Houston’s State Rep. Garnet Coleman applauds Prop. 8 decision

State Rep. Garnet Coleman

Rep. Garnet Coleman, D-Houston, took to his blog today to applaud yesterday’s decision by the United States Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals declaring Proposition 8  unconstitutional (Prop. 8, passed in 2008, prohibited marriage equality in California):

“Yesterday’s 9th Circuit decision, just like the decision in Lawrence v. Texas, is a stepping stone on the path to marriage equality for all. As Judge Stephen R. Reinhardt of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals wrote in the opinion, ‘Proposition 8 serves no purpose, and has no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gay men and lesbians in California, and to officially reclassify their relationships and families as inferior to those of opposite-sex couples.’ The same holds true for the marriage equality ban in Texas. That is why I continue to fight for marriage equality and continue to file the repeal of the ban of same sex marriage. Denying gay couples the right to marry is unconstitutional and a blatant denial of human rights. “

Coleman has a long history of filing pro-LGBT legislation in the Texas House. Last year he introduced historic legislation that, had it passed, would have called for a state-wide vote to repeal the section of Texas’ constitution prohibiting same-sex marriage, so he’s no stranger to the battle for marriage equality.

Coleman is seeking re-election to his District 147 seat. He will face long-time local LGBT activist Ray Hill in the Democratic Primary. No republican candidate has filed for the seat.

Read Coleman’s full statement on his blog.

—  admin

Deaths 10.21.11

Preston.Cody

Cody Preston

Cody Preston, 36, died of pneumonia on Oct. 9 at Presbyterian Hospital Allen.

He was born March 24, 1975, in Sacramento, Calif., and attended Elk Grove High School. He had lived in the Dallas area for the past five years. He worked as a parts and service manager for B&L RV Center in Sacramento from 1991 to 2006, and at All Star RV Center in Plano since 2006.

Preston’s friends remember him as an amazing person who would do anything for a friend and ask for nothing in return. He was always the life of the party and knew how to make people smile; he never met a stranger who didn’t instantly fall in love with his personality and charm. One of his trademarks was his tight bear hugs, a surprise coming from someone with such a small frame. He will be greatly missed by his family and many friends.

Preston is survived by his father, Mike Barnett of Elk Grove, Calif.; his mother, Sheila Barnett of Elk Grove, Calif.; his brother, Sean Barnett of Elk Grove, Calif.; his sister-in-law, Marcy Barnett of Elk Grove, Calif.; one niece; his best friend, Robert Peterson of the Dallas area.

As per his final wishes, Peterson will be cremated and his ashes sent to his parents in California, who, sometime near Thanksgiving, will sprinkle his ashes over his grandparents’ plot at Joshua Memorial Park and Mortuary in Lancaster, Calif.

—  Kevin Thomas

From screen to stage

Q Cinema veterans tackle live theater with the guerrilla-like QLive!

CURTAIN UP! | Producing partners Todd Camp and Kyle Trentham have theater backgrounds, but QLive! is a departure from the movie-focused work their organization, Q Cinema, has done for a dozen years.

MARK LOWRY  | Special Contributor
marklowry@theaterjones.com

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QLIVE: NONE OF THE ABOVE
Trinity Bicycles patio,
207 S. Main St., Fort Worth.
Sept. 23–24 at 8 p.m.
$15, QCinema.org

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Anyone who’s ever wanted to start a theater company will tell you that the biggest hurdle is finding the right space. It’s no different in DF-Dub, where the opportunities seem endless, but affordable spaces that can work for the demands of theater are limited.

QLive!, a new theater company based in Fort Worth, is finding ways to work around that. Its first full production, for instance, is None of the Above , a two-person drama by Jenny Lyn Bader. It opens Friday on the back patio of a bicycle shop just west of downtown Cowtown.

“One of the things we’ve talked about is the immersive experience, where it’s not just that you sit down and watch a show, but you experience a show,” says QLive’s Todd Camp, who founded Fort Worth’s LGBT film festival, Q Cinema. “The three shows that we have lend themselves quite well to that.”

Those three shows, which run this fall, begin with Above, which deals with a parochial school student and her teacher. In November, there’ll be Yasmina Reza’s oft-produced Art, which will hopefully happen in a gallery space (they’re still negotiating). It will close out the year with Terrence McNally’s controversial Corpus Christi, taking place in a machine shop near downtown Fort Worth.

QLive! has been a project three years in the making, and will be led by Camp’s Q Cinema cohort Kyle Trentham, as artistic director. The group has already launched a successful Tuesday night open mike comedy event at Percussions Lounge, and in February presented a staged reading of Frank Wedekind’s 1891 play Spring Awakening, the day before the musical based on that play opened at Bass Performance Hall. They also brought Hollywood comedy writer Bruce Vilanch in for a one-night performance.

Like other arts groups with a large LGBT following that present works of interest to that community — including Uptown Players and the Turtle Creek Chorale — Trentham says QLive doesn’t want the label of “gay theater” … despite the big “Q” in its name.

“Young [audiences] don’t think in those terms anymore,” he says. “They just want to see theater they like.”

With Corpus Christi, Trentham says that creating an immersive experience will be crucial to the production. “It’s a working machine shop,” he says. “You walk in and the actors are working, getting their hands dirty. Then in the cleansing scene, they actually are cleaned.”

Camp, who has led Q Cinema for 13 years, is no stranger to controversy. He was a critical player in the late ‘90s “Labor of Love” project at the now-defunct Fort Worth Theatre. That group presented shows like Paul Rudnick’s Jeffrey and The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told, and Mart Crowley’s The Boys in the Band. A few times, there were protesters in front of the performance space, Orchestra Hall.

Considering the dust-up Corpus Christi caused in Texas last year when a Tarelton State University junior had his student production of it canceled, Camp is prepared for blowback.

“You are not going to tell me what I can and cannot do in my town, even if you’re the lieutenant governor,” he says. “This is an important work by a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright who’s from Texas. … It’s an incredibly pro-spiritual show. It’s not anti-religion or blasphemous. It takes organized religion, which has been used to club the gay and lesbian community for many years, and retells the story that makes it a little more compatible and open to them.”

For now, they’ll have to see how their audience deals with a show outside a bike shop.

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

—  Michael Stephens

LSR Journal:Pedalling — and padding — his way to Zen

Chef Kerry Chace says cycling is a great way to burn off calories and relax, as long as you’ve got the proper gear

Kerry-Chace.LSR-cutout
Kerry Chace

M.M. Adjarian  |  Contributing Writer
editor@dallasvoice.com

If you had told Kerry Chace a few years ago that cycling would one day become akin to a spiritual practice, he would’ve thought you were joking. But now, the joke’s on him.

This second-year Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS cyclist can’t imagine not spending his spare time pedalling for his body and mind as well as his community.

“I’m a corporate chef so I consume a lot of calories during the week, and I have to burn them off,” Chace grins. “So every weekend I’ve got to get on my bike and burn off as many doughnuts as possible.”

Chace came to LSRFA last year after he saw a Twitter post about it. When he signed up to participate, though, he had no time to do any of the fundraising required of each cyclist: It was already mid-September — just two weeks before the event.

But that didn’t stop him.

“I just wrote the check myself at registration,” Chace recalls. “And all of a sudden, I was in the Ride.”

The Calgary native was no stranger to charity cycling events and had participated in the 1998 Texas Tanqueray AIDS Ride. But once the TTAR was over, he didn’t saddle up for another 12 years.

On a whim, Chace finally rolled out his bicycle again in the spring of 2010 and decided to go around White Rock Lake.

“[One day], some guy came up beside me and said, ‘Dude, you need to get a better bike.’ [I suddenly became aware that] I was pushing big fat tires and an old bicycle.”

And, Chace said, that wasn’t his only sudden realization.

“What you see on a bike [is not what] you would see if you were in the car,” he says. “If you’re up by White Rock Lake, you can see the sailboats. It’s amazing what you become aware of and smell and see.”

To hear Chace talk, you would almost think that he is describing a spiritual experience. And in fact, he is: His lakeside outings helped him find inner tranquility and balance.

“I’ve told others that maybe [the feeling comes] because I’m moving faster than my brain is working,” he explains. “It’s a very calm feeling I get when I’m riding, even though it could be 110 degrees and I’m going uphill.

“I just kind of lose myself, so I say that it’s yoga on wheels.”

He chuckles: “Some people think I’m absolutely crazy. But while I’m riding, my mind is clear; it’s really Zen.”

His cycling experiences have only been enhanced by participating in the LSRFA. Not only has the Dallas chef been able to indulge his newfound passion for “yoga on wheels,” he’s also been able to make many new friends while celebrating the lives of those he’s lost to the AIDS epidemic.

Chace says he has also gotten to know a lot about himself and the proper way to enjoy cycling.

“I remember when I first got my jersey and bike shorts. I didn’t think [the shorts] were very flattering; it was vanity, I guess. I’m like, ‘Wow, this doesn’t make my butt look very good.’ So I got some really cheap ones with very thin padding,” he recalls.

Chace now understands that to achieve a state of Zen bliss, he must be mindful of the choices he makes on the physical plane.

“You really want as much padding as you can back there,” he grins. “Get yourself a good pair of shorts or you will be looking for a pillow.”

Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS will be held Sept. 24-25. To donate to an individual rider, to a team or to the Ride itself, go online to LoneStarRide.org.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 16, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Pet of the week: Mator

Mator is a gorgeous guy with a personality to match. He’s about 18 months old and weighs 45 pounds. Mator sits, shakes hands and loves belly rubs. He’s a friendly, affectionate dog who never meets a stranger and should make a great addition to any family.

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Mator and many other dogs, cats, puppies and kittens are available for adoption from Dallas Animal Services, 1818 N. Westmoreland at I-30, just minutes west of Downtown Dallas. The shelter is open Monday-Saturday 11 a.m.-6:30 p.m. and Sundays noon-5 p.m. The cost to adopt is $85 for dogs and $55 for cats and includes spay/neuter surgery, vaccinations, microchip and more. All dogs are negative for heartworms, and cats have been tested for FeLV and FIV. For more information, visit DallasAnimalServices.org or call 214-671-0249.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 9, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

If you’re looking for the gay connection to Grammy winner Arcade Fire, here it is

Pallett, right, with Arcade Fire in New York.

When Arcade Fire won Record of the Year at the Grammys, my Facebook and Twitter filled with “Who is Arcade Fire?” posts (whose didn’t?). Despite the band’s album The Suburbs being on practically everyone’s best-of list at the end of the year, people clearly weren’t aware who the indie band was and weren’t afraid to let the world know. That’s fine. No snobbery about it here, but if it helps some readers to relate to the band (or open their minds beyond Top 40 radio), well, here ya go:

Owen Pallett is no stranger to gay audiences. Or shouldn’t be. But while he’s creating his own lush songs, he’s also had input on all of AF’s releases and has toured as a member. Pallett contributed string arrangements to each album and has played violin on the first two as well as on tour. The last we saw of Pallett here was as an opener for the band back in October. AF member Régine Chassagne and Pallett also composed the score for The Box with Cameron Diaz.

Feel any better? No? OK, well there’s always Katy Perry.

—  Rich Lopez

Same-sex rape reported in Oak Lawn during Pride — and a prevention message from DPD

No sooner had a Dallas police spokesman sent over some requested info about a same-sex rape in Oak Lawn over the weekend, than we noticed the above video from DPD about sexual assault prevention. And wouldn’t you know it, the major risk factors described in the video appear to have been very much at work in this weekend’s case. According to the video, alcohol is the No. 1 factor in sex assaults, and in 60 percent of cases the suspect is known to the victim. The video also says that one out of every 33 males in the U.S. will be a victim of sexual assault.

The rape occurred at about 5:30 p.m. on Sunday — the day of gay Pride — in the 4000 block of Fairmont Street, and it involved the suspect penetrating the victim’s anus, according to police reports. Here’s DPD Sr. Cpl’s Kevin Janse’s description:

The victim, a Latino male, was invited over to the suspect’s house and they began drinking. They are friends and have known each other for about a month. A knife was pulled and victim was sexually assaulted. Suspect was arrested down the street. Jimmy Ford, a 23-year-old black male, is charged with aggravated sexual assault.

Here are a few tips from DPD for preventing sexual assault, which has been on the rise in Dallas this year:

• Be aware of your surroundings; know where you are, who you are with, and what you are doing.

• When consuming alcohol at clubs, bars, or restaurants, watch your drink; don’t leave it unattended, even for a few seconds.

• Don’t accept a drink handed to you by a stranger or anyone you have just met.

• If you feel you have been drugged, call 911 immediately.

• Trust your instincts. If something about the situation or the person just does not feel right, it probably is not. Get out of the situation as soon as possible.

—  John Wright

‘There is no day but today’

By Trinity Wheeler, director, “The Laramie Project”

If one, definitive lesson has lingered with me since working with “Rent,” it is that of the lyric, “No day but today.”

This message in mind, I knew it was time — though, well overdue — for “The Laramie Project” in East Texas. When invited to direct a show in my chiefly conservative hometown of Tyler — which experienced a hate crime nearly identical to Matthew Shepard’s, five years before his murder in Laramie, Wyo. — I could have very easily chosen “Steel Magnolias,” “Harvey,” or any other tried-and-true, community-theater staple.

But I didn’t want a crowd pleaser. I wanted to present a production that would allow the audience to consider the views of others, and reconsider their own. To invite debate, discussion, and to open a dialogue — the seeds of progress.

The response I received in coming out was nowhere near positive or pleasant. If this was the reaction of my own family, how would the community respond to a work in which the topic of homosexuality is unabashedly broached?

I went out on a limb in choosing this show, and was very aware of the chance the bough could break, and down would come baby. But the number of East Texans who voiced their support for this production after protests from members of the theater board proved to be unexpectedly staggering.

The show is no stranger to controversy, though I don’t believe any of us imagined we would face opposition long before we even began rehearsals, especially from those who once fully supported the project. But the cast, crew, and community banded together to brave the storm, and I believe we are all the more resolute because of it, having formed a brand of bond unique to such an experience, which may not have happened otherwise.

And that is exactly what this show is about. A community coming together in the wake of adverse events. I have hope for this production, and for Tyler and East Texas. I hold to hope for tomorrow, but, for now, there is no day but today.

—  Dallasvoice