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The Hollywood Reporter hosted the inaugural “Raising Our Voices: Setting Hollywood’s Inclusion Agenda” luncheon, presented by Walmart at the Maybourne Beverly Hills on Wednesday, April 20th.

“Raising Our Voices” brings together the industry’s most influential and inspiring executives, storytellers and thought-leaders for a groundbreaking series of discussions on the state and future of Hollywood’s diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) movement.

BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 20: (L-R) Troy Kotsur and Geena Davis attend The Hollywood Reporter’s Raising Our Voices, presented by Walmart, at The Maybourne Beverly Hills on April 20, 2022 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images for The Hollywood Reporter )

During the program, keynote speaker Marlee Matlin (Academy Award-winning actor, star of Apple Studios’ 2022 “Best Picture” Oscar-winner CODA and disability advocate) was introduced by Troy Kotsur (2022 “Best Supporting Actor” Oscar-winner, CODA). During the speech, Matlin discussed the lack of representation of the deaf and disabled community within the entertainment industry and the importance of working together to help amplify these authentic and diverse voices.

Additional key moments from the program included:

  • Bird Runningwater (producer and global Indigenous activist) and Crystal Echo Hawk (President and CEO at IllumiNative) opened the program and discussed the importance of inclusion.
  • Nekesa Mumbi Moody (Editorial Director of The Hollywood Reporter) introduced Geena Davis (Oscar-winning actor, Founder/Chair, The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, The Bentonville Film Festival) who recognized the need for more female inclusion within children and family media and made it her career goal to bring about more diversity and inclusion in front of and behind the camera.
  • Geena Davis introduced Jean Batthany (Walmart Chief Creative Officer) who discussed Walmart’s commitment to driving greater equity and the power of Hollywood to inspire systemic change in society.
  • Rebecca Sun (The Hollywood Reporter’s Senior Editor, Diversity and Inclusion) introduced Dr. Yalda Uhls (UCLA assistant adjunct professor and Founder of the Center for Scholars and Storytellers) who shared details regarding data included in the first inclusion report in 2020 and how diversity affects Hollywood production.
  • Stacey Wilson Hunt (award-winning entertainment journalist) led the State of Inclusion in Hollywood panel, which included questions posed to Alex Schmider (Director of Transgender Representation, GLAAD), Dr. Sharoni Little (Head of Global Inclusion Strategy at CAA), Gloria Calderón Kellett (writer, producer, director and actor), Latasha Gillespie (Head of Global Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Amazon Studios, Prime Video and IMDb), Samata Narra (Senior Vice-President, Equity + Inclusion, Content, Warner Bros. Discovery) and Wilmer Valderrama (actor and activist).
  • Julie Gehrki (Vice President of Philanthropy, Walmart) and Tony Waller (Vice President, Constituent Relations and Racial Equity, Walmart) discussed Walmart’s efforts to advance racial equity and announced a $1 million grant to the Ghetto Film School to create a storytelling training program for Black businesses in partnership with WOCStar Capital.
  • Colleen Bataille (Head of Marketing and Communications, WOCStar Capital) and Ghetto Film School student, Alyse Arteaga discussed how Walmart’s grant allows the organizations to help Black businesses market their companies and secure capital through storytelling, in turn helping to grow their businesses.
  • Carlos Lopez Estrada discussed the Ghetto Film School’s mission to teach its students how to use their voices to tell authentic, impactful stories and how the support from Walmart aligns with this mission.
  • Richie Siegel (Co-founder and President of Inevitable Foundation) and Nic Novicki (Founder and Director of the Easterseals Disability Film Challenge) discussed representation and accommodation for disabled individuals. Novicki also outlined the goals of the Easterseals Disability Film Challenge.
  • Heather Rossi (American Sign Language interpreter and chief ASL consultant on CODA), Jack Jason, Justin Maurer and Rorri Burton acted as interpreters during the program.

Additional notable talent in attendance included Amy Landecker, Daniel Durant and Natalie Morales.


ElizaBeth Taylor is a journalist for Times Square Chronicles and is a frequent guest at film, fashion and art events throughout New York City and Los Angeles due to her stature as The Sensible Socialite.Passionate about people ElizaBeth spent many years working as a travel reporter and television producer after graduating with high honors from University of Southern California. The work has afforded her the opportunity to explore Europe, Russia, South America, Asia, Australia and the Middle East. It has greatly influenced the way in which ElizaBeth sees a story and has created a heightened awareness for the way people around the world live today.


HDRF Launches Week of Hope w/ Southampton Mayor William Manger Jr. & Local High School Athletes



On Thursday, July 27, the Hope for Depression Research Foundation launched the 5th annual Week of Hope, a village-wide effort in Southampton, NY, to raise mental health awareness.  Over 100 businesses will display a large, yellow HOPE balloon in front of their doors to symbolize their commitment to advancing the conversation about mental health. In addition, participating stores provided special hand-outs from HDRF, with the latest information on depression in the U.S. and how to spot signs and symptoms.

Newly elected Southampton Village Mayor William Manger Jr., HDRF founder Audrey Gruss,  and Executive Director Louisa Benton kicked off the campaign by placing the first HOPE balloon in front of the Veronica Beard Southampton store. Mayor Manger, Gruss and Benton were joined by track coach Eddie Arnold and a cadre of teen athletes from Southampton High School to help bring the bright yellow balloons to the store owners including LoveShack Fancy, Ovando, Poupette St. Barth, and Veronica Beard, a major HDRF sponsor.

The Week of Hope also features a Hope Summer Seminar “How to Talk to Friends and Family About Mental Health,” with acclaimed psychiatrist Dr. Samantha Boardman at the Southampton Arts Center on Friday, August 4th. You can learn more here. In addition, now through August 6th, the Veronica Beard store on Main Street will hold Shop for Hope, where ten percent of all purchases will go to HDRF’s life-saving research.

It all culminates with this year’s 8th Annual Southampton Race of Hope on Sunday, August 6 at 8:30 AM around Lake Agawam, a race that attracts over 500 participants to unite and raise funds for depression research. The Co-Grand Marshals of the Race of Hope are Audrey Gruss and Arthur Dunnam, who is an HDRF Advisory Board member and resides in East Hampton. The Teen Grand Marshals of the Race are Grier Hammond Henchy, the 17-year-old daughter of Brooke Shields, and Hayden Lucas, an NYC high school senior and leader of the newly formed HDRF Teen Task Force.

All 100% of revenues from the Race go to groundbreaking research into the root causes of depression in the brain and new and better treatments. To sign up or learn more, please visit the website at


Photo Credit: R. Cole for Rob Rich/


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My View: “Because I Have A Story With Each And Every One Of You”…Richard Jay-Alexander



If you never heard of a restaurant/bar called Milady’s on Prince Street, you’ll know it now!  That’s where Richard Jay-Alexander chose to celebrate his 70th Birthday and it was truly a WOWZA evening…the setting, the food, the peonies, the curated music PLAYLIST (assembled by longtime friend and assistant, Nellie Beavers), the craft cocktails and even a film crew (led by longtime pal, Brian Morgan) in the back, taping BRAVO-style “confessionals” with each guest, about the BIRTHDAY BOY.  The guests in attendance ranged in age and interests, like a perfect jambalaya of an accomplished life.  Even friends from his High School, in Solvay, NY!  The most impressive part of who Richard is was quickly revealed in his post “blowing out the candles of his cake” moment when he looked around the room (clearly moved) and explained that the reason we were all there was, “because I have a story with each and every one of you.”  Needless to say, there was much talent present throughout the room and plenty of legendary New Yorkers, raising a glass to a pretty special guy.  In reality, it is he that entered into our lives and our stories and happily so.  This is how you do it!

































































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Broadway Up Close(R) Dance Workshop



A fun way to get active, learn and have fun: InterContinental New York Times Square has partnered with Broadway Up Close to provide monthly dance workshops. The new series offers the opportunity to learn choreography with current Broadway professionals, and to join them in conversation about their Broadway careers.

Sunday, May 13, 2023 – Broadway Performer Thayne Jasperson (Hamilton, Newsies, Matilda)

All classes are scheduled from 11:00 am to 12:30 pm and include 60 minutes of dance class and 30 minutes to learn and connect.

Following the class, an à la carte lunch menu is provided at The Stinger Cocktail Bar & Kitchen for an additional cost; perfect timing for a matinee performance.

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The New York Pops Red Carpet and You Are There



The New York Pops 40th Birthday Gala was an amazing event. This One’s For You: The Music of Barry Manilow, honored the Grammy, Tony, and Emmy Award-winning icon and was conducted and musically directed by Steven Reineke. The Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage at Carnegie Hall was filled with iconic legends.

Barry Manilow

Barry Manilow

Melissa Manchester

Warren Carlyle


Megan Hilty

Deborah Cox

Norm Lewis

Lillias White

Blake Roman

Zal Owen

Sean Bell

Danny Kornfeld

Steven Telsey

Eric Peters

From The Musical Harmony- Sean Bell, Steven Telsey, Danny Kornfeld, Eric Peters, Zal Owen and Blake Roman

Max von Essen

Eric Bergen

Richard Weitz and Doug Davis

Eric Gabbard and Steven Reineke

alerie Christopher, Joseph Amodeo, Will Nunzita, Rolanda Watts, Sunny Sessa, Max Von Anhalt, Ron Abel and Anthony Nunziata

Kate Saft and Jared Saft

Jacqueline Siegel




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Book Reviews

Chris Hart, Son of Moss Hart And Kitty Carlisle Hart Discusses All



On May 4th between 7-8pm Chris Hart , son of Moss Hart and Kitty Carlisle Hart talks with Foster Hirsch. The talk will be held at the Lambs 5th Floor at 3 West 51st Street. To

Chris Hart

Moss Hart’s Act One was published more than 50 years ago, but for his son, Christopher Hart, the recent stage adaptation is not a belated dusting-off of material from long ago. As a producer and director, Chris Hart has had a steady relationship with his father’s autobiography. “I always read something from Act One to the actors, whenever I am directing any of his plays. It helps them hear his voice before we get started, because the book captures the way he really sounded in life. And it gives the actors a sense of his affection for them – my father was a secret wannabe actor his whole life.”.

Moderator: Honorary Lamb Foster Hirsch, a professor  of film at Brooklyn College and the author of 16 books on film and theater, including The Dark Side of the Screen:Film Noir, A Method to Their Madness: The History of the Actors Studio, and Kurt Weill on Stage: From Berlin to Broadway.

Magda Katz is the collie.

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