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"Roberta" Premieres at DOCNYC Festival

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Roberta Flack I was privileged to be in the audience for the world premiere of Antonino d'Ambrosio's new film Roberta , a documentary on the life of the two-time Grammy Award-winning American chanteuse Roberta Flack. For those of us who were around in the 1970s, Roberta Flack's music has been part of the soundtrack of our lives for 50 years. Via personal interviews with luminaries such as the Reverend Jesse Jackson, Clint Eastwood, Yoko Ono, Angela Davis, Peabo Bryson, Valerie Simpson, Sean Lennon, among others, the film paints a a multi-faceted picture of the artist, and answers many questions that we may have had. Flack in 1971 In the film, Flack was very tight-lipped about her childhood, aside from saying that her mother was their church organist and she sang in the choir. She came from a very large family, and said that she didn't sleep alone until she was an adult. A child prodigy, she began studying classical piano at age 9 and was awarded a full music scholarship

25th Annual Women’s Event at Ziegfeld Ballroom

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The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center Honored New York City Leaders and Allies at 25th Annual Women’s Event on Saturday November 5th. Nearly 400 attendees were present for an evening of cocktails, dinner, speeches, and an after party benefiting The Center. Honorees included activist, nonprofit executive, and politician Elisa Crespo; President of Christopher Street Financial Jen Hatch; and Georgie Greville Jasper, Co-Founder and Creative Director of Milk Makeup. The sold-out event included a performance by actress and singer Jenn Colella. Elisa Crespo received the Community Impact Award, and Jen Hatch received the Trailblazer Award. Georgie Greville Jasper accepted the Corporate Impact Award on behalf of Milk Makeup. Karine Jean-Pierre White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre presented a previously recorded congratulatory message to the audience. Watch her speech  here .  Glennda Testone, Executive Director of The Center, also addressed the audience. Since

Cate Blanchett in "Tár": Great Performance; Bad Film

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  After all the scandals in recent years involving male conductors and rape/sexual-abuse allegations, why must the first major film about a woman conductor portray her as a predator? While watching  Tár   I had memories of Basic Instinct , when we were so happy to see lesbians portrayed onscreen that we were willing to overlook the fact that they were psycho killers. Now we are forced to watch a successful, internationally-acclaimed woman conductor (who is also a lesbian), but suffers from major character flaws. Where is this fantasy world where a major symphony orchestra has a woman music director, a woman concert master, and a woman-dominated board of directors? This scenario does not exists, so it is especially frustrating that this fictitious conductor is such an evil character. Throughout the film we are teased with fragments of Mahler's Fifth Symphony, which are so short and disconnected that we are left craving for an uninterrupted performance of the complete work. The R-rat

Hollywood Star's Secret Lesbian Affair Revealed in Memoir

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  Our next guest on The Noshing with Nina Show  will be Alexis Hunter, author of Joi Lansing: A Body to Die For . Hunter was the partner of Hollywood sensation Joi Lansing, who was called the Marilyn Monroe of television. The lovers met on the set of the 1970 film Bigfoot , in which Lansing starred. Hunter had been hired to play one of the "Bigfoot monsters," while wearing a hairy outfit that covered her entire body. She was already a fan of Lansing's after having seen her on television in her hometown of Arkansas City, Kansas before she moved to Hollywood to pursue her own acting career. When Lansing invited her out for coffee, a full-blown romance soon followed. Rachel and Joi Lansing Lansing was married at the time to her third husband, but their relationship had been platonic for several years. Lansing had dated Frank Sinatra and other male celebrities while she was still legally married, while her husband Stan had become more of a father figure, according to Hunter.

Nina Kennedy Wins 2022 Esteem Award for Artistic Expression

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  To quote the Windy City Times :  PrideIndex's Esteem Awards return in person after two-year hiatus by Carrie Maxwell 2022-07-03 PrideIndex held its 15th annual Esteem Awards on July 2 at Sidetrack during Chicago's Black Pride holiday weekend. The non-profit Esteem Awards is, according to its website, "dedicated to promoting positive images of the African American/People of Color, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning (LGBTQ)+ communities. Since 2007, the Esteem Awards has honored over 300 local and national organizations and individuals for their continued efforts in supporting the areas of entertainment, media, civil rights, social services, business and the arts." Letter from Mayor Lori Lightfoot National awardees included South Fulton, Georgia, Mayor khalid kamau (Outstanding Service, Male); Tagg Magazine Publisher and keynote speaker Eboné Bell (Outstanding Service, Female); Human Rights Campaign Community Engagement Director Tori Cooper (Outsta

Elizabeth Gilbert and the Ghost of Rayya Elias

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Elizabeth Gilbert and Oprah Winfrey This morning I happened to turn on the television to find Oprah Winfrey talking with Eat, Pray, Love author Elizabeth Gilbert, whom I had met in 2019 at a reading by author  Azure Antoinette Varos. At the time, I had no idea that Elizabeth had recently buried her partner Rayya Elias, who was also an author and musician. After doing some research I learned that Gilbert had divorced her husband of nine years to enter into an intimate relationship with Elias, who had been her best friend for fifteen years. At that time, Elias had been diagnosed with pancreatic and liver cancer. She died within two years at age 57. Gilbert and Rayya Elias A Syrian-born writer, musician, and filmmaker, Elias’s own book (titled Harley Loco: A Memoir of Hard Living, Hair, and Post-Punk, From the Middle East to the Lower East Side ) was published in 2013 with an introduction by Gilbert. In it, Elias detailed four decades of her life as a gay Middle Eastern woman in the U.S.

Nina Kennedy Walks the Red Carpet at the GLAAD Media Awards

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  Nina Kennedy The stars came out for the 33rd GLAAD Media Awards at the New York Midtown Hilton May 6th, the first GMAs since 2019. Our own Nina Kennedy was invited to walk the Red Carpet as the 2021 Lambda Literary Award Finalist for her book  Practicing for Love: A Memoir .  Cynthia Nixon Other celebrities on the Red Carpet included Sex and the City star Cynthia Nixon, and Real Housewives of Atlanta star Kandi Burruss. Cynthia Nixon remembered Nina from the NYWIFT (New York Women in Film and Television) Muse Awards, and embraced her warmly. Actor Judith Light came to receive the  Excellence in Media Award, and was introduced by Oscar winner and star of West Side Story Ariana DeBose. Kandi Burruss The Red Carpet was also graced with the presence of the new White House Press Secretary  Karine Jean-Pierre. GLAAD Board Chair Pamela Stewart introduced Secretary Jean-Pierre who received a rousing standing ovation. "Thank you, family," were her first words as she addressed the

Gateways Music Festival Orchestra with Jon Batiste at Carnegie Hall

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You might not have known it if you get your news from the New York Times or other major news outlets, but history was made last Sunday afternoon on the Carnegie Hall stage. In a sold-out concert, an all-black orchestra performed under conductor Anthony Parnther, with pianist Jon Batiste as soloist in his own composition titled I Can . The program included compositions by Florence Price, George Walker, and Johannes Brahms. The concert concluded with James V. Cockerham's Fantasia on "Lift Every Voice and Sing," a signature piece for the ensemble, whose distinguished members hail from leading orchestras and conservatory teaching faculties nationwide. Jon Batiste "Why an all-black orchestra?" you ask. Well, the sad reality is that most of these extraordinarily talented musicians are not hired by the vast majority of American symphony orchestras. "Why?" again, you ask. The answer: American racism. The concert was broadcast by WQXR 105.9 in New York, and st

"Practice What You Preach" by Nina Kennedy

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Practice What You Preach From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Jump to navigation Jump to search Practice What You Preach Author        Nina Kennedy Country      United States Language   English Subject       Autobiography, American                                       history,  classical music,  sexism,                             homophobia, race relations,                                   filmmaking Published   January 2022 Publisher    RoseDog Books, an imprint of                               Dorrance Publishing                                              Company Media type  Print Pages          363 ISBN             978-1-63661-011-5                Practice What You Preach: Book 2 of the Practicing for Love Series  is the continuation of the 2019 nonfiction autobiography  written by  Nina Kennedy  and published by  RoseDog Books . It is about her life and experiences as a former child prodigy and the daughter of college professors, her car

The Greatest Love: Whitney Houston and Robyn Crawford

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  I hesitated to read Robyn Crawford's book A Song for You: My Life with Whitney Houston , primarily because I was preoccupied with the launch of my own book. But when I read recently that Whitney Houston's final recording contract was worth 100 million dollars, I dropped everything to rush out and grab that book. Evidently, 100 million dollars was not enough to keep Whitney alive. Hers was a story of addiction. She had her first taste of cocaine when she was only 14. It is so tragic that she never received the help she needed to get healthy and stay alive. She was vilified in the media as the good-girl-gone-bad who let her talents go to waste. But Robyn Crawford, who witnessed her meteoric rise, felt the need to set the record straight and "lift Whitney up" after the media chose to put their energy into tearing her down. Imagine the stress and pressure Whitney must have felt knowing that she was losing her voice, after having been paid a hundred million dollars for h

15th Annual PrideIndex.com Esteem Awards Finalists

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  Chicago, April 7, 2022 – Today, we’re excited to announce that four organizations and fourteen individuals have been selected to be honored at the 15th Annual  Esteem Awards . A committee of past finalists has chosen this year’s recipients.  Award finalist will be celebrated at an in-person event on Saturday, July 2, at Sidetrack 3349 N. Halsted in Chicago from 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm. Author/Activist  Michelle E. Brown  will host this exciting celebration of honor. Comedian  Sampson McCormick  will provide the entertainment. The event is free and open to the public.  Following is a list of Esteem Awards finalists:  Outstanding Service, Male:   Ken Meija-Beal , Community organizer and Chair of the DuPage County Democratic Party.  Outstanding Service, Female:  Angela Barnes and Renauda Riddle, Activist and Co-Owners,  Nobody’s Darling .   Outstanding Service, Transgender:   Zahara Bassett , Founder/Chief Executive Officer at Life is work.  Future Leaders:  Shakus Silas, Program Manager for