Monday, August 1, 2022

FENDI and The Juilliard School Announce 2022 FENDI Vanguard Awards

2022 FENDI Vanguards ( L to R): Peter Lim, Mary Beth Nelson, Stella Everett, and Raven Joseph. (Photo: Erin Baiano)

FENDI and Juilliard are pleased to announce the 2022 recipients of the FENDI Vanguard Awards.  Presented for the second year, this honor celebrates four students—one actor, one dancer, and two musicians—annually, who display the potential to be future innovators in their chosen discipline and across the performing arts. The 2022 Vanguards include Stella Everett (BFA ‘23, drama) from Sydney, Australia; Raven Joseph (BFA ‘23, dance) from Queens, New York; Peter Lim (MM ‘23, historical performance - harpsichord) from Atlanta, Georgia; and Mary Beth Nelson (MM ‘23, voice) from Orange County, California. Each of this year’s recipients embodies the promise of a career in the vanguard.


This year’s awards continue the ongoing partnership between Juilliard and the Roman Maison, which began in December 2020 with the creation of an episode in the streaming series, FENDI Renaissance—Anima Mundi. At that time, FENDI made a significant contribution to Juilliard’s Scholarship Fund in the spirit of supporting creativity at every level and enabling young student-artists to realize their highest aspirations.


As FENDI Vanguard Award recipients, each selected student will receive a monetary prize; press and media opportunities; a collaborative performance opportunity at a FENDI corporate event hosted by Juilliard; individual mentorship opportunities with FENDI professionals; and the opportunity to be styled in FENDI for major professional and academic engagements over the next year.


Nominees for the FENDI Vanguard Award are chosen from among Juilliard students about to begin their final year of study in a bachelor’s, master’s, or advanced diploma program. Students are selected through a nomination process by divisional leadership and faculty.


"Juilliard cultivates creative artists who are pushing boundaries," said Juilliard’s provost, Adam Meyer. “Innovation is integral to excellence, and we are pleased to continue this collaboration with Fendi in that shared spirit."


The inaugural cohort of FENDI Vanguards in 2021 included William Leathers (BM ’22, trumpet), Adam Phan (MM ’22, harp), Morgan Scott (BFA ’22, drama), and Cyrie Topete (BFA ’22, dance), all of whom have continued to accomplish honorable achievements over the past year. Leathers has been appointed principal trumpet with the Nashville Symphony beginning in the 2022-23 season and will simultaneously pursue an accelerated Master of Music degree at Juilliard. Phan recently appeared at Carnegie Hall and will return to Juilliard in the 2022-23 academic year to pursue an Artist Diploma. Scott has signed with Authentic Talent and Literary Management, and will be pursuing acting opportunities in theater, film, and television. Topete has joined Hubbard Street Dance Chicago as a member of its main company, beginning in the 2022-23 season.


Meet the 2022 FENDI Vanguards


Raven Joseph (Dance)

Raven Joseph, a native of Queens, New York, completed her high school education at Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Arts and Performing Arts and has just finished her third year at Juilliard. Joseph began her dance training at the Edge School of the Arts, where she studied all styles. She continued her training at the Ailey School and MOVE|NYC| Young Professionals Program, where she enhanced her technique. As part of a foreign exchange program, Joseph has traveled to Beijing, where she learned classical Chinese folk dance and studied Chinese history. She has also had the opportunity to perform professional works by Alonzo King, Bill T. Jones, Kyle Abraham, and many more. Joseph was extremely humbled to have been a silver medalist for the NAACP ACT-SO in the dance modern category in 2017 and is currently a MOVE|NYC peer mentor and the social media strategist for Empower My Hood.


Stella Everett (Drama)

Stella Everett is originally from Australia, raised on the sun and surf of Sydney’s coastline. With the firm belief that growth as a human and as an artist are synonymous, experiencing new walks of life through travel has been a vital part of her development toward the pursuit of acting. After years of extensive travel, Everett began to hone her skills as a performing artist with the goal of attending a prestigious performing arts college. Upon graduation from high school, Everett was offered a place to study at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts  (WAAPA) and participated in its bachelor of acting program before being offered a place at Juilliard. Everett aims to continue to expand herself as an artist and as a human and make her mark as part of the next generation of storytellers.


Peter Lim (Music—Harpsichord)

Peter Lim focuses his artistic studies in historical keyboards, historical oboe, and historical flutes. Lim holds his bachelor’s degree in historical keyboards, historical oboe, and recorder performance at the historical performance department at Koninklijk Conservatorium Brussels. Previously, he attended the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. Lim has been an early music enthusiast since a very young age and continues to explore the revival of the early music of today. He has performed in master classes led by well-known scholars and performers of the early music world including Mitzi Meyerson, Benjamin Alard, Olivier Fortin, Charlotte Nediger, Skip Sempe, Jan de Winne, the Flanders Recorder Quartet, and Reine-Marie Verhagen. He was also a grand prize winner in the Korean International Early Music Competition.


Mary Beth Nelson (Music—Voice)

Mezzo-soprano Mary Beth Nelson sang the role of Ruth Bader Ginsberg in Derrick Wang’s comedic opera Scalia/Ginsburg at  the Glimmerglass Festival, where she was praised for singing with “virtuosic abandon … joyous flair and assured beauty of tone (Opera Today). She returned to Opera Las Vegas to sing the Notorious RBG after debuting as Angelina in Rossini’s La Cenerentola in 2018. Nelson is a finalist and encouragement award winner in the Loren L. Zachary Competition (2021), a prizewinner and audience choice favorite in the Rochester International Vocal Competition (2020), an encouragement award winner in the Metropolitan  Opera National Council Auditions (2020, 2014), first place and people’s choice award winner in the 16th annual International Crescendo Music Awards, a finalist and top audience choice award winner in the ninth annual Lois Alba Aria Competition, a recipient of a Jensen Foundation honorarium (2020), an international semifinalist in the Houston Grand  Opera Eleanor McCollum Competition (2019), and a Career Bridges grant winner in New York City. Nelson trained at Glimmerglass, Florida Grand Opera Studio, the Seagle Music Festival, and Tri-Cities Opera. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Oklahoma City University and is a native of Orange County, California.

HHS Announces Proposed Rule to Strengthen Nondiscrimination in Health Care

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently announced a proposed rule implementing Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA)(Section 1557) that prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, and disability in certain health programs and activities. This proposed rule restores and strengthens civil rights protections for patients and consumers in certain federally funded health programs and HHS programs after the 2020 version of the rule limited its scope and power to cover fewer programs and services.


The proposed rule affirms protections against discrimination on the basis of sex, including sexual orientation and gender identity consistent with the U.S. Supreme Court’s holding in Bostock v. Clayton County, and reiterates protections from discrimination for seeking reproductive health care services. Strengthening this rule is part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to advancing gender and health equity and civil rights, as laid out in President Biden’s executive orders on Preventing and Combatting Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual OrientationProtecting Access to Reproductive Healthcare Services, and Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities.


“This proposed rule ensures that people nationwide can access health care free from discrimination,” said Secretary Xavier Becerra. “Standing with communities in need is critical, particularly given increased attacks on women, trans youth, and health care providers. Health care should be a right not dependent on looks, location, love, language, or the type of care someone needs.”


“Now more than ever, we must stand up for those around the country whose voices often go unheard, to let them know we stand with them and are working to ensure they can access health care free from discrimination.  Today’s proposed rule is a giant step in working to ensure that goal is met,” said Acting HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR) Director Melanie Fontes Rainer.  “I am proud of our staff who worked on this important rule that strengthens Section 1557 and who work every day to help support these goals. This proposed rule affirms our commitment to uphold the law and protect the civil rights of all people who access or seek access to health programs or activities.”


“Strengthening Section 1557 supports our ongoing efforts to provide high-quality, affordable health care and to drive health equity for all people served by our programs,” said Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure. “This work will help eliminate avoidable differences in health outcomes experienced by those who are underserved and provide the care and support that people need to thrive."


The Section 1557 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) seeks to address gaps identified in prior regulations. In order to advance protections under this rule it: 

  • Reinstates the scope of Section 1557 to cover HHS’ health programs and activities.
  • Clarifies the application of Section 1557 nondiscrimination requirements to health insurance issuers that receive federal financial assistance.
  • Aligns regulatory requirements with Federal court opinions to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex including sexual orientation and gender identity.
  • Makes clear that discrimination on the basis of sex includes discrimination on the basis of pregnancy or related conditions, including “pregnancy termination.”
  • Ensures requirements to prevent and combat discrimination are operationalized by entities receiving federal funding by requiring civil rights policies and procedures.
  • Requires entities to give staff training on the provision of language assistance services for individuals with limited English proficiency (LEP), and effective communication and reasonable modifications to policies and procedures for people with disabilities.
  • Requires covered entities to provide a notice of nondiscrimination along with a notice of the availability of language assistance services and auxiliary aids and services.
  • Explicitly prohibits discrimination in the use of clinical algorithms to support decision-making in covered health programs and activities.
  • Clarifies that nondiscrimination requirements applicable to health programs and activities include those services offered via telehealth, which must be accessible to LEP individuals and individuals with disabilities.
  • Interprets Medicare Part B as federal financial assistance.
  • Refines and strengthens the process for raising conscience and religious freedom objections.

While the Department is undertaking this rulemaking, both the statute and the current regulation are in effect. If you believe that you or another party has been discriminated against on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability, visit the OCR complaint portal to file a complaint online.


HHS encourages all stakeholders, including patients and their families, health insurance issuers, health care providers, health care professional associations, consumer advocates, and government entities, to submit comments through

Human Rights Campaign Applauds Biden Administration’s Proposal to Strengthen Nondiscrimination Protections Under Affordable Care Act

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) — the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization — praised the Biden-Harris administration’s recent announcement of a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) relating to the Affordable Care Act that looks to strengthen the law’s nondiscrimination provisions. These changes stand to improve access to healthcare for LGBTQ+ people – if finalized as proposed, the updated regulation implementing Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act would provide clear protections on the basis of sexual orientation and sex characteristics, in addition to improving protections for gender identity, which is already enumerated.

“No one should face discrimination in accessing medical care or insurance. This Notice of Proposed Rulemaking is a welcome step to better ensure protections, including those based on sexual orientation and gender identity,” said Joni Madison, HRC Interim President. “Despite the advances in policy during the Obama and Biden administrations, LGBTQ+ people continue to face disproportionate challenges when it comes to accessing healthcare. This rule change would help to close that gap, and it is desperately needed at a time when some states are attacking access to care.”

The updated rule will bring the rule in line with the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark Bostock v. Clayton County decision, which cemented the legal interpretation that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity is a form of sex discrimination prohibited by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The Section 1557 rule, as implemented during the Obama administration and still in effect, already prohibits most insurers from discriminating on the basis of sex — including gender identity — when providing health coverage. The original rule also provided protections based on sex stereotypes that included examples of discrimination based on sexual orientation. Discrimination on the basis of gender identity includes:

  • Blanket exclusions on any transition–related healthcare services;
  • The denial or limitation of coverage for services used for gender transition when those services would normally be covered when treating a non-transition related health condition; and
  • The refusal to cover treatment that is typically associated with one particular gender, because an individual identifies with another gender or is listed as having another gender in their medical records or on a personal form of identification.

Section 1557 requires that providers treat individuals in a manner consistent with their gender identity, including in access to health care facilities and in receiving care. Wherever people are separated or labeled by gender, people are to be treated according to their self-identified gender. Section 1557 applies to all health programs and activities, any part of which receives any Federal financial assistance — including but not limited to physicians offices, hospitals, community clinics and nursing care facilities.

In 2019, the Trump administration announced an impending rule change to Section 1557 that would have undermined protections for LGBTQ+ people.

HRC sued in 2020 to block the rule from going into effect, arguing that the removal of protections against sex stereotyping and gender identity exceeded the administration’s authority to define sex discrimination under the ACA and grossly would have undermined the law’s primary goal of eliminating barriers and broadly expanding access to healthcare and health education programs.

The updated protections were among the key suggestions in HRC’s Blueprint for Positive Change, a document with more than 80 policy suggestions released in November 2020 for the then-incoming Biden administration.

The roll-back was blocked through a preliminary injunction issued in response to HRC’s lawsuit, and in May 2021, the Biden administration announced that it would enforce federal policy to protect LGBTQ+ people from discrimination in health care based on gender identity and sexual orientation.

A History of Disparity

According to the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law, about 15% of LGBTQ+ people in the U.S. are uninsured, compared to 12% of non-LGBTQ+ people. The LGBTQ+ population is also more likely to be unemployed (9% vs. 5%) or to have an annual salary below $24,000 (25% vs. 18%), both factors that can make it difficult to obtain health insurance. In 2021, HRC called attention to a report from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that showed LGBTQ+ people were more susceptible to the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, noting that 37% of LGBTQ adult smokers smoke every day compared to 27% of non-LGBTQ people; 21% of LGBTQ adults have had asthma, compared to 14% of non-LGBTQ people; and one in five LGBTQ adults aged 50 and above have diabetes.

Fear of discrimination causes many LGBTQ+ people to avoid seeking health care, and when they do enter care, studies indicate that they are not consistently treated with the respect that all patients deserve. Studies by Lambda Legal show that 56% of LGB people and 70% of transgender and gender non-conforming people reported experiencing discrimination by health care providers — including refusal of care, harsh language and physical roughness because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. According to a report by the National Center for Transgender Equality, 23% of transgender respondents did not see a doctor when they needed to because of fear of being mistreated as a transgender person and a startling 55% of transgender respondents who sought coverage for transition-related surgery were denied.  

Friday, July 29, 2022

Human Rights Campaign Mobilizes More than 170 Businesses & Over 20,000 Supporters in Support of Respect for Marriage Act Senate Vote

As the U.S. Senate prepares for a vote on the Respect for Marriage Act, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) is mobilizing 173 major businesses representing over 5.3 million employees, its more than 3 million highly engaged members and supporters, and the nation’s 62 million “Equality Voters” to call on the Senate to pass the bill. The Respect for Marriage Act is legislation that would nationally codify federal marriage equality by guaranteeing the federal rights, benefits, and obligations of marriages in the federal code; repeal the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA); and affirm that public acts, records and proceedings are recognized by all states.

“For the first time in our nation’s history, we are so close to codifying marriage equality as the law of our land—so close to ensuring that every family will have the freedom to love whom they love,” said Joni Madison, Human Rights Campaign Interim President. “When we rally our voices collectively, there is nothing we cannot accomplish. I celebrate the thousands of people who have picked up the phone or written a letter to their Senator. I thank the 173 businesses who have taken a stand and joined the fight for LGBTQ+ equality on behalf of their employees and customers, for whom this is entirely personal. When workplaces see and celebrate all families, including their LGBTQ+ talent, they ensure everyone can bring their full selves to work and have an opportunity to thrive. But the fight isn’t over yet; this victory is far from guaranteed; now we must come and demand that the Respect for Marriage Act is passed and signed into law.”

The bill passed the House 267-157, garnering 47 Republican votes — proving that support for marriage equality is widespread and bipartisan. In the aftermath of Dobbs, it is more important than ever that we enshrine our court-protected civil liberties into law.

Are You Gay With Something To Say? Bloggers Wanted Denver's Gay Community

Are you a new or experienced writer or blogger? Do you want to be? Or maybe you're just some gay guy with something to say? Well, what better forum for you than MileHighGayGuy?

MileHighGayGuy is looking for regular and guest bloggers to write about local news and events, do music and movie reviews, or write opinion or feature pieces from a gay perspective.

These are unpaid positions but offer the opportunity to be published in Colorado's Best Gay Blog (2010, 2011, 2012 OUTstanding Awards, Denver 2012 #WebAwards), expand your audience and gain valuable experience. There's also swag available in the form of free movie and concert tickets, music, books and other cool stuff.

If interested, shoot an email over to Drew Wilson at And if you've got column or story ideas to pitch, this is the place to do it.

ABA House will tackle an array of criminal justice, election integrity issues at Aug. 8-9 meeting

The American Bar Association’s policymaking body, the House of Delegates, convenes next month to conclude the ABA 2022 Annual Meeting with more than 30 items on the agenda, including several resolutions that address the country’s incarceration challenges and other criminal justice issues.


The in-person-only ABA 2022 Annual Meeting begins on Wednesday, Aug. 3. The House, known as the HOD, encompasses 583 delegates from ABA entities and state, local and specialty bar associations and meets Aug. 8-9.


Also, the HOD will host a roundtable discussion “Democracy in Peril: How Can We Change the Course for America?” on Aug. 8, at 11 a.m. CDT. The program will explore the causes of concern about the future of U.S. democracy and of those around the world. Moderated by Nancy Rogers, a former law school dean and former Ohio attorney general, the panel will include Bakari Sellers, a lawyer, author and political commentator; Kathleen Jamieson, professor and the Walter and Leonore Annenberg director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania; and Steven Levitsky, David Rockefeller Professor of Latin American Studies and professor of government at Harvard University.


With the posted agenda set weeks in advance of the HOD meeting, late resolutions could be added under certain circumstances to reflect proposed ABA policy responses to national developments during the past few weeks.


For now, the HOD has two measures on its agenda that seek to make it more difficult to buy guns in certain situations, reflecting the national attention focused on mass shootings in the wake of a series of deadly incidents the past several years. Most recently, 21 people were killed at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, and seven Independence Day paradegoers died in the Chicago suburb of Highland Park, Illinois.


Resolution 601 urges the repeal of the federal law, also known as the “Charleston Loophole,” that allows for the sale of a firearm to be finalized after three business days have expired, even if the required background check has not been completed. Also, Resolution 801 seeks governments to adopt legislation and authorize appropriate funding related to the so-called “boyfriend,” “stalking” and “ex parte” loopholes in firearms laws and regulations. The measure supports prohibiting the purchase, possession or receipt of firearms and ammunition by persons who commit domestic violence or related crimes.


The federal bipartisan gun control bill signed by President Joe Biden on June 25 closed the “boyfriend” loophole but not the “Charleston Loophole.” It also provides money for states to improve their red-flag laws that allow for a court to temporarily confiscate firearms from family members and others with emotional or mental health issues. In 2017, the HOD adopted policy urging expansion of such gun restraining laws.


Three additional resolutions address what many in the criminal justice field say are problems caused by overpopulated jails and prisons.


Resolution 501 offers the ABA Criminal Justice Standards on Diversion, which provide guidance on various aspects of diversion programs. The standards are consistent with efforts to reduce collateral consequences; address over-criminalization; reduce incarceration; curtail the burden on and investment in the criminal legal system; and eradicate racial disparities throughout the system.


Resolution 502 urges governmental entities to enact legislation permitting courts to hear petitions that allow hearings to take a “second look” at criminal sentences where individuals have been incarcerated for 10 years. The report to support the resolution noted that the U.S. is home to less than 5% of the world’s population but houses nearly 25% of the world’s prisoners, adding incarceration disproportionately impacts people of color.


A related Resolution 604 asks governmental entities to adopt the ABA Nine Principles on Reducing Mass Incarceration, suggesting governmental jurisdictions could immediately begin reducing the number of people they incarcerate by following the principles.

Denver Actors Fund surpasses $1 million in medical assistance

The Denver Actors Fund reached a monumental goal this week when the grassroots, all-volunteer nonprofit surpassed $1 million in financial assistance to members of the Colorado theater community since 2014.

To celebrate, the DAF is partnering with the Candlelight Dinner Playhouse to host a benefit concert starring Colorado native and Tony Award-nominated Broadway star Beth Malone on Monday, Aug. 15.

Malone, who attended Douglas County High School and the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, began her professional career at age 16 at the Country Dinner Playhouse. She received a 2015 Tony Award nomination for originating the role of Alison in the groundbreaking Broadway musical “Fun Home.” She recently appeared as the Angel in the off-Broadway revival of “Angels in America,” and originated the role of Molly Brown in the recent reimagination of the classic Broadway musical “The Unsinkable Molly Brown,” which began at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts and later was performed in New York. Malone is currently a series regular on Apple TV’s new series “City On Fire.”

For Malone, it’s personal. She is a cousin of Bryanna Scott, who was the resident stage manager at the Miners Alley Playhouse from 2010-20. Scott, at just age 29, was diagnosed with Stage 3C ovarian cancer in 2021 and, to date, the Denver Actors Fund has picked up all of her out-of-pocket medical expenses. Malone wanted to stage this concert as a way of acknowledging the work the Denver Actors Fund does for the entire community, and to help it replenish. She is calling her special concert on Aug. 15 “Thanks a Million.”

The Denver Actors Fund was founded by Denver Gazette Senior Arts Journalist John Moore and local attorney Christopher Boeckx to help Colorado theater artists, who are often among our most vulnerable when it comes to health-care protections, pay their medical bills. More than $600,000 of the $1 million the nonprofit has distributed to date has gone out since the worldwide performance shutdown caused by the pandemic in March 2020. At that time, the DAF created additional funding sources to help affected artists with emergency living expenses.

The DAF also provides access to affordable mental-health care, emergency dental care, free tele-doctoring and neighborly assistance from 100 volunteer angels. Any Colorado resident who has been involved with the making of a theater production for a credible Colorado theater production becomes eligible for financial assistance for the next five years.

The Denver Actors Fund hit the $1 million milestone this week when it sent out $4,500 to pay off the out-of-pocket medical expenses incurred by Luke and Susan Rahmsdorf-Terry, whose daughter necessitated back-to-back trips to the emergency room for what was eventually diagnosed as pleural pneumonia. He is an actor and sound designer; she is a costume designer. The DAF previously helped Luke to purchase custom-made hearing aids.

“We are overwhelmed with this incredibly generous action by the Denver Actors Fund,” Luke Rahmsdorf-Terry said. “Having this massive weight lifted from not having to worry about medical debt hanging over our heads is far beyond anything we might have imagined.”

For more information, or to apply for assistance, go to

“Thanks a Million” promises to be a nostalgic look back at Malone’s life and career, with personal favorites along the way. She will be performing one new song from a new musical she is writing with Emily Saliers of the Indigo Girls called “Star Struck.” Henry Award-winning actor Jalyn Courteney Webb, also of the Candlelight Dinner Playhouse, will join Malone onstage for a number from “Chess.”

All proceeds from this special concert will benefit the Denver Actors Fund. Candlelight is a proud partner of the nonprofit, having raised more than $40,000 to support the Denver Actors Fund’s efforts over the years. In turn, the Denver Actors Fund has helped at least 41 Candlelight employees through everything from COVID to cancer, paying down more than $67,000 in their personal medical bills.

Charlie Burg shares new single "Ooh! Sumthin' New" ahead of debut LP and tour

Today, Brooklyn-based, Metro-Detroit-bred singer-songwriter, Charlie Burg, shares dynamic single "OohSumthinNewout everywhere now ahead of his debut LP, Infinitely Tall, due out August 19 available for pre-order now via FADER Label. In support of the album, Burg will hit the road this fall across the EU, UK and North America from September through November. Get tickets now via In celebration of the (oo! sumthin') new single, get a limited edition t-shirt in collaboration with Everpress now here.

"Ooh! Sumthin' New," is a bright groove where Burg introduces a protagonist who craves a change of pace–new surroundings, new people and more than anything, authenticity. The upbeat instrumental is juxtaposed by lyrics that critique the world around him, namely, the damaging effects of social media, and the world these apps fabricate. Over mellow guitar, he sings, "Let me hang out with your friends / These industry players always playing pretend / You’re an artist, and you look great / But your Instagram’s not a personality trait."

Burg explains the track, fitting in with themes of the forthcoming project, "...simultaneously celebrates and laments the rootlessness of youth. That contradiction is what this chapter is all about. A cheerful spirited instrumental is paired with lyrics of criticism and resentment. The world of social media makes the protagonist feel like a poser and a fraud, mostly because of how much they subscribe to and partake in its evils. The protagonist desperately wants a change of pace, which is ironic in the face of their desire for solid ground to stand on."

Swiftly, about half-way through the track, the pace of the track itself kicks into overdrive, with an electric guitar solo that rips through the previously soft vocals. In a move that matches the song's messaging, Burg adds, "I dare the listener to allow me to abruptly switch genres throughout the course of the song." He even rewards listeners who make it to the end by excitedly speaking over the instrumental like he's speaking to friends, "Now this part, if you made it to this part, man, then you made it to the best part of the song," concluding with a playful countdown and a smooth instrumental outro.

Charlie Burg's forthcoming 15 track LP, Infinitely Tall, is told in three chapters, each tied to a specific place–from his childhood house in Detroit, to college in Syracuse, and now, life in New York City. The project explores the various spaces in one's life that may make, break, shape and uplift, using lush soundscapes that blend genres and transcend location, age, space and time. In addition to co-producing the project with Mike Malchicoff, (Bo Burnham, Niall Horan, Kids See Ghosts and King Princess), Burg plays nearly every instrument on the LP.

Speaking to the chapter book structure of the album, Burg's goal was to design a body of work that mirrored the stages of his own life and the places that have shaped him throughout his life thus far, Burg explains, "I formatted this album in a three-chapter layout, with each group of five songs representing a different space in my life. The first is representative of the dreamlike nostalgia of one’s hometown; the second embodies a college house and the free spirit and recklessness of young adulthood; the third is city life, an ejection from youth into adulthood, and the endlessness that stretches out before you in the smoky urban expanses."

On the debut record, Charlie Burg says, "The album is a reflection on spaces – namely houses – and the ways that we are shaped by our physical surroundings. "Infinitely Tall" is a phrase from the final track of the album which was born out of a jam session with my friend Rebecca in my hometown years ago. As I reflected on the concept of the album that phrase accurately encapsulated the feeling I had when thinking about home. We might change. Home might change. But some things never die."

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Human Rights Campaign Mobilizes Membership in Support of Respect for Marriage Act Ahead of Senate Vote; Notes Widespread Bipartisan Support

As the U.S. Senate prepares for a vote on the Respect for Marriage Act, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) is mobilizing its highly engaged membership, and the nation’s 62 million “Equality Voters,” to call on the Senate to pass the bill. The Respect for Marriage Act is legislation that would nationally codify federal marriage equality by guaranteeing the federal rights, benefits, and obligations of marriages in the federal code; repeal the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA); and affirming that public acts, records and proceedings should be recognized by all states. The bill passed the House 267-157, garnering 47 Republican votes — proving that support for marriage equality is widespread and bipartisan. In the aftermath of Dobbs, it is more important than ever that we enshrine our court-protected civil liberties into law.


HRC is uniquely positioned to engage our members and supporters in favor of this legislation. We are mobilizing our grassroots army of more than 3 million members, supporters and volunteers to reach out to their Senators and encourage them to pass this important legislation. Additionally, HRC has identified 62 million “Equality Voters nationwide for whom LGBTQ+ equality is a make-or-break issue that we are mobilizing in support of this effort through an aggressive outreach campaign.


Over only five days:

  • Over 20,000 HRC members, supporters and volunteers have taken action through either email or phone call to their Senators
  • Approximately 8,000 HRC members initiated calls to their respective Senators, including:
    • Over 550 calls in Texas
    • Over 450 calls in Florida 
    • Over 300 calls in Pennsylvania
    • Over 150 calls in Ohio
    • Over 150 calls in Missouri
    • Over 150 calls in Indiana
  • Over 21,000 emails were sent to Senators by HRC members and supporters, including:
    • Over 1,500 emails in Florida
    • Over 900 emails in Pennsylvania
    • Over 900 emails in Ohio
    • Over 600 emails in Missouri
    • Over 500 emails in Indiana


HRC will continue to mobilize members and supporters in the coming days.