After a brief standoff with protesters, the Washington, D.C. Pride Parade festivities finally began filling the streets with music and cheer. It kicked off a weekend of celebration about how far we, the LGBT community, have come. The weekend was also about Protest. A March about how fragile this progress has turned out to be under the current administration, therefore we must rise up.
Initially, the plan was to supplant the pride parade that was typically on the Sunday with a protest. Back in the day, Pride marches were very political but over time that changed. They began to be celebrations as times and attitudes changed. So it made sense to return Pride to its political origins in this particularly difficult time in our nation’s history.
As the weekend grew closer, the celebratory parade was added on the Saturday afternoon, one day before the Protest. So on that afternoon, we gathered to show our pride. The streets were filled with people from all races and walks of life: straights, bisexuals, gays, lesbians, transgenders, and everyone in between across the spectrum of sexual orientations and gender identities Cis and trans joined together to cheer on all the parade participants as they made their way down the streets of Washington D.C. It was a joyous afternoon, and a blast to be there with so many of my good friends celebrating our advances as a community. And celebrating our survival.
The protesters that stalled the celebration had goodness at their center. The group, “No Justice, No Pride” were expressing frustration with the leadership, focus, and certain sponsors of the event’s organizers, Capital Pride. The demands of the group are the following:
“– Unseat and Replace Capital Pride Board with members from historically marginalized communities, Shift power around LGBTQ+ rights from D.C.’s elite to historically marginalized communities, and allow campaigning around critical issues.
– Change the narrative that D.C.’s government and MPD are doing “right” by our communities.
– Create a community of resistance and radicalism around LGBTQ folks.
– Correct the falsehood that Pride would not be possible without corporate sponsorship and branding, and bar from participation all industries that profit from war, detention and incarceration, environmental destruction, evictions, and community displacement.”
Many of these complaints have value and are indeed things we need to have an active dialogue about. They believe that the organization that was handling the weekend’s pride and march were selling themselves to corporations that were not supportive to the cause, and the protesters also felt marginalized within the elite of the organization. As it is in the history of our movement, when we feel unheard and unseen, we protest. And this group did just that. The protestors blocked the parade three times, including in front of the floats of Lockheed Martin and Wells Fargo. Lockheed Martin is a large defense contractor and Wells Fargo has faced controversy for its investments in the Dakota Access Pipeline project. And rightly so, I believe. In my humble opinion.
The protesters handled themselves and their cause as respectful as one group could be to another, from what I am told. They missed the larger and, I think, more important picture of showing a strong front and a great sense of unity in a very threatening polarized America but their complaints have validity. They did the right thing by being transparent and vocal to the parade organization allowing them ample opportunity to create an alternative route if and when the protest began. They did block the road but the police and the organizers already had their detour route planned, so the delay wasn’t as disastrous as it could have been. The protest was met with anger by participants and spectators alike who felt their blockade was disrespectful and dismantled a show of unity. It did change the next day’s headlines from something positIve to something quite different. Unity is what we needed to show the world, but that was not the case in regards to the headlines in the next day’s papers.
This distraction bothers me a great deal but it is a complicated story. One that I’m sure I’m not as educated about as I should be. I felt sad for those parade participants who waited and waited in the hot sun to begin parading down the street, only to find the crowds had dwindled once they finally got out onto the parade route. The heat and the delays had beat the crowds down and although the parade continued well past 9pm, most of the spectators had made their way home to clean up, eat dinner, and gather themselves together to continue the celebration in all the bars and restaurants of Dupont Circle and beyond.
The Equality March was really the reason I found myself in D.C. this weekend. Pride doesn’t interest me as much as the protest. I am as proud as proud can be, but at this moment in time, I find that I am more angry and that I need a release for that emotionally upsetting place I find myself. So I came to D.C. to protest all that is wrong within our current political climate. And I wanted to march with others that were as angry and frustrated as I am.
I remember being here in 1993 for the big LGBT March on Washington. I was involved in a company, Don’t Panic!, that was all about being ‘out’ and ‘proud’. We all came to the protest in support of the cause, and to sell Don’t Panic t-shirts that had slogans boldly printed across the front that read “Nobody Knows I’m Gay” and “Everyone Thinks I’m Straight”. We were there to demand attention to our cry for equality, visibility, and acceptance within the political world and also some support and acknowledgment for a community that was being destroyed by AIDS. We were demanding action from an administration that at least had an aura of hope and support around them. It felt like the Mall was filled with rage and anger, but overall, we felt powerful and empowered being amongst the masses of like-minded others.
The Equality March 2017 brought people from all over to Washington, D.C. to protest once again. We found ourselves back in a similar situation that required us to demand to be seen and heard. There were and are so many reasons to be marching on the White House and the Capital building. Our Rights and our advances are threatened and although this hateful and hate-filled administration may try to turn back time, I hope and have faith that the majority of Americans won’t and can’t step backwards. I hope that we have achieved enough that the new normal is solidified and can’t return back to the old.
So we gathered in D.C. in front of the White House once again. Filled with anger and concern for our safety. And it was thrilling to start the march directly in front of the White House. We were energized and we were angry. We were united and we were many. That image of thousands strong and united against the current administration will be the defining moment for the whole weekend.
But something didn’t go as planned after that initial surge of excitement. Somehow, connecting a protest march; the March for Equality, with Pride took away its strength and sense of purpose. The energy just wasn’t there. After we marched past the White House, the crowd seemed to soften. It was the politest protest, I heard someone say. The intense sun and heat seems to weaken our resolve. We marched but we did not claim the middle of the streets as we have done before, but retreated to the shady sidelines. We stayed out of the brutal sun’s rays and walked in shade when we could find it. And in the end, once we arrived near the Capital, we needed to recover in the shade. The sun had sapped us of our protest energy and we needed to cool down.
Many didn’t brave the heat. They had danced at Pride parties until all hours of the night/morning and never showed up to march. Others filtered away to the (poorly conceived) Pride Festival a few blocks away.
The protest had started off energized at the White House but as it made its way to the Capital, it had lost its protest power, and instead of gaining in size, it dwindled. The Mall should have filled up like a glass of water fed by a stream of Marchers. But the sun’s heat sent everyone scampering for shade or to their home air conditioners. So the mall and the podium that hosted speaker after speaker never grew in size, but felt deserted and ignored. It was not the photo-op that we had wished for.
Many ran off home to get ready for the Pride concert with Miley. Or went to other Pride parties and celebrated rather then listening to protest speeches. The mood on the streets was celebratory, but in the Mall it was just quiet and reserved, not the anger that a protest requires.
I believe the organizers miscalculated. Combining the two events, Pride and Protest seemed like such a wonderful pairing when it was first announced. It made sense, and felt, as least to me, like the grandest of ideas. But maybe we all were wrong. Maybe Pride is something unique, and something to be enjoyed and celebrated, with a whole agenda that sits outside of what a protest is all about. The blazing hot sun did not help the situation, but having a Pride festival blocks away from the Protest podium only caused a diluting effect on the Mall, as did the Pride Concert that was happening later that same day. Most wanted to celebrate, and have fun, and not to listen to angry speeches in the hot bright sun. Those white floorboards did not help either. The moment I stepped out on to them I was blinded by the light and heat, making it impossible to stay and listen. So I retreated once again to the shade of the trees on the sidelines.
I have a feeling that in the future, we must realize that a Protest is a singular event, one that needs to be taken care of and nurtured in its own unique way. Once upon a time, Pride was more powerful but somewhere along the way, it became a party. I see that as a sign that things were moving in a positive direction, but maybe now, we need to return to our roots. At the Equality March, we needed people to be angry, and stay angry. We needed them to shout and not be distracted by competing events and parties. If this march had happened one month or even one week earlier, the crowds would have had one purpose and only one reason to be there. And maybe it would have been cooler and the chance of getting heat stroke slightly less.
Regardless, it was great to be there and be a part of the resistance. I’d do it again, as I think we all will have to, but next time let’s keep Pride prideful and have an Equality March at another time, one where are frustration can be focused. And then, maybe the world will sit up and take notice.
So for more, go to frontmezzjunkies.com
The Marvelous Marilyn Maye Received Twelve Standing Ovations At The New York Pops
Karen Akers, Jim Caruso, Tony Danza, Jamie deRoy, Max von Essen, Melissa Errico, Bob Mackie, Susie Mosher, Sidney Myer, Josh Prince, Lee Roy Reams, Rex Reed, Randy Roberts, Mo Rocca , Mark Sendroff, Lee Roy Reams, Brenda Vaccaro and David Zippel were there to see and honor Cabaret legend and Grammy nominee Marilyn Maye. Maye who turns 95 April 10th, made her at Carnegie Hall solo debut last night with The New York Pops, led by Music Director and Conductor Steven Reineke.
Maye is a highly praised singer, actress, director, arranger, educator, Grammy nominated recording artist and a musical treasure. Her entire life has been committed to the art of song and performance and it showed with the 12 standing ovations she received.
Maye appeared 76 times on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, she was “discovered” by Steve Allen and had a RCA recording contract, seven albums and 34 singles.
The evening started out with the superlative New York Pops Overture of Mame, which Maye had played the title role.
Next a Cole Porter Medley with “Looking at You,” Concentrate On You,” “I Get A Kick Out Of You,” It’s Alright With Me,””Just One of Those Things,” “I’ve Got You Under My Skin,” and “All of You”. This was Marilyn’s second standing ovation. The first was when she stood on that stage for the first time and the audience was rapturous.
A terrific “It’s Today” from Mame with high flying kicks was the third ovation and wow can that woman kick.
A rainbow medley included “Look To The Rainbow” from Finnian’s Rainbow, the iconic “Somewhere Over The Rainbow,” the jazzy “Make Me Rainbows” and of course “The Rainbow Connection.” And with that another standing ovation.
“Put On A Happy Face” from Bye Bye Birdie.
Frank Loesser’s Joey, Joey, Joey brought on a fifth standing ovation. This song was a masterclass in acting and vocal nuance. For that matter every song that comes out of Ms. Maye’s mouth is perfection. Part of the brilliance of this night is her musical director, arranger, and pianist Ted Firth. That man is a genius.
Lerner and Loewe’s “On The Street Where You Live” from My Fair Lady ended the first act with a sixth standing ovation.
The overture from Hello Dolly! and then Cabaret shows Marilyn Maye also starred in opened the second act. The New York Pops sounded phenomenal as always.
“Your Gonna Hear From Me” from “Inside Daisy Clover was an appropriate starter for this next round as the audience got to its feet.
Maye’s most requested song “Guess Who I Saw Today” from New Faces of 1952 was followed by a show stopping “Fifty Percent” from Ballroom and of course another standing ovation.
Her next song was chosen by the Smithsonian Institute to be included in its permanent collection of recordings from the 20th century. Her recording of “Too Late Now” is considered by the Smithsonian to be one of the 110 Best American Compositions of the Twentieth Century and Ms. Maye showed us why and again another standing ovation.
A proclamation from The City of New York read by Steven Reineke to Marilyn Maye made this day Marilyn Maye Day. This treasure cried with joy as she sang Stephen Sondheim’s “I’m Still Here.” Though she forgot some of the lyric, Ms. Maye proved performing is all on the intent and connecting to the audience. Two more standing ovations were added here.
For encores, I was thrilled to hear James Taylor’s “Circle of Life” and “Here’s To Life,” which is my personal favorite, finally going back into “It’s Today” with those high kicks and a twelfth standing ovation. Bravo Ms. Maye!
If you are a singer and do not catch Ms. Maye live, you really do not care about your craft. Last night Ms. Maye made it clear why she’s been celebrated as one of America’s greatest jazz singers for more than 50 years and this was a night I will always remember. Thank-you New York Pops.
Don’t miss the Pop’s 40th Birthday Gala: This One’s For You: The Music Of Barry Manilow on Monday, May 1st. The gala will star Sean Bell, Erich Bergen, Betty Buckley, Charo, Deborah Cox, Danny Kornfeld, Norm Lewis, Melissa Manchester, Zal Owen, Eric Peters, Blake Roman, Billy Stritch, Steven Telsey, Max von Essen, Dionne Warwick, and more to be announced. This will be yet another New York Pop’s Night not to miss.
The Mayor of Times Square Meets One of the World’s Oldest Holocaust Survivors
I arrived to a packed lecture room at a Library in South Florida. This lecture caught my eye weeks prior and I made sure to have it in my calendar. After all, how many more times will I get a chance to hear a 99 year old survivor tell his remarkable story of inconceivable hell, survival and ultimately impressive success? What I heard in the room that day was hard to fathom it wasn’t part of a Spielberg movie with some creative liberty thrown in to embellish an already unbelievable true story. This was the real deal. A vivid description of hell on earth. What I couldn’t understand is how did this survivor go on to create a vibrant family and a very successful business career and not be bitter every day of his life? Equally remarkable is how someone his age could tell a story from 85 years ago as if it happened yesterday and with energy and charisma of someone half his age. He spoke for 45 minutes without a break. Little did anyone in the audience know that, just prior to arriving at the Library, he fell and injured himself, making his perseverance in even making it to the Library even more heroic. This is no ordinary man. I approached the stage after the lecture, patiently awaited my turn to speak with him and asked if I could interview him for my podcast. I am pretty sure he knew little to nothing of what a podcast was, but he agreed as you are about to learn why telling his story over and over is his divine mission.
Sam Ron bears personal witness to the greatest atrocity in human history. He is one of the only remaining Holocaust Survivors his age who survived four concentration camps…and a Death March. He turns 99 in July. His story is remarkable…and he himself is equally as remarkable.
Here’s what you will learn when listening to this World Exclusive interview on The Motivation Show podcast:
-Where did Sam grow up and what was life like before the Germans invaded his country
-How life changed once the Germans invaded and how long did the changes take
-Why and when did Sam and his family decide to go into hiding and where did he hide
-How did Sam end up in the Krakow Ghetto, how was it different than the infamous Warsaw Ghetto, and what took place in the Ghetto
-When did Sam first realize that the Germans were not just transporting Jews to what they disguised as labor camps, but were actually killing them.
-How many times was Sam transported in cattle cars and what was that like
-Which concentration camps was Sam in & what were they like
-What was life like in the concentration camps and why did they move Sam around to different camps
-What is a Death March, why and how did that happen and how did Sam survive it
-What lessons should listeners take away from Sam’s experience
-What does Never Again mean to Sam and why is it so important for him to share this and other Holocaust lessons
You can listen to this interview on any podcast listening app or use this Spotify link: https://open.spotify.com/episode/3KBPe9jhTdYw1iA9UN7UiK WARNING: This interview is GUARANTEED to move you to tears!!!
The Olivier Awards Return
Celebrate the very best in British theatre in a star-studded evening as the Olivier Awards return to the Royal Albert Hall on April 2nd.
Three-time Olivier Award nominee & Primetime Emmy winner, Hannah Waddingham will be hosting the awards for the first time.
The event will feature performances from all of the Best New Musical nominees, including The Band’s Visit, Standing At The Sky’s Edge, Sylvia and Tammy Faye. Also performing will be Oklahoma! and Sister Act, both nominated for the Best Musical Revival award, as well as Disney’s Newsies, which has been nominated for Matt Cole’s choreography.
The multi-Olivier Award winner The Book of Mormon, will be performing to mark its ten-year anniversary in the West End. Additionally, special award winner Arlene Philips will be honored with a tribute from the cast of Grease.
The ceremony will be broadcast live on Magic Radio from 6pm with Ruthie Henshall and Alice Arnold hosting.
The highlights program will also be aired on ITV1 and ITVX at 10:15 pm in the UK and via Official London Theatre’s YouTube channel elsewhere.
And the nominees are:
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