Outmusic Awards 2006 Honorees

(text from Outmusic site)

Special Recognition Award

Junior Vasquez

Junior Vasquez

Junior Vasquez has been at the forefront of the dance music scene for over twenty years. He started out making mix tapes for friends in the early eighties. One of his friends, a young visionary who was just beginning to make a name for himself among the Bohemian art set, invited Junior to DJ at a private party he was throwing in the West Village. The artist was Keith Haring and the parties were the now infamous Carmine Street Pool Parties.

The young DJ, with his transfixing mixes of the day's biggest dance hits and underground club nuggets, became an instant sensation among downtown trendsetters and soon Junior was in search of a permanent venue to reach a wider audience. His only option was to open a new club, Bassline, in New York's Tribeca, which became Junior's first house. Within two years, the crowds outgrew the space. Junior needed a new home, one that he envisioned as "strictly afterhours, strictly underground". His answer was The Sound Factory, the legendary club that is still considered to have been the Mecca of all dance clubs.

Meanwhile, outside of The Sound Factory booth, Junior Vasquez was actively being pursued by the biggest names in show business. Working alongside the prolific producing team of Arthur Baker and Shep Pettibone, Junior was courted by artists like Michael Jackson, Madonna, Prince and Cyndi Lauper. MC Hammer, the biggest name in hip hop at the time, re-cut his "Pray" video to Junior's mix and John Mellencamp opened his 1992 World tour with Junior's version of "Love and Happiness".

The day Junior decided to leave The Sound Factory for Tunnel, his legion of fans dutifully followed; and then multiplied. Junior proved to have the power to transform gutted warehouses into all night dance arenas where people from different walks of life – black, white, straight, gay, muscled guidos and pink-haired transvestites – came together as one. From Tunnel to Palladium, Twilo to Earth and Earth to Discotheque. Every venue has become legendary in its own right; defined by its own sound created by Vasquez and his favored diva-of-the-moment.

Palladium, popularly known as Arena, is most remembered by Junior's original mixes of Whitney Houston's "Step By Step", Toni Braxton's "Unbreak My Heart", and Madonna's "Don't Cry For Me Argentina". Twilo introduced Mary J. Blige's "Your Child" and Nelly Furtado's "I'm Like A Bird". Earth featured Deborah Cox and Kevin Aviance's post 9/11 anthem "Alive".

Four years ago, Junior founded his own record label, JVM. Though not averse to working with big name talent, Junior's main focus has been on fostering relationships with new artists and producers, giving them a direct outlet to the dance world's biggest DJs and underground devotees the world over. Newcomers such as the Swedish pop band Alcazar, piano sensation Casey Stratton and the male vocalist phenomenon Jason Walker, have benefited under Junior's tutelage -- and have achieved chart-topping results. Junior Vasquez is currently producing special events at three of New York City's mega-clubs: Spirit, Roxy and Crobar. He also maintains a busy DJ schedule throughout the world.

For more info, visit: www.juniorvasquezmusic.com

Outmusic Outstanding Support Award

Kathy Reiser

Kathy Rieser has been the host/producer of Out, Loud, and Queer, WJFF/Radio Catskill, Jeffersonville, NY for 10 years. She is the founder and producer of Day to be Gay in the Catskills which will celebrate it’s 6th year in September 2006 and is the president of the Day to be Gay Foundation of Sullivan County. Rieser co-founded www.gaysullivan.com and served on the board of Outmusic for one year.

Outmusic Heritage Award

Tom Wilson Weinberg

Tom Wilson Weinberg, began singing original queer-themed songs in gay coffeehouses and at pride events in the late seventies. His early albums, "Gay Name Game" (1979) and "All-American Boy" (1982) were among the first in this new genre. He then turned his attention to musical theater. "Ten Percent Revue" and "Get Used to It!" were produced Off-Broadway, published by Broadway Play Publishing Company, toured extensively and recorded by Aboveground Records. His compilation "Don't Mess With Mary" (1994) was the official CD of Stonewall 25. "Bruhs and Gean" commissioned by the New York City Gay Men's Chorus, debuted at Carnegie Hall and was later sung at Lincoln Center. In an expanded version the show was presented by the Philadelphia Gay and Lesbian Theater Festival in 2003, at The Duplex in New York and on Fire Island in 2004.

Tom's "The Teachings of Chairman Rick" was part of the 2005 Philly Fringe Festival. These two shows are both scheduled for revivals in 2006. Tom's "Eleanor and Hick," about the relationship of Eleanor Roosevelt and Lorena Hickok, is in development in New York, directed by Darren Katz and featuring Lea Delaria in the role of Hickok. His song "Lesbian Seagull" was featured in the film "Beavis and Butt-head Do America" (Paramount/MTV), included on the soundtrack (Geffen/Universal), published by Warner Chappell and released as a single with Red Hot Chili Peppers' "Love Rollercoaster." The easiest route to Tom's website is via Google. His early LPs and cassettes are available from Aboveground Records. The CDs are available from Amazon and Giovanni's Room, as well as Aboveground Records.

Honors include two Drama-Logue Awards (Los Angeles), two Golden Gull Awards (Provincetown) and the Bessie Smith Award (Boston). A longtime activist, Tom was a co-founder of Giovanni's Room and president of The Attic Youth Center, both in Philadelphia. He commutes between New York and Philadelphia, where he lives with John Whyte, his lover of 32 years. Tom is a member of Outmusic, The Purple Circuit and ASCAP.

For more info, visit: www.voicenet.com/~weinberg