Rally for victim of anti-gay hate crime in Austin rescheduled for this weekend

A forecast of heavy rain and flooding in Austin this past weekend forced GetEQUAL TX to postpone a March Against Hate event for a victim of an anti-gay hate crime.

The event has been moved to Saturday, Oct. 6. Those who attend will still meet at Austin City Hall at 11:45 a.m. and march to the Capitol at noon, followed by remarks by several speakers.

Among those speakers will be Andrew Oppleman, a gay man who attended Austin Pride with a friend and was beaten when he tried to protect his friend from the attacker.

Speakers may be added to the schedule because of the changed date. Check here for updates.

—  Dallasvoice

Austin rally for anti-gay hate crime victim planned for Saturday

GetEQUAL TX is holding a March Against Hate event in Austin on Saturday for one of the victims of an anti-gay hate crime last Friday.

Andrew Oppleman was ordering pizza at a food truck during Austin Pride with friend Nick Soret when a man began asking Soret if he was looking at him. The man became enraged and attacked Soret, so Oppleman stepped in.

Oppleman was hit so hard six of his teeth were knocked out and it was believed he would need oral surgery for his fractured jaw. Austin police are investigating it as a possible hate crime.

Oppleman will talk about his experience at the event, which begins at 11:45 a.m. Saturday at Republic State Park. Attendees will then march to the Capitol at noon and listen to speeches at 12:30 p.m.

Other speakers include Michael Diviesti of GetEQUAL TX, Chuck Smith of Equality Texas, Paul Huddleston of Austin Pride, Sami-Di Williams of Grrlz Will Be Boiz, as well as victims and community members.

Oppleman’s story, as told in the press release announcing the event, is below:

My name is Andrew Oppleman and this is my story…

Little did I know, last Friday night Sept 22th 2012, I’d be changed forever.

I was in town for Austin Pride. It was one of my many trips to enjoy all that Austin has to offer; great entertainment, outdoor recreation and most of all the people; laid back and easy going. My welcome started like this…My buddy Nick Soret was ordering pizza at 4th and Colorado at about midnight as I just arrived from a 3 hour drive from Houston. As I waited for Nick to grab his pizza and leave, another patron started screaming at Nick “What are you looking at?” over and over again. As he grabbed Nick’s hot pizza and threw it on Nick’s face, arm and body the man proceeded to start punching him. I immediately tried to quell the suspects rage and told the man to “STOP HITTING MY FRIEND!” With that he turned around and pushed me down into the construction on the street. I got up and as I turned back to the Pizza Truck I was immediately met with the amazing force of his fist hitting me square in the mouth. I then saw the man wildly punching Nick’s skull, and body as Nick fell to the ground in a fetal position trying to protect his face and head. As quickly as it started the suspect ran away, while his friend who is an Austin local just stood there and laughed as blood gushed from my mouth. I then spent 8 hours at Brackenridge Hospital. In the end Nick sustained a black eye, a busted and bruised lip and additional bruises on his body. I left Austin with a busted lip and 6 missing teeth.

I invite you to join us and the rest of the Austin community this Saturday at 11:45am at Republic Square Park to raise awareness and March Against Hate to the Capitol. Spread the word to take Austin back!

 

—  Dallasvoice

Ad campaigns we love: Roger & Chris Hazard’s Austin-based Decades

Most people will know Roger Hazard from his work on A&E’s Sell This House, but he and his partner Chris Stout-Hazard are full-on Texans. The partners in life and business are based in Austin and they’ve just launched their newest business venture, Decades. Self-described as “a purveyor of timeless, high-quality furniture, accessories and artwork” on their site, the couple bring their strengths between design and web savvy to offer some fabulous pieces.

You may recall that Roger H. has some Dallas ties — I spoke with him back in 2010. He and his partner got married last year, and settled into a nice Austin home which will only add to your interior design insecurities thanks to their Pinterest boards and are getting the word out on their new family biz.

Mostly their “ad campaign” seems to be web driven via social media, but where Hazard brings his cred from national TV, Stout-Hazard brings the quirk. He’s the one behind the clever, humorous musings on the company’s website (some of which can be found here). But it’s this video he posted on Decades’ site that is 4:05 minutes of brilliant and informative hilarity. A meandering monologue beginning with the company’s mission veers into tangents on caffeine jitters, a noisy fridge with a guest appearance by the family cat. It’s better than most company videos with paid actors hocking the goods because its actually quite endearing. I’d totally buy the stuff but in the meantime, I’ll just repin it on my own Pinterest board.

Watch the video after the jump.

—  Rich Lopez

This week’s takeaways: Life+Style

Make Cathey Miller's new art show part of your week.

You can breathe now. It is officially the weekend, so no more blaming the July 4 holiday for a janky week. It’s a big theater week, with openings in Dallas and Fort Worth. You might fit in some reading with Carsen Taite’s new book and head over to Oak Cliff for a new art show by lesbian artist Cathey Miller.

—  Rich Lopez

Lesbian bartender assaulted in Austin bar now says attack could have been a hate crime

Gina Adams

An Austin lesbian was out on the town celebrating a friend’s birthday June 25 when she said a bartender threw her on the ground and beat her.

Gina Adams, who works at a nearby bar, said she and her friends were bar hopping when she asked a male bartender at the Lodge Bar if they had drink specials after saying she worked at Rusty’s bar, according to Fox 7.

The man motioned for her to come around to the other side of the bar and then grabbed her, threw her on the floor and beat her repeatedly.

“He looks at me, grabs me and just throws me right behind the bar, doesn’t say a word to me. I try to get up and he threw me down again and he did this like four or five times,” she told Fox 7. “He had no reason, no reason at all. He didn’t know me I didn’t know him.”

Police were called and arrested the bartender for assault, but Adams told the Austin station she thinks it could have been a hate crime because the bartender could have assumed she was gay or thought she was a man hitting on him.

Although the police report doesn’t indicate the attack was motivated by bias, Equality Texas Deputy Executive Director told the station Adams could still report it as a hate crime.

“There may have been indicators of bias not noted on the night of the incident just because it didn’t click for her then,” he said. “If it clicks for her now then that’s what needs to be documented in the report and they can revisit and look at evidence from the scene.”

Watch the video below.

—  Dallasvoice

GetEQUAL TX to host 3rd annual Harvey Milk Day Conference in Austin

DANIEL VILLARREAL  |  Contributing Writer

AUSTIN — GetEQUAL Texas will host its third annual Harvey Milk Day Conference from May 24-27, an event dedicated to empowering citizens on how to “take bold action and demand full civil equality in their local communities.”

The conference’s agenda includes a pre-conference celebration at the Millenium Youth Entertainment Complex and an open air rock/folk concert at Rusty’s bar. The conference itself — at Austin Community College’s Eastview Campus —  will feature workshop sessions including topics such as homelessness and bi-phobia within the gay community, why queers should consider moving their funds from big banks into local credit unions, and a large group non-violence civil disobedience training.

The weekend will also include a staged reading of Dear Harvey — a play which commemorates the assassinated civil rights leader through interviews with his colleagues, archival materials, and words his own speeches and diaries — and conclude with a Sunday evening protest march to the state Capitol.

GetEQUAL’s Texas state coordinator Michael Diviesti began working with the organization three years ago when he witnessed group members chaining themselves to the White House fence to protest “don’t ask, don’t tell.” As a former military service member who suffered under the gay military ban, Diviesti decided to join the group’s first Harvey Milk Day march on the Texas Capitol.

“That’s when I learned that even I, as humble and small as I am as one person, can really join this movement to push for full equality in all matters governed by civil law,” Diviesti said.

Diviesti helped coordinate the conference the following year and says that because attendees come in from all across Texas and the U.S., GetEQUAL has prepared to accommodate more than 600 people, more than double the number of 2011 attendees.

Though the conference provides meals and training materials for all participants, their suggested $25 attendance fee remains optional.

“[Activists who participate in non-violent civil disobedience] tend to be more often than not lower middle class or lower. There are a lot of homeless youth who are itching to do something to maintain rights for themselves but they don’t have those tools,” Diviesti said. “We see a lot of these events that are hundreds and sometimes a thousand dollars. … I’m not knocking those events. But for our community, we need events like this to where everyone is welcome regardless of economic ability.”

GetEQUAL North Texas coordinator and conference presenter Daniel Cates added that the conference also gives attendees in both large and small towns a chance to form a larger activist network. For example, when GetEQUAL staged an Oct. 15 protest by requesting same-sex marriage licenses at the Dallas County clerk’s office, activists in nine other Texas cities held similar actions on the same day.

“Any time something [LGBT-related] happens here in the state or even nationally [they] can pick up the phone and reach other activists in Brownsville, in Austin, San Antonio, McAllen, College Station, and we in the state can decide to take coordinated action,” Cates said. “That’s something really missing in Texas before.”

Anyone interested in attending can still register at getequaltx.org.

—  John Wright

Pink Martini’s gay bandleader Thomas Lauderdale commits to Sunday’s outdoor show rain or shine

Before Sunday’s concert at Annette Strauss Park, Pink Martini’s gay bandleader Thomas Lauderdale discussed just why the eclectic jazz outfit as been so productive lately. With four releases in the last three years, the band has churned out material faster than in their early days.

Lauderdale also says that with Dallas’ random weather lately, Pink Martini is set to deliver on Sunday whether there’s a crowd or not proving the band’s commitment to spread its distinct sound that delves into foreign lands and classic movies.

Read my conversation with Lauderdale after the jump. Pink Martini performs at Annette Strauss Square at the Winspear Opera House, 2403 Flora St. 8 p.m. $45–$65. ATTPAC.org.

—  Rich Lopez

SXSW 2012: Queer interest films highlight the Austin festival’s first week

Wu Tsang's "Wildness" look at L.A.'s underground LGBT Latino nightclub, the Silver Platter..

This year’s SXSW Film Festival includes more LGBT works than ever, including Wu Tsang’s insightful look at LA’s most popular Latino gay bar in Wildness, Jonathan Lisecki’s quasi-homo pregnancy comedy Gayby and Chris James Thompson’s Jeff, a low-key yet emotional portraits of Jeffrey Dahmer’s next door neighbor and lead investigator.

But the festival has also featured films with unexpected LGBT inclusion, an encouraging indication for viewers who want to see our community included in larger film narratives. After the jump, find my a list of more movies that have screened this week along with a reviews and exclusive interviews with actors Willem Dafoe and Minnie Driver below (click links for trailers):

—  Daniel Villarreal

SXSW 2012 gets off to a proper queer start (updated)

Austin turns into a frenzy as South by Southwest kicks off Friday introducing crowds to a wealth of films, multimedia, live music and not enough showers to go around for everyone. As I researched the festival’s schedule and created my own of (fingers-crossed) all the LGBT-related events, I noticed how tomorrow starts a big ol’ gay weekend for SXSW.

I’ve excerpted my schedule below up until Monday. You’ll see the panels and discussions, but two films also help open the festival. Friday, the documentary Wildness screens the first of four scheduled times through the fest and the short film Liar makes its world premiere on Saturday followed by two additional screenings. From SXSW.com.

Rooted in the tropical underground of Los Angeles nightlife, Wildness is a portrait of the Silver Platter, a historic bar that has been home to Latin/LGBT immigrant communities since 1963. With a magical-realist flourish the bar itself becomes a character, narrating what happens when a weekly party called Wildness explodes into creativity and conflict. What does “safe space” mean? Who needs it? And how does it differ among us? At the Silver Platter, the search for answers creates coalitions across generations.

(Liar) After 14 year-old Tara’s boyfriend comes out to her and ends their relationship, she can’t help feeling confused and angry with him. But when Tara’s older sister and her friend become convinced that Brian was lying about being gay, Tara gets drawn into a revenge mission that she’s not even sure she believes in. When the girls catch up with Brian and their plan takes an unexpectedly violent turn, Tara is forced to choose between standing helplessly on the sidelines or stepping in to defend the boyfriend that hurt her.

Find the trailer for Liar here, but watch this clip from Wildness along with the queer-interest weekend skedge for SXSW’s opening weekend after the jump.

—  Rich Lopez

R.I.P. Leslie, Austin’s cross-dressing icon

Openly gay former State Rep. Glen Maxey just posted the above photo on Facebook. And sure enough, Leslie has died. From Statesman.com:

An Austin icon is dead, and Austin just got a lot less weird.

Leslie Cochran — the city’s flesh-flashing, cross-dressing, attention-loving, frequently homeless mascot, unofficial ambassador and sometimes mayoral candidate — died at 1 a.m. at Christopher House, an inpatient hospice, according to his friend and power of attorney Valerie Romness. He was 60.

Cochran had been admitted to St. David’s South Austin Medical Center last month after being found unconscious in a South Austin parking lot. The cause of death was believed to be complications from a brain injury, according to Romness.

Cochran died “peacefully and comfortably” in the company of family and friends, Romness said.

Read the full story here.

—  John Wright