‘The Variants’ season 1 on DVD

You could make a case that what The Office is to corporate America, The Variants is to quirky small business on the fringe of society: gay-run comic book store. (OK, maybe The Office is just the corporate version of Clerks, but you get the comparison.) The folks at Zeus Comics who created this webseries make fun of themselves, their customers and their own queer nerdiness, but it never gets mean-spirited.

The Variants began last summer as an experiment, but generated enough traffic that it’s already back for season 2 (the next episode, airing Wednesday, features Celeste Martinez). Until then, it’s a hoot to see all the local people and places in the season 1 DVD, now available.

The DVD contains lots of cool extras — audio commentary, a blooper reel, a slideshow or art and rants from misanthrope clerk Barry — but the best things about the DVD? Watching the entire series play out at once like one long feature … and not having to worry about bandwidth problems interrupting your stream.

— A.W.J.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition July 1, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Ill. House OKs civil unions; Senate vote today

The Illinois House voted 61-52 on Tuesday to grant gay couples some of the same rights as married heterosexual spouses, including hospital visitation, health-care decision-making and the disposal of a loved one’s remains. From Fox Illinois:

House sponsor Rep. Greg Harris, D-Chicago, likened Senate Bill 1716 to past landmark fights for equality in granting women the right to vote and allowing interracial couples to marry.

We have a chance today to make Illinois a more fair state, a more just state and a state which treats all of its citizens equally under the law,” he said.

Harris and state Rep. Deb Mell, D-Chicago, are the only two openly gay lawmakers in the legislature. Earlier this year, Mell announced her engagement to her partner while on the House floor.

“After six years of building a life together, committing our lives to each other – we have a strong faith in God and family – and after all that we are still not considered family,” Mell said. “And I assure you we are a family, and we deserve the same rights that you enjoy.”

The bill is expected to win approval from the Senate today before being signed by Gov. Pat Quinn. It would take effect July 1, and Illinois would become the sixth state to offer civil unions or domestic partnerships.

—  John Wright