The cover of the April 9 issue of the tabloid Star laments the fate of Khloe Kardashian and Dallas Maverick Lamar Odom, so a couple of “locals” made it to the front cover, but skip that and flip to a few pages in to the worst of the week section.
Last night, NBC premiered its new runway show Fashion Star, which hopefully will prove better than the tepid Project Runway All-Stars over on Lifetime. I’m sad to have missed the first episode, because among its cast of designers is Oscar Fierro, the local designer I spoke with in 2010 prior to his fashion show at Station 4. I would love to have seen how his spitfire personality works in reality TV competition. We already know him from his fashion policing with Gabriela Natale on SuperLatina.
Star, hosted by supermodel Elle MacPherson, has a similar premise to Runway in that designers create fashions in limited time and materials; sometimes, more than one designer gets eliminated. And the designs created for the show are available immediately for purchase. Judges include Nicole Richie, designer John Varvatos and another Texan, Jessica Simpson.
One of the highlights of the show comes when the comical, Salvadorian, top-hat-wearing Oscar Fierro, 37, is introduced. The Texas-based designer proclaims to be like a “cartoon” and has a lot of dedication because he’s crossed three borders and knows what it’s like to go hungry, or so he claims. But does Fierro, who is evidently going to be the show’s drama queen with his constant crying and backstage shit-talk, knock over the buyers with his designs? Not so much. The short cocktail dresses, seen in off-the-shoulder green satin and glittery black, are items seen daily at Forever 21. Richie doesn’t like the offerings, saying, “I want to see what I saw in the studio.” Varvatos chimes in, “I have seen what you do in Miami, and in South Beach.” Fierro retorts, “You have seen it before, but not with my label.” Needless to say, he doesn’t get any offers.
To see Fierro’s fashions from last night’s episode, click here, here and here. Watch his profile video after the jump.
Not the actors of course — Tony and Emmy Award winner Cherry Jones and Tony winner B.D. Wong — but the characters they play on Awake. Both play psychiatrists; both treat the same patient. Only one of them doesn’t exist.
It’s not just that they are two very talented gay actors that I have cleaved to this relatively minor point (that is part of a much bigger concept). It’s because one of them doesn’t — and never did — exist. And they are the only ones.
It’s confusing, as the series, which debuts tonight on NBC, can be. The series would probably fare better on cable, where its quirkiness would play better. The idea is that a cop (Jason Isaacs, hunky as ever) was in a car accident with his wife and son; he survived; so did one of them. But in one reality, it’s his wife who lived; in the other, his son. He’s not sure which.
And that’s where the gay therapists come in.
In his sessions with them — one in each reality — he can admit that he alternates between waking universes, not sure which one is the true on. Both Jones and Wong assure him that their reality is the actual one. Which means one of them is wrong.
There are many other changes in Isaacs’ worlds: Different cop partners, different cases to solve, but all intertwined. It’s only on the psychiatric couch that everything is separate. They are the only characters aware of the competing realities. So I found myself rooting, not for his wife or son, but for which gay actor I wanted to return for season 2.
That’s probably not a problem. As soon as they answer the question, the series is over. I saw a screener of Awake two months ago before the network even knew when it would debut on the schedule. They dropped it pretty quick — right after February sweeps ended and before May’s begin. Doesn’t show much confidence in it.
Lesbian or the gay man… How to choose? It’s likely to keep me awake.
Child sexual abuse a concern for everyone, especially LGBT parents
Most people would probably agree there is no resource that a society cherishes more than its children. So it is hard to fathom how sexual predators manage with such apparent ease to carry out horrendous, undetected assaults on children practically under the noses of their families and others who are charged with their protection.
As horrific as the crime of child sexual abuse is, there are no firm estimates of its prevalence because it often goes undetected and is seriously underreported, according to agencies that study child abuse.
Less than 100,000 crimes of sexual abuse are reported each year because children fear telling anyone, and adults who become aware of the activity are often reluctant to contact law enforcement agencies, even though there is usually a legal requirement to do so.
With so many LGBT households now raising children, it is obviously vital that all parents be aware of the tactics used by sexual predators to seduce children without arousing the suspicion of their families, and aware of the symptoms victims of child sexual abuse exhibit.
The critical need for sustained intervention into child sexual abuse recently gained national attention following a grand jury’s indictment of retired Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky on 40 counts of child sex abuse involving eight victims over a 15-year period. The victims reportedly came into contact with the now 67-year-old, married Sandusky in connection with the Second Mile, a children’s charity the former football coach founded.
Although Sandusky denied, this week in an NBC interview, engaging in any type of sexual activity with the pre-pubescent boys, he acknowledged showering and “horsing around” with them after exercise. He also admitted hugging young boys and putting his hand on their legs when they sat next to him.
His admissions shocked viewers and confirmed in many minds what was already suspected — Sandusky is most likely a pedophile that has taken advantage of young boys with the unwitting complicity of their families.
It is a devastating scandal that will likely rival the one that rocked the Catholic Church a decade ago when it became known that untold numbers of Catholic Church priests sexually abused young boys and violated the trust of their families.
If the charges against Sandusky are true, the accounts by the victims portray a classic pattern of enticement and betrayal practiced by the former football coach in his pursuit of the young boys. Likewise, the lack of action by those who knew about Sandusky’s alleged criminal activity parallel what often happens when the abuser commands power and respect in a community.
Much of the difficulty in combating child sexual abuse can be attributed to its relative youth in terms of public awareness about the crime. The first studies on the molestation of children began in the 1920s, and the first estimate of the prevalence of the crime was reported in 1948.
In 1974 the National Center for Child Abuse and Neglect was founded, and the Child Abuse and Treatment Act was created. Since then, awareness about the problem has grown dramatically, and much more is known about deterring the crime and assisting victims of it.
Children’s advocates have identified “red flags” to help parents and others protect children from sexual predators. They warn parents to be wary of someone who wants to spend more time with their children than they do, who attempts to be alone with a child, who frequently seeks physical closeness to a child such as hugging or touching, who is overly interested in the sexuality of a child, who seems to prefer the company of children to people their own age, who lacks boundaries, who regularly offers to babysit,who often gives presents or money to children, who frequently walks in on children in bathrooms or locker rooms, who frequents parks where children gather, who makes inappropriate comments about a child’s appearance or who likes to photograph children.
Signs of possible sexual abuse in children include a fear of people, places or activities, reluctance to undress, disturbed sleep, mood swings, excessive crying, fear of being touched, loss of appetite, a drastic change in school performance, bizarre themes in drawing, sexually acting out on other children, advanced sexual knowledge, use of new words for private body parts and a reversion to old behavior such as bedwetting or thumb sucking.
Aside from the moral responsibility to protect children and other weaker members of society that all people share, it is essential to intervene in child sexual abuse because of the long-lasting psychological damage it usually causes. The problems can include feelings of worthlessness, depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts and distorted views of sexuality.
Also, victims of child sexual abuse tend to become sexual predators as adults, making it a crime that begets more crime.
The Sandusky scandal will undoubtedly lead to devastating repercussions for Penn State, for the Second Mile charity with which the former football coach is no longer affiliated and for law enforcement and university officials who became aware of concerns about the former football coach’s activities and failed to act on them.
But the real tragedy — if the allegations are true — will be the lasting impact upon the victims.
David Webb is a veteran journalist who has covered LGBT issues for the mainstream and alternative media for three decades. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 18, 2011.
In last week’s cover story, I talked with members of the Dallas chapter of the affinity group Out@NBCUniversal, a collective of LGBT employees and straight allies. In it, they talk about how the network has been a sort of work-topia for queer employees and how diversity is encouraged without reservation.
Due to space constraints I couldn’t get more in from members Lauren Wheat and Matthew Simpson, but they had a lot to say about what the group means to them. Simpson, with NBC strategic marketing, and his partner Murad Kirdar, both work for the company. Simpson talked about his reasons for joining the group.
“I joined for a couple of reasons,” Simpson said. “First, I felt it was important for me, as an openly gay employee, to represent Dallas-Fort Worth within the larger footprint of Out@NBCUniversal. While there are thousands of members all across the country, from New York to Los Angeles, the DFW chapter was fairly young and had so much potential to make a difference. Getting involved was the best possible way to for me to help elevate the visibility of the Chapter and learn how other Chapters work to attract, recruit and retain great LGBT talent.
“Second, I’d have to say my partner of 17 years, Murad. While we didn’t meet at NBCUniversal, we now work just 50 feet from each other. As you know, Murad is co-chair of the DFW chapter and I was very excited to see him step up and embrace a leadership role. His excitement, passion and desire to lead on LGBT issues in the community is the reason so many LGBT and straight ally co-workers have joined the chapter.”
Ed Flesh, the gay man who designed the Wheel of Fortune wheel, has died at 79, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Flesh is survived by his partner of 44 years, David Powers. Flesh gave the game show its look by designing the wheel to spin horizontally, not vertically. He began his career designing off-Broadway sets before he was hired by NBC. He gave many other game shows their look as well. He designed the $25,000 Pyramid as well as the sets for Jeopardy, Press Your Luck, The New Dating Game and The Newlywed Game. He also designed the set for David Letterman’s original NBC talk show and special sets for Oprah. He was also the set designer for the soap opera Days of Our Lives.
Paige Moravetz, left, and Haylee Fentress, both 14, committed suicide last weekend. Family members said the two may have been girlfriends and may have been bullied at school over their relationship.
Two 14-year-old girls in Marshall, Minn., have killed themselves together, becoming the latest in an ever-more-tragically long list of teens who were — or at least, are believed to have been — pushed to suicide by bullies. And relatives told NBC’s Today Show the two may have been girlfriends and may have faced further torment from classmates because of that.
Best friends Haylee Fentress and Paige Moravetz hanged themselves together following a slumber party last Saturday, April 16, at Haylee’s house. Both girls left suicide notes, but relatives said the notes gave no clear explanation for their actions.
Trustees for Flour Bluff High Independent School District approved a resolution late Tuesday night to allow a proposed Gay-Straight Alliance — along with other non-curricular groups — to meet on the school campus, at least temporarily, according to KRISTV, the NBC station in Corpus Christi.
The vote allows the the groups, including a GSA, to meet while the district conducts a study before making a permanent decision. The vote came after nearly five hours, about four of which the trustees spent in a closed executive session discussing the situation.
The decision came after the ACLU threatened legal action against the Flour Bluff High School, where school officials had refused to allow student Nikki Peet to form the GSA, although other groups, like the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, were allowed to meet on campus. School officials then banned all groups to avoid having to allow the GSA.
Nikki Peet was not able to attend the meeting because she is in the hospital being treated for an infection. But her mother, Maria Peet, and other family members were there to speak for her. Members of the GSA at Texas A&M University in Corpus Christi — to whom Nikki Peet had appealed for help — also attended the school board meeting.
Jay Raymond with the TAMU-CC group said his group would be there to “see this through,” and pledged, “There is no chance of this dying down until what we want is what we get.”
Is the first step in entering a national race on the Republican side to show how homophobic you are?
Donald Trump announced this week that he is against same-sex marriage and isn’t sure partners should receive even receive “medical or civil benefits.” Trump has not announced whether he’s running for president but did indicate an interest in the office when he appeared at a conservative conference last week.
Trump said he’ll make an announcement about his intentions in June. One serious matter stands between him and the presidency — the fourth season of Celebrity Apprentice. The NBC show begins on March 6.
The network has a rule against stars of its shows running for public office. So Trump said he would wait until the end of the season in June to make his decision.
At least he has his priorities straight. Homophobia first. TV show second. Country third.
Last week, before announcing his run for U.S. Senate, former Mayor Tom Leppert sent out a homophobic tweet. Leppert hasn’t explained the message, but it was probably sent to distance himself from his Pride parade and Black Tie Dinner appearances, as well as his openly gay former chief of staff.
Oh, and Nene Leakes, who was one of the stars of Real Housewives of Atlanta, is one of Trump’s new season of celebrity apprentices. No word on her position on same-sex marriage, but it probably matters about as much as Trump’s.
A while back Dallas Voice received a visit from some folks at NBC 5, who interviewed Publisher Robert Moore and Senior Editor Tammye Nash about the newspaper’s role in the LGBT community.
To be perfectly honest, no one around here was quite sure what the segment was for, but thanks to a tip from Rafael McDonnell at Resource Center Dallas, now we know: It’ll be part of a program called Spotlight, which airs at 11:30 a.m. Sunday on Channel 5. On Spotlight, “North Texas correspondents come together in order to spin narratives from real-life stories involving persons who contribute to their community,” according to the NBC 5 website.
We also found a site dedicated to the show, where they’ve posted several of the segments about the LGBT community. In addition to Dallas Voice, there are segments on Youth First Texas, transgender Dallas Police Officer Deborah Grabowski, a Haltom City lesbian couple that adopted a child; the Dallas Diablos; three LGBT-affirming churches in Oak Cliff; gay filmmaker Marlon T. Riggs; and LULAC #4871 President Jesse Garcia.
We know, it seems like a lot, but each segment is only a few minutes long, and they’re all well done.
Major kudos to NBC 5 for putting these together, but you don’t have to wait till Sunday to see them. We’ve posted all of the segments, in the same order they’re listed above, after the jump.