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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Wednesday Word: Love Out Loud VII

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I was born with bugle horns and trumpets in my heart,
Mandolins & accordions & voices in three parts
Pounding drums and guitar strums
And choirs singing out
I was born to love, love out loud




From 2001 to 2005 with the help of Chris Meloni's participation in eBay auctions it was, needless to say, rather easy to raise funds as an individual. Meloni provided an identity for the process that was an extension of his own personal generosity. It seemed a natural progression as a member of the Smart + Strong family to raise the bar as far as fund-raising was concerned. It was gratifying that Ilene Kristen of One Life to Live was the very first to step up when the idea was formulated. When All My Children's Thorsten Kaye came on board the first event started to take shape because loyal fans stepped up to give it life, especially in New York. Fund-raising as a team, as an entity, if you will, with individuals using their personal resources to do so can utilize events with other fund raising opportunities so easily accessible in New York City, Los Angeles and other urban centers.




The first Love Out Loud took place in 2006 due to the generosity of Rich Herschenfeld and Ian Duke in affording the opportunity at Prohibition on Columbus Ave at 84th, the locale that had been the site of events and fund-raisers for years. Experiencing the AIDS crisis from the early days is a life changing experience. It was homage to friends and others who are no longer with us—having a party in their honour prior to AIDS Walk New York.




Michael Clay of Austin, TX provided the theme, his signature song, the incomparable "Love Out Loud," a paean to loving as one’s nature dictates, an autobiographical sketch of how the emotional struggles of youth brought the singer to musical expression a metaphor/simile for loving and living. Michael could tell many a tale of close friends from his Nashville years and more than one has inspired his original material. They were years full of creativity and connecting personalities.



Michael came to New York with his band and filled Prohibition with a joyous noise along with Ilene Kristen. In 2007, Ken Lundie, Musical Producer, became part of the entertaining tapestry. John Kouri and Tremors eventually became the band of the hour, so to speak, with Ilene Kristen, cabaret chanteuse Barbara Porteus and Mr. Lundie once in following years. In 2008, there were even more celebrities in attendance with CBS shows coming on board with Marj Dusay of Guiding Light taking stage to address the attendees. By that time it had become an Upper West Side tradition. In 2009 the musical experience achieved new heights with the addition of John Pagano who graced Love Out Loud ’s Bacharach to the Future.





Actors from ABC, NBC, CBS, Logo and here! TV have come together at POZ‘s annual fund-raisers for AIDS Walk New York and AIDS Walk Los Angeles. Thorsten Kaye (Zach) of All My Children continues to be there has been joined by fellow cast members Alicia Minshew (Kendall), Billy Miller (Richie), Jeff Branson, (Jonathan),Melissa Claire Egan (Annie), Adam Mayfield (Scott) and Brittany Allen (Marissa); One Life to Live’s “Foxy Roxy" Ilene Kristen has been accompanied by talented co-workers, Jason Tam (Markko), John Brotherton (Jared), Mark Lawson (Brody), Bree Williamson (Jessica), Farah Fath (Gigi), John Paul Lavoisier (Rex), Brittany Underwood (Langston), Brandon Buddy (Cole) and Daphnee Duplaix Samuels (Rachel); As the World Turns has been represented by Wolé Parks (Dallas), Davida Williams (Jade), Meredith Hagner (Liberty), Mick Hazen (Parker), Van Hansis (Luke), Billy Magnussen (Casey), Trent Dawson (Henry) and Evan Alex Cole (Hunter). Guiding Light past and present has been represented by Murray Bartlett (Cyrus), Jennifer Roszell (Eleni), Zack Conroy (James) and POZ’s good friends Mark Dobies (Noah), and Brian Gaskill (Dylan), who came in from the West Coast in 2009. Project Runway's Jack Mackenroth and Kevin Christiana helped us out in 2008. Thom Christopher, “Hawk” of Buck Rodgers in the 21st Century fame, has been there more than once to add his smiling face to the cause. Soap Opera legend Laurence Lau (All My Children’s Greg Nelson, Another World‘s Jamie Frame) was in the good company of his gift-bearing fans in 2009. Actors Colton Ford and David Moretti from The Lair were on hand to add some spice to the proceedings. Fan favourite Matt Walton (Optimum and One Life to Live)and good friend to POZ has been on hand more than once. Law &Order: SVU’s Christopher Meloni greeted his many fans and lent his special presence. Christopher Meloni of NBC’s Law & Roder: SVU taking time out of a very busy schedule to greet his many fervent fans in 2009.



The year that Alicia Minshew of All My Children came was the same year she announced her engagement to long time love, Rich Hershenfeld of Prohibition. The fan response was immense and intense. It was best year for funds!




POZ publisher Megan Strub took stage in 2009 to speak words of encouragement to help mark POZ’s 15th year and its efforts for AIDS Walk New York following in the footsteps of Editor-in-Chief Regan Hofmann in previous years.



Love Out Loud West has been happening in Los Angeles since 2007, first at The Abbey, followed by East/West Lounge and then h.wood for AIDS Walk Los Angeles. Sherri Lewis (Divas Simply Singing), Ted Detwiler (Sordid Lives),Kristoff St. John (The Young and the Restless), good friend, Patrika Darbo (Days of Our Lives), Kate Linder (The Young and the Restless), Thom Bierdz(The Young and the Restless), Lisa LoCicero and Brandon Barash of General Hospital, heartthrobs David Moretti of The Lair, Brandon Beemer of The Bold and the Beautiful with Nadia Bjorlin (Days of Our Lives), Brian Gaskill, who has been on both coasts and, of course, Ilene Kristen an inspiration on every coast.





Los Angeles affords the opportunity for a large crowd of celebrities, among them: Taylor Spreitler (Days of Our Lives), Amanda Baker (All My Children), Lexi Ainsworth (General Hospital), Jai Rodriguez (Oy Vey! My Son Is Gay!!), Greg Vaughan (General Hospital), Adam Grimes (General Hospital:Nightshift), Carrie Southworth (General Hospital:Nightshift)and Matt Borlenghi (General Hospital.

Singer John Pagano (Pure Imagination)gave an exceptional performance in 2009 that porved that he has a very special talent.

The gracious personal support on the part of members of the entertainment industry to help those with HIV/AIDS and its awareness helps make POZ events in Los Angeles get brighter every year. Michael Maloney (Soaps In Depth), Michael Fairman (Soapside: Advocate's Guide to Daytime) and Tammie Arroyo (Steven Bergman Photography) as members of the media did their part for awareness. It’s grand when the beautiful people do something beautiful.

Fairman was instrumental in making the 2008 fund-raiser for AIDS Walk Los Angeles quite a fête with Kristoff St. John, Michelle Stafford, Bradford Anderson, Billy Miller and many others.



Strong mention needs to be made of the media participation and support of Kimberly Roots of Soaps in Depth, Roger Newcomb of We Love Soaps and the energetic photographer Steven Bergman.





In 2008 the advent and subsequent friendship of Kevin Spirtas, well known on Broadway and on television, helped bring the World AIDS Day event Bacharach to the Future to fruition. It was more than a memorable evening with many of the best and brightest performers giving life to Burt Bacharach’s compositions highlighting his early contribution to the AIDS struggle with the song “That’s What Friends Are For,” the pioneering recording that benefited The Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR) in 1985.



Katie Adams (Wicked), John Bolton (Curtains) BethAnn Bonner (One Life to Live), Terry Burrell (The Threepenny Opera) Liz Callaway (Miss Saigon), Franc D’Ambrosio (Phantom of the Opera), Ted Detwiler (Sordid Lives), Kevin Earley (A Tale of Two Cities, Les Miserables), Natalie Hiatt (Leading Ladies) Lauren Kennedy (Spamalot, Sunset Boulevard), Ilene Kristen (Grease, Ryan’s Hope, One Life to Live), Sherri Lewis (Divas Simply Singing), Jill O’Hara (Hair, George M!, Promises, Promises), John Pagano (Burt Bacharach Concert Orchestra), Billy Porter (Angels in America, Jesus Christ Superstar), Linda Purl (Tom Sawyer), Julie Reiber (Wicked, Rent), Tony Roberts (Promises, Promises, Xanadu, Victor/Victoria) Kevin Spirtas (The Boy from OZ), Matt Walton (Hair, Burn After Reading), Pearce Wegener (Gypsy) Director, Bruce Kimmel (The First Nudie Musical, The Brain From Planet X) and Musical Director, Alex Rybeck.

This event not only introduced us to Mr. Spirtas’ very capable producing abilities but also brought some good friends and performers into our life, viz. John Pagano, Sherri Lewis and Ted Detwiler. It was a milestone in the life of Love Out Loud. We are looking forward to similar stellar events in 2010 in collaboration with LIFEbeat and Housing Works.



None of these events would have any meaning without the participation of generous souls like Charlotte Walton, Diane Nilsen, Amy Beard, Kay Gordon, Trudi Bills, Daiva Keys and many others.



Last years' event at Prohibition was exhilarating and this year's promises to be even more so. Check it out here. Teaming up with We Love Soaps has been a blessing.

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