Tag Archive | "jerusalem house"

Hey Girl Hey!

Holler Poodles!!  

Make sure you check out the next issue of Fenuxe for my next column as I am about to embark on a new and exciting journey.  Until then, I want to answer some mail.

From BillyK: Not to be rude but why do drag queens use duck tape to hold their junk? I sometimes see pieces of it hanging out of their costumes. Well, humm, I guess technically it’s called a gaff and the purpose is to hold your lady bumps in so you appear smooth down there.  I’m not sure who thought to use duct/duck tape originally but it seems to be widely used in the industry. Other queens use a dancer’s belt which is like a very tight thong to keep everything in. Personally, I’m hung like a tic tac so I use a postage stamp.

From Thumpah: Love your column and been followin you awhile.  You guys rocked Jungle a couple of weeks ago. What is Jerusalem House all about? Thanks sweetie! We all had a great time putting on that show at the Jungle and raised lots of money for Jerusalem House.  Jerusalem House is Atlanta’s oldest and largest provider of permanent housing for Atlanta’s low-income and homeless individuals and families affected by HIV/AIDS. 91 cents of every dollar donated to JH goes directly to fund programs. With the recent sequestration, HIV/AIDS charities will be hit hard and it is more crucial now than ever to support Jerusalem House.  As a board member of Jerusalem House, I encourage you to make a donation of your time, energy, talents or money at www.jerusalemhouse.org.

From Elgin: Good Day! I am Elgin. I still have the column from June 14, 2012 where you chronicled your weight loss journey. I would like to invite you to my step aerobics class each Wednesday at 5:30 pm at Colony Square/24 hour fitness. Hope to see you soon. Elgin, thank you for thinking of me! As you’re probably keenly aware, weight loss is a journey and once again I strayed off the road. I recently slipped while getting in the shower and hurt my knee but I will make a promise to attend your class within the next month as it heals!  I’m really looking forward to getting back to a whole health approach.

I want to say thanks for sending the hot naked pictures you’ve sent of yourselves… my lady balls were very busy.  Keep ‘em coming!

Till next time, Holllllerrrrrr!

Love and lashes!

If you have any questions, comments or feedback, please contact me at [email protected]

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The Road Home: One Man’s Incredible Journey to Jerusalem House

Nico Stoerner, Staff Writer

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
-Margaret Mead

As I sit here re-reading my interview with an amazing man, Joni Mitchell comes up on my iTunes and “Come In From the Cold” begins to play.

The irony isn’t lost on me, and I find myself reflecting upon my own life experience… of my own time struggling financially, and finding myself homeless (at ages 7, 15, and 25, respectively). This happened for numerous different reasons – the first time was the result of a lack of financial contribution from my deadbeat father and a mother who was only 15 years my senior. The second time, ironically was the result of being kicked out by that same young mother for being gay (she found my particularly sexy copy of Freshmen magazine, which I still have today). Finally, the last and most recent time I found myself homeless was only last year… finding myself overqualified/educated in an economy where personal connections and relationships offer the only opportunity for employment due to the Great Recession our elders have gifted us with.

I think of my great fortune, as well. Coming from humble beginnings, I have insisted upon only greatness and I have worked to not only hold myself to high standards, but to demand that my peers do the same. As well, I have frequently had the honor to be influenced by great individuals such as Frank Murray, the man who this is really all about. His candid recollection of his life and the effect that our very own Jerusalem House has had on him will surely move you as much as it did me – and if you were unsure whether or not you were going to “Ghosts of Hollywood,” trust me – the debate is over.

Hey Frank, thank you for taking the time to speak with me. Would you mind speaking freely? Tell us your story (regarding Jerusalem House).
July of 2006 I was diagnosed with HIV. I went to the doctor originally because of uncontrollable shaking in my legs. After running several tests we decided to test for HIV and it came back positive. Eventually it became impossible stand on my legs all day to work and because I was a customer service manager for a grocery store; it was impossible to keep my job. I ended up moving back to Florida and living with my parents for some time. While seeing a doctor there, my condition began to improve and I was able to get a job. Finally back out on my own, I eventually got sick again and was unable to work. After moving out of my parents’ home our relationship became very strained and eventually I ended up homeless with nowhere to go. Finally ending up in a hospital in Central Florida, it became clear the practitioners just didn’t want to deal with me and my disease, so they offered me a bus ticket anywhere in the United States I wanted to go. I knew I had to come back to Atlanta. With nothing but the clothes on my back, I spent 9 months on our streets, but I was determined put my life back together. It took a couple months of jumping through Grady Healthcare System’s hoops, but I then obtained healthcare. During all of this I was fighting to get Social Security Disability benefits. While waiting I was able to obtain general assistance from the government… a whopping $225 a month; but fortunately that was enough to get me started in Jerusalem House’s program, and with the help of a great case manager named Ailene Gordon from Traveler’s Aid, my application was submitted.

How long were you out before you found out your status?
I was out 13 years before I was diagnosed.

So tell us, how did you come to learn about Jerusalem House?
During my hospital stay at Emory, I became friends with girl and told her my story. She took it upon herself to do some research and found Jerusalem House on the internet and brought me the information, but just having the information wasn’t enough. I was going to have to work hard get my life together to make this happen.

How has Jerusalem House affected your life? What role have they played in where you are today?
Jerusalem House has affected my life in many ways and has given me a sense of security I desperately needed. I’ve also become a more well-rounded person because of them. They have shown me how important it is to volunteer and give back to the community, so now I always make myself available to volunteer for whatever I can with their program.

From your perspective, how would you describe the volunteers and staff of Jerusalem House and the work they do?
The staff and volunteers are top notch! I always have a go to person and there is always someone willing to care for, listen to, or help me.

Do you have any advice you’d like to give to the Atlanta gay community?
Try not to have the attitude that HIV could never happen to you, I felt that way and here I am dealing with the disease today – however I will say this: Having HIV has made me a better person because I’ve learned from my experiences. It doesn’t spell the end, but it does complicate your life dramatically.

Will we be seeing you at Jerusalem House’s “Ghosts of Hollywood” this year?
In 2010 and 2011 I purchased tickets to Jerusalem House’s Halloween party because I thought that it was a good way to have a good time and to give back to a cause that is near and dear to my heart. This year, however, I have decided to volunteer – so yes, you will definitely see me there!

Jerusalem House’s “Ghosts of Hollywood”
Atlanta’s Open Bar Halloween Party for a cause

When: Friday, October 26, from 8pm to midnight.
Where: The Foundry at Puritan Mill, 916 Joseph E. Lowry Blvd NW, Atlanta GA 30318
How: Hooray for Hollywood VIP Package – $350/couple
VIP Cleopatra Ticket – $150/person
General Admission – $60
*Tickets available through www.JerusalemHouse.org/tickets or buy in person at Boy Next Door or Brushstrokes (cash only).

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

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Fire Party Heats Up Atlanta’s Summer

Nearly 148 years after General Sherman set Atlanta ablaze, another fiery event promises to leave its own mark on the Southern metropolis.

On August 4, Atlantans will gather to celebrate the city’s best businesses and organizations during one of the biggest and hottest events of the summer. Fenuxe Magazine will host its annual Fire Party to honor the recently announced Best of Atlanta winners, who were hand-picked by Fenuxe readers.

Fenuxe doesn’t deny its flair for extravagance, and the Fire Party won’t disappoint those with high expectations. Divulging too many details would spoil all the blazing fun. However, a taste of what’s to come will hopefully appease your burning curiosity.

The Entertainment
Some of the most scorching hot talent can be found right in Atlanta, and these top-notch entertainers will undoubtedly ensure the Fire Party will be remembered for a long time. Among several of the party’s fire performers are Timothy Mack of Imperial OPA Circus, Cody Herndon of Eccentric Productions, and Chandler Bearden, who is one half of an independent fire act.

After finishing a tour with Cirque du Soleil in 2008, Timothy moved to Atlanta and founded a circus. He’s a regular performer at Jungle’s Nectar Party and wows crowds with various acts, including fire swords and fire eating. Cody, another Nectar regular, is primarily known for his fire-breathing work and his stilt walking. Chandler has flexed his flame skills at the Beltane Festival, a Midsummer Nights event, in the streets of Atlanta for Independence Day, and most recently at Tongue and Groove as the iconic dancing devil of Fireball Whisky.

You certainly can’t have a fire party without fire, and you definitely can’t throw a shindig with music.

Thanks to DJ Mike B, guests can expect some serious ass-shaking music all night long. During his long career, Mike B has opened for the Black Eyed Peas, Alicia Keys, Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears, Outkast and Ludacris. He’s also the main mix show DJ for Atlanta’s Q100. Most importantly, though, he quite literally sets his records on fire while performing.

A few other performers for the evening will include Nicole Paige Brooks, Princess Charles, and Mary Edith Pitts. Ms. Pitts will also be raising money for Jerusalem House and AID Atlanta, with a portion of drink sales going to both organizations.

The Tickets
General admission, which includes one complimentary cocktail, is $5 prior to July 30 and $10 after. The $75 VIP ticket holders will gain access to the 6:30 pm private cocktail reception at Strip and an all-night open bar. Purchasing a $250 Platinum VIP ticket grants you premium Ketel One bottle service with a personal attendant, complimentary valet, private seating at the party, a private cocktail reception at Strip, hot rod/muscle car transportation from VIP reception, announced and recognized at event, and an open bar all night.

Fire Party
When: Saturday, August 4, 7PM
Where: Former Fox Sports Grill, 261 19th Street, Atlantic Station
Tickets: $5-$10 General Admission, $75 VIP, $250 Platinum VIP
Details: TheFireParty.EventBrite.com

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Hey Girl Hey

Holler Poodles!

I just want to take a moment and thank all of you who have helped me raise over $34,000 since December 2010. I absolutely could not have done it without your support and the support of Jerusalem House, Fenuxe Magazine, Richy Pugh and countless others. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

I’m so excited to announce that my annual birthday fundraiser will be August 4 as a part of Fenuxe Magazine’s Fire Party. All I can say is watch out! This will be the party event of the season. I know you’ve heard it before but you don’t want to miss out on this one. Absolutely something for everyone. Tyler, the Fenuxe publisher, has shared some of the details with me and all I can say is “WOW!” Hold on to your seats! I hope you will join me August 4 at Atlantic Station for my annual birthday fundraiser. A portion of the drink sales will be split between Jerusalem House and AID Atlanta.

In other news, I had the pleasure **wink wink** of performing at the new Oz Campground over the July 4th holiday weekend, complete with a fireworks spectacular. They pulled out all the stops and made sure we all had a great time. I had performed there under previous management but the new owners have made major improvements to the campground and care about everyone’s experience. I love that they emphasize this is “your” campground. They want you to be happy. I also love that they embrace diversity because everyone is well represented. You must come check it out!

Thought of the week: “The fear of being nothing, achieving nothing and becoming nothing should be way bigger than the fear of making mistakes. A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.” (George Bernard Shaw). Mistakes help us discover who we are. With every mistake that we make we discover more and more about ourselves, about who we are, about our limits, about our capabilities, about what we can and cannot do. They help us be more compassionate and more tolerant with ourselves and others.

“There is a power inside every human against which no earthly force is of the slightest consequence.” (Neville Goddard)

Love and lashes,

Don’t forget to join me every Monday for Brain Freeze at Blake’s on the Park at 11PM. Please send your questions and feedback to me at [email protected]

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Backpack in the Park Helps Underprivileged Children

A young girl approaches a pile of new backpacks and hesitantly selects one. At first, she seems unsure if she’ll be able to keep it. Eventually, a bright smile spreads across her face and she refuses to take it off, even though it’s slightly too big and could topple her over at any second.

In the five years Alison Hall has served as a For the Kid in All of Us board member, she’s observed this very experience more than once. Since 2006, the volunteer organization has provided backpacks full of school supplies to underprivileged children through Backpack in the Park.

“It’s just a great feeling to witness pure happiness,” Alison said. “Every child deserves to start the school year fresh with a sense of pride and the tools necessary to be successful.”

So far, the group has collected 7,100 backpacks filled with supplies and gift cards. More than 1,200 bags were donated last year, and Alison said For the Kid hopes to round up more than 1,500 during the July 28 event at Piedmont Park’s Greystone Pavillion.

The theme for this year’s kid-friendly cocktail party is “summer camp.” Nostalgic camp food will be served, and DJ Vicki Powell will be spinning. The entry fee is one brand new backpack filled with school supplies or a $35 gift card. The bags will go to various beneficiary organizations, including AID Atlanta, CHRIS Kids and Jerusalem House.

“We work with organizations that serve the needs of Georgia’s neediest children, and we provide something that may not be a priority when children have so many other needs like shelter and food and healthcare and safety,” Alison said. “Our beneficiary organizations are typically ones that provide many programs and services on very limited budgets. Each year we include an elementary school that has a high population of children on free or reduced lunch, a leading indicator of economic need.”

Official School Supply List
Folders (6)
Spiral Notebooks (2)
150 Sheets Filler Paper (1)
Pink Eraser (3)
Ruler (1)
Glue Stick (1)
No. 2 Pencil 12-Pack (1)
Crayons 24 Count (1)
Colored Pencil 12-Pack (1)
3×5 Index Cards Pack (1)

When: July 28, 4-7PM
Where: Greystone Pavillion, Piedmont Park
Details: ForTheKid.org

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2012 Atlanta Field Day to Benefit Jerusalem House

Ryan Lee, Associate Writer: News & Current Events

Atlanta Field Day – the event that raises money for local charities by tapping into elementary school nostalgia – has selected Jerusalem House as one of its beneficiaries for 2012.

“These funds will greatly benefit our four housing programs by helping us provide emergency needs for food, clothing, linens and basic furnishing for new and current residents,” said Charlie Frew, executive director of Jerusalem House, which offers housing assistance for people and families affected by HIV/AIDS.

“We’re all very excited about participating in this day of fun and games,” Frew added.

This year’s Atlanta Field Day takes place Sept. 15, and includes contests such as a potato sack race, egg toss, tug-of-war, three-legged race and plenty other childhood competitions. The other beneficiary for this year’s event is Camp Twin Lakes, a network of camps that hosts children with illnesses and disabilities.

“We feel the programs at both Jerusalem House and Camp Twin Lakes perfectly embrace the spirit, mission, and energy of our organization,” said Davis Kirby, event director for Atlanta Field Day. Kirby, who is gay, helped found the Atlanta Field Day in 2010, and the event has attracted hordes of gay participants in its first two years.

Last year, the event raised more than $72,000 for CHRIS Kids.

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Joining Hearts Kicks Off Spring with Change of Seasons

Spring always announces its arrival in Atlanta with a generous explosion of pollen and the annual Change of Seasons Tea Dance. Unlike the dreaded yellow invasion, the Joining Hearts event won’t wreck your sinuses, and it’s been a highly anticipated gathering for many years.

“The history of Change of Seasons originated in the mid 1990’s by Mike Mazer, Glenn Kinnard and a few others within the community who wanted to create a weekend event here in Atlanta to celebrate the arrival of spring and mirror the White Party in Palm Springs,” said Kerry Loftis, president of Joining Hearts. “Change of Seasons drew visitors from several surrounding states and many annual party goers viewed the weekend as the kick-off to their upcoming summer season.”

Unfortunately, the spring shindig came to an end after 2000. Then in April 2009, Joining Hearts resurrected Change of Seasons as a Sunday tea dance and fundraiser in an effort to kick off the spring season for the LGBT community while benefiting a worthy cause.

As one of the organization’s six annual fundraisers, money raised through Change of Seasons helps provide housing support to people living with HIV and AIDS in Atlanta. Proceeds from this event will benefit AID Atlanta and Jerusalem House.

“Last year we had an overwhelming response with approximately 400 guests in attendance, and we raised just over $8,000,” Kerry said.

With Joining Hearts celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, Kerry said the organization’s board has set a lofty donation goal of $250,000 for the year.

“In order for us to hit that goal, every donation dollar is critical this year,” Kerry said. “With Change of Seasons being our third largest fundraiser, we are hoping to increase attendance and our donation amount from this event by at least 30 percent over last year.”

With a large attendance in mind, Joining Hearts once again chose The Georgian Terrace as its venue.

“The bright open space of the grand ball room and outdoor terraces create a great backdrop for a spring time tea dance in Atlanta,” Kerry said. “Probably the most critical reason for choosing Georgian Terrace again is due to the fact that Joining Hearts events continue to grow each year in size and attendance. The growth is incredible, but it creates a challenge for us to find an event space in Midtown that can hold the number of guests that attend our events plus remain within budget for each event.”

In addition to the elegant setting, Change of Seasons will also feature DJs Vicki Powell and Mike Pope, a cash bar and drink specials.

Joining Hearts presents Change of Seasons Tea Dance
When: Sunday, April 15, from 4 to 9 p.m.
Where: The Georgian Terrace Hotel, 659 Peachtree Street
Tickets: $20 online until April 14 or $25 at the door
Details: joininghearts.org

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Hey Girl Hey

Holllerrrr poodles! Great news—Jerusalem House is a finalist in the Home Depot Foundation’s $250,000 Facebook voting contest in March. Many of you voted last year to help us win $25,000 dollars, and we need everyone’s help to win the big prize. Vote daily along with your friends and help us win the grand prize. Go to http://tinyurl.com/JHWINFB to vote daily throughout March. I really appreciate all of your help!

While spring has sprung I’m sad we didn’t get another “snow jam” like last year, however, I am excited for the annual “spring clean.”

Ever since I saw my first Oprah show on organizing, I’ve made a concerted effort to rid myself of the clutter that can so easily accumulate. Especially when it comes to drag supplies. I guess I’m a little sensitive to clutter because my mom became a hoarder after I moved away from home. Of course I didn’t know that word back then but that was exactly the case.

A couple years after moving out, I remember telling her I’d clean everything up for her but when I got there, it was overwhelming. Not as bad as some of the houses on “Hoarders” but definitely disheartening. She wouldn’t let me throw away a simple peanut butter jar. It went downhill from there.

I, on the other hand, had some mild OCD while growing up in the orphanage. I remember sweeping the dirt outside in the same direction so it looked “better.” Years later when I asked my therapist about it, she said children with little or no control try to control the things in their environment.

I’m so afraid of becoming a hoarder now I make myself watch the show to inspire me to get rid of more stuff that doesn’t matter. I have a simple rule: If I haven’t worn it or used it within the last year, I donate it to charity. It seems to be working pretty well.

Speaking of spring cleaning and getting rid of things, I’m happy to report I’ve lost 17 pounds since the beginning of January. Though a lot slower than I might have wished, everyone keeps encouraging me by saying it will stay off.

It really has come down to choices. I went out to dinner at Cowtippers with friends the other night and was so proud I had a NY strip with steamed vegetables. No appetizer and no dessert. I’ve been going to the gym three days a week also and feel like I have a good routine in place. Personal training is next on the agenda, and I will report back to you with the results.

Love and lashes,
Mary Edith Pitts

Please send your questions or feedback to me at [email protected]

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Jerusalem House Wants Your Votes

Atlanta’s Jerusalem House could potentially win $250,000.

But, the charity needs support from its community to claim that hefty chunk of change. As the winner of the June 2011 Aprons in Action contest, The Home Depot’s year-long Facebook voting program, Jerusalem House will compete against 10 other monthly winners from across the country for the prize money.

Voting opened today and runs through noon on March 31. The organization with the most votes at the end of the month will win the grand prize. Organizations receiving the second and third most votes will receive $150,000 and $100,000 from The Home Depot Foundation. You can vote for Jerusalem House once a day.

Jerusalem House is the only Atlanta organization competing, as well as the only AIDS services organization competing.

Since 1988, Jerusalem House has provided permanent, supportive housing for low-income and homeless individuals living with HIV/AIDS in the Atlanta Metro area and currently serves over 300 residents daily including 125 children. Being one of the most efficiently run nonprofits, Jerusalem House spends over 91.5% of the funds raised directly on its programs. To learn more about Jerusalem House and the communities it serves please visit www.jerusalemhouse.org.

You can vote for Jerusalem House here.

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Hey Girl Hey

Hello all of my glamorous and beautiful poodles. Me writing about glamour and beauty may not seem an obvious choice, especially given the way I look. Don’t get me wrong, Mary Edith believes she is a very beautiful and glamorous woman, saggy boobs and all. But the MEP character challenges conventional thinking about what beauty and glamour are.

I think beauty is what emanates from within. It is a clear reflection of how we feel about ourselves. I think glamour is everything we put on our naked bodies to show and tell people who we are. The clothes, jewels, cologne, shoes, hairstyle, lip gloss, tattoos, etc. are all “drag” as RuPaul would put it. It makes me wonder how many of us have seen someone we’re really attracted to from across the room only to meet them and loose the attraction because of their “lack” of beauty or insecurities?

Conversely, how many times have we gotten to know a friend whom we initially didn’t think of “that” way but after getting to know them fell head over heels? I’ve experienced both as I’m guessing you may have also.

It is said “beauty is in the eye of the beholder!” But I think we sometimes get lost trying to be something we’re not. I’d like to believe when we feel secure being our most authentic self is when our beauty shows most.

Personally, I don’t care what color you are, what size you are, what your income is, if you’re smooth or hairy, if you’re bald or with a full head of hair, if you’re masculine, effeminate or in-between. What I do care about is you! Our community is made up of so many wonderful and diverse definitions of beauty. Our challenge lies in continuing to expand our own definition and making sure to let our young ones know we see their beauty!

Don’t forget on Saturday, March 3, actress Ann Walker “Lavonda Dupree” from the movie and LOGO TV series “Sordid Lives” will be emceeing “One Sordid Night,” a benefit for Jerusalem House at the Jungle Night Club from 6 to 10 p.m. Purchase your tickets at www.onesordidnight.eventbrite.com. Tickets are also available at Brushstrokes. Several of Atlanta’s most talented entertainers will be performing including Gunza Blazin, Erica Lee, Monica Mitchells & Regina Cartier, moi and others. I hope you’ll come out to support Jerusalem House.

Love and lashes,
Mary Edith Pitts

Please send your questions or feedback to me at [email protected]

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