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OUTSPOKEN IN THEIR OWN WORDS
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Inside Georgia and America’s new growing ‘gayby’ boom. Page 4 AIDS Walk Atlanta still pushing for $1 million goal. Page 7 HIV research agency seeks help after unexpected move. Page 7
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“The comments … that sought to link the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy to our state’s embrace of marriage equality are as offensive as they are ignorant.”
— New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, responding to Rabbi Noson Leiter, who called Hurricane Sandy “divine” retribution for New York legalizing gay marriage. (New York Daily News, Nov. 5)
What Obama’s win means for LGBT issues. Page 10
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“It was really challenging and as an actress having to ﬁnd chemistry with other actresses, it was kind of a new experience for me and kind of confronting of my own real world sexuality.”
— Michelle Ang on playing Sophia, a character coming out as a lesbian, on the new MTV drama “Underemployed.” (Celebuzz, Oct. 30)
Photo courtesy MTVPress.com
Huge victories for marriage equality on Election Day. Page 10 First lesbian elected to U.S. Senate. Page 11 Three lesbians return to Ga. General Assembly. Page 13
Queer BOIS celebrate masculine-identiﬁed women. Page 15 Art: “Heroes + Villains” debuts after community kickstart. Page 17 Food: On pornography, plus the cute new guy. Page 18 Theater: “Wolves” and Cirque du Soleil’s “Totem.” Page 19 TV: Local lesbian chefs get “Chopped.” Page 20 Photos: Black Party, Jerusalem House’s Ghosts of Hollywood. Page 21
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“You’re never going to make it. You’ve got that gay red top on.”
— New Zealand Prime Minister John Key, in an interview, describing the shirt of “The Farming Show” presenter Jamie Mackay; Key later said he meant it to mean “weird,” not to be homophobic. (New Zealand Herald, Nov. 6)
Upcoming events honor transgender community. Page 23
“I’m currently touring [schools], attacking homophobia in the playground and discouraging kids from the careless use of ‘gay’ which might make their gay friends (and teachers) feel less about themselves. So even as he supports the proposal to introduce same-gender marriages in New Zealand, I do hope John Key listens to his critics and appreciates their concern.”
— Gay actor Sir Ian McKellen, blogging that the New Zealand prime minister “should watch his language.” (New Zealand Herald, Nov. 6)
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That’s What She Said: Melissa Carter on moving on after the election. Page 26 Domestically Disturbed: Topher Payne is in it to win it. Page 27
Inside Georgia’s (and America’s) Gayby Boom
As the number of LGBT parents expands, so do demographics
By Ryan Lee The bemoaned go-go boy dancing on a float may soon have to surrender his status as the cultural symbol of Gay Pride festivals — to baby strollers. “Over the last few years, Pride feels more like a giant play date,” said Gail Panacci, a lesbian mother of two young children. “There’s strollers, and an entire kid section, and there’s a lot now to accommodate LGBT families. It sometimes feels like it’s a giant birthday party. “It’s wild and phenomenal, especially that this is happening in Atlanta,” she said. The proliferation of LGBT individuals and couples raising children mirrors what Panacci has seen in her 14 years as reproductive services manager at the Feminist Women’s Health Center, where lesbians make up about 90 percent of clients in the donor insemination program. “[In 1998], we would have four or five insemination procedures a month, that would be kind of busy,” Panacci said. “Over the years, we’ve probably been serving, on average, about 20 patients a month, which is what we used to serve annually.” Considered an anomaly a decade ago, gay and lesbian parents have woven themselves into the fabric of both gay and American culture: ubiquitous at events like Pride, and requisite for any prime time sitcom. But the film and television caricatures of gay parents — most obviously the middleaged, high-income white male couple as seen on shows like “Modern Family” and “The New Normal” — distort the demographics of the socalled “gayby boom” that has taken place during the early part of this millennium. LGBT parenthood encompasses single mothers and transgender fathers. Census data shows that more than a quarter of same-sex couples in the South are raising a child, outpacing every other region. Black and Latino LGBT people who are in a relationship are both more likely to be parents than coupled whites. As America’s LGBT family portrait evolves, what it means to be an LGBT parent in Atlanta does too.
November 9, 2012
Kristen Skillen (above) says she has not experienced discrimination as a single lesbian mom raising her young son. Ebonee Woodruff-Barnes (below, right with partner Tonie Tobias) raised her two sons in the 1980s, and says she is much more out as a parent now that she is raising her greatniece, Nykisha. (Courtesy photos)
Parenting out of the closet
Ebonee Woodruff-Barnes knows first-hand how much has changed for LGBT parents in the last two decades. The biological mother of two sons born in the late 1980s, Woodruff-Barnes is parenting a young one once again, having raised her seven-year-old great-niece since birth.
“At the time I was raising the older ones, I was more closeted than I am now,” WoodruffBarnes said. “It was definitely the era. I pretty much couldn’t be who I was when it came to being a parent, I think because I had to be a parent and not be myself. “Out in the open, I couldn’t be a lesbian mother,” she said. “Now, I can be who I am, I can classify myself as a lesbian parent and there won’t be any repercussions for that.” The Feminist Women’s Health Center has always tracked the “outness” of the clients in its donor insemination program, and the openness with which gay parents are living their lives has “radically changed,” Panacci said. “Almost all couples applying to come in now specify that they’ve already built their village,” Panacci said. “I can’t even remember the last time I met with a woman or couple who self-identify as LGBT and didn’t say that they were out to their families, or even out at work. The ‘outness’ and how that’s shifted in the past decade has been tremendous.” Woodruff-Barnes recalls receiving some awkward glances and greetings when her child attended school in more rural Douglas County, but she and her partner were voted Parents of the Year twice since moving to DeKalb County. “The school knows that I have a partner and the teachers know and we don’t have an issue,” she said. “The other parents also know that I
have a partner and they treat us very well.” Woodruff-Barnes considers herself part of the enduring legacy of black LGBT people stepping in to raise the child of a family member. “It’s very common,” she said. “I’d say about 75 percent of my friends who do not have their own biological kids are raising one of their family members.”
Trends in LGBT parenting
From 1990 to 2006, the percentage of samesex couples raising children increased by about 50 percent, according to research by Gary Gates, the Williams Distinguished Scholar at the UCLA School of Law’s Williams Institute, who studies the demographics of LGBT people in the United States using data from the U.S. Census and other government studies. In 1990, 12 percent of same-sex couples were raising children; in 2006, the percent was up to nearly 19 percent, Gates noted in a report
last year. The figure has since dropped to about 16 percent. “This pattern seems to contradict the prevailing view that increasing numbers of lesbians and gay men (and same-sex couples) are raising children,” Gates noted. “However, a closer look at these data suggests that there may be two different trends occurring with regard to parenting.” Rather than a decline in gay couples choosing to parent, Gates attributed the drop from 2006 to the present to an increase in gay couples adopting children that is offset by a decline in LGBT people having children with differentsex partners before coming out. In the 2000 Census, out of same-sex couples raising children, nearly 10 percent had an adopted child. By 2009, 19 percent of same-sex couples with kids had adopted a child — “a substantial rise in adoptive parenting,” Gates noted. At the same time, “declines in social stigma toward LGB people mean that more are coming out earlier in life and are becoming less likely to have children with different-sex partners,” Gates observed. Kristen Skillin came out to her parents at age 14 in 2005, but briefly experimented with a guy two years later and became pregnant. Since her son was four months old, Skillin has been raising him as a single lesbian mom, and believes her experience has been similar to her heterosexual counterparts. “Being a single mom dating is a lot harder because you have to pace it,” Skillin said. “Is this going to be a serious relationship? Are they going to meet your kid? Should you bring them over? “My son is five now, and definitely he’s going to remember people, and I can’t bring people into his life if I’m just dating them,” she said. At 21, Skillin embodies the openness that successive generations of LGBT parents can enjoy. It wasn’t until a year after Skillin came out as lesbian that her father acknowledged to the family that he was gay. Skillin’s own son, Wesley, once asked her when she was going to get married, and Skillin told him she has to find the right girl. “He said, ‘Aren’t you supposed to marry a boy?’” Skillin recalled. “I said, ‘Most people, boys and girls marry, but it does happen when boys marry boys and girls marry girls, and that okay.’ We have very open discussions about that. I’ve been very open with him.” Skillin remembers a middle-school classmate who used to be teased because she had two mothers, but said, “I think we’ve made great movements toward equality and people becoming more and more accepting. “Living in the Bible Belt, you wouldn’t expect too many people to be accepting, but I’ve been seeing it at my son’s daycare, and his friend’s parents,” said Skillin, who lives in Buford. “It’s been a lot easier than I would have expected it to be.”
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November 9, 2012
Jamie Fergerson (right) and her husband, Max Green, are raising their young son, Rowan, with broad support from friends and family. (Courtesy photo)
Gay families more common, but still legally unprotected
GAYBY BOOM, continued from Page 4 While attitudes toward LGBT parenting have evolved alongside the discussion of samesex marriage, Gates points out that laws have not kept pace to ensure that LGBT parents are protected — especially in the South, which cites a higher percentage of same-sex couples raising children than other regions. “The geographic data suggest that many same-sex couples raising children live in states with legal environments that at best are not supportive and at worst are openly hostile toward LGB individuals and their families,” he noted. Nationally, adjusted numbers from the 2010 Census showed 17 percent of same-sex couples raising their “own” children (deﬁned as kids under 18 who are sons or daughters of one partner by birth, marriage or adoption). In Georgia, the 2010 Census showed 20 percent of samesex couples raising children. Gay couples are banned from marrying in Georgia. State law is silent on the topic of adoptions by gay parents, leaving decisions in the hands of individual judges. Another force that doesn’t seem to be keeping pace with societal changes is the market. Whereas insemination and surrogacy options have gone from niche to almost mainstream, the price of assisted fertilization has expanded as well. “This service costs money,” conceded Panacci of the Feminist Women’s Health Center. “We’ve tried very hard as a non-proﬁt organization to keep our costs to where it’s accessible to as many people as possible.” The rising cost of health care and prescription drugs, as well as an almost tripling of sperm bank prices over the past 15 years, makes donor insemination too costly for some. “We had a few friends who had gone before
Legal protections lag
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us, so we knew the costs were really expensive,” said Jamie Fergerson, who is the parent of a 7-month-old son along with her husband, Max, who is transgender. “And so we had been saving money for a couple of years before we started trying to get pregnant,” Fergerson said. “The cost is certainly prohibitive for some people, and a stretch for a lot of people.” William Kinnane and John Petersen, a gay couple in Sandy Springs, spent more than $35,000 over four years trying to adopt a child. They now have a three-year-old daughter, Riley, and are thinking about expanding their family. “We might do surrogacy or through foster care,” said Kinnane, who added that they are also considering an international adoption. Despite the gayby boom that is seen in public and popular media, the majority of LGBT individuals and couples remain childless, according to Gates’ research. Petersen and Kinnane were among the LGBT parents attending the 4th annual MEGA Family Conference hosted by the MEGA Family Project Nov. 3, and Kinnane said the organization helps connect them with other families. Ferguson believes parenthood can be particularly isolating for LGBT and queer couples whose peers are childless, and considers her young family fortunate to have a broad support group. “Most of our friends don’t have kids, but we’re lucky that we’ve built a friend community that loves children, and they love our child,” Fergerson said. “We’re also lucky that our families of origin are pretty supportive now. I wouldn’t say that it’s always been that way or that it was easy for them to come to the place where they’re happy and supportive, but everyone loves a grandchild.”
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November 9, 2012
Operation Move ARCA continues to help fund new location
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AIDS Research Consortium of Atlanta settles into new home
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Founded in 1988, the AIDS Research Consortium of Atlanta is one of Atlanta’s oldest continuously operating HIV/AIDS service organizations. The agency learned in mid-September it would be forced from its home on Ponce de Leon Avenue after its building was purchased by a real estate developer who planned to build new residential properties. The move to ARCA’s new location at 440 Ralph McGill Blvd. has been challenging, Dr. Melanie Thompson, ARCA executive director, told GA Voice. “We were given about eight weeks, but it took us a long time to ﬁnd a place where we wanted to live, given all the different constraints,” Thompson said. “We had been in our old place 22 years. You can imagine how much stuff accumulates over 22 years.” In addition to the lab and research equip-
ment, ARCA also had to ﬁnd a new place to store more than 15 years of records as required by the Food & Drug Administration. A fundraising drive called Operation Move ARCA was set up to help the service organization fund the move to its new home. So far, ARCA has raised about half of its goal of $10,000, Thompson said. The fundraising effort will continue through the next few months to help bridge that gap. ARCA is currently accepting donations through its Facebook page. Thompson said ARCA would be up and running on Monday, Nov. 12. “We’re going to be really happy here,” Thompson said. “We’ll be starting three new studies within the next couple of weeks and that will be exciting.” — Ryan Watkins
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AIDS Walk Atlanta still hopes to raise $1 million for local organizations
Donations can be made through November
The 2012 AIDS Walk Atlanta and 5K run drew thousands to Piedmont Park Oct. 27 in hopes of raising $1 million to fund several HIV/AIDS organizations. As of Nov. 6, the event had raised more than $850,000, but donations will be accepted until the end of November. Last year, AIDS Walk Atlanta raised close to $1 million, surpassing 2010’s total by $82,000. The agency still seeks a new executive director after Tracy Elliott resigned from the position in June after serving ﬁve years at the helm. Jon Santos, development director at AID Atlanta, resigned shortly after Elliott to take a position with Jerusalem House. As AID Atlanta continues it search for a new executive director, it is being led by the team of its top management ofﬁcers. AID Atlanta Board Chair Mark Rinder said the AIDS Walk is “right on track” to reach last year’s total, but did not respond to questions about the director search by press time. Beneﬁciaries for this year’s AIDS Walk are AID Atlanta, the Ric Crawford Clinic (former-
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People take time to visit the AIDS Memorial Quilt during this year’s AIDS Walk. The event still hopes to reach its ﬁnancial goal. (Photo by Dyana Bagby)
ly AID Gwinnett), AIDS Research Consortium of Atlanta, Aniz Inc., Jerusalem House, Living Room Inc., Positive Impact and Project Open Hand. The team that raised the most money this year was SunTrust. The winner of the 5K run was Genesis Henderson. There were 784 runners in this year’s 5K. Organizers estimate approximately 10,000 people participated in the AIDS Walk. — Dyana Bagby
November 9, 2012
Obama victory ‘a giant leap towards full equality’
President includes gay Americans in his victory speech; advocates plan for future
By Ryan Watkins email@example.com Advocates for LGBT rights are charting out their priorities for the next four years after “ally in chief” President Barack Obama won the highly contested general election over Republican challenger and former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney. After a strong showing in the swing states of Iowa, Ohio, Wisconsin, Colorado and New Mexico, Obama easily passed the 270-vote threshold in the Electoral College. A concession came from Romney just after midnight Nov. 7, while Obama addressed supporters in the early morning hours from his campaign headquarters in Chicago. “I believe we can keep the promise of our founding —- the idea that if you’re willing to work hard, it doesn’t matter who you are, or where you come from, or what you look like, or [who] you love — it doesn’t matter whether you’re black or white, or Hispanic or Asian, or Native American, or young or old, or rich or poor, abled, disabled, gay or straight — you can make it here in America if you’re willing to try,” Obama said during his acceptance speech. The victory, which means the country will retain the most LGBT-supportive president in history, came as voters also approved marriage for same-sex couples in Maine, Maryland and apparently Washington (see graphic), turned back an anti-gay constitutional amendment in Minnesota, and elected the ﬁrst openly gay U.S. senator ever. “Obviously we are elated that our Ally-inChief, President Barack Obama, is returning to the White House for four more years of progress,” said Chad Grifﬁn, president of the young people go to bed at night and stare at the ceiling, sleeplessly wondering what awaits them the next day at school or at church or in their own home,” Grifﬁn said. “We have a long way to go, my friends, but tonight we took a giant leap towards full equality in this great country.” Obama’s accomplishments on LGBT issues during his ﬁrst term include repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” signing the Matthew Shepard & James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act into law and instructing his Department of Justice to acknowledge the unconstitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act in a series of court challenges. He also announced his personal support for allowing same-sex couples to marry. No president had ever advocated so ﬁercely for LGBT causes, but can voters expect more of the same in the next four years? Darlene Nipper, deputy executive director of the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force, said the answer is “yes.” “He’s clearly been the most pro-LGBT president we’ve had,” Nipper told GA Voice by phone. Nipper was bullish on legislation moving forward, even with a divided Congress where Republicans retain leadership in the U.S. House while Democrats control the U.S. Senate. “We have to assume [DOMA] is something that would be on President Obama’s agenda. There’s already the Respect for Marriage Act that’s in Congress. We need to get an employment non-discrimination bill passed. Our expectation is that he will be moving forward,” she said.
Four more years
President Obama included gay Americans in his acceptance speech, noting that whether you’re ‘gay or straight — you can make it here in America if you’re willing to try.’ (Publicity photo)
Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBT political group, via email. “Our community has ﬂexed our political muscle with exit polls showing lesbian, gay and bisexual Americans increasing our presence at the polls from 4 percent of the vote in 2008 to 5 percent this year,” Grifﬁn continued. “And the president gained many more supporters among
lesbian, gay, and bisexual voters — jumping seven points to garner 77 percent of our vote.” While acknowledging the importance of an Obama win, Grifﬁn highlighted the work LGBT rights advocates have ahead. “Too many people are still denied the ability to marry. Too many people go to their jobs without workplace protections. Too many
LANDMARK WINS FOR MARRIAGE EQUALITY
Yes: 53.11 percent No: 46.89 percent On Tuesday, Maine citizens voted — not on a gay marriage ban — but on whether to proactively grant marriage equality in their state. This is the ﬁrst such ballot measure in the country, brought by LGBT advocates rather than by anti-gay forces seeking to prevent or overturn same-sex marriage.
For: 51.9 percent Against: 48.1 percent The Maryland state legislature and governor approved same-sex marriage last spring. Opponents immediately pushed for a referendum to stop it. They lost. On Nov. 6, voters approved the measure that “establishes that Maryland’s civil marriage laws allow gay and lesbian couples to obtain a civil marriage license.”
Yes: 47.6 percent No: 52.4 percent Minnesota already has a state law banning same-sex marriage. On Nov. 6, voters were asked whether to amend the state constitution to recognize marriage “solely between one man and one woman.” They refused — making Minnesota the ﬁrst state ever to defeat an anti-gay marriage amendment.
Approve: 51.8 percent Reject: 48.2 percent Washington’s state legislature and governor approved marriage equality last year, but like in Maryland, opponents pushed for a ballot measure to stop it. To uphold same-sex marriage, voters had to vote to approve Referendum 74. Ballots were still being counted at press time, but it appeared to be another victory for marriage equality.
Sources: Unofﬁcial state election results, local media. Tallies likely to change slightly as provisional and absentee ballots are counted.
But Obama’s positions on a wide variety of issues, not just those directly impacting LGBT constituents, made him the better choice, Nipper said. “It’s not just about things we naturally think about being LGBT-specific, it’s a whole host of things. HIV travel ban, making sure people have access to treatment for HIV and AIDS. It’s making sure people have access to affordable healthcare — those are LGBT issues. We will be working very hard to make sure those issues are addressed with sound policy that reflects our lives,” Nipper said. But not all gay political insiders were happy with Obama’s victory. Jimmy LaSalvia, executive director of gay conservative political organization GOProud, supported Romney throughout the general election. “He won’t have some sort of popular mandate,” LaSalvia told GA Voice in a telephone interview this week. “It’s going to be up to the Republicans in the House to make sure he shows up to work, passes a budget and we start to move on a path to reduce spending and the debt.”
November 9, 2012
Tammy Baldwin (Courtesy Photo)
Baldwin makes history as first out gay U.S. senator
At least five gay candidates win seats in U.S. House
Tuesday’s election makes Tammy Baldwin the first openly gay person to serve in the U.S. Senate and brings the tally of LGBT members of the U.S. House to at least five. “People ... see our country and our states moving toward full equality in many respects,” Baldwin told CNN the morning after the election. “When you have legislative bodies that look more like America, that happens.” Baldwin is also the first woman to represent Wisconsin in the U.S. Senate. She made history in 1998 when she became the first openly gay candidate elected to the U.S. House. While other gay people had served in Congress, they came out after already winning office. There are currently four openly gay members of the U.S. House: Baldwin (D-Wisc.), who will move up to the Senate thanks to Tuesday’s vote; U.S. Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), who did not seek re-election; U.S. Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo), who cruised to re-election on Nov. 6 and U.S. Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), who won a closer re-election race. For the new Congress, Polis and Cicilline will be joined in the LGBT Caucus by Mark Takano (DCalif.), who will be the first openly gay person of color to serve in Congress; Sean Patrick Maloney (D-New York), and Marc Pocan (D- Wisc.), who won the seat Baldwin left open to run for Senate. At least two openly gay congressional candidates lost on Tuesday: Democrat Nicole LeFavour in Idaho and Republican Richard Tisei in Massachusetts. One LGBT congressional race, Democrat Kyrsten Sinema’s bid for Arizona’s District 9 seat, remained uncertain at press time Wednesday. Sinema, who would become the first openly bisexual Congress member, led Republican Vernon Parker by about 2,000 votes out of more than 162,000 votes cast. — Laura Douglas-Brown
Will loss force GOP to shift on marriage?
LaSalvia said he believes as the country’s electorate continues to embrace LGBT issues, so will politicians on the right. “I know that there are some that are actively thinking about how they’re going to make that statement,” LaSalvia said. “Most of those people, I don’t think have been vocally anti-gay marriage, but more and more folks are realizing it’s important to speak out. That’s the problem with so many people on the right, they haven’t cared about the issue or have never said anything.” As to what he expects from an Obama presidency, LaSalvia said he hoped Republicans and Democrats would work together to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act. “I think that DOMA is a pressing issue for a lot of gay people. That’s an issue most gay people can agree on. There are issues like that where our political capital and our efforts should be focused. That’s a piece of legislation that actually hurts gay families,” he said. Convincing Republican lawmakers, who will retain control of the U.S. House of Representatives in the 113th Congress, to work toward DOMA’s repeal is something constituents will need to do, LaSalvia said. “Let’s just be real about how this issue is treated by politicians. No politicians came to their position before their base constituency. We know that President Obama did not make a public statement in support of same-sex marriage until he felt that the base of the Democratic Party was there on that issue,” he said. As for what to expect from the Republican Party in the wake of its defeat, LaSalvia thinks the GOP will need to find a new message to win over a broader base of voters when it comes to social issues. “There will be a quite a struggle between some of the social conservatives and the rest of the party,” LaSalvia said. “They will try to make the case that Mitt Romney wasn’t conservative enough. The reality is that he was consistently in the social conservatives camp on abortion and same-sex marriage and other social issues. He took the positions they wanted him to take the entire time.”
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November 9, 2012
Democrats block GOP ‘supermajority’
By Dyana Bagby firstname.lastname@example.org
Three lesbian representatives return to Ga. General Assembly
because that will focus on our everyday lives,” Bell said. “And I know a large portion already does that, but we need more to get involved in the local politics of the state.” Drenner said while a super majority was blocked in the House and Senate, the LGBT communities and other marginalized communities face tough times in the upcoming session. “A lot of conservative Democrats will vote with Republicans. I think as a gay community we have more to lose than any other community except for women,” she said. Drenner acknowledged she even feared backlash in Georgia from LGBT equality issues that were passed nationally, including marriage equality in three states, the ﬁrst lesbian elected to the U.S. Senate and the re-election of President Obama. “I’m thankful the president won. But that does not mean we won’t get the shit kicked out of us at the state level,” she said. “I think we live in perilous times in Georgia.” Georgia Equality, the state’s largest LGBT advocacy organization, worked with other groups to block a GOP constitutional majority. Executive Director Jeff Graham was more hopeful about Georgia’s future, but noted that serious issues remain. “People need to be mindful of why we were concerned about the constitutional majority — the vast majority of Republicans have taken a pledge from Georgia Right to Life to pass a Personhood Amendment. The LGBT community needs to recognize that if they look at the wording by Georgia Right to Life, [the pledge] also restricts in vitro fertilization for couples seeking to have children,” Graham said. This directly impacts gay families who want to use in vitro fertilization to have children. Incumbent State Sen. Doug Stoner, a Democrat, lost his race to Republican challenger Hunter Hill for District 6. Graham said it is imperative constituents hold Hill to his promise that he would not work to pass a Personhood Amendment. Graham said he also believes this election shows that moderate Republicans can embrace LGBT issues. Georgia Equality will continue to seek fair-minded candidates, Republican and Democrat, to support while also working with numerous other coalitions. “This year we worked with a broad coalition and that is part of building inroads with Latino and Asian-American voters in the northern sub-
Out on the GA. Ballot
It was a great Election Day for LGBT equality across the nation, but in the red state of Georgia there is still much work to be done to move forward. Lesbian candidates ruled the night in Georgia. State Rep. Simone Bell (D-Atlanta) easily coasted to victory Nov. 6 by defeating Republican challenger Earl Cooper to retain her District 58 seat. State Rep. Karla Drenner (D-Avondale Estates) and state Rep. Keisha Waites (D-Atlanta), both openly gay, return to the House after having no challengers in the general election. Drenner represents District 85 and will serve her seventh term in the legislature. Waites represents District 60 and will serve her ﬁrst full term after winning a special election in February. Gay candidates Tim Riley of Athens and Timothy Swiney of Lawrenceville, both Democrats, were unable to defeat Republican incumbents. Bell, the ﬁrst out African-American lesbian in the nation elected to a state legislature, thanked her supporters for entrusting her to another term in ofﬁce. But she also stressed the seriousness of LGBT communities becoming more involved in state politics after Democrats were able to narrowly defeat a GOP constitutional majority in the House and Senate. A constitutional majority, or two-thirds of the members of the House or Senate, is the vote threshold required to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot in Georgia. In 2004, it took Democrats crossing party lines to vote with Republicans to put the constitutional amendment banning gay marriage on the ballot. If the GOP had won a constitutional majority, similar amendments could be sent to voters without needing any Democratic support. “We’re going to have to be diligent watching what legislating comes forward, what bills are ﬁled,” Bell said. “We have been talking about strategies, such as about adoption. We need to remain vigilant as a community and continue to show up at the capitol.” There has been talk for years about state Republican leaders working to ban adoption by gay couples. There is currently no law on the books in Georgia that addresses the issue. “I think speciﬁcally for LGBT issues, I would really like to see LGBT communities across Georgia really focus on our local politics
STATE REP. KARLA DRENNER
(D-Avondale Estates) House District 85 Percent of Vote: 100 (unopposed)
STATE REP. KEISHA WAITES
(D-Atlanta) House District 60 Percent of Vote: 100 (unopposed)
Keisha Waites won a special election in early 2012 to join the General Assembly, then battled a crowded ﬁeld in the Democratic primary. She had no opposition Nov. 6 and wins her ﬁrst full term.
Georgia’s ﬁrst openly gay state lawmaker, ﬁrst elected in 2000, was unopposed in both the July primary and the November general election.
STATE REP. SIMONE BELL
(D-Atlanta) • House District 58 Percent of Vote: 87.1
Simone Bell won a special election in 2009, becoming the ﬁrst openly lesbian African-American state lawmaker in the country. In July, she won a tough Democratic primary against Rep. Ralph Long after Republican-led redistricting placed the two incumbents in the same district. On Tuesday, Bell easily defeated Republican challenger Earl Cooper, who received 12.9 percent of the vote on Nov. 6.
(D-Lawrenceville) House District 101 Percent of vote: 43.7
(Libertarian-Atlanta) Public Service Commission Percent of vote: 4.8
Brad Ploeger lost to GOP incumbent Chuck Eaton, who got 52.1 percent of the vote. Democrat Steve Oppenheimer took 43.1 percent.
(D-Rome) Floyd County Commission Post 2 Percent of vote: 34.6
GARY D. HARRELL
Lawrenceville’s Timothy Swiney lost his challenge to Republican Rep. Valerie Clark, who received 56.3 percent of the vote.
Gary Harrell fell short in his bid to unseat Republican incumbent Garry E. Fricks, who got 65.3 percent of the vote.
Sources: Unofﬁcial results from county election ofﬁces and Georgia Secretary of State.
‘Perilous times in Ga.’
urbs,” Graham said. The hard-fought re-election of state Rep. Pedro Marin, a Democrat in Gwinnett representing District 96 and a strong ally of LGBT equality, points to a hint of the tide turning in Georgia to becoming more progressive, Graham said. “We hope this election shows that moderate Republicans can embrace LGBT issues,” he said. “It is important to work with other com-
munities to ﬁnd candidates we can all support and how we begin to change the political landscape in Georgia.” Graham was optimistic about President Obama’s win and the marriage equality victories and how they will impact state politics. “Last night was not a ﬂuke. It was really a phenomenal election night and bodes well … we will see greater change on our issues in Georgia,” he said Wednesday.
November 9, 2012
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November 9, 2012
‘Heroes + Villains,’ all grown up
Philip Bonneau debuts third exhibit of comic, Disney characters
Heroes. Villains. From comic books to Disney ﬁlms, from He-Man and Skeletor to the Little Mermaid and Ursula, so many iconic childhood stories are divided into these two character types, one good, one evil, each needing the other to exist. “Everyone has a choice to live life as a hero or a villain. I do think some people can lean either way, but predominantly remain in the gray area. All of that is relative really and that answer is something that only we can ask ourselves,” says Atlanta photographer Philip Bonneau, whose new exhibit, “Heroes + Villains 3” opens Nov. 16 at Inherent Design Lab, and includes each of those characters and many more. “I think in the context of this series, especially this show, that there is no good or evil present in these characters,” he continues. “I think it is very successful at ﬁnding beauty in even the most villainous of characters.” Bonneau created “Heroes + Villains” as a four-part series, calling it “basically a metaphor for life and growing into who I am.” “If you look at my ﬁrst show, it is very innocent, very childlike. With H+V2, it was almost like the teenage years being a little bit more elaborate, pushes some buttons and a hint of sexuality but it still was unsure of itself,” he says. “With this new show, it represents adulthood. It represents being truly conﬁdent in who you are and owning it.”
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My Little Pony and Maleﬁcent from ‘Sleeping Beauty’ are two of the characters portrayed in the third installment of Philip Bonneau’s ‘Heroes + Villains’ series.(Photos by Philip Bonneau)
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Kickstarting his art
labor of love, which he describes as including more Disney and pop culture characters than his past exhibits, as well as more models dressed in drag, which he says helps “create a complete escape from reality.” “There is sexuality present,” he adds. “There are pieces that would be uncomfortable to see, but in the end it is about ﬁnding beauty in even the strangest of things. For the ﬁrst time you truly get a sense of Heroes + Villains as a thriving world of individuality where the models are truly alive in these images.” Heroes + Villains 3 opens Nov. 16 and runs through Dec. 7 at Inherent Design Lab. “The opening event is the only way to see this show as the artist intended,” Bonneau says. All 50 pieces will hang together that night, with framed wall prints and comic book prints available. “Some pieces that really are risque will only be up for that evening and I’ve gone as far as even getting some of the models from the images to perform live at the opening in character such as Dylan Micheal as Cruella De’Ville and DJ Chris Griswold is spinning music dressed as Ironman from H+V1,” Bonneau says. A silent auction of the art will beneﬁt AID Atlanta. “This show was made possible by the entire community and it was very important for me to give it back to the community,” he explains. And as the show reaches the public, Bon-
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‘Heroes + Villains’ Friday, Nov. 16, 7-11 p.m. Inherent Design Lab 996 Huff Road NW, Suite C Atlanta, GA 30318 http://on.fb.me/RJ0kwt neau is already thinking about Heroes + Villains 4, the “swan song of the series.” “It’s the end of life and looking back at what you have done with it. Were you good to yourself? Did you accomplish everything you wanted? It will be completely different from all the others with models being all starting at roughly the age 60,” he says. “From an artist perspective, it is supposed to be the point in my work where I have gone through this incredible journey and I decide what to do with my life from there.” In the meantime, Bonneau hopes that viewers take from his third show the knowledge that “we are all beautiful and worthy of being showcased and admired.” “I think I leave it up to the viewer to take what they want from it. There are deﬁnitely many, many layers to this show. They can look at it as a satirical character study or a story about more accurately about the models themselves,” he says. “They have an option to treat me as a hero or a villain, but in the end these incredible characters coexist with one another.”
Conﬁdence isn’t the only difference in “Heroes + Villains 3.” For the earlier installments, each photo shoot was created on a shoestring budget. “With this new show, I always knew thematically that it was to be the spectacle and shock show that needed to advance from the $10-20 budget I had previously for each shoot,” Bonneau says. He spent a month promoting his project on Kickstarter.com, a fundraising website for creative projects, and was amazed by the results. “I even went as far as posting a picture of myself naked holding up a sign asking for help when I truly thought the goal was not going to be met,” Bonneau recalls. “In the end, help is what I got. With over 221 donors, predominantly from Atlanta, but all throughout the world, I raised $15,970. “The national attention and support was definitely an overwhelming experience,” he says. Five months later, Bonneau presents his
A night to give back
November 9, 2012
#12: The eclectic appeal of pornography
And who is that cute new guy in the Supper Club?
Choosing to dine at a new restaurant is always an iffy proposition. That’s especially true when the restaurant has replaced a favorite. Robert looked around the patio dining room at the new Eclectic Bistro Bar, then took his seat with other members of the Atlanta Food Porn Supper Club. “The last restaurant here, Tierra, was one of the best in the city,” he said. “We’ll see how this goes. It’s certainly inexpensive.” The Supper Club, now in its third month, was attracting about 25 diners. It had not yet met Robert’s half-serious original purpose to find a husband before he turned 50 next year. But he had gotten a few dates with “imperfect men,” as his good friend Janet called them sarcastically. Robert was infamous for finding flaws in every man who was attracted to him more than sexually. Janet dinged her water glass with a spoon to get everyone’s attention. Most of the diners came early for cocktails at the startlingly long bar the new restaurant added to the dining room. So, conversation was already running freely. But Janet had suggested to Robert that the dinners feature a conversation theme to get things started. “As you know,” Janet began, “we thought it might be interesting to talk a little about pornography this month. I know a lot of people remain confused about the term ‘food porn.’ It’s a common phrase foodies use to describe intensely sensual representation of food. But we were interested in a more general discussion.” Robert explained that as a professor at Georgia State, specializing in queer theory, he had written a good bit about gay porn. “What I find most interesting,” he said, “is the way gay men often watch heterosexual porn and straight men watch gay porn.” A woman with close-cropped blonde hair, Beth, spoke up. “Ain’t that the truth? Lesbian porn has historically been more directed to men than lesbians, so it can feel yuckily exploitative. And, weirdly, some lesbians get off watching gay male porn, I guess because it’s not made for straight men. I have no idea.” “And then gay men often enjoy straight porn,” Robert replied. “I know I do,” a young guy about 30 blurted. “I don’t like twinks and over-muscled pretty boys and I think it’s hot to watch the way the man takes control of the woman. I guess that’s exactly what Beth doesn’t like about it. Sorry, Beth.” “It’s all about power relations and gender,”
Food Porn is a fictional series by longtime Atlanta food critic Cliff Bostock. Set in real Atlanta restaurants, it chronicles the adventures of Robert, a gay man in search of a husband — or at least a good meal. Read the whole series online at www.theGAVoice.com.
Eclectic Bistro Bar
1425 Piedmont Ave., Atlanta, GA 30309 404-426-7728, facebook.com/eclecticbistrobar Good choices: a starter of Portuguese clams with chorizo, tomatoes and garlic croutons; Greek moussaka; and Italian veal marsala with Portobello mushrooms, roasted potatoes and sautéed spinach Robert said. “But porn is also about the natural variation of sexual desire. True story. Y’all remember Jerry Falwell, right? He was one of the most mean-spirited, homophobic evangelical leaders ever. “His most successful fundraiser one year was sending people who made donations a video made with a hidden camera at the Folsom Street Fair. He said it was to provide evidence of how sick we are. “But it was really gay porn for good Christians. They watched it, shocked and praying, while hiding their erections under Bibles. That’s what sexual oppression is all about – hiding your own taboo desire. ” Most at the table laughed. Appetizers were arriving and the conversation turned to chatter. Robert reached for a clam and just as he did so, a man came to the table. “I’m sorry to be late,” he said. Robert looked up and was astonished. If ever an outwardly perfect man had entered his vision, this was him. “I’m Lee,” the stranger said extending his hand.
November 9, 2012
‘Wolves’ takes an edgy look at gay relationships
Former Atlanta playwright Steve Yockey’s “Wolves” is anything but a standard boy-meetsboy gay romance. Making its world premiere at Actor’s Express this weekend, the gay-themed “Wolves” has a dark, edgier side – as well as some eventual bloodshed. Set in an unidentified large city, “Wolves” finds two former lovers – at different stages of their lives – still living together. Clifton Guterman plays Ben, a young man who has been a loner most of his life, starting in the small town where he grew up. When Ben moves to the big city, he gets swallowed up and still feels isolated, Guterman notes. He meets Jack (Brian Crawford) and they start a relationship, but when they break up, they are still forced to live together for financial reasons. As the play opens, Jack encourages Ben to leave the apartment and to realize that good is possible in some of the guys he can meet. Jack goes to a bar, picks up a character named Wolf (Joe Sykes) and brings him back to the apartment. That is a mistake: Ben is insanely jealous of the new guy and his introduction into their lives brings chaos. The openly gay Yockey has a long history with the Express. Now living in Los Angeles, he debuted his “Octopus” there back in 2008 and was an intern at the theater during “Beautiful Thing” (which starred Guterman and Crawford as well) before moving to New York to go to grad school, where he was – ironically – roommates with Guterman for a short period of time. Yockey wrote the entire draft of “Wolves” over several late nights in a New Orleans hotel, he says. Guterman calls Ben a character dealing with some heavy issues, including how to proceed with an ex after the romance fizzles.
THEATER by Jim Farmer
Gay gymnast finds redemption at Cirque du Soleil
“It’s a universal thing,” the actor says. “It’s a hard thing until gay men are older. We date a lot of people, and some we stay friends with and other we don’t, others we never see again.” Ben and Jack were a good match while it lasted and became somewhat co-dependent, with Ben as someone who does not like being alone and Jack acting as a caretaker of sorts. The character of Wolf isn’t a monster but instead a normal guy dealing with his own loneliness trying to determine what Jack wants of him and unintentionally interfering. The other character in “Wolves” is a narrator played by Kate Donadio, who Guterman says loses control of the action she is introducing. Out lesbian Melissa Foulger, herself no stranger to working with the company, directs. Foulger and Yockey have been friends for a long time. She describes “Wolves” as a comedy/drama, a very dark version of “Little Red Riding Hood.” She is a fan of Yockey’s work not just because of its stylish aspects – “there is always something visually interesting there, such as the water element in ‘Octopus’ – but also because of its timeliness in addressing issues pertinent in the gay community. “It’s about loneliness and relationships, how we go about negotiating relationships and how the definition of social has changed,” Foulger says.
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‘Wolves’ Nov. 8 – Dec. 2 at Actor’s Express 887 W. Marietta St., Atlanta, GA 30318 www.actorsexpress.com Cirque Du Soleil’s ‘Totem’ Through Dec. 30 Atlantic Station www.cirquedusoleil.com/totem “Totem” deals with the evolution of an amphibian form to that of an adult ready to fly away, on a stage resembling a turtle. Putagnino calls Crystal Man the “spark” who literally opens the show, figuratively and literally, and creates life. A competitive gymnast growing up, Putagnino got sidetracked. “I wanted to go to the Olympic trials and gave my entire life to it,” he says. “I was obsessed. But it got very difficult as I got older. It was high pressure, trying to achieve perfection.” He stopped and turned to drugs. While working as a clerk at the New York Times, he was coerced to get back into performing after reading
Cirque du Soleil’s ‘Totem’ stars gay gymnast Joe Putagnino as the leading character, Crystal Man. After yearning for the Olympics, Putagnino overcame drug addiction to return to gymnastics on stage. (Photo by OSA Images)
Cirque returns with ‘Totem’
With large, international casts, Cirque Du Soleil productions almost always feature LGBT performers and “Totem,” now playing in Atlanta, is no exception. Under the Grand Chapiteau at Atlantic Station, “Totem” stars openly gay Joe Putagnino as the leading character, Crystal Man, who officially brings the show to life decked out in a stretch velvet leotard.
an article about a contortionist. “It was a long, difficult process,” he says. “I had not done a split in 10 years. I was a heroin addict.” He decided to get help and was able to resurrect a performing career. He appeared on Broadway in Twyla Tharp’s “The Times They Are A-Changin’” and was later asked by Robert Lepage, the director of “Totem,” to come aboard in 2009. The actor was part of the world premiere in Montreal in 2010. In all the cast includes more than 50 musicians and acrobats. A performer’s sexual orientation is not an issue in Cirque Du Soleil, Putagnino notes. First and foremost, they are all athletes working together to do a job, he says. He has been with the show since its inception and Atlanta is his last city. He is excited to be able to move on to a different project, hoping to do some acting and modeling, but is melancholy about leaving his tight-knit Cirque family behind.
November 9, 2012
Atlanta lesbian chefs sharpen knives on reality TV
Ria Pell, Virginia Willis both to appear on Food Network’s ‘Chopped’
Chef Ria Pell is the force behind the iconic Ria’s Bluebird and also, in more recent years, Sauced on Edgewood Avenue. The tattooed cook named GA Voice’s Best Chef in 2011, Pell is taking her talents into the kitchen of “Chopped,” the popular Food Network show hosted by former “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” star Ted Allen. The gimmick that sets this show apart is that the chefs are given mystery baskets filled with anything from chicken feet to frozen french fries to duck hearts. They then have 20 minutes to come up with a creative, tasty and beautiful dish to wow the judges. Starting with four chefs, they compete in three rounds — appetizer, entrée and desert — facing an elimination after each until the winner is chosen. Pell said she couldn’t reveal what ingredients she had to cook with — or if she won or was chopped without winning the $10,000 grand prize — before the episode airs Nov. 20. “I had to sign an arms-length confidentiality agreement,” Pell explains. The show was filmed in one day in February in New York after a casting call in Atlanta. On Nov. 27, another famous gay Atlanta chef, Virginia Willis, appears on “Chopped.” Willis is author of the acclaimed cookbook, “Bon Appétit, Y’all! Recipes and Stories from Three Generations of Southern Cooking” as well as the popular “Basic to Brilliant, Y’all: 150 Refined Southern Recipes and Ways to Dress Them Up for Company.”
by Dyana Bagby
Atlanta chef Ria Pell appears on the Food Network’s ‘Chopped’ Nov. 20. (Publicity photo)
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‘Chopped’ party at Sauced Tuesday, Nov. 20 Party starts at 8 p.m., Show airs at 10 p.m. $20 includes meals and cocktails 753 Edgewood Ave., Atlanta, GA 30307 www.saucedatlanta.com “I watched the show non-stop, doing my homework. I was just ready for them to put Beluga whale on the table,” Pell says, laughing. She wanted to compete for the money and to bring good publicity to Sauced. All the chefs she competed against were very nice because in the end they all want the same thing. “We’re all cooks so we’re all on kind of the same team,” Pell says. Excited and flattered to be on the show, Pell is throwing a party for everyone to come and watch her. The outdoor party on Nov. 20 at Sauced will include tasty bites from her restaurant as well as from chefs from local restaurants The Spotted Trotter, Fox Brother’s BBQ, Palookaville, Rathbun’s, Proof and Provision, and Taria Camerino of The Optimist. Tiffanie Barriere, who worked her mixologist magic for Barack Obama when he was in Atlanta, will serve up liquid goodness at the party as well. DJs Osmose and Ree de la Vega spin. “We roll with a good community of chefs,” Pell says. “I love throwing a party. I’m not one who toots her own horn, but I’m really flattered I can share this.” Of course, Pell has no idea what will be shown on the small screen and whether she will “make a buffoon” of herself or come off as cool and slick as she is in her own kitchens, she says. “All in all, I hope I don’t throw up,” she jokes.
Cooking on hyperdrive
While Pell can’t comment on what mystery ingredients she was forced to cook, she can say one thing is for sure: the speed and urgency you see on TV is exactly what it is like in the “Chopped” kitchen. “It was fast and furious,” Pell says. “It was like I was on a spaceship on hyperdrive. I really was like, ‘Oh, my god.’ It’s really as stressful as you see on TV. It keeps you on the edge of your seat.” Ted Allen was the perfect host, Pell says. “He’s so awesome. He’s very handsome and had good shoes. He was a complete professional. He is clever and smart and handsome,” Pell coos. Pell says she tried to prepare for the show by watching hours and hours of “Chopped” to see all the different kinds of ingredients that are thrown at the chefs.
November 9, 2012
Ghosts of Hollywood was the theme for this year’s Halloween costume celebration to beneﬁt Jerusalem House, which provides homes for people impacted by HIV. The event was held at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis on Friday, Oct. 26, 2012. (Photos by Brent Corcoran / RNZ Photography)
The 10th annual Black Party was held Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, at Opera. The event was a beneﬁt for the Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots program. Organized by 5Friends4Life, the event featured the theme “Wicked.” (Photos by Brent Corcoran / RNZ Photography)
November 9, 2012
November 9, 2012
COMMUNITY LOCAL LIFE
Annual Transgender Day of Remembrance vigil moves indoors
By Dyana Bagby email@example.com For the past decade or more, people have gathered on the steps of the Georgia Capitol to remember transgender people who were killed or died because of who they are. This year, the day will also celebrate life. The annual Transgender Day of Remembrance, facilitated by Tracee McDaniel and her organization, the Juxtaposed Center for Transformation, is also moving indoors for the ﬁrst time and will be held at the Phillip Rush Center on Nov. 20. “In addition to the vigil we’ve added a new component this year,” McDaniel says. “We also wanted to focus on the living and are collaborating with various organizations with health screenings, hormonal treatments, HIV testing, mental health counseling. And we are also working to provide housing and job information,” she explains. The free health fair is planned for 1-5 p.m. Nov. 20 at the Rush Center with the traditional vigil to follow at 6:30 p.m. “We have always focused on the deceased in the past. But I receive calls on a daily basis of people in need. We just wanted to make sure we memorialize the dead but make sure the living have service,” McDaniel says. “I’m so excited. We are really grateful of the free health care education providers. And within the LGB community there are still so many who are transphobic, so we are grateful to have providers who are not. Instead they see us as people.” Participating agencies include The Health Initiative, the Fulton and Dekalb health departments, the Georgia Department of Public Health, Aniz Inc., Absolute Care and the Living Room. McDaniel says TDOR this year is also joining forces with the Alpha & Omega HIV/AIDS and Health Initiatives International, Inc., which is part of the Taking Back Our Future Committee. Plans are to work with Alpha & Omega on similar events in the future, McDaniel says. The keynote speaker for the TDOR vigil will be Alpha & Omega founder Dr. YaQar. Cheryl Courtney-Evans, founder of Transgender Individuals Living Their Truth (TILTT), also plays a role in the annual TDOR event and is hopeful about the expanded focus. “Basically this year is just a holistic approach to the status quo with regards to the transgender community,” she says. “All are ripples in a pond.”
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Week of events honor transgender community
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Shepherd’s Table Covenant Church Transgender & Gender Non-Conforming Celebration Weekend
Community panel discussion Friday, Nov. 16, 7 p.m. Little Five Points Community Center 1083 Austin Ave. NE Atlanta, GA 30307 “The Purple Affair: An Evening of Transgender Recognition” Saturday, Nov. 17, 6 p.m. — 9 p.m. Little Five Points Community Center Transgender Recognition Sunday Sunday, Nov. 18, 11:45 a.m. Shepherd’s Table Covenant Church 626 Parkway Drive NE Atlanta, GA 30308 www.theshepherdstablechurch.org
Last year’s Transgender Day of Remembrance, facilitated by Tracee McDaniel (left) and the Juxtaposed Center for Transformation, was held on the steps of the state capitol. This year, TDOR moves indoors to the Phillip Rush Center and includes a health fair before the annual vigil on Nov. 20. (Photo by Dyana Bagby)
Transgender Day of Remembrance
Tuesday, Nov. 20 Health fair from 1 p.m. — 5 p.m. Vigil to begin at 6:30 p.m. Phillip Rush Center 1530 DeKalb Ave., Atlanta GA 30307 The panel discussion on Friday will explore the many difﬁculties facing the transgender community, including legal issues as well as employment and health care. It will also serve as Transgender 101 for those wanting to learn more, Courtney-Evans says. On Nov. 17 also at the Little Five Points Community Center, the “Purple Affair” will honor and recognize people who are doing important work for the transgender community. “This is an awards dinner for those who have played an integral roles in trans activism and community involvement,” Courtney-Evans says. “While the event is free, we are asking for donations. This is a fundraiser for TILTT as well as the Shepherd’s Table Church.” On Sunday, Nov. 18, at the Shepherd’s Table Church, the service will be led completely by transgender people. “Basically what this does is stretch it out to give it more days of transgender recognition rather than one day where everyone focuses on transgender issues for only a few hours,” Courtney-Evans says. “I think that’s good. If you can’t come to TDOR, you can experience a trans event during the course of three other events.”
Courtney-Evans also acknowledged that reading the names of the dead each year during the Transgender Day of Remembrance has been somewhat frustrating. Yes, it is important to remember those who have died, but it is also past time to work toward making change for those who are alive, she says. “To me, we’ve had so many losses and we lose so many every year,” she says. “The list gets longer. I for one could stand less name reading and more ideas of motivating those in attendance to organize a movement to change. Once a year we read names and then we’re gone and it’s, ‘Oh, well,’ as opposed to actually doing some tangible actions to change the status quo.” For Courtney-Evans, that includes passage of a state hate crime law, but also addressing risky behaviors some transgender people are forced into because they can’t ﬁnd a job which can lead to homelessness, HIV, and health disparities. “It’s the whole domino effect,” she says. “Until we can ﬁnd a way to change that, we’re going to have names continue to be called. Calling names is a touch but it doesn’t solve the problem. I hope I don’t sound too callous, but it seems to be an exercise in futility. It’s the same
every year. People continue to fall but no one is doing anything to effectively change.” Several events speciﬁcally for the transgender community are also planned the weekend before the Transgender Day of Remembrance. From Nov. 16-18, The Shepherd’s Table Covenant Church and local transgender groups join together to sponsor Transgender & Gender Non-Conforming Celebration Weekend. Shepherd’s Table Covenant Church, led by Pastor Elliott Sommerville, is a strong supporter of transgender people, says Courtney-Evans. Events include a community discussion panel on Nov. 16 at 7 p.m. at the Little Five Points Community Center. “The Purple Affair: An Evening of Transgender Recognition,” is planned from 6-9 p.m. on Nov. 17 at the community center; and Transgender Recognition Sunday will be held during the 11:45 a.m. service at the Shepherd’s Table, featuring guest speaker Elder Rahkel Henry. “This year is going to a busy week for transgender events and celebrations,” says Courtney-Evans, who is helping organize some of the events of this weekend.
Weekend of events planned
BEST BETS 11.09 - 11.22
Photo by Bo Shell
November 9, 2012
ADD YOUR EVENT
There are two ways to add your events to our online and print calendars. Submit your info to www.theGAVoice.com or e-mail details to editor@theGAVoice.com.
Friday, Nov. 9
Lesbian social group Fourth Tuesday hosts its monthly Happy Hour at 6 p.m. at Mixx Atlanta, 1492-B Piedmont Ave., Atlanta, GA 30309, www.mixxatlanta.com Kai Lin Art presents the opening of Afﬁnity, a six-artist solo exhibit featuring detailed, metaphysical works. Opening party tonight 7-10 p.m.; exhibit continues through Dec. 8 at Kai Lin Art + Shop, 3096 Roswell Road, Atlanta, GA 30305, www.kailinart.com It’s a coming out party, so wear your best bar mitzvah, bat mitzvah, quinceanera, debutante or sweet 16 garb as Ellisorous REX and the Dance Machine present their ﬁrst-ever event. Performances at 8, 9:30 and 11 p.m. at Mary’s, 1287 Glenwood Ave., Atlanta, GA 30316, www.marysatlanta.com DJ Nat spins hard rock for Rock of Ages night at the Atlanta Eagle, 306 Ponce De Leon Ave., Atlanta, GA 30308, www.atlantaeagle.com
Friday, Nov. 9
The Brushstrokes Miss Originality Pageant features $1,000 for the winner, $500 for ﬁrst runner up and $300 for second runner up. Provocative drag star Sharon Needles performs and serves as special guest judge. Proceeds beneﬁt PALS and Lost-N-Found Youth. 8 p.m. at Jungle, 2115 Faulkner Road, Atlanta, GA 30324, www.brushstrokes.us/pageant
Saturday, Nov. 10
Saturday, Nov. 17
The Atlanta Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence host Karma Class, a donation-based community yoga class open to teenagers and adults. Proceeds beneﬁt HERO for Children, which helps kids impacted by HIV. 10:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. at First Existentialist Congregation, 470 Candler Park Drive, Atlanta, GA 30307, http://antoniogarza89.wix. com/karma-class To honor the 100th anniversary of Bayard Rustin’s birth, the Auburn Avenue Research Library joins with a host of local LGBT and progressive organizations to screen “Brother Outsider: the Life of Bayard Rustin,” a documentary about the late black gay activist. 1 p.m. at AARL Heritage Education Center Auditorium, 101 Auburn Ave., Atlanta, GA 30303, http://on.fb.me/SLVnqX The MISTER Center at Positive Impact hosts an art opening for Richard Satchell, whose paintings and photography are inspired by local grafﬁti in Atlanta. 6-9 p.m. at MISTER, 60 11th St., Atlanta, GA 30309, http://on.fb.me/VNMKJK The Dixie Invitational Bowling Tournament’s Miss Dixie Pageant gets the glitter going at 6:30 p.m. at Jungle, 2115 Faulkner Road, Atlanta, GA 30324, www. dixiebowl.org The Southern Bears hold their monthly meeting, then dinner and bar night as DJ Pat Scott spins. 6:30 p.m. at the Atlanta Eagle, 306 Ponce De Leon Ave., Atlanta, GA 30308, www.atlantaeagle.com Atlanta’s feminist bookstore hosts a discussion on “Writing the Tough Stuff” with memoirists Deborah Jiang Stein and Jessica Handler. 7:30 p.m. at Charis Books & More, 1189 Euclid Ave NE, Atlanta, GA, 30307, www.charisbooksandmore.com
Monday, Nov. 12
Lesbian rock superstar Melissa Etheridge plays a show at Symphony Hall on her “4th Street Feeling” tour. 8 p.m. at Atlanta Symphony Hall, 1280 Peachtree St., Atlanta, GA 30309, www.atlantasymphony.org
There’s something for everyone at the House Show + House Party beneﬁtting Southerners on New Ground, which works on LGBT, feminist, race, class and other progressive issues in our region. Bring family and kids to Part 1, My Gay Banjo Show, with doors open at 7:30 p.m. and show at 8:30 p.m.; Part 2, the Bootylicious Dance Party, is for grown-ups only from 10:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. Donation of $5-25 at 657 Woodland Ave., Atlanta, GA 30316, www.southernersonnewground.org The Atlanta Opera opens its 2012-2013 seasons with “Carmen.” Opens tonight at 8 p.m. at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, 2800 Cobb Galleria Parkway, Atlanta, GA 30339, www.cobbenergycentre.com Get ready to laugh with the “It’s That Time of the Month” comedy show at 8:30 p.m., followed by the “High Heels, Red Bottoms” Femme Revue. My Sister’s Room, 1271 Glenwood Ave., Atlanta, GA 30316, www.mysistersroom.com The Edgewood Electronic Music Festival highlights local artists and DJS at 12 restaurants and other venues along Edgewood Avenue, including LGBT favorites like Church, Sauced, Noni’s, the Sound Table and more. http://on.fb.me/QgHRvY
MORE LGBT EVENTS: Visit our website for our extensive daily calendar, including nightlife schedules, sports, worship services and community organization meetings. www.thegavoice.com/calendar
Hosted by Mariah Balenciaga of “Rupaul’s Drag Race,” the “Diva!” dance party features performances by Michael Robinson, Corian Ellisor and Marcus Allen. 9 p.m. at Jungle, 2115 Faulkner Road, Atlanta, GA 30324, www.jungleclubatlanta.com DJ Eddie Baez spins at 10 p.m. with a Madonna ticket giveaway at the Heretic, 2069 Cheshire Bridge Road, Atlanta, GA 30324, www.hereticatlanta.com Dubtribe Soundsystem performs 10 p.m. – 5 a.m. at Rush Lounge, 2715 Buford Highway, Atlanta, GA 30305, http://irispromotion.eventbrite.com/ The Mr. Hideaway Bear & Cub contest is part of the Southeast Bears & Kubs ﬁrst Bear Run, “The Great Bear Escape,” this weekend at Roy’s Hideaway, the private gay campground at 268 Catﬁsh Lane, Collins, GA 30421, www.royshideaway.com
Wednesday, Nov. 14
LGBT ally and rugby star Ben Cohen hosts the launch for his new StandUp Magazine and the Compete Sports Diversity Awards; today is also StandUp Day, when Cohen calls on everyone to stand up against bullying. General admission tickets $125; VIP $250. 7:30-9:30 p.m. at Twelve Atlantic Station, 361 17th St., Atlanta, GA 30363, www.standupfoundation.com
Sunday, Nov. 11
Jen Cross hosts a workshop on unveiling your body’s stories through writing. 11 a.m. at Charis Books & More, 1189 Euclid Ave NE, Atlanta, GA, 30307, www.charisbooksandmore.com
It’s mother-efﬁng Madonna y’all. See the “MDNA” tour everyone’s been talking about. 8 p.m. at Philips Arena, 1 Philips Drive Atlanta, GA 30303, www.ticketmaster.com
Help others with a donation for the Thanksgiving Food Drive for Lift Up Atlanta. 12:30-3:30 p.m. at the Philip Rush Center, 1530 Dekalb Ave., Atlanta, GA 30307, www.liftupatlanta.org DJ Chris Griswold spins on the patio for the Hope Party beer bust to raise additional funds for the recent AIDS Walk Atlanta. 2-6 p.m. at FROGS Cantina, 931 Monroe Drive #A107, Atlanta, GA 30308. DJ Vicki Powell spins for the ofﬁcial Edgewood Electronic Music Festival closing party. 7 pm. – midnight at Church, 466 Edgewood Ave., Atlanta, GA, 30312, www.sisterlouisaschurch.com Blake’s on the Park kicks off Madonna Week; check their website, Twitter and Facebook for updates, events and giveaways. www.blakesontheparkatlanta.com Lesbian Jen Foster and Antigone Rising play a show for the Decatur crowd. 7:30 p.m. at Eddie’s Attic, 515-B McDonough Road, Decatur, GA 30030, www.eddiesattic.com The Third Friday Film Series presents “Pariah,” about an African-American teen coming out. $1-$10 sliding scale donations. Doors at 7 p.m., movie at 7:30 p.m. at First Existentialist Congregation of Atlanta, 470 Candler Park Dr., NE, Atlanta, GA 30307.
November 9, 2012
The Santaland Diaries, an Atlanta theater tradition, brings gay humorist David Sedaris’ acidly satirical take on working as Macy’s elf back to the stage. Opens tonight, runs through Dec. 30 at Horizon Theatre, 1083 Austin Ave., Atlanta, GA 30307, www.horizontheatre.com The dynamic duo of Amy & Freddy return to Atlanta with a new show to make you laugh and sing along. 8 p.m. at Mixx Atlanta, 1492-B Piedmont Ave., Atlanta, GA 30309, www.mixxatlanta.com
Friday, Nov. 23
Meak Productions hosts an upscale LGBT Business Network Social and birthday celebration for founder Miko Evans. 7:30 p.m. at the Drafting Table, 349 Decatur St., Atlanta, GA 30312, www.meakproductions.com
Monday, Nov. 12
Friday, Nov. 16
Every Monday night, enjoy Stars of the Century at Jungle, 2115 Faulkner Road, Atlanta, GA 30324, www.jungleclubatlanta.com
DJ greats Chus + Ceballos spin for Icon at 9 p.m. – 3 a.m. at Jungle, 2115 Faulkner Road, Atlanta, GA 30324, www.jungleclubatlanta.com W After Work hosts round two of their friendly fundraising competition, with Dragonﬂy Salon and Paragon Salon competing to see who can raise the most tips for the Prostate Cancer Foundation. 7-9 p.m. at Spice Market at the W Midtown, 188 14th St., Atlanta, GA 30361. PFLAG Peachtree City hosts a support meeting for parents, friends and families of LGBT people at 7 p.m. at St. Andrew’s in the Pines Episcopal Church 316 N. Peachtree Parkway Peachtree City, GA 30269. For information on meetings throughout the state, visit www.pﬂagatl.org Poet Robin G. White is the featured guest at this month’s Cliterati Open No Mic. 7:30 p.m. at Charis Books & More, 1189 Euclid Ave NE, Atlanta, GA, 30307, www.charisbooksandmore.com Thursdays at 9 p.m. get your “Glee” on the television screens at Amsterdam, 502-A Amsterdam Ave., Atlanta, GA 30306, www.amsterdamatlanta.com Thursdays are 18-and-up College Night at My Sister’s Room, 1271 Glenwood Ave., Atlanta, GA 30316, www.mysistersroom.com
Friday nights are for the “grown and sexy” with DJ Smash starting at 10 p.m. at Mixx, 1492-B Piedmont Ave., Atlanta, GA 30309, www.mixxatlanta.com It will technically be Saturday morning when DJ Martin Fry spins at Xion following Chus+Ceballos at Jungle. 3-7 a.m. at Xion, 2241 Faulkner Road, Atlanta, GA 30324, www.cariocaproductions.com
Friday, Nov. 30
Tuesday, Nov. 13
The Atlanta Lesbian & Gay Chamber of Commerce hosts a Business Builder Lunch. 11:50 a.m. at Brio Tuscan Grille. 2964 Peachtree Road, Atlanta, GA 30306, www.atlantagaychamber.org
Friday, Nov. 16 - Sunday, Nov. 18
It’s the last ManShaft party of the year: the Levi-Leather edition. 10 p.m. at Cockpit, 465 Boulevard SE, Atlanta, GA 30312, www.facebook.com/cockpit.atlanta Gay saxophonist Dave Koz brings his Christmas show back to Georgia. 8 p.m. at the Cobb Energy Center at Cobb Energy Centre, 2800 Cobb Galleria Parkway, Atlanta, GA 30339, www.cobbenergycentre.com
Tuesday, Nov. 13Thursday, Nov. 15
Mixx hosts The Big Chill, a three-day open house event to highlight changes at the nightclub. 5-9 p.m. at 1492-B Piedmont Ave., Atlanta, GA 30309, www.mixxatlanta.com
Wednesday, Nov. 14
Black and White Ball is the theme for this month’s PALS Bingo, hosted by Bubba D. Licious and Brent Star. Doors at 6:30 p.m., program at 7:30 p.m. at Jungle, 2115 Faulkner Road, Atlanta, GA 30324, www.palsatlanta.org SkateBoyz ATL presents its LGBT media appreciation night, including a birthday celebration for Miko Evans of Meak Productions. 8 p.m. – 1 a.m. at Metro Skates, 1959 Metropolitan Parkway, Atlanta, GA 30315, www.facebook.com/skateboyzatl Remembering Old Hollywood is the theme for the Miss LeBuzz Pageant, hosted by Destiny Brooks. 9 p.m. – 3 a.m. at LeBuzz, 585 Franklin Road, Marietta, GA 30367, www.thenewlebuzz.com
The Shepherd’s Table Covenant Church and local transgender groups join together to sponsor Transgender & Gender Non-Conforming Celebration Weekend. Events include a community discussion panel on Friday at 7 p.m. at the Little Five Points Community Center: “The Purple Affair: An Evening of Transgender Recognition,” from 6-9 p.m. Saturday at the community center; and Transgender Recognition Sunday during the 11:45 a.m. service at the Shepherd’s Table, featuring guest speaker Elder Rahkel Henry. 404-573-6311.
Sunday, Dec. 2
Saturday, Nov. 17
A coming out support group for LGBT adults meets on Saturdays through today; 4 p.m. at First MCC Community Center, 1379 Tullie Road NE, Atlanta, GA 30329. www.ﬁrstmcc.com Kings, queens and femmes compete every other Saturday for Drag Race Season III at 9 p.m. at My Sister’s Room, 1271 Glenwood Ave., Atlanta, GA 30316, www.mysistersroom.com Go “Man 2 Man” every Saturday night at XS Ultra Lounge, 708 Spring Street, Atlanta, GA 30308, www.xcessultralounge.com DJ Trouble and MC Wild Thing head up Wassup N Atl’s Score Saturdays at Scoreboards, 1371 Clairmont Road, Decatur, GA 30033, www.wassupnatl.com
Toy Party, the biggest holiday part of the year, features DJ Vicki Powell, cocktails, food and more to collect a mountain of toys for underprivileged kids. Admission is $5 plus a new, unwrapped toy worth $20; VIP admission levels also offered. 5-9 p.m. at Americas Mart 3, 240 Peachtree St., Atlanta, GA 30303, www.forthekid.org
Tuesday, Nov. 20
Mark the national Transgender Day of Remembrance with a free health care and vigil. Health vigil 1-5 p.m., vigil reception at 6:30 p.m. at the Rush Center, 1530 Dekalb Ave. Suite A, Atlanta, GA 30307. Tuesdays, Thursdays and early Saturday, get your country on with 3-Legged Cowboy nights at the Heretic, 2069 Cheshire Bridge Road, Atlanta, GA 30324, www.hereticatlanta.com Get ready to gobble at Turkey Bowl, promising three games of “crazy fun” plus at Turkey Toss. Hosted by Dixie Invitational Bowling at 7 p.m. at Midtown Bowl, 1936 Piedmont Circle, Atlanta, GA 30324, www.dixiebowl.org Electronic music lovers of all stripes will turn out for Blackout X: College Night Edition, with DJ Eu, DJ Esko and more. 9 p.m. – 3 a.m. at Opera Nightclub, 1150 Crescent Ave., Atlanta, GA 30309.
Friday, Nov. 16
Thursday, Nov. 15
SAGE Atlanta, for LGBT elders, hosts chair yoga every Friday at 10:30 a.m. at the Philip Rush Center, 1530 Dekalb Ave., Atlanta, GA 30307, www.sageatl.org The Southern Bears, a group for “hirsute” gay men and their admirers,” host a Thanksgiving Pot Luck. 6 p.m. at the Rush Center, 1530 Dekalb Ave., Atlanta, GA 30307, www.southernbears.org Photographer Philip Bonneau presents the opening of Heroes + Villains 3, his photographic series that re-imagines characters from comic books, Disney and pop culture. Includes cocktails, live performances from models from the series, and a silent auction of the entire series to beneﬁt AID Atlanta. Opening event from 7-11 p.m., show continues through Dec. 7 at i.d. Lab, 996 Huff Road NW, Suite C, Atlanta, GA 30318, http://on.fb.me/RJ0kwt
SAGE Atlanta, a support and social group for LGBT elders, meets starting at 10 a.m. on Thursdays at the Philip Rush Center, 1530 Dekalb Ave., Atlanta, GA 30307, www.sageatl.org The gay Atlanta Executive Network hosts an evening of networking featuring speaker David Haynes of the Atlanta Regional Commission. 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Hudson Grille, 942 Peachtree St., Atlanta, GA 30309, www.aen.org Project Q hosts the Bestest of the Best of Gay Atlanta, a party to celebrate the winners of their online voting, which pits winners of GA Voice, David and Fenuxe “best of Atlanta” awards. 7-9 p.m. at Jungle, 2115 Faulkner Road, Atlanta, GA 30324, www.projectqatlanta.com
Wednesday, Nov. 21
Sunday, Nov. 18
The Armorettes, Atlanta’s legendary fundraising drag troupe, takes over at 8 p.m. at at Burkhart’s, 1492 Piedmont Ave., Atlanta, GA 30309, www.burkharts.com Burkhart’s Pub, www.burkharts.com
Monday, Nov. 19
Catch Monday Night Football with games starting at 8:30 p.m. at My Sister’s Room, 1271 Glenwood Ave., Atlanta, GA 30316, www.mysistersroom.com
Thursday, Nov. 22
The Model T hosts a Thanksgiving Potluck at 3 p.m. at 699 Ponce De Leon Ave., Atlanta, GA 30308, www.modeltatlanta.com
November 9, 2012
Now what do we do?
Moving on after Election Day
The election is ﬁnally behind us, and many are left with empty chunks of time. Those hours that had been dedicated to checking polls, watching speeches and arguing with your friends and family about who had the best debate performance have come to a merciful end. We have all woken up with a serious political hangover and now we need to ﬁnd our keys and start driving home to the real world. I recently watched an interview with David McCullough, the author of Pulitzer-winning books on American political ﬁgures like John Adams and Harry Truman. He pointed out that despite the record amount of money spent on this election, there was really nothing of substance presented that would stand the test of time. What qualiﬁes as substance? According to McCullough it comes down to authenticity. A political candidate that says what he or she feels, without worrying about being popular, is a person who gets books written about them generations later. It’s sad to watch us all get so worked up into an emotional fervor during an election, only to be unable to recall who the losing candidate was eight years from now. Don’t believe me? Try it. Here is the test: Give yourself 30 seconds to remember the Republican Candidate Bill Clinton beat to gain a second term in ofﬁce. Now see how long it takes you to name Al Gore’s running mate in 2000. The anger and partisan in those elections were the same as today. But how quickly we forget. Moving forward, let’s start using Facebook to bring people together. This election, the true battleground was on our social network pages where family members de-friended each other in droves as Election Day got closer. In the past, political arguments ended once the family dinner was over and someone left early. These days, the battles raged for hours as we bantered online back and forth about the deﬁcit, the auto industry, Libya, binders full of women and Clint Eastwood and his chair.
Melissa Carter is also a writer for Hufﬁngton Post. She broke ground as the ﬁrst out lesbian radio personality on a major station in Atlanta and was one of the few out morning show personalities in the country. Follow her on Twitter @MelissaCarter
The goal now has to be to remember that before you were arguing politics with someone, you bonded with them in some way. Find that bond again. Use social media to make your friends and family laugh for a change. Both Democrats and Republicans have senses of humor. Share funny photos and family recipes for a month or so. My personal tool of choice is cat videos. It is a fact that cat videos transcend race, politics, gender and sexual orientation. Go outside and do something that does not involve guarding your yard sign. I am guilty of keeping mental notes of which neighbor supports which candidate. I have placed my own sign in the yard in elections past, just to have that sign stolen, leading to furious daydreams of rigging cameras to catch the culprit in action. But this year, I backed off that emotional ledge. I focused on a new garden during the summer and eagerly put up my Halloween decorations as the weather chilled. I made a point to wave at my neighbors no matter what sign was in their yard. Go back to freely wearing red and blue without worrying about the message you are sending. At some point in our political history, the color red was assigned the task of representing Republicans and the color blue got the job of promoting Democrats. But we have to remind ourselves that the colors of our country are red, white, and blue. We all have diverse opinions and by letting ourselves be placed on one of two teams, we become mischaracterized and simpliﬁed. Forgive. Today is a new day in the history of America and it is time to walk away from the rhetoric and get busy creating a stronger country. So no matter whether your candidate won or lost, leave your anger behind and move on. In January, we will inaugurate our president and in two and a half years or so, we get to do this all over again. Enjoy the time off.
November 9, 2012
In it to win it
Hate the game, not the player
It all started with SongPop. My husband, Preppy, found this iPhone app that’s sort of like what would happen if “Name That Tune” had a baby with a satellite radio — his areas of specialization were ‘80s Pop and One Hit Wonders. I’d hear ﬁve notes of “I Wanna Dance with Somebody,” followed by a little victory chime, followed by a squeal of delight. When he played the game on the couch, I’d shout out possibilities without seeing the multiple choice answers. Nine times out of ten, my guess was Heart. Fun fact: 90 percent of all ‘80s Pop and One Hit Wonders sound like Ann and Nancy Wilson. Anyhoo, eventually I signed myself up for SongPop, and my sister Shannon quickly followed suit. That’s when things turned ugly. My sister’s children are both in school now, which left her plenty of time to kick ass in fringe categories like Horror Movie Themes. She destroyed Preppy’s and my high scores within two days. This roused the competitor in me. Emerging as the SongPop champion became an obsession. Not coincidentally, around this time my husband lost all interest in the game. Apparently my sister and I had raised the stakes beyond his ability to enjoy it. We have a tendency to do this in my family. My mother’s mother, Memama, would play remarkably contentious Scrabble games with my Uncle Paul. The games would last entire afternoons, and none of us would be allowed in the room while the death match was being held. So we’d sit by the door and listen, since the language was much more colorful than anything on TV. “God…Dammit, Shirley! That is NOT a goddamn word.” “Go ahead and look it up, Paul, if you’re willing to risk the points. You were wrong about ‘striven,’ but maybe you’ll be right about this one.” “God…DAMMIT, Shirley!” Then we’d hear her musical little chuckle. “Alright, so that’s a triple-word score…” Memama was a teensy slip of a woman from Arkansas without much education, up against the 300-pound Shell Oil executive who’d married her daughter. In any other scenario imagin-
Topher Payne is an Atlanta-based playwright, and the author of the book “Necessary Luxuries: Notes on a Semi-Fabulous Life.” Find out more at topherpayne.com
able, he’d have the obvious upper hand. But Memama had one hell of a vocabulary, and on the battleﬁeld of Scrabble, she was a formidable opponent who would knock your highfalutin’ ass down a few pegs, ‘til she could look you in the eye. She taught her grandkids that simply by sharpening a few well-chosen skills, you could take down any opponent. The trick was always making sure you were playing your game, not theirs. Leaving my sister and I to battle it out over SongPop, Preppy moved on to a Facebook game called Pet Society. It’s a benign little enterprise where you create a cartoon animal which you can play Frisbee with and dress in little outﬁts. You can also earn coins to purchase home furnishings for your pet by visiting strangers and washing or feeding their animals. Once Shannon and I discovered this, the game was once again on. “I’ve neglected my own children all morning while I sat online bathing strangers and feeding them pineapples,” says Shannon on the phone. “But I got four hundred coins and bought a chandelier!” “Preppy says we’re ruining another game,” I say, brushing a random rabbit and stocking up on coins. “He’s just saying that because we’re winning. If you’re that worried, buy him a present.” I send my pet over to his pet’s house. Preppy was a few beers in when he created his animal and accidentally misspelled its name, which apparently one cannot change, so he’s stuck with a cat named “Butterscotche.” I spend the coins I was saving for a new sofa and buy a bunch of presents for Butterscotche. This may all sound insane to the uninitiated, but it’s a signiﬁcant choice in Pet Society: I’m not winning anymore. But the next time he opens the game, instead of seeing how high I’ve managed to push my score, he’ll ﬁnd a room full of gift boxes. Even if the gifts aren’t real, the intent behind them is. Sometimes, when you lose, you win.
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