Austin shooter apparently hated immigrants, gays

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Larry Steve McQuilliams

Larry Steve McQuilliams, the 49-year-old man who opened fire on a number of buildings in downtown Austin — including the Mexican Consulate — early on Friday, Nov. 28, was part of an ultra-conservative Christian group that hated homosexuality and bi-racial families, according to Austin police.

McQuilliams was unable to find work and believed immigrants were offered more community services than he was, police indicated.

According to a report by International Business Times, McQuilliams’ shooting spree began around 2:20 a.m. He fired more than 100 rounds of ammunition at several buildings close to Sixth Street and the Austin Police Department headquarters, and tried to set fire to the Mexican Consulate.

No one except McQuilliams was hurt in the incident. A report on Austin TV station KXAN noted that McQuilliams was killed by a single shot from 312 feet away by mounted patrol Sgt. Adam Johnson who was also holding the reigns of two horses.

Austin Police Chief said that McQuilliams was heavily armed with two long guns — a .22-caliber rifle and an “AK-47-style weapon.” He said that McQuilliams used a rented van in the attack and after he was killed police found in the van a book titled Vigilantes of Christendom, numerous propane cans turned into explosive devices and a map with 34 targets including two downtown churches.

Acevedo said that during the attack, McQuilliams was wearing a tactical vest and a backpack hydration unit, indicating he intended to continue the assault. He had written “let me die” on his chest and later at his apartments, police found clothes laid out on his bed that he wanted to be buried in.

The KXAN report also notes that Austin police had arrested McQuilliams in 1992 in connection with an armed robbery of an armored car at First State Bank, and that he was later convicted on federal armed robbery charges. He was in federal prison on that conviction until June 2000.

McQuilliams lived in Wichita, Kansas until he moved to Austin in 2013. He told neighbors he left Wichita because his employer there did not appreciate him, according to reports by the Statesman.

The newspaper also reported that McQuilliams also told neighbors he was a Renaissance Fair enthusiast and martial artist who liked drum circles. He took care of neighbors’ pets when they were away and would help clean up the hike-and-bike trail at Barton Springs when heavy rains washed through it.

—  Tammye Nash

Drag queens wanted for open casting call in Austin

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Mike White

Calling all drag queens: Are you looking to become a star on the small screen? Then you just might want to head to Austin on Saturday.

Vicky Boone Casting is conducting a regional search for drag queens to play lead roles in an upcoming HBO pilot, called Mama Dallas and created by writer/filmmaker Mike White of Enlightened, Chuck & Buck and School of Rock fame.

There will be an open casting call Saturday, Nov. 15, from 2-6 p.m. at Bout Time II, 6607 I-35 in Austin, to cast the lead part of “Liberty Bell.”

According to the press release from Vicky Boone Casting, Liberty Bell “appears to be an attractive, sexy woman with a flirty side — but she’s not, really. Born Albert De Lorio, Liberty is a drag queen with an ebullient, chatty, upbeat personality, but she leads an unpleasantly seedy life … a life that she plans to turn around with a little re-invention and identity theft.”

The filmmaker is looking for a 30-something male of open ethnicity to play the role.

You don’t need an appointment for the open casting call, and people will be seen on a first-come, first-seen basis. Anyone who is cast will be compensated “on the scale of professional actors.”

Those interested in auditioning may email a picture in advance to vbcfeatures@gmail.com with the subject title “Mamma Dallas” and include their name, resume, best contact info and current city of residence.

Interested parties are also encouraged to create free account on actorsaccess.com.

Shooting for Mamma Dallas begins March 2015.

(And given recent news about a scammer working Oak Lawn and posing as a “modeling agent,” let me include this info to establish Vicuy Boone Casting’s bona fides: The agent has done regional casting for such films as The Tree of Life starring Brad Pitt, Ain’t Them Bodies Saints starring Rooney Mara, Parkland starring Paul Giamatti, Men, Women, and Children starring Adam Sandler and Richard Linklater’s upcoming That’s What I’m Talking About.)

—  Tammye Nash

Classic Chassis Car Club of Dallas brings home awards from Golden Girls show

Classic Chassis Car Club of Dallas members recently returned with several awards from Golden Girls 2014, the annual car show organized by Classic Chassis Car Clubs of Texas hosted this year by CCCC Houston in Galveston. Classic Chassis Car Clubs of Texas is a division of Lambda Car Club International.

The show was held on Galveston’s Pier 21, with the backdrop of water and ship, and those attending said even the sudden cloudburst couldn’t spoil the day. The show was followed by an evening of entertainment, food, prizes and awards hosted at the Lone Star Flight Museum.

Golden Girl winners from Dallas this year are:

• Russ Johnson, “Best Truck” for his 2013 Ford F150 Lariat.

• Michael Smith, first place in the 1990s Open Division with his 1991 Figaro.

• David and Tom, second place in the 1980s Closed Division with their Pontiac Fiero.

• Robert Gamble, first place in the 1970s Open Division with his 1971 Olds Cutlass.

• James Gudat, first place in the 1970s Closed Division with his 1974 AMC Matador.

• Bill Allen, first place in the 1960s Open Division with his 1961 Olds Starfire. Allen also received the award for “Longest Distance Travelled.”

• Steve Slaughter, “Best in Show” and first place in the Pre-1949 Division with his 1938 Packard Six.

Next year’s Golden Girls show will be hosted by the Austin CCCC Chapter and will be on the Grand National Circuit of events for Lambda Car Club International. It will be only the second time in GG history a Texas club has hosted a Grand National; Dallas was the first to do so in 2004.

—  Tammye Nash

GetEQUAL TX activists released on bail, promise more actions

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Cd Kirven as she was escorted out of the Capitol

Cd Kirven and four other GetEQUAL TX activists were released on $1,500 bail each on Wednesday. They were charged with class-B misdemeanors.

The five held sit-ins in state Senate offices to protest Senate bill SB 237 not being moved to the Senate floor for a vote. The legislation is a statewide LGBT employment nondiscrimination law.

“We have three weeks to push hard,” Kirven said.

GetEQUAL TX had threatened action if the bill was not moved to the Senate floor by May 1. Kirven said additional actions are planned.

While they were being arrested, Kirven said she was talking to officers about the lack of workplace protection for LGBT people.

“No wonder you’re doing this,” she said her arresting officer told her.

Kirven said a vote from just one of four Republican Senators targeted is needed to move the bill to the floor.

A preliminary hearing for the arrested activists is set for May 15, but defense attorney Dax Garvin left the country this morning for several weeks. His associate Makenna Hatter said the first hearing is always reset in Travis County so the case will probably be rescheduled for the end of the month.

Garvin also represents Dallas marriage-equality demonstrators Major and Beau Jiminez.

Kirven said GetEQUAL plans polling place demonstrations on May 11 when municipal elections are held throughout the state to let the public know about the lack of workplace protections. She said other actions are planned in and around the Capitol through the session until the bill moves to the floor of both houses for a vote.

Class-B misdemeanors are punishable by a fine of up to $2,000 and/or a jail sentence of up to 180 days. The court may also impose a maximum of two years of probation or three years of community supervision with an extension.

Kirven said she’s not sure if the charges against the group will stick. The Texas Capitol is considered public park land.

“You can’t criminally trespass on public land,” she said.

In 2010, Kirven was arrested in former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office in Washington, D.C., demonstrating for the federal ENDA bill. After serving six months probation, charges were dismissed.

After posting bail in Austin on Wednesday night, Kirven returned to Dallas and got home about 3 a.m.

“They haven’t seen the last of us,” Kirven said.

—  David Taffet

5 GetEQUAL TX activists arrested in ENDA protest at Texas Capitol

Kirven

Cd Kirven

Cd Kirven of Dallas was among five GetEQUAL members arrested at the Texas Capitol this morning, according to KEYE, the CBS affiliate in Austin.

The five held a sit-in at the offices Sen. Bob Deuell, R-Greenville and Sen. Brian Birdwell, R-Granbury and refused to leave. The protest was in support of SB 237, statewide employment nondiscrimination legislation that would add sexual orientation and gender identity or expression to categories protected under the law.

According to GetEQUAL state organizer Michael Diviesti, after the bill was heard in the Economic Development Committee in April, the group threatened action if it was not moved to the Senate floor by May 1.

“This is a follow-up to that promise,” he said.

According to Diviesti, the other four arrested were Coby Ozias from Corpus Christi, Tiffani Bishop from Austin and two women from San Antonio whose names he could not confirm. He said Ozias, who is trans, would have a different name on the court docket.

They are awaiting a bail hearing.

“If all five got the maximum, we’re about $450 short,” he said.

Kirven was arrested for a similar protest in Washington D.C. when she participated in a similar demonstration in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office.

Watch video from the protest below.

—  David Taffet

Texas GOP lawmaker pledges support for gay rights, says party is changing

State Rep. Sarah Davis

State Rep. Sarah Davis

AUSTIN — Log Cabin Republicans from across Texas met in Austin this weekend to share ideas on the Republican Party’s growing support for gay rights and how they could influence lawmakers in the state to back equality.

Members from Dallas, Houston and Austin chapters attended the first-ever statewide conference, as well as a few people from San Antonio, who decided they would try to start a chapter later this year.

State Rep. Sarah Davis, R-Houston, addressed a group of about 35 people Friday as the keynote in the speaker series.

Davis began her speech by acknowledging the audience’s “courage and the bravery that I think many of you have shown probably spending a great period of your life struggling with your identity and then finally having the courage and the strength of character to come out to your friends and family as a Republican.”

While Davis is not a member of the LGBT community, she said she understands what it is like, recalling when members of the Republican Party looked at her suspiciously when she was the only member of the party to vote against the sonogram bill last session because she believed it was about personal freedom and keeping the government out of the doctor’s office.

Davis said her philosophy is to vote on the basis of personal freedom, individual responsibility and limited government, adding that Republicans allow social issues to cloud their judgment when it comes to those ideals, including placing “what I believe to be inappropriate restrictions on your personal relationships involving two consenting adults.”

—  Dallasvoice

PHOTOS: Advocates march on Austin before Lobby Day

LGBT advocates march in Downtown Austin to the state capitol during GetEQUAL TX's Texas March for LGBT Justice on March 10, 2013. (Anna Waugh/ Dallas Voise)

LGBT advocates march in Downtown Austin to the state Capitol during GetEQUAL TX’s Texas March for LGBT Justice on March 10, 2013. (Anna Waugh/ Dallas Voise)

AUSTIN — More than 300 LGBT advocates stormed the state capitol Sunday evening in preparation for today’s Equality Texas Lobby Day.

Participants at GetEQUAL TX’s pre-lobby day event, Texas March for LGBT Justice, walked hand-in-hand, holding signs and chanting, “What do we want? Equality! When do we want it? Now!”

Several onlookers joined the mob as marchers made their way from Austin City Hall to the state Capitol a few blocks away.

GetEQUAL Dallas activate Cd Kirven encouraged the crowd to remain active in the fight for civil rights as she shouted from the Capitol’s steps.

“Don’t let this be the only time that you participate. Don’t let this be the only time lawmakers hear your voice,” she said. “Nothing is free. Justice has a price.”

Austin activist Sami-di Williams told the crowd that when she and her partner Amy began looking for other same-sex parents, she discovered that her daughter was friends with a girl who also had lesbian moms.

She then realized that her daughter hadn’t thought to tell her that her friend also had gay parents because it didn’t matter to her and she hopes one day it won’t matter in Texas either.

But until that day, being a gay parent in Texas still matters, she said.

“When Amy can’t sign documents for school, it matters. When she can’t take the kids to a doctor appointment without me, it matters,” she said. “When I’m not protected from discrimination whenever I volunteer at my kid’s school, it definitely matters. …When our family is looked at with disdain in public places, it matters.”

Daniel Williams, Equality Texas field organizer, spoke about the many monuments on the grounds of the Capitol that remind lawmakers what makes Texas great and what makes the state not so great.

But he stressed that there is no reminder of LGBT Texans. Not of the more than 19,000 same-sex couples raising children in the state or the 989 hate crime victims who suffered last year.

“You must be that monument. You must be the reminder, the daily sentinel to those Texas lives,” he said.

More photos from the march below.

—  Dallasvoice

Queer rappers God-Des & She drop new CD at Sue Ellen’s Friday

Frank Ocean is a pioneer, Frank Ocean is great, but he’s not the only — or first — hip-hop star to come out. Ever since Austin-based rappers God-Des & She burst onto the music scene following a featured track on The L Word, the lesbian duo has had a following, both in the lesbian and hip-hop communities.

It’s no wonder why: With their sexually explicit lyrics (c’mon — when lesbians sing a song called “Lick It,” you don’t have to wonder what they are referring to) and in-your-face boldness, these Texas tornadoes give an urban, edgy profile. Add to that some gender-bending (for the record: The hardcore butch rapper is God-Des; the zaftig lipstick-and-dress-wearer is She), good airplay on MTV and Logo, and a campaign to get them on Ellen DeGeneres’ talk show, and you understand why they have a fan-base.

Their fourth album, United States of God-Des & She, is set to drop Feb. 5, but you can get a preview of it when the duo take to the stage at the Vixin Lounge inside Sue Ellen’s for a CD release party Friday. Doors open at 9 p.m., and God-Des & She will mount the stage at 11. And when we say mount … well, let’s just say you never know what to expect from those two.

Tickets available at SueEllensDallas.com and God-DesandShe.com.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Tell the Austin school district to allow play about 2 male penguin parents

On Monday we mentioned that the Rev. Jayme Mathias, a former Roman Catholic priest, had become the first openly gay person elected to the Austin school board last week. Well, here’s a pretty good reminder as to why it still matters — even in a relatively progressive city like our state capital.

The Austin American-Statesman reports that the Austin Independent School District has canceled a play about two male penguins raising a baby penguin together, over concerns about age appropriateness. The play, And Then Came Tango, was written by UT graduate student Emily Freeman, and is based on the real-life story of two penguins at New York’s Central Park Zoo who were given a hatchling named Tango to raise.

AISD regularly allows UT grad students to stage their works in the district’s schools to satisfy degree requirements, and Freeman’s piece was scheduled to be performed in 10 elementary schools. Greg Goodman, the district’s fine arts director, explained the decision to cancel Freeman’s play in a letter to Coleman Jennings, the head of UT’s theater program.

“The subject matter communicated in the play is a topic that Austin ISD believes should be examined by parents/guardians who will discuss with their elementary school age children at a time deemed appropriate by the parents/guardians,” Goodman wrote.

Freeman disagrees.

“The play is about different families,” and under state teaching standards, that’s appropriate for kindergarten, she told the Statesman, referring to state curriculum standards. “I can’t see the argument that it’s not age appropriate for kids in second and third grade.”

“Throughout the play, the definition of family is extended beyond normative representations,” Freeman added in a press release. “Family is an entire colony of penguins, a young girl and her single mom, a zookeeper and the animals he tends, and two male penguins and their adopted egg. As these family structures are threatened in the play, we learn the power of voicing your opinions and standing up for your beliefs, no matter how old you are.”

Freeman says she’s still working to try to get the play approved by the district, but it’s also now scheduled for free performances at a campus theater from Nov. 30 through Dec. 2.

In the meantime, perhaps the LGBT community should make sure district officials are aware how we feel about this decision.

The main number for AISD offices is 512-414-1700. The superintendent is Meria Carstarphen, and you can reach her by email at superintendent@austinisd.org.

The main number for the Board of Trustees office is 512-414-1704, and the email is trustees@austinisd.org. A complete list of current board members (Mathias doesn’t take office until the new year) can be found here.

—  John Wright

Ex-Roman Catholic priest becomes Austin’s 1st out school board member

When the Rev. Jayme Mathias defeated incumbent Sam Guzman for the District 2 seat last week, he became the first openly gay person elected to the Austin school board.

But apparently some didn’t realize Mathias — a former Roman Catholic priest — was gay until he mentioned it to a TV reporter in an interview after the election.

From the Austin American-Statesman:

What was a surprise was Mathias’ post-election comment to a reporter that he will be the first openly-gay school trustee, something he hadn’t mentioned during his campaign.

However, people involved in the election — including his opponent — said they knew Mathias is gay, and it wasn’t an issue.

“We figured if we were going to win, it was going to be for the right reasons,” said Guzman. “My team was mature, experienced, reasonable people and we didn’t think that (making it an issue) was good for anybody.”

Said Ken Zarifis, president of Education Austin, which represents 3,000 district employees and backed Mathias: “I want to think that this is not an issue in Austin and that no one will be punished because they are gay. We should be proud of it.”

When asked why he hadn’t discussed it before, Mathias said, “My sexuality has never defined who I am or what I do. I have nothing to hide in the respect.”

Austin’s KVUE-TV reports that some voters are accusing Mathias of being dishonest for not mentioning his sexual orientation during the campaign, with one man they interviewed calling for a “recount”:

—  John Wright