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in the news/segment 1
Volume 15/Issue 12

LAZFEST '97 Will Offer July 4 Fun
To Benefit Project Lazarus

Independence Day will sizzle once again as Project Lazarus, a residence for people living with AIDS, holds its third annual LAZFEST fund-raiser, and this year actor Gary Coleman is lending a hand and attending the event to support this important project.

Gary Coleman The day-long family celebration, which is open to the public, takes place July 4 in Cabrini Park at the corner of Barracks and Dauphine streets in the French Quarter from 11 am to 6 pm, featuring a silent auction, food, music, games, raffle, entertainment, dunk tank and lots more all-American fun.

Coleman, who is honorary chairman of LAZFEST'97, is best known for his role as the mischievous, wise-cracking Arnold in the long-running TV sitcom Diff'rent Strokes. He actively supports children's and other charitable causes nationwide. Coleman arrives in New Orleans July 1 for public appearances to promote the event and will be present July 4 to greet participants and help make LAZFEST a success.

"I was thrilled when LAZFEST organizers asked me to take part in this year's event," Coleman said. "The effects of HIV and AIDS reach into every community in the country. The toll on individuals, families and society is enormous, so I'm happy to support the services that Project Lazarus provides."

Included in the silent auction will be official LAZFEST 97 t-shirts autographed by Coleman, two-night accommodations at some of New Orleans' best hotels, meals at in-demand restaurants, art from well-known area galleries and a lot more.

LAZFEST 97 tickets cost $10 and can be purchased from Project Lazarus or at the gate. They entitle the purchaser to unlimited quantities of food, soft drinks and beer; entertainment; and lots more fun throughout the event. Project Lazarus is the oldest and largest residence for people with AIDS in new Orleans. It addresses the special needs of people suffering from the illness who are homeless or whose families and friends can no longer care for them. With 24 beds, Lazarus provides residents with essential personal and social services in an atmosphere that is compassionate and fosters human dignity in living and dying.

Further details, including bidding instructions, can be obtained from Meshonda Donaldson of Project Lazarus at 504.949.3609.

Indigo Girls

The Indigo Girls,
Amy Ray & Emily Saliers,
play UNO Lakefront Arena
June 24

Artists Against AIDS to
Rock The Mahalia

Artists Against AIDS is proud to announce their fifth an nual Benefit Gala, MUSICAL MAGIC 97-Rockin The Mahalia. This year's event will feature many of Louisiana's finest entertainers banding together to fight AIDS in our community. Performers lined up for this year's event include Charmaine Neville, The Cast of Sophisticated Ladies, Bryan Batt, Kris Shaw, The Gospel Soul Children, Germaine Bazzle, and Kim Prevost to name a few. Join guest hostess Nicki Reyes, along with celebrity emcees Angela Hill and Margaret Orr as these performers "Rock the Mahalia with The Hottest Concert of the Summer."

All ticket proceeds will provide for much needed services in our community at Project Lazarus and the NO/AIDS Task Force.

Artists Against AIDS, a non profit 501(c)3 organization founded in New Orleans in 1991, consists of the stage and screen communities who unite throughout the year to raise monies for various HIV/AIDS organizations. It is dedicated to improving the quality of life for people with AIDS and symptomatic HIV disease.

Previous beneficiaries have included the Friends For Life-Baton Rouge, NO/AIDS Task Force, Project Lazarus, The PWA Coalition, the Pediatric AIDS Program of Children's Hospital, and Buzzy's Boys and Girls to name a few.

Musical Magic 97 will be held at the Mahalia Jackson Theatre of Performing Arts on Saturday, July 19, 1997. The evening will commence at 6:30 pm with a reception and spectacular silent auction full of artwork, weekend getaways and more. Showtime at 8:00 pm. Following the event, there will be a patron party sponsored by Planet Hollywood.

Ticket prices are as follows:
$100.00 per person, which includes reserved seating in VIP section with other celebrities and local media, signed, numbered poster of the event, special gold angel AIDS awareness pin and an invitation to Patron Party at Planet Hollywood; $50.00 per person, including reserved seating in orchestra section, a special silver AIDS awareness pin and an invitation to Patron Party at Planet Hollywood; and,$35.00 per person which guarantees reserved seating and anAIDS awareness pin.

Additional information can be obtained by calling 504.834-SHOW (7469) and tickets can be purchased through all Ticketmaster locations at 504.522.5555.

Petronius Continues Camping

Only one month after the Krewe of Petronius sponsored two dress rehearsals of Carl Walker's spectacularly campy musical spoof on beauty pageants, Pageant, the krewe will sponsor two dress rehearsals of yet another romp into the genre of camp theatre with Ricky Graham and David Cuthbert's latest farcical foray, which Mr. Graham is directing, a concatenation of old Saturday morning movie serials entitled: Daryl's Perils: Demon Dominatrix Of The Moon Meets The Amazon Queen Of The Lost Lagoon, that will replace Mr. Graham's long-running hit ...And The Ball And All. Harry Mayronne, Jr. has supplied the music for the eight songs.

Produced by Producer's Circle and TrueBrew Theatre, 200 Julia St., Daryl's Perils will star Becky Allen as Allura, Empress of the Moon and Mazuma, Amazon queen of a lost kingdom of snake worshippers. Co-starring as Dash Daryl, brigadier of the stratosphere, is Ron Williams, with Shelley Poncy as Dr. Pauline Pritchard, the free world's best-dressed female rocket scientist and socialite. Featured in multiple roles are Kerry Mendelson, Sean Patterson, Stephen Rizzo, Billy Slaughter & Mandy Zirkenbach. Karen Hebert supplies the choreography; Ron Williams, the scenery; Debbie Simeon, the costumes (except for Miss Allen's which are being supplied by her own Edith Head-Roy Haylock); and, lighting, Daniel Zimmer.

The two shows the Krewe of Petronius will be selling as a fund raiser for its 1998 Mardi Gras ball will be for Saturday, July 5 at 9 pm and Sunday, July 6 at 7 pm. The tickets for these two performances are $20. and can be obtained from any krewe member or by calling Captain Mickey Gil at 504.525.4498 or at Cosimo's Bar (corner Gov. Nicholls & Burgundy) 12 noon - 7 pm.

Hate Crimes Bill Out Of Committee
With "Sexual Orientation" Intact

A bill allowing judges to en hance penalties against indi viduals convicted of committing hate crimes passed the House Administration of Criminal Justice Committee June 5 by a vote of 6-2 Senate Bill 914 by Sen. James Cox, D-Lake Charles, survived half an hour of debate and a hostile amendment by Rep. Tony Perkins, D-Baker.

The amendment, which had been successful on similar legislation two weeks prior, was designed to remove from the bill the words "sexual orientation" as regarded a reason for the selection of a victim for assault by an individual.

"I think there's some unequal treatment here," said Perkins. "We're choosing some portions of society that we're gonna give extra protection to.

"A man can't help that he's a man nor can a woman help that she's a woman. They were just blessed to be that way," continued Perkins, who is identified in the legislature with the fundamentalist faction. "What we should be incensed about is crimes committed against any person, not just pulling out a certain segment of society and saying we're gonna protect you not based on things that you have no control over, but things that you choose."

"You know there are those that say that pedophila is a sexual orientation. And we would be providing protection to those very ones that you were trying to limit in your last bill. (Cox had just testified on a bill dealing with sexual offenders.)

"Pedophilia is not protected in this bill," answered Cox. "That question was brought up by Col. Short (Sen. Phil Short, R-Covington) and rejected after debate by the Senate. The Senate would not have favorably reported this bill out if pedophilia was protected. That's not a class of persons or a sexual orientation.

"Because a person is gay does not make him a pedophile. There's no indication that a gay person is automatically a pedophile."

"That's correct," admitted Perkins.

"Nor is there any indication that a straight person is not pedophiliac. That's not the intention of this legislation," explained Cox.

"Well, I know that's not your intention," said Perkins, "and that's not within your definition, but there are those that engage in pedophilia that are trying to have their activity defined as a sexual orientation."

Cox then assured Perkins that he would support an amendment to the bill which stated that "pedophilia is not a class embraced in the bill."

Perkins's bluff was called, however, when he refused to add such an amendment, arguing further that it was "just a symptom of a greater concern, that we're reaching out and protecting elements of society that make choices."

"The intention of the hate crimes bill is not to protect classes as much as to protect society," explained Cox. "If we have a hating society that tells people that it's not only all right to hate, which we can do-America is America and we have free speech, we have a right to hate, but we don't have a right to physically assault and beat a person ... and I think if people know that they are going to be punished additionally for a hate crime I think that then you're going to have a situation where people have a more open society which is what all we Americans want."

After some technical amendments were added, Perkins then offered the amendment to remove the words "sexual orientation" wherever they appeared in the bill.

"Although I think there is a grounds for-I may not agree with it-but I think there may be a grounds for coming with a measure that would protect someone based upon an illness that they have no control over such as age, race, gender, color, and those sorts of things, I have a problem again bringing into a protected class those who make choices.

"It is my opinion and the opinion of many that sexual orientation is that same choice and I don't think that we should be bringing those classes into a protected class."

"History shows that sexual orientation has been with us forever," said Cox. "Some say that it is biblically evil. I can't argue with them. Some would say that it's genetic. I can't argue with them. However, I have seen people in families that are very straight and very average and have seen a situation where a child grows into a mature person who is gay and the idea that because a person is gay ... that they could be subjected to a hate crime (because of that characteristic is wrong).

"If we start getting to the point where we are going to allow hate to be directed at people because of a difference in sexuality of any sort then we're falling behind instead moving forward in society."

Rep. Alex Heaton, D-New Orleans, objected to Perkins' amendment. This objection directed a vote on the amendment, which lost 5-3.

Voting to remove "sexual orientation": Dupre, Perkins, Kennard Voting to keep "sexual orientation": McCains, Morrell, Heaton, Bruce, Romero Absent from voting: Marionneaux, Jenkins, Windhorst

The last person to vote was Rep. Romo Romero, D-New Iberia, who after voting against the amendment, added, "I thought as Christians we're supposed to hate the sin and not the sinner."

Rep. Audrey McCains, D-Brusly, then voted to report the bill favorably with amendments, which was objected to by Perkins. By a vote of 6-2 the bill was reported with amendments.

Voting against reporting the bill: Kennard, Perkins Voting to report the bill: McCains, Morrell, Heaton, Bruce, Dupre, Romero Absent from voting: Marionneaux, Jenkins, Windhorst.

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