What’s Shakin’ – Election Day

1. It’s election day in Houston! The Mayor, Comptroller, City Council and three Houston Independent School Board Trustee seats are up for grabs. Decisions made today will affect policy-making decisions on LGBT issues for the next two years so visit HarrisVotes.org and find out where to go to cast your ballot. Polls open at 7 am on Tuesday and close at 7 pm sharp.

2. After you vote, join Out and Equal Houston for their Lunch and Learn series today at 11:15 am the Crowne Plaza Hotel (downtown). Susan Parker, Executive Recruiter and Diversity Consultant , will deliver a presentation how professionals can Brand themselves for success. Out and Equal Houston exists to encourage and assist Houston-area businesses to foster and maintain GLBT-inclusive work environments. More information on the Lunch and Learn series is available at www.outandequal.org/houston.

3. The New York Times reports that 48% of students in a recent study reported being harassed. Not surprisingly, the study found that, for boys, accusations of being Gay hit hardest.

“In the survey, students were asked to identify what had the worst effect on them. For boys, it was being called gay — ‘Everyone was saying I was gay, and I felt the need to have to run away and hide,’ a ninth-grader said. For girls, the leading problem was having someone make ‘unwelcome sexual comments, jokes or gestures to or about you.’”

—  admin

‘Tempest:’ You, us

Kevin Moriarty is a director who embraces the full spectacle of Shakespeare, and while you can disagree with his decisions sometimes, you have to respect his commitment. He likes elements we might consider by-products of the Elizabethan Age, its Hey-Nonny-Nonnyisms: Interludes of courtly ballets and minstrel-strummed songs, arresting, fourth-wall-violating asides to the audience, expository speechifying — everything Chekhov and Ibsen and a host of others steered away from.

But he’s also a director who appreciates contemporary stagecraft: Reconfiguring the structure of plays, emphasizing the astonishing pageantry of an evening at the theater — sometimes taking us out of the play, but often with grandeur. The balance isn’t always an easy one, but it can take your breath away.

There are several such gasp-inducing moments in his staging of The Tempest, starting with the opening scene, set on an airplane instead of a boat. As the wizard Prospero (Chamblee Ferguson, pictured left), like Desmond from Lost, rips the jet from the sky, the stage instantly transforms into a barren wasteland, as stark and beautiful as any set the Dallas Theater Center has ever produced. There are trap doors and bits of magic and flying fairies. It will make you say, “Wow.”

But there are also the many edits. Yes, some of the talkiness is removed, but also some of the scope. And keeping it without an intermission leaves one’s butt castigated by those Wyly seats for nearly two hours.

This Tempest feels more like a series of vignettes than a single story: The comic relief, the sappy romance, the political intrigue, the long-stewing recriminations, bracketed by Ferguson’s Ahab-like Prospero. At first, he’s a vengeful terrorist and hypocritical zookeeper, enslaving his island’s native fauna, the ethereal Ariel (lithe, white-eyed Hunter Ryan Herdicka, pictured right) and its Orc-ish Caliban (Joe Nemmers, delivering us Quasimodo of the mud with poignancy and humor). Then Prospero changes gears, softening and showing mercy, moved by his daughter Miranda’s love for his enemy’s son.

The Tempest is problematic Shakespeare, neither comedy nor history nor classically tragic, but a romance with obscure motivations (how quickly Prospero’s mind is changed by Miranda’s capricious libido, when her suffering for two decades went unnoticed) made more obscure in this version — Prospero seems more like ringmaster than protagonist. Ah, well: The Bard was a better poet than playwright, so let’s give credit to Moriarty for taking this Tempest out of the teapot.

— Arnold Wayne Jones

Wyly Theatre, 2401 Flora St. Through Oct. 9. DallasTheaterCenter.org.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 23, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Where The Dems May Lose House Seats

FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver today takes aim at some of the polls crying doom and gloom for House Democrats previously thought to be safe, cautioning that the volume of losses may not be as bad as some fear.

Many of the polls are either partisan-affiliated, or were “robopolls” that used automated scripts rather than live interviewers, or both. Polls with an explicit partisan affiliation are on average about 6 points friendlier to their candidate than those conducted by independent groups. Robopolls have not shown any persistent bias in the past — but this year, they have been 2 to 4 points more favorable to Republicans than traditional surveys, and the differences have tended to be larger in polls of House races as opposed to conducted in Senate or gubernatorial campaigns. So this is a group of polls that you’d expect to be pretty Republican-friendly.

Silver’s own calculations, some of what are shown in the chart above, predict that the GOP will gain 45-70 House seats. But by pretty much everybody’s numbers, the Democrats will lose their majority.

Joe. My. God.

—  John Wright

Video: Cheap, both the seats and the shots

Prolific video dude Sean Chapin takes on the so-called “Bleacher Creatures,” the right field fans who are fiercely committed to supporting the Yankees, to embarrassing anyone around them who dares to root otherwise, and to keeping homosexuality as fodder for aggressive straight male “jokes”:



[Sean Chapin]




Good As You

—  John Wright

Census Result: New York Likely To Lose Two U.S. House Seats, Florida Gains Two

One of most important aspects of the U.S. Census is the resulting reapportionment of seats in the House of Representatives. While many of the changes will go as expected, a just-released new estimate suggests a couple of changes that were not.

A new estimate of House reapportionment gains and losses resulting from this year’s Census reveals a larger-than-expected impact on Florida and New York. According to Washington-based Election Data Services, which reviewed new Census data from a private-sector demographic firm, Florida would gain two House seats and New York would lose two seats. They would join two other states that already were projected to have multiple-seat changes.

Based on the tentative Census data, Texas is expected to gain four House seats and Ohio likely will lose two seats. According to the EDS estimate, six other states each would gain one seat: Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, South Carolina, Utah and Washington. Eight states would each lose one seat: Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. In addition to the Florida and New York changes, the other major switch in the projected reapportionment is that Missouri will lose a House seat instead of Minnesota.

The formal Census report will be issued in December. Reapportioning becomes effective with the 2012 elections.

Joe. My. God.

—  John Wright