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RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 6 ‘Darienne Lake’ Comes To Houston

It is official. Darienne is coming to town.

She did not win RuPaul’s Drag Race but Miss Darienne Lake came fourth in the sixth season and had some unforgettable moments, including her winning performance in Drag Race Me to Hell and her animal kingdom elephant runway.

She will appear at South Beach the nightclub on Saturday, January 16 straight from Rochester, New York. A performer who describes herself as 12 tons of twisted steel and sex appeal, Darienne won the online vote to be able to compete to become America’s Next Drag Superstar.

With her infectious sense of humor and standout performances in the “Drag Race Me to Hell” and “Snatch Game” challenges, she’s showing the world why she deserved to be there!

Find out more information here.

Sherry Vine Launches Queer Network, gaySVTVworld

We Want Our Drag TV
The Internet is getting a whole lot gayer!   International drag darling Sherry Vine and former Here-TV executive Josh Rosenzweig are combining their style, humor and sensibility into a one-stop, digital destination for all of the world’s LGBTQ entertainment needs.  gaySVTVworld premieres February 14 with original shows, specials, music videos, short films and more: all free at YouTube.com/MissSherryVine.

“The world needs gaySVTVworld because they are hungry for original programming from top queer talent,” says Vine, a comedian whose hilarious video parodies have made her a YouTube sensation.  “We got ‘em all: Haus Of Mimosa, Pickles, David Serrano, Chris Semers … and this is only the beginning.”

TBT-Pickles-logo-300x242 Sherry Vine Launches Queer Network, gaySVTVworldgaySVTVworld is created by and for LGBTQ audiences,” adds Josh Rosenzweig. A two-time Emmy Award nominee, Rosenzweig served as SVP of Here TV for ten years where he produced over two hundred hours of television including She’s Living For This, a show that starred Vine.  “Nobody is going to tell our stories like we will. While our visibility has increased enormously over the last decade with the launch of several LGBT television networks, it is essential that the community have an online space to call our own.  A destination where we can go to find like-minded artists and feel the power of the collective.”

While gaySVTVworld draws inspiration from a traditional television model, it also presents a modern digital age spin with all shows under-seven minutes long.  “We’re offering short content so people can view several episodes in the same amount of time as one traditional TV show,” explains Vine.  “Maybe you only have five free minutes on your way to work or during a lunch break.  That’s enough time to catch a hilarious episode of Fashion Puhleez on your smart phone!”

The network will kick off its first season with a slate of eight programs, releasing daily, beginning with Sunday’s Sherry and the Greek, an original talk series starring Vine and Chris Semers, discussing a variety of fun topics and performing skits, characters, and musical numbers.

On Monday, queer notables share their pop culture picks on EduGAYtion.   Then Tuesday, The Rachel Zoe Show meets Project Runway in Fashion Puhleez, with lead players in the beauty industry discussing fashion, club couture and styling.

House of Mimosa presents The Anita & Gina Marie Show, a comedic show that chronicles the daily antics of two women as they cause mayhem throughout Astoria, Queens (singing out – or rather, airing out – all their dirty laundry) gets viewers over hump day.   Then its Throwback Thursdays with Pickles, a look back at a public access show that offers a glimpse into the gay, downtown art and nightlife scene of New York in the nineties.

Celebrate the end of the workweek with The Flames of Hell’s Kitchen, a telanovela about the life of Sherry Vine, her manager Gloria, assistant Busted and sexy Latino boyfriend, Diego.  In the first season, Sherry wins big, loses everything, slips back into a life of drugs, and faces an intervention. The show stars David Serrano, Busted, Patty McKeever and Al McKeever.

Finally, on Saturday, it’s movie night as gaySVTVworld presents The SVTV Short Film Fest, an online festival dedicated to spotlighting the very best LGBTQ filmmakers from around the world.  Each week is a new short film along with interviews from the filmmakers and special bonus features.

In addition, What’s In Your Purse?, a hilarious two-minute segment featuring Vine cornering nightlife celebrities and forcing them to reveal the contents of their bags, will run throughout the week.

“We knew launching a network was an ambitious endeavor but there are so many things we didn’t think of,” admits Vine.  “Josh and I and our amazing team have literally been working every day on gaySVTVworld for almost a year now.”

“So much of that time has been spent on brainstorming ideas, reaching out to people we wanted to work with and deciding on a slate we felt confident about,” continues Rosenzweig.  “We have several shows that are in various stages of development. Our intention is to continue to keep rolling out new programs, music videos and comedy sketches.”

gaySVTVworld premieres February 14 at YouTube.com/MissSherryVine

GLAAD Announces Media Awards Nominees

Glaad Media Awards 2016 Nominees

(CNN)GLAAD announced the nominees for the 27th annual GLAAD Media Awards on Wednesday, and for the first time, more than 50% of the English-language nominations are trans-inclusive.

Nominees include Oscar-nominated films like “Carol” and popular TV shows such as “Empire” and “Orange is the New Black.” Streaming services earned a record seven nominations (up from three last year), with Netflix bagging five of those.

The nominees for outstanding film (wide release) are “Carol,” “The Danish Girl,” “Dope,” “Freeheld” and “Grandma.” “Arrow,” “Black Sails,” “Empire,” “The Fosters,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “How to Get Away with Murder,” “Nashville,” “Orphan Black,” “Sense8” and “Shameless” are nominated for outstanding drama series.

Outstanding reality program nominees are “I Am Cait,” “I Am Jazz,” “New Girls on the Block,” “The Prancing Elites Project” and “Transcendent.”

GLAAD — the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender advocacy organization — announced 101 nominees in 20 English-language categories and 46 Spanish-language nominees in 11 categories. Cable networks earned 27 nominations while broadcast networks garnered 18.

“For nearly three decades, the GLAAD Media Awards have propelled inclusion in media and driven LGBT acceptance forward,” GLAAD Chief Executive Officer and President Sarah Kate Ellis said in a statement. “This year’s nominees have raised the bar for creating thoughtful and diverse LGBT images and storylines, deepening audiences’ understanding of LGBT people and accelerating acceptance across the world.”

GLAAD Media Awards ceremonies will be April 2 at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles and May 14 at the Waldorf Astoria in New York. For the first time in a decade, the ceremony will be aired on Logo in April.

Frank Billingsley: Mothers, Marriage, and Meteorology

Frank Billingsley

Mothers, Marriage, and Meteorology

A closer look at KPRC Chief Meteorologist Frank Billingsley and his new book Swabbed and Found.

(HOUSTON) — Frank Billingsley is no stranger to the City of Houston. In fact, he’s been in the living rooms of Houstonians for years as KPRC Channel 2’s chief meteorologist—a position he assumed over twenty years ago in 1995. Despite how well we may feel we know him—Frank has never held back from sharing details of his personal life—there are still many things that the public doesn’t know about him.

Many of those details are outlined in Frank’s new book, Swabbed and Found, which chronicles his life not just as a meteorologist, but as a gay man and a child of adoption. The latter recently led Frank upon an incredible, sordid, and sometimes complicated journey to discover better who he is and where he comes from.

I sat down with Frank in the weeks following Hurricane Harvey to discuss the book, his life before this journey, coming out, and, of course, the weather.

Billingsley states that while his sister—who is also adopted—for years yearned to find out more about her birth parents, the need to know about his own had never overwhelmed him. In fact, it wasn’t until his colleague and dear friend, Dominique Sachse, presented him with an email link about biological genealogy testing that he even considered it a possibility. After all, his home state was a closed-records state that didn’t allow for adoption records to be released if requested to remain closed by the birth parents. At least not without “a lot of trouble and a lot of money,” as Frank put it himself in our interview.

“That was the first time that I had realized that it [genealogical science] had become sophisticated enough and that the database had become as big as it is … It’s like a fingerprint. It’s so unique that it can link you to another person.”

Yet, it was that link that led Mr. Billingsley down a road to discovering his birth mother—who he has since met and with whom he has established a relationship. As Frank puts it, “not everybody wants that information,” when it comes to finding the people that put them up for adoption. However, that knowledge led him to a more enlightened state of being—closure even. To hear Frank make a compelling argument on the idea of closure and finality, “Closure is closure. And closure is very often sad. You close life with a funeral. You close relationships with a glass of wine. You close jobs with hugs and tears. But closure is a part of life.”

SF_FNLcvr-683x1024 Frank Billingsley: Mothers, Marriage, and MeteorologyClosure, however, did prove harder for some than others. Billingsley’s aforementioned sister did discover her family, only to find that her birth mother had passed of cancer and that her father wasn’t open to a relationship with her. She did, however, find that she had half-siblings, with whom she has maintained contact.

When the conversation circled around to Frank being gay—Frank and his husband Kevin, with whom he has a stepson, married on December 12th, 2012—I asked Frank about coming out to his parents in a decade not as accepting as the 2010s. Frank admits that it wasn’t easy, but that it wasn’t as difficult as the coming out stories that are often told. He states that his adopted father admitted he didn’t understand homosexuality, but knew how smart Frank was. He continued to tell his son that if someone as smart as Frank thought that it was okay, there couldn’t be anything wrong with being gay. “

However, when it came down to meeting his biological mother, Billingsley admits that there was a moment where it felt as though he had to come back out of the closet. He states that his mother, like his adopted parents, is a devout Christian, and that maybe she does not understand homosexuality.

Being someone in the media, Frank is never without news in his face. A supporter of the strides that the Obama Administration made for LGBTQ people, I asked Frank what he thought of the current administration, and whether or not he worried that rights would be stripped away from LGBTQ people. He seemed hopeful, stating, “I don’t think that the legislation would be there to support that. And if it does, I don’t think the people who vote for the legislature will support that. I don’t think we want to see our country go back.” He continued, “When we’re dealing with human beings, and their rights to be human beings, taking a deep breath and pondering whether the decisions concerning their rights are futile. If you look at the trans military ban—you have generals who are saying, ‘No, no!’ It’s bad enough we’re banning Muslims … and now this?”

As far as Hurricane Harvey is concerned, Billingsley was concerned for what he proudly refers to as “my city,” a phrase Houstonians everywhere are familiar with and that binds us together. He states he wasn’t surprised by how the city came together, nor was he surprised by the impact of the storm—which he himself predicted to bring as much as 50” of rain to certain areas surrounding the city.

Billingsley’s book (being released by Houston’s Bright Sky Press) is a page-turner. It’s one that Houstonians will read with ease because each word can be heard in Billingsley’s voice. That won’t stop it from gathering attention outside Houston, however. For there’s much more appeal in a story the story than just Frank’s fame. In fact, it would be fair to say that anyone who has ever had uncertainties about who they are will have a difficult time putting the book down. However, in this debut chronicle of his life, his main message rings loud and clear:

Regardless of color, orientation, race, nationality, religion, age, size—people are people. We’re all related by that fact. And as such, people all deserve the same rights and respects.

And if there may be no better mouthpiece in Houston for that message to come from than Frank himself—a smart, successful, well-round, and well-respected gay man and pillar of the LGBTQ community.