Celebrity Interviews

Friday, December 26, 2014

A Rising Voice

An Interview With Singer Elizabeth Hunter

Baltimore baby Elizabeth Hunter (born Elizabeth Hunter Gauvey-Kern) recently made her triumphant return to her hometown with a pre-Thanksgiving show at Germano’s Piattini in the heart of town. If you didn’t get the chance to catch her show, here is your chance to learn a little bit about the young songstress, how she feels about punk rock, Motown, and classical music.

Deborah J. Draisin: How exciting is that for you, to return to Baltimore?

Elizabeth Hunter: It’s really exciting, yeah. I definitely loved music, growing up, and I’ve played a lot of school things, but I’ve never played in the city before. I’ll get to see all of my friends from high school that are still in Baltimore, and my family, have always wanted to come, but can’t make the trek to New York.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Adding His Voice

An Interview With Country Music Star Billy Gilman

National Coming Out Day is in October, but two country music artists waited until late November to share their good news. Ty Herndon was the first one out of the gate on November 20, followed shortly thereafter on the same day by Billy Gilman. Gilman, like fellow country diva LeAnn Rimes, got his big break when he was just a kid. Possessing a powerful voice and impressive vocal range, Gilman released his major-label debut album One Voice in 2000, at the age of 11. In addition to the titular hit, the album featured a shockingly spot-on reading of Tammy Wynette’s “’Til I Can Make It on My Own.” That cover, sung with amazing authority, might qualify as an early clue that Gilman would someday come out as gay. Seriously, listen to the song. Gilman, who continued to release albums through the early part of the 21st century, is in the process of mounting a comeback. I spoke with Billy about coming out and his career in late November 2014.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Proud’s Pride

An Interview with
First Comes Love's B Proud

LGBT people have much to be proud of and few people appreciate that more than lesbian photographer B. Proud. Her stunning coffee-table book First Comes Love (Soleil Book, 2014), a collection of photos and corresponding essays, celebrates the enduring relationships of 60 same-gender couples who have been together between 10 and nearly 60 years. The cross-section of subjects, ranges from familiar faces such as the Prop 8 plaintiffs and the widow Edie Windsor, Houston Mayor Annise Parker and her spouse Kathy, as well as the late Barbara Gittings and her widow Kay Lahusen, to couples many readers will be meeting for the first time, all of whom will make lasting impressions. First Comes Love is the perfect gift for everyone, coupled or single, on your winter holidays list. If you are in NYC on December 19, Bureau of General Services Queer Division, located in The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center, 208 West 13th Street, is hosting a book launch for First Comes Love.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Giving Shelly Her Glow

An Interview with Judith Light of ‘Transparent’

Easily the most talked about new series of the fall 2014 season, Transparent (available through Amazon Prime) is, in a word, triumphant. Series creator Jill Soloway (Afternoon Delight, Six Feet Under, and The United States of Tara) has created a show that transcends labels, effortlessly blurring the lines between comedy and drama. The story of Mort (Jeffrey Tambor), a divorced father of three who is in the process of transitioning from male to female, from Mort to Maura, Transparent stars one of the most inspired and brilliant ensemble casts in recent memory, including Amy Landecker, Jay Duplass and Gaby Hoffman, as Maura’s adult children.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Portrait of Love

An Interview with Filmmaker Ira Sachs

After a slight slump, queer cinema is making a strong comeback. In 2014, the movie Love is Strange (Sony Pictures Classics) is almost singlehandedly leading the way. Directed and co-written (with Mauricio Zacharias) by Ira Sachs, Love is Strange stars John Lithgow and Alfred Molina as Ben and George, respectively, a gay couple in New Yorkwho have been together for 39 years. The film opens on the joyous occasion of their wedding, surrounded by family and friends. Soon after, the celebration turns to tragedy when George, who teaches at a Catholic school, is fired from his job. Faced with dire financial prospects, the couple is forced to live apart – Ben with his nephew Elliot (Darren Burrows), Elliot’s wife Kate (Marisa Tomei) and their teenage son Joey (Charlie Tahan) and George with neighbors (and gay cops) Ted (Cheyenne Jackson) and Roberto (Manny Rodriguez) – until they are able to find a suitable living situation. Intimate and poignant, Sachs makes it easy for audiences from all walks of life to get involved with these men, their complex situation and their search for resolution and dignity. I spoke with Sachs about the film during the summer of 2014.

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