“Head Figure Head” more about journalism than about Gov. Rick Perry’s sex life

Head Figure Head, the new e-book from Glen Maxey, details the author’s arduous and frustrating six-month effort to investigate rumors of Gov. Rick Perry’s gay sex life. Maxey served as executive director of the Lesbian/Gay Rights Lobby of Texas (now Equality Texas) during Perry’s tenure as a state representative, later serving for 12 years as a state representative, spanning Perry’s time as agricultural commissioner, lieutenant governor and governor. Of all the people who’ve attempted to look into the rumors of Perry’s trysts with men, Maxey is perhaps best positioned to get to the truth, and takes great pains to ensure we are aware of that fact.

The book is the narrative of Maxey’s research, assisted by a journalist from a national media outlet. Like almost every character in the book other than Maxey and Perry himself, “the Journalist” is referred to only as a pseudonym. Maxey and the Journalist begin their search for proof in June 2011 as rumors of Perry’s impending presidential bid are widely circulating. Immediately the pair find that almost every gay man in Austin has a friend who has a friend who claims to have slept with Perry. For the next three months they track those leads and come excruciatingly close to breaking the story.

—  admin

Mix Master

Blaine Soileau brings old-school philosophy to modern DJ techniques

HE GOT THE BEAT | Dallas’ Blaine Soileau has perfected his DJ style after years of practice, but spinning still challenges and interests him. (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)

RICH LOPEZ  | Staff Writer

Blaine Soileau wouldn’t say that his DJing is about his image. The beefy arms, scruffy good looks and shirtless spinning, however, don’t hurt one bit when he’s at the turntable. If being a muscle daddy gets him a few fans… well, there are worse fates.

Soileau has been a staple in the Dallas DJ scene for years, but don’t mistake his image for his talent. He’s been mixing music since well before he had hair on his pecs.

“I started [DJing] in high school, which was 1979,” he says. “I feel like I’ve gotten where I’m at not because of any image. I just knew how to market myself.”

Soileau (pronounced “swallow”) knows the P.R. game well, owing to a stint in Los Angeles when he pursued an acting career. Having to get his name out as much as possible was the game then and it continues to be now. It’s just a different arena.

He’s fared much better on the DJ path than acting. Soileau has built himself into a marquee name even outside Texas. With bookings in D.C., L.A, Phoenix, Fire Island and more, he’s not only put his name into a national spotlight, he’s also bringing something back to Dallas each time with some specific hope and with his regular gig at the Dallas Eagle.

“The gay scene here is finally graduating to what’s going on now,” he says. “I never really had good things to say about Dallas’ music scene because of my travels. The music I would experience in other cities was always livelier and happening.”

He’s changed his mind now that he senses Dallas audiences aren’t “stuck in the ’80s and ’90s” anymore. It’s taking a while, but the sounds of Los Angeles, New York and even Eastern Europe are making way here. And Soileau sees audiences responding.

“For a while, all of us [DJs] here had to spoon-feed the crowd, but I think it’s moving into a good direction,” he says. “The stuff I’m playing at the Eagle, and the other DJs, we have a much more progressive sound.”

He brings that sound to Release, the club night he hosts at the Eagle twice a month. As Soileau infuses a cosmopolitan, modern sound to his party, he’s still a purist about technique.  He’s embraced digital music over vinyl, but in a time when people can call themselves a DJ and program their mixes to autopilot, Soileau still brings some of his old skills to the proverbial turntable.

“There is definitely so much more you can do with digital music, but I don’t agree with the programs some are using,” he says. “I’m so thankful I learned how to beat-mix. I can manipulate a song just as I would a piece of vinyl and line up the beats old school. Programs that sync songs for you, that’s not DJing.”

Sometimes Soileau sounds like he misses the club environs of years before. He enjoyed playing the anthems of disco divas like Kristine W and Deborah Cox, but he finds that sound isn’t happening right now. His focus was on house music with vocals, but trends now lead to more instrumental tracks. But an unlikely tool now works in his favor.

“The good thing is that radio has become more dance oriented,” he says. “There are no remixes needed so when people go out to clubs, they wanna hear stuff on the radio. That gets them on the floor dancing. When it gets packed, then I can give them what I want but maintain the energy of it.”

Soileau doesn’t worry about setting himself apart from other DJs; he just wants a flawless night. So if that means playing music from the radio in order to have a happy dance floor, he’s on board with that.

“If I have to bite the bullet and play Britney, am I selling out? No,” he says. “My goal is to make people have a good time. I’ve never thought about being different from other DJs.”

Which perhaps makes him different after all.

But we still like it when he takes his shirt off.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 19, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Know suicide’s warning signs

DAVID TAFFET  |  Staff Writer taffet@dallasvoice.com

Ann Haas
Ann Haas

In the recent rash of well-publicized LGBT teen suicides, bullying was identified as the cause. But experts note there are a variety of issues and circumstances that can lead to depression and possibly suicidal behavior among LGBT people. Things like being outed and family issues relating to coming out, an HIV-positive diagnosis, a DWI charge, being caught cruising in a park or some other humiliating experience, losing a job or other money problems.

And while the number of suicides among young people has been in the national spotlight lately, almost twice as many suicides occur in the 45-to-54 age group, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

The highest suicide rate in the country is among elderly white males.

Many who commit or attempt suicide have a psychiatric illness that can be diagnosed and treated. Often there are warning signs that family and friends can spot.
“Any child subjected to persistent bullying is at risk for depression,” said AFSP Director of Prevention Projects Ann Haas.

The signs of depression include loss of interest in usual activities and changes in weight, appetite or sleep patterns.

She said when someone is talking about suicide or suggesting a desire for death, it should be treated as an emergency situation. Young people, she said, often express that in poetry and it should be taken seriously. Other signs of a decision to commit suicide are someone getting their affairs in order, giving away possessions and saying goodbye to friends and family.

“Someone who is outgoing who begins to be withdrawn — that can be a tip off that something’s going on,” Haas said.

If a teen’s academic performance begins to slack off, that often suggests depression, she said.

Look for any marked behavioral changes that last a couple of weeks, Haas said.

“When people who are quiet become gregarious, it could be a sign of bipolar illness,” she said.

In younger people, that’s often overlooked as a good sign that someone is coming out of a shell. But if that gregariousness is accompanied by lack of sleep and excessive energy, developing into manic behavior, it is a sign of bipolar disorder, which can lead to suicide if it is left untreated.

Haas said it’s difficult talking about mental health issues in the LGBT community because for so many years gay people were branded as mentally ill.

Local professional counselor Candy Marcum of Stonewall Behavioral Health said that warning signs are not always apparent.

And while friends and family should know warning signs, she said, “If we’re assigning blame, it belongs on the person who did it.”

“Almost everyone has thought about it,” Marcum said. But not everyone looks for ways to do it.

Some save pills or get a gun. Others are on the Internet looking at sites that graphically describe ways to commit suicide.

Marcum said to look for signs of hopelessness and helplessness. Commonly heard phrases that indicate self-loathing include talk of “no way out,” “I don’t know how I’ll ever get out of this,” “I’m worthless” or “You’d be better off without me.”

She said it was better to talk to a loved one showing troubled behavior than to ignore it and hope things will get better.

“Seeing you like this worries me,” she said is a way to approach someone you are concerned about. “Go talk to someone.”

Because the depression or erratic behavior suddenly stops, don’t assume everything is suddenly OK. That person may seem calm; friends think the person is better. And then they commit suicide. “When you make the decision, you’re very calm,” Marcum said.

Offer to make an appointment for the person and go with him for a first visit. Marcum suggested speaking to the counselor on the phone ahead of time to make sure they are comfortable and experienced with LGBT-related issues.

Marcum said that counselors in the LGBT community have no agenda other than to help someone heal. She said that some people are afraid that her goal is to help someone come out.

“We just want you to be OK,” she said. “We want you to get to the end of the book. We’re curious how the story will turn out and not interested in writing anyone’s story.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 12, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens