An Horse, of course

 

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SADDLE UP | Kate Cooper, foreground, says this time in Dallas will be a proper showing for An Horse.

Don’t argue grammar with Kate Cooper, the lesbian half of the Down Under duo An Horse

RICH LOPEZ  | Staff Writer
lopez@dallasvoice.com

First things first: Grammarians and language mavens might have trouble with the band An Horse. Not that there is anything wrong with the music, but that two-letter article strikes some nerves — including with this writer.

But Kate Cooper is fine with any way people talk about it.

“Oh, people get so worked up about it, but it is arguably correct,” she says.

Cooper, who is touring with bandmate Damon Cox, brings the international pop stylings of An Horse to Dallas Monday. With their second album, Walls, An Horse seems to have found their sound, a polished collection of a dozen tunes that play as if a sprawling backing band helped out.

A job well done … but that name.

An Horse. Yeah, it’s tough to work with.

“I’m happy that it gets people talking about grammar,” she chuckles.

The story about the name related to an argument Cooper had with her sister over the use of the article a in front of words beginning in h. That resulted in her sister making a sweater for Cooper with the words on it and subsequently being asked if that was a band … and thus band history was created.

Cooper and Cox are on a high from supporting Walls. Even though the band has played Dallas before, she disputes it was a proper showing (a last minute venue cancellation and other problems marred it), so Cooper figures this time will be better.

“Yeah, we’re looking forward to it and we’ve stayed in Dallas before so we kind of know the city,” she says. “We’ve stayed there while making our way to Austin and every time we drove through, we’d play the Dallas theme song. That’s always my impression of the city.“

An Horse’s debut, 2009’s Rearrange Beds, was really a collection of demos cobbled together. With a label behind them this time around and an actual production team in place, this might be An Horse’s winning run.

“It just feels like a proper record from a proper band,” she says. “The first time, we weren’t really a band so much as just friends wanting to make music. Next thing we knew we had an album and were on tour and it was all kind of an accident.”

Cox and Cooper worked in a record store together and became BFF’s before becoming a band. Little did they know they’d catch the eyes and ears of some big names. Garnering attention from major music pubs like Rolling Stone and Pitchfork put An Horse on the map. Cooper knows they are still young and green, but such accolades comfort and encourage her.

“It’s all great even though I don’t read them,” she says. “It’s good to get the attention and for a band from Australia, that’s impossible. But we’re still both learning and taking more things in. We’re just better equipped this time around.”

Even if they weren’t receiving the high praise, it doesn’t matter to Cooper. She would still make music.

“Yeah, but I’d be doing it just in my bedroom,” she says.

Although from Australia and now based in Canada, Cooper hasn’t found any difference in attitudes among countries when it comes to her being an out lesbian musician.

“I’m lucky I’m surrounded by people and fans that it’s not a thing to them,” she says. “Everywhere we go it’s just me being me. Occasionally I’ll hear a comment but they are usually a lazy reference point. I just say more power to them and their small minds.”

And they’re not so indie that they’d skip out on playing specifically LGBT events. It’s just a matter of timing and, well, requests.

“I know it’s come up once or twice, but the scheduling didn’t work,” she says. “But we haven’t been really been asked to play any Pride events. I’m very proud of being a gay person and I’d be stoked to do that.”

Are you listening, Dallas Tavern Guild?

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition May 20, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Body & Fitness: Excess baggage

Duke Nelson, above, opts for the more personal environment and one-on-one training he gets at Trainer Daddy Fitness Studio. Smaller facilities are trending as an alternative to big gym memberships. (Photo by Rich Lopez)

Admitting to yourself that you don’t use your gym membership is the first step to recovery — the next is figuring exactly what to do now that you’re over it

RICH LOPEZ | Staff Writer

Drat those New Year resolutions. Every year for the majority of the population, the first day of the new year is the day to start getting in shape. With the onslaught of gym membership advertisements offering steals of a deal, joining one is clearly the right thing to do. Hey, this writer did it.

The only thing is — weeks (and in some cases months) later, you can count the check-ins on one hand. In the meantime, you’re bank account is depleted on a monthly basis. Frustrated? Broke? Buyer’s remorse? Join the club. But there are some options on what to do with that membership.

Cancel your membership: Well, this is the obvious first step. Hopefully you’ve signed on to a monthly plan that will make this a whole lot easier. Just be strong.

“When you let a health club or fitness center continue to bill you for a membership that you no longer use you are throwing money away,” local trainer J.R. Brown says. “I believe they pick a price point that you won’t miss every month and hope that canceling is just too much work and some gyms make the cancellation process almost impossible.”

A recent call to 24 Hour Fitness to cancel a membership was, overall, easy. But they didn’t go down without a fight. Brown has definitely seen this first hand.

“We will offer you a coupon for an hour of personal training while you reconsider,” said Raymond (just Raymond) at 24 Hour’s membership services line. So if you change your mind, you get the coupon — not get the coupon to change your mind. It was baffling but felt, you know, wrong.

After that was declined, an offer of putting the membership on hold was next. A monthly expense of $38 was being charged, but for $7 a month, it would go on hold for six months. Since it was akin to paying for nothing, this wasn’t overly enticing.

Once Raymond had finished his attempts, he was quite amiable about the total cancellation. The customer service was good and compelling, but never aggressive or guilt inducing.

Sell that sucker: Bigger named gyms likely don’t allow this, but check with your smaller ones. Less corporate types just want to be sure they get paid. Head to Craigslist to post or even buy a membership.

Consider gym alternatives: Yes, it’s nice to think you’ll be going every day after work to the gym, but try to be realistic . Do you have commitment issues? Do crowds bug you?

Consider a training studio that offers training in a smaller gym environment rather than a place to go to with gym equipment.

“At least spend the money where it will do you some good,” Brown adds.

His studio, Trainer Daddy, offers working out in a different fashion and the trend is growing among newer mixed-use developments and their in-house gyms. Trainers work with residents and, of course, clients offering supervised training rather than leaving you to your own devices. Plus, if they are like Brown, there can be no monthly fee and you can skip the crowds.

“Some people prefer a more private environment and they only get charged for training,” he says.

Wait it out: This isn’t about sticking it to the gyms out there. Sometimes we don’t read the fine print and just have to stick with what we started with. This is the time to research what the gym offers that may interest you. Classes may have more appeal than working out without direction. Network with people you know to workout as a group or in pairs. And gyms like 24 Hour offer online fitness training available to members.

The website eHow.com covers the topic of how to motivate yourself in going to the gym. They suggest to “think of the gym as a place to relax, not to work… as a change of scenery from the office and the house, not something obligatory.”

Yeah, right.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition Feb. 18, 2011.

—  John Wright

XLV Party gets some gay in after all

We had mixed feelings about the cancellation of Thursday’s queer-skewing XLV Party. With a lineup that included Cazwell, Lady Bunny and The Village People, organizers reached out to the LGBT community. But the headliners weren’t a strong enough draw and the concert was pulled.

Organizers bounced back, though, and added a quick hint of mint to the remaining shows, with DJ Samantha Ronson joining Friday’s lineup. The lesbian DJ isn’t just Lindsay Lohan’s ex, she’s a pretty big deal all on her own. Thanks for keeping us in mind, guys!

— Rich Lopez

Visit XLVParty.com for information.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition Feb. 4, 2011.

—  John Wright

QUOTE OF THE DAY: Lady Bunny

“I have no idea why this was cancelled. But honestly, who thinks of an overweight drag queen when they think of sports? Water sports, maybe!”

— Lady Bunny, on the cancellation of a gay-themed Super Bowl concert at which she was scheduled to perform, in an e-mail to Instant Tea

—  John Wright

CORRECTION: Publicist says more than 13 tickets were sold to canceled gay Super Bowl concert

We received the below message marked “URGENT” late last night from Ariana Hajibashi, publicist for the this weekend’s XLV Party at the Cotton Bowl. Hajibashi was responding to our post Monday about the cancellation of the first night of the party, which was geared toward the LGBT community. In our post, we reported that Hajibashi said the Thursday night concert — featuring the Village People, Lady Bunny and Cazwell — was canceled because only 13 (yes, 13) tickets had been sold. But she now says that’s inaccurate:

“I appreciate the story on XLV Party but I wanted to let you know that the 13 tickets number you quoted me saying is not correct,” she wrote. “When speaking with you, I was giving you an example, just threw a number out there. We definitely sold tickets but not enough to entice us to continue with the event as scheduled. If you could please make that correction, I’d appreciate it.”

Done, but how many tickets were actually sold then? We’ve responded to Hajibashi with this very question, and we’ll update if we get a response.

—  John Wright

Navigating our Top 10 News Stories of 2010

In this week’s Dallas Voice, which will be available on newsstands by Friday, we take a look at our Top 10 LGBT News Stories of 2010. Because the list was designed for the print edition, it may seem a little difficult to navigate here, so we thought we’d go ahead and provide this quick reference. As always, you can also download the print edition as a PDF by clicking here.

1. Teen suicides put spotlight on bullying

2. DADT repeal capped 17-year fight

3. Dallas Dems narrowly survived GOP tidal wave

4. As Prop 8, DOMA cases proceeded, Texas made its own marriage news

5. Bus driver’s plight led to trans protections at DART

6. Controversy brewed success for ‘TOTWK’

7. Perry, Dewhurst were tied to cancellation of gay-themed play at Tarleton

8. FW changes continued in wake of Rainbow Lounge

9. Dallasites helped fuel GetEQUAL

10. Rare bathhouse raid sparked controversy

—  John Wright

Gay NASCAR blogger says sport’s fans are more accepting of gays than gays are of NASCAR fans

Michael Myers, founder of Queers4Gears.com

As we found out when a certain lunch appointment canceled because “two of his employees are going to the races,” NASCAR returns to the Texas Motor Speedway this weekend. While we’re pretty sure these particular employees are straight, the lunch cancellation got Instant Tea to thinking, are there any gay NASCAR fans out there?

Well of course there are — and not just the closeted ones — but we never would’ve imagined that there’s an entire gay NASCAR-devoted website, especially one that doesn’t feature photos of drivers with their shirts off.

Queers4Gears.com, founded by Michael Myers in 2009, has been featured on ESPN.com and was named one of the top 50 NASCAR blogs in the country by SportsManagementDegrees.net. ESPN reported on Queers4Gears after Myers asked a driver a question during a press conference (watch the driver’s reaction in the clip below).

Queers4Gears.com boasts more than a thousand followers on Twitter, and the site currently features a preview of this weekend’s action at TMS. Elsewhere on the site, there are LGBT discounts for an upcoming race in Phoenix, merchandise for sale, and a list of charities including a Nevada AIDS organization. Here’s a snippet from the About section of Queers4Gears:

Q4G founder, Michael Myers, said that he started Q4G as an online home for Gay NASCAR fans. “But more importantly, I want to bring new fans to the sport.” Myers went on to say that NASCAR fans have been more accepting of him being gay than gay people have been accepting of his being a NASCAR fan.

“There are as many misconceptions and stereotypes about NASCAR fans as there are about gay people. I hope in some small way Queers4Gears can help to change that. This has been an incredible first year and I hope to build on the site’s success for years to come.”

—  John Wright