DRAG you

Comedian/drag queen P.T. may look like Wendy Williams, but his message to queer youth is no gimmick

Drag-You
HOW YOU DOIN’? | P.T.’s spot-on impersonation of talk show host Wendy Williams got producers’ attention and could be a step toward the comedian’s dreams.

 

RICH LOPEZ  | Staff Writer
lopez@dallasvoice.com

Dallas drag queen P.T. has his sights set on one thing: The Wendy Williams Show. He has a good reason: His spot-on take on the talk show celeb was so successful, Williams’ own TV show took notice, asking him to produce a video of his work as her doing celebrity news. Now, he’s vying to be the first female impersonator on her show.

“That is my goal,” he says. “She’s had gay people on her show, but no drag.

I would love to be the first to sit with her for ‘Hot Topics.’”

P.T. just turned 50, but that doesn’t hold him back from big ambitions.

He’s worked the talk show circuit before, appearing on Maury Povich. His video made it to Williams’ producers, though was not selected. Still, he hopes to use this exposure as a springboard to get his message out.

“I’d love to do radio one day and report celebrity news,” he says. “I could still do it here in Dallas, but if the money and time are right, I’d move as well. I’d love to, even.”

People can see P.T. in action Thursday and Sunday nights at Havana. He’s been the headlining entertainment there for seven years with his sass intact. He threatens to read a queen if they get out of line during his show, but mostly, his act is sort of the Oprah of drag: When people walk out that door, he wants them to feel better inside and leave a bit more educated.

“My job is not to put someone down, but to make them feel good,” he says.

“I use my comedy for that as well as to encourage people to do unto others. I believe in that. And I will try to teach where I can. Every chance I get. So many younger folks just don’t know what gay Pride is about.”

If P.T. has one thing to say, it’s to know your history. And when it comes to Pride, he finds that much is getting lost as younger generations develop into the community. He won’t separate gay Pride from black Pride — which kicks off this weekend in Dallas — because to him it’s all the same: A struggle to be better.

“To see where we come from is to see how our rights developed,” he says.

“Kids don’t know where this Pride came from. Just because we have parties and parades, there’s a reason why I can be a drag queen or why [same-sex couples] can hold hands in public. There’s something to be grateful for.”

He knows Pride will always have the parties to go with it, but the spectacle of celebration, in his eyes, can’t overshadow the mere reason for Pride.

There’s history there, and P.T. wants to talk about it.

“I think it’s sad that some don’t know what Stonewall is,” he bemoans.

“When I went to New York, the first place I wanted to go was the Stonewall Inn — I needed to see that for myself. You only get what you fight for and you only fight for what you know about. We’re all in it for the same thing and we know it’s not gonna come to us easily.”

P.T. expounds on the history of black Pride in Dallas, crediting Ray Dyer as starting the celebration at the old club The Metro, now Club Elm and Pearl Street. This is also where the then-Lady P.T. started his work in Dallas, coming from Austin.

Initially, The Metro wasn’t a hotspot for drag, so he performed more as a host and entertainer, starting in 1994. That changed as Dyer saw the importance of it as well as the revenue it could bring. Lady P.T. was back on track, but it wasn’t until 2001 that he officially incorporated stand-up into his act — in and out of drag. He put in time at the Improv to hone his new skill, but it was also a sort of therapy.

“I had a tragic incident that made me look at life different,” he admits.

He doesn’t go into details over what changed his life so much. But that incident redefined his outlook on life. For P.T., he knows tomorrow doesn’t show up for everyone.

“If I did not have that wake up call, I wouldn’t be reaching for myself,” he says. “I see some gray hairs but life doesn’t feel different. This is the only time I get to do what I wanna do.”

He’s living proof of that. Fifty is a milestone birthday, but P.T. proves that no age is too old to still aim high. Only now, he has the wisdom to be patient.

“It took me about four years trying to get Wendy’s attention and she finally acknowledged me,” he says. “That told me not to give up.  Everybody deserves a chance.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 30, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Starvoice • 05.20.11

By Jack Fertig

CELEBRITY BIRTHDAY

Pam Grier turns 62 on Thursday. The iconic actress helped defined the blaxploitation film movement of the ’70s with Coffy and Sheba, Baby. She resurfaced in Quentin Tarantino’s Jackie Brown which she followed up with her role as the fun-loving Kit Porter in the lesbian drama The L Grier1Word. She came to Dallas last year to promote her bio Foxy: My Life in Three Acts.

…………………….

THIS WEEK

Pluto and Eris, both in hard aspect to the sun, bring out everyone’s competitive streak, crank up the stakes and complicate the struggle. Communication is the key, which means you have to listen very carefully.

…………………….

GEMINI May 21-Jun 20
You’re sexy as hell. So what? You really need to buckle down to work and think hard about the future. You may not like what your friends are telling you, but they have good advice. Pay attention.

CANCER Jun 21-Jul 22
Your imagination is a trap sucking you away from much needed work, but it’s also a powerhouse to fuel your ambitions. Stay focused. Your partner is there when you need attitude adjusting.

LEO Jul 23-Aug 22
Get ready to lose an argument. Getting rid of something you’re sure of can be the best thing that could happen. Deluxe bonus: Being an open-minded good sport will be mighty sexy.

VIRGO Aug 23-Sep 22
Achieving your goals takes some shrewd maneuvering. Be careful whom you trust. Your mate has helpful insights, even if they are sneaky. Better ideas come while away from work.

LIBRA Sep 23-Oct 22
Explore new ideas to your health regimen. Competitive sports help keep you healthy. Competing with yourself counts. Keep it cheap. A library book can be better than a gym membership.

SCORPIO Oct 23-Nov 21
Verbal aggression helps you get ahead. A little creative writing —journaling, imagined dialogue or a short story — can help you find the words you need.

SAGITTARIUS Nov 22-Dec 20
If you’re looking for true love, get involved in an arts program and let go of expectations. Keeping a love you have will require abandoning expectations and working some of your creativity.

CAPRICORN Dec 21-Jan 19
You come off way too strong in a turf war. The resulting argument exposes old resentments but starts a healing process. Well, it could, but that won’t be easy.

AQUARIUS Jan 20-Feb 18
Struggle between your deepest desires and economic necessity feels brutal. A light, playful conversation with your partner  can help you find a way to afford your dreams, or find reconciliation.

PISCES Feb 19-Mar 19
A siege mentality at home will not solve any problems, and instead make them worse. Same old tactics get same old results. Keep your mind on long-range goals and entertain new ideas.

ARIES Mar 20-Apr 19
Clear the air and get something off your chest, but how you do that can make motivations look nasty and bring similar results. Confide in your partner, or look for guidance from your boss.

TAURUS Apr 20-May 20
Give yourself room to vent. Everyone’s feeling the pinch. Economic problems are everywhere, but holding the pressure in and stewing silently only undermines your ability to cope.

Jack Fertig can be reached at 415-864-8302 or Starjack.com

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition May 20, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Hetero missteps = homo wedding rings, and other theories conducive to Maggie’s ambitions

Yes, in the following nugget, Maggie Gallagher is quite undeniably suggesting that same-sex marriages could only take root in a world where human beings experience a “growing disconnect between sex, love, babies, mothers, fathers and marriage”:

Of course marriage is under deep challenge today from many sources, most of them heterosexual. Gay marriage would not be plausible except for the growing disconnect between sex, love, babies, mothers, fathers and marriage. In America, 40% of births are outside wedlock and perhaps 40% of first marriages end in divorce. For me, far from being a reason for us to accept gay unions as marriages, this emergency is the reason the foundational questions about the meaning and purpose of marriage raised by same-sex marriage are so important.” -Maggie Gallagher

For this and many other reasons why she is losing the debate by a very wide margin, go see the ongoing Maggie Gallagher vs. Evan Wolfson debate taking place on The Economist‘s website:

Economist Debates: Single-sex marriage

And don’t forget to vote!

***

*Frankly, we wouldn’t mind hearing the moderator ask Maggie about some of her less forthcoming views:

-8/9/10 on Janet Parshall’s radio program: Said that she sees homosexuality as “unfortunate”, and said that gays can “always control [their] behavior”

-6/30/2008 on “Catholic Answers Live”: Said that according to the Catholic faith, both gays and their supporters are committing “several kinds of sins.”

-5/14/2001, Maggie uses Dr. Robert Spitzer’s study in a way that goes against his own wishes and findings, calls homosexuality a “sexual dysfunction”:I believe there is rather powerful evidence that human beings are a two-sex species, designed for sexual rather than asexual reproduction. If this is true, then the absence of desire for the opposite sex represents, at a minimum, a sexual dysfunction much as impotence or infertility. Human beings seeking help in overcoming sexual dysfunctions deserve our respect and support (and may I mention, President Bush, more research dollars?).” [Source]

-3/20/2000, Maggie defends Dr. Laura:In a simple biological framework abstracted from all religion and morality, homosexuality is like infertility. It is a sexual disability preventing certain individuals from participating in the normal reproductive patterns of the human species.” [Source]

-2/2/2010: Said she initially found gay marriage to be one of a set of issues “so dumb you don’t have to talk about them.” [speech at Franciscan Univ]

-She can often be heard using language that discredits gay love, like the way she dismissively talks about “two dudes” wanting to get hitched or the way she laughs when gays are compared to domesticated birds.




Good As You

—  admin

Dutton wins Bank of America ‘local hero’ award

Samaritan House head honored for work in housing people with AIDS, other chronic illnesses

DAVID TAFFET  |  Staff Writer taffet@dallasvoice.com

Steven Dutton, president and CEO of Samaritan House in Fort Worth, has been named a Bank of America local hero. The award is given to five people in each of 45 cities across the country.

Winners were chosen by a committee made of local leadership from Bank of America, previous grant recipients and other civic leaders, according to Mike Pavell, Fort Worth market president of the bank.

Samaritan House provides affordable, quality housing to low-income individuals and families including those affected by HIV.

“We were impressed with Steve not only because of his tireless pursuit to develop housing for persons who are homeless, ex-offenders, and those with chronic illness and disabilities,” said Pavell, “but because he speaks with residents of his program all day, showing them respect and care and enables them to become the strongest voice in their own recovery.”

Since joining the agency in 1996, the focus has shifted from hospice care to long-term support and even transitional housing. Soon after joining Samaritan House, the agency moved from the Northside into a 32-bed former nursing home southeast of downtown.

Dutton oversaw the new facility grow to 60 beds.

When the Villages at Samaritan House opened in 2006 with 66 apartments, they began serving 375 people, many affected with HIV.

In addition to providing housing, they help with finding employment opportunities for residents. Through a partnership with Z’s Café inside the Fort Worth Community Arts Center, 15 residents are employed.

“Z Café is going great,” Dutton said.

He called that project one of Samaritan House’s greatest successes because it has led to other restaurants in the area who are looking for new employees to call.

“One of our ambitions is to multiply the number of job opportunities,” he said.

He said it was a joy to see people who haven’t had a job in years after their first day at work.

“But it’s not just restaurants,” he said. “Others are working in maintenance and construction.”

The Local Heroes award comes with a $5,000 grant that Dutton directed to Samaritan House. He earmarked the money to an HIV prevention campaign.

“Every week, the number of persons contacting us increases,” he said. “Most new residents are under the age of 24.”

As part of that campaign, he has scheduled a screening of the film, And the Band Played On Sunday, Nov. 7 with the Lone Star Film Society. Bob Ray Sanders will introduce the movie. He said that with the average age of his new residents so young, most had never seen the HBO film.

Dennis Bishop, Lone Star Film Society director, was vice president of production at HBO when they made the film. He will be on hand at the screening to answer questions and talk about how difficult it was to bring this controversial movie to TV.

Dutton noted that they will hold one of their biggest fundraisers next week. On Wednesday, Nov. 10, they will present their Out of the Box fundraiser.

The luncheon will be held at the Fort Worth Sheraton and there is no cost to attend.

While the luncheon is free, reservations are required so they can plan the number of lunches to provide.

Reservations can be made by phone.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 5, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens