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GMCLA soars at Disney Hall

Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles moves forward

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A full house at the Walt Disney Concert hall bore witness to what can only be described as an unfolding resurrection moment for the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles.

As the lights lowered on the sold-out house at the Frank Gehry designed auditorium, considered by many to the be among the finest and most important stages in the world, nearly 300 members of the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles entered the room, slowly, taking to the risers and giving the appearance of a regathering.

The audience welcomed them with thunderous applause.

Then, silence as Gavin Thrasher, the chorus’ interim director took to the podium, lifted his baton in pause, and lowered it.

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“Could be?
Who knows?
There’s something due any day
I will know, right away
Soon as it shows
It may come cannonballing down through the sky
Gleam in its eye
Bright as rose
Who knows?
It’s only just out of reach
Down the block, on the beach
Under a tree
I got a feeling there’s a miracle due
Gonna come true, comin’ to me”

And so began the GMCLA’ 40th Anniversary concert extravaganza, accompanied by members of the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus, Palm Springs Gay Men’s Chorus and nearly two dozen other LGBT choruses from around the nation.

Chrissy Metz, star of NBC’s This is Us and Shoshana Bean, star of Broadway’s Waitress join GMCLA at Walt Disney Concert Hall. (Photo by Troy Masters)

The evening included special performances from Chrissy Metz and Soshana Bean, both of whom brought the house to their feet after spectacular, soulful performances.

The Choruses had gathered to celebrate not only GMCLA but to also acknowledge the 50th Anniversary of Stonewall.

In quick succession Thrasher, who is relocating to New York this month, took the audience on a journey that explored both the mythology and truth of Stonewall, offering voices from the era that called for action against homophobia that defined the times. One chorus member, acting the part of an early activists who called for peaceful assimilation, was followed by other members calling for a more active liberation movement and a debate about who started it, concluding with a declaration that a lesbian did.

Escalating into a cacophony of defiant chants as hundreds of members reenacted the riots, it ended with the tale of the Stonewall riots successful and repeated reassembly of crowds the police in 1969 tried in vain to disperse.

“We will always gather. You can’t keep us down,” declared one of the actors and sending the Chorus on a journey of increasingly celebratory song.

As if to honor the spirit of protest and civil right progress that 1969 is so defined by, the Chorus also pointed out a special guest who had played an instrumental role in those movements and who had played a particularly powerful role in LGBT rights and the AIDS fight; David Mixner, 73, was honored with a rousing rendition of Happy Birthday, regaled by the more than 3,000 people in attendance.

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Executive Director Lou Spisto took to the stage and told the story of the Chorus’ work and strong support for the community and the many education programs it supports, asking the audience for contributions and raising more than $100,000.

Afterward, major donors and community notables gathered at a dinner reception in the lobby for GMCLA’s annual Voice Awards, honoring Mixner and his pioneering work in the community.

Mixner, in an emotional, extemporaneous and inspired speech urged attendees to pay the success of our movement forward.

“We’ve come along way,” he said, “but we must remember to protect our gains and to help those who have less power. We set the standards and now it falls on our shoulders to help others.”

More to come….

A saxophonist, Dave Koz plays “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” in tribute to David Mixner (seated). (Photo courtesy GMCLA)

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California

State of California ends contract with AIDS Healthcare Foundation

State is alleging improper negotiating tactics

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Michael Weinstein, gay news, Washington Blade
AHF founder and CEO Michael Weinstein (Photo by Karen Ocamb)

LOS ANGELES – (The Los Angeles Times) California will no longer contract with a prominent L.A.-based nonprofit, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, to provide healthcare plans for hundreds of HIV-positive patients in Los Angeles County.

The announcement comes after the state accused the foundation of engaging in improper negotiation tactics while negotiating a rate increase.

The group’s founder and leader, Michael Weinstein, rejects those claims, calling the state’s action “pure retaliation.”

The transition announced by the state would affect 770 HIV-positive patients that AIDS Healthcare is contracted to provide care for.

Read the Times piece here: https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-06-30/california-aids-healthcare-foundation-state-contract?utm_id=59781&sfmc_id=967189

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Community Services - PSA

LA County Parks after Dark program celebrates 50th anniversary of Title IX

Parks & Rec offers sport opportunities for girls in flag football, soccer, softball, basketball, lacrosse, cheerleading and volleyball

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Photo Credit: County of Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES – On Thursday, June 23, 2022, 34 participating Parks After Dark (PAD) parks will celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Title IX with a highly anticipated girls’ sports clinic and showcase starting at 6:00 p.m.

More than 1,800 girls, ages 5 to 18 will have the opportunity to learn skills and techniques from various sports such as soccer, lacrosse, softball, basketball and cheerleading. Sports will vary at each park.

In 1972, Title IX, the civil rights legislation that prohibits sex-based discrimination in any school or any other college sports was passed into law to provide equal opportunity, scholarships and participation for girls in sports. In 2022, the department of Parks and Recreation is striving to offer girls sports County-wide to support the vision of Title IX and aiming for gender equity across all sports programs.

“The department’s goal is to provide a safe space dedicated for girls to play, increase opportunities for women coaches and administrators and to provide a positive experience while participating in sports,” says Regina Bradley, LA County Parks and Recreation Sports Manager.

The department currently offers sport opportunities for girls in flag football, soccer, softball, basketball, lacrosse, cheerleading and volleyball.

Parks After Dark is an award-winning program designed to bring communities together by filling park spaces with family-centered activities that transform local parks into summer safe havens. This summer’s program lineup will feature an array of girls’ sports programs to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Title IX, which paved the way to gender equity for girl’s participation in sports.

The L.A. County Parks after Dark program is possible thanks to the generosity of the L.A. County Board of Supervisors – First District Supervisor Hilda L. Solis, Second District Supervisor and Board Chair Holly J. Mitchell, Third District Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, Fourth District Supervisor Janice Hahn and Fifth District Supervisor Kathryn Barger – L.A. County Chief Executive Office, L.A. County Department of Public Social Services, L.A. County Probation Department and many community-based organizations throughout L.A. County.

“Now more than ever, L.A. County families need park spaces to heal from the trauma brought on by COVID-19 combined with the financial stress many people are facing,” L.A. County Parks Executive Director Norma Edith García-González said. “Parks after Dark eliminates barriers to recreational opportunities and introduces families to no cost enriching experiences that promote mental and physical health through fun and games.”

Parks After Dark, launched in 2010, has proven to be a successful prevention and intervention program that provides multiple benefits to vulnerable communities,decreasing violence and crime, and increasing social cohesion and community well-being. In 2018, Parks After Dark was recognized by the National Recreation and Park Association, which presented L.A. County Parks and Recreation with its Best in Innovation award.

For more information on Parks After Dark, visit https://parks.lacounty.gov/PAD.

All PAD parks will host programs on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights from 6:00-10:00PM between June 16th and August 6th:

Jackie Robinson Park – 8773 E. Avenue R, Littlerock

Stephen Sorenson Park – 16801 E. Avenue P, Lake Los Angeles

George Lane Park – 5520 W. Ave L-8, Quartz Hill

Val Verde Community Regional Park – 30300 W. Arlington Rd., Val Verde

El Cariso Community Regional Park – 13100 Hubbard St., Sylmar

Loma Alta Park – 3330 N. Lincoln Ave., Altadena

Pamela County Park – 2236 Goodall Ave., Duarte

Valleydale Park – 5525 N. Lark Ellen Ave., Azusa

Charter Oak Park – 20261 E. Covina Blvd., Covina

San Angelo Park – 245 S. San Angelo Ave., La Puente

Bassett Park – 510 N. Vineland Ave., La Puente

Allen J. Martin Park – 14830 E. Giordano St., La Puente

Rimgrove Park – 747 N. Rimgrove Dr., La Puente

William Steinmetz Park – 1545 S, Stimson Ave., Hacienda Heights

Amigo Park – 5700 S. Juarez Ave., Whittier

Sorenson Park – 11419 Rose Hedge Dr., Whittier

Adventure Park – 10130 S. Gunn Ave., Whittier

Amelia Mayberry Park – 13201 E. Meyer Rd., Whittier

City Terrace Park – 1126 N. Hazard Ave., East Los Angeles

Eugene A. Obregon Park – 4021 E. First St., Los Angeles

Belvedere Community Regional Park – 4914 E. Cesar Chavez Ave., Los Angeles

Ruben Salazar Park – 3864 Whittier Blvd., Los Angeles

Saybrook Park – 6250 E. Northside Dr., East Los Angeles

East Rancho Dominguez Park – 15116 S. Atlantic Ave., Compton

Mona Park – 2291 E. 121st St., Compton

Athens Park – 12603 S. Broadway, Los Angeles

Mary M. Bethune Park – 1244 E. 61st St., Los Angeles

Earvin “Magic” Johnson Park – 905 E. El Segundo Blvd, Los Angeles

Helen Keller Park – 12521 S. Vermont Ave., Los Angeles

Jesse Owens Community Regional Park – 9651 S. Western Ave., Los Angeles

Franklin D. Roosevelt Park – 7600 Graham Ave., Los Angeles

Ted Watkins Memorial Park – 1335 E. 103rd St., Los Angeles

Col. Leon H. Washington Park – 8908 S. Maie Ave., Los Angeles

George Washington Carver Park – 1400 E. 118th St., Los Angeles

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Community Services - PSA

LA County Parks & Rec invites folks to Juneteenth at Jackie Robinson Park

FREE Performances, Guest Speaker Series, Games, Art Displays, Car Exhibits and So Much More this Saturday!

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Photo Credit: County of Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES – It’s Park Time L.A. County! LA County Parks and Recreation invites you to our Juneteenth celebration, on Saturday, June 18th from 10am to 10pm at Jackie Robinson Park (8773 E Avenue R Sun Village).

Juneteenth commemorates the emancipation of enslaved people in the United States; specifically, when former slaves were finally freed in Galveston, Texas, two years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. Though long celebrated within the Black community, Juneteenth was formally made a federal holiday on June 17th, 2021.

The L.A. County Juneteenth Celebrations are possible thanks to the generosity of the L.A. County Board of Supervisors – First District Supervisor Hilda L. Solis, Second District Supervisor and Board Chair Holly J. Mitchell, Third District Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, and Fifth District Supervisor Kathryn Barger – and many community-based organizations throughout L.A. County.

Juneteenth at Jackie Robinson is hosted in partnership with local community organizations. This year’s activities include musical performances, speaker’s series, wellness activities, resource fairs, artist experiences, hands-on children’s activities, video game trucks and so much more.

For more information on Juneteenth celebrations, contact Delmy Villegas-Delgado, Recreation Manager at (626) 369-5141 or at [email protected]

Juneteenth at Jackie Robison is a FREE events with no registration required. Food available onsite at cost by local businesses and vendors.

Please join us at the following parks and celebrate Juneteenth with us this Saturday:

Jackie Robinson Park – 8773 E Avenue R Sun Village from 10 am to 10 pm

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