Music Writer / Dancing Queen / World Traveler
Mayra is an all-around Renaissance woman. From music, to sports, to travel, to arts, she does it all. She has a not-so-secrect obsession for singing to her one lucky lady. You can find her at the raunchiest karaoke bars in town, classy-ing up the place with her signature fedora.
BOUND had a chat with the lovely and talented Jill Bennett - and we tried really hard not to swoon. Jill burst onto the big screen in “In Her Line of Fire,” alongside Mariel Hemingway and then stole our hearts in her role as Casey in “And Then Came Lola.” Most recently, Jill co-created of the webseries, “Second Shot,” which she also stars and produces. The series premieres April 5th at 7 p.m. on
We absolutely loved you in “And Then Came Lola.” Do people come up to you and talk to you about it?
Yeah! It was a fun little film made by women within in our community. It was really fun to be a part of. I was actually the first person they cast and I suggested Ashley Sumner for one of the roles. It is one of those movies that people still ask about. We were in Germany over the summer at a Film Festival and people still asked about “And Then Came Lola,” it’s sweet that the movie still has some life in it.
How has the transition been from acting to producing?
After you’ve been an actor, for a while, you start to get a little frustrated about what you’re seeing or maybe not seeing. I’ve been working predominantly in the gay community and I’ve had a lot of fun, and there are a lot of great projects out there, but I always felt a little unsatisfied with either the character I was playing, or the story as a whole, or how it ended up. That’s why we wanted to do something really small and for ourselves and for whatever fan based we had wanting to show a lesbian couple. And, it had to be funny and not end with cancer or death or with somebody deciding to be straight . So that’s why we started doing it.
What are you working on now?
I produced a new series called “Second Shot” and I’m also in development for a couple of feature films that I want to do. They are all stories that I relate to. They are not about being gay, but a lesbian is the lead character, or one of the protagonists in the story, and its really satisfying for me. At this point anything that I do in the gay community, I want to be part of the production team because I have specific ideas of what I want to be involved with and the stories that I think need to be told.
So, you’re kind of a perfectionist.
That’s exactly right. I’ve worked with a lot of straight film makers and played a lesbian in their movies. I’m not going to say that they didn’t do a good job, they did the best that they could do, but I felt there were elements of the story that they weren’t getting right, which is understandable because they are not gay. And, there are just certain parts of our lives that people that are outside really don’t understand. So, that was definitely part of wanting to get into producing.
We have a quote from you that you said a long time ago, which reads, “There are plenty of lesbians in Hollywood, but they are not out and that is their choice, but I can’t do that, it’s too important to me.” Is that still true?
Absolutely. I do remember that and I still mean it. Obviously things have changed a lot since I said that and more and more people have come out of the closet - and I mean not a lot of lesbians, but a lot of gay men have come out of the closet. I don’t want to say that it’s different for women than for men, because it’s hard for men to come out as well, but there is a lot of sexism here [in Hollywood]. I think it’s difficult for women to be openly gay. So, yes I still believe and I’m still happy that I did it and I wouldn’t change anything.
When did you come out to Hollywood?
It was 2006 or so that I did an interview because I was in the original cast of Dante’s Cove. I shot the pilot and then the show got recast, so I didn’t come back until the 3rd season. I was never in the closet, but that was the first time that I was interviewed about it for anything related to my acting.
And, what about your personal coming out story? How did your family react?
I definitely knew as a kid. I wasn’t out in high school because it was in the mid-ninety’s, and it was a much different time then. I had a couple of boyfriends but we never...you know [laughs]. Poor guys, nothing ever happen. I did tell my parents when I was nineteen after my first semester in college. My mom was surprised and my dad said he knew when I was in high school. By in large, I had a very easy coming out process. My family was pretty supportive.
How would you say the community has evolved since you came out? Are things better?
I think it’s much better. It’s really exploded. Everything with the internet has changed. It’s so amazing to me that now there are so many web sites and so many communities for lesbians to find each other. But, we still don’t have equal rights. I’m in my late 30’s and I’m looking at the younger girls coming up and I worry that they don’t understand the need to be politically involved. I would love to not be political, but we are not in that position yet.
Vanessa Picart, better known as VButterfly La Mariposa, is one of the hottest female DJ’s in Miami. Born to the beautiful island of Puerto Rico, this sizzling hot Latina will pack any party with her seductive lyrics, high energy beats, and sexy performances. This Borinquen Beauty fell in love with music at a very early age, as she explored her talents as a dancer at well-known dance companies in New York, Orlando, and Miami. It was through her passion of dance that “La Mariposa” was born. As a DJ, she has produced and released her music via FLAVA Music Records, including recent favorites “Vaporize the DJ” and “La Sucia”. When the Butterfly takes the stage, the crowd will feel her passion the music running through her veins, and their night will be unforgettable.
Bound: How did you come up with the name VButterfly?
VButterfly: Well I found out that my name in Greek means butterfly so I Googled Vanessa Butterfly and got no hits! I was the first one to adopt the name. Now there are like four Vanessa Butterfly but I was definitely the first, “La Original”
Bound: What type of crowd do you play to?
VButterfly: I simply play my music for anyone who will listen (laugh). You have to play the music that will bring the crowd but at the same time play from your heart. I wouldn’t put a label on the type of people that enjoy my music because I can play for a gay crowd on Friday and play the same music for a non-gay crowd on Saturday and pack the house both nights. It’s the good music that attracts the people.
Bound: Tell me a little bit about the music you produce
VButterfly: The base of my music is House but it spans all genres. I like to mix many beats into my sets like Tribal, Electro, Progressive, Minimal, etc… It’s about finding the music and the beats that will allow me to express myself through my music.
Bound: What was the first beat you created?
VButterfly: My first original production was self titled VButterfly and I released it in 2006. I released it through FLAVA Music Records which is still my label. The most popular songs on the album were Magic Stick and Penetration because the video went absolutely viral. My full discography is on my page. Check it out here.
Bound: What is your most memorable moment as a DJ?
VButterfly: That is yet to happen. For right now, I would say spinning at the Backstage Discotec in Puerto Rico.
Bound: You have accomplished so many things with your music, you are producing, you do your own shots, where do you go from here? What would be your ideal next big step?
VButterfly: My goal as an artist is to have my own studio where I could produce, and develop scores for films, commercials, and TV. I would also really love to work with new artists and show those who are willing about my music.
Bound: What are you working on right now? Anything else you want to tell our readers?
VButterfly: I’m currently working on some music for my tour with FLAVA Records in Puerto Rico for 2013. I’m also excited to be working with DJ Nina Flowers again on a new track. We should have it ready in time for RuPaul
All-Stars. What else do I want your readers to know? That I love what I do and I
am going to keep doing my thing until I’m a grandma in a wheelchair. In the
meantime, check me out on my web
Check out VButterfly's "OH YEAH" mix below and follow her on SoundCloud
Recently BOUND had the privilege and honor to chat with 15-time Grammy nominated and two-time winner, Melissa Etheridge. We spoke about her new album, ‘4th Street Feeling,’ which takes fans back to the beginning of her musical journey; taking bold musical chances like playing lead guitar for the first time on every song in the album, playing a harmonica, and even a banjitar. She also talks about her coming out process and shares some sage advice for those women who are starting on their own journey.
Bound: Every song is a story, as a singer songwriter; can you briefly describe your process? Does the music come first or the lyrics?
ME: People always ask me that and the answer is the inspiration comes first. That inspiration can sometimes come in the form of lyrics, sometimes it can be music, sometimes it’s a melody, sometimes it could be rhythm, and sometimes it’s just an idea of what I want the song to be about. There’s really not a formula – music or lyric – there are many different ways to get into a song.
Bound: Your last studio album was 'Fearless Love' which was released in 2010. Did you start working on '4th Street' immediately after that?
ME: Yes I did. At the end of 2010 and the beginning of 2011, I started thinking and writing for ‘4th Street.’ It was a process. I started by just letting myself think and write all year long. It wasn’t until the beginning of this year that I started formulating the songs and putting them all together. We got in the studio in April of 2012.
Bound: Tell me about the name of the album and how you would describe it in one word.
ME: To describe the album in one word I would have to say, “Home.” That’s really what ‘4th Street Feeling’ is all about. It’s about finding home. Now, 4th Street is the main drag in Leavenworth, Kansas - the town I grew up in. It’s a small Midwestern town and 4th street goes from tiny little downtown out into the place where the Burger King, and the McDonald’s, and the Sonic were. It was the only four lane highway out of town. It was where we’d cruise around and where I spent most of my teenage years, in my 1964 Chevy Impala. So finding that ‘4th Street Feeling’ is getting back to that time when all I worried about was cruising 4th street in my Chevy.
Bound: We have a very famous street here in Miami called 8th Street, but I’m sure it’s not the same feeling.
ME: I’m sure it’s a little different with a lot better music [laughs].
Bound: The first single “Falling up,” is that a banjo? Are you playing it? Have we heard that before?
ME: Yeah. It’s actually banjitar which means it’s a banjo body with a guitar neck. But, basically yes I’m playing the Banjo. I learned how to play the Banjo when I was very young because I started out in country bands. By the time I was 18, I wasn’t playing the Banjo anymore and it wasn’t until these last couple of years that I saw the Banjo making a comeback in Rock and Roll that I thought “well hey I can do that” so I grabbed it and played it. It was fun.
Bound: You have had an amazing 25 year career and ‘4th Street Feeling’ is your 12th album. What advice do you have for aspiring singers and guitarist who want to have the type of career you have had?
ME: Yeah. I’ve been blessed. Do what you love and do it because you love it. Not to be rich or famous because that rarely happens, so just do it because you love it and if you do it and you love it, then you can go from there. Then anything that happens is just icing on the cake. But you’ve got to just make the music you love and sing for everyone that will listen.
Bound: You came out during President Clinton’s inauguration party. Was that planned?
ME: Not at all. It was planned in a way that, that year I had made up my mind that I was going to come out. I had done interviews where this guy that interviewed me changed all my responses, I would always answer in a very gender non-specific way and he changed all my answers to my boyfriend. So I thought “oh Jesus Christ people are gonna think I’m all straight”, and so I decided I have to change this. At the time I thought I was going to come out on Arsenio Hall or something, but at the time, I was at a big gay ball for the Clinton inauguration because I had been involved with a lot of the gay fund raising and stuff for that. So I was on stage in front of all these gay men and women and I just said “Hey I’m a big gay gal” and that was me coming out.
Bound: You came out 20 years ago but you’ve said many times that you have been a lesbian your entire life. How would you say the community has changed over that time?
ME: I think so much has changed in the community. When I was a child, there was such a rebelliousness that came with being gay. It meant you were outside of the society, you were never going to have kids, marriage was a very straight thing so it was not something we were going to do – it was about being a rebel. When we grew up and my generation started saying we want a life, that is when we all started saying, “No we actually don’t want to be rebels, we want to be part of society.” America is a beautiful place, it is a place of freedom, and we are part of it. The walk through our gay political civil rights movement has been a long and slow one but it has always constantly been moving forward. It’s a beautiful thing to even know how far we have come. I mean, I went to a gay wedding in New York last week – it was fabulous – and to hear the rabbi saying “by the power vested in me by the state of New York, I pronounce you husband and husband,” I thought to myself oh my god this is real. That’s big stuff. We’ve come a long way. I think the greatest thing we could do is to love ourselves more, to be kinder to ourselves, to understand our own homosexuality, what it is, and that it is a very natural part of the human experience and always has been. Once we can sort of grasp that ourselves, then our brothers and sisters out there in the world can also.
Bound: What would be your message to all those women out there struggling with their sexuality?
ME: I would say it is about your health, it is about your happiness, and it is about your state of mind to be who you are. There are people dying every day because they couldn’t accept who they are, and the best thing you can do to change the world, is to be that change. Be that out person that people know and say “oh I know a gay person and she’s fine.” Be that person to yourself, and the world will look at you that way too.
Name: Geraldine (DJ GiGi)
DJ since: 2003
Words of Wisdom: “No matter what language you speak, we all understand the language of music and that helps inspire me and the music I mix.”
First up on our lineup is the sizzling hot Latina DJ GiGi, also known to her fans as DJ G-Spot because her sets are absolutely orgasmic! She is what we call a natural talent - born with one hand on her headset and the other one jamming to the beat. This Venezuelan bombshell has been ripping the turntables at some of the hottest clubs from Washington D.C. to Miami, adding her Latin Spice to every set she mixes. Her love for the art and true passion for the music will keep you completely entranced; you’ll have to be kicked off the dance floor before you stop jamming. It’s happened to me a few times.
BM: How did you get started in the industry?
DJ GiGi: I have always been in love with music but I honestly never thought of being a DJ until Jackie, the owner of Café Citron in D.C., gave me my big break. Soon as I got into the DJ booth and started spinning for the first time, I glanced at the crowd and saw everyone on the dance floor. That’s when I knew this is what I was meant to do.
BM: Where else have you dropped your fabulous beats?
DJ GiGi: In D.C. I was also able to play at Current, Josephine, Eden, Guarapos, Rosebar, District Underground, and Apex. I also had a radio show Friday afternoons on United’s 87.7FM radio station’s “Party Mix”. From there I got the chance to DJ live at RFK Stadium during a D.C. United’s soccer game. I was also selected to do Toronto Pride which was an unbelievable experience. My Miami debut was during Aqua Girl in 2011 for the Splash Pool party. Since then, I’ve played for Miami, Winter Party 2012 and Miami Beach Gay Pride 2012 at SCORE. I am currently one of the resident DJ for Icandee Events and I travel to DC to DJ at Rosebar / Masa 14 and El Centro DF.
BM: What would you say is your most memorable moment while spinning?
DJ GiGi: I would definitely have to say spinning at the Toronto Pride festival at the Phoenix Concert Theatre. It is every DJ’s dream to have a room full of people dancing and jamming to your beats and at that event, I was spinning for 5,000 women that wouldn’t stop dancing. It was the best and most rewarding experience I have had in my career.
BM: What DJ’s do you listen to now?
DJ GiGi: My favorites are DJ Ceballos, Gregor Salto, and DJ Abel Ramos but honestly I try to listen to as many DJ’s as possible. The more I listen and keep at it, the more I learn, and the better I become.
BM: What are your plans for the future? Are we going to be listening to DJ GiGi for a while?
DJ GiGi: Definitely. My plans for the future are simple. Keep getting better and master my skill. That’s the way I’m going to keep getting the chance to play my music for more and more people.
Check out DJ GiGi's "Kick Back" mix below and follow her on SoundCloud
I am sure you are all wondering how a Cuban from Hialeah ends up with a Puerto Rican accent. Simple really; I love the island of Puerto Rico. When you go to Puerto Rico as often as I do and the majority of your friends are Puerto Rican, it is impossible not to pick up their signature “ay bendito.”
There are so many things to fall in love with in Puerto Rico – and I don’t just mean the gorgeous women. The food is amazing, the sights are awe-inspiring, and the people are even better –and almost every Puerto Rican has at least a gay cousin so it really is a slice from heaven.
Here are some travel tips for your first or next visit:
Where to Stay
San Juan is divided into old San Juan and new San Juan. You will probably be better off staying somewhere in the new San Juan like Condado Beach, Isla Verde, Ocean Park, or Santurce. This area is where all the best clubs, restaurants, and casinos are. If you are looking for a more romantic getaway, the place to be is the Waldorf Astoria El Conquistador Resort. This place is so amazing you’ll never want to leave the resort – or your room for that matter.
Sites to see
There are many places to go and so many things to see you won’t be able to do it all in one trip, so here are my top must-sees for any first-time visitor. Old San Juan needs to be the first on your list. Park your car anywhere and just walk around the town. Explore the authentic shops – and the not so authentic expensive ones - have a “piragua,” and then visit the 400-year-old Castillo de San Felipe del Morro.
“El Yunque,” the world-famous rainforest, is next on the list. It’s a two hour drive from San Juan, but well worth it. You can hike the trails, take a dive under a waterfall, or simply bask in the beauty of the lush greenery. The Camuy caves should be your next stop. This cave system is about 600 feet deep and the third largest in the world. If you are feeling adventurous, there are excursions that will take you rappelling down the mouth of the cave, mud-sliding, body rafting, and even free jumping.
Every single beach in Puerto Rico is fabulous (come on… it’s an island in the Caribbean). So instead of writing about EVERY beach, here are the best beaches suited for certain things. The best family beaches are Luquillo and Piñones because they both have very little coral reef which is great for children. When you get out of the water, stop by any of the “chinchorros,” grab your favorite greasy finger food like an “empanadilla,” or “alcapurria,” and buy yourself a medalla. You’ll find the best swells at Playa Higüero in Rincon. This beach is famous for the winter surf so if you’re looking to catch some waves from November to April, this is the place to be. The best beach to just get away from it all is Playa Rosado. It is just east from Cabo Rojo and a bit tricky to get there but totally worth it. The beast beach to snorkel is Playa Esperanza. The beaches that are gay-friendly and gay-populated are in Boqueron, Condado and Ocean Park.
The most famous gay and lesbian bar in Puerto Rico is Krash in Santurce, where there’s
always a party on Friday and Saturday nights. Also in Santurce is Starz club and it gives Krash a run for its money. Starz is known for its progressive house music and theme parties. Also very popular and located near Condado is Circo Bar – I love their Thursday night Karaoke of course. There is also the lesbian-owned Airenumo, which does a “Caberet” night on Saturdays. My best recommendation is go to one of these spots, meet a few people from the island, and go bar hopping.
The Hidden Gems
I wanted to leave this section for last because this is my favorite part of Puerto Rico. There are two islands off the coast of Puerto Rico: Vieques and Culbera. Vieques is the bigger of the two and more populated. Here you will find Playa Esperanza (mentioned above), the Black sand Beach, and even a 300-year old “ceiba” tree. Here you can also visit the bioluminescent bay. The micro-organisms in this bay glow whenever the water is disturbed. Go when the moon is hiding and you will see this bay turn neon blue. It is absolutely amazing. The smaller of the two is Culebra. The best part about this island is how isolated it is. This island is home to the third most beautiful beach in world, Playa Flamenco, and the most deserted beach in Puerto Rico, Zoni Beach.
So if you’re looking to relax on the beach, party with friends, or simply just try some of the best food on the planet get on a short plane ride and visit the small island of Puerto Rico. It’s the one vacation you will never regret.
Playa Flamenco Bioluminescent Bay