Saturday, October 31, 2009

Fright Night

While Americans celebrate the amusing horrors of Halloween, in London, thousands defied fear as they commemorated the life of a fatal victim of antigay hatred.

Thousands gathered in Trafalgar Square in London last night for a vigil in response to a recent surge in anti-gay hate crimes, and more specifically, the recent homophobic murder of Ian Baynham, and the attack on James Parkes, a police trainee who was beaten in Liverpool last week.

More from the BBC:

Family and friends and thousands of gay, lesbian and transgender people turned out to mourn Ian Baynham, 62.

Tributes were also paid to trainee Pc James Parkes, who suffered skull fractures after an attack in Liverpool.

Rows of candles spelt out "No To Hate" and speeches took place before a two-minutes silence at 2100.

Like millions of people before him, Ian Baynham walked through the square on 25 September, looking forward to a night out.

A little over a month later, thousands gathered beneath Nelson's Column to mourn his murder.

Police believe Mr Baynham, from Beckenham in Kent, was beaten by a group of total strangers because he was gay. He suffered head injuries and died in hospital two weeks later.

From where the candles flickered, mourners could see the spot, just a few yards away, where he became another victim.

Youtube links to videos at

Monday, October 26, 2009

Cult Tumult

Crash director Paul Haggis has quit the "Church" of Scifitology. After 35 years in the devious controversial "religion," Haggis finally has a firm grasp of the obvious. Scifitology is evil and dumb at the same time. has the story, and Gawker fills us in on the dish.

The entire letter to—of all people—creepy Church spokescreature Tommy Davis is below, but here are the highlights: Haggis has been asking the church to resign their support of Proposition 8. He registered his distaste for the church's stances on homosexuality via phone calls and letters. Davis told Haggis that "heads would roll" over this about ten months ago. Davis apparently drew up a press release he showed to Haggis, which eventually got canned. Haggis views the church's actions as "cowardly," and thus, after thirty-five years of membership, is resigning.

Furthermore, Haggis saw Davis' interview on CNN, when Davis denied the existence of a "disconnection" policy in which the church orders members to cut non-members out of their lives, as they pose some kind of negative threat towards the work of the church in members' lives.

Surprisingly, Haggis' main beef is the "church"'s stance in support of Proposition 8, which (for now) banned gay marriage in California. The media mavens are noting how well-timed (or ill-timed, depending on your perspective) Haggis' quitterama is. A few nights ago, on ABC's Nightline, effete Scifitology flak Tommy Davis walked off the set of his interview in a huff.

Haggis directed the Best Picture Oscar-winning film Crash, which, some allege, robbed the gay-themed Ang Lee heartbreaker Brokeback Mountain of a few Oscars.

I just bought a copy of the Heath ledger/Jake Gyllenhaal flick for a $1 at a sidewalk sale last weekend. While I don't know when I'll watch it again, I definitely will never see Crash. Hollywood gossip is that while it's a given that many of the older more conservative academy members don't care for gay movies, others pointed out that Crash's promoters (aka other Scifitologists) sent out screeners of Crash in droves right before the Academy voting deadline.

Recent protests at Scifitology centers have been organized by the group Anonymous, who don Guy Fawkes masks made popular by another film, V for Vendetta.

Apparently, Scientology, Haggis knows how to quit you. Maybe Haggis can give his Oscar to Ang Lee as a form of protest. For now, his high profile protest may be the straw that breaks the cult, excuse me, camel's back.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Pot, meet Kettle

Unhinged rightwingers, who in huge numbers are threatening the life of the president, threatening to commit acts of treason and violence nationwide, are microcasting their venom on a gay man and a nearly defunct AIDS activist group.

Yep, as Peter Staley notes on the POZ blog, the wingnuts are digging up anything they think might be hateful and hurtful in their latest smear campaign against Kevin Jennings, founder of GLSEN and a presidential aide.

Oh, and Peter, also blogs, psychotic freak Bill Donahue claims ACT UP is/was a "terrorist group." This from a lone whiner who pretends to represent a religion that burned thousands and thousands of people alive, massacred children and natives worldwide, and whose priests molest children every day.

These wingnuts are only now again aware of ACT UP because of a new exhibit of ACT UP art at Harvard.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Dude, nude.

This is like something out of a John Waters movie.

Pervy guy exposes himself to unsuspecting neighbors and innocent children in Virginia?

Nope. Here's the story.

Nosey pervy cop's wife trespasses on hot straight dude's property, peeps into his window, and exposes her son to a hot guy and his body while he's making coffee in his own home.

I think the nosey cop's wife should be arrested, and the the guy should pose for a nudie magazine, or become a spokesman for some artsy coffee company. Nosey Cop's Wife life is so obviously sad and unfulfilled that she needs to go snooping around a hot guy's home while dragging her kid around.

More at

Artist's interpretation of the events? Not exactly.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Likes to Boogie

The Toronto Star reports on a real-life Billy Elliot, raised by two dads. Sweet!

Thomas Jones and Rob Gibson are acutely aware that they are setting themselves up for a barrage of "nature versus nurture" jokes whenever they tell people their son is a budding ballet prodigy.

So be it, though. Their adopted offspring, James Gibson-Jones, appears destined for some species of ballet greatness, having been snapped up by the National Ballet of Canada this fall after just two years of lessons.

He began dabbling in dance at the urging of teachers and family friends in Bowmanville, who sensed an affinity for rhythm and performance in the charismatic 11-year-old with the "classic Billy Elliot build."

Gibson, for one, knows it's going to raise eyebrows, bringing up the (pink) elephant in the room – actually a typical suburban backyard fraught with excitable golden retrievers – unprompted and in good humour.

"That was the first thing that I thought of," he chuckles. "Here are the two gay men and their son, the dancer. There are those stereotypes: `We're recruiting.' `Only gay men dance.' Things like that. I just find that incredibly funny. We didn't even push him in dance. We were thinking gymnastics because he was so flexible."

"Nobody's actually brought it up," shrugs Jones. "But if it happens, it happens. So be it."

(Read more)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Wakey Quakey

San Francisco loves its anniversaries; murders, celebrations, assassinations, and of course earthquakes.

It's no less fascinating to recall the fright and fear of the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, because thanks to pro baseball, the quake was televised live.

SF Gate's coverage should provide enough lurid memories of panic and disaster to distract you from the idiocy that was Balloon Boy.

Apparently, there was a citywide earthquake drill late this week. Missed it. Well, I don't need practice screaming, giggling, and ducking under my desk.

Should "the big one" happen while I'm at home, my apartment has scars along a few walls from the '89 quake. So i know where it'll rip next time. Maybe.

It's surprising how many people aren't prepared for an earthquake. I have some bottled water that's been sitting under my sink for a few years. Probably stinks by now. Flashlights? Canned food? Good shoes? Turn off the gas? So much to recall while your home is shaking.

The journalist in me would just hope i have a camera and tape recorder with the batteries charged.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Times of his life

Bob Mould brings musical diversity to new CD and DJ gig
by Jim Provenzano
Bay Area Reporter

"Growing old, it's hard to be an angry young man," state the lyrics in Bob Mould's song "Return to Dust." While the 48-year-old musician shouldn't feel old, it is fascinating to recall that he started the seminal punk band Husker Du 30 years ago, and has continued to influence cultural shifts in modern music.

His other accomplishments, including his subsequent band Sugar, an upcoming memoir, and even a brief stint with the World Wrestling Federation (as a story developer, not a wrestler), add up to a career worthy of a retrospective. But Bob Mould just keeps moving on, performing October 18 at the Treasure Island Music Festival along with dozens of other musicians and DJs. Included in his set will be songs from his latest CD, Life and Times.

When we talked, Mould had arrived in San Francisco for the September edition of Blowoff, the popular roving nightclub event Mould and musician DJ Rich Morel (Death of the Paperboy) produce every two to three months in different cities across the U.S. How does the busy musician manage a constantly roving schedule?

"We try to balance it out," said Mould. "I've also got my band doing an entire North American tour. How I worked it this time, the DC band show and DC Blowoff will be on the same night. Then we turn the house over for Blowoff in about 45 minutes. That works really well. I try to put the band shows in that schedule."

How does the audience change? Mould chuckles, then admits, "For the band shows, it's 90% straight. For Blowoff, it's 100% gay."

This balance between straight and gay fans has been a persistent duality. He continues to expand the specificity of being out in the new CD, Life and Times. One song, "Argos," includes descriptions of the cruisy, sex-filled backrooms of an Amsterdam bar. The CD's concise collection explores some of the more painful aspects of relationships, emptiness, while still keeping a rocking beat and melody.

"A while back, I was trying to put together a fictitious gay punk-rock band," Mould said, as he explained the sexual inspiration behind "Argos." "I actually did it, then I wrote some songs like 'Argos.' Nothing came of it. Then I thought, 'What the hell, I'll put it on my recor
d.' It has a sexy, fun sort of bathhouse atmosphere. I started addressing same-sex relationships in songs in 2002 with Modulate . That was sort of my jumping-off point with being not only gender-specific, but orientation-specific."


Sunday, October 11, 2009

Marching Orders

I wish I could find the text of my 1993 March on Washington feature for Frontiers. It might drum up some energy for what's going on today. It is interesting that HRC managed to wrangle President Obama away from the San Francisco golf tournament (where he was scheduled to be a few weeks ago), and to their dinner in DC on the eve of Cleve Jones' new grassroots march. But of course it didn't work that way. Did it? The March was organized by grassroots activists.

Gay rights advocates march on DC, divided on Obama

Thousands of gay and lesbian activists marched Sunday from the White House to the Capitol, demanding that President Barack Obama keep his promises to allow gays to serve openly in the military and allow same-sex marriages.

Rainbow flags and homemade signs dotted the crowds filling Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House as people chanted "Hey, Obama, let mama marry mama" and "We're out, we're proud, we won't back down." Many children were also among the protesters. A few counter-protesters had also joined the crowd.

Did Obama promise again to eliminate Don't Ask Don't Tell? Yes. Did he make his case for our rights clear? Well then, mission accomplished. Sort of.

Mr. Obama, who spokes for about 25 minutes, told the crowd that he came to the gay community with a simple message: "I'm here with you in that fight….My commitment to you is unwavering."

Introducing Mr. Obama, Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese told the crowd, "We have never had a stronger ally in the White House. Never."

Richard Socarides, who had advised the Clinton administration on gay and lesbian policy, told the Associated Press that Mr. Obama delivered "a strong speech in tone, although only vaguely reassuring in content.''

"The president and Nobel winner came and paid his respects, but tomorrow many will ask: What's his plan, what's his timetable,'' Mr. Socarides said.

It's a grey cold day here in San Francisco. Facebook friends are uploading mobile pictures. I share, from a distance. I wonder and hope that it took this march to get that speech to get our rights.

Gestures, symbols, moments. Yes, these, too, are a form of activism:

For Lt. Dan Choi, the day began with a jog around Washington's memorials, calling cadence at 8 a.m. with fellow veterans and supporters before joining the march. Choi, a West Point graduate, Arabic speaker and Iraq war veteran, is facing discharge under the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy for revealing in March that he is gay.

"We have fought in battles to protect our country, and now we are fighting at home for equal and full protection under the law," he said. He later stood outside the White House in uniform with his partner.

On Saturday, he led a group of gay veterans in laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery to honor gay and lesbian soldiers who have died in the line of duty.

But what will today do? Ever since Cleve then David Mixner, and others called for this march, the message was clear. But there wasn't a lot of agreement for months, and it no doubt will be smaller than any.

Other veteran activists doubted the march would accomplish much. They said the time and money would have been better spent working to persuade voters in Maine and Washington state, where the November ballot will include a measure that would overturn a bill granting same-sex couples many of the benefits of marriage.

A bill introducing same-sex marriage in the nation's capital also was introduced last week by the District of Columbia Council and is expected to easily pass.

Rep. Barney Frank, an openly gay member of Congress, said the marchers should be lobbying their lawmakers. He said the demonstrations are simply "an emotional release" that do little to pressure Congress.

"The only thing they're going to be putting pressure on is the grass," the Massachusetts Democrat said Friday.

Despite Barney, our gay party-pooper, I wish everyone well, and I hope it energizes their activism.

More coverage of the 2009 Equality March HERE.

See the live-streaming photo album HERE.

Friday, October 9, 2009


B.A.R. leather columnist Marcus Hernandez dies

Marcus Hernandez, who served as the Bay Area Reporter's longtime leather columnist, died Thursday, October 8 at Pacifica Nursing and Rehab Center in Pacifica. He was 77.

The cause of death was complications from diabetes and arteriosclerosis.

Mr. Hernandez was known to his legions of readers by his pen name "Mister Marcus" and dubbed the "dean of leather columnists." His weekly columns of contest goings-on and gossip were a must-read for leather community leaders, titleholders, and newcomers alike for 38 years. (READ MORE)

I'll miss proofing his columns. Farewell, Marcus.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Game Face

Chicago's loss is Cleveland's gain.
Congratulations to the Cleveland team for winning the bid to host Gay Games IX in 2014.

Obama's the laughing stock of Rethugs, who cackle with glee at the failure of a billion-dollar stimulus, and perhaps a last chance for America to redeem itself in the eyes of the world.

But no, The Rethugs are actually happy that the U.S. didn't win.

You can't say the gay sports world didn't show them how to win back in 2006.
Gay Games XI basically paved an exemplary bid plan for the city, as Mayor said at the time.

Ah, well. The Olympic process is based on bribes, so what do expect? We're broke.

But only a few hundred miles southeast of Chicago, once again, the heartland welcomes us. Yes, with the late promise of municipal cash. But really, it's the smartest gay political move in years. Show ourselves, competing, being us, in the middle of conservative America.

"We are extremely honoured and pleased that Cleveland has been selected to host the 2014 Gay Games," said W. Doug Anderson, spokesperson for Cleveland Synergy Foundation, the bidding organization. "It is truly a privilege to continue Dr. Tom Waddell's legacy and vision in our city -- an extremely enthusiastic sports town - where the guiding principles of personal best, inclusion and participation are held dear."

Read more at:"

(See also, great summation by Itay Hod at despite the fact that the only image is of a flag dancer, not any athletes.)

Some people may have thought we should invite visitors to our more cosmopolitan cities, Boston and DC being the other bidders.

And it certainly would have been wonderful, efficient, celebratory, like any other big convention, seen, done while the people who need to see us -to change their ways- are all home for the weekend.

Whatever you do, when you come to compete, get a rental car if you want to see the cheese barns, the bucolic fields, the Amish, and whatever's left of that beautiful bland wonderful boring state's individuality. It does have its charm.

Maybe they can get former Ohioan Chrissie Hynde to perform at the stadium.
WMMS should sponsor it.

Oh, and you might want to add a rodeo.
I know, animal rights, etc. Not in the bid, etc.
Maybe just a horse show of some kind.

But it wouldn't hurt if, say, some rodeo producers held one in Stow, or Galion, or some small town - like Buffalo Bill held his Wild West show near, but not officially part of, the Chicago World's Fair.

Ohioans like their horses and their cowboys. And their cheese barns.

Maybe an optional tractor pull.

(photos, except skyline: Jim Provenzano)