Sunday, June 30, 2013

Pride Celebration Beams with Supreme Approval

I had a blast being part of the 44th annual New York City Gay Pride Parade!  The festive, extraordinary march starts on Manhattan's famed Fifth Avenue and proceeds downtown to the West Village to Christoper Street, past the legendary Stonewall Inn.  The Stonewall Inn is the gay bar the sparked the modern Gay Civil rights movement when Drag Queens and other patron stood up for their rights and fought back against a police raid on the last Sunday in June of 1969.  Since then, every last Sunday in June is the date of Gay Pride Day and the annual celebratory and fabulous New York City LGBT Pride Parade!  This year was especially joyous since the United States Supreme Court struck down two bigoted and discriminatory laws DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act), where the federal government did not recognize same-gender marriage rights, and California's Proposition 8, where a voting ballot took away the civil right for Gay and Lesbian couples to legally wed, even after the California Supreme Court granted them that right.  Both pieces were deemed Unconstitutional and struck down.  This made the Parade and all other LGBT Pride celebrations even more special and delightful this year, giving even more reason to rejoice and celebrate our heritage and pride.  Even the top of the Empire State Building was all aglow in Rainbow lights, symbolizing Pride and celebration of true Equality. 

Friday, June 28, 2013

20th Annual NYC Drag March

I had the most fantastic and invigorating time at the festive 20th annual New York City Drag March with my fabulous friends including members of the NYC Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, Church Ladies for Choice and Radical Faeries on June 28th. The Drag March in New York City emerged 20 years ago at the Stonewall 25 commemoration when the organizing committee for that event asked that Drag and Leather folk leave their usual attire at home.  Instead of buying into this attempt at "normalizing", the Drag March celebrated Gay Spirit in all of its manifestations and became the most authentic celebration of all that Stonewall truly was and is.  It was the Drag Queens who first fought back when the police raided their hangout at the Stonewall Inn on June 27, 1969.  It was the fierce and fabulous queer spirit of Drag that sparked the modern LGBT Civil rights movement and that is what the annual Drag March celebrates and honors. We gathered in Thompkins Square Park in the East Village at 8th Street and Avenue A, where we had an opening ritual.  We then marched through the downtown streets to the site of the Stonewall Inn at 53 Christopher Street in the West Village, where a closing ritual that included dancing, chanting, fun and singing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" took place. 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Cher the Pride!

I was so thrilled to meet Cher backstage at the club Marquee Q on June 27th. Cher gave a special performance celebrating the release of her new single "Woman's World" at the grand opening of the new hot-spot at 289 Tenth Avenue in Chelsea, New York City. 

Cher expressed her appreciation for her Gay fans saying, "I've had ups and downs in my career, and you guys never left me. I was out, I was uncool, I was a has-been, whatever the f**k."  She added "You guys have ALWAYS been there. . . You've keep me in sequins."  And she proved her words by dancing and mingling with us drag divas, club kids and other party-goers.

I had a blast in the VIP area, on the main dance floor and on the catwalk-runway with my "partners in crime" Lovari, Tym Moss and others!  Getting close to such a beloved and legendary icon was the most awesome, amazing experience ever!  

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Mayor's Pride Reception and Equality Rulings

I was so honored and thrilled to make an appearance at the LGBT Pride reception and BBQ held and hosted by the Mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg on June 26th.  The gala was held in the gardens of Gracie Mansion on the banks of the East River on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.  Bloomberg made his entrance on the stage a spacious and lighted garden tent  to Lady Gaga's "Born This Way" as the crowd went wild.  "It is great to be here at the annual Pride Reception to celebrate two great victories," he said, referring to the fantastic news out of the Supreme Court.  Right after the show, a heavy rain started down-pouring for a few moments and then a beautiful rainbow was displayed, adding to the magic of the historic evening. After the Mayor's reception, me and Lovari headed down to the East Village to Club Element to attend another LGBT Pride reception hosted by dear friends Chip Duckett and Ron Lasko of Spin Cycle promotions.  I ended the evening by going to the birthplace of the modern Gay Civil rights movement, The legendary Stonewall Inn, with my buddy Joe Jeffreys of New York University.  The place was jamming all day with the streets outside closed off with celebrants rejoicing the favorable Supreme Court decisions declaring Equality and Justice for Gay citizens.  On such a historic day for Civil rights and Equality, one celebration was clearly not enough!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Everynight's A Party (or Two)

This is the time when we celebrate Gay Pride and Gay culture.  On the last Sunday in June of 1969, Drag Queens and patrons of The Stonewall Inn, a Gay bar in Greenwich Village, New York City, stood up for their rights for the first time in history by rebelling against a Police raid.  Since then, every year at the end of June, we celebrate and honor their spirit and the contributions Gay people have made to the City and to the world.  On Tuesday, June 25th, I had the pleasure of being part of the Gay Pride gala of the Manhattan Borough President, Scott Stringer, held held a joint celebration with department store, Macy's at their flagship store (also the world's largest department store) at Herald Square in New York City.  Honors were bestowed to openly Gay New Anchor at MSNBC and NBC's Today Show Thomas Roberts, recent Tony-Award winning Broadway dance choreographer Jerry Mitchell, whose dance moves were performed in Kinky Boots, La Cage Auc Folles, Full Monty, Gypsy, Hairspray, Rocky Horror Show and more.  After the party at Macy's we headed up to XL nightclub on West 42nd Street to attend the Gay Pride celebration for Out magazine.  I had a huge blast with Village People Cowboy Randy Jones, NYC Council Member Robert Jackson, Erick Bottcher, Anu Singh, Anuj Singal, Hugh Hysell, producer Adam Weinstock, Gerald McCoullouch, photographers Jason Russo and Andrew Werner, and friends from reality TV Long Island Princesses, Mob Wives, Jerseylicious and more!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Mermaid Parade - Fish Fierceness

It was all Fishy Fierceness as I made my appearance with my creative fabulous friends marching in the 31st annual Mermaid Parade and the Boardwalk stage at Coney Island, Brooklyn, New York!  The gaudy and baudy celebration honors the carnival culture of the legendary seaside resort.  Performance artists, rockers, side-show and burlesque performers and others - including politicians and community leaders, got all decked out in seashells, seaweed, fish-tails, fins and glitter as we strutted our stuff down Surf Avenue and The Boardwalk.  This year was especially appreciated since extensive damage from super storm Sandy threatened to not make the happening possible.  But funds were raised and repairs were made, showing we're stronger than the storm - and the show went on!  The weather was beautiful as ocean breezes refreshed the revelers impersonating Mermaids, Mermen, King Neptunes, Sea Nymphs, Sharks, Fish, Pirates, Sailors, Crustaceans and other assorted creatures and beings from the deep blue sea.  I had an ocean blast with my friends recording artist Lovari, photographer Rod Ordonez, designer Geary Marcello, artists Will Chiapella, Lester Blum, Andres Fabian, Tayler, Jerry, Suzy, Belinda, Lola and many others!  This took place on June 22 and happens every year on the first Saturday after the Summer Solstice. 

Monday, June 10, 2013

New York City Council LGBT Pride

We were all honored and proud to among the guests at the New York City Council's Celebration of LGBT Pride at The Great Hall at Cooper Union in New York City on June 10th.  Out City Council Members, Speaker Christine Quinn, Danny Dromm, Rosie Mendez and Jimmy Van Bramer were perfect hosts along with other Council Members including Gale Brewer, Mark Weprin and Letitia James. Harvey Fierstein was there celebrating, even though he had an exciting evening the night before, winning his fifth Tony award on Broadway!  Honorees included Hudson Taylor, founder of Athlete Ally, a non-profit organization dedicated to encouraging athletes, coaches, parents, fans and other members of the Sports Community to respect all individuals involved in sports, regardless of sexual orientation.  He's also a Columbia University Wrestling Coach and on the Sports Project Advisory Board of GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian Straight Education Network.)  Honors were also bestowed to former City Council Member and New York State Senator Tom Duane, the first openly-Gay and openly HIV+ member of both the Council and the Senate. 

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Yo Brooklyn! LGBT Pride

Beautiful Brooklyn, the NYC borough that gave birth to Mae West, Barbara Streisand, Harvey Fierstein and Nathan's Hot Dogs, recently held its 17th annual LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bi and Transgender) Pride Festival and Twilight Parade on June 8th and I was so thrilled and honored to be a part of it all.  The event honored our beloved friend and supporter, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz as the Grand Marshal.  Both the parade and Festival took place on Fifth Avenue in the Park Slope section of Brooklyn.  Other elected officials also joined in on the celebration including NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn, NYC Council Members Danny Dromm and Letitia James, US Congress Member Anthony Weiner, NYC Comptroller Bill Thompson, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, Senator Daniel Squardron and many others. I had a blast with dear friends Stephanie Accardo (Miss Brooklyn 2013), Tom Smith (Brooklyn LGBT Community Center), Pauline Park (NYAGRA), John Derrick-Mitchell (Cheer NY), Ron B ("Tina Turner" tribute artist), dancer Noriel Galiano,  Mark Schulte, Fussy LoMein and many others. 

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Ferry to Staten Island LGBT Pride

June 2013 finally arrived, marking the beginning of LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bi and Transgender) Pride Month.  The very first event in the New York City Metropolitan area is the Staten Island LGBT Pride Parade and Festival and I was thrilled and honored to be a part of it all on June 1st.  The Parade was held on Bay Street and the Festival took place in Thompkinsville Park in the Saint George section of the Island.  I had a wonderful time with NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn, NYC Council Members Danny Dromm (Queens) and Domenic Recchia (Brooklyn), NY State Assembly Member Matt Titone (Staten Island), Staten Island Arts Council President and fierce "Bette Midler" tribute artist Donna Maxon, Mr. Boots & Saddle, Miss Greater New York 2013 Jaime Macchia, Tym Moss of Artists Exposed Radio, Erik Bottcher, Michael Mallon and many others.  We all came together to celebrate diversity and growth as a vibrant, positive and integral piece of Staten Island's neighborhoods and communities on a beautiful summer Saturday afternoon.