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Bruce Vilanch Spoke At The Black Cat LGBT Protests Feb 11, 2017

Friday, February 17th, 2017

Bruce Vilanch Spoke At The Black Cat LGBT Protests Feb 11, 2017
FEBRUARY 11 2017 6:35 PM EST


When a rally tonight in Los Angeles honors the Black Cat protest — which preceded Stonewall by two years — it will be a reminder to President Trump and his administration that protest works.

“You put a microphone in front of me, I’m going to talk about Trump,” said Mitch O’Farrell, the Los Angeles city councilman who is helping organize the rally, which begins at 8 p.m. outside the Black Cat Tavern.

O’Farrell says the Trump administration’s anti-equality agenda is backfiring. “Their authoritarian and anti-constitutional executive orders are galvanizing other historically oppressed communities into greater solidarity,” he said. Trump is giving Americans “an opportunity for us to be more enlightened and stand in stronger solidarity.”

The Black Cat protest in 1967 was itself a turning point triggered by authority. Undercover officers had gone on New Year’s Eve to the tavern in the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles and waited until the clock struck midnight, when partygoers would kiss. It was illegal to kiss a person of the same sex. As partners embraced, the officers took out their badges and started violently making arrests.

The queer community was fed up with regular police brutality and took what was a highly unusual step: they organized a protest on February 11, 1967.

The founders of that protest would also create a group — Personal Rights in Defense and Education, or PRIDE — and that group created a newsletter called The Advocate. That newsletter became the magazine you’re reading now.

A lot has changed in 50 years. At tonight’s rally, for example, police are taking part in commemorating history. But LGBT Americans also have to contend with President Trump, whose policies are met repeatedly with protests. The Women’s March the day after Trump’s inauguration included millions of people across multiple cities all over the world. Protests broke out the next weekend at airports when Trump signed an executive order that implemented his Muslim ban at the border. Last weekend, a queer solidarity rally was held outside the Stonewall Inn in New York City after Trump threatened to sign a “religious freedom” order, which would make it optional for federal workers to recognize same-sex marriages so long as they cite a religion that says it’s immoral.

This weekend, as Los Angeles marks history, it will also be speaking directly to Trump and the likes of attorney general Jeff Sessions. Late Friday night, Sessions’ Justice Department filed a legal brief that effectively ends the Obama administration’s protections for transgender students. They had been guaranteed, for example, the right to use bathrooms and other facilities that match their gender identity.

O’Farrell says the Black Cat proves that protest works.

“It just underscores the power of the U.S. Constitution and how we always lean towards advancements,” he said. “One misguided president being in office can not and will not reverse all of that progress. Understandably, there is a lot of anxiety fear and chaos created by what he’s doing, but we will prevail over all of that and we have the Constitution, and we have our level of sophisticated activism. The LGBT community knows how to effect change and that is one of our great strengths.”

Other speakers scheduled to be at the Black Cat rally tonight include Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, the cast of Queer as Folk, actors Wilson Cruz, Guillermo Díaz and Darryl Stevens, plus comedians Alec Mapa and Bruce Vilanch, executive director of Equality California Rick Zbur, and editor in chief of The Advocate, Lucas Grindley.

Bruce Vilanch Helps Fundraise For 50th Assembly District Campaigner Tori Osborn

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

Venice For Change

Lily Tomlin, Hal Sparks and Bruce Vilanch “Come Out” For Torie Osborn

Posted by Marta Evry at Monday, April 09, 2012

Last Thursday, political supporters, comedy fans and lucky activists packed the 600-seat Director’s Guild Auditorium in West Hollywood for a hilarious night of standup fundraising for Torie Osborn’s campaign for the 50th Assembly District.

Headlined by six-time Emmy winner Bruce Vilanch, Hal Sparks (“Queer as Folk“) and Lilly Tomlin, the night got off to a bang with a standing ovation for Torie Osborn.

Torie Osborn

When Ms. Osborn took the podium, supporters sprang to their feet in unison, and gave her a thunderous standing ovation.

Ms. Osborn was gracious and down-to-earth in the overwhelming aftermath.

In fact, earlier in the evening, I spied the effervescent politician dashing up the aisles to greet guests – in a patterned shirt-jacket fashioned in eye-catching hues of turquoise and blue (teamed with a chic black “t” and tasteful dress slacks that matched up) – and lead ‘em by the hand to their comfy seats in the orchestra pit.< By the way, Osborn is quite unlike the overly-coiffed plastic-looking females who tend to populate the political terrain. Osborne comes across as somebody’s caring “Mom”.

In her brief chat with the supporters present, she underscored it was time to bring back the “California Dream“, and that the spanking newly-created 50th seat in the State Assembly was a great place to start in the years ahead.

Sheila Keuhl – who was also on hand – went a step farther.

After noting that the 50th seat was comprised of a handful of tony neighborhoods (such as Pacific Palisades, Brentwood, Beverly Hills, Malibu, and West Hollywood, to name a few) she made an astute observation.

“It’s an open seat for a fabulous candidate,” she enthused.

“And, that candidate is Torie Osborn!”

Packed 600-seat theatre gives a standing “O” to Torie Osborn

All three comics brought their A game, but the highlight of the night went to Lily Tomlin for reworking her famous “Ernestine” routine – Ernestine as an operator for the claims department of a health insurance company.
“Oh, that’s elective surgery. We elect not to pay for it,”

“We don’t care if you’re fed up. We only care that you are paid up.”

HMO doesn’t mean Help Me Out, ‘ya know”

Lilly Tomlin

You can read a full review of the night on Julian Ayrs blog.

To see all my photos of the night, go to this link.

Hal Sparks

Bruce Vilanch

Bruce Vilanch Hosts Lexington Fairness

Sunday, June 26th, 2011

Gray, Yates honored by Lexington Fairness
By Herald-Leader Staff Report
Posted: 3:35pm on Jun 26, 2011; Modified: 3:36pm on Jun 26, 2011

Mayor Jim Gray was one of the five community leaders honored Friday night by Lexington Fairness, the gay and lesbian advocacy group, for their efforts to promote equality.

Gray, who is openly gay, received the Ernesto Scorsone Political Leadership Award, which is named for the openly gay Fayette circuit judge.

Former Lexington Vice Mayor Isabel Yates received the Ally for Fairness Award, Tim Burcham and Phillip Marcum received the Jennifer Crossen Out for Fairness Award, and Wayne Clayton received the Fairness Leadership Award.
The event, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, was hosted by Emmy Awardwinning comedian Grammy Award winner Thelma Houston.

Recipients were chosen from a field of nominations submitted by the public.

Read more:

NYC Pride Rally Features Bruce Vilanch, Me’Shell Ndegeocello, Billie Myers. and more…

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010


SummerStage Presents: NYC Pride Rally featuring Me’Shell Ndegeocello , Martha Wash, The New York Gay Men’s Chorus, Vickie Shaw, Billie Myers, Bruce Vilanch and More

Saturday June 19, 2010
Rumsey Playfield – Central Park (NYC)

Strength, virtuosity and joyous revelry reflect the diversity of the LGBT community and the lineup of this incredible evening’s entertainment.

One month after the Stonewall Riots of June 27-29, 1969, about 500 people gathered for a “Gay Power” demonstration. That event, the very first New York City Pride Rally, took place in Washington Square Park and was followed by a candlelight vigil in Sheridan Square. Now in its 42nd year, the Heritage of Pride Rally continues that tradition on the last Sunday in June, providing the City’s LGBT Community with a fabulous launch into Pride Week. This year’s rally, the first at SummerStage, will include performances by Me’Shell Ndegéocello, Martha Wash, The Gay Men’s Chorus, Vickie Shaw, and Billie Myers, hosted by writer and comic, Bruce Vilanch.

Canonized, marginalized or just scrutinized, Me’shell Ndegéocello has given up trying to explain herself. After 20 years in an industry that has called her everything from avant garde to a dying breed, what unquestionably remains is the fearsome bassist, prolific songwriter and the creativity and curiosity of an authentic musical force. With that, she has earned critical acclaim, the unfailing respect of fellow players, songwriters and composers, and the dedication of her diverse, unclassifiable fans.

Like many artists, Martha Wash has felt the ups and downs of the rollercoaster-like music industry. From being the uncredited powerhouse vocalist behind C+C Music Factory’s classic “Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now),” to her Grammy nomination for the cult classic’It’s Raining Men’, to seeing her debut solo single “Carry On” reach the #1 spot – in her own name – Martha has unquestionably made her mark in R&B, in dance, in disco and in music history.

The New York City Gay Men’s Chorus comprises of 250 voices. The Chorus has appeared in Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall. Affirming their world-class status is a roster of classical and contemporary artists who have graced the stages with the Chorus: Marilyn Horne, Roberta Peters, Liza Minnelli, Stephen Sondheim, Barbara Cook, Carol Channing, Jerry Herman, Eartha Kitt, Joel Grey– to name just a few. The New York City Gay Men’s Chorus (NYCGMC) is a member of Gay and Lesbian Association of Choruses (GALA), the world’s only association committed to serving the LGBT choral movement.

Vickie Shaw returns to New York with her slow paced (she’s southern), incredibly endearing, (she’s southern), sharp, don’t mess with her (she’s southern!), comedy. Vickie doesn’t have to go far from home for material – as a recovering SoB (Southern Baptist) and out lesbian mother. She’s successfully raised two sons and a daughter (actually they’re just alive, I’m not sure if that successful), One son, his wife and their three perfect daughters and her daughter and fiancee all live with Vickie and her “husbian” in Sgt. Patch. Her census needed extra postage. Yeah there’s enough material there to fill a few hours. Vickie has performed in almost every State in the US, and had headlined in way too many venues to list here and TV out the YinYang, but trust us, this girl’s been around.

With the success of her hit single’Kiss The Rain’ from the debut record Growing, Pains, Billie Myers has proven her longevity as an artist. Myer’s live performances have been described as “electrifying” by Rolling Stone. She has toured extensively with the likes of Bob Dylan and Savage Garden and starred at Lilith Fair. Myers has worked with industry greats Desmond Child, Junior Vasquez and Peter Q. Harris. The London Times raves “Myers excels at weaving poetic narratives around starkly honest portraits of her life experiences reassuringly long on singer-songwriter talent.” Her new album, Tea & Sympathy, is out now on iTunes.

One of the most sought-after jokesmiths in the entertainment industry, Bruce Vilanch has become a recognizable face in his own right, thanks to the feature-length documentary Get Bruce! and his one-time stint as a regular on Hollywood Squares, for which he also served as head writer. He is perhaps best known as a regular gag-writer for the Academy Awards, which he has done since 1989.

Event Information
Saturday June 19, 2010
4:00 pm – 7:00 pm
All Ages
Cover: FREE

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Bruce Vilanch To Emcee HRC’s (Columbus) 25th Anniversary Gala Dinner

Wednesday, April 16th, 2008

Out In Akron
HRC Columbus unveils 25th Anniversary Gala Dinner

(Columbus) – Today the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Columbus chapter announced that its 25th Anniversary Gala Dinner will take place Saturday, June 21, at the Hyatt Regency Ballroom, 350 N. High St.

This year’s event will celebrate 25 years of progress toward equal rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) Americans. The Gala Dinner will feature a fun evening of entertainment with emcee Bruce Vilanch, the 2008 Equality Award ceremony, as well as an exciting array of speakers, including HRC President Joe Solmonese.

“The gala will be a tremendous opportunity for the GLBT community to come together and remember our history, celebrate the progress we’ve made and look forward to a more hopeful future,” said Ryan Fournier, HRC Columbus Gala Dinner Co-Chair.

Tickets are available for $175 and can be purchased online at or by contacting Box Office Tickets at (800) 494-8497. To learn more about the dinner or to buy tickets, visit

HRC is the largest national gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender political organization with members throughout the country. HRC effectively lobbies Congress, provides campaign support and educates the public to ensure GLBT Americans can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community. For more information, visit [4/16/08]

© 1997-2005 Ethan Interactive, Inc.

WOW! – AIDS Walk New York Raises Record-Setting $6.857 Million

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2007

AIDS Walk New York Raises Record-Setting $6.857 Million
From: PRNewswire-USNewswire | Date: May 22, 2007

NEW YORK, May 22 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/—The 22nd Annual AIDS Walk New York, on Sunday May 20, was the largest and most successful AIDS Walk ever held, setting records for both participation and fundraising. Organizers announced that 45,000 walkers helped to raise a grand total of $6,857,527.

(Photo: )

“New York showed its strong support for Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC),” said AIDS Walk Founder and Producer Craig R. Miller. “We all took to the streets to raise a record-setting $6.8 million to support people living with HIV/AIDS in New York City and to fund the critical HIV prevention programs needed to stop new infections.”

“The phenomenal success of AIDS Walk represents teamwork at its essence. None of us walks alone, and the success of AIDS Walk is a tes tament to our ability to work, walk, and succeed together,” said Marjorie J. Hill, Chief Executive Officer of GMHC. “AIDS Walk is proof that New Yorkers care very deeply about AIDS here in New York City, the epicenter of the AIDS epidemic in the U.S.”

AIDS Walk opening ceremonies featured the participation of Oscar winner Whoopi Goldberg, Grammy winner Cyndi Lauper, T.R. Knight (Grey’s Anatomy), Lance Bass (‘N Sync), Alan Cumming (X2, Cabaret), B.D. Wong (Law & Order: SVU), Jason Steed (Noah’s Arc), and Emmy-winning writer/actor Bruce Vilanch, with special musical performances by the cast of A Chorus Line, and Stephanie J. Block (The Pirate Queen), who sang “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” the AIDS Walk theme song.

AIDS Walk New York benefits GMHC and more than 50 other local AIDS organizations.

“These dollars permit us to provide innovative direct service programs, outreach and education to hundreds of thousands, and fierce public policy leadership at all levels of government,” said Robert E. Bank, Esq., Chief Operating Officer at GMHC. “We are grateful to our corporate and individual donors, media sponsors, and especially to the tens of thousands of New Yorkers who make this event the largest gathering of AIDS activists in the world.”

About GMHC: GMHC is a not-for-profit, volunteer-supported and community- based organization committed to national leadership in the fight against AIDS. Its mission is to reduce the spread of HIV disease, help people with HIV maintain and improve their health and independence, and keep the prevention, treatment and cure of HIV an urgent national and local priority. GMHC provides services and programs to over 15,000 men, women and families that are living with or affected by HIV/AIDS in New York City, and outreach and education to hundreds of thousands throughout the world. For more information about GMHC programs and services, please visit

About MZA Events: AIDS Walk New York was founded in 1986 by Craig R. Miller and his organization of activists, MZA Events. Miller is the originator of the AIDS Walk fundraising model and has raised nearly $300 million for leading AIDS charities nationwide. Miller and MZA have produced this landmark event every spring for the past twenty-two years.

Photo: NewsCom: Archive: Photo Desk,

Gay Men’s Health Crisis

CONTACT: Noel Alicea of GMHC, +1-212-367-1216, cell: +1-917-583-6657; orJoshua Tjaden of AWNY, +1-212-807-9255, cell: +1-917-683-5464

Web site: