Wednesday, May 28, 2008

“TWISTED FAITH” Starring Jason Stuart and Elaine Hendrix tapped to screen at Reelheart Film Festival

Los Angeles, CA;PRNewswire -- Award winning writer/director Lisa Sanow will have the Canadian premiere screening of her independent film “Twisted Faith” on Tuesday, June 17th at 7:00pm. “Twisted Faith” will be part of the main program in the fourth season of the ReelHeART Film Festival in Toronto. Tickets are on sale through the ReelHeART website at .

“Twisted Faith” is a dark drama starring well-known actor & stand-up comedian Jason Stuart in the lead role of Father Reilly, a gay priest who becomes entangled in counseling a young woman named Sandra, whose disturbing dreams open a window into his repressed past, Sandra is hauntingly played by the remarkable talent of Elaine Hendrix. This is a poignant film that studies extreme psychological effects on individuals who suffer systemic sexual prejudice and their subsequent social disenfranchisement. Making a cameo appearance in the film as Mother Clare is the Emmy nominated star of stage and screen Lee Meriwether.

Jason Stuart has been in over 100 film & TV shows and is probably best known for playing Dr. Thomas for two seasons on the hit television series “My Wife and Kids” opposite Daman Wayans. Last year he received critical acclaim for his portrayal of Clayton in the sleeper comedy hit “Coffee Date.” Currently, Jason had his first stand-up special “Jason Stuart: Making It To The Middle” debut on Here! TV also directed by filmmaker Lisa Sanow. Jason was most recently seen on Everybody Hates Chris, House & George Lopez. Elaine Hendrix skyrocketed to fame playing the obnoxious fiancĂ© in Disney’s “Parent Trap” opposite Lindsay Lohan and Dennis Quaid. Her film roles include stand out performances in “What the Bleep Do We Know,” “Romy & Michelle’s High School Reunion,” “Bam Bam & Celeste,” and “Down the PCH.”

Elaine can be seen in the soon to be released TV movie “Two Sisters” directed by comic icon Margaret Cho. Both Jason and Elaine have added producer credits to their formidable film resumes which include “Twisted Faith.Writer/Director Lisa Sanow received acclaim in the 2006 festival season for her awarding winning romantic comedy “Gone Postal” that starred Lee Meriwether of “Barnaby Jones” and “All My Children” fame and veteran film star James Mathers (“You, Me & Everyone We Know” & “Fire Down Below”). “Gone Postal” screened at ReelHeART during its 2006 festival run. Lisa is currently in pre-production with her first feature film “Putnam County Law.” Already attracting industry buzz, “Putnam County Law” has a star-studded cast attached to the script including the talents of Elaine Hendrix, Tom Arnold, Judy Greer, Alexandra Paul, Jason Stuart and Lee Meriwether. Lisa’s company SeaHawk Productions will helm “Putnam County Law” as the first in a slate of films that also includes the mega blockbuster action/sci-fi picture “Forty-Second Amendment.”

Monday, May 26, 2008


Harbourfront Centre
August 26 - September 1, 2008
The 7th ASHKENAZ FESTIVAL takes place August 26 to September 1, 2008, at Harbourfront Centre and various satellite locations throughout Toronto, Canada.
Programming highlights include Jewish funk supergroup Abraham Inc. (featuring Fred Wesley, David Krakauer, and Socalled); Argentinian Yiddish Tango diva Zully Goldfarb; legendary mandolinist/clarinetist Andy Statman; Ukrainian brass band Konsonans Retro; Kosher Gospel with Joshua Nelson; Russian Klezmer garage band Nayekhovichi; Sephardic Jewish music with Pharaoh's Daughter, Flory Jagoda and Spain's Mashala; and from Canada, jazz pianist Marilyn Lerner, Ken Whiteley & David Wall, Theresa Tova, Shtreiml, Beyond the Pale, Michael Wex, Allen Merovitz, Sisters of Sheynville, and many more.The ASHKENAZ FESTIVAL is one of the world's largest public celebrations of Yiddish and Jewish culture. Each edition of this multidisciplinary event presents approximately 50-75 artists/groups from Canada and around the world, working in music, film, theatre, dance, literature, craft, and visual arts. This year's festival promises as diverse a program as ever, with artists from over a dozen countries. Once again the famous Ashkenaz Parade will enliven Harbourfront Centre on Labour Day with a community celebration featuring music, dance, massive puppets, stilt-walkers, and overall group revelry, featuring Shadowland Theatre.The ASHKENAZ FESTIVAL was founded in 1995 by David Buchbinder, Bruce Rosensweet, and Dianne Wienrib. The 2008 Festival celebrates the organization's "Bar Mitzvah," and will be the first Ashkenaz Festival presented by the new (as of fall 2006) management team of Executive Director Karen Tisch and Artistic Director Eric Stein.The Ashkenaz Foundation is a community-based non-profit organization which fosters an increased awareness of Yiddish and Jewish culture through the arts. Showcasing the work of leading contemporary artists from Canada and around the world, Ashkenaz places an equal emphasis on preservation and innovation within its cultural milieu. ASHKENAZ FESTIVAL programming incorporates many other manifestations of Jewish music and art beyond Klezmer/Yiddish, and actively pursues fusion and cross-cultural exchange with artists from outside Jewish cultural traditions through commissioned work and special projects. The Ashkenaz Foundation places a strong emphasis on local and emerging talent, as well as on education and community outreach.
August 26 - September 1, 2008
416.979.9901 or
416.473.4000 or

Thursday, May 15, 2008

ILGA publishes 2008 report on State-sponsored Homophobia

May 17th is the International Day against Homophobia. ILGA, the International Lesbian and Gay Association, has chosen this date to launch a yearly report on State homophobia around the world, available at

The impressive collection of laws presented in this report is an attempt to show the extent of State-sponsored homophobia in the world.

In 2008, no less than 86 member states of the United Nations still criminalize consensual same sex acts among adults, thus institutionally promoting a culture of hatred. Among those, 7 have legal provisions with death penalty as punishment. To those 86 countries, one must add 6 provinces or territorial units which also punish homosexuality with imprisonment.

With this publication, the International Lesbian and Gay Association, a 30 year old world federation which gathers over 670 lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex groups from over 100 countries hopes to raise awareness about this reality which extent remains unknown to the vast majority of people.

The research, conducted by Daniel Ottosson, only deals with legislation criminalizing consensual sexual acts between persons of the same sex in private above the age of consent. Laws dealing with such acts in public, with under aged people, with force or by any other reason are not included. Nor does it include countries where such acts are legal. References to all legislation can be found in the foot notes, the foot note list and the source list in the end of the report.
This year, ILGA has also included a list of countries according to their legislations affecting LGBTI people. This will allow readers to get a quick and comprehensive overview on the legal situation in the world: from countries penalising homosexual activity with death penalty to the few ones allowing adoption for same sex couples.
Along the same line, ILGA has published a map on LGBTI rights that can be used to raise awareness of people on the many laws affecting LGBTI people in the world. It is available on
Quotes from Rosanna Flamer-Caldera (Sri Lanka)co-secretary general of ILGA:
“Although many of the countries listed in the report do not systematically implement those laws, their mere existence reinforces a culture where a significant portion of the citizens needs to hide from the rest of the population out of fear. A culture where hatred and violence are justified by the State and force people into invisibility or into denying who they truly are.

Whether exported by colonial empires or the result of legislations culturally shaped by religious beliefs, if not deriving directly from a conservative interpretation of religious texts, homophobic laws are the fruit of a certain time and context in history. Homophobia is cultural. Homophobia, lesbophobia and transphobia are not inborn. People learn them as they grow.”

Quotes from Philipp Braun (Germany), co-secretary general of ILGA:
“In many cases, "prejudice against homosexual people” is the result of ignorance and fear. This long catalogue of horrors is but a tale of the intolerance against what is foreign and different.

“Decriminalization of same sex activity is as urgent as ever. The fight for the respect of every minority has to be everyone’s fight. We believe that the recognition of sexual minorities as components of our civil societies and the acknowledgement of the equality of their human rights can contribute to learning how to live together, that is, the learning of democracy”

“ILGA is committed to have sexual orientation and gender identity come out and be discussed at the United Nations Human Rights Council. We believe the Yogyakarta Principles on the application of international human rights law in relation to sexual orientation and gender identity, recently developed by a group of international human rights experts are a useful tool to frame such a discussion among UN member States. It is important to set this debate where it belongs: on the human rights agenda. Altogether 60 countries have publicly supported sexual orientation as an issue at the United Nations Commission on Human Rights/Human Rights Council since 2003. Criminalization of consensual same sex activity is being challenged by NGOs and States in the current Universal Periodic Review.”

News in this report
As of February 1, 2008 sodomy is decriminalized in Nicaragua. The prohibition in former article 204 has been repealed as of the new Penal Code, law No. 641, published in the State Gazette No. 232 of December 3, 2007. In addition, the new code makes it an aggravating circumstance if any of the crimes prohibited under the code are based on sexual orientation. A prohibition of discrimination based on sexual orientation is also part of the new Penal Code.[i] Therefore the section on Nicaragua has been removed from this report.

New in the report are also sections on Comoros, Burkina Faso and Niger. It has been found out that Comoros indeed has a prohibition of same-sex acts, both male and female, and Burkina Faso and Niger are included as they have laws that can be used against sexual acts between persons of the same sex. The Gambian law has hereto been modified in the year 2005 to include sexual acts between women, and the modified law is now included in the report.

For more information on State Sponsored Homophobia and legislations affecting LGBTI people, ILGA’s activities around the world and at the United Nations, please contact:Stephen Barris / ILGA: 00 32 2 502 24 71

May Issue Online!!!!

Hey everyone, don't forget to check out the May issue online! Home decor is featured in this month's issue and also an article about fitness regimes for the Spring. Our travel story features Frankfurt, Germany as an interesting European summer destination. Rick Pollard enlightens us about the recent political uproar in Saskatchewan and Doug Ross tells us about the exciting new developments at OUTtv in Canada. Plus our regular columnists and Out & Abouts from across Canada.