One of the best things about my job is all the people I meet. But when you do it long enough, one of the worst things is seeing tragedy befall them.
That’s how I feel about Brian Mooney, whom I met about three years ago when he was our poster-boy for the 2010 Texas Bear Round-Up. I interviewed and did a photoshoot with Brian, and was immediately drawn to his personality and charisma.
Brian doesn’t look so good right now. He’s “40 and would like to see 41,” which is in danger due to his diagnosis of stage 4 colon cancer, the result of something called Lynch syndrome. The mischievous, friendly fellow needs $20,000 because he doesn’t have health insurance. It really is needed to save his life. (He’s raised about $6,000 so far.)
You may already know Brian from his job at Dallas Eagle, where he often would smile at you behind a thick beard while sporting a sexy singlet. We all wanna see this Navy veteran back there again, doing his thing. And with BearDance coming up this weekend, we’re thinking about him especially.
Click here to make a donation until May 31. Or you can come out the the Dallas Eagle on Sunday from 4 to 8 p.m. and support the barbecue and fundraiser sponsored by Brian’s friends to help him out. Do what you can.
Every year, Dallas Voice launches its Readers Voice Awards polling with a photo contest — Top Dog, Ultimate Diva even last year’s My Gay Texas. And every year, scores of folks submit their photos for the chance to win … and it’s not just bragging rights you take home. It’s cash.
Yep, send us your photo and if you make the list of nine finalists, you can be voted on at DallasVoice.com by readers who vote in the Readers Voice Awards for the best of Dallas. If you win, your photo will grace the cover of the March 22, 2013 edition. And Dallas Voice will donate $1,000 in the winner’s name to the non-profit of your choice!
This year’s theme is Top Hat. What does that mean to you? Well, that’s the point: Are you someone who likes to wear an Easter bonnet? Or do you have a collection of baseball caps from every team in the league. Maybe your Halloween costume was as a pirate — or even Marie Antoinette with a tiny pillbox perched atop her huge mass of hair. How about a rainbow yarmulke or a Fedora bedecked in Obama stickers? If you can think of it, we want to see it. Be creative! We’ll look at ‘em all!
Just email your imaginative idea of a Top Hat photo to TopHat@Dallasvoice.com; submission deadline is Friday, Dec. 7. We’ll post the finalists on our webpage starting the first of January and you could be in the running to win some dough for charity. And wouldn’t that be a feather in your cap?
Include with your photo your name, email and cell phone, plus a statement of model release for any people in the shot and the name of your charity. Now, let’s blow the lid off this thing!
1. The Houston Pride Band presents “Guilty Pleasures,” a concert featuring the favorite guilty pleasures of the Pride Band members, tonight at 7:30 at the Hobby Center. The concert marks the premier of the Pride Band’s new artistic Director, Skip Martin. Martin chose the feature favorite’s from the bands 30-year history. Tickets are $10 and may be purchased from the Hobby Center.
2. The “Haute Boys of Fall II” gather at James Craig Furniture (4500 Washington Avenue), since their founding in 2010 the Haute Boys (which includes quite a few girls) have raised over $15,000 for area AIDS charities. Tonight’s event features complimentary signature cocktails by Harmonie, an array of neighborhood bites, elements of design and fashion, music and more. Admission is an unwrapped toy, gift card or $20 donation for Houstonians in need.
3. Voter turnout held steady for the ninth day of early voting in Harris County. So far 34,329 people have voted, only 80% of the 42,968 who had voted by this point during the 2009 municipal elections. Montrose’s own Multi Service Center on West Gray broke 400 voters for the first time since voting began on Oct 24. Early voting continues through November 4. Election day is Nov 8. A list of all early voting locations and sample ballots are available at harrisvotes.org.
Bob Nunn agrees with the adage that the longer a couple lives together, the more they begin to look alike. Nunn and his partner Tom Harrover might not look that similar on the outside, but they match in a way that few couples do.
Let’s start with some history.
The two have that classic meet-cute that began on the wrong note. As Nunn tells it, Harrover was the dullest person he’d ever met —the two just didn’t like each other. Then, following a spontaneous invitation to a midnight movie, they ended up hitting it off. That movie led to conversation and then dating.
Forty-two years later, they still watch movies — as Nunn puts it, “I couldn’t get rid of him.”
A job in Houston took Nunn away from Harrover for three months, but old-fashioned letter writing kept the newbie relationship afloat.
“Tom had been writing me letters. He’s a very good writer,” Bob boasts. “He basically proposed to me by letter.”
They committed to each other, moving in and pursuing their careers: Harrover in architecture and Nunn teaching art. For 37 years, they lived in “a fabulous house” in Hollywood Heights. Life was good.
Then their life took a sharp turn.
“When we got together, Tom knew I had a kidney disease,” Nunn says. “Nothing was really a problem until about 30 years after we met — my kidneys began to fail and I had to start dialysis.”
Nunn registered with Baylor for the national organ donor list, but the experience was frustrating: They received little response or encouragement from the hospital.
“Bob was on a downhill slide and the frustration with Baylor seemed like they were stonewalling us,” Harrover says. “We talked about going to Asia even. It felt like they didn’t want to deal with a senior-age gay couple.”
A LITTLE DAB’LL DO YOU | Bob Nunn is officially retired from teaching art, but continues to paint.
Then Harrover suggested something novel: He could donate his kidney to the organ list, with the idea that Nunn could get a healthy one. Sort of a kidney exchange.
In desperation, they went back to their physician, who enrolled them in St. Paul Hospital’s then-new program for kidney transplant. The experience was a complete turnaround. Nunn was tested and processed immediately while Harrover prepped for his organ donation to an anonymous recipient.
Kidney transplants require a seven-point match system; a minimum of three matches is necessary for the recipient to be able to accept the organ into the body.
The tests revealed that Harrover’s kidney matched Nunn’s on all seven points.
“We assumed I would donate mine for use elsewhere,” Harrover says. “It never occurred to me that we’d be a match. The odds for that are off the charts.”
“See what happens when you live together for so long?” he chuckles.
Just six months after entering St. Paul’s program in 2007, they were on the operating table. They were the first direct living donor pair in the program. “It was all fairly miraculous,” Nunn understates.
Four years later, both men are doing well. Although officially retired, they both continue to work: Harrover does the occasional contract job while Nunn is currently on commission for an art project at the new convention center hotel. Outside of any official work, each interjects their quips about home, life be it cooking together or working on the lawn.
The obvious question for them might be “What’s the secret?” But they don’t see it just that way. Their relationship boils down to the obvious virtues of trust, respect and compromise.
“Selfishness doesn’t rear its ugly head in this relationship,” Harrover says. “You just have to be willing to accommodate, support and encourage what the other is interested in.”
Nunn agrees. “I would not be doing what I’m doing without his support.”
Nunn says if there is a secret, it’s akin to the dynamic on a playground: Like each other and share. If you don’t share your whole life, there isn’t a relationship, he says. At this point, Harrover says it would be impossible to separate. On paper, they are so intertwined with their house and financials, he jokes they are “Siamese twins.”
They’ve witnessed a lot in their decades together, including something they never expected to come to pass in their lifetimes: Same-sex marriage. Coming from a time when just being gay conflicted with moral codes set by their jobs, they wonder over the progress made in recent years. (They were officially married in Boston in October 2009.)
“I’m confident that it will happen for everyone,” Harrover says. “I’m sorry that it’s moving at a glacial pace, but it has that same inevitability as a glacier. We’ll get there.”
But nothing compares to the bond Harrover and Nunn already have, a shared intimacy few couples could imagine. Same-sex marriage was merely unlikely; what they have experienced is miraculous.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition July 29, 2011.
Lisa Lampanelli zings Westboro; Harold Camping gets it wrong again
Last Friday, I wrote here about how insult comic and “queen of mean” Lisa Lampanelli would be performing at the Topeka, Kansas Performing Arts Center, and how Fred Phelps and his Westboro Baptist Church loonies had announced they would protest outside the center because Lampanelli is pro-LGBT. So then Lampanelli announced she would donate $1,000 for every protester who showed to the Gay Men’s Health Crisis, an AIDS/HIV service organization in New York.
The Phelps clan did show up outside the Performing Arts Center, and Lampanelli’s people counted 44 of them. But the Westboro bunch claimed there were 48 protesters, so Lampanelli decided to donate $50,000. She is supposed to go to GMHC tomorrow (Wednesday) to present them with a check.
Below is an interview with Lampanelli published online today by The Village Voice in which she explains what led up to the situation in Topeka and how she even took her audience outside during the performance there to make fun of the Westboro protesters, including getting a gay couple to make out in front of them. Here’s video from the Village Voice website:
The Human Rights Campaign will partner with the local LGBT chapter of LULAC — The Dallas Rainbow Council to celebrate Cinco De Mayo.
The annual Salsa Cocktails event —featuring dancers, food and high-energy music — takes place at Havana, 4006 Cedar Springs Road, at 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 5.
“We have already confirmed Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez as one of our speakers,” said Kimberly Williams, HRC event coordinator. “Our dance group will also offer free salsa dance lessons for our guests.”
HRC and LULAC will talk about recent national and local successes. The public is invited to attend. The event is free, although a $20 donation to HRC at the door will get two free cocktails and hors d’oeuvres.
“Both HRC and LULAC will have information about membership and ways to get active,” said Jesse Garcia, president of LULAC 4871. “We have great projects coming up this summer. We invite community members ready to get involved to come learn about opportunities to further equality.”
Gay shoppers boycotting Target for supporting an anti-gay Minnesota gubernatorial candidate have little reason to rethink their stance as the company, the nation’s second largest retailer behind Wal-Mart, has done little in response.
Target’s negotiations with the Human Rights Campaign ended abruptly this week with the gay civil rights group releasing a statement saying Target would “take no corrective actions to repair the harm that it caused” through its political donation.
Based in Minnesota, Target has been pressured for three weeks by LGBT activists to make amends after giving 0,000 to MN Forward, a group that has run ads supporting Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer. A straight father of seven, Emmer is against same-sex marriage and supports constitutional amendments that outlaw it.
…More than 250,000 signatures have been collected from people pledging not to shop at Target again until the company promises to stop making political donations, MoveOn.org says. Protestors have reportedly appeared at 1,100 Target stores across the country…
Perhaps I was too early in saying I’d again shop at Target due to their apology, as Target isn’t seeming to fully grasp why their 0K donation supporting an anti-LGBT candidate was so cruel to LGBT community…a community the corporation states it strongly supports.
It appears to me that Target is really not that interested in our lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community’s pink dollars. That kinda stinks, actually.
HRC is responding by putting 0K toward pro-LGBT Minnesota candidates, the group says in a press release:
"After two weeks of good-faith discussions, and two tentative agreements, with Target Corporation, the company has informed the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, that it will be take no corrective actions to repair the harm that it caused by contributing 0,000 to an organization supporting a vehemently anti-gay candidate closely associated with a Christian rock band that advocates death and violence to gay people. In response, HRC announced that it will devote 0,000 of its own resources to help elect a pro-equality governor and legislature in Minnesota. The next governor will likely have the opportunity to either sign or veto marriage equality legislation in the North Star State.
Said HRC President Joe Solmonese: “All fair-minded Americans will now rightly question Target’s commitment to equality. If they’re initial contribution was a slap in the face, their refusal to make it right is a punch in the gut and that’s not something that we will soon forget. However, with full marriage equality hanging in the balance in Minnesota, regardless of Target, it’s important that we as a community send a message that we will work tirelessly to elect pro-equality candidates.”
HRC tells Towleroad it will be supporting Mark Dayton for governor as well as fund "pro-equality legislative candidates and pro-LGBT causes."
From the Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s Target Apologizes For Giving To Group Backing Emmer; CEO Gregg Steinhafel said he was “genuinely sorry” the 0,000 disappointed some workers as well as the public.:
Unable to extinguish a firestorm of protest among some of its customers and gay rights supporters, Target Corp. on Thursday took the unusual step of apologizing for making a political donation. CEO Gregg Steinhafel sent a message to company leaders saying he was “genuinely sorry” that the donation had disappointed some. The message was posted on the company’s Intranet, making it available to all employees.
Minneapolis-based Target had tried for days to emphasize that the 0,000 donation to MN Forward, a pro-business group backing Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer, was based solely on a tax and jobs platform. But because of Emmer’s stance against gay marriage, many perceived the donation as flying in the face of Target’s longstanding commitment to workplace equality.
…”While I firmly believe that a business climate conducive to growth is critical to our future, I realize our decision affected many of you in a way I did not anticipate, and for that I am genuinely sorry,” Steinhafel wrote.