Apparently, Olympians value a hookup almost as much as a medal

There are precious few out gay athletes, at least in pro sports, but if this news item is to be believed, there are more than a few in the amateur sports. In a story reported on a U.K. website, as soon as the hoards of Olympians began arriving in London, they quickly crashed a website.

And that website was Grindr.

The story gingerly refers to Grindr as a “gay dating” app, though we all know it is really about hookups. And the East London neighborhood where most of the athletes are staying saw such a spike in log-ons, the site was unavailable in London for an entire day. According to the story, they got it up and running as quickly as possible.

That’s good news — it would be terrible if all those closeted swimmers and equestrians and gymnasts didn’t get to score a little cardio before the opening ceremonies. Of course, people like Matthew Mitcham probably don’t have to worry about it; he’s out, so he’ll just go to a gay bar.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Phoning it in

‘Love addict’ Robert Diago uses his iPhone to explore his art

rmateo_installation

INSIDER ART | Artist Robert Diago lies in a bed which is part of the installation for his new show, which addresses his love addiction — something that has occasionally played out on his iPhone hookup apps, opposite.

RICH LOPEZ  | Staff Writer
lopez@dallasvoice.com

Cell phone attachment is hardly uncommon among gay men.

Whether on the treadmill, during happy hour or in the middle of a date, that lifeline to the ether is always at hand, ready to be texted, dialed or simply held for reassurance.

But when one local artist takes a call, it’s not his date or his workout but his art that likely is being interrupted. For him, a smartphone is as important as a brush.

“It was never a conscious thing to make art from it,” says Robert Diago, “but it’s become something I’m using to create art while feeding some of the art I’m dealing with.”

In his new show Every Then… And Now at Ro2 gallery, Diago (who writes his name professionally as r. mateo diago) exhibits work that peers deeply into his inner conflicts and addictions thanks to his iPhone. Simply by taking pictures with his phone of other photographs, Diago discovered and honed certain degradations that resonated with his messages.

“There were these strange patterns what would occur and even with those old photos, this gave them a very modern, contemporary touch,” he says.

But there was also an underlying theme emerging. While examining his past and his love addictions with old photos, he was using the very tool that made his addiction harder to handle.

Using a hookup app as inspiration, he created a piece called “Findr Night Lights.” Diago freely talks about his codependence, which has manifested into a love addiction. While he may act out on that in some sexual fashion, he’s discovered it’s rooted in a lack of love and nurturing not met in childhood.

At least, that’s what his therapist told him.

“I had a very good therapist,” Diago chuckles. “As a love addict, I’m looking for that missing piece. I’ve learned that I need to treat the codependent in me, not the addict.”

In turn, his artwork has become therapeutic, and he’s been able to address childhood issues such as his father’s abandonment and an abusive grandmother. He even turned the ending of his last relationship into a four-piece narrative. Unlike his last show, Diago’s intention here is to leave more to the imagination and allow viewers not just to see him, but also themselves.

06_FindR_nightlights_12x10_300“I felt like I spoonfed a little too much with [my show] Junk Drawer,” he says. “I thought to give less this time and start on some middle ground. The purpose of this show is to examine the buzzing in my head when it ingrained into my subconscious. I want everyone to take away from this that if you truly examine your thoughts, you can change the direction of your life.”

The Jersey-born Diago followed his then-partner to Dallas 16 years ago from Fort Lauderdale. Back then, art was a part-time gig, but when he was laid off from his job as a graphic designer almost four years, his partner encouraged him to focus on his art.

Fast-forward to today, and the reality of being a full-time artist is arresting. Diago is still on the hunt for employment and his own money goes more into his art and booking shows than coming in as a result of it.

“I think it was a good decision, but it’s very tough,” he admits. I will just continue to do this, but with no income to speak of, I don’t know what’s next. I’ll definitely go where the money is but I do hope this show could be great for me.”

If there’s one thing his art has given back to him, it is a sense of forgiveness. He can accept he won’t have a relationship with his father but he can use him for art. And he’s also forgiven himself.

“I love my journey. I chose all these unfortunate things and learned from them to create my work,” he says. “I came up against a lot of old demons in this work and was able to let go of them. It was one of the hardest things to do.”

There may not be an app for that, but Diago’s the man to ask how self-discovery can be found in an iPhone.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition January 13, 2012.

—  Kevin Thomas

Best bets • 09.16.11

Friday 09.16

Bears do a switcheroo
BearDance steps out with a new Dallas Pride event. In the first Switch Party, the bears take over Sue Ellen’s for a night to dance the night away with Bearhaus DJ Blaine Soileau at the helm. The ladies

will head to TMC: The Mining Company to let the bears play while they raise money for AIDS Arms. Sounds good all around.

DEETS: Sue Ellen’s, 3014 Throckmorton St. 9 p.m. $15. BearDance.org.

………………….

Friday 09.16

Coco puff
Since Dallas was so good to her last time, Coco Peru thought she’d come this way again for her End of Summer Tour. Plus, it totally enhances all of your Pride festivities. Who doesn’t want a legendary drag queen/actress as part of the fun-filled weekend? We do for sure.

DEETS: The Rose Room (inside Station 4), 3911 Cedar Springs Road. 7 p.m. $30.  CocoPeruTour.com.

…………………

Saturday 09.17

Cruising the amusement park
Is it un-PC to say “scream like a girl?” Because you will as the Mr. Freeze ride drops you faster than your last Grindr hookup. The DV presents Gay Day at Six Flags for Pride weekend.

DEETS: Six Flags Over Texas, 2201 Road To Six Flags. Park opens at 10 a.m. $25 pre-order. $57 door. AltURL.com/ogddb

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

—  Michael Stephens

Gay Valentine’s Day hookup hearts


If you do a Google Images search for “gay Valentine’s Day,” this is one of the top results. It was apparently created by Austin-based graphic designer Rene Flores of Jerkypants. Unfortunately we don’t know of any place that’s actually selling these hearts, but we couldn’t resist sharing.

—  John Wright

Craigslist police blotter: Bryan pastor in gay sex scandal; Azle man faces charges over fake ad

While we’re on the subject of hookup site-related crime stories in Texas, we’ve got two more to tell you about.

One involves a 51-year-old closeted church pastor from Bryan who’s accused of meeting other men online and forcing them to have sex with him.

According to KBXT.com, Pastor George Randall Scott resigned from the Bethel Temple Church, where he had served since 1990, following his arrest last Tuesday.

In one case, Scott met his alleged victim on Craiglist and posed as a 17-year-old as they exchanged 12 e-mails over two days. Many of Scott’s e-mails came from a church computer:

Eventually the victim agreed to let Randy Scott come to his house but, “When the person showed up, it was an older man. The man told him that he was the stepfather of the person the victim had been emailing. The subject said that he is protective of his stepson and has set up his stepson’s email to forward him all of the emails that they have been exchanging. The victim said that the man told him that he is going to call the Police unless the victim pleasured him sexually,” court documents stated.

KBXT reports that Scott’s former congregation is “shocked but supportive.” From Stuart Quartemont, chairman of the Bethel Temple Church’s administrative board:

“On behalf of Bethel Temple we express our love, prayers and support for the Scott family. … One of the things the Lord has been sharing with us the last couple of day is we shouldn’t keep our eyes on circumstances but keep our eyes on Him and as we continue to focus on Him, He’ll take care off all the circumstances we go through.”

Our other Craiglist case was written up in The Dallas Morning News a few days back. It involves an Azle man who faces online harassment charges after posting a fake personal ad in the “men seeking men” section of the site.

The suspect, Clark Friesen, reportedly got in a heated e-mail dispute with the victim, Michael Martin, over a boat Martin had posted for sale. So Friesen posted the fake personal ad using Scott’s e-mail address, and as The DMN cleverly puts it, Martin “soon was hearing from dozens of men who were after more than his 20-foot Bayliner.”

“As soon as I’d hang up, it would ring again,” said Martin, who is married with a teenage stepdaughter. “I know if I ever go that direction, I won’t be lonely.”

He’s right, he won’t be lonely. He might just meet a pastor from Bryan.

—  John Wright