AIDS Arms marks 30 years of service

Posted on 05 Dec 2016 at 12:56pm

AIDS Arms marked its 30th anniversary on Friday, Dec. 2 with a celebration at Cathedral of Hope.

The Turtle Creek Chorale, Bruce Wood Dance Project, Denise Lee and Jason Huff entertained during the program, and the Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing Arts String Quartet played during a cocktail reception.

Scott Evertz, who served in George W. Bush’s administration as director of the White House Office of National AIDS Policy (AIDS czar) and later as special assistant for Global AIDS Initiatives to the Secretary of Health and Human Services, spoke.

All four previous CEOs of AIDS Arms, from founder Buck Buckingham to Raylene Nobles, attended.

Three senior employees — Gilbert Kouame, Manisha Maskay and Karin Petties, each of whom have worked at AIDS Arms more than 20 years — presented Lifetime Achievement Awards to Alan Levi, Barbara Cambridge and Joey Avila.

CEO John Carlo and Cathedral of Hope Senior Pastor the Rev. Neil Cazares-Thomas also spoke.


Record number of companies score 100 on new Corporate Equality Index

Posted on 05 Dec 2016 at 10:44am

corporate-equality-indexHuman Rights Campaign released its 2017 Corporate Equality Index this morning (Monday, Dec. 5), with a record 517 companies earning the top score of 100. The increase from last year’s 407 companies receiving that rating is the largest jump in the report’s history.

“Even in the face of relentless attempts to undermine equality, America’s leading companies and law firms remain steadfast and committed to supporting and defending the rights and dignity of LGBTQ people,” HRC President Chad Griffin said in a statement about the CEI.

Of the companies rated, 93 percent included sexual orientation equal employment policies and 92 percent included gender identity protections.

Spousal benefits for same-sex couples were proved by 98 percent of rated companies. How some companies are providing benefits for some of their legally married employees (the straight ones) and not for others (the gay and lesbian ones) and get away with that is not clear.

Another big jump is in companies providing transgender-inclusive healthcare coverage — 73 percent, up from 60 percent last year.

The full CEI can be found on HRC’s website here.


Holiday Gift Guide: Reading list!

Posted on 05 Dec 2016 at 9:42am

Books are always good gifts, and they’re super-easy to wrap, too. How about one of these great selections for that One Person…


the-jealous-kindFor the independent traveler on your list, Paris for One & Other Stories by Jojo Moyes might be a great bon voyage gift. It’s a collection of short stories about change, opportunity, independence and life in general. Pair it with The Jungle Around Us: Stories by Anne Raeff. It’s a collection of tales with the jungle — its mystery, darkness and richness, as both metaphor and connecting force here.

The reader on your gift list who prefers books set in other time periods will love Cruel Beautiful World by Caroline Leavitt. It’s a 1960s-era story of a woman who chooses a man over the sister who basically raised her, and the dynamics of family. Put it together with Jazz Moon by Joe Okonkwo, a book set in Harlem, 1925, where Paris is where it’s at, baby.

The person who loves a little mid-century drama will enjoy The Jealous Kind by James Lee Burke. It’s a bit of a Romeo-and-Juliet novel set in the 1950s in Texas, at a time when the line between the “haves” and the “have-nots” was drawn in the sand with danger, and money talked a lot. Definitely wrap it up with another great drama-mystery, Manitou Canyon by William Kent Krueger. Cork O’Connor is back and sleuthing. Fans, rejoice.

Historical novel lovers will devour News of the World by Paulette Jiles, a book set in Texas in the years following the Civil War. When a down-and-out former Captain of the military is hired to deliver an orphan girl to her distant relatives, he partakes an adventure — not just through rough terrain, but through rocky childcaring, too. Wrap it up with The German Girl by Armando Lucas Correa, a multigenerational novel about home, based on a true story.

Dog lovers will howl over Jonathan Unleashed by Meg Rosoff. It’s the story of a man who’s at the end of his leash, and his brother’s dogs, who begin to show him that dogs are smarter than they seem. And won’t the pet lover on your list love getting A Guinea Pig Oliver Twist in that package, too?  Yes, it’s Dickens as you’ve never seen him before…


trialsFor the true-crime buff, Trials of the Century by Mark J. Phillips & Aryn Z. Phillips is a great go-to gift. What made Sam Sheppard’s case, the Lindbergh baby, and Charles Manson leap onto the headlines?  This book looks at those famous cases, and more… Add on I Will Find You by Joanna Connors, a story of a reporter who finally reveals a crime she had to hide, and the man who committed  it.

Is there someone on your gift list who loves nothing more than to be scared?  The one who longs for a different holiday? If so, The Monster Book by Nick Redfern is what you want to wrap up. Using quick chapters and scattered photos, this book informs, entertains and (good for your giftee) scares!  Definitely wrap it up with Real Visitors, Voices from Beyond, and Parallel Dimensions by Brad Steiger and Sherry Hansen Steiger. Ooooooh, then shiver!

For the woman who’s just about had enough this year – of everything – you’ll want to get The Bitch is Back, a collection of essays edited by Cathi Hanauer. This no-nonsense sequel to The Bitch in the House is just as empowering and strong as its predecessor, and it’s perfect for the strong woman on your list.

Science fans will love The Point Is by Lee Eisenberg, a book on who we are, why we’re here, and how we can make the most of life until we die. For the know-it-all on your list, Head in the Cloud by William Poundstone might make a great gift. Why, Poundstone asks, do we know celebrities but not mathematics? When we can look things up online, why should we know things in our heads?  You can’t go wrong with this gift if you also give A Field Guide to Lies by Daniel J. Levitin, a book about critical thinking and believing (or not) everything you see online.


fateIn Saving Delaney by Andrea and Keston Ott-Dahl, your giftee will read the story of one little girl, her life before birth, her lesbian moms and her wealthy parents, and what happened when she entered the world with Down’s syndrome. Wrap it up with tissues and Journey to Same-Sex Parenthood by Eric Rosswood, a book filled with tips and tales of gay and lesbian folks who finally became parents.

If there’s an art lover on your gift list, they’ll love unwrapping One Man Show: The Life and Art of Bernard Perlin by Michael Schreiber. Part gay history, part art, this book showcases the life of a man who painted portraits of gay clubs and street life, and whose works were collected by mid-century high-society collectors, some of which still hangs in museums today.

For the mom or dad who’s just learned that their child is gender-questioning, The Gender Creative Child by Diane Ehrensaft, Ph.D. might be a loving gift. It’s a book that will guide them through many early questions and thoughts they may have now, and later.  Wrap it up with When Your Child is Gay by Wesley C. Davidson and Jonathal L. Tobkes, MD, for the answers to even more questions.

What does it mean to be a man or a woman?  In The Fate of Gender by Frank Browning, your giftee will learn what science says about gender, brains, chromosomes, social pressures and how other countries see gender and the spectrum. Wrap it up with Queer Identities and Politics in Germany: A History 1880-1945 by Clayton J. Whisnant, a fascinating history book that looks at German LGBT organizations, people, publications, and the culture, especially during World War II.


How do you drive someone happy this holiday?  Preston Tucker and His Battle to Build the Car of Tomorrow by Steve Lehto, foreword by Jay Leno. This biography of Tucker, the creator of an ahead-of-its-time vehicle is a car-crazy reader’s dream.

atticus-finch_my-father-and-atticus-finchFans of the latest Harper Lee novel will love receiving My Father and Atticus Finch by Joseph Madison Beck. Pulling a page from Lee, it’s the tale of a white trial lawyer in Alabama who defended a black man charged with rape. Happened in 1938. Your giftee will love reading it in 2017.

The lover of Christmas will also love Tree of Treasures: A Life in Ornaments by Bonnie Mackay. It’s a memoir written through the trimmings of a tree; where the author got them, why she loves them and how they make her remember. For the person who loves a touch of romance beneath the tree, Casanova: The World of a Seductive Genius by Laurence Bergreen takes readers to Europe and through history to walk through the life and times of a man whose name is synonymous with love.


dowdUndoubtedly, there’s a political animal on your gift list who didn’t get enough politics this year. Fear not! Man of the World: The Further Endeavors of Bill Clinton by Joe Conason will let you check off another name. This book takes a look at Clinton ’s work in his post-presidential years. If your giftee is still wondering what happened this political year, you can’t go wrong with The Year of Voting Dangerously by Maureen Dowd. It’s a book filled with essays by the woman who’s covered elections for the past nine presidents. Nope, can’t go wrong here.


What’s it like to feed the people in America ’s largest city?  Your giftee won’t be able to wait to read Food and the City by Ina Yalof, a book about the chefs, cooks, street vendors, and others who serve up apples (and more) in the Big Apple. To make it an even tastier gift, pair it with The Book of Spice by John O’Connell, a book about all the things that make meals zestier.


There’s someone on your gift list who loves music of all kinds, and They Call Me Supermensch by Shep Gordon will be a welcome gift. Gordon was a manager for a number of Big Name music acts, as well as an innovator in the entertainment industry. Who can resist a book like that? Nobody, especially when you wrap it up with another mensch-y book, Seinfeldia by Jennifer Keishin Armstrong. It’s a book about “nothing,” which surely became a great big something.

madonnalandFor the midnight-movie fan who can’t get enough of toast or Janet, The Rocky Horror Picture Show FAQ by Dave Thompson is exactly what you want to give. This book is absolutely jammed with facts, stories, fun-to-know details, everything you ever wanted to know about Frank-N-Furter and more.

Want to see the biggest smile ever?  For the fan of the newest Pulitzer Prize Winner for Literature, buy Bob Dylan: The Lyrics 1961-2012.  This book is huge — at nearly 700 pages and weighing, well, let’s just say the reindeer will complain and it’s also on the spendy side but if you’ve got a Dylan fan on your list, this will get you hugs through at least Independence Day. And for an even better gift, you may want to pair it with Madonnaland and Other Detours Into Fame and Fandom by Alina Simone. It’s a look at The Material Girl, music, and being a rock star.


Who loves reading about the Civil War?  Your giftee, that’s who – so you’ll want to get City of Sedition: The History of New York City During the Civil War by John Strausbaugh. New York played a major part, behind-the-scenes, in what happened during the War Between the States. Another volume on the war is just what your giftee wants this year. If there’s a social studies fan on your list, make White Trash by Nancy Isenberg the gift you give. It’s a look at poverty, class, American caste and how it’s been perceived for the last 240 years. The Downton Abbey fan on your gift list will love Mind Your Manors by Lucy Lethbridge, a book about keeping house (or would that be mansion?) in Great Britain in times gone by.


The kid who already misses Halloween will love Peep and Egg: I’m Not Trick-or-Treating by Laura Gehl, pictures by Joyce Wan. It’s a tale of two friends, one of whom has a stubborn streak and is easy to scare. For the budding fashionista on your list, D is for Dress-Up by Maria Carluccio will be a welcome gift. Starting with “A,” of course and moving through guess-what-Z-word, this book doubles as a great learn-the-alphabet gift, too.

For the little one whose get-up-and-go never got up in the first place, Schnitzel: A Cautionary Tale for Lazy Louts by Stephanie Shaw, illustrated by Kevin M. Barry will be a great gift. It’s a tale of a wizard’s apprentice who takes a very ill-fated shortcut. For the child who loves nighttime, Max at Night by Ed Vere will be a great gift. It’s the story of a cat who has a very special friend. Unfortunately, the friend only comes around a few times a month.

Season’s Readings!

— Terri Schlichenmeyer


Cocktail Friday: Pumpkin Spice Lebowski

Posted on 02 Dec 2016 at 3:14pm

pumpkin-spice-lebowskiWe know, we know — everyone does pumpkin spice. But that’s coffee drinks — what about some adult beverages? Try out this seasonal one.

2 oz. Reyka vodka

1 oz. coffee liqueur (Tia Maria, Kahlua, etc.)

1 oz. heavy cream

1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

Making it: Combine heavy cream and spice into a shaker and shake. Add ice, vodka and liqueur and shake more. Strain into a rocks glass; garnish with cocoa puff.


Obama delivers last World AIDS Day address

Posted on 02 Dec 2016 at 10:07am

President Barack Obama delivered his last World AIDS Day address. Listen through the last line where the President says, “Long after I leave this office, you’ll have a partner in me.”


Trump’s election: We have one last hope

Posted on 02 Dec 2016 at 8:05am

The Electoral College was put in place to save the country from evil and mischief



tammye-nashThis year, for the first time in our 32-year-plus history, Dallas Voice endorsed a political candidate. We officially backed Hillary Clinton for president, and we did so because we believed — and still do believe — that Clinton was the most experienced, most qualified candidate in the race.

We believed that Hillary Clinton was the best candidate for our country in general and for our community, the LGBT community, specifically. We believed — and I still do — that Donald Trump presented a clear and present danger to this country in general and to the LGBT and other minority communities specifically — especially to minority communities.

And everything Donald Trump has done since Nov. 8 has proven that we were right.

So far, Trump has set about establishing a Cabinet full of white supremacists, homophobes and bigots of all types. His pick for chief White House strategist and senior counsel is Steve Bannon, a man who proudly proclaims his affiliation with the “alt-right,” which is code for white nationalist, which is just another word for white supremacist.

Trump has tapped Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama — a man rejected for a federal judge seat in 1986 because the Senate deemed him too racist — for attorney general. Rep. Tom Price of Georgia — Trump’s pick for Secretary of Health and Human Services — is already gleefully planning to gut the Affordable Health Care, and he is a Tea Partier who opposes a women’s right to choose and marriage equality.

And what about Trump’s choice for Secretary of Education? Betsy DeVos is a billionaire philanthropist who champions school vouchers over public schools, and who has no degree in education and no experience working in education. Her main qualification seems to be her money — she’s married to the heir of the Amway fortune and the sister of the founder of Blackwater.

Want more? Trump has nominated former Goldman-Sachs partner and current hedge fund manager Steve Mnuchin as Secretary of the Treasury, and billionaire Wilbur Ross, who made his fortune “restructuring” companies in the steel and coal industries, as Secretary of Commerce.

And then there are the people being considered for posts, like Gen. David Petraeus — on probation for sharing classified information with his mistress — for Secretary of State, and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin of “Drill, baby, drill” fame for Secretary of the Interior.

Oh, and let’s not forget that Mike Pence, the man Trump chose as his vice presidential running mate, advocates conversion therapy for LGBT people and cost his state, Indiana, millions with his anti-LGBT “religious freedom bill.”

Yet, as things stand right now, on Jan. 20, Donald Trump will be inaugurated as president of the United States.

Unless ….

We have one last hope of avoiding the unmitigated disaster that would be a Trump presidency, and it lies in the hands of the Electoral College.

Hillary Clinton, as I write this, leads Donald Trump in the popular vote by more than 2.2 million ballots (Trump’s petulant Twitter tantrum about “millions of illegal votes” notwithstanding). But thanks to minute leads in some “swing states” — Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania among them — Trump wins the presidency by virtue of a 306-232 lead over Clinton in the Electoral College.
But do the electors have to choose Trump? I say no.

As Alexander Hamilton explained in the Federalist Papers, this country’s Founding Fathers believed “that the immediate election should be made by men most capable of analyzing the qualities adapted to the station, and acting under circumstances favorable to deliberation, and to a judicious combination of all the reasons and inducements which were proper to govern their choice.

“A small number of persons, selected by their fellow-citizens from the general mass, will be most likely to possess the information and discernment requisite to such complicated investigations. It was also peculiarly desirable to afford as little opportunity as possible to tumult and disorder,” Hamilton wrote.

“This evil was not least to be dreaded in the election of a magistrate, who was to have so important an agency in the administration of the government as the President of the United States. But the precautions which have been so happily concerted in the system under consideration, promise an effectual security against this mischief.”

In other words, the Founding Fathers were afraid that some con man would come along and dupe the American public. So they created a system whereby a small, select group of citizens “most likely to possess the information and discernment requisite to such complicated investigations” would have the last word in who sits in The Oval Office.

Times have changed since the days of the Founding Fathers, and the Electoral College system now gives an unfair advantage to some smaller states, giving greater weight to the ballots cast in those smaller states than those cast in medium and larger states. There’s also the fact that over the years, states have adopted an “all-or-nothing” system, in which whoever wins the most votes in a state gets all that state’s Electoral College votes.

That, folks, is not mandated in the U.S. Constitution. It is not set in stone. And the time has come, I believe, for that to change.

The Electoral College was put in place to save the American people, to save our country from evil and mischief. Well, we say it is time for the Electoral College to do just that.

We call on the members of the Electoral College to do their duty, to live up to the expectations of our Founding Fathers, and to avert the catastrophe of a Donald Trump presidency by voting on Dec. 19 to put Hillary Clinton in the White House.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 2, 2016.


World AIDS Day Presidential Proclamation

Posted on 01 Dec 2016 at 3:50pm

Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release November 30, 2016

– – – – – – –



Thirty-five years ago the first documented cases of AIDS brought about an era of uncertainty, fear, and discrimination. HIV/AIDS has taken tens of millions of lives — and far too many people with HIV have struggled to get the care, treatment, and compassion they deserve. But in the decades since those first cases, with ingenuity, leadership, research, and historic investments in evidence-based practices, we have begun to move toward an era of resilience and hope — and we are closer than ever to reaching an AIDS-free generation. On World AIDS Day, we join with the international community to remember those we have lost too soon, reflect on the tremendous progress we have made in battling this disease, and carry forward our fight against HIV/AIDS.

By shining a light on this issue and educating more communities about the importance of testing and treatment, we have saved and improved lives. Although we have come far in recent decades, our work is not yet done and the urgency to intervene in this epidemic is critical. In the United States, more than 1.2 million people are living with HIV. Gay and bisexual men, transgender people, youth, black and Latino Americans, people living in the Southern United States, and people who inject drugs are at a disproportionate risk. People living with HIV can face stigma and discrimination, creating barriers to prevention and treatment services.

My Administration has made significant efforts to fight HIV/AIDS, including by encouraging treatment as prevention, expanding access to pre-exposure prophylaxis, eliminating waiting lists for medication assistance programs, and working toward a vaccine. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, no one can be denied coverage for pre-existing conditions like HIV, and millions of people can now access quality, affordable health insurance plans that cover important services like HIV testing and screening. In 2010, I introduced the first comprehensive National HIV/AIDS Strategy in the United States, and last year, through an Executive Order, I updated it to serve as a guiding path to 2020. This update builds on the primary goals of the original Strategy, including reducing the number of HIV-infected individuals and HIV-related health disparities, improving health outcomes for anyone living with HIV and increasing their access to care, and strengthening our coordinated national response to this epidemic. 2

Currently, more than 36 million people, including 1.8 million children, are living with HIV/AIDS across the globe, and the majority of people living with HIV reside in low- to middle-income countries. We need to do more to reach those who are at risk for contracting HIV/AIDS, and the United States is helping shape the world’s response to this crisis and working alongside the international community to end this epidemic by 2030. We have strengthened and expanded the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), with now more than $70 billion invested, to accelerate our progress and work to control this epidemic with comprehensive and data-focused efforts. With PEPFAR support for more than 11 million people on life-saving treatment and through contributions to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria — including a new pledge of more than $4 billion through 2019 — there are now more than 18 million people getting HIV treatment and care. Because in sub-Saharan Africa young women and adolescent girls are over eight times more likely to get HIV/AIDS than young men, we launched a comprehensive prevention program to reduce HIV infections among this population in 10 sub-Saharan African countries. This summer, PEPFAR established an innovative investment fund to expand access to quality HIV/AIDS services for key populations affected by the epidemic and reduce the stigma and discrimination that persists. We have also helped prevent millions of new infections worldwide, including in more than 1.5 million babies of HIV-positive mothers who were born free of HIV. By translating groundbreaking research and scientific tools into action, for the first time we are seeing early but promising signs of controlling the spread of HIV.

Accelerating the progress we have made will require sustained commitment and passion from every sector of society and across every level of government around the world. A future where no individual has to suffer from HIV/AIDS is within our reach, and today, we recommit to ensuring the next generation has the tools they need to continue fighting this disease. Let us strive to support all people living with HIV/AIDS and rededicate ourselves to ending this epidemic once and for all. Together, we can achieve what once seemed impossible and give more people the chance at a longer, brighter, AIDS-free future.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim December 1, 2016, as World AIDS Day. I urge the Governors of the States and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, officials of the other territories subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, and the American people to join me in appropriate activities to remember those who have lost their lives to AIDS and to provide support and compassion to those living with HIV.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this

thirtieth day of November, in the year of our Lord two thousand sixteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-first.


# # #


I want to know if this is legal

Posted on 01 Dec 2016 at 1:07pm

Market Center Boulevard has become a parking lot and storage area for apartment construction. (David Taffet/Dallas Voice)

I’m for development just like the next person. Change is good.

Look at the beautiful new Verizon parking lot on the corner of Lemmon and Oak Lawn avenues. Replaced the Avon Aprtments that stood there for 80 years. It was really in the way.

Look at all the beautiful new Public Storage facilities popping up all over Oak Lawn. With the tiny new apartments that are crowding Oak Lawn, you’ve gotta have some place to put your stuff.

And all the beautiful, uniform apartment complexes that are replacing ancient eyesores that were 30, maybe 40 years old. All of them look identical. Who needs an architect when you can just build the exact same thing that’s across the street.

Like I said, I’m all for development, especially the innovative development going on in Oak Lawn.

While I’m all for development, I was just wondering if some of this is legal. Right across Turtle Creek from our office on Market Center Boulevard in the Design District, a new apartment complex is going up. First they tore down the trees that were holding up berm stopping the erosion into Turtle Creek, and then they poured foundations that seem to encroach on city property — or at least are farther over into the grassy slope. I caught them today shoring up some of that erosion.


I’m sure they’re only building on their property, because there was surveying done and and the city would never let the building extend onto city property. Right? Well, that’s between the city and the property owner.

Here’s my complaint about that project and every other one going on in Oak Lawn and the Design District:

For months, the construction company has closed two lanes of Market Center Boulevard. I’m not talking about closing those lanes when cement trucks are lined up to pour the foundation into the unstable soil that lines Turtle Creek.


I’m not talking about when tricks are lined up delivering windows or sheet rock. I’m talking permanently. Their dumpster sits in the middle of our street. They use our street to stack deliveries. And they even use the street to take a mid-day nap.


Are they paying the city to rent those lanes for the year of construction?


I’m not complaining about this one project. This is going on all over the area. My two-mile trip to the office that used to take seven minutes can take up to 20 minutes now because of the congestion caused by the construction that won’t stay on its own property and begins during morning rush hour and continues through evening rush hour.

I’m all for development, but I’d like to know: Is it legal for this construction to take up public streets permanently for months or years? And if so, how can we change some of those ordinances.


Dallas CVB announces new name

Posted on 01 Dec 2016 at 12:32pm

visit-dallasAt a luncheon this afternoon, the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau announced a new name: Visit Dallas and a new logo (above).

The new name is catchy and counters the idea most people hold, which would be Why the Hell Would I Want to Visit Dallas. That would be a decidedly bad name for the CVB. Another good reason is because no one could remember if it was the convention and visitors bureau or the visitors and convention bureau.

But when people are planning to visit a city and need information, they go to that city’s visitors and convention bureau. I guess the Google will get them to the right site.


REVIEW: DTC’s feminist ‘Christmas Carol’

Posted on 01 Dec 2016 at 11:34am

Sally Nystuen Vahle as Scrooge (Photo by Karen Almond)

Ebenezer Scrooge’s name immediately conjures a dour, angular, mean physicality. You can see his pointy chin, his narrow, flinty eyes, his thin-lipped scowl.

Only the Scrooge at the Wyly Theatre now, courtesy of Dallas Theater Center‘s annual production of A Christmas Carol, isn’t a he at all, but a she. It’s not just gender-blind casting: DTC has had women play Jacob Marley before, as well as a host of the Ghosts of Christmases, and Tiny Tim is often played by a little girl. No, this Ebenezer definitely has two X chromosomes — “Miss Scrooge,” her terrified workers call her. He last surviving relative isn’t Nephew Fred, but Niece Lucy; even the Fezziwigs appear to be a partnership.

Hey, Hillary mightn’t’ve risen to the top, but these revisionist Dickens characters have.

And it definitely adds a new layer to the psychology of Scrooge.

How he got to think of holidays as a humbug has never fully wrung true. Yes, young Scrooge was abandoned by a remote dad, and he lost his devoted sister Fanny; even his fiancee abandoned him. But only after money had driven him cold. His miserliness drove people away, not the other way around.

But now, we see Miss Scrooge as the embodimentliz-mikel-gabrielle-reyes-ace-anderson-chamblee-ferguson-photo-by-karen-almond of The Bitch Conundrum: A powerful man is seen as decisive; a powerful woman as a bitch. Breaking that glass ceiling was sure to imbed some shards.

It’s a lovely little twist on the familiar tale, given a lot of life by Sally Nystuen Vahle as the top-hatted Ebby with perpetual smirk. Kevin Moriarty has updated his adaptation, jointly presenting the dual crises of the Industrial Revolution and the Sexual Revolution — Ebenezer Steinem, by way of The Jungle. The cold, heartless weight of the age linger more than even prior versions of this production, and not always in a good way. Bob Cratchit (here more foreman than bookkeeper, played by Alex Organ) all but disappears into the background of steam engines and furnaces; during the opening scenes, you even lose some dialogue to all the busy-ness on the stage.

But it does provide a striking counterpoint when the set begins to twinkle in colored lights and smiling harmonies as Miss Scrooge’s heart melts away. I see it every year, and every year it gets to me.

Vahle is terrific, of course, by so in Chamblee Ferguson, taking on a variety of small roles (Scrooge’s valet, Mr. Fezziwig, etc.) and proving how brilliant character work doesn’t depend on lots of lines, but rather inventive choices. He, like this version of the show itself, proves that there’s always room to be surprised.

At the Wyly Theatre through Dec. 28.