Tag Archive | "blondie"

Pride Committee Announces 2012 Grand Marshals

The Atlanta Pride Committee announced the 2012 Grand Marshals for this year’s Pride.

The community nominated more than 50 individuals and organizations who have contributed significantly to the LGBT community in Atlanta and the state. Next week, the APC will announce the Honorary Grand Marshals. These community leaders will be featured in the annual Parade set for at 1 p.m. on Sunday, October 14.

The 2012 Grand Marshals are:

Vandy Beth Glenn
Vandy Beth Glenn is a Georgia native, writer, editor, public speaker, and transwoman. She lives in Decatur, with her partner and four feline dependents. She is a graduate of the University of Georgia. In October 2007, she was fired from her job at the Georgia General Assembly for announcing her intention to change gender from male to female, a move her boss described as “inappropriate.” With the help of Lambda Legal she brought a federal case before the federal court for the Northern District of Georgia and later the federal Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. Both courts—four unanimous judges—described her firing as “illegal” and required the state government to restore her job in December 2011. She has been back under the Gold Dome ever since. She writes and blogs at vandybethglenn.com

Jeff Graham
Jeff is the executive director of Georgia Equality, an organization that works to advance fairness, safety and opportunity for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities throughout Georgia. Jeff began advocating on LGBT and AIDS related issues as a college student in the mid-1980’s and has continued his advocacy on these issues since that time. He has been involved in a wide variety or grassroots and legislative advocacy campaigns and has served as either an executive director or board member to a number of local and national organizations working on issues related to gay and transgender rights, access to healthcare, community empowerment and HIV/AIDS. He is a current board member of Georgians for a Healthy Future and the national Equality Federation, and is a former board member of the Communities Advocating Emergency AIDS Relief (CAEAR) Coalition.

Danny Ingram
Danny Ingram is the national president of the American Veterans for Equal Rights (AVER) and served in the United States Army from 1988 to 1994. Following a 1992 statement made in support of Bill Clinton’s promise to lift the ban, Danny became one of the first soldiers to be discharged from the US military under the then new “Don’t Ask, Dont Tell” law in April 1994, ten days before his ETS date. Sixteen years later, Danny was invited by the Obama White House to attend the Presidential Signing ceremony that repealed the DADT law. Danny serves as Treasurer of the DeKalb County Democratic Party and is a senior business analyst at the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he was the recipient of the 2003 Don Bratcher Human Relations Award in recognition for his work in helping establish domestic partner benefits for University System of Georgia employees. Danny lives in Decatur with his partner, Harry. Highly active in various veterans’ issues, Danny is a life member of AVER, AMVETS, Veterans For Peace, and the Alexander Hamilton Post of the American Legion.

Dr. Julie Kubala
Dr. Julie Kubala is the senior lecturer and director of Undergraduate Studies for the Women’s Studies Institute at Georgia State University. She earned her doctorate from Emory University in 1997 from the Institute of the Liberal Arts, where she focused on feminist and queer theory, literary and cultural criticism, and personal narrative. Dr. Kubala was one of the community members who came together to organize and hold the first Dyke March in Atlanta. She was also an integral part of the formation of what is now the Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Life at Emory University. Last year, she was one of the organizers of the Southeastern Women’s Studies Association Conference in Atlanta and has a history of volunteer work with Estrofest, Cliterati, Amazon Feminist Group, Lesbian Avengers, Queer Progressive Agenda (past), Act Up, MondoHomo, Sisters in Sports, and Girls’ Rock Camp. Currently, she is affiliated with the East Point Possums, Faces of Feminism, Black Out, and the Atlanta Women’s Foundation.

Rev. Joshua Noblitt
Rev. Joshua Noblitt is the Minister of Social Justice at Saint Mark United Methodist Church in Atlanta. His specialized ministry involves leading program and volunteer opportunities related to all social justice issues as well as working in private practice as a licensed marriage and family therapist, mediator and mitigation specialist. Rev. Noblitt completed his Master of Divinity at Emory University in 2004 and his undergraduate studies at Greensboro College in 2000. Rev. Noblitt serves on the Board of Directors for the Reconciling Ministry Network, a national organization that seeks full inclusion for LGBT people in the United Methodist Church, is a member of the Atlanta Police Department LGBT Advisory Board, serves as Vice President of the South Atlanta Civic League, and is a 2011 LEAD Atlanta alumni.

Anita Rae Strange
Anita Rae Strange, also known as Blondie, has been an entertainer for over 30 years and began her career at the Clermont Lounge, where she still performs today. Known for her “tough-as-nails” persona, Anita Rae is a passionate activist around HIV/AIDS causes and is a tireless advocate for LGBT rights while struggling against economic hardship and health concerns. She is a symbol of perseverance for many people who look to her for inspiration as she continues to entertain despite the racial stigma, which surrounded her for much of her career as one of the only African-American performers at a predominately white club, and aging. The subject of the documentary “AKA Blondie,” Anita Rae has a cult following with many LGBT fans and admirers and is gaining wider attention as the documentary makes it rounds on the film festival circuit.

Alpha Chapter of Sigma Omega Phi Fraternity Inc.
The national fraternity Sigma Omega Phi was founded in 2008. Atlanta is the national headquarters as well as the home of the Alpha Chapter. The fraternity is for all masculine-identified gay females also known as Studs, AGs, Doms, Butch, Masculine of Center, Masculine Queer, etc. Members feed the hungry and provide blankets to the homeless in winter. They tutor masculine-identified gay females with studying for their GEDs through their national program, the SCHOLAR Program. Additionally, the group hosts several of the fourth Thursday Real Bois Talk Health program discussion groups. They have helped several masculine-identified homeless youths. They routinely serve as volunteers for several of the LGBT community large events along with developing and helping each member grow.

The Armorettes
For more than 33 years, the Armorettes have been premier fundraisers for HIV/AIDS in the gay and lesbian community while providing camp entertainment. They have raised well over $1.9 million for AIDS support services. Over 70 men have donned drag to help raise money for this worthwhile cause as members of the Infamous Camp Drag Queens of the South. Each member of the troupe, from the original cast of seven to the current cast, has dedicated a part of his or her life to serving causes in the gay and lesbian community. Raising money, awareness of issues, and providing a good time to anyone who would spend a Sunday night with them has always been their aim. From the original Homecoming event that raised just over $2,000 for AID Atlanta to the current cast of tireless volunteers who are committed to many community causes, the Armorettes continue their legacy of service. The Armorettes perform every Sunday at Burkhart’s at 8 p.m. and every third Saturday of the month at The Heretic Backroom Burlesque Show.

For more information about Pride, please click HERE.

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Atlanta Film Festival Goes Gay

Films about lesbians, drag queens and an Atlanta stripper! Oh my!

The Atlanta Film Festival begins today through April 1 and offers plenty of films sure to be popular with the LGBT community. Olympia Dukakis and Brenda Fricker star in “Cloudburst” as a lesbian couple who hit the road Thelma and Louise-style in an effort

Film "Cloudburst" starring Olympia Dukakis and Brenda Fricker

Olympia Dukakis and Brenda Fricker in "Cloudburst"

to get married. The documentary “Glitterboys & Ganglands” follows three contestants through the prelim rounds of a drag competition in South Africa. Drag diva Varla Jean Merman attempts to appeal to a younger audience in the mockumentary “Varla Jean & The Mushroomheads.” And, last but not least, “AKA Blondie” tells the intimate story of Atlanta’s famous exotic dancer known for crushing beer cans with her boobs. According to the festival’s web site, online tickets for “AKA Blondie” are sold out, so you’ll have to pull some strings to see it.

We spoke with Atlanta Film Festival Director Christopher Escobar about the week-long film fest and how Atlanta’s gay community plays a part in the film selections.

Fenuxe: How big is the festival this year?
Christopher: We’re playing more films this year than we ever have. We’re playing about 220 films and that has a little bit to do with the fact that we had about 500 more submissions than we’ve had in 36 years. Over 50 of those have local connections, which is also a record number. In addition to the awesome screenings and Q&A’s, there are some terrific parties, receptions and performances for those who are interested in learning more about the industry.

Fenuxe: What do you look for when selecting films for the festival?
Christopher: We’re looking for films and stories that are genuine and different. That can be in the story, the subject or the characters. We’re looking for something that makes us wide-eyed. We’re movie lovers just like the people who we program films for. We’re looking for films that get our attention. Sometimes we’re looking through the eyes of a middle aged mother and sometimes we’re looking through the eyes of a 21-year-old indie rock lover. We have to put different lenses on. We look for films that really strike us and that are new and interesting.

Blondie, Atlanta's famous stripper from the Clermont Lounge

"AKA Blondie" tells the story of Atlanta's most famous stripper

Fenuxe: Does Atlanta’s gay community factor into your film selections?
Christopher: It totally does. We were the original producers of Out on Film. I refer to it as our child that grew up and moved out of the house. We’re a 36-year-old non-profit, and Out on Film has been going on for two decades now and it’s since spun off and become it’s own non-profit. We’re extremely proud to have helped get that launched. We’re even more proud to see all the great programming and the great things that they’re doing. During the Atlanta Film Festival, as part of tradition, we host the Pink Peach Series, which features a number of feature-length LGBT films and shorts. One of the big ones we have is “Cloudburst” with Olympia Dukakis, which is a little bit like the movie “Thelma and Louise” but with lesbians. It’s a really great film, and it’s getting a lot of excitement. It obviously has an Oscar-winning actress in it. So the Pink Peach is a staple and a longtime tradition and will continue to be for the Atlanta Film Festival.

Fenuxe: What can you tell us about some of the LGBT-geared selections?
Christopher: “Glitterboys & Ganglands” focuses on the Princess Glamour girl Kat, and it’s really a character piece on Kat’s life as a cabaret star. It’s very much a bio piece. “AKA Blondie” is sort of similar but with someone who is an Atlanta celebrity. She’s a stripper at Clermont Lounge, and the film talks about her sexual escapades and her lack of luck in relationships and how she’s simultaneously jaded and hopeful. It’s a really interesting piece. You don’t typically see character pieces done on strippers. With “Varla Jean and the Mushroomheads” you sort of think of “Waiting for Guffman” by Christopher Guest but set in a drag show. It’s comedic, and it’s kind of tragic. It’s dramatic. It’s really fun. That’s one that is really edgy, and it pushes the limit a little bit. It’s one everyone would enjoy but I think there are some jokes in there that will have people of the LGBT community laughing a little harder.

Varla Jean Merman in Varla Jean and the Mushroomheads

Varla Jean Merman in "Varla Jean and the Mushroomheads"

Fenuxe: Why do you think it’s important for Atlantans to support the festival?
Christopher: Our year-round mission is to lead Atlanta through cultural discovery through the moving image. We really want to help people discover more about themselves and about each other and about ourselves collectively using cinema, television, short films and all the forms of the moving image to help us understand more. It’s the medium that helps us know more about history, other cultures, ourselves and our relationships. We’ve chosen these different good films that can make you laugh and make you cry and help you learn something and maybe make you angry and make you feel passionate about an issue that’s maybe off your radar. For different reasons we’ve worked extremely hard over the last nine months to put this festival together specifically for the city of Atlanta.

For more information about the Atlanta Film Festival, please visit www.atlantafilmfestival.com. Buy your tickets for the following films below. All shows take place at the Landmark Midtown Art Cinema unless otherwise noted. All tickets are $10.

Varla Jean and the Mushroomheads
Saturday, March 24, at 4:45PM

AKA Blondie
Sunday, March 25, at 9PM
Plaza Theatre
Online tickets sold out, rush line day of only

Pink Peach Narrative Shorts
Sunday, March 25, at 4PM and 5:30PM

Pink Peach Documentary Shorts
Sunday, March 25, at 6:15PM and 7:45 PM

Monday, March 26, at 7PM

Glitterboys & Ganglands
Thursday, March 29, at 9:30PM

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Party with the B-52s

Returning to their roots, the B-52s intend to celebrate their thirty-fifth anniversary with a cosmic dance party in their birthplace of Athens. Set for Thursday, February 9, the party nearly coincides with the date of the band’s first-ever show on Valentine’s Day 1977.

Following drinks at an Athens Chinese restaurant in October 1976, a group of friends formed the B-52s and named themselves after Southern slang for exaggerated “bouffant” hairdos. The band soon attracted an ardent following, becoming the talk of Athens. Before long they began traveling to New York City for gigs at CBGB’s, a music club that attracted bands like the Ramones, Misfits and Blondie.

A record deal soon followed and their self-titled debut sold more than 500,000 copies on the strength of its first singles–“Rock Lobster” and “52 Girls.”

Thirty-five years and over twenty million album sales later, the B-52s remain one rock music’s most one-of-a-kind and enduring bands. The band’s pioneering fusions of punk, new wave and vintage rock certainly influenced the contemporary musical landscape, and that accomplishment wouldn’t have been possible without Keith Strickland, Fred Schneider, Kate Pierson and Cindy Wilson.

From groundbreaking songs like “Rock Lobster,” “Dance This Mess Around” and “Private Idaho“ to chart-topping hits like “Love Shack” and “Roam” and “Deadbeat Club” to their reemergence on the pop scene with their 2008 CD “Funplex,” the B-52s can take credit for a body of work that is unique, beloved and timeless.

The B-52s 35th Anniversary Show
Where: The Classic Center, Athens
When: Thursday, February 9, 8PM
Tickets: $40 to $60 (VIP packages, $125-$175)
Details: www.classiccenter.com

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