Sunday, October 07, 2007

A Good Day For A Fair-y

A cloudless sky and temps in the 80s brought a horde of happy homos to the Castro Street Fair today. Ah, San Francisco summer. I've run into tons of people I knew when I lived here, some of which only remembered me by my old Manhunt screenname. I love my people.

Down in the Sugar Valley section of the fair, where you could whack-a-mole celebrity Scientologists and perform other pop culture-related antics, I ran into drag superstar Peaches Christ, whose name still makes me laugh all these years later.

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Morning View - Market Street

The sun is shining and it looks like it will be a shorts day for the fair, which you can being set up here.

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Saturday, October 06, 2007

Queen To Queen

I'm blogging from Charlotte, North Carolina, the "Queen City", waiting for my connection to San Francisco. Yay for free wireless! Boo for not flying direct. The airport is a morgue, from where I'm sitting I can see exactly two people.

In SF, I'll be staying with my old buddy Leif, operations honcho for Hot House. Tonight: Powerhouse. Tomorrow, the Castro Street Fair, following by the main reason for this trip, the 30th anniversary of the Trocadero Transfer, Remember The Party, starring my pal DJ Jerry Bonham.

I hope to see lots of y'all at the fair tomorrow. Oy vey, look at that. Thirty minutes back in Note Cackalackey and the y'alls are flowing. My country roots are showing. And there's my plane, I gots to be goin'.

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Friday, October 05, 2007

Bombshell From Mike Jones:
"Larry Craig Visited Me"

When the Larry Craig scandal first unfolded, Mike Jones told me that Sen. Larry Craig had been an escorting client of his. I asked Mike if he could prove his claim, but he said that while he didn't have voice mail messages to backup his claim, as he did with Ted Haggard, he would nevertheless come forward IF Craig did not follow through on his resignation.

Today Jones told a Las Vegas radio station, "Larry Craig visited me." Like Haggard did, in the beginning, a spokesman for Larry Craig told the radio station that Jones' allegations are "completely false."

It's been killing me to keep this to myself, as you can WELL imagine. Now the story is finally out, since Craig has reneged on his promise to resign. Proof may not be as conclusive as it was for Ted Haggard, but Mike Jones has a credible track record. I believe him.

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Utah: Some "Special" Families OK
Others, Not So Much

A Utah single mother, overwhelmed by her drug problems, asked her uncle to take temporary custody of her four children while she gets her act together. Even though her uncle was already raising two kids with his male partner, he agreed to take in the kids, ages 10 months to 11 years.

Enter the state of Utah, which does not allow not-legally-married couples to have custody of children. The Utah Division of Child and Family Services, despite their stated goal of keeping siblings together and the difficulty (some would say "impossibility") of finding someone willing to foster four children together, sent the two gay men a lawyer with a request to surrender the children.

But surprisingly, the first Utah judge on the case has reversed the state, saying, "I see absolutely no reason why the kids can’t stay where they’re at." The four kids are back where their mother wanted them. For now. The great-uncle and his partner face an uphill battle. Under Utah law, single men cannot be foster parents. And since the two cannot be legally married, the four children face the terrifying prospect that they will be separated and parceled out into the foster system.

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Dan Savage On Colbert

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Barney Frank To Discuss ENDA

Congressman Barney Frank will appear on the Michelangelo Signorile show today at 5:15pm (Eastern) to discuss the ENDA debacle. Tune in to Sirius OutQ, channel 109.

Related: I've been working on an ENDA link farm because I can't post or react to the avalanche of ENDA-related news items and opinion pieces. But I see Andy Towle has beaten to me to it. Go here for a dozen or so links to new developments.

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Fifth And First

I'm a bit surprised that Michigan Avenue is so inexpensive compared to SF's Union Square.

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HomoQuotable - Gabriel Rotello

"For reason yet to be understood, most gay people exhibit sex atypical traits most clearly when we are very young. Many gay boys -- the vast majority in some studies -- report that they identified strongly with girls when they were very small. Many even thought of themselves as more female than male. The opposite seems true for most lesbians.

As we grow older these feelings tend to subside for many of us, so that as adults the only major sex atypical trait that we retain is our sexual orientation.

But not for everybody. Some of us grow up to be mannish women or femme men. Some become occasional cross-dressers or drag kings or queens. Some become transgenderists (people who live full-time as the opposite gender without desiring surgery). And some become pre- or post-operative transsexuals.

Researchers now think that this is all connected, that all gay and transgendered people occupy places on a continuum between the two main genders.

At one extreme are masculine gay men and feminine lesbians who could easily pass as straight, and whose only obvious sex-atypical trait is their sexual orientation. At the other extreme are people who are so gender-atypical in so many ways that some choose to have an operation to bring the body in line with the soul. But what distinguishes us is that we all, to some degree or another, have major traits that place us somewhere between the two primary genders.

In that sense, all LGBT people are transgendered." - Gabriel Rotello, in the Huffington Post.

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A Chorus Line

Damn. What IS it with these wacky Republicans? They are doing so much toe-tapping, we've got us a kick-line from one end of the Mississippi to the other. Joey DiFatta, 53, running for the Louisiana state senate, was revealed last yesterday to have been detained twice for suspicion of Craigian conduct. Once for peeking at a man through a stall in a Mervyn's bathroom, once for toe-tapping in a Dillards.
In the second incident, Jefferson Parish deputies working an undercover detail in a men's bathroom at Dillard's at Lakeside Shopping Center in March 2000 stopped DiFatta after he indicated a desire to engage in sex with an undercover deputy in an adjoining bathroom stall, according to an interoffice memorandum written by Sgt. Keith Conley, one of the deputies involved in the investigation.

The report said DiFatta slid his foot into the deputy's stall and tapped the deputy's foot. In the report, Conley noted that such activity is common among men to indicate a willingness to participate in sex.

The deputy inside the stall, Detective Wayne Couvillion, responded by tapping his foot, and DiFatta reached under the partition and began to rub the deputy's leg, the report states.

The detective asked DiFatta, "What do you want?" according to the report, and he replied, "I want to play with you."

DiFatta also used a hand signal to indicate that he wanted to engage in sex and used language that indicated the same, according to the report. Conley, who is now the Kenner city attorney, confirmed the report's authenticity Thursday
Neither mall-stall incident resulted in an arrest and early yesterday DiFatta called reporters to say that he was calling off his state senate campaign because he'd been having chest pains and his doctor wanted him to "slow down". (On those blowjobs.)

DiFatta is unmarried, with two grown sons and four grandchildren. One of his campaign promises is to "Protect our convervative values from attacks by extreme liberal groups."

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Morning View - Roosevelt Island Bridge

The only vehicular access to Roosevelt Island is via this bridge which connects to Queens. Before the bridge was built in 1955, the only way to get a car onto the island was via a car elevator that lowered vehicles from the Queensboro Bridge. The elevator was discontinued upon completion of the Roosevelt Bridge and was later demolished.


Broadway Friday

-This Sunday Wicked adds a special performance at 8pm, benefiting Bette Midler's New York Restoration Project. Tickets are $150-$200. Proceeds will establish a maintenance fund for "The Friendship Garden", a community space in upper Manhattan. Dedication of the garden is Oct.28th, "Wicked Day", and will be hosted by Midler.

-Original Xanadu lead James Carpinello will not be returning to the show. During previews in June, he broke his foot during rehearsals, at which time Cheyenne Jackson took over. Producers say they hope to use Carpinello in a future international production of the show.

-Norm! George Wendt, best known as roly-poly Norm from Cheers, joins the cast of Hairspray as Edna Turnblad on October 23rd.

-Jersey Boys just marked its millionth customer.

-Tony winner George Grizzard, dead at 79.

-Oscar winners Morgan Freeman and Frances McDormand will star in The Country Girl, opening on Broadway in early 2008. Direction by Oscar winner Mike Nichols.

-Talks between the stagehands union and Broadway producers continue. Producers say union rules require hiring more stagehands than needed and that only one in five Broadway shows recoups its investment. A lockout would darken 22 of 39 Broadway houses. Stagehands average $115,000 a year on a musical.


Thursday, October 04, 2007

GOP: Screwing 2008

The logo for the GOP's 2008 convention is causing a lot of blogosnickers. From Daily Kos:
Wide stance? Check.
In Minneapolis? Check.
Prison stripe-wearing? Check.
Starry eyed? Check.

As for the elephant humping the “2008”… Are they going for a “Still screwing the country in 2008” theme, or is it a reference to hypocritical adulterers like David Vitter and just about the entire Republican presidential field?

All of the above? Check!
The comments thread on Daily Kos is a riot.

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Larry Craig: Still Guilty

In a 27-page decision, the judge reviewing Sen. Toe-Tapper's case has refused to allow him to withdraw his guilty plea. Judge Charles Porter: "The defendant, a career politician with a college education, is of at least above-average intelligence. He knew what he was saying, reading and signing." Now let's see if Tearoom Larry decides to un-unresign.

UPDATE: Larry Craig responded to the judges ruling: "I am extremely disappointed with the ruling issued today. I am innocent of the charges against me. I continue to work with my legal team to explore my additional legal options. I will continue to serve Idaho in the United States Senate, and there are several reasons for that. As I continued to work for Idaho over the past three weeks here in the Senate, I have seen that it is possible for me to work here effectively. Over the course of my three terms in the Senate and five terms in the House, I have accumulated seniority and important committee assignments that are valuable to Idaho, not the least of which are my seats on the Appropriations Committee, the Energy and Natural Resources Committee and the Veterans' Affairs Committee. A replacement would be highly unlikely to obtain these posts. In addition, I will continue my effort to clear my name in the Senate Ethics Committee - something that is not possible if I am not serving in the Senate. When my term has expired, I will retire and not seek reelection. I hope this provides the certainty Idaho needs and deserves."

Great news for the Democrats! I can't wait to see the tshirts on the protesters at the 2008 GOP convention. The Craig-mocking commericals are already starting.

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As Done A Deal As
A Deal Done In Donetown

According to poll results released today, Hillary Clinton is now 33 points ahead of Barack Obama.
WASHINGTON — Hillary Rodham Clinton has jumped to an astounding 33-point lead over Barack Obama, topping her main rival among every major slice of the electorate and widening a dominating advantage she has held all summer.

Clinton got support from a full majority for the first time in any national survey about the Democratic presidential field. She is backed by 53 percent in the latest Washington Post/ABC News poll.

Obama follows far behind, with 20 percent, and John Edwards has 13 percent.

"I think it's pretty well done, don't you? All over but the voting," said Rep. Tom Petri (D-Wis.), when asked about the poll.

The contours of the survey are striking, even considering Clinton's previous edge.

Clinton leads her rivals on every major policy issue - and gets backed by an astonishing 66 percent on health care. The New York senator just released her health plan last month.

She wins backing from voters who want "strength and experience" (62 percent) as well as those who want "new direction and new ideas" (45 percent to Obama's 31 percent). She even rates as more "inspiring" than the charismatic Obama, 41 to 37 percent.
Who do you want for her running mate? Right now, I'm leaning towards John Edwards, in no small part due to my admiration of his wife, Elizabeth.

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BearForce1 Hits Gotham

Last night Aaron, Chris and I caught BearForce1, "the world's only bear band", at Splash. The guy on the left in my fuzzy pic appears to be a new member, he's not in the video for BearForce1's hit song, which already has almost 1 million views on YouTube. The (mostly) Dutch group got a nice reaction from an enthusiastic house, many of whom knew the three-part signature moves from the video (cross arms, salute, then point), something I've been torturing Chris with for several weeks. BearForce1 seems to be positioning themselves as a 21st century Village People. Besides performing their hit (twice), they covered Frankie's Relax and YMCA.

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Johnson Death Probe Gets Weirder

DC police are looking into whether Gotham nightlife impresario Dean Johnson's death may have been caused by mixing erectile dysfunction drugs with anti-depressants or other medications. The bizarre details surrounding Johnson's death continue to unfold. Johnson was the second man found dead in the Washington apartment of Steven Saleh, as one week before Johnson's death, another man overdosed there. Johnson then traveled to DC to console Saleh. How Johnson died and why his body was not identified for a week remains unknown.

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Stinging Shame

After a two-week-long police sex sting netted 40 men for having sex in two Johnson City, Tennessee parks, the Johnson City Press published the names, addresses and photos of all 40 men. Among the arrested was a Baptist minister, who has now resigned. According to the story, local cruisers had dubbed a section of one of the parks as the "man cave". [Photo]

From the comments on Free Republic: "Some of the ‘Christian’ women my wife works with were cackling about this; making fun of the queers, until one of them shot himself earlier they “feel bad” for making fun of them. Funny how that works..."

Opinions on publishing these kinds of details? We certainly don't want the police arresting people without any public knowledge. But does the Johnson City Press publish the photos and addresses of straight people arrested for public sex? That's a hypothetical question, of course, since cops don't do straight sex stings. I think the Johnson City Press bears some responsibility for the suicide. Write Press reporter Kristin Swing at let her know how you feel:

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HomoQuotable - Shannon Minter

"It is one thing to pass laws that don't cover groups that haven't really organized or come into public consciousness yet -- of course that is going to happen. But it is something else to deliberately cut out another, more politically vulnerable group that is asking to be included and just as much in need of protection just to get your rights more quickly. Seriously, that is not good karma! It does not surprise me that you are hearing from gay people who just want a gay rights law now, and who probably don't feel much kinship or alliance with trans people (which is a bit sad given how interlinked our histories have been). But I bet that many of them would feel differently if they truly understood the whole picture -- that a gay-only bill will actually harm transgender people, that any delay in passing a viable bill that includes everyone likely will not even be that significant in this case, and that other [non-gay] groups have stood by us [gays] even when it meant their own protections were delayed." - Shannon Minter, legal director for the National Center For Lesbian Rights, in an email to Rex Wockner.

Check out Wockner's analysis of the last week of ENDA turmoil. It begins: "If you live under a rock, you may not yet have noticed the meltdown taking place nationally in the "LGBT" rights movement the past few days."

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Morning View - Fruit Stand

Here's the fruit stand at the end of my block. In some parts of Manhattan, there seems to be a fruit stand every 50 feet.


Open Thread Thursday

After a birthday party and some bar hopping, last Saturday my buddy Chris and I somehow found ourselves in the basement disco of the Monster, a place we hadn't been for years. We mused a bit about how our nightclubbing habits have wound down and about the post I made a few weeks ago regarding the decline of gay nightlife nationwide. Everybody changes, the scene changes, technology forces change.

Where were you last Saturday at midnight? Out? Online? Asleep? Screwing?


Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Attention Foreign JMG Readers

Producers of a major talk show diva wants to talk to gay men who live outside the United States about what gay life is like in their home country.

If you are a foreign reader of JMG and this appeals to you, please respond in the comments to this post. Said diva's producers will directly contact those that interest them. Please state your home city and country and remember to leave your email address. And yes, this is a call for Canadians too.

Sounds like it will be an interesting show. I'll let you know if I hear further details.

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Killer Queen

She's a killer queen. Dynamite with a laser beam. And that "Oh, yeah, I'm bad" look is on her face because Shelley just made her first kill, a ginormous waterbug/roach that came in under the front door. I got it away from her before she ate it and then she wanted to give me kisses. Blech! Too soon for yet another cat post? Meh.


Trans Board Member Resigns From HRC

Citing "betrayal, distrust, and anger", Donna Rose, the only transgender member of HRC's board of directors has resigned over internal dissent regarding ENDA. In a lengthy statement on her personal website, Rose asks for others to join her. Rose: "I call on other like-minded board members, steering committee leaders, donors, corporate sponsors, and volunteers to think long and hard about whether this organization still stands for your values and to take decisive action as well." Rose does have kind words for HRC and says she refuses to "sling mud". Hmm, seems like that mud has been slung.

With the collapse of the T-free ENDA, support for inclusion of trans-folk as part of the gay rights movement seems to be eroding in some quarters. John Aravosis of AMERICAblog writes today in a piece titled The Transgender Fiasco, "I would argue that the gay community never collectively and overwhelmingly decided to include the T in LGB (or GLB). It happened because a few groups like NGLTF and GLAAD starting using it, and they and a handful of vocal activists and transgender leaders pretty much shamed everyone else into doing it. Now, that's not necessarily a bad thing, and it doesn't necessarily mean that the T shouldn't have been added. I'm just saying that I don't think the T was added because there was a groundswell of demand in the gay community that we add T to LGB. I think it happened through pressure, organizational fiat, shame, and osmosis. And that is how we got into the mess we're in today."

Aravosis concludes his piece by saying that he is getting private "atta boy" emails from gay politicos and journalists who agree with his position that transgenders don't belong in the LGBT umbrella, but who, due to fear of "PC repercussions", won't go public with their position.

And the unraveling continues.

UPDATE: Pam Spaulding comments on Donna Rose:

This painful wound must be healed. The real enemy is the right -- have we forgotten this? Have the people on the Hill forgotten this?

To turn on one another advances nothing. HRC, no matter what opinion one holds of the org, these folks do the work on the Hill. Where did the gauging of ENDA as a do-able priority (say over DADT repeal, which seems much more do-able), gain traction?

In any case, this whole "family fight," is undermining the long view of equality. There are no winners in this kind of a backstabbing event, where LGBs can be seen doling out horrible anti-T bigotry in the comments of blogs. I can only hope that Donna will reconsider this decision, but I have great respect for her efforts to represent the T perspective to the HRC board.

We're at a where-do-we-go-from-here moment -- everyone is pointing fingers.

Family fights are the most bitter of all. Nobody ever wins.

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The story about the dog-collared twins at Folsom that so outraged Michelle Malkin is actually over two years old. It was first published in the Golden Gate [X]Press on September 29th, 2005. I should have done some due diligence when it comes to anything spewing from Malkin's vile mouth, since she's well known for twisting events to suit her wingnuttery.

This doesn't alter my position on children at Folsom, but I apologize nonetheless. The gay dads in the story probably don't appreciate a re-hashing of a story that may have caused them a lot of grief two years ago. Although my audience is a fraction of Malkin's, I regret that I also used their specific example to springboard the discussion.

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Filthy Reminder: October 10th

I'll be reading at Rapture next Wednesday with Eric Leven (pictured), Miss Understood, Jake Shears, and Michael Cunningham. Tonight's installment will be a memorial to Dean Johnson, who was to host the series. From Rapture: "Please feel free to bring photos, music, writings or any other Dean Johnson-related memorabilia for the Honoring Wall which has already sprung up around our stage."

Note that you can see a quite a bit more of Eric in this ad for Next Magazine, compared to previous ad. I'll post one more reminder on the day of the show, maybe that one will show even more of Mr. Leven. I'll be reading two short stories, one from the archives and something new.

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Right Out

Second Avenue
In front of Trump Palace

Stroller-pushing nanny on cell: "I swear to fucking Jesus, if I have to sit through Dora The Explorer one more fucking time, I'm jumping right off the 40th floor. Right out the fucking window. RIGHT OUT! Adios, muchachos!"

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Time To Move To A Higher Floor

Uh oh.
The Arctic ice cap shrank so much this summer that waves briefly lapped along two long-imagined Arctic shipping routes, the Northwest Passage over Canada and the Northern Sea Route over Russia.

Arctic Study Researchers haul a buoy across the Arctic sea ice in August, led by two Coast Guard crew whose job was to ward off polar bears or rescue anyone who slipped into the sea.

Over all, the floating ice dwindled to an extent unparalleled in a century or more, by several estimates.

Now the six-month dark season has returned to the North Pole. In the deepening chill, new ice is already spreading over vast stretches of the Arctic Ocean. Astonished by the summer’s changes, scientists are studying the forces that exposed one million square miles of open water — six Californias — beyond the average since satellites started measurements in 1979.
I like to flatter myself by thinking that by living in NYC my carbon footprint is very small, relative to most Americans. I don't own a car, live in a very small space, and only use my air-conditioning for a few weeks a year. Dense urban living and using public transit are considered by some to be the most effective tools for reducing environmental impact. Of course, my family in Florida more than compensates for my eco-savings with their huge house and Space Shuttle-sized SUVs.

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Good Work Wednesday

NYC: The NY Gay Football League hosts its 3rd Annual Bachelor Auction tonight at Splash, benefiting the Ali Forney Center, NYC's gay youth shelter. Auction begins at 8pm. BearForce1 performs later in the evening.

NYC: The Gay & Lesbian Anti-Violence Project will stage their 2007 Courage Awards at Gotham Hall on November 19th, hosted by B.D. Wong. This year's honorees: New York State Assembly Member Daniel J. O'Donnell, Ms. Verna Eggleston of the Bloomberg Family Foundation, and Sundance Channel.

LOS ANGELES: The Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network's Respect Awards on Oct. 12th will honor individuals and corporations who have helped move the work of GLSEN foward. This year's honorees: Dr. Neal Baer, Greg Berlanti, James C. Hormel, Sheila Kuehl.

NYC: Empire State Pride Agenda holds their Fall Dinner on Octobert 11th at Sheraton Hotel & Towers. Keynote speaker: David Mixner. Special guests include Christopher Meloni, Mary Lousie Parker, Alan Cumming. Tickets here.

Orange County/CA: ECCO, a political action group for Orange County, California, holds its 2007 Awards Dinner at the Disneyland Hotel on October 13th. Honorees: Alicia Berhow, Lighthouse at Southern California Edison, California Teachers Association, Peg Corley, Ivy Bottini.


Morning View - Metropolitan Club

In 1893 J.P. Morgan commissioned Stanford White to build the opulent Metropolitan Club after Morgan was denied membership to downtown social clubs, as bankers were considered low-class. Built at the corner of Fifth Avenue and East 60th, it is considered by many to be Stanford White's best work. Other Manhattan landmarks by Stanford White: the Washington Square Arch, the Century Club, the Payne Whitney Mansion.

Unrelated: Just noticed that this is the 200th Morning View. And I still haven't run out of things to show you. Here's the first one, from June last year.

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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Folsom Is For Grown-Ups

Michelle Malkin ranted yesterday about a gay couple in San Francisco who dressed their two year-old twins in lace and leather collars and took them to Folsom Street Fair. From the SF paper [X]Press:

Two-year-olds Zola and Veronica Kruschel waddled through Folsom Street Fair amidst strangers in fishnets and leather crotch pouches, semi and fully nude men. The twin girls who were also dressed for the event wore identical lace blouses, floral bonnets and black leather collars purchased from a pet store. Fathers Gary Beuschel and John Kruse watched over them closely. They were proud to show the twins off.
Dan Savage responds:

"Damn it. It always unnerves me when I find myself in agreement with right-wing shrieker Michelle Malkin but, uh, she’s got a point: Why would anyone bring his kids to the Folsom Street Fair? As a parent and a homo, I don’t think this is appropriate for kids. I wouldn’t want my child to see straight people behaving so shamelessly in public.

Personally, as a parent, I’m appalled by Gary Beuschel and John Kruse’s decision to take their little girls to Folsom—and in itty-bitty fetish wear no less. I wouldn’t take my kid to Folsom—at nine he’s too young to understand that BDSM is play, cops and robbers for grownups. And, again, I wouldn’t want to have to explain this to him. But I have taken him to gay pride festivals where, yes, the occasional naked person strolls down the street. He thought it was a crazy party."
Folsom Street Fair should be for adults only. Card people at the gates. Why hasn't it been that way all along? Adult babies, that's another story.

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Murky Details On Dean Johnson's Death

Strange details are emerging surrounding the death of pioneering New York personality Dean Johnson. From today's Page Six in the NY Post:
October 2, 2007 -- DEAN Johnson, a legendary promoter of gay parties in downtown Manhattan, was found dead in Washington, D.C., last week and pals fear he was murdered. Lower East Side photographer John Penley told Page Six that e-mails from Johnson's computer reveal he'd been going to D.C. regularly "to set up weird sex parties for a wealthy Saudi guy. Nobody knows his identity, but it's all very suspicious." Dean, who had a history of drug use, had no ID on him when his body was discovered, and stayed in the morgue for several days before he was identified. His death in under investigation. Johnson, 45, promoted the weekly "Rock 'n' Roll Fag Party" at the old CBGB. "There probably isn't a single gay in the entire city who hasn't been to one of Dean's parties," Penley said. Dean, with his shaved head and 6-foot-6 frame, also fronted rock bands and starred in porn flicks. A memorial service will be held tomorrow at 8 p.m. at Rapture Café & Books, 200 Avenue A.
There's a message on Motherboards that another man's body was found with Johnson's. This may turn out to be something other than a simple overdose, as many first suspected.

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Bill Clinton, First Lady

The latest New York Magazine has a great story about the role Bill Clinton would play in a Hillary adminstration. Contrary to Hillary's time as First Lady, when she had an office in the West Wing and helped formulate key social policies, Bill would have to be as absent as possible from the White House, lest Hillary be viewed as a mere co-president.

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Catholic League Backs Off Miller Brewing

Miller Brewing has announced a "full-scale review" of their promotional activities. In response, the Catholic League's Bill Donahue says that for now, they are tabling a "serious course of action" they had planned against Miller Brewing.
“Today’s San Francisco Chronicle reports that at yesterday’s Folsom Street Fair, ‘couples led each other up and down the street with dog collars and leashes, men in thong underwear played Twister….’ There was also a man who was flogged to such an extent that ‘red lash marks covered his back.’ Other gay men decided to ‘walk around naked’ in front of women and children. In addition to the homosexuals who dressed as nuns—ridiculing the women who have given selflessly of their lives in service to the dispossessed—there was a female stripper who was hoisted in a cage over a Roman Catholic church (on a Sunday when Masses were being said). The lead sponsor for the incredible spectacle is the Miller Brewing Company.

“The response from Miller has been encouraging, though incomplete. The Milwaukee brewer issued a news release on September 26 saying it took exception to the use of its logo on an offensive poster mocking the Last Supper. Today, it extended its original statement by apologizing for the misuse of its logo, ‘particularly [to] members of the Christian community who have contacted us to express their concern.’ It also said, ‘We are conducting an immediate audit of our procedures for approving local marketing and sales sponsorships to ensure that this does not happen again.’

“We called Miller today asking for clarification of this statement, and we are pleased to note that a full-scale review of all its promotional policies is underway. It is not certain at this time whether Miller plans to sponsor events like the Folsom Street Fair in the future. Accordingly, while we are not calling off the boycott, we are tabling a serious course of action that we were going to announce today. We expect that Miller will resolve this issue before too long.”
It looks like Miller and the Catholic League may have come to a private deal.

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Sandy Murder Trial Update

To bolster his contention that he is gay himself and therefore not subject to hate crimes embellishments in the murder of Michael Sandy, yesterday three "older" men testified on behalf of defendant Anthony Fortunato, 21, stating that they had hooked up with Fortunato online previous to the Sandy murder. Two of the men mentioned that Fortunato had showed up at their homes wearing women's underwear.

"To my shock he was wearing ladies' undergarments, he had a bra, if I remember correctly, and a G-string," one of the men testified. If the jury believes that Fortunado is himself gay, the hate crimes embellishment could be dismissed, which I find just outrageous. Gay hate crimes are OFTEN committed by closeted gays. If this defense works, I can't see the point of having hate crimes embellishments at all.

A message from the friends and family of Michael Sandy:
Only one short year ago Michael was taken from us...and as this anniversary arises we'd like you to know the current status and updates from The Michael Sandy Foundation.

The Michael Sandy Foundation has been accredited with a 501(c)3 which makes us a NY Nonprofit Organization established with a Board of Directors. We've been very busy this past year finaling all the paperwork necessary to be given exempt tax status and become Incorporated, and now that we are the real work begins.

Please, dear friends, join with us in a one year memorial for Michael Sandy on Saturday the 13th of October 2007 at the St. Ignatius Church in Manhattan. The following day, October 14th, a candlelight vigil will be held where Michael was killed, Plumb Beach.
More here: The Michael Sandy Foundation.

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Morning View - 68th & Lexington

At 68th Street, the Hunter College pedestrian overpass crosses Lexington Avenue. Hunter, one of the oldest public colleges in the U.S., used to be called Female Normal.


Swag Tuesday

Courtesy of FlyLife and Burgundy Records, this week I have five copies of Chaka Khan's Funk This, her first all-new studio album in 10 years. Featuring duets with Mary J. Blige, Michael McDonald and Tony Maiden, Funk This is now in stores and available on download services. Click over for a special shout-out from Chaka to JMG readers, followed by Disrespectful, the single with Mary J. Blige.

Five winners this week. Enter by commenting on this post and please remember to leave your email address. Please comment only once. Publicists: if you'd like to take part in Swag Tuesday on JMG, please email me.

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Monday, October 01, 2007

HRC Signs "Stop ENDA" Letter

Via HRC Back Story comes word that HRC has signed the Leadership Conference On Civil Rights' letter (PDF) calling for a trans-inclusive ENDA. HRC joins 16 progressive organizations including the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force, Lambda Legal, and the ACLU.
October 1, 2007

The Honorable George Miller,
Chairman Committee on Education and Labor
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Chairman Miller:

On behalf of the undersigned organizations, we write to express our opposition to the strategy and process by which the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (HR 3685) is to be considered in the House of Representatives. We ask that the markup in the House Education and Labor Committee, scheduled for less than 24 hours from now, be canceled.

For many years, we have worked to develop an employment non-discrimination bill that protects the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. Our organizations support the Employment Non-Discrimination Act as introduced (H.R. 2015).

Although we believe that the bill's sponsor, Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA), and the House Democratic Leadership have a sincere desire to protect the LGBT community from discrimination, we believe the process and strategy that has been adopted is a mistake. That mistake is compounded by moving forward with a markup tomorrow.
Good for HRC. Note that this letter is separate from the one mentioned in an earlier post.

UPDATE: The letter worked. With less than 24 hours before its scheduled mark-up, House Democratic leaders have put off the ENDA hearing. Reps. Nancy Pelosi, Barney Frank and Tammy Baldwain issued this joint statement: "After discussions with congressional leaders and organizations supporting passage of ENDA, we have agreed to schedule mark-up of the bill in the Committee on Education and Labor later this month, followed by a vote in the full House. This schedule will allow proponents of the legislation to continue their discussions with Members in the interest of passing the broadest possible bill."

Go to Gay City News and read Paul Schindler's superb recounting of the events leading to this late decision.

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Wait, Did I Just Say That Out Loud?

One interesting ramification of the recent strength of the Canadian dollar is that marijuana exports to the United States are on the decline. Exporters of the famous "B.C. Bud", one of British Columbia's largest industries, now profit much less when selling stateside. In the plus column, the decline of the American market means more supply for stoner Canadians, who have the highest rate of marijuana use in the industrialized world, according to a July study from the United Nations. (That has got to play into Canada's famous "so what?" mentality.)

In an unrelated drug story, the mayor of Amsterdam has proposed a three-day waiting period for the purchase of hallucinogenic mushrooms, partially because of tourists freaking out in the Van Gogh Museum.

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Progressives Call To Action: Stop ENDA

Major national LGBT rights groups are among over 90 progressive organizations calling on Congress NOT to approve the current version of ENDA, which has been stripped of transgender protections.

NGLFT: Please call your Congressperson right now. Call the Capitol switchboard at 202.224.3121 and ask to be connected to your representative. When a staffperson answers, say: "Please tell the representative that I oppose any version of ENDA that does not include both sexual orientation and gender identity. There's a sexual orientation bill scheduled to be marked up in committee tomorrow. I want Congress to reject that substitute bill, and instead pass the original version of ENDA (H.R. 2015) that includes both gender identityand sexual orientation."

Lambda Legal: "Leaving out protections for transgender people is unacceptable, and passing a bill riddled with loopholes will make it harder to achieve equality on the job," said Kevin Cathcart, Executive Director at Lambda Legal. "You can't be fired for being a lesbian or a gay man, but you can be fired if your boss thinks you fit their stereotype of one. After working together for so many years on a bill to provide protections for the LGBT community on the job — we can do better than this."

It's appalling that we've come to this, asking Congress to NOT give us job protection. Disgusting.

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Friendly Voices: Julian Bond

"Gay and lesbian rights are not "special rights" in any way. It isn't "special" to be free from discrimination – it is an ordinary, universal entitlement of citizenship. The right not to be discriminated against is a common-place claim we can expect to enjoy under our laws and our founding document, the Constitution. That many had to struggle to gain these rights makes them precious - it does not make them special, and it does not reserve them only for me or restrict them from others.

When others gain these rights, my rights are not reduced in any way. Luckily, "civil rights" are a win/win game; the more civil rights are won by others, the stronger the army defending my rights becomes. My rights are not diluted when my neighbor enjoys protection from the law – he or she becomes my ally in defending the rights we all share.

For some, comparisons between the African-American civil rights movement and the movement for gay and lesbian rights seem to diminish the long black historical struggle with all its suffering, sacrifices and endless toil. However, people of color ought to be flattered that our movement has provided so much inspiration for others, that is has been so widely imitated, and that our tactics, methods, heroines and heroes, even our songs, have been appropriated by or serve as models for others.

No parallel between movements for rights is exact. African-Americans are the only Americans were enslaved for more than two centuries, and people of color carry the badge of who we are on our faces. But we are far from the only people suffering discrimination – sadly, so do many others. They deserve the laws' protections and civil rights too.

Sexual disposition parallels race – I was born black and had no choice. I couldn't and wouldn't change if I could. Like race, our sexuality isn't a preference – it is immutable, unchangeable, and the Constitution protects us all against prejudices and discrimination based on immutable differences.

Many gays and lesbians, along with Jews, worked side by side with me in the '60s civil rights movement. Am I to now tell them "thanks" for risking life and limb helping me win my rights – but they are excluded because of a condition of their birth? That they cannot share now in the victories they helped to win? That having accepted and embraced them as partners is a common struggle, I can now turn my back on them and deny them the rights they helped me win, that I enjoy because of them?

Not a chance."

NAACP National Chairman Julian Bond, in a letter congratulating the Fort Lauderdale NAACP for their stand against Mayor Jim Naugle.

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Showbears: The Audition

Just one of several hilarious spots for the Seattle Lesbian & Gay Film Festival, which starts October 12th. The spots are written and directed by David Quantic. Also recommended: Drag Queen Workshop.

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Manhattan Monday

-NYC taxis get a logo makeover, design geeks take offense.

-The fine for stealing recyclables from trash has been raised from $100 to $5000 for repeat offenders, in an attempt to thwart underground trash-picking businesses that prowl in advance of city garage trucks. City officials promise that the new law is not aimed at homeless people.

-Daniel Leibeskind is designing a 74-story tower to go up on Madison Avenue next to the Clock Tower. Neighborhood activists are predictably unhappy.

-Subway stations are getting outfitted with powerful cell-phone signal amplifiers, making it possible for commuters to use their phones on the platforms (but not in the tunnels.) The upside: 911 operators will be able to triangulate your position more accurately than if you were on the street.

-Tonight a massive party on Grand Army Plaza will celebrate today's 100th birthday of the Plaza Hotel. Fireworks will be be launched from the hotel's roof and a giant "100" will be illuminated on its side.

-The MTA is proposing a new fare schedule that would give discounts for commuting during off-peak hours. Pay-per-ride fares would drop to $1.50 for off-peak and midday travel. The new plan would do away with the bonus rides given for Metrocard purchases over $10. An alternate plan raises the per-ride charge to $2.25.

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HomoQuotable - Jonathan Capehart

"If only that Rudy were in this presidential race. That Rudy was a leader. One who didn't duck challenging issues but faced them head-on. One who didn't tell people what they wanted to hear to get their votes but what they needed to hear to earn their votes. - Jonathan Capehart in the Washington Post, discussing Rudy Giuliani's former reputation as a progressive on gay causes. Capehart contacted all the Republican candidates to pose the same questions given at last month's LOGO forum for Democrats. None responded.

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Central Park, Sunday, 2pm

Crazy homeless guy: "Stupid-ass ducks! Ain't got no motherfucking sense, swimming around in that cold-ass water. Quack! Quack! Quackity fucking quack! You ain't cool. You can't even sit in no tree. Dumb-ass ducks!"

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Morning View - Upper East Side

Looking across the East River from Astoria, Queens, you see a portion of the Upper East Side. Note the Blackwell Lighthouse at the right of the shot, which is at the northernmost end of Roosevelt Island.