The metaphysical and ontological implications of UFOs with Greg Bishop

New Thinking Allowed with Jeffrey Mishlove Jun 30, 2022 Greg Bishop is the former publisher of The Excluded Middle magazine. He is author of Project Beta: The Story of Paul Bennewitz, National Security, and the Creation of a Modern UFO Myth; It Defies Language; and (with Adam Gorightly) A is For Adamski: The Golden Age of the UFO Contactees. His website is Here he maintains that he is interested in understanding UFO phenomena, not in “proving” that they are anything in particular. The key to understanding is to observe the reactions of people, both before and after their encounters. If they were simply extraterrestrial hardware, it is unlikely they would have such life-changing impacts upon people. Something else is going on which requires an understanding of human psychology. Also, the connections between UFO phenomenology and afterlife encounters cannot be ignored. New Thinking Allowed host, Jeffrey Mishlove, PhD, is author of The Roots of Consciousness, Psi Development Systems, and The PK Man. Between 1986 and 2002 he hosted and co-produced the original Thinking Allowed public television series. He is the recipient of the only doctoral diploma in “parapsychology” ever awarded by an accredited university (University of California, Berkeley, 1980). He is also the Grand Prize winner of the 2021 Bigelow Institute essay competition regarding the best evidence for survival of human consciousness after permanent bodily death. (Recorded on May 20, 2022)

Moon Wobble peaks on August 11

MoonWobble August 2022
Click here for Moon Wobble Chart

*** General suggestions / observations ***

• This cycle is based on empirical data meaning enough data was observed and recorded to make it possible to suggest attitudes and  reactions.  Keep in mind that we all have free will and thus results will vary from one individual to another.

• The graph shows the energy high at the beginning of the cycle (not unlike any other astrological aspect) followed by a slow down before it gets strong and again this reflects years of tracking and noting feedback from our many students.

• If you are making a decision during this time you might want to let it set for a day or two then check your decision again to see if it still makes sense. However, you can feel into the ebb and flow and find good times to work on self emotionally in both the low and high points. Impatience, emotion and acts without thinking are common.

• With practice you can feel when the energy is there to help bring completion to tasks, goals and projects you may be working on.

The Prosperos

New Empathy Circle: “Current Events in the World and in Your World”

You are invited to a scheduled Zoom meeting:  “Current Events in the World and in Your World.”  

This is an open group which uses the Empathy Circle process of active listening. (See below.)  The subject is “Current Events in the World and in Your World” or whatever else is alive for you in your heart or mind. The facilitator is Mike Zonta (ECF).

Time: Starting Jul 17, 2022 11:00 AM Pacific Time
        Every week on Sundays at 11:00 AM Pacific time

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 849 2993 0360

How-To: Basic Empathy Circle

In a Circle of 3 to 5 Participants

1. The first person selects who they will speak to;
2. they speak about whatever comes up for them for a set time (typically 3-5 min);
3. the listener reflects back what they are hearing until the speaker feels heard and understood to their satisfaction.
4. Then it is the listener’s turn to select who they will speak to and for that new listener to reflect back what they are hearing.
5. Everyone helps hold the circle process by monitoring & sticking to the steps.

The dialog continues around the circle like this for the time allotted.

Speaker Tips

* Pause often to give the listener a chance to reflect what they heard.
* When you are done talking and you feel heard, you can say “I’m fully heard” to indicate that you are done with your turn.

Active Listener/Reflector

* In your own words reflect back the essence of what you hear the speaker saying.
* Refrain from asking questions, judging, analyzing, detaching, diagnosing, advising or sympathizing. When it’s your turn to speak, you can say anything you want.
* You may ask the speaker to pause periodically so you can reflect what you heard.

Silent Listeners

* Listen and be present to the exchange between the speaker and active listener/reflector. You will soon have a turn to actively listen and speak.

To learn more about empathy skills visit our website at: 

More videos:

A Buddhist monk probes Heidegger on the limits, and necessity, of philosophy

In 1963, Martin Heidegger sat down for an interview with Bhikku Maha Mani, a Vietnamese-born Buddhist monk, radio presenter and great admirer of the reclusive and influential German philosopher. In their wide-ranging conversation, Maha Mani poses broad questions to Heidegger, yielding an illuminating exchange of ideas between two distinct schools of thought – and some characteristically enigmatic answers. Heidegger shows a sincere appreciation of aspects of Buddhism, such as its rejection of materialism and the compatibility of non-theism and religion. Some of the considerable differences between Buddhist thought and his own emerge as well, including his notion that, among living things, only humans possess the burden of ‘Being’. Their discussions of these timeless questions also open the way for fascinating glimpses into Heidegger’s views in the wake of the Second World War, including his call for a new age of thought and self-reflection amidst the ceaselessly rising tide of technology, and the enduring need for philosophy despite its historical shortcomings.

Reporter: Bhikku Maha Mani

29 October 2019

Free Will Astrology: Week of June 30, 2022

JUNE 28, 2022 AT 6:45 AM BY ROB BREZSNY (

Photo: Joel Filipe

ARIES (March 21-April 19): In her poem “Two Skins,” Bahamian writer Lynn Sweeting writes, “There is a moment in every snake’s life when she wears two skins: one you can see, about to be shed, one you cannot see, the skin under the skin, waiting.” I suspect you now have metaphorical resemblances to a snake on the verge of molting, Aries. Congratulations on your imminent rebirth! Here’s a tip: The snake’s old skin doesn’t always just fall away; she may need to take aggressive action to tear it open and strip it off, like by rubbing her head against a rock. Be ready to perform a comparable task.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): “Imagine a world 300 years from now,” writes Japanese novelist Minae Mizumura, “a world in which not only the best-educated people but also the brightest minds and the deepest souls express themselves only in English. Imagine the world subjected to the tyranny of a singular ‘Logos.’ What a narrow, pitiful, and horrid world that would be!” Even though I am primarily an English speaker, I agree with her. I don’t want a world purged of diversity. Don’t want a monolithic culture. Don’t want everyone to think and speak the same. I hope you share my passion for multiplicity, Taurus—especially these days. In my astrological opinion, you’ll thrive if you immerse yourself in a celebratory riot of variety. I hope you will seek out influences you’re not usually exposed to.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Imagine you’re not a person, but a medley of four magical ingredients. What would they be? A Gemini baker named Jasmine says, “ripe persimmons, green hills after a rain, a sparkling new Viking Black Glass Oven, and a prize-winning show horse.” A Gemini social worker named Amarantha says she would be made of “Florence and the Machine’s song ‘Sky Full of Song,’ a grove of birch trees, a blue cashmere knee-length sweater, and three black cats sleeping in the sun.” A Gemini delivery driver named Altoona says, “freshly harvested cannabis buds, a bird-loving wetlands at twilight, Rebecca Solnit’s book ‘Hope in the Dark’ and the Haleakala shield volcano in Maui.” And now, Gemini, what about you? Identify your medley of four magical ingredients. The time is right to re-imagine the poetry of YOU.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): Filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard believes there’s only one way to find a sense of meaning, and that is to fill your life to the bursting point; to be in love with your experience; to celebrate the flow of events wherever it takes you. When you do that, Godard says, you have no need or urge to ask questions like “Why am I here?” or “What is my purpose?” The richness of your story is the ultimate response to every enigma. As I contemplate these ideas, I say: wow! That’s an intensely vibrant way to live. Personally, I’m not able to sustain it all the time. But I think most of us would benefit from such an approach for brief periods now and then. And I believe you have just entered one of those phases.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): I asked Leo readers to provide their insights about the topic “How to Be a Leo.” Here are responses that line up with your current astrological omens. 1. People should try to understand you’re only bossing them around for their benefit. —Harlow Hunt. 2. Be alert for the intense shadows you may cast with your intense brightness. Consider the possibility that even if they seem iffy or dicey, they have value and even blessings to offer. —Cannarius Kansen. 3. Never break your own heart. Never apologize for showering yourself with kindness and adoration. —Amy Clear. 4. At the moment of orgasm, scream out your own name. —Bethany Grace

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): It’s your birthright as a Virgo to become a master of capitalizing on difficulties. You have great potential to detect opportunities coalescing in the midst of trouble. You can develop a knack for spotting the order that’s hiding in the chaos. Now is a time when you should wield these skills with artistry, my dear—both for your own benefit and for the betterment of everyone whose lives you touch.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): One of my heroes died in 2021: the magnificent Libran author bell hooks (who didn’t capitalize her name). She was the most imaginative and independent-minded activist I knew. Till her last day, she articulated one-of-a-kind truths about social justice; she maintained her uncompromising originality. But it wasn’t easy. She wrote, “No insurgent intellectual, no dissenting critical voice in this society escapes the pressure to conform. We are all vulnerable. We can all be had, co-opted, bought. There is no special grace that rescues any of us. There is only a constant struggle.” I bring this to your attention, Libra, because I suspect the coming weeks will require your strenuous efforts to remain true to your high standards and unique vision of reality.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): You now have the power to make yourself even more beautiful than you already are. You are extraordinarily open to beautifying influences, and there will be an abundance of beautifying influences coming your way. I trust you understand I’m not referring to the kinds of beauty that are worshiped by conventional wisdom. Rather, I mean the elegance, allure, charm, and grace that you behold in old trees and gorgeous architecture and enchanting music and people with soulful idiosyncrasies. PS: The coming weeks will also be a favorable time to redefine the meaning of beauty for yourself.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): It’s the Season for Expressing Your Love—and for expanding and deepening the ways you express your love. I invite you to speak the following quotes to the right person: 1. “Your head is a living forest full of songbirds.” —E. E. Cummings. 2. “Lovers continuously reach each other’s boundaries.” —Rainer Maria Rilke. 3. “You’re my favorite unfolding story.” —Ann Patchett. 4. “My lifetime listens to yours.” —Muriel Rukeyser.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): In the coming weeks, make sure you do NOT fit this description articulated by Capricorn novelist Haruki Murakami: “You’re seeking something, but at the same time, you are running away for all you’re worth.” If there is any goal about which you feel conflicted like that, dear Capricorn, now is a good time to clear away your confusion. If you are in some sense undercutting yourself, perhaps unconsciously, now is the time to expose your inner saboteur and seek the necessary healing. July will be Self-Unification Month.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): A Tweeter named Luxuryblkwomen articulates one of her ongoing goals: “bridging the gap between me and my ideal self, one day at a time.” I’d love it if you would adopt a similar aspiration in the coming months. You’re going to be exceptionally skilled at all types of bridge-building, including the kind that connects you to the hero you’ll be in the future. I mean, you are already a hero in my eyes, but I know you will ultimately become an even more fulfilled and refined version of your best self. Now is a favorable time to do the holy work of forging stronger links to that star-to-be.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): A blogger named Lissar suggests that the cherry blossom is an apt symbol for you Pisceans. She describes you as “transient, lissome, blooming, lovely, fragile yet memorable and recurring, in tune with nature.” Lissar says you “mystify yet charm,” and that your “presence is a balm, yet awe-inspiring and moving.” Of course, like all of us, you also have your share of less graceful qualities. And that’s not a bad thing! We’re all here to learn the art of growing into our ripe selves. It’s part of the fun of being alive. But I suspect that in the coming weeks, you will be an extra close match for Lissar’s description. You are at the peak of your power to delight and beguile us.

Homework: Make amends to a part of yourself you have neglected, insulted, or wounded.

Tarot Card for June 30: The Four of Cups

The Four of Cups

The Lord of Luxury is a card with a hidden sting in its tail. On the surface it indicates a wealth of loving affection, showing a person who is lucky enough to receive a great deal of devotion and tenderness.

At first look, you would think we would be all too pleased with this situation wouldn’t you? However, the sting is this – sometimes, when we are loved deeply and for a long period of time, we are foolish enough to forget what it feels like when we are lonely and unloved. And as soon as we make that mistake, we start to undervalue the tenderness and emotional investment that others are making in us.

We begin to get careless about the ways in which we treat those people who love us. We may hanker after love from some-one outside our circle, instead of valuing those people closer to hand who love us from the bottom of their hearts.

In other words, we can begin to take love for granted. And there are three things in this world we are all silly to take for granted – love, good health and tranquillity. Every one of them slips away silently if we stop paying it due attention.

So, when the Lord of Luxury appears, whilst you will know that there is a great deal of love in the air, there’s also a warning which must be taken on board – count your blessings, reciprocate, and don’t get your priorities in a mess. That way you’ll carry on being loved for a very long time.

The Four of Cups

(via and Alan Blackman)

The Sun in Astrology: Meanings and Techniques

The Astrology Podcast May 4, 2021 Episode 302 features a discussion with astrologer Demetra George about the meaning of the Sun in astrology, and some astrological techniques associated with it. During the course of the episode we read through some excerpts from different ancient and modern astrologers in order to see how they conceptualized what the Sun signifies in an astrological chart. We also talk about some different techniques that are used in astrology that involve the Sun, such as the solar phase cycle, different heliacal phenomena, under the beams, combustion, cazimi, sect, and more. This is a followup to episode 294 with Israel Ajose where we looked at the meaning of the Moon in astrology, as the second installment in our series on each of the planets:

What our fantasies about futuristic food say about us

What our fantasies about futuristic food say about us | Psyche

From the May 1960 edition of If science fiction magazine. Courtesy the Internet Archive

Kelly Alexanderis an anthropologist at the Department of American Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her books include Hometown Appetites: The Story of Clementine Paddleford (2008), co-authored with Cynthia Harris, and Peaches: A Savor the South Cookbook (2013).

Edited by Marina Benjamin

28 June 2022(

Anticipating ‘hot new food trends’ is an old game. In the nearly 30 years that I have chronicled food as a journalist and anthropologist, I’ve contributed dozens of prognostications; some were even right. Never mind that each November, 88 per cent of Americans eat turkey at Thanksgiving, I needed findings like this in July: ‘This year, people will skip a first course,’ or ‘This year, people will serve squash soup inside the gourd,’ or ‘This year, everyone’s going carb-free, so double up on the greens and skip the stuffing.’

To be sure, I was no Faith Popcorn, the ‘Nostradamus of Marketing’ who first made her fortune in the 1970s and ’80s forecasting social trends such as ‘cocooning’. Despite the faux social science of trend reports, I have always been interested in the flavours that exert a hold on our collective hearts and minds. I’m especially intrigued by how the foods we seem to fetishise in the present – the artisanal, the local, the small-batch – are never the ones we seem to associate with the tantalising prospect of ‘the future’.

How do we know what will be delicious in the future? It depends on who ‘we’ are. For Baby Boomers who didn’t grow up on a diet of Dune-style scenarios of competing for resources on a depleted planet, it was TV dinners, angel whips and Tang – the instant powdered orange drink that became a hit after NASA included it on John Glenn’s Mercury spaceflight in 1962. That same year, The Jetsons – an animated show chronicling the life and times of a family in 2062 – premiered on US television. In one episode, mom Jane ‘makes’ breakfast for son Elroy using an iPad-like device. She orders ‘the usual’: milk, cereal (‘crunchy or silent?’ Jane asks Elroy, before pre-emptively selecting ‘silent’), bacon, and one soft-boiled egg, all of which is instantly beamed to the table.

When we watch The Jetsons now, it is easy to see two things. One, the show does not depict actual new foods, only new methods for speedily conveying the usual ones. Two, it was 19th-century automats that inspired these ‘futuristic’ ideas. Invented in Berlin in 1895, these large-scale vending machines dispensed an array of cooked dishes from miniature mechanised doors. They were hugely popular in the early 20th-century United States, and beloved for their gee-wizardry. Users deposited coins, the doors magically opened, and bowls of rich veal stew, or slices of apple pie, slid forward for collection. Automats were phased out by fast-food chains, but they’ve remained lingering objects of fascination. As the documentary The Automat (2021) takes pains to express, the machines in the once-famous Horn & Hardart self-service US restaurant chain were utterly democratic: anyone with a nickel could enjoy a taste of the future.

The ‘future delicious’ conjures readymade meal ‘solutions’ that eliminate not just the need for cooks but the need for meals

Automats pointed the way forward. They represented the promise of conveyor belts, the allure of button-press solutions that eliminated manual labour. In The Jetsons, we don’t know who makes the silent cereal, or how, but its existence and its out-of-nowhere delivery fuelled a fantasy of freedom that mothers everywhere dreamed of daily. The next step was to free ourselves from the burden of actually growing food in the ground and raising it on the farm, and produce all we needed in labs. Finnish scientists have already crafted cultured plant cells from berries that have a higher nutritional value than fresh berries – a technological good start.

For many students in my Food Studies courses at the University of North Carolina, the ‘future delicious’ conjures readymade meal ‘solutions’ that eliminate not just the need for cooks but the need for meals. This includes Soylent, the synthesised baby formula-like smoothies, or the food substitutes slugged by software engineers coding at their desks. It includes power bars and Red Bulls to provide energy and sustenance without the fuss of a dinner table (an antiquated ceremony that takes too long). Also, meal kits that allow buyers to play at cooking by mixing a few things that arrive pre-packaged, sorted and portioned; and Impossible Burgers, a product designed to mimic the visceral and textural experience of eating red meat – down to realistic drips of ‘blood’ (beet juice enhanced with genetically modified yeast), and named to remind us that no Baby Boomer thought such a product was even possible.

Such logic makes the feminist anthropologist Donna Haraway wary. It betrays, she writes, ‘a comic faith in technofixes’ that ‘will somehow come to the rescue of its naughty but very clever children.’ To Haraway’s point, the future delicious tends to value the technological component of its manufacture over the actual food substrate, sidestepping what the material culture expert Bernie Herman described to me as ‘the fraught and negotiated concept of delicious’ – which is something I’ve studied for 14 years in relation to the Oreo cookie.

My interest was piqued when I read that more than 491 billion Oreos have been sold worldwide since 1912, making Oreos not only the best-selling cookie of all time but one of the best-selling brands. The Oreo is a fantastic case study in future deliciousness, because it is one of the most man-made foods in existence. It is factory-produced from highly processed, shelf-stabilised flour, stripped of its nutrients, then re-enriched by others, enhanced by soy lecithin, and fortified with sugar and high-fructose corn syrup. The ingredients high-fructose corn syrup and soy lecithin are almost certainly genetically modified unless explicitly labelled ‘certified organic’; in independent tests, Oreos have also been found to contain trace amounts of glyphosate, a weedkiller better known under the trade name Roundup, sold by the agrochemical giant Monsanto. Monsanto was sold to Bayer in 2016, and the corporation continues to insist that glyphosate, also found in Cheerios and many other processed foods, is ‘safe when used as directed’.

Oreos are ‘accidentally vegan’ because they contain no fresh ingredients (even as the brand itself warns that milk, while not an ingredient in the cookie, could be a cross-contaminant due to factory conditions). They were made with lard until the mid-1990s, when the animal fat was swapped out with partially hydrogenated vegetable oil due to what were billed as ‘growing health concerns’. Since then, Oreos qualify as ‘accidentally Kosher’ too. It takes about an hour to make an Oreo cookie and, about three seconds to eat one. And Oreos are global; once made exclusively in Hershey, Pennsylvania, they’re now made in 18 countries worldwide, and available in 100. In 1986, The New Yorker’s architecture critic Paul Goldberger wrote that Oreos are ‘a reminder that cookies are designed as consciously as buildings, sometimes better’, describing them as ‘lavishly ornate in their exterior design but utterly simple within … [they] appear to float’. Suffice it to say, a floating food represents futurity.

‘Delicious’ is a rocky terrain, combining memory, circumstance, corporate strategy, and various idiosyncratic ideological qualities

Behind the Oreo’s popularity is a story about increased individual consumption made possible by the technical mastery of certain means of production. But how might we decide if this cookie is ‘delicious’? Informally, I’ve surveyed more than 400 students over the years, and when given an Oreo to eat and then asked a series of questions about the experience, 97 per cent of them attested that an Oreo is ‘delicious’. Almost none, however, could describe exactly why. Asked what an Oreo tastes like, the number-one response to date is ‘home’, followed by ‘school’. The Oreo’s very conditions of existence were obscured by nostalgia.

The students elaborated: ‘Oreos taste like church because they served them at Bible school.’ ‘Oreos taste like road trips to visit my sister because my brother and I always begged my mom to buy them before the long drive.’ And ‘Oreos taste like fighting with my brothers because there’s only one left and I WANT IT.’ The minority who did not find Oreos delicious often cited reasons of ‘health’: ‘Oreos taste like guilt because they are sugary and unhealthy.’ ‘Oreos taste like artifice because their chemical content symbolises the highly specialised food processes that dominate modern snacks.’ And ‘Oreos taste like addiction (bingeing).’ Judging by their responses, ‘delicious’ is a rocky terrain, combining memory, circumstance, corporate strategy, and various idiosyncratic ideological qualities.

We understand which foods are delicious based on how we learn about so many of them: through the marketplace, and specifically advertising. An attachment to Oreos is based on a sense of being cared for and of belonging, which its makers exploit: they know that future-delicious foods evoke an era of optimism and unproblematic progress (namely the 1950s and ’60s), and they know that this now strikes many of us as naive, even destructive, when we consider the industrialised agriculture that’s enabled such products to literally wrap themselves around the globe. So, their strategy for this particular futuristic food has been to appeal to the past.

The anthropologist and media studies scholar William O’Barr points to how even the earliest corporate campaigns induced us into believing we could buy better futures. The first use of the Kodak company’s slogan ‘You Press The Button, We Do The Rest’ dates to 1888. Citing another example of selling self-betterment, O’Barr looks to Ford, which marked its factories re-opening after the economic devastation of the Second World War with the slogan: ‘There’s A Ford In Your Future.’ In the case of Oreo’s latest advertising campaign, a short film titled The Note made by the acclaimed director Alice Wu, the better future is not technological but social. The film features a young man in the process of coming out as gay to his family – with Oreo cookies there as material sustenance and support along the way. Olympia Portale, Oreo senior brand manager, told Fast Company: ‘If we’re going to fight for a world where all families belong, this was a natural place for us to go.’

So, now, future-delicious foods fight for equality, not just automated democracy. The ad also reveals what easy bedfellows capitalism and unnatural foods have become. In fact, the Oreo ad has been so successful, it has its haters: the Newsmax anchor Greg Kelly tweeted: ‘I do NOT like GAY COOKIES.’ But making enemies with Newsmax anchors feeds Oreo’s strategy. Portale’s comments suggest an orientation toward a future predicated on people accepting uncomfortable truths, which Oreos help smooth the way toward.

Still, advertisements are ephemeral – and perpetually updated. Eventually, power bars and social justice messages will de-couple and give way to something else. Meanwhile, Baby Boomers face a crisis of care. What we know for sure is that the future delicious is an experience of whatever the current generation of eaters conceives of as a certain kind of progress – an automat, a fake burger, a message of social solidarity and acceptance. The future delicious also has little in common with actual food futures. In truth, France’s future food might mean fewer halal butchers; or, going on the exciting book Black Food: Stories, Art and Recipes from Across the African Diaspora (2021) edited by Bryant Terry, an Afrofuturist vision might celebrate liberatory culinary practices that produce vegan foods from traditional African, Caribbean and Southern soul food recipes. But the ‘future delicious’ is primarily an imaginary, always out-of-reach, automated fantasy that thrives just beyond the technological horizon of human progress.

Moments in LGBTQ+ History at Carnegie Hall

June 28, 2022 (

At the laying of the cornerstone in 1890, Andrew Carnegie said, “… it is probable that this hall will intertwine itself with the history of our country. All good causes may find here a platform.”

For more than 130 years, Carnegie Hall has hosted not only some of the greatest musicians, but also social crusaders, authors, world figures, and speakers of our time. The Hall’s stages have always been open to all. Here’s a look back at several key moments that reflect and intertwine with larger moments in LGBTQ+ history.

Playing with Gender

Since 2009, RuPaul’s hit series RuPaul’s Drag Race has helped to popularize the performance of drag, yet exaggerated gender imitation has been common in artistic expression for centuries. Performers have played with gender at Carnegie Hall since the 1940s.

The first female impersonator that we know to have appeared at Carnegie Hall was Francis Renault in 1945. One of his most famous impressions was of soprano Lillian Russell. Just a few years later, Ray Bourbon brought female impersonation back to the Hall in 1949 with his one-person show, Don’t Call Me Madam, which ran for three consecutive nights in Carnegie Recital Hall (now Weill Recital Hall).

Flyers from Francis Renault’s performance at Carnegie Hall, 1953
Flyers from Francis Renault’s performance at Carnegie Hall, 1953

The history of female impersonators at Carnegie Hall continued for decades. Actor and female-impersonator Craig Russell was well-known for his celebrity impersonations, including Judy Garland, Carol Channing, Mae West. and Barbra Streisand. He performed at Carnegie Hall in both 1978 and 1980.

A flyer from Craig Russell’s performance at Carnegie Hall, 1980

Activism Through Song

Following Stonewall in 1969, LGBTQ+ community, activist, and cultural organizations began to form across the country. Since the 1970s, the LGBTQ+ choral movement continues to be an example of how individuals come together through queer musical activism.

The New York City Gay Men’s Chorus was founded in 1980 and first appeared at Carnegie Hall on December 8, 1981, performing works by Palestrina and Handel alongside holiday favorites. The ensemble has since returned to the Hall more than 70 times, performing repertoire from J. S. Bach to Sondheim, and appearing with legends like Marilyn Horne, Chita Rivera, Kelli O’Hara, and others. Their most recent performance at the Hall in 2019 commemorated the 50th anniversary of Stonewall and featured other LGBTQ+ choruses from across the country, such as the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles, OurSong—The Atlanta Gay and Lesbian Chorus, and the Denver Gay Men’s Chorus.

Program from the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus’s Carnegie Hall debut on December 8, 1981
Selection of flyers from performances by the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus
Selection of flyers from performances by the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus

Founded in 2017, the Resistance Revival Chorus merges music and activism. The chorus is a group of more than 60 women-identified and non-binary singers that focuses on songs of protest, power, and resistance, including covers and original songs. They have performed three times at Carnegie Hall, including a 2019 appearance with vocalist Deva Mahal.

Resistance Revival Chorus performing with Deva Mahal in Zankel Hall, 2019
Resistance Revival Chorus performing with Deva Mahal in Zankel Hall, 2019

Lesbian Feminist Record Labels

Another form of queer musical activism emerged in the 1970s with the rise of both the lesbian feminist movement and the women’s music movement. The first women’s music record label was founded in 1973 by the Olivia Collective, which included singer-songwriters Meg Christian and Cris Williamson. Olivia Records was fully owned and operated by women and promoted works that spoke to the female and lesbian experience.

Christian and Williamson celebrated the 10th anniversary of Olivia Records in 1982 at Carnegie Hall with two back-to-back sold-out shows the day after Thanksgiving. Olivia’s recordings, concerts, and events were considered groundbreaking and extraordinarily successful for an independent grassroots label.

Album cover for the live recording of the Olivia Records 10th anniversary celebration on, 1982

AIDS Epidemic Benefit Concerts

The 1980s saw the AIDS epidemic ravaging its way across the United States, deeply impacting the LGBTQ+ community. Carnegie Hall hosted several events that raised money and awareness for individuals living with AIDS. In 1987, Music for Life hosted a benefit for the Gay Men’s Health Crisis, Inc. that raised more than $1.5 million. Performers included conductor Leonard Bernstein, mezzo-soprano Marilyn Horne, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, tenor Luciano Pavarotti, soprano Leontyne Price, and others.

Leonard Bernstein and Marilyn Horne performing in Music for Life at Carnegie Hall, 1987

The following year, Carnegie Hall hosted a benefit that raised funds for the American Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR) and featured performances by Orchestra of St. Luke’s, violinist Isaac Stern, pianist Emanuel Ax, tenor Plácido Domingo, guitarist Paul Simon, and actors Meryl Streep and Steve Martin.

Plácido Domingo performing at an AIDS benefit with Orchestra of St. Luke’s, 1988

A few other high-profile concerts include Children Will Listen, a benefit in 1989 for the education and care of children affected by AIDS and their families, and two performances by Tony Award–winning vocalists in 1996. Betty Buckley presented An Evening at Carnegie Hall to benefit Broadway CARES / Equity Fights Aids, and Bernadette Peters made her headlining debut with a nearly all–Stephen Sondheim program to benefit the Gay Men’s Health Crisis.

Flyer for “Children for Listen,” 1989
Flyer for  Betty Buckley’s benefit concert for Broadway Cares / Equity Fights AIDS, 1996
Flyer for Bernadette Peters’s benefit concert for the Gay Men’s Health Crisis, 1996

The “Most Durable Gay Icon”

While there are many gay icons today, there is one that remains the most iconic: Judy Garland. She made her Carnegie Hall debut on April 23, 1961. At that point in time, she had been in show business for nearly 40 years. It was a star-studded event with celebrities like Richard Burton, Marilyn Monroe, Henry Fonda, and many others in attendance. The concert was a huge success, resulting in a live album that went on to win five Grammy Awards, spending 73 weeks on the Billboard charts.

Flyer for Judy Garland’s Carnegie Hall debut, 1961
Images from Judy Garland’s Carnegie Hall debut, 1961
Images from Judy Garland’s Carnegie Hall debut, 1961

Fast-forward 45 years to June 14, 2006, when Rufus Wainwright made his Carnegie Hall headlining debut with an authentic song-by-song recreation of Judy Garland’s iconic concert. As part of the experience, the multicolored sequin jacket Garland wore during her 1961 performance was loaned back to Carnegie Hall and displayed in the Rose Museum. In Stephen Holden’s review in The New York Times, he said, “What unfolded onstage Wednesday was a tour de force of politically empowering performance art in which a proudly gay male performer paid homage to the original and most durable gay icon in the crowded pantheon of pop divas.”

Flyer for Rufus Wainwright’s Carnegie Hall performances, 2006
Image of Rufus Wainwright, 1996
Image of Judy Garland’s multicolored sequin jacket worn at her Carnegie Hall debut

Photography: Renault flyers courtesy of John Sniffen; Mahal and the Resistance Revival Chorus by Jack Vartoogian; Bernstein and Horne, and Domingo by Steve J. Sherman; additional concert memorabilia courtesy of the Carnegie Hall Rose Archives.