Starvoice • 01.20.12

edBy Jack Fertig

CELEBRITY BIRTHDAY

Ellen DeGeneres turns 54 on Thursday. The comedian/talk show host has won 13 Emmys during her career while parylaying successful endeavors as a spokersperson for Cover Girl and voicing the role of Dory in Finding Nemo, set for a 3D release this fall. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also named her Special Envoy for Global AIDS Awareness in November 2011.

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THIS WEEK

Mars is turning retrograde and will backtrack through Virgo until April 13. In this period, recent pet peeves, critical arguments, bitchy outbursts and intestinal inflammations will come back to haunt you. Keep an eye on self-improvement without beating yourself up.

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CAPRICORN  Dec 21-Jan 19
Old arguments highlight your need to reconsider ideals you’ve taken for granted. Be careful that shrewd insight doesn’t push you to disillusion friends. You can be realistic and respectful.

AQUARIUS  Jan 20-Feb 18
Your debonair wit could easily backfire. The line between incisive epigrams and rude bitchiness is too easy to stumble over. If you need to be naughty, find an appropriate partner and a room.

PISCES  Feb 19-Mar 19
It’s very easy to talk your way into a hot little affair, but you may soon find it harder to get out of. Be sure of where the exits are before you step into anything.

ARIES  Mar 20-Apr 19
You’re cranky, even aggressive, especially with colleagues. Obsessing over details can distract you from bigger issues and dangers. But do heed details that concern your health.

TAURUS  Apr 20-May 20
Being nice comes off as manipulative. Use your overactive charms to deal with problems in a straightforward fashion. Resist the urge to gloss over them. Flirtations lead further than intended.

GEMINI  May 21-Jun 20
Disagreements at home get out of hand, especially when you just settled the problem. Be as patient and diplomatic as you can. Your attention soon turns to more interesting problems.

CANCER  Jun 21-Jul 22
A new passionate fling probably seems a lot more serious than it really is. Or less. Either way it’s sure to surprise you and probably a lot more people than you’d like to have know about it.

LEO  Jul 23-Aug 22
It’s too easy to react to others. Your natural instinct is to be a control queen, but more productively, try to see why your nerves are so raw. Vigorous exercise will help your balance and insight.

VIRGO  Aug 23-Sep 22
A cautious approach to a problem will open to more possibilities. Take that inspiration to work to find ideas pointing to new methods. With a solid grounding, advance bold new techniques.

LIBRA  Sep 23-Oct 22
Hitting a plateau is a natural stage. Don’t let it discourage you. Keep at whatever you’re doing, although if you can figure out why you’re stuck you may find better ways of doing it.

SCORPIO  Oct 23-Nov 21
Frustration has more to do with your expectations. Brace yourself for problems to come back at you. Mouth off to friends who’ll help you develop a better perspective.

SAGITTARIUS  Nov 22-Dec 20
Talk with relatives about family health issues to get rude surprises to prepare your doctor than the other way around. Brush up on skills and get updated on technology that will help you at work.

Jack Fertig can be reached at 415-864-8302 or Starjack.com

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition January 20, 2012.

—  Kevin Thomas

Ellen DeGeneres named special envoy for global AIDS awareness

Ellen DeGeneres

While speaking today on HIV/AIDS issues at the National Institutes of Health, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced that out, proud lesbian comedian, actress and talk show host Ellen DeGeneres has been named a special envoy for global AIDS awareness.

In a statement in response to the announcement, DeGeneres said she is honored to have been chosen by Secretary Clinton for the position.

“The fight against AIDS is something that has always been close to my heart.  And I’m happy that I can use my platform to educate people and spread hope,” DeGeneres said. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go look up what ‘envoy’ means.”

In a letter to DeGeneres, Clinton said the talk show host’s “energy, compassion and star power” will make her an effective voice for AIDS awareness.

“Your words will encourage Americans in joining you to make their voices heard in our campaign to achieve an AIDS-free generation. The enormous platform of your television show and your social media channels will enable you to reach millions of people with the strong and hopeful message that we can win this fight,” Clinton wrote.

In addition to her studio and television audience for her talk show each day, DeGeneres reaches 8 million followers on Twitter and 5.8 million people through Facebook. She has been outspoken advocate on anti-bullying issues and an advocate on animal rescue and rehabilitation and breast cancer issues. DeGeneres previously worked with the advocacy organization ONE to raise awareness on HIV/AIDS issues.

Clinton’s speech today is expected to be the first in a series of speeches and messages from the Obama administration leading up to World AIDS Day on Dec. 1.

—  admin

DRAG you

Comedian/drag queen P.T. may look like Wendy Williams, but his message to queer youth is no gimmick

Drag-You
HOW YOU DOIN’? | P.T.’s spot-on impersonation of talk show host Wendy Williams got producers’ attention and could be a step toward the comedian’s dreams.

 

RICH LOPEZ  | Staff Writer
lopez@dallasvoice.com

Dallas drag queen P.T. has his sights set on one thing: The Wendy Williams Show. He has a good reason: His spot-on take on the talk show celeb was so successful, Williams’ own TV show took notice, asking him to produce a video of his work as her doing celebrity news. Now, he’s vying to be the first female impersonator on her show.

“That is my goal,” he says. “She’s had gay people on her show, but no drag.

I would love to be the first to sit with her for ‘Hot Topics.’”

P.T. just turned 50, but that doesn’t hold him back from big ambitions.

He’s worked the talk show circuit before, appearing on Maury Povich. His video made it to Williams’ producers, though was not selected. Still, he hopes to use this exposure as a springboard to get his message out.

“I’d love to do radio one day and report celebrity news,” he says. “I could still do it here in Dallas, but if the money and time are right, I’d move as well. I’d love to, even.”

People can see P.T. in action Thursday and Sunday nights at Havana. He’s been the headlining entertainment there for seven years with his sass intact. He threatens to read a queen if they get out of line during his show, but mostly, his act is sort of the Oprah of drag: When people walk out that door, he wants them to feel better inside and leave a bit more educated.

“My job is not to put someone down, but to make them feel good,” he says.

“I use my comedy for that as well as to encourage people to do unto others. I believe in that. And I will try to teach where I can. Every chance I get. So many younger folks just don’t know what gay Pride is about.”

If P.T. has one thing to say, it’s to know your history. And when it comes to Pride, he finds that much is getting lost as younger generations develop into the community. He won’t separate gay Pride from black Pride — which kicks off this weekend in Dallas — because to him it’s all the same: A struggle to be better.

“To see where we come from is to see how our rights developed,” he says.

“Kids don’t know where this Pride came from. Just because we have parties and parades, there’s a reason why I can be a drag queen or why [same-sex couples] can hold hands in public. There’s something to be grateful for.”

He knows Pride will always have the parties to go with it, but the spectacle of celebration, in his eyes, can’t overshadow the mere reason for Pride.

There’s history there, and P.T. wants to talk about it.

“I think it’s sad that some don’t know what Stonewall is,” he bemoans.

“When I went to New York, the first place I wanted to go was the Stonewall Inn — I needed to see that for myself. You only get what you fight for and you only fight for what you know about. We’re all in it for the same thing and we know it’s not gonna come to us easily.”

P.T. expounds on the history of black Pride in Dallas, crediting Ray Dyer as starting the celebration at the old club The Metro, now Club Elm and Pearl Street. This is also where the then-Lady P.T. started his work in Dallas, coming from Austin.

Initially, The Metro wasn’t a hotspot for drag, so he performed more as a host and entertainer, starting in 1994. That changed as Dyer saw the importance of it as well as the revenue it could bring. Lady P.T. was back on track, but it wasn’t until 2001 that he officially incorporated stand-up into his act — in and out of drag. He put in time at the Improv to hone his new skill, but it was also a sort of therapy.

“I had a tragic incident that made me look at life different,” he admits.

He doesn’t go into details over what changed his life so much. But that incident redefined his outlook on life. For P.T., he knows tomorrow doesn’t show up for everyone.

“If I did not have that wake up call, I wouldn’t be reaching for myself,” he says. “I see some gray hairs but life doesn’t feel different. This is the only time I get to do what I wanna do.”

He’s living proof of that. Fifty is a milestone birthday, but P.T. proves that no age is too old to still aim high. Only now, he has the wisdom to be patient.

“It took me about four years trying to get Wendy’s attention and she finally acknowledged me,” he says. “That told me not to give up.  Everybody deserves a chance.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 30, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Starvoice • 04.01.11

By Jack Fertig

CELEBRITY BIRTHDAYgraham-norton-pic-getty-image-2-629681157

Graham Norton turns 48 on Monday. The comedian and talk show host kills with The Graham Norton Show. Without the restraints of American TV, Norton is stomach-achingly hilarious as he puts celebrities on edge with his over-the-top humor. Especially when he chats them up about porn and bathroom humor.

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THIS WEEK

After three weeks retrograde, Mercury is turning direct while conjunct Mars. New ideas to fix recent problems are coming too fast and furious. Think carefully to pick the truly effective ones. Both planets are opposing Saturn, so be careful not to blame but to work on better cooperation.

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ARIES Mar 20-Apr 19
Faith in yourself comes a little too easy. Find someone you trust for constructive criticism. You need that from them. Solving the challenges in a relationship is the test of true commitment.

TAURUS Apr 20-May 20
Knowing that you worry too much about your health doesn’t mean there aren’t problems. Focus on real pains and get them checked. Find the middle ground between worry and neglect.

GEMINI May 21-Jun 20
Ideals should be beyond reach; goals should be within. Build castles on strong, solid foundations. Keep searching to discover what the future holds. Just don’t let it take up all your time now.

CANCER Jun 21-Jul 22
Your brilliant ideas at work feel unappreciated at home. The lack of enthusiasm is because your talents are no surprise. Home support matters, but you have to explain specifics to get it.

LEO Jul 23-Aug 22
Your brain’s afire with grand ideas, but they need grounding in practicality. Find an Aquarius who knows the field. If he or she says, “That won’t work,” ask how to make it work.

VIRGO Aug 23-Sep 22
Sex without guilt is fine, but sex without responsibility is dangerous. Be clear on safety and life’s priorities. Cultivate a Puritan work ethic without getting hung up on prudery.

LIBRA Sep 23-Oct 22
Holding down your partnership is a big mistake. It needs room to grow. That means allowing room to let your love do things you don’t like. Mutually agreeable limits may require compromise.

SCORPIO Oct 23-Nov 21
An obsessive rush to push ahead can make you miss important details, cause foolish mistakes and make simple things more long and complicated. Breathe, focus and relax.

SAGITTARIUS Nov 22-Dec 20
Those powerful creative impulses hit a wall. Take the challenge to improve upon an original idea and make it more practical and effective. If it was that good an idea, it’s worth the effort.

CAPRICORN Dec 21-Jan 19
Domestic drama is a distraction from work you need to be doing. Harness that energy and get the folks at home to support you. That won’t be easy, but the effort can pay off big time.

AQUARIUS Jan 20-Feb 18
Examine new subjects from the ground up and review the basics on familiar topics. If you want higher purpose and inspiration find a Leo to help you develop your basic ideas into a grand vision.

PISCES Feb 19-Mar 19
A sexual dry spell is a gift encouraging you to focus on practical matters. Keeping priorities clear is challenging, not impossible. Money comes and goes very easily. Work to keep it coming.

Jack Fertig can be reached at 415-864-8302 or Starjack.com

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition April 1, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Celebrating ‘Family Time’ with COLAGE

COLAGE, an organization for people with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer parents, has just launched its new website, and its chock-full of information, entertainment and resources.

There’s an interactive timeline on LGBTQ families; there’s a blog; there’s a calendar; there’s a video story-wall and more. But perhaps the element with the most impact is the short film, “Family Time,” produced and directed by Jen Gilomen, and featuring the pioneering young men and women who founded COLAGE (back then it was called Just For Us) 20 years ago and who have helped it grow.

Every parent wants the best for their children. Every parent worries about doing something wrong. But when you are L or G or B or T and you are constantly bombarded by negative messages from mainstream society, no matter how confident and proud you are, you sometimes worry that who you are may be hurting your son or daughter.

So watching this film, seeing these proud, strong young people, was a very affirming for me as a lesbian parent. And I can guarantee that everyone will find at least one moment that makes you want to stand up and cheer. For me, the main highlight came about one-third of the way in — between the 4- and 5-minute marks — when the film is showing footage from a Canadian talk show from the early 1990s. In that clip, the young man and young woman who founded Just For Us/COLAGE have been blindsided by the talk show host who has brought on some right-winger to talk about how horrible it is for LGBTs to be raising children, even though the host had promised that wouldn’t happen. But then the young woman, who had a gay father, refuses to take the right-wing crap laying down, telling everyone in no uncertain terms that it isn’t the gay parent that causes problems, it’s the anti-gay assholes who harass and discriminate and intimidate and bully.

I know that at 15 minutes this is a little longer than the clips we usually post on Instant Tea. But it’s worth it.

—  admin

Glenn Beck equates Reform Jews to radical Islam over support of Obama’s DOMA position

Glenn Beck

After the Obama administration decided to drop its defense of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, the Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism praised the move.

In reaction, Fox News talk show host Glenn Beck compared Reform Judaism, the largest branch of Judaism in North America, to radical Islam.

The RAC, a social action organization affiliated with Reform Judaism, wrote, “The announcement by the Obama Administration, through the Justice Department, that it will no longer defend the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage act is as welcome as it is overdue. Now is the time for Congress to repeal the discriminatory law once and for all.”

Beck’s anti-Semitic response was: “Reform rabbis are generally political in nature. It’s almost like Islam, radicalized Islam in a way… radicalized Islam is less about religion than it is about politics. When you look at Reform Judaism, it is more about politics.”

But most mainstream Jewish groups supported the Obama administration’s decision.

—  David Taffet

With the world on his fingertip, gay Latino Dallas activist Jesse Garcia becomes a radio host

Jesse Garcia (From KNON.org)

We’ve always known the nearly universally loved Jesse Garcia was bound for stardom, although we admit we assumed it would be in politics. But for now, at least, it looks like it’ll be in, of all things, radio.

Garcia, former president of Stonewall Democrats of Dallas and current president of the city’s thriving gay LULAC council, will host The Jesse Garcia Show — 60 minutes of Latino news talk and entertainment — during the drive time on Thursdays, from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. on KNON 89.3 FM.

From the show’s website:

Your host Jesse Garcia looks forward to empowering and entertaining you. Garcia has spent the last decade making Dallas a more tolerant city. Since 2000, this community activist has championed civil rights causes, registered voters and built bridges among communities.

One of his proudest achievements was helping organize an effort to get a street named after Cesar Chavez in downtown Dallas. Today, he enjoys mentoring youth in Oak Cliff and serves on boards for nonprofits, as well as Hispanic and Gay civil rights organizations.

Garcia is originally from the Frontera, born and raised in Brownsville, Texas . He was educated in San Antonio, earning a bachelor’s degree in communication arts from Our Lady of the Lake University and a master’s degree in communications arts from St. Mary’s University. For the last 15 years he has worked as a public affairs specialist for the federal government, promoting the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army, Peace Corps and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Both his academic and professional careers have centered on media, which have prepared him for his next role: Radio Talk Show Host.

—  John Wright

Farewell to ‘Dr. Laura’ as radio hosts calls it quits

As right-wing radio talk show host announces plans to end show, Dallas actvist looks back a decade to another protest against her

DAVID TAFFET  |  Staff Writer taffet@dallasvoice.com

AGAINST THE DOCTOR’S ADVICE
AGAINST THE DOCTOR’S ADVICE | Dallas activist John Selig helped organize this protest in April 2000 outside the Channel 11 studios in Dallas which aired “Dr. Laura” Schlessinger’s television show. Thanks in large part to the protests over Schlessinger’s anti-gay comments, advertisers shied away from what turned out to be a short-lived program. (Tammye Nash/Dallas Voice)

Right-wing radio host “Dr. Laura” Schlessinger announced this week that she would end her talk show when her contract runs out later this year.

The advice show host gained notoriety in the 1990s with statements that included calling gays and lesbians “biological errors” and blaming Mathew Shepard for his own murder.

Rafael McDonnell worked at KRLD at the time, and he said this week that Dallas made her career.

The Dallas talk radio station was the first to broadcast Schlessinger’s show outside Los Angeles. After its success here, McDonnell said, the program was syndicated nationwide. Dallas remained Schlessinger’s top market for years, and at her peak, she was heard on more than 450 stations. She ranked second in listeners after Rush Limbaugh.

McDonnell recalled Schlessinger’s visit to the station.

“Station employees were instructed not to look at her, not to talk to her, not to have any interaction with her,” he said, unlike with other celebrities who visited the station.

In 2000, Schlessinger was offered a TV contract. Local Dallas activists worked to keep her off local television.

Dallas activist John Selig was one of the creators of StopDrLaura.com, a website that MoveOn.org still uses in its training as a model of successful activism.

Selig laughed at the current publicity surrounding Schlessinger and said he hadn’t thought much about “the fake doctor” in years.

Schlessinger has a PhD in physiology, not in counseling, psychology or anything related to that. She claims that her advice is based on morality and is not psychological. She holds no degrees in ethics, religion or theology either.

Selig got involved in StopDrLaura after attending a protest in Los Angeles outside Paramount Studios, the producer of her TV show.

“Dr. Laura” Schlessinger

“Dr. Laura” Schlessinger

When he got back to Dallas, he organized a protest at Channel 11 that was signed to air the show that fall. He said that after the success of the Dallas protest, 35 other cities held demonstrations at their local Dr. Laura affiliates.

“Our goal was never to get her off AM radio,” Selig said.

He said AM talk radio was filled with right-wing talk shows, but their group felt that television presented a new threat, especially to LGBT teens who would take her message to heart.

“She went way overboard with us and she went way overboard again this time,” Selig said, referring to a call to Schlessinger’s radio show last week that received national attention and has led, apparently, to the end of her radio career.

In that call, an African-American woman called to talk about her white husband’s friends and family members who make racist comments in front of her.

In her answer, Schlessinger used the “N” word 11 times and advised the woman she was being too sensitive, and that if she was so sensitive about such things, she shouldn’t have married outside her own race.

When the caller became angry and tried to reprimand Schlessinger for her language, Schlessinger replied, “Don’t N-double-A-C-P me.”

Although she apologized for using the “N” word, Schlessinger never addressed the rest of her comments. Earlier this week, she announced she was leaving radio because she wanted to regain her First Amendment rights.

Selig had a different view.

“What she wants to do is to speak and not be accountable for her words,” Selig said.

John Selig
John Selig

Selig said that the current campaign to let Target know about the LGBT community’s disapproval of their political donation to a homophobic candidate is the same kind of effort he helped launch against Schlessinger in 2000.

At that time, Selig contacted a number of Schlessinger’s advertisers back then and convinced them to drop their support of her show. A number of those advertisers pulled their money from her radio program as well.

Weak advertising sales contributed to the early demise of the TV show.

Selig said he learned from StopDrLaura that when a company like Target spends money to harm the LGBT community, they need to be held accountable.

Selig said he learned from the fight against Schlessinger that there’s no use calling a company’s customer service line.
“Call media relations or investor relations,” he said. “Those numbers are always listed — and they’ll listen.”

In her announcement that she was quitting radio, Schlessinger acted bewildered at the LGBT community’s continued disdain for her.

On “Larry King Live” this week, she called committed same-sex relationships “a beautiful thing and a healthy thing.”

But in 2000, in addition to blaming Shepard for his own murder, Schlessinger said a vast majority of gay men are pedophiles. She also called gays and lesbians “sexual deviants” and said that people should keep their children away from gay relatives.

Her “biological error” comment was one she repeated on the air often.

Schlessinger, however, denied that she engaged in anti-gay speech.

“Unless I have hallucinated, I have never made an anti-gay commentary,” she said on her show.

Selig had some advice this week for the talk show host. He said Schlessinger should take some advice from the title of one of her own books: “Stop Whining.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 20, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens

Dr. Laura’s demise began in Dallas

Dr. Laura

Maybe Dr. Laura Schlessinger should have stuck to bashing gays and lesbians.

The right-wing radio talk show host announced Tuesday night that she won’t renew her contract, ending her radio talk show at the end of this year.

In the 90s, Schlessinger became one of the top radio talk show hosts by becoming increasingly homophobic in her rants against callers who were seeking advice.

When she was offered a TV contract, she finally ran into trouble when activists from Dallas reacted. The Metroplex was her No. 1 market nationally.

KTVT, the CBS affiliate in Dallas, signed on to air her show. Dallas activists staged the first protest against it. Protests spread to cities around the country. John Seelig of Dallas began going after her advertisers, calling corporate executives and convincing many to pull their advertising from her program.

The show debuted with little advertising, and it sunk after one season due to Schlessinger’s terrible TV personality. After three or four format revamps, it was canceled.

Over the past decade, she continued to broadcast on radio, but on fewer and fewer stations.

In her latest high-profile rant, Schlessinger was criticized for using the N-word repeatedly while giving advice to a woman who called with a question about her interracial marriage, upset by her husband’s friends’ racial slurs. Schlessinger attacked the woman, saying that if she was so sensitive about racial issues, she shouldn’t have married outside her race.

Schlessinger apologized for using the N-word, but not for her stupid advice. In her statement about quitting the show, Schlessinger said that she’s not retiring and told Larry King that she’s looking forward to regaining her First Amendment rights.

Presumably, she sees those rights as attacking, insulting and encouraging hate. While the Supreme Court has upheld free speech for hate groups such as the Fred Phelps clan, it has not upheld the right to incite violence against a target group using public airwaves.

Although Schlessinger’s program is an advice show and she uses the title “Dr.,” she does not hold a doctorate in counseling, psychology or any related field.

—  David Taffet