Pink Martini’s gay bandleader Thomas Lauderdale commits to Sunday’s outdoor show rain or shine

Before Sunday’s concert at Annette Strauss Park, Pink Martini’s gay bandleader Thomas Lauderdale discussed just why the eclectic jazz outfit as been so productive lately. With four releases in the last three years, the band has churned out material faster than in their early days.

Lauderdale also says that with Dallas’ random weather lately, Pink Martini is set to deliver on Sunday whether there’s a crowd or not proving the band’s commitment to spread its distinct sound that delves into foreign lands and classic movies.

Read my conversation with Lauderdale after the jump. Pink Martini performs at Annette Strauss Square at the Winspear Opera House, 2403 Flora St. 8 p.m. $45–$65. ATTPAC.org.

—  Rich Lopez

NOM calls for Starbucks boycott

After losing a vote on repealing marriage equality in New Hampshire this week — and losing the marriage equality vote in Washington state — the National Organization for Marriage, a group that opposes some marriages, called for a boycott of Starbucks. They even created a website.

Starbucks is based in Seattle and, along with other large Washington state companies, ranks high in the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index and supported equality in their home state. Other companies that cheered the Washington Legislature’s decision to legalize same-sex marriage were Boeing and Microsoft.

But it’s not so easy to boycott those companies. Boycotting Microsoft would mean encouraging people to buy Apple. Elizabeth Birch, a vice president of that company, became the president of HRC.

And boycott Boeing? Not many NOM supporters are buying airplanes. And most airlines also rank high on the CEI.

So Starbucks is the perfect target — because for every gay-hating Starbucks-drinking NOM supporter, there can’t be more than a couple of hundred LGBT Starbucks addicts.

Starbucks prides itself on its social responsibility. The company offers health insurance to all employees who work at least 20 hours a week. A company vice president serves on the board of the Greater Seattle Business Association, one of the country’s largest LGBT chambers of commerce.

The StopStarbucks website warns that a portion of every cup of coffee sold funds the corporate assault on marriage. Wow. With more than 17,000 stores worldwide, that’s a lot of funding. If every store gave just a dollar a day to promote same-sex marriage, which they’re not, that would be … well, just $6 million — still a hell of a lot less than NOM is spending to stop, overturn, block and reverse every equality measure that passes. Hey, Southern Poverty Law Center, explain to us once again why NOM doesn’t qualify as a hate group?

—  David Taffet

Eighth annual Starbucks auction supports AIDS Foundation Houston

Love it or hate it Starbucks is an ubiquitous fixture of urban life, combining the “where everybody knows your name” charm of the local bar with the “first taste is free” seediness of the corner drug pusher. For the Montrose at Hawthorn Starbucks (3407 Montrose) that position at the intersection of community and addiction carries with it a major social responsibility. Which is why for the last eight years the employees of Montrose’s most fabulous Starbucks have sponsored a silent art auction to raise funds for AIDS Foundation Houston.

This years auction is March 2 from 5-9 pm. The organizers  are still seeking donations from local artists and businesses to help round out this year’s selections. Visit sbuxauction.weebly.com for more information on the auction and how to donate.

—  admin

Starbucks art auction to benefit homeless youth charity

There are times in life when the strangest ingredients can come together to make something wonderful: wasabi and chocolate, curry and cranberries, peanut butter and pickles… That’s the case with Montrose Grace Place, a charity serving homeless youth in the Montrose area. Take one part 90 year old Lutheran Church willing to help without preaching, add a desire to serve homeless youth regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression, mix with a passel of volunteers of all religious backgrounds (Christian, Jewish, Buddhist and more than a few Atheists), let steep in a community desperate to help queer homeless youth and voilà, a vibrant charity that has provided food, clothing and, most importantly, interaction with adults who give a damn to dozens of kids over the last two years.

Of course all that doesn’t happen without expense. Despite Grace Lutheran Church donating space and volunteers donating hundreds of hours of labor Grace Place still has some expenses. The employees of the River Oaks Starbucks (the one at 2050 West Gray, not the one at 2029 West Gray or the one at 2030 West Gray) wanted a way to pitch in so they organized an art auction tomorrow evening, January 1 starting at 6 pm. The auction features donated works by local artists as well as works by the Grace Place kids themselves. Stop by for a latte and some art to go.

—  admin

Drawing Dallas • 11.25.11

As ‘Twilight’ returns, Skylar Brooks shows blood sucking can be a service

MARK STOKES  | Illustrator
mark@markdrawsfunny.com

Name and age: Skylar Brooks, 24

Occupation: Testing coordinator, Resource Center Dallas, and shift manager, Starbucks

Spotted at: Exxon on the Run at Maple and Oak Lawn

A twinkle in her unbelievably pale blue eyes and an effervescent smile are the first things you notice about this fine Virgo. Born in Monroe, La., and raised in Euless and Bedford, the perpetually positive Skylar considers herself a clown and a jokester — smiles and laughter come to her quite freely. She came out at 16.

She loves the nightlife. Skylar loves to dance, and her freestyle moves on the floor have garnered her three “dance off” wins at Station 4. She also loves to sing, especially R&B (Brian McKnight is a favorite). She auditioned for American Idol last year, and while she didn’t get through, says she’s determined to try again. Her love of music and dance is hereditary: Her mother was on the drill team and danced ballet, and her father plays drums and the trumpet and loves to belt out a song.

In addition to indoor activities, she plays midfield and forward in a local soccer league, and basketball for fun. Skylar loves to travel, she has a special affinity for the Caribbean (Dominican Republic, Bahamas).

Enter love  “Three months in, I knew she was the one,” says Skylar of her fiancé, Shereen, whom she met through mutual friends 18 months ago; they have a wedding set in Vermont next June. Both of their families are excited for them.

Skylar’s goal is to become a surgical technician. Her motto: “I help people one blood draw at a time.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 25, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Sign of the times: coffee karma

Spotted at the Starbucks at Montrose and Hawthorn:


“The man with the good karma who drove home to get a coat hanger after I locked myself out my car thank you – there is something in this for you!

—  admin

Final bets at the finale of Team DV’s P-P-P-Poker Tourney

Ante up to the table

Team Dallas Voice and Pocket Rockets Dallas are raising money for the Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS by holding a P-P-P-Poker Tournament at clubs across town. After three weeks, the event has come to the grand prize final.

Because this is Dallas, not Vegas, the game play is free, so if you want to contribute to the LSR cause, bring cash to enter the raffle. Among the prizes available or that have been won are tickets to see Dolly Parton (we’ll resist the urge to call this one a “booby prize”), Ke$ha and Chelsea Handler,  tickets to the Texas Rangers and Lone Star Park horse races, Starbucks coffee, a set of poker chips, books, grooming supplies and much more … and the final grand prize: Two tickets on American Airlines anywhere in the contiguous U.S.

DEETS: Check out the Facebook event page here for details.

—  Rich Lopez

‘Let the Blue Serve You’

Dallas Police Department traffic officers, Texas Department of Public Safety troopers and agents with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission will all be on hand at the Starbucks at 6123 Greenville Ave., from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. Friday, March 11 to participate in an even called “Cops & Coffee: Let the Blue Serve You.”

The event is sponsored by the Dallas Police Department and Starbucks Coffee, in preparation for Spring Break, and will give those who attend the chance to the officers, troopers and agents about “traffic laws, alcohol laws and driving on tollways,” according to the flyer e-mailed to us by the DPD’s Public Information Office.

—  admin

The Nooner: Oprah, Minnesota governor’s race, H&M, Clover coffee, Cedar Hill slaying

Welcome to the inaugural edition of Instant Tea’s new midday news briefing, The Nooner™. Here goes nothing:

• Oprah denies she’s a lesbian in interview with Barbara Walters to air Thursday. (Video clip above.)

• Anti-gay, Target-backed Republican Tom Emmer concedes Minnesota governor’s race. Does this mean it’s OK to shop there again?

• Clover coffee arrives at Starbucks on Knox Street.

• H&M to open pop-up store at NorthPark today?

• Arrest of partner in Cedar Hill teacher’s murder a relief for family.

—  John Wright

Gay Marine from N. Texas talks about life, having a relationship while on active duty

DADT makes life stressful and risky for closeted servicemember

John Wright  |  Online Editor wright@dallasvoice.com

Kevin is from a small town northeast of Dallas. He says he loves Big D and plans to move here eventually.

Right now, though, Kevin is on active duty with the Marines, stationed overseas and deployed to a classified location.

He joined the Marines a few years ago, before he had accepted the fact that he was gay.

Kevin is a member of OutServe, formerly Citizens for Repeal, which was launched last month and bills itself as the first-ever organization for actively serving lesbian, gay and bisexual troops.

The group began in October 2009 as a Facebook page and has grown to 450 members.

“We are active duty and veteran gay, lesbian, and bisexual soldiers, sailors, Marines, airmen and members of the Coast Guard who are currently serving and who have served — some in silence, some with the open support of our comrades — in defense of our nation,” the group said in a statement announcing its launch. “We include service men and women who graduated at the top of our classes at the service academies and enlisted at recruitment centers around the country. Some of our members have lost their lives in service to their country.”

Kevin, whose real name is being withheld to protect him from being outed under “don’t ask don’t tell,” talked with Dallas Voice via personal e-mail.

………………………..

DV: Are you single or do you have a partner at home?

KEVIN: I am in a committed relationship with my fiancé who is also active duty.

DV: How did you manage to develop a relationship while both on active duty under DADT?

KEVIN: We met online, we met up at Starbucks and really just hit it off from the beginning. We started hanging out on the weekends, then after work off base.

The more time we spent together, the more we realized that we couldn’t be apart. It is really risky to be in a homosexual relationship and be in the military. But once you have found that special someone you realize what really matters in life. There is a great risk, and we both realize that, but the love that we have for each other outweighs that risk.

We are stationed at the same place. While I am deployed we try and keep in contact as much as possible. While talking on the phone, we have to speak in code to make sure that no one finds out. We never know who is listening. We mainly connect through personal e-mail.

DV: How long have you been out as gay in your private life? Did you know you were gay when you enlisted?

KEVIN: I came out of the closet to myself, my family and friends about two or three years ago. I knew that I was different at the time that I joined the military, but I wasn’t ready to accept that yet. I didn’t want to be different. I wanted so much to live a normal life, to not have people judge me, to not take the chances of my family disowning me — which by the way didn’t happen, my family is completely supportive and are my biggest fans.

DV: What is it like to have to hide who you are on a daily basis? Do you frequently worry about being outed?

KEVIN: It is extremely stressful knowing that if the wrong person finds out about me, my career is over. I love being in the military. I love serving my country. I take great pride in knowing that by me doing what I am doing, I am helping to ensure that my family is able to continue to live their lives the way that they want to.

There was one time that one of my friends and I were out and her supervisor showed up at the same place. He was a little intoxicated and started to make inappropriate sexual remarks to her.  She felt extremely uncomfortable and let someone know. What she did was the right thing, but because this individual knew that I was gay, I wasn’t allowed to help my friend by telling the proper chain of command what I knew, for fear that he would tell on me — which he eventually did end up doing. But there was nothing that could be done because he didn’t have proof. To make sure that the wrong people don’t find out about my private life it has to stay just that.

Me and my fiancé aren’t allowed to go to lunch together during the duty day for fear of being caught. We don’t e-mail each other on our work computers, because we never know who is reading them. We can’t call each other’s office; we don’t go to special functions of each other’s that normal families would go, such as promotion ceremonies.

DV: How did you get involved with OutServe and what is your role with the organization? What do you hope to accomplish with the group?

KEVIN: I met [OutServe co-director] J.D. Smith through mutual friends, and got involved in Outserve through him. I guess my role wouldn’t be any more important than anyone else’s. We all have the same goal, to end DADT.

We want the public to know that we demand equal rights. Some people seem to think that if DADT is repealed then there will be some mass coming out party, where we run around in skirts and have sex at the office. But what these people don’t understand is that the Uniform Code Of Military Justice will still be in effect. We will be held to the same standards of professionalism as anyone else.

We are in the military in the first place for one reason: to do our job, accomplish the mission. That’s what will still be done once DADT is repealed. We at Outserve are working to make sure that the thoughts and views of actual military members currently serving under DADT have a voice in the decision making process.

DV: Have you taken or seen the survey that was sent to the troops as part of the Pentagon study? What are your thoughts on it?

KEVIN: I have seen it. I wasn’t one of the ones chosen to take the survey, but I did find it online. I was completely outraged. First of all, I don’t understand why we need the survey to make sure that every man and woman in the United States is treated equally. Second, I feel that the survey was completely biased.

DV: What are your thoughts on what’s happening with the DADT repeal process overall?

KEVIN: I think that the process is taking way too long; the policy is unconstitutional and should be stopped now.
All we are trying to do is serve our country and live our lives without fear of losing everything that we have worked for. The only crime that is being committed is falling in love and not being ashamed of admitting it.

I feel President Obama made a lot of promises that sounded great while he was running for president. I completely applaud him for taking on issues that others were scared to take on. I do, however, wish that he would make good on those campaign promises and do the right thing. Put a stop to DADT.

I am unsure if the policy is going to be repealed at this point. All I can do is hope for the best, and promise not to give up the fight until every man and woman in the United States has equal rights.

DV: So you think Obama should issue an executive order?

KEVIN: I definitely think that President Obama should issue an executive order ending DADT, at least at a very minimum to stop discharges and investigations until the policy is repealed.

DV: If it is not repealed, will you re-enlist?

KEVIN: I will not continue to live a lie. I can’t take that. I don’t believe in lying and hate the fact that I have to. So if DADT is not repealed, then I will not be re-enlisting. It’s not worth the stress that it puts on my relationship and my conscience.

DV: What would you say to senators who are undecided about whether to vote for DADT repeal?

KEVIN: I have made contact with my senators and congressman. I got the same reply from all. I was told they all are planning on voting against repeal due to the concerns of military leaders. This answer really frustrates me.

I was under the impression that once a congressman/senator is elected, they are supposed to represent the views of the people who voted them into that office, not the military leaders. I have just about completely lost faith in my congressman and senators.

If I could talk to them I would ask them, “How would you feel if you were completely in love with one person and had to hide it from the world for fear of losing your job? How would you feel if the day you were elected into office, you couldn’t share that moment with your spouse because your relationship was illegal? How would you feel if you had to lie to everyone you came into contact with on the daily basis?

“This policy is affecting people’s lives. Please do the right thing and vote to repeal.”

And I would want them to know that at night when they lay down to go to sleep next to the person that they love, that I am not able to do that because I am currently deployed fighting for that right which, legally, I am not afforded. That my partner is in his bed worried sick about me every night, hoping that something doesn’t happen to me. If something did happen he would not be notified.

DV: What can the LGBT community in your hometown/state and across the country do to support you? What is your message to them?

KEVIN: I would encourage everyone to get involved, to stand up for what is right. Flood your congressman and senators with calls and letters urging them to vote for repeal. Get educated on the topics. Anything that you can do to help is greatly appreciated by those of us who can’t openly do it.

For more info about OutServe, go to OutServe.org or www.Facebook.com/OutServe.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 6, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens