Former GLBT Political Caucus President to lead Harris County Democratic Party

Former HCDP Chair Gerry Birnberg gives new chair Lane Lewis the keys to the party office

Former Houston GLBT Political Caucus president and longtime Democratic party activist Lane Lewis was elected to serve as the Harris County Democratic Party interim chair by the County Executive Committee on Tuesday, December 20. Lewis will serve the remainder of outgoing chairman Gerry Birnburg term, which expires in April. Birnburg announced earlier this year that he would step down after the November general elections.Lewis has also completed his filing as a candidate for HCDP chair on the April 2012 primary ballot.

Lewis previously served as president of the Houston GLBT Political Caucus in 1997. He has a long history of advocacy on LGBT issues.

“Words cannot express the profound sense of responsibility I feel right now,” said Lewis moments after his election as HCDP Chair.  “I am grateful so many fellow Democrats have entrusted me to lead during such a pivotal time. We have much work to do over the next several months to get our county and our candidates ready for the November 2012 election.  This enormous task will take the work of current elected officials, precinct chairs and activists working in unison.  My job will be to foster a new vision for our party and work to keep us all focused on our common goal.”

During Lewis’ acceptance speech, he spoke briefly about the direction and his vision for the party.

“A unified effort from every Democrat is the key to winning elections,” Lewis said.  “It’s plain and simple.  The middle class is under attack; the work we do in 2012 will be key to protecting the future and the promise that the American Dream provides.”

Lane Lewis was elected by an overwhelming majority.  He will begin operating the HCDP immediately.

—  admin

Memories of the Gulf

Ted Kincaid’s digital art recalls a landscape before the environmental catastrophe

PIXEL SHTICK | Ted Kincaid, above, produced two works, right, for an exhibit celebrating the Gulf of Mexico before the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

Ted Kincaid is in a somber mood.

The Dallas-based digital artist has for 20 years been recognizable for his uplifting, vibrantly colorful digital cloudscapes (one of his “thunderhead” clouds was shown earlier this year at the Dallas Museum of Art). But his latest exhibition, on display through July 17 at the Arthur Roger Gallery in New Orleans, resonates with a profound sense of loss and melancholy.

And no wonder. The images currently on display are based on the artist’s memories of the Gulf of Mexico before the BP oil spill.

Kincaid’s contribution, which consists of two hypnotically beautiful seascapes, is part of a 30-piece mixed media group exhibition that focuses on pre-Deepwater Horizon disaster representations of the Gulf Coast region. The exhibit celebrates but also mourns a world and way of life that are rapidly disappearing.

Kincaid, whose partner is local activist and Human Rights Campaign honoree Steve Atkinson, spoke about his art and the tragedy of the spill.

— M.M. Adjarian


Dallas Voice: A genuine passion for nature clearly underlies your work. But why did you specifically want to take part in an exhibition about the gulf before the BP disaster? Kincaid: Arthur [Roger] organized this exhibit as a protest of the tragedy that’s going on in the Gulf and invited me to participate because of the nature of my work.

Did your environmentalism play any role in your decision to be part of this protest show?
Absolutely. I think what’s going on down there is a tragedy like we’ve never seen in our lifetime and it will affect probably all us for the rest of our lives.

Do you remembe
r when and how you become aware of the artistic possibilities the Gulf had for your work? It’s part of a trajectory that’s been happening in my work over the past 15 or so years that involves the veracity of the photograph. So those images, though printed and presented as photographs, are in fact entirely digitally constructed pixel by pixel on my computer. For all practical purposes, they are digital paintings presented as photographs.

But you have traveled to the Gulf. Oh yes, extensively. That’s why it was so important to be involved in this. The two images that are included in the exhibit are directly influenced by the area at the mouth of the Mississippi.

The name of the series from which you chose the images is called The Only Joke God Ever Played On Me. Do you find that title ironic in context of the current exhibition? Absolutely. The title referred more to the sense that images such as cloudscapes and seascapes are fleeting. They’re never static and they’re never repeated. And by the time you’re able to turn someone around and get them to look at what you’re looking at, it’s changed. And it is almost like a joke being played on you.

Only in this case, the joke isn’t divine. It’s more a terrible joke that humanity has played on itself. Yes.

Your images are haunting, disturbing … It’s much like looking at photographs of someone that you love who’s recently died. It’s the memory of what’s not there anymore.

You’ve said that your work documents things that “exist or not… and can be seen or not.” That’s a chilling statement, given that what your images depict no longer exists. Has the oil spill impacted any part of your artistic vision? My work for a number of years has tended to focus on a yearning for what we are losing. And the new work that is currently being produced in the studio has much more of an acute awareness of this than before. It doesn’t have an arrow pointing to it saying “environmental disaster;” it’s more a sense of loss and memory, a sense of something that doesn’t exist anymore. And I think that this oil spill particularly is going to impact my work for the rest of my life.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition July 02, 2010.

—  Kevin Thomas