| Jan 28, 2011 |
New York's “Designing Men” share stories on video
Boh staff
By Staff

The New York interior design community members created a video as part of the It Gets Better Project, providing support for gay youth. The video showed creative, successful professional men sharing candid, personal stories about growing up gay. They offer advice, words of inspiration, and an uplifting chorus of “It gets betters.”

The New York “Designing Men” included Darrin Varden, Michael Tavano, Carl Lana of Beale-Lana Design, John Eason of John Douglas Eason Interiors, Benjamin Noriega-Ortiz of BNO Design, blogger and designer Patrick J. Hamilton, and Ken Wampler, founder and Director of The Alpha Workshops.

“It was humbling to see these men, now so comfortable in their own skin and so respected in their field, speak of the hatred they faced growing up," said Hamilton, who spearheaded the video. "I’m sure their colleagues and clients have no inkling what adversity these men faced, and risen so beautifully above. They’ve all really transcended those moments… and are living proof of what wonderful things lie ahead, and what these kids can look forward to, by persevering."

Each had his own reasons for participating. For Tavano, it was more sense of duty than desire. “It’s important to let our younger generation know they are not alone, and provide role models they can be proud of, look to and say, ‘I can do that, I can be that’. And it's a necessity for our own growth to give back.”

Many cited the video as a personally cathartic experience. Says Lana,  “I had no idea the impact that being involved in this project would produce. It opened up my soul to memories and situations from my youth… forgotten, but obviously not lost. After our interview, I had so much more to remember and say. It was only the beginning of a stream of consciousness that is now a part of me.”

The video location was provided by the New York Design Center, with the coordination of the NYDC Marketing team of Alana Moskowitz, Leah Blank and Alix Lerman. The video was shot in the Keilhauer showroom with the assistance of showroom director Meryl Elliott, and Primason Symchik. Veteran video director and photographer Jeff Cadge brought his skills, equipment, and full video production team, free of charge, to produce the piece. Cadge Productions also provided all post-production services, also pro bono.

The program was created in September 2010 by syndicated columnist Dan Savage, who created the first video. It spawned a worldwide video community in support of those alienated by orientation-based bullying, and addressed a rash of gay teen suicides.

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