LGBT

Friday, September 29, 2017

LGBTQ+ Dance Classes Bring Salsa To All

Posted By on Fri, Sep 29, 2017 at 2:07 PM

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Olivia Avanzato, 28, has been dancing since she was 4 years old. She’s been teaching classes at Floor Polish for about a year, teaching styles like “bad-ass tap” and solo salsa.

When Marina Cornelius, the studio’s founder, suggested she teach a couple’s class, Avanzato was having a hard time getting psyched about it. Then she realized what the problem was.

“I’m not excited because I’m not excited about taking couples classes,” she said.

Avanzato lives in Tucson with her partner Nadia, and had never been enthralled by the traditional, very heterosexual nature of most partner classes.

“Anytime I’ve ever taken a couple’s class, I’ve gone by myself, without my partner and done the traditional follow part and danced with a male," she said. "Or I’ve gone to a traditional class and stood in for the lead part.”

So she decided to do something different, something more inclusive for everyone. And she came up with Rainbow Salsa: a monthly dance class for LGBTQ+ couples. The first class was in September, and Avanzato said the couples who attended enjoyed it.

“It was really sweet,” she said. “It was really intimate and loving.”

The classes aren’t limited to same-sex couples–Avanzato wants to make sure that that everyone on the LGBTQ+ spectrum is included.

“I wanted it to be a place where you can dance with your partner and it’s fine,” she said.

Rainbow Salsa classes will be offered once a month at Floor Polish, 215 N. Hoff Ave. #107, and cost $15. The next one is Saturday, Oct. 7 from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.

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Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Anti-Racist Protesters Demand Supervisor Miller Resign

Posted By on Wed, Aug 23, 2017 at 10:09 AM

About 600 protesters waving familiar posters gathered in front of Pima County’s Administration Building on Tuesday evening: Refugees Welcome, Black Lives Matter, No Human is Illegal. In an age where almost every week, people take to the streets to voice their outrage with the government, people are getting creative. “Dumbledore's Army accepting members” and “Ctrl+Alt+Delete” are a few of the more creative signs.

The focus of Tucsonans Against Racism Protest and Rally was County Supervisor Ally Miller, who announced her white pride on Facebook, only hours after a white supremacist mowed down a crowd of protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Aug. 12. For the last week, citizens and fellow board members implored her to apologize for her comments.

And now it seems the time for apologies has passed, at least for the hundreds that gathered on Tucson’s downtown. People want her gone. It was no accident this rally was planned on the day Trump addressed supporters in Phoenix. Inside the Phoenix Convention Center, Trump hinted at pardoning former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio for illegally continuing racist practices, and Trump decried the “very dishonest media,” blaming them for the backlash to his “many sides” statement following Charlottesville. Outside, thousands protested and were finally dispersed when police set off tear gas into the crowd. In Tucson, people chanted—families with toddlers in strollers, old ladies waving American flags, teenagers standing up for their future.

People of every age, creed and color shouted, “This is what democracy looks like,” and held their signs high as cars passed, honking their approval.


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Thursday, July 13, 2017

Stories Can Change Our World: How Kore Press Keeps Fighting the Good Fight, Despite the Odds

Posted By on Thu, Jul 13, 2017 at 4:31 PM

Kore Press Grrls: Bowden and three participants from Kore's Grrls' Literary Activism Workshop at Cornel West lecture. - COURTESY KORE PRESS
  • Courtesy Kore Press
  • Kore Press Grrls: Bowden and three participants from Kore's Grrls' Literary Activism Workshop at Cornel West lecture.

The mighty Kore Press is a Tucson-based nonprofit independent publishing house and literary justice organization. For 24 years, the press has worked to ensure that marginalized voices: women, people of color, queer and trans folks, have a forum. Founder Lisa Bowden is trying to raise $20,000 for book printing, publishing staff, anthology editorial/artist fees. The Indiegogo campaign has currently raised 13 percent of its goal. Funding for literary endeavors is never easy, and the odds are stacked. Fewer people are reading books for one thing. That, and Bowden and Kore are publishing voices that’d go unheard into the mainstream.

Creating a people-powered publishing house has become the most sustainable route for extending Kore Press. A significant portion of the budget comes from support by the NEA, NEH and associated funding sources. With NEA and NEH funding on the chopping block in Trump’s 2018 budget, here Bowden opens up about what mainstream publishing is missing today and what we can expect for Kore Press' fall season.
Lisa Bowden. - COURTESY OF KORE PRESS
  • Courtesy of Kore Press
  • Lisa Bowden.


Kore Press has been running since 1993. What made you want to create this press?

After graduating from the UA and working in the Tucson literary community, I wondered why we weren't exposed to more women writers in school, especially when Tucson is so rich with talent. After working for five years with another press learning printing and binding, and acquiring my own equipment, Karen Falkenstrom, Kore Press co-founder, and I discovered we both wanted to make a feminist/social justice impact with the literary arts, and so, Kore Press was born.

The way people consume media has largely shifted to an online format. What is it like running Kore Press in 2017? How has it adapted?
We publish online as well as in print, and have been growing our digital presence as reading, activist and communications culture has shifted. Digital printing allows us to keep producing books in much smaller runs of our titles, which is more economically feasible for small presses.

What does Kore Press look for in a prospective author?
We are focusing in recent years on writers who are interested in experimental forms, or content, that have potential for social impact. We have done, and plan to continue doing, community programming around certain artists or works to create larger public conversations which engage folks in innovative ways.

What is mainstream publishing missing? Why aren’t marginalized groups able to tell their stories in that forum?
Mainstream publishing is commercially driven, market-driven, so, it's missing a lot in terms of diversity. That is and has always been the strength of small presses—to take risks, work with all kinds of writers and voices.

With the proliferation of social media and personal technology, we have experienced a democratization of "publishing"—anyone with access can tell their story, can have an audience. Mainstream publishing, like mainstream media of all kinds, is largely governed by corporate forces, so you tend to see the same issues of systemic racism, sexism, capitalism—intersecting oppressions—that we see in large institutions and governments.

Continue reading »

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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

In The Flesh: Toilet Paper Dress-Up! Cheeky Tassel Queens! Flashy Butts! It's Culture Shock at H2O

Posted By on Tue, Jun 20, 2017 at 3:23 PM

Matt Finish shows some skin during his burlesque routine during Culture Shock at H2O in Tucson, Arizona, on Thursday, June 8. - BRIEANA SEALY
  • Brieana Sealy
  • Matt Finish shows some skin during his burlesque routine during Culture Shock at H2O in Tucson, Arizona, on Thursday, June 8.

On a recent Thursday night on the outdoor patio of H2O, drag queens in stiletto heels towered over showgoers and divas strutted in sequined gowns. LGBTQ and cis-gendered people gathered for Tora Woloshin's opening act. Woloshin hosted an event called Culture Shock to fight against prejudice by showcasing different cultures. The majority of acts were people of color and LGBTQ performers. Woloshin opened and closed the show, singing and dancing some of todays most distinguishable pop songs.


Flight School Acro, was up next. A yoga mat was placed on the ground and the acrobatic duo went straight into their routine. The two transitioned smoothly into difficult acrobatic yoga poses and made handstands and planks look easy, never off balance or struggling to complete their poses.

Seasoned burlesque performer Matt Finish began his act wearing but a shimmering gold robe which eventually came off. Finish's explicit routine was filled with and tease (flashes of his butt cheeks, indeed). The burlesquer taunted audience members in nipple tassels and a shiny banana hammock, and went down to perfect full splits while half naked! He controlled the entire room, kept the crowd on edge and a little uncomfortable.

Lip-sync performer Mama made her entrance emerging from the ladies bathroom covered in toilet paper. Her cheeky performance sort of defined the very idea of a drama queen. MC and lip-sync performer Jenna DuMay heckled the crowd when they were less than thrilled about waiting more than an hour for the show to begin. She called us "emo kids" cause we said "yass queen" with lacking enthusiasm. It was great.

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Friday, December 2, 2016

After Orlando: An International Theatre Action

Posted By on Fri, Dec 2, 2016 at 12:00 PM

Theaters across the globe are teaming up in response to the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida on June 12. Now, actors and theater goers alike are paying respect to the victims, their families and all those affected that night through live acting.

This summer, a gunman shot and killed 49 club goers at the Pulse Nightclub—a venue known for its LGBTQ+ community. This attack is marked as the worst shooting in modern U.S. history. Authorities later found that the attacker had pledged allegiance to ISIS, a terrorist group based in Iraq and Syria, according to CNN.
ADRIAN GRYCUK/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Adrian Grycuk/Wikimedia Commons


After the shooting, playwrights from across the globe curated a collection of new plays in response to the shooting in conjunction with the Missing Bolts Productions and NoPassport Theatre Alliance & Press, according to Playbill.

Members of the Tucson community are invited to watch the UA graduate and undergraduate students in dramaturgy perform a free, staged reading of the 17 plays curated in the special collection. The reading will be held Monday, Dec. 5 from 7:30-8:30 p.m. in the Harold Dixon Directing Studio, UA Drama Building Room 116, 1025 N. Olive Road.

Playwrights include: E.M. Lewis, Jeff McMahon, Jordan Tannahil, Arturo Soria, Georgina Escobar and many others. Some of these plays involve adult content, profanity and scenes of violence.

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Friday, September 23, 2016

Get In The Mood For Pride With Your New Favorite Coming Out Song

Posted By on Fri, Sep 23, 2016 at 2:45 PM


Happy Celebrate Bisexuality Day, everybody! Are you celebrating? Gettin' bi alright?

As we detailed in this week's cover storyTucson Pride is happening next week and you should be there. Spotify has a few pretty spectacular playlists to help you get in a Pride state of mind, but I personally believe you need to start with the video above: "Gettin' Bi" from Crazy Ex Girlfriend.  

The rest of your "Getting Ready For Pride" to do list: Buy a ticket, apply to be a vendor/parade and, of course, read up on the changes from last year. 

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Thursday, August 11, 2016

IBT's Big Gay Weekend

Posted By on Thu, Aug 11, 2016 at 4:33 PM

IBT's Big Gay Weekend is upon us! Join your local favorites Tempest DuJour and Aija Simone for a fun filled weekend featuring entertainment, giveaways, food and drinks. 
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T.G.I.F
The weekend kicks off Friday night with a drag show hosted by Tempest at 9 p.m. with special guests, Shannel from RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars, IBT's Drag Race Season 3 Winner Asphyxiasia and the Haus of Kunt. Following the show there will be a thirty minute meet and greet and the Go-Go Boys will be on at 11 p.m. 

WERK!
Saturday night will be an evening filled with comedy and music with the stars of Hey Queen! who will be performing a special show WERK QUEEN at 9 p.m. Following the show there will be a thirty minute meet and greet and the Go-Go Boys will be on at 11 p.m. There will also be surprise performances on the dance floor. 

Sunday Funday
There will a free lunch buffet, drink specials and a drag show hosted by Aija Simone at 2 p.m., which will feature special guests Isis D'Frost, Raul St James and Kiki Vermont. Karaoke will follow from 4 p.m. to 2 p.m. 

For more information visit the event Facebook page. 

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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Thank you Anderson Cooper for Telling Off Florida Attorney General and Her Anti-LGBT Politics

Posted By on Tue, Jun 14, 2016 at 6:30 PM

Now, I am not a huge fan of cable news, but I have been catching Anderson Cooper on CNN and his coverage of the Orlando mass shooting. He has been tactful. Most importantly, he has not acted the way we are taught in journalism school—cold and emotionless, no matter how horrific the events we're covering are, for the sake of being "neutral." 

After the events at Pulse nightclub, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi has promised to go after anyone who causes any harm to the LGBT community. It's ironic and hypocritical—like Cooper so majestically told her during an interview today—because blocking same-sex marriage in Florida has been at the forefront of Bondi's work as attorney general. 
 
"Do you really think you're a champion of gay rights?" Cooper asked. "I've never heard you say anything positive about gays before." Cooper told her off and did not let Bondi speak for at least five minutes.

Anti-LGBT laws are the gateway into normalizing and condoning homophobia and transphobia. From there, it is a very fine line to cross into hate crime massacres like the one at Pulse, where 49 LGBT brothers and sisters died early Sunday morning.



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Carnival of Illusion: Magic, Mystery & Oooh La La!

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@ Scottish Rite Grand Parlour Saturdays. Continues through April 14 160 South Scott Ave

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