Resource Center receives $50,000 Hoblitzelle Foundation grant to improve technology

Posted on 06 Nov 2014 at 12:59pm
Cece_Cox

Resource Center CEO Cece Cox

As an investment in the agency’s future capacity to provide programs and services to the LGBT community and people affected by HIV/AIDS, Resource Center has received a $50,000 grant from the Hoblitzelle Foundation to upgrade and modernize its computer servers.

“In order to successfully serve the LGBT communities of North Texas and people affected by HIV, the Center must provide staff with the tools necessary to efficiently and effectively carry out their jobs,” said Center CEO Cece Cox. “We are grateful to the Hoblitzelle Foundation for their support of the Center.”

Rafael Anchia, a member of the Hoblitzelle Foundation’s board of directors, added, “Resource Center truly makes life better for thousands of people in the greater Dallas area. The Foundation is proud to make this investment in the Center’s future.”

The Center plans to install a cloud-based hosted server that includes ample hard drive space, memory and ease of expandability. This will save the Center over $100,000 in capital expenditures, which in turn can be redirected to programs for LGBT youth, seniors and families as well as people living with HIV.

The server will also accommodate future growth as the Center expands its programming in a new community center, to be built near the intersection of Cedar Springs and Inwood. The Hoblitzelle Foundation has previously donated to the Center’s capital campaign. Groundbreaking for the new facility is scheduled for early 2015.

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Movie review: ‘Interstellar’

Posted on 06 Nov 2014 at 7:55am

In Christopher Nolan’s newest sci-fi extravaganza, Interstellar, Einstein’s general theory of relativity is carefully explained: The closer you approach the speed of light, the slower you age relative to humans on earth. Well, I have a corophoto 1llary to this quantum hypothesis: The closer you come to Interstellar, the more likely it will seem that all activity slows … to … a … grinding … halt.

That’s surprising, considering how jam-packed with noisy activity this three-hour (yes!) adventure film is. There are rocket launches, beautiful trips through wormholes, breathtaking by-the-seat-of-your-pants landings and countless other mind-bending trips through Nolan’s inventive and VFX-fueled brain. Truth be told, though, Nolan has never been much of a storyteller. He’ll spend lots of time acclimating us to characters, then rush headlong through complicated technical points essential to the plot. (Does anyone but him really understand Inception?) Interstellar eases us into its story. We’re never told exactly when it takes place (though apparently later in this century), but eventually we learn that the earth is becoming a desert and mankind will die off unless other habitable worlds are colonized. Matthew McConaughey, a widower with a clingy daughter (played as an adult by Jessica Chastain), is chosen to lead the search alongside Anne Hathaway.Much of the mechanics of the mission are disregarded, though it’s altogether possible they were stated plainly but the editors deemed it far less important than Hans Zimmer’s intrusive score and pulsating sound effects that effectively drown out even the internal dialogue in your head. It’s a sonic assault.

Nolan makes a lot of peculiar choices: There are near countless shots of the outside of the spaceship, but usually seen only from the same angle along the length of the fuselage — it’s like having a window seat on an airplane and trying to figure out what your journey looks like from the outside. He also resorts to some heavy-handed imagery (a potential savior of the species named Mann? Really?).

Ultimately, though, Nolan is less interested in the science than in the humanity. The development of McConaughey’s character — across time and space — is poignant and highly emotional. But last year Alfonso Cuaron got us there in half the time (82 minutes!) with Gravity, while Kubrick explored the position of humankind in the universe a generation ago with 2001: A Space Odyssey. Interstellar isn’t as good as either of those films, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have merit. “Good” may be the enemy of “great,” but don’t write it off entirely.

Three stars. Now in wide release.

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BREAKING: Restraining order bars Houston from offering equal benefits

Posted on 05 Nov 2014 at 4:18pm
Houston-Mayor-Annise-Parker

Houston Mayor Annise Parker

A district judge has ordered Houston to stop offering same-sex benefits to its employees. The order, found here, states that the city cannot issue benefits under the city’s charter and Family Penal Code because same-sex couples are not formally recognized by Texas.

“The city is preparing an immediate appeal.  Once that appeal is filed, today’s ruling will be stayed and a previous order issued at the federal court level allowing the city to implement same sex spousal benefits will continue in effect.  As a result, today’s action will have no impact on the status quo,” city spokeswoman Janice Evans said in a statement.

Follow the Voice for more information.

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BREAKING: Judge rules Missouri gay marriage ban unconstitutional

Posted on 05 Nov 2014 at 3:54pm

rainbow-flagThe AP reports Missouri’s ban on same-sex marriage ban has been ruled unconstitutional.

St. Louis Circuit Judge Rex Burlison issued the ruling today, Wednesday, Nov. 5, after hearing arguments on Sept. 29.

After the city of St. Louis issued marriage licenses in June to four same-sex couples, Assistant Attorney General Jeremiah Morgan defended the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.

St. Louis City Counselor Winston Calvert countered that the existing law treats same-sex couples as “second-class citizens.”

“Today’s ruling adds to the powerful momentum of victories from a bipartisan array of federal and state judges as we work to secure the freedom to marry nationwide,” Marc Solomon, national campaign director of Freedom to Marry, said in a statement.

One month ago a state ruling required Missouri must recognize same-sex marriages performed out of state.

32 states currently issuing recognize same-sex couples.

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Opera review: ‘Salome’

Posted on 05 Nov 2014 at 1:05pm

Voigt and Grimsley in ‘Salome,’ Photos by Karen Almond, Dallas Opera.

The Dallas Opera’s second title of the season is the outrageous Salome. Perhaps the most depraved plot in all opera — and that’s saying something — this retelling of the Bible story is adapted from a German translation of Oscar Wilde’s play. Richard Strauss’ very challenging music only adds to the electrifying story. This lustful and sordid work, with a macabre conclusion, made it a good pick to open the week of Halloween.

Princess Salome (soprano Deborah Voigt) is a young woman whose powerful stepfather/uncle Herod (tenor Robert Brubaker) can’t keep his eyes and hands off her. She, in turn, is infatuated with prisoner Jokanaan aka John the Baptist (baritone Greer Grimsley) who is locked in an underground cistern. As a holy man, Jokanaan wants nothing to do with the spoiled, grasping Salome.

Voigt’s voice has a clear and pleasant tone, but unfortunately she is not well-suited for the title role. She’s more than a little too old to portray a deranged teenager, and the famous “Dance of the Seven Veils” falls flat. The choreography by Yael Levitin is fine, and the backup dancers (in flowing and beautiful dresses from costume designer Anita Yavich) are wonderful, but Voigt’s dancing is clumsy and labored.

KA2_0553AThe standout among the singers is Grimsley. His baritone powerfully reaches to the top of the Winspear, even though most of his performance comes from the underground prison. Herodias, wife of Herod and mother of Salome (mezzo-soprano Susan Bickley), was able in her limited role, while tenor Joseph Hu delivers a forceful and spirited performance as First Jew. Mezzo-soprano Heather Johnson (in a trousers role) as Herodias’ page blasts a clear and sonorant voice of caution in this dark story (though why she was dressed as a soldier remains a mystery). Tenor Scott Quinn as Narraboth is strong, if not memorable.

Stage director Francesca Zambello manages to punctuate the heaviness of the story with light-hearted moments of humor. Conductor Evan Rogister marks a successful Dallas Opera debut with this musically challenging piece. Strauss wrote for a large orchestra with particularly difficult passages for the woodwinds. The musicians played admirably, especially the oboes and bassoons in their exposed passages. Though just a compact 100 minutes, it is a tough slog in the orchestra pit.

Peter J. Davison’s modernist scene design is odd-looking, though ultimately effective. The set is divided by what appears to be a giant clear shower curtain, but it was enhanced by the excellent lighting by Mark McCullough. The costumes are colorful and detailed, except for Salome’s primary costume; her dress lacks the splendor of the others at the palace. The soldiers’ costumers are strangely reminiscent of uniforms in sci-fi films. Wig and make-up design by David Zimmerman appeared to be flawless, particularly in the gory final scene.

Check out Salome if you can. The standout performances make it a far more engaging option than other ways you could spend two hours.

— Alicia Chang

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Dallas fashion label BLKLN launches streetwear line called blk-tee

Posted on 05 Nov 2014 at 12:25pm

blktee44I’ve written in the past about Jim Duran, the Dallas-based designer and creative director of BLKLN (Black Line), his fashion-forward label of menswear. Jim has now moved from the runway to the street with his new line of fashionable T-shirts, blk-tee. The tees feature catchy phrases geared for the hip urbanite.

You can purchase the shirts, which just launched this week, on the company’s newly redone website, BlklnClothing.com.

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Stonewall Democrats election watch party

Posted on 05 Nov 2014 at 9:08am

Stonewall Democrats of Dallas held an election watch party at the Round-Up Saloon.

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McAffrey loses U.S. House bid in OKC

Posted on 04 Nov 2014 at 10:59pm

Screen shot 2014-11-04 at 1.20.13 PMOklahoma state Sen. Al McAffrey lost his bid for U.S. House of Representatives, receiving 36 percent of the vote.

Had he won, he would have been the only Democrat in the Oklahoma delegation and would have been the first openly gay representative in this part of the country.

Results from Oklahoma City’s Channel 9 TV:

U. S. HouseDistrict 5

Candidate Total Votes Vote % Precincts Reporting
Al McAffrey (D) 57,721
36%
100%
Steve Russell (R) 95,557
60%
Buddy Ray (I) 1,469
1%
Tom Boggs (I) 2,063
1%
Robert Murphy (I) 2,175
1%

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Nondiscrimination passes in Dallas

Posted on 04 Nov 2014 at 10:48pm

Screen shot 2014-11-04 at 1.20.13 PMA nondiscrimination proposition on the ballot in the City of Dallas passed with more than 75 percent of the vote.

The proposition fixes wording from the original ordinance that is more than a decade old. Sexual orientation and gender identity are listed as separate categories in the new wording, although both were already included. The wording will be clearer and more inclusive.

This contrasts dramatically with protests and lawsuits over HERO, Houston’s Equal Rights Ordinance, that passed but has not been implemented as it’s battled in court.

Another proposition seeking a pay raise for mayor and city council members also passed, but only by a slim margin.

The only proposition heading for defeat would have allowed changes to the city’s thoroughfare plan without notifying adjacent property owners.

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Concessions

Posted on 04 Nov 2014 at 10:38pm

Wendy Davis has conceded the governor’s race to Greg Abbott.

Leticia Van de Putte has conceded the lieutenant governor’s race to Dan Patrick.

Libby Willis has conceded the Texas Senate District 10 race to Konni Burton.

Gay military veteran Louie Minor lost by more than a 2-to-1 margin to Republican incumbent John Carter in Texas’ 31st Congressional District.

 

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