Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Phelps Clan For $10.9M

The Drudge Report is first with this breaking news:
JURY HATES PHELPS: The father of a fallen Marine awarded $2.9 million by jury that found leaders of a fundamentalist church had invaded the family's privacy when they picketed the Marine's funeral. Developing...
UPDATE: More from the Associated Press.
BALTIMORE (AP) -- A federal jury on Wednesday awarded the father of a fallen Marine $2.9 million in compensatory damages after finding a fundamentalist Kansas church and three of its leaders liable for invasion of privacy and intent to inflict emotional distress for picketing the Marine's funeral in 2006.

The jury was to begin deliberating the size of punitive damages after receiving further instructions, although U.S. District Judge Richard Bennett noted the size of the compensatory award "far exceeds the net worth of the defendents," according to financial statements filed with the court.

Albert Snyder of York, Pa., sued the Westboro Baptist Church for unspecified monetary damages after members staged a demonstration at the March 2006 funeral of his son, Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder, who was killed in Iraq. Church members routinely picket funerals of military personnel killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, carrying signs such as "Thank God for dead soldiers" and "God hates fags."

A number of states have passed laws regarding funeral protests, and Congress has passed a law prohibiting such protests at federal cemeteries, but the Maryland lawsuit is believed to be the first filed by the family of a fallen serviceman.

Snyder's suit named the church, its founder the Rev. Fred Phelps and his two daughters Shirley Phelps-Roper and Rebecca Phelps-Davis, 46. The jury began deliberating Tuesday after two days of testimony. The York, Pa. man claimed the protests intruded upon what should have been a private ceremony and sullied his memory of the event.

The church members testified they are following their religious beliefs by spreading the message that the deaths of soldiers are due to the nation's tolerance of homosexuality. Their attorneys argued in closing statements Tuesday that the burial was a public event and that even abhorrent points of view are protected by the First Amendment, which guarantees freedom of speech and religion. The judge said the church's financial statements that had been unsealed could be released to the plaintiffs.
Wheeee! And that $2.9M is just the compensatory part of the judgment, the real whopper will come when the punitive number is released. I'm going to put aside my looming concern about the First Amendment for just wee bit, if y'all don't mind.

UPDATE II: The punitive damages award was $8M, bringing the entire judgment to $10.9M. The entire net worth of the Phelps clan is less than $1M.

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Gay Activist Carl Siciliano Wins
Brooke Astor Service Award

Carl Siciliano, Executive Director of the Ali Forney Center, New York City's homeless shelter for LGBT youth, was yesterday awarded the 2007 Brooke Astor Service Award. Siciliano (right) is seen here accepting the award from New York Public Library president Paul LeClerc.
The Brooke Russell Astor Award honors Mrs. Astor's commitment to the role of individuals in improving the quality of life in New York City. The award, which includes a cash prize of $10,000, is given annually and honors an unsung community hero or heroine who is relentless in his or her dedication to the city and who has contributed substantially to its enrichment.

Nominations are solicited from more than 400 individuals and organizations, including cultural groups, universities, foundations, elected officials, community groups and social services agencies.
Congratulations to Carl!

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Rho A Go For DP'd Mo's

The Rhode Island legislature has overridden Gov. Don Carcieri's veto of a bill providing domestic partners of state employees access to state pension and retirement benefits.
The legislation includes all employees with pensions managed through the Employee Retirement System of RI – teachers, judges, and other state and municipal employees. To qualify, partners must have lived together for one year and be financially interdependent.

"With this override, the General Assembly has sent a clear message: all public employees should be treated fairly, and deserve equal benefits for equal work," said Jenn Steinfeld, Director of Marriage Equality Rhode Island. Steinfeld noted, however that the bill falls far short of full marriage equality. "We encourage the General Assembly to demonstrate their concern for Rhode Island families by passing equal marriage legislation," she said.
Another baby step. In September the New York state employees' retirement system began offering benefits to gay couples legally married in other jurisdictions.

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Walker / Don't Walker

I usually only get approached by hookers when I'm in the vicinity of fancy midtown hotels, where well-dressed young women will smile as if you're an old friend and say brightly, "Hey, you havin' a good night?" Maybe they think I look like an expense account-toting bidnizman, but I usually say flatly, "I live here" and they go on their way.

Last night I was waiting to cross the street near Times Square, when two very young girls sidled up to me. One of them said, "Wassup, you lookin' for a date?" I shook my head and turned my attention back to the traffic signal. She tried again. "You wanna party with us?" Without looking at them, I said forcefully, "NO!" Not liking my 'tude, she barked, "Damn. Why you gotta be that?" I said, "Well, for starters, you're underage and you're female." The second one pulled her friend away and said, "Ooh, she just mad cuz she too old for Splash."

Damn. Why they gotta be like that?

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Kucinich At Last Night's Debate

At last night's Democratic candidates debate in Philadelphia, Dennis Kucinich vehemently called for the impeachment of President Bush to a surprisingly silent response from the audience, although this clip cuts off a bit too soon for you to tell. I just don't get their reaction, but I do get Dennis Kucinich. I just wish more people did.

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HomoQuotable - Andrew Sullivan

"McClurkin describes sexual orientation as something that God wants to save me and other gay people from. If one were being generous, one would say this isn't meant as an attack; but it is certainly experienced as an attack. McClurkin, in short, should never have been allowed to speak at this event, because his words are inherently divisive, his record of comments on gay people offensive, and the point of the event was allegedly unifying. It wasn't. To my mind, this isn't ultimately about the difficulty of forging any kind of alliance between gays and African-Americans. It is the inherent danger of mixing religion with politics. That's called Christianism. Some of us have not spent the last few years trying to rescue conservatism from the toxin of theocracy only to support a candidate who wants to do the same thing on the left. I don't think Obama wants to go that far; I still believe that broadly speaking, his is the only major candidacy right now that offers the kind of change we need. But what happened on that stage was inexcusable, stupid, and damaging. I don't blame any gay American for jumping the Obama ship over it." - Andrew Sullivan.

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Ralph Nader Sues Dems

Ralph Nader is suing the Democratic Party, claiming party officials conspired to keep him from taking votes away from John Kerry and worked to keep him off the ballot in the 2004 election.
Nader's lawsuit, filed in District of Columbia Superior Court, also named as co-defendants Kerry's campaign, the Service Employees International Union and several so-called 527 organizations such as America Coming Together, which were created to promote voter turnout on behalf of the Democratic ticket.

The lawsuit also alleges that the Democratic National Committee conspired to force Nader off the ballot in several states.

"The Democratic Party is going after anyone who presents a credible challenge to their monopoly over their perceived voters," Nader said in a statement. "This lawsuit was filed to help advance a free and open electoral process for all candidates and voters. Candidate rights and voter rights nourish each other for more voices, choices, and a more open and competitive democracy."

Among other things, the lawsuit alleges that the DNC tried to bankrupt Nader's campaign by suing to keep him off the ballot in 18 states. It also suggests the DNC sent Kerry supporters to crash a Nader petition drive in Portland, Ore., in June 2004, preventing him from collecting enough signatures to get on the ballot.

The lawsuit seeks "compensatory damages, punitive damages and injunctive relief to enjoin the defendants from ongoing and future violations of the law." It was not clear how much money Nader is seeking.
I'm finding it hard to find sympathy for Nader, considering that Dubya's first term was made possible by him. Still, it will be very interesting to see how this plays out.

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Morning View - The Belleclaire

Now an apartment building, the Hotel Belleclaire on Broadway and 77th Street was built in 1903. Designed by Emery Roth, my beloved Farmboyz advise me that the Belleclaire is an example of his work before he "got all Italianated". They continue: "The building is known for its bay windows which look out on Broadway and continued the exuberant effort of the time to make that street a 'Parisian boulevard'. They recently painted those stacks of bays the matte black that you see in your photo. I think this is an atrocious mistake: pretty girl, cheap dress." Them Farmboyz know their Manhattan architecture. They give great tour.


It's A GOP Whoregasbord!

Ho-lee CRAP! The scandal unfolding around Washington state Rep. Richard Curtis (R-DUH) is out-Haggarding and out-Craiging anything we've ever seen from fucked up, self-hating, anti-gay, right-wing Republicans. And that, my tender kittens, is rilly, rilly saying something.

Today's Self-Loathing Menu

(Prix Fixe: One Political Career)

We start with a late-season twink porn prostitute appetizer (NSFW), followed by a main course of cross-dressed role-player john en crout with medical device garnish, served with generous side orders (PDF) of cell-phone photos, X-rated videos, bondage, theft, and blackmail.

Dessert: Cru Anal avec DNA crème lourde.


From the police report, via Dan Savage:
Curtis stated both he and the male walked into the lobby together. He told the male gain that he would give the male $100 to help him out but he was not paying him to have sex. Curtis and the male went up to Curtis’ room, which was 968. Once in the room Curtis gave the male $100…. Curtis and the male ultimately had anal intercourse on the bed in Curtis’ hotel room. The male performed intercourse on Curtis and the male’s semen and/or DNA would be on the inside of the condom while Curtis’ DNA would be on the exterior. Curtis said he was the person who received the anal sex. [Emphasis Dan's]
The hooker told the cops:
[Castagna] states [Curtis] was a “freak.” [Castagna] said that [Curtis] dressed in women’s lingerie during sex. [Castagna] said he used a condom and performed anal intercourse on [Curtis]…. After the sex act was completed [Curtis] told [Castagna] he wanted to perform “bareback sex” on [Castagna because Curtis] did not like the feel of condoms. [Castagna] told [Curtis] that he did not do that, that he didn’t know [Curtis], and that “bareback sex” was unsafe sex and was dangerous. [Curtis] asked [Castagna] “what would it take for you to do it.”
According to Castagna, he and Curtis settled on a $1000 barebacking fee, but when Curtis fell asleep after completing the act, Castagna took pictures with his cell phone and left with the Honorable Rep's wallet. He then called Curtis and demanded his fee with a threat to expose Curtis to the press and his wife. Police nabbed Castagna when he showed up (and this is priceless) at the "last flowerpot on the Washington Street Bridge", where he'd instructed Curtis to leave his money.

Castagna has a lengthy criminal record:
The Columbian newspaper in southwestern Washington where Rep. Curtis lives confirmed that Castagna has faced multiple charges in juvenile court in Spokane and King County involving assault, theft, burglary and malicious mischief and that in 2001 he pled guilty to a forgery charge as an adult and was sentenced to two months in jail followed by a year in community custody.
But Curtis has been busy elsewhere too:
Curtis, according to a search warrant unsealed Tuesday, went to the Hollywood Erotic Boutique on East Sprague on October 26th at approximately 12:45 a.m. The store clerk, who had talked with Curtis, referred to him as "The Cross-Dresser" and said that during their conversations he confirmed he was gay and was married with children at home. During his visit to the video store Curtis was observed wearing women's lingerie while receiving oral sex from an unidentified man in one of the movie viewing booths inside the store.
Oh, and after providing the police with exacting details of the whole hookerific shebang, Rep. Curtis suddenly claimed that Castagna had drugged him and that he "was so out of it he really didn’t know what happened." It is to laugh. And here's video of the hooker claiming his (relative) innocence.

As this is all going down in his backyard, stay with Dan Savage's SLOG for updates and more deliciously dishy dirty details. I'm quite anxious to hear Rep. Curtis justify voting against every LGBT-friendly bill in the Washington state legislature, all while taking it up the ass from male hookers while wearing ladies panties. He must have been so out of it he really didn't know what he was voting on!

Pam Spaulding says
"I’m living a relatively plain jane lesbian existence simply asking for my civil rights while closet cases like Curtis get all sorts of kinks on while railing against openly LGBT citizens. It makes me sick."

Us too, Pam.

Update via JMG reader Crixi: Cody likes cupcakes.

Update II: Curtis has resigned.

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Good Work Wednesday

DC: The Human Rights Campaign will host a photo exhibit called “Pride / Prejudice: Voices of GLBT Youth,” on Wednesday, November 7th from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. The November 7th event will include a reception with photographer Rachelle Lee Smith. The photo exhibit will remain to the public on Thursday, November 9th from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. The exhibit will be on display at the HRC building at 1640 Rhode Island Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. Reserve tickets here.

SF: The Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund will host a fundraiser for LGBT candidates on Wednesday, November 14th at 54 Palm Avenue. Candidates benefiting: Annise Parker, running for re-election as Houston City Controller, and Oregon State Senator Kate Brown, candidate for Oregon Secretary of State. Tickets $175-$1000. Purchase here.

NYC: The LGBT Community Center will honor Tony-winning actress Cherry Jones and corporate executive Sally Susman at its annual gala dinner, Women’s Event 10, on November 3 at Pier Sixty, Chelsea Piers. Tickets and info here.

SF: On Sunday, November 4th, the Alexander Hamilton Post 448, in conjunction with The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and SF Defenders is hosting "A Homecoming and Healing Celebration" for veterans of this HIV/AIDS era and those who support them. Room 207, War Memorial Building, 401 Van Ness Avenue. 1:30PM-5PM. Opening ceremonies with a color guard and invocations will be followed by an exercise to recognize our personal everyday heroes. A second exercise recognizing the hero in each of us will be followerd by a final blessing from the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.

NYC: Gay Men's Health Crisis hosts Fashion Forward With Tim Gunn, tomorrow, November 1st at the Altman Building, 135 W.18th Street. "Join us as we celebrate the fashion industry's commitment to fighting HIV and AIDS and their support of GMHC for over two decades. FASHION FORWARD will present the looks of such celebrated designers as John Bartlett, Andrew Buckler, Heatherette, Perry Ellis, Rag & Bone and Peter Som among others. The evening will feature a cocktail reception, a runway show and a live and silent auction." Purchase tickets here.

LA: The Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Community Center 36th Annual Gala & Auction takes place on November 17th at the Hyatt Regency Century City. "Singer and Activist Jenifer Lewis and the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles to be Honored; Chorus to Perform “duet” with the iconic Linda Ronstadt." Tickets: $300 for individuals, $400 for VIP admission which includes preferred seating; $3,000 for a table of 10, and $4,000 for a VIP table of 10. Purchase tickets here.

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.


Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Married Gay Straight Stud For Same

I hesitated to do yet another post about yet another public sex sting ...
BEDFORD - A sting aimed at men who cruise a rest area off Interstate 684 for gay sex resulted in charges against 20 men in the past month, including a Catholic priest and a registered sex offender. The sting, which also netted a local Rotary Club president and a 72-year-old man, was prompted by a complaint from a man who stopped to use the rest area with his 10-year-old son, said Capt. Robert Meyer, state police commander in Westchester County. Most of the men were charged with either loitering or trespass violations or both. One was charged with forcible touching, a misdemeanor.
But Dan Savage once again makes this critical observation: "Out of the 20 men arrested seeking gay sex in a toilet off I-684, how many do you think were openly gay?"
With the exception of Mead [the priest], all of those charged are married, police said.
Savage: "The correct answer was none! How does the same story get written after every public 'gay sex' sting? 'Hey, all the men arrested are married or priests! What’s up with that!' What’s up with that, of course, is that squalid, anonymous toilet sex isn’t something most openly gay men engage in. It is, for the most part, the preferred mode of sexual expression for closeted gay and bisexual men. Cruisy toilets and parks, while frequented by some openly gay men (none of whom ever seem to get caught, however), are primarily patronized by straight-identified closet cases, married men, losers, and priests—hell, the existence or cruisy toilets and parks make it possible for many of these men to remain closeted."

I'd add that probably the biggest draw for the few openly gay men that do cruise these locations is their fetishization of the "straight" men who comprise the bulk of the cruisers. You know, because straight men are, by default, hotter than queers.

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Obama Spins McClurkin

Notice at the 0:55 mark how Obama refers to the McClurkin controversy as happening "a while back." Uh, yeah. Waaaay back on Sunday. Spin, spin, spin.

Also from the same forum, but not in the clip:
Appearing at the Cedar Rapids Public Library, Abbi Swanson whose son is gay, asked what he would do to give him the same rights as opposite-sex couples. "You want the word marriage and I believe that the issue of marriage has become so entangled - the word marriage has become so entangled with religion - that it makes more sense for me as president, with that authority, to talk about the civil rights that are conferred [with civil unions]" he told her.

Both Swanson and Lamb later told the Des Moines Register they were not satisfied with Obama's position. "I'm not completely satisfied that he's not for gay marriage ... but I'm happy he does believe in equal rights for gay citizens," Lamb said.
Swanson told the paper, "There isn't an electable candidate out there that has given me the answer I want, which is everything."
We're not going to get "everything", but we should at least demand that candidates who purport to support most gay issues not hand the microphone over to the "ex-gays". When the McClurkin issue first reared up, I was perplexed, then disappointed. Now I'm just pissed.

The t-shirt now on sale at AmericaBlog:

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The Dwindling Gayborhood

Springboarding off tomorrow's closure of the Castro for Halloween (thanks to violence spawned by the annual invasion of het-thugs), today the New York Times riffs on the topic of gayborhoods, asking if "gay enclaves" around the nation are not only doomed, but even necessary in today's increasingly accepting world. (The post below this one to the contrary.)
These are wrenching times for San Francisco’s historic gay village, with population shifts, booming development, and a waning sense of belonging that is also being felt in gay enclaves across the nation, from Key West, Fla., to West Hollywood, as they struggle to maintain cultural relevance in the face of gentrification.

There has been a notable shift of gravity from the Castro, with young gay men and lesbians fanning out into less-expensive neighborhoods like Mission Dolores and the Outer Sunset, and farther away to Marin and Alameda Counties, “mirroring national trends where you are seeing same-sex couples becoming less urban, even as the population become slightly more urban,” said Gary J. Gates, a demographer and senior research fellow at the University of California, Los Angeles.

At the same time, cities not widely considered gay meccas have seen a sharp increase in same-sex couples. Among them: Fort Worth; El Paso; Albuquerque; Louisville, Ky.; and Virginia Beach, according to census figures and extrapolations by Dr. Gates for The New York Times. “Twenty years ago, if you were gay and lived in rural Kansas, you went to San Francisco or New York,” he said. “Now you can just go to Kansas City.”
I've blogged on this topic many times. Call me an insulated ghetto queen if you will, but I have always had a special burst of pride in my people when I visit our gayborhoods around the country. They are typically vibrant, exciting places where the conflux of art, activism and yes, action create a singular, safe refuge. A friend of mine once memorably compared stepping into the Castro to walking through the Stargate. One is transported and transformed, if only for a few blocks.

I'm delighted in the explosion of mini-gayborhoods in smaller cities around the country, even if they come at the expense of more established places. Still, I long for that palpable sense of belonging, of place, that I once felt in South Beach, in Dupont Circle, and increasingly, even in the West Village. I miss enjoying the self-delusion that, at least as far as the eye could see, the world was, pardon the cliche', fabulous.

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Value Voters: Lock Up Queers,
Death To Blasphemers

Huffington Post's Max Blumenthal reports from last week's Value Voters Summit where he lets the cameras roll as the Christianists elabocrazy on quarantining sodomites and other Jeebus-filled topics. Watch the video all the way through, if you've got the stomach for it. From his post:
Recently, there has been a lot of mainstream media noise about a new, more socially conscious evangelical movement rising from the angry ashes of the Christian right. Pastors like Rick Warren and "evangelical feminist" Bill Hybels are supposedly bringing issues like the environment and poverty to the forefront of the movement's social agenda, while pushing anti-abortion and anti-gay activism to the wayside. Yet no one told those evangelicals gathered at the Value Voters Summit about this friendly new initiative.

If anything, the movement seemed more extreme and paranoid than it did four years ago. Rev. Lou Sheldon, dubbed "Lucky Louie" by his former paymaster Jack Abramoff, told me that homosexuality is a "pathological disorder" and "a groove" that is difficult to escape from. He proceeded to passionately defend his friend, Senator Larry Craig, from allegations of homosexuality.
The "friendly new initiative" that Blumenthal refers to is discussed at great length in David Kirkpatrick's excellent New York Times Magazine article from this weekend, The Evangelical Crackup. Also highly recommended.

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14th Street & 8th Avenue, Monday, 7PM

Two gay boys are looking at a movie poster featuring Jake Gyllenhaal.

Gay Boy 1: I would totally murder my parents to be his boyfriend.

Gay Boy 2: Oh, totally.

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The Republican & The Rent Boy, Chapter 3

And the hits keep coming. Washington state Rep. Richard Curtis (R-La Center), whose voting record includes voting against gay domestic partners legislation and against a bill protecting gays from job discrimination, is the subject of a police investigation involving a male prostitute who is accused of attempting to blackmail the right-wing pol.

Yesterday Curtis denied that he is gay, adding, "I committed no crime. I did not solicit sex. I was trying to help somebody out." However, a Spokane television station reported that the two men had a sexual relationship and had been seen together "at various spots around town." Openly gay Rep. Jim Moeller, (D-Vancouver) says he's never heard rumors about Curtis' sexual orientation. "Richard appears to be a happily married man to me," said Moeller.

I really should make it easy on myself and just create a template for these posts. I could just drop in the Republican, city, gay scandal and hit "publish." Also, I find it curious that news reports make no mention of Curtis' outrageous hairpiece.

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New AIDS Timeline Revealed

According to a new study, AIDS arrived in the United States via Haiti around 1969.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The AIDS virus invaded the United States in about 1969 from Haiti, carried most likely by a single infected immigrant who set the stage for it to sweep the world in a tragic epidemic, scientists said on Monday.

Michael Worobey, a University of Arizona evolutionary biologist, said the 1969 U.S. entry date is earlier than some experts had believed. The timeline laid out in the study led by Worobey indicates that HIV infections were occurring in the United States for roughly 12 years before AIDS was first recognized by scientists as a disease in 1981. Many people had died by that point.

"It is somehow chilling to know it was probably circulating for so long under our noses," Worobey said in a telephone interview. The researchers conducted a genetic analysis of stored blood samples from early AIDS patients to determine when the human immunodeficiency virus first entered the United States.

They found that HIV was brought to Haiti by an infected person from central Africa in about 1966, which matches earlier estimates, and then came to the United States in about 1969. The researchers think an unknown single infected Haitian immigrant arrived in a large city like Miami or New York, and the virus circulated for years -- first in the U.S. population and then to other nations.


The researchers analyzed samples from five of these Haitian immigrants dating from 1982 and 1983. They also looked at genetic data from 117 more early AIDS patients from around the world. This genetic analysis allowed the scientists to calibrate the molecular clock of the strain of HIV that has spread most widely, and calculated when it arrived first in Haiti from Africa and then in the United States.

The researchers virtually ruled out the possibility that HIV had come directly to the United States from Africa, setting a 99.8 percent probability that Haiti was the steppingstone. Studies suggest the virus first entered the human population in about 1930 in central Africa, probably when people slaughtered infected chimpanzees for meat.

This study again shoots down the Patient Zero theory that Canadian flight attendant Gaëtan Dugas single-handedly brought AIDS to America, a persistent myth first debunked in 1987 by Dr. Andrew Ross in the American Journal of Epidemiology. Dugas' story was vividly depicted in Randy Shilts' book, And The Band Played On.

So AIDS has been here for at least 38 years, not the 26 years since it was discovered. I'd always imagined that it had been even longer. It's fascinating news, but probably not much use to people living with the disease today.

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Morning View - Mythic Creatures

So on Sunday, when the Ex and I rolled up on the American Museum of Natural History, my first thought upon seeing their banner was "Shouldn't that be Mythical Creatures?" The show is about dragons, unicorns and mermaids and those are imaginary, or mythical. Mythic means "legendary" and while I suppose such creatures could be considered legendary, so could Madonna, who is a totally real creature. It seems like "mythical" would have been the better word. Or not. After the third time I brought it up, the Ex told me I was ruining his museum experience.


Swag Tuesday

Courtesy of Grand Central Publishing, this week's Swag Tuesday prize is Grace After Midnight, the memoir of controversial actress, rapper and out lesbian Felicia "Snoop" Pearson, star of HBO's The Wire. Written by Pearson and David Ritz, the book is due out November 1st.
While Felicia is a brilliant actor in a truly chilling role, what's most remarkable about "Snoop" is what she has overcome in her life. Snoop was born a three-pound cross-eyed crack baby in East Baltimore. Those streets are among the toughest in the world, but Snoop was tougher. The runt of the ghetto showed an early aptitude for drug slinging and violence and thrived as a baby gangsta until she landed in Jessup state penitentiary after killing a woman in self-defense. There she rebelled violently against the system, and it was only through the cosmic intervention of her mentor, Uncle Loney, that she turned her life around. A couple of years ago, Snoop was discovered in a nightclub by one of The Wire's cast members and quickly recruited to be one of television's most frightening and intriguing villains. While the story of coming up from the hood has been told by Antwone Fisher and Chris Gardner, among others, Snoop's tale goes far deeper into The Life than any previous books. And like Mary Karr's story, Snoop's is a woman's story from a fresh point of view. She defied traditional conventions of gender and sexual preference on the hardest streets in America and she continues to do so in front of millions of viewers on TV.
Earlier this year, author Stephen King called Pearson's Snoop "perhaps the most terrifying female villain to ever appear in a television series." Her baby butch vibe and homo-thug swagger have both attracted and repelled viewers of The Wire, a hit show known for its gritty authenticity.

This won't be the lightest read in Swag Tuesday history, but it may be the most fascinating. I have three copies to give away. Enter to win by commenting on this post. Please comment only once and remember to leave your email address. Publicists: if you'd like to take part in Swag Tuesday on JMG, please email me.


Monday, October 29, 2007

Manhattan Monday

-After their dismal showing this season, the Yankees have replaced manager Joe Torre with the infinitely hotter former catcher Joe Girardi. Makes me want to care about the American League again. Almost. The Yankees won three World Series with Girardi behind the plate.

-The 34th Annual Greenwich Village Halloween Parade starts at 7pm on Wednesday. In honor of the day, the Empire State Building, normally darkened at midnight, will be illuminated in orange until dawn.

-Diplomats from the the Democratic Republic of Congo bought dozens of handguns at a Chinatown gun shop. No explanation of how they side-stepped New York's stringent license requirements.

-The former site of CBGB's is being turned into a boutique for fashion designer John Varvatos, whose work is a favorite of many rockers such as Slash and Alice Cooper. All in all, not a terribly bad use of a legendary space. But, still.

-New York City grocery stores may be ordered to recycle their plastic bags. Stores would have to provide a place for customers to return empty bags or face a $2000 daily fine. "Honey, can you run out for some milk? Oh, and here, take these 20 bags back with you." Yeah, not gonna happen.


The Princes Of Tides

In another sign of the tidal change in how young people view gays, two 16 year-old boyfriends in Davis, California have been elected Homecoming "Princes" after a successful write-in campaign.
For what appears to be the first time in school history, the Davis Senior High student body has elected a gay couple into homecoming royalty. With each boasting a white sash declaring his title as "Prince," the two 16-year-olds rode through the city of Davis on a recent Friday afternoon in the school's annual homecoming parade.

They stood in the back of a pickup truck, arm-in-arm, smiling warmly despite the rain. "People were so excited for us," Gatewood said of the couple's victory, announced a few weeks ago. "We were a little surprised, but Davis ..."

"Is a liberal town," interrupts his boyfriend of four months, Raphael. "Go 10 miles in any other direction and you'll get some other feeling." Indeed, the news might surprise few in Davis, a city embraced and, at times, mocked for its liberal leanings. But students and adults cheering on the boys recognized their election as a meaningful milestone.
A sweet story, yes? I've heard of openly gay high-schoolers being voted Homecoming King or Queen, but never a couple. But our ever-reliable Freepers are already on the case:

-"Must they make a mockery of every single tradition that ever was? All this pandering and teaching is nothing less than negligence of the mentally ill."
-"In the early to mid eighties we have a few effeminate boys coming to high school dressed as women. Transvestites. In high school. In a rural, logging town. It only took a couple ass-beatings out on the football field to put an end to that crap."
-"The homosexual political agenda is obsessive and totalitarian, so they are compelled to destroy every tradition."
-"I guarantee that both will be dead or damn close to it, five years from today."
-"Must they make a mockery of every single tradition that ever was? That is their goal. To destroy every aspect of Western Civilization. And don't doubt for a second that some of the "educators" had a hand in this."

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The New Gay Stereotype

Embiggen for a laugh. (Via - Salon.)

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Mouse Tale

6 train, Saturday, 10PM

A trio of frat boys get on the crowded train dressed as the Three Blind Mice (mouse outfits, sunglasses, white canes.)

Mouse 1: Dude, fix my tail.
Mouse 2: I've told you to stop asking me to touch your tail.
Mouse 1: Seriously, fix it. It's hanging wrong. I can't sit down.
(Mouse 1 turns around to present his tail to the seated Mouse 2, who begins to re-bend Mouse 1's tail.)
Mouse 3 (to other passengers): I'm am totally doing Halloween by myself next year.

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So much for last week's self-affirmation. According to this scale at the American Natural History Museum, I'd weigh 2.9 trillion pounds on a neutron star. Meh.


Fort Lauderdale Tops For Gay Tourism

In what a local guesthouse owner labeled "a bit of sweet revenge" for local activists, readers of Out Traveler have named Fort Lauderdale the top resort destination for gay vacationers. Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitor’s Bureau CEO Nicki Grossman, who was instrumental in the removal of anti-gay Mayor Jim Naugle from Broward County's tourism board, said, "It’s a wonderful crown to wear, The bottom line is he [Naugle] was barking up the wrong tree.”

Grossman added, “He doesn’t know anything about marketing. We’ve repeatedly responded to his complaints about our advertising, and we’ve never scared off one single family from our destination. His words have scared them off, but our advertising has not."

Despite their opposition to Naugle's hate tactics, the Convention Bureau did remove its "Health and Fitness" listings from their gay tourism materials, deleting references to bathhouses.

(Via - Express Gay News.)

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HomoQuotable - Donnie McClurkin

"I'm going to say something that's going to get me in trouble. They accuse me of being anti-gay and a bigot. We don't believe in discrimination. We don't believe in hatred, and if you do you are in the wrong place at the wrong time. That's the whole premise of God. That's the whole premise of Christ is love, love, love.

But there is a side of Christ that deals in judgment, and all sin is against God. Don't call me a bigot or anti-gay, when I have been touched by the same feelings. When I have suffered with the same feelings. Don't call me a homophobe, when I love everybody. Don't tell me that I stand up and I say vile words against the gay community because I don't. I don't speak against the homosexual. I tell you that God delivered me from homosexuality." - Grammy winning gospel singer Donnie McClurkin, received by "raucous applause" at yesterday's Barack Obama fundraising concert in Columbia, South Carolina.

And after the concert, McClurkin went back to his hotel to cruise Craigslist.

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CCA Calls For Potter Ban

The "nation's largest" conservative organization, the Christian Coalition of America, has called for a ban of Harry Potter books and movies after author J.K. Rowling's revelation last week that Hogwarts head wizard Albus Dumbledore is gay. CCA chairman Roberta Combs: "It's not a good example for our children, who really like the books and the movies. I think it encourages homosexuality. I would never allow my own children or grandchildren to read the books or watch the movies, and other parents should do so too."

Claiming 1.2M members, CCA trumpets themselves as the nation's largest conservative group, although others place their active membership at around 30,000. They are currently over $2M in debt and are being sued by numerous creditors. They no longer have any lobbyists in Washington, DC.

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Morning View - Strawberry Fields

Directly across from where he was murdered on the Upper West Side, a 2.5 acre section of Central Park is dedicated to John Lennon. The centerpiece of Strawberry Fields is the Imagine tile mosaic, which is always littered with fresh flowers. The creation of the tribute area was underwritten by Yoko Ono.

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Saturday, October 27, 2007


Catching up on the last few weeks of Swag Tuesday winners....

Blogger is having one of its no-photo mornings, so I apologize that winners' photos aren't in this post. I'll see about adding them later when Ms. Blogger gets her act together. If you don't see your name on this list and you think it should be, contact me. Also, please let me know if you were notified more than a week ago and your prize has still not arrived. I've got to keep some of these publicists on their toes.

Rosie O'Donnell's book, Celebrity Detox: The Fame Game:

-Sean from Seattle, Washington: "Heavily caffeinated thanks from the Pacific Northwest. Now that Seattle is on your map, maybe you'd be willing to do one of your fabled live appearances out here ... you and Dan Savage on the same stage? Sweet!"

-Renee from San Marcos, California: "Thank you so much for the book! I have entered many of your SWAG contests, but have been so distracted this time that I was very pleasantly surprised when I got your email."

-Kate from San Jose, California: "Joe.My.God rocks. So does Rosie. Can't wait to read her new book. I'll post my reaction to it on my blog after I read it. (BTW, I just joined the CODEPINK.)"

-Matt from Princeton, New Jersey: "Hey, thanks!"

-Dave from Denver, Colorado: "Woo Hoo! Sounds like the perfect book for reading in the "Blue Chairs" in Puerto Vallarta this Christmas! Jose, bring me another Mar Garrrr Ita! ;-)"

RuPaul's Starrbooty soundtrack:

-Sam from Wilmington, NC: "Thank you so much! I'm very excited to win the RuPaul CD! I came out in the early 90's and I can't tell you how many times I listened to Supermodel of the World as a budding young queer. At a time in my life when I was uncertain and unformed as a gay man, RuPaul was very much an inspiration for me to be myself and be as fabulous as I could."

-Tater from Glen Ellyn, Illinois: "Thank for for making my day!"

-Robert from Rancho Cucamongo, California

Steve Gouda's book, Wearing History:

-Mike from Olympia, Washington: "Happy dancing! Thanks so much!"

Chaka Khan's CD, Funk This:

-Lori from Gloversville, New York: "Thanks to the always hip Lady Randomocity and Joe.My.God. Hey Chaka -- if you're ever in upstate New York, have your people call my people, and lunch is on me!"

-Ben from Pottsdam, New York: "Thanks! Gonna get my groove on tonight."

-Evan from Winnetka, California: "WOW! Thank you, God Our Joe! "And I never win anything!" (Well, I guess sometimes I do!)"

Four double-disc CDs from Universal's Gold Series:

-Tom from Webster, New York: "Thank you, thank you, thank you. Love me some Diana, Mary and Flo."

Here! Networks Nine Lives DVD:

-David from Toronto, Ontario: "I feel star-struck just reading a note from you, and completely thrilled about winning anything! I've been reading your blog for about a year, and not just on swag Tuesdays! I like the witty and wry tone, and since we're about the same age (31?), I can identify with your experiences in those horrible Reagan years. "[JMG: 31? Heh.]

Bob Smith's book, Selfish & Perverse:

-Craig from Fort Lauderdale, Florida: "Thank you so much!!! I am very excited to read his complete book after hearing the amazing snippets Bob read on the cruises. I made a point to hear every one of his readings - even though I was working on the ships. I love your (JMG) site and read it every day. How perfect I was randomly chosen to receive Bob's hilarious and insightful book!"


Friday, October 26, 2007

Dad Of Dead G.I. Sues Fred Phelps,
First Amendent Cringes

In a case that will test the limits of the First Amendment, the father of a slain U.S. soldier is suing Fred Phelp's Westboro Baptist Church for picketing his son's funeral, charging the church with invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

From the New York Times:

Judge Richard D. Bennett, who is hearing the case, told the nine jurors that there are limits on free speech protection, listing categories that include vulgar, offensive and shocking statements, and instructed jurors to decide “whether the defendant’s actions would be highly offensive to a reasonable person, whether they were extreme and outrageous, and whether these actions were so offensive and shocking as to not be entitled to First Amendment protection."
From the Hanover Evening-Sun:
Phelps said he chose to use the term "fag" in the group's signs because it comes from scripture but could also have used Sodomite or dog. When asked by Katz why the group made a "Semper Fi Fags" sign, Phelps said it was in response to the need for a warning to the country "that your wicked ways are going to be your doom shortly."
Following her father on the stand, Phelp's daughter, Shirley Phelps-Frankenchrist refused to apologize for protesting the funeral and said, "We preach to the living to connect the dots to the parents of the dead child. He’s fighting for a nation who has made God a No. 1 enemy." A scholar at Washington DC's First Amendment Center said, "The dangerous principle here is runaway liability in a way that would put the First Amendment in serious jeopardy. I dread to think what it would do to political protests in this country if it were allowed the win."

I think I know what the ACLU will say on this. Opinions?

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Caption This


Hillary Turns 60 Today

Hillary Clinton's 60th birthday is today. Last night she celebrated here in New York, with Elvis Costello leading the crowd in singing Happy Birthday. What, she couldn't get a Yank to sing? Why does Hillary hate America?

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City Of Dallas: Hey, Pull Up Your Pants! What Are You, Some Kind Of Fag?

Via Towleroad comes the story of a new anti-saggy pants campaign by the city of Dallas that suggests that hip-hoppers who let their rear ends show are inviting other men to fuck them. And that's a baaaad thing. The saggy-pants fashion got its start in prisons, where men are not allowed belts. Wearing your pants below your ass is supposed to convince others that you're prison-tough. However, the campaign says it really tells others you are prison-bitch. The billboards for the don't-show-your-ass campaign have been donated by Clear Channel. Andy Towle calls the campaign homophobic. I loathe the saggy-pants look, but I agree. Go to his site for more, including a video.

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Momentarily Self-Affirmed

Earlier this month at the Castro Street Fair, I stepped on the Self-Affirmation Scale. It worked. I immediately had a corn dog and another beer.


Chaka Khan, Chaka Khan

The first single from Chaka Khan's Funk This is #1 for the second week on Billboard's dance chart, her first #1 dance hit in ten years and her 7th dance chart topper to date. Disrespectful features Mary J. Blige on vocals. Chaka's first #1 club hit was 1984's I Feel 4 U.

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Broadway Friday

-One-man show A Bronx Tale, starring Chazz Palminteri in his Broadway debut, opens today after three weeks of previews at the Walter Kerr Theatre. Reviews have been great. Palminteri performed the show in Los Angeles and Off-Broadway in the late 80's.

-Minnesota's Guthrie Theatre has commissioned Tony Kushner (Angels In America) to write a new play. The work, The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures, will make its debut at the Guthrie in the spring of 2009.

-Tony winner Roger Bart, who plays the title character in Young Frankenstein, is temporarily out of the show due to back problems. Understudy Matthew LaBanca will perform while Bart recuperates. In previews now, the show officially opens on November 8th.

-According to this week's Ask Playbill, the largest house on Broadway is the Gershwin with 1809 seats, currently host to Wicked. The smallest is the Helen Hayes with 596, currently host to Xanadu.

-Lawrence Fishburne returns to Broadway on April 20th in Thurgood, a one-man show about late Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. Fishburne won a Tony in 1992 for his role in Two Trains Running. He last appeared on Broadway in 1999 with The Lion In Winter.

-Broadway Sings The Phone Book, a benefit for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, takes place November 12th at Studio 54. "Demonstrating the popular expression "I'd listen to 'so-and-so" sing the phone book," producers Jonathan Tessero, Sarah Melissa Rotker, and Joe Tropia have lined up a fun array of Broadway stars singing their trademark songs... with the lyrics replaced either mad lib style or with names from pages ripped randomly from the phone book. A third performance option includes a variation of the title where performances are crafted with words from pages ripped from a dictionary." Tickets are $40-$110.

-Harvey Keitel will play the lead in Jerry Spring: The Opera at Carnegie Hall on January 29 and 30. If successful, producers may bring the show to Broadway.

-The 75th Annual Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular, starring the Rockettes, begins November 9th. Tickets $40-$250. Even at four to five shows a day, the show often sells out.


Putting The "X" Back In "Ex-Gay"

This didn't take long. Clay Cane has posted an interview with an unnamed man claiming to have been "ex-gay" Rev. Donnie McClurkin's lover from 2001-2004, the height of the period during which McClurkin was making his anti-gay rants. McClurkin is still slated to appear at Sen. Barack Obama's fundraisers in South Carolina, despite a general outcry from gay activists.

According to Cane's source, McClurkin enjoys "rough play" as a submissive bottom and used to patronize the X-rated Show Palace, a now-closed gay strip club on 8th Avenue near Times Square. However, McClurkin didn't avail himself of the Show Palace's glory holes, telling his playmate, "I wouldn’t stick my six inch, small dick through a glory hole."

McClurkin's ex, who says the two had sex once or twice a month for several years, describes the "ex-gay" reverend's body in detail, and calls McClurkin a sex addict. When confronting McClurkin on his anti-gay rants, the source says McClurkin told him, "I have a problem. I don’t want people to believe that I’m still doing it.”

Read the rest of the (rather long) interview. Grain of salt, unnamed source and all that, but the details in the story ring of believability. The source says he last saw McClurkin earlier this year in a Manhattan restaurant. The "ex-gay" rev was allegedly in the company of an attractive, effeminate man. Yup.

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Senator Santorum II

JMG blogroller Princess Sparkle Pony has a huge scoop over on Wonkette, telling the story of his friend, IT geek bear David Phillips, who had a memorable (and messy) sexual encounter with Sen. Larry Craig some 20 years ago. You knew these stories would cum dribbling out, right Mr. Toe-Tapper?

A Santorum-infused excerpt:
When we got to what reminded me of a rarely used guest room, he stripped me down, and the man’s hands and mouth were all over me. He kept his pants on, though, while laying me back on the bed to suck my cock. Then, he stripped naked and asked me to suck him. I complied for a while, then he disappeared and returned with lube and a condom to fuck me me with. It was a clumsy and unremarkable fuck, except that I wasn’t clean and he was frantic about not getting my shit on anything. Still, he blew his load, ripped the dirty condom off and ordered me to get dressed without wiping myself. He hurried me to the back door, again ranting, ‘You were never here. You don’t know me. Right?’”

Mr. Phillips’ next claim is startling, indeed: “On the way back through with shit all in my briefs and feeling totally humiliated I let my eyes wander and saw on a table a small envelope, like one from a gift or a floral arrangement, with ‘Suzanne Craig’ neatly written on it. This memory,” Phillips insists, “I noted about three hours after hearing Craig’s voice again, the night before I saw a current picture of him and a good day before I heard of his wife in the news. ‘That’s who’s going to fuck me up if she finds out,’ I thought. As he reached for the door, he took a $20 bill from his wallet, shoved in my front pocket, adding ‘Remember, I can buy and sell your ass ten thousand times over. You were never here. Don’t try to come back here. You don’t know me."
That Larry's a real charmer. Go read the rest. As Princess Sparkle Pony says, "Two sparkly hooves up!"

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Hollywood: No Mo' Homo

According to Entertainment Weekly, the huge success of Brokeback Mountain has surprisingly failed to interest Hollywood in making more gay-themed films.
Brokeback was more than a movie. It was a phenomenon that commanded the cultural conversation for months, from Jay Leno to YouTube to the cover of The New Yorker. More important, it proved that straight audiences would snap up tickets to a same-sex romance. Since then, a few gay-themed films have been released (e.g., Notes on a Scandal). But seemingly no studio — nor any studio art-house division — has greenlit a film with a gay lead character. ''I don't think any studio responded by saying, 'Quick, dust off whatever gay dramas we have!''' says one former studio head. As surprising as it seemed that Brokeback could lose the Oscar to Crash, the real shock is just now setting in: Brokeback may have changed nothing.

When audiences complain that Hollywood is out of touch with the rest of the country, it's invariably because a movie is deemed too liberal. When it comes to gay characters, however, it's out of touch for the exact opposite reason.
With nothing gay in the Hollywood pipeline, it's another few years in art house city for mo's that want to see themselves on screen. Otherwise, we'll have to make do with yet more live action comic book movies (yaaawn) and het romantic "comedies." Oh, and doesn't Rambo XVI come out soon? I'm still laughing at my buddy Leif's idea to combine gay porn and martial arts. His suggested title: Crouching Bottom, Hidden Dildo.

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The Gay Monsters

Straight thugs may have ruined Halloween in the Castro, but you can still get your gay boo on with Andy Bauer's webcomic The Gay Monsters. Tagline: The Closet Is No Place For A Monster. From the press release:
The Gay Monsters are taking the world by thunderstorm! This flamboyant webcomic is pure camp about charming gay monsters and their contemporary queer situations. The Gay Monsters features the colorful and comical exploits of the spooky but lovable denizens of the Underworld’s gay district known as Twinkle Toad Town. Come if you dare to the ghostly bowels. What will appear is somewhat unknown, but what is guaranteed is a flamboyant pageant of colorful spirits in this fun series. So, DRAG your bones over to for an enchanting spell full of ghoulish gaiety!

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In Yer Face, Condi

Code Pink rocks. Heroes, every one of them.

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Big Win For Adult Websites

You may recall back in September when I passed along an alert from the NGLTF regarding the expansion of the 2257 Regulations, which would have required internet social networking and hook-up sites like Facebook and Manhunt to maintain your photo ID on file, information many would be loathe to put in the hands of such parties.

Fear no more. On Tuesday, the U.S. Sixth District Court of appeals overturned the original regulations as overly-broad and in violation of free speech protections.
Tuesday's ruling is a remarkable win for adult publishers, not just because of the weighty nature of the regulations but also because the lawsuit has been going on for so long. The case was originally filed in September 1995, and this is likely going to be the last word unless the U.S. Supreme Court gets involved.

Although the Justice Department tried to downplay the impact of the record-keeping rules, the court reasonably noted that the regulations apply even to couples taking erotic photos for their own private use. Uploading them to the Web is regulated as well, of course.

"This reach is extremely broad, and the most commonsense limitation, for which the statute and regulations provide some support, would be to limit the statute's reach to photographs taken for a commercial purpose, that is, photographs taken for the purpose of sale," the 6th Circuit said. But, the judges added, "the plain text and definitions of the terms used commercial limitation on who will be considered producers."

Fortunately, the 6th Circuit recognized this, and concluded: "The government has drawn a similarly over-inclusive line here by including all sexually explicit photographs, whether created for commercial purposes" or otherwise. (The lawsuit was filed by a swingers' magazine called Connection that allowed couples to send in explicit photographs of themselves.)

As the linked CNET article notes, as written, the regulations made felons out of anybody (not just the site owners) who made or uploaded sexually explicit photos without complying with the Justice Department rules. No word yet from BMB about their resuming to allow members to upload their pervy self-pics.

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Wire Daises - Gay Boy

Cute tune and video from UK band Wire Daisies, but the lyrics are a little confusing. You're a gay boy, and it shows. But it's OK boy, nobody knows. It shows, but nobody knows? Shrug.

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Dumbledore Pride

Inevitable, eh? Get yours here.

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Unshocking Poll: New York Dirty But Fun

According to 60,000 readers of Travel + Leisure, the top three cities in the U.S. in terms of gay-friendliness are San Francisco, New Orleans, and Portland, Oregon. New York is the 7th most mo-friendly. New York ranks last in cleanliness (I'd put 17th place SF there), affordability, and access to outdoors, but Gotham is first in overall culture, people watching, classical music, theatre, and the underground arts scene.

Philadelphia has the ugliest people of the 25 American cities on the poll, but San Diego and Miami are apparently hottie central. Chicago has the best skyline, followed by New York and San Francisco. That seems about right. Unsurprisingly, my hometown of Orlando scrapes the bottom of most of the culture categories, but does rank #1 for family vacations. Too bad they didn't ask about titty bars, Orlando would totally rule.

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Open Thread Thursday

Browsing a newsstand before my flight to SF earlier this month, I was struck by how rarely I buy magazines these days. I don't even subscribe to any anymore, preferring to read on the web. I still pick up the odd copy of something every now and then, but only if a story is particularly interesting to me. What magazines do you still subscribe to?


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Speaking Of Fire-Fighting...

The Huffington Post is reporting that Barack Obama has just told a group of gay activists in New Hampshire that he will now have a gay minister open his fundraisers in South Carolina. Sort of to, you know, balance the rest of the bill - gay-haters like Donnie McClurkin and gospel singers Mary, Mary. And Jesse Jackson should open the next Klan rally, cuz then that makes it OK too, right?

UPDATE: The gay minister chosen is Rev. Andy Sidden.

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"Ex-Gay": God Is Burning San Diego Because Of Gay Rights

"They shook their fists at God and said, "We don't care what God says, we will issue our legal brief to support gay marriage in San Diego!" Then Mayor Jerry Sanders mocked the Christian vote and signed off on this rebellious legal document to support same-sex marriage. And then the streets of La Jolla under the Mt. Soledad Cross began to cave in.

They shook their fists at God and said, "We don't care what the Bible says, We want the California school children indoctrinated into homosexuality!" And then Governor Schwarzenegger signed into law the heinous SB777 which bans the use of "mom" and "dad" in the text books and promotes homosexuality to all school children in California.

And then the wildfires of Southern California engulfed the land like a raging judgment against the radicalized anti-christian California rebels. How low will we go? Why won't they listen? Why won't they stop their madness?

The Bible says that in the last days, the nations will rebel against God until He can't take it anymore. Was it all worth it? Were the few years of sexual immorality worth the eternal destruction and earthly chaos it brought? How low will we go?" - "Ex-Gay" and Cryptkeeper stand-in James Hartline. Go send James some love.

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How To Kill Nightlife

I ripped off this bottle service menu at Lotus last night, just to show you non-New Yorkers what this new "gilded age" is doing to nightlife in Manhattan. With hedge-fund managers and other Wall Streeters happy to plunk down $620 to have a $40 bottle of Grey Goose on their table, what sense does it make for club owners to cater to the rest of us? (Oh, and don't forget the mandatory 20% gratuity tacked on to all bottle sales.)

Bottle service is nothing new, of course, particularly in towns full of high-rollers. But the unprecedented wealth that has infused this town over the last decade or so has not only created a real estate market that makes large nightclubs untenable, the money has flowed down into smaller venues, places that lure the jillionaires with the "prestige" of showing off their dumbass willingness to pay stupid money to prop a bottle on their table.

The Village Voice says "bottle service corrupts the soul of New York City nightlife" and that the glorification of these elitist venues is at the heart of the winding down of Gotham nightlife in general. True dat.

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Grampa Goes Out

Last night Paul and I went to HX Magazine's 16th anniversary party at Lotus. Lots of gay publishing types were in the house, including Genre editor Neal Boulton (former editor of Men's Fitness) and Genre VP and publisher Bill Kapfer (pictured). Lady Bunny and Robin Byrd were cutting up in a corner, but I didn't get a chance to grab a shot of them.

After the open bar ran out and Lotus returned to its usual outrageous prices ($12 well, $10 beer), we popped over to Gym Bar to find a party for the Team New York Aquatics underway. Oddly, swimmers eat a lot of pizza, judging by the stack of boxes. I chatted briefly with one of the TNYA players, the statuesque Eyal Feldman (pictured), owner of lube company Boy Butter, whom I met at my last reading. After a drink at the deserted View Bar and another at the crusty, but always busy, Rawhide, I had to pack it in. It was only 11pm, but school night and all that.

Since it was a nice night, I decided to trudge all the way back to the 6 train at Union Square. (Also, I detest the L.) Somewhere around Broadway, I was waiting to cross the street when my head was turned by some high-pitched squealing. In a vestibule, two teenage Latinas were engaging in some public girl-on-girl action. Seeing me look over, one of them screeched, "Wassa matta Grampa, ain't you never seen no hot bitches in love?"

New. York. City.

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Foster Parents Lose Kid Over Gay Regs

In the UK, an 11 year-old boy is being removed from the custody of his foster parents, both ministers, after they refused to sign new sexual equality regulations which stipulate that they would not teach their foster children to discriminate against gays. According to the Labour party's new Sexual Orientation Regulations, part of the Equality Act 2006, discrimination on the grounds of sexuality is illegal.

The foster parents, who have fostered 30 children in the past, say their religious beliefs do not allow them to sign. They claim officials told them that under the regulations they would be required to discuss same-sex relationships with children as young as 11 and tell them that gay partnerships were just as acceptable as heterosexual marriages. (And this is wrong, how?)

American right-wing news sites and blogs have lept on the story, proclaiming it a harbinger of what's the come in the U.S. Earlier this month, Gov. Schwarzenegger approved a bill that outlaws discrimination against LGBT youth in public schools. Claiming that the California law bans references to "moms and dads", wingnutters like the Campaign For Children And Families are bleating, "This means children as young as five years old will be mentally molested in school classrooms." Their website is calling for parents to remove their children from California public schools, lest they be taught to treat other students with respect and dignity.

Freepers respond to the UK story:

-"Marxism on the march....Children belong to the government, not the parents."
-"The world will need a good right wing fascist to cleanse humanity of the perverts who are growing more bold every day."
-"The Pink Mafia strikes again. As soon as they got some acceptance in mainstream society, they began concentrating on indoctrinating children at younger and younger ages. Obviously, their strategy is recruitment."
-"One does not need a biblical world view to dislike homos. Inherent, automatic understanding of what is disgusting is enough."

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White House Comes Out Against ENDA

The White House has finally officially come out against ENDA. Yesterday a "Statement Of Administrative Policy" was released. (PDF.)
H.R. 3685 would extend existing exployment-discrimination provisions of Federal law, including those in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, to "establish a comprehensive Federal prohibition on employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation." The bill raises concerns on constitutional and policy grounds, and if H.R. 3685 were presented to the President, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill.

H.R. 3685 is inconsistent with the right to free exercise of religion as codified by Congress in the Religious Freedom Restoration Act(RFRA). The Act prohibits the Federal Government from substantially burdening the free exercise of religion, except for compelling reasons and then only in the least restrictive manner possible. H.R. 3685 does not meet this standard. For instance, schools that are owned by or directed by a particular religion are exempted from the bill, but those that emphasize religious principles broadly will find their religious liberties burdened by H.R. 3685.

A second concern is H.R. 3685's authorization of Federal civil damages against State entities, which may violate States' immunity under the Eleventh Amendment to the Constitution.

The bill turns on imprecise and subjective terms that would make interpretation, enforcement and compliance extremely difficult. For instance, the bill establishes liability for acting on "perceived" sexual orientation or "association" with individuals of a particular sexual orientation. If passed, H.R. 3685 is virtually certain to encourage burdensome litigation beyond the cases the bill is intended to reach.

Provisions of this bill purport to give Federal statutory significance to same-sex marriage rights under state law. These provisions conflict with the Defense Of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as a legal union between one man and one woman. The Administration strongly opposes any attempt to weaken this law, which is vital to defending the sanctity of marriage.
And there it is. Anybody surprised?

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Good Work Wednesday

SF: On Sunday, November 4th, the Alexander Hamilton Post 448, in conjunction with The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and SF Defenders is hosting "A Homecoming and Healing Celebration" for veterans of this HIV/AIDS era and those who support them. Room 207, War Memorial Building, 401 Van Ness Avenue. 1:30PM-5PM. Opening ceremonies with a color guard and invocations will be followed by an exercise to recognize our personal everyday heroes. A second exercise recognizing the hero in each of us will be followerd by a final blessing from the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.

NYC: The Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund will hold its second Young Professionals for Victory event at Cain Nightclub on Oct. 25 from 8:00-11:00. The event will include a live DJ, open bar and a silent auction featuring items from B.R. Guest Restaurants, Paragon Sports, the NY Rangers, the NY Knicks, Natrona Furniture, Xac Anthony Salon & Spa, Aussiebum and more. Ticket sales benefit the Victory Fund, the nation's largest LGBT political action committee and the only national organization dedicated to increasing the number of openly LGBT elected officials at all levels of government. Purchase tickets online here.

NYC: Gay Men's Health Crisis hosts Fashion Forward With Tim Gunn, November 1st at the Altman Building, 135 W.18th Street. "Join us as we celebrate the fashion industry's commitment to fighting HIV and AIDS and their support of GMHC for over two decades. FASHION FORWARD will present the looks of such celebrated designers as John Bartlett, Andrew Buckler, Heatherette, Perry Ellis, Rag & Bone and Peter Som among others. The evening will feature a cocktail reception, a runway show and a live and silent auction." Purchase tickets here.

LA: The Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Community Center 36th Annual Gala & Auction takes place on November 17th at the Hyatt Regency Century City. "Singer and Activist Jenifer Lewis and the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles to be Honored; Chorus to Perform “duet” with the iconic Linda Ronstadt." Tickets: $300 for individuals, $400 for VIP admission which includes preferred seating; $3,000 for a table of 10, and $4,000 for a VIP table of 10. Purchase tickets here.

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.