Grindr goes non-gay with Project Amicus

On Thursday, the famous hook-up … I mean, location-based social network app, Grindr, will announce its newest venture. Via webcast, Grindr CEO Joel Simkhai will launch Project Amicus, which takes the Grindr idea of men meeting meN and opens it up to “everyone, whether you’re female, male, straight, gay, lesbian or bi,” according to an invitation to the webcast.

So finally, your non-gay male friends can leave you alone about how you’re hooking up all the time … err, making friends, because they can now do it for themselves.

In Thursday’s webcast, Simkhai will announce the app’s name (Project Amicus is a working title), key features and discuss how it will affect the socializing scene, which this guy isn’t all too fond of. But with Grindr’s bragging rights of having 2.6 million users, they have to be doing something right.

To get your invite to the Project Amicus app, click here to begin. If you’re interested in Thursday’s webcast at 10 a.m. Central time, email here to RSVP.

UPDATE: The new app’s name is Blendr. Simkhai tries hard to keep the app sounding G/PG rated by telling the New York Times today, ““If someone speaks the same language or is also into cooking, or crafts, that’s a strong basis of commonality and you might want to go meet them.”

—  Rich Lopez

WATCH: Lizzy the Lezzy’s take on rabbi blaming the gays for Tuesday’s earthquake

Lizzy the Lezzy

Earlier today, John Wright posted a video by Rabbi Yehuda Levin in which the rabbi explains why we LGBTs are to blame for yesterday’s earthquake in the northeast U.S. The video has now been removed from YouTube for violating the site’s prohibitions against hate speech, which means that the video embedded on our site from YouTube doesn’t work either. But you can still check out Lizzy the Lezzy’s response to Rabbi Levin below:

—  admin

Maple & Motor vs. the gays — again

Maple & Motor owner Jack Perkins (from Facebook).

The last time we addressed this issue was on this episode of our podcast, Pink Noise. There’s been a contentious relationship with Jack Perkins, owner of Maple & Motor Burgers & Beer, and pretty much a contingent of the community that accuses him of discrimination and homophobia. There was even a Facebook page started rather abruptly after one person went to the webs to vent about alleged discrimination, but he never followed up with an official complaint. Dallas has a law against discrimination based on sexual orientation in public accommodations.

Alas, it all seemed to have died down until Tuesday, when Dallas Voice contributor Andrea Grimes posted this piece on Eater Dallas.

—  Rich Lopez

Alt-Disco (All Vinyl) with DJ K.L. Kemp at Fallout Lounge tonight

Dancin’ machine

DJ K. L. Kemp recently started Alt-Disco, a night at the Fallout Lounge where he spins what he calls “no bullshit old-school underground gay disco … just like they used to play at the Trocadero Transfer back in the day in San Francisco.” Someone who posts “Georgio Moroder for President” as his political view on Facebook and invites the gays to party it up like it’s 1979 sounds like a true disco devotee.

Oh, and if you didn’t catch it, he spins vinyl only. Sah-weet!

Tonight is also the DJ’s birthday, so in addition to his “electronic sleaze” and “hi-nrg funk,” he says there will also be cake. Just try not to drop crumbs while doing The Hustle.

DEETS: Fallout Lounge, 835 Exposition Ave. at 9 p.m.

—  Rich Lopez

Master skater

IMG_0911
FOUR WHEELIN’ | Skate with caution to avoid this guy on the roller rink. Gay Skate Night returns every third Saturday at InterSkate in Lewisville. (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)

With Gay Skate Night back, roller derby’s Trigger Mortis offers some tips on making the floor your own

RICH LOPEZ  | Staff Writer
lopez@dallasvoice.com

There was a time when the gays would routinely venture to Grand Prairie’s Forum Roller World for the ritual of roller skating. Don Blaylock used to DJ the event and decided he wanted to bring it back.

“It got to be too much for people every week,” he says. “I think that’s why it fizzled out.”

Scaling it back to once a month (every third Saturday) and moving it to the InterSkate Roller Rink in Lewisville, Blaylock wants to make it a more social event. Before heading to the rink, he chooses a place to eat where people can opt to meet up for a pre-skate nosh. He encourages carpooling up to Lewisville as well, all in efforts to get people “doing something” and “coming together.”

Sounds like a plan.

The last time I donned a pair of quad roller skates, my age was still in single digit territory. At 9, I took lessons on Saturday mornings at the Broadway Skateland in Mesquite and became fairly comfortable with all the basics. That lasted a couple of years. Three decades later, I think I may be a little rusty.

“It’s a whole lot easier if you’re going fast so you can’t feel any of the bumps on the rink,” Trigger Mortis says. “If you go slow, you’ll feel every plank of wood.”

Thanks, lady, but I’m going slow.

Mortis is a member of the Assassination City Roller Derby league, and she agreed to give me some pleasant tips to aid my return to skating … just like she’ll be doing on the flat rink at Fair Park next Saturday when ACRD ends its season with the championship contest. My lesson, however, nixed the elbows and knockouts and all.

She started with the basics.

“First, you need to squat really low. The lower you are, the less distance your ass is from the ground,” she says. “Bend your knees like you’re sitting in a chair. That’s really important.”

Squatting really low is not a look that I’m comfortable with. I’d like to impress the crowd but not look like an idiot.

“You’ll look more like an idiot if you fall standing straight up,” she says.

That shut me up. Usually, when I find myself in an unstable standing situation, I just grab onto whatever’s close by and hang on to reposition my posture — even if it is other people. Apparently, this isn’t cool.

“Oh, no, don’t do that. That’s like the biblical rule No.  1: You can’t grab anybody,” she says. “Just let yourself fall. Drop to your knees or on all fours.”

This is not unfamiliar territory.

Coincidentally, Mortis works at InterSkate in the skate shop. I feel this could prove fortuitous because she gave me some fashion and not-so-fashionable tips on preparing for my rollout.

“Get some wristguards,” she advises. “And dress comfortably. Tight jeans, no. I’ve seen people split their pants; not cute. I think those little athletic shorts are fine; with knee-high derby socks and a headband you’d get total street cred with an Assassination City shirt. I’d hang out with you.”

Mortis tried to convince me to go with the Roller Girl shorts that are made with “anti-cameltoe and muffin top technology.”

But I’d lose all cool points if I went in my inline skates. She informs that quads (four wheels, yo) are where it’s at and plus there’s more of a base to distribute my body weight on. That is if I don’t flatten the tires. Inliners are passé and she warns that she and her girls will make fun of me in blades. All of the sudden, it feels like middle school again.

Face it. Being that it’s Gay Skate Night, there is always the option for a potential hook up. You were thinking it! This wasn’t lost on Trigger Mortis. Although she doesn’t recommend throwing elbows or chairs, she says trying to skate backwards is as good as a pick-up line.

“Well, first, if you want to skate backwards, move your hips like salsa dancing,” she says. It’s like doing the Tootsie Roll. But you could have someone pushing you while you try it. If you happen to fall, the one thing that’s gonna happen is they land on top of you.”

Clearly, my kinda girl.

………………………….

TASTING NOTES

2011 has witnessed a boom in restaurant openings, but this week, there were some closings of particular note, as well.
The Cultured Cup, the wonderful store run by tea sommelier Kyle Stewart and his coffee-savant partner Phil Krampetz, will be shutting the doors of its Preston Center location Saturday. But that doesn’t mean it’s going anywhere.

While the last chance to purchase from the storefront will be July 16 at 6 p.m., you can still order their selection of brewing beverages online at TheCulturedCup.com. If you wanna stop by Saturday and Sunday, they’ll gladly feed you pizza and iced tea if you want to help them move.

Last Saturday ended up being the final day of service for Hector’s on Henderson as well. The Uptown eatery — which is where Central 214 exec chef Blythe Beck first made her culinary mark — was the child of Hector Garcia, frontman for the Riviera for years. Garcia, pictured, not only owned the place and worked the room, he also provided the entertainment on occasion, singing alongside the omnipresent piano.

Garcia — whose partner is former city councilmember Craig Holcomb — opened in the fall of 2004 (I vividly recall dining there on Election Night) to widespread acclaim. The closing was low-key, with Garcia thanking his longtime customers. “I never wanted a run-of-the-mill place, but rather something you would not experience anywhere else,” he said.

Lolita’s, the new Mexican restaurant that opened in the old Catalina Room space (later the short-lived Honey Shack), is adding entertainment to the menu. Husband and wife owners Karlos and Teresa Urban are launching a new Saturday night drag show, beginning at 10 p.m. on July 16. Even though the resto is in the gayborhood, the client base is largely straight, the Urbans said in a release, but they think the addition will appeal to both the gay and straight community. Cover is $10.

Axiom Sushi Lounge at the ilume started its Martini Monday this week, with .99 cent house cosmos and $2 off all regular price signature martinis.

— Arnold Wayne Jones

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition July 15, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

LISTEN: Yacht ‘Breaking the Law’ with JP cover

Paste posted this audio clip of eclectic duo Yacht covering Judas Priest’s “Breaking the Law,” today. The band, who has described themselves as “straight gays,” covered this song for their appearance on SiriusXMU. Yacht’s newest release, Shangri-La, drops Wednesday.

I’d love to hear what singer Rob Halford, who is gay, has to think about his heavy metal classic being turned into electro indie pop. Personally, it’s kinda growing on me.

—  Rich Lopez

WATCH: Lady Gaga does Rome

Calling herself a ‘child of diversity,’ she denounces discrimination at Europride

FRANCES D’EMILIO  |  Associated Press

ROME — Lady Gaga sang a few bars of her smash hit “Born This Way” and demanded the end of discrimination against gays as she proclaimed herself a “child of diversity” at a gay pride rally Saturday night in the ancient Circus Maximus.

The star, whose Born This Way album recently topped 1 million sales in a week, delighted tens of thousands of people at a brief concert in the vast field where the ancient Roman masses would gather for spectacles.

Wearing a green wig, she played the piano and sang a few numbers. But she devoted much of her appearance after an annual European gay pride parade to denounce intolerance and discrimination against gays and transgender people. Among the places she cited was the Middle East, Poland, Russia and Lithuania.

Lady Gaga told the crowd she is often asked “How gay are you, Lady Gaga?”

“My answer is: ‘I am a child of diversity.”’

She also proudly cited her Italian roots — saying she was really named Stefania Giovanna Angelina Germanotta.

And she told fans her costume — a sleek black top with one bare shoulder and billowing plaid skirt — were from the last collection of Gianni Versace.

Decrying intolerance of homosexuality, Lady Gaga lamented that young people who are gay are susceptible to “suicide, self-loathing, isolation.”

Many in the crowd had participated in an hours-long parade of colorful floats and brightly costumed marchers through Rome’s historic center before the rally. The events were part of the annual Europride day to encourage gay rights on the continent.

Lady Gaga praised her audience for its “great courage” which she says inspires her.

Europride organizers hope the event will draw attention to discrimination gays face in many parts of the world. The U.S. ambassador was among those who invited Lady Gaga to Rome.

“I am so honored to be here,” Lady Gaga said, recalling how, earlier in the day, she lay naked in silk sheets in her hotel room and enjoyed the din of adoring fans and packs of photographers in the street below.

Organizers said Rome was a significant choice of venue, since it is home to the Vatican, which staunchly opposes legislation that would recognize same-sex marriage or adoption by gay couples.

Others hoped the turnout would send a message to Premier Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian leader dogged by a sex scandal involving an alleged 17-year-old Moroccan prostitute. The billionaire media mogul triggered outrage from gay rights groups last fall when he contended during a public appearance that it was “better to be passionate about a beautiful girl than a gay.”

Berlusconi’s equal opportunity minister, a woman, defended the premier, saying he had just been joking and had no intention of offending gays. A government undersecretary further provoked protests when she said she was sure “all Italian parents hope to have heterosexual children.”

The premier, who is on trial in Milan for allegedly paying the teenager for sex and then using his office to try to cover it up, has denied any wrongdoing.

—  John Wright

Tony Award wrap-up: Totally gay (again)

It was an untenable situation for the gay Dallasite: Watch the Tony Awards or game 6 of the Mavs? Thank god I had two DVRs. Best of both worlds.

Of course, the Tony Awards are always the gayest of award shows, and they did nothing to disguise that Sunday night starting with the opening number by the telecast’s gay host, Neil Patrick Harris, “‘[Theater] is not Just for Gays Anymore.” He then did a medley duet with Hugh Jackman that was damn funny. (It got even gayer when Martha Wash performed “It’s Raining Men” with cast of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.)

Then the first award of the evening went to Ellen Barkin for her Broadway debut in Larry Kramer’s The Normal Heart, giving a shout out to the 30th anniversary of the AIDS epidemic. She was immediately followed by gay actor and Plano native John Benjamin Hickey for his role in The Normal Heart. (He even chastised his family: “You’d better not be watching the Mavericks game.” Sorry, John, I for one kept flipping between them.) The play also won the award for best revival — a controversial choice, since The Normal Heart never opened on Broadway until this year, usually a requirement for a revival nominations (some thought it should be eligible for best play). Kramer accepted the award. “To gay people everywhere whom I love so, The Normal Heart is our history. I could not have written it had not so many of us so needlessly died. Learn from it and carry on the fight.”

The very gay-friendly Book of Mormon from South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone won several off-camera awards, including score of a musical (the composers thanking gay producer Scott Rudin), orchestrations, scenic design, lighting design and sound design, before taking their first onscreen trophy for best direction of a musical to Parker and gay director Casey Nicholaw (The Drowsy Chaperone), on its way to winning nine total awards, including best musical, best featured actress (newcomer Nikki M. James, defeating prior winners Laura Benanti, Patti LuPone and Victoria Clark and prior nominee Tammy Blanchard) and book of a musical.

“This is such a waste of time — it’s like taking a hooker to dinner,” said best musical presenter Chris Rock before announcing The Book of Mormon for the night’s last prize, best musical.

Other winners in the musical category include John Larroquette for best featured actor (How to Succeed…, apparently the only straight nominee in his category), choreographer Kathleen Marshall for Anything Goes, which also beat How to Succeed for best revival of a musical and won best actress for Sutton Foster. Norbert Leo Butz was the surprise winner for best actor in a musical for Catch Me If You Can. One more really gay winner: Priscilla, Queen of the Desert took best costumes, natch.

The big winner in the play category (other than The Normal Heart) was the brilliant War Horse, which won 5: best play, direction, lighting design, sound design, scenic design, as well as a special Tony for the puppet designs of the horses.

Other play winners include The Importance of Being Earnest (costumes), Good People (best actress Frances McDormand) and Jerusalem, a surprise winner for best actor Mark Rylance.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

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

Bexar County Democratic Party votes to remove anti-gay Chairman Dan Ramos from office

Dan Ramos

Nearly two months after he compared gay Democrats to “termites” and “the fuckin’ Nazi Party,” Bexar County Democratic Party Chairman Dan Ramos was removed from office tonight. The party’s executive committee voted 104-5 to remove Ramos, in part for his anti-gay comments, and will select a new party chair later this month. The San Antonio News-Express reports:

Members leaped to their feet and cheered when they achieved a quorum sufficient to conduct the removal vote. None of the five members who cast nay votes spoke in Ramos’ defense. Some had concerns about the legality of the removal process.

A May 17 meeting was set to choose a new county chair.

On April 16, a trial committee heard evidence against Ramos and unanimously agreed Ramos was guilty of all 10 charges lodged against him, including allegations that he made bigoted comments about gays and failed to perform duties.


—  John Wright