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Palm Springs plans to keep Pride alive in 2020

Live, socially distant events coming to the desert

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Ron DeHarte, president of Palm Springs Pride (Photo courtesy DeHarte)

As our coronavirus woes continue onward into the waning months of 2020, with still no certain end in sight, the idea of having a chance to celebrate Pride at all this year – as we know it, anyway – seems more and more like a lost cause.

While it’s been inspiring to see the efforts made by Pride organizations across the nation and the world to take the party to the virtual world, nobody can deny that the opportunity to have at least one real-life, in-person party before the year runs out would feel like a victory. With summer running out, however, and with it the timeframe for most traditional Pride celebrations, it’s become clear that is no longer a reasonable possibility.

Still, there’s still reason to hang on – with managed expectations, of course – to a thread of hope.
For the past five months, the Palm Springs Pride organization has been exploring its options for how to proceed – if at all – with its own Pride festival, which happens annually in November, thanks to the sweltering heat of the desert summer.

Now, after carefully assessing its opportunities for bringing the city’s residents, leisure travelers, and business partners a reimagined, safe, socially distanced Pride Week celebration, Ron deHarte, president and CEO of Greater Palm Springs Pride, tells the Blade the organization is moving forward.
“Supporting our community will come in various platforms this year and we are excited to give supporters of Palm Springs Pride multiple virtual, safe, and socially distanced ways to be involved,” de Harte tells the Blade.

He also is quick to remind everyone that this is still a re-imagined experience, designed to be compatible with life in the Age of Covid.

“During COVID-19, the county, state, and city do not allow any large parties, live entertainment, or for tens of thousands of people to gather for a parade,” deHarte says.

“Even if it was permitted,” he adds, “during this time of crisis who really wants to take a risk and go to a large-scale event or gathering?

What all that means to us is that we still have one more Pride to look forward to, and one more chance to get at least a taste of the kind of community event we have been largely denied in 2020 – even if we will still only be able to enjoy it from afar.

The Palm Springs Pride website has posted a list of planned events for its scheduled dates of November 6-8, 2020). Though it’s preceded by a statement that reasserts deHarte’s stress on working within public health guidelines, it also points out:
“We are watching for updates to state, county and city guidelines and expect to post our list of Pride Week Programs toward the end of August 2020. Of course we know you will understand parties and large gatherings just cannot occur during this health crisis.”

This might be an indication that further plans might still be in the works. In the meantime, the already-listed events reveal some “out-of-the-box” alternatives in the mix that shift the celebration, at least a tiny bit, tentatively back into the real world.

Here’s the line-up announced so far for the free virtual experience:
Friday, Nov. 6:
Flag Raising
Interfaith Pride Kabbalat Shabbat (online) – 6:30 pm
Drive-in Movie Night Nov 6 at the Palm Springs Cultural Center
Light Up The Night – Go Rainbow citywide effort to encourage displaying pink lights and rainbow theme decorations to show solidarity and support for the LGBTQ community

Saturday, Nov. 7 – Pride Car Caravan (free to participate)
10am – Noon, Pride Caravan (no street closures, no floats, no walking only passenger cars following posted traffic laws). Details Coming Soon
Front Runners Pride 5K run and walk (check website for details)
Retail Sales Events – we invite sales promotions with Main Street, Uptown, and Arenas Rd.
Watch online via YouTube and Facebook (details to come)
Drive-in Movie Night at the Palm Springs Cultural Center
Light Up The Night – Go Rainbow citywide effort to encourage displaying pink lights and rainbow theme decorations to show solidarity and support for the LGBTQ community

Sunday, Nov. 8:
Pride KGAY T-Dance (free online event)
Note that details about the Car Caravan – in effect, the reimagined festivals equivalent of a parade – are still forthcoming. It’s likely those details will involve opportunities for individuals, organizations, and businesses to register for participation; it’s also likely that those opportunities will be snatched up fast, so keep checking the Pride website in order to jump on yours quickly.

Also a probable hot ticket is the Drive-in Movie Night (the film to be screened is yet to be announced), another indicator that this old-fashioned all-American outing from our past might be part of the path forward out of the isolation of social distancing; it’s heartening to see this emphasis on progress in the face of obstacles reflected in the plans for the festival, which also includes a plan to “light up the city” with pink and rainbow lights – helping in yet another way to move Pride back into the outside world, at least in spirit, where it has always belonged and where it will surely be able to be again,
As more details emerge about the announced events, along with any additional announcements that come along in the days and weeks ahead, the Blade will keep you updated.

For more information about the Greater Palm Springs Pride organization itself, and how you can become involved as a donor or a sponsor, visit them at pspride.org.

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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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