Drawing Dallas • Rick Phillips

With the holiday upon us, floral designing is a labor of love for Dallas’ Rick Phillips

MARK STOKES  | Illustrator
mark@markdrawsfunny.com

Name: Rick Phillips

Occupation: Floral designer

Spotted at: Dog park on Swiss Avenue

Tanned, fit Aquarian Rick Phillips was born in Dallas but raised in neighboring Grand Prairie. He sprouts from a small but creative family: His mother sings opera, his brother is a drummer in a rock band, and his grandmother was also a gifted artist.

Labor of Love: Rick has been creating beautiful floral arrangements for more than 17 years. His first job interview in the business was to create a funeral arrangement. “I almost cut my thumb off,” says Rick, “I think they felt sorry for me. I got the job!”

Studying photography in college led to a natural progression into painting and finally into floral design. The instant gratification he gets from the process satisfies his art muse. Rick says he makes up his arrangements as he goes along. “I have a concept about color and shape when I start, but after that I free-wheel it.” He has been the exclusive florist for a high-profile jewelry store for eight years.

When he’s not handcrafting floral masterpieces, Rick enjoys cooking and shopping vintage and junk shops for awesome shirts and cool coats (and he can’t wait to for the weather to get cooler so he can wear them!) He loves all kinds of music from classical to techno/dance.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 2, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Letting it REGISTER • Pride Weddings & Celebrations 2011

Gift registries can be intimidating. Dean Driver makes them easy

FASHION. PLATE. | Dean Driver knows how to make a tabletop pop — and how to make it easy on you to choose your gifts. (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)

BY RICH LOPEZ

Perhaps the one wedding tradition same-sex couples might waffle on is signing up for that beg-a-thon, the gift registry. Forget whether to do so (you should); the real question is, where can you find that particular china pattern you once saw in a magazine?

The answer to that question is probably Dean Driver. With his new company, Consilium Lifestyle Collections, Driver makes what could be a daunting (even intimidating) task for same-sex couples possibly the easiest  job out of all the wedding planning.

“I don’t know if the average gay couple feels comfortable going into stores,” Driver says. “They may, but many retailers just aren’t reaching out to gay couples.”

Teaming up with Consilium Creative Marketing, Driver created what may be the first by-appointment source of its kind in Dallas to provide a wedding gift registry for same-sex couples. While the services are for everyone, Driver believes that this personal touch can bring comfort to any gay newlyweds hesitant about how to sign up for gifts. It also gives them a home field advantage when looking for fine tabletop products and more.

“The way we do business is changing, and this has afforded me the ability to do in-home consultations and also wedding registries,” Driver says. “I come to the client with samples to get an idea of their lifestyle and suggest products and can see what will work with what’s already in the home.”

The affable Driver knows his stuff. After working with tabletop industries for years in large markets like New York, he has access to many luxury brands and even unique home products. The usual china and crystal items are no problem, but items like linens and household accessories are more easily available through him.

Driver’s first piece of advice on getting started with a registry: Don’t be intimidated.

“I demystify all that for you,” he says. “That’s what I’m here for. I’ll make it easier for you. And people shouldn’t think that everything offered in a registry costs so much. We do have some unique options that are moderately priced.”

Consilium has only been around for a few months, but it has burst out of the gate with a selection of up to 50 brands, some exclusive to them. And with Driver’s knowledge and background, he can pretty much get anybody anything they want.

“I’m a sort of an expert in tabletops, and I have my finger on the pulse of the industry,” he says. “I go to Paris, to Milan and see all the new patterns. And if you saw a plate in a magazine and brought it to me,  I could pinpoint what it is. When I say anything, I mean anything — and you may be only person in the country to have it.”

Something his company can guarantee is the death of that most dreaded wedding tradition: The return. Once items are selected for the registry, gift givers don’t have to worry about buying an item that’s already been purchased. Instead, the company does gift cards only, which are beautifully packaged for the giver to present.

“This prevents exchanges or duplicates,” he says. “Plus, clients may change their minds and gift cards give them an opportunity to get something else. And it’s a little more green without all that wrapping paper and shipping to worry about.”

Driver and company seems to have gotten rid of all the excuses couples can make to partake in registering for gifts. Being that a wedding is a life-changing event, Driver mostly wonders why not go all out?

“Couples shouldn’t shy away from getting nice things,” he says. “This is the one time to get the nice stuff, so why not? Anything you want, I can get.”

The only caveat — Driver encourages people to use the nice stuff everyday.

“Yeah, don’t pack it away in a cabinet like our parents did,” he says.

Of course, if there’s one thing gays know how to do it’s merchandise.

For more information, visit ConsiliumLifestyleCollections.com.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition May 6, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Exclusive: New Hampshire’s leading ‘protect marriage’ group pushing gay ‘cures’

Earlier this morning we let you hear a clip wherein the president of New Hampshire’s leading “pro-family” group, Kevin Smith of Cornerstone Policy Research, revealed that he not only wants to get rid of the state’s marriage equality, but also its prior civil unions system. And while we were shocked that he’d admit that the group’s intent went beyond marriage and smack into basic rights and protections, it appears that maybe we didn’t even go far enough in terms of either shock or insight. Because check this out: We just found these “helpful links” listed on Cornerstone’s newly revamped website (which just relaunched today):

Screen Shot 2011-01-05 At 4.13.58 Pm

[SOURCE]

Yes, that’s right: The group that’s seeking to roll back basic protections in the state is also pushing scientifically-discredited “ex-gay” programs and “research.” Four of the six of the above links (Love Won Out, NARTH, Exodus, and PFOX) are solely dedicated to changing/curing/praying away the gay. As in that’s all they do: Seek ways to keep the “gays can change” meme alive (or perhaps we should say “ex-dead”).

This is not about politics. Not about referenda or court battles. Not about “protecting marriage,” like Cornerstone and their allies at the National Organization For Marriage always claim. What this shows, with 100% certainty, is that the group that’s most prominently, most vocally hoping to reshape the marriage debate in the Live Free or Die State is also hoping to reshape gay people’s very cores of existence in ways that fly in the face of ALL credible science.

They have now put this into the debate. It’s up to us to make sure every single state lawmaker knows it.




Good As You

—  admin

Exclusive: FRC to launch responsibility-shirking ‘Start Debating, Stop Hating’ campaign

We’ve uncovered an unreleased document that the Family Research Council will soon launch as part of a currently-unannounced campaign to spin their placement on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s hate groups list:



FRC’s ridiculous attempt to spin the SPLC list

At this point, the companion site simply redirects back to FRC’s main site. Which is fitting, since this responsibility-shirking maneuver will surely play out in an echo chamber even after it’s actually launched.

***

*Just a brief reminder of how FRC debates: Calls to export and criminalize gays, claims that political opponents are “held captive by the enemy,” and documents that liken same-sex marriage to man-horse sex:



*SOURCE: Gays seek immigration reform [Medill Reports]

***



*SOURCE: MSNBC

***



*SOURCE: The Quest For Change — Tony Perkins [Grace Chapel]

***

Page 1 of the Family Research Council’s “Slippery Slope To Same-Sex Marriage” document,

which compares same-sex marriage to bestiality in both graphic and text:

Screen Shot 2010-12-09 At 12.32.39 Pm

***

*ALSO: As we’ve stated before: It’s so, so dumb for NOM, the Liberty Counsel, CWA and others to align themselves so closely on this. Because SPLC did not put those three groups on the list. So if they were playing it intelligently, they would look at the carefully documented reasoning and differentiation between what the SPLC sees as simple opposition and what they see as beyond-the-pale advocacy. In a perfect world, these non-listed groups would speak out against the kinds of things that led AFA, FRC, and others to the list, not shoot the messenger.

***

**UPDATE: Found another microsite that refers to the campaign as a “print ad.” So heads up. They may be planning to launch this in weekend papers.

Of course the microsite also says the SDSH site will be active by 12/7 — so who knows?




Good As You

—  admin

Exclusive: NOM’s fantasy games not limited to ‘protecting marriage’

From the National Organization for Marriage’s official Youtube page:

Screen Shot 2010-09-14 At 11.14.56 Am

Eh, if our entire organizational work was built on illusion, we’d probably want the practice too.




Good As You

—  John Wright

NC: PHB exclusive video of NOM’s Brian Brown at Raleigh rally – plus I am mistaken for a fundie (!)

My high-quality vid is still uploading, but I have this lower-res version for those excited to see the flopsweat on Brian Brown’s brow ASAP. So the background first — I did this on my lunch hour (kind of a long lunch since it takes about a 1/2 hour to get to Raleigh), and I drove a work colleague with me who hadn’t been to one of these fundie rallies before. Robyn was quite excited as I described the decomposing influence of NOM as its tour has worn on.

It’s hot here this week, so it was over 95 degrees and when we drove down Morgan Street, which was the dividing street between our anti-NOM rally and NOM’s zombies, our side had signs saying “Honk for Equality” which was the rallying call to drown out NOM’s speakers, which was quite effective in rattling Brown. We found a parking space a block away (!) and I quickly got up the block, turned the camera on, and got a pass of the protesters and then marched up to the NOM crowd and zeroed in on Brown, who was just getting warmed up…you may hear my editorial “OMG” comments in the background. :P



Brian Brown urged supporters this afternoon to stand and urge their legislators to support a constitutional amendment to protect marriage: “If you move forward with a marriage amendment in North Carolina, you will show the government where we stand.” The way will not always be easy, however: “In Atlanta, some attempted to attack Dr. Alveda King and smear her – she greeted it with love.”

And for even greater effect, there were two NOM supporters behind me at various points getting the spirit inside them and they would yell out “Yes! Praise Jesus” or some such nonsense in response to the speaker spouting outright homophobic blather. I was having a hard time not cracking up at the sad spectacle.

As I said in my earlier post (“NC: NOM’s pathetic stop in Raleigh – another FAIL-O-RAMA“), the National Organization for Marriage continues its disastrous tour that has crashed and burned repeatedly here in the South, with today’s embarrassment in Raleigh a festive smackdown of bigotry. There was no organized effort on our side — all of it was grassroots activism via Facebook groups that turned out over 200 people. On NOM’s side – maybe 50. It may have been even less, since some of the people I counted looked to be lunchtime curious onlookers, not the hardcore faithful. And there were a lot of cops, as in way too many for the given task, and there was a large media presence, so when you see the photos in the slideshow of the shaded area where NOM is, that thin crowd if you take tha latter away, would be pitiful.

There were several stand-up comic natural marriage advocates present, including was the head of the local bigot parade in this state, the North Carolina Family Policy Council, Bill Brooks and Mark Creech, Executive Director of the Christian Action League of North Carolina. Creech was particularly entertaining.

Ian Palmquist, the executive director of Equality North Carolina was at the rally and I grabbed him for an interview to ask him about the reaction to the grassroots demonstration and NOM’s weak, bizarre stop in our state.

When my colleague Robyn got a glimpse of Brown as the event was breaking up, she said:

“Oh, my he has a history, doesn’t he?

I said:

You mean as he’s in the closet?

Robyn:

Who on earth is he kidding? There’s no way he’s straight. He’s a desperate man.


Robyn.

Now what happened next was beyond surreal. This middle-aged woman with a floppy hat on and a clipboard in her hand, looking a bit wild-eyed, came over and asked us if we wanted to sign up for some “scientifically-based information on marriage.” Robyn and I looked at each other and knew exactly where this was going. I said:

Pam: Scientific information? What are you talking about?

Fundie: I’m with The Ruth Institute (a “project of the National Organization for Marriage) and I have literature I can share with you…

Pam: I’m sorry, I’m not interested…I’m married to a woman.

PREGNANT PAUSE…FUNDIE JAW OPEN. Clearly she thought I was straight and on her side.

Robyn: I am married to a woman as well.

PREGNANT PAUSE…FUNDIE JAW OPENING WIDER. Oh NOES, her Gaydar is broken for sure! A fly could have entered and buzzed around in her piehole. Finally she regains her composure and says…

Fundie: You’re marriage is not real. You’re not married in the state of NC.

Pam: No, you’re right. But when I go to visit my relatives in NY, I’m married. If I go to Iowa, I’m married, if I go to Massachusetts I’m married…

Fundie (interrupting, voice shaking): Your marriage is a legal fraud, that doesn’t matter, what matters is natural marriage.

Pam (interrupting): My marriage is not a fraud…and I don’t need your literature.

Fundie (turning and walking away, head exploding in anger): You’re being rude…

Pam: Hey you’re the one who came up to me first…(laughing).

Robyn and I laughed the entire ride back to work because this woman 1) pegged us both as straight and kindred spirits, 2) clearly hasn’t run into this “problem” before, and 3) had a meltdown that was priceless.

***

The also random oddities about the event today.

While I halfway expect to get fan mobbed at Netroots Nation, I really don’t expect that down here at home. When I walked up to the corner to shoot more video, a whole bunch of people demonstrating were yelling out my name and cheering, and saying hi.

Of course this was a bit embarrassing, because I’m standing here next to my co-worker who knows me as the IT Manager at Duke Press, a position that clearly isn’t what is causing the commotion. The old alter ego thing, worlds colliding.

But I know that the greeting was genuine, and I do like meeting readers, so I waved and yelled out hi and crossed the street over to them and spoke to those who wanted to say hello or take photos with me. Sigh. I guess my days of local anonymity are numbered.

***

Anyway, when I went back across the street to do more NOM taping, I’m just walking all the way up to the front with the media (I had no credentials) walked around the side of the speaker stand, getting good shots. I go back across to our side to take photos of the rainbow rally. I do this a few times and then I run into one of those attending on our side and he alerts me that the police had chased him away from the NOM zombie side. Apparently they did not want anyone on the pro-equality side anywhere near where they had their permit to speak.

Well I was all up NOM’s butt taping and none of the cops came up to me to say anything, even though I was clearly shooting on the conflicting sides and wasn’t designated as press. That was really strange. I’m not complaining, but I thought I stuck out like a sore thumb. Then again, if that fundie with the clipboard was fooled…  

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright