Before Jason Collins

Before Jason Collins
The world is throwing a parade for Jason Collins, the 7-foot free-agent NBA center who came out last month. He was hugged by Oprah, celebrated by “Good Morning America,” and congratulated by President Obama.

But nobody seems to remember baseball’s Glenn Burke, who tried to come out nearly 40 years ago and was stuffed back in.

“How’s Jason Collins going to talk about being the first?” says Burke’s agent, Abdul-Jalil al-Hakim. “Glenn Burke was the first. And he wasn’t any free agent, either. He was in the lineup.”

Glenn Burke was a barrel-chested jokester, a singing, dancing, one-man cabaret. His teammates called him King Kong. In high school, the 6-foot Burke could dunk two basketballs at once, in street shoes. He roamed center field for the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Oakland A’s in the late 1970s.

Burke was the pulse of the clubhouse. He wore a red jock. He’d jump in the backs of pink Rolls-Royces after games. He invented the high-five (with Dusty Baker). Oh, yes, he did.

He was as out as an athlete could be in the mid-1970s. It wasn’t that he was flaunting it. It was that he couldn’t keep it in.

“When we’d land at airports,” remembers Davey Lopes, the Dodgers’ second baseman. “There’d always be guys waiting for Glenn. We’d go our way and he’d go off on his merry way. We’d go to clubs and women would hand him their numbers. But he’d never call ’em. Didn’t matter to us. We loved him.”

In the famous 1977 Dodgers-Yankees World Series — starring Reggie Jackson, Thurman Munson, Steve Garvey, and Ron Cey — only one rookie cracked either starting lineup: Glenn Burke.

“Nobody tripped that he was gay,” says Burke’s longtime pal, Doug Harris, who produced the documentary “Out” about Burke in 2010. “The people who tripped off it were the Dodgers [management]. They didn’t want to talk about it. He was trying to tell the reporters, but they said they couldn’t write that stuff.”

Free Tickets to GOAPELE- Yoshis, S.F., 5/1 @8pm; Tank- Yoshis, Oakland, 4/24 @8pm; A List Celebrities Comps for Kentucky Derby, May 5-7, 2011; New Entertainment Jobs May-April 2011!

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Free Tickets to Lauryn Hill @ Warfield, San Francisco, Tuesday, April 12, 9pm, Kurt Elling @ Zellerbach Hall, Berkeley, Saturday April 23, 8pm, Scholarships, Jobs, Entertainment Jobs May-April 2011!

Free Tickets to Lauryn Hill @ Warfield, San Francisco, Tuesday, April 12, 9pm, Kurt Elling @ Zellerbach Hall, Berkeley, Saturday April 23, 8pm, Scholarships, Jobs, Entertainment Jobs May-April 2011!

FREE tickets to Lauryn Hill show Tuesday, April 12, 2011, p:00 pm at the Warfield, San Francisco and the Kurt Elling show Saturday April 23, 8pm at Zellerbach Hall, U. C. Berkeley, Berkeley, California. The tickets will be awarded via our Twitter or website, so if you haven’t already, you should join us on:
The legendary GRAMMY Award winning MC, vocalist, producer and songwriter, Ms. Lauryn Hill, has announced dates for her Moving Target: Extended Intimate Playdate Series. The series will kick off in Orlando, FL on March 16thand hit 12 cities across the country including sets at Miami’s Jazz in the Gardens Festival on March 19th, this year’s Coachella Music and Arts Festival on April 15th and then wrapping at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival on May 7th (full routing below). More dates to be announced in the coming weeks.

In addition, Ms. Hill has also announced the creation of @MsHillMvngTrgt on Twitter as the definitive source for news, highlights and updates for the Moving Target Series as well as a place for her to communicate directly with her supporters. Of these playdates Ms. Hill says, “One of the benefits of playing venues smaller than the ones I’m used to allows me the opportunity to not only reconnect with my supporters but to expose them to a portion of the musical journey I’ve been on which the world for the most part has not had access to. I’ve never shied away from being musically adventurous, nor am I known for being a lightweight when it comes to lyrical content or musical exploration. These more intimate playdates afford me the time to perform for listeners who haven’t heard from me over the past several years or have been misinformed by the inaccuracies in home media coverage, many of which I might add, I find very amusing. Getting back out there to perform is a lot like resuming a strenuous sport after having been away from it for a while, but eventually the muscle-memory kicks in and each day brings progressive strength. It’s an exciting and REAL process which these audiences will get to witness.”

Ms. Hill recently ended a set of dates last month playing venues predominantly on the Eastern half of the country, which included performances at the Sundance Festival in Park City Utah and an exclusive party held during Fashion Week celebrating the opening of Alexander Wang’s New York City Flagship store. Ms. Hill has been performing an innovative set list of classic material, evolved but faithful to the rigor, soulfulness and power of the original music from her iconic and groundbreaking solo album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill as well as classic Fugee numbers and a few covers honoring some of the music that Ms. Hill grew up influenced by.

About Ms. Lauryn Hill:
Cited as one of the greatest female MCs of all time, Ms. Lauryn Hills prolific rhymes and powerful voice catapulted her into the public eye as a member of the Fugees, whose 1996 album The Score was certified six times platinum and took home two GRAMMY Awards for Best R&B Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal and Best Rap Album. In 1998, Ms. Hill established herself as a creative force as a solo artist with her now classic debut The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. The iconic work earned Ms. Hill a record-setting ten GRAMMY Award nominations, five of which she took home, including Best New Artist and Album of the Year. The album was also nominated in several categories at the NAACP Image Awards, including Outstanding Female Artist, Outstanding Album, and Outstanding Song, where she was nominated for both Doo Wop (That Thing) and A Rose Is Still A Rose. The album has appeared on countless Best Of lists, including Rolling Stones 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, SPINs Top 100 Albums of the Last 20 Years, Vibes 150 Albums That Define the Vibe Era, and the Associated Press 10 Best Albums of the 1990s. The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill has sold 8 million copies worldwide. In 2002, she released MTV Unplugged No 2.0, a live album of her 2001 performance on MTV Unplugged, which was certified platinum four weeks after its release. Ms. Hill has also been recognized for her humanitarian efforts, receiving an Essence Award for her work including the 1996 founding the Refugee Project.
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