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New LGBT Health Center opens in Harlem

Harlem, gay news, Washington Blade

Pictured from left to right: Medical Director of Metropolitan Hospital Comprehensive LGBT Health Center Dr. Nadia Duvilaire; patient Christopher Leo Daniels; HHC President Dr. Ram Raju at the launch of the hospital’s Comprehensive LGBT Health Center. (Photo courtesy HHC)

NEW YORK — New York’s Health and Hospitals Corporation’s Metropolitan Hospital Center in East Harlem this month opened a new LGBT Health Center that aims to better serve and remove barriers to care for LGBT New Yorkers, EDGE Boston and other media outlets report.

The Comprehensive LGBT Health Center will provide specialized and comprehensive primary, preventive and specialty care by health care professionals trained to manage the needs of LGBT patients, the report said.

“So far I could say that the patients coming here have found the environment to be welcoming and nurturing. We at Metropolitan have gone through an intensive cultural competence training over the past year, and are showing great sensitivity to the needs of LGBT patients,” Dr. Nadia Duvilaire, who oversees patients in the Comprehensive LGBT Health Center, was quoted as having said by EDGE Boston.

Several studies have shown that not being out to health care providers can negatively impact health.

26
Jun
2014

Syphilis spike blamed on hook-up apps

Grindr, social media app, gay news, Washington Blade

Apps like Grindr are being blamed for a spike in New York syphilis cases.

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — A sharp spike in syphilis cases in New York’s Onondaga County is being blamed in part on the proliferation of gay hook-up phone apps that make it easy for men to find each other quickly, the Post-Standard, a paper in the region, reports.

The number of cases of the potentially deadly sexually transmitted disease nearly doubled in Onondaga County from 15 cases in 2012 to 29 in 2013, the Post-Standard reports. During the same period, the number of cases in New York outside of New York City increased from 375 to 490, a 30 percent increase. Syphilis is increasing in both urban and rural areas across the state, according to the state Health Department.

The state and county health departments recently issued alerts to health providers, urging them to be diligent about screening for the disease and treating it, the Post-Standard reports.

Nearly all the syphilis cases in New York last year involved men, and more than 70 percent involved men who reported having sex with other men, according to the state Health Department. Men over age 30 accounted for most of the cases in Onondaga County.

When a syphilis case is reported, public health workers try to identity the infected individuals’ sex partners so they can contact them and advise them to get tested and treated. As part of their investigation, public health workers ask people infected with syphilis if they use phone apps such as Grindr or Adam4Adam to find sex partners, the Post-Standard reports.

Grindr, a free app, uses global positioning technology to allow men to find nearby sex partners.

12
Mar
2014

NYC Pride parade draws more than a million people

Laverne Cox, Delores Nettles, New York Pride, gay news, Washington Blade

Actress Laverne Cox speaks with Delores Nettles, whose transgender daughter, Islan Nettles, was murdered last August in Harlem, before the annual New York LGBT Pride parade on June 29, 2014. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

NEW YORK — More than a million people lined the streets of Manhattan on Sunday for New York’s annual LGBT Pride parade.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Russian journalist and LGBT rights advocate Masha Gessen and New York Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney and his husband who married last week are among those who marched. Gay Men’s Health Crisis, GLAAD, the Ali Forney Center, the Metropolitan Community Church of New York and hundreds of other organizations also took part in the parade that began in Midtown Manhattan and ended on Christopher Street in the West Village.

Actress Laverne Cox of “Orange is the New Black,” who was a grand marshal, marched with Delores Nettles, whose transgender daughter, Islan Nettles, died last August after she was attacked on a Harlem street.

“There are trans people all over this country fighting for their lives every single day and we’re not doing enough for them,” said Cox during a press conference before the parade. “There needs to be justice for Islan Nettles.”

Actor Jonathan Groff and Rea Carey, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, were also grand marshals.

Carey noted that Congress has yet to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. She nevertheless described this year that marks the 45th anniversary of the Stonewall riots as “extraordinary” for the LGBT community.

“We know how important it is to simply be out and walk and stand tall, even and especially 45 years after a bunch of drag queens and homeless kids and butch dykes and people of color said enough,” said Carey. “We do them honor when we walk through New York City proud and we do them honor when we say we are not finished. Yes we can get married, but until every single couple can walk down any street in America — including New York City — and hold hands and kiss each other goodbye and not be afraid to do so, we are not free.”

Cuomo earlier in the day formally announced a new initiative designed to end the AIDS epidemic in New York by 2020.

“Although there are more New Yorkers living with HIV than in any other state in the nation, it is within our reach to end the epidemic that has plagued us for more than 30 years,” said Benjamin Bashein, acting executive director of AIDS Community Research Initiative of America (ACRIA) in a statement. “There is still no cure at hand, but we now have the knowledge and means to dramatically reduce new HIV infections and promote optimal health for those with HIV. Governor Cuomo’s leadership will help our vision become a reality and make New York a model for ending AIDS across the country and around the globe.”

More than 40 percent of Americans now live in a jurisdiction in which same-sex couples can legally marry. Maryland alongside 17 other states, D.C. and Puerto Rico have added gender identity and expression to their anti-discrimination laws.

Uganda, Nigeria, Russia and other countries over the last year have enacted anti-LGBT laws that either clamp down on activism or further criminalize homosexuality.

30
Jun
2014

HIV prevention injection study expands in China

Hong Kong, China, gay news, Washington Blade

Hong Kong (Photo by Diliff; courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

Hong Kong, China, gay news, Washington BladeHONG KONG — A top AIDS research team may try to recruit about 1,000 at-risk men from Hong Kong and the mainland for clinical trials of an injection to prevent HIV infection, the South China Morning Post reports. If it goes ahead as planned next year, the project by the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center in New York will be the first HIV-prevention clinical trial in China.

The plan comes after the team, led by celebrated Taiwanese-American researcher Dr. David Ho, used an antiretroviral drug dubbed GSK744 to protect laboratory monkeys from HIV for weeks.

Clinical trials on men and women were scheduled to start in the U.S. this week, the Post reports. For the mainland-Hong Kong trial, the team will seek men engaged in high-risk same-sex activity. But Professor Martin Markowitz, clinical director of the center, an affiliate of Rockefeller University, said stigma surrounding gay men in China might pose a challenge, the South China Morning Post article said.

Markowitz is “cautiously optimistic” the drug could be developed into an injection to protect humans from HIV for three months with one shot, the Post article said.

The effectiveness of oral pills already available for HIV prevention varied in different studies, mainly because people did not always take the drug daily as required for protection, he said.

They are aiming at the highest-risk group — men engaging in unprotected receptive anal intercourse with an untreated HIV-positive partner.

China’s HIV infection rate was 0.058 per cent in 2011, but among men engaging in same-sex behaviour it was 6.3 per cent, according to the Ministry of Health.

In Hong Kong, 559 new cases of HIV infection were reported last year, the Post reports.

27
Mar
2014

Cuomo seeks to end HIV epidemic in New York

Andrew Cuomo, gay news, Washington Blade

‘We are in a position to be the first state in the nation committed to ending this epidemic,’ said New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

NEW YORK — New York’s Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office said last week that it has developed a plan to aggressively identify, track and treat people with HIV infection there with hopes of lowering infections there to non-epidemic levels by 2020, the New York Times reports.

The Cuomo administration described the effort as reflecting a once unimaginable sea change in thinking since the first cases of AIDS were reported among gay men, mostly in the city, by the Centers for Disease Control in July 1981. It has gone from a mysterious plague to a disease that experts can envision one day vanquishing.

“Thirty years ago, New York was the epicenter of the AIDS crisis,” Cuomo said in a statement on Saturday as quoted by the Times. “We are in a position to be the first state in the nation committed to ending this epidemic.”

The state’s acting health commissioner, Dr. Howard Zucker, said on June 27 that he believed that by 2020, New York could reduce its annual incidence of new infections to about 750 from the current 3,000, bringing the number of new cases below the number of annual deaths, or as he put it, “bending the curve” in the direction of ending the epidemic in the state, the Times article said.

The prospect of ending the AIDS epidemic is gaining momentum in epidemiological circles. It is based on studies showing that AIDS drugs have a double-barreled effect not just as treatment but as a means of blocking transmission. On June 24, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, a leading AIDS researcher, argued at the Aspen Ideas Festival that “we can end the AIDS pandemic in the next 10 years,” the New York Times article said.

In New York, of an estimated 154,000 people infected with HIV, 22,000 do not know they have it, state officials said. Of the 132,000 who know they have it, 64,000 need treatment to suppress the virus.

02
Jul
2014

Anatomy of a murder

Kitty Genovese, books, gay news, Washington Blade

(Image courtesy W.W. Norton)

You always hold doors open.

That’s because your mama taught you to help others. You hold doors for stragglers, lend your ear, dispense advice, volunteer, donate and keep an eye on your neighbor’s house. Really, it’s no big deal.

You’re a good helper, but how involved do you get in other people’s matters? Read “Kitty Genovese” by Kevin Cook, for example, and ask yourself what you’d do if you heard a murder.

By all accounts, Catherine “Kitty” Genovese was a nice girl with a great smile and a generous spirit. As the manager of a local bar near her Queens, New York neighborhood, Kitty was trustworthy, good with customers and was known to loan money to regulars in need. She made friends easily and was an “adventurous, troubled but optimistic, hard-working, fast-driving, living, breathing person …”

Until the morning of March 13, 1964.

It was just after 3 a.m. that morning and Kitty was on her way home to the apartment she shared with her girlfriend, Mary Ann Zielonko. Most people thought they were just roommates and, though it wasn’t quite the truth, the women let others believe it because it was safer. In 1964 and homosexuality was still illegal.

She was in her beloved red Fiat and was driving fast, as she usually did. Perhaps because of the hour, Kitty didn’t notice that she was being followed.

Quiet, soft-spoken Winston Moseley had done something noteworthy for a black man in 1964: he’d purchased a house in an up-and-coming, mostly white neighborhood where he and his wife, Betty, were raising their boys. Between his good job and Betty’s salary, they were relatively well off but Betty sometimes worried about Winston. He was an insomniac and liked “just thinking.” What she didn’t know was that he was “thinking” about killing.

In early March 1964, Moseley committed the “particularly gruesome” murder of a black woman, then calmly went to work. He wondered if killing a white woman would be any different. Two weeks later, while driving around, looking for a victim, he spotted a little red Fiat and had a “compulsion” to find out.

You might be asking yourself what’s so unusual about a 50-year-old crime. Author Kevin Cook will tell you as he takes you on a journey through the early 1960s and a death that literally impacts everyone in North America today.

But that’s not all you’ll read in “Kitty Genovese.”

Cook reminds us in many ways that Genovese was more than just a victim, that she was a real person who loved life. On the flipside, we meet the neighbors who supposedly ignored her cries and we’re shown the slow making of a “monster” who seems chillingly without conscience. Cook uses these parallel stories to illustrate what happened as he busts myths that still linger to this day.

There are outrageous surprises in this book, some heartbreak, and passages that are grisly enough to make anyone squirm. But if you’re a true-crime fan or you love good storytelling, “Kitty Genovese” is a book you can’t help but devour.

And if Cook’s book piques your interest and you absolutely need to know more about this crime and the aftermath, then look for “Kitty Genovese: A True Account of a Public Murder and Its Private Consequences” by Catherine Pelonero.

Here, Pelonero takes a deeper look at Moseley and the murders he committed prior to the attacks on Genovese. You’ll also get a few more details on the trial that followed Moseley’s arrest. It’s a nice companion to the Cook book for anyone who’s still curious.

02
Apr
2014

‘AIDS Walk’ is now ‘Walk to End HIV’

AIDS Walk 2013, Whitman-Walker Health, gay news, Washington Blade

(Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

After a number of years, Whitman-Walker Clinic morphed into Whitman-Walker Health. It changed from being a small gay men’s health clinic often running on a shoestring budget to a thriving health center serving the entire community. That shouldn’t be construed to mean that Whitman-Walker has forgotten its roots because it hasn’t. But the needs of the LGBT community have changed along with Whitman-Walker.

That change is a big reason for changing the name of “AIDS Walk” to “Walk to End HIV.” Last week the D.C. government released its report on HIV/AIDS in the District and while we still have infections at epidemic numbers, the incidence of new infections continues to go down. With the right care people with AIDS can live long productive lives and we have it in our sights to end new infections. Just after Whitman-Walker made its announcement of the “Walk to End HIV,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York announced his goal to end new HIV infections in New York by 2020.

Many of us remember our first encounter with Whitman Walker. For me it was when a friend was diagnosed with AIDS and I called the clinic for help. Those were the days when many of us got up each morning and checked the obituary notices first saying a silent prayer we wouldn’t see another friend’s name. It was a time when going to funerals of young men seemed to be the norm and name after name got crossed off in our address books. It was a time when the majority of the money for the Clinic had to come from private donations. With others I joined the Clinic’s Development Committee and we pleaded with friends to attend benefits and dig deeper into their pockets, which they did. Many of the donations were made in memory of a friend or loved one who died of AIDS.

Thankfully things have changed and today the rate of HIV infections is going down. In the District, Mayor Vincent Gray has had success in his vision and strategy for bringing down the infection rate and Whitman-Walker Health has been a major partner in that effort.

In announcing the name change, Don Blanchon, executive director of WWH said, “This name change reflects a cataclysmic shift to what HIV is today — a chronic, manageable disease.”

Dr. Raymond Martins, chief medical officer of WWH added, “When we say that we are walking to end HIV, this is not just a pipe dream. Even without a cure or vaccine, through testing, early detection, and a comprehensive care plan, we can create an AIDS-free city and hopefully be moving towards ending HIV. We have the tools and we know how to do it. Now we need everyone’s participation and support to make it a reality.”

This is an achievable goal and the incredible staff at WWH, with the help of a motivated community, will make it happen. Under the leadership of Blanchon, WWH has seen a stunning turnaround of its own. When Blanchon came to Whitman-Walker in 2006, the clinic was in dire financial trouble. Founded in 1978 as a nonprofit LGBT community health clinic it soon became a force to be reckoned with in the 1980s and ‘90s as the AIDS epidemic was at its height. But as the 21st century arrived there was continuing evidence that the clinic could not continue on the same path or it would eventually have to close its doors. Blanchon led a turnaround that saw WWC become WWH and go from being millions in the red to functioning in the black in just five years. He and his staff have built a health center for the future that will always be here to care for clients.

Now we can all help as WWH continues to lead the nation in moving to end new HIV infections. This year, the “Walk to End HIV,” formerly AIDS Walk Washington, will take place on Oct. 25 and as in previous years will begin and end at Freedom Plaza (Pennsylvania Avenue and 13th St., N.W.). Funds raised benefit the HIV programs and services of Whitman-Walker Health along with more than 20 community partners that provide critical services in and around the D.C. area. To get more information and participate in the walk, and help to reach the goal of raising $1 million and ending new HIV infections in the District, visit walktoendhiv.org.

09
Jul
2014

My partner is 34 years my senior — so what?

Michael K. Lavers, Andrés Dornberg, gay news, Washington Blade, senior

The writer (on left) and his partner, Andrés. (Photo by Damien Salas; courtesy Michael K. Lavers)

The way that some have reacted to British Olympic diver Tom Daley’s acknowledgement he is in a relationship with a man — rumored to be Oscar-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black who is two decades older — has certainly piqued this humble reporter’s interest.

“Creepy,” “strange” and “way too old” are some of the myriad adjectives and phrases used to describe Daley and Black’s rumored relationship that I have read in the media and online. I don’t find my beloved partner who is 34 years older than I “way too old.” And I most certainly do not find the life we share “creepy” or “strange.”

Sheer coincidence brought us together for the first time.

I met Andrés at a Northwest Washington gay bar on July 8, 2010. It was the last night of a three-day trip to the nation’s capital to visit a good friend and his partner. I was extremely happy because my father had just called me from New Hampshire to tell me that I was to become an uncle for the first time.

Andrés and I continued to chat as we left the bar and walked toward Logan Circle on that sultry July evening. I was momentarily surprised when he told me he was 62 – I was 28 at the time, but the age difference truly did not matter. I thought to myself as I returned home to Brooklyn, N.Y. – and my summer job as managing editor of the Fire Island News – the next morning that I had just met a genuinely nice man with whom I wanted to keep in touch.

Andrés and I reunited a few weeks later when he came to New York to visit his family and I quickly realized there was something more to our friendship than our daily phone calls and lengthy streams of text messages. We officially became a couple a few weeks later when he spent Labor Day weekend with me on Fire Island.

A handful of people noted our age difference when we began dating or when they saw us together. These include an airline ticket agent at BWI who asked me whether I was Andrés’ son when we were trying to get onto another flight to travel to a friend’s wedding in New Hampshire. A person who is thankfully no longer a part of my life rather foolishly concluded that I had a “sugar daddy.”

Andrés and I have done many of the same, mundane and dare I say boring things that I assume most couples do since I moved in with him here in D.C. in October 2011. These include kvetching over the day’s news while drinking our morning coffee; making weekly grocery lists and deciding who is going to pick up the dry cleaning or put gas in the car. He also takes a keen interest in my work as a reporter for the Washington Blade and the front-row seat to LGBT history that my colleagues and I continue to enjoy.

My nephew who turns three in March recently called Andrés to wish him happy birthday. And my parents routinely ask about him when we speak and send them their love.

There is certainly nothing “creepy” or “strange” about the life we share as an inter-generational couple. Our friends, family and other loved ones who knew us as single for way too long agree.

Andrés and I are comfortable enough with who we are as people and especially with our relationship not to worry about whether someone may have an issue with our age difference. The same argument should certainly apply to Tom Daley and his rumored boyfriend.

Those who concern themselves with the age difference of two adults who have made the decision to share their lives with each other almost certainly need to spend more time worrying about themselves and assessing their own issues, insecurities, fill in the blank. It is the very simple mantra of mind your own business as those of us from New Hampshire know all too well.

Michael K. Lavers is a news reporter for the Washington Blade. Reach him at mlavers@washblade.com.

21
Jan
2014

Levi’s loves

Levi Kreis, gay news, Washington Blade

Levi Kreis says singing and recording are his first love. His passions collide with ‘Smokey Joe’s Café,’ the Broadway hit re-imagined at Arena Stage. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Levi Kreis

‘Smokey Joe’s Café’

Through June 8

Arena Stage

1101 6th St., S.W.

$50-99

202-488-3300

arenastage.org

Levi Kreis will be the first to tell you that his heart does not belong to Broadway. But that doesn’t mean the out singer/actor has turned his back on musical theater. Currently he’s starring in Arena Stage’s production of the Broadway hit “Smokey Joe’s Café,” and loving every minute of it.

At a sit-down in one of Arena’s aquarium-like conference rooms, Kreis shares his thoughts on life, career and working in D.C. Settling into his chair, he takes in the view — sailboats glide past on the calm Washington Channel and pink blossoms move in the breeze. The sun is bright. He squints slightly and says, “Really beautiful. This is my first time seeing this. I’ve been in rehearsal all day.”

The longest-running musical revue in Broadway history, “Smokey Joe’s Café” is a hard-driving tribute to the legendary rock ‘n roll songwriting team Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. With almost 40 songs, it features huge hits like “Hound Dog,” “Jailhouse Rock,” “Stand By Me,” “Love Potion #9” and “On Broadway.”

Though he’d never seen the show, Kreis was eager to be a part of this production. “I’d heard great things about our director Randy Jackson (who staged the terrific ‘One Night with Janis Joplin’ that played at Arena before moving to New York). Also my representatives were enthusiastic about me starting relationship with Arena. But mostly it was because I feel a special connection to Leiber and Stoller’s music.”

“There’s a story behind this,” says Kreis putting on a strong Tennessee accent. “As a teenager in small town Oliver Springs, Tennessee, my mother, Connie Lee, was president of the Brenda Lee fan club. They met, and by the time I was born they were really good friends. At 8 or 9, I’d seen 36 of her performances. She sang Leiber and Stoller songs like ‘Kansas City’ and ‘Saved.’ I cut my teeth on this stuff. So it’s a real thrill for me to be doing it now.”

Working with Johnson has proved to be even better than he’d hoped, says Kreis, 32. “This version of the show is definitely not the same show that people saw in New York. Randy has re-imagined a sexier, edgier, more soulful version, assigning songs to different characters. He’s really created his own vision.” Kreis adds that Johnson carefully selected a nine-person cast whose three leads (Kreis, E. Faye Butler and Nova Y. Paton) know how to make a song their own.

“Randy and our musical director Victor Simonson have been very generous in allowing us to find our own interpretations of these well-known songs. It’s very challenging and exciting to make songs like ‘Stand By Me’ your own, but that’s exactly what we’re doing here.”

He’s equally stoked about sharing a stage with the versatile Butler and big-voiced Payton, two Helen Hayes Award-winning D.C. favorites: “I have to make myself stay in the moment on stage. When I’m facing off singing with either of these women I want to forget I’m an actor and simply enjoy them. They’re so good. I have to resist to getting totally enamored.”

His favorite moment of the show is a singing “Kansas City” with Butler and Payton. Kreis says they’ve created a great sound with a Manhattan Transfer vibe. Another favorite is his solo “I Keep Forgettin’,” a tune about lost love. “Finding where that is from an emotional standpoint has been really intense,” he says. “And I like intense.”

Whether gospel, rhythm and blues, rock or show tunes, music has always come naturally for Kreis. He tells a story about coming home from kindergarten graduation back in Oliver Springs, and picking out “Pomp and Circumstance” on the family’s old upright piano. Family lore says he got it from his great grandmother who played banjo by ear. At 12, he was performing in a different church every weekend, and by 15, he was touring the south with his own gospel album.

After college in Tennessee, Kreis left for Los Angeles to pursue a music career.  Recording companies didn’t quite know what to do with the good-looking, charming southerner whose strong voice was soulful yet versatile. But the musical theater world happily snapped him up. At a casting call for the West Coast tour of the musical “Rent,” he landed the plumb part of ex-junkie Roger. He got into film too. He played Matthew McConaughey’s troubled brother in the 2001 indie thriller “Frailty” and had a big part in 2002′s “Don’t Let Go” with Katharine Ross.

But Kreis is best known for originating the role of rock and roll wild man Jerry Lee Lewis in the rockabilly musical “Million Dollar Quartet.” For his efforts, he won the 2010 Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Musical.

“I initially got involved because I needed grocery money,” he says. “It started out as workshops that seemed to go on forever. Then there were runs in Seattle and Chicago. Over time I really got into the role. When we learned the show going to Broadway, I was shocked. But winning the Tony was a real eye opener. It taught me that musical theater was something that even if it wasn’t my ultimate goal, it was something I needed to take seriously.”

For many actors winning the Tony is a life’s dream. “What can I say? You feel what you feel. I wish I was a fierce dancer on ‘So You Think You Can Dance,’ but that’s someone else’s reality.”

For Keis, the experience was intensely personal — the Tony win was the culmination of the toughest year of his life. In May of 2009 he gave up drugs, alcohol and a pack-and-a-half-a-day cigarette habit. He’s been clean and sober ever since. “It’s beyond anything the proudest achievement of my life,” he says, emotion swelling in his voice. “I had really reached a do-or-die moment. I could no longer live that way. The tension and conflict was too scary for me.”

That same year, Kreis met his partner, whom he declines to name. The couple is based in Chicago.

“At the core of every addiction is self-loathing. And drugs weren’t my only vice. It all came from a place of having learned to hate myself,” he says. Kreis was raised a fundamentalist Baptist. In his youth, he endured six years of conversion therapy with the hope of becoming straight. “That process was psychologically and emotionally damaging and planted deep-seeded feelings of self loathing. It breaks my heart that it still goes on.”

At 24, Kreis officially came out through his album “One of the Ones” (2006), which features a collection of piano vocals about past boyfriends. “I made the decision at a time when I was very broke. I was waiting for my guest appearance on NBC’s ‘The Apprentice’ to air. In a week I’d moved from Manhattan’s Upper Eastside to Hoboken, New Jersey. So, I took my last $200 and went to a recording studio and recorded the album of straight through. It’s been my most successful album to date.”

There’s been no downside to his coming out, Kreis says. “Before coming out, I was hiding my life. I couldn’t be my authentic self. Eight record labels didn’t know what to do with me. Most wanted me to be a teen heartthrob. Now I can present myself as I am, my truth. The LGBT community has accepted me wholeheartedly.”

Future plans include concert dates and more recordings. There’ll be more theater, but he’d also like to bring his talents together by acting and singing in films. For his upcoming yet-unnamed album, Kreis will return to piano vocals. It’s what his fans want. “I’m grateful there’s a corner of the world that hears what I do. My music career hasn’t screamed as loud as a Tony Award on Broadway, but my fans are there and they’re my family.”

23
Apr
2014

Dance festival raises $533,000 for AIDS fight

Fire Island, gay news, Washington Blade

The beach in Fire Island Pines, N.Y. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

FIRE ISLAND PINES, N.Y. — The annual Fire Island Dance Festival last weekend raised more than half a million dollars for the fight against HIV/AIDS.

The 20th annual event, which took place on New York’s Fire Island on July 18-20, raised $533,860 for Dancers Responding to AIDS. The dance festival featured nearly 50 professional dancers during multiple performances, according to its website.

“At moments like this, we must take time to remember all the talent, creativity and friendships we’ve lost, while celebrating the progress we’ve made and the opportunities we have to make a difference for those who need our help the most,” said Denise Roberts Hurlin, founding director of Dancers Responding to AIDS.

24
Jul
2014