Are you selfish or just plain stupid?

Posted on 10 Apr 2017 at 9:43am

911 is not an information number. Do not use it that way.

On Friday night at about midnight, the siren warning system in Dallas was hacked causing all sirens in the city of Dallas to blare. The hacker, whom local officials believe was local, rehacked the system at least 12 times, setting off the alarms again each time they were turned off.

Between midnight and 12:15 a.m., 911 received more than 800 calls either to report the sirens or to ask why the sirens were blaring.

The 911 system is not an information line and the city needs to fine people who use it as one. I’m talking big fine. Like $1,000. I know you’re probably glued to your phone, but put your goddamn phone down and turn on the TV. Some people claimed they did turn on the TV and no one knew why the sirens were blasting. So they called 911. If you hung up while trying to get through to 911, someone from 911 had to take the time to call you back, further tying up the system.

The 911 system is for personal emergencies. The storm siren blaring outside is not your personal emergency. You looked outside. The weather was fine. So why did you call the emergency number? Because you’re selfish. Or thoughtlessly stupid. You should be fined.

I’m sorry the sirens were disturbing you. Reporters for local TV stations have phone numbers of officials to find out what’s going on. When they got on TV to say there’s no weather emergency and they don’t know if anything else is wrong, why would you think 911 would have more information that they’d share with just you? In the next three hours, 911 got more than 4,000 additional calls.

During that time, someone was unable to report a fire. Someone who needed immediate medical help couldn’t get through to paramedics. Someone who needed police help couldn’t get it. For me, this is personal. When you need 911, don’t hesitate to call. When you need 911, you want an operator to respond immediately. You don’t want to watch a loved one die while on hold, because the lines are tied up with people looking for some information.

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Everybody needs a little Spayse

Posted on 07 Apr 2017 at 12:34pm

Late last year, Israel Luna — our DVtv video producer emeritus and a longtime friend — realized a dream when he opened up Spayse Studios, giving birth to a space where creative people from all fields can come together to create their art and, at the same time, create community.

After opening, Israel quickly filled up all the available office space and Spayse Studios has already expanded. New offices are filling up quickly.

Now Israel and the tenants of Spayse Studios invite everyone to come check out their space during their Open House on Sunday, from 2-5 p.m., Go see what Spayse has to offer you.

Need somewhere for a photo shoot or a video shoot? They have several infinity-wall rooms — white walls, black walls, gray walls, and a soundproof green screen room. There is available office space, and if you have a special event coming up, check out the gorgeous event room that ‘s available to rent.

You’ll have a chance to meet Spayse Studios tenants and even get interviewed during the live broadcast from the Spayse Station sound studio (home of DVtv in Spayse, streaming live every Friday at 4 p.m. on the Spayse Station YouTube Channel, right after Israel Luna’s Don’t Panic!).

This is a free event, with food and drink available, and you don’t want to miss it.

Spayse Studios is located at 1499 Regal Row, Ste. 505 (drive around behind the building the find the door). Call 469-779-2604 for information.

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Celebrating excellence in the North Texas LGBT community

Posted on 07 Apr 2017 at 11:55am

The North Texas GLBT Chamber of Commerce has released the names of the winners of its 2016 Business Excellence Award honoring business and community leaders. Awards will be presented at the chamber’s Celebration of Excellence on the Red Carpet dinner on Friday night, April 28, from 6-9:30 p.m. at the Renaissance Dallas Hotel.

Winners are:

• Business of the Year Award: Fastsigns-Irving/Las Colinas

• Corporate Ally of the Year Award: American Airlines

• Extra Mile Community Service Award (sponsored by American Airlines): Rafael McDonnell with Resource Center

• Member Service Award: J. Waylon & Associates

• Emerging Leader Award (sponsored by Raytheon): Joshua Cogan, Outlast Youth

• Supplier Diversity Champion Award (sponsored by Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau) Douglas Roark, Staff Perm

• Chairman’s Award: Ron Allen, CPA.

North Texas GLBT CHamber of Commerce has offices at 4123 Cedar Springs Road, Ste. 1206. Call them at 214-821-4528 or visit GLBTChamber.com. For more on the awards dinner, visit CelebrationOfExcellence.com.

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My white skin privilege

Posted on 07 Apr 2017 at 8:10am

David

 

Gary BellomyI grew up poor. I started working when I was 14 so that I would be able to buy better school clothes than what my parents could afford. This allowed me to pretend I had the comfortable life that I would one day achieve.

But I didn’t have that comfortable life. Not then. I chose “fake it ’til I make it” as my motto.

The jobs I found were manual labor — tough and, at times, grueling work. I discovered that I was a hard worker, and for the most part, I enjoyed the sweat, the grime and the physical workout.

As it turned out, throughout my life, leadership roles would quite often fall to me. The odd thing I noticed, in those steaming warehouses and factories of my youth, is that there was always men of color doing the same tasks and I. Usually, they had been doing the job for decades.

But they were passed over for promotions that instead went to a 17-year-old kid. A kid who happened to be white.

One Christmas, I landed a seasonal job at a Sears store that lasted only two short months. The department manager was a very proficient African-American lady. Within a week, she was deferring to me.

White skin was a powerful influence institutionally and in the psyche of working-class minorities.

The equality that has been gained by small measures in this country — such as required quotas — are rather a recent development. Employers could hold onto their racist attitudes about hiring for most of the 20th century. And the truth is those attitudes prevail to this day.

The corporate world, for the most part, adheres to the non-discrimination guidelines. But smaller businesses remain unrestrained, and racism remains alive and well in many places of employment.

The complaints around the quota system and its perceived bias against whites continues today. But I absolutely believe that if that system were dismantled, individual employers as well as societal institutions would quickly revert to their former racist and discriminatory practices.

As I got older, my work environments improved. For a time, I worked in privately-owned mental institutions. There was not any blatant racial preference on the worksite —  mainly because there were no minority employees or clients.

Eventually, I drifted into what became my chosen career path: High-end dining.

There has always been a deep vein of racism in those plush environments. It was almost into the 1990s before I first heard a chef condemn racial slurs in his kitchen. Here in Dallas, as recently as 15 years ago, black people were rarely seen dining in such places. Why would they want to? Those establishments were not overly zealous in their welcome. And upscale restaurants in this town — to this day — that develop a strong minority clientele often see their white guests flee and never return.

Have I prospered at the expense of minorities in this field? I have. I was the one who was hired and promoted in most instances.

I’m exaggerating, you say? Things have changed, you say? Sure, you insist, there is no longer any white skin privilege.

But you know what I say? I say BULLSHIT.

I profited as a poor kid working in hell-holes. I have lived in apartment buildings and homes in which someone of any other race would have been denied residence. I excelled in a field that kept minorities from participating, and I have benefited tremendously from workplace support staff in instances where the only thing preventing them from having my job was their brown skin.

Yes, white skin privilege most definitely exists at every level of our society — at the very top of the social order, and at the very bottom. I have profited from it.

And if you are white and honest with yourself, SO HAVE YOU.

Gary Bellomy is a longtime Dallas activist working on issues of LGBT equality, HIV/AIDS services and family violence prevention. He is a war resister and a Trump resister.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition April 7, 2017.

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Whole lotta shit going on

Posted on 07 Apr 2017 at 7:35am

The new Podcast ‘S-Town’ paints a vivid portrait of a cynical small-town gay intellectual

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“I’ve about had enough of Shittown and the things that goes on,” is how listeners are introduced to John B. McLemore, who identifies himself as living in “Shittown, Alabama,” though most of the residents prefer to call it by its real name, Woodstock. Woodstock is a sleepy little burg that, to McLemore’s mind at least, more closely resembles Lumberton in David Lynch’s Blue Velvet than the Mayberry of The Andy Griffith Show. This 1,000-person town straddling Bibb and Tuscaloosa counties near the center of the state is, by McLemore’s statistics, the sex-offender capital of the free world, where tattoos, meth and infidelity have joined hands with racism and ignorance to form a cauldron of lazy, slow decay — the death of the American dream. That is, Shittown.

And he’s got a point.

That’s the premise of S-Town, the most compelling new Podcast snaking its way across the interwebs. Whereas the aptly-named Serial drew us in to an actual criminal justice case, week after week surprising us with its real-life mystery, the real mystery of S-Town isn’t the murder McLemore alleges took place but went unpunished, but McLemore himself. And we don’t have to wait to learn anything, except for the amount of time it takes to binge all seven roughly one-hour episodes of this series. The entire Podcast went live barely a week ago, and if it took you more than 48 hours to finish it, that was probably just so you could catch your breath.

“Why did you not tell me Shittown was gonna be an emotional apocalypse?!” my friend Valentine emailed me after I recommended he download the podcast. “Is there a word for simultaneous extreme anticipation/apprehension?” That’ll probably be your reaction, too.

Because S-Town does not proceed like you expect it to. McLemore — who we learn (though it should be obvious early on) is a semi-closeted gay liberal intellectual antique clock-repairer suffering through Klan country with cynical observations and a Southern Gothic flair for drama — initially invites radio producer Brian Reed to investigate suspicious goings-on, but Reed quickly discovers no mystery is more compelling than McLemore himself. To say more would be to undermine the tremendous release that comes with exploring the podcast itself.

But what needs to be said is how profoundly the personage of John. B. McLemore digs into you, not because he is unique, but because you can recognize so much of what troubles him in other people you probably know. The collective effect is haunting.             

— Arnold Wayne Jones

Download the podcast on multiple platforms, or stream it from Stownpodcast.org.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition April 07, 2017.

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Death of Mitchell Polk is unexplained

Posted on 06 Apr 2017 at 4:15pm
polk-mitchell

Mitchell Polk

The death of Mitchell Polk, whose body was found a block from Peabody Clinic on Aug. 23, remains unexplained.

Dallas Voice filed a Freedom of Information Act request at the time of his death to try and find out more about what happened. That requerst was finally approved this week.

While we reported in September that the death was a murder, the police report we just got today states, “unexplained death (no offense),” meaning no murder investigation is underway.

Most of the information on the police report is redacted. The report doesn’t list Polk’s name, but lists the victim as “unknown.” Dallas Voice matched the location where Polk’s body was found with the police report number.

The report indicates no drugs or alcohol were involved and one line of narrative was partially redacted. What remains is information already known: “[redacted] locating the complainant deceased at the location. The complainant was observed to be in a state of decomposition. [redacted].”

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Weinstein Co. to challenge MPAA rating on trans film

Posted on 06 Apr 2017 at 1:08pm

The upcoming film 3 Generations, starring Elle Fanning, Susan Sarandon and Naomi Watts, portrays the experiences of a transgender youth. The Weinstein Company, which secured distribution rights, submitted it to the Motion Picture Association of America to obtain a rating. To TWC’s surprise, the MPAA returned an R rating — meaning no one under 17 can see if without a parent.

Today, TWC announced it will appear the ruling. It had tapped David Boies — the Hollywood lawyer known for his work on the Bush v. Gore suit, as well as overturning Prop 8 in California — to advice on their dissent.

The R rating was based on “language and some sexual references.” The film is slated to receive a limited release next month.

The Weinsteins have a history of success with such appeals; they were able to known down the rating for their film Bully from R to PG-13, so that more teens could see it.

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PHOTOS: Disney Village gives a taste of the Magic Kingdom for those pressed for time

Posted on 05 Apr 2017 at 4:11pm

On my recent trip to Florida, I actually started out in Orlando, attending the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association meeting.

We didn’t have time to do the full Disney/Epcot thing, but we drove over to Disney and spent a few hours at Disney Village (formerly known as Pleasure Island) to get our Disney fix.

The area is mostly shopping, but there are a few attractions, including a hot air balloon ride that I was perfectly happy to watch from the ground as it ascended 400 feet into the air. Windy City Times writer Matt Simonette waited on line an hour for the five minute balloon ride.

Disney Village is free with plenty of parking. It’s not the Magic Kingdom, but with just a few hours, it was worth a visit.

Matt Simonette, my counterpart at the Windy City Times

The world’s largest all-Disney department store



 

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Proposal to limit bar hours along Lower Greenville could also affect Oak Lawn

Posted on 05 Apr 2017 at 2:54pm

A proposal to limit hours of late night businesses goes to a Dallas City Council committee this week before being voted on by the full city council.

The proposal for the “Late Hours Overlay” was made last summer, specifically targeting Lower Greenville Avenue. However, other entertainment districts, such as Cedar Springs Road, could be covered by the ordinance if local residents complain about noise, parking, crime, trash, traffic or property damage in the area.

The proposal could force bars to close at midnight. Other businesses mentioned in the proposal are fitness centers, restaurants and food stores that remain open past midnight.

Businesses that want to remain open later than midnight along Lower Greenville Avenue would have to obtain Special Use Permits. While Oak Lawn’s entertainment district is not included in the current proposal, complaints by the area’s ever-increasing non-LGBT population could prompt the council to include it.

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Black Tie theme: Come “Together” in 2017

Posted on 05 Apr 2017 at 2:51pm

The Black Tie Dinner Committee has revealed the them for the 36th annual fundraising event, set for Nov. 11 at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel. The theme is “Together,” and it was announced at the March 30 BTD Kickoff party.

Nathan Robbins, 2017 BTD cochair, said the theme is”meant to be a reminder that the success of Black Tie Dinner, and the progress of the overall equality movement, relies heavily on communities standing together in a united front. Now, more than ever, it’s crucial for all of us to combine our energy and efforts to continue making positive strides for the LGBT community.”

Also during the kickoff party, BTD officials announced the first-ever Black Tie Brunch, set for June 3. Officials said the brunch is “another sign of the recently rebranded Black Tie Dinner’s evolution as it looks to engage current and potential supporters via new ways and touchpoints.”

For more information on the dinner, how to become a beneficiary organization, how to be a table captain, buying a raffle ticket for a 2018 Mercedes Benz and more, visit the website.

And watch the new video announcing the theme below.

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