Erie GLBT News/Events Upcoming Events; Win A Short Jew in the Body of a Tall W.A.S.P. by Mark Okun and Hillary Brower

Hey all!

Hoping that everyone had a terrific Memorial Day Weekend! We had a wonderful time on the LGBT float the NW PA Pride Alliance had in the Perry 200 Grand Patriotic Parade this past Saturday. Lots of supportive people smiled and waved, and it was a very uplifting experience! We will also be in the Millcreek 4th of July Parade.

Also, don’t forget that the 21st Annual Erie Pride Picnic is less than 3 weeks away. You can read more about the picnic at This is a potluck event (we provide hot dogs, soft drinks, water, etc), and is one of the largest LGBT events in Erie County.

If your group or organization wants to have an info table at the picnic, please get in touch ASAP. When you register online for the picnic, you can request a table.

Separate from that, we encourage EVERYONE (whether having a table or just being an attendee) the Pride Picnic to preregister at This helps us figure out how much food and etc to have on hand.

Speaking of Pride, we will be out selling the 2013 Pride shirts this weekend. Be sure to pick yours up!

May 28 (Tue) – Buffalo Pride Festival (Buffalo, NY) Buffalo and Western New York’s annual Pride Festival has grown to be just too BIG for one weekend, so we’re pleased to announce that -due to popular demand- Pride 2013 has expanded to encompass a full week’s worth of celebration, advocacy and community engagement. Browse to

May 30 (Thu) – FRIENDS & FAMILY – Extra Long Weekend (no nudity) (Jones Pond Campground & RV Park, 9835 Old State Rd, Angelica, NY 14709-8729) Friends & Family can check in a day early this year when our F&F weekend starts Thursday. Friday night BINGO where, in addition to regular winnings, Jones Pond will give a special gift to all “Friends & Family” winners. Wii Bowling & Pool Tournaments on Saturday plus a whole lot more! Phone: (585) 567-8100. Email: Browse to

May 30 (Thu) – Thirsty Thursdays Return to Craze! (Craze Night Club, 1607 Raspberry St, Erie, PA 16502) Come play with one of the new bartenders ALL SUMMER LONG! Avoid the craziness downtown, chill out on the patio, and enjoy the summer! Phone: (814) 456-3027. Browse to

May 30 (Thu) – LBT Women go to The 23rd Annual Erie Wild Rib Cook Off and Music Festival (Perry Square, W 6th and State Streets, Erie, PA 16501) 6 PM. Meet at 6 PM at the fountain in east Perry Square. From there we will get dinner, then check out the vendors, and later the music. You can e-mail me if you are coming at so we don’t lose you in the crowd. Also you can call my cell at 814-450-8804 -Laurie Contact: Laurie Finch. Email: Browse to

Jun 1 (Sat) – Pajama Party Weekend (Camp Davis, 311 Redbrush Rd, Boyers, PA 16020-1219) Contact: Jim. Phone: (724) 637-2402. Email: Browse to

Jun 2 (Sun) – GEAE Educational Forum, ‘Religious Allies of the LGBT Community’ (21 la rue dix, 21 W 10th St, Erie, PA) 2 PM – 3:30 PM. Every year GEAE hosts an educational forum. In 2013 GEAE is highlighting allies of the LGBT community. Please join us on Sunday, June 2, 2013, as we hear from an interfaith panel about religious support for LGBT people and relationships. Bring your questions–and bring your friends who need to hear that there is support *for* us among religious communities. Free and open to the public. Tea, coffee, and cookies will be served. Phone: (866) 229-1974. Venue Phone: (814) 868-3463. Email: Browse to RSVP/Register/Tickets at Browse to venue web site

Jun 3 (Mon) – College Night Entertainment Series: Summer Kick-off (Craze Night Club, 1607 Raspberry St, Erie, PA 16502) Kick off the summer season at Erie’s hottest party! DJ Tony G-Spot and Guest Host Misty Kall have lined up some of the best performers Erie has to offer. Phone: (814) 456-3027. Browse to

Jun 3 (Mon) – Real Time (Community United Church, 1011 W 38th St, Erie, PA 16508-2540) 6 PM – 8 PM. REAL TIME IS FOR LGBTQ FRIENDS + ALLIES (ages 14-21) who reject negative labels and want to overcome difficulties in a positive way. Real Time, Real Talk, Real Friends! Everyone faces tough situations at home, at school and around town. But no one should ever be bullied or harassed for who they are. REAL TIME is about finding ways to deal with tough times. REAL TIME is about taking care of yourself + standing up for others. Fun, food, friends, FREE! Come check it out @ Persad-Erie, 1st and 3rd Monday of each month. Contact: Leann Rommitti. Phone: (412) 538-7862. Venue Phone: (814) 864-4429. Email: Browse to Browse to venue web site

Jul 4 (Thu) – LGBT Float in Millcreek Fourth of July Parade (Millcreek 4th of July Parade, 12th and Marshall, Erie, PA 16505) 9:45 AM. For the 8th year in a row, there will be an LGBT contingent in the Millcreek 4th of July Parade. The Parade draws typically draws around 20,000 spectators, so this is excellent for raising awareness and visibility in the community. I will have my cell phones on me (814) 746-9281. Step off on Thursday, July 4 is at 9:45 AM, and we are generally done by noon. Please note that pets are NOT allowed. This is a TERRIFIC way to be part of the greater Erie community! The organizers and crowds have been very friendly and supportive. Feel free to ask me any questions. Don’t miss out on an uplifting way to be a part of the community. Contact: Michael Mahler. Phone: (814) 456-9833. Email: Browse to RSVP/Register/Tickets at

Jun 7 – 8 (Fri – Sat) – 5th Annual Youngstown Pride Festival 2013 (Youngstown, OH 44503) Phone: (330) 518-4718. Email: Browse to

Jun 7 – 9 (Fri – Sun) – RETRO WEEKEND – 200 BLOCK PARY! (Jones Pond Campground & RV Park, 9835 Old State Rd, Angelica, NY 14709-8729) Get out the bellbottoms and tie-dye shirts and celebrate yesteryear. The highlight of the weekend is the 200 Block Party entitled “60’s Retro”. Phone: (585) 567-8100. Email: Browse to

Jun 7 (Fri) – Diversity Prom for WNY LGBT Youth and Allies (Asbury Hall, 341 Delaware Ave, Buffalo, NY 14202) 7 PM – 11 PM. Presented by Gay & Lesbian Youth Services of Western NY. $10/youth (includes use of photo booth)Dressy attire, DJ, Refreshments. All bags, cargo pockets/etc. screened at the door. If 18/19/mature looking, please have valid ID. Phone: (716) 855-0221. Venue Phone: (716) 852-3835 . Email: Browse to Browse to venue web site

Jun 8 (Sat) – Boots & Boxers Weekend (Camp Davis, 311 Redbrush Rd, Boyers, PA 16020-1219) Contact: Jim. Phone: (724) 637-2402. Email: Browse to

Jun 8 (Sat) – The B*tch is Back! Angelina’s Return! (Craze Night Club, 1607 Raspberry St, Erie, PA 16502) The RHONJ-realness is about to come back to the Crazy Stage as we welcome back ANGELINA DUCATI from CHICAGO! Phone: (814) 456-3027. Browse to

Jun 8 (Sat) – LBT Women go to Presque Isle Bike Tour (Presque Isle State Park, 301 Peninsula Drv #1, Erie, PA 16505) 10 AM. Join Kim and Andrea and a park naturalist on a 10 mile bicycle tour. Meet at cookhouse pavilion parking lot. Bring water and sunscreen. you can rent bikes if you don’t have one. No fee or registration. Contact: Laurie Finch. Venue Phone: (814) 833-7424. Email: Browse to Browse to venue web site

Jun 10 (Mon) – So You Think You Can Drag? Preliminary (Craze Night Club, 1607 Raspberry St, Erie, PA 16502) Think you have what it takes to make it on the Crazy Stage? Feel like you’d be a great drag queen or king? See what our judges think and compete for a spot in the Craze Night Club house cast. Applications available starting May 20th from any bartender. Phone: (814) 456-3027. Browse to

Jun 10 (Mon) – PFLAG Erie/Crawford County meets: Out in the Silence screening (Unitarian-Universalist Congregation of Erie, 7180 New Perry Highway, Erie, PA 16508) 7 PM – 8:30 PM. Support group for parents, friends and families of gay, lesbian and transgendered people. Meets 2nd Monday of each month from 7 to 8:30 PM at Unitarian-Universalist Congregation of Erie, 7180 New Perry Highway, Erie PA. Contact: Jayne May. Phone: (814) 367-3311. Venue Phone: (814) 864-9300. Email: Browse to Browse to venue web site

Win A Short Jew in the Body of a Tall W.A.S.P. by Mark Okun and Hillary Brower

Win A Short Jew in the Body of a Tall W.A.S.P. by Mark Okun and Hillary Brower. To enter the contest, fill out the form at from May 28 to June 18.

A Short Jew in the Body of a Tall W.A.S.P.

By Mark Okun and Hillary Brower


A Short Jew in the Body of a Tall W.A.S.P. by Mark Okun and Hillary Brower is honest, often funny and sometimes heartbreaking account of the struggles of Mark Okun, an adopted gay man.

As a tall blonde haired, blue-eyed gay man raised by loving, dark, small Jewish parents, Okun reflects on the feeling that his genes are at war with his upbringing as he tries to figure out how he fits in his own world. Through A Short Jew in the Body of a Tall W.A.S.P. he shares his personal love, loss and often late-night adventures, all of which he made it through thanks to his mismatched family.

With dashingly good looks as a young gay man, doors opened at an early age for acceptance into the world of hard partying, rock and roll, drugs and sex. It was a wild and fun ride yet it came with a toll to pay. When the alcohol and drugs wore off and the epidemic of HIV/AIDS hit hard, it was the strong family values of his adoptive parents that provided him with the strength to overcome the odds.

Filled with colorful characters of the times in the gay world of 1970’s and 80’s. A Short Jew in the Body of a Tall W.A.S.P. tells stories of the party life, the struggles in the gay community for acceptance and how everything crashed around him as Okun watched as his friends – one by one – get sick and die from this unknown disease.

Finally coming full circle by choosing sobriety and a healthier lifestyle, Okun is encouraged to find his biological family. True to his flamboyant nature he agrees to meet them on “The Gordon Elliot Show.” His reaction to the unification is not what you would expect.

Partnering up with close friend Hillary Brower to write his memoir, Okun touches upon themes including:

  • Life as an adopted child who looks nothing like his parents
  • Finding one’s identity in an adoptive family
  • The HIV/AIDS epidemic and his personal struggles with the disease
  • Sex, drugs and rock n roll in the early 70s and 80s
  • A look at gay rights in the past, present and future

“Growing up, I loved to tell stories. As a hair stylist , I have a great platform at which I can really open up about my past experiences,” says Okun. “In hearing my stories, friends, family and clients continually encouraged me to write a book. Knowing my friend Hillary loved to write, we agreed to collaborate when I met my birth family – and this is the story.”

Mark Okun is a practicing hairdresser with clientele in Miami, Palm Beach, and Memphis His home base is New York City at Salon 02 located at 20 West 22nd St in NYC. His life experiences in New York City, Fire Island and Miami have formed the body of the book, A Short Jew In the Body of a Tall W.A.S.P. His love for his craft, and his solid family values helped navigate him through the most difficult times of his life and fall with both feet on solid ground. He lives in Jersey City, NJ with his partner of 17 years John Wendell.

Hillary L. Brower is currently a practicing attorney at Hillary L. Brower, LLC. Brower primarily practices criminal defense and family law. Her overriding passion is for writing. Ms. Brower has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Syracuse University and a Juris Doctorate degree from Brooklyn Law School. Her many years of experience as an attorney has inspired her to write short stories based on true life experiences. Her long standing friendship with the co-author, Mark Okun produced the collaboration for the book.

A Short Jew in the Body of a Tall W.A.S.P. is available at,, Books & Books in Miami, Book Sellers in Memphis and Summer Stolstice on Fire Island.

For more information, please visit:

Yours sincerely,

Michael Kenton Mahler, Erie Gay News
1115 W 7th St, Erie PA 16502-1105
Phone: (814)456-9833
Fax: (530)451-9833
“Covering news & events in the Erie PA region since 1992”
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