DVD review: “Black Briefs” (2012)

Black Briefs (2012). Various directors. Now available.

If you go into Black Briefs expecting something about underwear, you’ve misinterpreted the “briefs” in the title — not that the company releasing it didn’t want you to make that mistake. Black Briefs wants to be thought of as sexy, though just as much, it’s occasionally just creepy and odd.

The short film format is a tricky one — it requires economy and a sense of purpose that’s difficult to master. The series of six films gets off to a weak start with an S&M themed film about a young gay guy getting a quick education (“Spring”), while “Remission” builds tension on its way to suggested torture porn that never comes together. But there’s something to like — even if it’s just sexiness — in “Winner Takes All” and “Promise,” and a few chills even in “Video Night.”

Worth a rent? More or less — some are better than others.

Rating: **1/2 (overall)

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Local briefs • Dallas Bar Association hosts forum

Dallas Bar Association hosts forum

The Dallas Bar Association will host a legislative forum on Monday, Oct. 3, at noon in The Pavilion at the Belo Mansion, 2101 Ross Ave., to discuss legislative changes recently put into law, focusing on topics and trends related to local, state and national legislative agendas.

Guest speakers for the event are state Rep. Rafael Anchia, representing District 103 in Dallas, and state Sen. John Corona, representing District 16 in Dallas.

The event is free and open to the public, but an optional lunch buffet is available for $13 per person. Those interested in attending are asked to respond to sevans@dallasbar.org to ensure adequate seating.Garage parking is available with the entrance on Olive Street.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 30, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Local briefs • 09.02.11

H4PJ schedules workshops

Hope for Peace and Justice is sponsoring a series of three free evening workshops as part of its mission to provide peace practitioner training to the greater Dallas-Fort Worth community.

Raj Gill, the director of Prosperity Circles Coaching, International, in British Columbia, Canada, and a trainer certified by the International Center for Nonviolent Communication will lead the workshops Sept. 12–14, from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at the Interfaith Peace Chapel, 5910 Cedar Springs Road.

To attend, RSVP by email to workshops@NVCDFW.org or by phone at 469-420-0682. For more information or to make a donation online, go to NVCDFW.org

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 2, 2011.

 

 

—  Michael Stephens

Amici footnotes: Usually more persuasive if they don’t match brief’s guiding hand

It’s not surprising that the Liberty Counsel, in their DOMA-defending amicus curiae, cite “ex-gay” researcher Joseph Nicolosi as an expert. That was pretty much a given.

What does seeming startlingly silly, even for LC, is that they also cite a book written by Mat Staver — the very same Liberty Counsel president who tops the very same brief!

Screen Shot 2011-01-27 At 1.45.28 Pm

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What next, L.C: Gonna use one noted Dr. Seuss as an unbiased expert in The People vs. Green Eggs, Ham, et. al?




Good As You

—  admin

More amicus briefs filed: Eagle Forum, Liberty Counsel — in support of Obama DOJ DOMA defense

More amicus briefs filed: Eagle Forum and Mat Staver & Bam Bam’s Liberty Counsel — in support of the government’s DOMA defense in Gill et al. v. Office of Personnel Management et al. From Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD):

We have received amicus briefs on behalf of DOJ from Eagle Forum, the American College of Pediatricians, and one from the attorneys general of Indiana, Michigan, Utah, Colorado, and South Carolina.

Also up are the briefs from the Pacific Justice Institute and the Foundation for Moral Law. From the Liberty Counsel brief, an attempt to say Loving v. Virginia is not a legitimate comparison to refer to when considering the legalization of same-sex marriage.

Loving v. Virginia is readily distinguishable.

The District Court’s reliance on Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1 (1967), as evidence that Congress lacks authority to define marriage for purposes of federal laws is misplaced. (Op. at 7-8). To support its conclusion that Congress lacked authority to define marriage in DOMA, the District Court stated that prior to Loving, when some states prohibited interracial marriages, the federal government relied on state law definitions of marriage for purposes of federal law. Not only does this fail to address the other federal statutes mentioned above that defined marriage, it also ignores a critical distinction between the situations when, on the one hand, a state law definition of marriage is more restrictive than a federal definition of marriage (as in the instance of the state bans against interracial marriage), and, on the other hand, a state law definition is more expansive than a federal definition that incorporates the longstanding common law definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

As the Supreme Court ultimately and correctly held in Loving, it constitutes unconstitutional discrimination to prohibit interracial marriage. Prior to Loving, the federal government accepted the state definition of marriage for purposes of many federal statutes from those states that prohibited interracial marriages. Although no state should ever have prohibited such marriages, there are at least two reasons why the federal government might have relied on the state law definitions for purposes of federal statutes even when the state definitions unconstitutionally prohibited interracial marriages.

First, none of the marriages presented to the federal government for recognition was inconsistent with the longstanding definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Thus, while all the marriages allowed by the state fit the longstanding common law definition of marriage, the state’s definition included fewer marriages than would be accepted by the federal government. In other words, the federal government was not asked to acknowledge as a valid marriage anything that was inconsistent with the longstanding common law meaning of marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Second, the interracial couple could relocate to another state that permitted interracial marriage and, in turn, have their marriage recognized for purposes of federal statutes.

In contrast with the federal government’s acceptance of the more limiting state definition of marriage before Loving, the relief requested by Massachusetts asks the federal government to broaden its definition of marriage to include relationships that are inconsistent with the longstanding definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman. In other words, it asks the federal government to recognize as a valid marriage a relationship that is repugnant, as was polygamy and bigamy, to the common law definition of marriage.

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin

Anti-gay orgs file amicus briefs in DOMA case

Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders gave the heads up that the Obama DOJ brief (re: Gill et al. v. Office of Personnel Management et al.) will see fundie bedfellow filings, and lo and behold, the first out of the gate are from the National Organization for Marriage and the Family Research Council.

From the FRC brief:

FRC actively supported the Defense of Marriage Act, the constitutionality of which is the subject of this appeal. FRC, therefore, has a particular interest in the outcome of this case. Requiring the Government to recognize the validity of same-sex marriages would not promote any of the interests on the basis of which marriage is a protected social institution. And, for the reasons set forth herein, nothing in the Constitution, properly understood, compels such recognition.

…Contrary to the district court’s understanding, the issue is not whether denying federal recognition of same-sex marriages “promote[s] stability in heterosexual parenting,” but whether granting such recognition would promote 17 that interest. Clearly, it would not. Under the rational basis standard of review, that is sufficient to sustain the constitutionality of ? 3 of DOMA.

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin

Is Obama the ‘MLK for the gays’?

As you’ve probably heard, the Justice Department filed another brief in support of the Defense of Marriage Act on Thursday, prompting criticism from gay rights advocates who say the Obama administration should allow the law to be struck down instead of defending it. Indeed, less than a month after signing a bill to repeal  “don’t ask, don’t tell,” Obama again finds himself under fire from the LGBT community. With the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday coming Monday, Equality Matters President Richard Socarides drew this analogy in The Huffington Post:

“The repeal of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ was a breathtaking accomplishment. President Obama will get credit. But from this point forward he has a choice. If he builds on it, he could become the MLK for the gays. But if he continues to allow the Justice Department to file these briefs opposing full equality, he will squander an historic opportunity.”

—  John Wright

Local Briefs

‘Friends of the Library’ group meets

The Friends of the Phil Johnson Historic Archives and Research Library, a newly-formed group to support and advise the library and archives at Resource Center Dallas, will hold its first meeting at 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 15, at the center, 2701 Reagan St.

In addition, librarian Sandy Swan has announced that the library will be closed the week of Jan. 18 for minor remodeling.

For more information or to participate as a member of the Friends of the Phil Johnson Historic Archives and Research Library, contact Swan at 214-540-4451,

GAIN sets career changes program

GAIN — GLBT and Aging Interest Network will meet Thursday, Jan. 20, from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Resource Center Dallas, 2701 Reagan St., for a program on “Reinvent Yourself — Strategies for a Successful Career Change,” presented by Bill Blalock. The program will include a question-and-answer period and hors d’oeuvres and beverages will be served. Call 214- 528-0144 or e-mail gain@rcdallas.org for more information.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition Jan. 14, 2011

—  John Wright

Local briefs • 08.20.10

WRCC hosts ‘Sunday Show’

The White Rock Community Church Choir and Drama Ministry will present “The Sunday Show,” an old-fashioned radio show featuring interviews with “widows” from the Bible embellished with original songs, on Sunday. Aug. 29, at the church’s regular 10:45 a.m. service.

The program used catchy rhythms and talk show-style dialog to give the audience a new understanding of remarkable women from biblical times.

White Rock Community Church is located at 9353 Garland Road in Dallas. For more information call 214-320-0043 or go online to WhiteRockChurch.org.

Yoga of the Breath begins Aug. 27

The next Yoga of the Breath course for People Living with HIV begins Friday Aug, 27 and is open to everyone living with HIV, which includes caregivers, partners and other family members of people with HIV.

The program is free of charge, and will be held at Pride Pharmacy, 2929 Carlisle St. in Dallas. Meals and transportation are provided.
For more information call 469-212-3797.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 20, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens

Lambda Legal’s Ken Upton says today’s Prop 8 ruling will have little immediate practical impact

Ken Upton

We spoke Wednesday morning with Ken Upton, a senior staff attorney with Lambda Legal who’s based in Dallas, about the potential legal implications of this afternoon’s expected ruling in the Prop 8 case. Specifically, we asked Upton what the ruling could mean to folks in Texas, and why we should care.

Upton noted that even if U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker strikes down Prop 8, it’s likely that the decision will be put on hold pending appeal, meaning no same-sex marriages will be performed in California.

“In the short run, it’s not going to do anything as a practical matter because it will be stayed,” Upton said of today’s decision. “Nobody’s going to get married in California, and the decision won’t be the final decision, because it’s going to get appealed at least once. As a practical matter, it won’t really do anything, but it will start the ball rolling on a path that could eventually do something.”

Upton said he is optimistic Walker will strike down Prop 8.

“I read the transcripts, and I heard the arguments, and I read the briefs,” Upton said. “The law is strong in our favor and the evidence was I thought very persuasive in our favor, so it won’t surprise me if he rules for us.”

But Upton added that the key to today’s ruling is not whether Judge Walker upholds or strikes down Prop 8, but the manner in which he does so.

“The result won’t be the final one anyway,” he said. “At this point, he’s just firing the first salvo if you will. What will really be interesting is how far he goes. What will he say about the constitution and how it protects gay people? What level of scrutiny will he give it? Will he talk about marriage itself or will he talk about discrimination against gay people? The immediate effect of it will be more one for lawyers to dissect than it will have any practical effect. It’s going to be years before we know the ultimate result.”

Despite minimal practical impacts, Upton acknowledged that a victory today will give the LGBT community a psychological boost.

“It feels good to see courts do what they’re constitutionally required to do, and that is be a check on government and the political arms of government,” he said. “One colleague suggested that everybody have a bottle of tequila in their office, and once we win, every time the other side calls him [Walker] an activist judge, take a shot, and see how long it takes to get drunk.”

—  John Wright