Pandemic pals

Looking for musical friends with whom you can pass the time while the country shuts down (again!) as the pandemic continues to rage? The following albums are worth hearing while being in lockdown. I’ve always thought of Steve Earle as the Bruce Springsteen of modern country. With his similar vocal style and his songs about the common man, Earle makes music that could be described as Springstwang. This has never been truer than on Ghosts of West Virginia (New West) by Steve Earle and the Dukes. The songs are intended to be a musical companion piece for playwrights Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen’s […]

Latest and Greatest: an interview with Becca Mancari

It’s only July, but rest assured that The Greatest Part (Captured Tracks), the breathtaking second album by out singer/songwriter Becca Mancari will not be forgotten when folks assemble their end-of-the-year, best of 2020 albums lists. The Greatest Part, available in a limited edition clear pink vinyl LP version, is a sonic departure from her Americana-laced 2017 debut Good Woman. Working with musician/producer Zac Farro (of Paramore fame), Mancari has created a forward-thinking audio landscape for her deeply personal lyrics, some of which deal with being raised in and surviving a strict religious background. Songs such as “Hunter”, “Stay With Me”, “First Time”, “Like This” and “Tear […]

As “Perfect” as Trump

Nannies get a bad rap. As portrayed by Julie Andrews, Mary Poppins may have made nannies safe for moviegoers in 1964, but a year later, Bette Davis changed all that in 1965’s The Nanny. As you might have guessed from the title, The Perfect Nanny (Icarus/Distrib), which shares its title with a song from Mary Poppins, and is based on the bestselling novel by Leila Slimani, is about a nanny who is anything but.   Paul (Antoine Reinartz from the incredible 2017 gay film BPM) and Myriam (Leïla Bekhti) are a young married Parisian couple, the parents of five-year-old Mila (Assya Da Silva) and toddler […]

It’s Not About You

I did not get my break. I have one on the books for this month, but in actuality, work is the least of my stresses. At least when I am checking guests in I get a reprieve from social media, where I can watch the parents of my former classmates argue over whether or not I hypothetically deserve the right to exist, or bemoan restaurants and businesses that have the audacity to choose public safety over personal convenience. Moreover, while the lack of a clear defined and implemented effort to combat said virus seems to be coming from our esteemed […]

Living with Ambiguity

In the last 3 months, we have read, heard, viewed or talked with friends, family, coworkers, scientists, officials and others, and have been exposed all kinds of views, opinions, facts and counter facts. The human brain seeks comfort in consistency and at least a sense of temporary certainty. Alas, we don’t have that. How do you deal with those in your life when it comes to restrictions regarding the coronavirus? Masks, face coverings, social distancing, and other preventive measures have become not only political, but unfortunately and regrettably, reflective of one’s strength of character or personality, or one’s concepts of […]

Pride at Work endorses Biden for President

Washington, D.C. – The Pride at Work National Executive Board voted Tuesday night, June 24, to endorse Democratic candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden for president in 2020. It is the first time the organization has ever endorsed a presidential candidate. “I am so proud to be a part of this dedicated and thoughtful team of LGBTQ labor leaders, especially as we make history by offering our first endorsement for president,” Pride at Work Co-President, Shellea Allen said and the vote to endorse. “Donald Trump is an unmitigated disaster for working people, for LGBTQ people, for immigrants, for Black […]

Author Spotlight: Baltimore’s Kirkland Hamill

Baltimore resident Kirkland Hamill’s memoir, Filthy Beasts, hits the bookshelves on Tuesday, July 14th. A tender and heart-wrenching memoir about a family’s fall from grace, a mother’s inner demons and a son’s blind allegiance, Filthy Beasts is a fascinating window into the life of extreme privilege and a powerful story of self-acceptance. The book recounts Hamill’s unforgettable journey through luxury hotels and charity stores, private enclaves and public shame as he confronts his family’s many imperfections, accepts his unconventional childhood, and finally comes to terms with his own hidden secrets. Hamill recently chatted with Baltimore OUTloud regarding his upcoming book, […]

Civil Rights and early Gay activist Jon Gee has died

Jon Louis Gee III, lifelong Baltimorean and 1960s civil rights and early Gay activist, died of cardiac arrest at Sinai Hospital on Sunday, June 14, 2020. He was 74 years old and lived his entire life with his sisters in the family home in the Coppin Heights section of West Baltimore. Although his death was sudden, he had been in declining health for the past several years.             Jon came out as a teenager and joined the Baltimore Gay Alliance shortly after its founding in 1975. He was a fixture at BGA meetings, social events, and political actions. He joined […]

Riding the News Roller Coaster, and Finding Our Place in the Fight

Once again, the news cycle has us on a roller coaster ride of extreme emotions. Late last week, the Trump administration dismantled the LGBT nondiscrimination provisions rule of the Affordable Care Act. The announcement of this action was callously made on the anniversary of the PULSE massacre and during a pandemic. On Monday, the Supreme Court ruled that discrimination against LGBT people is covered under the sex discrimination provisions of Title VII. This is a landmark ruling, a sea change. These two announcements contradict each other in every way. The pendulum swing is extreme and confusing. All of this comes […]

Can Loneliness Be Good?

Think of painters, writers, innovators, coders, composers or researchers, and many other careers or pursuits that really require functioning ALONE. Being by yourself is mandated, by definition, to provide that state of mind that allows to create, to focus and to work towards a defined goal. The human mind needs that quiet time, that sense of being in flow with the process of being immersed in a self-introspective state. So why do we complain of being lonely, of having more anxiety and depressive thoughts as a result? You may have read or heard all of the recent emphasis on how […]