Drawing Dallas • 12.16.11

From coffeehouse to gay bar, Taylor Hartman has a lust for new experiences

SketchesMARK STOKES  | Illustrator

Name and age: Taylor Hartman, 18

Spotted at: Buli Cafe

Occupation: Barista at Buli Café, Dancer at BJ’s NXS!

Wanderlust: This sweet, blonde Gemini was born in Tampa, Fla., but has moved around his whole life. Taylor’s family has an inherent restless spirit, having settled in Florida, Texas and Missouri. A hands-on guy, Taylor knows how to rope cattle and work as a ranch hand — he is good with animals and can even build fences. He came to Texas with his family but moved to Dallas on his own to begin a new life in the big city.
Taylor say his parents always knew he was gay, so coming out was no big deal. He is a fast learner, and has become an experienced dancer in a few short months. He plans to become a professional dancer or a business owner. He has also inherited his family’s wanderlust and has plans to travel to Paris and then see where he can go from there. Until then, he plans to spend Christmas in the gayboorhood with his “second family.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 16, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Weekender thread for the coffeehouse: pizza critics unite

This was a popular thread on my Facebook page when I posted that I had Tweeted around the horrors of the products produced at chain pizza places and frozen “food” marketed as pizzas.

The discussion didn’t involve the politics of chains (such as Dominos), the focus was on the levels of pizza sucktitude (taste). It’s assumed that you can make better pizza on your own, or find it at a local joint.

Of course there are cities where it’s hard to find a good slice. One commenter on Facebook said he was in the Midwest and he knew the pizza was bad in one place when they asked him if he “wanted ranch with that.” LOL.

I stay clear of pizza most of the time since it can spike my blood sugar something awful. So it’s a treat to just have one slice so it better be good. I prefer plain cheese with spinach on it, NY style. Anyway, here are my assessments of a few:

  • Little Caesars: tastes like a sandy doormat with rubber cheese.
  • Old Dominos (haven’t had “improved” version) Craptastic prefab, awful sauce.
  • Papa Johns: Shoe leather crust, too doughy, sauce too sweet.
  • Pizza Hut: Drywall chew. The chain needs to stop focusing on BS like cheese in the crust and all these variations on the pie and just make a good one.

It must be hand-tossed, no prefab . That’s why frozen pizza is ass. If someone can actually think of anything out of a freezer section that is passable, I’d love to hear it.

My personal local favorite – it actually has good NY style pizza: I’ll take Randy‘s any day.

Share your opinions, and tell us where the best local pizza is (or mourn that your town lacks good pizza).
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin

Coffeehouse brainstorming: suggestions for Philippine LGBT Pride March 2010 counter-protests

NOTE FROM PAM: Now this is a nice project for our Blenders here in the coffeehouse! We gab all the time about the fundies, so I know we can help out our friends in the Philippines who are about to rake on the bible-beaters in some fun direct action. Post your ideas (and photos if you have some) in the comments.

Hello Everybody!

Antonio Yang III here from the Filipino Freethinkers, a community of skeptics, atheists, godless heathens, and baby eaters in the Philippines.

I was hoping to ask for advice regarding an upcoming event we are planning to support this December 4, 2010: The 2010 LGBT Pride March.

Getting into the details, our task is to serve as counter-protesters against the religious groups that normally troll these events, mostly of the Evangelical Chritsian and Catholic variety.

Their rhetoic is familiar – placards and signboards that dictate that homosexuality is a sin, that God hates sinner, and all the other usual rubbish about gays going to hell. It's nowhere near as vicious as the messages that the Wetboro Baptist Church vomits, but it's still bigoted.

I've already emailed Pam, and she's suggested that we keep our counter-protest signs peaceful and friendly. She's also suggested that I ask you guys directly if you may have suggestions for countersigns we can come up with.

I've been following how the LGBT community in the US has been handling the fundies, and I have to say you guys do good work.

We're looking for something witty and intelligent – something like the signs some of our members used when the local Catholic Church tried to justify their opposition to a Reproductive Health bill:


We're also busy preparing an Excommunication Party for this November 26, as a show of support for the RH Bil.

In any case, I look forward to any suggestions for signs you guys might have – Pam's already sent me a couple of links to her previous activities too. You may want to visit the 2010 LGBT Pride March's Facebook page for further details regarding the event, and the discussion thread we've set up at the FF Forums.

Note: That skinny dude in a black shirt holding the “Citation Needed sign is Ryan “Red” Tani, the Supreme Leader/Overlord of the Filipino Freethinkers.



Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin

Docu, no drama

Franco fascinating as Ginsberg in convoluted ‘Howl’

Arnold Wayne Jones | Life+Style Editor jones@dallasvoice.com

After 30 years of making non-fiction films, using interviews, newsreels and stock footage, documentarians Jeffrey Friedman and Rob Epstein have taken a dive into the deep end of the filmmaking pond with Howl. They don’t drown, but they need a stronger stroke to keep from treading water.

On the surface, it shares much with their documentary output: Like The Celluloid Closet, Common Threads: Tales from the Quilt and The Times of Harvey Milk, it tackles a high-profile moment in gay rights history: The writing of (and obscenity trial over) Allen Ginsberg’s incendiary longform poem Howl. It’s a rangy movie, flitting between Ginsberg’s (James Franco) relationships leading up to his writing of it, the initial reading at a San Francisco coffeehouse in 1955, the trial and an interview with and older Ginsberg about what it meant. In between, the directors use animation to capture the dreamy nonsense of the images.

That’s a lot to digest, with various visual styles that never coalesce: The supersaturated colors of the poem’s imagery contrast with the black-and-white hand-held shots of Allen at home, film noir moodiness of the café and flat, Mad Men-esque stuffiness of the courtroom scenes. It’s as if Friedman and Epstein, finally freed of the constraints of the reality of a documentary, got lost in the vast techniques at their disposal.

They have not, though, presented the drama with the intensity it warrants. The poem itself is compelling if pretentious, yet radical and historically significant; the lawsuit claiming it was pornographic for its depiction of homosexual longing was noteworthy but hardly precedential. Still, it’s plump with dramatic potential … which the film fails to take full advantage of. Even the trial, adequately handled with Jon Hamm and David  Strathain facing off over obscenity, doesn’t have the pop of a good episode of Law & Order. It feels compartmentalized, removed from the realities of Ginsberg’s creative process.

Still, Franco’s performance is enough to recommend it. Franco has become one of the most daring and inventive young stars in Hollywood, taking huge career risks with a happy quietude that suggests a real artist. His cadences as Ginsberg, and the brave way he throws himself into the gay situations, give him an ethereal quality, wafting through the movie like a guiding spirit.

Two and a half stars

—  Kevin Thomas