Sunday, September 30, 2007

Evening View - West Christopher

The late afternoon sun turns the Archive Building a lovely shade of orange.

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Delights And Dances

Composer Michael Abels has graciously provided me a clip of Delights And Dances, which debuted at Carnegie Hall last week. Click on the link below to stream the last couple of minutes of the piece. As I noted in my earlier post, I know bupkis about classical music. But I'm sure you more erudite readers can edumacate the rest of us on Michael's work. I just know I really dig it.

Delights And Dances

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Saturday, September 29, 2007

Dean Johnson Found Dead

New York's downtown art and club scene was rocked today by news that Dean Johnson,45, was found dead in Washington DC last week. Johnson's body has just been identified and the circumstances surrounding his death have not been determined.

A rock star, writer, drag performer, party promoter, and porn actor, Johnson first made his mark on Manhattan's club scene when he founded Rock & Roll Fag Bar in the late '80s. He would later found HomoCorps, a monthly gay punk showcase at the legendary CBGB. Johnson fronted two bands, Dean and the Weenies and the Velvet Mafia, the latter of which had a hit with the song Fierce Ruling Diva. The towering 6'6" Johnson often appeared in public in wig-less drag, his bald head adorned by massive eye wear and ornate dangling earrings.

Earlier this week I mentioned that I would be appearing in the October 10th installment of Dean Johnson's Reading For Filth at East Village arts hotspot Rapture Cafe. Rapture Cafe owner Joe Birdsong gave me this statement today: "Dean Johnson was a big, big man with a big, big vision of a world where no one apologized for who they were. He was a true P. T. Barnum who ruled over downtown New York's three-ring circus of freaks. Reading for Filth will go on as scheduled. The initial installment, Wednesday Oct. 3rd, will be a celebration of Dean's life. Wherever Dean was concerned, the show always went on."

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Friday, September 28, 2007

HRC Refuses To Sign Letter Demanding Trans-Inclusive ENDA

Reflecting the disunity I spoke of in the post below, 12 LGBT rights groups have signed onto a letter decrying the removal of transgenders from ENDA, including the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF), the National Center for Transgender Equality, the Empire State Pride Agenda, Lambda Legal, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, P-FLAG, the National Stonewall Democrats, and Pride At Work, AFL-CIO.

However, the Human Rights Campaign did not sign. HRC spokespeople told the Advocate that they were "deeply disappointed" in the change to the legislation and "did not assent to this position." Then why did they NOT sign?

More from Gay City News:
Matt Foreman, NGLTF's executive director, issued a written statement saying, "It is politically inexplicable and unconscionable that some congressional leaders are rushing to strip protections for transgender people from ENDA - just as the Senate votes overwhelmingly to pass transgender-inclusive hate crimes legislation."

Foreman argued that "if the question is shoring up support for the bill as it stands," leaders on Capitol Hill should slow down the process to allow for the education of wavering members of Congress.

Roberta Sklar, an NGLTF spokeswoman, said the number of votes that would need to be turned around is "not that many." The Task Force, she said, would be part of a follow-up letter issued this coming Monday signed by a significantly larger group of organizations than the 12 that stepped up on Thursday.

HRC has not to date been part of that effort, Sklar said. HRC did not return a phone call seeking comment, and neither Frank's office nor Miller's offered any insight into what they had been hearing from HRC about the new version of the bill.

Melissa Sklarz, the director of the New York City chapter of the state Transgender Rights Organization (NYTRO), was harsh in her assessment of the role of both Frank and HRC in this legislative development.

"Barney Frank does not speak for LGBT community at this point," she said in an interview. "Barney Frank speaks for Barney Frank."

Sklarz, who is also on the board of the National Stonewall Democrats, added, "HRC was and is a profound disappointment on this."
Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) has asked to have her named stripped from the new legislation authored by Barney Frank.

And here we go.
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T-Minus ENDA

Over on AMERICAblog, John Aravosis' readers are discussing a trans-free ENDA. I brought up the issue yesterday, but I think Aravosis' talking points are worth taking a look at.
Kill ENDA if gender identity is not included
The main argument here is that we shouldn't leave a portion of our community behind. We'd never pass ENDA if it only included lesbians but left behind gay men, so why pass it if it doesn't include transgendered people? The underlying assumption here is that gender identity is the same thing as, or close enough to, sexual orientation as to make gays, lesbians, and transgendered people all one family.

Pass ENDA even if gender identity is not included
Depending who you speak to, there are various arguments here. The first is that it's better to take half a loaf than nothing. The second is that the gender identity issue is new to the game - gays and lesbians have been lobbying for decades to pass this legislation, gender identity advocates have not been lobbying, have not been a serious movement, nearly as long. Thus, their time will come, but it's not time yet. And a third argument is that gender identity has nothing to do with sexual orientation, so what is it doing in the bill at all?
Aravosis says he isn't revealing his position, he doesn't want to "prejudice the discussion" on his blog, althought I think you can see a hint in what he thinks in the way he worded the above. I've made my own views clear, both in the post linked above and in the donated ads here on JMG, which I solicited from the HRC, ACLU and the NGLTF. Still, I can see some validity in positions other than mine, as much as I think they are ultimately wrong.

ENDA is inarguably the most important legislation in the history of the LGBT movement. My greatest fear is that due to this transgender issue, we may unravel our precariously knit coalition of gay rights groups at a time when we need solidarity more than ever before.

UPDATE: Rep. Barney Frank has issued a lengthy statement on the issue. An excerpt:

"We are on the verge of an historic victory that supporters of civil rights have been working on for more than thirty years: the passage for the first time in American history by either house of Congress of legislation declaring it illegal to discriminate against people in employment based on their sexual orientation. Detracting from the sense of celebration many of us feel about that is regret that under the current political situation, we do not have sufficient support in the House to include in that bill explicit protection for people who are transgender.

The question facing us - the LGBT community and the tens of millions of others who are active supporters of our fight against prejudice - is whether we should pass up the chance to adopt a very good bill because it has one major gap. I believe that it would be a grave error to let this opportunity to pass a sexual orientation nondiscrimination bill go forward, not simply because it is one of the most important advances we'll have made in securing civil rights for Americans in decades, but because moving forward on this bill now will also better serve the ultimate goal of including people who are transgender than simply accepting total defeat today." (Via - Bilerico Project)

And a trans-less ENDA becomes a fait accompli.

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Craig-Proofing The Can

The Minneapolis airport is remodeling the Larry Craig Memorial Tearoom so that the stall dividers go almost all the way to the floor, in the hopes of thwarting any more hot stall-to-stall man-luvin. The airport has more than 80 restrooms, but only the LCMT and one other "busy" john is getting the Craig-proofing makeover.

I could see one of these makeovers becoming a challenge on one of those designer reality shows. "You have 24 hours to create a completely toe-tapping-proof toilet stall." On the results episode, a tearful Caitlin would be be kicked off the show when the host tells her, "This is garbage. Look, I can totally get my cock through there. You're fired."

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Obama To Bush: Sign Hate Crimes Act

Barack Obama has issued a statement urging Dubya to sign the Matthew Shepard Act.
"This vote was about who we are as Americans and whether this nation is going to live up to its founding promise of equality. Those who commit hate crimes should be punished no matter whether those crimes are committed on account of race, gender, religion, disability, or sexual orientation. Today’s vote is a victory for all of us in upholding basic rights and protections in this country. I urge the President to reconsider his veto threat and support this legislation. Passing this bill will help us live up to the principle that in this country, we treat all of our citizens with dignity and respect."(Via - Queerty.)
Yesterday Obama drew an estimated audience of 24,000 to a rally in Greenwich Village's Washington Square Park, where he mentioned to the crowd that he used to visit bars in the Village, but that his handlers didn't want him to tell anyone. (Ty's? Dugout? Nah.) The crowd, largely comprised of NYU students, treated Obama like a rock star.

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HomoQuotable - Andrew Sullivan

"San Francisco's Folsom Street Fair commits a provocation. Utterly unnecessary, I'd say, and counter-productive to ensuring that events like Folsom can continue to thrive. And not even ballsy. Next year, guys: do a similar parody on a sacred Muslim scene, if you have the balls. Easy, cheap blasphemy impresses no one." - Andrew Sullivan.

I'm trying to think of a famous "sacred Mulism scene." Is there any famous/iconic Muslim art that would be known to Americans and worthy of parody? And you'll notice from the first link above that Folsom has now blacked out a majority of the poster on their site.

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The Cat's Out Of The Bag

Well, mostly out. Shelley's been in a destructive phase, pulling stuff off the shelves and batting things off the counters. Last night she smashed a salt shaker, scaring both of us and sending her under the bed for an hour.

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Tim Hardaway Learns

Retired Miami Heat player Tim Hardaway, who caused a stir early this year when he told a radio interviewer "I hate gay people", has been quietly working with the Miami-based YES Institute, an advocacy group for LGBT youth. Hardaway: "I've come to find out I made it possible to bash gay people. "

The director of the YES Institute says that Hardaway has been genuine and helpful. Hardaway says he's been trying to change. "I'm working on understanding it now. I'm not really trying to make amends. I've been there trying to get help.''

After his homophobic comments blew up in the press, Hardaway lost endorsement deals and was forced to take his name off his Miami business. While some will doubtlessly see his LGBT youth advocacy as a crass attempt to rebuild his image and his bankability, I think we should give Hardaway the benefit of the doubt. People can change, as San Diego's mayor taught us last week.

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Morning View - Temporary Close

From the Food Emporium under Trump Palace on Third Avenue. I don't know why stuff like this annoys me.

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Broadway Friday

-Broadway may go dark next week as the stagehands union continues their negotiations with the League of American Theatres and Producers. The stagehands have been working without a contract since July. The last Broadway strike was in 2003 when a work stoppage by the musicians union forced 12 houses to go dark for four days.

-Harvey Fierstein has a MySpace blog which features many cast and production photos from the Broadway-bound musical, A Catered Affair, currently in tryouts at San Diego's Old Globe Theatre.

-Thanks to exposure on last week's Emmy Awards, the Jersey Boys cast recording is #1 on Billboard's Top Cast Albums chart this week, dethroning Wicked, which has been #1 for 81 of the 91 weeks that the chart has existed. This is the third time Jersey Boys has bounced to the top.

- MTV will air a complete performance of Legally Blonde: The Musical at 1pm on Saturday, October 13th.

-Bebe Neuwirth and Kathleen Turner will headline a free staged reading of Henri Becque's The Vultures, to take place at 8pm at Florence Gould Hall (55 East 59th Street). The reading, which is part of Crossing the Line: FIAF Fall Festival, will be directed by Obie Award-winner Jim Simpson.

-Chaka Khan joins the cast of The Color Purple on January 9th in the role of Sofia. American Idol finalist LaKisha Jones will play Sofia for the matinees.

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Thursday, September 27, 2007

Xtian Right Begin Miller Boycott

From the Catholic League:

Catholic League president Bill Donohue announced a national boycott of Miller Beer on this morning’s “Fox and Friends.” He explains why today:

“Never have we experienced greater corporate arrogance than in this dispute with the Miller Brewing Company. Miller is sponsoring an incredibly outrageous and palpably anti-Christian event in San Francisco: the Folsom Street Fair (see its website at folsomstreetfair.com and be prepared to see the shocking photos of what goes on). Be sure to access our website at catholicleague.org to see the pictures not only of the fair, but of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, an anti-Catholic group that is holding a mock Last Supper dinner tonight in San Francisco. The Sisters is one of the organizations that is receiving funding from this Miller-sponsored event.

“This all started when we learned that Miller was sponsoring an event that featured an obscene ad thrashing the Last Supper. After being pressured, Miller offered a lame statement of regret and said it was pulling its logo from the ad. Not only has it not done so—it is still posted on the website of the street fair—Miller refuses to withdraw its sponsorship. To top it off, when we informed them that some of the money being raised at this festival was being funneled to the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, they were unimpressed.

“Accordingly, Miller leaves us with no options: we are calling on more than 200 Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist and Hindu organizations to join with us in a nationwide boycott of Miller beer. We feel confident that once our religious allies kick in, and once the public sees the photos of an event Miller is proudly supporting, the Milwaukee brewery will come to its senses and pull its sponsorship altogether. If it doesn’t, the only winners will be Anheuser Busch and Coors.”

Contact: Miller spokesman Julian Green at green.julian@mbco.com.

Yes, DO contact Julian Green, please. This boycott is going to force me to forego my beloved Budweiser and make a switch. For awhile, at least.

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Matthew Shepard Act Squeaks By!

By a 60-39 vote, the Senate just passed the Matthew Shepard Act. Sixty votes were required for cloture. Happy day! John McCain was the missing voter. Yes/No vote tally here. In a gracious gesture after the vote, Sen. Kennedy suggested a unanimous approval of Sen. Orrin Hatch's competing hates crimes amendment, which would merely have authorized a study of hate crimes. Hatch's amendment then passed 97-3.

Now we'll see if the president will veto the defense appropriations bill to which the MSA is attached, as he has threatened to do.

As noted in the post below, Sen. Toe-Tapper voted no on the MSA. Wouldn't it be ironic if he got gay-bashed for cruising the wrong guy?

UPDATE: HRC's Joe Solmonese has released a short video celebrating today's win in the Senate, which is the first time trans-inclusive legislature has ever passed both chambers of Congress. But Solmonese also laye out the road ahead before the Matthew Shepard Act can become law.

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Hate Crimes Bill On C-SPAN2

If you have access to tv at the moment, turn on C-SPAN2 to watch our senators debate the Matthew Shepard Act. At the moment, Orrin Hatch (R-UT) is bloviating against the bill's inclusion as an amendment to a defense appropriations bill. "What's this amendmend doing attached to this bill when the president has already said he'll veto it?" Hatch mentions that hate crimes only comprise .01% of all reported crimes, then in the next breath he complains about a "massive increase" in cases that would become "federalized" under the bill. Uh, which is it?

I'll report here immediately if and when the vote comes.

UPDATE: Wow. Ted Kennedy is at the podium now and he is really losing his shit. Shouting. A LOT. I've never seen him so passionate. FANTASTIC. I've got to get video of this.

UPDATE II: The vote is proceeding now. Larry Craig just voted "NO".

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Sophie's Choice: T-Minus

Facing the sort of blistering scorn evidenced by the above graphic, there is rumor that Democratic leaders may drop trans people from the pending ENDA legislation. From the Washington Blade:
House Democratic leaders are strongly considering dropping anti-discrimination protections for transgender persons from the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, or ENDA, after an internal Democratic head count on Wednesday found that the bill would likely be defeated if it included the trans provision, multiple sources familiar with the bill said.

As of late Wednesday, it appeared likely that the trans provision would be removed, setting up a potentially divisive fight within gay activist circles over whether or not to support an ENDA bill that excludes trans people.

The leader of one of the nation’s most prominent transgender rights groups expressed strong skepticism over reports that support for the transgender provision was eroding.

“I do think we have the votes to pass this bill,” said Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Rights. “We’re getting down to the wire, and whenever you get close to a vote on an important bill like this, some people always get worried.”
Some Democratic strategists think it would be most expedient to exclude trans provisions now, get ENDA passed, then reintroduce a trans-protective bill later, if possible. Speaker Nancy Pelosi is rumored to be among that group. This move would undoubtedly cause a schism between major LGBT rights groups, some of whom refused to support an earlier version of ENDA that did not include transgender protections.

Even the usually reliable Barney Frank is among the "realists" who are suggesting the "not now, hopefully later" tactic regarding a trans-inclusive ENDA. That's disappointing. ENDA must be passed in its current all-inclusive form. Chucking out trans people now would be grossly antithetical to everything the LGBT movement stands for.

(Graphic via Pam's House Blend.)

UPDATE: Please note and visit the new banner at the top of JMG and learn how to assist the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force in the fight to keep ENDA trans-inclusive!
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Gen. Pace: Gays Are Counter To God's Law

His retirement mere days away, Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, felt emboldened to make a final parting shot at the gays during a defense appropriations hearing after Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) said he found Pace's previous comments on gays in the military to be be hurtful and demoralizing.

Pace responded, "Are there wonderful Americans who happen to be homosexual serving in the military? Yes. We need to be very precise then, about what I said wearing my stars and being very conscious of it. And that is, very simply, that we should respect those who want to serve the nation but not through the law of the land, condone activity that, in my upbringing, is counter to God's law."

Anti-war protesters at the hearing yelled "bigot!" at Pace and jeered him before the room was cleared of spectators. After the meeting resumed, Pace added that he would "very willing and able and supportive" to changes to the DADT policy "to continue to allow the homosexual community to contribute to the nation without condoning what I believe to be activity - whether it to be heterosexual or homosexual - that in my upbringing is not right." Um, what the fuck does that mean? Gays can contribute, but can't be condoned? Huh? Isn't that where we are right now with DADT?

In March of this year, Pace declared that he found homosexuals innately "immoral", spawning a massive round of protests by progressive organizations. National Gay & Lesbian Task Force head Matt Foreman was arrested [photos] at a Times Square military recruiting station sit-in attended by many prominent gay activists, which made national news. Then Hillary Clinton earned the ire of gay activists when she took her sweet time in disavowing Pace's comments. In June, Pace announced his retirement, which some took as an indicator that Republicans considered him a liability in the upcoming election.

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Morning View - Plaza Hotel

The Plaza Hotel, which is nearly done with its transformation into mostly apartments, turns 100 on Monday. Not pictured: Eloise.

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Open Thread Thursday

When you consider whether to date someone, does their occupation play heavily in your decision? Do they have to be a "professional"? White collar? Have a degree of some sort? An oft-used rule of Manhattan dating is "no actors, dancers, models, waiters." Do you have similar restrictions? And what about porn actors or commercial sex workers? Would you date somebody whose living was made having sex with other people?

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Composer Michael Abels Makes Triumphant Carnegie Hall Debut

UPDATE: Here's the NY Times review of the concert. An excerpt: "[T]he program concluded with Michael Abels's energetic arrangement for string quartet and string orchestra of his 'Delights and Dances,' which incorporates jazz, blues, bluegrass and Latino dance elements. The Harlem Quartet played with panache."

Last night Dr. Jeff and I had the privilege of attending composer Michael Abels' spectacular Carnegie Hall debut. Abels is a regular JMG reader and commenter and I was floored to be invited to make my first-ever Carnegie Hall visit as the guest of the composer whose work was being played there for the first time, not to mention being being seated in his box. Fancy! Adding to the evening's glamor, we were joined by noted HIV activist and gymnast/acrobat Matthew Cusick.

Last night's event, Sphinx Laureates, was a special evening presented by the Sphinx Organization, which was founded by Aaron Dworkin and works nationwide to foster involvement in and appreciation of classical music by black and Latino students. Led by Maestro Chelsea Tipton II, performers last night included the Sphinx Chamber Orchestra and the Harlem Quartet, both comprised of top alumni of Sphinx competitions for young black and Latino string players.

Michael Abels, 43, tells me that he has been composing music since the age of 12. His new piece, the 13 minute-long Delights And Dances, was the grand finale of the evening and featured the Harlem Quartet playing in front of the string orchestra. As I told Michael, I've got about as much knowledge of classical music as I do of nuclear reactors, but I can say that Dr. Jeff and I absolutely loved his piece, which built and built and built with little funky bluegrassy bits thrown in until the big finish brought the entire audience to their feet for the only time all night.

In fact, the audience kind of went a little crazy, especially when they brought Michael out on the stage to take his bows. If only I could knowledgeably praise Michael Abels' work, I'd gush much more. For now, stand by for the Harlem String Quartet's recording of Delights And Dances, which is due out in January. I'll give y'all a reminder then.

BELOW: Michael Abels, second from left in the front row, takes his bows.

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Larry Craig Tries To Withdraw Guilty Plea

In a possible move towards unresigning his seat, today Sen. Larry "Tearoom" Craig's lawyer petitioned a Minneapolis court to withdraw his May guilty plea. Craig said he hoped the court would "allow me to prove my innocence." Switching gears from Craig's earlier "I panicked" defense, his lawyer argued that his client's mailed guilty plea denied him the opportunity to face a judge's inquiries, which would have made it clear that Craig denied soliciting for sex. If the judge does not accept the plea withdrawal, Craig faces poor odds if he appeals, as the Minnesota Appellate Court rarely overturns lower court verdicts. Craig did not attend today's hearing.

Let's wish Sen. Toe-Tapper luck. The GOP needs to have men like him. Or rather, we need the GOP to have men like him.

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Reading For Filth

Wednesday, October 10th, I'll be reading with Eric Leven (pictured), Jake Shears, Miss Understood, and Michael Cunningham at East Village hotspot, Rapture Cafe & Books, for Dean Johnson's Reading For Filth: Queer Writers Read About Queer Sex.

Egad! An international pop star, a movie star dragster, a Pulitzer winner, and a local activist/heartthrob. I'm gonna have to dig deep into my dirty archives to compete with this group, but if you've ever been to one of my "shows", you know that my stuff is fairly filthy already. Embiggen Eric (like you haven't already) to get a compete listing of writers performing this October. Reading For Filth runs every Wednesday in October at 8PM. Oh, and I'm open to suggestions on what to read.

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Good Work Wednesday

A weekly recap of events that benefit the LGBT community...

Orange County/CA: ECCO, a political action group for Orange County, California, holds its 2007 Awards Dinner at the Disneyland Hotel on October 13th. Honorees: Alicia Berhow, Lighthouse at Southern California Edison, California Teachers Association, Peg Corley, Ivy Bottini.

NYC: The Gay & Lesbian Anti-Violence Project will stage their 2007 Courage Awards at Gotham Hall on November 19th, hosted by B.D. Wong. This year's honorees: New York State Assembly Member Daniel J. O'Donnell, Ms. Verna Eggleston of the Bloomberg Family Foundation, and Sundance Channel.

LOS ANGELES: The National Gay & Lesbian Task Force holds their Los Angeles Leadership Awards on Sept. 30th at the Beverly Hills Hotel. This year's honorees: Christine Chavez, Judy Chu. Get tickets here.

NYC: Gay Men's Health Crisis' annual flea market is this Saturday. Volunteers needed. Donate items at the the GMHC office on West 24th Street.

DC: National lesbian health group The Mautner Project hosts their 14th Annual Gala Dinner & Reception on Sept. 29th at the Hilton Washington. Tickets here.

LOS ANGELES: Lambda Legal's West Coast Liberty Awards takes place Oct. 2nd at the Directors Guild Of America. This year's honorees: Alan Cumming, David Bohnett, Rev. Susan Russell.

LOS ANGELES: The Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network's Respect Awards on Oct. 12th will honor individuals and corporations who have helped move the work of GLSEN foward. This year's honorees: Dr. Neal Baer, Greg Berlanti, James C. Hormel, Sheila Kuehl.

NYC: Empire State Pride Agenda holds their Fall Dinner on Octobert 11th at Sheraton Hotel & Towers. Keynote speaker: David Mixner. Special guests include Christopher Meloni, Mary Lousie Parker, Alan Cumming. Tickets here.

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Miller Brewing Folds Over Folsom Poster

Bowing to pressure from Christian activists, Miller Brewing, the primary sponsor of Folsom Street Fair, has asked fair organizers to remove its logo from their Last Supper poster. Right-wing news outlets and forums like Free Republic ("Miller Supports Gay Sadomasochistic Orgies On San Francisco Streets!") have been humming with "outraged" calls for a boycott of Miller and demands that readers inundate the company with complaining emails.

Miller Brewing's statement:
"While Miller has supported the Folsom Street Fair for several years, we take exception to the poster the organizing committee developed this year. We understand some individuals may find the imagery offensive and we have asked the organizers to remove our logo from the poster effective immediately."
Folsom board of directors president Andy Copper:
"There was no intention to be particularly pro-religion or anti-religion with this poster; the image is intended only to be reminiscent of the 'Last Supper' painting. We hope that people will enjoy the artistry for what it is - nothing more or less. Many people choose to speculate on deeper meanings. The irony is that da Vinci was widely considered to be homosexual. In truth, we are going to produce a series of inspired poster images over the next few years," Copper said. "Next year's poster ad may take inspiration from 'American Gothic' by Grant Wood or Edvard Munch's 'The Scream' or even 'The Sound of Music! I guess it wouldn't be the Folsom Street Fair without offending some extreme members of the global community, though."
At the moment, there is no indication that Miller Brewing intends to withdraw its sponsorhip of the fair, which is a non-profit event that makes sizable donations to LGBT causes every year.

Email or call Miller to support their involvement with LGBT events.

Pat Palechek
Event Marketing
ppalechek@mbco.com
267-395-3619

UPDATE: Post Modern Barney has a great take on gay reaction to the Folsom poster. Recommended.

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Polish Gays Fight On

Poland's nascent gay rights movement is gaining steam as activists have filed charges against that country's former Communist Party.
Szymon Niemiec and Jacek Adler made history by formally filing charges against the former Polish Communist Party for human rights crimes against homosexuals in their native Poland.

In the year 2000 after the formation of the Third Polish Republic a commission was established where Polish citizens could petition the government to investigate crimes committed by the former Communist regime during the years of 1939 until 1990.

From 1985 to 1987 the Communist Party and Polish Secret Police conducted the “Hyacinth” actions against homosexuals. The Polish police routinely harassed, interrogated, assaulted and jailed tens of thousands of suspected gays – oftentimes keeping them in prison for months without filing charges. Some homosexuals were coerced into collaboration with the secret police by threatening to expose their homosexuality publicly if they did not agree to be informants for the secret police.
Gays in Poland face strong offical opposition from the government and the church. Some choices quotes from Polish leaders:

-Wojciech Wierzejski (League of Polish Families) in 2006: "Faggot activists should be putted into the jail and rest of fagots we need to beat by baseball bats."

-Ryszard Bender (League of Polish Families) in 2004: "After the League of Polish Families will be in power, we will build re-education camps for faggots."

-Tadeusz Rydzyk (priest and owner of Radio Maryja) in 2006: "Gays should wear a pink signs on their faces."

-Cardinal Nagy from Krakow in 2004: "It was good that our Polish youth beat the sick homosexuals out from the streets."

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Senate Hate Crimes (Matthew Shepard Act) Vote Tomorrow

From yesterday's HRC's Backstory:
This afternoon, Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA), one of the lead sponsors of the Senate hate crimes bill, took to the Senate floor to urge the Senate to pass the hate crimes bill (S. 1105) and for President Bush to sign the legislation into law. Earlier today, Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) filed a cloture motion on the hate crimes bill, a procedural move to overcome Senator McCain's objection to bringing the amendment to the floor. Our side must achieve 60 votes on the cloture motion to win; that vote is scheduled for Thursday. The Senate should then move towards passages of the hate crimes bill as an amendment to the Department of Defense authorization bill.
Cross your fingers, kiddies. It's gonna be close.

UPDATE: Use the NGLFT's action center to send an urgent message to YOUR Senator urging support for the Matthew Shepard Act.

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Busy News Day For Elton John

At last night's Elton John AIDS Foundation fundraiser at the Waldorf-Astoria, Elton announced a $300,000 gift to NYC schools. The money is directed to buy computers to help teach HIV/AIDS awareness to low-income middle school students, part of a $3.1M grant to the National Urban Technology Center. The gift to NYC will allow the agency to double its service from 30 to 60 schools.

Unfortunately, news of Elton's gift is being overshadowed by the confiscation of a piece of artwork from his private collection by British authorities who are considering whether the piece, a photograph by controversial photographer Nan Goldin, may constitute child pornography. The photograph of two naked girls is being defended by Elton, who says it has already been exhibited in museums worldwide. Elton is considered one of the world's foremost collectors of photographic art.

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Reunited And It Feels No Good

Ugh. This morning I got a notice that my 30 year high school reunion is "officially" going to happen in November. I haven't gone to any previous reunions, in fact, I'm not sure that there have even been any. I haven't seen, much less thought about, any of my classmates from Colonial High in at least 25 years, so I don't have much interest in attending the reunion. Still, I suppose it would be at least momentarily interesting to see what people look like now and how many grandkids they have. Colonial is a massive school, when I was attending Orlando was busting at the seams from the Disney explosion and school construction had yet to catch up. My graduating class numbered over 1200, if I recall correctly. Right now, I could probably name three of them.

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Morning View - Tram Shadow

The Roosevelt Island Tram casts a shadow on First Avenue.

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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Xtians On Warpath Over Folsom Poster

Last month I mentioned Folsom Street Fair's fabulous "Last Supper" poster for this year's event. Now Matt Barber, alpha male for the mousy Xtian hausfraus advocacy group, the Concerned Women For America (CWA), is up in arms, petitioning House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-SF), California Senators Barbara Boxer and Diane Feinstein, and Gov. Schwarzengger to "publicly condemn this unprovoked attack against Christ and His followers. We further challenge the media to cover this affront to Christianity with the same vigor as recent stories about cartoon depictions of Mohammed and other items offensive to the Muslim community." More from CWA:

Organizers of San Francisco's hedonistic Folsom Street Fair — sponsored by Miller Brewing, Co. — have portrayed Christ and His disciples as half-naked homosexual sadomasochists in the event's promotional advertisement. The bread and wine representing Christ's broken body and lifegiving blood are replaced with sadomasochistic sex toys in this twisted version of Da Vinci's The Last Supper.

The most unimaginable and vile acts of debauchery are commonplace during the fair. Senator Larry Craig was arrested and driven out of the Senate for allegedly soliciting public 'gay' sex, yet during this event the city of San Francisco suspends the law and allows 'gay' men and women to parade the streets fully nude, many having sex — even group orgies — in broad daylight, while taxpayer funded police officers look on and do absolutely nothing.

The mainstream media should cover this event with cameras in hand. There's an unbelievable news story here. The Folsom Street Fair is reminiscent of Biblical Sodom and Gomorrah, and the media should document exactly what the city of San Francisco is allowing to occur – in public – in the name of "tolerance."

Wow, I bet the CWA just bumped attendance at the fair up a notch. And I'm proud to note that there's a few of my friends and JMG readers in that poster, including somebody on my blogroll. Sacrilege is hot.

UPDATE: Head on over to Dan Savage for an exhaustive display of many previous pop culture takes on The Last Supper, such as by The Simpsons, The Sopranos, Star Wars, Sesame Street and many others. Savage says, "Where is the outrage?"

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UB2 Dating Hits Gotham

A new monthly gay dating event called "HIV-, UB2" launches in December.
In response to the recent upward trend of new HIV infections in our city, the time has come to support HIV- people who wish to meet other HIV- people. To offer support, empowerment, awareness and understanding so HIV- people can create the same support network that HIV+ people have. For us to win the war against HIV, we must understand that HIV- people are the future. If you are HIV- and wish to meet other HIV- people, join us.

It's time to move forward and to reach our goal - the END OF HIV.
There are many dating support groups out there for poz guys and a similar service for HIV- guys doesn't strike me as inherently wrong. Still, I don't like the wording of this ad, the "HIV- people are the future" part really pisses me off and the title of the event is flat out offensive. As was noted here on JMG several posts down, by far the most infectious HIV+ people are the ones who think they are HIV-, the target audience for this event.

It bears repeating that unless you haven't had sex since several months before your last negative HIV result and not at all since, there are ONLY two ways to answer this question:

Are you HIV positive?

A) Yes.
B) I don't know.

Any other answer is pure speculation.

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Caption This

Photo via Free Republic's "Homsexual Agenda" file, where the "No homos in Iran" quote is getting lively reaction. A sampling:

"Knowing how Iran treats the homos, why don’t we send Barney Frank over?"

"Sounds like a good destination for a “Rosie Cruise”!"

"Sounds like a vacation hotspot... Love it! Just what I'm looking for."

"Besides, in the Arab world, men use women ONLY for procreation. The men use men and boys for sexual pleasure. Many many Iraqies have told me on many occassions."

To be fair, many commenters did take note of Iranian executions of gays.

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Edwards Plans To Dismantle Bush AIDS Programs

John Edwards has unveiled a far-reaching $50B HIV plan that would dismantle many of the Bush administration initiatives. Edwards' plan would end the disastrous abstinence-only programs and would provide for age-appropriate sex education in public schools. The plan would also make HIV-positive people eligible for Medicaid before they reached the late states of the disease and would encourage needle-exchange programs for addicts.

Edwards: "This is a fight for people's lives. HIV is a preventable disease - but an estimated 40,000 new HIV cases were reported in the U.S. last year, and 4.3 million were reported around the world. What's more, HIV/AIDS is a treatable disease - yet 17,000 Americans and 3 million people globally died from it in 2005. We have a moral imperative to do much more and do it much better. I do believe it (HIV/AIDS) is a crisis in America; obviously it's a crisis in the world."

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Coulter: I Want A Fatwa!

Ann Coulter wishes she had an Islamic death sentence. Speaking to British Esquire, Coulter said, "I want a fatwa. I used to see Salman Rushdie in the Sky Bar in L.A. He wasn't in hiding; he became world-renowned for his fatwa. So why can't I get a fatwa? Don't they read my stuff?"

While I am loathe to agree with anything Coulter says and I'm sure she would only use her fatwa to further elevate her loathesome visibility, I don't think I'd mind if some Sharia justice were visited on her. I'm terrible.

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HomoQuotable - Elton John

"It gave me the confidence to join the game. But I wasn't the kind of person who would do one or two lines. I did a gram and then called out for more." - Elton John, talking about his cocaine addiction in an ITV special broadcast in Britain on Saturday. Elton said as his addiction grew, his insane demands grew too. Elton: "I was once staying in a hotel in London and it was really windy outside. I rang up the office and asked if there was anything they could do about it. That's how bad it got."

Elton John performs tonight with a musical guest in the grand ballroom of NYC's Waldof-Astoria in a fundraiser for the Elton John AIDS Foundation. The host for the evening is Anderson Cooper.

UPDATE: Elton John has publicly called on British Prime Minister Gordon Brown to support the G8's 2010 goal of worldwide univeral care for people with HIV.

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Progressives Pile On Ahmadinejad

Gay rights groups were quick to condemn Iran president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's claim that there are no homosexuals in Iran.

HRC's Joe Solmonese: "Today’s assertions by President Ahmadinejad that there are no homosexuals in Iran would be simply absurd were it not for the fact that international human rights watchers have long documented some of the most horrific acts of persecution and violence committed against gay people in Iran. These acts of terror have included incarcerations, beatings, and brutal executions. Ahmadinejad’s denial that there are gay people in Iran shows the extent to which he devalues the lives of the many citizens his government has and continues to violate."

IGLHRC's Paula Ettelbrick: "It is extremely unfortunate that the President of Iran, who used a prestigious academic forum to speak the "truth" about his country, nevertheless spoke so disingenuously about the human rights situation in Iran. The Iranian President's stark denial of our reality reflectshis government's ongoing refusal to recognize the basic human rights of LGBT people. IGLHRC and other human rights organizations have documented lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in Iran."

I'll add to this post through the day as reactions come in.

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Morning View - Garden In Transit

A massive rolling art project called Garden In Transit features hand-painted adhesive flowers affixed to the roofs, hoods and trunks of NYC's cabs. Ninety percent of the work was done by local schoolchildren, with the rest done by kids from around the country. The project started last week and runs through December. The artwork removes without damaging the vehicle and cab owners are participating voluntarily.

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Swag Tuesday

Once again, Universal Music Enterprises gallops into Swag Tuesday with four double-disc CD collections from their ever-growing Universal Gold series. This week's haul: Supremes Gold, Connie Francis Gold, '60s Gold, and Moody Blues Gold - comprising over 160 tracks in all. These four releases all are available now, with more collections added to the series all the time.

To win this collection, comment on this post. Only your first comment counts and please remember to leave your email address. Publicists: if you'd like to take part in Swag Tuesday on JMG, please email me.

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Monday, September 24, 2007

Water Ski Threat Level: High

With all the world leaders in town for the U.N. General Assembly, security is naturally very tight. Yesterday, Farmboy C and I were walking along the East River where we watched this twin machine-gunned Coast Guard boat ward pleasure cruisers away from the U.N. side of the river. When they went by at high speed, the kid at the machine gun in front seemed to be having a great time.

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Ahmandinejad: "We Have No Homos In Iran"

Iran president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad spoke at Columbia University today at their World Leaders Forum as hundreds of vocal protesters marched outside the venue in a media firestorm. Last week, Ahmandinejad spurred outrage when he requested permission to lay a wreath at Ground Zero. His request was denied.

The Iranian dictator's invitation to speak at Columbia launched a nationwide controversy on the issue of free speech, prompting Columbia president Lee Bollinger to preface Ahmadinejad's speech by calling him "petty and cruel" but saying "We do not honor the dishonorable when we open our public forum to their voices."

Inside the venue, there were no disruptions of the speech as students sat quietly. The only reaction came when Ahmandinejad, speaking in Farsi, said, "In Iran, we don’t have homosexuals like in your country. We don’t have that in our country. In Iran, we do not have this phenomenon. I do not know who has told you that we have it." The audience responded with boos and laughter. Of course, what Ahmandinejad didn't say was that he keeps Iran free of homosexuals by killing them.

Before the speech, Bill Clinton said he generally supported Admandinejad's appearance, saying he thought it was a valuable learning experience for Columbia's students and that allowing him to speak "speaks volumes about, really, the greatness of America." What do you think? Should Columbia have invited Admandinejad?

(Photo via Towleroad.)

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Remember The Party - October 7th

The 30th anniversary of San Francisco's seminal gay nightclub, the Trocadero Transfer, will be celebrated at the original location (now the Glas Kat) on October 7th in a night called Remember The Party.

Under the expert tutelage of my favorite DJ in the world, Jerry Bonham, revisit the heady days of "The Troc" in a nine hour marathon of disco classics. Check out last year's fantastic playlist. Tickets are $25. Advance tickets are available here or at Medium Rare Records in the Castro.

The Remember The Party site has lots of goodies about the history of the Troc, once host to such dance music innovators as Sylvester and Patrick Cowley. Also, check out the gallery of membership cards provided by former patrons.

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Naugle Causes Rift Among Black Activists

Fort Lauderdale's Naugle debacle is causing a rift among local black activists, with the NAACP coming down on the side of gay activists. On the other side, some black ministers are decrying the NAACP's involvement, with one saying, ''The NAACP is getting away from their mission . . . the organization never got involved with sex sins. Homosexuals have masterfully redefined words to suit their cause . . . theirs is not a civil rights issue.'' NAACP Chairman Julian Bond recently endorsed gay marriage, further enraging black fundamentalists.

But some black religious leaders are no friends of Naugle. Rev. Rosalind Osgood: ''He's continued to be downright derogatory about various groups of people different from himself, whether they be black, poor or gay. My faith doesn't allow me to support the practice of homosexuality, but no one should be degraded . . . Jesus loves everybody regardless of their sins or other problems.''

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Merck Halts HIV Vaccine Trial

Disappointing news. Merck has stopped its promising HIV vaccine trial, after more subjects who received the vaccine contracted the virus that those who got the dummy shots. Merck's vaccine trial was the farthest along and most closely watched. The National Institute of Health, who partly funded the research, said that not only did the vaccine not prevent infection, it did not mitigate the damage that HIV caused in those who received the vaccine. The AIDS Vaccine Advocacy Coalition said in a statement, "While this is a disappointment, it is in no way the end of the search for an AIDS vaccine."

Heavy sigh.

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Chest Hair Abuse

Eagle roof deck, Sunday, 9pm

Two guys are ogling the shirtless humpy new bartender......

Guy 1: I like his perfect chest hair distribution.
Guy 2: That's funny.
Guy 1: What's funny about chest hair?
Guy 2: Wait, I thought you said you'd like to put him in a chair and abuse him?
Guy 1: Chest hair distribution.
Guy 2: Oh. Right.
Guy 1: But your plan sounds good too.
.

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Morning View - White Horse Tavern

On Hudson Street in the West Village, the White Horse Tavern was the major hang-out for "bohemian" artists of the '50s & 60's. Famous regulars included Bob Dylan, Jack Kerouac, Norman Mailer, James Baldwin, Hunter S. Thompson and Dylan Thomas - who famously drank himself to death at the White Horse. The White Horse opened as a bar for longshoremen in 1880.

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Sunday, September 23, 2007

TroopsOutNow.Org

Yesterday I ran into these folks in the Times Square subway station as they were handing out flyers for next's week's anti-war March On Washington. The events, according to the Troops Out Now site:

A weeklong encampment directly in front of Congress. A giant billboard and round-the-clock political challenge to Congress to STOP funding the war . Actions every day and resistance music and culture every evening. We are open to many displays and actions. Just contact us with your ideas.

Every day - music, spoken word, creative acts of resistance and protest. People from around the country will start arriving on Saturday, September 22 and Sunday, September 23. The Encampment will expand to major actions on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, culminating in a mass march on Saturday, September 29.

There will be a "parallel" encampment and demonstration in Los Angeles.

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Saturday, September 22, 2007

Alice Ghostley, 81

Beloved television sitcom character actress and Tony winner Alice Ghostley died yesterday at 81. Ghostley won the hearts of gay fans with her portayals of Esmerelda, the ditzsy witch of Bewitched ('69-'72), and Bernice Clifton, the stroke-addled senior befriended by the ladies of Designing Women ('87-'93).

Ghostley was a pioneer of early television, appearing in a 1957 musical version of Cinderella, in which Ghostley and Kaye Ballard played ugly step-sisters to Julie Andrews' title character. Ghostley's Broadway debut came in New Faces Of 1952 (a show that also starred Maggie Smith), and in 1965 she won the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress for her performance in The Sign in Sidney Brustein's Window. In 1978, Ghostley succeeded Dorothy Loudon as Miss Hannigan in the original Broadway run of Annie. Ghostley's film credits include To Kill A Mockingbird and Grease.

I adored Alice Ghostley. I have friends who still love to break into Bernice Clifton's trademark Designing Women song Black Man, Black Man. (Season Six audio here.) It's been a very tough year for TV's gay icons, hasn't it? We've lost Yvonne de Carlo, Charles Nelson Reilly, Brett Somers, and John Inman - just to name a few.

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Morning View - My Mezzuzah

Since today is Yom Kippur, I thought I'd show you my mezzuzah. Mah-mah-mah-my mezzuzah. It's my-i-i-i-i-whoa! (Sorry.) According to the rules, a mezzuzah must be affixed to the right side of a home's door frame, on the upper-third of the frame within three inches of the doorway opening. There's a little scroll of Torah verses inside mezzuzahs, whose presence on Jewish homes is commanded by Deuteronomy 6:9. It's a mitzvah, like not wearing flip-flops or Crocs should be.

Anyway, the mezzuzah was there when I moved in. Every apartment in my building has one - I do live on the optimistically named United Jerusalem Place, after all. I'd guess pretty much every apartment on the Upper East Side rocks the mezzuzah, not just those on streets named after hopeless causes.

I think Little David, my go-to man for all things musical theatre and Judaism, once told me that you're supposed to leave the muzzazah when you move out, but put a new one up when you move in. I would have asked him before making this post, but he's busy today fasting and avoiding electricity. (Check out David's rules for Yom Kippur.) Anyway, I suppose I would have taken mah-mah-mah-my mezzuzah down, being a "militant" atheist and shit, but it's more of a funky New Yorky thing to me than a piece of religious iconography. Plus, I've altered its contents to make it uniquely mine - now there's a little rolled-up Tom Of Finland drawing inside.

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Friday, September 21, 2007

Meta-Time

You may not be as fascinated with statistics as I am. But this list from BlogWorldExpo caught my eye. Egad, Technorati tracks 70 million blogs? No wonder my blogroll is so long. In the last year, JMG's Technorati rank (which fluctuates daily) has fallen from around 2300 to somewhere around 3831, despite my traffic almost doubling in that time - evidence of the continuing blogsplosion. Here's the current Top 100. Perez Hilton, at #14, remains the top "gay" blog, although some would argue whether his blog falls in that category. Andrew Sullivan is next at #81, with the same disclaimer. Technorati only posts their Top 100, but I'd imagine that Towleroad comes next, he's somewhere in the 600's. Anyway, this post is just an excuse to mention that JMG rolled over another million hits yesterday. Go me. I'm 3831, I'm 3831! Meh, doesn't have much of a ring to it.

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HomoQuotable - Lisa Sanders

"I'm just very proud of my father. And to be a part of this. It's about equality, and he's doing the right thing, and I'm very confident in him." - Lisa Sanders, lesbian daughter of San Diego's Republican Mayor Jerry Sanders, who outed her during his press conference endorsing San Diego's pro-gay marriage resolution. (Via - Rex Wockner.)

Sanders is running for re-election in heavily-red San Diego. Here's hoping his change of heart regarding marriage equality does not cost him the election.

UPDATE: Rex Wockner objects to my characterization of San Diego as "heavily-red". Rex: "Although San Diego COUNTY has more red than blue registered voters (527,448 to 461,245) ... in the city itself, blue beats red 224,397 to 190,647. Interestingly, another 141,090 registered voters (such as myself) are 'decline to state,' meaning they have no declared party affiliation. Another 27,000 voters in the city are registered with minor parties." My apologies for the error.

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When Eagles Dance

So I'm hearing that a certain West Chelsea leathertopia has finally gotten their cabaret license. The dance floor is being installed on the ground level right now. I wonder if it will be ready for the big pageant on October 7th? Insiders?

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NYC Tests Early HIV Detection System

New York City is testing a new early detection system for HIV, which can identify the virus as soon as nine days after infection. People are at their most infectious immediately after acquiring the virus, a period called "acute infection", when they are 1000 times more able to transmit HIV to others.

From the NY Blade:
The trial system, called pooled blood testing, is available at three of the city’s 10 STD clinics: Chelsea in Manhattan, Fort Greene in Brooklyn and Morrisania in the Bronx. The standard or rapid HIV screening, including the oral swab, does not detect HIV during the acute stage; the new test does.
Pooled blood testing has been used in blood banks since 1999. Aside from the benefit of the infected person knowing of their hyper-infectiousness, if they start on anti-HIV meds immediately, some of the early (and most damaging) attacks on the immune system can be mitigated. Participation in the new test is voluntary and the test cannot be used those being tested anonymously.

NOTE: When was your last HIV test? Here are the locations for free confidential testing in NYC.

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To The Tune of Centerfold







Songwriter M. Spaff Sumsion, whom you might recall for his classic take on Ted Haggard, Supertelevangelistic Sex And Drugs Psychosis, has done it again as he takes on Larry Craig with My Men's Room Date's A Senator. Here's the clip, performed by Robert Lund. Get the lyrics here.

An excerpt:

It's okay, I understand
You're still a Family Values man
But if you blame your real wide stance
You must wear ultra-stretchy pants

They'll make fun, yes they will
Let those bloggers mock us
But I'll stand up - or sit for you
And help you poll your caucus

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Disney, Vegas, Minneapolis Airport

As has been reported on many news outlets, the Minneapolis airport bathroom in which Sen. Larry Craig was arrested has turned into quite a tourist attraction, with many airport visitors demanding to be directed to the lewdy loo. JMG reader Brian visited the Larry Craig Memorial Tearoom this week and sent me a picture of the famous toe-tapping stall, however this picture of Brian is much more pleasant to look at, don't you agree, gentle horny readers? Embiggen to, uh, embiggen.

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Here's The Story Of Jan & Marcia

Pink News is reporting that according to an upcoming book by Brady Bunch star Maureen McCormick, during the show's run there was some "sexual play" between McCormick and her TV sister Eve Plumb.

The National Enquirer reports: "The most explosive comments will be how the then-blonde, blue-eyed cutie developed a crush on Eve Plumb, which led to some sexual play. This book will certainly come as a shocker. While Maureen is not a lesbian, she reveals there were some sexual hijinks going on behind the scenes. It's bizarre because she played such a virginal character on the show."

Make your "Marcia, Marcia, Marcia" jokes now.

UPDATE: This story has now been debunked.

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Broadway Friday

-Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS will be raising funds via a Celebrity Booth and autograph line at this Sunday's Broadway Flea Market on Shubert Alley. Participating are show biz icons: Sir Ian McKellen, David Hyde Pierce, Bernadette Peters, Bebe Neuwirth, Cheyenne Jackson, JoAnne Worley, Beth Leavel, Debra Monk, Lynn Redgrave, Vanessa Regrave, Christine Ebersole, Mary Testa, and many more. Check here for appearance times.

-Hosted by Andrea McArdle, the New York Musical Theatre Festival's Broadway Idol has it's first round of competition at the Stitch Lounge tonight. Judges include Anthony Rapp and Marc Shaiman.

-As always, Wicked and Jersey Boys lead this week's grosses at over $1M each. Legally Blonde is is looking very wobbly at only 60% full houses.

-The star-studded The 24-Hour Plays On Broadway will be Oct.22nd at the American Airlines Theater on 42nd Street. Playwrights work overnight to create six 10-minute plays which are rehearsed and presented that evening. This year's show stars Rosie Perez, Billy Crudup, David Cross, Elizabeth Berkley, Michael Ealy, Anthony Mackie, Matthew Lillard, Kerry Washington, Mariska Hargitay, Peter Hermann, Mamie Gummer, Rachel Dratch, Janel Maloney, Fisher Stevens, Julia Stiles, Lili Taylor, Marlo Thomas and Nellie McKay.

-The City of New York renamed a portion of 53rd Street "Jerry Orbach Way" on Monday. The dedication was attending by Law & Order cast members and Orbach's widow. Before gaining fame as Law & Order's Lenny Briscoe, Orbach was a Tony Award winning star of Broadway.

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Morning View - 1st & 75th

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Thursday, September 20, 2007

I Almost Got Sexed Tonight

Early this evening I was almost an extra in the Sex And The City movie, which is filming an outdoor restaurant scene on my street. Coming out of the Gracious Home hardware store, glamorously carrying a spray-bottle of Krud Kutter, I paused on the sidewalk to laugh at the dozens of silly women waving cell-cams in a vain hope of catching sight of Big and SJP.

A crew member marched down the sidewalk, yelling at people to get out the shot. And I was ready to comply when she barked, "Dammit, background needs to stay behind the tape!" Then she shooed me across some blue tape on the sidewalk over to a group of pretend Upper East Siders whom I presume were waiting for a cue to pretend they weren't waiting.

I stood there for about thirty seconds, thinking, "Oh, boy...is this great!" Then I thought, "Thank Zod I trimmed my beard today!" And then, "Shit. I would be dressed for scrubbing floors right now." Then I remembered why I'd cut my visit to the hardware store so short - I really, really had to pee. Ah, well. Fame is fleeting. Besides, my credit would have probably been "Old Janitor." Back to reality and grout removal.

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HomoQuotable - Matt Foreman

"San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders' emotional statement brought me - and I know millions of other gay and lesbian people - to tears. Simply, directly, and most importantly from the heart, he said what we yearn to hear from our leaders - that our relationships are just as meaningful and just as deserving of the same protections as everyone else's. Mayor Sanders will go into the history books as a profile in courage and conviction. He stands in stark contrast to Governor Schwarzenegger's threatened veto of the marriage equality bill that will be on his desk within days and to leading Democratic presidential candidates who cannot bring themselves to say we are truly equal." - Matt Foreman, Executive Director of the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force.

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Freepers: The Best Show On The Net

As you probably know, of all the right-wing batshit lunatic sites out there, nothing beats Free Republic. I read it like I read WingNutDaily and like I watch The 700 Club, purely for the gleeful entertainment value of seeing conservatives lose their shit.

Today's Freeper gem, as so many of them do, comes out their "Homosexual Agenda" file, in the responses to a horrifying story about a sexual assault committed by two pre-teen boys against a 7 year-old boy on their school bus in Michigan. Some commenters rightfully ponder the effects of a sexualized society on young children and some believe that the older boys have been molested by an adult. (My opinion, too.)

Others predictably blame discipline in the public school system or the "obvious" lack of religion in the attackers' lives. But many blame the gay rights movement for "normalizing" pre-teen boy on second-grader sexual attacks. Because, isn't that what we're all fighting for? And amusingly, very amusingly, they also blame somebody else. Here are the keepers of the Freepers' quotes as they elabocrazy on the cause of the attack:

-"Just remember where this all started. Oral sex became the norm with teenagers when it was ok’d by Bill the original pedophile Clinton. This behavior has now trickled down to seven, eight, and nine year olds."

-"It was not a sex act, ask President Clinton, who is more than willing to set the example for our country’s youth."

-" Nothing wrong here. It’s not sex. bill clinton told us so...."

-"If he didn't learn it because someone was molesting him it was via homo-sex-ed in school. So sad. Our culture is going down the sewer."

-"It should be obvious that this attack is the result of "gay" people ramming homosex down the throats of public schools. This is what they WANT, people!"

-"Some of these children are going to confuse their natural affection for their same-sex pals with ‘romantic’ feelings. This, I believe, is part of the plan of those adults who want to weaken traditional society, and strengthen the force of “alternative” lifestyles."

-"Blame the secular left. Vehemently, and with vengeance."

-"Another homo sex predator. Sigh."

-"Part of the left’s agenda is the destruction of the traditional family unit, with too many obvious examples to list. One method of destroying the family unit is to encourage children to develop “private” relationships outside of the family, especially sexual relationships."

As the saying goes, you can't make this shit up.

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Inevitable

Get your commemorative police brutality t-shirt now. What'd that take, two days?

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