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Pop And Broadway Diva Melba Moore Hits New York With Cabaret Show, ‘Forever Moore’

Pop and Broadway songstress Melba Moore is back on the New York stage.

The 69-year-old Tony Award-winning singer-actress, best known for the radio hits "This Is It" and "Love's Comin' At Ya," will offer a retrospective of her lengthy performing career with two performances of her new show, "Forever Moore," at venerable Manhattan nightspot 54 Below on May 22 and 23.

Moore also says she'll take the chance to extend beyond her usual repertoire, covering material made famous by Barbra Streisand, Lena Horne, Sarah Vaughn and Aretha Franklin, among others.

The star offered a sneak peek at her performance with "Don't Rain on My Parade" from "Funny Girl" earlier this week. Take a look at video of that performance as originally seen on Theater Pizzazz above.

Melba Moore opened "Forever Moore" at New York's 54 Below on May 22. She'll hit the stage again on May 23. Head here for more details.


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24
May
2015

Josh Duggar Records Destroyed By Arkansas Police At Judge’s Request

Police in Arkansas have destroyed records detailing the investigation into sexual abuse allegations against TLC's "19 Kids and Counting" star Josh Duggar.

“The judge ordered us yesterday to expunge that record,” Springdale Police spokesman Scott Lewis told The Associated Press on Friday. "As far as the Springdale Police Department is concerned this report doesn't exist."

Lewis also told the AP that these types of records are usually kept indefinitely.

A 2006 police report, which was obtained by In Touch before its destruction, indicates that family patriarch Jim Bob Duggar knew as early as 2002 that Josh Duggar -- who was 14 at the time -- was accused of sexually abusing an underage girl. The teen was ultimately accused of inappropriately touching five underage girls, some of whom were his sisters, between 2002 and 2003.

Police did not find out about the allegations until 2006, when they were tipped off to a letter discussing the incidents, the AP reports. A family friend had lent another person a book, and the letter was stuck inside.

The police report obtained by In Touch indicates Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar told police in 2006 that they had disciplined their son themselves.

The couple allegedly said that they sent Josh Duggar to a “Christian program” that “consisted of physical hard work and counseling.” Michelle Duggar later admitted that they actually just sent him to live with a family friend to help with a home remodeling business, according to In Touch.

Both Josh Duggar, now 27, and his parents acknowledged the incidents and publicly apologized in Facebook posts on Thursday.

TLC pulled all airings of “19 Kids and Counting” from its lineup the day after Duggar admitted the allegations were true.

Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee voiced his support for the judge’s decision to destroy the records in a Facebook post Friday. “There was no consideration of the fact that the victims wanted this to be left in the past and ultimately a judge had the information on file destroyed -- not to protect Josh, but the innocent victims,” Huckabee wrote.

The Duggar family has “a long and active history of political advocacy for social conservative causes,” CNN noted. Josh Duggar resigned from his position at the Family Research Council, a conservative Christian group and lobbying organization, on Thursday. According to the AP, Duggar was previously “a public face” of the group.


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23
May
2015

Ireland Gay Marriage Vote Spurs Emotional Celebrations, In Photos

Ireland held a historic referendum on same-sex marriage on Saturday, with a resounding majority of voters backing legalization. The result makes Ireland the first country in the world to adopt gay marriage through popular vote.

Around 62 percent of citizens who headed to the polls voted yes to legalization, amid the highest turnout the country has seen in two decades. The vote reflects the changing nature of Ireland's once-conservative Catholic society, which only decriminalized homosexuality in 1993.

Supporters of the Yes campaign celebrated in the streets of Dublin as the ballots were counted, breaking into the national anthem when the official result was announced. The photos below capture the crowds outside Dublin Castle as they cheer, cry and take in a landmark moment in Irish history.

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Supporters react outside Dublin Castle following the announcement of the result of the same-sex marriage referendum in Dublin on May 23, 2015. (Ian Kington/AFP/Getty Images)


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Supporters of same-sex marriage celebrate and cheer as thousands gather in Dublin Castle square awaiting the referendum vote outcome on May 23, 2015 in Dublin, Ireland. (Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)


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Yes supporters celebrate at Dublin Castle, Ireland, Saturday, May 23, 2015. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)


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Yes supporters react at Dublin Castle, Ireland, Saturday, May 23, 2015. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)


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An emotional gay couple celebrate in Dublin Castle Square as the result of the referendum is relayed on May 23, 2015 in Dublin, Ireland. (Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)


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A supporter holds a sign reading 'Thank You - You're All Invited to the Wedding' as he celebrates outside Dublin Castle following the result of the same-sex marriage referendum in Dublin on May 23, 2015. (Paul Faith/AFP/Getty Images)


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Drag queen and Yes campaign activist Panti Bliss joins supporters in favor of same-sex marriage on May 23, 2015 in Dublin, Ireland. (Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)


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Supporters for same-sex marriage raise a cheer at Dublin Castle as they wait for the result of the referendum on May 23, 2015. (Paul Faith/AFP/Getty Images)


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A lesbian couple link arms around their waists as thousands gather in Dublin Castle square awaiting the referendum vote outcome on May 23, 2015 in Dublin, Ireland. (Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

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A gay couple kiss in Dublin Castle Square as the result of the referendum is relayed on May 23, 2015 in Dublin, Ireland. (Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)


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A yes supporter waits at Dublin Castle for the final result in the referendum in Dublin, Ireland, Saturday, May 23, 2015. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)


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Irish Senator Katherine Zappone (L) kisses her partner Ann Louise Gilligan as supporters for same-sex marriage wait for the result of the referendum at Dublin Castle on May 23, 2015 in Dublin. (Paul Faith/AFP/Getty Images)

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23
May
2015

Rainbows Form Over Dublin As Ireland Votes To Legalize Gay Marriage

In a historic vote, Ireland passed a referendum to legalize gay marriage. As voters in the Irish capital of Dublin went to the polls on Friday, some noticed a fitting accompaniment from Mother Nature.
















Official results showed that the referendum passed with 62 percent support, according to Reuters.

Ireland becomes the first country in the world to legalize gay marriage via popular vote.

H/T BuzzFeed

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23
May
2015

Jane Fonda Discusses Why She Thought Warren Beatty Was Gay In W Magazine Interview

Everything is coming up gay for Jane Fonda these days.

The legendary 77-year-old actress is currently featured in the new Netflix series "Grace and Frankie," in which she plays a woman whose husband announces he's leaving her for his law partner and best (male) friend.

Perhaps put in the mood by starring in a show with such heavy gay themes, Fonda has been chatting nonstop about queer topics while doing press for the series.

She recently told Pride Source's Chris Azzopardi that one of her favorite memories was "campaigning with Harvey Milk in the Castro District in San Francisco" and that a very famous unnamed gay actor once asked her to marry him.

And in the newest issue of W magazine, Fonda opened up about another one of Hollywood's biggest stars -- Warren Beatty -- and said that she once mistakenly thought that he was gay.

Noting their 1959 screen test for the film "Parrish," W revealed that Beatty "recalled that they 'were thrown together like two lions in a cage and kissed until we had practically eaten each others’ heads off.'"

In response, Fonda told the magazine she "didn't remember the test at all" and jokingly added, "I thought Warren was gay. He played piano, and all his friends were gay.”

The friends Fonda referred to were possibly gay playwrights William Inge and Tennessee Williams, Queerty noted.

Beatty has dated his fair share of leading women, including Madonna and Annette Bening, to whom the actor has been married since 1992. In 2010, an unauthorized biography claimed that he had slept with close to 13,000 women, a number the actor's rep called "baloney."

Read the full interview with Fonda by heading to W.

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23
May
2015

10 Countries Declare Support for Queer Rights In South Korea



On May 17th, the Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Korea and the embassies of 10 European countries in South Korea declared their support for LGBT rights in celebration of IDAHO, the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia.

The countries that participated in supporting LGBT rights in Korea were Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Norway, Spain, Slovenia, Sweden, and Great Britain, as well as the EU Delegation stationed in South Korea. On May 15th, they issued a joint press release stating, “We are keen to work with the Korean government and civil society in promoting respect for the human rights of LGBTI persons.”

On June 13th, the EU office and the embassies of 10 countries in Korea will operate their own booths at the Korea Queer Culture Festival in Seoul. The American, French, and German embassies had booths last year.

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Blood donation mascot at the Korea Queer Culture Festival '14 (Wikimedia Commons)

EU officials are obligated to take the initiative to “promote and protect the human rights of LGBTI persons” in countries where they are present, according to the guidelines for supporting LGBTI people’s human rights that went into effect on June 24th, 2013.

The following is the full text of the press release from the EU Delegation and the embassies in Korea.

Joint Press Release on the occasion of the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO)*

May 17th marks the 10th International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO). Our countries stand together with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex people (LGBTI) all across the world in the struggle to end discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Our governments welcome the support of the Republic of Korea in promoting universal human rights, especially through United Nations action. We also value the critical role played by civil society organisations in our countries and in Korea. We are keen to work with the Korean government and civil society in promoting respect for the human rights of LGBTI persons. Our respective Embassies will demonstrate our support for the efforts of Korea by participating in the “Korean Queer Culture Festival” that will take place in Seoul on June 13th 2015.

We are concerned that all too often LGBTI people face discrimination, violence and persecution for who they are or whom they love. We are particularly concerned that in 76 countries, homosexuality is still considered to be illegal. Sexual relations between consenting adults of the same sex are sometimes criminalized, liable to be punished with imprisonment or even with the death penalty.
Our countries are fully committed to tackling these violations and abuses both at home and at the global level. As the Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-Moon recalled at an event in support of the fight against homophobia in December 2012, "All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. All human beings – not some, not most, but all”.

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23
May
2015

Bridget Barkan Puts A Modern Spin On A Judy Garland Classic In Honor Of Homeless LGBT Youth

Among gay audiences, Judy Garland is one of few performers who never seems to go out of style.

New York singer-actress Bridget Barkan proved that point at 2014's “Night of a Thousand Judys” when she crooned a tender version of “As Long as He Needs Me," which was introduced in the Broadway musical "Oliver!" and performed by Garland on her television series, “The Judy Garland Show,” in 1963.

Now in its fifth year, “Night of a Thousand Judys” -- which is a special presentation of New York- and Los Angeles-based actor, writer and performer Justin Sayre's variety show, “The Meeting,” and timed to coincide with LGBT Pride Month -- will benefit the Ali Forney Center, an advocacy group dedicated to homeless lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) teens and young adults.

As in previous installments, performers from Broadway, television and downtown cabaret will hit New York's Merkin Concert Hall at the Kaufman Center June 1 to croon songs made famous by Garland during her fabled career. The 2015 lineup includes Melissa Errico, Liz Callaway, Michael McElroy, Lauren Worsham and The Skivvies, among others.

Sayre interviewed Ali Forney Center founder Carl Siciliano for his “Sparkle & Circulate with Justin Sayre” podcast. You can check that out here.

Meanwhile, you can also view some previous performances from “The Meeting” on Sayre's official YouTube page. For more Sayre, head to Facebook and Twitter, too.

“Night of a Thousand Judys” plays New York's Merkin Concert Hall at the Kaufman Center on June 1. Head here for more details.



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23
May
2015

Ireland Votes To Legalize Gay Marriage, Leaders On Both Sides Of Referendum Say

DUBLIN (AP) — Ireland has voted resoundingly to legalize gay marriage in the world's first national vote on the issue, leaders on both sides of the Irish referendum declared Saturday even as official ballot counting continued.


Senior figures from the "no" campaign, who sought to prevent Ireland's constitution from being amended to permit same-sex marriages, say the only question is how large the "yes" side's margin of victory will be from Friday's vote.


"We're the first country in the world to enshrine marriage equality in our constitution and do so by popular mandate. That makes us a beacon, a light to the rest of the world of liberty and equality. So it's a very proud day to be Irish," said Leo Varadkar, a Cabinet minister who came out as gay at the start of a government-led effort to amend Ireland's conservative Catholic constitution.


"There is going to be a very substantial majority for a yes vote. I'm not at all surprised by that to be honest with you," said Irish Sen. Ronan Mullen, one of only a handful of politicians who campaigned for rejection.


Political analyst Noel Whelan noted that "yes" majorities were being reported even in conservative rural districts and suggested the only question was how large the "yes" majority would be when all ballots in this predominantly Catholic nation of 4.6 million are counted.


Varadkar, who personally watched the votes being tabulated at the County Dublin ballot center, said the Irish capital looks to have voted around 70 percent in favor of gay marriage, while most districts outside the capital also were reporting strong "yes" leads. He said not a single district yet had reported a "no" majority. Official results come later Saturday.


The anti-gay marriage side credited "yes" campaigners with running a creative, compelling campaign that harnessed the power of social media to mobilize young voters, tens of thousands of whom voted for the first time Friday. They also said a "no" victory was always unlikely given that all political parties and most politicians backed the legalization of homosexual unions, just five years after parliament approved marriage-style civil partnerships for gay couples.


Fianna Fail party leader Michael Martin, whose party is traditionally closest to the Catholic Church but like all other parties campaigned to legalize gay marriage, said it "looks like an emphatic win for the yes side." Voters in his native Cork were being recorded by observers as more than 60 percent yes.


John Lyons, one of the four openly gay lawmakers in Ireland's 166-member parliament, said he was surprised by how many older voters he met on the campaign trail who were voting yes. But he paid special credit to the mobilization of younger voters, many of whom traveled home from work or studies abroad to vote.


"Most of the young people I canvassed with have never knocked on a door in their lives," said Lyons, who represents northwest Dublin in parliament. "This says something about modern Ireland. Let's never underestimate the electorate or what they think."

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23
May
2015

The Importance of Finding Your Tribe (VIDEO)

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I'm From Driftwood is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit archive for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer stories. New stories are posted on the site every Wednesday.

Throughout Robert Scott's life, he had an alcoholic father, became overweight and addicted to drugs, and was affected by the AIDS crisis in San Francisco in the 1980s. Reflecting on his life, he realizes one thing: the importance of finding one's tribe. Robert recalls:

I went from academic, grad school, Ph.D. candidate to a hippy living on a commune to a fat gay man coming to San Francisco, losing 130 pounds, finding tribes at every juncture. The only tribe that's actually stuck for me at this juncture in my life is the tribe that I found in recovery. I'm still friends with those people, and it's 40 years later.


After watching an interview of RuPaul, Robert heard something that connected with him and learned the value in listening:

Stop dividing yourself from other people, stop listening for differences, and start listening for similarities between you and the person that's talking.


WATCH:



For more stories, visit I'm From Driftwood, the LGBTQ Story Archive.

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22
May
2015

The Queer Teen Who Ran Away from Home, Joined a Cabaret, and Became an Seattle Nightlife Icon

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One of the first friends I met when I moved to Seattle was Zak, standing by a urinal trough wearing golden armor down one arm and shiny metallic underwear. To be fair, it was Halloween; but since then I've seen him dress similarly on more than one occasion since then. He's just that kind of star.

I was lucky enough to interview Zak this week for The Sewers of Paris, my podcast about entertainment that's changed the lives of gay men. I didn't know it when we met, but it had taken Zak years and a lot of searching to become the amazing man I met at The Eagle on Halloween night. Our conversation on this week's episode is all about his upbringing in a house full of strippers, running away to become a homeless youth for several years, and eventually finding himself in the underground cabaret culture of Seattle.



That kind of teenage hunt for identity is fertile ground for exploration in movies and TV. Take, for example, the perfect (and therefore doomed) TV show Freaks and Geeks. It's the story of a high school student named Lindsay -- a good kid who suddenly realizes that she's growing up into someone who is not the mild-mannered girl she'd always been.

She starts rejecting her well-behaved friends in favor of the bad kids. She lets her schoolwork slip, she dabbles with misbehavior, and she does her best to make her parents worry. Throughout the show's one and only season, Lindsay's torn between the safe, secure life she'd always led, and that of the freaks: dangerous, disobedient, uninhibited and also unstable.



Lindsay finds herself running away from one life before she really knows what life she's running to. And so she explores a series of costumes, new outfits, new language, new friends. Lindsay does the same thing Zak did -- the same thing we all do when we're becoming adults, to varying degrees. When we're teenagers, we're turning into a stranger, a grown-up we've never met. So we adopt new clothes and surround ourselves with friends in the hopes that these things will reveal to us who the heck we're going to be.

And while adolescence is about searching and transformation, adulthood -- hopefully -- is when you discover the person you've become.

That brings me to my second recommendation of this week's episode: the 1994 film Ed Wood, one of the most wonderful movies ever made. Tim Burton's semi-true dramatization tells the story of Ed, an outcast in a lovely angora sweater. He's a cross-dresser making a series of movies so strange that they will probably be remembered for hundreds of years as the weirdest visions ever committed to film.



Ed carries his secret deep down inside, never letting on that this is who he is. And like any attempt to deny yourself, Ed's secret tears him up.

It's only when he reveals himself -- his true self -- that things start going Ed's way. In part, that's because he's been lucky enough to have cultivated a circle of people as weird as he is. His friends are freaks, and they like it that way. A vampire hostess, a local psychic, a meathead wrestler and a strange homosexual: Grown-up freaks who've decided that it's better to live authentically as weirdos for themselves than try to squeeze into an a ridiculous business suit.

When Ed embraces his secret, he's embraced by his friends. And he can finally embrace himself. The real himself. It's means he can finally be Ed Wood, dressed in heels and panties and a delicate sweater. Just like he'd been doing all along in his heart.

None of this is to say that costumes are bad and dress-up is wrong, as long as you control the costume and not the other way around. By all means, go out, search, wear a suit or a skirt or a mohawk or crop-top.

Just remember to look in a mirror every now and then and ask the question Zak asked himself: do my outsides match my insides?

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22
May
2015