New York Hub




David Mixner on Activism, History, and His One-Man Sold-Out NYC Show 'Oh Hell No': INTERVIEW

Mixner

BY ANDY TOWLE

One week from today on October 27, longtime LGBT and civil rights activist David Mixner will take the stage at New World Stages for the world premiere of Oh Hell No!, a theatrical, autobiographical (and occasionally musical) one-man-show in which he will plumb the depths of his history to deliver a storytelling session that promises a few shocks, his signature wisdom, and a hefty dose of humor.

The more than $175,000 in proceeds from Mixner's show, which sold out in less than a day, will benefit The Point Foundation, an organization he has long supported. The Point Foundation empowers promising LGBTQ students with scholarships and enables them to achieve their full academic and leadership potential.

Mixner's activist role in numerous moments in our nation's social struggles — from anti-Vietnam efforts to battling California's Proposition 6 (which would have made it illegal for gays to become schoolteachers), to battling the AIDS epidemic, to the very public split with his friend Bill Clinton over the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy, (the list goes on) — has given him one of the most fascinating and unique perspectives on the LGBT and civil rights movement you're likely to find.

I had a chance to sit down with Mixner, who is also a contributor to Towleroad, to talk about his generous gift and what he has in store for audiences.

OhhellnoOn September 27, you wrote on Facebook, "One month away and I am scared to death already! What have I done????" What did possess you to do such a thing and what about it scares you the most?

In February, I almost died in intensive care and I realized that so much of the history that I have witnessed over the last five decades hasn't been shared. Each day as another pioneer of this movement passes without an oral history we are losing a part of ourselves. What scares me the most is that someone will believe that my story is the definitive history of the LGBT movement. It is only about my journey and my recollections. I don't want to diminish anyone else's story or their differing memories.

How do you prepare for such an undertaking?

Practice, practice, and more practice. I have an incredible team working with me. Director Stephen Brackett (Buyer & Cellar) and Musical Director Mat Eisenstein are simply astoundingly talented. Producer Tim Ranney came up with the idea and the team at Point Foundation has been amazingly talented. I'm so proud that we have raised enough funds through this show already to send seven LGBT students to college for a full year!

Why did you choose The Point Foundation as the beneficiary of the proceeds from your show?

I love the concept of being responsible for the next generation of LGBT Americans. The Point Foundation is supporting some of the best and brightest of American LGBT youth.

What part of performing the show do you find the most challenging?

Without question, talking about my personal journey with HIV/AIDS and the loss of friends. It devastates me every time when I have to share publicly about it. Of course, there is the old fashion fear of falling flat on your ass in front of a powerful audience filled with friends.

Did you grow up doing theatre? Do you have any history as a 'showman'?

Actually, no. I did grow up on the old Southern/rural tradition of storytelling. My Grandpa Grove (aka Buzzard Bait) taught me the art and I was riveted by his stories. Storytelling was a powerful art form before the advent of modern media. Only once have I done a similar production, called "From The Front Porch", and "Oh Hell No!" is part two. Of course, I have a little bit of the 'preacher man' in me and I have spoken publicly for all my life.

Your previous show "From The Front Porch" - do you consider that a sort of preparation for this production or are they two separate things entirely?

After the first one, which was well received, I didn't think I would ever do it again. That one was off-off-Broadway at Dixon Place. After being critically ill and in February, I felt an urgency to get more of our history out to the masses. This one will be at New World Stages and is more elaborate in its staging. The two fit together almost perfectly as Part I and Part II.

What can people who were lucky enough to get tickets expect from this one?

Besides an entertaining and moving evening of storytelling, they have a right to believe that I will be honest, forthcoming and not sugarcoat difficult periods in our history. Actually, we could do ten of these shows and only scratch the surface of the stories that need to be passed on to future generations.

DmixnerWhat parts of your show do you think will surprise folks the most?

Oh, there is no question there will be surprises. I plan on a very frank discussion of the dialogue I had with President Clinton and members of his team around the issue of LGBT Americans serving in the military. I have never spoken of these meetings before this production.

I will also speak for the first time about some highly illegal activities that I engaged in during the HIV/AIDS crisis. However, the art of storytelling is not about 'shock value'. It is about passing on knowledge in a funny and moving way.

CONTINUED, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "David Mixner on Activism, History, and His One-Man Sold-Out NYC Show 'Oh Hell No': INTERVIEW" »


New York Governor Cuomo Announces Task Force To End AIDS Epidemic

Cuomo

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is following through on the promise he made last June to end the AIDS epidemic with the formation of a Task Force to help bring about that end. The Task Force will be supplemented by two advisory groups - The Public Official Advisory Group and The Public Awareness Ambassadors - in the near future and plan to bring the annual HIV infections down to a mere 750 per year by 2020.

The plan will doubtlessly become complex and more fully-detailed as the groups come into being, but for now the Task Force and advisory groups plan to combat AIDS and HIV infections by:

  1. Identifying people with HIV who remain undiagnosed and linking them to health care;
  2. Linking and retaining people diagnosed with HIV to health care and getting them on anti-HIV therapy to maximize HIV virus suppression so they remain healthy and prevent further transmission; and
  3. Providing access to Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) for high-risk people to keep them HIV negative.

The first meeting of the Task Force was held this past Tuesday with four more meetings planned for the future, all of which will be open to the public and can be watched online at http://www.governor.ny.gov/


Irish LGBT Activists Protest Gay Group In New York St. Patrick's Day Parade - VIDEO

6a00d8341c730253ef01b7c6d96f45970b-500wi

Irish LGBT activists are protesting against the decision to allow OUT@NBCUniversal to take part in next year’s New York St. Patrick’s Day Parade because the event continues to exclude other gay groups, reports Newsweek.

OUT@NBCUniversal, Universal’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender & Straight Ally Employee Alliance, will be the first LGBT group to participate in the parade.

This year, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio boycotted the parade because of its anti-gay policy. The City Council, many Irish politicians and Guinness followed suit. Despite this, Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny made the decision to take part last March.

In a letter to New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, activists from groups including Irish Queers argued:

6a00d8341c730253ef01bb0798ec48970d-800wi“Instead of that pressure leading to Irish LGBTQ groups taking their rightful place in the community’s parade, OUT@NBCUniversal has jumped into the space it created.

"OUT@NBCUniversal is the gay employee/marketing group of the parade’s sponsor. The Irish LGBTQ community is still excluded from the parade. The ‘lifting of the ban’ is a sham.”

The letter also reiterates recent demands that OUT@NBCUniversal “withdraw from the parade until Irish LGBTQ groups are part of the parade” and calls for de Blasio and Mark-Viverito to boycott next year’s event.

Irish Queers was denied a request to take part in 2015 because organizers say the parade is full. It is thought that two other Irish LGBT groups’ applications were also denied.

De Blasio and Mark-Viverito have both indicated that they have yet to make a decision regarding next March 17th.

Watch a report on the fight for LGBT inclusion in the New York parade, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Irish LGBT Activists Protest Gay Group In New York St. Patrick's Day Parade - VIDEO" »


Check Out The $81 Million View from the New Tallest Residential Tower in NYC: VIDEO

432Park1

An imposing-but-thin building is dominating the midtown Manhattan skyline these days, and its name is not Empire State. No, this new behemoth is simply called 432 Park, and it is the tallest residential tower in New York City. Visible from all five boroughs, the building houses what will be some of the most expensive condos in the city, including a $95 million penthouse, and stellar views for miles.

The New York Times reports:

On Friday, the 104-unit condominium tower, between 56th and 57th Streets, reached its peak of 1,396 feet. At 96 stories, it is arguably the tallest building in the city. One World Trade Center has its spire, but the skyscraper itself is 28 feet shorter than 432 Park. As for the Empire State Building, this new 93-foot-by-93-foot concrete megalith bests it by nearly 150 feet. From the living room of 432 Park’s penthouses, it is possible to look down on the observation deck there, flash bulbs glittering like an oversize chandelier.

But even more than the views from the apartments, it may be the views of them that give 432 Park its allure. From Central Park, Park Avenue or Park Slope, there it is. On the George Washington Bridge or Long Island Expressway, there it is. In the bleachers at MetLife Stadium or Citi Field, there it is. Everyone from cinematographers and muralists to tourists and snow globe makers must now contend with the tower.

Not everyone loves the new look of midtown, though. The tower is an admirable piece of engineering but also a symbol of New York elitism.

“God, does it stand out,” said Marlene Rosenthal, who regularly glimpses it while riding Metro-North. “It’s a status symbol, and that’s the name of the game in this city...”

“For people who watch the skyline and love it, I think there’s a real struggle,” said Vin Cipolla, president of the Municipal Art Society. “There’s a handsomeness about the building you can’t deny, but it’s so out of context and so imposing, it’s hard to know what to make of it.”

His group has urged City Hall to monitor these supertowers more closely. A dozen others are already in the works throughout Manhattan.

Looking on and discussing it may be the only interaction you'll have with the luxe millionaire pad at 432 Park, but it'll no doubt make an impression. What do you think of the new tower? Sound off in the comments below!

And check out a Times video filled with amazing views, AFTER THE JUMP...

432Park2

Continue reading "Check Out The $81 Million View from the New Tallest Residential Tower in NYC: VIDEO" »


Man Wanted In Anti-Gay Hammer Attack In Brooklyn

Brooklyn

A man in Crown Heights, New York was savagely attacked Tuesday morning by a "hammer-wielding assailant" who shouted anti-gay slurs at his victim, leaving him with a fractured skull and several gashes to his head. As DNAinfo reports, New York police are investigating the assault as a hate crime:

Mitch Pope, 33, was walking back home from a coffee run Monday morning when a man he said he had never seen before followed him into his lobby of his apartment building at Washington Ave. near Sullivan Place in Crown Heights and suddenly went berserk.

"When I came to the front door I noticed there was a guy behind me with a black trash bag and I opened [the door] just assuming that he was doing construction in the building. As I soon as I let him in, I was about to walk up the stairs, he hit me in the back of the head with a hammer," Pope told DNAinfo Tuesday.

“I fell backwards and then he got on top of me and continued to hit me. And that’s when I started screaming because I feared for my life," said Pope, who said the man used homophobic slurs during the attack.

"He was saying ‘fa--ot’ over and over again while he was hitting me. I literally thought he was going to take my life,” Pope said. “It was horrifying.”

Pope, who is gay, said the attacker continued to rain down blows with the hammer, which he tried to deflect with his hands. But as Pope's shouts threatened to summon the neighbors, the man got scared, stole his phone, and ran off, he said.

Though no suspect has yet been identified by police, New York's Hate Crimes Task Force has released surveillance footage of the man they believe to be the attacker exiting the building (pictured above). You can watch the brief clip HERE. The suspect is described as tall wearing a brown hooded sweatshirt and Timberland boots.


NYC Transgender Woman In Critical Condition Following Hate Crime Attack: VIDEO

Suspects

New York police are hunting for four men who beat a 28-year-old transgender woman unconscious in Brooklyn on Sunday night, reports the Daily News. Two of the suspects are pictured above, captured on a local store's surveillance camera.

Bushwick and halsey new york mapThe woman, a client of New Alternatives for Homeless LGBT Youth, was attacked on Bushwick Ave. and Halsey St. at around 11:20 p.m.

According to witnesses, the victim was nearing the corner when the attackers started yelling "faggot." When the woman yelled back, the group followed her, kicking her repeatedly until she fell to the ground. Reported to be in a critical condition, she was struck with a plexiglass board and knocked unconscious while on the ground.

New Alternatives executive director Kate Barnhart said that it is not clear if the victim will have permanent brain damage.

The NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force is investigating the incident as a hate crime.

Last month, police in New York arrested and charged two men and a teenage boy with menacing, third-degree hate crime and assault in the first degree after they chased and shot at a gay man in Brooklyn. The victim was dressed as a woman at the time of the attack.

Watch a CBS New York report, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "NYC Transgender Woman In Critical Condition Following Hate Crime Attack: VIDEO" »


Trending



Towleroad - Blogged