Friday, February 27, 2009


At Joe the Plumber's book appearance, he sold five books.
(via JMG)

The Book of my Enemy Has Been Remaindered

by Clive James

The book of my enemy has been remaindered
And I am pleased.
In vast quantities it has been remaindered
Like a van-load of counterfeit that has been seized
And sits in piles in a police warehouse,
My enemy's much-prized effort sits in piles
In the kind of bookshop where remaindering occurs.
Great, square stacks of rejected books and, between them, aisles
One passes down reflecting on life's vanities,
Pausing to remember all those thoughtful reviews
Lavished to no avail upon one's enemy's book --
For behold, here is that book
Among these ranks and banks of duds,
These ponderous and seeminly irreducible cairns
Of complete stiffs.

Click for more of this poem.

Thursday, February 26, 2009


Gay comic artists are drawn out
Jim Provenzano
Bay Area Reporter

Were you drawn out as a kid? Did cartoon images of muscular superheroes in tights give you a funny feeling? You're not alone. You can meet some of the most accomplished comic artists and writers this weekend at the 23rd annual WonderCon, San Francisco's comic book, science fiction and film convention, held Feb 27 – March 1 at the Moscone Center South.

Along with the opportunity to buy lots of comic books, T-shirts, games, action figures and other stuff you don't need but may want, three of the many panels at the Wondercon are all about LGBT comic artists.


Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Tom Ammiano wants a pot tax.

Kellogs boycotted by pot smokers.

Support for legalized pot up.

California could raise $1.3B a year in taxes from marijuana sales. The same study estimates that legalization would drop the street price by 50% and raise consumption by 40%.

and Mikey could win more medals, mellowishly.

Public Service Announcement

Yeah, PETA's totally wacky and off-point in their demos. But handsome Battlestar Galactica star Jamie Bamber makes the pretty point.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Two cups of 'Milk'

Joy in the Castro as Penn wins Oscar for 'Milk'

Hundreds of people who watched the Academy Awards from San Francisco's Castro Theatre on Sunday night gave polite applause to "Slumdog Millionaire" - which won best picture and seven other awards - but roared with foot-stomping standing ovations for "Milk" when it took the prizes for best original screenplay and best actor.

"You commie, homo-loving sons of guns," Sean Penn told the academy upon accepting the best actor award for his portrayal of the slain San Francisco Supervisor and gay rights leader Harvey Milk. "I did not expect this, and I want it to be very clear that I do know how hard I make it to appreciate me often."

And more pics and speech transcriptions, etc at Towleroad.

Dustin Lance Black: "Oh my God. This was, um. This was not an easy film to make. First off, I have to thank Cleve Jones and Anne Kronenberg and all the real-life people who shared their stories with me. And, um, Gus Van Sant, Sean Penn, Emile Hirsch, Josh Brolin, James Franco, and our entire cast, my producers, Dan Jinks and Bruce Cohen, everyone at Groundswell and Focus, for taking on the challenge of telling this life-saving story. When I was 13 years old, my beautiful mother and my father moved me from a conservative Mormon home in San Antonio, Texas to California and I heard the story of Harvey Milk. And it gave me hope. It gave me the hope to live my life, it gave me the hope to one day live my life openly as who I am and that maybe even I could fall in love and one day get married. I want to thank my mom who has always loved me for who I am, even when there was pressure not to. But most of all, if Harvey had not been taken from us 30 years ago, I think he’d want me to say to all of the gay and lesbian kids out there tonight who have been told that they are less than by their churches or by the government or by their families that you are beautiful, wonderful creatures of value and that no matter what anyone tells you, God does love you and that very soon, I promise you, you will have equal rights, federally, across this great nation of ours. Thank you, thank you, and thank you God for giving us Harvey Milk."

I and a pal had a great time at the Academy of Friends gala. Seeing Lance and Sean win were the highlights, as were the interesting figures of some gold-tights-clad models, in a hybrid "superhero" theme and no doubt economical costume decision for the creative team.

However, the VPL bulges amused others greatly; some telling the time at 3 o'clock, 9 o'clock, or in one case, high noon. Too bad I didn't bring my camera.

Gold dudes from last year. photo: Steven Underhill

Friday, February 20, 2009

Gay Republican: "Completely Useless"

Openly gay Minnesota Republican state Sen. Paul Koering is under fire for refusing to support same-sex marriage because the state has "more important" items on the agenda. Koering is getting a lot of understandable flack from his fellow gays and this, in part, is how his assistant is responding to complaining emails:

I can testify all day long about how much Senator Koering cares for the People of Senate District 12. He ran three consecutive times, being defeated the first two, and why did he put himself through so much hard work? Do you think it was because he needed another job? Absolutely not! He did it because he believed he was the best person to serve the People that he calls neighbors, friends, and family. And especially now, in a time like this, we are being bogged down with this completely pointless issue.

... I know very well that you will respond to this e-mail of mine with some probably quirky, snide, and very thoughtless comment that will make me out to be a bad person and threaten the Senator even more just as most of the absolutely tactless and disrespectful e-mails we've received have been written, but really, don't waste your time. We'll just put your e-mail where it belongs, in the trash.

Ooh, smell her!

The snideness continues at JoeMyGod and Pam's House Blend.

I suggest sending Sen. Koering an email: His office phone number: (651) 296-4875.

I look forward to the utterly useless and equally bilious Log Cabin Club inviting this specimen to their annual awards gala, probably to give him an award. But since they're broke, maybe it'll just be at a completely pointless location.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Face Time

I've really been enjoying Facebook. I keep up with friends, acquaintances, get info on events, etc. And so do you, probably.

Sure, people start hate groups for disease carriers (see above; remember Andrew Speaker? Nope?). Sure, kids attack each other on it by the thousands. Sure, a kid even killed herself because of Facebook posts.

But wait. it gets worse.

Facebook's New Terms Of Service: "We Can Do Anything We Want With Your Content. Forever."
Facebook's terms of service (TOS) used to say that when you closed an account on their network, any rights they claimed to the original content you uploaded would expire. Not anymore.

Now, anything you upload to Facebook can be used by Facebook in any way they deem fit, forever, no matter what you do later.* Want to close your account? Good for you, but Facebook still has the right to do whatever it wants with your old content. They can even sublicense it if they want.

And guess who's doing it?

Facebook - the CIA conspiracy
Facebook has 20 million users worldwide, is worth billions of dollars and, if internet sources are to be believed, was started by the CIA.

The social networking phenomenon started as a way of American college students to keep in touch. It is rapidly catching up with MySpace, and has left others like Bebo in its wake.

But there is a dark side to the success story that's been spreading across the blogosphere. A complex but riveting Big Brother-type conspiracy theory which links Facebook to the CIA and the US Department of Defence.

Facebook's first round of venture capital funding ($US500,000) came from former Paypal CEO Peter Thiel. Author of anti-multicultural tome 'The Diversity Myth', he is also on the board of radical conservative group VanguardPAC.

The second round of funding into Facebook ($US12.7 million) came from venture capital firm Accel Partners. Its manager James Breyer was formerly chairman of the National Venture Capital Association, and served on the board with Gilman Louie, CEO of In-Q-Tel, a venture capital firm established by the Central Intelligence Agency in 1999. One of the company's key areas of expertise are in "data mining technologies".

Breyer also served on the board of R&D firm BBN Technologies, which was one of those companies responsible for the rise of the internet.

Dr Anita Jones joined the firm, which included Gilman Louie. She had also served on the In-Q-Tel's board, and had been director of Defence Research and Engineering for the US Department of Defence.

Hey, when even a former Nazi and current Pope warns against Facebook over-use, you know something's fucked.

Oh, and unless you actually know me? don't try to "be-Face" me. You can do that inane "friend collecting" on MySpace, where I'm not so picky.

Quest for Flamer

...or, how to ruin a potentially great franchise in yet another derivative action movie based on a silly TV show.

According to the amusing yet grammatically inept, Duane "The Rock" Johnson and Zak Efron, twinktacular star of High School Musical 1-498 are in talks to star in a live-action film version of the 60s cartoon show Jonny Quest.

The website says that the entire concept is "creepy," i.e. "gay."
IESB: I can see it, I can see that too but a part of me is like I don't know, maybe for the second or the third movie he could be the older kid.

DJ: But right out of the blocks he has to be what he is, right?

IESB: He has to be a kid who needs to be taken care of, and if he's 17, 18 years old who's taking care of him? He's a dude. DJ: [laughing] Right, right, a dude taking care of another dude. Then it becomes creepy.

IESB: Two dudes flying a plane with a pug.

I've got news for the macho man who got his start in show business wearing panties and rolling around with other sweaty men.

Jonny Quest is a show about a gay family.

Two adult men, partners, have two cute little kids who are very close.

There were no women in the original show.

Even the '90s updated animated version had a girl, but Race Bannon and Dr. Quest were still "partners."

Leave it concept-dead Hollywood to de-gayify one of the great unconsciously gay (and unfortunately incredibly racist) 60s cartoons ever.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Goodnight, Irene

A true pioneer passed away last week. Jack "Irene" McGowan (above, right, in a photo by Paul Fusco) was one of the first organizers of gay team sports in the world. He started a gay softball league in San Francisco in the early 1970s, which led to more softball teams in other cities, and national tournaments.

Jack was also the fiesty and opinionated world's first out gay sports columnist, penning a column in the San Francisco Sentinel, then the rival of the Bay Area Reporter (for which he also wrote). With its huge tabloid format, Jack's Sentinel columns included play-by-play commentary and photos, many times of his own games.

This all happened years before the first Gay Games in 1982. While most gay people can easily name Tom Waddell, who's credited with founding the Gay Games, it was Jack who first proposed such an event. In those days, the Parks Dept. was not as friendly as ist is now to fledgling gay sports groups.

In those days, the relationship between gays and the local police was also unpleasant at best. Men were frequently being arrested for cruising, and even in bars. It was Jack who proposed a competition between the macho police softball team and the gay team. Although they lost the first few years, when they finally defeated the police team in 1974, it became a landmark in gay sports history.

The growth of new softball teams led to the creation of a community of mostly gay men. Sara Lewinstein, a lesbian who later married gay former Olympic decathlete Waddell, would become pivotal in creating a women's league. And although gay bars sponsored the teams, and there was a lot of bar-going partying after games, it was through sports that people found a social life that didn't always include drinking and cruising.

Here's Jack and myself at the GLBT Historical Society on a rare trip out for Jack. With his health declining, he couldn't get around much. But I was thrilled that he was able to come downtown to sort through some memorabilia as work on the Sporting Life exhibit developed. He could identify every single person in a photo, and had many stories to tell.

Current BAR sports columnist Roger Brigham wrote two articles about Jack, (links here and here). Dan Woog also wrote a nice article about Jack a while back. Jack is also quoted in a brief slideshow about the Sporting Life exhibit on

Today I attended a memorial service for Jack. His nephew and niece-in-law told of their love for him, as did many in the sports and softball community. Although we'll miss him, what saddens me more is how many thousands of LGBT athletes in the Bay Area, perhaps hundreds of thousands around the world, owe him so much, when most don't even know who he was.

Goodnight, Irene.

(photo: Emory Rieff: GLBT Historical Society collection)

Friday, February 6, 2009

Friends of Dorothy in Kansas

Hundreds counter Phelps' anti-gay picketers at Shawnee Mission East

When Fred Phelps and his Westboro Baptist Church picket a soldier’s funeral, a cadre of Patriot Guard riders typically shows up to protest the picketers.

But when the Westboro group showed up this afternoon at Shawnee Mission East High School in Prairie Village, hundreds of students and adults gathered on three corners to show their disdain for the church’s anti-gay message.

The Phelps group was confined to the fourth corner at 75th Street and Mission Road.

Westboro church members believe that God is punishing America for tolerating homosexuality. They have drawn harsh criticism across the nation for picketing at funerals of servicemen and servicewomen.

Their message didn’t sit well with many students at the high school where, according to student Jake Davidson, there is a Gay and Straight Alliance at the school and students elected a homecoming king in 2007 who was openly gay.

“Everyone is equal whether you’re gay or straight,” said Davidson, a 16-year-old junior from Leawood and an organizer of the student protest.

“It’s really cool that everyone wants to be involved and take a stand against this. It doesn’t surprise me that everyone wants to help out.”

He said word of the counterprotest ran through the school like wildfire.

Take that, haters!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Dance of Debt

Some of my friends have been worried by the economic crisis. It's in the news, of course. It's everywhere. Obama's allegedly brilliant plans are being snubbed by arrogant Republicans, and Obama's would-be appointees are one by one being exposed as tax cheats, employers of illegal aliens, among other problematic situations. Hope? Change? Nein.

This same week, at work, I've been listening to one of many free music channels on iTunes, and one of my favorites is under the Eclectic category, called Radio Déliro. Described as "French Varieties," it plays an array of smart good music, hopping from 60s French pop tunes to classical to pop to ethnic. Anyway, it's very entertaining, like having your own personal DJ constantly surprise you. Best yet, it's free.

One song I've heard several times over the past few months is "Money, Money" from the soundtrack of the musical Cabaret. The passage where Liza Minnelli's character and Joel Grey's character, the MC, sing, "Knock, knock!" "Who's there?" "Tapping at da window" "Who?" "Hungah!" amuses me with its jaunty tone.

But it exemplifies the poverty-stricken setting of the play, of course. Germany, under the collapsing Weimar Republic, continued to entertain itself with mindless cabaret shows as the Nazi Party continued to grow and overwhelm the country.

I get about 300 press releases emailed to me each week. An increasing number of performances are for burlesque shows, reviews, cabarets without a plot, It's rare to hear of a production that has some depth.

There are exceptions. Only last Saturday, I saw Pascal Rioult Dance Theatre at Berkeley's Zellerbach Hall. Rioult's work was utterly fantastic, not only for the haunting and sexual contemporary interpretation of Stravinsky's "Les Noces," but the even more brilliant "Wein," set to a chilling Ravel waltz.

In it, a sextet of grey-clothes-clad dancers swirled about in increasingly violent movements, until they were each trampled multiple times. The dance clearly referenced the desperate last gasps of a culture on the verge of collapse, of a clinging herd of people denying their inevitable demise. At the same time, it managed to be a well-crafted and thoroughly entertaining piece of art.

In this interview, Rioult, a former track athlete, explains the inspiration for this work:

"Wein" was choreographed in 1992, the year of the Watts riot in Los Angeles.

"I had an idea what this work was to be about," Rioult said. "It was going to be wild and weird. And it was going to be more along the lines of misery. It's like a trail of misery. And it's a study on how people get caught up in a whirlpool without knowing it -- until it's too late."

The main inspiration for the work was actually postwar social decay, Rioult said. "I was thinking of the time between the two world wars. And the early beginnings of World War II, when rocks would be thrown through Jewish-owned store windows in Germany."

Rioult reflected on those actions for a long time, he said. "I kept asking myself, 'If I were 18 in Berlin and those things started happening, would I have tried to stop it? Would I have not gotten involved? Or would I have participated?'

"It's scary. When the rise of Nazism began, there were a lot of people who didn't agree with the philosophy but were carried away in the whirlpool."

I was feeling sad that his concert last week was not as well attended as I'd hoped, while tonight, I went to a packed house at the Post Street Theatre to see Burn the Floor with another dance pal. The show is being heavily promoted.

It was an auditory assault, and the ballroom-derived choreography one step below a cruise ship act. Yet the audience lapped it up, whooping and hollering for some of the sloppiest dancing I'd seen in years. We left at intermission.

And afterward, my friend and I ate at O'Doul's, a fine working class pub and cafeteria-style restaurant that, we hoped, would remain impervious to the economic collapse.

Yet as we walked through Union Square toward Muni, we were beseiged by homeless beggars entertaining us, asking for, and in increasing numbers, demanding spare change. No, I could not spare a quarter. I'd had to make sure to make exact change to get on the train, since the previous night, I'd walked home from another event after being utterly frustrated by not being able to change a five dollar bill at the Powell St. stop. No, even a quarter was valuable, and more importantly, despite all the comp tickets, that quarter was mine.

The increasing number of beggars reflected our previous conversation about the impending class of formerly working and upper-class becoming unemployed, and how they would soon push the poverty class even lower on the scale. People were already becoming more desperate. And the entertainment, in some cases, was reflecting that Weimar aesthetic; banal, cabaret, mindless and wan, all noise and flat in its lack of depth. Basically the message is simple: ignore reality for as long as possible.

Look at the statistics on Thousands in all industries, and they are not going to disappear. They are going to have to find other lower-paying jobs.

Major Layoff Headlines
Caterpillar Layoff Tally -22,000
Boeing -10,000
Pfizer Update: Closing 5 Plants -26,000
Circuit City Closing Down -30,000
Alcoa -13,500
GE Capital Cutting up to 11,000
Bank of America to cut up to 35,000
Rio Tinto Mining Cutting 14,000 Worldwide
Office Depot Will Close 112 Stores
KB Toys Bankrupt Closing All 460 Stores
Citigroup will have to cut 75,000 by 2009
Financial Layoff Tally 290,000

What does the future hold for these people? How are they supposed to, as our new president said, "Dust themselves off"?

And yet, the Wall Street executives give themselves billions in bonuses. The money keeps getting spent, by the rich and the richest of the rich.

If you spent $1 million a day every day since the day Jesus Christ was (allegedly) born, it would still not amount to $1 trillion.

Where is this money coming from? Where is it going? You can be sure of one thing: you're not getting any.

What dance will we be doing in the future? One of release, of escape, or one of desperation?

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Bong. Water.

So, Michael Phelps smoked some pot in the off-season. Big whoop.
Perhaps his next endorsement should be "Weedies: the wake and bake of champions."

The UK tabloid's puritanical coverage of this "scandal" is more pathetic than Phelps' being stupid enough to crash a party and make such a scene to get high.

In our exclusive photo Michael Phelps, who won a record 8 gold medals for swimming at the Beijing games last summer, draws from a bong. The glass pipes are generally used to smoke cannabis.

And after sporting chiefs announced laws which mean 4-year bans for drug-taking, Phelps’ dreams of adding to his overall 14 gold medal tally at the 2012 games in London could already be over.

Those dreams seemed the last thing on his mind when he puffed from the bong during two days of partying with students last November, a quiet time in the swimming calendar when athletes would not expect to get tested for drugs.One party-goer who witnessed the star’s behaviour told the News of the World: “He was out of control from the moment he got there. “If he continues to party like that I’d be amazed if he ever won any more medals again.” Phelps’ aides went into a panic over our story and offered us a raft of extraordinary incentives not to run the bong picture.

A 23-year-old jock parties. Stop the presses. Sure, he's the most world-famous 23-year-old jock, and he could lose a few of his millions in endorsements. So that may have been a rather pricey toke.

Update: Phelps donned a suit and tie (but didn't shave the hot goatee, thankfully) to apologize for his bad behavior. Yes, Mikey, don't (get photographed when you) smoke pot.