Remembering 9/11 from a first-hand perspective

Paul J. Williams

Earlier this week, I wrote this post here on Instant Tea about my personal memories of 9/11. And I had planned to write a second one about Mark Bingham, one of the heroic passengers of United Flight 93, who also happened to be gay. And I had planned a third about Father Mychal Judge, chaplain for the New York Fire Department, who had gone into the World Trade Center North Tower to tend to victims and was killed when that tower collapsed. Father Mychal was gay, too.

But then Hardy Haberman wrote this Viewpoints column for the Voice, and I decided doing those planned blog posts would redundant, since Hardy had already done it so well.

So instead, I want to share with you something that local comedian Paul J. Williams sent to me. Paul was in New York on 9/11, living in an apartment in Queens,  working in a Lower Manhattan during the day, and performing his comedic routines in the clubs at night.

Paul had a first person view of the tragedy of 9/11. He was there as history unfolded. Here’s what he saw, and did:

“On Tuesday morning, Sept. 11, 2001, I was going through my usual “get ready for work” routine in my apartment in Astoria, Queens. At the time, I was working as a long-term temp secretary for a law firm in Manhattan, but I didn’t usually go in until 10 a.m.

“After taking a shower, my routine consisted of coming back into my bedroom and turning on the stereo to KTU for their morning show while I was getting dressed. It was a little before 9 a.m. Rather than the usual hilarity, the KTU DJs were very seriously discussing the fact that the World Trade Center has just been hit by a jet. I went into the living room to turn on the TV, still only half dressed.

“I sat in front of the television for the next few hours, getting up only to get my cell phone to try to call my parents, or to go to the door to talk to my landlords who lived downstairs. My roommate, who also worked in Manhattan, always left for work early in the morning and was already at his office in Midtown when the first plane hit.

—  admin

Step aside Vajazzler, the Pejazzler comes to town!

Face to Face NYC didn’t have any photos of pejazzled members on their website that I saw, but they did have this one delcaring “Beauty Talks.” Get Pejazzled at the spa, and your “beauty” can be shouting “Bling Bling.”

I have a friend who is very involved in community theater (she and her husband recently moved to Los Angeles so she can pursue her acting career), and she and her sister often helped sew costumes for different area theaters. We used to kid her all the time about her love of the Bedazzler, that wonderful little device that lets you add sparkle to everything,

Then Jennifer Love Hewitt went on Lopez Tonight and told everybody how she had bedazzled her va-jay-jay. Vajazzling, she said, was all the rage. (I can assure you, that was news to me!)

I guess some of the menfolk out there were feeling a bit left out, because today in my email inbox I found an announcement from Face to Face NYC, “a boutique spa in Manhattan,” letting me know that they now offer Pejazzling services. Yep, that’s right. Go to New York City, visit Face to Face spa, and you, too, can have a sparkly penis. (I checked their website, though, and didn’t find any photos of sparkly penises.)

According to this email: “Pejazzle is the newest emerging trend in men’s grooming. Every man can enjoy adorning his ‘special friend’ with Swarovski crystals and transform his member into a dazzling Pejazzle piece!  The treatment can be done very easily and quickly. Enrique Ramirez of Face to Face spa NYC shares that he is excited about this new trend for men following his pioneering introduction of the Vajazzle for his female customers.  His male patrons love this novelty treatment and there are great designs men can choose from that are gender appropriate… and some that aren’t!”

Pejazzling, they suggest, would be a great idea for brides and grooms or grooms and grooms on their wedding nights, as a way to spice up anniversaries and special dates or just for a bit of self indulgence.

I am not so sure about that. I am afraid that if I were the type to date or marry a man, and my date or husband whipped out his Pejazzled member, I might get tickled and laugh so hard the special occasion would be ruined. Then again, as a lesbian, maybe I’m not the one to judge (although I think a vajazzled va-jay-jay would get the same response from me.)

What do you think? Would you be turned on, turned off or overcome with laughter?

—  admin

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

Cut the CrAPP, Manhattan Declaration backers: One could i-PRay until the second coming if one wanted!

Just a quick visual response to those who keep claiming the anti-gay Manhattan Declaration was removed from the Apple app store because of anti-Christian bias:

(click for mega-huge, full size graphic;

please ignore the unrelated apps that we failed to black out)

Christianapps

Nine pages of Christian apps. And there is certainly other search criteria (“God”, “faith,” “religion”, etc.) that would turn up even more Biblical hits.

So it aint anti-Christian bias that caused the app to be pulled: It’s one business’ concern about a document that quite undeniably voices hostility for the civil rights of millions of people! It’s time to stop passing the buck and start taking responsibility for your own work, Mr. Daly. Mr. Colson, Mr. George, et. al!




Good As You

—  admin

There’s an opp. for that: Robert George gives us another chance to show what Manhattan Declaration’s really about

This from Focus on the Family/National Organization for Marriage founder Robert George:

( click to play audio clip)

*AUDIO SOURCE: Apple Again Rejects Manhattan Declaration App [FoTF]

So okay, since these folks keep insisting on talking about “Christian values” and the debate associated with the so-called Manhattan Declaration, we’ll keep bringing up some of the real reasons why an American corporation like Apple might make the logical business decision to limit this particular offering:

(A) The Manhattan Declaration publicly and proudly touts signatures from Scott “the gay movement is a nuclear bomb” Lively, someone who this year earned considerable attention for his belief that the Uganda “kill gays” bill is a “step in the right direction.”

(B) Two other people listed on the Manhattan Declaration’s “Religious leader’s [sic] signatories” list are Peter Akinola, a man who says “homosexuality does violence to nature“, and Rev. Emmanuel Musaba Kolini, who has referred to homosexuality as “moral genocide.

(C) Major Declaration backer Tony Perkins has come right out and said the document represents “a struggle between good and evil.” Hint: We’re not the ones he puts in the “good”category:



Perkins.mpg [YT user: ptrvns47]

(D) Five SPLC-designated hate groups (Traditional Values Coalition, Abiding Truth Ministries, American Family Association, Family Research Council, Watchmen on the Walls) have at least one associate on one of the two signatories lists. Now, of course the “pro-family” folks are all attacking the SPLC as being agenda-driven and therefore without credence. But not a one of them has even attempted to (much less succeeded at) refuting the documented claims that got these groups on the highly selective list. Which is particularly odd, considering it’d be in the outraged non-listees’ interests to note that SPLC does make careful distinctions. But I digress.

(E) The most major voice behind the Declaration, Chuck Colson, has all kinds of nasty, hurtful comments on the record that more than belie NOM’s “reasonable and civil debate” claims. Like the time Chuck warned about gays’ marriages leading to “Cultural Armageddon,” for instance:

Or when he compared Manhattan Declaration supporters’ mission as constituting “non-cooperation with evil,” for another:

“This kind of principled non-cooperation with evil won’t be easy—there are signs of a reduced tolerance for that most basic of American values, religious freedom. As we’ve discussed many times on BreakPoint, Christian organizations are losing tax-exempt status for refusing to buy in to homosexual “marriage.” Some are going out of business rather than cave into immoral demands—such as placing children for adoption with homosexual couples. Conscientious medical personnel are being sued or being fired for obeying their consciences.

I say, enough is enough. The Church must take a stand. And with the release of the Manhattan Declaration, that’s exactly what we are doing.”

The Manhattan Declaration

Or perhaps our favorite: The time when Chuckles admitted just how he sees the tens of thousands of soul-crushed people who took to the streets in the national, almost entirely peaceful protests against Proposition 8

When I watched the violence on television, memories came back of earlier generations of thugs: Bull Conner, who, with the help of brutal cops, used violence and intimidation to chase African Americans out of the public square. Or roving gangs of Nazi brownshirts who ruled the streets of Germany during Hitler’s rise to power. Do opponents of Proposition 8 who attacked Mormons and their churches think they’re any better than Bull Conner, or nicer than Nazi thugs? I don’t.” [SOURCE]

Civil, huh?

(F) The app in question was also offensive to “reasonable and civil debate” on a purely intellectual level, with the in-app survey pretending to query users on their support for marriage equality and reproductive choice, but then proceeding to tell them they were just plain incorrect if they fell out of evangelical lock-step. If we want to talk about 1984, let’s start with this “agree with us or else” survey.

(G) The Declaration repeats (as did the app) the oft-bastardized claim:

In New Jersey, after the establishment of a quasi-marital “civil unions” scheme, a Methodist institution was stripped of its tax exempt status when it declined, as a matter of religious conscience, to permit a facility it owned and operated to be used for ceremonies blessing homosexual unions.

The reality is that the church pavilion was receiving a SPECIAL tax benefit under the Green Acres tax-exemption. This tax break was always a bonus — a privilege bestowed upon eligible non-profits that open their private lands and/or accommodations up for public usage. Public, as in ALL of the public, not some. And since LGBT people are part of New Jersey’s public and civil unions are the law, A PUBLIC ACCOMMODATION MUST EITHER ACCOMMODATE THE PUBLIC OR STOP RECEIVING THESE KINDS OF PUBLIC HANDOUTS! A church can ABSOLUTELY keep gay couples from marrying in their own pavilion. However, they cannot receive special state, federal, and local tax breaks if they are going to pick and choose which kinds of couples are allowed to use the pavilion! In this NJ case, they still received the tax-exemption for the rest of their properties, which weren’t found to be in violation. But the pavilion in question was acting outside the rules for this particular state program.

(H) The Declaration refers to gays who are seeking civil fairness as really seeking “a right to engage in immoral sexual practices.

(I) need not say more. Apple is not the American government with the power to stifle free speech — it is a company with its own right to make its own decisions. The technology behemoth pulled the app not because they or gays are out to shut down speech, but rather because gay activists gave attention and light to the offenses contained within the app and larger Declaration, and Apple saw fit to make a corporate decision that led to the app’s removal. The merits (or lack thereof) are what did the Declaration supporters in.

But of course, yet again, these same supporters take no responsibility for what they have said and done, since the victim strategy makes the seem so much more sympathetic. Or so they think.




Good As You

—  admin

Robert George’s Manhattan Declaration App Banned (Again) From iPhone

Despite NOM's best efforts to shame Apple, the tech giant has once again moved to block the Manhattan Declaration iPhone app, which was approved and then yanked last month. So the app's makers — led by the "country’s most influential conservative Christian thinker" Robert George, who launched the 4,700-word Christianity pledge last year to the squeals of James Dobson and Maggie Gallagher — re-submitted it. And were just shot down. Which means an entire class of technophiles will miss out on being told the correct answer to the question "Do you support same sex relationships?" So is this thing available on Android yet?

CONTINUED »


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Queerty

—  admin

There’s an opp. for that: NOM gives us another chance to show what Manhattan Declaration’s really about

New from the National Organization For Marriage:



(H/t: J.M.G.)

You done? Okay, good. Now it’s our turn.

Here are some real reasons the app was pulled:

(A) The Manhattan Declaration publicly and proudly touts signatures from Scott “the gay movement is a nuclear bomb” Lively, someone who this year earned considerable attention for his belief that the Uganda “kill gays” bill is a “step in the right direction.”

(B) Two other people listed on the Manhattan Declaration’s “Religious leader’s [sic] signatories” list are Peter Akinola, a man who says “homosexuality does violence to nature“, and Rev. Emmanuel Musaba Kolini, who has referred to homosexuality as “moral genocide.

(C) Major Declaration backer Tony Perkins has come right out and said the document represents “a struggle between good and evil.” Hint: We’re not the ones he puts in the “good”category:



Perkins.mpg [YT user: ptrvns47]

(D) Five SPLC-designated hate groups (Traditional Values Coalition, Abiding Truth Ministries, American Family Association, Family Research Council, Watchmen on the Walls) have at least one associate on one of the two signatories lists. Now, of course the “pro-family” folks are all attacking the SPLC as being agenda-driven and therefore without credence. But not a one of them has even attempted to (much less succeeded at) refuting the documented claims that got these groups on the highly selective list. Which is particularly odd, considering it’d be in the outraged non-listees’ interests to note that SPLC does make careful distinctions. But I digress.

(E) The most major voice behind the Declaration, Chuck Colson, has all kinds of nasty, hurtful comments on the record that more than belie NOM’s “reasonable and civil debate” claims. Like the time Chuck warned about gays’ marriages leading to “Cultural Armageddon,” for instance:

Or when he compared Manhattan Declaration supporters’ mission as constituting “non-cooperation with evil,” for another:

“This kind of principled non-cooperation with evil won’t be easy—there are signs of a reduced tolerance for that most basic of American values, religious freedom. As we’ve discussed many times on BreakPoint, Christian organizations are losing tax-exempt status for refusing to buy in to homosexual “marriage.” Some are going out of business rather than cave into immoral demands—such as placing children for adoption with homosexual couples. Conscientious medical personnel are being sued or being fired for obeying their consciences.

I say, enough is enough. The Church must take a stand. And with the release of the Manhattan Declaration, that’s exactly what we are doing.”

The Manhattan Declaration

Or perhaps our favorite: The time when Chuckles admitted just how he sees the tens of thousands of soul-crushed people who took to the streets in the national, almost entirely peaceful protests against Proposition 8

When I watched the violence on television, memories came back of earlier generations of thugs: Bull Conner, who, with the help of brutal cops, used violence and intimidation to chase African Americans out of the public square. Or roving gangs of Nazi brownshirts who ruled the streets of Germany during Hitler’s rise to power. Do opponents of Proposition 8 who attacked Mormons and their churches think they’re any better than Bull Conner, or nicer than Nazi thugs? I don’t.” [SOURCE]

Civil, huh?

(F) The app in question was also offensive to “reasonable and civil debate” on a purely intellectual level, with the in-app survey pretending to query users on their support for marriage equality and reproductive choice, but then proceeding to tell them they were just plain incorrect if they fell out of evangelical lock-step. If we want to talk about 1984, let’s start with this “agree with us or else” survey.

(G) The Declaration repeats (as did the app) the oft-bastardized claim:

In New Jersey, after the establishment of a quasi-marital “civil unions” scheme, a Methodist institution was stripped of its tax exempt status when it declined, as a matter of religious conscience, to permit a facility it owned and operated to be used for ceremonies blessing homosexual unions.

The reality is that the church pavilion was receiving a SPECIAL tax benefit under the Green Acres tax-exemption. This tax break was always a bonus — a privilege bestowed upon eligible non-profits that open their private lands and/or accommodations up for public usage. Public, as in ALL of the public, not some. And since LGBT people are part of New Jersey’s public and civil unions are the law, A PUBLIC ACCOMMODATION MUST EITHER ACCOMMODATE THE PUBLIC OR STOP RECEIVING THESE KINDS OF PUBLIC HANDOUTS! A church can ABSOLUTELY keep gay couples from marrying in their own pavilion. However, they cannot receive special state, federal, and local tax breaks if they are going to pick and choose which kinds of couples are allowed to use the pavilion! In this NJ case, they still received the tax-exemption for the rest of their properties, which weren’t found to be in violation. But the pavilion in question was acting outside the rules for this particular state program.

(H) The Declaration refers to gays who are seeking civil fairness as really seeking “a right to engage in immoral sexual practices.

(I) need not say more. Apple is not the American government with the power to stifle free speech — it is a company with its own right to make its own decisions. The technology behemoth pulled the app not because they or gays are out to shut down speech, but rather because gay activists gave attention and light to the offenses contained within the app and larger Declaration, and Apple saw fit to make a corporate decision that led to the app’s removal. The merits (or lack thereof) are what did the Declaration supporters in.

But of course, yet again, these same supporters take no responsibility for what they have said and done, since the victim strategy makes the seem so much more sympathetic. Or so they think.




Good As You

—  admin

Manhattan Declaration App to Return?

Manhattan Declaration x390 (screengrab) I Advocate.comChristian conservatives are lighting a fire under tech giant Apple,
weeks after protest caused the company to withdraw an antigay app from
the iTunes store.
Advocate.com: Daily News

—  admin

Logo announces 3 new gay shows

Johnny Weir

Logo, the LGBT entertainment network from MTV Networks, has announced three new original series for 2011.

Be Good Johnny Weir explores the life of one of America’s most outspoken and colorful sports figures, three-time U.S. National Figure Skating Champion and World Medalist Johnny Weir.

Pretty Hurts is a comedic reality series that follows the staff and clients of a high-end Beverly Hills medical office that specializes in “liquid face lifts.”

The third series is Setup Squad, a workplace docu-soap focused on a Manhattan-based matchmaking service that pairs up professional “wing people” with those who are unlucky in love. Setup Squad will follow the hard-working angels who make the dating world a better place, whether you’re gay or straight.

Logo also acquired Nip/Tuck, which started airing on Logo this month and Will & Grace, which will begin running in 2013.

—  David Taffet

Okay, far-right: You wanna talk about the Manhattan Declaration? Let’s go.

The social conservatives keep wanting to talk about the Manhattan Declaration and Apple’s decision to remove its associated, supposedly benign app from the iTunes store. For instance, check out this snippet from the National Organization For Marriage’s latest e-blast:

Screen Shot 2010-12-03 At 2.49.54 Pm

So okay, fine. We’ll play along. In fact: Let’s go ahead, take a moment, and remind them of a few things about their precious little document/app.

(A) The Manhattan Declaration publicly and proudly touts signatures from Scott “the gay movement is a nuclear bomb” Lively, someone who this year earned considerable attention for his belief that the Uganda “kill gays” bill is a “step in the right direction

(B) Two other people listed on the “Religious leader’s [sic] signatories” list are Peter Akinola, a man who says “homosexuality does violence to nature“, and Rev. Emmanuel Musaba Kolini, who has referred to homosexuality as “moral genocide.

(C) Major Declaration backer Tony Perkins has come right out and said the document represents “a struggle between good and evil”:



Perkins.mpg [YT user: ptrvns47]

(D) Five SPLC-designated hate groups (Traditional Values Coalition, Abiding Truth Ministries, American Family Association, Family Research Council, Watchmen on the Walls) have at least one associate on one of the two signatories lists. Now, of course the “pro-family” folks are all attacking the SPLC as being agenda-driven and therefore without credence. But not a one of them has even attempted to (much less succeeded at) refuting the documented claims that got these groups on the highly selective list (particularly odd, considering it’d be in the “outraged” non-listees’ interests to note that SPLC does make careful distinctions).

(E) The most major voice behind the Declaration, Chuck Colson, has all kinds of nasty, hurtful comments on the record that more than belie NOM’s “reasonable and civil debate” claim. Like warning about gays’ marriages leading to “Cultural Armageddon,” for instance:

Or comparing Manhattan Declaration supporters’ mission as constituting “non-cooperation with evil,” for another:

“This kind of principled non-cooperation with evil won’t be easy—there are signs of a reduced tolerance for that most basic of American values, religious freedom. As we’ve discussed many times on BreakPoint, Christian organizations are losing tax-exempt status for refusing to buy in to homosexual “marriage.” Some are going out of business rather than cave into immoral demands—such as placing children for adoption with homosexual couples. Conscientious medical personnel are being sued or being fired for obeying their consciences.

I say, enough is enough. The Church must take a stand. And with the release of the Manhattan Declaration, that’s exactly what we are doing.”

The Manhattan Declaration

Or perhaps our favorite: The time when Chuckles admitted just how he sees the tens of thousands of soul-crushed people who took to the streets in the national, almost entirely peaceful protests against Proposition 8

When I watched the violence on television, memories came back of earlier generations of thugs: Bull Conner, who, with the help of brutal cops, used violence and intimidation to chase African Americans out of the public square. Or roving gangs of Nazi brownshirts who ruled the streets of Germany during Hitler’s rise to power. Do opponents of Proposition 8 who attacked Mormons and their churches think they’re any better than Bull Conner, or nicer than Nazi thugs? I don’t.” [SOURCE]

Civil, huh?

(F) The app in question was also offensive to “reasonable and civil debate” on a purely intellectual level, with the in-app survey pretending to query users on their support for marriage equality and reproductive choice, but then proceeding to tell them they were just plain incorrect if they fell out of evangelical lock-step.

(G) The Declaration repeats (as did the app) the oft-bastardized claims:

In New Jersey, after the establishment of a quasi-marital “civil unions” scheme, a Methodist institution was stripped of its tax exempt status when it declined, as a matter of religious conscience, to permit a facility it owned and operated to be used for ceremonies blessing homosexual unions.

The reality is that the church pavilion was receiving a SPECIAL tax benefit under the Green Acres tax-exemption. This tax break was always a bonus — a privilege bestowed upon eligible non-profits that open their private lands and/or accommodations up for public usage. Public, as in ALL of the public, not some. And since LGBT people are part of New Jersey’s public and civil unions are the law, A PUBLIC ACCOMMODATION MUST EITHER ACCOMMODATE THE PUBLIC OR STOP RECEIVING THESE KINDS OF PUBLIC HANDOUTS! A church can ABSOLUTELY keep gay couples from marrying in their own pavilion. However, they cannot receive special state, federal, and local tax breaks if they are going to pick and choose which kinds of couples are allowed to use the pavilion! In this NJ case, they still received the tax-exemption for the rest of their properties, which weren’t found to be in violation. But the pavilion in question was acting outside the rules for this particular state program.

(H) The Declaration refers to gays who are seeking civil fairness as really seeking “a right to engage in immoral sexual practices.

(I) need not say more. Apple pulled the app not because gays are out to shut down speech — but rather because gay activists gave attention to the offenses contained within the app and larger Declaration. The merits (or lack) thereof are what did the Declaration supporters in. But of course, yet again, they take no responsibility for what they have said and done, since the victim strategy makes the seem so much more sympathetic.




Good As You

—  admin