Tag Archive | "Atlanta"

“I want to be that champion,” Hillary Is Running.

By Dustin Shrader

By now, everyone in the world officially knows what we have all suspected for some time: Hillary Clinton is running for president in 2016.

Announcing her candidacy via Twitter yesterday, Clinton sent the internet into a media frenzy. Celebrities and the LGBT community alike have already voiced their support, ready to be a part of the journey she speaks of in her official announcement video. The two-minute-plus clip follows your average day Americans of all different genders, races and sexual orientations “getting ready” for their future next steps. It is only within the last 45-seconds or so that Mrs. Clinton appears onscreen and proclaims what she is “getting ready” to do. This fresh, innovative way of announcing her candidacy is thoughtful and depicts her understanding of what the American people want.

Yet, the former Secretary of State is already feeling the heat from opposing forces of the anti-Clinton movement, calling her announcement on Twitter “un-presidential” and thoroughly digging their heals into the exhausted subject of her decision to use her personal email for work purposes instead of a government-issued account.

Despite the naysayers, realistically speaking there is no more qualified candidate entering this race. With the impending U.S. Supreme Court decision regarding the national legality of same-sex marriage, Clinton smartly features gay men and women in her campaign video, all while discussing the strength of American families and the need for a champion. With the gay vote seemingly already locked in her favor, the 2016 run might not be much of a race at all.

Click below to watch Hillary’s inspiring message.


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Who Will Be Crowned Sing For Your Life’s Season 3 Winner? Find Out Tonight!

By Dustin Shrader

Don’t forget the Season 3 finale of Sing For Your Life is tonight! The final three contenders are: Brooke Gabey, Sami Michelsen and Trevor Perry. Voting for contestants has closed, but you can still show your support by attending the finale.

Helmed by powerhouse promoter, Barry Brandon, Sing For Your Life is a singing competition that became an immediate hit in Atlanta in late 2012. Because of its fresh, modern format the show resonated instantly with ATL’s local music scene. Since its inception, Sing For Your Life has blossomed “with 200+ live audience members each week, thousands of YouTube hits and local and national coverage, the Top 12 Contestants became Atlanta household names.”

According to Barry Brandon himself, “The idea was simple – a local singing competition formatted after national television shows of the same genre. Backed by live musicians and mentored by industry professionals, contestants receive performance coaching and style consultations in addition to media exposure. Singers have the opportunity to showcase their talents weekly as well as strengthen their online presence by engaging their fans via a social media vote on our website.”

The Top 3 will perform live tonight at Jungle Atlanta. Doors open at 8pm with a $20 cover.

Brooke Gabey


Top 3 Contestant Brooke Gabey.

Trevor Perry


Top 3 Contestant Trevor Perry.


Sami Michelsen


Top 3 Contestant Sami Michelsen.


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Local Gay Dads Host Turn It Up For Change At W-Atlanta Midtown

By Dustin Shrader

Since October 2014, W Hotels Worldwide and the Human Rights Campaign have joined forces to host monthly Turn It Up For Change events at every W location.

20% of the proceeds accrued at each Turn It Up For Change event benefits HRC, in order to continue the fight for marriage equality.

This month’s Turn It Up For Change we’ll be combined with W’s regular Locals We Love event. Locals We Love honors an Atlanta person and/or business etc., highlighting their craft or good works.

For April’s hosts, local gay dads Kordale and Kaleb were chosen. The couple went viral last year after posting a picture of doing their daughter’s hair on Instagram. Their picture inspired national debates regarding LGBT family life and diversity. Since their newfound fame, the two fathers have written a book, “Picture Perfect” and starred in Nikon’s “I Am Generation Image” campaign.


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The event will be mix and mingle style with an opportunity to learn more about HRC and to chat with Kordale and Kaleb personally. HRC will also have a table set up, informing guests about the organization’s upcoming gala and auction.

In addition to meeting some of Atlanta’s finest, there will be delicious bites from W’s restaurant TRACE Atlanta; DJ Ree De La Vega will be keeping the party going spinning some thumping hits and complimentary valet. The night kicks off Thursday, April 9 at 7 PM to 9 PM.

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Hey Girl Hey

Holler Poodles!


“Oh the places we will go.” Gay travel destinations abound and as the summer season creeps upon us, I’m sure you’re all working your bodies out hard to get ready to display your various assets. Yummmmmmm! In my youth (19Aught2) I remember the annual pilgrimage to Pensacola where all the gays and grays would convene on the beach.


I went there several times over the years with friends who were more concerned with their desire to get drunk and naked (now what’s wrong with that?) than my propensity to burn. While not a bad goal, my alabaster skin did not like the sun penetrating its way through my 50 sunblock, tshirt and a tent. I didn’t understand at the time that even with all those protections, the suns rays bounce off every surface and will burn you to a fried chicken crisp if you aren’t diligent about protecting yourself.  I did enjoy the gasps of the people passing by as I lay in my string bikini with a large crustacean between my legs. Red Lobster anyone?


Another time I was performing at a club in Pensacola and will never forget a local girl came in from her day job to get ready for the show. Everyone around was busily doing their makeup and getting ready for the show to start when this unnamed entertainer announced she had to undo her tuck (drag term used to describe the piece of duct tape placed over the penis and pulled back between the legs to hold said penis and balls in place) because she had not removed it all day at work. Ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwww! Needless to say, this story was gonna end in tragedy. The room started to fill up with the smell of ass. And as the smell hit their nostrils, one by one, each entertainer made a hasty retreat to the bar area. I couldn’t figure out why everyone was all of a sudden leaving when DAMMMMNNNNN it hit me like a ton of bricks. When I regained consciousness, I headed for the outside bar area and all the customers were asking what happened. As Wanda Sykes would say… “She sold her ass to the devil!”


I haven’t been back to Pensacola since but I’m sure after tearing that bar down and subsequently burning it, Satan crawled back into his hole. But I’m not bitter!! Y’all have safe travels!!!


Love and lashes,




If you have any questions, comments or feedback, please contact me at maryedith99@gmail.com or on twitter @maryedithpitts

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Georgia’s “Indiana-Style” Bill Stalls, While Protestors March

By Dustin Shrader

Georgia’s  ‘Religious Freedom’ bill has been stalled due to national backlash over Indiana’s own controversial law.

The Senate passed Georgia’s bill within minutes after its initial introduction earlier this month, only to be stalled at the committee stage before closing of last week’s session because of the added anti-discrimination language, which would have allowed the bill to be used against the LGBT community.

The committee canceled yesterday’s meeting to discuss the bill further before the vote was supposed to take place today.

It is unclear at this time if the meeting will be rescheduled. The possibility that the bill was quietly killed as a direct result of Indiana’s backlash is pertinent.

Over 100 opponents against the bill rallied around the Georgia State Capitol earlier today, protesting the bill’s fate with only a few days left in the legislative’s session.

The protestors were heard chanting, “Not in my name! Not in our name! Not in God’s Name!”

Although, the marchers’ message is clear, no word on how it will affect the ultimate outcome.

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Miss Lauren’s Blackjack of Atlanta Defuncts Death Rumors, “I’m Still Alive and Kicking!”

By Dustin Shrader

Contrary to popular belief, Miss Lauren’s Blackjack of Atlanta has not passed away.

In an exclusive quote from the legendary dealer herself, she says, “No, I am still alive and kicking. I am not sure how it got around that I was dead. I do have terminal cancer. I was diagnosed a couple of years ago. Recently, I found out I have to go back into the hospital for surgery. So, maybe that is how the rumor started?  The cancer started out in my small intestine and moved into my lymph nodes. I am taking treatment and feeling great. As of right now, everything is stable and has been for some time. Don’t count me out just yet!”

Miss Lauren hails back from the infamous Backstreet, some 20 years ago. Notable places she has dealt include: Burkhart’s, The Hideaway, Heretic, Tucker Saloon and many others throughout her illustrious career. She does real Vegas-style blackjack, with 30-plus years experience. If you were a one-million-dollar winner in one of her games, she would gift you with one of her t-shirts with her famous catchphrases known as Diddy’s. Some of these include: “The more you drink, the more you win. The more you bet, the more you win.” One of the first to use a t-shirt for one-million-dollar winners, for each table and location at the games you could get your name on a plaque of top winners. She still has every record of every t-shirt won and top place holder.

Currently still at The Tucker Saloon and performing Wednesdays and Thursdays at The Model T, Miss Lauren thanks everyone for the concern and well-wishes.

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NCAA And Broadway Star Audra McDonald Share Disdain Over Indiana’s “Religious Freedom” Bill

By Dustin Shrader

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence’s ill-advised decision to sign the “religious freedom” bill into law has caused quite the uproar with national businesses and celebrity supporters of the LGBT community. This ghastly new legal measure could allow businesses to turn away gay and lesbian customers all in the sake of preserving their “religious” rights.

The NCAA are apprehensive about the bill considering the Final Four tournament will take place there next week. “We are especially concerned about how this legislation could affect our student-athletes and employees,” NCAA President Mark Emmert said in a statement Thursday afternoon.

President Emmert said the NCAA will “work diligently to ensure competitors and visitors at next week’s Final Four are not negatively impacted by this bill.” Emmert also highlighted that the organization, based in Indianapolis of all places, plan to “closely examine the implications of this bill and how it might affect future events as well as our workforce.”

First openly gay basketball player, Jason Collins shared his own understandable disappointment with the signing of the bill. Asking Gov. Pence in a tweet, Collins wondered if it is “going to be legal for someone to discriminate against me & others when we come” to the Final Four.

Perhaps the most outspoken, prominent figure against the bill would have to be six-time Tony Award Winner Audra McDonald. In  a series of tweets, McDonald gave the Indianna governor a virtual tongue lashing.

Audra McDonald, @AudraEqualityMc:


.@GovPenceIN Some in my band are gay & we have 2 gigs in your state next month. Should we call ahead to make sure the hotel accepts us all?

.@GovPenceIN or could you maybe send us a list of where its okay for us to go? Might the law apply to me?(I’m black).

.@GovPenceIN or maybe I should fire my gay band members just to be on the safe side.

.@GovPenceIN Or MAYBE…we need to stick to singing in states that don’t legislate hate?

.@GovPenceIN Or MAYBE I donate the money I make in your state while Im there to organizations that will combat your hateful legislation.

.@GovPenceIN Yep. That’s what I’ll do. Hey @HRC get ready for a little money coming your way from Indiana via me to you! Have at it!


Pence still signed the bill in his office Thursday afternoon. In his own statement, Pence hid behind the right to religious freedom as his reasons for his hate.

“The Constitution of the United States and the Indiana Constitution both provide strong recognition of the freedom of religion but today, many people of faith feel their religious liberty is under attack by government action,” Pence said.

Pence has yet to comment on Indiana’s potential loss of national business and celebrity support.

Photo Credit: aol.com

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HBO Cancels ‘Looking’ After Two Seasons

By Dustin Shrader

Sad news for all of us Looking fans out there. HBO has officially canceled the gay dramedy, not renewing it for a third season. Speculation has run rampant about its fate since the show’s second season finale on Sunday.

Fear not, though, my fellow Patrick, Dom and Agustin shippers, after announcing the cancellation, HBO did offer this little gem in the released statement, “After two years of following Patrick and his tight-knit group of friends as they explored San Francisco in search of love and lasting relationships, HBO will present the final chapter of their journey as a special. We look forward to sharing this adventure with the shows loyal fans.”

The show’s dynamite cast led by Jonathan Groff has been a breath of fresh air in the portrayal of gay characters on television. Not used as sidekicks or a funny punch line, these characters shed light on what life is really like for young and even middle-aged gay men, navigating life and all of its curve-balls, looking for love along the way.

Although it is unfortunate we have barely gotten to know the newer cast members who joined the ensemble this season, such as Mean Girl’s Daniel Franzese, here’s hoping the TV movie will wrap all those loose ends up nicely.

No date has been determined for the release of Looking’s final send off special.

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Alliance Theatre Presents ‘Blues for an Alabama Sky’

By Dustin Shrader

The Alliance Theatre will be presenting its upcoming production of Blues for an Alabama Sky, this marks the 20th anniversary, celebrating the production’s world premiere at the Alliance in 1995.  The play was written by adored Atlanta author and playwright, Pearl Cleage (What I Learned in Paris, The Nacirema Society…) and will be directed by Alliance Theatre Jennings Hertz Artistic Director Susan V. Booth. “Blues for an Alabama Sky is a timeless look at hopeful dreams in the hopeless days of the waning Harlem Renaissance.”  Opening night is Wednesday, April 22, 2015.

Taking place in 1930’s Harlem, Blues depicts the harsh realities wrought by the Great Depression, devastating the upbeat decade of the Harlem Renaissance. Disease and poverty monopolize the inspired bliss that helped to fuel a surge of African-American artists, writers, and luminaries. “Blues is a story with a rich cast of characters, scrambling to survive and make sense of their overlapping personalities, politics, and love. A classic by Atlanta’s own Pearl Cleage, as timely today as when it was conceived.”

The original production included Phylicia Rashad (The Cosby Show) and Bill Nunn (The Spider-Man film trilogy).

“When Susan Booth told me she wanted to direct a 20th anniversary production of Blues for an Alabama Sky my first reaction was surprise at how quickly twenty years passes,” said playwright Pearl Cleage.  “When the play premiered in 1995, my wish was simply for a successful first production.  I’m happy to say that in the 20 years since Blues was commissioned not a single year has passed when the play was not produced on multiple stages across the country.  My own involvement ended after that first production so having a chance to rediscover this play in collaboration with Susan, who is directing it for the very first time, offers us a unique opportunity to create something that is absolutely new. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate!”

The current cast of Blues for an Alabama Sky features Crystal Fox as Angel.  Fox appeared as Evie Madison in the world premiere of Cleage’s play What I Learned in Paris.  Fox’s previous credits include Tyler Perry’s The Haves and the Have Nots (Hanna Young), In the Heat of the Night (Luann Corbin), and the film Driving Miss Daisy (Katie Bell).  “Fox was hand selected by Phylicia Rashad to understudy the role of Angel during the 1996 production and will now play the role for the first time.  The cast also features Thomas Neal Antwon Ghant (Native Guard, A Christmas Carol) as Leland, Tyrone Mitchell Henderson (Angels in America) reprising the role of Guy, which he played opposite Phylicia Rashad in the 1996 production, Tinashe Kajese (Sticky Fly) as Delia, and Keith Randolph Smith (The Whipping Man, God of Carnage) as Sam.”

Blues for an Alabama Sky performances are Tuesday through Thursday at 7:30 pm, Fridays at 8:00 pm, Saturdays at 2:30 pm and 8:00 pm, and Sundays at 2:30 pm and 7:30 pm, April 15 – May 10, 2015.  There will be no 2:30 pm performance on April 18.  There will be no 7:30 pm performance on May 10.

Opening Night is Wednesday, April 22, at 7:30 pm.

Tickets start at $25 and are available at the Woodruff Arts Center Box Office in person or by calling 404.733.5000.  Tickets are also available online at www.alliancetheatre.org/blues.  Discounted rates for groups of 10 or more are available by calling 404.733.4690.  Discounted rates are also available for members of the military, seniors, and students.  The Alliance Theatre is located at the Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree Street, NE, Atlanta, GA 30309, at the corner of Peachtree and 15th Street.

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Openly Gay U.S. Congressman Pens Political Memoir

By Dustin Shrader

As the first member of Congress to voluntarily come out as gay, Barney Frank is a well-known and well-loved political figure.

Frank represented the Fourth Congressional District of Massachusetts for almost fifty years. He also chaired the House Financial Services Committee from 2007 to 2013. Officially, he was the first gay member of Congress who also entered into a same-sex marriage, while still serving in office. Currently, Frank is commentator on MSNBC and resides near Portland, Maine, with his loving husband.

Now, Frank has penned and published his highly-anticipated memoir. According to the press release, “He has a 100% rating from Pro-Choice America, the NAACP, and the Human Rights Campaign, and for two years he was voted the “brainiest”, “funniest”, and “most eloquent” member of the House. He’s the spitfire Barney Frank, and he’s written a political memoir: Frank: A Life in Politics from the Great Society to Same-Sex Marriage that chronicles his decades-long fight against inequality and how the real work of political change gets done.”

The focal point of the book will answer this main question: “How did a disheveled, intellectually combative gay Jew with a thick New Jersey–Massachusetts accent become one of the most effective politicians of his time?”

Frank will be reading, discussing and signing copies of his book on TuesdayApril 14th, at 7PM, at The Carter Center.

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