City of Dallas to mark LGBT Pride Month

Gerber.Pam

Pam Gerber

From Staff Reports

Pam Gerber, a member of District 1 Councilwoman Delia Jasso’s LGBT Task Force, announced Wednesday, May 30, that the city of Dallas will host an unprecedented series of events in June to mark LGBT Pride Month. The series is titled “Honor, Educate & Celebrate: Pride Wednesdays in June with the City of Dallas.”

According to a city flier provided by Gerber, the events begin Wednesday, June 6, with a “June Pride Kick-off” in the flag room at City Hall. Other events will be “City Services with the LGBT Community,” a conversation with representatives from city service departments, at the Oak Lawn Library on June 13; “LGBT in the Public Eye,” a conversation with out elected officials, at the United Black Ellument Cultural Center on June 20; and “Lift Every Voice,” a conversation about LGBT contributions to the city, at City Hall on June 27.

A reception in the flag room at City Hall last year marked the first time the city has hosted an event in honor of LGBT Pride Month.

In an email announcing this year’s events, Gerber recounts how she first asked City Council candidates at a forum last spring whether they would support the idea of raising the Pride flag at City Hall.

Gerber said all 15 candidates in attendance said yes, but “some wanted to implement more than just a gesture — they expressed interest in building an educational process so that Dallas residents would understand the ‘why’ behind Pride month, using education to break down the barriers of one of the last bastions of accepted bigotry in our country.”

“Well it’s now a year later, and thanks to the leadership of Councilmember Delia Jasso and her LGBT Task Force, the idea discussed during that election cycle has become a reality, and this June we will have a series of events to ‘Honor, Educate and Celebrate’ LGBT Pride month,” Gerber wrote.

“Thank you for all that you have done over the years to make this historic series of events possible. Clearly, we have a lot to be proud of in Dallas.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition June 1, 2012.

 

 

 

 

—  Kevin Thomas

Pet of the week • 06.01.12

Pet.Barney

Barney

Barney is a handsome black-and-tan retriever-border collie mix. He’s 1 year old and full grown at 40 pounds. Barney is super-friendly, with a happy disposition and winning personality. He seems to be good with other dogs and never meets a stranger.

Barney and many other dogs, puppies, cats and kittens are available for adoption from Dallas Animal Services, 1818 N. Westmoreland at I-30, just minutes west of Downtown Dallas. The shelter is open Monday-Saturday 11 a.m.-6:30 p.m. and Sundays 12 noon-5 p.m.  The regular adoption cost is $85 for dogs and $55 for cats, but discounts are offered for older animals and those in the shelter longer than 45 days, and to senior citizens and those who adopt two animals at the same time. In addition, throughout the month of June, all adoptions are just $30 on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.  All dogs are tested for heartworms, and cats have been tested for FeLV.  For more information, visit www.DallasAnimalServices.org, or call 214-671-0249.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition June 1, 2012.

—  Kevin Thomas

Midday at the oasis

Nick & Sam’s chef adds some culinary creativity to cool summer pool club

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I FEEL LIKE CHICKEN TONIGHT | The juicy, twice-fried glass chicken at Revive, accented by creamy ponzu, rear, has the ideal sweetness. (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)

ARNOLD WAYNE JONES  | Life+Style Editor

Dallas is the largest landlocked city in America not on a major waterway, and you never feel it more than during our summers. Sure, we avoid the devastating humidity of Houston, but we also miss out on the temperate predictability of SoCal — we don’t all have infinity pools in our backyards, so keeping cool depends on a rotation of weekend getaways, rednecky public wave pools, generous neighbors with an in-ground … or just indoor activities paired with tanning beds.

Revive seeks a middle ground in the quest for outdoorsy elegance, and it comes pretty close.

Located on the edge of Uptown, atop the swanky weekend-only nightclub Glass, it combines a South Beachy look (a dozen cabanas encircle the small wading pool) with dance music pumped by a DJ (groove and chill beats alternate with the rhythms of alcohol consumption) and a hint of Dallas fabulousness. But, as with Vegas, there’s a downside: The sweltering Texas heat. Within weeks of opening, owners had added misting fans to make the deck tolerable … and it’s not even the hub of summer here yet.

How to reconcile the desire to tan and show off those new trunks with the sensibility of staying inside? The appeal is in the food.

With a menu conceived by Nick & Sam’s Estrada, Revive elevates what could be mere pub grub to near gourmet levels. Sure, there are some routine, even uninspired, standards on the menu: edamame ($8), bland ceviche rolls ($10), the obligatory shrimp cocktail (at $5, though, not a bad deal). But the limited menu has some gems as well.

The secret ingredient that unifies and completes several dishes is the creamy ponzu sauce, served in a shot-glass to dress sandwiches (and good for dipping fries) and as a plate garnish on the fried wontons ($10). The wontons themselves are flavorful, crispy pockets of dough that are neither gummy nor delicate, nestling balls of seasoned pork inside.

A clever creation is the lobster “burger” (at $16, the priciest item on the menu). Pounded flat like a scallopini crab cake, it draws salty-smoky notes from the crisp strips of bacon while fresh arugula rounds it out — and, again, there’s the ponzu. It’s there, too, for the  half-pound burger (well-cooked and satisfying), accompanied by the so-called “damn good fries” — seasoned, crunchy curls of potato. You can get a mini version of the burger on the trio of sliders ($14), which also comes with pygmy iterations of pulled pork (juicy) and ahi tuna (slightly dry).

Other than the lobster, the stars of the menu are the Greek flatbread ($11) and the fried chicken ($14). The flatbreads are distinguished by a cracker-like crust: Firm enough to withstand the thick layer of pungent artichokes, black olives and Feta, but not so that it shatters on first bite. The chicken, fried deeply but not greasy, is sweetened by a honey glaze and dusting of diced pears. If they could call it finger-lickin’ without triggering a lawsuit, they should.

Of course, the drinks are probably as much a draw as the atmosphere and food are. Alcohol filled Popsicles don’t come in flavors so much as colors: purple, neon green, red and blue; some contain vodka, some rum, but all pack the kick of a mule deer. Strong drinks aren’t the problem; complex ones are. Unlike the citrusy ponzu, the drinks tend toward over-sweet; the mojito lacks the bite of lime and the banana-strawberry slushie so fruity, it could be Carmen Miranda at a party with Rock Hudson.

The cocojito, though, balances coconut and Cruzan rum for a refreshing island taste. It — along with the sausagefest of man-tans cruising the pool on a recent visit — also serves as a good reminder for what’s really important about summer: The need to work on my beach body before I go back.

Revive, 1899 McKinney Ave. Open Thursdays– Sundays. Dallas Gay Happy Hour with DJ Paul Kraft takes place at Revive on June 1, 5–8 p.m.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition June 1, 2012.

—  Kevin Thomas

Local Briefs • 06.01.12

J.C. Penney, Adair Lion to receive Ally Awards from Equality Texas

Equality Texas named its first Ally Award winners to recognize individuals, businesses and civic leaders that have advanced equality for all Texans during the past year.

Rapper-singer-producer Adair Lion and Miss West Texas Kaylee Anne Keith are the individuals of the year. Lion rapped that “being gay is okay” on a new CD to be released on June 25. Keith, Lion’s fiancee, was crowned on the platform of “bullying awareness and prevention.” She has brought her message of bullying awareness to schools across the state.

J.C. Penney was named business of the year. Despite the threat of a boycott after hiring Ellen DeGeneres as its spokesperson, CEO Ron Johnson said, “We stand squarely behind Ellen as our spokesperson and that’s a great thing, because she shares the same values that we do in our company.”

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden were named civic leaders of the year after they made history by publicly supporting marriage equality.

 

Transgender minister named to board of DFW Pride Movement

Lyon.Adair

Adair Lyon

Carmarion D. Anderson was named to the board of the DFW Pride Movement. She is the first transgender woman named to that board.

Anderson serves as the senior minister at the Living Faith Covenant Church in Dallas. She also serves as the lead minister to TransSaints Ministries of the Southern Region of The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries.

She works with Richland College to provide services to potential and current students seeking to further their education on a college level and volunteers with Resource Center Dallas, AIDS Arms, United Black Ellument and UT Southwestern on transgender issues.

“Carmarion has a positive history of advocacy for the Trans community locally and nationally. Her spiritual leadership and commitment to excellence are those qualities that set her apart from so many others and have earned her a seat on this board,” DFW Pride

Movement Board President Venton Jones said.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition June 1, 2012.

—  Kevin Thomas

Of mice and menopause

Kitchen Dog’s world premiere ‘Ruth’ puts people before politics; WTT’s ‘Boeing’ takes off

OK CALIF | In 1939, Ruth (Liza Marie Gonzalez) is widowed when her husband Malachi (Andrews C. Cope) dies on their wedding night.

ARNOLD WAYNE JONES  | Life+Style Editor

It’s remarkable how quickly the power shifts — and how desperate and spiteful people can be to hold onto it. A generation ago, Okies, fleeing the Dust Bowl of the Plains during the Great Depression, flooded into California for work on the thriving plantations in such numbers, the Golden State actually passed a law banning any fellow Americans from other states to immigrate if they were poor. Some Hispanics, meanwhile, lived well as wealthy landowners and powerful politicians.

But the anti-immigration sentiment has since flip-flopped. Now, Oklahoma has a law banning undocumented (read: Latino) residents and penalizing Oklahomans who help them. Thus, the descendants of those who were treated as inferiors unironically turned the tables, holding others in the same contempt they had been.

The parallel lives of these two generations, with an overlay of biblical revisionism, is at the heart of Vicki Caroline Cheatwood’s Ruth, receiving its world premiere as the centerpiece of Kitchen Dog Theater’s New Works Festival.  In Act 1, set in 1939 Cali, Ruth (Liza Marie Gonzalez) is a newlywed widowed on her wedding night, who joins forces with her mother-in-law Naomi (Gail Cronauer) in defiance of her rich but disapproving Hispanic family. Naomi, herself recently widowed, is being kicked out of her home, owned by Ruth’s parents, and compelled to return to her native Oklahoma.

In Act 2, set in OKC in 2007, Naomi (a different one) is homeless, living in a shelter with her daughter-in-law Ruth (again, a different one), an illegal who can’t get work because of the Oklahoma law. That rankles Boaz (Clay Yokum), a cannery owner who feels a Christian obligation to help his fellow man. How can people turn a blind eye to the suffering of others?

Ruth is a challenging but accessible play, where the humanity supersedes ideology, but that’s also where it’s most divisive. Cheatwood leaves it to the audience to fill in many of the connections, like the neural pathways in a child’s brain. In that way, its subtext is a stinging indictment of right-wing hatemongering (not just in immigration, but in women’s issues) that uses Christian charity against the very jingoists who employ religion as a cudgel; and yet, there’s little in the text that marks it as polemical. Ruth is a Yellow Dog Democrat play masquerading as a biblical parallel. (As in revisionist academic analyses of the Old Testament, the play hints at a less-than-motherly relationship between Naomi and Ruth — and, for that matter, that Boaz might be gay — but not much comes of it.)

Death permeates Ruth in the same way it does much of Steinbeck’s work; the similarities especially to The Grapes of Wrath, but also Of Mice and Men and Cannery Row are unmistakable. (The theme hits even closer to home knowing that Cheatwood’s husband died just weeks ago while the play was still being written.) And as written, Ruth is slightly better than the production (Cronauer in particular often rushes through her lines, and some staging needs sharpening). But Cronauer’s breakdown, and the relevance of its message, mark this play as a treasure.

 

……………………………

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FLYING HIGH | Andy Baldwin, right, turns the broad comedy of ‘Boeing-Boeing’ into a slap-happy hootenanny.

Less of a treasure, at least in my book, is Marc Camoletti’s 1960s sex farce Boeing- Boeing. It was written in 1965, and the current production at WaterTower Theatre (complete with most of a cast that performed it last year at Circle Theatre in Fort Worth) is set in 1968. You couldn’t set it much later; it was written at the height of the Swinging ‘60s, when a sexually active stewardesses (“I’m Rhonda, fly me”) and free love were timely and contemporary.

But everything else about the play has dated faster than campaign posters. Introduce a smartphone app, HIV or even the Equal Rights Amendment into the mix, and the jokes just don’t make sense. When a play is so fragile that its very modernness works against it, you have a problem.

Of course, most farces — from Moliere to Mel Brooks — rely both on the currency of their wit and the universality of physical comedy. If you can master the latter, perhaps people won’t linger on the former.

That’s pretty much true with WaterTower’s production, which benefits from the buttoned-down clowning of Andy Baldwin as Robert, a milquetoast functionary caught up in his friend Bernard’s (Ashley Wood) sexual juggling act. Bernard is engaged to three flight attendants — a German, an Italian and an American — all of whom come and go without knowledge of the other, meaning Bernard gets laid more than shag carpeting at a remnants sale. Of course, that situation implodes when all the ladies show up at the same time.

Door-slamming comedies like this depend on timing (good here) but also the willing suspension of disbelief that I for one can never give myself over to entirely: Why does it take 10 minutes for a woman to grab her purse out of the other room? Why does no one hear the shouting from one room away? Why do the men always call each other “old chap”? (That’s an especially frustrating one.) And Boeing air-traffics in stereotypes to such a degree, we’d never accept them in another context (the German, Gretchen, eats only German food? The American has a Southern accent and likes molasses on everything? Yuk.)

But if you can put these things out of your mind — as well as several accents that come and go faster than Travolta accusers — Boeing is a lot of fun. Baldwin’s weak-chinned antics can squeeze laughs out of a corpse, especially when he’s pretending to be gay; Wood and Lulu Ward (as a saucy French maid — stereotype!) also ham it up with infectious delight. I may not be a convert to Camoletti’s arch style of broad comedy, but I’m a Baldwin believer.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition June 1, 2012.

—  Kevin Thomas

QUEER CLIP: ‘HYSTERIA’


Back in the Golden Age of Hollywood, there were biopics about Industrial Revolution heroes like Edison and medical pioneers like Pasteur and Ehrlich, but  the old studios missed the story about the confluence of medicine and technology: The invention of the vibrator to treat “hysteria” (a word derived from the Greek for “uterus”), a catchall diagnosis in the sexually repressive Victorian Era for women who were crabby from lack of a good pounding. (Think of it as the 19th century’s version of PMS.)

In the new comedy of mores Hysteria, young, idealist physician Mortimer Granville (Hugh Dancy, finally showing a nimble openness on screen) is recruited by an overworked “ladies’ doctor” (Jonathan Pryce) to — and they never say this — masturbate his patients into passivity. This doesn’t sit well with the older doctor’s liberated elder daughter (Maggie Gyllenhaal), though it seems fine to his younger phrenology-educated girl (Felicity Jones), who hopes to marry Mortimer. You know that’s not how things are going to turn out.

Remarkably, a comedy about the creation of the electric dildo isn’t an original idea; Sarah Ruhl’s play In the Next Room (recently staged by Kitchen Dog Theater) traipsed the same ground, with a more farcical mentality. But both work as pieces of feminism wrapped up in a corset: Women need to control their own bodies. (I imagine Rick Santorum passing out within watching the first 10 minutes of this movie; that’s nice.)

The tone of Hysteria, though, is slightly at odds with its message; it’s a jaunty romance at heart. This makes it feel less “serious” than, say, how James Ivory or David Lean might have handled the same material. But with Dancy, Gyllenhaal’s fresh-scrubbed suffragette and especially the languorously witty Ruper- Everett as Mortimer’s gay best friend (and the actual inventor of the “personal massager”) in top form … well, best to just lay back and enjoy the inevitable.

— A.W.J.

Two and a half stars. Now playing at the Angelika Film Center Mockingbird Station.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition June 1, 2012.

—  Kevin Thomas

Q CINEMA: ‘KISS ME’

A woman who thinks she’s straight falls in love with an out lesbian and has a decision to make. Sound familiar? I’ve seen more lesbian movies with this plot than all other gay-themed movies combined. But Rarely has the confused woman been as unsympathetic as Mia in Kiss Me, playing at Q Cinema in Fort Worth. Her younger brother Oskar, who’s too pretty to be straight, says, “Mia doesn’t like not getting what Mia wants.” I say, “Mia could give me bitch lessons!”

Visiting her divorced father and his new fiancée, Hurricane Mia manages to disrupt six lives, including her own, in just a couple of days. She brings along her own fiancé, Tim, with whom she’s lived for seven years, but before you can say “Mia Mia Mia” in your best Brady Bunch voice, Mia’s sharing a long, passionate kiss with Frida, her stepsister-to-be.

Director/co-writer Alexandra Therese-Keining includes lots of lingering scenes of the two 30-ish women together, looking into each other’s eyes or lying in post-coital bliss; plus long arguments about Mia’s hesitation to give up her marriage plans, while Frida refuses to be her bit on the side. That’s nice for the voyeurs, but does little by way of interesting plot.

Still, Kiss Me is beautifully photographed and well-acted all around. Even the writing isn’t bad, just overly familiar. But Mia’s selfishness may be too much for even the hardest-core romantic, and things fall apart in the last five minutes with a confusing climax and a finale that gives viewers the ending they want without
actually resolving any issues.

— Steve Warren

Plays June 3 at 4 p.m. at the Rose Marine Theater, Fort Worth.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition June 1, 2012.

—  Kevin Thomas

It’s good to be an evil queen

Snow who? Charlize Theron chews hearts and scenery in the feminist epic ‘Snow White and the Huntsman’

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THE QUEEN IN HER LABYRINTH | Charlize Theron plays an image-obsessed witch with a great wardrobe in the grim Grimm retelling of the Snow White fable.

ARNOLD WAYNE JONES  | Life+Style Editor

Oh, the tragedy of being Kristen Stewart. She’s upstaged by sparkly undead in the Twilight movies, sparklier starlets on TMZ and now the sparkliest one of all, an evil queen with supernatural powers in Snow White and the Huntsman. No wonder she hasn’t smiled in five years — she’s always surrounded by superior beings. Well, and Tara Reid.

That might make Stewart the perfect actress to play the title heroine in this grim adaptation of the Grimm tale, a character so passive in its original conception, she’s most famous for being saved by men obsessed with her beauty.

Only here, that comes with a twist. What sets this Snow job apart is how the filmmakers have feminized the action and the metaphors with a modern sensibility; the evil queen Ravenna (Charlize Theron) is not merely vain, but as body-obsessed as a Cosmo reader, and probably a man-hating lesbian. Snow (Stewart) is an English-speaking Joan of Arc, rallying her troops for righteousness.

There are several missteps in this slightly overlong adventure, an uneasy amalgam of Harry Potter, Twilight (the queens powers are positively vampiric), Robin Hood and Lord of the Rings, but none are unsurmountable. And like the latter two films, the first-time director, Rupert Sanders, treats the material with the epic solemnity of fact-based myths like Gladiator: We are meant to be invested in the Christian mythos (she dies, comes back to life and brings peace to the realm by defeating a practitioner of dark arts).

The plot updates are nothing new; Snow White: A Tale of Terror, an HBO movie from 15 years ago, similarly turned the famous dwarfs from singing bachelors to filthy miners and imbued a Medieval verisimilitude on the action. For the most part, Sanders does the same (at least until Snow reached the Wonkafied fairyland), as the woodland creatures are magical without being cutesy (they never coo or strand ribbons in her hair). And the script has reversed the roles of the Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) and the de facto Prince Charming.

Stewart, that buck-toothed sourpuss who makes watching the Twilight films a chore, does credible work here, if you can get beyond the fact she’s not really a natural bombshell who has become the fairest of them all. But that might tie in to the feminist slant: Her beauty is inside. Meh.

Ravenna is not a far cry from Theron’s role as Aileen Wuornos in Monster; she plays the queen as a tortured serial killer deeply struck by madness only here, the monstrousness reaches megalomanical levels. How much you enjoy her performance may depend on your tolerance for watching a creditable actress of talent and beauty do things like eat the hearts out of dead birds while shrieking uncontrollably at everyone around her. (It’s what I imagine working for Donald Trump is like.) But they’ve clearly added a layer by making her conversations with her mirror marks of true insanity.

Even for a fantasy, there are a few too many hard-to-believe moments, including a middle-aged albino beating the shit out of Thor … er, the Huntsman, in a one-on-one fight, and Snow being, apparently, a troll whisperer who can calm marauding giants with but a look. And why did the queen keep Snow around all these years anyway?

The producers are clearly trying to fill the void left by the end of Harry Potter with a villain as unrepentant as Voldemort. There’s even a scene where Ravenna writhes on the floor like a basilisk (and the CGI fairies are as pale, bony and sexless as Daniel Radcliffe).

But the visual effects are seamlessly integrated into the storytelling. Normal-sized actors (Ian McShane, Bob Hoskins, Toby Jones) are dwarfized better than Hobbits, and the creatures (especially that troll) effectively rendered. And you even get to see Hemsworth with his shirt off in one scene. That’s a special effect worth seeing over and over.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition June 1, 2012.

—  Kevin Thomas

Dynamic duo

Partners and rugby teammates  Jim Ming and Steve Eames work it on and off the pitch

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THE DIABLOS MADE THEM DO IT | Partners Jim Ming, left, and Steve Eames play rough ... as members of the Dallas Diablos Rugby team, that is. (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)

With the Bingham Cup tourney in Manchester, England, this weekend, we decided to ask about the workout habits of rugby players. In the case of Dallas Diablos Jim Ming and Steve Eames, a boyfriend makes for a perfect rugby teammate. While Eames was initially reluctant to share his sport with Ming, they now find their on-field romance to be an added benefit, complete with synch’d training schedules, carpooling convenience and even a little intimidation factor when facing the competition. After all, it’s one thing to tackle a fella’s teammate … but just try to take out his honey!
— Jef Tingley

Names and ages:  Jim Ming, 41; Steve Eames, 43.

Occupations:  Ming: Human resources in the pharmaceutical industry; Eames: Instructional designer.

Length of relationship:  Three years and counting.

Sports & Activities:  Dallas Diablos Rugby Football Club; weight training.

Exercise regimen:  Both: During rugby season, we run two miles, three days per week with weight training as time and health allows. Off rugby season, it’s weights with emphasis on legs and core, assorted cardio (mostly running) and swimming. Rest and recovery is important, too.

What’s the best thing about being on a team with your partner?  Eames: Originally I didn’t want Jim to join the team. I have been playing for eight years, and when we met, it was “my thing.” I discovered that it is really nice having your partner go through everything that a sport involves with you. It is also nice to have someone do half the driving to practice and games.
Ming: We actually play right next to each other on the pitch, so it can be fun to help each other compete against the other side.

Upcoming fitness goals:  Ming: I’m on the cusp of breaking a nine-minute mile, which is fast for a big guy like me.
Eames: To finally be a perfect size 6! Just kidding. I’m trying to get down to a goal weight, and I am finding that the older you get, the harder it is to get there. I’m getting there, but slowly.

Most memorable athletic accomplishment:  Ming: It would have to be running in my first 5K, which was the LiveStrong 5K in Austin in 2009. My sister and I both ran in memory of our father, who we lost to cancer not long before. Steve was right by my side, as were several other Diablos. Before I started rugby and training for the 5K, I could hardly run half a mile. Running for our dad was a huge motivator for me, and completing the 5K was incredibly emotional. And, I finished ahead of Steve …
Eames: I’m getting to compete in my fifth Bingham Cup this year. That is the gay World Cup of rugby, which is played every other year between the predominately gay rugby teams from around the world in honor of Mark Bingham, one of the heroes of United Flight 93.

Least favorite exercise or piece of gym equipment?  Ming: That would have to be anything to do with basketball. I’m tall so people always assume I love to play it, and I just don’t. I don’t even like watching it.

Ways you stay fit or workout together? Ming: Although running is necessary, neither of us particularly likes to run. So we normally run together, which keeps us accountable and allows some friendly competition. I think I enjoy weights more than Steve does, so many times we’ll split off and I’ll do that part myself.

How do you motivate yourself to workout?  Eames: I don’t always, but being part of a team is the best motivator. If you can’t do it for yourself, do it for your teammates.

Words of advice for people trying to work fitness into their life?  Eames: Don’t wait to do it, just do it. Get off the couch and start moving. Don’t wait for New Year’s, or your birthday, or summer. If you want to play a sport, [cough] rugby! [cough], don’t try get in shape on your own. Start playing the sport and it will get you in shape. Every sport has different needs, so let it mold you.

How does your partner motivate you to workout?  Ming: Steve works hard on fitness, and I admire that about him. It’s hard for me to be lazy when he’s huffing and puffing at the gym.
Eames: I have to lift him in the air in rugby, so making sure he is safe is of primary importance.

Favorite spot in North Texas to exercise outdoors?  Ming: We live in Grapevine and the trails along the lake there are fantastic.

Favorite healthy/low-cal snack or meal?  Ming: I’ve been trying to avoid processed foods. We’re growing our own tomatoes, cilantro and basil this year. In the warmer months, I enjoy salads full of avocado, grilled chicken, tomatoes with a nice balsamic dressing. With a side of chilled tomato soup or gazpacho, that’s a great summer meal.

If you could become an Olympian in any sport, what would it be and why?  Ming: I’ve always loved the Winter Olympics. I’d have to pick bobsled or luge as my dream sports. Bobsled especially involves great teamwork, and I love the speed aspect with the element of danger involved.

Which celebrity physique would you like to have, and whyEames: Joe Manganiello from True Blood. Why? Have you seen him? Because I would look like a comic book superhero. I’ve always been a big comic geek. Unfortunately, I have nowhere near the discipline that would require.

Favorite song or play list for workout?  Eames: For cardio, “All Day” by Girl Talk, and for weights, anything from Glee.

Very gay.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition June 1, 2012.

—  Kevin Thomas

Swat team

How I learned to love the paddle

CPAJ

SPANK YOU | Hardy Haberman gets some practice in on the author before putting his skills on display at Butt Buster on Saturday at the Dallas Eagle. (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)

RICH LOPEZ  | Staff Writer

Pain isn’t something I endure well — my threshold for it is quite low. Yes, I’m a pussy, but I’m cool with it. I opt not to engage in voluntarily painful experiences beyond weekly editorial meetings or family functions. But the power of the paddle was calling my name. Or perhaps it was yelling it.

This weekend, local activist and leatherman Hardy Haberman will lend his paddling skills to the fundraiser Butt Buster at the Dallas Eagle. The event will raise money for the International Leather Sir Bootblack organization and the Women’s History Project. And yet, no women will be harmed in the making of this fundraiser.

The idea piqued my interest, if only to figure out why someone would put himself on display to get his ass chapped publicly. What is the appeal?

Does it hold more pleasure for the spanker than the spankee? (As part of the event, Olivier Pratt will generously be offering up his cheeks for the greater good.)

Google “bdsm + paddling” and it takes you nowhere and everywhere. The result count is high but bor-r-r-ring. You’d think as creative as fetishists can be in their sex lives, their websites would match. Nope. I wanted pictures to go with all that text. So instead, Haberman showed me up close how to get started on my paddling adventures.

“I’d start with your hand so you can gauge what you’re doing,” he advises.

“And don’t use a cane. Those are painful. I like a leather paddle because it gives a little, but a ping pong paddle works just fine.”

The thought of a cane never entered my headspace. Which begs the question: How does an uninitiated get into that mental state? What is the thrill of getting your butt busted?

“For some, it’s a humiliation thing that goes back to childhood punishment,” Harberman explains. “Others see it as erotic. It delivers an intense sensation. For me, I include the aspect of them over my knee because that makes it erotic and intimate.”

I think I just got veklempt. Haberman describes how pain and pleasure originate from the same part of the brain. No wonder my third-grade principal Mr. Strobel had that look on his face as I laughed during my first encounter with corporal punishment.

Pratt is the mastermind (and the behind) behind the event who clearly has butt cheek prowess. But his heart is in the preservation of leather history, particularly women’s. I had no idea there was the Leather Archives and Museum located in Chicago, but males tend to dominate the historic timeline. The Women’s History Project wants to change that.

“I put it together in conjunction with Women’s International Leather Fest to raise money for the Project at the museum as well as for the International Leather SIR/boy travel fund,” Pratt says. “Both nonprofits work with in the leather community to educate and preserver our culture and lifestyle.”

Being that a good swat requires proper technique, I wondered if there was any working out to be involved for both ends of the paddle. It would really chap my hide if I had to do squats to beef up the butt or arm curls for proper strength behind the swing. A man after my own heart, he nods no. But he does put this out there.

“Well, it is nice if the sub is lighter so they don’t ruin yer legs,” he laughs.

Part of me is worried that if I were to be on the receiving end of a paddle, I’d pretty much cry. Like I said, low threshold. Haberman counseled me on safe words and sexual freedom, but really, I’m just worried if it’s gonna leave a mark.

“There’s a good ouch and a bad ouch. My real thrill is the power exchange and bringing that energy into something,” he says. “The thing that works for the spankee is the fear. The adrenaline gets going, it puts you on edge. You build up to it. Screaming is good.

Some people cry and they mean to, others even laugh.”

That I can relate to. But wait, how did I end up on the receiving end?

“You didn’t think you were gonna spank me, did you?” he asks.

Ummm, no? Sir?

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition June 1, 2012.

—  Kevin Thomas