Simply Red holiday event and toy drive at Axiom

Be a helper

—  Rich Lopez

‘The Dallas Life’ premieres tonight at the Brick

Dallas gets another dose of reality

Brent Paxton has long been at work on his new reality show The Dallas Life and it comes to life tonight. What happens when 12 strangers live under one roof? Obviously lots if you take in any kind of reality TV. With people from all backgrounds, Paxton shows all the drama that goes down Dallas-style. It’s kinda like The Real World but by the sounds of it, only one can make it to the end.

The event is also a food drive for the North Texas Food Bank and people are encouraged to bring a food item.

DEETS: The Brick, 2525 Wycliff Ave. 8 p.m. DallasLife.tv

—  Rich Lopez

Starvoice • 09.16.11

CELEBRITY BIRTHDAY

Twiggy turns 62 on Monday. Known mostly for her mod, androgynous look of the ’60s, the style icon was one of fashion’s first supermodels. She returned to fashion somewhat as a judge on America’s Next Top Model, but left in 2007. Also a singer, she is working on a new album of ballad covers due in November.

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THIS WEEK

Mars entering Leo inflates energy and egos, and trine to Uranus in Aries, will lead to unexpected results. Stubborn assertion will lead to wacky disasters. Be bold, but adaptive and humble for best results.

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VIRGO  Aug 23-Sep 22
Self-consciousness leads you to fashion disasters. Play with a new look where nobody except a trusted friend can to see it, just so you can be satisfied that it is indeed wrong for you.

LIBRA  Sep 23-Oct 22
Domestic victories make you cocky.  Better to offer an olive branch and build reconciliation. Don’t dread the cake with all those candles. Focus on accomplishments and goals.

SCORPIO  Oct 23-Nov 21
Count on your friends to help you get ahead. Keep your eyes open to colleagues who might double-cross you. Don’t worry: A rude surprise can prove a blessing in disguise.

SAGITTARIUS  Nov 22-Dec 20
Teamwork gets anything accomplished, so be attentive to those who can make or break your efforts. They’re inclined to support you, but they want credit and generally deserve it.

CAPRICORN  Dec 21-Jan 19
Focus on your career and getting ahead. You can focus on your goals with little interference. The boss is about to take notice and is likely to be very supportive. Just let your work speak for itself.

AQUARIUS  Jan 20-Feb 18
Connect with older, well-educated people. You can learn a lot and get a clearer idea of your direction in life. You can’t help but say the wrong thing to your partner, but you’ll be fine.

PISCES  Feb 19-Mar 19
Even sweet, affable chatter can get annoying. Staying between the extremes is your biggest challenge. Lean to the quiet side. Letting them wonder will arouse more interest in you.

ARIES  Mar 20-Apr 19
You want to have fun, but work demands time and energy. Getting boisterous upsets things and exposes resentments. It doesn’t matter if they’re jealous. Focus your energies productively.

TAURUS  Apr 20-May 20
Be as productive as possible while your discipline and drive are especially sharp. Worries about the future are distractions. Just stay the course; keep putting one foot in front of the other.

GEMINI  May 21-Jun 20
The coming social season puts you in greater demand. Fix up your home now to be ready for company then. Friends’ one-upmanship will throw you off your game. Ignore it.

CANCER  Jun 21-Jul 22
Social opportunities abound. You’re happier at home with your dearest and nearest, and some of your favorite recipes, but get out and develop connections. They’ll serve you well.

LEO  Jul 23-Aug 22
Your state of mind changes more than your finances, but you can relax. Your energy is cranking up and leads you into interesting adventures. Look for new ideas, not arguments!

Jack Fertig can be reached at 415-864-8302 or Starjack.com

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

—  Michael Stephens

Dynamic duo

New partners Curtis Cook and Shane Friesenhahn shake their booty … camp

There’s the nursery rhyme that begins, “Jack Sprat could eat no fat, his wife could eat no lean… .” But apparently if Jack Sprat were in a same-sex relationship, it would be a fat-free household all the way around. Such is the case with this month’s fitness profile: Curtis Cook and Shane Friesenhahn. The lads have been together for just three months, but the real number that caught our eye was their collective body fat: 19 percent and shrinking by the day. How do they do it? Diet, exercise and rewarding a great workout with a sexy new swimsuit rather than a hot fudge sundae.

— Jef Tingley

…………………….

Names and ages: Curtis James Cook, 24, and Shane Friesenhahn, 37.

Occupations: Cook: HAMP processor at Nationstar Mortgage; Friesenhahn: owner of Silk Sculptures, a floral design studio.

Length of relationship: Three months

Sports and activities: Pool volleyball and Dr. Peay’s Booty Camp

Exercise regime: Cook: I attend Dr. Peay’s Booty Camp two days a week and go to L.A. Fitness a couple times a week. When I go to the gym, I always do abs first, then either upper body or legs followed by 15 to 20 minutes of cardio. My workout usually totals around an hour to an hour and a half.  My goal is to go to the gym on my days off of [boot camp], but it doesn’t always happen.

Friesenhahn:  [Boot camp] five days a week, which consists of cardio, Plyometrics and light resistance training.

Upcoming fitness goals: Cook: I’m lean, but I want to be toned. My goal is a slightly bigger chest and defined mid section. I also want my body fat around 8 percent; as of the beginning of July it was 12 percent. I think my goal of toning up will automatically help me reach my body fat percentage goal.

Friesenhahn: I’m currently right below 8 percent body fat, but my new goal is to boast a “lean and mean” 6.5 percent — a little bones showing never looked so good! I will say that making better nutritional choices, mostly organic, really helps.

Best “eat this, not that” tip: Friesenhahn: Well, instead of Krispy Kreme donuts or a starchy cereal, I replace it with whole fruits such as blueberries, a Pink Lady apple or grapefruit. As for my sweet tooth, I am in love with organic crunchy peanut butter with a banana or a piece of gluten free bread that has live sprouted grains. I am also an avid believer in supplements including as astaxanthin, fish oil and many others.

Workout preference: mornings or evenings? Cook: I like both. I would like to work out in the mornings more, but it is just so hard to get up that early.

Friesenhahn: Evenings mostly, but just to mix it up I do like to attend the “crack of dawn” morning workouts as well.

How do you survive an outdoor workout in the Texas heat? Friesenhahn:  My exercise group works out in the shade, unless we are running the typical mile required. Everyone brings the essentials like water and Gatorade. Sometimes [our trainer] brings ice when it’s really hot. The main thing is to read your own body and take mini breaks to regroup. Other than that, I really enjoy sweating and releasing toxins.

Favorite spot in North Texas to exercise indoors: Cook: The L.A. Fitness by my work in Lewisville, because I don’t feel like I’m being cruised the entire time.

If you could become an Olympian in any sport, what would it be and why: Cook: I’ve always wanted to do gymnastics. The parallel bars and tumbling are my favorite. I even took tumbling private [lessons] for a month when I was 20 and learned a back handspring in only four sessions.

Friesenhahn: Ice figure skating. The blend of artistry and athleticism is super challenging. I used to roller skate my long drive as a kid and pretend I was practicing for the next Olympics!

How do you reward yourself for a great work out: Friesenhahn:  Two ways. First is a trip to Yumilicious. Then on to find an even more “skimpy” swimsuit to wear at the next pool get together.

Cook: I definitely don’t eat badly afterwards because then I feel guilty and it’s as if I just negated the entire work out. I reward myself by maybe buying something a little smaller and more fitting because I know I will look good in it. I also like to go lay out in my Speedo after a good week of working out because I feel confident with my body.  Basically I reward myself by showing it off.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 26, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Driver’s Seat: Mark Trimble, Flutist

Name: Mark Trimble, 44.

Occupation: Musician (flute) and music educator.

How might we know you: My partner Ami Sadeh and I helped create the BearDance events.

Type of car: Blue 2008 Nissan Altima Coupe.

Best car memory? Driving my Nissan 350Z the first time with my partner around town with the top down!

Funniest road trip story: I don’t know if it’s funny or sad, but I had an audition in Tennessee and a drunk driver sliced off a big chunk of metal off the side of the trunk. It was my dad’s Oldsmobile Delta 88. I had to tie that chunk of metal back on the car as it flapped all the way back to Cincinnati where I lived.

Hmmm… we vote sad. OK, buy or lease? Lately I prefer leasing. I get the itch for something new or different about every three to four years. It doesn’t hurt that you can get a bit more car for less money per month!

You play the flute, but ever in the car? I think I’ve played it in my partner’s car while he’s been driving. It’s not at all practical for the driver and it doesn’t work well in the passenger seat either. There are better places to practice. Now I will practice finger patterns for music on the steering wheel from time to time though, and that’s a great way to practice without the instrument.

What do you jam out to? NPR or BPM on satellite radio. Sometimes it’s Beethoven or Lady Gaga.

Don’t you musclebear types drive Jeeps or big trucks usually? Am I really that now? Ha! Maybe I do need to get the requisite truck!  I’m not about all my image with my car, it’s more about the driving experience for me, and I like fun-to-drive cars usually as long as they are roomy enough for me.

Since it’s hot as hell out, how’s your A/C? It is fantastic! I’m lucky to have a garage to park in at home so that it’s not all heated up when I leave the house in the summer, but even when it’s been out in the sun, it cools down very quickly.

Sounds great. So, one last thing: flootist or flautist? Well, it can be both actually.

— Rich Lopez

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 26, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Master of HIS domain

Ben Starr, the recently out Dallas cheftestant on Fox’s ‘MasterChef,’ camps it up on Gordon Ramsay’s cooking competition series

ARNOLD WAYNE JONES  | Life+Style Editor
jones@dallasvoice.com

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MASTERCHEF
Airs Tuesdays on Fox (Ch. 4) at 8 p.m.

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When Lewisville-based travel writer Ben Starr auditioned for Fox’s MasterChef, he doubted they’d be interested in his style of home cooking. But not only did he make the cut, he’s been one of the more memorable cheftestants — just this week, he had the judge’s favorite dish.

The series is only halfway through, but for Starr, it’s already made a huge difference in his life: It forced him to come out to his parents just last month. We talked to him about the experience and his favorite meals.

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You’ve been struggling since you wowed the judges at your audition. The audition kinda set me up to expect that I would do well in the competition, but we spun pretty quickly into an emphasis on gourmet cuisine, which is not my thing at all. My street tacos were a little bit spiffy, and I am extremely well traveled, but I tend to eat peasant food even when I travel. I was seeing all these people around me making restaurant quality cuisine and trying to compete on their level. Nice to make a good ol’ catfish in a skillet.

What was the hardest challenge for you? The biggest challenge has definitely been psychological. I’m competitive by nature and I want to feel like I’m competition, but I was surrounded by chefs that were a little more connected to the Food Network that I am. They’d use words like umami [a Japanese word for a savory flavor] and I had to go look it up. There was a common lexicon among the contestants about what these famous chefs I’ve never heard of are doing in their restaurants. I felt like an idiot stumbling around in the dark. That started to leak into my cooking and I began to question, “Is this sophisticated enough? Is this even sophisticated?” The episode this week was a turning point. I felt like for the first time I’m back in my own element.

You certainly have made an impression with your outfits. I don’t wear those hats at home, though I do wear an apron, just for practicality. But [the show] has started this storytelling legacy — people expect me to wear them when they come over. My mom made me the pumpkin hat and apron. Actually, she made me five or six pairs to wear. That’s why you always see a different one on me each episode. I was going through them.

Was wearing them part of a conscious effort to stand during the auditions? I am fairly myself, though I had to set myself apart that wasn’t just about food. I needed to be someone [the judges] remember when they go home at night. That’s why I talked about my rural upbringing, because I thought it would generate a memory.

Had you watched the show before? Did you know what to expect? I don’t watch much TV, but this is not my first time being on TV, which is ironic because I abhor reality television —it brings out the worst in our culture. But I did Rachael Ray’s So You Think You Can Cook in 2007. The audience there was much more caring and nurturing than the machine on MasterChef, but I was a little bit prepared for the frank judgment.

I did not watch the first season of MasterChef, but my friend Karen Rutherford said, “I’ll never speak to you again if you don’t audition [for season 2].” So I watched them all on Hulu. I just sweated my way through them. I knew how intense and stressful it is to cook on TV, and saw how brutal Joe Bastianich and Gordon Ramsay were with the contestants. I thought: Screw this. Then a few weeks passed and the terror faded [and I went through the lengthy audition process]. It was a lot of work — the most difficult full-time job I’ve ever had that doesn’t pay.

What’s your favorite kind of cuisine? While my DNA wants to say Mexican food — I had it in the womb six times a week — I am most intrigued by Thai food. It is so complex, yet so much of it is cooked on the street in a tiny little cart. From the richest to the poorest, everybody eats on the street.

How about a favorite meal? One of the most memorable meals I’ve ever had was in Egypt on New Year’s Eve in 2001. I spent it on Mount Sinai and hiked eight miles back down to the car for the drive back to our resort. [The driver] fell asleep at the wheel and we plummeted into a canyon. Eventually a camel train of Bedouins came by the bottom of this canyon. They took us onto the camels and rode four or five miles to their camp. All the women came out, killed a goat and started cooking while the men tried to pull our car out of the canyon.

It was a humble meal — just a goat stew and some flat bread — but the flavors were really intense and felt they came right out of the desert. I could not even communicate with these people who live in abject poverty, but still they were willing to kill one of their last goats and throw a big feast for us because it’s in their nature to be hospitable. I realized it was important to me to use food to nurture people in my life — I could never be a chef and be in the back. I need to be with the people. My partner is one of the main reasons I cook — we’ve been together eight years and I want to marry him one day.

Did you plan to be “the gay guy” on the show? When I was on [Rachael Ray] it was not addressed and I didn’t talk about it openly. At that point my family didn’t know I was gay — in fact, I didn’t come out to my parents until about five weeks ago. They were totally shell-shocked — they didn’t have a clue.

Maybe mom should have guessed since she made you all those hats. Ha! Maybe.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition July 8, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Gays’ radical drive to be treated like equals forced conservatives to tell us why we’re not

This from Jennifer Roback Morse of the NOM-affiliated Ruth Institute:

We (Maggie [Gallagher], David [Blankehorn], and others more so than me) just about had people convinced that kids needed their dads, and that marriage is a social good. Then same sex marriage errupted [sic] onto the public stage and took up all the air in the room. And incidently [sic], same sex marriage advocates called into question all the arguments and data about the significance of marriage for childern [sic] and society.



We, Maggie, David and I, got dragged into the debate over same sex marriage kicking and screaming. We care about same sex marriage because we believe that redefining marriage as the union of any two persons will harm the institution of marriage, not particularly because of anything same sex couples do or don’t do. In the past, the legal and social institution of marriage has provided structure to people’s lives, helping them to avoid some socially destructive actions and steering them toward socially constructive actions. We think that the legal redefinition and all the social practices that will inevitably follow, will reduce to near nothing the capacity of marriage to structure people’s lives and shape their decision-making
.”

Pro-Marriage, not anti-gay [Ruth Institute]

The nerve never fails to astound. Because here we have someone who, of her own free will, chose to step in and convince society that gays and their families are supposedly outside of God’s plan for life:



NOM Tour Tracker

And yet Jennifer’s suggesting she and Maggie and others were drug into this fight by the uppity, tax-paying, decent gay people who decided that they too deserved an equal shake?! As we said: The nerve is simply astounding!

In reality, the conversation of gay people and how we protect their families in our body of civil law should have had no bearing on Maggie or Jennifer’s work in other areas. In a world that’s rife with divorce and marriage mockeries that fill the news on daily basis, Jennifer and Maggie and David and [insert self-appointed 'marriage protector'] could’ve chosen to see more marriages as a good thing (especially when factoring in the common conservative canards about gays’ supposed lack of stability). But instead, they made the lifestyle choice to turn gays’ marriages into this insane bogeyman that threatens heterosexuals and their children in every way imaginable. They did so for the sake of electability. They did so for the sake of fundraising. They did so for the sake of the conservative movement. They did so for their own career$.

Had these conservatives not obfuscated so, we might be beyond this ridiculous “culture war.” But muddy the waters they did and continue to do. The kicks and screams are on them, not us.




Good As You

—  admin

If not church/state, could ‘pro-fams’ at least divorce drive to win from right to raise questions?

On September 3, Rev. Cary K. Gordon of Sioux City, Iowa’s Cornerstone World Outreach sent the following letter to fellow pastors in his area:

(zoom in at bottom)



CWO Letter

The whole gist of Mr. Gordon’s letter — beyond linking his political opposition to Hitler, of course — is to encourage pastors to in turn encourage their congregants to vote against the Iowa judges who joined the unanimous decision that removed gender discrimination from the state’s marriage laws. And since Mr. Gordon’s church and all of the other churches to whom he sent the letter are receiving tax exempt status, this kind of activity raises undeniable questions regarding its lawfulness.

So that’s where Americans United for Separation of Church and State steps in. That group has filed a complaint with the IRS, asking that the matter be looked into further:

The Rev. Barry W. Lynn, Americans United executive director, said the church’s campaign is a clear violation of federal tax law.

“I don’t think I have ever seen a more outrageous effort to politicize churches,” said Lynn. “This deplorable scheme seeks to turn houses of worship into dens of inequity and intolerance. I call on the IRS to move swiftly to put a stop to this outrage.

“It’s bad enough that the leaders of this church are using donations from the collection plate to fund a hardball political operation,” Lynn continued. “It’s even more appalling that they are doing so in a bigoted attempt to deny civil rights to a targeted minority. This is downright shameful.”

Iowa Church’s Election Campaign Against State Supreme Court Justices Merits IRS Investigation [AUFSOC&S]

Which is a completely fair move, regardless of where one stands on marriage equality, the upcoming retention vote, church, Hitler comparisons, or any of the other matters at hand. Because the law is concrete. And if a church is violating tax code for *any reason*, citizens have the right, nay, responsibility to raise questions. And we’d say the same exact thing if it were a pro-equality church engaging in questionable election activity.

Well, leave it to the “pro-family” side to once again shirk responsibility, abandon the opportunity to objectively weigh information, and turn their side into the unquestionably innocent victim. This report comes from Focus on the Family:

(click to play audio clip)

*AUDIO SOURCE: Iowa Pastor Menaced for Political Speech [FoTF]

And of course there’s no mention of Gordon’s harsh rhetoric. No mention of the genuine concerns at hand. No talk about all church’s responsibility to make sure they are in accordance with the law. Instead, they talk about the supposed “attacks” being wage against the church, with it all coming down to “praying hard” for the matter to play out favorably for the pastor (again, with no regard for the facts regarding tax law).

Now, will the IRS ultimately side with Americans United for Separation of Church and State? Well, we don’t know. We haven’t dug in far enough to weigh in on how we view the church’s compliance with the law. But the breadth of the case doesn’t matter in terms of our objections. Because the issue here is the right of citizen groups to raise questions, the responsibility for all of us to act in accordance with law, the ethics that churches must follow in order to obtain financial privileges, the need for this nation to maintain fair election practices, and the duty to sometimes drop the merits we see in a particular political fight and instead consider the elements that exist independent of the cause. We are more than willing to do just that. In fact, we insist on doing that. But our opposition never does, which is a major reason why this nation’s so-called “culture war” is such a hot mess of deceptive, dumbed down discourse!




Good As You

—  John Wright

TORONTO: Christian Activists Try To Drive Gay Couple Out Of The Neighborhood

Dan Savage tips us to this bit of scumbaggery out of Toronto.

The commissary at Highfield Road Gospel Hall must have been fresh out of mind-your-own-business last night, because nine of God’s hand-picked mouthpieces allegedly found themselves outside of the home of a Leslieville gay couple, praying for the men’s unsolicited salvation. Residents of the Dundas and Greenwood area stepped up in support of the unidentified targets, asking the holy rollers to move on and leave the neighbourhood in peace. “We have an authority to preach the gospel,” claims one worshiper in a video clip captured by nearby resident Geoffrey Skelding. “We’ve been doing this seven years.” Though the church members didn’t explicitly admit that they had chosen that particular house because it housed a gay couple, Skelding says that many street residents are convinced that’s the reason, especially based on the church group’s history of door-to-door evangelism on the street. “Talking with my neighbours, I learned that a lesbian couple left the area because of this group,” Skelding told Torontoist. “They do come to the area and knock on doors and tell people they are sinners.”

Highfield Road Gospel Hall welcomes your calls of support at 416-288-0389.

Joe. My. God.

—  John Wright

Watch: Toronto ‘Christians’ Pray in Front of Gay Couple’s House and Neighbors Drive Them Out

Toronto

Torontoist posted this video of a prayer group from Highfield Road Gospel Hall in the Dundas and Greenwood area of Toronto that apparently prays outside the homes of regularly harasses gay and lesbian couples.

The videographer, resident Geoffrey Skelding, writes:

"This is a group from a church at the end of my street. Apparently they have been grouping in front of a gay couple's house and reading their bible loudly for the past 7 years. They may have also driven a lesbian couple from the area as well by doing the same thing. Tonight most of our neighbours came out and were successful in getting them to leave. The people who go to that church don't even live in our area! Police came by shortly thereafter."

Says one worshiper in the clip: "We have an authority to preach the gospel. We've been doing this seven years."

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP

(via slog)



Towleroad News #gay

—  John Wright