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Exclusive: Avenue Q’s Rod & Ricky – The Full Wedding Video!

26 Jul

Having discovered that there is only one video of Rod and Ricky’s wedding out there – (and that video is only of a pre-ceremony rehearsal), we realized we had to post this video of the entire ceremony!

Kate Monster, Ricky and Rod (Photo by Jamie McGonnigal, EqualityPhotography.com)

As we posted here earlier, two cast members from the Broadway (and now off-Broadway) hit, Avenue Q were married on Monday outside the NY City Clerk’s office. We posted some photos here yesterday and there are some incredible pics over at BroadwayWorld.com as well.

Please check out our video of the entire event, followed by some beautiful coverage by the Family Equality Council of the special day.

 

Avenue Q’s Rod & Ricky Tie the Felt Knot in NYC

24 Jul

I was honored to attend the wedding of Avenue Q’s infamous Republican showtune-loving puppet, Rod and his partner of nearly 8 years now, Ricky. We were happy to get a brief interview with the couple that we will be sharing later, but in the meantime, please enjoy some photos of their nuptials.

Rod says, “To have this finally happen for us — especially so soon after Will and Kate — is unbelievable to me.  I realize there are a lot of broken hearts out there now that Ricky and I are off the market — step back, all you chorus boys! — but I’ve known since Day One that Ricky is the husband for me.  He’s the furry fellow I want to spend my life with both on and off the stage.”

Now in its 9th year in New York — and with productions in countries around the world — AVENUE Q is a three-time Tony Award-winning musical about people and puppets fresh out of college in search of their purposes in life, living as neighbors in an outer-borough of New York City.

In AVENUE Q, Rod, a Wall Street banker, and Ricky, a “Chelsea boy,” meet through an online personal ad placed by Rod’s best friend and slacker roommate Nicky.  It is love at first sight.  And the rest is soon to become history!!

Also in attendance at today’s marriage ceremony was Amy Hausman, an All Peoples Wedding Officiant for the Starlight Rainbow Wedding Initiative and AVENUE Q’s Jennifer Barnhart, Jed Resnick and Howie Michael Smith.

Maggie Gallagher and her Son

11 Apr

Several years ago, I would leave my apartment in Washington Heights to head to whatever day job I wound up in for the week. I’d drop my quarter and pick up the New York Post for the 30-minute ride downtown. I knew the paper was a conservative one and I’d get more and more frustrated with each turn of the page. But there was one thing that always made me angrier than anything else.

Maggie Gallagher

Once a week or so, I’d read an article about the assault of gay people on the “traditional” family. The picture of the woman who wrote the articles always made me sick to my stomach. I knew whenever I saw that photo, that I would be reading something horrible and untrue about me, making assumptions about who I was and what I was looking for when it came to living equally. I was so astounded that this woman who didn’t know me could write such horrific lies about who she thought I was.

It wasn’t until a few years later that I read an article about this woman having been in trouble because she was getting paid by the Bush administration to fight marriage equality, while at the same time using her position as a columnist to do that work – meaning she was being paid by the government to spout her bigoted opinions, while failing to recognize the clear ethical breach of journalistic integrity one would hope a columnist might have.

Now Maggie Gallagher is a part of our everyday lives as we pursue our fight to be seen as equals by a government that promises it. For those who don’t know, Maggie is the President of the National Organization for Marriage – a very well-funded anti-gay hate group. Over the years, they’ve claimed only to be interested in protecting “traditional” marriage, but their fight against civil unions and now gay parent adoption in Virginia, leads us to believe they are indeed anti-gay and not “pro-traditional marriage.”

Maggie has railed and ranted against gay people for so many years, it’s amazing that so many have failed to see the hypocrisy in her own life. Her primary argument against marriage equality is that she believes children are better off when raised by a biological mother and biological father. This is the crux of her argument. What many don’t know is that Maggie raised her son Patrick as a single mother.

Patrick Gallagher

Patrick is now a young adult, writing musicals in New York City. He identifies as straight, and given his chosen occupation, he spends a great deal of time with LGBT people. We offered Patrick the opportunity to tell his side of things, but given the obvious personal conflict he feels about the situation, he declined. Though Patrick doesn’t want to comment directly, it has become clear that his views differ from his mother’s. According to Patrick, Maggie has been very supportive of his career and has not obstructed her son’s goals and dreams – like a mother should. One thing Patrick did say, which I don’t think he’d mind sharing is “Maybe one day I’ll write a hell of a musical about this.” Patrick’s a good guy who doesn’t deserve to be in the middle of this – but we feel that his and Maggie’s story is an important one that demonstrates the strength of a “non-traditional” family.

Maggie had the opportunity to raise Patrick lovingly and to be a good mother to him and support him even now, unconditionally. Also being the son of a single Mom, I understand the struggle it was for her to make ends meet. I understand how much of a challenge it is for a Mom to blindly support a son trying to do something with his life that has absolutely zero security. And for that, I appreciate what Maggie has done for Patrick. My mom did the same.

I am at a loss however, to understand how Maggie Gallagher is so able to separate her compassionate, unconditionally supportive self from the woman who spends her life hating and hoping to take so much happiness and love from other people simply because they are gay. How does a woman who clearly had to face so much hardship and so many challenges in raising a son on her own, justify her work in ripping other families apart?

Maybe one day, she will see and understand the utter disconnect there is between who she was as a struggling single mom and who she is now as a crusader against others’ families.

h/t: Jeremy Hooper, GoodAsYou.org

Wanna Get Out of Jury Duty? Just Say You’re Gay!

2 Mar

Over the years, we’ve thought of hundreds of ways of protesting the system which allows LGBT individuals to be second-class citizens. We’ve thought of protesting by not paying taxes – which could land you in jail. We’ve chained ourselves to the marriage bureaus – which just winds up with cut chains and a night in jail, maybe a few photos on a gay blog or two. We’ve even tried “Day Without a Gay” where LGBT people took the day off of work to show just how numerous we are – but in an economy like this one, we all need a paycheck, gay and straight alike.

Jonathan D. Lovitz (photo from Jonathan's facebook page)

Then yesterday, in a rather simple statement and wonderful declaration of his second-class citizenship, New York musical theatre actor and model, Jonathan D. Lovitz challenged one of his civic duties.

Jonathan posted on his facebook page about his experience while being considered for jury duty:

“had an intense day at jury duty. During voir dire we were asked who would not be impartial. I raised my hand and said “since I can’t get married or adopt a child in the state of New York, I can’t possibly be an impartial judge of a citizen when I am considered a second class one in the eyes of this justice system.” You wouldn’t believe how people in the room reacted. Was I wrong for saying that?”

Jonathan was excused from jury duty as the moment you say you cannot be impartial, you will undoubtedly be excused. So Jonathan not only got to stand up for himself as a self-respecting gay man, but he also got out of jury duty for the next few years! I highly recommend this same action for any LGBT individual that gets called in for service. If you want to take the chance and take part in a little civil disobedience, I’d even recommend sending in a letter along with your summons explaining your position – although this may be an arrest-risk. Your best bet is to show up and do the same thing Jonathan did.

Jonathan will soon be appearing on the Logo reality series “Set-up Squad.”

Priscilla Pledges that “It Gets Better” in New PSA

21 Feb

After our chat last week about Broadway’s upcoming musical, Priscilla, Queen of the Desert and their lack of any boys in dresses in their ad campaign, we’re happy to share the cast’s It Gets Better message.

Priscilla cast members Will Swenson, Nick Adams and Tony Sheldon for It Gets Better

According to the New York Times, The marketing team for “Priscilla” proposed the idea of the public service announcement to CBS and the It Gets Better Project, which writer Dan Savage and his partner Terry Miller began last year amid a spate of suicides by gay students who had faced bullying or harassment at school.

While actors and crew members in many Broadway shows have appeared in videos for the project, the “Priscilla” segment is the first public service announcement for It Gets Better, Mr. Savage said in a statement.

“We’ve been honored and humbled by the theater community’s commitment to standing up for tolerance and lending their voices to this vital cause,” he said. “The show ‘Priscilla’ could not be a better fit, thematically, with the message of the It Gets Better Project.”

The video leads you to the Priscilla website where you can sign up with It Gets Better and take the It Gets Better Pledge:

Everyone deserves to be respected for who they are. I pledge to spread this message to my friends, family and neighbors. I’ll speak up against hate and intolerance whenever I see it, at school and at work. I’ll provide hope for lesbian, gay, bi, trans and other bullied teens by letting them know that “It Gets Better.”

Last week we posted about some concerns over the current marketing campaign which has failed to prominently feature any of the men in drag that the show is about. Instead, the campaign has put up billboards, sent out mailers and put out commercials, primarily focusing on “the Muses,” a kind of Greek Chorus/Narrator for the show – which is made up of three beautiful young women. There has been chatter about the possibility that the producers may be a little shy about featuring the men in the ad campaign roll-out.

TAE was happily assured that PQD would be doing additional work and partnering with the It Gets Better Project, The Trevor Project and GLSEN on other events as well. It’s excellent to see people not only telling kids that it gets better, but taking positive actions to make it better as well.

What is Broadway’s Priscilla Hiding?

17 Feb

When walking through Shubert Alley in Times Square, one gets to see the wall-sized posters for several Broadway shows – some have been running for years and some have yet to open. While walking through last week, I couldn’t help but notice this new ad for the upcoming Priscilla: Queen of the Desert musical.

The picture (also featured on their website and their first major mailer), features three “divas” as they’re called.

Of course, being the responsible self-respecting gay musical theatre lover I am, I immediately got pissed off. Why? Well – unless you missed the hit 90s film from Australia that this show is based on – you’d recall that PQD is a story of three of the most fabulous drag queens ever to grace the silver screen. Why the hell are there three pretty girls advertising a musical about boys in dresses? Michael Musto took to his blog to point out the same thing. And the die-hard Broadway fans at BroadwayWorld.com are having a lengthy discussion about it. Is a Broadway show afraid to show drag queens in their ads? Does someone think Broadway or NYC can’t handle a guy in a dress? So, I talked myself into a frenzy of being offended and then thought…hmmm there must be something else in play here. Surely a Broadway show was not sweeping the LGBT community under the carpet.

The ad campaigns from the other locations where PQD has played have all proven to be extraordinarily campy – including a giant stiletto over the marquis in some cases:

So, whereas TAE friend, Nick Adams is one of the stars of the upcoming musical, I dropped him a line to see what was up. Without saying very much and considering the actors rarely have little (if anything) to do with the marketing of a show, he referred me to one of the publicists for the show, Nick Pramik at Spotco (also an old friend).

Nick P denied that there was any attempt to hide the drag queens and explained that the posters we’d seen were merely the first part of a roll-out of a much larger campaign. Nick went on to explain that the team behind the marketing is the same team behind that for La Cage aux Folles, which clearly has no problem whatsoever with dragging out the queens to promote the show.

He then assured me that the LGBT community was going to be very happy with this show after some future announcements were made – including some kind of partnership with a major LGBT organization. He was biting his tongue the whole time and is clearly very excited about the promotional plan for the show.

So for now, keep your skirts on and let’s see what Priscilla holds for New York City!

I sure hope to see a whole lot of Will Swenson, Tony Sheldon and Nick Adams strutting their stuff all over the place to get people to see this very pro-LGBT musical.

In the meantime, enjoy a couple of the photos and a little video from the upcoming sure-to-be hit!

PHOTOS: Will New York’s Next Mayor Be Openly Gay?

2 Feb

While the race for Mayor of New York is still a few years off, many members of NYC’s LGBT Community showed up tonight to put their money on the city’s first female, first openly-gay Mayor-to-be, current NY City Council Speaker, Christine Quinn.

The event, hosted by country music’s first openly-gay performer, Chely Wright, Broadway and 30 Rock’s Cheyenne Jackson, The Real Housewives’ Andy Cohen, the legendary David Mixner, Thom Filicia and New York’s #1 Nightlife Photographer Patrick McMullan was packed with supporters. Christin Quinn’s former LGBT Liaison and TalkAboutEquality friend, Erik Bottcher received an especially touching tribute from Quinn, having just been appointed to newly-elected Governor Andrew Cuomo‘s cabinet.

Among the excited crowd was Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese, Living Beyond Belief‘s Bari Zahn, The Edge‘s William Kapfer, The NY4Marriage Campaign’s Brian Ellner and  the New York City Council’s LGBT Caucus including Rosie Mendez, Daniel Dromm and Jimmy van Bramer.

These are some of the people who have been fighting hardest for marriage equality in New York and Speaker Quinn promised to see it passed here before she finishes her term as Speaker. Let’s hope she’s right.

Please enjoy some photos from tonight’s event. There are many more at EqualityPhotography.com

Brian Ellner and Joe Solmonese

Erik Bottcher and Jon Reinish

Chely Wright

NY City Council Members Rosie Mendez, Daniel Dromm, Speaker Christine Quinn and Jimmy von Bramer

Cheyenne Jackson

Bari Zahn and friend

Broadway's Jose Llana and friends

Andy Cohen

NY City Council Speaker Christine Quinn

Chely Wright and William Kapfer

Anthony Hayes, Joe Solmonese, Brett Osmond and Erik Bottcher

Chely Wright