Everyone’s Got One

I tell them. You tell them. Your friends tell them. Your parents told them. Your teachers told them. Your priests, pastors and rabbis told them. Cities have them. Houses have them.  Even the walls IN the houses have them. Everyone you’ve ever met has one and, even more importantly, everyone you’ve NEVER met has, at least, one.  Your whole life has only one of these, and at the same time, is a collection of thousands. I’m writing mine, now, thinking of yours. I’m talking about stories…our stories.

My grandfather had one. Actually, he had countless stories and he told them over and over again to anyone who’d listen. Who know’s if they were true; no one cared. He told stories to entertain and telling the truth just wasn’t important to him.  The random (perhaps not) stranger I met, today, had one. He told his story to find redemption, and it broke my heart knowing, unlike most of my grandfather’s stories, his story was probably all too true. He spoke of peace, now that he’d decided to stop his cancer treatments and really live the life that remained. Damn it, I can NOT stop thinking about him.

Anyway, it seems to me for every story told, there are scores of others…well, that’s the question, I guess…how many stories of the people we meet every day, at work, and on the street, go…untold? For instance, what’s the story with that guy on Facebook, asking for prayer? The lady at the stop light, on your way to work, staring at you from inside her car as you stare at her from inside yours…what’s her story? In the past months, alone, the media has been inundated with hundreds of stories from people who felt bullets penetrate their flesh as they sought to help others find cover…thousands of stories from Dreamers, AMERICANS, terrified of being sent from their home, forever…and millions of stories from women and men who’ve been sexually harrassed…so grotesque, so unimaginable, so inconceivable…of such fear and humiliation, they could only be told with silent, unspeakable words…#metoo.

There’s one thing about stories that is absolute; everyone’s got one. And that, my friends, is pretty much it. That’s what this column’s about…my story, your story, our COLLECTIVE stories. We have them…they’re there, our COLLECTIVE stories…those stories that celebrate our differences, while, simultaneously, uniting us against all the things that would bring us down. No doubt, sharing our stories make us happier, stronger, and well, they MAKE US BETTER, as individuals and as people united by common goals. It’s going to be exhilarating at times and super uncomfortable at others…especially for me. But, truthfully, and with no reserve, I can’t wait to hear your stories. I can’t wait to TELL them. I can’t wait to know that months, years and decades down the road, when I put down my pen, the world is better, because I took it up…and told OUR stories. See you next time.

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Fighting for the Rights of Rent Boys

In response to the August 25th raid on Rentboy.com, leading figures in the gay adult community are banding together in a coalition that will advocate for the legal rights of male escort workers. Among them, Jonathan Crutchley, founding partner of Manhunt and owner of Jack’d, is announcing today that he has joined the advisory board of NCORB, The National Coalition of Rent Boys & Allies.  More info below.  For this and other information related to the LGBT Community, New Orleans, Fashion, Arts, and more, be sure to subscribe to VIP Magazine, New Orleans #1 LGBT Magazine and check out myVIPmagazine.us and myGayNewOrleans.com

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Manhunt Founder Joins Advisory Board of NCORB, A Coalition Fighting For Rentboy Rights

Jonathan Crutchley, founding partner and owner of the world’s largest gay brands that includes Manhunt and Jack’d, has joined the advisory board of The National Coalition of Rent Boys & Allies, an organization advocating for the legal rights of male escort workers. The group formed in response to the August 25th raid on Rentboy.com in New York City by the NYPD and Homeland Security.

“It is no business of the government at any level— be it federal, state, or local— to enter the bedrooms of consenting adults and tell them what they may or may not do within that private setting,” asserts Mr. Crutchley on his decision to join NCORB. Last week, he made a financial contribution to the legal defense team representing Jeffrey Hurant, founder of Rentboy.com. “Such matters are certainly not the business of the Department of Homeland Security, which was created after September 11, 2001 to protect citizens from foreign terrorists.”

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Rent Boy Models, VIP Magazine, myVIPmag.us

Federal agents joined the NYPD in shutting down Rentboy on the assertion that Rentboy was using interstate commerce to violate local New York laws.

Mr. Crutchley is not alone in believing that federal agents violated the constitutional rights of U. S. citizens. The editorial board of The New York Times even called the raid ‘peculiar’.

“I founded my company in the name of individual privacy and sexual freedom,” Mr. Crutchley continues. “In the name of individual liberty, the Federal government needs to do the job it was given to do by the Constitution.”

The National Coalition of Rent Boys & Allies was created as a not for profit corporation by attorney Norm Kent, a well known First Amendment advocate.

“The Department of Homeland Security has initiated a questionable legal action which has terrorized thousands of men who were lawfully trading their time and companionship for legitimate compensation,” said Mr. Kent via a press release issued earlier this week. “There is a need for these men to have a collective voice and open forum to speak out against the raid and for their rights.”

NCORB aims to fill the need. Its website contains a media outpost of news articles, columns, reactions and information about the Rentboy raid. The site will also soon provide unfettered access to legal advisories and ‘know your rights’ forums for rent boys remaining in the industry, as well as regular updates on the status of the federal case against the principals of the Rent boy prosecution.

“Public pressure may not stop the prosecution, but it will certainly let the US attorney know where the LGBT community stands on targeting our population and our partners,” says Mr. Kent.

Mr. Crutchley joins Mr. Howard Andrew of Fab Scout Entertainment, an agency that represents many of the world’s leading gay adult talent, on the advisory board of NCORB.

Visit: https://NCORB.com

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VIP Celebrates National Coming Out Day!

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Today Oct 11th is National Coming Out Day! This is an important day to understand the struggles and celebrate the struggles of those that paved the way for the current generation and recognize that these same struggles and triumphs still exist for many today..I am proud to be a gay man in 2015 and part of the LGBT community, its supporters, and Publisher of VIP Magazine. I encourage everyone to provide as much support to anyone who is choosing themselves today by coming out!

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Whitney White Linen Night

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The Warehouse District, also known as the New Orleans Arts District, has been called the “SoHo of the South,” and every summer the neighborhood hosts White Linen Night to show why it has earned that nickname.

On the first Saturday evening in August, four blocks of Julia Street will be closed to vehicular traffic for a three-hour, New Orleans-style block party. This White Linen Night event is free and open to the public.

The Event

Sponsored by Whitney Bank, Whitney White Linen Night will be held this year on Saturday, August 1. In the closed-off 300 to 600 blocks of Julia Street, stages are set up for live entertainment featuring some of New Orleans’ top bands.

In addition, there are conveniently situated kiosks where food and beverages from some of New Orleans’ top restaurants and bars are sold. Complimentary hand-held fans given out by the galleries will help keep you cool on this typically warm summer evening.

During the hours of 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. the art galleries on or adjacent to Julia Street will also open their doors to art aficionados and casual strollers alike.

To see the full list of participating galleries, visit the Art District’s website.

Attire

Those who turn out for Whitney White Linen Night are encouraged – but not required – to wear as much white attire as they can, and get into the intended spirit of the event. White linen was chosen both for its breeziness and because traditionally, white linen suits and similar attire are not worn after Labor Day. So this is a great excuse to bust it out for a fun event. For those who don’t have white outfits, any light-colored combination will do, but there is no required dress code for the event.

Other Festivities

Immediately following the block party, the nearby Contemporary Arts Center, will host its annual Whitney White Linen Night party with live music, refreshments and more art work on display. There is an admission charge for the event, but it is a fun way to keep the evening going after the block party is over. The CAC party usually ends around midnight.

For more information about Whitney White Linen Night and the post-party call the Contemporary Arts Center at (504) 528-3805 or visit their website at www.cacno.org.

The White Linen Tradition

Centuries ago, when New Orleanians who ventured outdoors in the hot summertime had to get where they were going on foot, on horseback or in open carriages, they devised ways to lessen the effects of the summer heat. One of them was wearing white linen clothing. Men wore white suits and hats to reflect, rather than absorb, the sun’s rays, and women wore white dresses and hats for the same reason. This was done for many years until motorized vehicles with air conditioning systems became the primary means of getting around.

Following the 1984 World’s Fair in New Orleans, a massive urban renewal initiative began transforming abandoned and neglected warehouses into lofts, condominiums and – especially – art galleries. In the early 1990s, owners of the art galleries, centered primarily on or near Julia Street, brainstormed about ways to attract potential art buyers into the area. They came up with the idea of reviving the old summertime white linen tradition and the first White Linen Night was held in 1994. Its success took off from there and the event has grown steadily in popularity and attendance ever since.

 

Source: newolreansonline.com

Join the Celebration! Gay Marriage Legal in all 50 States

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The 2015 GCLS Conference in New Orleans

The 11th Annual GCLS Conference is to be held in New Orleans July 22nd-26th at the Hilton Riverside.  The Annual Conference has something for everyone.  They offer Master Classes in the Craft of Writing; Sessions on writing related topics of interest to readers, writers, and editors; Panels on writing related topics also of interest to readers, writers and editors; and author readings and chats of interest to everyone.

CONFERENCE HIGHLIGHTS:

KEYNOTE SPEAKER:   Dorothy Allison
SPECIAL SPEAKER:   Ali Vali

 
SPECIAL GUEST:  Rita Mae Brown will be joining our Author Autograph Session, and will be in attendance at the GCLS Literary Awards.
For a complete schedule and for more information visit goldencrown.org/conference or click the image below.
Literary Center

New Orleans Pride announces its 2015 Grand Marshals and Keynote Speaker at 5th Annual Black & White Ball.

On Saturday, January 10, 2015, New Orleans Pride announced its 2015 Grand Marshals at the 5th Annual Masquerade Black & White Gala. The Gala was held at the Healing Center on St. Claude Avenue and included The Esplanade Ave Band as entertainment, a silent auction which featured a line of celebrity designed masks, and the announcement of the 2015 New Orleans Pride Grand Marshals, the 2015 New Orleans Pride Poster, and, this years keynote speaker. The event was hosted by WDSU News Anchor Camille Whitworth and attended by more than 100 guests dressed in black and white masquerade party attire. Chris Leonard, Director of New Orleans Pride, announced that the 2015 New Orleans Pride Grand Marshals to be Adikus Sulpizi and Persana Shoulders. Additionally, Jon and Derek Penton-Robicheaux were announced as 2015 Honorary Grand Marshals.

Adikus is a well-known community supporter, activist, and 2014 Big Easy Leather Title holder while Persana, also an avid community supporter and charity event emcee, is best known for her comedic character personality and unique talent in entertainment, hosting, and emceeing. Both Adikus and Persana were selected amongst a long roster of nominees and voted on via the New Orleans Pride facebook page. Honorary Grand Marshals Jon and Derek Penton-Robicheauxx, two of the first plaintiffs involved in the Federal Same-Sex Marriage Lawsuit in Louisiana, Robicheaux et al. vs Caldwell, are paving the way for change in Louisiana hoping to have their 2012 Iowa marriage validated in Louisiana and win the freedom to marry for countless other gay couples in the State of Louisiana. Arguments in this case were recently heard by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals just one day prior to attending the event and being named Honorary Grand Marshals.

Trevor Wayne, artist (www.trevorwayne.com) created the 2015 New Orleans Pride Posters inspired by the LGBT community fight to legalize gay marriage in Louisiana and features an outline of the state of Louisiana highlighted by the love shared between two grooms in one version and likewise between two brides in another version. Both posters also feature blue backgrounds, a proclamation of celebrating 5 years of the New Orleans Pride Organization, this year’s Pride Festival dates, and the New Orleans Pride logo and festival website.

New Orleans Pride 2015 Poster Grooms

 

Ryan Sallans was announced as the 2015 Keynote Speaker. Through his website, ryansallan.com, Sallans is noted as a public speaker, publisher, diversity trainer, consultant, publisher, and author specializing in health care, campus inclusion and workplace issues surrounding the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer/Questioning, Intersex, and Asexual (LGBTQIA) community. He is best known for sharing the story of his transition from female to male through his memoir Second Son: Transitioning Toward My Destiny, Love and Life.Ryan Sallans

Congratulations to New Orleans Pride for a great event which raised more than $5,000 and to Adikus, Persona, Jon, and Derek on your titles. We look forward to your representation of New Orleans Pride and the New Orleans LGBT Community and supporters. This years New Orleans Pride Festival will be held June 19-21, 2015 with additional information available at www.prideneworleans.com.

Written by:  Levi Knot, VIP Media Group.

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