Stevens Point - The President of Central Wisconsin Pride was killed September 11 in a head-on collision by a 22 year-old woman exiting a local bar parking lot in the Town of Carson just west of here. Charles Olszewski was pronounced dead at the scene by Portage County EMTs after being ejected from his vehicle by the accident, which happened on Highway 10 West near the Bahamas Lounge. The accident happened about 10:35 PM. Olszewski, who lived in Junction City, had been heading to work, according to friends.
Sheriff’s Deputy Kevin Sorensen reported that Kelly Melville of Rudolph struck the 24 year-old Olszewski’s vehicle as she made a wide turn onto the highway after speeding out of the tavern’s parking lot. Olszewski had little or no time to react. “It happened so fast,” Sorenson told the Stevens Point Journal. “He was at the wrong place at the wrong time.”
Olszewski was wearing his vehicle’s automatic shoulder belt, but had not put on the lap belt, according to Sorenson. “I think the lap belt would have held him in his vehicle,” Sorenson said, noting that he had seen a lot of accidents where people who were not ejected from their vehicles survived with minor injuries.
Melville was held on charges of homicide by the intoxicated use of a motor vehicle after being treated for minor injuries at St. Michael’s Hospital and released. Preliminary Breathalyzer tests showed Melville had a .20 blood alcohol level. It was her second OWI in the last two years.
Melville appeared via remote video before Portage County Judge John Finn on September 13. Finn ordered a $200,000 cash bond for the offense, a decision protested by Melville’s attorney Gary Kryshak as being “ridiculous.” Prior to making his decision Finn heard Portage County Jennifer Morton review police reports where Melville claimed she had consumed “five or six beers” in the hours immediately prior to the accident. Blood alcohol tests remained pending at the hearing.
Olszewski’s leadership with Central Wisconsin Pride in the last year helped sustain the festival’s overall success. Though attendance overall was down slightly, last June’s event at Stevens Point Pioneer Park was the most financially successful in Central Wisconsin Pride’s brief history.
Services for Olszewski, who is survived by his mother, stepfather and other family, were held September 15 at St. Bartholomew’s Church in Junction City. The Martens/Kundinger Funeral Home handled funeral arrangements.
Maryland Court Upholds Ban On Gay Marriage
Law Does Not Deny Basic Rights, Is Not Biased, Court Rules
Baltimore - Maryland’s highest court upheld a 34-year-old state law banning same-sex marriage here September 18, rejecting an attempt by 19 gay men and lesbians to win the right to marry.
In reversing a lower court’s decision, the divided Court of Appeals ruled that limiting marriage to a man and a woman does not discriminate against gay couples or deny them constitutional rights. Although the judges acknowledged that gay men and lesbians have been targets of discrimination, they said the prohibition on same-sex marriage promotes the state’s interest in heterosexual marriage as a means of having and protecting children.
The 4 to 3 decision cannot be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court because the lawsuit relied solely on state law. But the judges appeared to invite gay rights advocates to pursue their goals through the political system: “Our opinion should by no means be read to imply that the General Assembly may not grant and recognize for homosexual persons civil unions or the right to marry a person of the same sex,” Judge Glenn T. Harrell Jr. wrote for the majority.
Chief Judge Robert M. Bell issued a sharp dissent, accusing the majority of failing to recognize gay people as a “suspect class,” a group that warrants special protection from discrimination. Bell dismissed the majority view that gays are politically empowered and should not be viewed as such a class.
The opinion was a setback for gay advocates, who thought the Maryland court - considered liberal on social and criminal issues - was their best shot at victory in the nationwide movement to win marital rights. They vowed to take to the General Assembly their fight for the rights to health care, tax benefits and medical decision-making, which are accorded to married heterosexual couples.
“This is not the day we were hoping for,” Lisa Polyak, an engineer and one of the lead plaintiffs in the case, said after the ruling. Polyak and her longtime partner, Gita Deane, are raising two daughters. “I wish those judges would have to face my children” to break the news, she said.
The state law was defended by the office of Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler (D). Spokeswoman Raquel Guillory said the office thinks the judges “reached the correct legal conclusion,” adding that they were “also correct in recognizing that it is now up to the General Assembly to decide whether same-sex couples should be given the right to form civil unions or to marry.”
The Maryland ruling touched off a battle between Democrats and Republicans in the state’s General Assembly. Democrats announced bills to legalize same-sex marriage while Republicans pledged to preempt such legislation with a constitutional amendment defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman.
The ruling follows recent decisions in New York, Washington state and California that dismissed gay couples’ claims to marriage and its legal rights. Maryland’s gay residents can adopt children and are protected from discrimination. A new law this year also requires insurance companies to provide health benefits to same-sex couples if their employers want to provide them.
The General Assembly passed a domestic partnership bill in 2005 that would have allowed gay partners to register with the state. Former Republican Governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.vetoed it.
World & National News:
Gay Politico Watch:
Condi, Hillary, Lindsey And Larry Toe-Tap Across The Headlines
By Mike Fitzpatrick
Politicians’ lavender lives remained on full press parade over the past two weeks. However, men and women from both political parties are now in the media mix. Stinky stall sex-seekin’ Larry Craig ‘s tortured tap dance to the political sidelines grabbed most media mention, but new whispers about South Carolina’s Senator Lindsey Graham surfaced, as well as Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s same-sex house share and the Advocate’s direct questioning of Hillary Clinton’s long-rumored lesbian liaisons also grabbed headlines. Here’s the sum-up:
Larry Craig: As Quest went to press, the scandal-stained Senator is flip-flopping like a fish out of water on whether he’ll exit the Senate at month’s end as earlier promised. It all depends on if he wins the appeal to take back his August 1 guilty plea to his June bathroom bust at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.
According to Craig’s court motion, media pressure made him plead guilty. The real pressure however may be from Craig’s constituents: a recent CNN poll said 67% of those he represents think he should resign immediately.
One thing we do know, Larry won’t be offering any future wide stances at his favorite Twin Cities toilet. Anonymous sex is out for everyone now that the bathroom has become a tourist attraction. Reports claim folks are stopping by to snap a souvenir shot of themselves sanding in that infamous second stall to the right.
For those not planning a tour to the toilets, they can grab a sheet or two of the single-ply served up in the scandalous stall on eBay. Pieces of LC’s TP are up for bid, though the owners offering the paper aren’t claiming its the famous piece that allegedly hit the floor spurring Craig’s supposedly misunderstood left hand signal that triggered the Senator’s bathroom bust. Bidders for the bath tissue have been few, though we’re not sure if its because waning public interest in the Craig affair or the overall “ick” factor for pieces of paper not even worthy of a good wipe.
Lindsey Graham: On September 12, the alternative Charleston City Paper called for a full investigation of the 52 year-old “lifelong bachelor” Republican Senator, echoing several years of similar speculation and rumor-mongering by gay outing activists Michelangelo Signorile and Mike Rogers. Graham’s sex life “has been fodder for such rumors for years” columnist Greg Hambrick wrote, later citing Graham’s “dismissive” response to GQ magazine’s questioning him on the subject. Graham told the fashionista mag that he’s “not gay, just a loner.” Hambrick also recalled 2002 comments by South Carolina Democratic Party Chair Dick Harpootlian that Graham was “a little too light in the loafers to fill Strom Thurmond’s shoes.”
Condoleezza Rice: On the September 13 edition of his Sirius satellite radio talk show Michelangelo Signorile had an interesting conversation with Washington Post diplomatic correspondent Glenn Kessler, author of the new book The Confidante: Condoleezza Rice and the Creation of the Bush Legacy.
Signorile brought up that there have long been questions about Rice’s sexual orientation and her personal life in general. Signorile also brought up the author’s observation that Rice “has built a wall of privacy around her that is never breached.”
However the discussion also brought out that Rice co-owns her home with her “closest female friend,” a woman named Randy Bean who is unmarried and whose sexual orientation is not reported. Bean is described as a “liberal progressive” documentary filmmaker who works at Standford University and once worked for Bill Moyers. Bean describes her relationship with Rice and openly gay pal Coit D, Blacker as a “second family.”
According to newly revealed real estate records obtained by Kessler, Rice and Bean own a home together and have a line of credit together. Bean explained this to the author by saying that she had some medical bills that drained her financially years ago. Rice and Blacker helped her out by buying a house with Bean. However Blacker later sold his share of the house to the women. Rice and Bean later got the line of credit to do some renovations on the home. Though pressed by Signorile, Kessler said he did not know if this meant there was something more to the relationship between the women. Hmmm. Rice and beans - spicy.
Hillary Clinton: Speaking of long-standing sapphic suspicions, top Democrat Presidential contender Hillary Clinton rose to the occasion when the Advocate asked her directly about her alleged lesbianism for a feature being published this week. News and features editor Sean Kennedy asked: “How do you respond to the occasional rumor that you’re a lesbian?”
“People say a lot of things about me, so I really don’t pay any attention to it,” Senator Clinton replied. “It’s not true, but it is something that I have no control over. People will say what they want to say.”
NGLTF’s Matt Foreman Helps Center Advocates PAC Raise $21,000
Milwaukee - The 2007 Annual Center Advocates PAC Garden Party with Brunch and Cocktails proved to be an extraordinary success. The August 26 event, held in Joseph Pabst’s gracious eastside home, was a delight for guests featured guest speaker Matt Foreman, the Executive Director of the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF). Foreman’s inspiring words and his challenge to dig deep for the cause moved guests to donate an additional $4,500 during the event, bringing the total amount raised to an unprecedented $21,000.
Organizers lauded the generosity of the Milwaukee community in making the Garden Party a remarkable achievement in the effort to create LGBT equality. “Now more than ever it is important for people who believe in fairness for all Wisconsin citizens to become involved in the political process by electing public officials who share their values,” Center Advocate Co-President Laurie Guilbault said.
All proceeds from the event will help the Center Advocates PAC (formerly the Human Rights League) to educate voters about LGBT issues and elect candidates who publicly commit to protecting and advancing LGBT equality in Wisconsin. For more information about Center Advocates and the organization’s Political Action Committee, contact Patrick Flaherty at 414-292-3073 or 414-232-5657 or visit the group’s website at: www.centeradvocates.org.
Fair Wisconsin’s Wensel Honored
Madison - Long time LGBT activist Diane Wensel was honored by Community Shares of Wisconsin at its annual event here September 26 at Monona Terrace Convention Center.
Wensel has been an advocate for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. Wensel was a tireless volunteer for Fair Wisconsin during last year’s amendment battle. Wensel is also an active member of the Madison PFLAG chapter and currently serves as the chapter’s president-elect. She also has volunteered with the Gay Straight Alliance for Safe Schools. Wensel was nominated for the Community Shares honor by the Fair Wisconsin Education Fund.
Also honored at the event was was Carol Lobes, who was nominated by the Fair Housing Center of Greater Madison. Lobes has long been an activist for racial equality. In the early 1980s, Lobes was deputy administrator of the Wisconsin Equal Rights and Labor Standards Division. In this capacity, she helped form a partnership between the state of Wisconsin and the Metropolitan Milwaukee Fair Housing Council to provide comprehensive fair housing services to Wisconsin residents.
At the event, Community Shares also recognized 24 of its member nonprofits’ “Backyard Heroes.” These are select volunteers whose work makes a difference to the nonprofits they serve.
Pridefest Food Donations Benefit ARCW Food Pantries Statewide
Milwaukee - It may have come in one or two cans and boxes at a time. But it added up to over seven tons of food - enough to feed three hundered average families for a month. And now, people living with HIV and their loved ones throughout Wisconsin are benefitting from the kindness of people who came out for the state’s largest gay party this past summer.
Last June Pridefest attendees donated 15,000 pounds of canned and non-perishable food to the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin and its network of statewide food pantries during the three-day-long event. The record amount of food collected was 50% more than the previous record set in 2006 of around 10,000 pounds.
“The food collected at Pridefest has helped stock all four ARCW food pantries across the state as well as the shelves at Wisconsin House – the ARCW transitional housing facility for people living with HIV,” ARCW Director of Food Services Randy Bash said. “ARCW is truly grateful to the hundreds of people who attended Pridefest and made a donation to our food pantries.”
Pridefest attendees received vouchers for tickets by donating canned and non-perishable food to ARCW during the festival.
“ARCW food pantries support more than 1,000 people across Wisconsin by providing nutritious and appropriate food for HIV-positive people who have unique dietary concerns,” Bash noted.
People living with HIV face chronic wasting and the loss of lean body mass (muscle) as a result of HIV infection. Often people living with HIV also face high cholesterol and heart disease as side effects of their HIV medications. Moreover, many single adults without families have difficulty receiving food from traditional food pantries that place greater emphasis on addressing the needs of families, especially those with children.
“Members of the gay community were truly the first responders to the fight against AIDS,” Bash said. “We are so grateful for their ongoing support more than 25 years later.”
To ensure that people with HIV are not forced to choose between buying food or purchasing their medications, ARCW operates four food pantries across Wisconsin in Eau Claire, Green Bay, Kenosha and Milwaukee providing more than one ton of food each day to people living with HIV. By the end of 2007, ARCW will also open food pantries at its locations in Wausau and La Crosse.
ARCW is Wisconsin’s largest AIDS service organization and has offices in Eau Claire, Appleton, Green Bay, Kenosha, La Crosse, Madison, Milwaukee, Superior and Wausau. With the support of the Mike Johnson life care and early intervention services grant and other funding sources, ARCW provides medical care, dental care, mental health therapy, legal representation, housing services, a food pantry and social work case management to 3,000 Wisconsin residents living with HIV/AIDS. Additionally, ARCW also reaches 150,000 people annually at risk of contracting HIV with life saving prevention information and resources.
Mad Kings & Texas Teens: Valhalla Opens October 5
Madison - StageQ, Inc. Has announced its production of the fast-paced comedy Valhalla by prize-winning playwright Paul Rudnick (Jeffrey, In & Out, The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told), directed by Tara Ayres. Valhalla will open October 5 and runs through October 20 on the Evjue Stage of the Bartell Theater, 113 E Mifflin Street here.
Valhalla intertwines two unlikely stories: the life of Bavaria’s “Mad King” Ludwig, the 1880s monarch responsible for building a series of storybook castles inspired by Wagnerian operas, and the fictional adventures of James Avery, a wild Texas teenager of the 1940s. The comedy explores questions of beauty and madness, as both Ludwig and James pursue lives of operatic passion, bringing them in contact with such diverse figures as a high-school quarterback, the prettiest girl in Dainsville, Texas, characters from Lohengrin and Princess Sophie, who declares herself “the loneliest humpback in Europe.”
Valhalla is a comic epic, confronting the price to be paid for wanting, and getting, everything you dream of. Due to the adult content in the production, including nudity, no one under 18 will admitted unless accompanied by a parent.
Valhalla will run Fridays and Saturdays at 8 PM beginning October 5 through October 20. A 7:30 PM performance is set for Thursday, October 11 and a 2 PM matinee will be performed on Sunday, October 14. Tickets are $15 per person, with a special rate of $10 for Thursday and Sunday performances. StageQ accepts Visa and Mastercard.
For tickets or reservations, call 608-661-9696, Ext.3 or visit the StageQ website at: www.stageq.com.
Authors Taylor And Rodi At Outwords In October
Milwaukee - Outwords Books will welcome two authors during the month of October. Corey Taylor, will discuss and autograph his latest work Naked: The Life and Pornography of Michael Lucas on at 2 PM on Saturday, October 13. On Tuesday, October 16 at 7 PM, popular novelist Robert Rodi returns to Outwords to read and sign copies of his latest book, When You Were Me.
Rarely has the American Dream collided with the world of gay adult video but that’s absolutely the case with porn entrepreneur Michael Lucas. Born and raised in Soviet Russia as Andrei Treyvas to a close-knit family of outspoken, intellectual Russian Jews, the shy, skinny kid grew up to be a handsome man determined to make his mark on the world. In Naked, Taylor explores Michael Lucas’ start as an escort in Europe, to his hustling days in America, making the money he would invest in his own company, Lucas Entertainment.
Taylor’s portrait of Lucas is provocative, controversial and 100% candid - no filter. Ruthless. A hot top with a killer body. Sexy. Razor-tongued and iron-fisted. Michael Lucas has been called everything on his climb from rent boy to running the most successful gay porn business in the entire world but he’s never been called boring. Now, in a no-holds-barred biography, Corey Taylor delivers a delicious portrait of gay porn’s hottest maverick.
In his long-awaited new novel When You Were Me, master satirist Robert Rodi asks the question: what would you do if you could trade lives with someone else. All work and no play have made Jack Ackerly a dull boy. It’s also made him very rich. Now, at age 53, he regrets devoting his youth to capitalism over hedonism. Alas he can’t turn back time; but according to a self-styled “fusion witch” named Francesca, he can trade places with a willing participant. He just has to find a hot young stud ready to make the switch.
Enter 26 year-old Corey Szaslo, a jaded party boy whose life of sex, drugs, and bar hopping has left him with no education, no career, no assets, and no prospects. Jumping into the skin of a retired millionaire seems a fair way out of this predicament, even if it means doubling his age and adding five inches to his waistline.
Faster than you can say, “be careful what you wish for,” Jack and Corey are living each other’s lives to the fullest. As Corey, Jack prowls the gay meat market night after night, racking up a string of sizzling conquests, while Corey, as Jack, is busy socializing, globe-trotting, and pushing his new middle-aged pecs at the gym. But one must be careful what one wishes for as their successfully swapped lives soon begin to come apart at the seams.
Corey Taylor will discuss Michael Lucas, the world of Gay Adult Entertainment and sign copies of his book, Naked on Saturday, Oct. 13 at 2 PM. Mr. Taylor has a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Memphis. He has written for U.S. publications (Unzipped, Men) as well as for publications in the UK (reFRESH) and Australia (DNA), covering celebrity features, art, fashion, and politics.
Robert Rodi will read from and sign copies of When You Were Me on Tuesday, October 16 at 7 PM. He is also the author of six other novels: Fag Hag,Closet Case,What They Did to Princess Paragon, Drag Queen, Kept Boy, and Bitch Goddess. His short fiction has appeared in numerous collections and he’s the creator of three comic book series. Robert lives in Chicago with his partner, Jeffrey Smith and is a founding member of Chicago’s seminal gay performance troupe, The Pansy Kings
Both author appearances will take place at Outwords Books, 2710 N. Murray Ave. These events are free and everyone is welcome. For further information, please call 414-963-9089 or check out the bookstore’s website, www.outwordsbooks.com.
TAN Seeks Input on Trans Elder Abuse
Milwaukee -Transgender individuals age 50+ and those who love or work with them are encouraged to take a few moments to help the Transgender Aging Network (TAN) of FORGE document the extent of violence and abuse against trans elders, and the level of fear of abuse trans and SOFFA elders feel, for its ongoing training and technical assistance work.
The online survey is available by contacting TAN (see also the online edition of this story at www.quest-online.com for a survey link). The survey can be answered either by someone reporting their own experiences, or by someone reporting the experiences of someone they know. Stories of violence, abuse, neglect, sexual or emotional abuse, financial exploitation, abandonment, health care discrimination, and elder housing discrimination of transgender people age 50 and older or of SOFFAs (Significant Others, Friends, Family, or Allies) of trans people who were targeted because of their ties to one or more transgender elders can be documented there. We use the broadest possible definition of “trans,” and especially encourage responses from butch women and feminine men.
TAN, an international, 9-year-old organization, provides education and training on transgender aging issues; supports trans elders through a free, online peer support email list (ElderTG); and networks professionals and researchers through its Transgender Aging Network email listserv. Many articles written by TAN are available for free download at www.forge-forward.org/tan.
For more information email TAN Executive Director Loree Cook-Daniels at LoreeCD@aol.com. Paper copies of the survey form can also be sent upon request; please email the request or call it into 414-540-6456, leaving your name, address, and how many survey forms you want. Survey responses will be taken until October 15, 2007.
Milwaukee LGBT Center Sets “Big Night Out” Fundraiser
Milwaukee - Are you ready for the Big Night Out? The fifth annual gala fundraiser for the LGBT Center promises to be another outstanding success, bringing together Milwaukee’s vibrant and growing LGBT community.
Big Night Out will be held at the Potawatomi Northern Lights Theater Saturday, October 13. The cash bar & silent auction will open at 5:30 PM. Dinner will follow at 7:30 PM. Following the post-dinner formal program will be entertainment featuring GayCo, a hysterical gay version of “Whose Line Is It Anyway”
Dinner tickets individually are $100 or $75. Tables of four and six are available. $15 tickets are also available for entertainment only packages. To reserve your spot at the party call Angie Guerra, Center Director of Development, at 414-271-2656, Ext.121
Lesbian Author Part Of Mystery Trio Talk
River Falls - Lesbian author Ellen Hart is among a trio of Minnesota mystery writers who share the secret of their art here October 3. Hart, Carl Brookins and William Kent Krueger, will present and talk about their works at 7 PM at the River Falls Public Library.
“Resort To Murder,”a new anthology featuring the trio’s work, along with ten other mystery stories by Minnesota authors was released in september. All the tales are set in resorts in that state. The three were also charged with producing the 2005 “Silence of the Loons” anthology.
After spending 12 years as a kitchen manager for a sorority at the University of Minnesota, Hart was feeling more than a little homicidal. She decided she needed to either do the real thing or commit murder on paper. So, she became a mystery writer.
The author of over twenty novels, Hart is a five-time winner of the Lambda Award for Best Lesbian mystery, and twice winner of the Minnesota Book Award for Best Crime & Detective Fiction.
Reflecting her previous career in the kitchen, many of her culinary mysteries feature the fictional Minneapolis restaurateur Jane Lawless or food critic Sophie Greenway, and sport such titles as “Slice and Dice” and “M is for Meatloaf.” Hart teaches mystery writing at the University of Minnesota and at the Loft Literary Center. She lives in Minneapolis with her partner of over 25 years.
Before Carl Brookins turned to writing mysteries full time, he was a freelance photographer, a public television program director, a cable TV administrator, and a counselor and faculty member at Metropolitan State University in St. Paul.
Brookins has written crime fiction reviews for Mystery Scene magazine, two websites - Reviewing The Evidence and Books n’ Bytes - and for the Saint Paul Pioneer Press. An avid sailor, he is the author of a sailing mystery series featuring Michael Tanner and Mary Whitney. They are titled “Inner Passages, a Superior Mystery” set in Wisconsin’s Apostle Islands and “Old Silver” published in May 2005. His first detective novel, featuring private investigator Sean NMI Sean, was released in September 2005. It’s titled “The Case of the Greedy Lawyers.”
Dubbed “the Michael Connelly of the Midwest,” William Kent Krueger writes the Cork O’Connor series. His first two books, “Iron Lake” and “Boundary Waters,” received a number of awards including the Anthony Award for Best First Novel, the Minnesota Book Award and the Loft-McKnight Fiction Award.
His third novel, “Purgatory Ridge,” won the Minnesota Book Award for 2001 and his fourth, “Blood Hollow,” won the Anthony Award for Best Novel of 2004. The latest Cork O’Connor mystery, “Copper River,” was published in 2006 and has been named this year’s Honor Book in Fiction by the Midwest Booksellers Association.
The trio’s talk is open to the public without charge. All three authors will all have books for sale and signing available. For more information, call the library at 715-425-0905.
StageQ Offers Comedy Improv Workshop
Madison - StageQ will offer a free comedy improv workshop on Sunday, October 7 from Noon to 4 PM on the Evjue stage of the Bartell Theatre, 113 E. Mifflin St. Here.
The workshop on the fundamentals of improvisation will be taught by Lynda Finn and Emily Jones of Flaming Dykasaurus. Lynda and Emily have been performing improv and writing and performing sketch comedy with Flaming Dykasaurus for 12 years. They have studied improv with the likes of Chicago’s Susan Messing, Charna Halpern and many others.
The workshop is designed for all levels, whether the attendee is completely new to improv or an experienced veteran. Some of the material covered will include games and exercises, solo scenes, and scene work with other participants.
Finn and Jones will create an encouraging, fun, and low pressure environment. The focus will be on shorter forms, but the workshop will conclude with an introduction to long form improv.
Though the workshop is free, it will be limited to 12. Pre-registration required by emailing email@example.com.
Because the workshop filled up fast last time StageQ offered it, early registration is encouraged. Registrants should include their phone number as well as their email address in the registration. Since some humor may contain adult themes and language, those under 18 will be admitted only with permission from a parent.
Milwaukee LGBT Center Offers Series On Financial Matters
Milwaukee - “Investing, Wealth, Estate Planning: What Every LGBT Person Needs to Know,” a five-part series of presentations on topics of financial interest for the queer community, will be presented by the Milwaukee LGBT Community Center, 315 W Court Street, beginning October 4. All sessions will run from 6-8 PM and refreshments will be served.
“Financial Choices That Matter Most” by Kyle G. Clementsof the Prudential Insurance Company of America will begin the series on October 4. On October 11 Peter Larson of
Wells Fargo will discuss “Estate & Wealth Planning for You and Your Partner.” “Lifetime & Estate Planning for LGBT Individuals & Couples” will be presented by Ruth J. Irvings of Nelson, Irvings & Waeffler S.C. On October 18.
November presentations will be “Pragmatic Approaches to Socially Responsible Investing and Asset Allocations” by Kirk Spano of Annex Wealth Management on the First. The series will conclude with “Long Term Care Insurance” by Kyle G. Clements of the Prudential Insurance Company of America on the November 8.
To Register for this free series call the Milwaukee LGBT Center at: 414-271-2656.
“Click List” Chart Topper Adam Barta Wants To Hold You
Interview By Mike Fitzpatrick
He’s been the darling of LOGO’s music lovers for the last three months. He topped the gay cable’s Click List for four weeks in August and still holds down the #6 spot in the online viewer poll even as more mainstream pop tarts like Hillary Duff and Fall Out Boy have come and gone.
Adam Barta’s video for his long-lived (it was released in November 2006) dance favorite “I Wanna Hold You” is every metrosexual’s wettest dream: clubbing all night then leaving with the two hottest pick-ups in the room - choices that cross racial and gender boundaries. But Bronx-born Barta is not just a hunky one-hit wonder currying favor with the queer community: he’s an emerging talent on the cusp of dance music stardom.
“I Wanna Hold You’s” indie label success story on FM and web radio has been the stuff of recent stories in music press: a July Skope feature and an August Cashbox cover piece. In mid-September, Barta was signed to Chicago-based dance and latin music giant EsNtion Records.
Quest caught up with Barta last week, just as he was about to learn the latest results from the Click List and just a couple of weeks before his new, major label single “Standing In The Rain” will try to score a hit-making hat trick - a third club smash for the twentysomething tenor, who DJ Times called “one of the strongest male vocalists of 2007.”
Quest: So the breaking news is that you’ve gotten a major record deal.
Adam: I signed with EsNtion (Records) for an album deal. It’s been in the works for a couple of months. I (also) have a single that I recorded called “Standing In The Rain” which is coming out on DJ Russ Harris’ album on October 9.
Quest: You spent most of the month of August on the top of the Click List on LOGO with “I Wanna Hold You.” In fact it’s still in the top 10 the last time I checked.
Adam: Every Friday around this time my manager gets an e-mail that they’ve updated the website with the list. It’s been on there 12 weeks, hopefully 13 if we find out in the next few minutes that it’s still up there. It’s been a process: getting excited every Friday around this time - 5:30 - to check the website and see if its there. It’s been a great validation with everybody voting for it, everyone liking it - It’s a really great feeling to have had it up there for so long.
Quest: Well for the gay crowd, they really like that in the video you walk out with two dates at the end of the night.
Adam: (laughs) Well, that’s what we were going for, you know! We kind of wanted to leave it open, so whatever your interpretation was of it, you could go with it. (It was) something for everybody. I really think it worked. If the gay crowd loves it, and the straight crowd kinda loves it, or loves the ambiguity. And it works - its been great.
Quest: And the song has been all over the radio too, like Pride Radio, XM and Sirius.
Adam: It’s been on so many different stations. I actually recorded it in March of 2006, so its over a year and a half since it was first done. But it just keeps growing and growing. They say that the life of a single - whether its a hit or not - only has so much air time on the radio. But this song is like “The Little Engine That Could,” with the amount of (continued) pick-ups its getting. With the LOGO countdown a lot more people are taking notice of it.
Just yesterday I got an e-mail from the another dance artist, Pepper Mashay. A lot of people know her from her hit “Dive In The Pool” (from the Queer As Folk soundtrack). She wants to play it on her (radio) show. Pepper and I have been friends for a while. She’s really supporting me. Everything’s just coming together perfectly.
Quest: So when will the EsNtion album be coming out?
Adam: I have an album tentatively scheduled to come out early next year. That was the date that they gave us - early 2008. As late as March, probably more so because I haven’t recorded most of it yet. I’ll be in the studio the end of this year.
Quest:You also have a really exciting date coming up in July 2008 as well.
Adam: Its a fantastic benefit concert - Angels Unite Worldwide 2008. It’s being put together by IAD Radio (www.iadradio.com). They have some amazing performers lined up: Olivia Newton-John, Patti LaBelle. And I think Ricky Martin is on that bill. Olivia has been someone I’ve been watching since I was a little kid. It’s gonna be a trip for me to get on stage and be with her. It’s going to be July 8 in Denver.
Quest: Talking about little kids, how did a Bronx boy end up on a Chicago-based label working with a Chicago DJ (Russ Harris) as a featured artist on his upcoming album?
Adam: I started doing musical theater. From there I jumped into a boy band, actually two boy bands. It didn’t turn out that well, but it gave me the tools I guess I needed to push forward my personal career. I learned about working as part of a team. Any recording artist has to have that mentality of working as a unit, whether its with other band members, or choreographers, back-up singers, managers... They have to function together cohesively.
From the boy band I launched a solo career. I did some pop stuff that did okay, but it wasn’t anything great. Then I had single called “Dirty Girls” (in 2005). The remix by the Armory Project did really well in the clubs and hit dance radio for a bit. That put me in the dance arena. From there came “I Want To Hold You” and then EsNtion Records noticed me.
Quest: So it was a story in Skope in July, then a cover on Cashbox in August, and now its the cover of Quest in September.
Adam: I’m honored. And I got the news essentially on my birthday, which is today (September 21). I got the news from (his publicist) Stephen yesterday about the cover.
Quest: So where do you see yourself in five years, besides at the top of the charts?
Adam: I’m hoping to have at least a Grammy or some sort of an award - maybe an MTV Award. I hope to have a bunch of hits, good songs that I’ve written out there. The most important thing is to have my own stuff recorded and have done well. And just performing - I love the excitement of it, love having fans and just doing my thing. So if I can still be performing, having music that people really like five years from now, I will be very happy.
Quest: As for the immediate future, you have the new single coming out as the featured singer for DJ Russ Harris.
Adam: That will be “Standing in the Rain.” Russ’ album, which will have an exclusive mix - the Russ Harris mix - will be out October 9. The album is called Ear Therapy. The single from that - with additional mixes - will be in a month or two. There might be a “B-side” to that which may have “I Want To hold You” but I’m not positive.
Quest: Who do you see as your musical influences? Where does your inspiration come from?
Adam: Well, I grew up listening to ‘Nsync and the Backstreet Boys, Justin Timberlake and all the hip-hop male vocalists. I listen to things like Pink, R & B artists like Missy Elliott, that sort of vibe. I’ve really been digging Hilary Duff’s new sound lately. I think her new, reinvented non-Disney sound is really working well for her. Even the new Britney Spears song - I know a lot of people have been giving her a hard time for everything that’s been going on - but the song she has out now (“Gimme More”) is fantastic.
Quest: As for “I Wanna Hold You,” can people still get it anywhere besides videotaping it off of TV?
Adam: It’s available for download on iTunes and Rhapsody. It’s on the Top Dance Songs of 2006 on Rhapsody. I know AOL Music also has it. For hard copy, I think they till sell it at CDBaby (www.cdbaby.com), which is an independent CD seller. That’s if they have any copies left. There are also people selling it on eBay.
Quest: And you have a MySpace page, something that’s de riguer in 2007.
Adam: Yeah, if you like wear clothes, you have to have a MySpace page in 2007. (www.myspace.com/adambarta)
Quest: Any last thing you’d like to say to Quest’s readers? This your shot!
Adam: Well I hope everyone continues to vote for it on the Click List. It’s been an amazing validation of what I’m doing, so I like to thank the people who have been liking it and voting for it as well. It just makes me want to work harder to put out good music. If people want to write to me on the MySpace page, I get a chance to check it now and then and I always try to write back to everybody. And I look forward to hopefully performing in Wisconsin soon. I hope to get out there.
Quest: Well you know we have one of the most musical of gay pride festivals in the country with Milwaukee’s PrideFest every summer. Maybe I should whisper in the PrideFest committee’s ear, though by (next June) you may be too expensive to book in!
Adam: (laughs) No, I’ll remember! If I get an offer (to come) to Wisconsin, I’ll come out there! I’ll make sure it works out! I’d love to come, that would be great!