‘Pain’ in the asking

A curmudgeonly man, bespectacled in a plain black suit and bare feet like Yves St. Laurent at the beach, thumbs through a dictionary in the dark, telling stories that go nowhere. He’s a contrarian, obviously the survivor of a troubled past, but not really equipped to explain it. This is us, he tells the audience directly, interacting “face to face with the modern mind.” God, I hope not.

The absurdism that is Thom Pain (Based on Nothing) is smart (almost too smart), and it challenges you in assaultive but funny ways, with lots of word play amid the fatalistic rants. I’m not sure where it’s headed — absurdist plays are often unfathomable that way — but I do know that Steven Walters is the actor to lead us there.

His modulation of energy as he relates stories — about a dead dog, about anger and fear and relationships — it what can sustain you for 70 minutes of one voice talking to you on a mostly black stage. This show marks Second Thought Theatre’s artistic reboot; it’s a good way to begin.

— Arnold Wayne Jones

Through Jan. 29 at Addison Theatre Centre. SecondThoughtTheatre.org.

—  John Wright

Odessa gets a PFLAG chapter — plus, some tips for dealing with family over the holidays

Odessa is the latest Texas city to get a chapter of Parents, Families and Friends of Gays and Lesbians.

According to the PFLAG website, the Odessa chapter is one of about 17 in Texas and 500 nationwide.

CBS 7 reports:

“My daughter told me at the age of 37 that she was gay,” says Shari Johnson.

And Johnson didn’t take the news lightly.

“I fell apart, went to pieces, thought it was the end of the world … begged God to change her … and in the process he changed me,” she claims.

She was changed through PFLAG.

“All of the people involved helped me understand that this wasn’t a tragedy. Found out I was lacking in the love department…and that’s the most important thing.”

That’s why she started a chapter here in her hometown of Odessa.

Also, as we perused the PFLAG site, we couldn’t help but notice these “Tips for a Happy Holiday for GLBT People.” If you plan to come out to family during the holidays or bring your partner home for a visit, they’re probably worth a look. For example:

• If you bring your partner home, don’t wait until late into the holiday evening to raise the issue of sleeping arrangements. Make plans in advance.

—  John Wright

‘Lucifer Descending’ at Stone Cottage Theater tonight

The devil never sleeps
Mark-Brian Sonna takes us to Hell again with his latest production, Lucifer Descending. Lucifer is pissed at God so he goes and creates the underworld. Then he sets his sights on abducting Seth, one of the sons of Adam and Eve. Clearly, Lucifer just doesn’t know when to stop.

DEETS: Stone Cottage Theater, 15650 Addison Rd., Through Nov. 6. $18–$25. MBSProductions.net.

—  Rich Lopez

The Dallas Police Department makes national news for its crackdown on a gay bathhouse

The Dallas Police Department has officially made national news for its raid 10 days ago of The Club Dallas, the gay bathhouse in Deep Ellum, which resulted in 11 arrests on charges including public lewdness and indecent exposure.

Towleroad, Queerty and Joe.My.God., which could easily be called “the big three” of national gay news blogs, have all posted items about the raid. Their posts are for the most part straightforward, but Joe Jervis at Joe.My.God. raises a good question: “Interesting that this took place weeks before an election, eh?”

Instant Tea has long heard that these types of vice operations tend to occur shortly before elections, but we’re still not quite sure why. Presumably the incumbents want to show that they’re tough on crime and extra-tough on sex-related offenses. But city elections aren’t until May. Do you mean to tell us that this raid was designed to help Gov. Rick Perry?

Here’s another good question to ask now that the story has made national news: Does publicity about the raid help or hurt Dallas? Discuss.

UPDATE: Not sure why it didn’t occur to us before, but of course the Dallas County district attorney is up for re-election in November. Is it at all possible that Craig Watkins was behind this raid?

—  John Wright

WATCH: A new message from Lady Gaga to the U.S. Senate on ‘don’t ask don’t tell’

The video was apparently recorded Thursday night and posted early Friday morning on Lady Gaga’s official YouTube channel. Looks like she may have sent out this Tweet while recording the video:

Gaga addresses her 7 ½-minute video message to her fellow Americans, to the Senate and specifically to Republican Sens. John McCain of Arizona, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, James Inhofe of Oklahoma and Jeff Sessions of Alabama. She notes that 14,000 servicemembers have been discharged under DADT since it was passed in 1993.

“In short, not only is the law unconstitutional, but it’s not even being properly or fairly enforced by the government,” Gaga says. “Our fight is a continuum of the ever-present equal rights movement. Every day we fight to abolish laws that harbor hatred and discriminate against all people, laws that infringe on our civil liberties.

“I am here to be a voice for my generation, not the generation of the senators who are voting, but for the youth of this country, the generation that is affected by this law and whose children will be affected,” Gaga says. “We are not asking you to agree with or approve the moral implications of homosexuality. We’re asking you to do your job, to protect the Constitution. As Majority Leader Harry Reid said, anyone who is willing to fight for this country should have the same civil opportunity to do so as anyone else. It’s my belief that no one person is more valuable than another.”

Gaga goes on to talk about some of the veterans discharged under DADT she’s met through the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network.

“The most shocking discovery for me was to hear them all say how much they miss serving and protecting our nation, how they joined the Armed Forces because they believe in America,” Gaga says. “Senators, when you’re sending your men and women into war, when you’re sending our wives, husbands, sons and daughters into combat, will you honor their service? Will you support repealing this law on Tuesday and pledge to them that no American’s life is more valuable than another?”

At the end of the video Gaga calls the Capitol Switchboard and asks for the office of Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York. After a dozen or so rings, she gets a busy signal. Then she tries Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-New York, whose voice mailbox is full.

“I will not stop calling until I reach them and I can leave them this message,” Gaga says. “I am a constituent of the senator. My name is Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, also known as Lady Gaga. I’m calling to ask the senator to vote with Sens. Harry Reid and Carl Levin to repeal ‘don’t ask don’t tell’ and oppose John McCain’s shameless filibuster. We need to do this for our gay and lesbian soldiers and finally repeal ‘don’t ask don’t tell.’

“Try calling after 9 a.m. tomorrow morning,” Gaga says. “I’ll be on the phone, too. Thank you. God bless.”

The number for the Capitol switchb0ard is 202-224-3121.

—  John Wright

BYU student tells truth about why Mormons backed Prop 8; student newspaper axes letter

ABC 4 in Salt Lake City reports that a senior at Brigham Young University recently wrote a letter to the editor of the student newspaper, The Daily Universe, saying Mormons should be honest about whey they supported Prop 8. Cary Crall told the TV station that his letter was initially rejected, then turned into a full-blown op-ed, then pulled from the newspaper’s website and labeled offensive:

Crall wrote that Mormons ought to be honest about the real reasons they put so much time, money and effort into passage of Prop 8. After reading the decision of the federal judge in the Prop 8 case, he concluded there is little rational basis for many of the arguments for Prop 8. So if such arguments were not the real reasons for their support, then what? “The real reason,” he wrote, “is that a man who most of us believe is a prophet of God told us to support the amendment.”

“If the real reason for supporting the amendment is a privately held religious opinion and belief in a prophet — that a prophet is telling us to do it — then we need to be honest about that and take the consequences,” Crall told ABC 4. “I think the Mormon community owes that kind of introspection to the rest of the world for our actions in Proposition 8.”

Read Crall’s full letter at PoynterOnline.

—  John Wright

Watch: Terry Jones’ ‘God Hates the Quran for Being a Fag Day’ Ad

Jones_phelps

The voice from monster truck rally ads invites you to watch the Quran get its ass kicked by Jesus. Featuring a special wedding between Pastor Fred Phelps and his longtime secret love hater Terry Jones.

"Please note: Said wedding may result in a hate so strong as to drain the sweetness from all sugar and whip up more Category 4 hurricanes."

Sullivan notes, "Sometimes this is the only appropriate response."

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP


Towleroad News #gay

—  John Wright

Mother of gay murder victim Richard Hernandez dies without seeing justice for her son’s death

Richard Hernandez

A few weeks ago Rudy Araiza, who was a close friend of gay Dallas murder victim Richard Hernandez’s, voiced his frustration over continued delays in the prosecution of Hernandez’s accused killer, Seth Lawton Winder. Today, Araiza sends along word that Hernandez’s mother has passed away:

“Well I’m witting this letter to just reach out to you and inform you that it’s a terrible thing when your son’s passing is still at a point where no justice has been made for going on two years. And in your own life (Richard’s mom) you are struggling with pain, sadness, emptiness and health problems that don’t make it any easier to live with, until one day you die. Only to never really understand or find the justice you wanted for your son, yourself, friends or family, and having so much on your plate. Mary Garcia Hernandez passed away Monday, Aug. 23, 2010 from health issues she was dealing with. I can only pray to God and thank Him for not making her suffer anymore. Now in my heart I know that although she was suffering from the loss of her oldest son, and her health, that God will bring them together in the heavens above. I pray that her family will one day come to see the light from all this tragedy that has happened within a two year time span, and that we hold together and send a prayer out to them for all their grief.”

Sincerely,

Rudy Araiza

—  John Wright

‘The God that I know and the God that I love will love me and love my children no matter what’

From left, Tracy, Olivia and Jill Harrison on CNN’s Headline News.

CNN is the latest to report on the case of a Bedford lesbian couple whose daughter was denied admission to a local Anglican elementary school because her parents are, well, both women. (The couple told us they did an interview with CNN’s Headline News on Monday night, but we haven’t seen the video posted anywhere yet.)

Interestingly, the dean of the school questions why the couple, Jill and Tracy Harrison, would want to enroll their child in a school that “undercuts [their] personal values at home.” And Jill Harrison confirms that, “I absolutely would not want her to partake in a school where they did not believe or condone the relationship that we have together,” she said.

On why she initially sought to enroll 4-year-old Olivia at St. Vincent’s (which CNN refers to as St. Vincent’s Cathedral School, not St. Vincent’s Episcopal School), Tracy Harrison explains that the couple wanted their daughter to learn basic biblical teachings such as the Golden Rule, the Ten Commandments and “be kind to your neighbor.”

“The God that I know and the God that I love will love me and love my children no matter what,” Tracy Harrison said.

Amen. And we will, of course, have more on all this in Friday’s Voice.

—  John Wright

‘A Map of the Lands of Human Sexuality’

If Dallas Voice is late hitting the streets on Friday, it’s because we were busy playing with this interactive Sex Map, which allows you to place pins on things you’ve tried and liked; tried but didn’t like; would like to try; and would prefer to strictly fantasize about. Don’t forget to save your work, and you can even order a full-size poster version! Via Joe.My.God.

—  John Wright