Carnival backtracks, allow drag on ‘Drag Stars at Sea’ cruise

Last week, it was Carnival Cruise Lines that seemed adrift.

They had booked a (non-exclusive) tour called Drag Stars at Sea on one of their ships, featuring queens from RuPaul’s Drag Race. Bookings began months ago. Everything seemed fine.

Then a week before they were set to weigh anchor, Carnival issued a letter to attendees (pictured), explaining that drag would only be allowed by performers onstage — no passengers would be allowed to dress in drag in any public areas.

The letter caused a furor. It almost made no sense anyway, since it begs the question: “What is drag?” Could a female passenger wear a tux? Could a man wear a floral bikini on the Lido deck? How flamboyant does a boa have to be before it crossed the line from “bachelor party” to “female impersonation”? Folks were outraged — even those who didn’t plan to wear drag.

In case you missed it, Carnival has since rescinded the ruling, allowing drag. More than that, they apologized and have even agreed to give no-hassle refunds to anyone who wants to back out now as a result of the prior policy.

Sounds like they, like their gay passengers, are finally on board.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Houston Aeros’ Justin Fontaine suspended for anti-gay tweet

Justin Fontaine

Houston’s American Hockey League team, the Aeros, has suspended player Justin Fontaine for two games after a homophobic tweet from the right winger.

The suspension was handed down from the Aeros’ parent NHL team the Minnesota Wild, who issued a press statement apologizing for Fontaine’s “inappropriate” comment.

Fontaine has since removed the offending tweet and tweeted an apology, saying “Twitter rookie and it came out totally wrong. It was a roommate battle, nothing more.” Missing from Fontaine’s apology was any recognition that it is cruel to use a term for queer people to deride something.

The issue is not that Fontaine used a naughty word, or that he did it in a public venue. The issue is that Fontaine seems to think that words meaning LGBT people are synonyms for “a thing I don’t like.” It’s hard to imagine that that equation does not stem from a dislike for LGBT people.

—  admin

Disc men

Matt Zarley tackles relationships while Adam Tyler delivers smart pop on new releases

RICH LOPEZ  | Staff Writer
lopez@dallasvoice.com

……………………..

2.5 out of 5 stars
CHANGE BEGINS WITH ME
Matt Zarley
Independent

Matt Zarley may be all scruff and muscle, but he has a sweet delicacy to his voice that’s properly displayed on his newest album, Change Begins With Me. He’s the product of Broadway, but it would seem his sights are on the music charts.

Back in May, Zarley previewed his album with “WTF,” a whimsical dance track that pitted an earnestly lovestruck singer against the man who done him wrong. The song is borderline silly, if fun, though the accompanying video was painful to watch.

For the most part, the tone of Change is adult contemporary but by a refreshingly new, gay (and far hunkier) version of, say, Michael Bolton or Phil Collins. Well-polished songs beautifully showcase Zarley’s vocal talents, on songs like “Perfect“ and “Forgive Me (For Not Forgiving You)” which evidence a tenderness that makes it almost hard not to swoon along.

Dance tracks, though, don’t do him justice nor add much to the album. His sexy talk in “Trust Me” is unconvincing. As the fifth song, Change, marks a small decline in making a bigger impression. The previous ballads, and even the album opener “WTF,” are engaging enough, but from “Trust” on, the songs almost disappear.

‘CHANGE’ IS GONNA COME | Matt Zarley is a whole lotta hunk, but surprises with an insightful album about his past relationships.

“Apology” and “I’ll Always Remember” display sweet emotion, but with ordinary skill. This is a shame; the album is well paced before it downshifts at this point. The fault though, is in the music. Lyrics resonate strongly and are probably my new go-to when I can’t find the words to appease an angry or hurt boyfriend.

The title track suffers from cheese factor, but it is less a self-help tune than an admission of bad love-life decisions. Zarley holds himself accountable for mistakes he made as a gay man — I’m not sure I’ve heard that message recorded before.  Sure, “Change” swells into a clichéd climactic chorus, but it’s a fascinating juxtaposition from the lead song.

I’m not a big fan of remixes, but the two bonus tracks of “WTF” surpass the original. The beats are a helluva lot of fun to groove to. Instead of reworking the song into an unrecognizable version, the remixes amp up the rhythm and scale back on some of the gimmickry of the original.

With bumps along the way, Zarley provides a collection of songs that start him in a bad situation and result in a brighter tomorrow … so much so that it may beg for an immediate second listen with some songs making more sense.
………………………

3.5 out of 5 stars
SHATTERED ICE

Adam Tyler
Tiger Bay Records

Adam Tyler describes himself as a pop music geek and it shows on his debut release Shattered Ice. This is a good thing. He sidesteps a lot of easy traps to deliver 11 tracks of wow.
On first impression, Ice opens as any other dance album in the “dime a dozen” category, but quickly, the opening track, “Like a Drug,” moves into a techno-rock hybrid, hitting many correct notes. Tyler gives an onslaught of an opener that is held up by subsequent tracks.

The album leans more into electronica elements, but Tyler treats them with care, layering bass-lines and blippy flourishes into solid sounds. “Music Freak” could have easily been a pedestrian effort, but he saves it by not adding extraneous effects. Tyler has a gift for letting the song build itself rather than throwing everything against the wall to see what will stick.

Adam Tyler studies pop music enough to make some of his own with his debut album ‘Shattered Ice.’ With strong confidence, Tyler makes a stellar impression.

Tyler doesn’t have the vocal strength of Zarley, but he belts within reason and recalls some of the quality of Paul Lekakis. He has enough depth to go slower on the opening of “I Won’t Let You Go,” while offering a healthy set of lungs on the title track. There isn’t a lot of surprise in his vocal spectrum. This provides a particular comfort and even consistency, as his music should keep listeners on their toes.

The blemishes on this album are minimal and perhaps expected from a debut. “Forgive Me” is weak with middle school lyrics. “Touch” is a misguided track that begins with a keyboard track that sounds like a child trying to play ABBA’s “Lay All Your Love On Me.” Here, he makes the mistake of adding a little too much flair, and to a slower beat, it misses the bullseye.

The album recovers immediately with strong tracks like “Taking Back My Love” and “Let Me Breathe.”

Shattered Ice finishes with minimal versions of previous tracks that calm the robust energy down. “I Won’t Let You Go” on piano is a gorgeous ballad and “Forgive Me” fares far better as an acoustic tune than it did before in its electro incarnation. These add to Tyler’s versatility.

For a debut, Tyler seems to have set a goal and met it, which would explain the amount  of confidence in Ice. His songs don’t play as mere musical byproducts in search of superstardom. He has a true genuine sound that pulls you in and when it lets go, you almost wish it didn’t.
Thank goodness for the repeat button.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 26, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Oklahoma Rep. Sally Kern gives tearful apology, votes to reprimand herself for racist comment

Rep. Sally Kern

SEAN MURPHY | Associated Press

OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma House voted Monday to reprimand a state lawmaker who denigrated blacks and women during a debate on an affirmative action bill last week.

Rep. Sally Kern, R-Oklahoma City, delivered a tearful apology on the House floor, then voted for her own reprimand as it passed on a 76-16 vote.

“Last Wednesday night while debating a bill, I said some words that were not well thought out and that offended many African Americans and many women,” said Kern, who fought back tears and quoted several Bible passages during her apology. “That was not my intent, but sadly it happened, and I take full responsibility for it and I’m truly sorry.

“While my words were not expressed well and implied things I did not mean, they were not spoken with any contempt or malice.”

Kern last week questioned whether there were disproportionately high numbers of blacks in state prisons because “they didn’t want to work hard in school.” She also said women don’t work as hard as men because they “tend to think a little bit more about their families.”

As some legislators groaned during her debate remarks, Kern added: “Women like to be willing to have a moderate work life with plenty of time for spouse and children and other things like that. That’s all I meant.”

A retired teacher serving her fourth two-year term in the House, Kern was criticized in 2008 after saying at a political forum that gay people posed a greater threat to the U.S. than terrorists. In 2009, she campaigned for a proclamation criticizing the government for drifting from traditional Christian values.

The president of the Oklahoma chapter for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the chairman of the Oklahoma Democratic Party both have called for Kern’s resignation. Her speech didn’t change their minds.

“I applaud her colleagues for stepping forward and doing the right thing,” said Oklahoma’s NAACP President Anthony Douglas.

Douglas said he planned to meet with community leaders before deciding whether to withdraw his request for her resignation.

The bill, which won final approval on a 59-14 vote, sets an election for next year on a proposed constitutional amendment to end discrimination and preferential treatment in state government hiring and contracting based on race, color, sex, ethnicity or national origin.

Thirteen Republicans and three Democrats voted against Kern’s reprimand Monday.

“I just don’t think you should reprimand somebody for saying stupid things,” said Rep. Randy Grau, R-Edmond. “If we reprimanded people for every stupid thing that they said in debate or everything they said that offended somebody in that chamber, we would be doing reprimands all day long.”

Rep. Purcy Walker said he opposed the reprimand because he felt Kern’s apology was sincere.

“I don’t agree with what she said, but she was willing to come back and really give a sincere apology and get up in front of everybody and apologize,” said Walker, D-Elk City. “If we’re not willing to forgive others, than we’re not going to be forgiven. I guess it’s just a spiritual conviction that I have.”

Republican Gov. Mary Fallin said she believes the House took the right action in reprimanding Kern.

“When I was informed last week of Rep. Kern’s comments regarding African-Americans and women, I made it clear that day that I disagreed with those comments and found them inappropriate,” Fallin said in a statement. “It’s my hope that lawmakers can now put this unfortunate incident behind them and work together to address the many issues facing Oklahoma’s families and businesses.”

—  John Wright

Stonewall protests Ramos, whom Richie says is ‘in desperate need of mental health services’

Members of Stonewall Democrats of San Antonio protested Thursday outside a fundraiser that Bexar County Democratic Party Chairman Dan Ramos was scheduled to attend. Ramos didn’t show up, but other Democrats who did condemned Ramos for his recent remarks comparing Stonewall Democrats to termites and Nazis. At a press conference earlier Thursday, Ramos refused the many calls for his resignation and repeated some of his previous anti-gay statements:

Singling out the Stonewall Democrats, Ramos said “they have infiltrated the Bexar County party, much like termites infiltrate your house. They’re trying to destroy what has been around for a long time,” he said. …

Ramos said he supports gay rights — including marriage — but said “I don’t regret anything” about assailing the Stonewall Democrats. Ramos apologized to anyone offended by his remarks, but he rehashed several of controversial statements involving gays.

“I don’t care if they marry each other. That’s not my private business. I do care when they adopt kids that are already traumatized and are coming from orphanages and stuff. And then they wake up in the morning and say, ‘What? My mama is my daddy also?’ That’s my heartburn,” Ramos said.

Also Thursday, Texas Democratic Party Chairman Boyd Richie, one of the many who’ve called for Ramos’ resignation, said he believes the party’s Bexar County chair is “in desperate need of mental health services.”

“I don’t know Mr. Ramos all that well personally,” Richie told Sirius OutQ’s Steve Newman. “If this had only happened one time and he had made a sincere apology, then I might feel differently. But after having had the opportunity to do that, he’s only exacerbated the situaion and made it worse. In my humble opinion, Mr. Ramos is in desperate need of mental health services.”

Listen to the full interview here, and watch a video report about the protest here.

—  John Wright

Anderson Cooper Isn’t Terribly Impressed With Nir Rosen’s Lara Logan Apology

Anderson Cooper knows a little something about getting roughed up in Egypt when you're just trying to do your job, so perhaps he, more than anyone, has a special place in his heart for CBS News' Lara Logan, whose attack went much further into the sexual assault category. Which is why he has no sympathy for Nir Rosen, the NYU journalism fellow who resigned his post after tweeting things like "Lara Logan had to outdo Anderson. Where was her buddy McCrystal," and kept him honest or whatever last night. Rightly, Rosen refers to himself as a "jerk" for his remarks. NOT GOOD ENOUGH FOR ANDY!!


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Queerty

—  David Taffet

Family Research Council Demands Apology

Perkins x390 (screengrab) I Advocate.comThe religious right organization calls for an apology after being called a “hate group”
Advocate.com: Daily News

—  admin

Bristol Palin’s Awful Apology For Sister Willow’s Facebook Faggoteering

How are the Palins apologizing for 16-year-old Willow calling a boy a "faggot" on Facebook? With a non-apology, of course.

CONTINUED »


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—  admin

AUDIO: Radio host Chris Krok’s non-apology for his anti-gay rant against Joel Burns

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE AUDIO

Jeff Catlin, operations manager of Cumulus Radio Dallas, just sent over the above clip of KLIF host Chris Krok’s so-called on-air apology from Tuesday, for a homophobic rant last month in which Krok ridiculed Fort Worth City Councilman Joel Burns’ “It Gets Better” speech.

In the so-called apology, Krok acknowledges that he “crossed the line” by attacking Burns personally and using a lisp. He also says he never intended to advocate bullying or hurt anyone, and that he believes God loves gay people as much as anyone else. However, Krok goes on to say that he stands by his original point.

“I am in no way backing down from my opinion that Joel Burns had absolutely no business bringing this bullying stuff up in front of that City Council,” Krok says. “It was not the proper forum. Bullying is not an issue for City Council to address, let alone gay bullying. Straight bullying and gay bullying have no business in front of the City Council. It’s a waste and it’s useless. I was bullied when I was kid … just as much if not worse than Joel Burns was. For two years I was terrorized by two different guys. And Joel being bullied, his story, is no better than my story. His story is not worth any more attention than my story is, so it shouldn’t be treated differently or specially. And I’ll make it clear again, I do not condone homosexual behavior. For those who don’t know what condone means, I don’t approve of homosexual behavior, and I am not apologizing for my opinion. Now, I want to share with you some e-mails that I got because, as I said, we got many e-mails over the past several days, and I want you to notice the irony, because the same people who accused me of bullying are bullying me …”

The clip sent by Catlin ends at this point.

The so-called apology came after Instant Tea posted a clip of Krok’s eight-minute rant from October last week. Catlin said he received 500-600 e-mails in the wake of the post, which was picked up by gay blogs across the country.

Catlin said he met with Krok to discuss the matter on Tuesday morning, and Krok expressed an interest in apologizing.

Catlin claims he had already disciplined Krok immediately after the rant but he would not say what the punishment was.

“He was disciplined and as proof of such this topic was not discussed on the air again,” Catlin said. “The proof is in the pudding, and if you listen every day from Oct. 20 up until Nov. 16, it’s pretty clear that we did have a discussion about it.”

Chris Krok

—  John Wright

GLAAD: Chris Krok disciplined; station to apologize for anti-gay rant against Joel Burns

Chris Krok

The other day we brought attention to a homophic rant by Dallas radio host Chris Krok of KLIF 570 AM, who ridiculed Fort Worth City Councilman Joel Burns’ recent “It Gets Better” speech. According to a report from GLAAD on Monday, Krok has been disciplined for the rant, and the station is working toward an on-air apology:

On behalf of Joel and the many others whose life stories intersect with his, GLAAD made a phone call this afternoon to Jeff Catlin, the operations manager for Cumulus Media Dallas, KLIF’s parent company.  The conversation was a productive one; Catlin both understands and shares our concern.  As the person who oversees KLIF, Catlin acknowledged that he has the “responsibility to be responsible” for what airs on the station.

Without going into detail, Catlin said that he spoke with Krok and that he was disciplined shortly after the segment aired.  He also pointed out that Krok has not spoken about this since then.

After speaking with GLAAD, Catlin also realizes the need to issue some sort of on-air apology.  He wants Krok (who’s out of the office until tomorrow) to be “part of the solution.”  To that end GLAAD, Catlin and Krok will meet on Wednesday morning to discuss what such a solution will look like.  We’ll be certain to let you know in advance so you can be sure to tune-in.

—  John Wright