Working on Ann Richards documentary became a passion for director

Keith Patterson wasn’t from Texas and hadn’t even spent much time here. Then while living in Los Angeles, a friend said he wanted to do a documentary about Ann Richards. Patterson was familiar with — even a fan of — the late Texas governor, “so I came on board” in late 2010, he says.

The following 20 months, however, have been a journey for the gay filmmaker, who ended up co-directing Ann Richards’ Texas, the documentary that kicks off Dallas VideoFest 25 at the Dallas Museum of Art Thursday night.

“We came to Texas for a year: Austin first, but we ended up everywhere,” he says on the phone from New York, a few hours before his planned arrival in Dallas to attend the festival. “I even have a place in Houston [still].”

Working on the documentary quickly became a passion for Patterson.

“I loved her,” he says. “You can’t get any larger than a Texas politician. That’s why The Best Little Whorehouse is so good — it captures the politics. That song where the governor talks about sidestepping [every issue]? That was [the governorship]. When Ann got in there and started passing a lot of reforms, she shook everything up.”

Richards had help from some powerful friends, including lesbian power couple Lily Tomlin and Jane Wagner, who met and befriended Richards early in her political career. “They were friends from the 1980s when she ran for treasurer and helped write the comedy for Ann’s [historic 1988 Democratic National Conventional] keynote address,” Patterson says. “That’s when she met Dolly [Parton], too. I think Ann was a county commissioner when Dolly was [in Texas] shooting Whorehouse.”

Tomlin, Parton and a host of other celebs offer their voices to the documentary. It wasn’t difficult finding people anxious to talk on the record about the flamboyant Texas pol.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Hillary’s mom dies

Dorothy Rodham

Dorothy Howell Rodham, 92, died today at George Washington University Hospital. She is survived by her daughter, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and two sons, Hugh and Tony Rodham, and four grandchildren, including Chelsea Clinton.

The family asked that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to George Washington University Hospital or Heifer International, her Christmas gift of choice last year, or to an organization that helps neglected or abused children, according to a report in the New York Daily News.

Rodham came from a troubled home and left at the age of 14 to work as a nanny. She married Hugh Rodham in 1942. He was a staunch Republican but she remained a Democrat. He died in 1993 soon after Bill Clinton became president.

 

 

—  David Taffet

Facebook adds civil unions, domestic partnerships to relationship status options

Props to Facebook peeps. The word is spreading about their updates to the relationship status field. The HuffPo posted earlier that “civil union” and “domestic partner” are now listed under the field as options and are being rolled out as we speak.

The changes were made in consultation with Facebook’s Network of Support, a group that includes LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender] organizations such as the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network, and the Human Rights Campaign.

“As LGBT people face a pathwork of relationship recognition laws, this gives people more tools to adequately describe their relationship,” said Michael Cole, spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign. “Facebook has been a company that has tried to be inclusive of the LGBT community and this just one sign of it.”

Richard Socarides, president of Equality Matters and former gay rights advisor to president Bill Clinton, echoed Coles’ praise.

from Huffington Post

—  Rich Lopez

Marriage next on ‘gay agenda,’ NYT reports

Richard Socarides

According to a report in the New York Times, marriage, rather than employment non-discrimination, is the next item on the official “Gay Agenda” now that “don’t ask, don’t tell” is on its way to being repealed.

A new group called Equality Matters grew out of a group called Media Matters. Bill Clinton adviser Richard Socarides will head the group. Advocate writer Kerry Eleveld will edit the group’s website.

The Times points out that marriage discrimination means discrimination in taxes, social security benefits and other programs run by the federal government even if a couple is legally married.

While many more rights flow from marriage equality, it is interesting that the group has chosen that as the next fight. “Don’t ask, don’t tell” was, in many ways, an employment non-discrimination issue. The next logical win would be again in the employment area. Most people understand that someone shouldn’t be fired because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, even among people who base their marriage-equality views on religion.

And Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, said he welcomed the new group and hoped they would help change opinions. But who gave this new group the authority to decide the next battle? Or is the New York Times bestowing a title on the group prematurely? Either way, we weren’t consulted and haven’t even received a press release from Equality Matters.

—  David Taffet

Cammermeyer appointed to DOD committee

Col. Margarethe 'Grethe' Cammermeyer, left, with then-Texas State Rep. Harryette Ehrhardt during Cammermeyer's visit to Dallas in 1998
Col. Margarethe ‘Grethe’ Cammermeyer, left, with then-Texas State Rep. Harryette Ehrhardt during Cammermeyer’s visit to Dallas in 1998.

Back in 1989, the U.S. Army Reserves threw Col. Margarethe “Grethe” Cammermeyer out of the military when she told the truth during a security clearance interview and acknowledged that she was a lesbian.

Today, 21 years later, the Department of Defense announced that Cammermeyer has been appointed to the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services.

In announcing Cammermeyer’s appointment — and the appointment of a new committee chair and eight other committee members — Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Clifford Stanley said the committee’s work is “vital to the development of informed department policy.”

—  admin