Jay Blotcher

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Jay Blotcher (born Boston, June 9, 1960) is an American journalist, writer, publicist, film producer, and activist who documented the lives of gays and lesbians and protested for the rights of gays and lesbians and people with AIDS.

Blotcher was given up soon after birth by his mother Valerie Paul, who was 19 at the time. His birth father, Baltimore Orioles pitcher Arnie Portocarrero, had not known of his conception. Valerie and Arnie had met through friends over drinks in Boston one evening. Blotcher was moved to a foster home in greater Boston where he lived until he was one year and three weeks old. Through a Boston-based Jewish adoption agency, he was brought home on June 30, 1961, by Malvin "Sonny" Blotcher and Elaine "Lolly" Blotcher to Randolph, Massachusetts, where he grew up. His parents also adopted his sister, Andrea, from a woman in Augusta, Maine. Both Jay and Andrea were raised in a Jewish household and attended Temple Beth Am Hebrew School. Lolly and Sonny Blotcher were deeply immersed in Temple activities and would eventually serve as presidents, respectively, of the Sisterhood and Brotherhood groups, as well as volunteers for numerous Temple events.

Valerie Paul later married jazz musician Walter Bishop, Jr. She searched for her son for several years and they were finally reunited in the Spring of 1988. Jay Blotcher wrote about the experience of finding his roots and discovering his Puerto Rican lineage in an essay published in the 2007 anthology Identity Envy Wanting to Be Who We're Not: Creative Nonfiction by Queer Writers, edited by Jim Tushinski and James Van Buskirk. Blotcher has also created an audiovisual presentation of his personal history, which he has shared with audiences at Marist College and Queens College.

Blotcher's interest in gay activism began early; in 1980, he profiled Syracuse University's Gay Student Association in a pair of articles for his college newspaper, The Daily Orange and college magazine Report.

Blotcher moved to New York City in May, 1982, and began writing for Christopher Street and The New York Native, two publications covering arts and politics in the New York City lesbian and gay community. He was also associate producer for "Our Time," a 13-week TV series on metropolitan gay life, executive-produced and hosted by activist, author and film historian Vito Russo. At the same time, Blotcher worked nights at The Saint Marks Baths, referred by Russo, who used to work there while writing his seminal book [The Celluloid Closet].

In 1990, Blotcher and friend Alan Klein co-founded Public Impact Media Consultants, a PR firm devoted to promoting organizations representing gay, AIDS-related and progressive agendas. The organization served many not-for-profits from 1991-1994. That same decade, Blotcher handled publicity for The American Foundation for AIDS Research (AmFAR), Michelangelo Signorile, gay authors, the PBS TV show "In the Life," and other grassroots organizations, gay artists, musicians and authors. He was also a founding member and Media Coordinator for Queer Nation/New York and the executive producer of the Anti-Violence Campaign.[1]

In October, 1987, Blotcher joined ACT UP/New York and represented the group at the International AIDS Conferences in Montreal, Amsterdam and Yokohama. He served as Media Coordinator for the organization from 1989-1990 but continued providing media coverage for subsequent demonstrations through the group's 20th anniversary march on Wall Street in 2007.

Blotcher has written for numerous gay magazines and regional newspapers from 1981 through the present, including Outweek, Advocate, Out, POZ, The Guide, Bay Windows, Bay Area Reporter, New York Blade, Gay City News and LGNY. Blotcher was filmed in 2009 for a new documentary about Vito Russo by director Jeffrey Schwarz. The film aired on HBO in the summer of 2012.

In 2013, Blotcher was working as a freelance journalist for several magazines in the Mid-Hudson Valley of New York State, including Chronogram, Edible Hudson Valley, VisitVortex and Green Door. He lived in High Falls, New York, an Ulster County hamlet, with husband Brook Garrett and a Yellow Field Lab named Scout. (Scout died on July 6, 2017, at the age of 14.5 years.)

In October 2005, Blotcher was hired as a publicist at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY, in the Continuing Education department. The position was eliminated in January, 2013. He was active in the marriage equality movement, working to attain marriage rights for same-sex couples in New York and across America. Also in 2013, Blotcher was at work as librettist on developing the show "Holding On" with composer-librettist Neil Klein. This original new musical about life in 1960s Harlem, slated to star Broadway musical theatre veteran Terri White, has its own website: http://www.holdingonthemusical.com/

In 2013, Blotcher reunited with his old business partner Alan Klein to reboot their 1990s-era PR firm Public Impact Media Consultants, which originally made its reputation for providing publicity for progressive organizations, writers, filmmakers and activists. Since the reteaming, they have represented authors Sean Strub, Ann-christine d'Adesky, Aaron Fricke, Lord John Browne, Martin Duberman, Leslie L. Smith and Lance Ringel, actor Chuck Muckle, Rabbi Joan Cubell, as well as organizations like Big Gay Hudson Valley, dotgay LLC, Queer Nation, and Clinton Vineyards. http://www.PublicImpactPR.com/

In late 2017, Blotcher shifted his career to focus primarily on book editing, a side job he had been doing since 1991, when he edited the first draft of Michelangelo Signorile's manuscript for the landmark book Queer in America. In total, Blotcher has edited 16 books. As of November, 2017, Blotcher was editing the memoirs of San Francisco filmmaker and event impresario Marc Huestis, as well as the memoirs of the late Gilbert Baker, the creator of the Rainbow Flag, the global symbol of the modern LGBT movement.