Hall Of Fame
My company Art From The Heart Films
was inducted into the Queens, NY Business Hall Of Fame
Best Of 2018 Queens, NY Gay & Lesbian Organization Award
for my company Art From The Heart Films
LGBT Hall Of Fame
December 8th, 2015
Hi Wolfgang,I am happy to share with you that our Membership Board has unanimously approved you as a new Honoree in the GLBT Hall Of Fame! My apologies it took so long. A few of our board members were ill and just needed some extra time. If you would like to be a part of the Induction program let me know. It is an online induction and would be a telephone recorded interview. The Induction program will be on December 17, 2015 at 8pm central time. So we would do the interview, if you want to participate, in October / November. I hope you will participate as it adds so much to your induction and the program overall. However, you are not required to participate.
Congratulations and a huge thank you for all you do for our community!
All the best,
StoneWall Society / OutVoice
Rainbow World Radio / GLBT Hall Of Fame
Martin Luther King Humanitarian Award
"Keep The Dream Alive"
For his activism for the LGBT Ballroom Community
I am dedicating this award to my sisters and brothers we lost to the AIDS epedemic
and to those who continue to fight for justice and empowerment.
I share this award with my mentors Kevin Omni from the Harlem Ballroom community,
Darryl Montgomery and Charles Gilmore. Together we "Keep The Dream Alive".
Biography Highlights about the Black Community in
Germany and the United States, from 1980 to present.
Wolfgang was born on November 6th, 1955 in
and his involvement in music started in his early 20’s as a DJ and sound engineer.
He moved to the Heppenheim, Germany United
States in 1981 at the age of 26, to pursue a
career in the entertainment field. His dream was to run a record company.
Wolfgang is best known in the Black community for:
1) The documentary “How Do I Look”, about the Harlem House Ball community. It premiered at the New Fest Film Festival in
New York City in
2006 and was screened at many film festivals across the country and
internationally in Berlin, Lisbon,
Amsterdam and London.
2) University students use the documentary “How Do I Look” for theses and education.
3) Community based organizations use the documentary “How Do I Look” for outreach and education.
4) His activism to fight for empowerment and justice for the Harlem House Ball community.
5) Member of the House of Omni.
6) Ballroom historian, lecturer and educator.
7) Producer of the First International Ballroom Convention.
8) James Saunders, founder of Black Pride NYC and JS Promotions.
9) Mike Stone Promotions.
10) Working with Tony Award winner Melba Moore and Meli’sa Morgan on his second documentary “Flow Affair”.
Arts Council, Greg Mills.
12) S6k communication, Darryl Hell.
13) The Black Rock Coalition, Jared Nickerson.
14) Booking the first RAP artist and Dance artists at the Limelight disco.
Awards and Rewards Highlights
Humanitarian Award for his first documentary “How Do I Look”, received from the Diaspora Film Festival in
. Berlin, Germany
New York City:
Best documentary, “How Do I Look”.
Our Youth in
Ballroom Awards and Honors
House of Omni, House of Khan, House of Ebony, House of Legend and House of Ninja.
Ballroom Historian and Educator:
Screenings with lectures at many prestigious universities and colleges:
Community Based Organizations:
Hetrick Martin Institute,
in the Village Church,
Exponents, Green Chimney, Safe Space, The Door,
in NYC and Chicago and AIDS agencies. LGBT Community Centers
The House Ball Historic and Cultural Institute, ballroom empowerment and education.
First International Ballroom Convention, ballroom history and culture.
Floguing Dance, Flagging + Voguing = Floguing, bringing together the two dance forms that originated in the gay community, voguing from Harlem and the ballroom community and flagging from the leather community in the west village. The Floguing Dance can be seen in his second documentary “Flow Affair”.
Darryl Hell for teaching me Black History and Artistic Progressions.
Kevin Omni for teaching me Black Gay History and Ballroom.
Reverent Charles Gilmore for giving me Life Counseling and Support.
Mike Stone for teaching me Gay Black Club History.
Ballroom Background information:
My first Ball experience was at the Traxx night club on
in Manhattan in
1987, the House of Xtravaganza was giving a Ball. Not knowing what it was, I
was very much mesmerized by it. I remember I was thinking that I would love to
work with this community one day. Little did I know that my dream would come
true 2 years later after meeting Kevin Omni at a Promoters League meeting in
1989. In 1995, I started working with the House of Omni on the first video project.
Kevin Ultra Omni introduced me to the many Icons, Historians and Legends from
the ballroom community who asked me to produce and direct the “How Do I Look”
documentary and the rest is history.
General Background Information:
At the age of 25, I was a Rock DJ and a sound engineer for a German top 40 band “Crypton”. I was also the contract negotiator and translator between the German band and the American Black lead singer Michelle Wilson from
Boston. I have
represented members from the Black community for over 30 years going back when
I was still living in Germany.
During the 1970’s, there was also a strong African American military presents in
because of the “Cold War” with Russia.
I was introduced to the straight black military community through my lady
school friends who were socializing at the disco “Tenne”, about 3 miles from my
hometown. The “Tenne” disco was run by Black Americans in the military and drew
over 350 black people on the week ends from across the country. I was the only “white
boy” in a disco in Germany,
which was quite an amazing experience from any perspective. I was introduced to
R&B and black dance music and learned the Line- Soul- Hustle- and the Bump
dance and I learned how to feel the soul of the music at the age of 22. I made
many friends and brought them to my hometown in Heppenheim and introduced them
to my parents, soccer team and friends. I learned to speak better English and learned
about the American culture and traditions. In return I taught them about the
German culture, food, wine, beer and language. I always felt I was contributing
to the German - American Friendship Exchange Program, because I was so involved.
In 1982, I moved to the
States, Newport News in Virginia. After the band
I was working for as a sound engineer broke up in Lexington
Ohio in 1983, I moved to Bayside, Queens to my great Aunt with $20 in my pocket. I have a
degree in Dental Technician and within 2 weeks I was working in Manhattan.
My activism started in 1983, while I was still touring with a band in the south. We had a black bass player, Frank. As it turned out, he was the reason why we couldn’t get better paying gigs in the south of the
because he was black. This experience is always with me, because when touring
with the German band, we were always treated as royalties, including Michelle
Wilson. I also have great memories while touring and being out gay in Germany.
From 1984 to 1987, I was volunteering at the Musicians Union, Local 802 in
running the Rock R&B committee and its 1,200 members, producing workshops,
seminars and showcases for local rock and dance bands. Again I experienced
discrimination towards the Hispanic and Black musicians. It was expected by
club owners that the Hispanics were to play salsa music and the Blacks to play
dance music, but not Rock & Roll. It was also a time when musicians had to
“pay to play” and it was my first time to stand up and to fight for justice and
for the rights for artists in New York
From 1987 to 1997, I was for 10 years a Public Access TV producer in
a club promoter and booking agent at New York Cities legendary Limelight,
Palladium, Danceteria and China Club and had a roster of 1000 bands. It also
gave me the opportunity to work with Black organizations such the Black Rock
Coalition and dance bands such as Breed In Motion and Bravo.
Also during this time, I created the “Promoters League”, to raise funds for athletes going to the Gay Games in
in 1990. The Promoters League was mostly black gay and lesbian promoters,
because I couldn’t get the white promoters motivated to participate. We had meetings
at the Limelight disco to produce a Fundraiser with DJ Frankie Knuckles at the
legendary Palladium disco. Mike Stone, the youngest gay black promoter in
history, introduced me to Cinnamon Production, a Black Lesbian organization. Mike
and I became lifetime friends and now he is still in me and with me after his
passing. In a long interview on Fire Island, Mike
taught me all about gay black club history and culture, how the music, fashion
and the drugs over the years changed the community and what impact it had. I
learned what it was like to be gay and black in NYC and the hard times he had finding
clubs in Manhattan
for his dance parties. Me, the “White” boy, I had access to all the clubs and I
learned about the discrimination against the Black and Hispanic community in
clubs. I introduced Mike Stone to some club owners and the rest is history. After
he established himself, he opened the Warehouse in the Bronx.
He partnered with club promoter Charles Jackson and together they found a home for
their parties for many years to come.
Mike Stone also introduced me to Ballroom Hall of Famer and Icon Kevin Ultra Omni, because he crossed over from the Ball community into the club scene as an MC. Meeting and getting to know Kevin was the beginning of learning intensely Ballroom history. Kevin got me involved with Black Pride NYC and I was introduced to James Saunders. I was a consultant and made up the agenda for the meeting at the YMCA in
and I saw first hand how the first Black Pride Ball was produced and executed
under the umbrella of Black Pride NYC founder James Saunders. Kevin Omni was
very successful in bringing all the club promoters on the table during that
time. Mike Stone, James Saunders and Charles Jackson all had their own parties
and it was very political to bring them all together. I thought it was a
historical black pride moment to see them all come together for a good cause.
I also learned from Kevin Omni the most important issues that affected the House Ball community. I learned from Kevin and many others first hand about the negative impact AIDS organizations have on the ballroom community. I learned what it is like to be part of a disenfranchised community, the lack of recourses, access to education, health related issues and the negative impact by the film “
is Burning”. This film portrays the ball community as thieves, prostitutes and drug
users, which I always refer to as, this is no different from “Wall Street”.
Because of how the Ballroom community was presented in Paris is Burning, members from the ball
community asked me if I would do a documentary that is balanced, historic and
educationally correct. During the release of How Do I Look and the commercial
rejections, I learned that Paris
is Burning became the perfect propaganda tool for corporations, because they
use this film to portray this community as thieves, prostitutes and drug users.
They reject How Do I look, because it is historical, positive and educational.
Opportunists at not for profit organizations are also in support of Paris is
Burning, because they learned how to exploit, use and abuse this disenfranchised
Ball community for personal and financial gains. They are going as far as dividing
the community, manipulate our history and culture, corrupt the natural artistic
progression, slander the historians and educators names and are cutting into
the ballroom economics by millions of dollars. I hold them in part responsible
that the Ball community is in the “artistic ghetto” today, because they have also
created this negative environment around them. I also hold them responsible for
the high new HIV infection rate in the black community at 44%, the highest of
all communities. GMHC has an annual budget of 27 million dollars, we ask
ourselves why is the new infection rate so high in the black community, is it
because a) use it as a reason to stay in business? And or b) benefit
How is it possible, a community that inspires the biggest pop stars on the planet, mesmerizing audiences’ world wide, has no access to regular jobs in their field? Why is it that superstars Madonna and Lady Gaga refuse to make artistic cultural statements about the Ball community and how it helped their careers? Adding up all the negativity that is artificially created and is surrounding this community it is no wonder they distanced themselves. Being a disenfranchised community, which means, members from the community can not speak up and stand up to fight for their rights, justice and best interest, because they have become self-destructive and are without recourses.
We have to ask ourselves, who is really benefiting and at what cost? Why is everybody turning a blind eye and why don’t people in our community, who are responsible for helping people, including the ones who get grant money from the government, why aren’t they helping the ballroom community.
It was for those reasons and my experience of 30 years, that I got involved in the ballroom community as an activist. I came up with effective models for activism and I am proud with the results we had in 2013.
In 2014, I founded the Reformers, an activist group with Louis Flores Kevin Omni and Wolfgang Busch. Within one year, we take credit in part for getting many people fired at GMHC including the CEO, COO, Director of Communications and people resigned such as the GMHC Board Chair and Secretary. Not bad for a hand full of people sticking their heads out for a good cause. We learned that it is not about how many people are demonstrating on the street, it is about how much pressure we can put on people and agencies and expose them to the public.
Throughout my journey, I met so many beautiful people in the Black community, gay and straight. When my mother Anni visited me from
we went to Kevin Omni’s sister’s house and cooked a German meal for him, his
mom and family.
To this day, I receive the highest respect every time I go to one of their functions, for me this is the best reward to be acknowledged in that way by a community. They have not forgotten what I represent and what I have done over the years. It motivates me and I am very grateful for that.
I have the highest respect for the Ball community, because of their creativity and family values, we can all learn from it. After the release of How Do I Look in 2006 and my involvement since 1995, I can honestly say that there is a need for an organization representing the ballroom community’s best interest and can help them with artistic empowerment and health related issues. There is a need to educate the public, politicians and AIDS agencies to change the public opinion, se we can build a productive future. We need to unite our community again and start a healing process so our future generations will benefit from it.
"OUTmusic Spirit" Award
For his contributions to the LGBT Music Community
Lara's OUTmusic "Spirit" Award introduction 2015.
Music entrepreneur and activist Wolfgang Busch heard about Outmusic for the first time in the early 1990's, but didn't hang out at the Open Mics at the LGBT community Center until 1995. The performers were mostly singer songwriters playing the guitar and the Center's grand piano. The co-chairs at the time were Jeff Krassner and Tom McCormack. It was a safe place to meet and network, and many collaborations came out of it, such as songwriting, concerts, seminars, CD releases and many friendships.
Wolfgang went to the Open Mics to scout for artists for his weekly New York New Rock TV show on Manhattan Cable, and to book artists for the legendary clubs such as the Limelight, China Club, Danceteria and Palladium. He was already working with gay rock artist Cha Cha Fernandez and the Slumlords, Jack Pavlik's industrial band Sweet Convulsions, Bryin's gothic band Loretta's Doll and dance artist Frankie Castle and Denn Vetta. The 1990's was a time when rock artists didn't want to come out as gay artists, because of the fear of not getting a record deal.
Between 1990 and 2000, Wolfgang produced over 300 TV shows and was promoting major label, indie and local artists on his New York New Rock TV show and club nights. Wolfgang has a video archive of over 600 live performances from CBGB's, Rock Ridge Saloon, The Grand, Tilt, Hot Rod, Cat Club, Limelight, China Club, Danceteria, Wetlands and Zone dk. He interviewed rock legends Robin Trower, Ronnie Montrose, Pete Way from UFO, GWAR, Nina Hagen, pop band Bay City Rollers, R&B singer Ivan Neville, Mambo King Tito Puente, and local legends Larry Mitchell who is now a Grammy award winning producer, Phoebe Legere an East Village performance artist with "Cult" status, and a 20th anniversary interview special with Hilly Crystal, owner of CBGB's.
In 1984, Wolfgang came to the Big Apple with $20 in his pocket, after the band (Soundwave) he was doing the sound and lights for broke up in
. He moved to his great-aunt's house
in Bayside, NY, during the time when the AIDS epidemic and fear of getting
infected was at an all-time high and the community had already lost many
creative and talented brothers and sisters. Nevertheless, Wolfgang kept a positive
and inspiring attitude, and took on a leadership role in the community to fill
the gab that was left behind. Lexington, Kentucky
After his arrival in
Wolfgang took a job as a dental technician and was looking for opportunities to
get involved in the local music community. In 1985, he responded to an ad in
the Village Voice by the Local 802, the largest Musicians Union in the country,
located in Manhattan.
It was a volunteer position at the Dues department and a managing position for the
Rock R&B committee with a membership of 1,200 local musicians. Wolfgang took
this opportunity to produce industry seminars, showcases at the Cat Club and
Limelight and was the international talent scout for the college radio show
"What's Up Rock?!". He was the inspiration and
co-producer of the New York New Rock concert at
, for which mayor Ed Koch proclaimed
June 6, 1986, "New York New Rock Concert Day", featuring jazz
guitarist Ryo Kawasaki and the rock band Spaces. Damrosch Park
For nearly 20 years, Wolfgang was not only an important contributor to the NYC music scene, he served on the LGBT advisory board for the Manhattan Borough President C. Virginia Fields, he volunteered for Jack Herman from the Board of Education, who took Wolfgang under his wing and taught him how to use video as a tool for art in education programs, including intergenerational, disabled, puppetry and storytelling projects, and helped with Jack's curriculum about the early days of radio. Wolfgang took this experience and volunteered for the Sister City Program, sponsored by the United Nations and the city of
New York, a cultural
exchange program between New York City
and many cities around the world. Wolfgang was covering the visit from mayor Dempski
from Budapest in New York
City and for his documentary about the Baseball Youth Exchange
program between NYC and Tokyo
and won the "Communicator" award in 1996. Wolfgang feels blessed to
be able to volunteer and to give back to the community in that way.
Wolfgang's volunteer work also includes producing special fundraising events for organizations such as God's Love We Deliver featuring Jon Kelly, LifeBeat at GBGB's featuring Ivy Markety, The Gay Games at the Palladium featuring legendary DJ Frankie Knockles and dance dive Barbara Tucker, the Animal Adoption League at the Limelight, the Metrobears, Tuesday Night Bowling, the Imperial Court of New York and at the Mercury Launch club he was helping to raise funds for the musician Joe Hurley, who lost everything in a fire.
In 2004, Wolfgang received the "Volunteer of the Year" Award from the
volunteering at the popular bi-weekly Bingo, featuring host Sybil Bruncheon,
Trai La Trash, Harmonica Sunbeam and Kevin Aviance. LGBT
While establishing himself in the LGBT community, moving up in the music ranks and working with all the mayor record labels and music industry heavyweights such as Morty Craft and Pete Bennett, he learned about exploitation and discrimination within the music industry. Wolfgang came to the conclusion that the music industry was not for him, because prior to that, he also experienced racism while he was touring the south of the
United States with the rock cover
band "Soundwave", which had a black bass player. The band was rejected
by club owners because of him. In New
York City, Wolfgang learned about stereotyping from a Hispanic
rock band, who was told by club owners to play salsa music, and the Black rock
musicians were to play R&B music, but not rock music. Wolfgang saw a need
of empowerment and was determent to bring change to the artistic community. As
a result of it, he got involved in activism, and was advocating in the mid 80's
against the "Pay To Play" policy by the club "Tracks" in Manhattan.
Because Wolfgang is true to his heart and art and was always open about his sexuality, he walked away from the corporate music business in 2000 and started his own not for profit organization called "New York New Rock". He was working with many community based organizations, the Women in Music, Black Rock Coalition, Christian Musicians United and the Staten Island Rock Coalition. He was on the producers advisory board at Manhattan Public Access TV, a talent scout for Louis Perego's "International Music Video", hosted John Culkin's TV show "Citirock" and was featured in local rock magazines, the East Coast Rocker, The Splatter Effect, The Music Magazine, The Aquarian and the Village Voice.
Wolfgang was also successful in securing licensing deals between Bellaphone Records in
and Emergency and Quark Records in New
York City for the artists Bad Boys Blue, Jasmine, Jimi
Lifton and Barbara Powell. He managed an artist roster of 1000 bands and developed
many artists. He was DJing
un-signed bands between the live performances under the name of "Amadeus" at the Cat Club, The Mission and the Sanctuary. He published the "New Music Directory" source book, a local band directory of American
un-signed rock bands, a newsletter "Rock Bits and Pieces", and created a magazine called "demo", that unfortunately never got off the ground, due to the lack of financial resources.
In December of 1997, he became an official member of Outmusic, because he wanted to bring his experience to the local LGBT music community. The board members were Patrick Arena, Andy Monroe, Frank Grimaldi, Andrew Ballis and John Pollard. Wolfgang's first contribution to Outmusic was to produce a Public Service Announcement for the Annual Outmusic Festival from September 2nd through the 7th, 1997, featuring Grant King, Amy Fix, Dan Martin, Laura Wetzler, Melinda DiMao, Steve Sandberg, Tom McCormick, Zenobia Conkerite, Andy Monroe and Frank Grimaldi. For the festival he also co-produced a concert at the
Central Park's Bandshell, a fundraiser benefiting
LifeBeat and Broadway Cares Equity Fights AIDS, featuring Corinne Curcio, Grant
King, Zonna, Carl Chesna and Marshell Zarne. On October 19, he produced a fundraiser
with Victoria Weston and Jacqueline Shonee, benefiting the Centers' Capital
On April 22, 1998, Wolfgang produced a fundraiser at the Baggot Inn for the All Out Arts "Out On The Edge Together Festival", featuring Outmusic members Zecca, Flare, R&B singer Paul Lockwood and gospel singer Daniel Neusom. For the Festival, which took place on May 2008 at the
Center in the ,
Wolfgang produced a Public Service Announcement featuring Frank Grimaldi, which
aired on Manhattan Cable TV and he produced showcases, featuring legendary drag
queen Rose Levine, Industrial band Erotomecanics and performance artist and DJ
Darryl Hell. East Village
In 1999 and 2000, Wolfgang was a selected GLAMA judge and the volunteer coordinator at the
, coordinating 30
volunteers. In 1995, Outmusic board member Tom McCormick, together with Michael
Mitchell, created the Gay, Lesbian American Music Awards, also known as Manhattan
After being involved in Outmusic for 5 years, Wolfgang increased the membership, was producing and
co-producing special events, and was also introducing new artists and music genres such as Gospel, R&B and Drag performers.
In 2000, Wolfgang decided to run for the managing director position together with Deien McBride as the artistic director to further develop the Outmusic organization. His first mission was to bring back the Open Mics again, which was always the backbone of OUTmusic. Together with Andrew Ballis, they scouted many places. On April 3, 2000 the Open Mics were back, called "Outmusic OutLoud". It was our new home at the C-Note club in the
Robert Urban was hosting and deserves much credit in bringing back the Open
Mics. East Village
It was also in 2000 when the Outmusic directors talked about the first Outmusic Membership Choice Awards, which was a long time coming, but was always falling through in the past, because of power struggles. As they got closer to the final OMA production, it became clear to Wolfgang that this time was no different and he resigned after only being the managing director for 10 months. After that unfortunate experience, he moved on and got further involved in the Harlem Ballroom community, who are known for setting trends in dance, fashion, music and language.
In 1989, Wolfgang met Mike Stone, the youngest gay black club promoter in
New York City,
while he was bringing together club promoters to raise funds for local
charities. Mike introduced Wolfgang to the ballroom historian Kevin Omni from
the Harlem House Ball community who was also an MC at the Black gay clubs. In
1996, Wolfgang was asked by the Ballroom historians and icons to produce and
direct a documentary sequel in content to the film " Paris is Burning", which was rejected by
the Harlem Ballroom historians for its exploitation and imbalance. After 10
years of videotaping ballroom footage, he self-released in 2006 worldwide his
first Historic Art film "How Do I Look", featuring Ballroom Hall of
Famers and Icons Pepper Labeija, Octavia St. Laurent, Kevin Omni and Madonna
dancer Jose Xtravaganza, with music by Grammy nominated songwriter duo Michael
O'Hara and Jerico DeAngelo. It won in 2008 "Best Documentary" from
ADD TV in New York City and a
"Humanitarian" Award at the Diaspora Film Festival in .
In 2011, he released his second Historic Art film "Flow Affair", which is about the flag and fan dance, featuring flagging sensation Xavier Caylor from
Francisco with music from Tony award winner Melba
Moore, Billboard charting artist Meli'sa Morgan and Man Parrish. Wolfgang's Historic
Art Films are featuring the flagging and voguing dance, which are dance forms
that originated in the gay community. Wolfgang introduced George Jagatic from
the flagging community to the House of Khan, to teach them the flag dance
techniques. Wolfgang's idea was to bring together both communities to create a
new dance called "Floguing"; Flagging + Voguing = Floguing.
Today, Wolfgang is screening and lecturing artistic empowerment and HIV awareness at the most prestigious universities across the country like Yale, NYU and
and students use
his films for theses and research. He lectured also at the Hetrick Martin
Institute, the home of the Harvey Milk High School; the Door, the largest youth
organization in the country; Green Chimney for LGBT Homeless and Safe Space. Penn
Wolfgang is a visionary, entrepreneur, ambassador, motivator, inspiration and a community leader for the LGBT community since the late 1980's and is well known in the community for his volunteer work, activism and advocacy, fighting for justice and empowerment. On January 31st, 2015 he is being recognized and will be receiving the very prestigious "Keep The Dream Alive" the Martin Luther King JR. Humanitarian award from First Class Entertainment, a well established straight Black social club, for his activism for the LGBT Black & Hispanic Ballroom community.
Wolfgang's project for 2015 is to produce and direct a new documentary for Art From The Heart Films called "My 1990's", which will be about the
New York City
rock scene during the 1990's, including former Outmusic members Tom McCormick
and Robert Urban.
Wolfgang's acceptance speech
Thank you Lara, Outmusic and the nominations committee for recognizing and acknowledging my contributions to the LGBT community. I am dedicating this award to our brothers and sisters we lost to the AIDS epidemic and to all the activists fighting for empowerment and justice. Thank you.