Larry Kramer on the Origins of U.S. Inequality

At the time, Larry Kramer‘s 2004 speech, “Tragedy of Today’s Gays,” inflamed the LGBTQ community on his harsh rhetoric on sex and drug addition within the LGBTQ community.

Gay Activist & Writer, Larry Kramer at Cooper Union, New York City, November 11, 2004

Looking at his speech years later, what is most prescient is his focus on “the elite cabal” that has organized in the US since the early 70’s. Licking their wounds from Vietnam, the civil rights movement, the women’s movement, this “cabal” gathered and organized with lazar-like focus to shape an America to their beliefs. Those beliefs? Only people that look like them, are as rich as they are, can control the country. His message was not only for the LGBTQ community to stay focused and organize, but for anyone that believes in true democracy, voting rights, equality for all, to stay focused and get involved.

This portion of his speech could have been delivered last week and make perfect sense.

Surprisingly I was the only camera guy in the room. At the time I was working on a film, Rock Bottom: Gay Men and Meth, with Colin Weil and Joe Lovett, and wanted to hear Larry’s take on why so many gay men were self destructing after the acute phase of the AIDS epidemic had passed. This excerpt is from Kramer’s speech he delivered at Cooper Union, New York City, November 11, 2004.

The Genius of New York City

Or how to change your bad mood by celebrating the creativity of your fellow NYC travelers.

Moussa, Columbus Circle, New York City

It was that type of morning.

The meditation, coffee and two-three mile run wasn’t working.

The existential dread of work, life, city, was still there.

Until.

Crossing the street in a sea of black town cars ferrying the fancy from the east side to the west side, and vice versa, there in his #pedicab splendor, is Moussa, from #Senegal.

The morning dread evaporates as we laugh with each other.

#newyorkcity#newyork

Afghan Chronicles: Day Five, A School Gets A Library

Today was one of the days of shooting that will go down as one of one of the most fulfilling days of not only shooting, but most fulfilling days, period. When working on a project, there is a process.

First, it’s the idea, something is here, a story, I am not sure what it is, but I can’t stop thinking about it, and I begin to shoot. Then the doubt sets in, what am I doing? Am I wasting my time and everyone else’s? And then there is the inevitable magic moment, and it always happens, where it all clicks. The hard work pays off and the moment arrives where you think, there is no other place or task that I would rather be doing than what I am doing at this moment. It is a moment of grace and flow, and when it happens, I feel extremely grateful. It motivates me when I am not feeling the “flow.” The memory and pursuit of these moments get me out of bed in the morning.

Continue reading “Afghan Chronicles: Day Five, A School Gets A Library”

Street Kids, A Retrospective: Tiffany and Nate #Black #Queer #Homeless #Trans Survive in #NYC

For Gay Pride this year we reexamine Tiffany and Nate.  They are black, homeless, queer and trans and have survived on the streets of New York City for years. 

As race riots engulf our nation it is important to look at basic human needs of shelter, education, healthcare, and so much more, that often elude this population. Until we address the systemic racism baked into every institution in our country, we will never move forward.

We post two seasons that consist of twenty six, 60-second video segments on certain aspects of their life. 

Warning, this is an unvarnished look into their lives with language and topics that might not be for everyone.

Season One: Tiffany and Nate, LGBTQ and Homeless on the NYC Streets

Small Business In the Time of COVID-19

Image of Yael Alkalay, Courtesy of Small Bevy

Like millions of Americans, especially New Yorkers, no one in their wildest imagination could fathom that New York City would shut down to all non-essential workers on March 13.

Millions of New Yorker City dwellers have survived 9/11, various financial crises, black outs, the AIDS crisis, but the COVID-19 pandemic seems to have a far-reaching and uncertain path of destruction that has the globe reeling.

Yael Alkalay, CEO & Founder, red flower, and Scott Kruger, COO & CFO, red flower talk with us on their thriving organic beauty and wellness business before mid March and after, and the steps they continue to take to survive in our brave new world.

Listen below on what life was like before and after mid March and how the Harlem-Columbia Small Business Development Center (SBDC) provided a much-needed lifeline to red flower.

New York State Female Entrepreneur of 2020

Alexis McSween, Founder and CEO, Bottom Line Construction and Development LLC, received terrific news in early March for her decades-long crusade in building affordable housing in her Harlem community.

Through a two-year entrepreneurship and leadership program offered by the Columbia-Harlem Small Business Development Center, she was nominated and awarded New York State’s 2020 Female Entrepreneur of the Year.

McSween is a role model and mentor to everyone she meets.

She experienced bouts of homelessness as a teenager. Making ends meet as a livery driver, she drove a friend to an EMT exam. At the suggestion of her friend, she took the exam. She was accepted. That experience, and years of hard work, put her on the path to become a registered nurse and a homeowner.

After years of nursing and renovating homes on the side, she dove into construction full time with a focus on providing affordable housing in her community.

The video below highlights McSween’s exceptional leadership skills and the Columbia-Harlem Small Business Development Center. It was completed March 13, the day New York City ordered many non-essential workers to “shelter-in-place”.

Alexis McSween, CEO & Founder, Bottom Line Construction & Development

Film, Tech, Social Enterprise & VC RESOURCES

Resources To Get Started