Google supports gays in Sochi … subtly

Screen shot 2014-02-07 at 9.15.31 AM

For the non-LGBT-friendly, the opening page of Google today probably looks like a way to mark the opening of the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia: skiers, skaters, snowboarders in colorful boxes over the search engine’s name. But pay closer attention: There are six letters in Google, six boxes, and six colors — red, orange, yellow, green, blue purple. Those are the six colors in the gay rainbow (there are seven colors in the true spectrum, purple being divided into indigo and violet). What’s the significance of Google placing its Olympians amid the gay flag? It’s pretty obvious. Corporate America has finally caught on, with Anheuser-Busch pulling its people out of Russia as well.

Here’s hoping at least one ice skater does a routine set to Pussy Riot — heck, we’d even take Clay Aiken.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

And the new Celebrity Apprentice is…

not Clay Aiken.

Celebrity Apprentice host Donald Trump chose Arsenio Hall as the winner of the reality show, which does not come with an apprenticeship but only a stipend to the winner’s charity.

Aiken faced off against the former late-night talk show host in the final challenge, and raised nearly twice as much as Hall ($300,000+ versus $160,000+). The finale was mostly a love-fest, with Aiken and Hall touting the other graciously, and with more variety show than job interview for most of the episode. The majority of their fellow contestants seemed to endorse Aiken’s victory.

With this, the fifth “Celebrity” edition (and 12th overall cycle) in the series,  Aiken became the first openly gay finalist on the series; Hall became only the second African-American winner on the series.

This season showed a quality that the conservative, anti-same-sex-marriage insufferable blowhard Trump has not been known for: gay-inclusiveness (at least until the final moment). In addition to Aiken, the cast also included queer-friendly comedienne Lisa Lampanelli (who made it almost to the end and helped out Aiken near the end), Aiken duetist Dee Snider and liberal-minded magician Penn Jillette and most significantly gay icon George Takei from Star Trek, who was dismissed in episode 3 earlier this season.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Twisted, sister: Dee Snider tackles Broadway

If Pat Boone can try heavy metal, I suppose nothing can surprise us. And honestly, the idea that Dee Snider, the hawk-nosed, bleached-perm frontman for annoying ’80s rockers Twisted Sister, has always had an eye for the flamboyant — why shouldn’t he give a rock twist to that most diva-like of genres, the Broadway show tune? So, I was only mildly stunned when I saw he will be releasing an album in May, Dee Does Broadway, featuring covers from the likes of Kander & Ebb and Sondheim.

But two things did catch me off guard. First was that he was able to snag some of the premiere gay icons of the day to perform alongside him, including Patti LuPone, Cyndi Lauper, Bebe Neuwirth and Clay Aiken. The second is that, ummm, he’s pretty good! Untraditional, but good! You can take a listen here. What do you think?

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Takei, Aiken adding gay fabulosity to new “Celebrity Apprentice”

George Takei

I have sincerely admired George Takei ever since 2005 when he publicly came out as a gay man. And I have been a real fan for the last several months, ever since I “liked” his Facebook page and got the chance to see and appreciate his unique sense of humor.

But I am not a big enough fan to watch George in his new gig, because his new gig is being a cast member of the new season of Donald Trump‘s Celebrity Apprentice. And I hate Donald Trump and I hate Celebrity Apprentice way to much to ever watch the show, even for George T. I made myself a promise after listening to Trump’s “presidential campaign” tripe that I would never watch this show, because I never want to do anything that might even remotely put money in his bigoted pockets.

So, love ya George, but I just can’t watch that show.

There will be at least one other gay in the cast to keep George company: Clay Aiken of American Idol and Spamalot fame. And other “gay interest’ cast members are ’80s pop star Debbie Gibson and equal-opportunity-insult comedian Lisa Lampanelli.

I’m not gonna list the whole cast here. You can go over to FoxNews.com to get that (where, by the way, the describe Takei as “Star Wars actor George Takei”). Let it suffice to say that the cast does include Mafia princess Victoria Gotti and Twisted Sister frontman Dee Snider.

—  admin

Clay Aiken at Verizon Theatre last night


Last night we ventured out to the Clay Aiken show at Verizon Theatre. To be honest, I am not a big fan of his music, but I’m certainly a fan of him. We had a good interview for this piece in this week’s issue which started endearing me to him, but when he turned on the ‘tude last night and chatted up his elder audience, he had all the makings of a sassy queen. Several precious moments were to be had as he threw people under the bus, made fun of top 40 radio and took delight in the lack of men in the audience — or at least had fun with it when he cited only six men in the front rows.

“Did she drag you here?” he would ask. Pretty great.

My apologies to any people behind me as I tweeted the night away, but hey, I wasn’t holding my phone up videoing the guy. Here are my tweet-thoughts from the evening and current thoughts (in bold) the day after (after the jump) along with my colleague’s take on the evening.

—  Rich Lopez

Clay Aiken performs tonight at Verizon Theatre

Clay Aiken went from ‘American Idol’ to gay icon — and more

It should come as no surprise that singer Clay Aiken would be a gentleman. With his Southern twang and clean-cut persona, he’s both personable and professional in an interview. But the kid is also pretty slick.

“Not many people can deal with the scrutiny of bullshit.”

Whoa — did Clay Aiken just drop the “S” word? The remark comes on the heels of a question about his much blogged-about new relationship with Jeff Walters, a local actor with recent parts in such shows as Uptown Players’ Closer to Heaven and Ohlook’s The Rocky Horror Show. Perez Hilton and many others (our own Instant Tea blog even got in on the action) were quick to highlight the guys’ night out on the town, complete with pics at Theatre Three and the Gaylord. What soon followed were pics of Walters from Grindr and his work as an underwear model.

“I’ll save you the trouble of asking and not answer,” Aiken laughs with that underlying tone that he’s tight-lipped about his personal life.

Read the entire article here.

—  Rich Lopez

GIVEAWAY: Win tix to Clay Aiken tomorrow night at Verizon Theatre

Last week, I talked with Clay Aiken about his activist work and then his music. He’s kinda been all over the place singing pop, showtunes and now old school classics. He seems to have made a career out of being non-traditional in his approach to his musical catalog. We dig it.

His show comes to town tomorrow night at the Verizon Theatre in Grand Prairie and we have tickets. Wanna go? Yes you do. If so, e-mail us here with “AIKEN” in the subject line and your name and number in the body. I should see you there, so you better say hi.

 

—  Rich Lopez

Pink Noise: The Dallas Voice Podcast

 

In this week’s episode, John Wright and Rich Lopez discussed the GSA controversy in Corpus Christi, Baylor University’s decision to deny the charter for an LGBT student group, anti-bullying bills in the Texas Legislature, Rich’s interview with Clay Aiken this week, Mardi Gras celebrations this weekend in Dallas, and more.

—  John Wright

Feat of Clay

DAPPER DUDE  |  Clay Aiken doesn’t spill the beans much on his personal life, but talks up his activism work with LGBT organizations because he takes them and the work they do very personally.

Clay Aiken went from ‘American Idol’ to gay icon — and more

RICH LOPEZ | Staff Writer
lopez@dallasvoice.com

It should come as no surprise that singer Clay Aiken would be a gentleman. With his Southern twang and clean-cut persona, he’s both personable and professional in an interview. But the kid is also pretty slick.

“Not many people can deal with the scrutiny of bullshit.”

Whoa — did Clay Aiken just drop the “S” word? The remark comes on the heels of a question about his much blogged-about new relationship with Jeff Walters, a local actor with recent parts in such shows as Uptown Players’ Closer to Heaven and Ohlook’s The Rocky Horror Show. Perez Hilton and many others (our own Instant Tea blog even got in on the action) were quick to highlight the guys’ night out on the town, complete with pics at Theatre Three and the Gaylord. What soon followed were pics of Walters from Grindr and his work as an underwear model.

“I’ll save you the trouble of asking and not answer,” Aiken laughs with that underlying tone that he’s tight-lipped about his personal life.

Fair enough. There is much more to Aiken, after all, than mere gossip fodder, as he’s proven with his staunch activism for the welfare of children and youth. His service with the National Inclusion Project (formerly the Bubel/Aiken Foundation) and UNICEF has been notable, but his work with the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) may have his most personal vested interest at heart.

“I think that I chose to work with GLSEN more vocally than other equality organizations because it hits home more,” he says. “All the organizations are incredible, but I got picked on growing up as a kid. For being a nerd, for being gay before I knew I even was. And I still get picked on. Being a celebrity doesn’t protect you and it can be worse when it’s more public.”

Aiken says that without any sign of whining. He focuses less on what people are saying about him (there is a lot out there that’s not-so-nice, starting when he was still an American Idol contestant) and is more interested in directing his attention to anti-bullying causes and making schools safe.

“I understand that mission from my personal standpoint. From the scars,” he chuckles. “But as a former teacher, I want to be sure schools are safe places for kids.”

Interestingly, as a fairly new dad (his son is 2 now), Aiken says his passion didn’t necessarily grow from parenthood. Instead, he says he’d like to think he was always that passionate. But having a son did add a perspective that he thinks might be missing in today’s LGBT parents.

“Well, it’s one thing to protect yourself, but an entirely different thing to protect your child,” he says. “I understand that if my son is gay, I want him to have rights and protections. I think that idea is somewhat lacking within the community. It’s easy to forget that the rights we’re fighting for are for another generation.”

Aiken hesitates to liken the struggle for equal rights for LGBT citizens now with the civil rights movement of Black America in the ‘60s, but he connected with the idea that then, people were working and fighting for rights so that generation’s children didn’t have to. Aiken encourages that thought for LGBT parents.

“We don’t have as many opportunities to look at it that way,” he says. “The generation before us may not have been able to get married and we may in this lifetime, but as a father now, I want to make sure and set up a future for my son.”

Lest we forget, Aiken is first and foremost a musician and singer. He’ll remind North Texas of that as his tour stops at Verizon Theatre on Tuesday in support of his fifth full-length studio release, Tried and True. He recorded old-school tunes from the ‘50s and ’60s, putting his indelible vocal stamp on classics like “Mack the Knife” and

“Unchained Melody.” Ironically, Aiken doesn’t listen much to any music. He’s more of a news junkie.

“I really don’t. I listen to NPR and watch CNN,” he admits. “I love top 40 stuff like Katy Perry and Gaga when it’s on in the car, but I guess I’m kind of a music-less musician.”

Highly doubtful.

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

—  John Wright

Gay blogs reveal Clay Aiken has a new beau right here in Dallas

Celebgalz.com

What is it with pop stars and Dallas men? George Michael started the trend with his tolerant beau Ken Goss, Then we find out that Lance Bass is dating someone originally from Dallas. Over the past few days, the gay gossip blogs have been buzzing about local actor Jeff Walters and his celeb boyfriend Clay Aiken. After we found that out, his appearance in the audience at Theatre 3′s Drowsy Chaperone all started to make sense.

Perez Hilton posted this clip about the two’s appearances in town, which included stops at Pinkberry, Gaylord Texan and Borders. Aiken also took in Ohlook’s production of The Rocky Horror Show where Walters played the title character. And then it came out that Walter is an underwear model. Hot. Then it came out Walters had sexy pics on Grindr. Extra hot.

Colleague Chance sent me this TwitPic of Aiken at Theatre 3. Initially we thought “that’s random.” Come to find out, Aiken was doing so much more here.

Oh, and Aiken’s tour stops in Grand Prairie at Verizon Theatre on March 8. In case you were more interested in his music than his love life.

—  Rich Lopez