Danny Trejo to Star in the LGBT-Themed Short Film “The Shift”

Danny Trejo is reporting for his shift

The 76-year-old Mexican American actor has been cast in The Shift, an LGBT-centric short film from Eyeris Entertainment.

Danny Trejo

Trejo will star opposite Jessica Tuck, Brittany Curran, and Toni Trucks in the short film, which will be directed by Jade Tailor.

The film is set at the very beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and tells a deeply human story, through the intertwined vignettes of seven individuals, as they experience a paradigm shift in what was once their everyday lives.

Brooke Maroon, Skyler Davenport, Moses Muñoz and Aidan Bristow co-star in the short, which explores shifts in perspective, shifts in expectations, and shifts in society as a whole.

Curran and Sarah Wylie are producing with Tailor serving as an executive producer. The three are simultaneously fundraising for LGBTQ+ youth in crisis during COVID-19 and have partnered with the Los Angeles LGBT Center.

“Even the most unexpected elements of filmmaking have changed,” said Curran. “We took a group shot at the end of filming with the incredible Danny Trejo. With our masks on, we scattered ourselves all over the garden we were shooting in, and somehow managed to get the whole crew in one shot while staying totally compliant. Then Danny whips out his phone and says that he’s FaceTiming Mayor Garcetti because he wants him to see this. It was a singular moment.”

Netflix’s “The Boys in the Band,” Starring Robin de Jesus, Added to Inside Out Toronto LGBT Film Festival Lineup with Special Cast Conversation

Robin de Jesus is going Inside Out

The 30th annual Inside Out Toronto LGBT Film Festival has announced its lineup for this year’s virtual edition, with the 36-year-old Puerto Rican actor/singer’s highly anticipated The Boys in the Band part of the roster.

Robin de Jesus, The Boys in the Band

de Jesus and his The Boys in the Band cast members will take part in an exclusive conversation about the film.

Based on the Tony Award-winning play, the new film also stars Zachary Quinto, Andrew Rannells, Matt Bomer, Jim Parsons. It’s directed by Joe Mantello and produced by Ryan Murphy.

The Boys in the Band debuts on September 30 and will be available for audiences to stream ahead of the conversation.

Meanwhile, some of the Latinx directed and/or Latino-related films that form part of the lineup include Adam Golub’s documentary Your Mother’s Comfort (Brazil), Gil Baroni’s narrative film Alice Junior (Brazil), Daniel Nolasco’s narrative film Dry Wind (Brazil), Clarisa Navas’ narrative film One In a Thousand (Argentina/Germany), Omar Zúñiga Hidalgo’s narrative film The Strong Ones (Chile) and StormMiguel Florez’s documentary The Whistle (USA).

The lineup for the 10-day festival will include drive-in and special events, as it showcases 150 films and nine episodic series. The fest was originally set for May, but was pushed to October 1-11 due to the global coronavirus pandemic.

“The queer community is no stranger to extraordinary situations. Who could have predicted a global pandemic would become the entry point to mobilize around new ideas, new connections and collaborations, to ensure we could still deliver the best and safest possible 30th anniversary,” added the festival’s director Andrew Murphy. “Film is really now the safest way to travel, and this year’s lineup provides a unique opportunity to escape into the many complicated queer worlds via the brilliant minds of our filmmakers, icons, and peers.”

Films will be in competition for jury and audience awards and for the first time award winners will be revealed on opening weekend, giving audiences the opportunity to view the winning films throughout the entire festival.

Click here to see the entire lineup.

HBO Max Renews Leiomy Maldonado’s “Legendary” for Second Season

There’s more legendary moments in Leiomy Maldonado’s future…

HBO Max has ordered a second season of the reality voguing competition Legendary, featuring the 33-year-old Afro-Puerto Rican dancer, instructor, model and ballroom dancer, aka “Wonder Woman of Vogue.”

Leiomy Maldonado

In addition to Maldonado, the reality competition series that puts the spotlight on ballroom culture, the series’ judges also include fashion stylist Law Roach, actress Jameela Jamil and rapper Megan Thee Stallion.

Dashaun Wesley will reprise his role as ballroom MC.

The final two episodes of season one were released this past week. 

The current season takes place in New York but will make its way across the country to Los Angeles for its sophomore run.

Legendary celebrates ballroom culture which started in New York as a subculture that served as a safe haven for the LGBTQ community — primarily for Black and Latinx people. The series brings the culture to the masses as we see families or “Houses” fashion and dance challenges including voguing for the chance to snatch the trophy and win a cash prize.

In the first season, Legendaryfeatured eight voguing houses: House of Balmain, House of Escada, House of Gucci, House of Lanvin, House of Ninja, House of Ebony, House of St. Laurent and House of West. Each house included five performers and a leader affectionately called the house mother. The teams compete in a competition that documents a themed ball every episode from start to finish. Throughout each episode, we learn more about each House and their performers as they tell us their moving and inspirational backstories.

Legendary was an HBO Max, day one premiere,” said Kevin Reilly, Chief Content Officer at HBO Max, President, TNT, TBS and truTV. “We knew we had something special and are proud that critics and audiences alike have embraced the series. Bringing this incredible world back for a second season furthers our commitment to high quality, compelling storytelling.”

“Our goal is to continue showcasing the exuberant and dynamic world of ballroom through the omnicultural stories of its most talented houses,” said Rob Eric, Scout Productions’ Chief Creative Officer and executive producer.

Jesse & Joy Release New Track “Love (Es Nuestro Idioma)” to Commemorate Pride Month

Jesse & Joy are spreading some Love this Pride Month

The Mexican brother & sister duo, comprised of Jesse Eduardo Huerta Uecke and Tirzah Joy Huerta Uecke, kicked off Pride Monthby releasing “Love (Es Nuestro Idioma),” a new track featured on their new album Aire.

Jesse & Joy

“Our music will always be there to remind you that you are beautiful just as you are,” Jesse & Joy said in the homemade video released on their Instagram page. “It’s called ‘Love’ and talks about love being the universal language, the language that all of us should speak.”

On the post’s caption, they elaborated that the song and video are in celebration of Pride Month and was a previous presentation for, LGBTI organization Yaaj Mexico.

“Do not let anyone tell you that it is wrong to love,” they stated of the uptempo acoustic song.

Karamo Brown & His Queer Eye Co-Stars to Co-Host Elton John’s Oscar Viewing Party

Karamo Brownwill have a busy Oscar night… 

The 39-year-old part-Cuban American television personality and his Queer Eye co-stars will serve as co-hosts at Sir Elton John’s AIDS Foundation Academy Awards viewing party on February 9.

Karamo Brown

The legendary performer, who inspired Taron Egerton‘s Golden Globe-nominated performance in Rocketmanhas drafted Brown, Jonathan Van NessTan Franceand Bobby Berkto join honorary chairs John and husband David Furnishat the helm, though its unclear where the fifth Queer Eye star, Antoni Porowski, will be. 

Also taking the stage will be the British actor, singer-songwriter and Brits Critic Choice Award winner Sam Fender, who has been tapped to perform.

The Oscars viewing party event will once again take place in West Hollywood Park, serving as a benefit for the Elton John AIDS Foundation.

“Each year we are blessed to have incredible artists do what they do best at our party and this year will be another special night not to miss. Given we have some of the wonderful hosts of Queer Eye at our party, we all wanted to use the event to raise funds for our work with LGBT ommunities around the world, many of whom are 20 times more vulnerable to the disease than their straight peers. AIDS isn’t over until no one gets left behind,” John said Thursday in a statement.

Miss Spain Angela Ponce Makes History as the First Transgender Contestant to Compete for the Miss Universe Title

She didn’t take home the Miss Universe crown, but Angela Ponce has left in indelible mark on the international beauty pageant.

The 27-year-old Spanish model and beauty pageant titleholder, who’d already made history in June as the first transgender woman to ever be crowned Miss Spain, made historyat Miss Universe 2018 as the first transgender contestant competing for the title.

Miss Spain Angela Ponce

Ponce received a standing ovation during the coronation night in Thailand, as well as a special tribute by the beauty pageant organization via a video recognition.

After the video was shown, Ponce walked on stage, removed her sash and held it up triumphantly in the air.

“I don’t need to win Miss Universe. I just need to be here,” Angela said.

Miss Spain Angela Ponce

“What I feel by being the first transgender contestant at Miss Universe is a big sense of responsibility, it gives me a lot of pride, and personally I’m very proud to have made it here,” Ponce said. “I’ve been in the press, on TV, and I’ve put the conservation on the table. It was a topic that was not spoken about, what does it mean being a transgender person.”

Ponce believes that mindsets about the LGBT community are changing.

“Today, there are positive references. People speak about the LGBT community, and the transgender community. Before it was always underground and never spoken about. I think that people are more and more informed. All these prejudices come from disinformation,” Ponce said.

Although Ponce is proud of being a transgender woman, she says the hardest obstacle she has had to overcome is being born into a world that “wasn’t prepared” for trans people.

“We don’t have the same rights, but we have the same obligations. At school, disinformation is what becomes prejudice, the bullying, the fact that you feel alone, excluded. I always say that it’s not that you feel like a woman. You already are a woman. A transgender is not a man or a boy who feels like a woman, she’s already a transgender person,” Ponce explained. “There are no wrong bodies.”

Ponce has advice for all transgender girls and women.

“We have to be happy, feel free, go with the flow, have less prejudices, have more love and be more tolerant of everything,” she said.

Ricky Martin to Receive Special Honor at the Gala Vanguard Awards

Ricky Martin is a Vanguard

The 46-year-old Puerto Rican superstar will be honored at the 49th anniversary Gala Vanguard Awards, held annually by the Los Angeles LGBT Center.

Ricky Martin

The charity event honors Los Angeles-based leaders and influencers for their LGBT advocacy. Previous recipients of the Vanguard Awards include the likes of Miley Cyrus, Jane Fonda, Elton John, George and Brad Takei, and Wanda Sykes.

The 49th anniversary Gala Vanguard Awards will take place on September 22 at the Beverly Hilton.

Other 2018 honorees include Arrow and Supergirl showrunner Greg Berlanti; Berlanti’s partner, producer and retired soccer player Robbie Rogers; and philanthropist Ariadne Getty.

Martin released the Wisin and Yandel-featuring “Fiebre” and starred in The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story earlier this year.

Gomez Among 24 Artists Featured on Orlando Shooting Charity Single “Hands”

Selena Gomez is lending her hands to help the victims of the Orlando Shooting.

The 23-year-old half-Mexican American singer/actress is among 24 artists featured on a new recording to raise money for the victims of the Pulse nightclub massacre.

Selena Gomez

The all-star release, entitled “Hands” — a charity single from Interscope Records with support from GLAAD — was conceived by hit songwriter Justin Tranter, co-writer of Justin Bieber’sSorry” and hits for Gomez, DNCE, Fall Out Boy and Gwen Stefani.

In addition to Gomez, the single also features Jennifer Lopez, who has worked on her own charity single with Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, Stefani, Jason Derulo, Meghan Trainor, Juanes, Pink, Mary J. Blige and Britney Spears.

The June 12 shooting at the gay nightclub in Orlando, which killed 49 people and injured 53, is the most deadly mass shooting in American history and the deadliest act of violence against the LGBT community.

Funds from the song will aid families with medical care, counseling and will also be used for education.

“Like the rest of the world I woke up to the news that morning and was horrified and sad and scared,” says Tranter, who has raised money and awareness for LGBT causes since coming out at age 14.

“Hands” is available on iTunes.

Proceeds will be distributed by Equality Florida Pulse Victims Fund, the GLBT Community Center of Central Florida and GLAAD.

The idea for the all-star project came together one day after the shooting.

L.A.-based Tranter and songwriting partner Julia Michaels had been on the road with Gomez writing songs aboard her tour bus in Miami the weekend of June 11 when news of the bloodshed prompted Tranter to switch course. That afternoon he signed on as a volunteer at The Center Orlando, the region’s chief LGBT community center.

“I called them and said, ‘If I fly up is there something for me to help with?'” he tells Billboard. “They say, ‘We need as many hands as we can possibly get.'”

“Hands” took hold the next day when Tranter met GLAAD CEO Sarah Kate Ellis who had arrived at the center from New York.

Beyond their immediate efforts — distributing food and water and GLAAD’s work with media — both were looking to make contributions that would have ongoing benefits. They point out that the massacre was also a profound attack on people of color, as that Saturday evening had been a popular “Latin Night” at Pulse. Most of the victims were of Latin heritage and Ellis says she does not want that point forgotten.

“When you hear the song it talks about hate being the driver here,” she says, “and that’s important because we have to be able to identify what’s driving these cruel acts in order to stop them. Artists using their platforms to accelerate acceptance is very powerful.”

Aligning with Interscope for the release, Tranter, GLAAD and Interscope president of A&R Aaron Bay-Schuck put the word out that a fundraiser was in the works. Within days artists from all spheres of the business had lined up — also among them Halsey, Ty Herndon, Dan Reynolds of Imagine Dragons, Adam Lambert, The Trans Chorus of Los Angeles, MNEK, Alex Newell, Mary Lambert, Prince Royce, Jussie Smollett, Nate Ruess and RuPaul — all recording separately from their homes, local studios, touring locations or wherever they happened to be at that moment.

“We assigned everybody what we thought would be the best part for their voice,” Tranter says, “and we asked them all to sing an additional part, just in case. But everybody got it done in time so we ended up with extra vocals.”

In Los Angeles “Interscope let us use their studio,” he notes. “Mary J. Blige recorded in New Orleans. Britney Spears in Thousand Oaks, I think. Pink in Santa Barbara. MNEK recorded at home in London. Selena recorded in her studio bus. Dan Reynolds recorded in his home. Adam Lambert was in Luxembourg. Ty Herndon the country star was in Spain. Kacey Musgraves, Nashville. Everyone just got it done.”

Another goal of the record, according to GLAAD, is to fund educational programs.

“This was an American guy who was born in Queens,” Ellis says of the gunman, Omar Mateen, 29, who was killed by police after a three hour stand-off. “He learned that hate here in America. This happened on American soil, against a particular community.”

While politicians and lobbyists have focused in recent weeks on Islamic terror and familiar narratives about gun ownership, Ellis, Tranter and others in the LGBT community want people to remember that this was a hate crime.

“I’m not educated enough to speak on the political details,” Tranter says. I’m a songwriter, not a politician. It could have been a million things but clearly, 100 percent, this was an attack on the LGBT community and people of color.”

“Hands” grew out of an unfinished piece that Tranter, Michaels and co-writer and producer BloodPop (formerly known as Blood Diamonds) had been working on and then shelved.

“The song didn’t ever finish itself and it didn’t ever feel right,” Tranter says of their initial efforts. “Now we know why.”

Mark Ronson also co-produced, while vocal engineer Benjamin Rice finessed the disparate tracks: “He helped us find the structure and make sense of it all.”

Warner/Chappell publishing executive Katie Vinten brought in numerous artists, among them P!nk, whom Tranter calls “a lifesaver,” adding, “Her vocal on the chorus is like from heaven directly.”

Spears opens the song with the plaintive line, “Can hold a gun or a hold a heart.” RuPaul is heard quietly toward the end, saying “take my hand baby.”

The songwriters had no specific plan as they entered the studio — only that they didn’t want the piece “to ever sound dated.”

“We didn’t want to have any trendy electronic elements,” Tranter notes. “We wanted it to sound classic, timeless and human. We want this anthem of positivity to be played for years to come.”

Download “Hands” here at iTunes.

Perez & Fellow Stars Sing Broadway for Orlando Charity Single on “Maya & Marty”

Rosie Perez is spreading the love for a good cause…

The 51-year-old Puerto Rican actress, community activist, talk show host, author, dancer and choreographer joined fellow Broadway stars on Tuesday night’s episode of Maya and Marty to show solidarity with Orlandos LGBT community.

Rosie Perez & Broadway Stars on Maya & Marty

Hosts Maya Rudolph and Martin Short joined Perez and the group in the first live performance of the single, “What the World Needs Now Is Love,” which was recently recorded by dozens of Broadway stars to benefit the LGBT community in Orlando after the mass shooting that left 49 dead and 53 injured.

Perez, Megan Hilty, Sean Hayes, BD Wong, Jessie Mueller, Billy Porter, Fran Drescher and more stars performed the new version of the Burt BacharachHal David song while images of Orlando and New York’s historic Stonewall Inn were shown.

The mass shooting at Orlando nightclub Pulse happened just hours before the Tony Awards on June 12. The ceremony itself was dedicated to its victims and just days later, the charity single was announced.

All proceeds from the sale of the song will benefit the LGBT Center of Central Florida. It can be downloaded at BroadwayRecords.com.

 

Longoria Hosting Special Night of Music to Raise Funds for Homeless LGBT Youth

Michael Longoria is singing for Homeless LGBT Youth…

The Mexican-American Broadway veteran is teaming up with American Idol alumni Constantine Maroulis and Diana DeGarmo for a special night of music on Thursday supporting the nonprofit organization New Alternatives at the New York City club Hardware.

Michael Longoria

The benefit, co-hosted by Ashley Austin Morris, will raise money for New Alternatives — an organization that helps homeless LGBT youth become self-sufficient and transition out of the shelter system and into stable adult lives. The center — which provides services including case management, education, life-skills training, community-building recreational opportunities for self-expression and support services for HIV-positive youth — will be losing its donated space after August, and Longoria hopes the benefit will raise enough money as well as awareness to keep the program alive.

“It’s a very dangerous situation for young people, where the only reason they’re homeless is because their family has abandoned them,” he tells Billboard. “That’s the only reason they’re in there, and that’s what we need to get involved in — if we don’t look out for them, who will?”

Programs like New Alternatives are necessary, he said, to help homeless youth map out their futures while staying out of “harm’s way.” “This organization is specifically for these people that go to these other shelters and are harassed or physically hurt because people don’t accept young gay people,” he said.

The event — which kicks off at 9 p.m. — will also feature raffles for a Broadway records album package, a bottle of Pinot by Tituss wine autographed by Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt star Tituss Burgess, as well as tickets to The Color PurpleFiddler on the RoofKinky Boots, Finding NeverlandHimself, Nora, Trip of Love and Feinstein’s/54 Below.

The evening will serve as a celebration of Pride Week and a reminder to the community to remain vigilant in the face of hate and bigotry in light of the tragic massacre at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, killing 49 and injuring 53.

“What happened in Orlando is just a reminder that no matter how much love we have, other sources of evil are always going to resist, so let’s find a way to get serious in a positive way that shows our support for each other and our love for each other in public,” he said. “The people that need to be the most out and proud are the youth — the young people that are seeing all this violence are now scared to be themselves. … I feel like now more than ever is the time we need to show affection and we need to show who we are, because those people that were in that nightclub were people that were living their lives and showing their love for one another.”

Longoria — who said he has visited Pulse while on tour with various productions — was heartbroken to learn of a mother who was killed in the club while out dancing with her son. “To know that that mother was there in support of her son and loved her son and was accepting of her son and she lost her life in that tragic moment was just the worst news that I got, and ultimately, it’s just an attack on all Americans, humanity and our American way of life,” he said. “In a gay club, we are in a place where we can be ourselves and be free and not worry about any of that judgment and live our lives, and to have an attack on that freedom is an attack on every freedom in America, and that’s why all Americans need to be paying attention and getting involved in hopes of preventing this kind of thing from happening again in the future.”

Longoria — an original member of the cast of Jersey Boys in the role of Frankie Valli after a run in Hairspray — is currently supporting his new CD, Broadway Brick by Brick: a Latin-infused collection of Broadway classics including “Maria” (West Side Story), “The Sound of Music” (The Sound of Music) and “Music and the Mirror” (A Chorus Line). The record weaves in Longoria’s own personal story of his youth in Los Angeles leading to his success on The Great White Way.

“It became an autobiography of my life, my journey as a very young opera singer in a Mexican-American culture, a very heterosexual, Catholic culture, and finding myself in musical theater, in Broadway songs, and realizing that I was gay all the while,” he said. “Each song I chose tells a milestone of my journey, starting with my father, getting accepted to NYU and not having a means to get there, and getting the scholarship and getting on a plane in Los Angeles and leaving my family behind.”

A $10 donation is suggested to attend. Hardware is located at 697 10th Ave. in New York.