News Round-Up: June 15, 2021

(image via Twitter/RobertGarcia)

Some news items you might have missed:

Edge Media: Lawmakers in Hungary passed legislation Tuesday that prohibits sharing with minors any content portraying homosexuality or sex reassignment, something supporters said would help fight pedophilia but which human rights groups denounced as anti-LGBT discrimination.

NPR: The Senate unanimously approved a bill Tuesday that would make Juneteenth, the date commemorating the end of chattel slavery in the United States, a legal public holiday. The holiday is celebrated on June 19, and it began in 1865 when enslaved people in Texas learned (years after the fact) they had been freed under the Emancipation Proclamation.

Out Music: In a loving tribute to Provincetown, Seth Sikes releases his latest music video, The Trolley Song. Sikes, a longtime interpreter of the songs of the great Judy Garland, performs this signature Garland song from her classic film Meet Me in St Louis.

Backed by a full cast Sikes performs the much-loved song on location in Provincetown on the local trolley car. Sikes will perform live in Provincetown in July with his new show Seth Sikes Sings Judy and Liza and Barbra, etc. at the just refurbished Post Office Café and Cabaret.

OUT: Country music fans should check out veteran journalist Hunter Kelly’s Proud Radio, a monthly two-hour show on the Apple Music Country channel highlighting queer artists, their evolution, and their influence in country music.

The Advocate: Arby’s management fired an employee in Lafayette, Indiana last week after the employee allegedly wrote the homophobic slur “fag” on a gay couple’s receipt.

Pink News: Long Beach’s iconic rainbow lifeguard tower (above) has been reborn after the original was burned down in March by vandals. Robert Garcia, the city’s first openly gay mayor, said the new tower provides an “immediate sense of pride and inclusion” for the city’s LGBT+ community.

New Music: ONR, Clinton John, Kennedi, Seth Sikes

There’s definitely something for everybody in this round-up of new music from out artists.

First up, rising Scottish songwriter and producer ONR (aka Robert Shields) returns with the powerful single “Must Stop,” featuring Sarah Barthel of Phantogram.

The single features a catchy hook and production that takes you on a ride straight to the visceral, primal scream release.

The 90s-inspired black & white/color music video is the perfect dramatic visual for the song as ONR repeats his mantra, “Must stop falling in love, stop falling in love…”

“‘Must Stop’ is a song about being repeatedly hurt,” ONR says. “A desperation to be in love and to be loved by someone, anyone — and the blows you can take when you leave yourself so open.”

Follow ONR on Instagram here.

Clinton John’s “Fresh” is exactly that – a fresh, exuberant take on the rush of new romance.

“After my first break-up it was hard for me to imagine having feelings for someone else again,” says John. “I found myself comparing any new love interest to my previous experience and how everything after that just fell short.”

“The next time I was interested in someone, it took me by surprise and definitely caught me off guard,” he adds. “It was almost like a light bulb went off in my head, letting me know I was capable of developing feelings again. That realization happened almost instantly, they were exciting and felt so fresh”.

The ebullient pure pop bop is a comfortable earworm that definitely has me bouncing.

Follow Clinton John on Instagram here.

In advance of her upcoming autobiographical EP self, out singer/songwriter kennedi drops the lyric video for her single, “Liquor Love.”

The sensual synth-pop track offers an airy, vulnerable peek into the addiction that love can be.

self is the first of a highly personal two-part project, set to be followed up by kennedi’s EP SABOTAGE in 2021.

Having been diagnosed with bi-polar disorder, kennedi created two EPs to distill both sides of her mental nature. Each carry their own unique tone and represent one hemisphere of her emotional state; self being the delicate light to SABOTAGE’s manic darkness.

“The self EP is exactly what it sounds like — myself and all of the raw emotions that come with me,” says kennedi. “It’s a snapshot into how I felt in the moments during the time I was writing these songs. It tells the story of my journey over the past year — my relationships and life experiences. Honest and raw. That is self.”

Follow kennedi on Instagram here.

After sending us musical missives from his summer on Fire Island, Seth Sikes returns to New York City and renews his love affair with the Big Apple via Stephen Sondheim’s “What More Do I Need.”

Celebrating the city and its singular energy, Sikes revels in how it has rebounded in style after the worst days of the Covid pandemic.

In the buoyant, breezy video (directed by Eamon Foley), Sikes is seen enjoying the best of the city: cavorting on the subway, riding a Citi Bike, fighting with neighbors, and traipsing through Times Square. It’s pure MGM movie musical happiness.

The message of the video: Even when you’re wearing a Covid mask, New York City remains the fabulous center of the universe.

Follow Seth Sikes on Instagram here.

Parody: Seth Sikes Becomes The ‘Belle’ Of Fire Island Pines

Seth Sikes on Fire Island (screen capture)

Acclaimed singer Seth Sikes, who has performed on stages around the world, has spent the past several months out on Fire Island, the oh-so-gay summer getaway.

During that time, he decided to learn some new skills like video editing. And in doing so serves up this reimagined version of “Belle,” the opening number to the Broadway musical The Beauty and the Beast, with new lyrics co-written with Tony Award winner Lisa Lambert (The Drowsy Chaperone).

As in the original, Sikes sees himself as an avid reader who gets lost in the literary worlds he enjoys. But in this version, he’s continually scolded by the denizens of The Pines to wear his face mask.

Look, there he goes without his mask as always
I hope he’s not on crystal meth
With a dreamy far-off look and his nose stuck in a book
Will you please remember: Pull your mask up, Seth!

From muscle boys to drag queens, they all sing out, reminding him as he makes his way through the village, “An aging twink should keep his mask on always!”

In addition to the clever lyrics, the music video includes gorgeous drone footage from high above The Pines.

“It was a different kind of summer on Fire Island this year,” Sikes tells Instinct. “It was gorgeous and fun, as always, but the pandemic changed the rules of socializing. Interacting on the beach, on the boardwalk, or at a tea dance, became tricky. And if you forgot your mask, heaven help you!

“This video is a tribute to the lighter side of the health crisis, featuring many of my Pines neighbors,” he added. “There’s a serious message here – but we had a lot of fun making it!”

Earlier this summer, I shared Sikes terrific tribute to Judy Garland and the Fire Island Ferry.

“I can’t perform live on stage, so making these videos has been my only creative outlet,” Sikes recently told HuffPost. “And who doesn’t need a silly distraction from all the terrible news reports we read every day?”

One of New York City’s most popular cabaret singers, Sikes has regularly sold-out concerts in Manhattan and across the country.

With fingers crossed for better times ahead, Sikes is scheduled to perform at Feinstein’s/54 Below on March 31 at 7:00 PM.

Music Video: All Aboard The Fire Island Ferry

Seth Sikes (screen capture)

Cabaret performer Seth Sikes’s new video pays tribute to two of his favorite things: Judy Garland and the Fire Island Ferry.

Sike’s new video “Atchison Topeka (Fire Island Ferry)” is his loving homage to Garland’s “On the Atchison Topeka and the Santa Fe” from the MGM classic film musical The Harvey Girls.

“I’ve been hiding out on Fire Island since Covid hit and learning the tricks of the trade: editing, sound mixing and writing. If we never get back to normal then at least I’ve learned a new skill.”


Sikes was supposed to perform his latest show Seth Sikes Sings the ‘20s! at Feinstein’s/54 Below last Spring but because of Covid-19 it has been rescheduled for October 26 at 7PM. Tickets are available here.