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Being gay in America is not like it used to be. Less than 50 years ago, very few businesses welcomed openly gay people – even in New York City. It wasn’t until the Stonewall Riots in 1969 that the modern gay rights movement became a subject of mainstream political discourse. It would be almost 35 years later before Massachusetts became the first state to recognize same-sex marriage in 2003. I’m only 24 years old but I can remember when Ellen DeGeneres was effectively driven off primetime television for coming out publicly.
Although many years have passed since Stonewall, you could get whiplash trying to follow how quickly the debate has shifted. The US Supreme Court this year struck down DOMA, a law signed by Bill Clinton with broad bi-partisan support only 17 years ago. Today, same-sex marriage is recognized in thirteen states and several more are considering policy that will increase that number. It gets easier to be gay in America every single year, each new milestone compounding on the last, until the steadfast convictions of the previous generation seem almost unthinkable today.
That said, there are still many countries around the world that haven’t changed their minds about LGBT equality as fast as the United States. Russia’s recent anti-gay legislation has garnered an outpouring of support from LGBT groups all over the world. Many are expressing the same frustrations that manifested into the Stonewall Riots in 1969. This Thursday, September 12 the fight returns to Stonewall at a burlesque benefit for the Russian LGBT Network.
Russian Pride NYC is a burlesque and variety show from New York City and an “expression of love and support to our brothers and sisters in Russia”. All proceeds will go to The Russian LGBT Network. If you’re in New York City this week and you want to show your support, you are guaranteed a night of amazing burlesque, dance, song, Russian disco, rage, and beauty at a historic location for gay rights.
The Royal Baritarian Players, a happily married boylesque duo from New York City, are co-producing the event. One of them, Lawrence Gullo, was kind enough to answer a few questions about himself, his inspiration and the upcoming Russian Pride benefit on Thursday:
Every year at the end of June, Gay Pride is honored in cities big and small all over the world. It’s a time to celebrate successes, reflect on past struggles and of course, to have fun. Pride parades take the party to the streets, drawing crowds as large as 3.5 million people in Sao Paolo and as humble as a few hundred in small-town America.
Pride festivals in major cities can span a whole week of performance art, dancing, activism and much more beyond the parade. Just like burlesque, Pride is about pushing for gender equality and taking control of one’s own sexuality. Burlesque and Pride are natural partners – from boylesque to drag to queerlesque – and in celebration of Pride-week I ‘ve chosen to highlight some of the most interesting, gender-bending burlesque in the birthplace of post-Stonewall Pride: New York City.
Maysles Cinema is celebrating Pride in Harlem this Thursday, June 27 with T.V. Transvestite & The Show Must Go On: The Story of Snookie Lanore. This is your chance to learn about the tough history of Pride in Harlem and how the black pride community is thriving in face of it all today. T.V. Transvestite was filmed in 1982 and hasn’t been publicly screened in decades. It documents early neo-burlesque performances at a Harlem bingo hall and will be followed by The Story of Snookie Lanore – a short documentary film about a drag performer in Harlem picking up where they left off.Arts >
This week on the Mid-Week Beat, Victor Chovil, one of our East Coast Representatives, features one group from the Northwest that is touring the Northeast, one artist from the Northeast that has relocated to the Northwest and one artist from the Northwest that’s relocated to the Northeast. Got all that? Hope so. Either way, these are incredible musicians that we’re proud to be working with. Check ’em out.
The diverse team at Brown Paper Tickets is passionate about many things, but I’m willing to bet most of us love music. Many of us also have a lot of love for the Pacific Northwest. Since moving to New York City from Seattle, I’m constantly keeping an eye out for my favorite Northwest artists as they make the rare trek east. Some are touring, some have re-located out here and some have re-located from here to the Northwest.
So, in celebration of my personal affinity for our country’s two northern coasts, here’s a set of upcoming independent music artists that have roots in both:
The Doubleclicks are a pair of sisters from Portland, Oregon who play cello, guitar and ukulele and write songs that are all at once snarky, geeky and sweet. They’ll be playing in Somerville, Massachusetts next Tuesday, June 18 at The Armory. If you’re in the area, we highly recommend you pick up tickets and catch this unique duo.
Since starting their band in 2011 with a weekly new-song YouTube project and the animated music video for their Dungeons & Dragons love song, The Doubleclicks have toured their clever brand of folk music around the country, usually in comic shops, game stores or in their fans’ living rooms. The duo has also performed at w00tstock shows with Paul & Storm and Wil Wheaton, and entertained audiences at pop culture, gaming and sci-fi conventions.
The duo’s first full-length album Chainmail and Cello (2012) intones the life and loves of the geek girl – with songs about love, Velociraptors, and Pride & Prejudice. They also released a CD of their music for kids called Worst Superpower Ever in 2012. That same year, the Doubleclicks also persevered through the year-long Song Fu 2012 monthly songwriting challenge as a featured artist, wrote the official theme song for party game Cards Against Humanity, and released a 5-song Christmas EP and a music video for their Hobbit Christmas song which received over 14,000 views on YouTube.
Their 2013 album Lasers and Feelings is slated to be released this summer and will feature the sisters’ first recordings with a full band. Here’s their first video from the upcoming release.Music >
This week on the Tuesday Tease, we divert a little from pure burlesque in order to feature a show at Brooklyn’s House of Yes that features burlesque mixed with circus arts. Our East Coast Representative Victor Chovil gives us a glimpse into their recent interpretation of “Peter Pan.”
House of Yes is an art space in East Williamsburg, Brooklyn that “supports performance, events and creative endeavors by providing the space and materials needed to make things happen.” House of Yes is also the home base of Sky Box, an aerial acrobatics group that holds workshops and classes every week. They’ve been a long time supporter of the burlesque and circus communities and we’re honored to feature them this week.
So, without further ado, I give you Victor and his review of “Peter Pan.”
Producer-Director Anya Sapozhnikova has been selling out shows at Brooklyn’s House of Yes for years. I was lucky enough to attend the opening night of her latest project, an ambitious and fun interpretation of Peter Pan. Its a mix of trapeze, burlesque, puppetry and side-show; full of great music and a little poi. Think ballerinas spinning from ropes while the “lost boys” of Never Ever Land dance to Massive Attack on the stage below them.