I have taken a writing hiatus for the last couple of months to work on a new book. Now that it’s almost done, I wanted to take time to tell you about events coming up for me this week.
First, December 3 premieres a remake of one of my all-time favorite musicals, The Wiz. NBC has started a holiday tradition of presenting musicals live on television. This appeals to me because it feels the most like what television used to be in the early days. While Peter Pan and The Sound of Music did well, I believe that people will be blown away by The Wiz. I mean, Queen Latifah is playing the wizard and Mary J. Blige is playing Evillene. My heart is seriously beating fast just writing this. When I was talking to my wusband the other day about how excited I was, she said she had never really cared for The Wiz. At first I couldn’t understand, I mean the film is worth watching simply to see the scene when they first arrive in Oz. It was the scene that would assure all black people that they were literally the coolest people on the planet. It was all about fashion, fabulous, profiling and being cooler than everyone else. It totally felt just like some fashion parties I’ve attended in NYC.
That’s when it occurred to me that Dorothy’s life in the original Wizard of Oz was a lot more similar to my country girl spouse’s life versus, the city story of Dorothy in The Wiz. I think my enthusiasm has gotten her excited for the new one, that and Queen Latifah (we’re big fans). I mean Cirque du Soleil, Uzo Aduba, from OITNB, plus new songs, they even have Stephanie Mills, the original Dorothy, playing Auntie Em. I’ll be settling in with a giant bowl of olive oil and rosemary popcorn, preparing to “ease on down the road” of happiness.
Next I’ll be heading to Los Angeles to find holiday inspiration. December 6 has it in spades. First is an artist reception for Eugene Huffman with LA Artcore at Union Center for the Arts. Huffman is starring in his first solo show with LA Artcore. LA Artcore promotes the careers of visual artists of diverse backgrounds, bringing innovative and contemporary art to the public. They also provide educational programs by professional artists for people of all ages. I met Eugene when he curated the gallery show for the Art Hearts Fashion Shows this past fall. While I would not even pretend to tell you about art, I can say with enthusiasm that a person living their passion and using that passion to give back to their community is inspirational. Sunday night’s reception includes a conversation with the artist and Huffman will be donating 40% of sales that evening to The Stigma Project. TSP is a nonprofit organization that seeks to end HIV stigma through art, provocation, awareness and education. LA Artcore at Union Center for the Arts, 120 Judge John Aiso St, Los Angeles http://www.laartcore.org The Stigma Project, http://www.thestigmaproject.org
That evening I’m thrilled to be covering the red carpet for The Trevor Project annual gala, Trevor LIVE LA. This year’s Youth Innovator Award recipient is Jazz Jennings. I’m really excited to meet this beautiful young woman. I am always inspired when I meet young people that are clear and vocal about who they are. The other award recipients are Michael Lombardo, President of Programming for HBO and The Walt Disney Company. Considering all of LGBTQ programming that HBO has included in their line up – Looking, The Normal Heart, documentary The Case Against 8, and my personal favorite, The Bessie Smith Story. The Walt Disney Company has been a continuous and ongoing supporter to the LGBTQ community.
Of all of the events I attend during the year, Trevor LIVE LA is the one that makes me truly excited for the future. The Trevor Project has done so much to help secure the next generation of powerful, loving, bright leaders of tomorrow. The Trevor Project is the leading national organization focused on crisis intervention and suicide prevention efforts among LGBTQ youth. Every day, The Trevor Project saves young lives through its free and confidential lifeline, educational materials, online resources and advocacy.
Every December, TrevorLIVE celebrates The Trevor Project’s life-changing, life-affirming work. In its 17th year, this year’s line-up of performers and presenters is going to make for another magickal event. I’m looking forward to seeing the handsome Cheyenne Jackson. I’m really looking forward to hearing Brenna Whitaker perform “It’s Not Easy Being Green”. One of my all-time favorite songs from Kermit the Frog. Of the evening’s presenters, I’m excited to see Niecy Nash, Guillermo Diaz, Karla Souza and Aja Naomi King.
All around, it’s going to be a delightfully queerly entertaining and inspirational weekend. I can’t wait!
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