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Chicago’s Legacy Walk LGBT History Museum to honor Sylvia Rivera, Vito Russo, October 15, 2016

Wednesday, September 21st, 2016

Windy City Media Group
Chicago’s Legacy Walk LGBT History Museum to honor Sylvia Rivera, Vito Russo
Press Release
Sept. 19, 2016

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Dedicated in 2012, Chicago’s Legacy Walk is the world’s only outdoor LGBT History Museum. This half-mile installation features bronze biographical memorials celebrating the lives of people like Leonard Bernstein, Audre Lorde, Sally Ride, James Baldwin, Jane Addams, Rudolf Nureyev, Frida Kahlo and Alan Turing.

The Legacy Walk’s markers serve as an “outdoor classroom” for bullied LGBTQ youth who come for guided tours in order to learn about historically significant positive LGBT role models whose contributions have made an incalculable difference in the world we share.

On October 15, 2016 they welcome two LGBT activist superstars to the Legacy Walk: transgender icon Sylvia Rivera from the Stonewall Era, and gay film activist/historian Vito Russo, who co-founded both ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) and GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation). Their considerable legacies will soon be added to the 35 incredible stories of achievement which already line the only streetscape of its kind in existence.

This all-day tribute will feature legendary gay activist Cleve Jones, Chicago transgender spokesperson Myles Brady-Davis, Emmy Award-Winning writer-producer-actor Bruce Vilanch, and trans pioneer Judy Bowenwiener, a close personal friend of Sylvia and Marsha P. Johnson from the post-Stonewall Era. Judy will be talking about their involvement as three trans women in New York’s Gay Activist Alliance (GAA). She will be joined by Phillip Raia, who worked with both Vito and Sylvia in GAA in the 1970s. Never have all these people been brought together for a celebration quite like this.

The event will be in three parts:

1-3 p.m.: Opening Reception and Program, Center on Halsted

Transgender activist Myles Brady-Davis, Howard Brown Health, gay activist Cleve Jones, NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt, “Reflecting on the Evolution of Activism across the Decades.”

3-4 p.m.: Legacy Walk Induction Ceremonies, Northalsted Streetscape, featuring the LGBTQ Youth from Lyons Township High School.

Sylvia Rivera Bronze Memorial Dedication, 3656 N. Halsted: Personal reflections of Judy Bowenwiener and Phillip Raia, Sylvia Rivera’s friends.

Vito Russo Bronze Memorial Dedication, 3411 N. Halsted, personal reflections of Bruce Vilanch, Emmy Award-winning writer-producer-actor.

4-6 p.m.: Celebration Party, Sidetrack, 3349 N. Halsted, “Building a New Legacy for the Future of Our Past.”

Tickets for this multi-part event are available for $30, $50, and $100 and include light appetizers and variable bar service. There will also be raffle prizes and door prizes. LGBT people from throughout the metropolitan area are expected to turn out to celebrate this unique Chicago cultural institution—built by our community, for our community—in this salute to the contributions of LGBT people.

TICKETS CAN BE PURCHASED AT:

www.eventbrite.com/e/legacy-walk-dedication-v-tickets-27530936773 .

“Child Of The 70’s” Permanently Featured In The Hollywood Museum Exhibit Reel To Real: Portrayal And Perceptions Of Gays In Hollywood

Friday, September 16th, 2016

ShootOnline
“Child Of The 70’s” Permanently Featured In The Hollywood Museum Exhibit Reel To Real: Portrayal And Perceptions Of Gays In Hollywood
By ShootOnline Staff
Thursday, Sep. 15, 2016

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Michael Vaccarro


Popular international TV and web series “Child of the 70’s” was featured in the Hollywood Museum exhibit “Reel to Real: Portrayals and Perceptions of Gays in Hollywood.”  The landmark, third annual exhibition was developed in alliance with Los Angeles City Councilmember Mitch O’ Farrell to highlight LGBT characters and icons in film and television from Hollywood’s past and present. The “Reel to Real: Portrayal and Perceptions of Gays in Hollywood” exhibit ran at the museum’s historic Max Factor Building in the heart of Hollywood.  This was the first time the show was featured in the exhibit and was simultaneously inducted as a permanent part of it.


“It was such a great honor to be recognized in this exhibit,” says the show’s creator/writer/producer, Michael Vaccaro. “The rest of the cast and I are moved by the museum’s dedication to the gay and lesbian entertainment community.”  Now in its fourth season and seen on OUT TV, “Child of the 70’s” is a parody of and a loving homage to the sitcoms Vaccaro loved growing up in the 1970s.  Vaccaro (“A Play on Words”) portrays the central protagonist of the series, Carlo Perdente, a wannabe actor who is trying to break into the entertainment business by being an assistant to the narcissistic and egomaniacal 1970s TV star KiKi Lawrence played by Ann Walker (“Sordid Lives”).

It also stars a prolific number of actors from film and television during that decade including Susan Olson who played Cindy Brady in “The Brady Bunch,” Ted Lange who played bartender Isaac Washington on “The Love Boat” and Donna Pescow in the title role on “Angie” and Annette in “Saturday Night Fever.”  Additional cast members from the era include Gina Hecht (“Mork and Mindy”), Amy Linker (“Square Pegs”), Carole Ita White (“Laverne and Shirley“) and the original Cowboy from The Village People, Randy Jones.

Additional cast members include Lynne Marie Stewart (“Pee Wee’s Playhouse”), Terry Ray (“From Here On Out”), Duane Boutte (“Carousel”), Geri Jewell (“The Facts of Life”), Sheena Metal (LA Talk Radio icon), comedian Judy Tenuta, Bruce Vilanch (“Hairspray”), Chuck Broadway’s “Evita”), Kat Kramer (“Little Fockers”), Mel England (“Ron and Laura Take Back America”), and Sally Kirkland (“Anna”).

“Child of the 70’s is directed by Tom Pardoe (“It’s Your Move) and co-written by Terrence Moss.  Shooting for season five begins this fall.

For more information on “Child of the 70’s” please visit www.theofficialchildofthe70s.com




Bruce Vilanch Judge At 2016 Stoli Key West Cocktail Classic

Sunday, June 19th, 2016

Out
In Key West With the Best LGBT Bartenders in America
BY GLENN GARNER
FRI, 2016-06-17 17:00

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Last weekend, Stoli hosted 15 LGBT bartenders from across North America for the 2016 Stoli Key West Cocktail Classic. More than just a bartending competition, the winning selection was one-part amazing bartender and one-part amazing cocktail, while showcasing Stoli’s dedication to the community.

For Key West, the competition has become an annual favorite, drawing in visitors from all over for Key West Pride weekend. A local pillar of the LGBT community and visitors for nearly 40 years, the queer-friendly Key West Business Guild welcomed Stoli with open arms.

“Having the Stoli Key West Cocktail Classic attached to our Pride gives us the opportunity to have some very fabulous people come and visit,” said Matt Hon, executive director of the Business Guild. “Having these bartenders who are traveling in from 15 different cities that have never been to Key West before, they’re having their first experience here and finding out how fabulous and gay Key West really is.”

The weekend kicked off with a sunset cruise under a light drizzle of rain. It wasn’t enough to ruin the party though as contestants, friends, and Key West locals filled the deck, dancing with cocktails in hand. It was an intimate mixer that quickly built long distance friendships bound to last for years.

The next day, the competition began at 801 Bourbon Bar where I sat alongside fellow judges, Bruce Vilanch and Jai Rodriguez. The first six contestants took turns winning over the crowd with their high octane personalities and strong but tasty drinks. Next, we made our way a block down to Aqua where six more competitors whipped up their best Stoli concoctions. Nine drinks into my shift as guest judge, I was sure I was about to pass out in Jai’s lap (there are worst places to end up blackout drunk).

With 12 master mixologists narrowed down to six, they progressed to the finals alongside the three fan favorite contestants who won immunity from the preliminaries. In front of a massive audience of Key West Pride goers, they took to an outdoor stage right in the middle of Duval Street and in front of Bourbon Street Pub.

As they pulled out all the stops to impress judges, Bruce Vilanch, Latoya London, Stuart Milk, and local drag superstar, Sushi, the bartenders were critiqued on personality, concept, cocktail appearance, taste, and their overall knowledge of Stoli and Key West.

The competition was followed by performances from Jai and Latoya, which included covers of Nick Jonas and Barbra Streisand as well as some original music. As the tension built, we patiently waited to hear the winners of the third annual Stoli Key West Cocktail Classic.

Crowned in first place for his concoction, the Key West Kitty Kat, Rocky Collins AKA “the last top of Dallas” received the partygoers’ approval (below). Tying for second were Carly Morrison of San Francisco and Thuy Nguyen of Atlanta. Coming in third place, Flawless Shade from Portland, Oregon, was the competition’s first drag competitor.

Earlier in the weekend, Stoli’s National LGBT ambassador, Patrik Gallineaux, gave Out some insight into the significance of the competition:

“It’s all about giving back while having fun and celebrating the unique heritage of bartenders throughout history. I had to drive two hours as a kid to go to my nearest gay bar. That was the first time I ever felt happy and accepted, and for me, the gay bar was a community center. And the bartenders were so stellar. They made me feel safe and accepted.”
Gallineaux’s experience is similar to many. Just that night, the point was made very clear when tragedy struck Orlando. Four hours south at the exact same time, we were drinking and enjoying each other’s company much like those at Pulse were doing.

The next morning, there was an unmistakable heaviness in the air. It felt wrong to wake up and celebrate Pride on a day like that day, but days like that day made Pride so important. We continued with the day’s events as planned but when we hugged our old friends and new acquaintances, we lingered just a bit longer. Instead of just drinking in decadence and debauchery, we were very aware of what we were celebrating.

A Pride Parade of local establishments and the Stoli family marched down Duval Street behind a banner that read “Key West Stands with Orlando.” Afterward, we made our way to La Te Da, a locale where Gallineaux presented two checks to Collins for charities of his choice. (Collins chose the Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS, in Dallas, and Wesley House in Key West.)

Then, we marched to the Atlantic Ocean in silence to honor those who had lost their lives earlier that morning. As we reached the pier, Stuart Milk of the Harvey Milk Foundation stepped to the front to say a few words. I tried to get through the crowd to hear him but the pier was covered in people. I took off my shoes and walked through the water, watching over the side through people’s legs to see this great activist address my community.

With wet sand between my toes, I looked around at my brothers and sisters. All were sharing the same grief. Strangers hugged each other and cried together. It was the first time I’d seen my generation truly come together to support each other.

Child of the 70’s Season 4 Set to Premiere Monday, February 29th 2016 at Pump in West Hollywood

Saturday, February 27th, 2016

Digital Journal
Child of the 70’s Season 4 Set to Premiere Monday, February 29th 2016 at Pump in West Hollywood
February 26, 2016

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Read more: http://www.digitaljournal.com/pr/2850701#ixzz41MWSRGpJ

The brainchild of lead actor Michael Vaccaro, Child of the 70s is the story of Carlos Perdente played by Vaccaro (creator, co-writer, producer, star) who moves to Los Angeles where he meets television star Kiki Lawrence and the egomaniacal owners of a talent agency played by Susan Olsen (The Brady Bunch) and Bruce Vilanch (Writer, Comedian).

Child of the 70s, an homage to sitcoms of the 70s and child stars of the 70s premieres Monday, February 29th 2016 at www.theofficialchildofthe70s.com.

The brainchild of lead actor Michael Vaccaro, Child of the 70s is the story of Carlos Perdente played by Vaccaro (creator, co-writer, producer, star) who moves to Los Angeles where he meets television star Kiki Lawrence and the egomaniacal owners of a talent agency played by Susan Olsen (The Brady Bunch) and Bruce Vilanch (Writer, Comedian).

The webisode series also stars: Ted Lange (The Love Boat), Randy Jones (The Village People ‘original cowboy), Judy Tenuta (comedienne), Kat Kramer (Little Fockers), Sheena Metal (LA Talk Radio host), Amy Linker (Square Pegs), Gina Hecht (Mork and Mindy, Seinfeld), Ann Walker (Sordid Lives), Terry Ray (From Here on Out), Carol Ita White (Laverne and Shirley), Chuck Saculla (Please Don’t Eat the Pansies), Kat Kramer, Jeremiah Caleb, Charlene Geisler, Lorinda Lisitza, Leo Forte and Dr. Ralph Mayer (Executive Producer).

In addition, Child of the 70s has partnered with Friend Movement to champion the anti-bullying cause within the gay/lesbian community.

To learn more about Child of the 70s, please visit www.theofficialchildofthe70s.com.

About Actor and Executive Producer Dr. Ralph Mayer

Child of the 70s is Executive Produced by ‘Hollywood’s Favorite Doctor’ Dr. Ralph Mayer (www.ralphmayermd.com) (Keeping Up with Ralph, Dating in LA): A native Angeleno, Dr. Ralph Mayer finished medical school at UCLA and completed his training at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. His fellowship in Urogynecology at Harbour UCLA Medical Center honed his surgical skills for the complex repairs required to reconstruct and rejuvenate the vagina as the result of trauma at the time of childbirth. In his twenty years of practice, his excellent skills in vagina rejuvenation, labial contouring and minimally invasive procedures are well known in the medical community, having performed thousands of procedures with outstanding clinical results. While maintaining privileges at Cedars Sinai Medical Center, Dr. Mayer has been a prominent figure in Medical Staff Services at the California Hospital Medical Center. He has served as the Department Chair of the OB/GYN department for eight years prior to being appointed Chief of Staff elect. He has also served on numerous committees including credentialing and surgical services. He has surgical duties teaching USC family medicine residents and Cedars Sinai OB/GYN residents. Dr. Ralph Mayer is also an openly gay father of two children.

To learn more about Child of the 70s, please visit www.theofficialchildofthe70s.com.

VILLAIN: DEBLANKS – Up to Some Starry, Bi-Coastal Shenanigans

Thursday, August 6th, 2015

Broadway World
VILLAIN: DEBLANKS – Up to Some Starry, Bi-Coastal Shenanigans
August 5, 2015

Back: Barrett Foa & Billy Mitchell. Front: Bruce Vilanch, Lori Alan, Annaleigh Ashford, Robin Atkin Downes & Daisy Eagan after the performance at Rockwell Table & Stage (LA), benefitting ASPCA. Photo by Jackie Teeple

Villain: DeBlanks has (VERB)_____-ed both coasts in a week! Starring Emmy winners, Tony winners, and an array of the funniest people in show biz, these benefit shows have had audiences (and casts) literally breathless from laughing. Scroll down for photos from last night’s performance at 54 Below and last week’s show at Rockwell Table & Stage in Los Angeles!

The concert at 54 Below benefitted Broadway Cares/ Equity Fights AIDS and starred Tony-nominee Brenda Braxton (Smokey Joe’s Café, Chicago), Kingsley Leggs (Sister Act, The Color Purple), Angela Robinson (OWN Network’s The Haves and the Have Nots, The Color Purple), Trent Armand Kendall (Bat-Boy, Five Guys Named Moe – West End), Carly Hughes (Pippin, Chicago), and Bernard Dotson (Finian’s Rainbow, Chicago).

Proceeds from the performance at Rockwell Table & Stage went to the ASPCA. The evening featured six-time Emmy-winner Bruce Vilanch (Get Bruce!, Hollywood Squares), hilariously versatile Lori Alan (Pixars’s Inside Out, Family Guy), NCIS: Los Angeles’ Barrett Foa (Buyer & Cellar, Avenue Q), Tony-winning funny lady Annaleigh Ashford (Masters of Sex, Kinky Boots), omnipresent voice artist/actor Robin Atkin Downes (How to Train Your Dragon, The Strain), and keenly clever Tony-winner Daisy Eagan (The Secret Garden, Sunday Brunch of Shame).

For more information and upcoming performances, visit VillainDeBlanks.com.

Will Holt ‘Who Wrote ‘Lemon Tree,’ ‘The Me Nobody Knows,’ ‘Platinum’ Dies At 86

Friday, June 5th, 2015

New York Times
Will Holt ‘Who Wrote ‘Lemon Tree,’ ‘The Me Nobody Knows,’ ‘Platinum’ Dies At 86
June 5, 2015

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Will Holt, a songwriter whose lyrics for the 1970 musical “The Me Nobody Knows” were nominated for a Tony Award, and whose Latin-tinged folk song “Lemon Tree” became a musical signpost of the 1960s, covered by myriad artists and finding its way into advertising and the literature of the Vietnam War, died on Sunday in Los Angeles. He was 86.

The death was confirmed by his son, Courtney, who said his father had Alzheimer’s disease.

Mr. Holt spent much of his musical career creating theater projects. They included “The World of Kurt Weill in Song,” an Off Broadway revue that he conceived and performed with the Viennese soprano Martha Schlamme in a handful of different incarnations in 1963 and 1964. He also wrote a pair of one-acts, twinned under the title “That 5 A.M. Jazz,” and produced Off Broadway in 1964, starring James Coco. The first was a playlet in the form of a creation parable, the second a rhythm-and-blues musical set in a Las Vegas hotel suite. Another project Mr. Holt conceived and staged was a tribute to the theater music of Leonard Bernstein in 1965. “A Walk on the Wild Side,” a musical he wrote based on Nelson Algren’s novel of New Orleans, had its premiere in Los Angeles in 1988.

Mr. Holt’s first foray on Broadway — a 1969 musical called “Come Summer,” for which he wrote the book and lyrics — vanished quickly after unfavorable reviews. He had much better success in the 1970s, lending a significant hand to three well-received shows.

The first, “The Me Nobody Knows,” a surprise hit that began Off Broadway, was about city youngsters living in poverty and was based on essays written by New York schoolchildren. Mr. Holt’s lyrics, to a pop-rock score by Gary William Friedman that evoked both pain and hope, were all adapted from the ideas of the original child writers.

“I keep on knocking/No one is there,” Mr. Holt wrote for a plaintive chorus in “Let Me Come In,” a lyric that continues:

Windows are black, and the walls are all bare

I stand in darkness, followed by fear

Tell me I’m dreaming, tell me you’re here

Look through the window, give me some light

Tell me I’m home now, say it’s all right.

Though Mr. Holt failed to win the Tony (Stephen Sondheim did, for “Company”), the show ran on Broadway for nearly a year, first at the Helen Hayes Theater and then at the Longacre. He subsequently wrote the book for “Over Here!,” a 1974 musical about life on the home front during World War II, starring two of the Andrews Sisters, Patty and Maxene, and Ann Reinking. And in 1975, with the actress and singer Linda Hopkins, he conceived and wrote the show “Me and Bessie,” which starred Ms. Hopkins as the blues singer Bessie Smith and ran for more than 450 performances.

Mr. Holt was part of the folk-music revival of the 1950s and ’60s. His melancholy song about the passage of time, “Raspberries, Strawberries,” was a hit for the Kingston Trio. His most enduring song, “Lemon Tree,” was written in Chicago in the late 1950s for a nightclub act he was performing with Dolly Jonah, his wife at the time. The melody was adapted from a Brazilian song, “Meu Limão, Meu Limoeiro,” and it retained its samba-like lilt. Mr. Holt’s lyric tells of a father’s warning about the vicissitudes of love, invoking the title as a metaphor:

But the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat.

Catnip for folk singers of the era (and others, subsequently), the song was recorded by Peter, Paul and Mary, the Kingston Trio, Chad and Jeremy, the Seekers and Trini Lopez. It was appropriated for a television commercial for Pledge, a lemon-scented wood furniture cleaner. And much later, in 1990, in Tim O’Brien’s celebrated novel about the Vietnam War, “The Things They Carried,” one passage testified to the song as an emblem of that era. The narrator recalls a soldier named Lemon, who had stepped on a booby trap and was blown to bits, his remains sprayed onto nearby branches.

“The parts were just hanging there,” Mr. O’Brien wrote, “so Dave Jensen and I were ordered to shinny up and peel him off.”

“The gore was horrible and stays with me,” he continued. “But what wakes me up 20 years later is Dave Jensen singing ‘Lemon Tree’ as we threw down the parts.”

Will Holt — that was his full name — was born in Portland, Me., on April 30, 1929. His father, William, was a doctor. His mother, the former Marjorie Scribner, who played the piano, was the musician in the family.

He attended Phillips-Exeter Academy and Williams College and studied with the folk singer and voice teacher Richard Dyer-Bennet. After traveling for a time in Europe — he found work in a Helsinki nightclub singing cowboy songs — he served in the Air Force. For much of the 1950s he performed in clubs in St. Louis, Las Vegas, New York and elsewhere.

Mr. Holt’s later stage projects included three shows with short Broadway lives: “Music Is,” a 1976 musical adaptation of “Twelfth Night,” for which he wrote the lyrics in a collaboration with the director and book writer George Abbott and the composer Richard Adler; a 1978 musical, “Platinum,” starring Alexis Smith as a film star of the ’40s and ’50s attempting a comeback as a rock singer, for which he wrote the lyrics and, with Bruce Vilanch, the book; and “A Kurt Weill Cabaret” (1979), in which he performed and also translated some of the lyrics.

Ms. Jonah, an actress, died in 1983. In addition to his son, Mr. Holt is survived by his second wife, Dion Alden, and two grandchildren.