Theater Critics Forum bestows honors

The DFW Theater Critics Forum met last week over friend chicken and sweet tea to bestow its annual awards for local theater excellence, as as usual, the gay community was well-represented.

Of the eight best director winners, five locals were gay: Regan Adair for Red Light Winter, Rene Moreno for three shows (The Trip to Bountiful, No Child… and Creditors), Michael Serrecchia for two shows (Uptown Players’ Next to Normal and ICT MainStage’s How to Succeed…), Joel Ferrell for two shows at DTC (Cabaret and Dividing the Estate), and Len Pfluger for My Fair Lady at Lyric Stage. Pfluger’s partner, Jay Dias, was also singled out for his season of music direction with Lyric.

Larry Randolph, as a tragic drag queen in One-Thirdy Productions’ FIT entry, The Madness of Lady Bright, was a popular choose for acting, as were two New York actors who sizzled at the Wyly (and whom we interviewed): Wade McCollum as the M.C. in Cabaret, pictured, and Sydney James Harcourt as the Tin Man in The Wiz. Whitney Hennen, the ditzy blonde in Uptown’s Victor/Victoria, was also singled out.

Justin Locklear received the second Emerging Artist Award for his acting and costume work this season with Balanced Almond, which actually won him two other individual awards.

In addition to yours truly, participating critics in Martha Heimberg (Turtle Creek News); Elaine Liner (Dallas Observer); Mark Lowry (TheaterJones and Fort Worth Star-Telegram); M. Lance Lusk (D Magazine); David Novinski (TheaterJones); Punch Shaw (Fort Worth Star-Telegram); Perry Stewart (TheaterJones); Lawson Taitte (Dallas Morning News); and Lindsey Wilson (D Magazine).

Full list below.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Moncrief endorses Price in FW

Betsy Price

Current Fort Worth Mayor Mike Moncrief chose not to run for re-election this year after four terms, and he has kept very quiet throughout the 2011 campaign about who he believes should replace him as mayor of Cowtown — until today.

According to this report on the Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s PoliTex blog, Moncrief broke his silence to publicly endorse former Tarrant County Tax Assessor-Collector Betsy Price for mayor.

Moncrief, who said his wife Rosie is also backing Price, released a short statement that said, “Her [Price's] love of Fort Worth and her ideas about our community’s quality of life are both appealing and visionary. We wish her the best in this election.”

Price was the frontrunner in the May 14 general election, pulling in 43 percent of the vote out of five candidates. Runner-up Jim Lane, who spent 12 years on the Fort Worth City Council, won 26 percent to make it to the runoff against Price.

Both candidates have reached out to Fort Worth’s LGBT community, including participating in a June 1 forum on LGBT issues that was presented by the LGBT advocacy group Fairness Fort Worth and the North Texas GLBT Chamber of Commerce. For complete coverage of that forum, go here.

And on an interesting side note, if you do click through to the Star-telegram’s post on Moncrief’s endorsement, take a minute to look at the small photos of each of the candidates included in the post. Yep, that’s the GLBT Chamber’s logo you see on the screen behind them! The photos were taken during the LGBT forum.

—  admin

Fort Worth LGBT mayoral forum is Wednesday

Fort Worth mayoral runoff candidates Jim Lane and Betsy Price will attend a forum Wednesday evening sponsored by Fairness Fort Worth and the North Texas GLBT Chamber of Commerce

Fairness Fort Worth and the North Texas GLBT Chamber of Commerce will host a forum for Fort Worth mayoral runoff candidates Jim Lane and Betsy Price on Wednesday at Four Day Weekend Theater, 312 Houston St. That’s on Houston at Third Street, next to The Reata in downtown Fort Worth.

Price and Lane both talked to Dallas Voice last week about where they stand on LGBT issues. But this forum gives the community a chance to hear more from the candidates not only on LGBT issues, but on other topics of interest, too. Fort Worth Star-Telegram columnist Bud Kennedy and I will be moderating. Anybody who has a specific question they would like to see asked can email that question to FairnessFtWorth@aol.com.

Doors open at 5:30 p.m. for 30 minutes of meeting and greeting with the candidates, and the Q&A session starts at 6 p.m.

—  admin

What’s Brewing: Suspect arrested in murder of gay E. Dallas couple found in burned apartment

Your weekday morning blend from Instant Tea:

1. A 23-year-old homeless man has been arrested in the murder of a gay Dallas couple found dead inside their burned-out apartment last month, The Dallas Morning News reports. The suspect, Oscar Mirelez Young, told police that one of the victims picked him up for sex and that he and an accomplice planned to rob the couple. Mike Humphrey, 59, and Clayton Capshaw, 61, were found dead in their apartment in the 11200 block of Woodmeadow Parkway on April 27, after the apartment was set on fire to cover up the crime. Humphrey reportedly had a habit of going to the Bridge, Dallas’ homeless shelter, and picking up men for sex. Young was captured in Uvalde, west of San Antonio, after being pulled over while driving a stolen vehicle, and admitting that he killed two people in Dallas. Young faces a charge of capital murder. The second suspect is still being sought.

Ed Oakley

2. We’ll have more on last night’s LGBT mayoral forum at the Cathedral of Hope in a bit, but for now I wanted to point you to this clever headline in the DMN: “Peace, love and understanding mark Dallas mayoral debate at Cathedral of Hope.” The DMN also reports that openly gay former Dallas City Councilman Ed Oakley has endorsed Mike Rawlings for mayor. Oakley previously backed Ron Natinsky, who didn’t make the runoff. Oakley was defeated in a runoff for mayor by Tom Leppert in 2007.

Joel Burns

3. Anti-bullying language is included in standards of care for Fort Worth’s youth programs adopted by the City Council on Tuesdsay night, according to the Star-Telegram. Gay Councilman Joel Burns applauded the ordinance adopting the standards for children ages 5 to 13, which mirrors language in an anti-bullying bill that passed the Texas House on Tuesday night. The House voted 118-26 to concur with changes to the bill, HB 1942, and it now proceeds to Gov. Rick Perry’s desk. The bill, by Rep. Diane Howard, R-Arlington, is Equality Texas’ top priority in this year’s legislative session.

—  John Wright

More on the FW mayoral runoff forum

Fort Worth mayoral candidates Betsy Price and Jim Lane

I posted this notice yesterday about the Fort Worth mayoral runoff forum being sponsored by Fairness Fort Worth and the North Texas GLBT Chamber of Commerce. Today I got an email from FFW President Tom Anable with a little more information on the event.

Both runoff candidates — Betsy Price and Jim Lane — have reconfirmed their participation in the forum, set for June 1 at the Four-Day Weekend theater, 312 Houston St., in Fort Worth’s Sundance Square. It begins with a meet-and-greet session from 5:30 p.m. to 6 p.m., followed by the forum from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

The forum begins with three-minute introductory speeches by each candidate, followed by questions from the moderators (me and Bud Kennedy with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram). Only Kennedy and I will be able to ask questions during the forum, but suggested questions can be submitted in advance via email to FairnessFtWorth@aol.com.

—  admin

WATCH: Fort Worth’s ‘Close Encounters’ night

A scene straight out of a sci-fi movie as transformers blow up in east Fort Worth

Maybe it’s just me, but dang! Seems like the weather here in North Texas is getting weirder and weirder! I mean, first we have the Great Snowstorm of 2010, followed by the ice this past winter. And now this year it seems like we’re having some extravagantly severe thunderstorms, with tornadoes happening every day last week and this week’s outrageous lighting storms.

I live in Fort Worth, on the east side, and on Tuesday night we had a pretty strong storm front move through. It didn’t last long, really, but for a couple of hours, the city seemed to be really getting hit hard by lightning. In fact, according to this report in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, about 210 cloud-to-ground lightning strikes were reported between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. that night, with another 120 reported the following hour, between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m.

And apparently, a lot of those lightning strikes were hitting transformers — the kinds on the electrical poles, not the kind that are vehicles that turn into giant alien robots. But watch this video — which appears to have been recorded from a high-rise location in downtown Fort Worth, looking east toward the area just north of I-30 and was posted to YouTube by BrianLuenser — and it looks like it could have been a scene straight out of the next big sci-fi movie. We can call it “Close Encounters — The Fort Worth Way.”

It’s pretty frightening sometimes to realize the power of nature, but at the same time, frighteningly beautiful.

Just so you known, WFAA.com is forecasting more thunderstorms today — but hey, the weekend looks great!

—  admin

WATCH: Fort Worth mayoral candidates discuss the issues — but not LGBT ones


WFAA Channel 8  over the weekend hosted a debate — well, they call it a debate but it is, to me, more of a question-and-answer session — with the five candidates campaigning to succeed eight-year Fort Worth Mayor Mike Moncrief, who is not running for re-election.

The debate, moderated by Channel 8′s Brad Watson and Fort Worth Star-Telegram columnist Bud Kennedy, is a little over 20 minutes long and features the candidates answering questions on topics like the city’s budget, urban oil drilling and the city’s pension and benefits plans. Despite the fact that LGBT issues have played a very prominent part in Fort Worth city politics over the last 18 months, neither Watson nor Kennedy asked the candidates any LGBT-related issues.

Still, if you live in Fort Worth, then you most likely care what the candidates have to say on the issues they did discuss. So I am posting the video here. (I live in Fort Worth, by the way, and I do care about the issues.)

The candidates are former city council members Cathy Hirt and Jim Lane, former state Rep. Dan Barrett, current Tarrant County Tax Assessor-Collector Betsy Price and filmmaker Nicholas Zebrun.

—  admin

What’s Brewing: Gays still at risk for deportation; Ind. marriage ban advances; Midnite goes viral

Midnite and Bob Williams, the gay co-owner of Ranch Hand Rescue in Argyle.

Your weekday morning blend from Instant Tea:

1. On Tuesday we told you that immigration cases involving bi-national same-sex couples had been put on hold pending the outcome of lawsuits challenging the Defense of Marriage Act. But officials said later that the delay is only temporary and does not provide an opening for same-sex couples, as existing immigration laws will continue to be enforced. “We have to be very cautious,” Lavi S. Soloway, a lawyer for a bi-national same-sex couple, told The New York Times. He said gay couples should continue to understand that “if they file for immigration status, they may be putting themselves at considerable risk of deportation.”

2. After audience members interrupted the debate with chants of “stop hating, stop dividing, stop pandering,” the Indiana Senate on Tuesday approved a constitutional amendment that would ban both same-sex marriage and civil unions. The Indianapolis Star reports that in response to the chants, the Senate decided to close a balcony so the public was unable to watch the proceedings. The constitutional amendment, which already passed the House, still must clear another session of the Legislature in 2013 as well as a popular vote.

3. Bob Williams and Marty Polasko, the gay owners of the Ranch Hand Rescue animal rescue operation in Argyle, Texas, have made international news in recent days with the story of Midnite, a miniature horse born with a leg deformity who was neglected but is now running again thanks to a prosthetic leg. Already featured in the UK’s Daily Mail and USA Today, Midnite now gets a close-up from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, and below is video from the Associated Press. None of the stories seems to mention that Williams and Polasko are a gay couple, but at least this should help with their fundraising. Congratulations, Bob and Marty — and of course Midnite.

—  John Wright

Van Zandt County Republican wants Ten Commandments back in Texas classrooms

Rep. Dan Flynn

Tis the season for prefiling bills for the upcoming session of the Texas Legislature, and Van Republican Dan Flynn has filed a measure that would allow teachers in Texas public schools to post copies of The 10 Commandments on their classroom walls. (For those of you who don’t know, Van is a very small little town about 70 miles east Dallas on I-20. It is in Van Zandt County, for which Canton is the county seat. I worked there years and years ago as editor of the town’s weekly newspaper, The Van Progress.)

Flynn’s bill says that school board trustees may not stop copies of the commandments from being posted in “prominent” locations in classrooms, according to a story in the Sunday issue of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Flynn also says the measure is a “patriotic exercise” intended to teach students about history and principles.

(Funny, I see it as an unconstititutional effort to impose specific religious views.)

Flynn told the Star-Telegram:

“This is necessary to protect teachers who have the desire to establish that the country’s historical background is based on Judeo-Christian traditions. This might be a reassuring step to the people that we are wanting to maintain and hold on to those historical findings of how our country was founded. And anything that helps build the morals of our young people would be helpful. For too long, we’ve forsaken what our Judeo-Christian heritage has been. Our rights do come from God, not from government.”

Oh, and Flynn was apparently distressed that school officials are not allowed to publicly pray for students athletes before school sports events.

Of course, there have been numerous court cases involving the Ten Commandments on public property and in government buildings. And a in a lot of those cases, the courts have said it isn’t allowed. Although, as the Star-Telegram notes, there was a case just five years ago in which the Supreme Court said a granite monument with the Ten Commandments on the grounds of the Texas Capitol is not unconstitutional because it didn’t mean that Texas government officials were promoting religion.

Flynn said his bill has gotten support among conservatives, but acknowledges that if it passes the Legislature it is likely to face legal challenges.

—  admin

Fairness Fort Worth, Joel Burns urge people NOT to attend tonight’s City Council meeting

On Monday we told you that some folks reportedly plan to speak at tonight’s Fort Worth City Council meeting, to air their disapproval of Councilman Joel Burns “It Gets Better” speech to LGBT youth on Oct. 12. But Fairness Fort Worth says that both Burns and the group are urging people not to attend tonight’s meeting. FFW’s David Mack Henderson said on Facebook that the threat is “not all that credible” and “does NOT warrant giveing them the public dog-fight they desire.” Here’s his full message:

On Monday many of you noted a brief, rather vague and titillating article in the Fort Worth Star Telegram suggesting that “at least one — and possibly more” persons plan to protest Councilman Joel Burns’ recent “It Gets Better” speech tonight in a city council meeting.

Given the international attention Joel brought to LGBT bullying and teen suicide rates you can understand how the blog comments went wild rather quickly. Joel’s amazing outreach produced loyal advocates ready to come to his defense in a heartbeat.

HOWEVER, both JOEL and FAIRNESS FORT WORTH are convinced that this protest threat is not all that credible. Sure, a handful of folks from a city straddling another county may show up and make a bit of noise. In any case, we’ve collectively determined that this does NOT warrant giving them the public dog-fight they desire. COUNCILMAN BURNS and FAIRNESS FORT WORTH urge you NOT to attend this city council meeting specifically to engage these folks. (If you’re there on other city business, by all means, be part of the process as any citizen should.)

Our LGBT Community now plays a strategic and productive role in the future of our city. We’ve earned our seat at the table. As such, WE get to determine the time and place for these discussions, not our detractors.

So, if you’re committed to devoting your Tuesday night toward making a difference in our LGBT Community, FAIRNESS FORT WORTH urges you to attend our general meeting instead. YOU’RE NEEDED THERE! Join us at 7:30PM. We’ll be at Celebration Community Church, 908 Pennsylvania, creating initiatives and programs to advance equal access for all of us!

And yes — we DO have a gay agenda:

*** Anti-Bulling, Safe Schools project with FWISD
*** Hospital & Healthcare Providers Equal Access project
*** FW City Manager’s Diversity Task Force initiatives
…and more as we continue to grow and improve LGBT lives in Tarrant County. We’re on a roll!

Please join us. What a great time to live in Fort Worth, Texas — Where the West Begins — Again!”

—  John Wright