Posts Tagged ‘filmaking’

Obama signs first major federal gay-rights law

From Yahoo News:

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama on Wednesday signed the first major piece of federal gay rights legislation, a milestone that activists compared to the passage of 1960s civil-rights legislation empowering blacks.

The new law adds acts of violence against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people to the list of federal hate crimes. Gay-rights activists voiced hope that the Obama administration would advance more issues, including legislation to bar workplace discrimination, allow military service and recognize same-sex marriages.

Congress passed the hate crimes protections as an unlikely amendment to this year’s Defense Authorization Act. In a signing ceremony in the White House East Room , Obama said that the gay rights protections represented a “long-awaited change” that would protect people who are victimized because of “who they love . . . or who they are.”

Legislation barring firms from firing employees on the basis of their sexual orientation could win passage in the House of Representativesby year’s end, gay-rights advocates said. More than half of U.S. states currently allow employers such freedom.

Obama has promised to push Congress to repeal the military’s ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy that prohibits being openly gay while serving. A Senate panel is expected to hold a hearing on that issue next month, and legislation could be debated next year.

Gay-rights activists also hope for repeal next year of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which would give federal legitimacy to gay marriagesrecorded in states that allow them.

The amendment signed into law Wednesday was named partly for Matthew Shepard , a 21-year-old student at the University of Wyoming who died after a 1998 beating targeting him because he was gay, and whose parents were instrumental in leading the fight for such legislation. The law also was named for James Byrd Jr. , a black Texas man dragged to his death in a racially motivated killing the same year.

The measure also extends protections to those attacked because of their gender or disability.

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Click to View my Videos!

Click to View my Videos!

Click the picture to see all the videos I took down at the National Equality March… including speeches by  Cynthia Nixon, Dustin Lance Black, Lieutenant Dan Choi, Lady Gaga,  Judy Shepard, the Broadway cast of Hair

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Cynthia Nixon, Judy Gold, Dustin Lance Black, Lieutenant Dan Choi, Gavin Creel, Kristin Chenowith, Lady Gaga, Jonathan Groff, Audra McDonald, Stephen Schwartz, Judy Shepard, Kate Shindle, the Broadway cast of Hair were among just the tiny people that came with the thousands of others!



Neal with Cynthia and Christine - CLICK PICT FOR MORE

Neal with Cynthia and Christine - CLICK PICT FOR MORE

I was on about almost no sleep and I trekked in from Staten Island after having an awesome reunion with my friends who came many different states!  I love my friends and we had a chance to watch a DVD I made for our bus and also from LGBT trivia.  I have to admit I was disappointed my friends didn’t make it. I know we all have different things going on in our lives, but I was especially surprised because their effects all of my friends.  Not one of them went for one reason or another.  I wish I had the support of my friends and it would’ve been nice to have had another hand to hold.  But I understand.

I arrive (wayyyy) early to where Broadway Impact (http://www.broadwayimpact.com/join-us/) had set a destination.  It was amazing to have celebrities give their time, and money to make sure there were FREE busses for anyone that wanted to march!

I arrive around 4am, and they busses didn’t start loading until about 5:30.  Eeek! So I walked around and I finally met some other marchers.  We were all in the same boat- tired but hyped on energy!

After many botched attempts to get onto a major highway, our bus driver FINALLY got us there taking local roads (the truth is, the tolls are extremely high and they did not want to pay them).

After the ride, which was filled with trivia, my video clips, music to pump us up and great fun getting to know each other –we were finally in Washington DC!!

Upon arriving there wasn’t much time to explore because it was time to get in line to march!

After finally finding (and losing) our companions, we ventured to where we would be starting the march.  On the way, we met an eclectic bunch of people.  It was amazing to see the moms, fathers, sons, daughters, brothers, religious leaders and celebrities who came.

Once we get settled and had our fantastic BROADWAY IMPACT banner and signs –there was a buzz because there were so many celebrities filtered in with the masses.  We were told Lady Gaga would be marching with us and to make sure things didn’t get crazy.  Aside from being an incredible moment, it was so cool that celebrities we be taking time from their busy schedules to join us!

As we were getting repositioned, I glanced over and realized we were going to marching not with Lada Gaga after all! Instead, we had the opportunity to march with two amazing people – comedienne extraordinaire Judy Gold and Emmy award and “Sex and the City” favorite Cynthia Nixon!  I was stunned and of course being a HUGEEEEE Sex and the City fan I was blown over!  We march with the cast of Hair and MANY of Broadway’s elite (including Jerry Mitchell, Steven Schwartz)

Marching all over Washington DC, it felt like a movie.  WE were changing things.  I heard great stories about how cool Lady Gaga was to march with as well.

When we got to the rally an incredible feeling came over all of us.  I happened to sit next down next to Cynthia Nixon’s family.  I was in awe of how amazing their family was.  They were so full of love and when Cynthia got up to speak, her family boosted with pride.  I couldn’t help myself, I went over and Christine, Cynthia’s partner, to tell her what an amazing family they had and how it was so great to have such powerful role models like them in the LGBT community.  They truly are the way a family should look.  She was appreciative.  I also thanked Cynthia politely as well.  Throughout the day, they were littered with fans from all over.  Not once did she say “no” about getting in a picture.  After the rally they bought Broadway Impacts dozens of pizzas.  I was so touched by the generosity of not just her but of all the people involved to make this happen.

Over the course of the day, the rally contained the speakers from all over, gay, straight, old and young, notable and people who will be any day now.  The trip back was exhausting but we all shared our pictures, Facebooks and experiences of how we were a part of something BIG.

It truly was a special day.

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Throughout the month of October leading up to the Equality March, we will be saluting people(s) who have made a positive contribution to the LGBT community.

Already, I have looked at Ryan Janek Wolowski, Randy Wicker, the Broadway community, Frenchie Davis, Jerry Mitchell, Brandon Teena, 9 year-old Ethan McNamee, Cleve JonesMarti Cummings from BroadwaySpeaksOut.com , Harvey Milk, Ellen DeGeneres and Matthew Shepard and his family.

OCTOBER 9, 2009



Neal & Michael Musto - 2009 - Click for more MIchael!

Neal & Michael Musto - 2009 - Click for more MIchael!

I was lucky enough to meet his on various occasions and he is such a sweetheart! He is so busy and he made time for the blog!

As if you don’t KNOW!!!

His next book, “Fork on the Left, Knife in The Back” comes out on Alyson
Books in February. It’s a collection like his last one (“La Dolce Musto”), but with some original material.

Perez Hilton gave him  a quote for the book:
“Michael Musto is god!”

The Brilliant and Witty Michael Musto

The Brilliant and Witty Michael Musto

Michael Musto is an American writer who began his professional career at The Village Voice, where he writes the weekly La Dolce Musto celebrity and gossip

He is a recurring guest on several TV shows including Countdown with Keith Olbermann and others on the E! channel. He is
openly gay and is published regularly in several gay publications, including Out Magazine and ShowPeople. He appeared in Cyndi Lauper‘s single “Hey Now (Girls Just Want To Have Fun)“, and as a reporter in the film Garbo Talks.

Musto was named Best Gossip Columnist in a poll conducted by nycsidewalk.com, and in 2002, a UPI profile of Musto called him “one of the wittiest stylists in the English language”. Musto is also known as the author of articles in the Village Voice that cited rumours about the murder of AngelMelendez. The result of this and subsequent publications by Musto regarding the murder brought to attention a case in which police were otherwise uninterested and resulted in the trial and conviction of Michael Alig and Robert “Freez” Riggs.

– – – –

In His Own Words. . .


I am the entertainment columnist for the Village Voice, which involves covering
nightlife, movies, theater, politics, and anything else I’m interested in. I am
deeply attracted to all the types of culture that make New York tick, so my
column is a dizzying whirl of my experiences in all those arenas, told with a
strong first-person touch and lots of humor.

I’m from Brooklyn, a shy only child who grew up to live a dream life.


I grew up with a lot of lies and evasions in the air. No one talked about
gayness back then. If they did, it was only as a sickness and a sin. All the b.s and the cloaking in secrecy made me angry and inspired
me to feel the closet is our worst enemy. All the bigotry also made me despise the inequality we face. Americans deserve equal rights. All Americans. That always struck me as a no-brainer.


It was very different. I knew I was gay, but didn’t know what to do about it. There were no TV shows about it, no out icons, no representation in the media. It seemed like a shameful thing that you had to keep secret. Thank God I moved to Manhattan, because I eventually found out there was a booming, vital life you could have as an out gay.


Hopefully it will become another historic landmark, like the Stonewall rebellion in 1969. It will be considered a massive, vocal organized effort that
called for change and (fingers crossed) got it.

We’ve come a long way, but there’s still so much to fight for, so now is the right time to go for broke and demand total equality, not just dribs and drabs. The passing of Prop 8 was a big impetus. A lot of activists realized they hadn’t been organized enough to battle that properly and horrifically enough it snuck through. That won’t happen again.


Be grateful. You have way more rights, visibility, and icons to look up to than past generations. When I grew up, gay marriage and other rights were not
discussed–no one would waste his breath on something that seemed so off the radar. So enjoy being a gay in the new world. Its fab
to be you! But don’t become complacent and assume you’ve got it all. Keep fighting.

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They fight against same-sex marriage. They fight against funding for AIDS research. They fight against adoption by gay parents. Are they fighting against themselves? Award-winning filmmaker Kirby Dick (HBO’s Oscar®-nominated “Twist of Faith”) takes a look at the hypocrisy of closeted politicians who continually vote against gay rights and actively campaign against the LGBT community they covertly belong to.

An official selection of the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival, OUTRAGE investigates the hidden lives of some of the country’s most powerful policymakers – from now-retired Idaho Senator Larry Craig, to former New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevy – and examines how these and other politicians have inflicted damage on millions of Americans by opposing gay rights. Equally disturbing, the film explores the mainstream media’s complicity in keeping those secrets, despite the growing efforts to “out” them by gay rights organizations and bloggers.

Through a combination of archival news footage and exclusive interviews with politicians and members of the media, OUTRAGE probes the psychology of a double lifestyle, the ethics of outing closeted politicians, and the double standards that the media upholds in its coverage of the sex lives of gay public figures. As Barney Frank, perhaps the best-known openly gay member of Congress explains, “There is a right to privacy, but not a right to hypocrisy. It is very important that the people who make the law be subject to the law.”

The film also spotlights Michael Rogers, a gay activist and founder of blogACTIVE, a Washington, D.C.-based website dedicated to outing closeted public figures. Rogers feels it is necessary to expose the hypocrisy of those who may live one way in public and another way in private, explaining that his work is not about outing people who are gay, but rather about “reporting on individuals who are working against the community that they then expect to protect them.”

Kirby Dick is an award-winning documentary film director whose last release, 2006’s “This Film Is Not Yet Rated,” was a breakthrough investigation of the secretive MPAA film-ratings system. His 2005 HBO film “Twist of Faith” received an Oscar® nomination for Best Documentary Feature. Dick’s other films include “Derrida,” a portrait of the French philosopher, and “Sick: The Life & Death of Bob Flanagan, Supermasochist,” which won the Special Jury Prize at Sundance and the Grand Prize at the LA Film Festival. Among his other HBO/Cinemax credits are 2003’s “Showgirls: Glitz & Angst,” 2001’s “Chain Camera” and 2004’s “The End.”

OUTRAGE was written and directed by Kirby Dick; producer, Amy Ziering; executive producers, Tom Quinn, Jason Janego, Ted Sarandos, Chad H. Griffin, Kimball Stroud, Bruce Brothers and Tectonic Theater Project; co-producer, Tanner King Barklow; editors, Doug Blush and Matthew Clarke; music, Peter Golub. For HBO: senior producer, Nancy Abraham; executive producer, Sheila Nevins.

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Throughout the month of October leading up to the Equality March, we will be saluting people(s) who have made a positive contribution to the LGBT community.

Already, I have looked at Randy Wicker, the Broadway community, Frenchie Davis, Jerry Mitchell, Brandon Teena, 9 year-old Ethan McNamee, Cleve JonesMarti Cummings from
BroadwaySpeaksOut.com , Harvey Milk, Ellen DeGeneres and Matthew Shepard and his family.

October 8, 2009





Ryan Janek Wolowski in DC - Visit His Sites Above

Ryan Janek Wolowski in DC - Visit His Sites Above

Before I share Ryan’s incredible journey, here’s a little tid-bit Ryan shared with me.

“ I am only going there cause I know this will work for your readers and what a big fan you are of the TV show and the film and that is that I have a very small spot in the Sex in the City movie… It is in the scene when Charlotte York jumps up in the restaurant and shouts that Carrie Bradshaw is getting married, I was a socialite doing lunch in the restaurant, had my wardrobe picked out by Patricia Field it was a real NY divo moment for me and I got my SAG Screen Actors Guild credentials for doing the film. The girls were all very professional to work with.

I am finishing up a documentary film called “Love, June” that chronicles the LGBT Pride events that happen right in New York City. I went to eight different events so it also has a rich New York story to it as well as I visit not just Manhattan events but Jackson Heights Queens, Staten Island, Fire Island that will be coming out in 2010.


Ryan Janek Wolowski in DC - Visit His Sites Above

Ryan Janek Wolowski in DC - Visit His Sites Above

Ryan Janek Wolowski is a native New Yorker who has also had the rare experience of living in Poland during the communist regime of the early
1980’s. In the States Ryan has worked professionally in television production and postproduction since 1997. The limitations of telling fair and accurate
stories for major television networks led Ryan to public television in addition to his network television work, where he has been producing a Manhattan based weekly half hour cable show on television since 2006.

Having lived in a communist country where television and media was controlled by government and not by the US advertising dollar, Ryan saw early on how the lack of sharing thoughts, various political viewpoints, fashion and music leads to a society that would become very stagnant and not having the necessary tools for evolving.

Even after the fall of communism. Poland was still not a place that is safe for LGBT persons. In 2005 “The Polish News Agency reported that about a dozen counter demonstrators threw eggs at the gay pride marchers. Some shouted, “We are going to do with you what Hitler did with the Jews.” (Hitler and the Natzis did murder LGBT persons, and they were identified by having to wear pink triangles in concentration camps)

While in Poland Ryan’s mother Theresa Irene Wolowski made sure to have her children learn about what had happened to the Jews, Gays and differently abled by brining  her children directly to the Auschwitz Concentration Camp. Possibly that placed the seed for story telling similar to when a kid visits a haunted house they want to tell all of there friends what they saw.

The difference is when you visit an actual concentration camp the images of what was allowed to happen to human beings never disappear from your thoughts. Right now in some areas of the word Gay persons are still being killed for who they are and in most of the world gay persons are still treated as second class citizens and denied basic rights.

The situation is even worse for transgender folks, digital media though is not the answer to all of this but is a strong powerful tool for education, and enlightenment through entertainment.

As a director, videographer or editor if he can achieve any of those things he will not only have found his voice but the power to be a voice giver and that is what I am continually striving for.

As a survivor of a LGBT biased violent publicly viewed hate crime in Los Angeles California, he cannot accept the fact that a proper investigation has not taken place on the incident.

The attacker had placed a death threat at the scene of the crime on a transgender female Lavana Young Harris, both the attacker and Harris have not been seen since and when he informed the LAPD where they might find people who knew Harris, the LAPD had not even visited or contacted or followed up on any of the leads.

In twenty years when we look back on the National Equality March, he hopes no one forgets that rights have to be fought and lobbied for. Society did not just evolve LGBT people stood up for themselves and when this dose become successful…. there very well will still be oppression, hate and possibly still killings in other cultures of Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender persons and at that point we have to switch hats and become teachers, even if they build a 80 foot wall all around the borders of the United States of America. If we are just talking 20 years from 2009 these will be the early steps for a global march.

The 44th President of the United States of America Barack Hussein Obama has already publicly reached out to the Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Transgender community three times without even completing his first year of administration.

A. June 1, 2009 declaring Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month By The President of the United States ofAmerica a Proclamation sent out by The White House Office of Press Secretary http://www.capitalpride.org/wpcontent/uploads/2009/06/presidentialproclamation.pdf

B. September 28th 2009 including same sex couples in a proclamation on Family Day 2009 sent out by The White House Office of Press Secretary.


http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/Presidential-Proclamation-Family-Day 2009/http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/Presidential-Proclamation-Family-Day-2009/

C. October 10th 2009 in
Washington DC during the National Equality March weekend
Barack Obama to Deliver Keynote Address at the 13th Annual Human Rights Campaign Dinner

If we do not do this now before his first year in office is up, we very well may miss this boat. NOW IS THE TIME! Get on the Bus!

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