5 LGBT things you need to know today, April 15

1. The CDC said Thursday that gay men who have unprotected anal sex can contract the Zika virus from an infected partner.2. “Men should not be going to the bathroom with little girls.” Ted Cruz at a town ha...
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Cirque returns with ‘Totem’


With large, international casts, Cirque Du Soleil productions almost always feature LGBT performers and “Totem,” now playing in Atlanta, is no exception. Under the Grand Chapiteau at Atlantic Station, “Totem” stars openly gay Joe Putagnino as the leading character, Crystal Man, who officially brings the show to life decked out in a stretch velvet leotard.

“Totem” deals with the evolution of an amphibian form to that of an adult ready to fly away, on a stage resembling a turtle. Putagnino calls Crystal Man the “spark” who literally opens the show, figuratively and literally, and creates life.

A competitive gymnast growing up, Putagnino got sidetracked.

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‘Odysseo’ brings equestrian, acrobatic extravaganza back to Atlanta big top

Odysseo now playing in Atlanta

One of Atlanta’s most-attended productions of 2009 was “Cavalia,” which combined Cirque du Soleil-like acrobatics with equestrian elements. The follow-up, “Odysseo,” is making its U.S. debut here, with two of the acrobats in the new show openly gay: Samuel Alvarez and Brennan Figari.

Alvarez and Figari are two of the 54 performers — acrobats, aerialists, dancers, musicians and riders — headlining the troupe. Both are acrobats. Alvarez, a gymnast from Texas, has been working professionally for more than 12 years, stating off with Cirque du Soleil’s “Quidam” before moving to “Cavalia.”

Figari, a San Francisco native, had been doing acts such as the flying trapeze at his local resort and performing recreationally until he got serious about doing it for a living nine years ago.

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Cirque show features openly gay lead singer


Those accustomed to the usual look and feel of a Cirque du Soleil production might be surprised by the company’s “Dralion.” It returns next week to Atlanta,with an openly gay lead vocalist in Cristian Zabala.

According to Zabala, “Dralion” differs greatly from other Cirque productions, in more ways than simply not being under a traditional tent. It is Cirque’s 12th traveling show and perhaps its most divisive. The show focuses on a Chinese circus/acrobatics element. Zabala promises lots of colors – which are used to represent the elements of the earth – and notes, “this is what Cirque does best – combine styles.”

Zabala has been with the company for nine years and has performed in a variety of Cirque’s signature shows. His first was “Alegria.” However, he much prefers singing than the gymnastics and acrobatics he has done in the past, since it is easier on his body and requires less rehearsal.