If you like it build a museum to it, Houston may get Beyoncé monument

I'm sure the plans for the failed 555 ft "Spirit of Houston" statue are still in a drawer somewhere. Just make it more bootylicious and put a ring on it.

Hometown heroes have always been honored with monuments; from Hannibal, Missouri’s Mark Twain Museum to Cleveland’s memorial to President Garfield, from Atchison, Kansas’ Amelia Earhart museum, to Concord, Ohio’s John Glenn historic site. Pity Houston! Which scion of our fair burg will rise up from the shackles of obscurity to clasp the liberty of immortality that only a dedicated monument can bring?

Beyoncé Knowles, that’s who, at least according to two men who skyped with Fox 26 and are expecting the Mayor to endorse their plans any day now. Steve White and Marcus Mitchell of Armdeonce Ventures say they want to honor the newly minted musical mother with a “statue or museum.” According to Mitchell,

““Our biggest thing is a lot of people get honored when they die, so our goal is to why not honor people why they’re still here? We felt as though it’s her time to be honored. We wanted to construct, like, a massive hall so as the doors open, if you donated to the monument, you’ll have a separate nameplate.”

Armdeonce Ventures has offices in Baltimore, Washington D.C. and Houston according to it’s website. The Beyoncé Monument is the only project currently listed on the site.

Watch the Fox 26 interview with the visionary twosome after the break.

—  admin

“So You Think You Can Dance” holds auditions

If you want to get on a Fox reality show and couldn’t carry a tune if it came with a handle, you might wanna show up at McFarlin Auditorium on the SMU campus Friday. That’s where they’ll be holding auditions for the ninth season of So You Think You Can Dance. Registration begins at 8 a.m., and you must be prepared to be available for up to two days, in the event of call-backs.

To see all eligibility rules, visit Fox.com/Dance.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Woman pleads guilty in case of videotaped beating of trans woman at McDonald’s

Teona Brown, 19, has pled guilty Thursday, Aug. 4, to first degree assault charges and a hate crime charge in connection with the beating of transgender woman Chrissy Polis last April in Towson,

Chrissy Polis

Md. The attack was captured on video by a McDonald’s employee — who filmed the assault rather than step in and try to stop it — last April. The video went viral online and was used, along with new footage from a surveillance camera, in court hearings this week. CBS Baltimore has this report on the plea.

Conviction on a first degree assault charge carries a maximum sentence of 25 years, and a hate crime conviction could add another 10 years. Because Brown pled guilty to the attack, prosecutors are recommending that the judge sentence her to five years in prison. A sentencing hearing has been set for next month.

Polis was present in court on Thursday, but told reporters she was nervous about being there and had no comment. “I just want to lay low and keep my life as normal as possible,” she said.

A second person charged in the attack was 14 at the time and has been charged with assault as a juvenile. Because she is a minor, her identity has not been released.

Below is a video of a news report aired on the Washington, D.C., Fox news program when the attack happened. It includes video of the attack and, as State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger said this week, “The severity of the beating is much easier to understand when you see a video. They say a picture’s worth a thousand words. Well, a video’s worth a million.”

—  admin

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

John McCain doesn’t want whoever manages Sarah Palin’s Twitter account to think he’s gay

Sen. John McCain

Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain, the leading opponent of the repeal of “don’t ask don’t tell,” now says he will do everything he can to make it work. The Hill reports:

McCain signaled that he had made peace with the lame-duck bill to do away with the military’s ban on openly gay and lesbian service members, of which he had been an outspoken critic.

“I think I have to do everything I can to make sure that the [impact on the] morale, retention, recruitment and battle effectiveness of the military is minimized as much as possible,” McCain said on Fox Business. “It is a law and I have to do whatever I can to help the men and women who are serving, particularly in combat, cope with this new situation. I will do everything I can to make it work.”

Who knows for sure what’s behind McCain’s change of heart, which is just the latest in his series of flip-flops on the issue. But we’d be willing to bet that it’s politically motivated on some level.

Of course, we could also speculate that his wife, Cindy, finally got to him. Or that he saw Sarah Palin’s retweet the other day and set out to again prove that he’s not gay. In any case, he remains firmly atop our Top 10 RINFs, which is a companion to this list.

—  John Wright

Super Bowl XLV now officially gayest ever

First there was the Super Street Party on Cedar Springs, billed as the first-ever gay Super Bowl block party.

Then there was the Black-Eyed Peas and bisexual Fergie as halftime entertainment.

And now, to top it all off, the Village People — yes, those Village People — are slated to appear at Fair Park for an “XLV Party” a few nights before the big game, the Dallas Observer reports.

There’s no word on whether the Cedar Springs folks will try to get the Village People for the block party as well, since they’ll already be here and all. But either way, Super Bowl XLV is shaping up to be pretty darn queer. What’s next, Ellen DeGeneres as Fox’s sideline reporter? A special pregame screening of Glee on the big screen at Cowboys Stadium? Chely Wright singing the national anthem? Pastor Robert Jeffress performing the opening coin toss?

—  John Wright

Gay University Park dad rejected by Boy Scouts says he’ll appear on local newscasts tonight

Jon Langbert, the gay father who’s been told he can’t be a leader in his 9-year-old son’s Cub Scout troop in University Park, reports that his story will be on three local TV news broadcasts tonight.

“Watch Fox (KDFW-4) at 9 and ABC (WFAA-8) and CBS (KTVT/KTXA-21) news at 10. I hope the reporters ask the Boy Scouts what they want me to tell Carter when he asks why they’re saying his father is a bad role model and must stop wearing the scout shirt they gave him,” Langbert said.

—  John Wright

‘Real Students With Real Stats’

The Bully Suicide Project, a nonprofit organization launched in 2009, has launched its Fall Campaign with nationally recognized local photographer Tracy Nanthavongsa and make-up by Melissa Whitaker.

The theme of the Fall Campaign is “Real Students With Real Stats.” Each model in the campaign is a high school or middle school student in North Texas that has survived bullying. Photos are graphic and drive home the real life effects of bullying by portraying the physical signs. The Bully Suicide Project (BSP), based in Dallas, is fast becoming one of the top resources for schools and parents for bullying prevention and education.

The BSP has been featured on CNN, Fox and CBS. The Fall Campaign is set to reach new goals by being introduced internationally with organizations in Australia, China, England and Italy.

To view the Fall Campaign, please visit http://bullysuicideproject.com or Facebook at “The Bully Suicide Project.”

The Bully Suicide Project seeks funding from outside sources so that each school can receive this vital training for free. For more information, please contact Beaux Wellborn, assistant director of the Bully Suicide Project at 214-635-1985 or http://bullysuicideproject.com/

—  admin

'Family Guy': Funny or just plain offensive?

MothersDay_AnimatedShows_R2_fGuyFYou wanna see the trans community really pissed off, you can forget about Israel Luna’s transploitation film — look no further than last night’s “Family Guy.”

The animated series, which is historically very gay-friendly while also being patently offensive to gay people (for instance: Baby Stewie is clearly gay, while they have songs that mock AIDS) went all-out hateful against the trans community in last night’s episode, “Quagmire’s Dad.”

In the ep, womanizing neighbor Quagmire introduced everyone to his dad, a heroic veteran who announced he is having sexual reassignment surgery.

At first, the jokes are silly but funny-ish about the discomfort people have with transgenders. (“Do you miss your penis?” someone asks.) But the discomfort escalates, especially after Brian the dog has sex with the post-op woman, and upon learning she was trans, violently vomits for 29 seconds. That’s a long time on TV. And there’s no coda at the end, no “let’s make up and be friends” apologia.

But really, should we be surprised? Animated series like “Family Guy” and especially “South Park” have long pushed boundaries of good taste and political correctness.  I think it’s possible to just take the episode as another “ah, well, they have no sacred cows.” But I can imagine the trans community being up in arms.

What does everyone think: Humor we just accept as legitimate satire? Or line-crossing insensitive claptrap?

You can watch the episode here.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Rampant homosexuality among Pashtun men, not that there's anything wrong with that

Hamid Karzai is Pashtun
Hamid Karzai is Pashtun

And you know this story HAS to be true, because it’s from Fox News.

According to Fox, an unclassified military report said there’s a high incidence of homosexuality among Pashtun men in Afghanistan. President Hamid Karzai is Pashtun but has not returned a call from Dallas Voice for comment.

But Pashtun men don’t think they’re gay because their definition of gay is to love another man, not just have sex with them.

They couldn’t understand how they got gonorrhea anally since they’re not gay.

U.S. military doctors had to explain to them how to get their wives pregnant, which they found repulsive since women are “unclean.”

“Surely this must be wrong,” one Pashtun man said to the military doctor.

Well, we here at Dallas Voice certainly agree and support our Pashtun pals. Maybe the military docs could start giving them cootie shots.

According to the report, the military teaches that Pashtun men are effeminate, but that’s not an indication of homosexuality. They blame the Afghan brand of homosexuality on the severe separation of men and women in Afghan society. Maybe if there were some gays in the military, they could get a better handle on the situation.

Interesting that we just committed 40,000 new troops to go to Afghanistan to fight against the Taliban and defend our allies, the Pashtun, who, it turns out, are flaming queens.

—  David Taffet