. She’s more to be pitied than censured. There’s no accounting for the taste of some. You find generally in communities like in the gay community that activists have no sense of humor. They areso sensitive about everything. And to jump on Bette Midler is kind of like, “Excuse me? Where’ve you been for the last 50 years?” Well, you know, probably in Trinidad, Colorado, deciding what you wanted to look like, I don’t know.

That alone would get me in jail. That remark. You know, you’re not allowed to say anything!


Bruce Vilanch

Bruce Vilanch Hosted Very Successful Project Inform AIDS Walk Raising 2.7 Million Dollars July 19th

Saturday, July 25th, 2015

Bay Area Reporter
AIDS Walk ‘re-energizes’ HIV fundraising
by Sampson McCormick
July 23, 2015

Bruce+Vilanch+Project+Angel+Food+25th+Anniversary+CGVFkTyGNMkl

Last weekend’s AIDS Walk San Francisco saw a resurgence in fundraising that left organizers pleased, especially in light of donor fatigue when it comes to HIV/AIDS causes.

The July 19 event at Golden Gate Park saw about 20,000 participants raise $2.27 million for Project Inform, the lead nonprofit, and 42 other Bay Area agencies. The total is slightly larger than last year’s $2.24 million. (Last year, Project Inform said that $2.3 million was raised, but Executive Director Dana Van Gorder said a mistake was made in the 2014 projection.)

Under sunny skies last Sunday, walkers and others were upbeat during the opening ceremonies.

“We’ve taken major steps as a community, and in this country. We’ve achieved marriage equality, the Confederate flag has come down in South Carolina, the trans community will be able to serve in our military, and the Supreme Court has ruled that health care is a fundamental right,” declared an energetic Van Gorder from the podium in Golden Gate Park’s Sharon Meadow, referring to recent U.S. Supreme Court victories on marriage and health care, and recent news that top Defense Department brass are working on a plan to allow transgender people to serve openly in the military.

“The idea of that should give us the courage to continue the fight against HIV/AIDS,” Van Gorder added.

The tone of the day was similar to that of an upbeat church revival, blended with the swagger of a neighborhood block party, a celebration of justice, community, and progress, all while serving as an urgent reminder of the need for diligence in a fight that a community is determined to conquer.

The event began with a crowd that filled most of the seats and lawn area of the meadow by 10 a.m., and there was never a dull moment as Culture Shock, a popular Oakland-based dance troupe, opened the ceremony, followed by a rousing gospel number from another Oakland-based group, The Messengers of Hope. The gospel choir was created and led by Ernest Larkins, 44, who’s lived with HIV for over 25 years. Larkins created the group, not only to sing songs of hope, but to challenge the views and stigma of HIV in the black church.

“There is a lot of work to be done, and music is how we push the message of hope in the community,” he said.

There were wide variations of messages delivered about the need for action and continued commitment in how the community battles the disease. Speakers and guests included AIDS Walk founder and senior organizer Craig R. Miller, Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-Oakland), Joe Wilkins, elected officials, AIDS activists, and corporate sponsors.

Emmy Award-winning writer and comedian Bruce Vilanch served as emcee for the ceremony, helping to keep an already energetic crowd in good humor, praising the work of Project Inform and the steps being taken to further encourage safe-sex practices.

“It’s great that we have options like PrEP now, we take those around my house like Flintstones vitamins,” Vilanch quipped, referring to pre-exposure prophylaxis that studies show can prevent HIV if taken as prescribed.

While embracing the lighthearted references toward the new drug, Jen Dowd, a retail services manager at UCSF who has been participating in the AIDS walk for 14 of the 15 years that she’s been there, feels that public enlightenment around sexual health options is mandatory, and needs to continue in order to make a difference. Her motivation to attend AIDS walks, fundraise, and advocate for treatment options was fueled by an AIDS-related death of a close friend who was an event coordinator in 2006.

“If I can eliminate the amount of suffering of someone living with AIDS, I do what I need to do,” Dowd said.

UCSF boasted the top spot for AIDS Walk fundraising, raising over $107,000.

The attendees, varying in age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and walk experience remained in good spirits throughout the six-mile trek. Afterwards they were treated to music from local bands and even an underwear show by Stag Condoms models, which work to make condom use look and feel sexy.

As the walk portion of the afternoon came to an end, participants were greeted at the finish line with more celebrating as AIDS Walk organizers announced the grand total raised. In a post-walk email, Van Gorder said that the fee paid to MZA, which produces the event, was $162,500, a decrease from a couple years ago.

Bruce Vilanch In Provincetown August 20 – 22 With The Skivvies

Thursday, July 9th, 2015

Bruce Vilanch and Nick Cearley, Lauren Molina (aka The Skivvies) and special guests will be in their underwear Aug 20-21-22 in Provincetown. They may even be walking in their undies during the Carnival Parade on Aug 20

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Bruce Vilanch Donates T-Shirts To ‘Reel to Real: Portrayals and Perceptions of Gays in Hollywood’

Sunday, June 14th, 2015

Broadway World
Doris Roberts, Bruce Vilanch, Barry Livingston, and Many More Stars Support Opening of ‘Reel to Real’ Exhibit
June 13, 2015

4-27-2013 4-17-52 AM

The Hollywood Museum is proud to offer an exclusive new exhibition – Reel to Real: Portrayals and Perceptions of Gays in Hollywood – an entertaining and informative retrospective of LGBT images in film and television throughout the decades. Check out photos from the event below!

The showcase runs through July 20, coinciding with LGBT Heritage Month and Outfest LA (July 10- 20). Featured in the collection are photos, costumes, props and iconic imagery from the past and present. The exhibit provides a unique perspective on how the homosexual community has been portrayed in Hollywood from early stereotypes to modern representations. The Reel to Real exhibition is sponsored by Wells FARGO Bank and The Hollywood Reporter (Media Sponsor).

Among eclectic list of patrons who attended the the VIP reception preview of the “Reel to Real” LGBT History Month exhibit at The Hollywood Museum (Located in the Historic Max Facter Building), that opened to the public on June 12th, were Doris Roberts, Barry Livingston, Ann Walker, Morgan Brittany, Lee Purcell, Jack Betts, Kate Linder, Steve Wishnoff, Barbara Van Orden, Erin Murphy, Jerome Ro Brooks, Shelly Goldstein, Margaret O’Brien, Channing Chase, Carolyn Hennesy, Geri Jewell, Nick Verreos, Scott T. Scofield, Cynthia J. Popp, Judy Tenuta, as well as City Controller Ron Galperin, Deputy Chief Beatrice Girmala, Councilman Mitch O’Farrell and the Reverend Grace.

The Petite Flower, Love Goddess, and Princess of Pantyshields, Judy Tenuta, remarked “I love, love doing shows for my Gays. They are FLAWLESS. The most enthusiastic, and adoring fans ever to appreciate that I even have my own religion: Judyism, and they are the first to worship at my altar! IT COULD HAPPEN!”

Among those who spoke to the gathering were Emmy winner, Doris Roberts, who commented, “I was once asked if I was gay, and I said ‘No … but, I am a Russian Jew.’” CELEBRATED Producer/Director, Cynthia J. Popp, spoke of the importance and honor it is to be part of something as meaningful as the transgender storyline, currently playing out on “The Bold and the Beautiful,” while comedienne, Geri Jewell stated “Over a decade ago I decided to come out … as someone with Cerebral Palsy.” After a pause during laughter, she added “Seriously, just as I was born with Cerebral Palsy, I was also born a Lesbian. This has made me a more understanding, caring, and compassionate human being.”

Among the impressive and eclectic array of paraphernalia and memorabilia on display are items from “Modern Family,” “Orange Is The New Black,” “Life Interrupted,” “Two and a Half Men,” “Hot In Cleveland,” “Days Of Our Lives,” the controversial “K-11,” “The Bold and the Beautiful,” and Tyler Perry’s “The Haves and Have Nots.” Also included are items representing the considerable contributions made to entertainment by out and proud members of the industry including the sheet music for “I am What I am” by Jerry Herman and costumes from his hit productions, such as “LA Cage Aux Folles” and “Hello Dolly!,” costumes worn by noted actors such as Ramon Navarro (“Ben Hur”), Rock Hudson (“Captain Lightfoot”), Agnes Moorehead (“Bewitched”), and Nathan Lane (“Bird Cage”), Lily Tomlin’s extra large rocking chair from LaughIn and the walk of fame plaque commemorating the star she shares with her partner, Jane Wagner, and famous T-Shirts worn by comedy stars Bruce Vilanch and Geri Jewell. Of particular interest to patrons were dresses by designers, Nolan Miller, Bob Mackie and the late creator of the Best and Worst Dressed List, Mr. Blackwell and his life partner of 59 years, R. L. Spencer.

“The museum welcomes the opportunity to create and showcase this important exhibition, sharing with the public the artistic expression of the LGBT culture and its transformative impact on the world through the entertainment industry,” says Donelle Dadigan, Founder and President of The Hollywood Museum

In addition to some of his personal effects, The Roddy McDowall Powder Room contains photos and quotes supporting the LGBT community by Antonio Banderas, Kristin Chenoweth, Bette Davis, Rupert Everett, Tina Fey, Portia de Rossi, Ian McKellen, Marilyn Monroe, Daniel Radcliffe, Barbara Stanwyk, Carol Channing, Liza Minnelli, and Betty White, among others. A touching display features a cocktail dress belonging to Elizabeth Taylor, with quotes regarding friends and AIDS.

This and so much more are waiting to be experienced by patrons who visit the museum during the presentations limited run.

The Hollywood Museum in the historic Max Factor Building, located in the heart of Hollywood, just steps from the Hollywood Walk of Fame, houses the largest collection of entertainment memorabilia in the world. It attracts fans from around the world and has been named the #1 top tourist attraction in Hollywood by LA Weekly, and one of the “Top 10” Museums in LA by the LA Tourism and Convention Board.