WATCH: Barney Frank announces retirement, slams Newt Gingrich over ‘sanctity of marriage’

Congressman Barney Frank, D-Mass., the longest-serving openly gay member of Congress, confirmed at a press conference this afternoon that he won’t seek re-election in 2012.

Frank said he decided to retire in part because he would have faced a tough campaign next year after his district was redrawn to include more conservative areas. Frank said the district would be almost half new.

“If I were to run again, I would be engaged full-fledged in a campaign, which is entirely appropriate — nobody ought to expect to get re-elected without a contest — but the fact that it is so new makes it harder, in terms of learning about new areas, introducing myself to new people.”

Frank also took a jab at former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who has climbed to the top of GOP presidential polls.

“I did not think I had lived a good enough life to be rewarded by Newt Gingrich being the Republican nominee. It still is unlikely, but I have hopes,” Frank said.

“I look forward to debating, to take one important example, the Defense of Marriage Act with Mr. Gingrich,” Frank said. “I think he is an ideal opponent for us when we talk about who it is that is threatening the sanctity of marriage. … He would be the best thing to happen to the Democratic Party since Barry Goldwater.”

Watch a clip of Frank’s comments about Gingrich above.

Below are reactions to Frank’s retirement from President Barack Obama and others.

—  John Wright

BREAKING: Barney Frank to retire

Rep. Barney Frank

Openly gay Congressman Barney Frank, D-Mass., is expected to announce his retirement today.

Frank is the longest serving of four openly gay members of the U.S. House. The other three are Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., Jared Polis, D-Colo., and David Cicilline, D-R.I.

Frank will hold a news conference at 1 p.m. Eastern time today in Newton, Mass., to announce that he won’t seek re-election in 2012, according to multiple reports.

Frank, 71, is the senior Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee. He was first elected in 1980.

The Boston Globe reports that a major factor in Frank’s decision to retire was the new district in which he would have had to run next year.

—  John Wright

DRIVE!: Drivers seat

Reality TV star (and gay gearhead) Drew Ginsburg stays in the family business — and has two rides to show for it

TWO RIDES ARE BETTER THAN ONE  |  Drew Ginsburg divides his road time between two cars sold at his family’s dealerships: A VW Beetle, left, and an Audi A6.  (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)

TWO RIDES ARE BETTER THAN ONE | Drew Ginsburg divides his road time between two cars sold at his family’s dealerships: A VW Beetle, left, and an Audi A6. (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)

As the lone gay member of the cast of the recently ended reality show Most Eligible Dallas, Drew Ginsburg had to be both fabulous and a gearhead — not exactly the stereotype of the gay man. But his love affair with cars has left him admittedly (if justifiably) snobby about autos — his family does, after all, own a number of car dealerships, and working in the family business means knowing a whole lot about them.
Oh, and don’t ever call him A-list.

— Rich Lopez

…………………….

Name and age:  Drew Ginsburg, 30.

Occupation:  I handle marketing for the Boardwalk Auto Group, including Boardwalk Audi in Plano and Park Cities Volkswagen on Lemmon Avenue. We’re the longest continuously owned and operated dealer in Texas and we feature Volkswagen, Audi, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati and Porsche.

What do you drive?  I’m open to driving multiple cars but they all belong to the dealership. Right now, I drive either a VW Beetle or an Audi A6.

That’s variety. How do you choose?  It just depends on what’s going on, but usually if it’s business, I drive the Audi; the Beetle is for casual stuff.

Do you have a permanent car?  I’m still waiting for my Porsche to come in. It’s the new Porsche 911 Carrera in white with black interior. It will be here in January. It’s a very sad time right now without a Porsche. I have no sports cars to drive.Your taste in cars is very A-list (zing!):  But I’m not A-list, far from it. I don’t think so, anyway. Are you talking about the show?

Umm … No? So, how are A-list vehicles compared to yours?  They all drive Hondas and BMWs, but I don’t think they know anything about them.

What’s the sexiest thing about a ride?  Usually it’s the acceleration and sometimes, just the design.

Speed driver or grandpa?  I’m a speedy driver. My driving style has been described as sex.

Hmmm… can you pick me up at work today?  [Silence.]

What was your first car?  It was a two-door Chevy Tahoe. I got it when I was 16.

Favorite road trip story?  Once I drove from Dallas to Newfoundland with a college buddy and then back to our home in Vermont. It’s my favorite because I was just this young college guy having a new experience.

Two guys, one vehicle: Nice. What are the rules of your car?  That depends. I was out with a Lamborghini and my roommate got mad that I wouldn’t go to Starbucks for him to get a drink.

Where is your fantasy drive?  I’d like to conquer the Autobahn again. It’s all about driving in Europe. I’d love to drive around Spain and take a trip to the California coast.

What’s in your music player?  It’s loaded up with either Spotify or Pandora, but I’ve been listening to Rihanna’s “We Found Love” a lot and David Guetta’s “Titanium.”

Where do you park when you go to Wal-Mart?  [Laughs] I just park at the end of the lot.

Are you a car snob?  Yes I am, but not about the price tag. I am when it comes to the design and makeup of the car. There are great cars for less than $30,000 and not so great ones for more than $120,000. Some people just buy for the emblem.

Like $30K millionaires?  Exactly! They wanna buy a luxury car but can’t afford it. It’s just for brand.

What should everyone know about cars?  Well, if you buy yourself a Saab, you’re retarded — it’s phasing out. And paying cash doesn’t necessarily mean the best deal. And most dealers don’t rely on the Kelley Blue Book because we’re using real-time market insight. Every car has idiosyncrasies and we have to look at those.

What’s it like being famous now?  It’s been a fun experience and I’m just taking it in as it happens. I don’t think of myself like that, but I’ve gotten to meet more people. It’s been a fun ride.
Pun intended?  Sure.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 11, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Drew’s clues

Our ‘Most Eligible’ gay gets real about reality TV

ON THE TOWN | Ginsburg, above left, attends DIFFA, showing Bravo audiences the gay side of Dallas.

Love it, hate it or maybe just love to hate it, reality television has put Dallas right in the middle of its crosshairs with shows like Big Rich Texas, the upcoming A-List: Dallas and Bravo’s newest beehive of bitchery, Most Eligible Dallas, filming around town in recent months.

Eligible promises a front row seat to the lives of six of our city’s most see-and-be-seen socialites (although popular opinion seems to question some of their pedigrees). We had a chance to visit with the lone gay member of this glitterati: Drew Ginsburg. As is boasted in his Bravo bio, the 29-year-old is “a proud gay man, [who] prefers cars to couture” and works for his family’s business of high-end automotive dealerships.

Ginsburg shared some local haunts that did not make it on camera, and how he felt Dallas’ reputation, and his own, were faring in the warmth of the Hollywood spotlight.

— Jef Tingley

…………………….

Dallas Voice: How did you get involved in the show to begin with? Ginsburg: I was actually approached on Facebook by producers.

What was your reaction to the first time you saw yourself on TV?  Was it the same as when you hear your own recorded voice and think, “I don’t sound like that?”  I was actually quite shocked. I thought I was going to come off funny. I didn’t know I was going to come out looking as good as I am. I really had no expectation of how I looked on camera.

The night the first show aired, we saw many Facebook posts about one of your first on-camera lines where you said you can “have everything you want at the push of a buddon.” You seemed to catch a lot of flack for that pronunciation, especially given the context. Anything you want to add in your defense? Well here’s a fact about the way that I said the word button: I’m dyslexic, I have ADD, and I was actually born with a speech impediment so some words just don’t come out right. And if you don’t like it, guess what? I’m lucky that I can even say “buddon.” If [people] are going to attack me on the way I say button, I think it’s kind of funny. Those are things I wear with honor and pride because they make me who I am. I was born this way, and if they don’t like it they can go complain somewhere else.

In the second episode, you went to a matchmaker — a very old-school one who relies strictly on index cards, no computers. How did you even find her?  My friend found her by Googling gay matchmaker Dallas. I was shocked to go to her house in Bluffview and meet her. For some reason, when I heard matchmaker, I was thinking like matzo balls and dates — my family’s Jewish. I was expecting Yiddish and Yenta… but I didn’t get Yenta.

Even though your date with J.P., a diminutive-statured redhead from Chihuahua, Mexico, whom you called an “endangered species” didn’t work out, would you recommend matchmaking for a friend? I’d recommend matchmaking to anyone. I mean, there’s nothing wrong in my mind in taking a shot in the dark sometimes…especially when it comes to love.

Who on the show would benefit the most from matchmaking? I think Courtney. I feel like sometimes you need to get your feathers ruffled and break out of your old routines.

How do you think Dallas comes across on the show? I think Dallas looks incredible. They got a picture of the new bridge. That was kind of cool.

Speaking of Dallas, we’ve seen you on the Katy Trail with cast mate Glenn Pakulak (and his dreamy washboard abs) and at other notable locations like Sfuzzi and Naan. Do you have any favorite local spots that didn’t end up on camera so far? The Grapevine has not ended up on camera. It’s one of my favorite hangouts. Same with Company Café and Bolsa.

Since you’re Most Eligible’s lone homo, where would you take your fellow cast mates to paint the town pink? [We’d] probably start at the Grapevine as a primer even though it’s not a gay bar. Then around 11 p.m., I would take them to the Round-Up. It’s fun and legendary… I got to meet Lady Gaga at my building after her performance at the Round-Up. She called me a “Little Monster,” but I explained to her that I was six foot four and not that little!

While we are on the subject of being “the only gay in the village,” were you out before the show aired? Did you just quote Little Britain to me? Yes, I was out before the show aired. But I have [heard from] a bunch of, like, high school friends … they were all shocked to find out. I was the one in high school who was caught drinking with all the cheerleaders. I was also on the football team, so everyone thought I was a playa. But I was just hanging out with them.

Weight loss seems to be a big catalyst in your life. How long has it been? And how did you go from gastric bypass to injecting yourself with HCG (a hormone produced during pregnancy that helps with weight loss)? I’m glad you brought that up. In 2002, after watching my grandma pass away I decided that I needed to do something. I was 420 lbs., and I realized dieting was not the path to do something drastic to jumpstart the process. I talked to several doctors who said my only option was gastric bypass.

I started that process and my alcoholism took into effect after my gastric bypass about two years later. I had to deal with that road bump, which I am glad I did because it helped me get to grips with my sexuality. Getting sober made me realize I had to be more honest with myself and come out of the closet.

When I came to Dallas, I did not have the same support system [as in California]. I went from 250 lbs. to 280 lbs. in 2010, and that’s when I started HCG and working with a trainer and on my nutrition. My weight still fluctuates. During filming, I jumped from 212 lbs. to 235 lbs. because of the stresses of filming, work and not getting to go to the gym. But I have not used HCG since April of this year.

One of your claims to fame is that you are a car fanatic. What are you driving right now? I’m in the 2012 Audi A6. It’s a brand new car. I’ve had every single model variation [of Audi] since I started driving. I’ve always loved this car: in my teens, in my 20s and now into my 30s.

Cast mate Tara Harper is very involved with Paws in the City, a North Texas animal charity. Do you have a favorite local charity you support? I support Legacy Counseling and Hospice and DIFFA. My family has been supporting DIFFA since I was 16 years old.

You mention that because of HCG, your pee will actually test positive during a pregnancy test. Have you ever been brave enough to waltz into the drugstore for your own box of EPT? Yes I did…and it did work!

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

—  Michael Stephens

Tammy Baldwin joins U.S. Senate race

Rep. Tammy Baldwin
Rep. Tammy Baldwin

Associated Press

MADISON, Wis. — U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin entered the race Tuesday for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by retiring Democrat Herb Kohl, becoming the first Democrat to officially jump in the contest.

The seat is one of at least eight open spots that will help determine the balance of power in the Senate, where Republicans need to pick up just four seats to take control.

One of the most liberal members of Congress, Baldwin had been saying since Kohl announced his retirement in May that she was seriously considering a Senate bid. Her congressional district includes the city of Madison, a liberal Democratic stronghold, and some surrounding rural areas.

Baldwin, 49, made her announcement in an email and video announcement to supporters early Tuesday. If elected, she would become the first openly gay member of the Senate.

Baldwin, the first woman whom Wisconsin voters sent to Congress, was also the first person elected to Congress after announcing they were gay. She was first elected in 1998.

She downplayed the historic significance of her candidacy during a conference call with reporters Tuesday. She said she supports equal opportunity for all people, regardless of race or sexual orientation, but that her focus of the race will be on fighting for the middle class.

“From day one, I have always been open about my sexual orientation,” Baldwin said on the call. “I think that integrity is something that is important to voters.”

She called for a new federal stimulus plan focused on improving schools, roads, bridges and other infrastructure in order to put people to work immediately.

“I hope we hear the president calling for that later this week,” she said.

Baldwin also used her video message to mention her opposition to the war in Iraq and her support for ending the war in Afghanistan, as well as to hint at the obstacles her candidacy will face as she seeks to win her first statewide election.

“I’m used to facing challenges head on,” she said. “When I first ran for Congress in 1998, people counted me out. But we worked hard, campaigned across south-central Wisconsin, and we won.”

Republicans are sure to go after Baldwin’s liberal voting record, hoping to sway independent and moderate voters their way in a state that has swung between handing President Barack Obama a 14-point win in 2008 and kicking Democrats out of power in the Statehouse in 2010.

Former Republican U.S. Rep. Mark Neumann entered the Senate race last week. Neumann said at the time that he was focusing his campaign on Baldwin, who he presumed would capture the Democratic nomination.

Neumann and other Republicans lined up to cast Baldwin as a liberal who is unelectable statewide.

“I’m a conservative, she’s a liberal — it’s that simple,” Neumann said in his statement.

Brad Courtney, chairman of the Republican Party of Wisconsin, called Baldwin a “disastrous failure” when it comes to creating jobs and fixing the nation’s economy.

“We look forward to contrasting Baldwin’s record of less jobs and more big government spending against the proven fiscal responsibility of the Republican candidates,” Courtney said.

There promises to be a spirited contest on the GOP side, with longtime Gov. Tommy Thompson making serious moves toward his first run for office since 1998. Other Republicans indicating they plan to run include Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald, a top ally of polarizing Gov. Scott Walker; state Sen. Frank Lasee, a lawmaker who once advocated arming teachers to protect their classrooms; and former state Sen. Ted Kanavas, a lower-profile candidate who’s been quietly building support.

On the Democratic side, U.S. Rep. Ron Kind of La Crosse is considering running, as is former two-term U.S. Rep. Steve Kagen of Appleton. Former Sen. Russ Feingold, who lost re-election last year to Republican Ron Johnson, has said he wouldn’t run for any office in 2012.

Kind’s campaign spokesman and Kagen did not immediately return messages seeking comment Tuesday.

Baldwin’s entrance into the Senate race leaves her House seat open for the first time in 14 years. A number of potential Democratic candidates have already expressed interest, including state Reps. Mark Pocan and Kelda Helen Roys.

—  John Wright

Sue Ellen’s Date Our Gay tonight

Lookin’ for love in all the wrong places

Gay men don’t expect much to find a date at a lesbian club, but tonight that changes. The crew of Sue Ellen’s is auctioning off their one gay member for a date and a good cause. Don’t let the rain get you down, you might end up with a date.

DEETS: Sue Ellen’s, 3014 Throckmorton St. 9 p.m. PartyAtTheBlock.com.

 

—  Rich Lopez

What’s Brewing: Gays celebrate in Hawaii; Atlanta Eagle cops were drunk; Rick Santorum

Kristin Bacon gets a kiss on the cheek from partner Siobhan Ni Dhonacha after the Hawaii Senate voted to approve the Civil Unions bill.

Your weekday morning blend from Instant Tea:

1. Lawmakers in Hawaii, one of the earliest battlegrounds for same-sex marriage two decades ago, on Wednesday gave final approval to a civil unions bill that will make the Aloha State the seventh in the nation to grant gay and lesbian couples rights equivalent to marriage. And just before the civil unions vote, the state Senate confirmed the first openly gay member of the Hawaii Supreme Court, the same body whose 1993 ruling almost legalized same-sex marriage and led to passage of the nation’s first constitutional amendment banning the practice. It’s only 5 a.m. in Hawaii, so we imagine the gays are still partying as we write this.

2. Speaking of partying, undercover officers who raided the Atlanta Eagle in September 2009 were drunk with more than just power and anti-gay hate — they’d also been downing shots of Jagermeister. Wait, did anyone ever check those Rainbow Lounge receipts?

3. Rick Santorum, the former Pennsylvania senator who’s seeking the Republican presidential nomination, is struggling with name recognition in key primary states. Which is somewhat strange because we recognize his name just fine: He’s the “frothy mix of lube and fecal matter that is sometimes the byproduct of anal sex.”

—  John Wright

Tel Aviv shooting victim will not be deported after calls from LGBT groups

Nir Katz

Congregation Beth El Binah in Dallas joined other LGBT Jewish groups around the United States Wednesday, Feb. 9, in calling on Israel to allow Thomas Schmidt to stay in that country. They held a phone conference organized by Congregation Beit Simchat Torah in New York on Feb. 8.

According to the Israeli newspaper Ma’ariv today, Schmidt will be allowed to stay in the country.

Schmidt is from Germany and has lived in Israel since 2004. His partner was Nir Katz who was murdered at the Tel Aviv LGBT Center on Aug. 1, 2009.

Schmidt was one of 11 injured in the attack. Katz’ parents helped Schmidt recuperate and they consider him a part of their family. He has no contact with his own family in Germany.

He was in the process of applying for permanent partnership status when Katz was killed. His residency visa had expired.

After the shooting at the LGBT Center, Congregation Beth El Binah planned a vigil with Youth First Texas and Resource Center Dallas, which was the first of many held around the world over the next few days. A rally in Tel Aviv attracted 100,000 people supporting the victims of the shooting and the LGBT community.

When Schmidt’s visa expired, Israel first denied his request to stay in the country.

Nitzan Horowitz, currently the only openly gay member of the Knesset, called on Israel to allow Schmidt to stay in the country.

Yonatan Gher, director of Jerusalem Open House, that city’s LGBT center, said that in 2009, one person committed a hate crime against the LGBT community but “today the country is committing a hate crime.”

“We call on Israel to allow the victim of the brutal attack to remain in the country,” Diane Litke, president of Congregation Beth El Binah, said yesterday.

Today, Israel changed its position and will allow Schmidt to stay in the country.

Israel recognizes same-sex marriages performed in other countries. Most opposite-sex couples do not get married in the country. Since only Orthodox rabbis are allowed to perform weddings in Israel, and most Israelis are not Orthodox, they marry elsewhere and their marriages are recognized.

—  David Taffet

Fishing with Juan

‘CRUSH’ ON YOU | Abe Vigoda ventured into electronica territory with its new album ‘Crush.’ Gay member Velasquez, second from right, hopes this might increase fans for the band — especially gay ones.

As indie band Abe Vigoda tours the country, lone gay bandmember Juan Velasquez sometimes just wants to settle down with a boyfriend

GREGG SHAPIRO  | Contributing Writer
gregg.shapiro@gmail.com

Juan Velasquez has been with Abe Vigoda since the beginning. No, he’s not the lover of venerable Fish and Godfather star Abe Vigoda, but the indie band that co-opted the actor’s name.

Velasquez is one of a growing number of out musicians who play in cool indie bands including Grizzly Bear, The Soft Pack and These Arms Are Snakes and Vampire Weekend. Crush, Abe Vigoda’s new disc, might take some of their existing fan-base by surprise, considering the (welcome) use of synthesizers and dance beats. At the same time, the band has definitely increased its potential for a larger LGBT audience.

Velasquez spoke about being the only gay in the vill… er, tour bus, and whether the actor knows about his eponymous rockers.

Dallas Voice: Were you and the other members of Abe Vigoda listening to different music than you ordinarily would have prior to recording Crush? Juan Velasquez: No, not really. It had been two years since we wrote music together. Influence-wise there’s different music that we like, stuff that we’re interested in and enjoy. I think it was a natural thing that happened. There wasn’t anything out of the ordinary. We don’t all communally love one thing.

You said that it was a natural thing, so would you say that the sonic difference of Crush was a conscious decision or did it occur organically? Definitely organically, but it took a while. We write sporadically, usually when we’re practicing. Our drummer [Dane Chadwick] really likes dance music, so he introduced electronic elements to the band. We toyed around with them as a thing that we would be able to use and then we realized how much we liked it. It’s fun because you’re not restricted to guitars and drums. There are more things that you can use. I think we were finally more comfortable using synths.

How has the response to Crush been from longtime Abe Vigoda fans? It’s very varied. Some people just don’t get it. To me it sounds more “accessible” than other things we’ve done through the years. Some people are not so jazzed on it and some people like it. It’s not what they expected and because of that they like it. Sometimes we’ll play shows and mainly play songs from Crush and people will be like, “Why didn’t you play anything older?” I think people are still getting used to it. Even more important, people that didn’t like us before are maybe not getting into it because it’s a whole new thing and they didn’t know what we sounded like previous to this record. It’s a mixed thing, which is kind of what we expected. It never enters our mind when we’re writing what it’s going to be like on the other side of it. We just want to produce something that we like and then after that, it’s up to unknown forces whether people will be into it.

You run the risk of alienating some people, but you also stand the chance of reaching a whole new audience. Yes. For me it’s more exciting than just doing the same thing that people are going to like. I’m excited when bands change and evolve. We’ve never been a band that sticks to the exact same thing. It’s fun to try new things and push yourself.

The songwriting on Crush is credited to the band Abe Vigoda. How would you describe your role in the process of song creation in the group? It’s different for different songs. Sometimes Michael [Vidal] and I will have an idea or something we’re fiddling around with on the guitar and bring that to practice. Then everyone does their own thing on it. We generally jam together as a band. Everyone is in charge of their own instrument as far as what they contribute. Within the structure of the song, my main part is already there and we’ll work on it together. Sometimes I’m just adding something to what Michael has already laid out. We all edit each other and edit ourselves. It’s pretty democratic way of writing songs, I think.

What’s the best part of being the lone gay member of a band? [Laughs] What’s funny is that some people think everyone [in the band] is. Or they think there is one, and it’s Michael, the singer. When we’re on tour, the other guys in the band aren’t looking for girls. They’re really nice guys, which is awesome. If anyone, I’m probably the one who’s more like on the prowl [laughs]. I get really excited when I find someone else in a band who is gay because there aren’t that many of us in indie rock. Sometimes I’ll venture out (while on tour in a city) and check out the gay bars or if I have a friend in town we’ll go out and do our thing. In a way, I have a little freedom where I can go and do my own thing. I get some space away from the whole touring thing and being in close quarters with everybody.

Because they’re not going to tag along. Sometimes they do. Sometimes we’ll all go out to a gay bar. It’s a non-issue, obviously. I don’t think I could be in a band where it was an issue.

Are you aware of a contingent of LGBT fans among Abe Vigoda’s fans? I’m not aware of one if there is. Not to generalize, but we’re usually playing for kind of a straight crowd. Sometimes, someone will mention that, come up to me and say, “I’m gay, too.” But that’s rare. But I’m sure there are [gay people in the audience].

I’m not even sure people know that there’s a gay member of the band. It’s also not the focus of our music. There are some bands for whom that is the focus of their music, to be in a queer band to give voice to queer issues, even in a fun or punk way.

Like Scissor Sisters. Exactly. Or Hunx and His Punx. They definitely have a gay following, whereas we have a more mainstream indie rock following.

Does being in a touring band make it difficult to maintain a relationship? You betcha! If you would have asked me this at this time last year, I would have said, “No! I have an amazing boyfriend.” I never really until last year had a relationship or somebody that I was really excited about. It was the first time that I legitimately fell in love with someone. Before that it had been more casual. In January of last year, I was in love. We went out on tour with Vampire Weekend and then recorded Crush around this time last year. I was gone and missed him and talked to him on the phone. It felt like a relationship. It was great and exciting. Then I got home and soon after I got dumped. He didn’t enjoy that I was gone for so long. I never saw it that way. Being gone for a long time is rough on relationships, but I’d never really thought about it because I wasn’t in one. You only have a certain amount of time when you’re home to meet someone and once you get started then you have to leave again. Hopefully, I’ll meet someone who doesn’t mind that their significant other has to leave for a while. It’s definitely stressful. I don’t mean to sound like a cry-baby. I’m over it now. At the time, it was pretty shitty. Because it was something I couldn’t control. It’s my job. I’m not going to choose somebody over this.

Do you know if your namesake is aware you named your band after him? I have a pretty strong feeling that he does. One time somebody who wanted to interview us, instead of contacting [the band’s publicist], found his publicity person and messaged them. They got a response saying that it wasn’t the band’s publicist that they had reached, it was the actor’s. If his publicist knows, he knows. And he doesn’t seem to care, which is good.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition Feb. 4, 2011.

—  John Wright

Nowlin would be Dallas’ 1st gay council member since Oakley stepped down in 2007

In Friday’s Voice we reported that gay business owner and attorney James Nowlin is planning to run for the District 14 seat on the Dallas City Council, assuming that incumbent Angela Hunt steps down to run for mayor.

If he wins the seat, Nowlin would become the city’s first openly gay council member since Ed Oakley, who vacated his District 3 seat in 2007 to run for mayor – a race he lost to Tom Leppert in a runoff.

Oakley’s departure meant that for the first time since 1993, the council didn’t have an openly gay member. But thanks to some strong allies on the council, as well as Leppert’s openly gay chief of staff, the sky hasn’t fallen.

Still, with 14 representatives plus the mayor on the council in the nation’s ninth-largest city, it makes sense for Dallas to have at least one openly gay councilperson. And Nowlin certainly seems like a qualified and viable candidate.

Among other things, we’re impressed with Nowlin’s candidness about his sexual orientation. He hasn’t at all shied away from interviews with the Voice, and he states plainly on his campaign website that, “James and his partner, John, live in Lakewood Heights and attend Cathedral of Hope as well as Unity Church of Christianity.”

Anyhow, following our story, Nowlin sent out an e-mail on Saturday formally announcing his candidacy and requesting donations. We’ve posted the full text of the e-mail after the jump.

—  John Wright