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CSW unveils plan for virtual Pride, with ‘Parade’ to air live on TV

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Ever since Christopher Street West announced the cancellation of this year’s LA Pride in early May, we’ve been left to wonder if they would find a way to safely celebrate this important community occasion in the world of Covid-19.

The wondering is over.

On Friday morning, CSW – the 501(c)3 non-profit that produces the annual LA Pride Parade and Festival – revealed its plan to air the city’s first-ever virtual Pride Parade through its ongoing partnership with KABC, Southern California’s most-watched television station, and to offer ongoing Pride Month celebrations through a new partnership with iHeartMedia Los Angeles.

In addition, the organization announced the 2020 LA Pride Grand Marshals: CSW and LA Pride co-founder Rev. Troy Perry as Community Grand Marshal, and Project Angel Food, as Organizational Grand Marshal.

In the announcement, CSW says it has “deepened” its partnership with KABC, “to reimagine the 50th anniversary of LA Pride for Angelenos and continue the traditions set by the LA Pride Parade and Festival as one of the biggest pride events in the country each year. This year, the celebration will take place as a virtual festival that pays tribute to the history of LA Pride and celebrates the Los Angeles area’s storied role in the LGBTQ+ civil rights movement.”

Slated to air as a 90-minute primetime special exclusively on ABC7, the virtual festivities will honor the Pride journey through historical vignettes and celebrate the central role of the LGBTQ+ community in the culture and history of Los Angeles. It will spotlight local Queer culture and history through in-depth interviews with unsung heroes and community activists, along with never-before-seen footage of “iconic moments,” dating from “the first-ever permitted Pride parade on Hollywood Blvd. to last year’s unforgettable floats along Santa Monica Blvd. in West Hollywood,” that will “bring to life all the achievements LA’s LGBTQ+ community throughout the years.”

The virtual Pride celebration will include special performances and appearances by Alex Newell, Amara La Negra, Asher Entertainment ft. The House of Ninja, Bob the Drag Queen, Carson Kressley, Erika Jayne, Greyson Chance, Hayley Kiyoko, Jake Borelli, Jordy, Justin Tranter, Lance Bass, Lee Daniels, Leslie Jordan, Megan Hilty & Brian Gallagher, Mj Rodriguez, Neve Campbell, Sandra Bernhard, Shea Diamond, The Pussycat Dolls, Trixie Mattel’s performance (presented by Virgin Fest at Rocco’s), and the cast of the upcoming Hulu series, “Love Victor.”

It will also feature local businesses and non-profits – and Drag Queens, of course – with more participants to be announced.

Longtime LA Pride collaborator JJLA LLC will continue to engage with CSW in the event production and management of LA PRIDE, and will coordinate all talent in collaboration with ABC7.

The event will air on ABC7 Saturday, June 13, from 7:30-9:00pm PT, with an encore presentation on Sunday, June 14, 2020, at 2:00 pm PDT. ABC7 Eyewitness News anchors Ellen Leyva and Brandi Hitt are slated to host, alongside special guest host, actress Raven-Symone.

In addition, CSW also revealed their new multi-year partnership with iHeartMedia Los Angeles and announced it would kick off Pride Month with an #iHeartLAPRIDE LGBTQ+ celebration, presented by Bud Light Seltzer, aimed at bringing Pride celebrations to the comfort of individual’s homes virtually and across social platforms. “50 Years of Pride in LA” will be commemorated across local iHeartMedia stations, including Real 92.3, 104.3 MYFM, KOST 103.5, 102.7 KIIS-FM and ALT 98.7, which will each feature daily vignettes “voiced by on-air personalities, artists, celebrities and members of the LGBTQ+ community” that focus on the history of the LGBTQ+ movement and Pride celebration.

On top of that, every Friday in June, LA radio stations will hold weekly Virtual Pride Parties, presented in partnership with Ready, Set, PrEP, a nationwide HHS program to distribute PrEP for low or no cost to qualified individuals. These events will stream live on the station’s YouTube channels, as well as on “Pride Radio” (featured on the iHeartRadio app). Each of the iHeartMedia Los Angeles radio stations will announce details for these virtual Pride events through the month, but they can also be found right now with the keyword “LA Pride” at  the 104.3 MYFM website.

In any case, dedicated Pride-goers should make plans now to join Lance Bass, Bubble Tap Trailer and Rocco’s West Hollywood for the countdown/pre-party, a “Drive-Through” party happening at Rocco’s on Saturday, June 13th from 12:00pm – 3:00pm. Guests will be able to order and pick up a “party box” ahead of LA’s 50th Anniversary Pride Special, and attendees will receive login info for the Virtual Celebration taking place from 3:00pm-8:00pm, which will feature multiple DJ sets, interactive games and several surprise guests. You can reserve your box in advance at the LA Virtual Pride website.

Finally, in a further celebration of Pride, iHeartRadio Los Angeles and CSW will launch a podcast entitled, “LA Pridecast,” with the first episode to premiere in June. 104.3 MYFM’s Lisa Foxx will host the monthly podcast, which will feature “informative and entertaining conversation that explores the issues and topics relevant to the LGBTQ+ community and its allies.” Each episode, a different member of the Los Angeles community will share, through in-depth conversation, their personal stories of positivity, hope, and truth, “to help others recognize the beauty in differences as well as the often-overlooked similarities.”

CSW promises more details to come in the weeks ahead.

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Out & About

Actor & activist Brandon Kyle Goodman speaks; Hollywood listens

“I’d say to any queer kid – any Black or Brown or Asian kid in art school – keep talking & keep fighting for what you believe in.”

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Brandon Kyle Goodman (Photo by Luke Fontana)

By Alejandro Cervantes | HOLLYWOOD – Brandon Kyle Goodman (they/them) is the voice modern Hollywood needs. In the past three years, they’ve broadcasted a clear and much needed message about the success of diversity and the power of authenticity.

Known to audiences through their memorable performances in Amazon’s poignant anthology series “Modern Love” and the Netflix dance drama “Feel the Beat”, Goodman also writes for the hit Netflix animated series “Big Mouth” and the upcoming spin-off “Human Resources” – where they voice a new (secret) character.

Their solo show, The Latrell show, is written and performed by Goodman and co-directed by Stefanie Black and Devere Rogers in a stunning virtual production for the Iama Theatre. The show and centers around Latrell, a fearless and charismatic talk show host who explores what it means to be Black and queer in America today.

Goodman hopped on a call with The Los Angeles Blade to discuss queer representation in Hollywood, how Oprah can help new artists and of course, “the LATRELL show” – now extended through June 27th.

Describe the character of Latrell, who is he?

Latrell to me has always been this over the top, fabulous, femme, queer Black person who does what he wants, says what he wants, wears what he wants, but also is loving. He can drag you, he shade you, but it’s always out of love.

For “the LATRELL show”, in its iteration today, I wanted to shake that need to take care of the audience. I wanted to actually allow Latrell and myself to have the space to make people uncomfortable and have real conversations, and shake off ‘the magical negro’. If you take away the makeup, take away the jewelry, take away everything that makes Latrell palatable – is he still ‘safe’? The answer is no. 

Was there a moment in your career where you realized you not only have a voice in the industry, but people are listening?

I think that I was always speaking. But I think that I realized that people were actually listening last year. The unfortunate thing is that we only take people seriously when they have a certain number of followers, or a certain cache, or fame, or visibility. 

I would say to anybody in the arts, or any queer kid – any Black or Brown or Asian kid in art school – keep talking and keep honing your voice and keep fighting for what you believe in. It’s Oprah who says it, “luck is when opportunity meets preparation.” All you can do is keep working, keep preparing and when the opportunity comes – it’ll hit.

It sounds like this philosophy applies to “the LATRELL show” – I understand this was a character that you had been using for a while.

I probably have been playing the character for about 10 years. It started in a sketch comedy show, and the character became pretty popular in the shows, so I tried my hand at doing full-on Latrell Shows, which we would say were “part scripted, part improv, all fabulous.”

I think I was reckoning with my sexuality and my gender and trying to find a space where I could exist. So much of what I heard growing up and in the industry was “you’re great, you’re talented, we don’t know what to do with you.” When you hear that enough then you think: I’m going to show you what to do with me. 

And now, 10 years later, having a career for myself, I put a new lens on him and really unpack where he came from and why I needed him. It’s kind of meta, but I think that’s what Latrell was for me as Brandon – a way to see myself with value.

You’re an impressive multi-hyphenate: you’ve got multiple podcasts, you’ve got the solo show, you’re an actor, voice actor and writer – in those Hollywood meetings do you find yourself code switching? Do you find yourself still using the word queer? 

Yes. I made a choice to definitely use queer in all those spaces. I have tried, especially in the last year, to use less code switching. I’ve had that privilege because of visibility, more people know what they’e going to get. There is a privilege in the visibility, cause people are like, “we know who Brandon is”. I don’t feel like I have to shape shift as much. 

But, I will say prior to any visibility, I was shape shifting and code switching quite a bit for safety and for mobility. The reason that I’m so adamant about not doing that now is because I want to make sure I can create a space where other people, who don’t have the same visibility, don’t have to shape shift.

Speaking of representation, what are your thoughts on queer characters being played by straight actors?

I’m vocal about it. I see people debate about how, “everyone should be allowed to play whatever they want.” But that would only work if queer actors and performers and artists are getting the same opportunities as our straight counterparts. It doesn’t work if that’s not happening. 

If everything was equitable and everything was equal then yes we could argue that, but that is not the case. So instead, what’s happening is that straight people get to play queer, but queer people aren’t working. 

Let’s talk about ‘Big Mouth’, Is there a specific moment on the show that you can point to and say, that’s mine and I’m really proud of it?

It’s really, really fucking small but I’m very proud of it, I think it’s the small things that are all that are usually the biggest anyways. In the episode I co-wrote with Mitra Jouhari there’s one scene where Matthew (a gay character voiced by Andrew Rannells) and Aiden (an openly gay character voiced by Zachary Quinto) are having a conversation about straight people and gay things with two friends. And I specified in the script that one of those friends would be Black and one of those friends would be Middle Eastern. 

It was important to me that when we got to this scene, even though these characters only have like three lines, that they were there in the space with Matthew and Aiden. It was really important to me for us to see a Black queer character and a brown queer character that are teenagers, middle schoolers, talking shit and laughing. It’s in Aiden’s living room, so even though we don’t meet Aiden’s mother, you can gather that there’s a safety in his home. 

So what, if anything, can you tell us about “Human Resources”? 

In “Big Mouth” we have our Hormone Monsters and we’ve got the Shame Wizard and the Anxiety Mosquito, “Human Resources” is our way to follow the lives of those creatures, and tell stories that impact adults. “Human Resources” is our way to explore beyond puberty.

So you’re writing on it and you’re also voicing a character?

It’s fucking bananas. I can’t tell you much about character, but I can tell you that he’s fucking awesome.

Alejandro Cervantes is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles.

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Celebrity News

Stage and screen actress Lisa Banes has died after hit and run

The 65 year-old actress was admitted to the ICU at Mount Sinai Morningside hospital in New York with a traumatic brain injury.

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Screen and stage actress Lisa Banes (Screenshot via YouTube E! News)

NEW YORK – Los Angeles resident and critically acclaimed actress Lis Banes died Monday at Mount Sinai Morningside hospital as a result of injuries she suffered stemming from a hit and run accident on June 4, after being struck by an electric scooter, a spokesperson for the NYPD confirmed.

The 65 year-old actress was admitted to the intensive care unit at Mount Sinai Morningside in New York with a traumatic brain injury. According to the NYPD, the actress was crossing Amsterdam Avenue at 64th Street, in a crosswalk near the Juilliard School, at Lincoln Center. The driver left the scene and no arrests have been made.

Banes’s wife, Kathryn Kranhold, a contributing reporter for the Center for Public Integrity, had made a plea “to pray for Lisa” after the accident — and called for anyone with information about the accident to contact police.

“We are heartsick over Lisa’s tragic and senseless passing. She was a woman of great spirit, kindness and generosity and dedicated to her work, whether on stage or in front of a camera and even more so to her wife, family and friends. We were blessed to have had her in our lives,” her manager David Williams said in a statement released Tuesday.

Banes has appeared in numerous television shows and movies, including supporting roles in “Gone Girl” starring Ben Affleck in 2014 and “Cocktail” with Tom Cruise in 1988. On television, she’s had roles on “Nashville,” “Madam Secretary,” “Masters of Sex” and “NCIS.” NBC News Entertainment reported.

Anyone with information about Banes’s death is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). You can also submit a tip via the website or on Twitter, @NYPDTips. All calls are kept confidential.

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Movies

Legendary activist gets his due in ‘Hating Peter Tatchell’

‘Peter’s journey over the past half-century highlights the advances in the gay liberation movement. That gives me hope for the future.’

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Peter Tatchell being arrested in Moscow. (Image courtesy of Wildbear Entertainment)

LONDON – Looking at the fight for LGBTQ equality from inside the bubble of the United States, it’s easy to get the impression that the movement essentially started at Stonewall, and that most of our progress is the result of work from our own homegrown activists. That’s obviously not the case; though there have been plenty of American heroes that have done more than their fair share in the effort, the contributions of others who join the fight on the international front deserve recognition, too.  

“Hating Peter Tatchell,” available now on Netflix, is a great introduction to one of them.

It’s a documentary from director Christopher Amos that chronicles the life and work of a tireless champion for LGBTQ rights – and human rights in general – whose six decades of campaigning have made him simultaneously one of the most lauded and loathed men in the world. He has shaken up the British establishment with his radical acts of civil disobedience, aggressively pushed for change in global attitudes about homosexuality, and stood up against tyrannical world leaders – and he’s done it all from the front lines.

Amos’ brisk but informative film takes us on a tour of Tatchell’s career, bolstered by plenty of archival footage (much of which only exists because Tatchell saved the VHS tapes himself) and given perspective through evocative interviews with the likes of activist Angela Mason, actor Stephen Fry, and Tatchell himself, who also engages in an ongoing conversation with actor and fellow LGBTQ activist Ian McKellen about what motivates his lifelong fight for equality. Along the way, we get insights into Tatchell’s personal life, in particular his relationship with his deeply religious mother. The film culminates with his riskiest crusade yet, the disruption of 2018’s FIFA World Cup in Moscow to draw attention to the persecution of LGBTQ+ people in Russia and Chechnya.

Tatchell, we’re happy to say, survived that journey, and is still fighting tirelessly through the Peter Tatchell Foundation, a small London-based human rights organization that also supports democracy, LGBTQ+ and human rights movements in countries like Russia, Uganda, Iran and Pakistan. But busy as he is, he took time to join director Christopher Amos for a conversation with the Blade about the film.

BLADE: Peter, a lot of hard-working activists often struggle with burnout. How do you find a balance between your activism and your day-to-day life?

PETER TATCHELL: My life has been tough. I’ve campaigned 12+ hours a day for 54 years, been violently assaulted over 300 times and still receive masses of hate mail and death threats, mostly from homophobes and far right extremists. I’m perpetually tired. It’s made relationships difficult to sustain. But I love the human rights work that I do. What motivates and sustains me is my many successes and the positive feedback from the 20,000+ individuals and campaigners that I’ve helped over the last five decades.  

BLADE: Your activism even extends into your relationship with your mom.

TATCHELL: I’ve seen my mother’s regressive views as a challenge and never ceased engaging with her. As a result, she’s been on a journey of growing understanding and acceptance. Although homosexuality is against her Christian beliefs, she doesn’t see it as a major sin. Moreover, she mostly supports my LGBTQ+ work, says LGBTQ people should be treated with respect and has accepted my partner. It shows that patience and perseverance can change hearts and minds.

BLADE: On that subject, the movie features a lot of footage from an era when a lot of people were opposed to your confrontational methods. Some of that persists even in the contemporary interviews. Christopher, was that an intentional choice?

CHRISTOPHER AMOS: As much as I support Peter’s work, achievements, and sensibilities, I knew it was important to also present opposing opinions. It’s important, for progress, to listen to opinions that are different from our own, even when we disagree. And it’s important that we don’t hide history, we can learn from it. When I was watching the hundreds of hours of archives, I was shocked by some of the views which made it onto television talk shows at the time. Hindsight is a powerful way of highlighting just how much progress has been made.

BLADE: In this case, it certainly highlights that some of Peter’s more “radical” positions have been vindicated over the years, in spite of the naysayers. 

AMOS: Peter was ahead of his time. He has a natural instinct for what is fair and equal in society.

BLADE: Is that what drew you to him as a subject for a film?

AMOS: Peter’s activism inspires me, and perhaps identifying with the journey of an Aussie moving to London made his story especially significant to me. We first met in 2000, when I was editor of Bent magazine, and Peter regularly contributed articles. I was always surprised by how many of the LGBTQ community derided his work, despite the huge contribution he was making to advancing our rights. This struck me as an interesting premise for a story about his life, something which adds a layer to the biographical account of his life. I wanted to highlight his achievements but also explore his motivations.

BLADE: What do you want audiences to take away from his story?

AMOS: Peter’s journey over the past half-century highlights the advances in the gay liberation movement. That gives me hope for the future and I hope will give others hope too. But it can also inspire us to take action, to use our voice. I want viewers to be moved, but also feel motivated to carry on this fight for equality. Many people often ask what they can do, but Peter doesn’t wonder, he just does something.

BLADE: Peter, is there an action you’ve taken that you are particularly proud of? 

TATCHELL: I don’t spend much time relishing my successes. Once a victory has been secured, I focus my mind on the next challenge. But I’m pleased that I ambushed Mike Tyson and got him to express his opposition to homophobic discrimination, and that I staged the first LGBT+ protest in a communist country (East Germany, 1973). And also, I twice attempted a citizen’s arrest of the Zimbabwean dictator and homophobe, Robert Mugabe.

BLADE: What do you think is currently the most crucial fight or fights for the future of queer rights?

TATCHELL: In the West, the biggest battles are to ban conversion therapy, defend the trans community and support other progressive movements, like Black Lives Matter and #MeToo. Globally, the main challenge is to decriminalize homosexuality in the 70 countries that still outlaw it, and then to secure legislation against anti-LGBT+ discrimination and hate crimes.

BLADE: What would you say to people who want to become more involved but don’t know where or how to start?

TATCHELL: Join a LGBT+ organization. There is strength in numbers. All our gains are the result of our collective efforts. Don’t accept the world as it is. Dream of what the world could be — and then join with others to help make it happen.

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