What better way to start Pride Weekend 2021 than with a galaxy of stars paying tribute to the iconic, Judy Garland? Even better you don’t have to be in Hollywood, Kansas or in Oz to do it!
You can enjoy the event from the comfort of your own home when the ninth annual “Night of A Thousand Judys” – the Pride concert to benefit The Ali Forney Center written and hosted by Justin Sayre – will be presented as a streaming online event on Thursday, June 24 at 8:00 PM Eastern.
“A rambunctious, uproarious, unpredictable all-star concert” — The Wall Street Journal
“Night of a Thousand Judys” will honor the iconic Judy Garland with tributes and songs from her legendary career as movie star, recording artist and stage performer. The virtual event is written and hosted by Justin Sayre, featuring Tracy Stark as music director.
Performers will include Alan Cumming (Cabaret, “The Good Wife”), Vivian Reed (two-time Tony nominee), Sam Harris (The Life, Grease), Mary Testa (three-time Tony nominee), Karen Mason (Netflix’s “Halston,” Sunset Boulevard), Nathan Lee Graham (Zoolander, CW’s “Katy Keene”) Jose Llana (The King & I, Here Lies Love), Margo Seibert (Rocky, Octet), Jane Monheit (two-time Grammy-nominated vocalist), Grace McLean (The Great Comet of 1812, Alice by Heart), Kevin Smith Kirkwood (Kinky Boots, The Wiz), Nadia Quinn (Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, The Robber Bridegroom), Duchess Trio (“Vocal Group of the Year” – Jazz Journalists Association), and Gabrielle Stravelli (award-winning vocalist), with others to be added.
The Ali Forney Center is the nation’s largest agency dedicated to helping LGBTQ homeless youth. Watch the concert – which will be broadcast live and then available online for a month after the show – and donate to the cause at ThousandJudys.com
“We’re all getting back to normal, but maybe we can make a new normal,” says Sayre. “A normal where LGBTQIA kids don’t experience homelessness at such a larger rate than most.”
“Maybe our new normal can be better, for these kids. Maybe we can insist that it is,” Sayre added. “We all had to stay at home this year to be safe. We all deserve a home where they can be safe. That’s what the work, that’s the new normal that the Ali Forney Center is fighting for. We’re all honored to help them creating this new normal.”
The Ali Forney Center is the nation’s largest and most comprehensive agency dedicated to LGBTQ homeless youths—assisting nearly 1,400 youths per year through a 24-hour Drop-In Center which provides over 65,000 meals annually, medical and mental health services through an on-site clinic, and a scattered site housing program. AFC’s goal is to provide them with the support and services they need to escape the streets and begin to live healthy and independent lives.
Support the lifesaving work of the Ali Forney Center by donating HERE
Night of a Thousand Judys – Written and Hosted by Justin Sayre, musical direction by Tracy Stark, produced by Dan Fortune and Adam J. Rosen.
Lawrence Pfeil, Jr., is a freelance writer/playwright who has written for media outlets including The Randy Report, the New York Blade, and Edge Publications. You can follow him at TheOUTfront.com.
At The Randy Report, I talk a lot about politics and the political positions we all have.
The official policies here today are definitely “pro-Thanks” and “pro-Giving.”
I’m thankful for so many things this year – especially my hot hubby, Michael, and the 1st Amendment 🙂
That said, it’s easy for so many to enjoy this day. Whether wealthy or not, most of us have family, friends and a warm place to be today. I’m thankful that’s the case for me and my family today.
But there are many less fortunate.
Today I’m thinking of LGBTQ kids who have been turned out of their homes because their families won’t accept them for who they are, and they become homeless. And that’s just the beginning of a nightmare journey for these kids in crisis.
The mission of the Ali Forney Center in NYC is to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning (LGBTQ) youth from the harm of homelessness, and to support them in becoming safe and independent as they move from adolescence to adulthood.
The Center is committed to providing these young people with safe, dignified, nurturing environments where their needs can be met, and where they can begin to put their lives back together.
I humbly ask you to please take one minute – 60 seconds – and consider what a small donation could mean to help these young people.
If you feel so moved, click over to the Ali Forney Center website and consider this worthy organization when you think of “giving” today. No amount is too small to help.
• A new Reuters/Ipsos poll shows Donald Trump’s support in rural America is eroding. Back in February, 55% of rural Americans approved of Trump, 39% disapproved. That’s now dropped to 47% approval, 47% disapproval. This is his base, and they are growing weary of his antics.
• Hey NYC – don’t miss the Ali Forney Center’s Annual Fall Gala “A Place At The Table” this coming Friday. The event is hosted by Tituss Burgess and honoring Lady Gaga and Congresswoman Maxine Waters. BUT – the main deal is supporting an awesome organization that helps at risk LGBT homeless youth.
• The Apprentice producer Bill Pruitt admits Donald Trump used lots of racial slurs on the set of the now defunct reality show. Pruitt says he never called the Trumpster out because it wasn’t his job to do so.
• Check out the trailer for the upcoming Danseur, a documentary on young male ballet dancers. The clip description reads, “Unfortunately, not everything is beautiful in ballet. Young boys are often verbally, physically abused and bullied. These are their stories.”
Acclaimed Canadian pop singer/songwriter Maggie Szabo recently released her moving and uplifting new music video, “Don’t Give Up On Love,” from her upcoming EP Worthy.
The video, a love letter of support to the LGBTQ community, tells the story of a transgender high school student attending prom.
Szabo’s soaring vocals sweep across an emotional, anthemic musical landscape accompanied by gospel-tinged backing vocals. The lyrics share an empowering message of hope and acceptance.
When your back’s against the wall
Cuz you feel you’ve lost it all
There’s nowhere left to turn and no one left to call
There is someone just like you
Who feels the same way too
Why would you surrender?
Don’t give up on love
Touching and authentic, the video is dedicated to transgender youth around the world who live in fear and suffer from rejection and exclusion.
Via press release:
The powerful and poignant narrative of ‘Don’t Give Up’ is reflected in an exquisitely cinematic video, that follows a girl who is struggling with her gender identity and the pressures of conformity in high school. Szabo’s ultimate messages to fight for social justice and equality, “people are people, love is love. Society needs to stand up” professes Szabo. “I can’t stand by and watch millions of transgender youth live in fear for their safety, outcast from their homes and marginalized by society simply because they are struggling to understand their gender identity. I want to stand with them.”
“Don’t Give Up” was written and recorded in Los Angeles along with Stefan Lit (One Direction) and Chaz Mason.
With over 14 + million Youtube views, Szabo has been featured on several high profile media outlets including Billboard, Perez Hilton, Huffington Post and Yahoo Music!
A portion of the proceeds from this music video will be donated to the Ali Forney Center whose mission is to protect LGBTQ youths from the harms of homelessness and empower them with the tools needed to live independently.
“I’ve been searching for ways to help myself. And I found that kindness is the best way,” she told TODAY recently while on a visit to Harlem’s Ali Forney Center, a shelter for homeless LGBT youth, to surprise the teens living there.
She’s a superstar singer and passionate activist, but when Lady Gaga meets a trauma survivor, she’s just one of them. “I told the kids today, ‘I suffer from PTSD.’ I’ve never told anyone that before. So here we are. But the kindness that’s shown to me by doctors as well as my family, and my friends, it’s really saved my life.”
According to the Ali Forney Center, 80 percent of the youth there are kicked out of their homes because of their sexuality. The rest run away because of neglect, abuse, rejection, or a combination of those.
“How’s it going? I’m Lady Gaga; it’s nice to see you,” she said to the shocked crowd. Needless to say, the introduction was not necessary. One teen told her, “When family was, like, kind of, like, pushing me away because I’m gay, all I had is you and ‘Born This Way’ album on repeat.”
The Queen of Pop herself, Madonna, spent her Thanksgiving with homeless LGBT youth of the Ali Forney Center in New York City.
The Ali Forney Center is the largest and most comprehensive organization in the nation dedicated to housing LGBT youth.
AFC serves youth aged 16-24, and provides emergency and transitional housing, street outreach, a drop-in center, medical and mental health treatment, a vocational/educational program, and a counseling project for the families of LGBT youth.
Earlier this year, I interviewed Carl Siciliano, founder and executive director of The Ali Forney Center. An awesome and inspiring man who walks the walk when it comes to helping people. Take a listen to my interview here.
The Daily Show‘s Jessica Williams sat down with virulently homophobic pastor James David Manning of Atlah Worldwide Church, and yes, kids, he’s still crazy as ever.
Additionally, Williams chats with Ali Forney Center handsome Executive Director Carl Siciliano, who’s currently raising funds to buy the property, which is up for auction due to around $1 million in debt.
Carl Siciliano, founder/Executive Director of The Ali Forney Center
With the Ali Forney Center‘s funding raising effort continuing in hopes of purchasing the anti-gay ATLAH Church in Harlem, I wanted to share my radio show interview with founder and Executive Director Carl Siciliano.
I’m really proud of this interview from my companion radio show – The Randy Report on BlogTalkRadio.
Carl Siciliano talks with me about the current #HarlemNoHate Campaign which aims to raise funds to help the Center purchase a church in Harlem to expand it’s services for homeless LGBT youth.
The poetic irony is that the pastor of the church, Rev. James Manning, has spent years spewing vitriolic hate speech towards the LGBT community in Harlem.
Pastor Manning is notorious for signage at the church with messages such as “Jesus would stone homos” and that all supporters of LGBT people should be cursed with cancer, HIV, madness, and eternal damnation.
“The biggest reason our youths are driven from their homes is because of homophobic and transphobic religious beliefs of their parents. If we are able to obtain the space it would truly be a triumph of love over hatred,” says Siciliano.
The church is being put up for auction due to unpaid bills and tax liens on February 24th. The goal of the #HarlemNoHate campaign is to purchase the church and make what was once a place that put religious-based hate on broad display, and turn it into a safe haven for young LGBT.
The Ali Forney Center is the largest and most comprehensive organization in the nation dedicated to housing LGBT youth. AFC serves youth aged 16-24, and provides emergency and transitional housing, street outreach, a drop-in center, medical and mental health treatment, a vocational/educational program, and a counseling project for the families of LGBT youth.
Listen as we talk about the difficulties homeless LGBT youth face and how you can help.
The auction of the anti-gay ATLAH church in Harlem, scheduled for February 24, has been put on hold temporarily via restraining order from the New York State Supreme Court.
As regular readers know, the Ali Forney Center – the largest, most comprehensive organization that addresses the needs of LGBT homeless youth – has been raising money to try and buy the church at auction and turn it into a center for those youth in crisis.
Via press release:
“This development gives us more time to research the conditions of the ATLAH building and assemble the most advantageous financial package possible prior to making a bid for the building at auction” said Carl Siciliano, Executive Director of the Ali Forney Center. “While we are excited at the possibility of acquiring the building at auction, we were anxious at needing to rush quickly into this process. The temporary restraining order allows us time to gain more knowledge and strengthen our position.”
Subsequent to learning that the ATLAH church building had been foreclosed due to over $1 Million in debts and scheduled to be auctioned, AFC launched the #HarlemNoHate campaign. Since January 29th, the campaign has resulted in $315K in donations towards a building acquisition fund. AFC has committed to use those funds to attempt to acquire the ATLAH site at auction in order to provide housing and vocational support to homeless LGBT youth, or to acquire another site for those purposes if unable to obtain the ATLAH site.