Saturday, June 25, 2016

NYC Drag March

Every year in New York City, LGBT Pride Weekend kicks off with an ultra fabulous event called The NYC Drag March.  I loved taking part in this wacky exciting event with my "girlfriends" on, as we strolled from Thompkins Square Park in Manhattan's East Village to the historic Stonewall Inn, which recently became a National Historic Landmark.  At the Stonewall Inn in June of 1969, the Drag Queens were the first to stand up for their rights and fight back against oppression when the police raided the bar and started to harass and arrest customers.  This event sparked the modern Gay Rights movement. The annual NYC Drag recognizes the contributions Drag has given our community and celebrates the colorful diversity and extreme fun that Drag gives to our culture. Thousands of Drag Queens, Drag Kings, Transgender, Gender Queer and friends, family, supporters in all types of gender expression and fantastic couture enjoyed the march on June 25, 2016.



Saturday, June 18, 2016

Mermaid Parade in Coney Island 2016

I was thrilled and honored to be a part of the 34rd annual Mermaid Parade in the legendary seaside resort of Coney Island in Brooklyn, New York City on June 18, 2016.  I was a fabulous Ocean Queen among thousands of Mermaids, Mermen, King Neptunes, Sailors, Pirates, Fish and various other sea creatures. 

The Mermaid Parade is the largest art parade in the nation. A celebration of ancient mythology and honky-tonk rituals of the seaside, it showcases over 3,000 creative individuals from all over the five boroughs and beyond, opening the summer with incredible art, entrepreneurial spirit and community pride. The parade highlights Coney Island Pageantry based on a century of many Coney parades, celebrates the artistic vision of the masses, and ensures that the summer season is a success by bringing hundreds of thousands of people to the amusement area in a single day.  Unlike most parades, this one has no ethnic, religious, or commercial aims. It’s a major New York holiday invented by artists! An American version of the summer-solstice celebration.

 




Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Jersey Candlelight Vigil for Orlando Victims

I was among thousands of people wearing rainbow-colored ribbons while holding lit candles at the Jersey City, New Jersey memorial vigil for the slain victims of the massacre at Pulse, a Gay nightclub in Orlando.  Community leaders and elected officials attended the event to show support including Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop, Senator Sandra Cunningham and Jersey City Council Members Joyce Watterman and Michael Yun. "We are Orlando," said Michael Billy, producer, actor and local gay activist who organized the event. "We are black. We are Hispanic. We are Latino. We are gay. We are lesbian. We are bisexual. We are trans. We are Jersey City."  Also at the vigil were Jonathan Lucas, chair of Hudson Pride Connections Center, Rev. Laurie Wurm, of Grace Church Van Vorst, Christian Fuscarino, the Executive Director of Garden State Equality, activist, actor and recording artist Lovari, Paul Mendoza of InterPride, Trans Activist Babs Casbar Siperstein and many others.  The event packed the Newark Avenue pedestrian plaza in Jersey City on June 14th.  

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Brooklyn LGBTQ Pride 2016

A great time was had by all at the 20th Annual Brooklyn LGBTQ+ Pride Parade on June 11th.  The city's only twilight procession marched down Fifth Avenue in the Park Slope section of Brooklyn, New York!  I had a ball with NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, New York City Public Advocate Letitia "Tish" James, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and my dear friends from the Imperial Court of New York, Summer Strand, Tatyana Monet, Stefani Victoria Sears and Antonio T. Ventura who know how to strut the parade route with style!



 

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

New York City Council LGBTQ Pride

I was thrilled to be at NYC Hall with NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and the seven openly LGBT elected members of the NYC City Council were a gala that celebrated and honored the LGBTQ community of New York City.  Awards were presented to Jennifer Flynn Walker, a co-founder and longtime leader at Voices of Community Activists & Leaders (VOCAL-NY), Charles Rice-Gonzalez, an author and the co-founder of BAAD!, the Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance, Krystal Portalatin, a co-founder of the youth empowerment group FIERCE, Ed Garcia Conde, a blogger who founded Welcome2TheBronx as well as that borough’s first HIV support center, longtime transgender and Democratic Party activist Melissa Sklarz, and the legendary diva Barbara Herr. 

NYC's openly LGBT elected Council members include Rosie Mendez and Corey Johnson from Manhattan, Daniel Dromm and Jimmy Van Bramer from Queens, Ritchie Torres and Jimmy Vacca from The Bronx, and Carlos Menchaca from Brooklyn. Other council members also participated in the festivities. It was so heart-warming to see 5th and 6th grade youth who formed the organization Kids 4 LGBT Rights Now enjoying the celebration. Orlando Cruz, who in 2012 became the first professionally active boxer to come out as Gay, was also there to join in on the fun.  Empress Sugar B. Real and Emperor Tony of ICNY, Cabaret legend Doris Dear of SAG and many others were also enjoying the event held in the City Council Chamber on June 8th. The event was hosted by dear friend Rob B. as "Tina" added fun, glamor and energy to the unforgettable event. 

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Pre-Pride Kick Off in Queens

I absolutely loved being at the Pre-Pride Kick Off party at the beautiful outdoor beer garden space at Studio Square at Kaufman Universal Studios in Long Island City, Queens, New York on June 2nd.  Queens Pride hosted the event with partners NYC Pride, Brooklyn Pride, Pride Center of Staten Island, Chutney Pride, The Caribbean Equality Project, Out Forest Hills, Out Astoria, Out Rockaway and more, starting the 2016 LGBTQ Pride season.   Had a wonderful time with girlfriends Gina Marie Rittale and Anita Buffem of Haus of Mimosa and lots of guyfriends like NYC Council Member Danny Dromm, recording artist Tym Moss, promoter Akash Abraham, Bryan John Ellicot, Lovari and many others. 

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Bronx Borough President LGBT Pride Gala

I was thrilled and honored to be a part of the 6th annual Bronx Borough President & Allies LGBTQ Pride Awards Ceremony hosted by the Bronx Borough President Rubin Diaz Jr..  The event took place on June 1st at Billy's Sports Bar at Yankee Stadium at 58 East 161 Street, The Bronx, New York.  The gala was co-hosted by Out Council Members Ritchie Torres and James Vacca.  Borough President Diaz presented Christine Quinn, the former City Council Speaker and the President and CEO of Women in Need, with the 2016 John Wade Award, recognizing her dedication to public service. My dear drag diva sisters Appolonia Cruz and Vivika Westwood Mugler added a lot of glamour and fun to the evening.  Recording artists Frankie Allday and Tym Moss gave amazing performances. 


 

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Mr. Paddles 2016

On May 18th, at New York City's most exciting BDSM hotspot, the Wednesday night men's party Handsome NYC hosted the "Mr. Paddles 2016" Contest! The event featured an underwear fashion show featuring Modus Vivendi, a contest, and a play party all at the same time!  Sexy full time socialite Andres Fabian hosted hosting the search for the new Titleholder as the current Mr. Paddles Rob Ordonez passed the sash to Michael Russnak!  The evening included myself as a celebrity judge along with Ambrosia Amore, Joe Manetti, Scott Reynolds, Hunteur Vreeland and Jed Ryan. Alexis Flame was MC and official photographer was Lester Blum.  The unforgettable evening took place a the City's most notorious adult playground, Paddles at 250 West 26th Street in the Chelsea section of New York City



Monday, May 16, 2016

AIDS Walk New York 2016

I had a wonderful experience being part of the 31st annual AIDS Walk New York 2016 on May 15, 2016.  The event raised over $4.5 million and drew an enormous crowd of over 30,000 participants.  Hundreds of corporate sponsors, teams, organizations and tens of thousands of individual walkers collectively raised critical funds to support people living with HIV and AIDS and to stop new infections.  The 10-kilometer walk benefits GMHC and nearly 40 other vital AIDS service organization throughout the NYC tri-state area.  The millions raised today demonstrate the true New York values, and American values, of everyone who walked today: compassion for people in need and a deep love of their community.  I had a great time working with my friends from the Imperial Court of NY, Empress Sugar B Real, Emperor Tree, Audra Fox, Miriam Makeda, Tatyana Monet, Stefani Victoria Spears, Zondra Fox, Kevin and many others. 


Saturday, May 7, 2016

Mother's Day at The Ritz

I had a wonderful time making a special appearance and performance at Mommie Dearest, a charity fundraiser that celebrated Mother's Day on May 7th at the legendary nightclub, The Ritz in midtown Manhattan's Times Square area at 369 West 46th Street.  We celebrated all kinds of motherly-love including birth mothers, drag mothers, theater mothers, movie mothers, and all the nurturing and inspiration they provide.  We did this with a fun, camp comedy performance while screening the classic Mother story film of all time, Mommy Dearest.  The wire hangers that decorated the club that evening gave a nice touch.  I live sang the classic "Don't Tell Mama" from Cabaret. Other performers from the Imperial Court of New York included Emperor Tree, Empress Sugar B Real, Emperor Ritz Kraka, Empress Madison Mansfield, Princess QT Pie, Billy Little, Chocolatina Q Dessert, Giovanka De Medici and many others.  The fantastic event provided us all with a mother of a memory! 

Sunday, May 1, 2016

INVISIBLE Media / Art Project

I want to tell you all about this exciting and fascinating new project that friends are working on. Creative director, Vladimir Rios and photographer, Lester Blum have teamed up, once again, to  work on a new photo/video documentary – Invisible.  Last year this team brought focus to HIV/AIDS with their powerful photography narratives – Warrior of Hope and I Still Remember.

Invisible focuses on individuals who either feel invisible themselves or feel that society treats them as invisible because of physical or mental disabilities, disease (HIV/AIDS), age, weight issues, gender, sexuality, etc.  This documentary is an educational piece that will bring awareness to those who feel invisible in a multifaceted presentation of still photography, testaments from the individual as to why they feel invisible or why society treats them as invisible, and a video presentation where the individual will tell their story.

Invisible is scheduled for a gallery exhibit opening in August, 2016 in New York. We are seeking a diversity of individuals to be included in the project who would like to share their story of invisibility. With the presentation of Invisible we would like to increase awareness of how society treats and reacts to people. 

To see some behind the scenes images and learn more about the project, see the Facebook page, Invisible https://www.facebook.com/photographyinvisible/ 

Contact Lester Blum at lbphoto18@gmail.com if you are interested in being part of the project.


Saturday, April 16, 2016

Drag Pageant Showcase Fundraiser

I was so happy to be part of an extra fun Drag Pageant showcase fundraiser that raises capital for the Big Apple Round Up, an organization that supports people who are suffering from addiction and helping those to achieve recovery.  The glamour extravaganza of wigs, gowns, lipstick and sequins attracted hundreds of supporters and took place in a huge theater in the Lab School in the Chelsea section of New York City on April 16, 2016.