A conservative radio host walks into a gay bar…

Michael Berry

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. Conservative talk radio host and former city council member Michael Berry has been implicated in a hit and run accident outside of T.C.’s show bar last month. Berry has not been charged with a crime. In Texas leaving the scene of an accident is a misdemeanor.

KPRC reports that a bouncer for the gay bar witnessed a hit and run collision on Jan. 31st. The bouncer, Tuderia Bennett, wrote down the license plate of the vehicle and later identified Berry, the owner of the vehicle, as the man he had seen driving. Since then video of Berry inside the bar has been released.

And then the blogosphere exploded…

Houston Chronicle Newswatch blog: Michael Berry accused of ramming vehicle at gay club

Perez Hilton: Um, Oops? Conservative Radio Host Accused Of Hit-And-Run After Visiting Gay Bar

Texas Observer: Homophobic Radio Host Busted at Gay Bar

Towleroad: Conservative Talk Radio Host Michael Berry Was Definitely At That Gay Bar In Houston …

The site gayhomophobe.com even added Berry to their listing of famous homophobes later caught up in gay sex scandals.

The only issue with all this schadenfreude is that, as far as I can tell, Michael Berry isn’t particularly homophobic. The radio host has criticized other right-wing personalities for their homophobia. I’ve spent a considerable amount of time listening to old episodes of Berry’s show over the last few days (a painful experience) and I’ve yet to find anything hateful towards the LGBT community (please correct me if I’ve missed something).

Controversial black-face drag character Shirley Q. Liquor is a regular guest on Berry’s program which would seem to indicate that Berry at least has no issue with drag  queens (nor, would it seem, does Berry have any issues with astoundingly racially insensitive performances that rely on the most vulgar of African-American stereotypes).

I’m not saying that Michael Berry’s good guy (he once advocating bombing a proposed mosque in lower Manhattan), but I have to question why the media in general, and the LGBT media in particular, have been so quick to paint him as a homophobe caught with his pants down.

Perhaps after decades of Sen. Larry “wide stance” Craig and Rev. George “luggage lifter” Reker it’s an easy narrative to latch on to. But it’s concerning that this story has become about Michael Berry being the sort of person who (allegedly) visits gay bars instead of being about Michael Berry being the sort of jerk who (allegedly) hits a parked car and then drives off.

A conservative radio host walks into a gay bar, walks out, gets into his car, hits another car, and drives off… and what we find shocking isn’t the crime, but that he was in a gay bar.

What a joke.

—  admin

Letting it REGISTER • Pride Weddings & Celebrations 2011

Gift registries can be intimidating. Dean Driver makes them easy

FASHION. PLATE. | Dean Driver knows how to make a tabletop pop — and how to make it easy on you to choose your gifts. (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)

BY RICH LOPEZ

Perhaps the one wedding tradition same-sex couples might waffle on is signing up for that beg-a-thon, the gift registry. Forget whether to do so (you should); the real question is, where can you find that particular china pattern you once saw in a magazine?

The answer to that question is probably Dean Driver. With his new company, Consilium Lifestyle Collections, Driver makes what could be a daunting (even intimidating) task for same-sex couples possibly the easiest  job out of all the wedding planning.

“I don’t know if the average gay couple feels comfortable going into stores,” Driver says. “They may, but many retailers just aren’t reaching out to gay couples.”

Teaming up with Consilium Creative Marketing, Driver created what may be the first by-appointment source of its kind in Dallas to provide a wedding gift registry for same-sex couples. While the services are for everyone, Driver believes that this personal touch can bring comfort to any gay newlyweds hesitant about how to sign up for gifts. It also gives them a home field advantage when looking for fine tabletop products and more.

“The way we do business is changing, and this has afforded me the ability to do in-home consultations and also wedding registries,” Driver says. “I come to the client with samples to get an idea of their lifestyle and suggest products and can see what will work with what’s already in the home.”

The affable Driver knows his stuff. After working with tabletop industries for years in large markets like New York, he has access to many luxury brands and even unique home products. The usual china and crystal items are no problem, but items like linens and household accessories are more easily available through him.

Driver’s first piece of advice on getting started with a registry: Don’t be intimidated.

“I demystify all that for you,” he says. “That’s what I’m here for. I’ll make it easier for you. And people shouldn’t think that everything offered in a registry costs so much. We do have some unique options that are moderately priced.”

Consilium has only been around for a few months, but it has burst out of the gate with a selection of up to 50 brands, some exclusive to them. And with Driver’s knowledge and background, he can pretty much get anybody anything they want.

“I’m a sort of an expert in tabletops, and I have my finger on the pulse of the industry,” he says. “I go to Paris, to Milan and see all the new patterns. And if you saw a plate in a magazine and brought it to me,  I could pinpoint what it is. When I say anything, I mean anything — and you may be only person in the country to have it.”

Something his company can guarantee is the death of that most dreaded wedding tradition: The return. Once items are selected for the registry, gift givers don’t have to worry about buying an item that’s already been purchased. Instead, the company does gift cards only, which are beautifully packaged for the giver to present.

“This prevents exchanges or duplicates,” he says. “Plus, clients may change their minds and gift cards give them an opportunity to get something else. And it’s a little more green without all that wrapping paper and shipping to worry about.”

Driver and company seems to have gotten rid of all the excuses couples can make to partake in registering for gifts. Being that a wedding is a life-changing event, Driver mostly wonders why not go all out?

“Couples shouldn’t shy away from getting nice things,” he says. “This is the one time to get the nice stuff, so why not? Anything you want, I can get.”

The only caveat — Driver encourages people to use the nice stuff everyday.

“Yeah, don’t pack it away in a cabinet like our parents did,” he says.

Of course, if there’s one thing gays know how to do it’s merchandise.

For more information, visit ConsiliumLifestyleCollections.com.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition May 6, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Guest column by David Mixner: Mr. President, Enough Of The Politics, Step Up To The Plate

Mr. President, Enough Of The Politics, Step Up To The Plate

by David Mixner, Live from Hell’s Kitchen

After the Proposition 8 historic decision came down on Wednesday, my email box was flooded with people from every walk of life issuing press releases praising the victory. The Republican Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger couldn’t be more excited for the LGBT community in our victory. Justice and equality was having a good day and everyone was basking in it.

Well, not quite everyone. Our President, our fierce advocate, continued with a game of giving us begrudgingly congratulations in a tepid unemotional and uninspired statement while sending his minions out to make sure the entire country knew that he was against marriage equality. If there was anyone that should sit down and read this opinion it would be this son of an interracial couple who had to go to Supreme Court to obtain marriage equality.

Unfortunately, he didn’t even mention the court case in his two line statement. However, David Axelrod found plenty of time to go on national television to make sure the country knew that Obama was against marriage equality. Then there was the cowardly “nameless source” who said the President would only deal with those actions at the federal level such as benefits and things.

This game has to stop. The President is either with us or against us. If he is neutral, so be it but then stop hurting us by saying over and over how marriage equality is between a man and a women. He should pay close attention to the line in Judge Walker’s decision that says,

“Indeed, the evidence shows Proposition 8 does nothing more than enshrine in the California Constitution the notion that opposite sex couples are superior to same-sex couples. ”

With this case he could no longer hide behind the fact that the Attorney General would have to intervene against us. The case does not involve the federal government. The issue is here to stay. As much as they wish, they can’t manage it politically for their convenience. Mr. President, that is no longer possible. The surge toward marriage equality is even going to be stronger in this coming Presidential election. In fact, the Supreme Court could even rule one way or another before the election.

For the President, an enormous amount is at stake surrounding this issue and it goes far beyond marriage equality. Is the President going to seize this moment in history and become a great leader or will others have to lead him? Is he going to be remembered as Harry Truman or more like those Senators in the 1960′s who walked a fine line attempting to appease all sides in that great epic struggle for civil rights?.

Now is the time, Mr. President for you to lead, not tomorrow but today. We want you by our sides. If not, you will be the one that will always be remembered for standing on the sidelines without courage. With or without your leadership, nothing is going to stop our inevitable march to freedom.

And in his earlier post about the Prop 8 decision, he shared this important point to underscore, given the historic decision brought to bear by allies from opposite ends of the political spectrum. That fact alone – that this marriage equality battle is not a conservative or liberal matter at all — it inoculates this decision from usual right-wing arguments.

My love, respect and honor always will be given to David Boies and Ted Olson. They have earned a place on the walls of our homes. These two straight men from different political histories have united in the cause of justice. They are true heroes. The American Foundation for Equal Rights will need our money and support to fight the appeals. Special thanks has to go to Chad Griffin who has been with this since day one.

You just click here right now and send them some money to make sure we have everything we need to win this case before the Supreme Court.

***

An aside — today I met up with David and former Clinton White House insider Richard Socarides for what I Tweeted snarkily as “At BlogHer, but leaving in a bit to meet w/Richard Socarides and David Mixner about next steps in The Homosexual Agenda and “There were evil laughs and Dr. Evil pinkies in full expression.”

I won’t disclose our secret plans, but David Mixner made a bold prediction for the record on the outcome of this Prop 8 case — he thinks it will be a SCOTUS win for us 6-3 (with the dissenters Scalia, Alito, and Thomas). Why? The key is Chief Justice John Roberts  – in the end he will vote with us because he doesn’t want “his court” to be on the wrong side of history. Bookmark this post so we can check back…in late 2011/early 2012. We all figure SCOTUS will get this case fairly quickly in the scheme of legal timetables.

That will be a boatload of trouble for President Obama’s current ridiculous position that this is a matter up to the states and that civil unions are an adequate separate-but-equal solution.
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright