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.

—  Anna Waugh

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

WATCH: Xiu Xiu’s “Beauty Towne”

In this Friday’s issue, I’ll have a review of avant-popsters Xiu Xiu‘s new album Always which drops March 6. But the band is already on a roll with its second single. “Beauty Towne” is a sort of companion piece to their early song “Clowne Towne,” but their growth is clearly evident. Keeping true to their obscure notions, the band doesn’t appear in the animated video which plays like a not-so-creepy animatic rough cut of the haunted video from Ringu (the original Japanese version of The Ring).

Queer singer Jamie Stewart and his gang have announced tour dates yesterday on the band’s website. For now, the only Texas dates include Austin on June 6 and Marfa (WTF??) on June 5.

Watch “Beauty Towne” after the jump.

—  Rich Lopez

WATCH: Activists across Texas stage marriage equality demonstrations on Valentine’s Day

In his post about Tuesday’s Valentine’s Day marriage equality demonstration in Dallas, David Taffet mentioned that three activists were arrested Tuesday during a similar action in Austin. Daniel Cates, a GetEQUAL organizer from Dallas, sent over the below video of the Austin activists singing a rousing rendition of “I’m gonna stand at the marriage counter …” while seated on the floor of the clerk’s office prior to their arrests. Raw Story has a full report.

In Fort Worth, WFAA reports that a lesbian couple was denied a marriage license on Tuesday afternoon.

In San Antonio, same -sex couples participated in a midnight mass wedding conducted annually by Baptist minister Joe Sullivan at the Bexar County Courthouse, despite Sullivan’s warning that they would face “acts of vengeance.” QSanAntonio quotes activist Julie Pousson, who attended the event: “Minister Joe Sullivan said that our couples were there ‘solely to be repulsive,’ and he threatened them with acts of vengeance on the part of God if they did not leave the courthouse steps. Our beautiful couples stood their ground for more than five minutes of hate speech and contradictory logic from the good minister before he finally relented and performed the wedding.”

And in Houston, after being denied marriage licenses at the clerk’s office, a group of roughly 30 activists marched to City Hall, where openly gay Mayor Annise Parker delivered a proclamation honoring Freedom to Marry Day. KPRC has video, and the Houston Chronicle reports:

—  John Wright

WATCH: Hunx’s “Always Forever”

Seth Bogart, neé Hunx (of Hunx and His Punx) has released the video for his leadoff single “Always Forever” from his upcoming solo album Hairdresser Blues. Hunx gets cubed in the video with split screens and time-lapse photography. He even pays a bit of homage to Nirvana, replicating the Nevermind cover. Hairdresser Blues is set to be released Feb. 28.

It looks like Hunx will be coming to Texas in today’s announced tour dates. Three dates in Texas include Houston at Fitzgerald’s, April 17; Austin at Mohawk, April 18 and El Paso at M’s Lips, April 19. Sadly, no Dallas date.

Watch “Always Forever” after the jump along with a trailer of the entire album featuring major crotch shot action.

—  Rich Lopez