REVIEW: “Albert Nobbs” and the mystery of identity

Unlike The Crying Game, where the sex of a character is a major twist about halfway through, the genders of the characters in Albert Nobbs is not much in doubt: Glenn Close is a big star with above-the-title billing — her butched-up face is the ad campaign. And yet there is just as much mystery here, albeit of a different kind. This is a story of identity that’s almost impenetrable.

Albert (Close) is a gentlemanly servant at a high-end boutique hotel in Ireland. Everyone admires Albert: The women appreciate his respectful demeanor, his male co-workers his work ethic, the boss, Mrs. Baker (Pauline Collins), his reliability. But no one really knows Albert, who lives in a small room in the attic and squirrels away his money and dreams of something else.

But really, Albert doesn’t even know himself. He has been living as a man for decades — who knows how long? — and cannot even remember a time when he (or she) was not Albert. He has become so repressed, he almost doesn’t have a personality anymore.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Iconic LGBT activist Ray Hill files for Texas House seat

Ray Hill

Ray Hill

Long time Houston LGBT activist Ray Hill filed paperwork this week to run for the 147th Texas House seat against incumbent Garnet Coleman, D – Houston. The iconic (and iconoclastic) Hill said that he and Coleman agree on many issues but that he had “some issues  that aren’t on the table in Austin.”

Specifically Hill has concerns with the legislature’s approach to criminal justice issues. “The Texas legislature is a serial world class red-necking competition,” says Hill. “What they are doing on criminal justice is wrong and it doesn’t work… we need a serious rethink.”

Coleman has a strong history of supporting LGBT legislation. For the last three sessions he has attempted to pass anti-bullying legislation that would require school districts to report instances of bullying using an enumerated list of motivating characteristics that include both sexual orientation and gender identity and expression, he has also filed legislation to remove the the crime of “homosexual conduct” from the Texas penal code (a law that has been declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court), to equalize age of consent laws in Texas and to add gender identity and expression to the state’s hate crime law. In the 82nd legislature earlier this year Coleman authored seven pieces of legislation designed to create greater equality for LGBT people, including the first ever filing of legislation to standardize change of gender marker procedures for the transgender community and the first effort to repeal the state’s constitutional prohibition against marriage equality.

Hill recognizes Coleman’s historic contributions, “The incumbent and I agree on a lot of issues,” says Hill, “but we don’t tell young gay people ‘if you work real hard and go to school and do your best you can grow up to have straight friends in Austin who like you.’ No, we tell them ‘if you work hard they can grow up to be Mayor of Houston, or City Supervisor of San Francisco.’”

When asked why the community would be better served by him than Coleman, a 20 year legislative veteran, Hill replies “I understand how government works. A freshman legislator can’t do anything more than irritate, but that’s about all any member of the minority party can do. On that level the incumbent and I are on the same level… I think we need somebody obnoxious [in the legislature] who’s going to purposefully rub the cat hair the wrong direction.”

Since being elected to the legislature for the first time in 1992 Coleman has been unopposed in 5 of his 9 primary reelection bids. No primary challenger to Coleman has pulled more than 21% of the vote.

—  admin

Defining Homes • Super (re)model

Remodeler Chris Sandlin says slow your roll before that redux

Wingren-Kitchen-5By Jonanna Widner

As a third-generation homebuilder and remodeler, it’s no surprise that Chris Sandlin opted out of a journalism career and instead chose the family business. He made the change in 2005 and with such a history of the industry in his blood already, Sandlin brings a fairly unique perspective to the market.

“I’m 30 years old, which is relatively young compared to others in my position,“ he says. “But I put a lot of time and energy into the right team of workers and sub-contractors to customers’ homes so the end result lives up to what the homeowners deserve. As a gay business owner, I’m happy in providing stellar home services to the community.”

Before moving forward with that remodel, Sandlin says to think before demolishing.

Wingren-Master-Bath-2Know when to remodel: “I commonly work with homeowners to determine whether it makes more sense to remodel or move. I approach each situation openly and honestly, and try my best to suggest what I think would be best, even if that means I don’t win the job.”

Remodel before selling: “This is usually the case with older homes that have not been remodeled recently. Homeowners accept my guidance for what sells. I have a good combination of experience in the homebuilding and real estate industry.

“There is a catch-22 here. If the house sells quickly, homeowners in won’t have time to experience the finished remodel project which tends to be the kitchen or master bath.”

“This can happen very easily. Most $250,000 homes do not need a $50,000 bathroom redo, nor does a $300,000 home need a $100,000 commercial grade kitchen. A wide variety of factors need to be considered, including how long they plan to stay in the home, what’s the budget, how it adds to the home’s value.“

Budget help: “When in the budgeting/planning phase with homeowners, research the values of nearby homes, especially with remodels. This has been helpful in concrete figures regarding their remodel, as well as experienced conjectures about how the remodel will affect the home’s future value.”

Don’t rush the details:  ”Too many homeowners want to rush into their project without a clear vision. Step back, assess the project and come up with a plan. With that, the end result will be everything the homeowner wants. Rushing into it without a plan will only result in more time, money and headaches.”

Going green: “This is an area I take pride in. As a certified green professional through the National Association of Homebuilders, I integrate green philosophies and I want to minimize waste factor and landfill component as much as possible.”

“I started making many green features as my standard a long time ago because I feel it’s the right way to build and remodel. I’m happy to see more homeowners interested in these options.”

DIY:  “I’m happy to help prepare homeowners for what they would encounter if doing it on their own. Sometimes it works out just fine, with small jobs that don’t require licensed tradesmen or city permits. When it comes to larger jobs, people need to know if they honestly have the time to do this in addition to the day job.”DH

Visit SandlinBuild.com for more information.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 7, 2011.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

—  Kevin Thomas

Good Christian belle

Gay ally Kristin Chenoweth talks about her new country music CD (she adores Dolly!), queers … and the right way to be a Christian

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO KRISTIN | The performer has conquered stage, recording, TV … and uniting gay rights with her faith.

Kristin Chenoweth doesn’t get miffed very easily. But when she does, watch out. Last year, after Newsweek published a commentary on the inability of gay actors to play straight roles, she wrote an extensive letter to the magazine, calling the article “horrendously homophobic.”

But Chenoweth’s allegiance to the gay community goes back to growing up in Oklahoma — a place she returned to for her latest album, Some Lessons Learned, the first of four where the opera-trainer singer fully embraces her country roots.

We had lots to talk about when we caught up with Chenoweth, on a dinner break from shooting her upcoming series, Good Christian Belles. She discussed her history of dating gay men, her opinion on Michele Bachmann’s support of gay conversion clinics … and being a little bit wicked.

— Chris Azzopardi

………………………..

Dallas Voice: Your character’s name on Good Christian Belles is Cockburn — Carlene Cockburn. Chenoweth: I can’t wait for my family to hear that one. Are you kidding? I was like, “Wait a minute…!” But I just think the most important thing for me as an actress, because of the lines that come out of my mouth, is to just have to speak them and keep going, because they’re so funny and her name is so funny and the whole thing is just so great. I love it.

Does your character have anything in common with April Rhodes, who you play on Glee? Probably not on paper, but they’re both pretty outlandish people. Carlene, though, is the antithesis of April.

You grew up in Oklahoma, so country music is your roots. How is your new album a reflection of that? It’s so funny, because I get asked, “Why a country album now?” But that’s how it all began for me. Of course, why would anyone know that? It’s not something I’ve been talking about a lot, but it’s the music I grew up listening to. One of my biggest influences is Dolly Parton, and when you look at the history of songs in musical theater and in country, they’re both usually great storytellers.

I know just how lucky I am to do this kind of music. Getting to go to Nashville and sing this music that feels like home to me was a real gift, and one that I don’t take lightly.

The song “What Would Dolly Do?” reminds me a lot of Dolly herself. I co-wrote that. [Producer] Bob Ezrin asked, “Who’s had the biggest influence on you country music-wise?” I said, “Dolly, without question.” And he said, “How would she approach it? Let’s think: What would Dolly do?” I said, “Bob, why aren’t we writing that song?”

There’s something about her that I feel very attuned to. There’s only one Dolly. I’m not comparing myself, but I’m just saying her spirit and the way she looks at life is pretty similar to me. And the cover I did of hers [“Change”] is actually a very emotional thing and it reminded me — of course, how could I ever forget? — what an amazing songwriter she is. You know, I didn’t do a lot of covers. I did two covers, one of Carrie [Underwood] and one of Dolly’s, and I just love both of them. I love their music, I love their spirit — everything they stand for.

It makes total sense, because, to me, both you and Dolly epitomize happiness. Oh my god, thank you. That’s the biggest compliment you could give me.

So, being so happy… what pisses you off? Oh, gosh! I don’t really get mad that often. But I’m not going to lie: When I do, there’s a quiet that comes over me that is a little like whoa, and that happens when I don’t feel other people are prepared or doing their job or pulling their weight. I come from a family where my dad came from nothing and worked hard to get where he is, and he said, “Work hard, play hard, Kris,” and I guess that’s kind of been my motto in life. So when I see people squandering opportunities or having a sense of entitlement, that really makes me crazy. Because I don’t understand it. It’s not a world I get.

One thing that does make you upset is homophobic people. I don’t like that, you’re right.

Your letter in response to that Newsweek column said it all. Why was it important to address your feelings on that issue? To be honest, I wasn’t prepared for what was going to happen. I was on Broadway doing Promises, Promises, and I read the article and I actually thought it was pretty irresponsible. I’m not even talking about whether a person agrees with being gay or not, I’m talking about artistry and gay

actors trying to play straight. It just made me mad, because I thought, “Well, I’ve played a prostitute, does that mean I am one? No.” I just thought it was a little bit of a bullying thing, and I honestly prayed about it — no kidding, I prayed about it.

And by the way, I’m a big fan of the magazine, which is why I was so bummed. But I think that they felt bad and hopefully there’s been some discussion about it and some learning, because that’s what we’re here to do on this Earth, to learn our purpose. Well, one of my purposes in this life — since I’m a believer and a Christian — is to help people realize that not every Christian thinks that being gay is a sin.

To reinforce your point, you made out with your Promises, Promises co-star Sean Hayes at the Tonys last year. It might’ve been a little jibe. It might’ve been a little one! Ha!

What was it like to make out with a gay man? Was that your first time? Well, let’s face it, my high school boyfriend is gay, so I don’t think it’s my first time making out with gay men! I bet a lot of women don’t even know they’ve done it! And Sean Hayes is just a darn good kisser, what can I say?

Wait, so you dated a gay man in high school? Yeah, and I’m like, “Well, that’s why we were such a great couple!” He didn’t pleasure me in any way but he helped me pick out my prom dress!

Was he one of the first gay people you knew in Oklahoma? Yeah. I want to tell you something I know about myself: When I was in the second or third grade, I first heard the word “dyke,” and it was in reference to a girl in our school who was very, very tomboyish. I didn’t really understand what the word was, but I knew I didn’t like the way it was said. And for some reason I’ve always been drawn to the person that was alone, and I don’t mean to make me sound like I’m Mother Teresa, because I’m not. But I’ve always been drawn to people who felt left out or different, and maybe it’s because, I too, felt different and unique. People would not think this of me, because there’s this perception of me that, “Oh, life’s been perfect and things have come so easily.”

But let’s face it: My speaking voice is very interesting. Yes, I was a cheerleader but I also wanted to do all the plays, I was in renaissance choir, and, I too, felt a little bit like an outsider. I was always drawn to people who felt that way, too. And sure, some of them were gay and I never did understand — I guess the word is fear.

God made us all equal. He made me short, he made someone gay, he made someone tall — whatever it is, it’s not a sin; it’s how we’re made. And that’s the way I feel about it. It flies in the face of a lot of what Christians believe, but as I’m finding out there’s a lot of Christian people who think the same as me. So that’s my deal, and I think we should not be careful of the unknown but rather accepting and loving of it.

As someone who’s Christian and supports the gay community, how do you feel about the pray-away-the-gay program that Michele Bachmann supports? [Long pause] You know what, you can have your opinion. One of the great things about being in this country is we get to freely say what we believe. I just don’t happen to agree with that. Though I like the “pray” part!

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 16, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Free Polyphonic Spree tonight at DMA

Turn this museum out

If you’ve yet to make it out to one of the Dallas Museum of Art’s Late Nights, might we suggest to do so tonight? For two reasons. Tonight is the annual Summer Block Party in the Arts District so the DMA, the Nasher and the Crow Collection are all having festivities in and out. So it’s already a bash.

Second, um, the Polyphonic Spree will be playing at the DMA’s Ross Ave. Plaza. Pretty much the only band that makes symphonic rock cool, the Dallas-based collective was formed by Tim DeLaughter, formerly of local band Tripping Daisy. With over 20 members and a section of horns, strings, percussion and pretty much everytghing else, the Spree is joyous in that hippies ’60s kinda way but still keeping a fresh approach to music. Pretty much, it’s awesomeness.

DEETS: Dallas Museum of Art, 1717 N. Harwood St. 9 p.m. $10. DM-Art.org.

—  Rich Lopez

Watch: John McCain Wants Another ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Study, Says This One Took the Wrong Approach

McShame

John McCain discussed "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" on Meet the Press, and seems to be unhappy that the results of the Pentagon's DADT study were leaked, cause now he's saying he won't listen to those results:

"I will listen to our military leaders, and not a study that is leaked."

McCain also criticizes the study itself, and says it took the wrong approach:

"All four service chiefs are saying we need a thorough and complete study of the effects, not how to implement the repeal, but the effects on morale and battle effectiveness. That's what I want, and once we get this study, we need to have hearings and we need to examine it and look at whether it's the kind of study that we wanted. It isn't in my view."

I have to believe that McCain was apprised of the questions in the study before it went out, but now that it's not going his way all of a sudden the study is bad.

It appears McCain won't be happy until he has a study that categorically keeps gays out of the military.

David Gregory also asked what he thought of Cindy McCain's recent statements on DADT.

Said McCain: "I respect the first amendment rights of every member of my family."

(Would love to know what went on behind-the-scenes that caused Cindy's swift turnabout.)

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP


HRC released a statement reacting to McCain's remarks:

“Obviously the senator doesn’t like the preliminary findings of the Pentagon’s DADT survey, which found a clear majority of U.S. service members are okay serving with their gay and lesbian comrades. The senator has known all along the study developed by the Pentagon Working Group was looking at how to repeal DADT—not whether to do so.

“McCain has said he wanted to hear from the senior military leadership. He heard loud and clear from Secretary Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, last February when both were firmly in support of repeal.

“McCain has said he wanted to hear from rank-and-file troops. He has just heard loud and clear from them through the survey. But he doesn’t like their answer– and is stonewalling, trying to run out the clock on repeal by calling for congressional hearings.

“The truth is McCain is increasingly alone in his irrational opposition to open service. Sixty-four percent of Republicans disagree with McCain and favor lifting the ban. No matter the evidence, McCain will use whatever tactics at his disposal to not only stop repeal from moving forward, but will hold hostage the most critical military defense bill to do so.”


Towleroad News #gay

—  admin

The Predictable Backlash To The Obama Admin’s Go Slow Approach To Repealing DADT, Other LGBT Issues

Politico has a six webpage long article up on their website, entitled Obama’s Go-Slow ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Plan Backfires. Image: Military veterans Autumn Sandeen, Dan Choi, Evelyn Thomas, Jim Pietrangelo II, Mara Boyd, and Larry Whitt handcuffed to the White House FenceThe piece recounts how when President Clinton first took office, one of his first acts was attempting to remove the barrier to gays serving openly in the military services. The attempt failed, and from this we ended up with the federal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) compromise.

When President Obama took office, he appeared to have taken a lesson from the Clinton Administration: Go slow on repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, or face Congressional backlash.

Unfortunately for President Obama, LGBT community members want him to live up to quickly live up to his campaign promise to repeal DADT, and allow gay, lesbian, and bisexual servicemembers to serve openly.

Politico‘s Josh Gerstein is indicating in his piece that there is a backlash from the LGBT community that is hurting him not only with the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community, but hurting him with the Democratic base.

From the piece:

Obama now faces his own political crisis over the issue that threatens his support from key Democratic constituencies, undermines his relationship with the Pentagon and puts him in the odd position of defending a practice he has denounced as discriminatory and harmful to national security.

“It’s crazy that all this is happening 2½ weeks before a national election,” said Richard Socarides, an adviser to Clinton on gay issues during the ’93 fiasco. “The timing could not be worse for them, but it was fairly predictable that their strategy of postponing and delaying getting into this stuff was, at some point, going to come back to haunt them.”

Obama’s current predicament is a result of a collision between a go-slow White House strategy that deferred to Pentagon and military leaders on the pace of repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell” and the progress of a stuttering federal lawsuit that a small group of gay Republicans filed more than six years ago.

The Obama White House, led in large part by Clinton veteran Rahm Emanuel, sought to avoid a showdown with the military over the issue. Particularly as Obama, a relative neophyte on national security, faced critical decisions on Iran and Afghanistan, he didn’t want the process derailed by the culturally freighted gays-in-the-military fight.

Socarides adds:

The part of this that was smart was that they figured the only way to get this done was to get the Pentagon’s buy-in. That is informed by the Clinton experience. You cannot outsmart the Pentagon on this kind of thing.

The timing could not be worse for them, but it was fairly predictable that their strategy of postponing and delaying getting into this stuff was, at some point, going to come back to haunt them.

Thumbnail Link to Politico article 'Obama's go-slow DADT plan backfires', which used the iconic DADT photograph of Autumn Sandeen, Dan Choi, Evelyn Thomas, Jim Pietrangelo II, Mara Boyd, and Larry Whitt handcuffed to the White House FenceAnd, of course, there’s a place in this where I played a part in this story on DADT:

While many organized gay groups deferred to a greater or lesser extent to the White House’s strategy and timeline, bloggers like John Aravosis and in-your-face protesters like Dan Choi did not. The online activists and upstart groups never bought into the wait-for-the-Pentagon approach, even after Gates and Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, presented historic testimony in February endorsing an end to “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

I literally stood next to Dan Choi when Dan Choi, Evelyn Thomas, Jim Pietrangelo II, Mara Boyd, Larry Whitt, and I chained ourselves to the White House Fence in a bid to encourage President Obama to propose repealing of DADT in his Defense Department budget request. From the GetEqual press release at the time:

The Defense Authorization Bill (DAB) provides funding for all military operations, and it will soon be up for renewal.

President Obama knows that the DAB provides a way to repeal DADT immediately. And he knows that repealing the policy quickly and decisively is the right thing to do for LGBT servicemembers and for all of the armed forces. But recent reports suggest that the Administration is trying to delay any law change until December or even later.

Yes. That delay plan has been going on awhile, and now many in the LGBT community are dissatisfied with the Obama Administration’s and the Democratic Congress’ failure to not only to successfully repeal DADT, but also failing to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), and pass into law the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA).

Personally, I can’t tell you how odd it is to see that a photo by AP photographer Pablo Martinez Monsivais has turned into the iconic DADT photo, in the sense that and that I’m one of the six LGBT veterans in that iconic photo. It’s also kind of odd to me to be in a photo that has become that iconic, but is one where no one in the mainstream media is highlighting that I’m a transgender military veteran.

But beyond it just being about Dan Choi and me being in a photo, there were four others in that photo working for the freedom, equality, and justice of LGBT community members. That image captures a microcosm of how it’ not just one or two activists that are working on LGBT issues, but it’s diverse population of folk within the LGBT community who are working on LGBT issues.

And, that diverse population of LGBT folk (as well as LGBT folks’ friends, families, and allies) are, as stated so many times (and even in this piece), dissatisfied with the Obama Administration’s and the Democratic Congress’ failure to not only to successfully repeal DADT, but also failing to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), and pass into law the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA).

The Obama Administration apparently believed their was a danger of moving to quickly on LGBT issues — including DADT — because of possible backlash from the Pentagon and Congress. I don’t think the Obama Administration was acutely aware that there was another danger regarding LGBT issues — moving so slowly on LGBT issues that many in the LGBT community don’t believe that The President delivered on the change we can believe in. In other words, there may have been a backlash from some quarters regarding moving to quickly on LGBT issues — such as DADT — but there is now a backlash from many LGBT community members because they see him moving too slowly on LGBT issues.

Since a major constituency of his party and to his presidency are LGBT community members, he should have perhaps paid much more attention to that LGBT constituency then he has done in the first two years of his presidency.
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright