DRIVE!: Drivers seat

Reality TV star (and gay gearhead) Drew Ginsburg stays in the family business — and has two rides to show for it

TWO RIDES ARE BETTER THAN ONE  |  Drew Ginsburg divides his road time between two cars sold at his family’s dealerships: A VW Beetle, left, and an Audi A6.  (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)

TWO RIDES ARE BETTER THAN ONE | Drew Ginsburg divides his road time between two cars sold at his family’s dealerships: A VW Beetle, left, and an Audi A6. (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)

As the lone gay member of the cast of the recently ended reality show Most Eligible Dallas, Drew Ginsburg had to be both fabulous and a gearhead — not exactly the stereotype of the gay man. But his love affair with cars has left him admittedly (if justifiably) snobby about autos — his family does, after all, own a number of car dealerships, and working in the family business means knowing a whole lot about them.
Oh, and don’t ever call him A-list.

— Rich Lopez

…………………….

Name and age:  Drew Ginsburg, 30.

Occupation:  I handle marketing for the Boardwalk Auto Group, including Boardwalk Audi in Plano and Park Cities Volkswagen on Lemmon Avenue. We’re the longest continuously owned and operated dealer in Texas and we feature Volkswagen, Audi, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati and Porsche.

What do you drive?  I’m open to driving multiple cars but they all belong to the dealership. Right now, I drive either a VW Beetle or an Audi A6.

That’s variety. How do you choose?  It just depends on what’s going on, but usually if it’s business, I drive the Audi; the Beetle is for casual stuff.

Do you have a permanent car?  I’m still waiting for my Porsche to come in. It’s the new Porsche 911 Carrera in white with black interior. It will be here in January. It’s a very sad time right now without a Porsche. I have no sports cars to drive.Your taste in cars is very A-list (zing!):  But I’m not A-list, far from it. I don’t think so, anyway. Are you talking about the show?

Umm … No? So, how are A-list vehicles compared to yours?  They all drive Hondas and BMWs, but I don’t think they know anything about them.

What’s the sexiest thing about a ride?  Usually it’s the acceleration and sometimes, just the design.

Speed driver or grandpa?  I’m a speedy driver. My driving style has been described as sex.

Hmmm… can you pick me up at work today?  [Silence.]

What was your first car?  It was a two-door Chevy Tahoe. I got it when I was 16.

Favorite road trip story?  Once I drove from Dallas to Newfoundland with a college buddy and then back to our home in Vermont. It’s my favorite because I was just this young college guy having a new experience.

Two guys, one vehicle: Nice. What are the rules of your car?  That depends. I was out with a Lamborghini and my roommate got mad that I wouldn’t go to Starbucks for him to get a drink.

Where is your fantasy drive?  I’d like to conquer the Autobahn again. It’s all about driving in Europe. I’d love to drive around Spain and take a trip to the California coast.

What’s in your music player?  It’s loaded up with either Spotify or Pandora, but I’ve been listening to Rihanna’s “We Found Love” a lot and David Guetta’s “Titanium.”

Where do you park when you go to Wal-Mart?  [Laughs] I just park at the end of the lot.

Are you a car snob?  Yes I am, but not about the price tag. I am when it comes to the design and makeup of the car. There are great cars for less than $30,000 and not so great ones for more than $120,000. Some people just buy for the emblem.

Like $30K millionaires?  Exactly! They wanna buy a luxury car but can’t afford it. It’s just for brand.

What should everyone know about cars?  Well, if you buy yourself a Saab, you’re retarded — it’s phasing out. And paying cash doesn’t necessarily mean the best deal. And most dealers don’t rely on the Kelley Blue Book because we’re using real-time market insight. Every car has idiosyncrasies and we have to look at those.

What’s it like being famous now?  It’s been a fun experience and I’m just taking it in as it happens. I don’t think of myself like that, but I’ve gotten to meet more people. It’s been a fun ride.
Pun intended?  Sure.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 11, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

It’s not easy being ‘Green’

First-time filmmaker Steve Williford teams with the Verizon Guy (seriously!) for ‘The Green,’ a movie about homophobia and suspicion

Jason_Butler_Harner_and_Cheyenne_Jackson
IDYLLS OF THE QUEENS | A quiet couple (Dallas theater veteran Jason Butler Harner and ‘30 Rock’s’ Cheyenne Jackson) becomes immersed in controversy when one is accused of an affair with a teen in the USA Film Festival entry ‘The Green.’

MARK LOWRY  | Special Contributor
marklowry@theaterjones.com

Although Steve Williford never felt any homophobia directed at him when he lived in southwestern Indiana, his perception of what others thought of him as a gay man was something that stuck with him for many years. At dinner parties and social events, his sexuality was a subject that came up often, usually as a result of others’ curiosity.

“Months went by and I started to wonder if I was the poster boy for gay,” he says. “I always wondered what would happen if something in my life happened that brought my sexuality to the forefront, like if I was at a party and kissed my partner.”

That question would eventually lead him to his first feature film as a director, The Green, currently on the festival circuit and screening at USA Film Festival Saturday. The screenplay is written by Paul Marcarelli, best known as Verizon’s “can you hear me now?” guy, who recently came out publicly.

The story they ended up with concerns a high school teacher, played by Jason Butler Harner, who is accused of an inappropriate relationship with a male student. It causes tension with the teacher’s partner, played by out Broadway hunk Cheyenne Jackson (also known for his recurring roles on 30 Rock and Glee), and in the community.

Williford directed nearly 150 episodes of the recently axed soap opera All My Children from 2004 to 2011, but his background is in theater (he directed a production of Driving Miss Daisy in the early 1990s at Dallas’ Park Cities Playhouse, back when it was called the Plaza Theatre). So it’s not surprising that his cast is filled with actors who come from the theater world, too — not just Jackson, but Harner, who played Hamlet at the Dallas Theater Center in 2003. That may explain why Williford’s film has something in common with several plays, notably Lillian Hellman’s The Children’s Hour, Arthur Miller’s The Crucible and John Patrick Shanley’s Doubt.

Screen shot 2011-04-28 at 5.27.05 PM“We’re a proud cousin of all of those works,” Williford says. “We are trying to examine a situation that can illustrate to us how slippery truth and clarity really is and how quickly it can slip away from us.”

“Paul and I are both big lovers of ambiguity to a certain degree,” he adds. “I had always modeled this story in my heart and mind on what I love about the Chekhov short stories: We leave certain things open and free to be interpreted. For the bulk of the story, you’re really not sure if he has done what he’s being accused of, but there are some significant issues that do get resolved, quite clearly I think.”

And of course, he knows the audience won’t trust if they don’t believe in the relationship as portrayed by Harner and Jackson, and takes a dramatic turn from the comic roles he has done on TV.

“I completely believe in Jason and Cheyenne as a couple. That’s one of my complaints when I see LGBT couples represented in film: I feel like there’s a link missing a little bit. I don’t feel that way about them, in the work environment or what has come together for the film.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition April 29, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Jesuit students help out with No Tie Dinner

One of the perks of living in the area known as Greenway Crest — even if it’s just a guesthouse — is that I receive the Park Cities version of The Dallas Morning News’ Neighbors Go section. Needless to say, there’s rarely LGBT-related stuff in there, but last week was an exception. Neighbors Go featured a nice story, which was later reprinted in the actual DMN, about Jesuit College Preparatory School students who are helping out with the annual No Tie Dinner benefiting AIDS Services of Dallas, which is coming up on Saturday:

The students will be picking up desserts, hanging banners and setting up tables and auction items in preparation for the 2,000 guests expected to attend.

“These kids get it,” O’Conner said. “It’s not just required community service.”

In addition to AIDS Services’ annual fundraiser, Jesuit students also collect about 2,000 bottles of laundry detergent for the residents in an annnual drive. A handful of seniors volunteer every Wednesday to clean, paint, and even play bingo with the residents.

Once a month, the school’s clubs shop and cook for the residents and eat a meal with them, said Rich Perry, Jesuit director of community service.

For the students, it’s a life lesson.

“It puts things in perspective in life,” said senior Walker Mangin, a Wednesday volunteer. “You think more about what’s really important.”

For information on the No Tie Dinner, go here.


—  John Wright

Gay dad can’t be Scout leader in University Park

Jon Langbert and his son, Carter (Courtesy of Jon Langbert)

Jon Langbert, a gay father of triplets who lives in University Park, has been told that he can’t serve as a leader in his 9-year-old son’s Cub Scout troop.

For the last two years, Langbert has been in charge of the popcorn sales fundraiser for Pack 70 at University Park Elementary, according to Park Cities People. In 2009, Langbert helped the troop raise $13,000, up from $4,000 the previous year. And in September of this year, Langbert and his son, Carter, were invited to recruit new scouts on the school’s morning televised announcements.

But then someone complained about Langbert’s “homosexuality.” And now he’s been told he can’t wear his Scout leader T-shirt or serve in a leadership position, according to The Dallas Morning News:

“What message does that send to my son? It says I’m a second-class citizen,” Langbert said.

Robert McTaggart, the Cubmaster for Pack 70, said Langbert will be allowed to continue as a popcorn fundraiser. That position is not considered a leadership role and can be held by a volunteer.

The Boys Scouts of America has had a long-standing policy that rejects leaders who are gay or atheist. In 2000, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the organization’s rules in a 5-4 decision.

“Our policy is not meant to serve as social commentary outside the Scout program,” said Pat Currie of the Circle 10 Council, the umbrella organization that oversees Pack 70. “We respect people who have a different opinion from us. We just hope those same people will respect our right to have a different opinion.”

Langbert says he plans to stay on with this year’s popcorn fundraising campaign. But he’s also contacted attorneys and plans to challenge the Cub Scouts’ decision in court. He noted that the Highland Park school district, which includes UP elementary, allows the troop to use its property despite the discriminatory policy.

Langbert and his partner were featured on 20/20 several years ago, when they lived in New York. Langbert, described as a wildly successful entrepreneur, is the father of triplets, two girls and a boy, who were conceived with donor and surrogate mothers using vitro fertilization.

UPDATE: A commenter below points us to the website for Scouting for All. Here’s their mission statement: “THE MISSION of Scouting For All, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, is to advocate on behalf of its members and supporters for the restoration of the traditionally unbiased values of Scouting as expressed and embodied in the Scout Oath & the Scout Law, and to influence the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) to serve and include as participating members ALL youth and adult leaders, regardless of their spiritual belief, gender, or sexual orientation.”

—  John Wright