Love Is All Around Us: An Album of Reimagined Love Songs For The LGBTQ Community

Album Features Artistic Vision of Bob Dylan, Kesha, Benjamin Gibbard, St. Vincent, Valerie June and Kele Okereke

MGM Resorts International announced the release of Universal Love, a collection of reimagined wedding songs for the LGBTQ community, celebrating the enduring and overwhelming power of love and music to unite.

MGM Resorts releases UNIVERSAL LOVE, a collection of reimagined love songs for the LGBTQ community. Now streaming on Spotify, Pandora, iTunes and Apple Music.

MGM Resorts releases UNIVERSAL LOVE, a collection of reimagined love songs for the LGBTQ community. Now streaming on Spotify, Pandora, iTunes and Apple Music.

MGM Resorts is a global entertainment company with a deep-seated belief that entertainment is fundamental to human fulfillment. The company’s passion for the Universal Love project reflects its profound commitment to embracing humanity and the impact music can have on the human experience.

Universal Love is a natural extension of MGM’s two decades of advocacy work with the LGBTQ community and the company’s desire to advance initiatives that unite humanity. More than a decade before same-sex marriage was legalized, same-sex commitment ceremonies were performed at chapels at MGM Resorts’ properties. In 2004, MGM Resorts became the first company in the gaming and hospitality industry to offer same-sex health benefits to employees, and MGM was a founding partner of the Las Vegas chapter of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) in 2004.

Universal Love offers six newly recorded versions of iconic love songs that give same-sex couples a soundtrack for their own love stories and feature pronouns changed to reflect the world of LGBTQ relationships.

MGM Resorts releases UNIVERSAL LOVE, a collection of reimagined love songs for the LGBTQ community featuring Bob Dylan, Kesha, Benjamin Gibbard, St. Vincent, Valerie June and Kele Okerek

MGM Resorts releases UNIVERSAL LOVE, a collection of reimagined love songs for the LGBTQ community featuring Bob Dylan, Kesha, Benjamin Gibbard, St. Vincent, Valerie June and Kele Okereke.

The album includes boundary-changing songs from some of today’s most beloved artists. Bob Dylan, one of the most influential and successful recording artists in American history, is among the visionary artists participating in this unprecedented project. Dylan re-recorded “She’s Funny That Way” as “He’s Funny That Way.” The album features five additional stellar artists whose involvement is a testament to the urgency of equality in entertainment: Kesha (“I Need a Woman to Love Me”), St. Vincent (“And Then She Kissed Me”), Benjamin Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie (“And I Love Him”), Kele Okereke of Bloc Party (“My Guy”), and Valerie June (“Mad About The Girl”).

Phyllis James, MGM Resorts’ Chief Diversity & Corporate Social Responsibility Officer, said, “We believe projects like this will help all of us reach a point where seeing the world through the lens of people who happen to be different from us becomes natural and commonplace. It is an immense honor for MGM Resorts to spearhead this inspirational project which celebrates LGBTQ dimensions of the universal emotion of love.

MGM Resorts is a leader in all aspects of the entertainment industry (hospitality, gaming, live events, etc.) and believes in the transformational power of entertainment for all. MGM’s launch of Universal Love reinforces an inclusive vision of unions that more closely mirrors the incredible diversity of today’s relationships.

The compilation album was produced by MGM Resorts in conjunction with global advertising agency McCann and will be distributed by Legacy Recordings, a division of Sony Music. Universal Love is available on all streaming platforms beginning this week.

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“The Newest Americans” Exploring Citizenship & Immigration In The Trump Era Opened April 3 At The California Museum

New Exhibit Capturing Experiences Of Immigrants Prompts Discussion On The American Dream Through July 8th Before Embarking On A 5-Year National Tour

Following the 2016 election, America’s political climate was polarized by the Trump Administration’s efforts to build a border wall, enact a Muslim ban and enforce mass deportations. Against this backdrop, photographer Sam Comen with interviews by Michael Estrin set out to capture the experiences of new Americans in the moments following their naturalization after two Los Angeles, CA ceremonies held in February and March of 2017. Their resulting portraits and interviews led to the development of “The Newest Americans” as a traveling exhibit created in partnership with the California Museum.logo

The California Museum’s  The Newest Americans,” exploring U.S. citizenship and immigration in the era of President Donald J. Trump, is now open. The new exhibit prompts discussion on America’s legacy as a nation of immigrants and the future of the American dream through July 8, 2018, before embarking on a 5-year national tour managed by Exhibit Envoy.

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Maria Teresa Cervantes (right), country of origin Mexico, pictured with daughter Lorraine (left) and grandson Jonathan Anda (center). CREDIT: By Sam Comen, courtesy of photographer.

I commend the California Museum for presenting an exhibit examining the immigrant experience at this critical time in California and U.S. history,” said Secretary of State and Museum Board of Trustee Alex Padilla. “The display prompts much-needed discussion on civic engagement, citizenship, and civil rights, as the Trump administration enacts restrictive immigration policies that not only impacts families, but all California communities.”

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Breznil Ashton, country of origin St. Vincent & the Grenadines. CREDIT: By Sam Comen, courtesy of photographer.

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Maria Villagordoa, country of origin Mexico. CREDIT: By Sam Comen, courtesy of photographer

Illustrating a range of ages and walks of life, the 28 exhibit participants represent 23 countries of origin, including Mexico, Rwanda, China, Russia, and Syria. The exhibit includes photographs accompanied by text panels presented in English and Spanish sharing the subjects’ views on why they chose to become American citizens and what the American dream means to them.

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Caixia Yang Phillipe, country of origin China. CREDIT: By Sam Comen, courtesy of photographer

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Michael Jordan, country of origin Canada. CREDIT: By Sam Comen, courtesy of photographer.

Highlights include: Continue reading

Celebrity Cruises to Offer Legal Same-Sex Marriages Onboard

The Historic First For The Brand Was Made Possible Following A Monumental Vote In The Fleet’s Country Of Registry

Celebrity Cruises is proud to announce that same-sex marriages performed onboard are now legally recognized, marking a historic first for the modern luxury brand.

Celebrity Cruises Logo

Celebrity Cruises Logo

The motion follows a transformative vote in Malta, where a majority of the Celebrity fleet is registered, which passed the country’s parliament 66-1. The long-awaited referendum opens the door for Celebrity to legally recognize same-sex marriages performed onboard, and have the fleet’s captains officiate the ceremonies.

Celebrity Cruises has a long history of supporting the LGBTQ+ community, and I cannot think of a more important time in our history than right now to do all we can to support inclusion. I am absolutely thrilled to announce that starting today, we welcome same-sex couples to marry on our ships while in international waters,” said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, President and CEO, Celebrity Cruises. “This is one for the history books!

The Celebrity Weddings program offers onboard ceremonies and destination weddings for lovebirds. The Nautical Nuptials at Sea package includes a Captain-led ceremony, an event coordinator’s services, live music, one hour of photography, cake for two, bottle of Champagne, a bouquet and boutonniere, plus additional romantic turndown amenities post-ceremony.

Celebrity Weddings has already hosted many same-sex weddings in the U.S., Mexico, and the Caribbean, where legal,” said Barbara Whitehall, Managing Director, The Wedding Experience. “We are ecstatic that this new Malta ruling opens up marriage equality for anyone and everyone sailing with Celebrity Cruises while in international waters.

To learn more about the Celebrity Weddings program and The Wedding Experience, visit www.celebrityweddings.eweddingcalendar.com.

New York City Gay Men’s Chorus Announces Their 2017/18 Season Of Performances And Fundraisers

The New York City Gay Men’s Chorus (NYCGMC) has announced their 2017/18 season schedule of concerts featuring special guest stars, a ten-year anniversary celebration of the beloved sing-along sensation, Big Gay Sing X, and important fundraising events.

New York City Gay Men's Chorus (NYCGMC) logo

New York City Gay Men’s Chorus (NYCGMC) logo

YOUTH PRIDE CHORUS
MAINSTAGE PERFORMANCES BY LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, TRANSGENDER, GENDER NON-BINARY, AND STRAIGHT YOUNG PEOPLE AGES 13-22
December 9, 2017, and April 21, 2018, The Center, 208 West 13th Street

NYCGMC HOLIDAY SLAY
BEARS, TWINKS, AND SUGAR PLUM FAIRIES, Featuring the NYC-based dance company, The Bang Group
December 14, 15, and 16 | 2017, NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts, 566 LaGuardia Place

HARMONY: VALENTINE’S DAY EDITION
LOVE WILL FILL THE AIR FOR THIS YEAR’S ANNUAL BIG APPLE PERFORMING ARTS GALA
February 14 | 2018, Current, Pier 59

BIG GAY SING X
CELEBRATING 10 YEARS OF BIG GAY SINGALONGS IN THE GAYEST WAY KNOWN TO MAN
March 9, 10, and 11 | 2018, NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts, 566 LaGuardia Place

QUEER GENIUS: DAVID BOWIE AND BEYOND
A CELEBRATION OF NON-CONFORMITY FEATURING SPECIAL GUESTS ANGEL CITY CHORALE FROM LOS ANGELES
May 19 | 2018, NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts, 566 LaGuardia Place

LILY GARDEN 2018
LILY PUTIAN’S ANNUAL GARDEN PARTY BENEFITING NYCGMC
July 31 | 2018

After a year of rallies and marches, NYCGMC and YPC are bringing you a collection of concerts that address the wrongs of the world with music that celebrates what’s right in all of us,” said Charlie Beale, Artistic Director for NYCGMC. “Our aim is to ease your mind, get you to your feet, get you dancing in the aisles and back out to the streets with a newfound energy to support equality and human rights,” Charlie added. Continue reading

Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau Debuts Evocative #greatertogether Welcome Initiative as a Warm Embrace to Global Travelers

The Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau has launched an unprecedented new destination brand initiative to serve as a warm welcome and visitor invitation to the international travel community. The campaign, which includes a new brand video and comprehensive digital marketing strategy, launches on United Nation’s World Tourism Day, a day that celebrates the importance of tourism and its cultural, political and economic values.

New GFL Logo

Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau logo

From the seagrass to the sawgrass, Greater Fort Lauderdale, located in Broward County, boasts more than 34,000 lodging accommodations at a variety of hotels, luxury spa resorts, and Superior Small Lodgings reflecting a vibrant cosmopolitan vibe. Visitors enjoy 23 miles of Blue Wave certified beaches, discover 300+ miles of inland waterways that run from the Intracoastal Waterway to the Everglades, dine at thousands of restaurants and eateries, get immersed in a thriving arts and culture scene and indulge in top shopping.

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Image from the new Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau #greatertogether Welcome Initiative as a Warm Embrace to Global Travelers.

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Image from the new Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau #greatertogether Welcome Initiative as a Warm Embrace to Global Travelers.

In Broward County, we are making sure that we let the traveling public understand that we are a welcoming destination to all people across the world regardless of the color of their skin, whom they choose to love or what religion they believe in. We want to make sure that our message gets through despite the negative clutter they see on their nightly news, every day,” said Stacy Ritter, President/CEO of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau.

The #greatertogether video is an expression of Greater Fort Lauderdale‘s open-door/open heart philosophy for visitors in times of travel bans and safety concerns. Central to the initiative is a 1:45 minute video that draws the viewer’s attention to a story that plays out in a sunrise-to-sunset destination experience with people of different ethnic backgrounds. It opens with an iconic visual of yoga on the beach and continues with a portrayal of diverse activities and visitors, including two Muslim women wearing hijabs enjoying a cup of coffee together with a non-Muslim friend, millennials of mixed nationalities at play, LGBTQI couples and friends in warm embraces, members of the indigenous Seminole tribe, a not-so-mythical mermaid, local African-American street art and ending with a reveal of a human thumbprint and a welcome message in multiple languages. The video will serve to foster resident’s continued pride in the community and let the world know that in Greater Fort Lauderdale, everyone is welcome…every day.

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Image from the new Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau #greatertogether Welcome Initiative as a Warm Embrace to Global Travelers.

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Image from the new Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau #greatertogether Welcome Initiative as a Warm Embrace to Global Travelers.

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Image from the new Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau #greatertogether Welcome Initiative as a Warm Embrace to Global Travelers.

An international marketing campaign will launch the #greatertogether video to consumers and international tour operators. The video will be featured on the CVB’s website (www.sunny.org/greatertogether) including the stories of diverse residents and visitors describing why they enjoy living in Greater Fort Lauderdale and how they welcome visitors to the community. The “Faces” social media component of the program will include key local residents that were featured in the video and communicate the diversity of the destination and how proud they are of the community that they live in. Continue reading

Art News: The ACT UP Portraits: Activists & Avatars, 1991-1994

STEPHEN BARKER, “The ACT UP Portraits: Activists & Avatars, 1991-1994”

Exhibition dates: September 14 – October 28, 2017

Daniel Cooney Fine Art (508-526 West 26th Street, Suite 9C, New York, NY 10001, 212 255 8158. dan@danielcooneyfineart.com. Hours: Wednesday – Saturday 11 – 6) is pleased to announce the first solo exhibition of photographs, “The ACT UP Portraits: Activists & Avatars, 1991-1994“, by renowned photographer Stephen Barker. The exhibit will showcase approximately 15 never before seen black and white photographic portraits of AIDS activists – in the studio and at home – taken by Barker during his time working within the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) 1991-1994, and Barker’s unique artist’s book Funeral March, which chronicles the carrying of Mark Fisher’s body in an open coffin from Judson Church, up Sixth Avenue, to the steps of the Republican National Committee on the eve of the presidential election in 1992.

Rod Sorge (1969-1999) ACT UP Needle Exchange, 1991

Rod Sorge (1969-1999) ACT UP Needle Exchange, 1991

Barker became involved with ACT UP in the late 80s working primarily with the needle exchange program. The photographs were never intended as an encyclopedic project, but rather the portraits evolved organically out of Barker’s working relationships, friendships, and intimacies. The exhibition is especially timely during this 30th anniversary year of ACT UP when once again all underserved communities, including those living with HIV/AIDS, are threatened by our own government. It is a call to arms for activism and a reminder of the distance we have traveled and battles we have won.

Stephen Barker, 'Gay Wachman, ACT UP Needle Exchange,' 1992, Gelatin Silver Print

Stephen Barker, ‘Gay Wachman, ACT UP Needle Exchange,’ 1992, Gelatin Silver Print

Continue reading

San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus Embarks on Lavender Pen Tour

Funds Raised Will Support Local LGBTQ Non-Profit Organizations

The San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus (SFGMC), whose mission is to create extraordinary musical experiences that inspire community, activism, and compassion, will kick off its 40th season by embarking on the Lavender Pen Tour from October 7-15, 2017. The tour will visit various cities and small towns in Mississippi, Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee while raising much-needed funds for local LGBTQ+ non-profit organizations. (View a video with more information about the Lavender Pen Tour here
http://www.sfgmc.org/ )event_photo596e217f428b4

(In 1977, a year before his death, Supervisor Harvey Milk sponsored a gay civil rights bill. Mayor George Moscone signed that bill into law with a lavender pen given to him by Milk. The Lavender Pen remains a symbol of the fight for equality for all, and the reason for the tour’s name.)

With an increasingly divisive political climate in the United States, marked by an uptick in dangerous and hostile rhetoric against the LGBTQ and other marginalized communities, SFGMC will take its message and music on the road to promote universal equality and inclusiveness, and the value in treating all individuals – irrespective of differences – with dignity. The Chorus will marshal its mosaic of powerful, positive voices to empower fellow Americans, especially LGBTQ+ youth, to come together, provoke conversations and action around civil liberties for all, while raising funds for local communities.

San Francisco Gay Mens Chorus Logo

San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus Logo

As has been evidenced in the recent weeks, we as a country have a long road to travel. After spending a week in the South last month with our beneficiaries and community partners, I learned that hope – the unbreakable and audacious idea that Harvey Milk built his life on and inspired us to do the same – is very much alive,” said Chris Verdugo, SFGMC Executive Director.We will amplify the work of these organizations across the South, raise tens of thousands in additional funding so they may continue their vital work and empower and inspire them with our music and mission. We believe this tour is another step in the right direction that will build bridges of understanding, compassion, and empathy.”

Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir logo

Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir logo

Joining SFGMC for the Lavender Pen Tour is the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir (OIGC), a community of diverse races, cultures, and faiths, inspiring joy and unity among all people through black gospel and spiritual music. Together, SFGMC and OIGC will perform five anchor concerts during the tour, with each show raising funds for local LGBTQ+ organizations. All funds raised during the tour will support the vital work these organizations are doing to dismantle bigotry and discrimination locally and nationally.

SFGMC and OIGC will also visit schools, churches, government buildings and more to spread the message and share the meaning of The Lavender Pen Tour. The tour’s goal is to open a dialogue between a diverse set of Americans from different backgrounds and empower LGBTQ+ youth struggling with unease and fear of further marginalization. SFGMC hopes to use its voice to affect change in lives of people struggling to live their authentic lives and communities throughout the South.

Concert Information:

  • Sunday, October 8, 2017 (7:30 pm) – Jackson, MS / Thalia Mara Hall
  • Tuesday, October 10, 2017 (7:30 pm) – Birmingham, AL / Alys Stephens Center
  • Wednesday, October 11, 2017 (8:00 pm) – Knoxville, TN / Knoxville Civic Auditorium
  • Friday, October 13, 2017 (7:00 pm) – Greenville, SC / First Baptist Church
  • Saturday, October 14, 2017 (7:30 pm) – Charlotte, NC / Ovens Auditorium

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