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Volume 20/Issue 4/2002

Rip & Marsha

by Rip & Marsha Naquin-Delain

Visit their site: ripandmarsha.com

LAGPAC Issues Endorsements in Mar. 2 N.O. Municipal Run-off Election

Members of the Louisiana Lesbian and Gay Political Action Caucus voted Thursday night to endorse RAY NAGIN for Mayor of New Orleans in the March 2 run-off election. Nagin received the minimum two-thirds majority vote from LAGPAC members who attended the Feb. 21 meeting here.

LAGPAC members voted in January to endorse Jay Batt for the City Council District A seat. Batt is in a run‹off March 2 against incumbent Scott Shea.

LAGPAC is the oldest and largest statewide organization working full-time for equal rights for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community.

Unlike many political organizations, LAGPAC does not endorse a candidate for office until a membership vote is conducted either at an open meeting or via a mail-in ballot. As part of its endorsement process, the LAGPAC board of directors and local LAGPAC members serve on election committees, and committee members personally interview candidates on issues important to the group¹s membership.

Election committees then file reports on candidates and may issue an endorsement recommendation on a specific candidate to the voting membership. The Board may also issue endorsement recommendations based on candidates¹ qualifications, interview responses, and their history of support of gay-friendly issues.

For further information, contact Executive Director Melinda Shelton at 504.488.8322.

Forum For Equality Endorses Ray Nagin for N.O. Mayor

The Forum For Equality, a local good government and civil rights organization, has endorsed Ray Nagin for New Orleans Mayor. The general membership discussed the merits of each candidate. "I feel that Ray Nagin upholds our objectives of promoting good government and civil rights and will bring the greatest good for our city at this moment in history," said Sue Laporte, Chair for the Forum for Equality.

The Forum has been in existence since 1989, issuing endorsements in all elections, participating in governmental reform efforts and working to pass legislation at the local, state and national levels.

Vote Absentee through Sat., Feb. 23

Absentee voters can continue casting their votes for the 2002 New Orleans runoff election through Sat., Feb. 23. The mayor's race is between Ray Nagin and Richard Pennington. Council, Dist. A is between Scott Shea and Jay Batt.

In New Orleans voters can head to City Hall, room 1-W-24. Voters in Ward 15 Algiers can cast their votes at the courthouse on Morgan St.

Polls will be open through Fri. from 8:30am until 4:30pm. The offices will be open from 8:30 until noon on Sat.

The regular election is set for Sat., Mar. 2.

Women's Issues Conference
This Fall at Tulane

The Louisiana Women's Policy and Research Commission and the Newcomb College Center for Research on Women will hold a statewide conference on women's issues at Tulane University in the fall.

Those interested in presenting papers on women's issues must submit proposals by Apr. 8. The conference, titled "Facing Facts: Policy, Research and Grassroots Perspectives on Women in Louisiana," will be Sept. 12 and 13. Conference officials are searching for policy-makers, women's advocates, educators, business leaders and others to participate.

"We are aiming to bring together Louisiana's best minds at this conference to focus on current data and research on the socioeconomic standing, political progress and health and well-being of Louisiana women," said Rep. Diane Winston, R-Covington, who is chairwoman of the commission. She said about 50 papers on a variety of topics will be presented at the two-day conference.

Individuals wishing to present papers to the program must contact Beth Willinger, executive director of the Newcomb Center for Research on Women, at Caroline Richardson Hall on the Tulane campus in New Orleans or by calling her at 504.865.5238.

PrideFest America 2002
Celebrates 10th Anniversary

Celebrating its 10th Anniversary season, PrideFest America 2002 presents the nation's most comprehensive programs about the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) community at its annual symposium and festival on Apr. 29-May 5 in Philadelphia. PrideFest America 2002 features nearly 60 programs and social events by over 50 regional, national and international GLBT organizations.

"PrideFest America is the preeminent annual international forum for the GLBT international and civil rights movements," said Malcolm Lazin, founder and executive director of PrideFest America. "For our 10th Anniversary year our international focus will be on South Africa, including a delegation of South African leaders discussing issues from apartheid and AIDS in South Africa to contemporary life for black and white South Africans."

"PrideFest America offers not only substantive but also celebratory events, including eight parties with DJs Susan Morabito and Billy Carroll, cabaret by Marga Gomez, the National Bodybuilding Championship, BBQ and SundayOUT," continued Autumn Bayles, Chair of PrideFest America's Board of Directors.

The Fest will feature over 50 seminars covering GLBT issues as broad-based as family, military discrimination, civil rights and health. A special highlight of the event will be the Tseng Kwong Chi retrospective at the Philadelphia Art Alliance running Mar. 19 - May 5. This exhibition of approximately 85 works is the first-ever retrospective of this important postmodern photographer.

Beach Ball, DANCE1
& PM Entertainment Team Up

Orlando's Beach Ball is recognized worldwide as a not-to-be-missed annual Gay and Lesbian event. The Fri. night kickoff party for Gay Day Weekend has sold out the past three years, packing more than 6,000 bathing suit-clad partiers into the spectacular Typhoon Lagoon Water Park at Walt Disney World.

Each year, people leave the event asking, "How can they possibly top that?" And the event's producers - Watermark Entertainment Group, Inc. (WEGI) - take that challenge seriously. This year, WEGI has partnered with two exciting companies - GSociety/DANCE1 and PM Entertainment - to spike Beach Ball to the top of the party roster.

The GSociety Family of Companies - www.gaywired.com, www.dance1.net, www.lesbianation.com, www.qtmagazine.com, www.ghighway.com - is recognized worldwide as the leading media/entertainment company serving the Gay and Lesbian market. GSociety offers premium entertainment value to viewers and visitors through a variety of distribution channels including on-line Web sites, events, interactive media and video such as DANCE1 - a music video series showcasing the circuit scene to over 2.2 million viewers monthly.

PM Entertainment owns nightclubs and restaurants throughout the U.S. market, and also produces innovative events that have attracted tens of thousands of Gays and Lesbians worldwide. PM Entertainment's Michael Mazer was the founder and originator of Salvation South Beach known world wide as "The World's Only Weekly Circuit Party."

These three powerhouse producers are pleased to announce a strategic partnership for Beach Ball 6 to be held this year on Fri., May 31, from 9pm - 3am. This year's event promises to be a sexy, soaking wet, good time for all featuring over-the-top sound and visual displays set throughout this lush, tropical water park paradise.

"Taking Beach Ball's track record, and adding PM Entertainment's party-planning skills and GSociety's resources, means we can take the event to an entirely new level," said WEGI president Keith Peterson. "I think even those who've attended each of the past five years will be surprised by Beach Ball 6. Together we're going to introduce ideas and elements that have never been seen before during Gay Day Weekend."

Lark Bennett, VP of Entertainment for GSociety, Inc., added, "Collaborating on a world-class event such as Beach Ball offers GSociety, DANCE1 and PM Entertainment an exciting opportunity to utilize our entertainment industry background plus proven Gay & Lesbian marketing expertise to complement this one-of-a- kind party." Bennett adds, "If there's one event on the circuit calendar that you don't want to miss, especially this year, it's Beach Ball."

Beach Ball 6 takes place on Fri., May 31, from 9pm to 3am at Walt Disney World's Typhoon Lagoon Water Park. Tickets can be purchased for Beach Ball 6 at BeachBall.com or by calling 1.866.283.2958 (toll free).

Premier Nat'l GLBT
Political Confab in Portland;
Feb. 27 Mtg. to Convene Local Host Committee

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force announced recently that its celebrated Creating Change conference, the premier national organizing conference for the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender (GLBT) political movement, will be held in Portland, OR, Nov. 6-10, 2002. Over 2000 organizers, activists and leaders from communities across the U.S. and around the world are expected at the fifteenth annual gathering.

"We are excited to bring our fifteenth annual conference to Portland. Creating Change is one of our movement's greatest assets," said Lorri L. Jean, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. "This marks the first time Creating Change has come to the Pacific Northwest, a region of important GLBT political and social change work. We're honored to continue our very productive relationship with Basic Rights Oregon, the premier local partner in organizing Creating Change in Portland."

NGLTF conference organizer Sue Hyde visits the Portland area Feb. 26 - 28 to launch the 2002 Creating Change Host Committee. All interested community members and allies are invited to attend an informational and organizing meeting on Wed., Feb. 27, from 7 to 9pm at the First Unitarian Church, 1011 SW 12th Ave., at the corner of 12th and Salmon.

The 2002 Host Committee will meet and work through the year to plan for the on-the-ground activities associated with the conference. The Host Committee will support Creating Change and present Portland's best GLBT face by organizing hospitality operations, managing a community housing network, recruiting up to 300 local volunteers to work during the five-day conference, providing supportive environments and services for youth and elders, and spreading the word about the conference throughout Portland and the state of Oregon.

"The Creating Change Host Committee plays an invaluable role in making every conference a success," said Sue Hyde, the conference director. "Together with local leaders and organizations, we will produce an event that will leave a lasting mark on both the GLBT movement nationwide and on the communities of Portland and Oregon."

For more information about the Creating Change conference, including a detailed guide to the 2001 conference and audio recordings of key sessions, please visit creatingchange.org. For details on the 2002 Host Committee and the Feb. 27 Portland organizing meeting, contact Sue Hyde at shyde@ngltf.org or 617.492.6393.

Founded in 1973, NGLTF works to eliminate prejudice, violence and injustice against Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender people at the local, state and national level. As part of a broader social justice movement for freedom, justice and equality, NGLTF is creating a world that respects and celebrates the diversity of human expression and identity where all people may fully participate in society.

To reach the NGLTF Communications department, call 202.332.6483 or 800.757.6476 (pager), or send an e-mail to ngltf@ngltf.org.

Pansies & Dirt

Vendredi de Nuit Mardi Gras Avant, the annual Friday Night Before Mardi Gras extravaganza was a hit as several hundred revelers descended on The Carrollton. It was our first time to this wonderful event. The $50 donation at the door included Mardi Gras beads, drinks, food, entertainment and a free photo of each party reveler with Oz's Carnival balcony as the backdrop. Many were in costume and drag while the rest of us were in formal attire.

Jennifer Flowers sang and was accompanied by Mimi Guste on piano. Louise McFarland was presented a special award by emcee Billy Henry for outstanding community service.

Ambush and AmbushOnLine sponsored the event for the second year in a row. Last year's Vendredi de Nuit raised $11,000 for Belle Reve. This year both Belle Reve and United Services For AIDS Foundation were the beneficiaries.

Because of Carnival weekend, we hired Lou Pierce and his Executive Services limo company for transportation. He did an excellent job getting us around the crowds to Vendredi de Nuit.

Prior to the masked soiree, we stopped at the Friendly Bar and ran into bar barons Big Daddy Lou and Jerce Ann. Marigny favorite Candi was tickling the ivories here for the big crowd. And Billy Neal was slingin' those cocktails.

From there Lou drove us to the Night of the Black Mask, the South's only leather block party. Although Black Mask was not as large as Leather Decadence, several thousand still participated in the event hosted by the Knights d'Orleans outside of the Phoenix/Eagle. Revelers here were treated to a beer bust, plus food, vendor and leather booths.

Next stop would be the special Mardi Gras show hosted by the Ladies of the Mint Revue. Here drag enthusiasts were treated to the talents of emcee Josie Cotton, Rusty LaRue, Melissa Marquis, plus a fabu showgirl direct from Biloxi.

Mardi Gras Sat. would bring us out for a double drunk. We started out right after lunch about 12:30 with our first stop to see bartender David at TT's. The crowd here was getting ready to head on over to the parades. After a few vinos, we headed out.

Next stop would be Ninth Circle at Congo Square. The boys here were already in full party mode. Of course, bartender John was attending to all those cocktail needs, and he was still standing himself.

We arrived at Society Page just in time to see bar baron Orlando. Since this club opened early for Carnival weekend, revelers were already arriving to celebrate the holiday.

Ashley was behind the bar at our next stop, the Corner Pocket, "where the boys are." Yes, the boys were already on the bar and we got a bird's eye view of their candy. However, we learned the featured Boys of Montreal would not be out until later in the evening.

Then it was off to the Double Play where Emmit was doing the honors. Here we ran into some of those regulars who come in once or twice a year for Mardi Gras or Southern Decadence.

LeRoundup was up next and here we found a bevy of beauties including Jackie Mae and even Miss Ridall. Right off of Bourbon St., the crowd here was an eclectic mix of Gays and straights.

Then it was home for a power nap. We headed back out at 10:30pm for the Golden Age Revue's special Mardi Gras show. Since TT and Connie Marcelle were delayed at the Armeinius Ball, the lovely Marcy Marcell and Eva "The Diva" Las Vegas did the honors. Of course, we all got a treat when bartender Ted went into Karen Carpenter mode and brought down the house with his Miss Vicky personality.

We returned to the Corner Pocket just in time to see the beautiful Boys of Montreal with emcee Lisa Beaumann, King Cake Queen IX.

After that it was back to Bourbon St. for a stint at the Bourbon Pub/Parade. The dancing boys here were also hot, hot, hot! The crowds were massive so we decided to head across the street.

Oz featured the sizzling talents of the Men of Manwatch dancers under the direction of Austin's Marcy Fletcher. However, we made it in just in time to catch circuit DJ Joe Gauthreaux who was in town for Mardi Gras. This young man has made quite a name for himself throughout the United States. New Orleans can be proud of this incredible talent.

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