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

The Jackie Hall Experience for Christmas Eve at Sue Ellen’s

Are you experienced?

After witnessing Jackie Hall’s performance at Twist Dallas earlier this year, we couldn’t wait till she got her voice down to the gayborhood. And that happens tonight. The Jackie Hall Experience welcomes in Christmas tonight with a slew of rock, R&B and of course, Christmas carols for the night. Do all that Christmas Eve stuff early and hit up the club for a voice to remember. Seriously, how she’s not a bigger star is beyond us.

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

—  Rich Lopez

Council member Jones to be first cisgender reader at Houston Day of Remembrance

Jolanda Jones

Jolanda Jones

Houston City Council member Jolanda Jones is scheduled to be the first cisgender reader in the history of Houston’s Transgender Day of Remembrance. Lou Weaver, president of the Transgender Foundation of America, one the events sponsors, says that Jones was originally approached to be a speaker at the event because of her advocacy for trans children, but that she requested to read instead.

“I begged to read, I begged them,” corrects Jones, “they asked me if I wanted to speak and I begged them to read instead because it’s profound and it touches you. I think it’s better to read because it’s important.”
Jones said she was particularly moved at last year’s Day of Remembrance by the story of 17 month old Roy A. Jones who was beaten to death by his babysitter for “acting like a girl.” “I was so touched when they read about the baby that was killed,” said Jones, “the readers tell the story.”

Jones led efforts this year to encourage local homeless youth provider Covenant House to adopt a nondiscrimination policy that covers both sexual orientation and gender identity and expression. She used her position on City Council to threaten to cut Covenant House’s funding unless they addressed accusations of discrimination. That threat persuaded the organization to overhaul their policies and begin regular meetings with community leaders to discuss their progress in serving LGBT youth.
The Houston Transgender Day of Remembrance is Saturday, November 19, from 7-9:30 pm at Farish Hall on the University of Houston Campus.

—  admin

Sons of Hermann Hall celebrates 100 years

Who can blow out a 100 candles?

The legendary venue Sons of Hermann Hall celebrates a century this weekend and as part of the vast music lineup, LGBT faves Patrice Pike and Kathy & Bella join in on the celebration. Two days of Texas music in this Dallas gem is pretty much the equivalent to heaven.

DEETS: SOHH, 3414 Elm St. $25­–$45. SonsOfHermann.org.

—  Rich Lopez

‘Stomp’ starts tonight at Music Hall at Fair Park

Now these cats can recycle
We wonder if the Stomp people throw anything away. Clearly everything, even trash, can be turned into a musical instrument or noisemaker, but these guys know how to do it the right way.

DEETS: Music Hall at Fair Park, 909 First Ave. Through June 12. $15–$75. Ticketmaster.com.

—  Rich Lopez

Twist Dallas at LBG tonight

Let the music play

SuZanne Kimbrell made major tweaks to this latest edition of Twist Dallas. First and foremost, the event moves to Thursday nights, and while this show continues at Lakewood Bar & Grill, she expects that the July show will be in a different venue.

Also, the lineup here is tighter with four performers on the bill (Kimbrell included), but she’s pulled together another eclectic group of performers. Guitarist Natalie Velasquez, David Siuba from Santa Fe and the sultry soul and slick guitar rock of Robinson Hall led by queer vocalist Jackie Hall.

Visual artist Sylwester Zabielski will have his photography and film work on display.

DEETS: Lakewood Bar and Grill, 6340 Gaston Ave., on May 19 at 8 p.m. $10. TwistDallas.com.

—  Rich Lopez

Snap shots: ‘Bill Cunningham New York’ turns the camera on fashion’s most influential paparazzo

LENS ME A SHOE | The Times photographer documents foot fashion in ‘Bill Cunningham New York.’

ARNOLD WAYNE JONES  | Life+Style Editor
jones@dallasvoice.com

Maybe Project Runway’s to blame, maybe The Devil Wears Prada, but for the past few years there has been a surplus of documentaries about the fashion industry, with profiles of designers like Valentino (Valentino: The Last Emperor), Yves Saint-Laurent (several in fact), even young designers (Seamless) and Vogue magazine’s editor (The September Issue). (By contrast, I can only recall one fashion doc from the 1990s: Unzipped, about a young designer named Isaac Mizrahi.) Is there really that much to say about dressmaking?

Maybe not, but while Bill Cunningham New York fits broadly within the category of fashion documentaries, its subject is unusual because he eschews the trappings of haute couture even as he’s inextricably a part of it — a huge part, really.

If you don’t read the New York Times, you might not recognize Cunningham’s name, and even if you do read it, it may not have registered with you. For about, well, maybe 1,000 years, Cunningham has chronicled New York society with his candid photos of the glitterati on the Evening Hours page. At the same time, however, he has documented real fashion — how New Yorkers dress in their daily lives — with his page On the Street, where he teases out trends (from hats to men in skirts to hip-hoppers allowing their jeans to dangle around their knees). Anna Wintour may tell us what we should wear; Cunningham shows us what we do.

“We all get dressed for Bill,” Wintour observes.

What makes Cunningham such an interesting character is how impervious he seems to the responsibility he effortlessly wields. He loves fashion, yes, but he’s not a slave to it himself. He scurries around Manhattan (even in his 80s) on his bicycle (he’s had dozens; they are frequently stolen), sometimes in a nondescript tux but mostly in jeans, a ratty blue smock and duck shoes, looking more like a homeless shoeshiner than the arbiter of great fashion. He flits through the city like a pixie with his 35mm camera (film-loaded, not digital), a vacant, toothy smile peaking out behind the lens, snapping the denizens of Babylon whether they want it or not.

One of the funniest moments is when strangers shoo him away as some lunatic paparazzo, unaware how all the well-heeled doyens on the Upper East would trade a nut to have Cunningham photograph them for inclusion in the Times. Patrick McDonald, the weirdly superficial modern dandy (he competed as a wannabe designer on the flop reality series Launch My Line a few seasons back), seems to exist with the hope that Cunningham will shoot him. And shoot him he does.

Many artists are idiosyncratic, even eccentric, but Cunningham is supremely odd by any standards. He lives in a tiny studio near Carnegie Hall filled with filing cabinets cluttered with decades of film negatives on the same floor as a crazy old woman, a kind of urban variation on Grey Gardens. He knows tons of people but most of them seem to know very little about him. By the time near the end when the filmmaker, director Richard Press, finally comes out and ask him outright whether he’s gay, Cunningham arches in that prickly New England way, never really answering outright, though he says he’s never — never — had a romantic relationship. Things like that were simply not discussed by men of his generation.

In some ways, we never really know any more about Cunningham at the end than any of his friends do, and perhaps even him. Cunningham comes across as defiantly non-self-reflective. He lets his work do all the talking for him. And that work has a lot to say on its own.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition April 8, 2011.

—  John Wright

Afternoon View – Philadelphia City Hall

Joe. My. God.

—  admin

Excerpts from Toxic Town Hall that led to Gay Suicide

I’ve often said that Oklahoma is ground zero for extremist Evangelical, or “Talibangelical” hatred of the LGBT community. This is what it looks like at an Oklahoma public town hall that led to the suicide of gay teenager Zack Harrington. I’m fairly certain the young Zack, naively perhaps, was hoping to hear citizens discuss a simple proclamation recognizing October as Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender History Month in the city.

John also posted a link with more extensive recorded video from that meeting here.

Compare the hateful remarks and expressions of hatred you will see and hear with, Joel Burns, the brave gay city councilman in Fort Worth.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  John Wright

Obama Discusses Bullying, ‘DADT’, Whether Being Gay is a Choice, at MTV Town Hall

Obamamtv

At an MTV Town Hall with young people this afternoon, Obama faced a number of questions on LGBT issues.

One question dealt with online harassment, and bullying (transcript via the White House): 

Q    Hello, my name is Allie Vonparis (ph).  I’m a junior at University of Maryland in College Park and also — this is more of a personal question — but I’m also a victim of anonymous, hurtful, degrading harassment over the Internet.  Police and university officials have been unable to help put a stop to it.  My question to you is, what can you do, if anything, to put a stop to these vicious attacks over the Internet while preserving our rights to freedom of speech?  I also ask this in light of the recent — the tragic deaths recently on the news of young people who are bullied and harassed online.  Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, it’s a great question.  And obviously our heart breaks when we read about what happened at Rutgers, when we read about some of these other young people who are doing nothing to deserve the kind of harassment and bullying that just completely gets out of hand. 

 And so we actually, the Department of Education, has initiated a — we had a summit a couple of weeks ago just to talk about this issue:  How can we help local and state officials set up structures where young people feel safe, where there’s a trigger that goes off when this kind of bullying starts taking place so that immediately school officials can nip it at the bud?  So there are a range of cooperative efforts that we can initiate.

Now, in terms of the Internet, you’re right, it is a challenging thing because the Internet — part of the power of the Internet is, is that information flows out there and it’s generally not censored and it’s generally not controlled by any single authority.

But at your school, for example, I think there is nothing wrong with instituting policies that say that harassment of any form, whether it comes through the Internet or whether it happens to you face to face, is unacceptable; that we’ve got zero tolerance when it comes to sexual harassment, we have zero tolerance when it comes to harassing people because of their sexual orientation, because of their race, because of their ethnicity.

And I think that making sure that every institution, whether it’s our schools, our government, our places of work, take these issues seriously and know that in some cases there are laws against this kind of harassment and that prosecutions will take place when somebody violates those laws.  Sending that message of seriousness is something that I think we all have to do.

 Now, the last point I would make is that the law is a powerful thing but the law doesn’t always change what’s in people’s hearts.  And so all of us have an obligation to think about how we’re treating other people.  And what we may think is funny or cute may end up being powerfully hurtful.  And I’ve got two daughters, 12 and nine, and Michelle and I spend a lot of time talking to them about putting themselves in other people’s shoes and seeing through other people’s eyes.  And if somebody is different from you, that’s not something you criticize, that’s something that you appreciate.

And so I think there’s also a values component to this that all of us have to be in a serious conversation about.  Because ultimately peer pressure can lead people to bully, but peer pressure can also say bullying is not acceptable.

Another question, via Twitter, asked "Dear President Obama, do you think being gay or trans is a choice?"

Obama answered: 

"I am not obviously — I don't profess to be an expert. This is a layperson's opinion. But I don't think it's a choice. I think people are born with a certain makeup, and we're all children of God. We don't make determinations about who we love. And that's why I think that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is wrong."

White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett apologized earlier today for language she used in a Washington Post interview which referred to being gay as a "lifestyle choice".

A third LGBT-related question dealt with "Don't Ask, Don't Tell:"

Q    I voted for you in the last elections based on your alleged commitment to equality for all Americans, gay and straight, and I wanted to know where you stood on “don’t ask, don’t tell.”  I know that you’ve mentioned that you want the Senate to repeal it before you do it yourself.  My question is you as the President can sort of have an executive order that ends it once and for all, as Harry — as Truman did for the integration of the military in ‘48.  So I wonder why don’t you do that if this is a policy that you’re committed to ending.

THE PRESIDENT:  First of all, I haven’t “mentioned” that I’m against “don’t ask, don’t ask” — I have said very clearly, including in a State of the Union address, that I’m against “don’t ask, don’t tell” and that we’re going to end this policy.  That’s point number one.

Point number two, the difference between my position right now and Harry Truman’s was that Congress explicitly passed a law that took away the power of the executive branch to end this policy unilaterally.  So this is not a situation in which with a stroke of a pen I can simply end the policy. 

Now, having said that, what I have been able to do is for the first time get the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Mike Mullen, to say he thinks the policy should end.  The Secretary of Defense has said he recognizes that the policy needs to change.  And we, I believe, have enough votes in the Senate to go ahead and remove this constraint on me, as the House has already done, so that I can go ahead and end it.

Now, we recently had a Supreme Court — a district court case that said, “don’t ask, don’t tell” is unconstitutional.  I agree with the basic principle that anybody who wants to serve in our armed forces and make sacrifices on our behalf, on behalf of our national security, anybody should be able to serve.  And they shouldn’t have to lie about who they are in order to serve.

And so we are moving in the direction of ending this policy.  It has to be done in a way that is orderly, because we are involved in a war right now.  But this is not a question of whether the policy will end.  This policy will end and it will end on my watch.  But I do have an obligation to make sure that I am following some of the rules.  I can’t simply ignore laws that are out there.  I’ve got to work to make sure that they are changed.

Video on DADT question, AFTER THE JUMP



Towleroad News #gay

—  John Wright