What’s Shakin’ – ‘Our Time in Eden’ at EVO Lounge, voter turnout still weak

Our Time in Eden

It's Ava and Eve, not Adam and Eve.

1. Say “Garden of Eden” and most people will conjure an image of a naked (white) man and woman frolicking in a surprisingly well-tended arboretum,  but the people at Ultraviolet Productions envision an Eden where the strict binary of Adam and Eve is smeared across a blazing tableau of gender, sexuality and race. “Our Time in Eden,” a variety/drag show exploring what paradise means in a world free of labels, struts the stage tonight at 8 pm at EVO Lounge, 2707 Milam.  For a $5 cover you can check out the best drag kings, queens and gender performance artists Houston has to offer.

2. Early voting in Harris County continues through Nov 3 at all early voting locations. Voter turnout continues to be low. On Tuesday, 2,599 people voted in person, versus 4,206 who voted on the second day of early voting during the last municipal election in 2009.  Overall, there’s been a 24% decrease in voter turnout from 2009.  The upshot of which is that each vote is 24% more powerful. So grab three friends and get to the polls, together the four of you almost get an extra vote.

3. Rev. Pat “God-sends-hurricanes-to-punish-gay-people” Robinson, founder of the Christian Coalition and former Republican Presidential hopeful, warned his 700 Club audience that pushing the current crop of GOP frontrunners too far to the extreme right will hurt their chances in the 2012 general election. When the man who said that the Haiti earthquake was caused because the nation made a pact with the devil thinks you’ve gotten too extreme that’s saying something!  Right Wing Watch has more.

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Son of a beach

A family vacation proves unexpectedly gay as Myrtle Beach, S.C., gets Pride

RAINBOW TOUR | Nearly 200 beachcombers — including the author (dark green, just right of center) — stepped away from the surf and gathered in a field to form a human rainbow flag.

ARNOLD WAYNE JONES  | Life+Style Editor

The trip to Myrtle Beach, S.C., had more to do with a family reunion than finding a good destination for gay travelers. After all, Myrtle Beach is a pretty lazy, conservative town in the perennial Red State, one where teenaged spring breakers and families gather to enjoy the warm surf and the resort-town appeal of seafood and beachcombing and overpriced cocktails. Queer travelers can hit one of the three gay bars, all within blocks of each other — Club Traxx, Time Out! and the Rainbow House (a lesbian club).

But the weekend I arrived , just by coincidence, it turned out to be Gay Pride.

Keep in mind, the gay community in Myrtle Beach is small, so “Gay Days,” plural, felt more like Gay Day, singular: One major event and then life as usual in Coastal Carolina.

The major event, though, was an ambitious one: Gathering members of the LGBT community and their allies to form a “human rainbow flag:” People signed up to wear a pastel-colored T-shirt and arrange themselves in the traditional configuration. A few others wore black, forming the flagpole.

The entire event was threatened by showers late Friday and early Saturday, but despite a slightly muddy field, nearly 200 people turned out, huddled closely on a muggy afternoon, while a photographer flew above in a helicopter.

Numbers weren’t uniform; there were too many reds and too few purples; but the effect was one of a flag waving in the breeze.

In order to do the shoot, members faced each other before bending forward to allow the broad field of their shirts to form the colors. Directly across from me stood Elke Kennedy, a resident of Greenville in the Upstate. Elke and her husband established SeansLastWish.org, raising awareness of anti-gay violence, after their gay son was beaten to death and his killer spent less than a year in jail.

Elke spoke at a rally following the photoshoot, and dozens in attendance listened to her recount her  son’s harrowing attack and death before two drag queens performed and a DJ spun dance hits. People started to file out after a while, off to the beach, or the clubs, or even the boardwalk, where the Texas Star-like Skywheel gives great views of the beach … and sits next door to the campily named souvenir shop the Gay Dolphin.

The latter was always may favorite place when I was growing up; you’d think my parents would have caught on sooner.

Click here for additional photos.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 26, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Hummus Queens

Very cool article about a gay Arab rave that goes on in NYC every month (except Ramadan).

The dancers included plenty of non-Arab men, many of whom Abraham said were regulars.
“Hummus queens,” a 24-year-old grocery clerk from Queens named Hilal joked at one of the parties. “That’s what you call white guys who go for Arabs.”

Some of the guests yearned for something more than just a good time. “There’s a lot of post-9/11 baggage that people want to deal with,” Hilal said during another party. “But the only option they have is to go out to a club and dance?”

Still, Hilal, wearing a “Hummus Is Yummus” T-shirt and a Mohawk haircut, took his place on the dance floor, too.

The next Habibi is this Sunday, Jan. 16 at La Pomme, 37 West 26th Street in Chelsea. More information is available from habibi@habibinyc.com Habibi e-mail address or the party’s Web site; its Myspace page or its Facebook page. There is a admission charge.

The article reminds me of a gay Spanish dance club I went to in Barcelona, now a good ten years ago. I think it was BCN, but am not sure if it was a different club. I was dancing with some Spanish guy who asked me if I wanted to go to the “back room.” In American parlance, a back room is a dark corner where you go to have sex. I said no thanks. He said, no, come on, we can watch people dance. Curious, I went. It was amazing. About a dozen Spanish couples (all male) dancing the Flamenco in this small, smoke-filled room. It was simply wonderful. And sad. My host informed that most of these guys were not out one bit during the day. That was ten years ago, perhaps it’s changed. But it was thrilling to watch everyone come out, with flaming Flamenco, if only for a few hours every Saturday night.


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Surprise: Drag Queens Did Not Have The Easiest Childhoods

Sure, being a black Jewish paraplegic who's prone to seizures probably means you've got it rough. But for future drag queens of America, childhood was no picnic either. But as dramatic ladies like Shangela, Coco Peru, Jackie Beat and Lady Bunny explain to Matt Baume's Stop8.org, life does get better. When you put on heels.

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Standing Beside Tony Avella in Queens

Last week I had to opportunity to visit the wonderfully diverse New York City Borough of Queens, where former New York City Council member Tony Avella is running a strong challenge to a long-time anti-gay incumbent for state Senate. With the future of marriage equality on the line, HRC and other LGBT groups including Marriage Equality New York and the Pride Agenda, are working tirelessly to help elect Avella.

I am so glad to behind a candidate that can make such a big difference in the state. If we are successfully in pulling of a dramatic upset win here and thus get us one vote closer to marriage equality in the New York state Senate, Tony Avella deserves to be anointed the real King of Queens.

Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

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Queens Pride House in Trouble

The Queens Pride House, the LGBT community center located in Jackson
Heights, is in danger of closing and in needs of staffing and budget increases.
Daily News

—  John Wright

Queens Can Lead the Way to Marriage in New York

Three of the six votes needed to pass marriage in the New York Senate could come from the New York City borough of Queens.

On my most recent trip to the Big Apple, I travelled to Bayside and met with Tony Avella and his state senate campaign team. Just returning from knocking on doors, Tim talked passionately about his campaign to reform Albany, including passing marriage equality.

Having just visited with Lynn Nunes, running for Senate in southeast Queens, it was clear that primary and general elections in this part of New York may very well determine the future of marriage equality in New York.

HRC has proudly endorsed Queens’ candidates Tony Avella and Lynn Nunes for state Senate.

To get involved, go to www.hrc.org/NYmarriage.

Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  John Wright