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NYC’s iconic Pyramid Club closes



NYC's iconic Pyramid Club closes

The end of a business is so rarely the death knell for an era.

After over four decades hosting wild times, the East Village’s legendary Pyramid Club has announced that — as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic — it will not reopen. 

Both Nirvana and the Red Hot Chili Peppers played their first NYC concerts at the iconic venue, and celebrities including Andy Warhol, Madonna, Debbie Harry, Keith Haring, RuPaul and others spent countless hours being inspired by the depraved music and beauty happening within its walls.

“We are another sad consequence of Covid-19,” the club’s final managers, Maria Narciso and Quirino Perez, wrote in an Instagram post Thursday. “The very last night we opened our doors was March 7, 2020.” 

The news came as a surprise to the pair, who were working on reopening plans and had recently received city and state permission to start operating again beginning April 2. Then came a text message from The Pyramid Club’s owner: After 41 years, the club would close. 

“For decades, managers have run The Pyramid Club with unfortunately very little communication from the owners,” the couple — who are engaged — told EV Grieve, which first reported the news. “We don’t know what their plans are, as they are very private people and rarely, if ever, talk about their business plans with us.”

The blow is especially devastating for Perez, who has worked at The Pyramid Club for more than 37 years. “They were his first and only employer since he began working in his teens,” said Narciso. 

While the club, like so many other beloved city venues, now has the death year of 2021 on its tombstone, its freshly amber-encased legacy transcends its 101 Avenue A home.  

“We want to remind you that The Pyramid Club is just a building, we are the Pyramid Spirit, it lives inside all of us, inside of YOU, and it will live on!” Narciso and Perez concluded their post, which is signed “Eternally yours.” 

And that “Pyramid Spirit” runs far deeper than the celebrity names which elevated the venue and its small, divey storefront to immortal icons of early queer and punk culture: The Pyramid Club was a shelter and inspiration for strange strangers of all walks, offering them a space to exist and build together. 

“It served as a safe haven for freaks, geeks, weirdos, queers, and dreamers to come together and create,” wrote Tricia Romano in her 2014 oral history of The Pyramid Club. “Sometimes it was bad; sometimes it was beautiful. But it was never boring.”

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Hillsong shutters Dallas church following report of pastor’s lavish lifestyle



Hillsong shutters Dallas church following report of pastor’s lavish lifestyle

This Hillsong megachurch branch has been deemed beyond immediate redemption. 

Following months of internal scandal and shocking allegations, Hillsong’s founders have informed congregants that the Australia-based institution’s only Texas church will be closing up shop until further notice. 

“Many factors, all amplified by the pandemic, have resulted in the difficult decision to pause all operations at Hillsong Dallas for now,” Brian and Bobbie Houston, the husband-and-wife team who co-founded Hillsong and currently share the title of Global Senior Pastors, wrote to congregants in a Saturday email which was forwarded to The Post. “When the time is right and we have identified and trained suitable lead pastors, we will consider relaunching.”

The email goes on to detail a previously unannounced internal investigation into the Dallas branch’s former lead pastors, Reed and Jess Bogard, who quietly and suddenly resigned in January after more than a decade of employment at the once-celebrity-beloved international worship chain. Before becoming top dog at the Texas branch, Reed Bogard served as the head of finances at Hillsong NYC, where former members alleged that he and Jess exploited congregants for free labor and used tithe money to fund their luxury lifestyles.  

“We received several complaints regarding Reed Bogard’s failure to uphold the standards of Hillsong leadership. We suspended him from his pastoral duties as we initiated a review into these incidents,” the Houstons wrote, adding that the Bogards “decided to resign” early in the investigation process, which has since concluded. Citing investigation participants’ privacy, the email only vaguely details the pastors as having “failed to meet the commitments and standards” of Hillsong, before offering a brief apology “to those who felt disappointed or hurt.” 

The announcement comes as vindication for those who previously spoke out against the Bogards. 

“All we ever wanted was acknowledgment of what was happening,” Brandon Walker — who helped the Bogards start the Dallas branch in 2019 and previously talked about excessive spending — told The Post of the email. “Now that we got it, I believe we can finally move on.”   

Others, however, believe the megachurch needs to have a much deeper reckoning before it can be anywhere close to redeemed for its leadership failures. 

“I am grateful that there has been some action made as a result of person after person sharing their negative experience of Hillsong Church, but there needs to be a lot more progress made by Hillsong Church and specifically Brian Houston in light of all of the stories that have come out recently,” Jenna Babbitt, a current Dallas resident and former Hillsong NYC congregant, told The Post.

“Jess and Reed were a byproduct of an unhealthy spiritual environment that reproduces the same type of leader over and over again,” added Babbitt, who babysat for the Bogards during her years in NYC. “The culture of Hillsong is the problem, and the pastors, from continent to continent and coast to coast, are simply the byproduct of the culture.” 

Megan Phalon, who also worked with the Bogards while a congregant at Hillsong NYC, told The Post the email initially left her “in shock” and feeling “hopeful” that “Brian was actually acknowledging the wrong that the Bogards had done.” 

Her brief hope, however, was “overshadowed” by a now-deleted tweet Brian Houston sent on Sunday in response to a Christian Post article detailing allegations that married Hillsong staff administrator Jason Mays assaulted then-Hillsong College student Anna Crenshaw in May 2016. In the tweet, said Phalon, “He not only shared personal and private info regarding [Anna] but seemed to pass blame and victim shame [her].” 

“It’s a sad story,” begins the since-deleted tweet by Brian Houston. “A number of things in this article are factually wrong, but abuse is NEVER ok. My understanding is that Anna was originally abused in her father’s church in Pennsylvania. That makes it sadder. Whether abuse happens in Pennsylvania or Australia, it’s tragic.”

The following day, he apologized for the tweet. 

“In a comment on this article yesterday, I foolishly included information that was wrong for me to share,” Brian wrote in a reply. “To (rightfully) be more respectful of privacy, I deleted my comment. I apologize for any pain I have caused. I know better and will do better.” 

This, however, was not sufficient for Anna’s father, Ed Crenshaw.

“[Your] 1st response to article is indicative of mishandling Anna from day one. I assure you there are more ‘factual errors’ on the part of your staff than in Anna’s story,” he wrote in response. 

In response to The Post’s request for comment, Hillsong sent Houston’s apology tweet. The Bogards did not respond to a request for comment.

To Phalon, Houston’s initial tweet is indicative of the whole ordeal being “a game to him.”

“His response was so disgusting. I have truly lost all faith that any of this will be made right,” Phalon said. “He doesn’t care about seeing us — who were abused by people he put into power — get justice or healing. He just wants to pass the blame and shame us enough so we stop talking. It’s not going to happen.”

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Disney actress turned porn star Maitland Ward talks career



Disney actress turned porn star Maitland Ward talks career

Former Disney actress–turned porn star Maitland Ward is making a triumphant return to TV after landing a new sitcom role, The U.S. Sun reports.

Ditching her Disney persona, the 44-year-old Maitland Ward dove headlong into porn in 2019 and recently won eight awards from the adult-film industry’s version of the Oscars.

Battling efforts to cancel her for daring to be a former star of the Disney show “Boy Meets World” who did porn, Maitland Ward has proved them all wrong by getting cast in the new sitcom “The Big Time.”

Appropriately enough, she will play a world famous porn star who joins forces with a writer to bring a dying movie studio back to life.

Speaking exclusively to The Sun, she says: “I’ve been renewed! I really never had harsh judgement come down on me that I was warned about and that a lot of people expected.”

 Disney porn star Maitland Ward reveals sex on camera has ‘given her acting career back’ as she lands new sitcom role

“In fact, my career has been really celebrated, even by groups of people I never would’ve thought,” Maitland Ward marveled at how she’s gone from Disney to porn to sitcom work.

“Young women have been the most supportive and vocal,” she continued. 

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“They tell me how empowering it is for them to watch me take my life and my sexuality into my own hands and not be ashamed by it.”

The Mirror reports that long before her porn days, Maitland Ward launched her acting career in 1994 with “The Bold and the Beautiful.” Two years later, she landed her breakout part on Disney’s “Boy Meets World.”

She starred in a string of roles, including hit comedy film White Chicks in 2004, before her acting work dried up.

Former Disney star Maitland Ward says starring in porn has rejuvenated her acting career

Post-Disney but pre-porn, Maitland Ward lamented that she was offered only typecast roles.

She felt dissatisfied with the entertainment business, which wasn’t offering her any substantive dramatic parts. 

But then Maitland Ward, a Disney princess no more, hit her stride when she got to know some porn actors.

Next thing she knew, she’d flung off her clothes and was making a living doing so, Complex reports.

Maitland Ward, the former Boy Meets World actress who made headlines after she jumped into the adult film industry, says that she regularly makes six figures per month off of people subscribing to her OnlyFans account.

Maitland Ward Says She Makes 6 Figures Per Month Through OnlyFans

Shedding her Disney image along with her panties, Mailant Ward explained in an interview with the New York Post why doing porn on OnlyFans has been so liberating during the Covid-19 pandemic.

She said that the stress of the past year has made people want to “connect and get off.”

Even when she was working for Disney, Maitland Ward said, she never made as much money as she has from OnlyFans.

LAD Bible reports that Ward intends to keep up her OnlyFans content production as she films her new sitcom.

Maitland, 44, told the [New York Post]: “I want to slay both industries. I love and embrace both. Me being bold and free in my sexuality and so out there with it has really given me that power. When I was like this innocent flower, I was letting everyone else dictate what I should do or what I should be.”

Disney Actor Turned Porn Star Maitland Ward Is Returning To TV

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Lee Aaker, ‘Rin Tin Tin’ and ‘High Noon’ child star, dead at 77



Lee Aaker, 'Rin Tin Tin' and 'High Noon' child star, dead at 77

Lee Aaker, a blonde, button-nosed staple of classic film and television throughout the 1950s, has died. He was 77.

Best-known for the classic boy-and-his-dog series “The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin” which ran on ABC from 1954 to 1959, Aaker passed away earlier this month after a stroke in Mesa, Arizona, his friend and fellow former child star Paul Peterson confirmed via Facebook.

“Saying Goodbye to Lee Aaker — you have to be a certain age to remember Rin Tin Tin,” Peterson, 75, wrote in his short but poignant post. “Lee Aaker passed away in Arizona on April 1st, alone and unclaimed … listed as an ‘indigent decedent.’ “

Born in Inglewood, California on Sept. 25, 1943, Aaker was discovered by legendary film director Fred Zinnemann and cast in his 1951 short film “Benjy,” which was commissioned as a fundraiser video by Los Angeles Orthopedic Hospital. The 31-minute short, narrated by Henry Fonda, featured Aaker as a little boy with scoliosis who gets the chance to undergo a life-changing medical procedure — if he can get permission from the parents who have rejected him. Despite featuring scripted scenes, “Benjy” would go on to win the Oscar for Best Documentary Short category.

Next up: Zinnemann recruited Aaker for an uncredited appearance in his classic Western “High Noon,” opposite Gary Cooper. That film won four Academy Awards, but lost Best Picture at the 1953 Oscars to Cecil B. DeMille’s “The Greatest Show on Earth,” which also featured Aaker in another uncredited role.

In all, Aaker appeared in nine films released in 1952 — all before he turned 10 years old.

However, like many stars that shine early and bright, Aaker struggled to get work as he grew up. As a teenager, Aaker scored bit parts on TV series such as “The Donna Reed Show,” where he met his lifetime pal Paul Petersen.

“Suddenly after the series was canceled and I began doing guest shots, I realized that something had changed — I wasn’t the center of attention any more,” Aaker once said according to his IMDB profile. “My folks had always told me that my career might not last, but when it happened, it was still a hard thing for me to adjust to.”

His last on screen appearances were an uncredited role in the 1963 screen adaptation of the musical “Bye Bye Birdie” and a guest spot on “The Lucy Show.” He enlisted in the Air Force shortly after leaving Hollywood and worked a carpenter, the Wrap reported. Later in life he became a regular at fan conventions.

Peterson, now a well-known advocate for former youth performers, said he is now fighting to organize a burial service for Aaker.

“As an Air Force veteran Lee is entitled to burial benefits,” Peterson said. “I am working on that. God knows when a sparrow falls.”

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