This podcast features “coming out” stories of many notable members of our greater LGBTQ+ community including some of our documentary film’s participants—diverse in background, spanning generations—in an aim to document and preserve an oral history that reinforces and celebrates our strength, brilliance, vision and evolution.
We feature celebratory and self-empowering expressions of this rite of passage, but we also want to acknowledge that despite an increased level of acceptance, visibility and rights won from the past—that so much work is yet to be done and for many, “coming out” is still very difficult and unsafe.
We do this podcast because we believe in the importance of telling and preserving our personal stories and collective history as forms of visibility and activism, and as sources of inspiration and empowerment. Now more than ever, it is important to listen to and share our truths to better understand, respect and embrace one another. To reflect on how far we’ve come, and how much further we need to go.
We love hearing from our audience. If you have a “coming out” story that you would like us to feature or any feedback, send us an email or reach out to us via social media @cafetabacfilm. Enjoy and thank you for listening and sharing!
Podcast episode releases are announced via the @cafetabacfilm Facebook, Instagram and Twitter social media platforms, and through an email newsletter, which can be subscribed here.
September 25th, 2020
KIMBERLY BLISS is a Philippine-born, Buffalo-bred and Brooklyn-based novelist for hire. Her work has appeared in Hobart and Dime Show Review. She was a 2020 resident at the New Orleans Writers’ Residency, and this summer’s guest fiction editor at Hobart. She is currently working on her Great American Novel set in the Philippines, Leaving Manila.
Recorded at The Newstand Studio at 1 Rockefeller Plaza with Joseph Hazan
September 3rd, 2020
LESLIE COHEN is someone you might’ve often seen, but not necessarily have known it was her. She and her partner of 44 years, Beth Suskin, sit out in front of Stonewall in NYC, all day everyday. They were the models that posed for George Segal in 1979 and are immortalized in the sculptures at Christopher Park in front of Stonewall.
Segal, despite being a highly established artist at the time, had a hard time finding models brave enough to pose for the statues that would commemorate the 1969 Stonewall Riots which marked the birth of the gay liberation movement.
Leslie was also one of the five women who in 1976, created the first club owned and operated for women by women—the legendary Sahara at 1234 Second Ave at 65th Street in New York City. Her legacy of contributing to our community and history is rich, and it is rooted in love. Foremost. Love for her Beth, and love for her community.
Leslie has just published her memoir The Audacity of a Kiss, Love Art & Liberation through Rutgers University Press which will be out Fall/Winter of 2021/2022.
You can also find out more about Sahara online at storiesofsahara.com
July 24th, 2020
LINDA VILLAROSA is an award-winning author, journalist, educator and activist, she is a contributing writer and editor for the New York Times Magazine, the NYT at large and its Science Times, where she covers race, inequality and health. She authored 3 books, was the former executive editor of Essence Magazine, and is the current director of the journalism program at the City College of New York where she teaches reporting, writing and Black Studies
In this episode, Linda shares with us here, her truly inspiring and uniquely public coming out story.
July 2nd, 2020
KAREN SONG is the director and producer of the Sundays at Café Tabac documentary, where she is able to pay homage to a space and community central to her coming of age.
She is a queer-identified, Korean-American woman, born and raised in New York City. She is a film director working across various dramatic, documentary, and commercial platforms, with narrative feature film projects currently in development.
June 23rd, 2020
JACQUELINE WOODSON is a writer of books for children and young adults, the recipient of the 2020 Macarthur Genius Award and The National Book Award for her 2014 book, Brown Girl Dreaming. She was awarded National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature for 2018-2019 by the Library of Congress, and the Hans Christian Andersen Medal this year. Her latest book Red at the Bone was released last year and was an instant New York Times best seller and New York Time Notable book of the year, as well as Oprah’s Best Books of 2019. In this episode, she talks about coming out to her super religious family in the 1980’s.
June 17th, 2020
Wanda Acosta is the Producer/Co-creator of the Sundays at Café Tabac documentary feature film, and a stalwart icon in lesbian nightlife in downtown New York City. She has been creating and producing events in NYC for over 20 years, and is the 2020 recipient of the LGBTQ Community Advocacy Award presented by the Leslie Lohman Museum of Art. In this episode, she recounts her coming out story as a young woman in the early 1990’s at the height of lesbian visibility in the media and a turning point for queer culture and lesbian empowerment.
She is a queer-identified latinx woman, currently dividing her time between Puerto Rico and Brooklyn.