BMW 5 Series 888-918-5463

The Ultimate Driving Machine


With award-winning performance and remarkable fuel efficiency, the BMW 5 Series is a rare creature. Delivering both legendary power and up to 34 mpg highway,* few of its rivals can keep up. Test Drive one today and see why it’s the leaner, meaner, Ultimate Driving Machine.

BMW EfficientDynamics
Less emissions. More driving pleasure.

The BMW 5 Series achieves up to 23/34 city/highway mpg based on EPA estimates. Actual mileage may very. 1 Whichever comes first. For full details on BMW Ultimate Service® visit ©2012 BMW of North America, LLC. The BMW name, model names and logo are registered trademarks.

The Georgia Voice

“I meant no ill will and intended to hurt no one and I apologize if I offended anyone. I meant to say maggot but I have a lisp.”
Photo by Joella Marano/CC 2.0

Meet Your Motivation: LGBT Atlantans speak out on health challenges • Jason Davis: Fighting addiction, losing weight, inspiring others. Page 4 • Maggie Lopez & Patt Cianciullo: Facing cancer as couple. Page 6 • Rev. Paul Turner: Using anger to quit smoking. Page 6 Fitness tips from an ‘unapologetic fat girl.’ Page 8 Health Initiative focuses on LGBT wellness. Page 9 5 tips for a healthier 2013. Page 9

PO Box 77401 Atlanta, GA 30357 404-815-6941 |


Editor: Laura Douglas-Brown Deputy Editor: Dyana Bagby Web Manager: Ryan Watkins Art Director: Bo Shell Contributors: Melissa Carter, Brent Corcoran, Jim Farmer, Shannon Hames, Topher Payne, Matt Schafer, Steve Warren, Ryan Lee

— Controversial actor Charlie Sheen, somewhat apologizing via TMZ after shouting to the audience at the opening of his new bar in Cabo, “How we doing? ... Lying bunch of faggot assholes, how we doing?” (, Dec. 30)


Photo by Jyle Dupuis/CC 2.0

Publisher: Christina Cash Associate Publisher: Tim Boyd Sales Executive: Marshall Graham National Advertising: Rivendell Media, 908-232-2021

“Its a lot going on that the Bible speaks about we should Not be doing. Weed legal in some places, Gay Marriage Legal BUT YET IM JUDGED!!!”
— Singer and reality star Fantasia Barrino in an Instagram post that her PR team says was “taken far out of context,” adding, “she has supported and performed at numerous events that are sponsored by the LGBT community.” (, Dec. 31)

Employment bill tops LGBT agenda as Ga. legislature convenes. Page 11 Creating Change confab brings national activists to Atlanta. Page 12 Possible anti-gay angle to NYE Atlanta stabbings. Page 13


Richard Eldredge, Sandy Malcolm, Lynn Pasqualetti, Robert Pullen
All material in the Georgia Voice is protected by federal copyright law and may not be reproduced without the written consent of the Georgia Voice. The sexual orientation of advertisers, photographers, writers and cartoonists published herein is neither inferred nor implied. The appearance of names or pictorial representation does not necessarily indicate the sexual orientation of that person or persons. We also do not accept responsibility for claims made by advertisers. Unsolicited editorial material is accepted by the Georgia Voice, but we do not take responsibility for its return. The editors reserve the right to accept, reject or edit any submission. Guidelines for freelance contributors are available upon request. A single copy of the Georgia Voice is available from authorized distribution points. Multiple copies are available from the Georgia Voice office only. Call for rates. If you are unable to reach a convenient free distribution point, you may receive a 26-issue mailed subscription for $60 per year. Checks or credit card orders can be sent to Tim Boyd, Postmaster: Send address changes to the Georgia Voice, PO Box 77401, Atlanta, GA 30357. The Georgia Voice is published every other Friday by The Georgia Voice, LLC. Individual subscriptions are $60 per year for 26 issues. Postage paid at Atlanta, GA, and additional mailing offices. The editorial positions of the Georgia Voice are expressed in editorials and in editor’s notes. Other opinions are those of the writers and do not necessarily represent the opinion of the Georgia Voice and its staff. To submit a letter or commentary: Letters should be fewer than 400 words and commentary, for web or print, should be fewer than 750 words. Submissions may be edited for content and length, and must include a name, address and phone number for verification. Email submissions to or mail to the address above.

Official portrait

“Were the president still in the Illinois State Legislature, he would support this measure that would treat all Illinois couples equally.”
— White House spokesman Shin Inouye, explaining why President Obama supports the “Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act,” a bill pending in the Illinois state legislature that would allow gay couples to marry. (Chicago Sun-Times, Dec. 29)

Pet care non-profit PALS seeks donations to overcome lost grant. Page 13

‘Sing For Your Life’ brings live music to Jungle. Page 15 Events: LGBT Atlanta celebrates MLK Day. Page 17 Theater: ‘Swell Party,’ ‘Bloody Andrew Jackson.’ Page 19 Food Porn: Pornographic Christmas dinner. Page 20

“New Hampshire was the one place where I wasn’t the gay bishop. I’m just the bishop. That’s been terrific and kind of lifesaving in a way.”
— New Hampshire Bishop Gene Robinson, who touched off worldwide controversy when he became the first openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church (U.S.A.), as he prepares to retire Jan. 5 (Associated Press, Dec. 31)
Photo via Facebook File photo

Pages 22-24

“I think the biggest thing for me, not being accepted by my peer group and fitting in, I became a people-pleaser and never took care of myself.”
— “Biggest Loser” contestant Jackson Carter, billed as the first openly gay competitor on the weight-loss show, on how he came to top 320 lbs. at age 21. The show’s new season launches Jan. 6. (Salt Lake Tribune, Dec. 30)

That’s What She Said: Melissa Carter’s New Year’s resolution goes viral. Page 26 Domestically Disturbed: Topher Payne wonders if the Mayans were right. Page 27


LGBT Atlantans speak out on overcoming health challenges



Fighting addiction, working out, and inspiring others
Chicago Pride pics, work-out Instagrams and a meme that says “no matter how slow you go, you are still lapping everybody on the couch” led to an odd silence on Jason Davis’ Facebook last summer. Usually busy with cheeky updates and promos for the nights he tends bar at Mary’s in East Atlanta, his feed went mysteriously dark for three months starting last August before he returned quietly with more of the same. Until Nov. 19. “If anyone was curious why I really disappeared for a minute, it’s because I was drinking and doing drugs again,” Davis posted. “Everyone says ‘relapse is a part of recovery,’ but I didn’t think it had to be part of mine, nor did I think it would last four months… “I just hope that someone can learn something from me, without having to go through all the bullshit I have,” he said. Davis’s story seems unlikely if you spend a night across his bar. He’s the 35-year-old drink-slinging, karaoke-singing bear laughing above the crowds every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday night at Mary’s — a gay bar he’s helped make famous over the past eight years. But how much do we really know about our favorite bartenders? “I was raised as a Jehovah’s Witness and my parents were very strict,” Davis recalled. “My dad had a way of making me feel shameful for doing anything I wasn’t supposed to do and when I was an adult, I decided to get out of the religion and do everything I couldn’t do before.” And did it he did. Davis started drinking at 20, and hard drugs came just two years later. He’d left home in St. Louis, Mo., for South Florida where a boyfriend with a latent proclivity toward violence introduced him to meth. Just a year later, he found himself hallucinating

in strangers’ homes for days at the time. “I lost all my friends, lost touch with family, lost my job, lost my house.” he said. “It’s hard to do that drug casually.” At the end of 2003, at rock bottom with nothing to lose, Davis was rescued by a familiar face. The boyfriend who’d introduced him to meth was attempting sobriety in Texas and asked Davis to join him. The two quickly fell back into old habits and the relationship ended after an altercation where Davis reports having his scalp bitten and shin kicked in. “The very next day I got on a plane to Atlanta,” he said. Several years of on-and-off meth and cocaine use grew tiresome as Davis built a new life with old friends in Georgia. Depressed and still addicted in 2008, Davis started seeing a therapist once a week, reluctantly tracing his struggles with drugs back to two things that haunted him: the guilt, shame and self-loathing attitude he attributes to an extremely religious upbringing, and his tendency to be a perfectionist, even at the cost of his health. “I thought that if I couldn’t set out to do something perfectly, then I probably wouldn’t give it an effort... Realizing that I would have to make some mistakes going into to it, I was able to commit myself to an idea to change myself for the better,” he said. There was an attempt at a not-so-complete sobriety in 2009, when Davis quit drugs, but continued drinking, hoping for the best with help from his therapist and his support group of friends and family. It didn’t stick. “It was hard for me because I work in a bar, but I don’t see myself as a textbook alcoholic, but then I would realize that I would drink, get drunk and make bad decisions,” he said. In October 2010, Davis quit drinking and began his longest period of sobriety in eight

Dec. 2010: 299 pounds Feb. 2012: 199 pounds

Jason Davis chronicled his weight loss in these photos on Facebook, and eventually came clean about his struggles with addiction last November. (Courtesy photos)

Shame and perfection

‘It’s hard to do that drug casually’

years. A couple months later, he joined a gym and committed to a “Biggest Loser” contest with a fellow bartender who happened to be studying diet and exercise. A sweets and fried-food lover boasting 299 pounds at his heaviest, Davis knew it would be an uphill battle. He photographed himself to track his results. Davis combined elements of the “Body for Life” program he’d tried when he was younger with tips from his challenger and trainers at the gym. He watched portions, ate balanced meals and dropped weight almost immediately: 40 pounds in three months. “It was the first time in my life that I felt like I was accomplishing something I set out to do and people would come up to me and start complimenting me on things and god I love that,” he said with a laugh. “I’m a total attention whore and when people say those things to me, I just eat it up.” Better that than the sweets and fried food. In March 2011, Davis bravely Facebooked a photo of his 2010, 299-pound shirtless self with a current after photo: 249 pounds. Then in July 2011, 219 pounds. February 2012, 199 pounds. Sober for 20 months and 100 hundred pounds lighter, by spring 2012, he was running out of things to talk about in therapy. Physically remade and surrounded by good friends, Davis leaned on the idea that he’d never truly been that “textbook alcoholic” and allowed himself to drink at Chicago Pride. “But once I allowed myself to make an exception, I started making all kinds of exceptions,” he said. Davis ran into meth again during a July 2012 hook-up that ultimately lead to the moment he calls “the end of it.”

“Of course when it was there and when it was in front of my face, I couldn’t say no,” he said. “I found myself completely weak again and taken over.” Swallowed whole by the familiar combination of guilt, shame and addiction, Davis continued to use. By the end of October 2012, he’d disappeared from Facebook and “everywhere,” he said. A black out scared him into trying again for sobriety. “When I came to and started to remember, I thought, ‘This is out of control. This cannot happen anymore. I care about my life too much, and I care about the things I’ve accomplished and I don’t want to throw it all way.’” he said. By Nov. 19, Davis had again committed himself to sobriety and boldly took his confession to Facebook. Davis, now more than 60 days sober, says he likes the idea of being held accountable by the 800 or so people connected to him online. “Some of my friends think I’m crazy for not keeping myself more private, but I don’t really have a reason not to. I’m not going to be president some day,” Davis said, laughing again. More than anything, he hopes his honesty and humor can help others escape the isolation he felt in his darkest days. “When you’re going through something like this, addiction or trying to recover, it’s very easy to feel very alone,” he said. “I’ve had friends open up to me and tell me things they’ve gone through and I would have had no idea. “I know a couple of instances where I’ve inspired people to get clean or lose weight,” he continued, “and even if it’s only a couple, that makes me feel good about putting myself out there.” — Bo Shell

Going public

‘The end of it’

Dropping weight

Driving one will give your skin that healthy new-car glow.
2013 Infiniti G37 Journey Coupe
with Premium Package

lease for:


for 24 months*



2013 Infiniti G37 Sedan
with Premium Package

lease for:


for 24 months**

1609 Church Street Decatur, GA 30033 404.292.6930

*Lease is for 24 months/10k miles per year with $2999 due at lease signing. Price includes all fees except tax, tag, title and Lemon Law fees. Two or more available at this price. $0 security deposit required. Offer is with approved credit and additional incentives may apply. Offer expires 1/31/2012. See dealer for details. ** Lease is for 24 months/10k miles per year with $2999 due at lease signing. Price includes all fees except tax, tag, title and Lemon Law fees. Two or more available at this price. $0 security deposit required. Offer is with approved credit and additional incentives may apply. Offer expires 1/31/2012. See dealer for details.

6 2

GA Voice

January 4, 2013

Health & Fitness

Maggie Lopez and Patt Cianciullo have been partners for six years and are married in Cianciullo’s home state of Connecticut. Now living in Atlanta, they have spent the last two years coping with cancer through faith, hope and humor. Cianciullo was no stranger to caring for a cancer patient when Lopez was diagnosed with breast cancer in October 2010. “Patt was with her one and only other partner for 25 years and for the last 12 years of her life, she battled the highest and rarest form of ovarian cancer. … Patt’s experience from that was a tremendous help to me when I was first diagnosed with breast cancer,” Lopez said. “It was déjà vu,” recalled Cianciullo. “It brought me back to dealing with cancer again. I was thinking about the road ahead for Maggie and whether death would come into the picture. I was scared for her knowing what 12 years of cancer can do to a person. I knew what was ahead but it was a no-brainer for me that my role would be by her side.” “We’re very religious,” Cianciullo continued. “We’re practicing Catholics and it’s not being mad at God or saying to God ‘I can’t believe you’re putting me in this position again. W.T.F?’” Lopez clarified: “She didn’t say that, but I did say, ‘What the fuck?’ Enough already!” Lopez is now nearing the milestone of being cancer-free for two years, but the couple’s

Facing cancer as a couple

health scares weren’t over. As Lopez recovered, she had time to think about her journey. “For the longest time, I kept asking myself why? Why me? Why cancer? “That answer became clear to me when Patt was diagnosed,” she said. “I could now steer her through the rollercoaster of emotion, fear, hope, and helplessness I encountered, which I saw reflected in her face after her diagnosis. When she first got that call that it may be cancer, she sank to her knees and I had to take the phone away and talk because she couldn’t finish the call.” Cianciullo was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in August 2012 and is now regaining strength after treatment. When both people in a partnership are diagnosed with cancer, there are challenges that go well beyond who will pick up the dry cleaning or prepare dinner. Lopez speaks for them both when she says, “The tough one for both of us to learn, being control freaks, was learning to ask for and accept help. There are many things with this dis-


Patt Cianciullo and Maggie Lopez have both faced cancer diagnoses over the last two years. (Photo by Brent Corcoran / RNZ Photography)

After more than four decades where Rev. Paul Turner’s hand was never far from a cigarette, he finally got mad enough to quit for good. New Year’s Eve marked nine weeks since his last cigarette. “I quit something that I should have never have started,” Turner said. His last cigarette came from a pack he bought in late October, and it followed an almost spontaneous decision to lay down the cancer sticks. “I looked at the pack, and it was $5.75. I was halfway to my truck and I was like ‘What the hell?’ Why am I paying that much for something that’s going to kill me? They think they own me,” Turner said. So Turner smoked the last pack, because he had already paid for it and it wouldn’t help anyone to just throw it away, and started his latest effort to quit. Shortly after stamping out his last cigarette he posted his desire to quit on Facebook. “The interesting piece was all the suggestions people made me, and what I realized is all the stop smoking stuff is just gimmicks,” he said.

REV. PAUL TURNER: Quitting hot
What got him through the hump of nicotine withdrawal was his frustration with the tobacco companies. “It wasn’t a moral or ethical thing,” he said. “I’m just so, so pissed off at the cigarette companies.” Turner grew up with a father who smoked, and snagged his first cigarette from his father when his dad wasn’t looking. “I was 16 years old and it was a pack of my dad’s Alpines, which were menthol, and I thought they made me look like an adult,” he said. “My mother and grandmother could smell it because they weren’t smokers and I lied about it, like I lied about my orientation. I didn’t figure it was a big lie.” As a young man reaching out into the gay community in the 1970s he found himself in bars — bars filled with men smoking. “I don’t know if it was reinforcement, but it was another reason to smoke. You would go to a bar and you would get to smoke. As more and more bars became smoke free it was interesting how it would change where you would go,”

ease that you have to leave to others, to chance, to medicine, and to God.” Lopez continued: “Our faith has been crucial. When people learn about our faith, they usually wonder how we can be Catholic and also be homosexual. We say we’re ‘Cafeteria Catholics’ — we take something from here and something from there but we’re not going to throw the baby out with the bathwater.” She also offered advice to other couples go-

ing through a health crisis: “Go through it together. Be honest, be hopeful and accept help. Some diseases render you powerless until the next test comes back. You can’t control things so letting go of control and accepting help was necessary. “Have faith in each other, have lots of humor and lots of hope.” — Shannon Hames

Turner said. “I found myself as a smoker going to bars that didn’t allow smoking.” He quit several times as he attempted to lay down his habit, but none of the previous efforts were successful until he finally reconciled his theology with his smoking. Turner is the founding pastor at Gentle Spirit Christian Church and has been presiding over “The Church Without Walls” which meets Sundays in Candler Park. It was while looking at that last pack of Mavericks that he decided he had to get in line with his own teachings. “One of the pieces of theology that I’ve been trying to teach the church is that no one owns you. What happens a lot of times at mainline churches is they give you a piece of theology and that if you follow that you’ll go to heaven. It’s bad theology,” Turner said. “There’s not much I’m afraid of, but I am afraid of being controlled. It finally got in my head that they controlled me, and were going to kill me and probably not even show up at the funeral,” he said. So after smoking that last cigarette some

It took getting angry at tobacco companies for Pastor Paul Turner to finally quit smoking, hopefully for good. (File photo)

strange things happened. “About the third week in about my sense of smell came back,” Turner said “Do you know how bad dog farts smell? Well I had never noticed them before.” His partner, Bill Pabst, also quit. They’ve gotten the smell of smoke out of the house, cars and wardrobe. “I can say I’m relatively certain I’m not going back,” Turner said. — Matt Schafer

8 4

GA Voice

January 4, 2013

Health & Fitness

Fitness advice from an ‘unapologetic fat girl’
Hanne Blank urges readers to embrace, respect bodies regardless of size



By Dyana Bagby As the author of a book titled “The Unapologetic Fat Girl’s Guide to Exercise,” Hanne Blank is not one to make a New Year’s resolution to lose 10, 15, 20 or however many pounds. She is one to encourage movement, though, and learning to love and respect the body you have. Blank is the author of other books including “Straight: The Surprisingly Short Story of Heterosexuality,” “Big Big Love: Relationships Guides for People of Size (And People Who Love Them) as well as an editor of “Best Transgender Erotica.” She is also a classically trained musician and has taught at Brandeis University and Tufts University. In other words, she knows her stuff. She brings that knowledge to Charis Books & More on Jan. 5 at 7:30 p.m. when she reads from and signs “The Unapologetic Fat Girl’s Guide To Exercise.” Blank, a self-described queer woman and “proud fat girl,” says she “understands the physical and emotional roadblocks that overweight women face in the world of exercise.” But there are options, she stresses, from WiiFit to extreme sports, as well as menus to follow for proper nutrition — all of this without the fatbashing prevalent in our culture. She answered a few questions ahead of her visit to Atlanta, where she lives part-time with her fiance while also living in Massachusetts. People don’t always tend to see fat as being physically fit. Your book looks to debunk this. You are a personal fitness trainer. How can you help people understand this? Fitness is not a size! It’s a state of bodily vigor and strength, capability and robustness. There is no size or shape of human being that is automatically, uniformly vigorous and robust. There just isn’t. There are plenty of small or thin people who are nowhere close to it. There are plenty of big or fat people who are actually a lot more physically vigorous and robust than you think. Size or weight aren’t very accurate ways to tell someone’s fitness level. There are actual formal tests — VO2max, the Wingate Test, goniometry, all kinds of scientifically valid

1. Some movement is better than no movement as far as your body and your fitness is concerned. It all counts. 2. When you move, do what feels good to you, not what you think you “should” do. You won’t exercise if you’re miserable, anyhow, so why not skip the miserable part? 3. You’re allowed to have your own reasons to move your body. Changing your weight does not have to be on the list unless you want it to be. 4. Movement is not a magic flying glitter rainbow pony that will fix your entire life. It’s still worth doing. 5. “No pain, no gain” is a lie. Pain is not what makes you more fit, increasing your physical capacity over time in response to increased demand is. If what you’re doing hurts, back off a bit. (See #2.)

‘The problem is that we’ve decided culturally, in a way that is not arbitrary but rather deeply racist and sexist (among other things), that only certain types of human bodies are ‘good,’ says Hanne Blank, author of ‘The Unapologetic Fat Girl’s Guide to Exercise.’ (Courtesy photo)

measures — that do a much better and more accurate job of that. As a movement coach — I actually hate the word “trainer,” I think that word applies to people who work with animals — what I try to do is encourage people to do things that make their bodies more vigorous and robust, regardless of their size or shape. Anyone, at any size or shape (and even at many levels of dis/ability) can do things to help themselves be more physically strong, capable and robust. This approach to improving fitness is based on the approach to general health that Dr. Linda Bacon calls “Health At Every Size.” Our society does not embrace people, especially women, who are fat. Why should we change this attitude and how can we do so? Fat people are human beings. Human beings deserve human dignity. It’s really that simple. No one’s asking for any kind of special treatment here, just to be given a share of the same thing that everyone else on the planet should get. How can you do so? The same way you refrain from treating anyone else badly: treat them as a valid human being, just like you. You learned this one in kindergarten. Why are you unapologetic? Why should I apologize? Why should anyone apologize for being embodied in the particular way(s) they are?

‘The Unapologetic Fat Girl’s Guide to Exercise’ by Hanne Blank Reading and signing: Jan. 5, 7:30 p.m. at Charis Books & More 1189 Euclid Ave., Atlanta, GA 30307 This event is sponsored by Charis Circle’s Founding the Future of Feminism Program and a suggested donation of $5 is asked.

How did you come to love your body as it is? I don’t always love my body. It is my experience that not very many people do, regardless of their size or shape. What I do do is respect my body. I think respect is much more important than love in this context. Respect will get you through times when you cannot love your body... and all other times as well. What are some things people can do to be more accepting? Our society seems to train us from a young age to not like fat people. Two things — and they’re both hard, don’t say I didn’t warn you. First, cancel your assumptions. Every person you meet is at least as complex and multifaceted as you. Finding out what’s actually there is always more interesting than assuming you already know. Second, in the words of the immortal Wil Wheaton, don’t be a dick. You are a part time Atlantan. What is it about this city you like? My fiance is a philosophy professor here, which is what brought me this way initially. Atlanta has really grown on me: The relaxed pace and lack of arrogance, in a city where interesting things still happen and important things still get done, is really enjoyable.

The problem isn’t that human bodies come in an amazingly diverse range of forms and sizes and colors and metabolisms and body compositions. That’s the nature of our species. The problem is that we’ve decided culturally, in a way that is not arbitrary but rather deeply racist and sexist (among other things), that only certain types of human bodies are “good.” Do you ever wish you were skinny? No. I regularly wish that the world I live in were more inclusive of all the different bodies that live in it, though.

Health & Fitness

January 4, 2013

GA Voice


Health Initiative strives to meet LGBT Georgia’s needs
Programs, fairs and events to draw attention to health
By Ryan Watkins At its annual Fall Garden Party in September 2011, the Atlanta Lesbian Health Initiative announced it would expand its mission to encompass all of the community — becoming The Health Initiative, “Georgia’s voice for LGBTQ health.” In the year since its re-branding and expansion, the biggest change has been the number of individuals that utilize Health Initiative’s services, said Executive Director Linda Ellis. “The most significant shift has been the overwhelming expansion in the number and types of people who are accessing our services, particularly the health fund,” Ellis said. “We’re seeing an increase in trans individuals and gay men who access the fund. That’s a shift for us and that’s exactly what we wanted to happen.” Originally founded in 1996 by Dennie Doucher, Sherry Hale and Linda McGehee as the Atlanta Lesbian Cancer Initiative, the organization has gone through a series of changes in its 17-year history, but its focus has always centered around health and wellness. “What we are trying to do, as much as possible, is keep people as individuals tied into our communities wherever we’re connected. We’re not trying to reinvent programming, we’re trying to provide access to care,” Ellis said. In addition to offering referrals and access to the health fund, the Health Initiative also regularly hosts programming specific to LGBT needs at the Rush Center throughout each month.

Current Health Initiative Programs
The Health Fund: Provides access to health screenings, annual physicals, dental treatments, prescription medication and more by working with LGBTQ providers who offer free or discounted services. When donations make it possible, can offer direct assistance to those who apply and are approved. Real Bois Talk: A program for masculineidentified African-American gay females. The program meets monthly at the Rush Center. Domestic Violence Perpetrators and Survivors Support Groups: For survivors, the group offers a chance to work toward their recovery in a group atmosphere. For perpetrators, a separate program is designed to help manage anger and teach preventative measures. Both groups meet once a week at the Rush Center. Weight Watchers: A health-conscious weight loss group meets every Saturday morning at the Rush Center. Fourth Tuesday: The Health Initiative’s social group for women meets to promote healthy business and personal networking. The group regularly hosts dinners and social mixers throughout the year. SAGE Atlanta (Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders): This group serves LGBT seniors by providing the opportunity for social interaction and advocacy. The group meets every Thursday morning at the Rush Center. Decatur Women’s Sports League: Softball, bowling, volleyball and other sports are organized to benefit the Health Initiative. For schedules, visit

The Fall Garden Party is the largest fundraiser for the Health Initiative, which provides information and services to LGBT Georgians. (Photo by Dyana Bagby)

Increased programming and health fairs

As it moves into 2013, the Health Initia-

tive will continue to offer a series of health and wellness programming ranging from domestic violence support to weight loss and elder services. (See sidebar for a complete list of the Health Initiative’s programs) The organization also hosts a series of health fairs throughout the year, which Ellis said may be scaled back in size, but held more frequently, in 2013. “They’ll be smaller, but there will be more of them,” Ellis said of the organization’s plans for fairs in the New Year.

Expect to see the Health Initiative at more LGBT events across the state, including some of the state’s largest Pride festivals outside of Atlanta. “We’re trying to partner with each of the Pride organizations around the state,” Ellis said. “We want to go in and offer a community training for healthcare providers for that area and a corresponding health fair.” The idea is that the Health Initiative can work with local organizations and care providers to create a network of LGBT-friendly (and properly trained) medical professionals around the state. The biggest challenge, Ellis said, of reaching out to LGBT individuals regarding their health is crafting a message that will received by people who may have spent time outside of the traditional healthcare system. “If you don’t see yourself in the health message, you’re not as likely to adopt it, particularly for younger people,” Ellis said. “We have to come up with a way to help, whether it’s to do more push ups or shifting your diet. We have to come up with ways to make that a priority as a community.”




major impact on your health and well-being,” helping you avoid unhealthy habits, cope with trauma, reduce stress, boost happiness, and much more. Atlanta offers dozens of LGBT-inclusive spiritual, networking, social and support organizations that can help you connect with like-minded folks.

Looking for LGBT sports, health, social and spiritual organizations to join? Check out our Organization listings under the Community tab at

provide referrals to LGBT-supportive physicians and maintains a health fund if payment is problematic.


Exercise improves your fitness, helps maintain healthy body weight and can also impact on your mood and confidence. Atlanta offers many gay-inclusive gyms; also, remember working out isn’t your only option. LGBT sports teams can help you make friends and get exercise at the same time.



As the Mayo Clinic notes, “friendships can have a

Some 20 percent of Americans with HIV don’t know they are infected with the virus, preventing them from seeking medical care to protect their health and also possibly putting their sexual partners at risk. Atlanta offers multiple venues for free HIV testing, from LGBT-led nonprofits like Positive Impact and AID Atlanta to public health departments.


HIV is often the biggest focus of LGBT health messages, for good reason. But even if you get tested for HIV at a clinic, don’t neglect to get a routine annual physical as well. For women and female-tomale transmen, don’t forget an annual gynecological exam as well. Many health problems, including high blood pressure, diabetes and many cancers, can be treated if detected early. The Health Initiative can

Sometimes the hardest part of making any health change — from any of these steps to stopping smoking or stemming other addictions — is the temptation to put it off to some other time. We overeat at the holidays by promising ourselves we will work out as our New Year’s resolution. We have one more cigarette tonight by pledging to quit tomorrow. Instead, take steps now and forgive yourself if you aren’t perfect. Lean on your friends for support, and support them in their health endeavors too. — Laura Douglas-Brown


January 4, 2013

GA Voice


Gay advocates wary of GOP majority as new session opens
By Ryan Watkins

Employment bill tops LGBT agenda in Ga. legislature

As Georgia’s three openly lesbian lawmakers return to work under the iconic Gold Dome as the 2013 legislative session convenes Jan. 14, they face the daunting task of trying to find a voice in a predominantly Republican-controlled General Assembly. Republicans will enter the 2013 legislative session with a near-constitutional majority after a particularly good election year for conservative lawmakers at the local level. But despite the national tide turning toward LGBT equality, Georgia’s gay lawmakers and activists have an uphill battle to continue the advance in an unfriendly legislative atmosphere. Georgia Equality Executive Director Jeff Graham said work will continue, despite the Republican majority. Georgia, after all, is not new to conservative politics. “Certainly, working in a Republican-dominated legislature is a challenge,” Graham told GA Voice. “It’s a challenge that we’ve been working in for almost a decade.” Building relationships with new lawmakers will be one of the biggest challenges of 2013. “For the last four years, we’ve seen a softening of some of the hard attitudes toward the LGBT community,” Graham said. “We’ve been able to pass bills. HIV prevention, anti-bullying, we’ve been able to consistently fight back against anti-gay and anti-transgender legislation that different lawmakers have expressed interest in trying to introduce.” Progress, Graham said, has been slow but noticeable. “The first challenge is working within a bipartisan environment,” Graham said of the new session. “That is perhaps our biggest challenge in Georgia. Any issue that is seen as needing bipartisan support is not as apt at getting focus or attention. That covers a wide variety of issues, not just LGBT issues.” Georgia Equality will again utilize the lobbying services of Cathy Woolard, the openly gay former Atlanta City Council president who was recently named interim director of AID Atlanta. Graham is a registered lobbyist for Georgia Equality. For Rep. Karla Drenner (D-Avondale Estates), Georgia’s first openly gay state lawmaker and one of three at the Gold Dome this year, the top priority in 2013 will be introducing

State Reps. Karla Drenner, Keisha Waites and Simone Bell will be the only openly gay state lawmakers when the new legislative session convenes this month. (File photos)

and passing an updated version of the Fair Employment Practices Act to ban job bias against LGBT state employees. A similar bill, HB 630, was proposed last year but found itself stalled in the House Judiciary Committee. The bill was sponsored by Drenner and co-sponsored by Reps. Mike Jacobs (R-Atlanta) and Wendell Willard (R-Sandy Springs) among others. More than 50 of the bills cosponsors will be returning to work under the Gold Dome in 2013 and Drenner believes it can pass. The current law prohibits on-the-job discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, handicap, or age for the state’s workers. Drenner and others in the General Assembly would like to add “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” as protected statuses. “The last bill was bipartisan, overwhelmingly Democratic, but there were a fair amount of Republicans who supported it as well,” Drenner told GA Voice. “I believe it will be that way this time. There will be some Republicans that will be willing to sign onto it, as well.” Along with Drenner, Georgia’s openly gay state legislators also include state Reps. Simone Bell and Keisha Waites, both Atlanta-area Democrats. Waites has prefiled two pieces of legislation with LGBT impact among her 18 prefiled bills. The first, HB12, would change how Georgia punishes those convicted of committing a “bias crime” or “hate crime” by instituting harsher penalties. Both gender identity and sexual orientation are included under the bill.

Bullying and hate crimes

Priorities in the new year

“The national trend reflects that our Republican friends must embrace new policies and ideals that are inclusive,” Waites said. “However, I am also learning to champion the small victories. If pre-filing this legislation keeps the conversation on the table to build support then I am happy to be a part of that effort. History has taught us that our silence has never protected!” Waites has also prefiled HB 16, a bill that would require primary and secondary education institutions to create annual reports of incidents of bullying. “The recent headlines reflect that bullying has long been a quiet matter swept under the rug by administrators,” Waites said. “One of the best ways to decrease the incidents of bullying is to take preventative measures, recognizing it when it occurs, and reporting it when it happens. The issue however, is that a significant amount of schools do not have any anti-bullying programs.” Graham said that he believes HB 16 has a good chance to move forward, while enacting “hate crime” or “bias crime” legislation is not likely to happen in the current climate. “We certainly need that legislation,” Graham said, while noting, “There’s not been support from Republicans or the leadership, specifically leadership at the House level, to allow it to be heard or moved forward.” Even if only symbolic, Graham said it was important that the legislation is introduced each session. Other issues of LGBT importance could also come to a vote in 2013. Graham and Georgia Equality will press for an expansion of Medicaid that could help many of Georgia’s low-income LGBT people dealing with HIV/ AIDS find treatment options. Right now, Medicaid is generally limited to families with children or persons living with a disability. Such an expansion could help per-

manently eradicate Georgia’s waiting list for its AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP). Drenner said despite national gains in approval and support, LGBT issues are still not widely accepted in Georgia’s legislature. And as more and more victories are achieved nationally, Republican lawmakers in Georgia could react by passing anti-gay legislation such as adoption or donor insemination bans. Drenner said such bans would be a nightmare for Georgia’s LGBT constituents. More than 50 new members of Georgia’s House will arrive under the Gold Dome in midJanuary. Drenner said many of those lawmakers have unproven records on LGBT issues. “The new people over in the House, I’m not sure what kind of backlash may occur as a result of the continual saga of same-sex marriage across the country. Whatever can happen, dream your worst thought, it could be a distinct possibility,” Drenner said. “At this point, we’re not really sure where they stand on particular issues that could be harmful to the gay community,” she said. “We’ll watch and wait and see who does what.” Both Drenner and Georgia Equality’s Graham said the best way to help facilitate meaningful change for Georgia’s LGBT constituents is to reach out to legislators, regardless of party, and begin to build relationships with local lawmakers. “I would love for people to be more [politically] active,” Drenner said. “Come down. Lobby for a day. I can tell you myself and the other two openly gay representatives, we represent you. We are your voice. We are a reminder that having a seat at the table is important. Don’t abandon us. “Don’t think just because we live in the South that things can’t be done. They can be but we need your help.”

Playing defense

12 2

GA Voice

January 4, 2013


Creating Change Conference comes to Atlanta for 25th anniversary
Largest LGBT confab brings organizers, activists together from across country
By Dyana Bagby The Creating Change Conference, billed as the “nation’s pre-eminent political, leadership and skills-building conference for the LGBT social justice movement,” comes to Atlanta this month to celebrate its 25th anniversary. The massive event is sponsored by the National Lesbian & Gay Task Force. Organizers expect a record-setting crowd of more than 3,100 people to attend this year’s conference, traveling from every state in the U.S. as well as Puerto Rico and Guam. There will also be a contingent of 20 activists from China, as well as individuals from Europe and Africa. The five-day conference features over 350 workshops and training sessions, four plenary sessions and numerous networking opportunities. Volunteers are still needed to help with Creating Change in various capacities and must attend a Jan. 20 volunteer orientation, said Jesse Morgan, public relations committee chair for the conference and a member of the host committee. “Volunteering with the conference is a great way to experience the work of the conference, both in sessions and behind the scenes, while getting to meet new people in your own community,” he said. Those who volunteer for a four-hour shift also have the opportunity to attend sessions on the same day they volunteer, Morgan explained. All volunteers must register at http:// There are no free workshops or events open to the public, Morgan said. Scholarships are no longer available, but there are still opportunities to attend at reduced rates. To register, visit

Plenary speakers at this year’s Creating Change Conference are Kate Clinton, Deepak Bhargava, Jose Antonio Vargas, and Rea Carey with Frenchie Davis providing closing entertainment. (Bhargava, Vargas, Carey photos via Facebook; Clinton and Davis publicity photos)

National Gay & Lesbian Task Force Creating Change Conference Jan. 23-27 at the Hilton Atlanta 255 Courtland St. NE, Atlanta, GA 30303 cal humorist Kate Clinton; Deepak Bhargava, the executive director of the Center for Community Change based in Washington, D.C.; Rea Carey, executive director of the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force; and Jose Antonio Vargas, the founder of Define America and a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist who wrote the essay, “My Life as an Undocumented Immigrant” in June 2011 for the New York Times Magazine. Frenchie Davis from “American Idol” and “The Voice” will provide closing entertainment on Jan. 27. Other members of Atlanta’s host committee are Everette R.H. Thompson, the former regional director of Amnesty International USA’s Southern Regional Office; and Rev. Gwen Thomas of the Fellowship of Affirming Ministries and a licensed minister at Victory for the World United Church of Christ in Stone Mountain, Ga.

Each Creating Change Conference, including the one in Atlanta, includes “Day Long Institutes.” These institutes provide in-depth teaching on particular topics. “We are proud to announce this year the addition of three new programs: Latino Institute, the Human Rights Institute, and Funding our Collective Liberation,” Morgan said. Topics for the Day Long Institutes include racial injustice, people of color organizing, youth leadership, aging, safe schools, class and the LGBT movement, allies in the movement, advancing transgender rights and social media. And among the hundreds of workshops will be many facilitated by Georgia and Atlanta activists, Morgan said. These include:

Day Long Institutes, Georiga-led workshops

• “AIDS/HIV: Hallelujah Our Heroes: Tales of Activism Against AIDS” with Charles Stephens and Dave Hayward • “Art & Culture: Spit That Truth: Propel the movement through performance” with Cortez Wright, Paris Hatcher and Amber Thomas • “College Campus Issues and Organizing for Students: Creating a Safe Space Program for Students” with Gaius Augustus and Jillian Ford • “Community Organizing The South: Sex, Politics, & God” with Caitlin Breedlove, Paulina Helm-Hernandez, Kai Barrow and Bishop Donagrant McCluney • “People of Color: Creating Acceptance within African-American Faith Communities” with Rev. Gwen Thomas and Rev. Roland Stringfellow • “Youth: Addressing LGBT Youth Homelessness in Your Community; the Lostn-Found Model” with Art Izzard, Rick Westbrook, Allen Peebles and Paul Swicord Michael Shutt, a member of the host committee and the director of the Office of Lesbian,

Bringing ‘Change’ to the South

Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Life at Emory University, said now is the time for Creating Change to come to the Southeast. “The conference has not been in Atlanta since 2000 and so much has changed in the city and the region,” he said. “I also believe we need the conference in the Southeast. There is a lot of conversation of progress around the country in terms of LGBT access, inclusion and equity, but very little is focused on the Southeast. We know that a lot of working is happening here and we are ready for an infusion of queer energy.” The Southeast is often “written off” by LGBT organizations as a lost cause, but that is exactly why it deserves focus as the LGBT movement continues to make successes. “I want to showcase how the Southeast, Georgia and Atlanta are leaders in community organizing and change. The Southeast is often written off for many different reasons, but those of us who organize here know that positive change and liberation within the LGBT community in the United States will only happen if it happens here,” Shutt said. Plenary speakers this year include politi-


January 4, 2013

GA Voice


Possible anti-gay angle to New Year’s Eve stabbing
Atlanta police are investigating whether the 19-year-old man accused of stabbing five people at a New Year’s Eve party in the Atlanta neighborhood of Reynoldstown may have been the target of an anti-gay slur during a confrontation at the late-night celebration. The suspect is identified by Atlanta police as Luke O’Donovan. The stabbing occurred sometime after 3 a.m. on New Year’s Day at 239 Gibson St., Atlanta Police Department Spokesperson Carlos Campos told GA Voice. In total, six were injured, including O’Donovan. Several of the victims were transported to local hospitals, Campos added. “We have received information that the incident was possibly preceded by a gay slur directed towards the arrestee,” Campos said. “We are not sure if the information is credible, but are investigating the incident and will pursue this and any other leads. It should be noted, however, that officers arrested a man identified as stabbing five people. It will be up to the judicial system to determine if there were any mitigating factors prior to the stabbings.” Carlos said the APD’s LGBT liaison officers have been made aware of the incident and anyone with information is asked to call Zone 6 investigators at 404-373-5331/5332.

– Ms. Shiloh Flores
Canine Service Specialist

At press time Jan. 2, Luke O’Donovan was in jail without bond. (Mugshot)

O’Donovan is currently in custody at the Fulton County Jail and is facing five charges of aggravated assault. An anonymous press release, sent by a group describing itself as O’Donovan’s supporters, claimed he was attacked by a mob after he was seen dancing and kissing other men and that O’Donovan was acting in self defense when others were stabbed. — Ryan Watkins and Dyana Bagby





PALS loses grant, seeks donations
Pets Are Loving Support is a nonprofit agency that helps those with HIV/AIDS and other critically ill people, as well as senior citizens, keep their beloved pets by covering costs such as vet visits and flea medication. But now it is PALS that needs help. The non-profit organization founded in 1990 is facing a financial crisis after learning it would not get a $35,000 grant that it has received for several years. “The grant we lost was the Forrest Lattner Grant and it was used to help cover the medical expenses of neuters, shots and exams, Heartgard and monthly flea preventative for our clients’ pets,” said Kevin Bryant, executive director of PALS. PALS was founded two decades ago to help those with AIDS keep their pets by paying for vet costs and pet food as clients were forced to quit jobs and spend money on medications and other living expenses. In later years, the organization expanded to help those with other severe illnesses as well as the elderly. Cuts would have to be made to PALS client services to compensate for the $35,000 loss, but Bryant said he and the organization’s board are not sure what cuts. Currently, the organization is helping some 500 pets.

Plan for the unexpected when you’re healthy.
Ask me how these State Farm health products can protect you if you become ill, or get injured and are unable to work: • disability insurance • hospital income insurance • supplemental insurance • long-term care insurance Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there. CALL ME TODAY.

Pets are Loving Support’s monthly bingo night may play a bigger role in furdraising after the loss of the Forrest Lattner Grant . (Photo by Sher Pruitt)


“Our annual operating budget is around $139,000. We have around 400 to 500 pets that we care for on a monthly basis and the other needs is always food,” Bryant said. Contributions can me mailed to 2115 Liddell Drive NE, Atlanta, GA 30324 or credit card donations can be made on A regular fundraiser for PALS is monthly bingo at Jungle. The next event is Leather Night Bingo on Jan. 9. — Dyana Bagby

Cleo Meyer, Agent 1447 Peachtree St NE Atlanta, GA 30309 Bus: 404-817-0960

State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company Bloomington, IL 1101399.1

Go for hotter cars and easier dates instead.


2013 Nissan Altima 2.5


Price excludes tax, tag, and fees, including Lemon Law fee, and dealer installed options. Price includes all applicable incentives. See dealer for details. Model #13013, VIN #472999. One or more available at this price. Offer valid through 1/31/2012.

Chris Seminaro
General Manager

888.593.7943 l

1625 Church Street

Decatur, GA 30033

By Laura Douglas-Brown Think of it as “Atlanta Idol” or our city’s local version of “The Voice” — but set in a gay bar and with the kind of attitude and attention to detail that only the creators of the queer “Bedlam” party series can bring. “Sing for Your Life” started soliciting contestants online last month to huge response. A live audition narrowed the field, and on Jan. 10, the top 12 begin live weekly competitions at popular gay nightclub Jungle. “To be honest with you, a show of this sort has been in my brain for years,” says creator Barry Brandon. “I started off as a singer, not a promoter, so music is really important to me.” Now, Brandon is poised to combine his music and promotion experience to help other singers get their big breaks. “After being in Atlanta working on events, promotions and in the entertainment industry, it felt that it was the right time to execute the idea. The concept in its entirety is a collaboration between a team of artists who have all come together to create this show,” he says. “It’s the most detailed and difficult project I have ever worked on but it just feels right.” Brandon and collaborators JL Rodriguez and Michael Robinson will each mentor a team of four contestants as the top 12 compete to see who will be the final winner. One contestant will be eliminated each week as “Sing For Your Life” spans three months at Jungle. “In its simplest form Sing For Your Life is a singing competition just like ‘American Idol’ or ‘The Voice.’ Sing For Your Life is different because the focus is actually on the singers. We are not searching for ratings,” Robinson says. “We do not need to get the biggest named celebrity to be there week to week simply to keep people interested,” he adds. “Our focus is mainly on the vocalists and their development and nothing else.” All of the organizers have been amazed with the response to “Sing for Your Life,” which offers a different option from the drag competitions that are more typical in Atlanta nightlife. “The feedback was massive! 20,000-plus hits on YouTube in one month. 30,000 unique visitors on our website in 2.5 weeks. Thousands of votes through our polls. … The support has been outrageous and we haven’t even started the show yet,” Brandon says. “It seems that people are loving this show — and we are loving the love,” he says. “It’s crazy to me.” Some 51 videos were submitted, which were culled by the three organizers to narrow the field to 25. Nearly 300 turned out Dec. 13 at Jungle to see those singers compete to be in the top 12, who were announced New Year’s Eve at Bedlam’s Glitter & Fur Party and will

Get ready to
Live music competition brings new talent to Jungle

15 A&E
Mentor Barry Brandon








‘Outrageous’ support already







compete in the weekly sing offs. The line up includes Jillian McWilliams, Sarah Elizabeth Peavy, Chase Davidson and Amy Dixon on Brandon’s team; Chari, Josette Pimenta, Wade Lowman and Elliott Alexzander on Robinson’s team; and Matty Barbato, Adam Horne, Amber Renee and Camille on Rodriguez’ team. Every Thursday, the contestants will perform with live musicians for the live audience at Jungle. “The judges each week will be the audience, so if you really believe in a person’s talent you have to make sure you’re there to vote for them,” Robinson says. After the audience votes, the bottom two contestants will be in the “Danger Zone,” where they have to sing for their lives to avoid being cut.

“We took what we liked about each show [like “American Idol” and “The Voice”], infused it into the project and then added a little kick,” Brandon says, noting that between sing offs, contestants will get mentoring sessions, voice lessons, vocal coaching, branding and promotions sessions, songwriting sessions and more. “We are not trying to make money off of the contestants or the winner. We are trying to give them a platform to excel at their craft and provide them an outlet of exposure along with industry master classes,” he adds. “Sometimes I get jealous that I can’t be one of the contestants. I wish I would have had this kind of backing when I was starting off!” The winner, who will be chosen March 28, receives cash, studio time, a photo shoot, live performance bookings and more. Brandon and

‘Sing for Your Life’ Thursdays starting Jan. 10 Doors open 8 p.m., show at 9 p.m. Jungle Club Atlanta 2115 Faulkner Road Atlanta, GA 30324 Robinson don’t want to give away too many details, and won’t say if the singers will pick their own tunes each week, or face challenges or other requirements from the mentors. “Let’s just say it won’t be the same formula week to week so in order to catch everything you’ll have make sure you’re there,” Robinson says.

Photos courtesy Sing for your Life

16 2

GA Voice

January 4, 2013

DIRECTORY LISTINGS To advertise, email


January 4, 2013

GA Voice


‘Re-Imagine the Dream’ over MLK Weekend
Rustin/Lorde Breakfast highlights LGBT events
Over the past decade, the Bayard Rustin/ Audre Lorde Breakfast has become the hallmark event of MLK Weekend in Atlanta as LGBT activists gather together for food and converstation. Craig Washington and Darlene Hudson, organizers of the annual breakfast, agree the event is known for bringing together a diverse crowd of people to discuss social justice while eating a free breakfast of eggs, bacon and biscuits. This year there will not be a formal panel, Washington said. Instead, key leaders in the city’s LGBT community will present the theme and “deliver the charge” to attendees, he said. This year’s theme is “Re-Imagine the Dream.” “We trust that it will motivate more ownership and envisioning of today’s dream for social justice and equality for today’s progressive LGBTQ people and our allies, our beloved community,” Washington said. “In inviting our folks to re-imagine the dream there is the obvious reference to Dr. King’s vision for equality. However the breakfast prioritizes the social justice and community development work of LGBTQ people, centralizing black and other queer people of color,” he explained. The breakfast is a time to fill stomachs but also fill minds of people hungry for knowledge and support. “People experience the breakfast as a safe space to ‘break bread’ together as they learn about precious histories, celebrate today’s movement builders and address matters that are urgent to our survival,” Washington said. “Year after year, attendees tell us that they most enjoy the discussions at their tables and the fellowship. They love the featured panels and speeches but it is the bonding they enjoy most! I love that and every year we work to meet that need, satisfy that hunger,” he said. In 2002, the first annual Bayard Rustin Breakfast was held to bring LGBT activists together before the annual MLK March & Rally sponsored by the Africa/African American Renaissance Festival. It was also a way to honor Rustin, the openly gay activist who worked with Martin Luther King Jr. and organized the renowned 1963 March on Washington. The addition of Audre Lorde, the iconic lesbian poet and author, came several years later. As the years have gone by, the Rustin / Lorde breakfast has grown to some 200 people in a standing-room-only crowd at St. Mark United

EVENTS by Dyana Bagby


‘Brother Outsider’ screening and Audre Lorde reading Wednesday, Jan. 9, 7 p.m. Phillip Rush Center 1530 DeKalb Ave., Atlanta, GA 30307 Presented by Charis Books & More/Charis Circle, Out on Film and Atlanta Pride Committee Rustin/Lorde Breakfast Monday, Jan. 21, 10 a.m. St. Mark United Methodist Church 781 Peachtree St., Atlanta, GA 30308

Wassup N Atl’s MLK Weekend Jan. 17-21 Micro Inn & Suites Atlanta/Buckhead 1840 Corporation Blvd. NE, Atlanta, GA 30329 Traxx Atlanta
Each year, the Bayard Rustin/Audre Lorde Breakfast brings together people from all walks of life to ‘break bread’ and discuss ways to keep the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. alive in LGBT communities. Organizers Darlene Hudson and Craig Washington tout the event’s diversity. (Photo by Dyana Bagby)

‘Uplifting’ black LGBTQ voices

Methodist Church, this year set for Jan. 21. “In my opinion, the Lorde/Rustin Breakfast has become a symbol of what it means for diverse communities to come together to discuss the social challenges of today, ideas about how we face those challenges, and to share our accomplishments and hopes for the future,” said Hudson. The breakfast also ensures that black LGBT people and activists are recognized and honored, Washington said. “The breakfast helps ensure that black LGBTQ contributions to social justice in the U.S. and abroad will be uplifted,” he said. “More people gain a deeper understanding of LGBTQ and people of color communities and our activism. The community is mobilized around our commonalities, not through ignoring differences, rather by acknowledging them and breaking common ground,” he added. Hudson said the breakfast serves as an opportunity to mentor young people. “A large part of the work we do must also be to cultivate activism in our youth to give them the opportunity to learn and grow,” she said. “Who knows — we might have the next U.S. President in our midst! My hope is that as new partnerships are formed, additional groups will come on board to learn about the breakfast and contribute their energies and ideas,” Hudson said. The idea of the breakfast to “break bread”

Mentoring leaders of tomorrow

before participating in the march that attracts hundreds of people and organizations to march through the city’s streets and hold a rally at the King Center continues today, but the breakfast has evolved to become a place to work toward equality for all, Washington said. “Through their experience with the breakfast, individuals who are less experienced may have a clearer idea of how they can contribute, how valuable their voice is to the collective,” he said. “Lenses are sharpened regarding the connection between queerness, race, gender, and class and the ways to challenge oppression, achieve equality and embrace each other. It is our hope that the breakfast enhances connectivity and collaboration across our beloved community,” Washington added. MLK Weekend and the honoring of Rustin and Lorde is a time for activists to become “angelic troublemakers,” a term coined by Rustin. “We honor the lives of freedom fighters who fought against and were marginalized by racism, homophobia, sexism and class oppression,” Washington said of the breakfast. “This year attendees will help identify a common vision and direct pathways to reaching that vision, making our dream more of a concrete reality.” The breakfast is also an annual event to remind people as they enter the new year to make resolutions to better themselves as well as their communities. “Many have expressed to us that after attending the breakfast they left with feelings of being energized to carry on with the commu-

Traxx Girls Secret Party MLK Bash Jan. 19, 10:30 p.m. at Club Rain 448 Ralph David Abernathy Blvd Atlanta, GA 30312 Ladies at Play with DJs E and Lynnee Denise Jan. 20 at Tongue and Groove 565 Main St. NE, Atlanta, GA 30324 nity work they do,” Hudson said. “The breakfast is also about being in fellowship with other social justice workers and the community … I believe we must not only look for more opportunities to bring people of diverse backgrounds together to discuss tough issues, such as racism, poverty and violence, but we must also bring together resources and connections to ensure that the work is supported,” she explained. Also this year, the Atlanta Pride Committee, Out on Film and Charis Books and More/Charis Circle are joining forces Jan. 9 to present a pre-MLK screening of “Brother Outsider,” the renowned documentary of Rustin. There will also be readings of Lorde’s poetry. MLK Weekend is also a weekend of many parties put on by black gay and lesbian promoters. Wassup N ATL plans several parties for men Jan. 17-21 while Traxx Girls promises parties for women who love women. Traxx Atlanta is also planning parties during the weekend and Ladies at Play has booked Tongue and Groove on Jan. 20 for its King weekend party.

Party time

18 1

GA Voice

January 3, 2013




N • 855-ATL-TIXX

Juan siddi Flamenco theatre company
Sunday, January 13
5 p.m.

“a refined, intellectual…contemporary take on flamenco” –Pasatiempo Magazine

chicK corea & Gary Burton
with harlem

“One of jazz’s most celebrated collaborations”

strinG Quartet Saturday, January 26 8 p.m.
–Los Angeles Times

Saturday, February 2 8 p.m. “Momix does breathtaking like no other dance company in the world.” –Berkshire Onstage
Groups Call (404) 881-2000
sponsored by

momiX: Botanica

Call today for tickets!



January 4, 2013

GA Voice

19 23

Topher Payne spins Southern whodunit inspired by true story

‘Swell’ mystery

THEATER by Jim Farmer

Playwright Topher Payne is known for his prolific writing and his quick wit, but in “Swell Party,” opening next week at Georgia Ensemble Theater, he has penned a personal first – a mystery. The openly gay writer (and GA Voice columnist) had a successful world premiere at the Roswell-based theater a few years ago with his gay-themed comedy “Tokens of Affection,” and now he is back there with another new work. When a tobacco heir returns to his Southern home with a new wife, it surprises everyone, but that news becomes secondary when the groom turns up dead. The rest of the guests at his home try to put the pieces of the puzzle together and figure out whodunit. Payne said he was inspired by the unsolved death in 1932 of Smith Reynolds, who was the 20 year-old heir to the Camel Cigarettes fortune. Reynolds was shot at his family estate in North Carolina. “The prime suspect was his new wife, Libby Holman, a Broadway star who was a dozen years older,” says Payne. “There were only a handful of witnesses in the house, but the investigation fell apart because everyone involved lied nonstop. It was never determined if it was a murder or a suicide. The play has an opinion on that.” “I wanted to play with that idea of truth being relative — the story is narrated by five different people, and characters behave differently depending upon who’s narrating,” Payne continues. “If your best friend tells a story about you, and then the same story is told by someone else who thinks you’re an idiot, different details emerge.” “Swell Party” is the first mystery from the writer, who admits to being a fan of the genre. “I love the experience of going back after the big reveal, picking it apart, finding all the clues that were right in front of you the whole time,” he says. “It’s delightfully maddening making that happen — constructing and deconstructing, figuring out what’s revealed when.” One challenge was creating characters who were real, using the actual testimony from the inquest. Yet some of the best lines in the show come directly from 80-year-old court transcripts, Payne says. Although there are no gay characters, there are “women in fabulous 1930s evening gowns drinking moonshine with young guys in swimsuits until somebody gets shot,” says the playwright. Although there is some humor in the new

The cast of ‘Swell Party’ includes (back row) Scott DePoy, Tess Malis Kincaid, Tony Larkin, Weston Manders, Suehyla El-Attar, as well as (front row) Kate Donadio and Jo Howarth. (Photo by R. Todd Fleeman)

‘Swell Party’ Jan.10 - 27 at Georgia Ensemble Theatre Roswell Cultural Arts Center 950 Forrest St., Roswell, GA 30075 “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson” Jan.10 – Feb. 27 at Actor’s Express 887 W. Marietta St., Atlanta, GA 30318 play, “Swell Party” has some somber moments. “Ultimately we’re telling the story of a beautiful young man whose life ended before it had a chance to begin,” says Payne. “That’s just unbearably sad. Smith died at the same age I was first diagnosed with cancer — I hadn’t made that connection until just now. The most upsetting thing about facing death at that age was thinking all the things I still wanted to do.”

Andrew Jackson gets ‘Bloody’

Another show to look forward to at the beginning of the year is “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson” at Actor’s Express. Directed by openly gay Freddie Ashley, it’s a musical that envisions the seventh president as a rocker, one who can jam out and take care of official duties at the same time. The theater tends to do musicals quite well; last season’s “Spring Awakening” was named Best Musical of the season at the recent Suzi Awards.

20 2

GA Voice

January 4, 2013


#15: Returning Xmas to its pornographic roots
And for Robert and Lee, a bittersweet beginning
Robert wasn’t religious, but he appreciated the decadence associated with Christmas’s pagan origins. He wasn’t surprised when members of the Food Porn Supper Club lobbied for a holiday meet-up. The location was Cardamon Hill in West Atlanta. Costumes were optional. “I love Cardamon Hill,” Janet, his co-host, said. “But is an Indian restaurant appropriate for Christmas?” “Maybe they won’t have fruitcake and eggnog,” Robert replied. “We can hope, can’t we?” The restaurant is small and priced in the fine-dining range. It serves the cuisine of chefowner Asha Gomez’s home, Kerala, a southwestern state of India that was settled by the Portuguese. It was a major stop along the famous Spice Route and absorbed the flavors of many other cultures. As diners filed into the dining room, Robert looked around for Lee, the man who so strongly attracted him. They had dined together twice and, although Robert knew little about him, he was extremely intrigued. He originally created the supper club in hope of finding a husband before he turned 50 later this year. Janet dinged her glass with a mistletoewrapped dildo to call for silence and introduce the evening’s discussion topic. “Welcome, everyone. Christmas is about goodwill to all. I want to share a quote from F. Scott Fitzgerald, written 80 years ago. It’s from his story, ‘Rich Boy’: “We are all queer fish, queerer behind our faces and voices than we want anyone to know or than we know ourselves. When I hear a man proclaiming himself an ‘average, honest, open fellow,’ I feel pretty sure that he has some definite and perhaps terrible abnormality which he has agreed to conceal.” “He didn’t mean queer in the sense we use the word now, of course, and that makes the quote all the more amazing,” Janet said, leaning back in her chair. “But I wonder how the

Cardamom Hill
1700 Northside Dr., Atlanta, GA 30318 404-549-7012, Good choices: Cardamom Hill has made just about every “Best of” list in the city and attracted national attention. There’s nothing on the menu I wouldn’t recommend, but do carry money. For a less expensive taste, try lunch. my last boyfriend all over again? He was referring to Jacob, who came home one day and announced that he had enrolled in a charm school for cross-dressers. He had rented a room in the dormitory of the charm school so he could live among his new community, whose students were heterosexual as well as gay. “I had no idea you were into this,” Robert told Jacob. Jacob dropped his jeans to reveal silky, fluffy underwear. “This is what I’m thinking about every time we have sex, even though I’m not wearing it. Actually, I could care less about your penis. It’s kinda gross. I’m really a male-to-lesbian crossdresser.” Then he left the apartment. Robert turned now to Lee. “What’s with the makeup?” he asked. Lee slid his hand onto Robert’s thigh. “You know Saturnalia, the original pagan ‘Christmas,’ was all about role reversal, right? Masters and slaves exchanged roles. Laws were suspended. Gender was sometimes reversed, too, according to some sources. So, I’m returning to our roots.” “Actually. It didn’t change that much,” Robert said. “Jesus was both human and god. Mary was a virgin. Santa Claus was probably a pedophile.” He slid his hand on Lee’s. “So,” Robert said, “who the hell are you for real?” “I’ll answer that someday soon,” Lee replied, swirling a finger in one of the restaurant’s delectable sauces. “Just amazing,” he said. “Bittersweet, like life.”

Cardamon Hill offers cuisine from Kerala, a southwestern state of India that was settled by the Portuguese. The restaurant has brought back Goat Biryani for their winter menu. (Photo via Facebook)

pressure gay people exert on one another to be normal affects us now.” A stream of sweet odors wafted into the dining room, circled the table and whooshed out of the room. It was not particularly Indian. Nor was it the usual scent of Christmas. It had a bittersweet quality, like the scent a departed lover leaves on a pillow. It was one of those aromas in the world most people don’t notice. Lee arrived – late again. He was wearing makeup, which startled Robert. “It’s funny you are speaking about concealment and normality,” Lee said, looking around for a chair. “Does my makeup conceal me or reveal me?” A woman wearing antlers draped with condoms spoke up. “It might reveal your androgyny but it conceals your identity for the most part. So I give it a B-.” Several applauded. Lee shrugged. “But it’s not a fulltime mask,” he said. “It may conceal my face for a time, but any mask demands removal. So, ultimately, I think a mask makes one more deeply scrutinized.” A man wearing a thong and a Michele Bachmann mask topped with a plastic Bible and a

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
penis applauded. Then Lee brusquely scooted a chair between Robert and Janet, while conversation continued around the several tables. Janet shot him a look and rolled her eyes. “Sorry to come between the two of you,” Lee said. Robert was embarrassed but pleased. Yet he wondered: Why is a hot man in women’s makeup and otherwise normal attire after me? Is this

January 4, 2013

GA Voice


The Last Decision You Make for Your Pet is Just as Important as the First.
❖ Same day service. No waiting. You can take your pet’s ashes home tonight. ❖ Each pet is cremated ALONE, guaranteed by our PetTracker360SM system, which ensures that you receive your pet’s ashes. ❖ State-of-the-Art facility where families can plan, grieve, and commemorate their pets.
2800 E. Ponce de Leon Ave. Decatur, GA 30030

MAIN LOCATION: Faithful Friends Campus
1591 Access Road Covington, GA 30016

404.370.6000 770.385.0222

“Family” Owned & Operated

BEST BETS 01.04 - 01.17
Friday, Jan. 4
DJs Beardawg and Headmaster Ritual spin for Furry Disco Balls at 9 p.m. at Mary’s, 1287 Glenwood Ave., Atlanta, GA 30316, DJ M, Twee and MSR present The Flip Cup Challenge edition of Dance Fever Fridays, with $100 prize for the winning team, 9 p.m. at My Sister’s Room, 1271 Glenwood Ave., Atlanta, GA 30316, www., Learn how to scrum, ruck and maul as the gay Atlanta Bucks Rugby Club hosts Rugby 101. 11 a.m. meeting at the Charles Allen entrance of Piedmont Park. Hanne Blank brings her “Unapologetic Fat Girl’s Guide to Exercise and Other Incendiary Acts” to the city’s lesbian-owned feminist bookstore. 7:30 p.m. at Charis Books & More, 1189 Euclid Ave. NE, Atlanta, GA 30307, Saturday nights are Dance Party early, then Maryoke late at Mary’s, 1287 Glenwood Ave., Atlanta, GA 30316, Sinful Saturdays features the Divas Cabaret at 11 p.m. at LeBuzz, 585 Franklin Road, Marietta, GA 30367, Daring Divas is the Saturday night show at Blake’s feauring Charlie Brown, Shawnna Brooks, Angelica D’Paige, Savannah Leigh, Michelle Paris and The Lady Shabazz. Blake’s on the Park, 227 10th St., Atlanta, GA 30309,
Publicity photo


GA Voice

January 4, 2013



There are two ways to add your events to our online and print calendars. Submit your info to or e-mail details to

Saturday, Jan. 5

Friday, Jan. 4
Edie Cheezburger presents The Other Show on Fridays. Doors open at 8:30 p.m., show at 9:30 p.m., DJ Thomas Byrd spins pop and top 40 after. Jungle, 2115 Faulkner Road, Atlanta, GA 30324,
Photo via Library of Congress

Saturday, Jan. 5 - Sunday, Jan. 6
Shen Yun Performing Arts brings ancient Chinese culture to life with a full orchestra and dancers. Saturday, 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. at Cobb Energy Center at Cobb Energy Centre, 2800 Cobb Galleria Parkway, Atlanta, GA 30339, The group follows their Cobb Energy performance with two dates at the Fox Theatre Jan. 8-9 at 7:30 p.m. 660 Peachtree Street NE, Atlanta, GA 30308,

Charis, Out on Film, and Atlanta Pride celebrate two LGBT civil rights icons with a screening of “Brother Outsider,” a documentary about Bayard Rustin, followed by a reading of poems by Audre Lorde. 7 p.m. at the Rush Center, 1530 Dekalb Ave., Atlanta, GA 30307.

Friday, Jan. 4 - Sunday, Jan 6

OnStage Atlanta could use your help unpacking, painting, cleaning and more as the gay-inclusive theater company moves from Suburban Plaza to its new digs at 2969 East Ponce De Leon Ave, Decatur, GA 30030. Volunteer help needed 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. all weekend at the East Ponce theater.

Sunday, Jan. 6

Publicity photo

The Reading Rainbow Book Club for lesbians and friends meets to discuss “Middlesex” by Jeffery Eugenidies. 6-7:30 p.m. at Charis Books & More, 1189 Euclid Ave. NE, Atlanta, GA 30307, DJ Rick and DJ Maestro spin Sundays at 7 p.m. at Mixx Atlanta, 1492-B Piedmont Ave., Atlanta, GA 30309,

The Atlanta chapter of PFLAG hosts its first Monday Support Meeting. No advice, just discussion for LGBT people and their families and friends. 7:30 - 9 p.m. at Unitarian Universalist Congregation, 1605 Northeast Expressway NE, Atlanta, GA 30329. For a full schedule of PLAG meetings throughout the Atlanta area, visit

MORE LGBT EVENTS: Visit our website for our extensive daily calendar, including nightlife schedules, sports, worship services and community organization meetings.

Wednesday, Jan. 9

Leather Night is the theme for this month’s PALS Bingo, hosted by Bubba D. Licious. Doors at 6:30 p.m., program at 7:30 p.m. at Jungle, 2115 Faulkner Road, Atlanta, GA 30324, Celeste Holmes hosts as The Lohan Experience presents “A 2012 Top Pop Review,” with drag show at 11 p.m., open dance floor, then singing from the “Sing For Your Life” top 12. Doors at 9 p.m. at the Heretic, 2069 Cheshire Bridge Road, Atlanta, GA 30324,

Tuesday, Jan. 8

Friday, Jan. 11
Lesbian favorite and self-declared “Southern original” Kristy Lee brings her tunes to Atlanta. 9 p.m. at Eddie’s Attic, 515-B McDonough Road, Decatur, GA 30030,

Monday, Jan. 7

Tuesdays, unwind with a sing-along with pianist David Reeb at 8 p.m. at Mixx, 1492-B Piedmont Ave., Atlanta, GA 30309, VJ Marco Polo serves up “not your typical showtunes” at 9 p.m. on Tuesdays at Amsterdam Atlanta, 502-A Amsterdam Ave., Atlanta, GA 30306,

“T&F Transitionz: a Project of the Feminist Outlawz” is an open forum to discuss gender and facilitating dialogue and activism around social issues. 7 - 8:30 p.m. at Charis Books & More, 1189 Euclid Ave NE, Atlanta, GA, 30307,

Thursday, Jan. 10

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,

Publicity photo

Wednesday, Jan. 9
Georgia Ensemble Theatre presents the world premiere of “Swell Party,” a new comedy by GA Voice columnist Topher Payne. Tonight’s show at 8 p.m.; play runs through Jan. 27 at Georgia Ensemble Theatre, Roswell Cultural Arts Center, 950 Forrest St., Roswell, GA 30075, Creative Loafing hosts the 2013 Fiction Contest party, featuring free pizza, cash bar, Write Club battle, readings from winners and more. 7 p.m. at Highland Inn Ballroom, 644 N. Highland Ave., Atlanta, Georgia 30306, JOE and MSR present the “Tickle Me Thursdays” open mic comedy competition, starting tonight and then every other Thursday night at 9 p.m. at My Sister’s Room, 1271 Glenwood Ave., Atlanta, GA 30316,


January 4, 2013

GA Voice

23 28
Photo by Dyana Bagby

Wednesday, Jan. 16

Dr. Bettina Love discusses her latest book, “Hip Hop’s Li’l Sistas Speak: Negotiating Identities and Politics in the New South,” which focuses on young women in Atlanta. 7:30 at Charis Books & More, 1189 Euclid Ave. NE, Atlanta, GA 30307, DJ Smash spins for the Grown & Sexy at 10 p.m. on Fridays at Mixx Atlanta, 1492-B Piedmont Ave., Atlanta, GA 30309, Angelica D’Paige hosts the Fab Five at 11:30 p.m. Fridays at Burkhart’s, 1492 Piedmont Ave., Atlanta, GA 30309,

Every Monday night, enjoy Stars of the Century at Jungle, 2115 Faulkner Road, Atlanta, GA 30324,

Tuesday, Jan. 15

Saturday, Jan. 12

Fenuxe Magazine presents the Fenuxe 50 “Ice Party,” honoring 50 leaders in Atlanta’s LGBT community (our own Laura Douglas-Brown is on the list). Event includes open bar, buffet dinner, and performances by the Atlanta Ballet, Atlanta Opera, Atlanta Gay Men’s Chorus and the Armorettes. 7 p.m. at the Georgia Freight Depot, 65 MLK Blvd., Atlanta, GA 30334, Shavonna B. Brooks hosts the Extravaganza show with special guest Alexandria Martin at 11:30 p.m. at Burkhart’s, 1492 Piedmont Ave., Atlanta, GA 30309,

Wednesday, Jan. 16

Every Wednesday, Jack and Missy host Twisted Sister Karaoke at 8 p.m. at My Sister’s Room, 1271 Glenwood Ave., Atlanta, GA 30316, On Wednesdays, catch the Lust & Bust Show with host Lena Lust and featuring Shawnna Brooks. 11 p.m. at Blake’s on the Park, 227 10th St., Atlanta, GA 30309,

The Atlanta Executive Network presents openly gay State Rep. Keisha Waites (D-Atlanta). 6:308:30 p.m. at Hudson Grille Midtown, 942 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta, GA 30309,

Friday, Jan. 18 - Monday, Jan. 21
Expect a full schedule of nightlife from Atlanta’s black LGBT bars and party promoters as thousands flock to Atlanta to celebrate the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend. See story, page 17. Friday, Jan. 18 The Third Friday Film Series features “Slavery by Any Other Name.” Doors open at 7 p.m. Film starts at 7:30 p.m., discussion follows at First Existentialist Congregation, 470 Candler Park Dr., Atlanta, GA 30307.

Thursday, Jan. 17

Friday, Jan. 18 Saturday, Jan. 19
The physically-integrated (dancers with and without disabilities) modern dance company Full Radius Dance presents the premieres of “Touch” and “Dames and Delinquents” by artistic/executive director Douglas Scott and the premiere of a new work by Atlanta choreographer Lori Teague. Evening shows at 8 p.m. plus Saturday matinee at 2 p.m. at 7 States, 1105 Euclid Ave., Atlanta, GA 30307,

Sunday, Jan. 13

The Armorettes, Atlanta’s legendary fundraising drag troupe, takes over at 8 p.m. every Sunday at at Burkhart’s, 1492 Piedmont Ave., Atlanta, GA 30309,

Enjoy an open “no mic” night as Cliterati wows you with spoken word poets, this month featuring Red Summer. 7:30 - 9 p.m. at Charis Books, 1189 Euclid Ave NE, Atlanta, GA, 30307, Ruby Redd hosts Dirty Boy Bingo on Thursdays at 10 p.m. at Cockpit, 465 Boulevard SE, Atlanta, GA 30312 Traxx Atlanta presents Turnt Up Thursdays, spinning hip hop, reggae and R&B at XS Ultra Lounge, 708 Spring St., Atlanta, GA 30308, Thursday nights are ladies night, with Georgia’s longest running Drag King show at LeBuzz, 585 Franklin Road, Marietta, GA 30367,

Monday, Jan. 14

Writing With Intent is open to writers of fiction and creative non-fiction; group offers motivational exercises, constructive criticism and more to keep you on track. 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Charis Books & More, 1189 Euclid Ave. NE, Atlanta, GA 30307,


Neil Dent Photography

Lost-n-Found Youth hosts a Volunteer Orientation & Training for those who want to help homeless LGBT young people. Background check required; please bring form and $10 to cover costs to class. 2-6 p.m. at the Rush Center, 1530 Dekalb Ave. Suite A, Atlanta, GA 30307,

Drink up to support your favorite feminist non-profit. The Porter Beer Bar, located just across Moreland Avenue from Charis, hosts a Dine Out for Charis Circle event all day, with 10 percent of all proceeds from the day’s sales donated. 1156 Euclid Avenue, Atlanta, GA 30307, Every Tuesday, sing out at Mary-oke starting at 9 p.m. at Mary’s, 1287 Glenwood Ave., Atlanta, GA 30316,

Thursday, Jan. 17

Photo by Dyana Bagby

Friday, Jan. 11

Lost-n-Found Youth hosts the monthly Big Gay Game Show, a fundraiser for their mission to help Atlanta’s LGBT homeless youth. Games include Family Feud, the Newlywed Game, Match Game and more. 7:30 - 10 p.m. at Jungle, 2115 Faulkner Road, Atlanta, GA 30324,


GA Voice

January 4, 2013

Publicity photo

“The most entertaining and most perceptive political theater of the season.”
- New York Times

Music and lyrics by

Michael Friedman Book by Alex Timbers
Directed by Freddie


Thursday, Jan. 31

JanUaRY 10 - FebRUaRY 17, 2013 404.607.SHOW
Actor’s Express at the King Plow Arts Center
fulton county arts & culture

Major funding for this organization is provided by the Fulton County Board of Commissioners under the guidance of the Fulton County Arts Council. This program is supported in part by the Georgia Council for the Arts through appropriations from the Georgia General Assembly. GCA is a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts. This program is supported in part by the City of Atlanta Office of Cultural Affairs.

In this

AE-Bloody4.917x5 8.12.indd 1

it becomes clear that, for Southerners, the truth isn’t nearly as important as a

12/20/12 2:17 PM

Reception with the playwright Jan. 12, 6:30 pm

January 10–27, 2013

Directed by Shannon Eubanks

By Topher Payne


Saturday, Jan. 19
Bedlam presents the WackedOutBlackOut party, featuring DJ Shane V, a live performance by Kryean Kalley and plenty of glow in the dark body paint. 9 p.m. at Jungle, 2115 Faulkner Road, Atlanta, GA 30324,

Morrissey, the out gay former Smiths frontman, performs at 8 p.m. at the Cobb Energy Center at Cobb Energy Centre, 2800 Cobb Galleria Parkway, Atlanta, GA 30339,


Wednesday, Jan. 23 – Sunday, Jan. 27

The National Gay & Lesbian Task Force brings its massive Creating Change Conference to Atlanta, gathering 3,000+ LGBT activists and allies from around the nation for workshops, strategizing and community-building. Hilton Atlanta, 255 Courtland St. NE, Atlanta, GA 30303,

Friday, Jan. 25

DJ Diablo Rojo spins for Ginger Appreciation Night, a.k.a. the Red Meat Party, at 10 p.m. at Mary’s, 1287 Glenwood Ave., Atlanta, GA 30316,

770-641-1260 •

DJ/Producer Alex Cohen spins at 10 p.m. at the Heretic, 2069 Cheshire Bridge Road, Atlanta, GA 30324, DJ Mary Mac spins for the Secret Party MLK Bash. 10:30 p.m. at Club Rain, 448 Ralph David Abernathy Blvd., Atlanta, GA,

Saturday, Jan. 26

The Southern Bears celebrate 20 years of hirsute community with an anniversary party at 10 p.m. at Atlanta Eagle, 306 Ponce De Leon Ave., Atlanta, GA 30308,

Wednesday, Jan. 30

Sunday, Jan. 20

PFLAG Atlanta hosts its Third Sunday meeting. 2:45 p.m. at St. Mark United Methodist Church, 781 Peachtree St., Atlanta, GA 30308,

The extensive Atlanta Jewish Film Festival opens tonight and runs through Feb. 20. Tonight features the Atlanta premiere of “Hava Nagila,” as well as a red carpet reception, silent auction and more. 5 p.m. reception; 7:30 p.m. program at Cobb Energy Centre, 2800 Cobb Galleria Parkway, Atlanta, GA 30339,

Monday, Jan. 21

Atlanta’s LGBT community and allies unite to celebrate the MLK Jr. holiday with the Rustin Lorde Breakfast, a tribute to Bayard Rustin and Audre Lorde. 10 a.m. at Saint Mark United Methodist Church, 781 Peachtree St., Atlanta, GA 30308.

Saturday, Feb. 2

Atlanta Pride veteran Hannah Thomas celebrates her record release with Sarah Golden and Sonia Tetlow, 8 p.m. at Eddie Owen Presents at the Red Clay Theatre, 3116 Main St., Duluth, GA 30096,


GA Voice

January 4, 2013



My viral resolution
Cats, not calories, for 2013
I’m not one to make New Year’s resolutions. I believe after months of rushing to countless parties, along with taking in the countless calories, it is natural to want to spend the next few months taking it easy, eating healthy, and working out. However, some big announcement that your intention for 2013 is to have the perfect body and live a balanced life is self-defeating, since a resolution is nothing more than an attempt to magically get motivated for something you have never been able to do before. But this year is different. I have a resolution I plan to fulfill. And it has nothing to do with food, weight, or leisure. It’s about cats. When I’m online, inevitably I land on a video about cats. It’s not intentional, and they are usually pretty simple: cats playing in a box, cats hissing at a dog, or cats falling off of something. The videos are endless, but what strikes me is how many fellow web surfers there are watching them. For instance, one of my favorites is Surprised Kitty and that video has over 67 million views! Two cats trying to understand a treadmill 2.2 million views, while An Engineer’s Guide to Cats has almost 6 million views. Charlie Schmidt’s Keyboard Cat has over 28 million views, but a stalking cat tops that with 37 million! This brings me to my resolution. I will post a video online in 2013 of my cats doing something cute, and achieve a viewership of at least 30,000. I know that doesn’t seem ambitious compared with the aforementioned videos, but I want to be realistic about how many people I get to view my cat video. It’s not like I haven’t tried this before. I once posted a video of my Siamese fetching a ball and it only got 431 views. How do I achieve a viral video? According to Kevin Allocco, trends manager for YouTube, you need three things: tastemakers, communities of participation, and unexpectedness. His example of a tastemaker is Jimmy Kimmel, who introduces his audience to new things like a funny video. Participation refers to other people’s interpretation or manipulation of the project, like a remix of the original video. Of course, videos that show some kind of surprise are the most memorable.

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

Go ahead, watch!

Surprised Kitty: Cats vs. treadmill: Engineer’s Guide to Cats: Keyboard Cat: Stalking Cat: Melissa’s Siamese:

Applying those elements to my first cat video, I should be thrilled 431 people watched it. There really was nothing about it that would attract the attention of a national broadcaster. No techie would have been inspired to take my video and remix it with music or create a short animated gif from it. Plus, you knew what my cat was about to do, since the title gave it away. The best thing about my quest this year, besides getting people to look at my cats, is my efforts won’t be a waste of time like many think cat videos are. In fact, it has a public service element to it. Earlier this year Japanese research found that watching cat videos at work not only improves your mood, it makes you more productive. Called “The Power of Kawaii: Viewing Cute Images Promotes a Careful Behavior and Narrows Attentional Focus,” the study suggests that looking at cute images at work can boost attention to details and overall performance. So now when your boss catches you watching my video, you can say you’re doing it with the company’s best interest at heart. There’s no “I” in team, or in cat. Posting a viral cat video is my New Year’s Resolution, and it will be executed authentically. I don’t plan on forcing my cats into a situation that I deem funny but really isn’t for the animals. I will just make sure something like a camera or phone is nearby at all times so when my felines decide to be cute I am there to capture it. Happy New Year!


January 4, 2013

GA Voice


Bad day prepper
What if 2012 was the end of the world as we knew it?
Well, it turns out the Mayans were just as reliable about predicting the end of our civilization as they were at predicting their own. I was charitable enough to give them until the end of the year, but 2012 officially came to a close without any of the pyrotechnics promised by doomsday preppers or John Cusack collecting a paycheck. Oh well. Guess I’ll get to that laundry I was putting off. When folks watch a movie like “2012” (which no one should) or a TV show like “Walking Dead” (which everyone should), they tend to put themselves in the shoes of the survivors, saying, “I’d get myself to an army base, because they’re totally secure and I could pig out on MREs.” What people fail to realize is that those ragtag groups of survivors are ragtag for a reason: the world ended. The odds are pretty high that you were one of the hundreds of millions of people who perished in a visually stunning set piece while John Cusack and his estranged wife sped past you. You did not win the lottery. You are toast. That’s why the phrase “Doomsday Prepper” is a contradiction in terms. There is no prepping for Doomsday. That’s why they call it Doomsday. We are doomed. I suppose one could be a “Bad Day Prepper,” and I’m on board for that. I always have vodka, candles and toilet paper in the house so I’m never caught off guard. I put some serious thought into living in a post-Apocalyptic wasteland, and I have determined that it’s just not for me. If I stayed in Atlanta, I’d be fighting off gun-toting street gangs and foraging for cans of beans at what’s left of my neighborhood Kroger, which never had a great selection on its best day. Assuming I made it out of the city, I’d be living off the land, presumably farming or raising cattle in a cooperative of dirty hippies. If I had any interest in, or knowledge of, living off the land, I would already be doing that. My manual labor experience is limited to my own back yard, and even that’s been really


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

inconsistent because I am easily distracted by more important things, like a new episode of “Downton Abbey.” And I’m sorry, but I am not signing up for repopulating Earth. I know what that would involve, and again, if I were interested in that sort of thing I’d already be doing it. Also, I do not like being dirty. I prefer for my hair to smell like jojoba, not zombie entrails. There are those who claimed the Mayan prediction was not a literal demise of the planet, but a rebirth of sorts: the dawn of a new consciousness, wherein mankind emerges newly enlightened. A kinder, gentler planet. I like that concept. Less property damage, and it likely would smell better. Looking back on the year we closed out, we could have really used a reboot. There are lessons we should have learned. We should know that nothing is ultimately gained from rallying around a common enemy. Kindness, charity, and an open dialogue are not the actions of the weak. It requires tremendous strength and courage to pursue a life driven by those standards. I fail in this regard on a daily basis. It’s unfair for me to criticize the people I’m up against for failing at a concept I struggle with so mightily. I should focus more on listening if I ever want my chance to be heard. It’s called communication, and we kind of suck at it these days. What if we all just agreed the Mayans were right? The passing of 2012 marked the end of an old world. This new year marks the beginning of a new era, where we try a little harder, pay closer attention, endeavor to be more empathetic. Help each other out. Because the Bad Day Preppers are right about one thing: We are not guaranteed a tomorrow that looks anything like today. So, instead of stockpiling Charmin and Spam in preparation for the world to come, maybe we could take better care of the world we’ve got right now.