New play ‘The Bigot’ heads to Shakes Orlando with a look at prejudice in America

By : Jeremy Williams
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As Donald Trump continues with his attempt to “Make America Great Again,” his presidency is having quite an impact on the world of performing arts. Artists, musicians and playwrights are using these polarizing times to create new, meaningful works that are shining bright spotlights on the dark areas of American society.

Two such artists are Gabi and Eva Mor, a married couple who live in Manhattan. Their new play, The Bigot, which opened Off-Broadway last year, heads to the John & Rita Lowndes Shakespeare Center- Mandell Theater in Orlando with performances on Feb. 17-18 and 24-25.

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Travis Wall has all the right moves in Shaping Sound’s ‘After the Curtain’

By : Randa Griffin
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Travis Wall

Travis Wall has been dancing since he could walk. The Emmy Award-winning choreographer, who appeared in the second season of So You Think You Can Dance, has had his routines appear on Dancing With The Stars, the Academy Awards and in music videos and concerts from the likes of Carrie Underwood, Justin Bieber and Demi Lovato.

Wall and his dance company Shaping Sound are bringing their latest show “After the Curtain” to the King Center for the Performing Arts in Melbourne Feb. 10.

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Joey Arrigo leads Cirque du Soleil’s VOLTA to Tampa

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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Out aerialist, dancer and choreographer Joey Arrigo portrays the lead in VOLTA, Cirque du Soleil’s 41st original production, but his story with the largest theatrical producer in the world actually began at age 5 with a VHS tape.

He says he watched his parents’ VHS tape, which featured one of the company’s first shows, “so many times, not even really comprehending what it was and what it even took to get there.” More importantly, he asserts, it “sparked something in me.”

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Peppermint makes history as first trans woman to create a principal role on Broadway

By : MARIAH COOPER OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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“RuPaul’s Drag Race” season nine alum Peppermint has been cast in the new musical “Head Over Heels,” making her the first openly transgender woman to originate a principal role on Broadway.

“Head Over Heels” is based on the Elizabethan comedy “The Arcadia,” and will feature music from the all-female band The Go-Go’s known for their hits “We Got the Beat,” “Our Lips Are Sealed” and “Vacation.”

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Chris Harder brings his one-man show, ‘Porn To Be A Star,’ to the Footlight Theatre at the Parliament House

By : Jeremy Williams with additional reporting by Randa Griffin
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“‘Poor little porn star,’ his somber, dark gaze seemed to convey, though in my mind I suddenly imagined I was seated at the head of a garishly decorated room, noise makers filling the air, the guest of honor at his surprise pity party, so generously thrown on my behalf.”

The opening line to gay adult film star Chris Harder’s HuffPost article titled “Exiting the Porn Star Pity Party” is one of many encounters Harder has had with individuals who have seen one of his movies and felt the need to tell him he’s better than that.

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‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ star Katya is taking a break from drag

By : MARIAH COOPER OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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“RuPaul’s Drag Race” alum Katya is taking a break from drag.

Katya, real name Brian McCook, opened up in an Instagram Live video, spoken entirely in French, about his need to take a break for his mental health.

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Finnish court acquits duo’s gay bar stunt on Russian plot

By : wire report
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COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — A Swedish comedy and rap duo has been acquitted of building a makeshift gay bar in 2015 on a plot of land in Finland owned by Russian president Vladimir Putin to protest against Russia’s anti-gay laws.

The court on Aland islands off the southwestern Finnish coast rejected Thursday a Russian charge against Frej Larsson and Simon Gardenfors, the local Nya Aaland daily said. The Russian charge said the two unlawfully constructed on the grounds of Putin’s summer residence and demanded a fine.

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Out dancer Greg Molony shows off his moves in the 20th anniversary tour of ‘Riverdance’

By : Jeremy Williams
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The international Irish dance sensation Riverdance is celebrating 20 years of kicking, jumping and jigging with a North American tour that will land them at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa Jan. 19-21 and at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts in Orlando Jan. 26-28.

Greg Molony has been in love with Irish dancing ever since he saw Riverdance while watching TV at his home in Denver when he was four years old. Now 24, the openly gay dancer has been around the world with different Irish dancing troupes, including several past tours of Riverdance.

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LGBT designer responds to criticism for using child drag queen for clothing company

By : MARIAH COOPER OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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LGBT designer Brandon Hilton is defending his clothing company House of Mann’s decision to use nine-year-old drag queen Lactatia to promote the line.

Twitter and online bullentin board 4chan slammed House of Mann’s Instagram photo featuring Lactatia, also known as Nemis Quinn Mélançon Golden calling it “pedophilia” and “child abuse.” Conservative news sites the Daily Caller and Breitbart News also took issue with the clothing company using Lactatia. House of Mann sells drag queen clothing as well as lingerie and bondage gear.

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Dave Chappelle slammed for joking about Kevin Spacey allegations

By : MARIAH COOPER OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Screenshot via YouTube

Dave Chappelle has come under fire for joking about Kevin Spacey’s sexual misconduct allegations in his new Netflix comedy special “The Bird Revelation.”

“Wow, I mean it is really bad out here. Kevin Spacey’s out here, grabbing men by the pussy. I didn’t even know that was possible,” Chappelle says.

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2017 LGBTQ Pop Culture Alphabet

By : Jeremy Williams
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It was the year of #MeToo, as this one story seemed to dominate the pop culture landscape of 2017. Victims came out saying “enough is enough” and called out their attackers and predators by name.

It was also a year of important stories being told on television and in films. We honored the voices of women, people of color and the LGBTQ community in movies like Moonlight and The Life and Death of Marsha P. Johnson, and on shows like When We Rise and Master of None. Plus we got Will & Grace back!

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Orlando Fringe expands their winter festival after a successful first year

By : Jeremy Williams
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After a successful inaugural year, the Orlando International Fringe Festival is returning with an even bigger Winter Mini-Fest Jan. 3-7, expanding on the number of venues they had in 2017.

“Instead of three venues we have four total and instead of four days we are going five. So it’s a little bit bigger than it was last year to keep up with the audience that was there, and we hope they will come out even more this year,” says Michael Marinaccio, the Orlando International Fringe Festival Producer.

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