Is this what they mean by ‘traditional marriage’?

Actor Doug Hutchison, 51, and his new bride, 16-year-old Courtney Alexis Stodden.

While looking through headlines this morning, I found a story about actor Doug Hutchison announcing his marriage to aspiring country music singer Courtney Alexis Stodden. But here’s the catch: Hutchison is 51. His new bride is 16.

My first reaction was disgust, for two reasons. Reason No. 1: I am 50, going on 51. I have a son who is 14 going on 15. The idea of my son marrying someone my age makes my skin crawl and my stomach churn. That’s reason enough for me to want to slap Mr. Hutchison silly right there.

But then there’s Reason No. 2: I cannot legally marry the woman I love and with whom I have shared the last 10 years of my life because same-sex marriage is unnatural and against God’s law. The right-wingers in this country, like the National Organization for Marriage, insist that only “traditional marriages” between one man and one woman should be legally recognized. Some, I dare say, would go so far as to say gays and lesbians, especially those who want to marry their same-sex partners, should be thrown in jail. And yet, this 51-year-old man can legally marry this 16-year-old girl, and even her mama thinks that’s OK.

Is this the kind of “traditional marriage” they want to protect from me?!

And then my wife made the comment, “Do they think this is the 1800s or something?” and I realized that, well, yes, that IS a “traditional marriage,” with the tradition dating all the way back to biblical times.

All I can say is, somebody please protect me from tradition.

—  admin

Cedar Springs street party to proceed as scheduled

Country singer Chaz Marie, left, and Compete Magazine Athlete of the Year Michael Holtz

DAVID TAFFET | Staff Writer
taffet@dallasvoice.com

Weather and other factors have affected a number of Super Bowl-related events originally set for this week. But despite the area’s winter weather woes, crowds are still expected to turn out for the Cedar Springs Merchants Association’s Super Street Party Saturday night on Cedar Springs.

Forecasts predict that the week’s record-setting low temperatures should give way to a more moderate seasonal chill by then, and organizers predict that the excitement of the event will be enough to keep party-goers warm — not to mention the chance for some prime celebrity-spotting.

The merchants association has received calls from a number of celebrities and athletes — gay and straight — who will be in town for the big event, all asking for details on the Super Street Party. Why? Because the straight celebs assume that in a straight-laced town like Dallas, it’s the gays who know how to party.

Those requests for information have come from celebrities said to be staying at The Melrose and other hotels in the Oak Lawn area.

Cedar Springs Road will close at 4 p.m. Saturday afternoon, and the party begins at 7 p.m. Admission is free. In case it gets cold, the bars will all be open with most offering specials.

Buli promises hot chocolate and will stay open until at least 1 a.m. Hunky’s and Subway will remain open until 3 a.m., with Subway offering its Fabulous Foot-long as a Super Bowl special. Zini’s plans to operate until at least 4 a.m. and Café Brazil is open 24 hours.

The Bud Light Main Stage will be set up in the middle of Cedar Springs, with Chaz Marie as the featured entertainer. Guest DJs will provide music on the street throughout the evening.

Compete Magazine’s Gay Athlete of the Year Michael Holtz will be the MC.

Woody’s Sports and Video Bar will hold a meet-and-greet with Holtz on Friday, Feb. 4 at 9 p.m. and he will attend a brunch at Dish on Sunday at 11 a.m.

Beer booths will be set up on the street, staffed by some of the local gay sports groups raising money for their teams.

Other Super Bowl week events haven’t fared as well.

A gay-themed concert originally planned for Thursday night was cancelled, even before bad weather hit, because of poor ticket sales. The tent in the Cotton Bowl that was to house that and other concert events collapsed under the weight of the ice and snow, and the concerts were moved to the Fair Park Coliseum.

Dallas had hoped to show off many of its venues to visitors through the week but the ice that arrived early on Tuesday morning delayed the arrival of many visitors when both airports closed. The storm also caused the closing of the downtown museums for two days, as well as a number of other facilities around the area.

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

—  John Wright

Starvoice • 01.07.11

By Jack Fertig

CELEBRITY BIRTHDAY

Naomi Judd turns 64 on Tuesday. The country singer has been on somewhat of a comeback lately. Reuniting with daughter Wynonna, The Judds hit the road for The Last Encore Tour. The two have also launched a reality show on the new Oprah Winfrey network OWN. But her inspiration for glitzy country drag and high-to-heaven hair has never gone away.

…………………………………

THIS WEEK

Mars is very happy in Capricorn where the planet of energy and action is focused productively. Aspecting Uranus and Jupiter in Pisces, and Neptune in Aquarius, he can lose focus, but if you can stay on track while examining your process you can find new purpose and methods to strengthen your efforts.

………………………………….

CAPRICORN  Dec 21-Jan 19
Your sign improves with age, but exercising is important for staying sharp. Advice from friends should be heard, but not followed. It opens your mind to better possibilities.

AQUARIUS  Jan 20-Feb 18
Self-criticism is helpful if you don’t take it to extremes. There’s room for improvement and an honest assessment of your virtues and flaws will make you clearer on what you have to offer.

PISCES  Feb 19-Mar 19
You have to be very careful not to give too much of yourself. Have a long talk with a friend you can count on to be ruthlessly honest about your limits and how you should set them.

ARIES  Mar 20-Apr 19
If you focus, you can achieve great things. Meditation helps tame that unruly, dreamy mind and draw inspiration. Friends who want your time are a distraction. Or enlist them to help.

TAURUS  Apr 20-May 20
Ideas brewing in your head need a release. Getting yourself heard helps or hurts you. Discussing those notions with a friend will improve them and see best where and how to air them.

GEMINI  May 21-Jun 20
Explore your fantasies and bring them into your real-life lovemaking. Some of those dreams may need safety checks and adaptations to be performed in the physical world.

CANCER  Jun 21-Jul 22
Your fancy notions shock or titillate your partner. A discussion of limits is in order. Even out of the sack, your sweetheart can help with reality checks to help figure which dreams can come true.

LEO  Jul 23-Aug 22
Every relationship takes work. Take up the tough issues now while it’s a little easier. You’ll be surprised at what problems can be resolved in the bedroom. It will at least help.

VIRGO  Aug 23-Sep 22
Your intuition is clear now. With practice you learn to use it to better purpose in teamwork, practical or romantic. Trust those hunches in healing any kind of relationship — or finding one.

LIBRA  Sep 23-Oct 22
As onerous as family or community duties may feel, you accomplish a lot and gain influence. You’re creative enough to find a positive approach. Once you start there will be no stopping you.

SCORPIO  Oct 23-Nov 21
What you have to say is too important to be wasted. Polish those gems and share them where they are appreciated. A little imaginative probing reveals secrets or scandals.

SAGITTARIUS  Nov 22-Dec 20
Discuss your financial worries with a trusted person. You stumble on solutions or realize things aren’t as bad as you think. Clear your head of worry to think clearly about resources at hand.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition January 7, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Twitteresolutions

We look at 2011 resolutions through the eyes (and tweets) of queer celebs

We know celebrities are busy, but somehow they are never too busy to pop out a tweet. Whether it’s to promote world peace, equal rights or simply themselves, celebs know the power of a good Twitter feed.
We scoured the feeds of various LGBT celebs and allies to see what they have in mind for 2011. Some started their 140-character resolutions for the New Year. Others, well, haven’t. That didn’t stop me from re-imagining some of their older tweets from December (minus any accompanying tiny URLs), nor did it stop me from either replying (@celeb) or retweeting (RT) from my own feed (indicated under theirs in italics). Because you know they’ll read it — or at least the person they’ve hired to manage it will (@theellenshow).
— Rich Lopez (@GetRichinDallas)

Twitter-images
TWEETS FOR 2011 | Queer celebs who gave us some 140-character food for thought while beginning the new year include, Margaret Cho, Cazwell, Jay Brannan, Queen Latifah, Reichen Lehmkuhl, Kathy Griffin and Chely Wright.

JAY BRANNAN, orally gifted indie movie actor and musician (@Jaybrannan)
My NewYear’s res for2010 was2have a bf by the end of the year. Fail. I give up. In 2011 I accept I will
b alone4ever. Just me n the Griffins.
@jaybrannan There’s probably a song in there somewhere. #justsaying

CAZWELL, sexy musician and viral video hunk (@Cazwellnyc)
Thanks to everyone that gave me bong smoking advice. Too bad I’m too faded to follow any of them.
Did @xMileyCyrus offer any suggestions RT @Cazwellnyc Thanks to everyone that gave me bong smoking advice…

CHELY WRIGHT, recently outed country singer (@Chelywright)
Faith in America invites Christian university to join public dialogue about religion-based bigotry toward
gay [students]
@chelywright I totally mentioned this like you asked in my article. But you couldn’t get me in to Black Tie? #burn #ouch

CHI CHI LARUE, porn director and spin doctor (@DJChiChiLaRue)
@GetRichinDallas I will try to curb my shopping addiction in 2011 And try not to fall in drag!
@DJChiChiLaRue Just keep bringing back those hot porn boys of yours. Better yet, bring the daddies! #beefcakediet

REICHEN LEHMKUHL, perennial reality TV personality and putative A-lister (@ReichenLehmkuhl)
In honor of ArmPit Wednesday (which I am officially starting right now).
@ReichenLehmkuhl Um, not sure how A-list ArmPit Wed is. Aren’t those gays supposed to be kinda pristine. Fetish boys don’t seem the show’s type. #justsaying

JUDY TENUTA, strange comedian and self-appointed love goddess (@JudyTenuta)
I plan 2 get arrested 2 get a show. Hard cuz I’m law-abiding citizen. A sex video? Or I’ll gain 500 lbs 2 b on Biggest Loser. #comeback
@JudyTenuta Please use the big hunky guy from your @LadyGaga spoof in your sex video.
#beefcakediet

QUEEN LATIFAH, rap artist and Oscar nominated actress (@IAmQueenLatifah)
Happy Sunday. Cleaning out my closet. I have so many great things for people in need. Somebody is about to come up!
@IAMQUEENLATIFAH Come up? Girl, don’t you mean come out? #typo

ANDERSON COOPER, silver fox news hunk and Kathy Griffin New Year’s Eve sidekick
(@Anderson cooper)
I threw out my back working out. An old spine injury that has flared up. I can walk but it hurts a lot.
I’m getting old.
I know that feeling! #hayyyyy RT @andersoncooper I can walk but it hurts a lot.

KATHY GRIFFIN, Emmy-winning D-lister and lover of “her gays” (@Kathygriffin)
Live on CNN w Anderson Cooper. How gorgeous is YOUR date?RT @OkKaiser: @kathygriffin, what’s ur New Years Eve plans? #CNN
@kathygriffin Not sure if @andersoncooper can still be your date. He “threw his back out.”
#newyearseve

MARGARET CHO, queermedian and failed Bristol Palin dance rival (@Margaretcho)
There’s something about a bidet that is so invigorating and soothing. Instead of coffee — wash your hole!!
@margaretcho Thought you said wash your hole with coffee. Taking this off my resolutions
#scaldedlining

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 31, 2010.

—  Kevin Thomas

Vampire strikes back

Vampire Weekend’s Rostam Batmanglij could be the new face of gay — if it matters

RICH LOPEZ  | Staff Writer lopez@dallasvoice.com

FORGET TEAM EDWARD OR TEAM JACOB  |  Batmanglij, left, and the rest of Vampire Weekend bring their live show back to Dallas Wednesday to win over the city again after their spring show back in April.
FORGET TEAM EDWARD OR TEAM JACOB | Batmanglij, left, and the rest of Vampire Weekend bring their live show back to Dallas Wednesday to win over the city again after their spring show back in April.

VAMPIRE WEEKEND
With Beach House.
Palladium Ballroom,
1135 S. Lamar St. Oct. 6 at 8 p.m.
Ticketmaster.com.

……………………………………………….

Face it: Society is getting kind of used to the celebrity come-out story. Ricky Martin comes out and we applaud; Chely Wright becomes the first out country singer and now we know her name — ho-hum.

But when Rostam Batmanglij talks about being out as part of the big-buzzed indie group Vampire Weekend, nobody seems to notice.

Maybe it’s Batmanglij’s everyman look — he’s handsome but doesn’t smolder like Martin. He’s the understated hipster dude in the funky clothes. He just … is, minus the whole producer/multi-instrumentalist bit he performs for the band.

“I think sometimes there is so much pressure to conform to a straight identity,” he says. “But also, there’s pressure to conform to stereotypes of gay identity. I hope that’s less and less a pressure nowadays.”

Nothing about Vampire Weekend’s vibe is particularly threatening, but their music is innovative enough to stand out. The sound is happy with reggae-ish beats and endearing lyrics. Their scruffy image proffers likeable appeal for college- and high school-aged kids that includes a new generation of LGBT youth unrestricted by labels. Like Batmanglij, they are living a life that doesn’t find the need to thrive on completely gay environments as may have been the case 20 years ago.
“Just like there are different kinds of straight people, it’s the same for gays,” he says. “But now there are various gay role models.”

Batmanglij came out to the media last year, saying it was something he felt he should do. It didn’t have the shockwave impact of other musical coming outs, but it didn’t have to for Batmanglij. Really, he just finds it tough to figure if his coming out had any kind of impact on either the band or himself.

“It’s hard to perceive,” he says. “I certainly believe we had gay fans before I talked about it. I just don’t know if gay people would approach our band based on that fact.”

What does weigh heavy on Batmanglij is not his gay identity, but his Middle Eastern heritage. When asked about the Washington Post’s article where he discussed having issues with “whiteness,” Batmanglij dismisses the condensed version of his life in that article, but also shifts to a troubled tone when talking about his heritage.

“I have a complex relationship with being of Iranian descent and now more than ever,” he says. “There are a lot of things not talked about in America and so much is repressed and kept in the dark. Middle Easterners aren’t represented well. I think that I’ll continue to have an issue with it. There are ways to look at things without the cynicism.”

Thus it’s actually harder to be Middle Eastern than gay, right now?

“Certainly in America,” he laughs.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 1, 2010.

—  Kevin Thomas

A brand new Technicolor life

Country singer Chely Wright, announced this week as BTD’s 2010 Media Award winner, says coming out freed her

RELATED STORY: Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin named keynote speaker

Rich Lopez  |  Staff Writer lopez@dallasvoice.com

Chely Wright
Chely Wright

“Dallas has been a great market for me,” says Chely Wright.

Truer words might have never been spoken.

The country music star spoke highly of the city when referring to her past concerts here, but she’ll be heading to Dallas this year for a different reason — one that will reinforce her confidence in this city.

Officials with the Black Tie Dinner this week announced that Wright has been chosen to receive the 2010 Media Award during the annual fundraising gala set for Nov. 6.

They also announced that U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin, the openly lesbian Democrat from Wisconsin, will be the keynote speaker at the dinner.

When Wright came out of the closet in May with her biography, “Like Me,”  the media storm hit full force. She was touted as the first modern country singer to come out of thecloset, and her life story landed her on the cover of People magazine and Oprah.

As the recipient of the Black Tie Media Award, Wright sees it as a step in her reasoning to come out.

“This is noteworthy to be receiving this incredible honor,” she said. “I find it really interesting that this one thing I tried so hard to hide has really set me free. I’ve not only found this gay community but also activist, advocate and civil-minded communities. These are incredible people to be applauded.”

But not only was she setting herself free by coming out, Wright knew that since she was such a public figure, her coming out would facilitate dialogue and education.

Her announcement eclipsed her current album, “Lifted Off the Ground,” and even her career for the past 15 years. But she said she was prepared for that, because it was bigger than just a CD.

“The specific reason I did this in such a grand, comprehensive way was because I was aware this would be discussed,” she said. “As celebrities, we must be aware of our public capital in the community, and there had never been a commercial country artist who acknowledged being gay.

“That’s why I wrote a book, knowing that it was incumbent upon me to do so,” she said.

Along with all that attention came the backlash from both her audiences and the country music industry — no surprise considering it comprises a largely conservative demographic.

Wright said she knew there would be a negative reaction that could possibly put her into “Dixie Chicks vs. Texas” territory. But, she said, the good has outweighed the bad so far.

“I’m aware there are negative comments. No matter what you do, people will hate. On my social networks, we don’t leave them out unless they are overly caustic. We allow that dialogue to happen.

“But I think some of my fans never knew a gay person and thought they were all deviants,” she added. “They see this isn’t the case. Those people are the moveable middle.”

Wright mentions she even received support locally, saying KSCS on-air personality Chris Huff reached out to her after she came out.

To her, that was a step many people in the country music industry are either reluctant to take, or maybe do so quietly.

“Just judging from everything she said and her experiences and the emotions she fought, I think it was a really strong thing that she did,” Huff said. “I can’t imagine what she must’ve gone through the years leading up to that.”

Huff did what, according to Wright, not many have done in her industry. People have reached out to her, but only privately. She said public declarations of support by those in country music are hard to come by.

“Huff was one of the first to e-mail me after coming out.  The industry has a lot of really progressive people, but there are a lot of folks who just reach out privately. All of country music is not homophobic, but people don’t feel like that they can say ‘I’m behind you.’”

So instead, Wright is focusing on the positive support, which she has received from other LGBT celebrities, like Rosie O’Donnell and Lance Bass, and from the fans still coming to get her autograph. She’s even relishing the Prop 8 decision from her West Hollywood home.

But ultimately, she says, she feels simply free.

“Imagine a tiny secret being a big one and have it chasing you around, and you’re afraid. Then, it’s gone. It feels like I’ve retired an 80-hour-a-week job at a factory. There is so much emotional free space.

“I think my life felt like black and white before and now it’s in Technicolor.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 6, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens