Thousands in Dallas protest Nazis

Posted on 19 Aug 2017 at 9:29pm

Thousands of people rallied on Dallas City Hall plaza on Saturday evening (Aug. 19) to protest Nazi white supremacists, racism, homophobia and religious bigotry. Meanwhile several dozen Nazi counter-protesters gathered at the Confederate monument in Pioneer Park, although that number includes a heavy undercover police presence.

One person tried to enter the main rally area carrying a Confederate flag and was escorted away by police for his own protection.

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BREAKING: ATTPAC announces 8 new arts companies for Elevator Project

Posted on 18 Aug 2017 at 3:32pm
Josh

Joshua Peugh, founder of Dark Circles Contemporary Dance, which will be part of the 2017–18 Elevator Project

The Elevator Project began in 2014 to highlight a few arts organizations without regular performance space, offered the 99-seat studio space inside the Arts District’s Wyly Theatre. (You need to take a elevator to get there, hence the name.) Oral Fixation, the Danielle Georgiou Dance Group and others presented their spoken word or dance or other art works.

The project, though, has grown; recently, DGDG performed as part of the Elevator Project at Hamon Hall on the ground floor of the Winspear Opera House, so the only elevator you needed to take from from the parking garage.

The  growth has led the AT&T Performing Arts Center to announce today that eight new companies will be added to the 2017-18 season (its third), among them: American Baroque Opera; Dark Circles Contemporary Dance, pictured; Jake Nice; Bandan Koro African Drum and Dance Ensemble; Adam Adolfo; Soul Rep Theatre; Therefore Art & Performance Group; and Cry Havoc Theater Co.

Only three of the performances will take place on the Wyly’s Sixth Floor space; four will take place at Hamon Hall and one in the Sammons Park reflecting pool between the two buildings.

“It’s important that there’s a place in the Arts District where artists can take risks, premier work and find new audiences,” said David Denson, the ATTPAC’s director of programming who created the Elevator Project three years ago. The groups were selected by a panel of arts professionals that includes Terry Martin, Lily Weiss, Vicki Meek and Mike Richman.

Tickets are now on sale here. General admission single tickets are $25, with discounts available for multiple shows.

The lineup includes:

Masquerade: Opera Cabaret (American Baroque Opera). Sept. 14–16.

Big Bad Wolf and Les Fairies (Dark Circles Contemporary Dance). Oct. 19–21.

We’re Going to Die (Jake Nice). Feb. 8–10.

Guinea Fare: Her Story, Her Ipseity (Bandan Koro African Drum and Dance Ensemble). March 22-24.

Elemental: Nature’s Rhapsody (Adam Adolfo). April 20–22.

The Freemans (Soul Rep Theatre). May 2–13.

The Alexa Dialogues (Therefore Art & Performance Group). May 24–26.

Babel (Cry Havoc Theater Co.). July 5–15.

 

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Only 1 flag flying at Six Flags now

Posted on 18 Aug 2017 at 1:05pm

Since it opened in 1961, Six Flags Over Texas has flown flags from all six nations to which the state belonged through its history — including the Confederate flag. As of today, only the U.S. flag will fly over the Arlington amusement park.

Since the Arlington, Texas amusement park opened in 1961, there have been six flags flying over its grounds. But from now on, according to a report in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, there will be only one flag.

As of this morning (Friday, Aug. 18), only the U.S. flag will fly over Six Flags. The other five — France, Spain, Mexico, the Republic of Texas and the Confederacy — representing the five other countries to which Texas has “belonged,” are being removed.

The change came, park officials said, in response to the violence last weekend in Charlottesville, Va., caused when Nazis and white supremacists “rallied” supposedly in support of Confederate monuments and symbols. One woman, Heather Heyer, was killed and numerous others injured when a white supremacists drove his car into a crowd of counter-protesters.

Six Flags spokeswoman Sharon Parker said, “We always choose to focus on celebrating the things that unite us versus those that divide us. As such, we have changed the flag displays in our parks to feature American flags.”

The name of the park and its parent company, Six Flags Entertainment, will remain the same. Six Flags Entertainment operates 20 theme parks in the U.S., Mexico and Canada, but other than the Arlington park, only Six Flags Fiesta Texas in San Antonio and Six Flags Over Georgia flew all six flags. Those parks will now only fly the American flag as well.

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The power in a symbol

Posted on 18 Aug 2017 at 7:50am

Haberman-Hardy-It was a pink triangle, a simple piece of cloth sewed to the pocket of an overcoat.  A symbol that declared the man wearing it was a pariah, sub-human, worthy only of scorn and derision.

He received much the same treatment as those forced to wear two yellow triangles forming a Star of David. He also had a tattoo, a number on his forearm that was now his identity until he and the rest of those wearing those symbols were erased from the face of the earth.

Symbols are powerful things.

When I first came out, my first outward statement was to wear a lapel pin in the shape of a pink triangle.  I wore it not because I considered myself a pariah, but because I was refusing to let the world forget what it once meant, and to take back the power to oppress that symbol once had.

After all, symbols only have power if we give it to them.

So what does this have to do with anything? Well, right now there are Americans waving symbols of oppression and inhumanity and claiming they are doing it to “take our country back.” I want to know, take it back from whom?

My father’s generation fought the bloodiest war in history against those symbols and the people who believed in what the symbols stood for, and to save the people who wore pink triangles and yellow stars. We call my father’s generation “the greatest generation” because they fought that war, and considering the dangers and evil they faced, I would agree with that.

If I listen closely, I can hear those brave men and women rolling over in their graves.  Did they fight that bloody war only so a new generation, fired by ignorance and hate, could wave swastikas and flood the streets of a college town carrying tiki torches, doing a laughable imitation of the Nuremberg rally?

And what of the generation who Lincoln so eloquently eulogized at Gettysburg? The ones who fought for the Union in the Civil War. Did they fight and die to preserve the Union only so their great-great-great grandchildren could wear the symbols of the Confederacy and the institution of slavery on their t-shirts? Did they defeat the secessionists at a staggering cost of lives and treasure just to see their descendants forget the terrible cost of that defeat for both sides?

Symbols still hold terrible power, and it’s time we retired a few of them for good. 

The stars and bars flag, like the swastika, belongs in a museum, not on the streets of America. The foolish men and women shouting the only words of German they know and screaming insults at people of color, gays, lesbians, and Jews are really insulting their own ancestors. They take those who died to give them their freedom and defecate on their graves.

Strong symbolism? Absolutely, but it is intended to make it clear that symbols can have tremendous power and should be used with care.

The swastika and the Confederate Battle Flag and other emblems like them are symbols of the oppressor, not the oppressed, and as such they are beyond reclaiming. The fact that hate-filled fools are still waving them as they riot in the streets is ample proof.

Worse still is an insane marketing attempt to create a “rainbow swastika” line of clothing! When I saw this travesty in a Facebook post, I actually said out loud: “What were they thinking?!”

The fact that this idea even came up shows we do little to educate our country about the horrors of wars and the hubris of those who start them.

I have no doubt that our current resident in the White House has given those who do not know their history tacit permission to expose their ignorance and hatred and call it “alt right.” It’s not “alt” and it’s not “right.” It’s just plain-old garden variety hate.

They wave their flags and carry their garden torches and scream at the cameras to show the world how little they understand — a parade of ignorance fueled by a blind hatred — and they are dangerous. We cannot afford to ignore them, nor can we be bullied by them.

We must stand with our fellow Americans — black Americans, brown Americans, gay Americans, lesbian Americans, transgender Americans, bisexual Americans, native Americans. We must stand with Americans of every ethnicity and ancestry, of every religion or of no religion at all. We must stand together and say, “Put down those swastikas. Put down those battle flags. Lay aside your hatred and come to your senses.”

Our forefathers fought and won this battle already, let us not ignore their sacrifices. Our nation was forged in battle, but it does not need to be at war with itself anymore. We have better things to do;we have greater achievements yet to make. We have a brighter future ahead.

But to reach it, we must lay aside those symbols that inflame and terrorize.       

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 18, 2017.

   

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A turning point

Posted on 18 Aug 2017 at 7:45am

It is imperative that people of conscience stand together against the evil that marched in Charlottesville

Tammye NashI believe we have reached a turning point in this country.

I have been thinking a lot over the past week about that iconic video from April 2003 that shows U.S. troops stepping in to help Iraqi citizens topple a statue of despotic — and by that time, overthrown — leader Saddam Hussein in Firdos Square in Baghdad.

I was reminded, most vividly, of that moment as I watched a video of a crowd tearing down the Confederate Soldiers Monument at the Old Durham County Courthouse in Durham, N.C., on Monday, Aug. 14. I wondered what those Iraqis in that 2003 video would say if somebody came along and told them, “No, leave that statue up. It represents part of our history; it’s part of our heritage.”

I don’t think those Iraqis would be swayed by that argument. And I wonder why so many Americans are swayed by that same argument when it comes to the monuments to the Confederacy and those who fought for that still stand across the South.

I’m also wondering why it is so many people are having a hard time condemning the Nazis who marched last weekend in Charlottesville, Va. I mean, white people (mostly men) marching through the streets, chanting hateful things about Jews and people of color (and yes, LGBT people, too) as they waved around Confederate battle flags and Nazi banners bearing swastikas and snapped off a “sieg, heil” salute here and there … . One of them even killed a woman and injured several others when he drove his car into a peaceful crowd of counter-protesters.

Seriously, what’s not to condemn?

And yet, so many feel compelled to defend these fine, upstanding sons (and some daughters) of the South. “They’ve got the right to free speech.” “They’re just defending their heritage.”

Sure … except, no.

Yes, we here in America do have the First Amendment, which guarantees that we are entitled to free speech. But it does not say that we are free to say what-the-hell-ever we want, when-the-hell-ever we want. The First Amendment does not protect obscenity, fighting words, defamation, child pornography, perjury, blackmail, incitement to lawless action, true threats or solicitations to commit crime.

I can guarantee you that many — if not the waaaay vast majority — of the Nazis (white supremacists, fascists, alt-right-ers, whatever you wanna call them) were spouting speech that falls into at least one of those categories. I know, because I heard them.

See, there’s another video making the rounds this week. It’s a 22-minute documentary-style piece by Elle Reeve and her crew from Vice News Tonight. Reeve and her crew embedded themselves with the Nazis last weekend, interviewing them on camera and letting them tell their side of the story all by themselves. There’s nothing made-up or fake news about it.

I watched it. It literally made me sick to my stomach. I listened to the vile, evil things they said. I watched while they showed off the weaponry — firearms and knives and clubs — with which they had armed themselves for their “peaceful” march. I heard them threaten to kill people who dared stand up to them and I heard them applaud the murderer who attacked people with his car.

I watched them. I listened to them. I felt my disgust — and my blood pressure — rise.

And to hear Donald Trump — the president of the United States, for Christ’s sake! — defend those people and claim there were some fine folks in that crowd, that made me even sicker. I wonder if Trump watched the Vice News video — or any actual coverage of Nazi rallies and marches in Charlottesville last weekend — before he took his belligerent bully self before the TV cameras for his temper-tantrum of a press conference and defended about those fine folks waving swastikas and giving Nazi salutes.

This is what our country has come to. Appalled is way too mild a word to describe my state of mind.

The time has come, it is absolutely imperative, that the people of conscience in this country come together and stand up, stand firm and speak out against this hatred — no, this evil — that has risen up and shown its ugly face so plainly in the last week.

This is not an issue of political partisanship. We can’t just point at one party and blame everything on them. Not all Republicans are evil racists just because the Republican president is an evil racist.

That is simplistic and, ultimately, unhelpful, and it gives each of us who aren’t Republicans too much of a pass. We all have to take a long, hard, honest look at ourselves, root out those seeds of prejudice and bigotry that we all have hidden inside ourselves, whether we want to admit it or not.

Until we confront our personal truth, we cannot effectively fight for the greater “truth.”

And this isn’t about skin color or ethnicity or country of origin. We cannot let ourselves be divided along those artificial lines. Are we all different people, with different beliefs and different cultures and different backgrounds? Yes, we are. But are we all part of the human race, equals in humanity? Yes. And that is where we must focus right now.

We can’t play word games about “heritage” and “history” and “tolerance” and such. And we can’t pretend that the Confederate monuments the Nazis claimed they were marching to protect are anything more than an homage to and a celebration of a time in our history and a system of business and government that were based on the oppression of a whole race of people.

Are these monuments a representation of a piece of history that should be preserved? Yes, but it wasn’t a part of our history to be celebrated and these monuments should only be preserved in context. And “in context” does not mean on display in our public parks and at government buildings.

The time has come.

I believe our country has reached a turning point. I hope we turn the right way.  

Tammye Nash is managing editor of Dallas Voice. She is a Texan, born and reared, and can trace her ancestry back to Civil War veterans on both sides of the war, and beyond.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 18, 2017.

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I’m sorry. So sorry …

Posted on 17 Aug 2017 at 3:16pm

Here’s my offhanded snotty solution to the Confederate monument dilemma, at least for Lee Park:

Tearing down that huge-ass monument is going to be expensive. Moving it would be expensive. And where the hell would you put it? It’s not going to fit in anyone’s living room and would take up the entire pool area in most people’s yards.

A museum? The DMA? It might fit in the Barrel Vault, but then there wouldn’t be room to walk around it. The Nasher? It would take up too much of the sculpture garden and not leave any room for, um, what do you call it — actual, real art.

So here’s my idea.

How about just chopping off Robert E. Lee’s head and replacing it? Not with just any head. Because we’re trying to do this as economically as possible, I recommend placing Brenda Lee’s head in its place.

Why Brenda? That way, we won’t even have to rename the park.

So what about Arlington Hall? Let’s make a deal and rename that one Monty.

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Trans person murdered in Waxahachie

Posted on 17 Aug 2017 at 10:50am

Gwynevere River Song

An Aug. 12 argument at a Waxahachie home left trans person Gwynevere River Song, 26, dead and a second person injured, according to a report in the Waxahachie Daily Light.

Dallas Voice has contacted the Ellis County Sheriff’s Office, which is investigating the murder, for information and we will update this post as information becomes available.

Gwynevere identified as ‘femandrogyne” and preferred gender-neutral “they” pronouns, according to reports online, including this one at PGHLesbian.com. Some reports indicate the injured person, who was taken to the hospital, was an adult male, but Dallas Voice has not yet been able to confirm the identity of that person nor their relationship with Gwynevere.

According to Trans Pride Initiative President Nell Gaither, Song’s mother was very supportive of her child. The mother has scheduled a memorial service for Aug. 21; details will follow.

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At the Women Texas Film Festival Thursday: The gritty ‘Ekaj’

Posted on 17 Aug 2017 at 7:02am

_EKAJ-SIDEWALK-SCENE-withJAKE-MESTRE_BADD-IDEAThe Women Texas Film Festival opened last night with the lesbian drama And Then There Was Eve, and the festival continues tonight with the gay-themed Ekaj. If that sounds like some Eastern European comfort food, it is anything but. Ekaj is as American as filmmaking gets: Indie, rough (like the trade it profiles) and gritty.

It has been described as “Kids Meets Midnight Cowboy,” but it recalls more currently 2015’s Tangerine, about African-American trans hookers, hustling on the streets of L.A. A handheld camera shows grainy, cinema-verite images of pool halls and dim alleys, dirty bathrooms and pimply-faced rent boys. Ekaj (Jake Mestre) is a boy who likes to dress like a girl, and who hooks up with an abusive Puerto Rican street kid who pimps out Ekaj and steals from him but won’t go away. Ekaj then meets Mecca (Badd Idea), a caring guy with face tattoos and his own issues.

Directed by first-time filmmaker Cati Gonzalez, it has the feeling of improvisation by real people, not actors, showing us truth. Ekaj is a throwback to what indie filmmaking was always meant to be about: Personal stories, uncompromised by studio interference that glimpse an underground world the mainstream.

Screens tonight at Studio Movie Grill on Technology Boulevard at 7 p.m.

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Texas Stonewall Democrats: We are not affiliated with new activist group

Posted on 16 Aug 2017 at 1:26pm

Texas Stonewall Democrats officials today (Wednesday, Aug. 16) issued a press release to clarify that their organization is not affiliated with a new activist organization called The New Stonewall Dallas.

According to the statement:

“It has been brought to the attention of the Texas Stonewall Democratic Caucus Leadership that there is a new group (page) calling itself “The New Stonewall Dallas.” Apparently this is a new small activist group and is not a political “Democratic Party” organization.
The Texas Stonewall Democratic Caucus would like to state that this group is NOT in any way affiliated with or a part of the Texas Stonewall Democratic Caucus or Stonewall Democrats, which is the only “officially recognized” LGBT Democratic organization by both the state and national Democratic Party.
While the name “Stonewall” is not copyrighted and anyone in the community is free to use the name, we want to make sure that there is absolutely no confusion between the two groups
based on nomenclature. Unfortunately, the name that was chosen by this other group can initially give the impression that they may be somehow affiliated with Stonewall Democrats and this is NOT the case.”

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Why gay people are a higher form of evolution

Posted on 16 Aug 2017 at 11:38am

Science has yet to definitively declare a “gay gene” — probably because all those evil-gelicals would abort their gaybies left and right and all hell would break loose (hallelujah?) – but just because the argument for biological evidence that determines sexual orientation hasn’t been substantiated doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Barring the discovery of an actual genetic modification that predisposes people to being gay, studies have shown that homosexuality is a heritable trait. Nonetheless, the research as it stands now is still just a bunch of lab-coat mumbo jumbo caught up in a tornado of politics.

Personally, I believe I’m a higher form of evolution. Not just me, though, but all gay people. I look at our community as a whole and, well, we do just about everything better than those who are not inherently equipped to think above the status quo.

I’m not a kook, either. Rather, I’m skeptical of most oddball concepts — like psychics, paranormal activity, crop circles, and whoever convinced Bill Cosby it’s a good idea to launch a speaking tour about sexual assault. But I do earnestly believe that you and I are genetically superior to our heterosexual counterparts. Here’s why.

We encourage, adapt to, and continue the pursuit of progression. Since the earliest recorded history –—about 97th-century BCE when Mesolithic rock in Sicily is said to depict male homosexual intercourse – gays have infiltrated and influenced all aspects of life, from art to government. We’re drawn to positions of power because we affect change more swiftly and more democratically than those seeking to rule, often iron-fistedly, simply to make up for their lack of anatomical endowment (which isn’t just conjecture, by the way; a study by the Kinsey Institute reported that gay guys typically have bigger dicks than straight guys) and we don’t have to look any further than our own current administration to see this time-honored tradition in practice. It stands to reason then that we have less to prove than straight men seeking power, who much of the time want to stifle progression, while we advocate on behalf of forging ahead, quite happy with what’s been bestowed between our legs. In the meantime, we may have already answered the age-old question: Does size matter? All the world’s conflicts started by cranky old straight men decidedly point to yes.

We have an “eye” for just about everything. You can’t teach imagination or creativity; you’re either born with it or you aren’t. Certainly there’s a case to be made for the cultivation of our own capacities — which requires encouragement from those who raise us during our most vital developmental stages — but once we’re in tune with our own intelligence, we’re unstoppable. We corner the market on creative expression, from home design and culinary arts to science and movie making, and our insight is unrivaled because we won’t allow it to be muted, even when some around us demanded it growing up. The downside to this, of course, includes our rampant daddy issues (for some of us, least) — but let’s be honest, we make the most of that, too.

Before I wrote this column, I asked my friends why they thought gay people were a higher form of evolution. Mostly because I needed validation that my own ego wasn’t out of control. It is, mind you — everybody who knows me will tell you that – but in this case, I at least have comrades on my side. My buddy Jason provided his thoughts on this particular matter – why we seem to get “it” and ourselves more than straight people understand themselves and their place in this world.

“For thousands of years, we have been systematically oppressed and persecuted by every major religion and every government,” he said. “Attempts have been made to eradicate our kind for millennia, quite unsuccessfully. I believe we are feared most because we are, and always have been, the most powerful beings on this planet. We give you your culture, your beauty, your fashion, your art. We know no bounds, and exist in every corner of the earth, from your governments to your churches to your families, and all of your institutions. We cover every race, every gender and every class.”

In laymen’s terms, we’re here and we’re queer… and we will inherit this earth.

Bullying and oppression has informed our sense of humor and self-worth. I use humor as a defense mechanism. Many of us do. But that’s because we were forced to find the happiness in an otherwise depressing situation. We’re made fun of, taunted, bullied, and put down everywhere we go — even today. But it’s because of that that we’re able to evaluate and identify our self-worth when nobody else will, and the sense of humor that evolves from that oppression is what makes us likeable, self-aware beings who can and will read another to filth just for kicks.

People are naturally drawn to us – for one reason or another. Straight women follow us around like tongues-out Frenchies, and straight men envy all the things we possess that they desperately want, like the devotion of those straight women. Whether they’ll admit it or not, heterosexuals envy us — and we should all sleep better accepting that as pseudo-scientific fact.

We are emotionally more advanced because of circumstance. My beautiful lesbian friend Leslie laid this one out bare: “The strength one must possess to ‘come out’ as different from the norm is pretty much as powerful as one can be,” she said. “As humans we want to belong and be accepted by our tribe. It takes incredible strength and resilience to risk being literally abandoned by your tribe and surviving. It defies evolution as we know it, thus making us a whole new breed of fucking fabulous.”

We are, in fact, essential to humanity. Dr. James O’Keefe delivered a TED Talk at TEDxTallaght in Dublin last year, and he related a story that was covered by NewNowNext about how his own son came out 13 years ago. Initially, Dr. O’Keefe feared for his son’s safety and happiness, but then his own analytic abilities led him to surmise that his boy was going to be just fine — because gay people are goddamned remarkable.

“Viewed in the light of evolution, homosexuality seems to be a real self-defeating non-productive strategy,” O’Keefe told the audience at his TED talk. “Gays have 80 percent fewer kids than heterosexuals. This is a trait that ought to go extinct in a few generations, yet down through recorded history in every culture and many animal species as well, homosexuality has been a small but distinct subgroup. If this were a genetic error, natural selection should have long ago culled this from the gene pool.”

Dr. O’Keefe went on to discuss how everyone probably has gay genes in their DNA, but they only would have been activated as a means of survival, like stressful external circumstances while in the womb. You can watch his talk about how homos are motherfucking gods among men on YouTube; the talk is titled “Homosexuality: it’s about survival — not sex,” because that’s the truthiest truth there is.

Mikey Rox

 

 

 

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