Sign of the Times: Love Love Love

Just in time for Valentine’s Day some enterprising street artist has posted reminders to all of us in the Montrose to love. Look for these signs scattered around the neighborhood next to the various exhortations to stop and yield.

At Richmond and Montrose

—  admin

What’s Shakin – Houston Pride Band’s Guilty Pleasures, Haute Boys of fall

Artistic Director Skip Martin

Pride Band Artistic Director Skip Martin

1. The Houston Pride Band presents “Guilty Pleasures,” a concert featuring the favorite guilty pleasures of the Pride Band members, tonight at 7:30 at the Hobby Center.  The concert marks the premier of the Pride Band’s new artistic Director, Skip Martin.  Martin chose the feature favorite’s from the bands 30-year history. Tickets are $10 and may be purchased from the Hobby Center.
2. The “Haute Boys of Fall II” gather at James Craig Furniture (4500 Washington Avenue), since their founding in 2010 the Haute Boys (which includes quite a few girls) have raised over $15,000 for area AIDS charities.  Tonight’s event features complimentary signature cocktails by Harmonie, an array of neighborhood bites, elements of design and fashion, music and more. Admission is an unwrapped toy, gift card or $20 donation for Houstonians in need.
3.  Voter turnout held steady for the ninth day of early voting in Harris County.  So far 34,329 people have voted, only 80% of the 42,968 who had voted by this point during the 2009 municipal elections.  Montrose’s own Multi Service Center on West Gray broke 400 voters for the first time since voting began on Oct 24. Early voting continues through November 4.  Election day is Nov 8. A list of all early voting locations and sample ballots  are available at harrisvotes.org.

—  admin

SHADY IDEA: A good gift for dad

Whether you are looking for a gift idea for the gay dad in your life, or you want to give your straight dad something that reflects your fabulous sensibility, you can’t go wrong with a pair of shades from N3L.

The company’s name is short for Newton’s Three Laws  of Motion, which establishes its ethic as a sports-based product designed for the active dad, whether he enjoys motorcycle racing or golf — or a backyard trampoline.

It’s not just the styles that you can use to capture pop’s attention, but the technology: Imaging systems allow you to directly compare the effectiveness of certain lenses under various conditions. (Amber lenses, in general, make the environment more vivid, and are great for enjoying sunsets on the beach; darker shades filter more light and provide serious protection from glare.

A variety of brands from Maui Jim to Oakley are available within a range of prices (most in the $200 neighborhood), each offering their own styles and options (such as replaceable lenses and custom colors).

—A.W.J.

N3L at NorthPark Center on the second level near Nordstrom. N3LOptics.com.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition June 17, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

CRIME ALERT: Beware of burglars who removed tires from vehicle parked in Turtle Creek area

The following arrived in our Inbox this afternoon from Oak Lawn crime watch volunteer Nancy Weinberger:

I got email from [DPD's] central [division] about BMVs … 2008 Chevy SUV parked on Sale street 3100 block (Sale is a block off Turtle Creek towards Oak Lawn–it is a very short street) … had all 4 tires and rims removed while left parked on street.

WATCH for vehicles driving slowly through your neighborhood … probably a truck … looking to do the same to parked vehicles …

PLEASE REMEMBER TO REPORT ANYTHING THAT LOOKS SUSPICIOUS TO YOU. If it doesn’t look right, it probably isn’t. … I know 911 gets tired of hearing from me … but I call any time I see anything that looks funny just in case.

Better safe than sorry.

—  John Wright

Borders to close West Village store

You may have heard Borders books is in dire straits owing millions to publishers and having thus declared bankruptcy. But now we hear that the West Village store is among 10 stores in Texas to be closed. NBC posted on their site that clearance sales could start as soon as this weekend at the stores marked for closure.

The West Village location has already posted this on their site:

This store is expected to close no later than the end of April. We?ve enjoyed serving the many customers who have shopped this store over the years. Please use our Store Locator to find another store in your area, or purchase from our vast selection of books and other merchandise here on Borders.com.

What sucks is that pulls another bookstore out of the gayborhood. Crossroads Bookstore’s closing a few years ago was monumental to the ‘hood because that was the gay bookstore of Dallas. Half Price Books used to have a location off Oak Lawn as well. Borders in West Village has a respectable LGBT section, and its closure is a bummer for the neighborhood — gay and straight.

The Preston location in Dallas is also the home for the Lesbian Book Club, which meets monthly. I’ve called their contact number for a response but only reached voicemail.

—  Rich Lopez

Joel Burns begs teens contemplating suicide: Give yourself a chance to see life get better

Fort Worth City Councilmember Joel Burns, right, and his husband, J.D. Angle

I have known Joel Burns for almost 10 years — several years longer than he has been on the Fort Worth City Council.

My wife and I met Joel and his husband, J.D. Angle, through mutual friends back when Joel and J.D. still lived in their beautifully restored home in the same East Fort Worth neighborhood where my wife and I and our children lived. I saw them then as the perfect couple: happy, handsome, healthy men with a beautiful home and great jobs. I knew they had great things ahead of them.

Then they moved to another beautifully restored older home in an historic neighborhood just south of downtown Fort Worth, and Joel ran for City Council. I was so happy when he was elected, because I believed that not only would Joel be a good representative for his constituents in District 9, but that he would also be a good representative for the LGBT community.

I think the fact that no one even stepped up to oppose Joel when he ran for re-election in 2009 shows that his constituents, overall, believe he is doing a good job on the City Council. But last night — Tuesday, Oct. 12 — during the weekly Fort Worth City Council meeting, Joel proved without a doubt that he also represents his LGBT community, and he proved why it is so important to have openly LGBT elected officials at all levels of government.

At each council meeting, council members are given a few minutes each at the start of the meeting to make announcements and to recognize people from their districts who have done something outstanding. Last night, Joel took his time to talk about the recent suicides of several LGBT youth — and to tell his own very personal and very powerful story.

After recounting the stories of several young men who have taken their own lives in recent weeks after being subjected to anti-gay bullying and harassment, Joel told his fellow councilmembers and those in the council chambers that he was about to tell them something he had never told anyone before — not even his parents or his husband. And then, struggling through his own tears, he told them of the day when he was a 9th grader at Crowley High School and a group of older teens accosted him and “roughed him up.”

“They said that I was a faggot, and that I should die and go to hell where I belonged. That erupted the fear that I had kept pushed down, that what I was beginning to feel on the inside must somehow be showing on the outside. Ashamed, humiliated and confused, I went home. There must be something very wrong with me, I thought, something I could never let my family or anyone else know,” he recalled.

Joel broke down then, and acknowledged that he couldn’t actually bring himself to read aloud the next couple of sentences he had written that described his own near suicide attempt. “I, don’t want my mother and father to have to bear the pain of having to hear … hear me say the …” He couldn’t finish the sentence.

When he regained his composure enough to continue, Joel said: “So I will just say, and I will skip ahead, I have never told this story to anyone before tonight. Not my family, not my husband, not anyone. But the number of suicides in recent days have upset me so much, they have just torn at my heart. And even though there may be some political repercussions for telling my story, the story is not just for the adults who might choose or not choose to support me. The story is for the young people who might be holding that gun tonight. Or the rope. Or the pill bottle. You need to know that the story doesn’t end where I didn’t tell it on that unfortunate day. There is so, so, so much more.

“Yes, high school was difficult. Coming out was painful. But life got so much better for me. And I want to tell any teen that might see this: Give yourself a chance to see just how much better life will get. And it will get better. You will get out of the household that doesn’t accept you. You will get out of that high school, and you never have to deal with those jerks again if you don’t want to. You will find and you will make new friends who will understand you. And life will get so, so, so much better.”

Joel then talked about all the happy memories that fill his life now, from the first time he ever saw his future husband, to the day he asked J.D. to spend his life with him, to winning his first election to just a few days ago when he sat with his father after his father came out of surgery, and his father told him how happy he was to have Joel there with him.

He said: To those who are feeling very alone tonight, please know that I understand how you feel, that things will get easier. Please stick around to make those happy memories for yourself. It may not seem like it tonight, but they will. And the attitudes of society will change. Please, live long enough to be there to see it.”

Joel ended by encouraging anyone who needs help or resources to deal with the issue of LGBT teen suicide to contact TheTrevorProject.org or to call him directly at 817-392-8809. “And you can call me, and I will get you whatever resources you need,” he promised.

As Joel finished, his fellow councilmember and friend Kathleen Hicks led the rest of the council and those in the council chambers in a standing ovation for Joel and his courage. I think he deserves a standing ovation from all of us, as well. Because last night, Joel Burns did us all proud, and maybe — just maybe — he helped save someone’s life.

Watch video of Joel’s speech to the council below:

—  admin

Police investigating anti-gay fliers in Ky.

COVINGTON, Ky. — Police in northern Kentucky are investigating who blanketed a neighborhood in anti-gay fliers two days after the Covington City Commission held a press conference reaffirming the city’s human rights ordinance.

The Kentucky Enquirer reported that fliers were posted on poles and placed on windshields throughout the MainStrasse neighborhood sometime Wednesday night, Aug. 25 or Thursday morning, Aug. 26.

The fliers come in the wake of a series of crimes that police and residents believe have targeted the city’s gay community.

The Covington Police are investigating who is responsible for the fliers, which contained anti-gay epithets and called homosexuality a perversion.

—  John Wright

TORONTO: Christian Activists Try To Drive Gay Couple Out Of The Neighborhood

Dan Savage tips us to this bit of scumbaggery out of Toronto.

The commissary at Highfield Road Gospel Hall must have been fresh out of mind-your-own-business last night, because nine of God’s hand-picked mouthpieces allegedly found themselves outside of the home of a Leslieville gay couple, praying for the men’s unsolicited salvation. Residents of the Dundas and Greenwood area stepped up in support of the unidentified targets, asking the holy rollers to move on and leave the neighbourhood in peace. “We have an authority to preach the gospel,” claims one worshiper in a video clip captured by nearby resident Geoffrey Skelding. “We’ve been doing this seven years.” Though the church members didn’t explicitly admit that they had chosen that particular house because it housed a gay couple, Skelding says that many street residents are convinced that’s the reason, especially based on the church group’s history of door-to-door evangelism on the street. “Talking with my neighbours, I learned that a lesbian couple left the area because of this group,” Skelding told Torontoist. “They do come to the area and knock on doors and tell people they are sinners.”

Highfield Road Gospel Hall welcomes your calls of support at 416-288-0389.

Joe. My. God.

—  John Wright