Tag Archive | "dinner"

Atlanta locals earn awards from the HRC

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) announced who will receive their two local awards at the 26th Annual Atlanta HRC Gala Dinner and Auction at the Hyatt Regency Downtown Atlanta on May 4, 2013.

Joining Hearts, a housing assistance non-profit organization based in Atlanta that benefits those living with HIV/AIDS, will receive the Dan Bradley Humanitarian Award. Since its founding in 1987, Joining Hearts has contributed more than $1,589,500 to help house people affected by HIV/AIDS. Joining Hearts is an all-volunteer organization that is one of the oldest of its kind in the region.

Dr. Michael Shutt will be the recipient of the Leon Allen and Winston Johnson Community Service Award. Shutt is the assistant dean for Campus Life at Emory University, where he has also served as the director of the Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Life since 2008. Shutt contributes to the LGBT community in higher education through his work on the Executive Board of the National Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals. He is also an adjunct faculty member in the University of Georgia’s College of Education Department of Counseling and Human Development.

More than 1,000 attendees were at the 2012 Gala Dinner and Auction, which raised approximately $500,000 for the HRC’s work toward LGBT equality. Information about the event, sponsorships, and tickets can be found at atlantahrcdinner.org. Purchase your tickets online; they will not be sold at the door.



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The AGLCC Award Winners for 2012

Nico Stoerner, Staff Writer

Being a man or woman, gay or straight, is a matter of birth. Being someone who makes an impact on the community is a matter of choice.

Although all of the nominees of the Atlanta Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce’s 2012 Community Awards are equally deserving, the winners have each contributed much to our community.

Lifetime Achievement Award
Richard G. Rhodes, who served in the United States Navy, became the first publicly gay man to run for office and the first gay delegate of the Democratic National Convention from Georgia all in the same year (1988). He went on to become the first openly gay chair of DeKalb County in 1993. Throughout his life he has been a paragon of our community and we continue to have the good fortune to hear from him still.

Businesswoman of the Year
Sheila Merrit is the VP of New Business Development for Q&A Events, but she also gives much of her time to charities including the National Organ donor Foundation, the National Women’s History Project, and the Human Rights Campaign, to name a few. She is also a member of several organizations including the National Women’s History Museum, the National Association of Female Executives, the Atlanta Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, the Atlanta Chapter of the International Special Events Society (ISES), the Convention & Visitors Bureau, and Atlanta’s High Museum of Art. As she said, “…everyone in this category deserves this award – but I’ll admit I really wanted it! Thank you!”

Businessman of the Year
Adam Rimes, (whose resume already includes names like “KPMG”, “PriceWaterhouseCooper”, and CNN), now serves as the President and Founder of Administrivia. This local, home grown accounting, technology, and human capital management company helps to develop and maintain businesses throughout our community while creating jobs for graduates in the area. By helping manage the “behind the scenes magic” of business the work that Adam and his colleagues continue to do has helped to ensure the success of entrepreneurs and the local economy.

Guardian Angel
Glen Paul Freedman, who serves as the Board Chair for Atlanta Pride, won the Guardian Angel Award for his continued service to the community.

Member of the Year
Q&A Events received the Member of the Year award for their continued excellence and service to the community with numerous events such as Pride.=

Corporate Ally
SunTrust received the Corporate Ally award for their exceptional commitment to diversity and equality in the workplace and the community.

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Break Out Your Tux

Níco Stoerner, Staff Writer

It’s proof positive that the ‘Pink Dollar’ is as strong as ever.

In 1988 the Atlanta Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce hosted their First Atlanta Gay Expo. In 1994 their non-profit status was formed. In 1998 They held their first awards dinner. In 2006 membership reached its all time high at over 350 businesses…

In 2012 the AGLCC will be hosting its 4th Annual Community Awards Dinner and the W Atlanta Midtown.

That’s right gays and girls – this is a black tie event that warrants your attention.

This years award nominees fall into categories such as Business Man and Business Woman of the Year, Corporate Ally, Guardian Angel, and Member of the Year. The event has been sponsored by great businesses and organizations such as SunTrust, Barefoot Wine, and the Atlanta Dream. With such a great line-up of attendees, nominees, and local entrepreneurs this is sure to be a splendid soiree.

So break out that tux, tighten that collar, and straighten your bowtie – it’s going to be a night to remember.


Business Woman of the Year:
Marci Alt
Karla Kreitner
Sheila Merritt
Barb Rowland

Business Man of the Year:
Adam Rimes
John Benthal
Rick Kern
Tyler Calkins

Corporate Ally:
Cox Enterprises

Guardian Angel:
James Parker Sheffield
Glen Paul Freedman
Jeff Graham
Linda Ellis

Member of the Year:
Q&A Events
No Mas Cantina
Cleo Meyer State Farm
Lab Monkey Design

Like the article? Like the writer! Find Nico Stoerner on Facebook by following the link below.

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Living the life: St. Martin

As the blustery winter bite in the air continues to strengthen, it becomes harder to keep sun-drenched daydreams at bay. Indulge your yearning for warmer temps by hopping on a short Delta flight to the Caribbean in picturesque Saint Martin.


Make your stay at (where else?) Villa Rainbow. The gay-owned private villa is located at Pic Paradis, Saint Martin’s highest point. You’ll have all the seclusion you and a partner need while being just minutes from the beaches.


And ohhh the beaches. Saint Martin is divided into 37 breathtaking beaches with over 112 miles of coastline. There are beaches with mounting cliffs breaking the gentle waves, expansive bays that provide easy access to unparalleled Caribbean coral reefs, nude beaches, and lazy hideaways. If you prefer an unpopulated and private swim in the turquoise Saint Martin water, look for Tintamarre and Green Cay. A lively and trendy beach experience can be found at Fenuxe’s favorite Orient Bay.

If you’re looking for an adrenaline rush, there are gay-friendly businesses scattered about Saint Martin ready to provide for your adventurous side. There are over 50 dive sites ranging from those acceptable for beginners to sites for seasoned divers. Above the water you can also rent jet skis, sail a catamaran, snorkel, or even kite surf. For a slightly slower pace, horseback riding on the beach is always a fun and romantic option.


After a long day at the beach, retreat back to Marigot, the cosmopolitan capital of Saint Martin. The mixing of European culture and Creole tradition gives Marigot a captivating and exciting personality. Unique boutique stores, trendy restaurants, and local vendors greet you on the streets of the capital city and provide a distinctively Caribbean shopping experience. Stick around for the nightlife and check out Eros, a hot little gay club with a friendly vibe. And don’t worry about the language barrier, because almost everyone speaks English.


From November to January, visitors can enjoy the color of a Caribbean holiday season as residents decorate their houses, gardens, shops, and even their boats with dazzling decorations, colorful garlands, and a Santa here and there.


So if you’re looking for a respite from the cold and a good gay time for all, Saint Martin is not to be missed during the winter season.


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Give a Little Bit

The spirit of volunteerism is ingrained in the gay community due to all the causes we have to fight for. Thanksgiving gives each of us the ultimate opportunity to put that spirit to use. Organizations with close affiliations to our community need our help, but so do those without any specific tie to us. Here’s a couple of both who need you this season.


Open Hand

The critically and chronically ill, the disabled, and the senior citizens of Atlanta have Open Hand to thank for giving them the nutrition they need. Open Hand offers nutrition care programs and home-delivered meals, and that’s where you come in. Thanksgiving is their busy time and they need people to pack and deliver meals. They’re doing double deliveries on Wednesday November 24th and they need as many drivers as they can get, so take a shift and warm a heart!




Hosea Feed the Hungry

One of the city’s most well-known homeless organizations gives you three opportunities to help over 15,000 of Atlanta’s needy. 5,000 volunteers are being recruited for Thanksgiving setup on November 20th, food prep on November 24th, and especially the big day at Turner Field on November 25th. They not only need servers but also volunteers to help in the children’s corner, the medical corner, and the clothing corner.




Jerusalem House

When it comes to housing those affected by HIV/AIDS in Atlanta, Jerusalem House is the authority. They provide about two-thirds of the city’s permanent housing for homeless and low-income individuals and families affected by HIV/AIDS. Corporate sponsorships are down this year because of the economic climate, meaning many of Jerusalem House’s kids—who make up almost half of the residents—may not have a holiday this year. But you can help. Turkeys, sides, canned goods—you can help make Thanksgiving happen for the families.


Contact Volunteer Manager Sharon Carey at 40-377-3443 x232 to donate or discuss sponsorships.




Atlanta Center for Self Sufficiency

The Atlanta Center for Self Sufficiency is the result of a merger back in May between the Samaritan House of Atlanta and the Atlanta Enterprise Center. They came together to form one strong organization with a mission: combat homelessness through job creation and a steady income. The Center’s Cafe 458 offers two ways to help this holiday season and throughout the year. Weekdays from 9AM-2PM they need volunteers to staff the restaurant that serves the homeless. And then return for your own brunch on Sunday, when Cafe 458 turns into a for-profit restaurant, with all proceeds going to the Center.



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Holiday. Celebrate.

When you want to make a splash on Thanksgiving Eve while helping a worthy cause, you bring in the big guns. That’s why Brad Williams has booked superstar DJ and Producer Tracy Young for a blowout night at Jungle benefiting The Toy Party.


The unstoppable Young is celebrating 20 years in the booth, an era filled with multiple highs: DJ-ing Madonna’s wedding, spinning at private parties for A-List celebrities from Diddy to Cher, and becoming a top shelf draw at nightclubs around the world with her globe-rocking remixes.

With celebrity comes gossip and controversy, and this year proved Young wasn’t immune to the drama. A gig producing
Real Housewives of Atlanta star Kim Zolciak’s single “Tardy for the Party” turned personal when the two allegedly started dating, causing the tabloids to pounce.


Nonetheless, this party is for a cause as Young is donating $1,000 of her fee and Jungle is donating $1,000 of the door fee to The Toy Party, the biggest holiday party and fundraiser of the year. Young will also be donating toys courtesy of her family’s toy store Doodlehopper in Virginia. “I am so excited about my return to Atlanta and playing at Jungle,” she tells Fenuxe. “I’m also very grateful to be able to give back to the community and the children less fortunate than I was growing up!”


The Toy Party is the signature event of For the Kid in All of Us. They’ve distributed more than 27,000 toys and raised more than $450,000 for Georgia’s needy since its founding in 2003. The Toy Party is back at AmericasMart 3 this year and the event will be supporting a record 20 agencies that provide for Georgia’s underprivileged.


For the Kid’s President, Jorge Esteban, says The Toy Party is becoming a destination party and that the kickoff event at Jungle will only help that cause. They’ll even be accepting toy donations at the door. And Jungle owner Brad Williams is excited to put the event on, both because it’s a Toy Party benefit and because it’s the first time in four years that Tracy Young has played a gay club in Atlanta.


Whichever the appeal—the spirit of giving or the spirit of dancing—Jungle’s got it covered on Thanksgiving Eve.


Thanksgiving Eve featuring DJ Tracy Young

Benefiting The Toy Party

DJ Mike Pope opens

Wednesday, November 24, 2010 at 10:00 PM

$10 cover before 11PM, $20 after 11PM.

Advance VIP tickets available online at www.jungleclubatlanta.com
Jungle Club Atlanta
2115 Faulkner Rd NE
Atlanta, GA 30324
Phone: (404) 844-8800

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Top 7 Thanksgiving Tidbits

What legendary gay-friendly restaurant has a huge Thanksgiving spread? What traditional dishes were missing from the first Thanksgiving? What’s the secret weapon every gay should have during a Thanksgiving with the fam? Whether you’re coming out, digging in, or tipping one back, we’ve got the info you need to know for Thanksgiving 2010.



Price of the four course Thanksgiving dinner at “The Gay and Gray”–The Colonnade


“Pass the gravy, and I am so into man candy. Woot woot!”

Least popular way to come out at Thanksgiving


Turkey and mashed potatoes

Items not present at the first Thanksgiving


Wine, brandy, gin, and beer

Items present at the first Thanksgiving.



Percent capacity of Gravity Fitness on Friday, November 26th


A flask

What every gay is most thankful for at Thanksgiving with the family


“Thanksgiving Gay Parade”

The procession of primped gays crisscrossing 10th and Piedmont on Thanksgiving night



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Crumpet: Man In Tights

Atlanta has its fair share of holiday traditions. The Pink Pig at Lenox. The nightly snowfall at Atlantic Station. Now with its 12th year of caustic holiday comedy, you can add The Santaland Diaries to that list.


The Santaland Diaries is adapted from the book Holidays on Ice, by the bestselling (and openly gay) humor writer David Sedaris. It tells the story of an unemployed writer in need of extra cash who takes a job as a Macy’s Department Store elf. “Crumpet” the elf gives the audience a look behind the beards and pointy shoes of department store Santas and elves.


Crumpet is played as always by the engaging Harold M. Leaver, a longtime player of the Atlanta theater scene. Leaver told Fenuxe that the role continues to inspire him year after year due to the fact that they update the content to reflect current events.


He also enjoys the audience reaction. “It’s usually after they’ve had a couple days of shopping for or with relatives and they’re inundated with the commercialism of the holidays,” he says. “They’re thinking a lot of really evil thoughts and they need someone to express those for them. And I get to do that!”


And while the play is “bitter as all get-out” as Leaver told us, he loves the sweet message expressed by the play’s end. “It kind of goes back to what the real meaning of what Christmas is supposed to be,” he says.



The Santaland Diaries

Nov. 26 – Jan. 2

Horizon Theatre

1083 Austin Ave. NE

Atlanta, GA 30307


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Rainbow Blues

The 38-day period between Thanksgiving and New Years Day known as the holidays can cause a rollercoaster of emotions for those in the LGBT community. For some, the moments fly by and precious time is spent with cheerful company making memories that will last a lifetime. But for others, as the days grow shorter, the holidays seem to last an eternity.

The holiday blues. It’s a time that can bring about all kinds of stressors no matter one’s sexual orientation. There’s all the social commitments, the stress of travel, the financial pressures. The days are shorter and the cold temperatures drive people indoors, often causing depressive symptoms. People often utilize this time of year to evaluate where they are in their lives, and it can negatively affect the mood if the reality doesn’t match up to the expectations.

But what about holiday stressors unique to the LGBT community?

The Extra Layer

There’s no definitive research proving whether or not LGBTs experience holiday anxiety and depression in greater numbers than straight people. But Will Mahan, Director of Equality Counseling Center, wouldn’t be surprised if it were true.

“I think there’s holiday stress which everybody experiences, gay or straight,” says Mahan. “Then there’s an extra layer of stress that I think comes from being gay and lesbian at this particular time of year.”

The emphasis on family is kicked into high gear during the holidays. Rifts about someone’s sexuality could lead to increased stress and uncomfortable situations. Or if one hasn’t come out yet, they have to deal with the anxiety of hiding it and playing the pronoun game, as well as questions from inquisitive family members about their personal life.

These family dynamics can cause stress within a relationship too. “If you have a partner and the parents aren’t accepting of that, do you go home or do you have separate holidays?,” says Mahan. “If you have an office party and you’re not out at work, do you come out at work or tell your partner they can’t come?”

There’s also a heightened emphasis on religion during the holidays, which can bother many gay people who are scarred by their religious upbringing. So there are major factors at play which adversely affect our community in particular at this time of year. You don’t have to be down because you’re out though.

Exposing the Ideal

You can relieve holiday stress in some of the same ways you relieve stress any other time of year—eating well, getting a good night’s sleep, exercising. But taking ownership over your holidays can be the most vital step.

“Holidays a lot of times are defined by family traditions from growing up and if you still enjoy those and are still welcome to be a part of that, then that can be great,” says Mahan. “But I think it’s good to try to define the holiday for what you want it to be.”

If the family dynamics are not healthy, you can avoid it altogether by taking off for a vacation in South Beach. Or you can stay and celebrate with the family of friends you’ve created outside of the family you grew up with. You can establish new traditions with your partner for meals and present exchanges.

And don’t get caught up in the “ideal” holiday images seen in the media throughout the season. No, it’s not standard behavior for a husband to surprise his wife with a Lexus wrapped in a bow in the driveway for Christmas.

“Everybody can benefit from the fact that [the holidays are] a good time to reconnect with people and socialize and spend time with people that you care about,” Mahan says. “So if you keep that guiding principle in mind, that’s a lot more important than the stuff that we get told is important by people wanting us to buy stuff.”

A New Mindset

Overall, making it through the holidays with good memories is about mindset, whether you’re gay or straight.

Mahan says oftentimes people with anxiety and depression aren’t necessarily experiencing more stressors than others—it’s how they perceive those stressors that can create the anxiety or depression.

“Be patient, keep your sense of humor, count your blessings, don’t worry about everything being perfect, don’t fret over the catastrophe that could happen, wait till it happens and then deal with it then,” he says. “A lot of times people get really worried about what it’s going to be like to go home or what it’s going to be like to not have anyone special to share the holiday with, and sometimes it’s really not as bad as you think it’s going to be.”

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Jesse Brune: The Fenuxe Interview

Jesse Brune turned heads as a hot, openly gay personal trainer on Bravo’s breakout hit Workout, and now he’s putting his true passion of cooking to use on The Food Network’s Private Chefs of Beverly Hills. When he’s not trying to keep eccentric clients happy on the air, he devotes his time to his LGBT non-profit Project: Service L.A. The charismatic chef called us while in the middle of post-production on Private Chefs to talk about his Southern roots, playing straight for a week, and some surprising Thanksgiving tips.

So Jesse, tell us about Private Chefs of Beverly Hills.

The title kind of says it all [laughs]. It’s a show that follows six chefs in Beverly Hills as we take on these really insane events thrown by eccentric clientele with ridiculous requests. The personalities are really big, from the chefs to the clients, so a natural conflict arises. It often comes down to who has a better vision, who’s right, who has better taste and how we’re going to execute it.

What kind of ridiculous requests?

I’ve had to do a four-course meal for dogs. Seriously. It was at a country club for dogs, which actually exists. I did this whole party for this guy whose name is Joe Exclusive, who calls himself a lifestyle ambassador to the rich and fabulous. This guy was almost from another planet, just wacky. As the season progresses, it just gets more insane.

Did you ever question whether you were going to be “out” on Workout?

Well I studied acting for years and acted in New York and Los Angeles. I had a creepy experience when I was 23 or 24 signing with a larger management firm and they wanted me to go into the closet. So being so young and really wanting to be successful I said “Yeah sure, of course!” And that worked for about a week. I called them and just said, “You know what, I think you guys are the devil.” [laughs]. And I just stopped, I’d had enough. My two passions were acting and food and I knew I had to decide what I wanted to do, so I hung up the acting hat and started culinary school the next week.

My first week in culinary school I was like, “I am so screwed.” I could never work in a restaurant, it was impossible. So my goal was to be on The Food Network but I knew that I would never compromise being who I am. So I came out very publicly on Workout as the gay trainer and I’ve been working steadily ever since because I was really comfortable being who I am and letting my natural talents really flow.

So back to cooking. What’s the first piece of advice you would give to someone who’s hosting their first Thanksgiving dinner?

Give yourself a lot of time. A lot of people wait until the day of to start preparing stuff. That Thanksgiving meal is a task. There’s a lot of prep especially if you don’t have a lot of help in the kitchen. I have backed myself into that corner so many times and by the end of making the meal I don’t want to eat, I want to sleep.

But generally I say, “Just go for it.” The holidays are your get out of jail free card, your one time that you can just go for it and indulge and have fun and not worry about all the ingredients you’re using. I usually get asked what are some healthy alternatives you can do for Thanskgiving and I’m just like “Uggh, don’t!” [laughs]. There’s always ways to be more conscious in preparing your food, like substituting the butter with different kinds of oil, using less salt and cream, using things like soy or almond milk, keeping your vegetables clean and steamed, things of that nature. But why would you? [laughs]

So you teach cooking classes around the country. Do you ever make it to Atlanta?

I would love to come spend some time in Atlanta. I haven’t been down there since I was a kid and my grandparents lived in the area. My mother is a southern belle, she was born and raised in Charleston, South Carolina so I was raised on soul food. So though I generally cook pretty healthy, I can do premium soul food. One of the episodes this season I did a healthy soul food party and part of me died a little bit with that because it was like, “Oh my God, my Mom’s mouth is probably going to melt off when she sees this.” [laughs] But it actually turned out pretty good.

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