‘Little Shop of Horrors’ plays tonight at WaterTower

Green thumbs beware

When a good idea turns into a blood-craving monster plant — well, lives get turned around. WaterTower Theatre premieres the fun and frantic Little Shop of Horrors, where Seymour, a lowly florist, tries to turn his fortune around and ends up with a big mess. Alan Menken and Howard Ashman’s songs only add to the wacky flair of it all.

DEETS: WTT, 15650 Addison Road, Addison. Through July 31. $30. WaterTowerTheatre.org.

—  Rich Lopez

Latin flair

comedy
MUY FUNNY | Dan Guerrero works for laughs while being gay and Latino in his one-man show.

Before he could write ‘¡Gaytino!,’ Dan Guerrero first had to find his roots

rich lopez  | Staff Writer
lopez@dallasvoice.com

Growing up gay and Latino can be a tough hand to play. In a culture that revels in religion and machismo — hell, the word “machismo” is Latino — coming out poses pitfalls.

But Dan Guerrero lucked out. With some artsy upbringing by a musician dad and a not-so-practicing Catholic background, Guerrero’s closet was easy to open. In fact, it was harder for him just to be Hispanic.

“Los Angeles never made me feel like I was good enough,” he says. “I fell in love with musicals in junior high. I wanted to hear Julie Andrews in Camelot! Who gives a rat’s ass about mariachi?”

His dad might have given one. He was famed musician Lala Guerrero, the father of Chicano music who popularized the Pachuco sound in the 1940s (the beats most associated with Zoot suits and swing dancing). While Guerrero appreciated his father’s legacy, he established his own identity by moving to New York to become an actor. That didn’t work out so much, but becoming an agent did.

“It was kind of by accident, but I ended up being an agent for 15 years,” he says. “I got into producing and I loved it.”

Although he stepped away from performing, Guerrero finds himself back onstage Friday and Saturday at the Latino Cultural Center with ¡Gaytino! The autobiographical one-man show is part comedy, part cabaret, with Guerrero recounting in lyrics and punch lines his experiences growing up gay and Latino, life with father … and having to rediscover his roots after moving back to L.A.

“The main reason I did the show is, I wanted to know more about my dad and my best friend. I was already fabulous,” he laughs. “So I don’t think of this as my story. I wanted to embrace his legacy and celebrate him and our lives, but also tell of being a born-again Hispanic.”

In L.A., Guerrero rediscovered his heritage. While still working in entertainment, he noticed a lack of Latinos behind the scenes. He started a column in Dramalogue to change that, interviewing actors like Jimmy Smits and Salma Hayek and producing shows that spoke to Latin audiences.

And then came ¡Gaytino!

“Well, the word itself hit me first so I trademarked it. Then it was madness as I set about writing it,” he says.

When the show debuted in 2005, Guerrero hadn’t performed in 35 years. He was a different man, no longer a young buck with nothing to lose and untarnished optimism. He was a behind-the-scenes producer and casting agent. He was — gasp! — older.

“I remember thinking, ‘What am I gonna do? What if I forget my lines?’ I’m an old codger,” he says. “But I got onstage and it was like I had did it the day before. Performing is just part of who I am.”

With his successful day job (he once repped a young Sarah Jessica Parker), a healthy relationship (32 years this November) and irons in many other fires, why bother with the daunting task of writing a show and carrying it alone?

“It still feels like I’m breaking into show business. At least when you’ve been around as long as I have, you can get the main cheese by phone,” he answers. “But really, I had something I wanted to say and I love doing it. I’ve been lucky to stay in the game this long but it’s not by accident; it’s all been by design.”

What he loves isn’t just doing his show, but how it pushes positive gay Latino images. He’s dedicated this chapter in his life to that. Guerrero now feels parental toward the younger generation — maybe because he has no children of his own.

“I do feel a responsibility and not just to younger people, but to all,” he says. “For ¡Gaytino!, I first want them entertained, but I hope audiences will leave more educated about some Chicano culture and history and Gaytino history.”

……………………………………

QUEER CLIP: ‘BEGINNERS’

screen

 

Beginners is such a dreadfully forgettable and generic title for what is the year’s most engaging and heartfelt comedy, you feel like boycotting a review until the distributor gives it a title it deserves.

Certainly the movie itself — a quirky, humane and fantastical reverie about the nature of love and family, with Ewan McGregor as a doleful graphic artist who, six months after his mother dies, learns his 75-year-old dad (Christopher Plummer) is gay and wants to date — charts its own course (defiantly, respectfully, beautifully), navigating the minefield of relationships from lovers to parent/child with simple emotions. It’s not a movie that would presume to answer the Big Questions (when do you know you’ve met the right one? And if they aren’t, how much does that matter anyway?); it’s comfortable observing that we’re all in the same boat, and doing our best is good enough.

McGregor’s placid befuddlement over how he should react to things around him — both his father’s coming out and a flighty but delightful French actress (Melanie Laurent) who tries to pull him out of his shell — is one of the most understated and soulful performances of his career. (His relationship with Arthur, his father’s quasi-psychic Jack Russell, is winsome and winning without veering into Turner & Hooch idiocy.) But Plummer owns the film.

Plummer, best known for his blustery, villainous characters (even the heroic ones, like Capt. Von Trapp and Mike Wallace), exudes an aura of wonder and discovery as the septuagenarian with the hot younger boyfriend (Goran Visnjic, both exasperating as cuddly). As he learns about house music at a time when his contemporaries crave Lawrence Welk, you’re wowed by how the performance seethes with the lifeforce of someone coming out and into his own. His energy is almost shaming.

Writer/director Mike Mills’ semi-autobiographical film suffers only being underlit and over too quickly. It wouldn’t be a bad thing to spend more time with these folks.

—Arnold Wayne Jones

Rating: Four and half stars
Now playing at Landmark’s Magnolia Theatre.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition June 10, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

AFA’s Bryan Fischer tries to refute hate group designation, gets smacked down HARD

crossposted on Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters

Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association (AFA) is not happy that the Southern Poverty Law Center declared the AFA to be an anti-gay hate group and he is especially distressed that his comments was listed as a big reason for this designation.

So recently, he took it upon himself to try and refute a key portion of SPLC's reasoning – a list it compiled of the 10 top myths spread about the lgbt community by organizations like the AFA. Fischer claimed that SPLC's Top Ten Myths list was false and the things his organization (and other religious right groups designated as anti-gay hate groups) say about the lgbt community are in fact true.

Fischer should have kept his mouth shut because Mark Potok of the SPLC took his phony refutations head on.  Potok does not answer all of Fischer's refutations because the ones he does answer are enough to cast doubt on the rest of Fischer's claims.

FischerTRUTH # 1

Homosexuals molest children at far higher rates than heterosexuals.

Absolutely true. Homosexuals comprise perhaps two percent of the population, yet according to the Journal of Sex Research, homosexual pedophiles are responsible for 33% of all child sex offenses. Homosexuals molest children at at least 10 times the rate of heterosexuals.

Potok – Fischer displays the sly predilection of anti-gay activists to cite legitimate research as supporting their claims when the researchers themselves explicitly reject them. Fischer is referring to a 1989 Journal of Sex Research article by the late researcher Kurt Freund, who concluded that homosexuals were not any more disposed to pedophilia than heterosexuals — a finding exactly opposite to what Fischer suggests.

Fischer constructs the 33% figure from Freund’s research by assuming that every case of men molesting boys is committed by a “homosexual” man — a conclusion rejected by virtually all legitimate sex researchers. As Freund said, since most pedophiles have no sexual interest in adults of either gender, terms like “homosexual” and “heterosexual” don’t apply at all. It is the child’s prepubescent nature, not his or her gender, that attracts this type of “fixated” pedophile, most of whom will prey on children of either gender. Freund and other researchers have found that those pedophiles who are capable of forming sexual relationships with other adults — so-called “regressive” pedophiles who only resort to pedophilia when under stress — overwhelmingly identify themselves as heterosexual.

FischerTRUTH # 2

Same-sex parents harm children.

Research indicates that children raised by homosexuals experiment with sexually aberrant behaviors at a higher rate than children raised by heterosexuals and at earlier ages, and do worse, according to a 1996 study by an Austrian sociologist, in nine of 13 academic and social categories compared to children raised by heterosexual married couples.

A 2001 article in American Sociological Review reported that children raised by lesbians are more likely to engage in homosexual behavior and are “more sexually adventurous.”

Potok – Fischer identifies neither report by name — and for good reason.

In the first instance, he is referring to an obscure 1996 study by Sotirios Sarantakos, an Australian, not Austrian, researcher. Anti-gay groups frequently cite this article — yet the article, the journal that published it, and Sarantakos himself, are all but impossible to locate online.

The other study Fischer cites was conducted in 2001 by professors Timothy J. Biblarz of the University of Southern California and Judith Stacey of New York University (pdf).

. . . In an E-mail to Hatewatch this week, Stacey blasted Fischer’s misuse of her research. “They are misrepresenting our 2001 article … by cherry-picking out of context one finding we mentioned that came from one very small British study,” she wrote. “Even so, their claim that children raised by lesbians are more sexually adventurous is also inaccurate. In the small study we mentioned … it was only the daughters who were sexually active a bit earlier than daughters of straight moms. Boys raised by lesbians were less sexually active than sons of straight moms! Our interpretation was that IF this tentative finding were to be replicated, it suggested that lesbians were transmitting a more egalitarian, single standard of sexual behavior to daughters and sons compared with the conventional double standard of sex being more permissible for boys. Moreover, it turns out that the … finding has NOT been replicated. In fact, a new study finds kids raised by lesbians from birth to be less sexually active!”

Fischer - TRUTH # 4

Homosexuals don't live nearly as long as heterosexuals.

According to an extensive study of the homosexual community in Vancouver, B.C., active participation in the homosexual lifestyle will rob an individual of a significant portion of his life span. Say the researchers, “[L]ife expectancy at age 20 years for gay and bisexual men is 8 to 20 years less than for all men.” In fact, they observe that participation in the homosexual lifestyle knocks life expectancy for a Canadian male back to what it was in 1871.

Potok – Again, Fischer ignores that the authors of that 1997 study updated it in 2001, pointing out that advances in treatment of HIV-AIDS even at that point had significantly improved the expected longevity of those infected, which would inevitably narrow any gap between gay and straight life spans caused by the disease. Moreover, the authors explicitly rejected the attempts of anti-gay organizations to construe the 1997 observations to justify denigration of gays.

“These homophobic groups appear more interested in restricting the human rights of gay and bisexuals rather than promoting their health and well being,” the authors wrote in their 2001 update.

. . .“I am aghast that the misrepresentation of these data continues,” Steffanie Strathdee, associate dean of global health sciences at the University of California, San Diego, and one of the authors of the two reports, told Hatewatch in an E-mail this week.

As I said before, Potok did not answer all of Fischer's refutations because he didn't need to. Potok was able to point out Fischer's bad errors in the refutations that he did address. And his answers does cast doubt on Fischer's entire piece. How can Fischer's seven other refutations be believed when he made such egregious errors on the three which were addressed?

But because I like to butt in, allow me to address a refutation that Potok didn't.

FischerTRUTH # 8

Homosexuals are more prone to be mentally ill and to abuse drugs and alcohol.

Even the pro-homosexual Gay and Lesbian Medical Association admits that homosexuals “use substances at a higher rate than the general population,” have “higher rates of alcohol dependence and abuse,” and are subject to higher rates of “depression and anxiety.” Homosexual activists attempt to blame homophobia for this, but the same trends are evident even in Scandinavian countries where homosexuality has received virtually unanimous societal approval for decades.

Me – Fischer omitted the fact that the GLMA clearly say that these behaviors are not indicative of the lgbt orientation but reactions to homophobia of society:

GMLA: Depression and anxiety appear to affect gay men at a higher rate than in the general population. The likelihood of depression or anxiety may be greater, and the problem may be more severe for those men who remain in the closet or who do not have adequate social supports. Adolescents and young adults may be at particularly high risk of suicide because of these concerns.

GMLA: Research indicates that lesbians may use illicit drugs more often than heterosexual women. This may be due to added stressors in lesbian lives from discrimination. Lesbians need support from each other and from health care providers to find healthy releases, quality recreation, stress reduction, and coping techniques.

Fischer's claim about Scandinavian countries is a distortion of a study by Dr. Theo Sandfort which looked at the mental health of gay men in the Netherlands.  And Fischer is not the first religious right figure to distort this study.

This is what Sandfort told me in a  Jan. 2009 email. At that particular time, PFOX (an “ex-gay” group) was distorting his study:

There is a difference between the U.S. and the Netherlands in terms of acceptance of homosexuality. That does not mean that there is no homophobia (and homophobic damage) in the Netherlands. It is not clear how difference in climate affects the prevalence of mental disorders. We don't know the final answers, but in the U.S. as well as the Netherlands, homophobia is related to mental health problems.

He also commented on how the religious right distorts his work:

“They use data to promote their moral convictions without truly understanding what the issues are. They are not interested in understanding how people's lives are affected by their social environment.”

It is clear that the SPLC designation has struck a nerve amongst these so-called Christian, pro-family groups. Unfortunately, it's not enough for them to at the very least address the charges.

But does anyone really expect them to? After all, that would be showing actual values and morality, two things which Fischer and the rest of his ilk lack in abundance.
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin

Greg Sargent: DADT language could pass ‘if the Dem leadership tries to make it happen’

Via Greg Sargent, news that passing the DADT language is possible, but it will take some commitment from the Majority Leader:

It’s widely assumed that the White House and Dems will punt on holding a vote on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell during the lame duck session because there aren’t 60 votes for it in the Senate to get it past a GOP filibuster. Senator Carl Levin, who heads the relevant committee, is talking about separating out DADT repeal from the Defense Authorization Bill for precisely this reason.

But very plugged in staffers who are actively involved in counting votes for Senators who favor repeal tell me it’s premature to conclude this — and that it could still get 60 votes in the Senate. These staffers tell me they’ve received private indications from a handful of moderate GOP Senators that they could vote for cloture on a Defense Authorization Bill with DADT repeal in it — if Dem leaders agree to hold a sustained debate on DADT on the Senate floor.

Here’s why this is important: It throws the ball back into the court of Senator Harry Reid and the White House. It means the onus is on them, mainly on Reid, to agree to a two-week Senate debate on the bill, including allowing amendments. Reid had previously tried to limite amendments, leading GOP moderates to balk. And Dem leaders may not want to allow this two week debate now, because time is short and it could prolong the session. But they should do it, because it’s the only real chance to get repeal done. And it could get done.

The GOP Senators who are in play, according to these staffers, are Richard Lugar, George Voinovich, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins. A spokesman for Lugar, Mark Helmke, tells me that Lugar would vote for cloture if Reid staged “ordered debate on a number of issues in the bill.”

Our allies, from the White House to Capitol Hill, keep saying they want to pass the Defense bill with the DADT language intact. Okay, do it.

This means that Congress can’t go home on December 10th. Senators will may have to work right up til Christmas, you know, like most Americans do (and, unlike most Americans, those Senators can’t change their plane reservations without penalties and most don’t have to worry about finding a parking space at the airport.)

There are two other developments worth noting. Greg Sargent also reports:

Sources also tell me that senators Joe Lieberman, Mark Udall and Kirsten Gillibrand will hold a press conference tomorrow urging the Dem leadership to allow the final two-week debate, arguing that this still can happen. This is no small thing: They are urging their own party leadership to do this.

And, via Kerry Eleveld, according to the White House, the President and his staffers are making calls to Senators:

“Today, President Obama called Chairman [Carl] Levin to reiterate his commitment on keeping the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ in the National Defense Authorization Act, and the need for the Senate to pass this legislation during the lame duck. The President’s call follows the outreach over the past week by the White House to dozens of Senators from both sides of the aisle on this issue.”




AMERICAblog Gay

—  admin

Palm Center tries to kill DADT repeal

It’s pretty clear to both Joe and me that the Palm Center is doing this on behalf of some other unnamed groups, who are working  on behalf of an unnamed elected official who has a record of being rather un-fierce.  You can do the math.

We’ll be writing much more about this incredibly idiotic strategy in the coming hours and days.  But read this press release that the Palm Center is sending out to the entire world.  It’s an invitation for John McCain to kill the repeal of DADT.  It’s clearly part of some larger super duper 11th dimensional chess strategy, and it’s dumb as hell.  You can thank the Palm Center, and their secret patrons who convinced them to do this, when DADT repeal dies in the coming weeks.

Press Release from the Palm Center

NOVEMBER 15, 2010

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (Link to this release online)

Contact: Cathy Renna, 917-757-6123, cathy@rennacommunications.com

GAY TROOPS SUPPORT NEEDED DEFENSE SPENDING EVEN IF “DON’T ASK, DON’T TELL” IS CUT

Santa Barbara, Calif. (November 15, 2010) – Today, OutServe and Knights Out issued a statement responding to current efforts in Congress to filibuster the FY2011 National Defense Authorization Act because of its inclusion of conditional repeal for the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ law and policy. The statement reads:

“There is nothing more important than loyalty to those with whom we serve. This means ensuring that no one issue interferes with funding the courageous and selfless work our fellow service members are doing around the world. Therefore, on behalf of the more than 1,000 active duty gay and lesbian service members and 500 gay and lesbian veterans we represent, we respectfully urge Congress to pass the FY 2011 National Defense Authorization Act to fund the aircraft, weapons, combat vehicles, ammunition and promised pay-raises for all troops, whether or not the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” is included.”

“To be clear, we will continue to fight for our integrity as gay and lesbian service members and we hope that legislative action in Congress can be taken in 2010 to lift the ban. With the support of President Obama, Chairman Mullen, Secretary Gates and the reported seventy-percent of service members surveyed, a new day of openly gay service is at hand if Congress acts during this lame duck session. We are proud to serve in the United States Armed Forces today and tomorrow.”

OutServe is a network of approximately 1,000 active-duty soldiers, sailors, Marines, airmen, and members of the Coast Guard. JD Smith is a pseudonym.

Knights Out is an organization of West Point alumni, staff and faculty who are united in supporting the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender soldiers to openly serve their country. The group has 203 members and graduate supporters and 462 allies.

The Palm Center is a think tank at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Since 1998, the Center has been a leader in commissioning and disseminating research in the areas of gender, sexuality, and the military.

This email is sent from:

Palm Center, University of California
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-9420
United States




AMERICAblog Gay

—  admin

NOM Tries to Use MLK Legacy in Anti-Marriage Equality Ad

Today the National Organization for marriage boasted in an email that they’ve “just released what may very well be our most powerful ad yet . . . focusing on the right of Minnesotans to vote for marriage, with footage from Dr. Martin Luther King’s famous speech and the civil rights movement.”

The ad actually co-opts Dr. King’s fight for civil rights in order to advocate putting the rights of same-sex couples on the ballot for a popular vote!

The ad comes after a federal court this week upheld Minnesota’s campaign disclosure laws from a challenge by lawyers representing the NOM in its radical nationwide efforts to dismantle state laws that provide transparency about who is funding political campaigns. NOM has failed to disclose any of its political activities in Minnesota including television and radio ads against pro-equality candidates and a widely-condemned mailer targeting an openly-gay Republican candidate in his primary race. Questions have been raised about whether NOM is deliberately evading Minnesota’s public disclosure requirements.


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  John Wright

NOM’s desperation mounts as it tries to unseat pro-equality councilmember in DC

Brian and Maggie are really hard up these days after that flop-o-rama of a Summer of Marriage road show. So now they are thinking smaller and inevitably think they are going to be more effective by trying to unseat elected officials that are standing in their way of the master plan to take marriage away from “teh homosexuals” in DC. As expected, in a majority minority area, NOM plays the race card. Again. Peter Montgomery at Right Wing Watch:

As we’ve been reporting, the National Organization for Marriage has been pumping money into Washington D.C.’s Democratic Party primaries in order to make good on its threat to punish elected officials who supported the District’s marriage equality law.

NOM is pouring its resources into attacks on Ward 5 Councilmember Harry ‘Tommy’ Thomas. We recently noted the chutzpah it took for NOM, which has bragged about efforts to get “white suburban Christian Republicans” to fund anti-equality candidates in DC, to send voters a flyer complaining about a fictional flood of “outside” money from San Francisco and New York supposedly attacking Hunter.

NOM’s latest flyer is even worse. It seems calculated for maximum divisiveness, featuring a rich, snooty, white guy looking down his nose at voters with claims that “DC Elites” are disrespecting voters in majority-Black Ward 5 by preventing a referendum on marriage equality. The flyer’s theme fits with comments by Bishop Harry Jackson, who has worked tirelessly to inflame racial divisions over the issue.
I wonder if the man whose image is in this flier knows his visage is pimping bigotry?

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright