Friday, April 29, 2011

Caroline Murphy records a new Music Video to honour St. Vincent's Hospital

Caroline Murphy's St. Vincent's Music Video : New Single : ''Waiting This Out'' is a ballad about the community's fight for a new hospital to replace St. Vincent's in New York City.

Join us for a rally at 2 PM on Saturday, April 30, 2011, to restore a hospital to the Lower West Side of Manhattan. The greedy Rudin family luxury condo conversion is not a done deal, yet. Join us in the struggle to protect the social safety net that is under attack by extremist billionaires.

With her new song, Ms. Murphy is giving the people impacted by the illegal closing of St. Vincent's Hospital a powerful and artistic voice in their own community empowerment.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Rare Live Show By Voguing Legends

The Jewish Community Center in Manhattan hosted a special screening of the documentary How Do I Look on March 17, 2009

A sold-out crowd attended a special event screening of the award-winning documentary, How Do I Look. The screening was co-sponsored by Out Professionals and the Jewish Community Center in Manhattan.

Held at the Goldman-Sonnenfeldt Auditorium of the JCC in Manhattan, the screening was part of the Winter/Spring 2009 programming of the JCC's LGBTQ department.

OP Admin Dir Ed Vladich and JCC's Sarah-Kay Lacks address the crowd.

OutProfessionals' Administrative Director Ed Vladich and JCC's Sarah-Kay Lacks address the crowd. Photo Copyright 2009 David Gordon Photography. David Gordon Photography. Used with Permission. All Rights Reserved.

Q and A with Benny Ninja, Film Asst Director Kevin Omni, Film Director Wolfgang Busch and interviewer Brandon Judell.

Q&A with Benny Ninja, Film Assistant Director Kevin Omni, Film Director Wolfgang Busch and interviewer Brandon Judell. Photo Copyright 2009 David Gordon Photography. Used with Permission. All Rights Reserved.

Wofgang Busch with Ed Vladich, who is accepting the Art From the Heart Award on behalf of Out Professionals.

Wofgang Busch with Ed Vladich, who is accepting the Art From the Heart Award on behalf of Out Professionals. Photo Copyright 2009 David Gordon Photography. David Gordon Photography. Used with Permission. All Rights Reserved.

Benny Ninja, accepting a 2009 Art From The Heart Award.

Accepting a 2009 Art From The Heart Award on behalf of the House of Ninja was Benny Ninja. Photo Copyright 2009 James Applewhite. Used by permission. All Rights Reserved.

House of Ninja voguing for the crowd!

The House of Ninja voguing for the crowd! Photo Copyright 2009 David Gordon Photography. David Gordon Photography. Used with Permission. All Rights Reserved.

The Jewish Community Center in Manhattan has something to offer everyone. From classes, to creative arts, to Jewish learning and spirituality, the JCC is a vibrant cultural and recreational center, offering several programs, and welcoming all people, regardless of religious affiliation and practice. Other LGBTQ programs at the JCC include monthly groups targeting Queer Youth, Yeshiva Alum, those seeking a spiritual connection, and men over 40 with special events celebrating Gay Pride, Jewish and Secular holidays.

Out Professionals is the nation's leading social and business networking organization for gay men and lesbians.


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Monday, December 15, 2008

Robert Urban: a source of inspiration for the LGBT community

" Deep down inside, there's a guidar-strumming protest folk singer in all us rockers. "

This is Part Two of our three-part interview with Robert Urban, the New York based musician and songwriter. Mr. Urban has been involved with a multitude of artistic and charitable events at the LGBT Community Center in Manhattan. In this part of our interview, Mr. Urban shares with us the important role that the LGBT Community Center in New York plays in the lives of so many New Yorkers.

Robert Urban

Q. I am grateful to you for agreeing to this interview. You have worked with the filmmaker and activist, Wolfgang Busch. Mr. Busch has an altruistic approach to using arts as a way to empower communities; how do you share in this philosophy?

A. I have been recording and teaching; producing live music concerts, poetry readings and open mics for indie artists and LGBT artists for over 10 years now. I generally leave politics and preaching to politicians and preachers, and instead focus on the arts. It’s been my experience that if I can provide opportunities for artists to express themselves – to help them discover their artistic selves - they become empowered in an overall healthy way, and all the other “out” stuff in their lives falls into line.

I have learned that creative artists – including queer artists – are often odd, alienated, socially aloof types. This is ok and natural. They are often more comfortable and adept at expressing themselves artistically (way better than regular people – that’s why we turn to them for inspiration and entertainment) than they are socially and politically. I personally don’t expect political correctness or social responsibility from artists. I search for inspiration, originality, talent and fire.

Q. You have a background in promoting queer musicians and entertainers. Do you feel that you are an "activist" in the sense that you are trying to help the LGBT community?

A. I guess it could be seen as activism from the viewpoint of mainstream hetero culture. Straights often don’t take openly LGBT artists seriously.

Oddly, it is also activism from within the gay establishment itself. In our struggle, we in LGBT culture come from such a ghettoized self-conception of ourselves. Gay men for so long idolized hetero female divas – lip synched to them, dressed like them, and danced only to canned disco & computer music. It’s been a real challenge to present genuinely talented, openly queer musicians to gay audiences. It’s like gay men never dreamed that a gay guy could wield an electric guitar along with the best of straight players.

Q. Have you ever been involved with any musical events or concerts that are used as benefits for community programs?

A. Yes. Many times. For example, in 2006 I produced, hosted, and performed at a benefit concert for S.A.G.E. at the NYC LGBT Community Center (with sound by Wolfgang!); I’ve been guest speaker and have presented papers at University Hip-Hop conferences – lecturing on the subject of LGBT hip-hop artists; in 2005 I produced, hosted and performed at the FESTIVAL OF HOPE Benefit for Pancreatic Cancer for Lustgarten Foundation of Long Island; in 2004 I produced, hosted and performed at the "RIDE ON!" Concert Benefiting BRAKING THE CYCLE AIDS Bike Ride at the NYC LGBT Community Center.

In 2003, I created a show for PRIDE AT THE POLLS benefiting the National Democratic Committee to get out the LGBT vote and held at Rainbow Mountain Lodge in Pennsylvania. In 2004 I performed for the benefit of The Radical Faeries at their sold-out “Krazy Kwilt” benefit held at the LGBT Community Center here in NYC. The list goes on and on...

Q. Why do you think artists, producers, or filmmakers should take any role in helping the community? Why should entertainers give back to the community?

A. It’s funny – I don’t exactly think of it as “giving back” or even as “community” type social work. In my mind, I like to show our LGBT community what great talent it has within its own ranks. I feel it is empowering to both LGBT performers and LGBT audiences. I am so proud of the talent within the queer world – I love to show it off any chance I get. It’s kind of like being a child and wanting to show off the mud pies I made at the beach. “Look what I did!”

Q. Wolfgang has a long association with the LGBT Community Center in the West Village. As a writer, musician, and producer, what does it mean to you to have access to the LGBT Community Center (in relation to artistic events that are hosted there)?

A. The Center is a very special place. Over the years I have been involved there in so many different capacities - is too many to recall. I have attended many great seminars, lectures, various self-help group meetings, and many, many musical events there. My first Center-related performance was back in the 1990s. (way back when “out” rock musicians were a rare thing) My band was invited to perform for the Center’s 5th annual “Night of Music & Comedy” benefit held at Club Life and co-starring Harvey Fierstein. It was one of my very first performances as an openly-gay musician for an entirely openly gay audience. I was so nervous.

My one great wish for the Center is that they could have a real stage/real theater with audience style seating within the building. day.

Q. How do you feel about being involved in two documentaries (How Do I Look and A True Lesson in Humanity) that have a socially-conscious message?

A. It feels great. It reaches a wider audience than just the usual rock club-crowd. Also, deep down inside there’s a guitar-strumming protest folk singer in all us rockers – and to be affiliated with kindred spirit, socially conscious endeavors is very rewarding.

Q. Is there a fine line that one must adhear to, if you are trying to create an artistic work that is trying to be both entertaining and "empowering"?

A. I think if it is entertaining – it will be empowering. As they say, one catches more flies with honey than with vinegar. “Preachy” things are best left to preachers. If you want to get a message across artistically, is best to have your message be also entertaining.

In addition to his own 4 CDs (the album "godless" is available on, Robert Urban's work (especially as guitarist) can be heard on the recordings of many other musical artists. Mr. Urban is also an accompanist, session-musician, arranger/sound engineer and private music teacher. He supports the GLBT music community through producing/hosting Urban Productions BOLDLY Presents, the all-GLBT multi-artist live-in-concert music series (now in its 6th year). Mr. Urban is the author of a poetry collection Abominations and founder of Gay Guitarists Worldwide.

For the first part of our exclusive interview with the musician and songwriter, Robert Urban, please visit the Dance on the Runway blog.


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Monday, February 18, 2008

New Black History Month Screening of 'How Do I Look' documentary

The Jersey City Lesbian & Gay Outreach, the voice of the Jersey City LGBT community, has announced its schedule of Black History Month events.

The 4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 24 screening of the 'How Do I Look' documentary is being sponsored by Jersey City Lesbian and Gay Outreach.

On Sunday, February 24, Jersey City Lesbian & Gay Outreach is sponsoring a special screening of How Do I Look to coincide with Black History Month.

The screening, set to begin at 4 p.m., is free to the public.

For directions to Art House Productions, please visit their website:


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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

New college screening of 'How Do I Look' to coincide with Black History Month

Black History Month logo design source and credit:

In February 2008, the documentary How Do I LookHow Do I Look will be screened at Ithaca College in New York during Black History Month.

How Do I Look is a showcase of the artistic contributions made by the African-Americans and Hispanics of the Harlem Ball community in the areas of dance, fashion, runway, and performance. By having selected How Do I Look for an on-campus screening, Ithaca College joins other universities which have screened this documentary as part of their arts-in-education programming.

Ithaca College's Spring Film Series

Tuesday, February 19, Textor 102, 7pm
How Do I Look

The follow-up film to the acclaimed Paris is Burning about New York's African-American, Latino, and transgender drag Ball community returns for an updated look at familiar faces, new performers, and the inheritors of the Houses that continue to help shape this art form. The film is an uplifting and life-affirming celebration of a NYC artistic tradition.

For a listing of other films to be screened at Ithaca College, please visit their Spring Film Series page on their website. For more information, call Ithaca College at: (607) 274-7394. This screening of How Do I Look is open to the public.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Kevin Ultra Omni discusses the community approach in the development of the 'How Do I Look' documentary

Kevin Ultra Omni, one of the assistant directors of the documentary How Do I Look, was interviewed by CBS News on LOGO. During the interview, Kevin Ultra Omni discussed the community approach to the development of the documentary How Do I Look. "Ball" performers, artsists, and leaders came together as a community to collaborate in a documentary about their talents and contributions to the arts of dancing, fashion, and runway. You can watch the complete interview below:


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Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Academic Tour of the “How Do I Look” documentary

The documentary How Do I Look has been screened at various colleges and universities as part of its mission to increase education about the Harlem “Ball” community. This academic tour has inspired many students to begin to examine the film for its contribution to LGBT, sociology, and cultural studies.

For example, Jon Freeman, who studied at New York University, wrote in the Fall 2006 a thesis paper about the Vogue dance style. Entitled, "Voguing: Queer, Critical, and in Motion: Towards Fabulous Queer Worlds," Jon sets out to seek "fierceness" in dance spaces.

A partial listing of the academic tour of How Do I Look follows below:

Sarah Lawrence College. In 2006, How Do I Look was screened in connection with the college’s 4th Annual Queer Film Festival. Sponsored by LGBT Studies, the Office of Student Affairs, the Office of Racial and Ethnic Diversity, Campus Engagement, the Programming Board, SLC ACTS UP, QVC and Student Senate, the screening was followed by a Q&A session and dance performances.

The director Wolfgang Busch, center, flanked by performers from the House of Xtravaganza:  Nicole, Jose, Rico, and Giselle.

Famed dancer and choreographer Jose Xtravaganza at the 2006 Sarah Lawrence screening and lecture of the ‘How Do I Look’ documentary.

Oberlin College. On April 1, 2003, How Do I Look was screened in Cleveland, OH.

University of Detroit. On December 4, 2003, How Do I Look was screened in Mercy, MI. The screening, which was sponsored by the Women’s Study Program, attracted a full-capacity crowd of 100 people.

New York University. On February 10th, 2003, How Do I Look was screened at NYU. This screening, which was sponsored by SHADES, attracted a full-capacity crowd of 110 people. It was followed by a speaking engagement. The speakers included Octavia Manolo Blahnik, Luna Khan, and the director Wolfgang Busch. A second screening at NYU later took place in connection with Black History Month, on February 17, 2004. Speakers: Tracy Africa, Willi Ninja, Kenny Ebony, Luna Khan, Wolfgang Busch. Again sponsored by SHADES from NYU, approximately 100 people attended.

Harvey Milk High School. Set to coincide with World AIDS Day on December 1, 2003, How Do I Look was screened at the Harvey Milk High School in NYC. Sponsored by the Hetrick Martin Institute, a full-capacity crowd of 80 people attended this special screening.

Yale University. October 18, 2004, How Do I Look was screened in New Haven, CT. At this event, the speakers included: the late Willi Ninja, Jazmine Manolo Blahnik, Jack Givenchy, Luna Khan, Wolfgang Busch, Frank Givenchy. This special screening event was sponsored by: The Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity, the Larry Kramer Initiative for Gay and Lesbian Studies, and the McDougal Center at Yale University. Eight-five people attended this event.

Wolfgang Busch at Yale University in 2004 with, from left to right, Uri, Luna Khan, a friend, Jazmine Blahnik, Jack Mizrahi, and Willi Ninja.

More information about the academic tour, please visit the work-in-progress screenings page of the film’s official website.