Burns, Hicks unopposed in FW council bids

Joel Burns

5 candidates vying to replace Moncrief as mayor; Zimmerman is only other incumbent unopposed

TAMMYE NASH   | Senior Editor

FORT WORTH — With the filing deadline passed for the Fort Worth City Council elections in May, the city’s LGBT community is assured of having its two strongest allies — openly gay District 9 Councilmember Joel Burns and District 8 Councilmember Kathleen Hicks — back in their seats in the council chambers since neither drew any challengers in their re-election bids.

It will be Burns’ second full term on the council after being elected in a December 2007 runoff to replace Wendy Davis when she stepped down to run for the Texas Senate.
Hicks is going into her fourth term representing District 8.

The only other uncontested seat on the council is in District 3 where W.B. “Zim” Zimmerman, one of six councilmembers who voted in favor of adding transgender protections to the city’s nondiscrimination ordinance in October 2009, is running unopposed for his second council term.

But at least two candidates are running for each of the six other seats at the council table, including mayor where five candidates are vying to replace Mike Moncrief, who decided to retire after serving four terms.

Mayoral candidates include two former city council members Cathy Hirt and Jim Lane, Tarrant County Tax Assessor/Collector Betsy Price, former state Rep. Dan Barrett and experimental filmmaker Nicholas Zebrun.

Fort Worth attorney Jon Nelson, one of the founders of the LGBT advocacy group Fairness Fort Worth, said this week said that while “it’s really still too soon to tell, I have heard that people supposedly knowledgeable in the area of Fort Worth politics” predict that the race to replace Moncrief will come down to Hirt and Lane.

Nelson said he is supporting Hirt, because he believes she is a “very intelligent … nuts-and-bolts kind of person who will get things done” and because “her stance on equality is very solid.”

But Nelson said that he believes Lane and Barrett “would have supported what the mayor and City Council did” in the wake of the June 2009 raid on the Rainbow Lounge by adding trans protections to the nondiscrimination ordinance and establishing a diversity task force to address LGBT issues.

Nelson acknowledged that he knows little about Price and said he has “never heard of Zebrun.”

Council races

In District 2, incumbent Sal Espino, an attorney is running for his fourth term on the council against Paul L. Rudisill, who is in the healthcare industry.

Espino provided a positive vote on LGBT issues in the months since the Rainbow Lounge raid, including voting for adding transgender protections to the city’s nondiscrimination ordinance.

Rudisill, on his campaign website, describes himself as a conservative who will work to “steer City Hall in the direction you, the taxpayer, desire, not the way liberals have in the past.”

In District 4, incumbent and Mayor Pro Tem Danny Scarth is running for his fourth term. Scarth was one of the three councilmembers to vote against adding trans protections to the nondiscrimination ordinance.

Scarth, executive director of Hope Media, is being challenged by businesswoman Lupe Arriola, who with her husband owns a string of fast-food restaurants. On her website, Arriola promises she will “not rubber stamp the wants of the special interests groups.”

Real estate broker Frank Moss in District 5 is the only incumbent running for re-election to draw more than one challenger. Moss, running for his third term, voted favorably on LGBT issues, including the transgender nondiscrimination measure. He is being challenged by designer Charles Hibbler and school administrator Rickie Clark.

Dallas Voice was unable to locate campaign websites for either Hibbler or Clark. However, webs searches indicate both have previously run unsuccessful campaigns for public office.

In District 6, incumbent Jungus Jordan, who voted against adding transgender protections to the nondiscrimination ordinance, is running for his fourth term. Jordan, a retired economist, is being challenged by civic advocate Tollie Thomas, who has no campaign website available.

District 7 incumbent Carter Burdette, the third councilmember to vote against trans protections, is not running for re-election. Five candidates are vying to replace him on the council.

Burdette is backing Dennis Shingleton, senior associate dean of finance and administration at the University of North Texas Health Science Center.

Also running in District 7 are bank officer Jonathan Horton, Jack Ernest who works in business management, Merchant Services Inc. CEO Jon Perry and consultant Lee Henderson.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 18, 2011.

—  John Wright

­The other Lee

An Asian director of gay films who’s not named Ang? Meet Quentin Lee

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

LABEL QUEEN | Gay, Asian, Canadian — Quentin Lee is never sure what word best identifies him as a filmmaker.

Spike. Ang. Quentin.

There’s more than one indie directing “Lee” out there. More than two, even — three if you count the kooky spelling of Brit Mike Leigh.

When you think of Asians who make gay films, Ang Lee (who’s straight) and Gregg Araki pop to mind, but Quentin Lee deserves a spot alongside them. Although he started out as an experimental filmmaker, Lee has made notable forays into more linear storytelling, culminating in his latest venture, a charming romantic comedy with the provocative title The People I’ve Slept With.

In it, a promiscuous young Chinese woman named Angela (Karin Anna Cheung) finds herself pregnant with no idea who the father could be … and there are many, many candidates. As she sets out with her gay BFF Gabriel (Wilson Cruz) to find her baby daddy, she finds herself drawn to one of her conquests, a politician named Jefferson (Archie Kao), and debates whether to have the kid after all.

Lee will attend a Q&A screening of the film at the closing night at the Asian Film Festival of Dallas, which starts July 23 with screenings at the Magnolia and Angelika Mockingbird Station.

DallasVoice: If you had to be introduced with a modifier attached, would you call yourself Asian filmmaker, gay filmmaker or something else?  Lee:That’s kind of hard. Even on Wikipedia I am listed as a “gay filmmaker.” It doesn’t bother me, but at the same time, as an artist, I don’t want to be labeled.
America has very identity-driven politics. You have to be one thing or the other. I am all these multiple identities: Asian, Asian-American, Canadian, gay. You’re always uncomfortable about being put in a box. When I started making movies, I didn’t say I wanted to make gay Asian films, just films I wanted to make. But sometimes for strategic purposes, it helps. It depends on the context.
Just like in the gay community in general, where you’re a twink or a bear. But the gay community is really interesting. Like black people appropriate the N word, gay people appropriate fag or queer.
This film could play as easily at a gay film fest as if could at an Asian. Do you find it goes between the two easily? We do both [kinds of film festivals]. Sometimes we get to screen at mainstream. In Hawaii, we were at the [mainstream] festival and came back for the Rainbow Film Festival. In certain cities, we screen at one or the other or both — in L.A., we did the gay festival and the Asian film festival. We told out at both, and had totally different audiences. We did the gay and lesbian film festival in Miami [and Asian in Dallas].

Sometimes the politics [intercedes]. The New York gay and lesbian film festival and the Asian film festival, which is in Chelsea, both want to screen it. But they say, “If you screen at the other first, we don’t want you.” They want a premiere. So you have to decide on whose giving the better [platform]. It’s unfortunate. As a filmmaker, I do both gay work and Asian work and I have to choose between the two.

My partner is Asian, so I know the culture can be a little more conservative. Do Asian audiences respond positively to the gay content or is that still a taboo?  They don’t openly say it to you, but the Asian-American audience can be more conservative. At the San Diego Asian film festival, they didn’t want to play the trailer because they thought it was too racy. One question that came at the Q&A was, “What do you say to people who don’t agree with your values?” I was a little shocked at that. But usually film festival audiences are progressive. And as a whole, this is the most acceptable film that I’ve done. Ironically, the straight audiences have no problem with girls kissing.

My favorite line is: “A slut is just a woman with the morals of a man.” Is that from personal experience? Do you think the word “man” requires the modifier, “gay man?”  First, I didn’t write the script, but I wanted to make a movie about a sexually adventurous heroine. There’s definitely a part of me in it, but I’m actually very prudish sexually! I wanted to create a fun person. I’m actually more like Jefferson.

The film on the surface resembles Knocked Up, although Angela is a lot more adventurous that Katherine Heigl’s character — until the end, when she become bourgeois.  She’s a crazy bohemian, but I’m not sure she becomes bourgeois, just more responsible. She finds a balance. I think she’s still crazy. And a lot more fun than having a prim and proper character.

Being an indie filmmaker is hard enough. Do you feel pressure to make more mainstream movies or do you think, hey, if I can’t make the movies I want to about my culture, why do it at all?  Most of my investors are heterosexual guys and when they see the first cut, they say, “Wow, I didn’t know it was that gay.” I was getting notes to tone things down. My cousin was actually an executive producer and he said, “What are you talking about? You know the kinds of films Quentin makes — it’s like investing in a Spike Lee movie and complaining it’s too black.”

You want your movie to be seen by as many people as possible. Certain stories, certain characters have an audience. I think there’s a balance. At the end of the day I want to make movies that both appeal to me as a artist. I don’t want to make fluffy entertainments, but you do want to entertain audiences. I could have just made the movie with Caucasians and hit a broader audience. But there’s something to be said with being an Asian-American filmmaker and casting Asian-American actors who don’t get to play complex roles. You want to represent your community
Wilson Cruz is always so dour on screen, but he’s never looked hotter or played a character with more light. How did you see that in him?  I met Wilson at a party and sent him the script. We liked him from the get-go. I think it definitely offered him a different profile; here he lets it out and has a good time

There’s a theme about food and sex going hand in hand? Is that true in Asian culture especially?  Yeah, like Eat Drink Man Woman. It’s something we really wanted to do — food and sex come together. Because of budget constraints there were some much more ambitious sequences, we had to scale some stuff down. But that was something we really wanted to do. Maybe in the remake we’ll put it back in!


AFFD: The gay stuff

In addition to The People I’ve Slept With, pictured, which screens July 29 cat 7:30 at the Magnolia Theater in the West Village, two other features have gay content: Seven 2 One, a Rashomon-like thriller about a crime at a convenience store with two deceptive lesbians, screen July 28 at 5:20 p.m. at the Magnolia; and A Frozen Flower, about a gay emperor and the succession of his throne in feudal Korea, screens July 28 at 10:10 p.m. at the Angelika Film Center.

For a complete schedule, visit AFFD.org.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition July 23, 2010.

—  Kevin Thomas