Thursday, March 06, 2014

The Digital Radar Soars

Producing COP 24/7 in 2014

I think by now, most of you now that this forum is usually produced in advance and scheduled to appear throughout the week. I just love those fancy blogging gadgets that help with your time management when producing this time consuming platform. Even as that may be, I do break from the scheduled content to opt for perhaps whatever is "breaking news" or items that warrant being addressed ASAP. In our tenth year of production, I've learned much and have adapted to the latest trends, updates and the ever changing digital landscape. Let's keep it clear, COP 24/7 is a open space town square where an array of topics are brought to the table for discussion and or analysis.

 Recently we've launched our Rainbow Circle of Friends Initiative in which we are seeking individual or corporate donations to support all of work in advocacy, outreach, educational programming and leadership empowerment projects being made available across the state.

I have added a secured Paypal button in which you can show your pride by making a donation toward the producing of COP 24/7, designating your donation toward our advocacy work connected to our participation in AIDS Watch 2014 or our new anthology project slated for a December 2014 release. We are doing the work and need your gifts, treasure or in-kind donations to help us keep moving forward.  If you've got news, observations, press releases or editorial comments, hit us up at Now let's
check what's on today's radar!!

Nightlife Guru Victor Drai Opening Gay Club on Vegas Strip

By Neal Broverman
Liaison will open in the Bally's resort this summer. Good news following the dramatic flameout of Vegas gay superclub Krave Massive: nightlife impresario Victor Drai is opening an LGBT nightclub at Bally's Las Vegas Hotel & Casino.

The venue, called Liaison, opens in June or July at Bally's, which is in the heart of the Strip. Drai, who's building a club at the forthcoming Cromwell Hotel and Casino across Las Vegas Boulevard from Bally's, will soon hire another managing partner with close ties to the gay community to help set up Liaison.

Michael Gruber, part of Drai's Management Group, told the Las Vegas Weekly, “[The gay community] has always been treated like second class in this town. It’s something we wanted to offer — a dedicated space.” I've visited Vegas numerous times and I too have felt that despite all the glitz and glam that the city offers, the gay night life didn't meet expectations. Of course then came Krave Massive which touted itself as the behemoth of all gay bars and which I thought this seems like a disaster movie waiting to happen. And by golly, I was right on target. Big promoter talk amidst sketchy financing, $700,000 in unpaid taxes, bouncing pay checks, reported poor service and all that come with the crashing of a bad idea.

Liaison will be near other gay-friendly properties affiliated with the Caesars chain of casino resorts, including Planet Hollywood, where Britney Spears performs, and Caesars Palace, where Celine Dion has a residency. Cross-promotional opportunities will likely encourage LGBT guests at those hotels to check out Liasion.

Drai, who's straight, says he loves gay clubs and danced at them when he was a Paris scenester. He says Vegas needs to adopt a more cosmopolitan attitude where gay and straight people party together. SBE, which operates the Abbey bar in West Hollywood, is prepping the opening of the SLS Las Vegas, though there are no reports of a gay club there yet. ( source:

Servicing Arkansas with links to HIV/AIDS Care

Sine our inception, this platform has been dedicated to defining and redefining challenges and
barriers around HIV and AIDS in Arkansas. Over the years COP 24/7 has charted the ebbing and flowing of the states service providers that has been described by now State Health Officer, Dr. Nate Smith as a "patchwork" system of services.
The Arkansas HIV Planning Group is charged with monitoring the implementation of high impact programming in the state and has moved to share updated information on its Facebook page ( ) and through internal messaging to its member partners.

Although those services are now being augmented by Ryan White policy changes and the advent of
the Affordable Healthcare Act, there is still a need to further understand the disparities in "linkage to care" and its twin aggregate "retention in care."

In a recent BTAN ( Black Treatment Advocates Network) capacity building session co-sponsored by Merck Pharmaceutical and facilitated by Kim Thomas, she was emphatic that these elements are essential in the care continuum and urged participants to assess their services as a response to this dilemma.

It was her observation that although we've done a great job in the testing arena, what's at stake is the next phase of getting folks in care and keeping them engaged. Apart of those services also include those whom offer supportive services such as Northeast Arkansas Regional AIDS Network (NARAN).

Located in Jonesboro ( ), under the direction of Mrs. Debbie Biazo, individuals can access HOPWA funding (Housing Opportunties for Persons with AIDS) for 41 counties in the state, including coverage of southwest and southeast Arkansas. Other assistance includes:
  •     emergency short term – we can pay rent, mortgage and/or utility bills for a limited amount of time.  There is a dollar limit as well as weeks of service limit 
  •     tenant based rental assistance – works like Section 8 where we subsidize the rent on a monthly basis.  The amount of assistance is based on household income
  •     permanent housing placement – we can pay up to two months of full rent to assist a client in getting into a rental unit
If you have someone in the greater Little Rock area who need assistance, Arkansas AIDS Foundation has the funding for that area ( 501 376-6299 ).  In northeast Arkansas, ARcare has the funding ( 870 400-0263 ).

Our phone number is (870) 931-4448 and fax is (870) 931-4149.  Adam is the case manager for the tenant based rental assistance and I handle the emergency and permanent housing programs.  Give them a call if you know of someone that needs assistance or information.
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