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THE GEORGIA VOICE EDITORIAL
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4 | From the Supreme Court to Ga.: What the rulings mean to you. 8 | YouthPride faces second eviction 9 | Atlanta nonproﬁts on track for expansion fundraising 10 | Augusta Pride draws thousands 10 | Evening for Equality honors leaders 11 | News in brief: Baton Bob challenges arrest; Ga. hate crime attackers sentenced
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13 | FEILD GUIDE TO ATLANTA DRAG
FRIENDS & FOES IN THEIR OWN WORDS
13 | Field guide to Atlanta drag: The queens of our Queer Kingdom 16 | Artist immortalizes drag queens through embroidery 17 | H ide it or ﬂaunt it: Tips from kings and queens 18 | Where to ﬁnd drag all week long 19 | T heater: “Shakin’ the Rafters,” “Headwaters” 20 | Food Porn: Birthday plans at Gunshow 21 | A rts in brief: Joining Hearts, Decatur Book Festival and more 22 | Best Bets calendar
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“The reason we have changed this country for LGBTQ people is that as LGBTQ people, we have been brave, we have loved each other, and we have worked together on more than one issue. We need each other now. We cannot be whole by ourselves.”
— Video released by Atlanta-based Southerners on New Ground in the wake of the Supreme Court marriage decisions, urging viewers to “Marry the Movement.” (SONG, June 27)
26 | That’s What She Said: Melissa carter ﬁnds a rainbow connection. 27 | Domestically Disturbed: Topher Payne on Paula Deen and sincere apologies.
“You just are arguing in favor of discrimination. And more discrimination doesn’t make straight people’s lives any better.”
— MSNBC host Rachel Maddow, expounding on how conservatives’ disapproval of gay people doesn’t “make any less of us exist.” (“Meet the Press,” June 30)
“If somebody had told me 50 years ago that I would be the marshal of New York City’s Gay Pride parade in 2013, at the age of 84, I wouldn’t have believed it.”
— Edith Windsor, the plainti in the Supreme Court case that overturned the Defense of Marriage Act, on appearing in the New York City Pride parade June 30.
Photo by Bill Phelsps
“The irony of the age of Obama in which black folks found themselves pushed to the back [of the bus], our gay brothers and lesbian sisters more and more pushed to the center.”
— Historian and radio host Cornel West, praising the Supreme Court decisions on gay marriage while criticizing the decision on the Voting Rights Act (Washington Times, July 2)
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4 | GA VOICE
From the Supreme Court to Ga.
By Laura Douglas-Brown Christopher Dellamura joined the military in 1998 — ﬁve years after the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” ban on gay service members was enacted, and two years after the Defense of Marriage Act became the law of the land. Now, in not even two years, he has seen both of those policies fall. “Serving in silence was a daily burden added to the difﬁculties of serving in the military,” said Dellamura, an Army Chief Warrant Ofﬁcer 4 stationed at Fort Benning, near Columbus, Ga. “I felt as though I lied to everyone that I worked with and this hurt almost every professional and personal relationship that I had with my co-workers. Immediately after the repeal, if felt like a huge weight lifted off of my shoulders.” The military implemented “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal in September 2011. Last week, the Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutional Section 3 of DOMA, which barred federal recognition of same-sex marriages. Although most of Dellamura’s co-workers welcomed his partner, Aaron Austin, when he no longer had to hide their relationship, he still felt unequal because Austin could not receive the beneﬁts afforded to a military spouse. “Because of the Supreme Court decision, I ﬁnally feel appreciated but more importantly, my family feels appreciated,” Dellamura said. The couple may now turn a trip this month to visit family in Connecticut, where gay marriage is legal, into a chance to ofﬁcially say “I do.” “I knew I wanted to marry Chris before the ruling, but the ruling became a catalyst to really putting the wheels in motion,” said Austin, who is also now thinking about expanding their family. “It makes me way more open to the idea of adopting and raising
Historic rulings show work remains for marriage equality here at home
children because I know they will have the protections that straight service members’ children have,” he said. “It just opens so many doors for us. “Things that straight service members probably take for granted mean so much to us now that we are equal.” As a couple who lives in Georgia, which still refuses to recognize same-sex marriage, but who will be married in a state that does, Dellamura and Austin will still receive full military beneﬁts because the military bases its deﬁnition of who is married on the state where the ceremony was performed. In addition to military spousal beneﬁts, same-sex couples — including those who live in Georgia — will also get the right to sponsor a spouse for immigration and to receive spousal beneﬁts if they are federal employees. But other federal beneﬁts of marriage will not automatically be awarded to legally married gay couples who live in Georgia, because some federal statutes instead base their decisions on the state of “domicile,” or where the couple lives. These include Social Security spousal beneﬁts, Medicare and Medicaid, and coverage under the Family Medical Leave Act. So while the Supreme Court DOMA decision was a huge step forward, same-sex couples living in states like Georgia won’t get many of the beneﬁts that will now be available to those who live in marriage equality states.
VICTORIES HISTORIC, BUT INCOMPLETE
In rulings that had been nervously anticipated for months, the Supreme Court handed down a pair of victories for marriage equality June 26 — not only striking the key part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act as unconstitutional, but also issuing a ruling in a challenge to California’s Proposition 8 that allowed gay marriage to resume in that state. In the most sweeping decision, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that the Defense of Marriage Act’s ban on federal recognition of same-sex marriages is unconstitutional. “DOMA’s principal effect is to identify a subset of state-sanctioned marriages and make them unequal,” Justice Kennedy wrote for the majority. In a separate case, Hollingsworth v. Perry, the court also ruled 5-4 that supporters of California’s Proposition 8, the ballot measure that ended gay marriage in the state, did not have standing to defend the law in court. It was a victory for gay Californians, as the court remanded the case back to the district court, which had previously thrown out the law. Gay couples began marrying again in California on June 28. The pair of decisions sparked jubilation around the country, including in Atlanta,
where hundreds packed the corner of 10th Street and Piedmont Avenue on the evening after the decisions were released, carrying signs and banners as cars honked their support. But even on the Day of Decision, as it was dubbed, local advocates were already looking to the future of what the rulings would mean in Georgia. “We can celebrate for our colleagues and loved ones in California and the twelve other states affected by this ruling today,” Jeff Graham, executive director of statewide LGBT group Georgia Equality, said then. “Tomorrow we begin the process of building a movement to recognize our own marriages here in Georgia.”
NEXT STEPS FOR ADVOCACY
In the wake of last week’s court decisions, activists around the country assessed how they would push forward for marriage equality — even in the South. Alabama State Rep. Patricia Todd, the only openly gay member of the state’s legislature, told the Montgomery Advertiser she plans to marry her partner in Massachusetts in September, then push for their marriage to be recognized in Alabama, most likely through a court challenge. On July 1, Equality Florida, a statewide LGBT advocacy group, announced it is seeking plaintiffs to sue for marriage rights there. Here in Georgia, activists do not have speciﬁc plans to pursue marriage equality either through the courts or through a legislative effort to repeal the ban in the state constitution, but they haven’t ruled either out. Graham said Georgia Equality has already received calls from gay couples who are interested in suing and the organization is keeping a database of that information in case they should decide, working with other groups like Lambda Legal, to pursue that option. Greg Nevins, supervising
bleeds over into the [employment] bill where we have a huge number of signatures and support, so they mire the two issues together and neither one moves forward,” Drenner said. Another possibility is that the GOP leadership lets the repeal bill move forward, but it is defeated by Georgia voters — a likely outcome, at least in the short term, as a June 26 poll found 61 percent of state voters oppose legalizing samesex marriage. “If we put it on the ballot again to overturn it and we lose, then what do we say?” Drenner asked. “Oops, sorry, we want to wait a little longer.” Both Drenner and Graham stressed that Georgians don’t need a speciﬁc court case or a bill in the legislature to do the work of telling the stories of their relationships, which will build support for marriage equality among their friends and families. “It’s important to remind everyone that a lot of the public education to be done doesn’t require a big public strategy,” Graham said. “It just requires people to speak openly and from their hearts.”
GA VOICE | 5
Your rights after SCOTUS rulings
There are approximately 1,100 federal beneﬁts related to marriage, as well as additional state beneﬁts. The Supreme Court’s ruling overturning Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act means that same-sex married couples who live in states with marriage equality will be eligible for all of these beneﬁts. But for couples in states like Georgia which refuse to recognize same-sex marriage, the picture is much more complicated. Even if you travel to a state where it is legal to marry, if you live here, you may not receive some federal beneﬁts. That’s because some federal spousal beneﬁts are based on whether you marriage is legal in the state where it was entered, and some are based on the state where you live. Here is a rundown of some of the biggest beneﬁts and how it appears that they will be impacted. Keep in mind that it will take weeks, if not months, for federal agencies and legal experts to fully understand and respond to the court’s decision. recognized by the state where they reside — meaning federal employees in Georgia will get full spousal beneﬁts. Military service members The military bases its deﬁnition of who is married on the state where the celebration was performed, so spouses of military service members who marry where it is legal, but live in Georgia or other states where it is not, will still be eligible for beneﬁts.
WHAT YOU DEFINITELY DON’T GET
Atlanta’s LGBT community and its allies held a joyous and long-anticipated rally at 10th St. and Piedmont Ave. on the day the U.S. Supreme Court struck down DOMA and Prop. 8. (Photo by Laura Douglas-Brown)
staff attorney in Lambda Legal’s Atlanta ofﬁce, noted that lawsuits are already underway in other jurisdictions and have to be chosen carefully to try to win broad, precedent-setting decisions. “These cases are not as easy as rolling out of bed, going to the clerk’s ofﬁce, applying for a marriage license, getting denied, ﬁlling out some paperwork — and then eventually justice will come,” Nevins said. “It is not something to be undertaken lightly.”, Georgia Equality has also sought information on what it would cost for polling and focus groups to determine the best messaging to build popular support for marriage equality here; initial estimates are about $50,000, Graham said. “We have to be serious about working in a smart, strategic manner and building an infrastructure the likes of which we have never seen here in Georgia,” Graham said. “I do believe we can do that, but it is not going to happen over night.” For now, Georgia Equality’s ﬁrst priority remains passage of the Fair Employment Practices Act, a bill to ban job discrimination against state employees based on sexual orientation and gender identity. “It’s a legislative battle that we do feel we can win in a relatively short period of time,” Graham said, noting that no state has enacted marriage equality without ﬁrst approving some sort of statewide employment non-discrimination. State Rep. Karla Drenner (D-Avondale Estates) was Georgia’s ﬁrst openly gay state lawmaker and is now one of three openly lesbian members of the Georgia House. In 2004, she let the unsuccessful effort to stop the state constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. Drenner is also lead sponsor of the Fair Employment act, and said that while she “would love” to introduce legislation to start the process of repealing the state constitutional ban on gay marriage, she wonders whether pursuing both at the same time will be productive. “There is the possibility that it somehow
As LGBT advocates weigh the next steps for achieving full marriage equality, Georgia same-sex couples are weighing the next steps for their relationships. For some, that means rejoicing in new beneﬁts they will receive thanks to the Supreme Court’s DOMA decision. Decatur residents Stephanie Bortz and Kristy Davino have been together for 12 years. The couple plans to marry in New York in the next year. Their decision to marry is not based on the fact that it will allow Davino to have access to federal employee spousal beneﬁts through Bortz’ job as a licensed clinical social worker at the Veterans Administration hospital here, but it will give them options they didn’t have in the past, Bortz said. “She could resign from her employment and go back to school and be on my health insurance,” said Bortz, who cried when the ruling was announced. “She could utilize gym and employee assistance programs, as any opposite sex spouses would be entitled.” For other couples, the decision means they can move forward with relationships without obstacles they would have faced before. Atlanta attorney Jeff Cleghorn met David Ruiz online last August. Because Ruiz lives in Mexico, the couple has had to pursue their binational relationship through frequent trips and Skype. While they are not yet ready to marry, the fact that Cleghorn would not be able to sponsor Ruiz for immigration if they reached that point had begun to weigh on them. “Over the months things had developed nicely between us, which led to an increasing ‘what do we do now?’ kind of anxiety,” said Cleghorn, who described his reaction to the Supreme Court ruling as “unbridled joy.” “We are grateful to now at least have a legal pathway to follow, should we decide to take that step.”
WHAT YOU DEFINITELY GET
The right to marry in Georgia Georgia has banned same-sex marriage not once, but twice: In 1996 via a state law and in 2004 through a constitutional amendment. Neither of the Supreme Court’s June 26 rulings created a federal right to same-sex marriage, so they did not strike down Georgia’s ban. Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens stated after the ruling that Georgia will continue to enforce its deﬁnition of marriage. The right to divorce in Georgia It’s not as happy as the right to marry, but the right to divorce is just as important. If your relationship ends, you can’t access Georgia’s courts for a divorce. This is particularly important if you choose to marry in another state that recognizes same-sex marriage: If that state will not allow non-resident couples to divorce there, and most don’t, you may ﬁnd yourself in a marriage you can’t get out of without moving to that state and living there long enough to qualify as a resident. State marriage beneﬁts Georgia’s steadfast refusal to recognize same-sex marriages from other states means that even if you travel to get married, you will still be considered single for state tax purposes. You also can’t access state beneﬁts associated with marriage, such as the ability to cover your spouse on your insurance if you are a state employee.
immigration U.S. citizens can sponsor their spouses for immigration. Under DOMA, binational same-sex couples could not access this right, leading to tragic stories of partners who were deported or who had to move out of the United States to be together. On July 1, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano issued a statement conﬁrming that “e ective immediately,” immigration applications for same-sex spouses will be treated the same as opposite-sex spouses. While you should still consult an immigration attorney to discuss your speciﬁc situation, it should not matter that you live in a state that does not recognize your legal marriage from another state, as immigration law focuses on the “place of celebration,” not the state of residence. Federal civilian employees Spouses of federal employees are eligible for a host of beneﬁts, including health, vision, dental and group life insurance, coverage to care for spouses under the Family Medical Leave Act, and more. A spokesperson for the federal O ce of Personnel Management conﬁrmed that the beneﬁts would be available regardless of whether the couple’s legal marriage is
WHAT YOU PROBABLY DON’T GET
Social Security beneﬁts Federal Social Security beneﬁts related to marriage include spousal retirement benPlease see RIGHTS on Page 6
6 | GA VOICE
Ga. same-sex couples likely to miss out on some federal beneﬁts
RIGHTS, continued from Page 5
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eﬁts, spousal disability beneﬁts, survivor’s beneﬁts and the lump-sum death beneﬁt. While same-sex spouses who live in states that recognize their marriages will get these beneﬁts, right now it seems unlikely for couples who live in states like Georgia that do not recognize same-sex marriage. “Under existing law, the Social Security statute uses the wage earner’s ‘place of domicile’ as the relevant state law for assessing who is a spouse for beneﬁts purposes,” notes a fact sheet prepared by Lambda Legal and other leading advocacy organizations. Medicaid & Medicare Medicaid is a health insurance program for people in poverty. States have their own Medicaid programs that also receive federal funding. Same-sex couples living in states that recognize their marriages will now be eligible for Medicaid, but those who live in states like Georgia probably will not, according to the coalition of LGBT groups. Medicare is the federal health insurance program for people over 65. The deﬁnition of spouse is similar to that for Social Security and is tied to your place of residence, meaning that Georgia same-sex couples who travel to other states to marry likely won’t be eligible for spousal beneﬁts. One possible exception is if you were married in a state that recognized your union, lived there and began receiving Medicare beneﬁts there, and then moved to Georgia or another state that won’t recognize your marriage. Family Medical Leave Act coverage if you don’t work for the federal government Under the Family Medical Leave Act, public employees (those who work for federal, state, or local governments or public schools) and private employees of companies with 50+ employees can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year to care for a spouse. While federal employees, and other employees in states that recognize their marriages, will get these beneﬁts now, samesex married couples in states like Georgia probably won’t — at least now without further legal or legislative action.
That’s because FMLA law, like Social Security, is currently based on whether your marriage is legal in your “place of domicile.” “However, the federal government may take steps to use a ‘place of celebration’ rule so that a spousal status is assessed according to the law of the state where you married or secured a spousal status,” notes the Lambda Legal fact sheet. “This process may take some time.” Veterans spousal beneﬁts Unfortunately, at this point it seems unlikely that veterans will enjoy the same beneﬁts as active military service members. Lambda Legal and other advocacy groups think more legislative or legal action will be necessary since the law governing veteran spouse beneﬁts is based on if the marriage was “valid. . . according to the law of the place where the parties resided at the time of the marriage or the law of the place where the parties resided when the right to beneﬁts accrued.” This means that if you live in a nonequality state like Georgia, travel to get married, and then still reside in a non-equality state, you will likely not be considered married. If you moved to Georgia or another nonrecognition state after you got married in a state where it was legal, or you moved to Georgia after living in state that recognized your marriage when your beneﬁts took e ect, you are likely to be considered married for veteran beneﬁts.
“Family” Owned & Operated
WHAT REMAINS UNCERTAIN
IRS ‘married’ federal tax status Will the Supreme Court ruling on DOMA mean that you can change your federal tax status to “married,” even though you will still have to ﬁle as “single” for your Georgia state return? The short answer is that we don’t know. A spokesperson for the IRS told GA Voice on July 2 that the agency is still studying the ruling and how it will impact states that don’t recognize same-sex marriage. For more guidance on these issues and more, visit www.lambdalegal.org/publications/ after-doma
8 | GA VOICE
YouthPride evicted second time for non-payment of rent
Executive Director McPhaul countersues property owner for $10,000
By DYANA BAGBY firstname.lastname@example.org YouthPride, existing in an apparent limbo because it still does not have a complete board of directors after at least two years of puzzling leadership, was ofﬁcially evicted by Fulton County marshals June 28 from its most recent location west of downtown Atlanta in the Ashview Heights neighborhood. YouthPride is a nonproﬁt dedicated to serving LGBT and questioning young people, but has struggled with funding and leadership. Questions over who serves on YouthPride’s board, and whether the organization is in compliance with its bylaws that require a ﬁvemember board, have lingered since GA Voice began asking about YouthPride’s leadership in the wake of the organization’s desperate plea for funds in late 2011. The most recent eviction process began April 30, according to documents ﬁled in Fulton Magistrate Court, after three months of unpaid rent. Court documents show that YouthPride was to pay the Magistrate Court $6,000 by June 3 to cover unpaid rent costs at house located at 955 Washington Place SW, Atlanta, Ga., 30313. YouthPride relocated to this house last June after it was evicted from its previous location at Inman Park United Methodist Church, also for non-payment of rent. Terence McPhaul, acting on behalf of YouthPride as the organization’s executive director, in turn is suing the property owner for $10,000. McPhaul claims in court documents ﬁled in response to the eviction notice that the organization was not allowed complete use of the space allowed in the rental contract and therefore is owed $10,000. McPhaul writes in a May 17 document the organization was only allowed to use 800 square feet of the 1,745 square feet that was contracted for. “We are not using the basement because they put a lock on it and they changed some of the locks and shut off utilities that was included in the rent and provided continuance [sic] disruption, coercion and harassment during the course of business,” he wrote.
YouthPride was evicted from 955 Washington Place in southwest Atlanta for nonpayment of rent. The organization states it has relocated to an Episcopal student center with the Atlanta University Center. (Photo by Dyana Bagby)
Executive director Terence McPhaul Board members Theresa Willis Tracee McDaniel An unlisted youth member Sta Administrative assistant: Andre Johnson “TBA” is listed as the organization’s clinical social worker (a master’s degree student intern) “TBA” is also listed for clinical social worker (undergraduate student intern) Source: YouthPride website, www.youthpride.org
‘HE IS A CON ARTIST’
Eddie Turner, a Realtor with Keller Williams Realty Atlanta Classic, is representing the property owner, who asked to not be named for this story. In an interview with GA Voice, Turner said the organization was allowed to use the downstairs as well as the large porch, according to the rental agreement, which adds up to 1,745 square feet. The upstairs bedrooms were not open to the youth, he added. “He’s a con artist and a predator and a bad example for the community, be it LGBTQ or whoever,” Turner said of McPhaul. “It’s horrible he is leading a group for youth. Our biggest concern is we want it to stop with us. My client doesn’t want Mr. McPhaul to continue scheming people, conniving people in the name of YouthPride.” Turner said troubles began when YouthPride’s ﬁrst rent check bounced. McPhaul would eventually get enough money, but it
was always after the 15th of the month and included late fees. Turner also said that often McPhaul would receive a check from United Way and simply sign it over to pay for rent, rather than depositing the check in a YouthPride account and writing a new check for rent. “He would receive a check for say $4,100 from United Way and just sign it over to the property owner,” Turner said. When emailed to respond about money owed in rent and the new address, McPhaul wrote back: “Sufﬁce it to say that YP was not in the best situation. Being in the previous location YP came under pressure to become involved in activity that it just did not agree with. “The move is part of a plan which was instituted over a year ago. I don’t know what documents you refer to but YP has tried to recover $10,000 it is owed. Thanks for reaching out. I will be unavailable through July 9, 2013.” McPhaul did not answer follow up questions. United Way did not respond to requests for comment for this story.
The ﬁrst eviction hearing was set for May 28. Documents show McPhaul appeared in court to ask for a continuance. McPhaul wrote in court documents he has been hospitalized since May 17. “McPhaul was released from the hospital May 24 and began receiving home health care on May 25 and will continue receiving medical home health care until at least June 3. McPhaul is on continuous IV treatment, running 24-hours per day and is supposed to remain a home bound patient,” McPhaul wrote about himself in court documents. Turner said McPhaul appeared in Magistrate Court on May 28 with an IV attached to his upper arm with a bag held in his pocket. The continuance was granted with the next
date set for June 11. The court on May 28 ordered McPhaul to pay $6,000 by June 3 to the court or the eviction process would begin. McPhaul received another continuance, documents show, and a third date was set for June 18. “The bottom line is we went to court a third time and he did not appear and his $6,000 check bounced,” Turner said. “He’s been avoiding my client. He’s a master manipulator of the system. He came to us saying he met with his board and they told him they were paying too much for rent. This was said after eight months and knowing the lease was not going to be renewed.” On June 18, Fulton Magistrate Court ordered McPhaul to pay $2,000 to the property owner plus $83.50 in court costs. The court ordered no money paid to McPhaul. On June 24, the Fulton Marshal’s ofﬁce received the papers to evict YouthPride on June 28. Turner added there was damage to the carpet in the house, the porch and the house will have to be repainted. Turner said the property owner plans to sue McPhaul to pay for repairs. YouthPride also left behind many belongings. “The truth is he [property owner] was duped by Mr. McPhaul. He thought he was helping a youth program,” Turner said. “And he’s going to continue to do this.” YouthPride sent out an email June 26 stating its new location is 807 Atlanta Student Blvd., Atlanta, Ga., 30314. This is where the Absalom Jones Episcopal Center is located within the Atlanta University Center. The center is LGBT friendly and serves as a meeting place for many groups, including the Morehouse College Safe Space project. AJEC Rev. Kimberly Jackson said YouthPride is using the facility over the summer and paying a nominal fee for utilities. “We’re excited to have them in our space and we’re glad to be able to help YP continue its good work in this city,” she said.
GA VOICE | 9
Local LGBT groups continue fundraising
Phillip Rush Center expansion, Lost-N-Found thrift store remain on target
By RYAN WATKINS email@example.com
In late March, the stakeholders of the Phillip Rush Center, Atlanta’s LGBT community center, announced a plan to expand its current space by some 1,700 square feet. In the two months since, tens of thousands of dollars have been raised, according to Georgia Equality’s Jeff Graham. “It’s our second expansion and we hope that the community will continue to support us to ensure there is a safe, accessible LGBT space here in Atlanta,” Graham told GA Voice. 28 or- Georgia Equality and the Health Initiative o theare jointly responsible for the space where sev. eral local LGBTQ nonproﬁts are based. ance, “We still need to raise approximately et for$50,000 to complete the build out,” Graham said. “We need to raise an additional $15third20,000 before we can start construction. There 6,000will be two phases. We would like to start void-phase one at the end of July and we would like or ofto have the construction completed by Octowithber.” aying Some $35,000 has already been raised. Doeightnations are tax deductible. going A few of the organizations currently based in the Rush Center will utilize the new ofﬁce deredand meeting spaces, Graham said. Other local wnernonproﬁts currently housed elsewhere have ed noalso expressed an interest in the new ofﬁces. ulton “We anticipate the additional ofﬁce space evictwe’re providing that we’ll be able to ﬁll it up with new tenants as soon as construction is e car-completed,” Graham said. e will The additional space, the Health Initiative’s pertyLinda Ellis said, will allow the Rush Center to pairs.host more meetings or group events. ngs. “One of the things we have to keep in mind wasis the parking capacity and the residential wasneighborhood,” Ellis said. “It’s not our inten“Andtion to manage large scale events. We’re not looking for larger meetings, but more options stat-for meeting space.” udent The goal is to have the additional space e Ab-completed by the Atlanta Pride festival, set for withinOct. 12-13.
Organizers behind the planned expansion of the Phillip Rush Center say they would like to see the new space open in time for this year’s Atlanta Pride festival in October. (File photo)
s as a g theLOST-N-FOUND TAKES IT TO THE
outh- Rick Westbrook, executive director of Lostr andN-Found Youth, says his organization is ahead e ex-of schedule after announcing a $1 million cape gladital campaign earlier this year. ork in Though Lost-N-Found has yet to raise the $130,000 originally targeted for the end of July,
it has raised the $30,000 it sought before the end of May, according to Westbrook. The organization is on-track to open its own thrift store sometime in the next 30 to 60 days and is currently considering two separate buildings as it looks for ways to inject more cash into its operations. “It will allow us to house the donations we get,” Westbrook said of Lost-N-Found’s proposed thrift shop. “If someone comes in and needs something, it’s on the racks. If a youth moves out and needs furniture, it gives them the chance to get it.” The ﬁrst fundraising benchmark was reached shortly after this year’s East Point Possums show, where Lost-N-Found was the primary beneﬁciary. Other private donations have helped secure the $18,000 needed to open the thrift store, which will be open to the public. The planned store will also give some of the youth who seek Lost-N-Found’s services a place to learn employable skills like retail and inventory management. The organization’s future plans also include a larger house that will provide housing to more homeless youth. More than 200 LGBTQ youth have received some kind of service from Lost-N-Found, Westbrook said. The organization currently has space for six youth to sleep. The goal is to increase that to 18 with the next housing facility. Aside from donations of clothes and money, Westbrook stressed the need for volunteers to spend time with the youth. Lesbians, Westbrook said, make up nearly 60 percent of the organization’s serviced youth but most of the volunteers are gay men. That’s something he would like to see changed. “We’re the only place in town that a young lesbian couple can room together,” Westbrook said.
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Augusta Pride draws thousands
The fourth annual Augusta Pride took over the Augusta Commons with a new dance party June 21, then the now traditional parade and festival June 22. Bob Molle and Dennis Hage, partners for 36 years, traveled to Augusta from upstate New York to enjoy the festival with friends while celebrating Hage’s 75th birthday. “There seems to be so much love,” Molle said. “It’s a little loud, just because we are old, but everyone is getting along as brothers and sisters. “There are also a lot of children here, and that’s nice, because when we ﬁrst came out you couldn’t have kids without people looking at you,” he added. Augusta residents Suzanne and Stephanie Venable marched in the parade with daughter Willow, age 3, and a sign that read “1 Mama + 1 Mom + 1 Baby = Happy Family.” They then canvassed the festival collecting names of other people with children in hopes of starting a local group for gay parents. “It shows that our families are normal — well, normal but with rainbows!” they noted, laughing. The diverse crowd enjoyed performances from headliners Thea Austin, who invited Pride goers to dance onstage with her; Chad Michaels, who drove the crowd wild as Cher; and Frenchie Davis, who returned to Augusta Pride after headlining the city’s ﬁrst-ever Pride back in 2010. Handed rainbow beads from a fan, Davis joked about being a lesbian with fashion sense, mentioned her wife, and thrilled to be back performing for “our community.” — Photos by Laura Douglas-Brown
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Evening for Equality honors LGBT leaders, allies
Hundreds of people attended Georgia Equality’s Evening for Equality fundraiser June 29 at Twelve Hotel in Atlantic Station — just days after the historic rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court on marriage equality. The largest such event to date, this year’s Evening for Equality raised $65,000 that will go toward funding Georgia Equality initiatives including lobbying for workplace non-discrimination, creating safe schools for LGBTQ students, HIV/AIDS advocacy, hate crimes legislation and more. The evening honored state Rep. Karla Drenner as the sponsor of Georgia’s Fair Employment Practices Act that would protect state employees from being ﬁred based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Receiving awards for their contributions working toward equality in Georgia were Anthony Michael Kreis, who received the Allen Thornell Political Advancement Award;
Those honored by Georgia Equality were, clockwise from left, Dazon Dixon Diallo; state Rep.Karla Drenner; Anthony Michael Kreis and Pamm Burdett of the Lloyd Russell Foundation .
The Lloyd Russell Foundation (headed up by Pamm Burdett) with the Phillip Rush Community Builder Award; and Da’zon Dixon Diallo, founder of SisterLove Inc., with the Champion for Equality award. — Photos by Dyana Bagby
Baton Bob, hate crime sentencing, and more
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EVENING FOR EQUALITY THANKS:
Benjamin M. Perlman Gary Nelson Bill Fleming Gerald Lowrey C. Michael Bozeman & Jason Wright & Harry Knox Glen Paul Freedman Casey Lawing Gregory R. Nevins Christie Ayotte Harry Harkins Commissioner Jamie Ensley Joan P. Garner Jamie Roberts Drew Plant & Tommy Lee & Bill Golden Jeff Riley Friends of Athens PRIDE & Doug Sturgess Gail Cowie Jeremy Greenup & Jean Spencer Jimmy Paulk Cox Enterprises, Inc. Wells Fargo & Company Gilead Sciences King & Spalding, LLP Making Projects Work, Inc. Waste Management Grady Health System Atlanta Symphony Orchestra St Mark United Methodist Church Atlanta Pride Committee
2012 EVENING FOR EQUALITY HOST COMMITTEE:
GAY STREET CHARACTER CHALLENGES ASSAULT ARREST
ed to a hip hop website last year, made the attackers seem particularly callous. In the video that went viral, the young men, “Baton Bob” Jamerson was released from jail June 27, the day after he was arrested following who were said to be members of the Jack City an altercation with security at Colony Square in gang, were shown jumping an unsuspecting White as he exited a convenience Midtown Atlanta. Jamerson now store in southwest Atlanta and reclaims via Facebook that he is conpeatedly called him “faggot”; one sulting with attorneys to protest assailant also threw a tire on him. what he feels was an unjust arrest. Cain and Moragne, both of AtJamerson was charged with two lanta, pleaded guilty to federal hate counts of simple assault and one crimes charges April 18. Georgia count of obstruction of ofﬁcers. Bond does not have a hate crime law, and was set at $4,000 and he remained the federal hate crime law that inin jail overnight. cludes crimes based on sexual oriAn Atlanta Police Department reentation — the Matthew Shepard & port states Jamerson was “disturb- ‘Baton Bob’ Jamerson James Byrd Jr. Hate Protections Act, ing” security guards at 1197 Peachtree (File photo) signed into law by President Barack St. The victims were two women Obama in 2009 — has stringent resecurity guards who complained quirements for federal jurisdiction. to police that Baton Bob frequents READ It was the cell phone video that Colony Square “and causes a disturMORE ON allowed federal prosecution. bance daily.” “The Hate Crimes statute confers “The victims state that he has jurisdiction if the defendant used been told previously to stay off the an instrumentality of interstate property. While talking to the suscommerce in connection with the pect, the victims said that he stated, offense,” U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian ‘Fuck you, I’ll fuck you up,’” the reYates told GA Voice. “Under the law, port notes. The June 26 incident is not the ﬁrst time Ja- a telephone is such an instrumentality.” merson has drawn scrutiny for profanity and run afoul of police, both here in Atlanta and NEW HIV CASE MAP: INFECTION when he lived in St. Louis. NUMBERS IN SOUTH STILL HIGH Jamerson worked his “Ambassador of Mirth” The Rolls School of Public Health at Emory character in St. Louis before moving to Atlanta, University has released an update to AIDSvu, where in 2004 the Central West End Business a compilation map of reported HIV/AIDS cases Association stopped paying him as a street percollected from 20 cities across the country. former after complaints of profanity in his act, Emory says the map is the most detailed targeting business patrons and passersby he picture of new HIV/AIDS cases publicly availthought came to the area from the suburbs. able. Data is collected from a variety of sources and is compiled into a single map. MEN SENTENCED FOR GA.’S FIRST “Our National HIV/AIDS Strategy calls for reducing new HIV infections by intensifying FEDERAL ANTI-GAY HATE CRIME Christopher Cain and Dorian Moragne, who our efforts in HIV prevention where the epiwere convicted in Georgia’s ﬁrst federal anti-gay demic is most concentrated. AIDSVu provides a hate crime case, were each sentenced June 26 roadmap to identifying those high-prevalence to 10 months in prison and three years super- areas of the HIV epidemic and showing where vised release, according to the public affairs de- the local testing resources are located,” said partment the U. S. Attorney’s Northern District Patrick S. Sullivan, principal researcher for of Georgia Ofﬁce. The two were also given 16 AIDSVu, via a media release. High rates of HIV/AIDS cases in the Southmonths credit for time served in state custody. The cell phone video of the brutal anti-gay east are immediately noticeable, which is in beating of Atlanta resident Brandon White, post- line with CDC numbers.
Michael Petty Paul Horning Joy C. Barnes Judge Dax Lopez Ray Deeb Kathleen Womack & Jerry Gonzalez Rep. Keisha Waites Kenneth Britt Rep. Pat Gardner Kenyatta & Jamal Mitchell Rep. Rashad Taylor Sen. Doug Stoner Larry Kosten & Kyle Williams Seth & Nathan Woodard Persily Matt Pieper Michael D. Shutt Steve Koval & Brian Madej Sumner E. Riddick, II & Doug Carl Michael Grover & Nunzio Lupo Tracy L. Elliott
2012 EVENING FOR EQUALITY SPONSORS
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Field guide to Atlanta drag
A surveyor’s notes on the Queens of the wild Queer Kingdom
By Ryan Lee Drag queens may bend gender, but they have broken this traveler’s understanding of ecosystems, achieving a feat unduplicated anywhere else in nature. Neither during my summers in the Galapagos Islands nor my expeditions to the Great Barrier Reef have I observed a population that is so rare and simultaneously abundant, so small yet powerful, as the Drag Genus is in the Queer Kingdom. These colorful creatures compose the tiniest fraction of the Queer Kingdom – or, to use the vernacular phrase, the LGBT community – and yet their presence dominates. They rule the kingdom’s nightlife. They once monopolized media images of herding rituals known as Pride parades. They are the stereotype, with a good many of those outside the Queer Kingdom mistakenly thinking that all within the LGBT community are drag queens. Such errant perception overlooks the preciousness of the few who provide masterful entertainment by juggling constructs and chromosomes. They are the muses and the warriors of their community, the artistic entrepreneurs and the easy sacriﬁce. They provoke awe, fear, desire and resentment among their audiences (with everyone being their audience), and they receive gratitude in tips of currency more often than appreciation for their contributions to the kingdom. As fate deemed, I was recently crossing through an LGBT community during the most festive season of its existence. The kingdom had been granted a sliver of dignity from the highest court of its domain just as it was preparing to honor its origins, to wit: the Stonewall Riots. Among the leaders of this uprising that is celebrated during the ﬁrst moons of the summer solstice was a drag species known as Flame Queens. Radically effeminate and cosmetic (but adherent to the criminal dress code of the era), Flame Queens became extinct shortly after the revolution they helped ignite. They are a part of a legacy, however, that continues as the heartbeat of a thriving, rising kingdom.
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Please see DRAG on Page 14
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Field guide to Atlanta drag
selves in any kind of way that we want to. It keeps the whole being-original and being-yourself energy going.” Habitat: Sprinkled along the outskirts of mainstream drag. Some are welcomed in the larger drag clan, but this species is used to treading its own course. Lots of restaurant gigs, less big stage. Atlanta Specimens: Brent Star, Princess Charles (Tukadici Emeritus) Field Notes: Matriarch of the genus. Legendary queens have clawed at societal rules about gender and sexuality until they created a hole large enough for the rest of the LGBT community to escape such conﬁnes. They threw their heels at Stonewall, raised the earliest dollars to ﬁght AIDS, survived oppression and plague to ensure passage of queer and drag wisdom, mentorship and opportunity. Habitat: Regions with a high concentration of Botox and heavy-duty duct tape. Backstreet Reunion parties. As seen on HBO. Prowling the Jungle, Clermont Lounge and Blake’s on the Park. Atlanta Specimens: Niesha Dupree, Lily White, Bubba D. Licious, Diamond Lil and some bitch named Charlie Brown.
Phoenix (Photo by Laura Douglas-Brown)
Brent Star (Photo by Laura Douglas-Brown)
DRAG, continued from Page 13
(Feminam Maxima) Field Notes: Queen of the queens. A mesmerizing beauty that ampliﬁes the ﬁnest traits of femininity. More convincing than a chameleon in the transition from male to female, from outcast to diva. A seductive aura, usually accompanied by a slicing wit. Pioneer of language, i.e. hunty, werk, ﬁerce, etc. etc. The most populous species in the genus, Glam Queens approach a generic deﬁnition of drag. No shade. Habitat: The spotlight. The Glam Queen species shines when it is on a stage, in front of a camera or otherwise commanding the attention of admirers and the envious. Known sightings include pageants, balls, reality television “races” and the preponderance of drag shows at revelry hubs such as Blake’s, Burkhart’s, LeBuzz and Jungle. Atlanta Specimens: The natives warn me that my life is in peril should I omit any names in this species. Alas, those I jotted in my journal include: Angelica D’Paige, Nicole Paige Brooks, Phoenix, Shawnna Brooks, Bianca Nicole, Raquel Lord and Mariah.
(Humongous Hilarious) Field Notes: The kingdom’s royal jester. Unwilling to give a damn about gender restraints except for how they can be used to maximize laughter. Beautiful brutes, the feminine hirsute – able to harmonize mustache and lipstick. “The key is not taking yourself too seriously,” said Wild Cherry Sucret. “We’re here to provide a fun, humorous take on being a woman.” Habitat: Frequently nests at the host’s stand for Bingo, Trivia and Duck-Duck-Goose nights at bars and restaurants. Also intimately cross-stitched in the larger drag fabric as part of shows at Burkhart’s, Jungle and LeBuzz. Atlanta Specimens: Wild Cherry Sucret, Mary Edith Pitts, Camilla Tucker-Balls, Ruby Redd and Knomie Moore.
(Epicoenus Illusionus) Field Notes: Direct descendents of Flame Queens. Ambiguous in desired gender: ﬂamboyant in expression while retaining the undeniable form of man. Tends to identify as entertainer or personality instead of drag queen. Glitter and close-to-the-scalp hair are part of the popular uniform, as is ﬂat chests. “We don’t have to have titties, or have our nails done,” said Brent Star, whose enigmatic characters range from Little Richard to a naughty nun. “We have that freedom, that unlimited self-expression where we can present our-
Bubba D. Licious (Photo by Laura Douglas-Brown)
Wild Cherry Sucret (Photo by Laura Douglas-Brown)
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(Showum de Scrotum) Field Notes: Origins unclear, though I suspect they can be traced to the drama clubs and softball teams at all-girls Catholic schools, which have been known to produce the best elements of Sapphic expression. This rare and relatively young species is ﬂourishing at a quicker rate than any other part of drag, with an unprecedented boom in population and popularity during the last half decade. The female-to-male counterpart to the Glam Queen, most Drag Kings strive for their illusion to be undetectable. Habitat: My Sisters’ Room, LeBuzz, Indie LGBT documentaries, domestic partnership and LGBT adoption registries. Atlanta Specimens: Shaun Daniels, Justin Atlanta, Devin Liquor, Owen McCord, as well rising stars Hayden Van Pelt Fury and Azn Vynsuazion, the recent ﬁnalists in LeBuzz’s Project Drag King.
Owen McCord (Photo by Dyana Bagby)
(Gangsta Creavaeti) Field Notes: There are some specimens of drag queens who defy categorization. Whether punk rock or hood rat, dumpster drag or retro burlesque, their creative ﬂow is impossible to capture under a single heading. “For me, I want all of them,” says Ellisorous Rex (aka Corian , who leads the offbeat drag show Gurlfrandz. “I try to swim and be in all categories, so sometimes I’m doing super campy numbers, I love doing numbers that are just monologues, I like doing high-energy dance numbers, but I also like giving a little ‘ﬁsh.’” Regarding the bi-monthly show that she leads at Mary’s, Ellisorous Rex says, “I feel like we’re ﬁlling a bit of a void in the community. We’re a little bit off the beaten path but we’re really fun, and people always have a good time when they come.” Habitat: Gurlfrandz at Mary’s, The Other Show at the Jungle, beating bitches with bottles at Blake’s. Atlanta Specimens: Latesha Shante Shuntel, Edie Cheezburger, Ellisorous Rex and Gurlfrandz, Evah Destruction, Violet Chachki and Koochie Koochie Ku.
(Fame Mimicus) Field Notes: One of the original forms of female impersonation, this species of drag is threatened with the same fate as Flame Queens. Instead of aspiring to be a look-alike for Hollywood divas, today’s drag queens favor creating their own brand and persona. There are many drag queens who can pull off a celeb impersonation for a number or two, but fewer and fewer entertainers are completely committed to Hollywood realness. Habitat: Atlantic City, Las Vegas and other kitschy cities that still enjoy the vintage glitz of Judy Garland, Cher, Marilyn Monroe and the rest of the bygone drag icons. Atlanta Specimens: Lady Shabazz is one of the few local queens that devotes most of her art to impersonating a famous character, as the progressive female “drag” queen is a ringer for Janet Jackson. Another feather in Atlanta’s cap is being the launching ground for renowned celeb impersonator GiGi Monroe, whose Reba McIntyre and Liza Minnelli have earned her national acclaim.
Lady Shabazz (Photo by Laura Douglas-Brown)
Ellisorous Rex (photo by Dyana Bagby)
(Solo Onono) Field Notes: While the Drag Genus is known for originality and individuality, there is a species of entertainers who are committed to cohesion. Some call their drag cliques family, some call it a sisterhood or troupe – whatever the name, these queens recognize their power in numbers. “We tend to mimic each other, while working towards a common goal,” says Rapture Divine Cox of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. “I just think it’s a win-win when you’ve got more people working towards a common goal. With the Sisters, we’re really a sisterhood. You can’t just walk up to us and say, ‘I wanna be a Sister,’ and we slap you in whiteface. There’s a process, and it usually takes at least a year.” Habitat: Usually found raising money for various causes, from HIV/AIDS to homeless gay youth. Also seen at drag balls and seasonal extravaganzas. Atlanta Specimens: The Armorettes, Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, House of Brooks, East Point Possums and House of Lord.
Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence (Photo by Bo Shell)
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Embroidery art project pays tribute to RuPaul, all drag queens
By Dyana Bagby email@example.com Aubrey Longley-Cook, 27, is a huge fan of drag. He’s also renowned for his embroidery and work in ﬁber arts. Living with a drag queen inspired his desire to combine the two loves for a major project that will conclude with an exhibit titled “Serving Face” this fall at the Barbara Archer Gallery. “One of the major reasons for having this show is the resurgence of drag that’s visible in Atlanta and all over the country,” LongleyCook says. The show will combine 35 frames from RuPaul’s 1992 monster hit and groundbreaking video “Supermodel” which will then be animated by Longley-Cook into a 2.5 second loop. He will animate the front of the frames and the back. The frames will be on display as will the animation on loop, making for fabulous face that brings Ru alive in a wide variety of colors. Why RuPaul? There are plenty of Atlanta queens who deserve to be appreciated in such a way, Longley-Cook says, but he wanted to cast a wider net and attract much more of the general public to the project and show set to open Sept. 27. He attributes the rise in popularity of drag directly to RuPaul. Her show “Drag Race” and all its spinoffs invited drag stars into the households of gay and straight people and presented it in a way that is a bit more “digestible” to society at large, Longley-Cook explains. Also, RuPaul got her start in Atlanta where she broke away from the stereotypical Midtown drag queen scene and went punk with mohawks, androgynous attire and enough attitude to shoot her to the top of her game in the 1990s and keep her there today. “Drag is subversively political,” says Long-
RuPaul Cross Stitch Animation Workshop ‘Serving Face’ exhibit Sept. 27 Barbara Archer Gallery www.barbaraarcher.com
Above, a ﬁnished frame for the ‘Serving Face’ exhibit completed by Nathan Sharratt. Left, Lavonia Elberton, aka Jared Dawson, is Longley-Cook’s ﬁrst attempt at capturing the art of drag through embroidery. (Courtesy photos)
Aubrey Longley-Cook’s ‘Serving Face’ exhibit is planned to open in September at the Barbara Archer Gallery. (Photo by Dyana Bagby)
ley-Cook, who is gay. “It comes from a punk ethos. Drag can be whatever you want.”
For his project, Longley-Cook sought and received 35 volunteers to learn cross stitch. He then “froze” 35 frames from the end of RuPaul’s “Supermodel” where she’s serving face — mugging for the camera and making wild and crazy expressions. Because the video is in black and white and
would be hard to embroider, Longley-Cook gave the stitchers the responsibility of assigning a color scheme to their templates. Each frame is 12,800 stitches and when animated — the front and the back — they will all combine for a rainbow of colors. Like using every crayon in the box, as RuPaul advises. “She deserves this rainbow-ﬁed crazy art portrait,” Longley-Cook says of RuPaul. Longley-Cook began his experiment with embroidering drag queens by using portrait shots of his roommate, Jared Dawson, aka Lavonia Elberton, one of the East Atlanta “dumpster diving” drag queens. A year ago he started embroidering nine frames. He’s almost ﬁnished. The ﬁnal result will be a one-second loop as well as nine framed portraits of Lavonia.
The RuPaul Cross Stitch Animation Workshop began with four weeks of learning at WonderRoot focused on cross stitch as well as the drag culture, with many of the East Atlanta queens, including Ellisorous Rex, Violet Chachki, Lavonia Elberton, Brigitte Bidet and Kryean Kally performing for the stitchers. There’s also been a “stitch-and-bitch” at Mary’s and at other local bars and restaurants. Part of the project is to create community as well as art, Longley-Cook says. Longley-Cook has nothing but respect for RuPaul and what she has done for the world of drag. But don’t forget your hometown heroes, he says. “While RuPaul is great, I hope people will be inspired to not stay home and sit on their couches watching her show but remember to go out and support their local queens who work hard to entertain,” he says.
How to ﬂaunt (or hide) it
Tips from drag kings and queens on playing the part
by Ryan Watkins
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DRAG QUEENS: NICOLE PAIGE BROOKS
I use a pair of shoulder pads. They’re covered in duct tape of course. Some people do chicken cutlets or other things. I haven’t put anything under the skin yet, and I’m not going to.
I tape with duct tape. Very carefully. You wrap up the head of your penis with toilet paper. One square, put it around your penis and tape. I get pretty naked, so mine is like a Y. You fold it in on itself so it’s all sticky.
I shave and I also had a little bit of laser work done. I shave everything from my sideburns down. I shave my legs, usually at the beginning of my work week, and I’ll shave everything in between from my crotch to my eyebrows every time I perform.
Nicole Paige Brooks (Courtesy photo)
A lot of girls use padding or corsets to help give them shape. If I’m wearing a full-length evening gown, I’ll wear pads to give you hips and bigger butt but I don’t wear a lot of clothes. I make my own costumes and there are lines on my body that make me look more feminine and others that make me more masculine. You can give an illusion with costumes with fringe, feathers and change how you appear in your costuming. I don’t like to wear pads; they’re so hot. I would rather hang fringe or feathers on my hips than wear an ottoman.
DRAG KINGS: DEVIN LIQUOR
What I use is a special binder for guys who have boobs. They’re a stretchy mesh material that looks like a tight tank top. A lot of guys use duct tape, tape their nipples under their armpits and draw new nipples on.
It starts with a base of powder. I try to accentuate my jaw and brow. Then I use a layer of gum and a layer of ground up bits of hair stuck in glue over make-up.
Devin Liquor (Courtesy photo)
I have something called a false packer made for transmen that I wear in a jockstrap. People do everything — socks, a pack-n-play that you can even use for sex if you want.
One of the hardest parts, especially for the smaller guys, is ﬁnding something that ﬁts to wear. I cover my wrists. I’m a pretty average man-sized chick, so it’s not hard for me, but some of these guys are like 5 feet tall.
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Drag every night of the week
Atlanta’s gay bars serve up drag every day. Here are some of the biggest shows; you can also ﬁnd drag personalities hosting everything from Bingo to karaoke.
Triple Threat with Aurora Savage, Danielle Vess and Serenity-Jade Paris @ LeBuzz
Now That’s What I Call Drag, Volume 1 10:30 p.m. @ My Sister’s Room Ruby’s Red Light District: 9 p.m. @ Jungle Gurlfrandz!: 10:30 p.m. @ Mary’s Extravagaza with Shavonna B. Brooks: 11 p.m. @ Burkhart’s Daring Divas: 11 p.m. @ Blake’s on the Park Divas Cabaret: 11 p.m. @ LeBuzz
Guys and Dolls with Shawnna Brooks: 11 p.m. @ Blake’s on the Park Danceﬂoor Divas with Phoenix: 11:30 p.m. @ Burkhart’s Project Drag King @ LeBuzz
Flashback Showgirls with the Lady Shabazz: 8 p.m. @ 10th & Piedmont The Armorettes: 8 p.m. @ Burkhart’s
Jukebox Drag with Knomie Moore: 8 p.m. @ Heretic Drag Star Season 5 @ LeBuzz Stars of the Century: 11:30 p.m. @ Jungle
The Other Show with Edie Cheezburger: 9:30 p.m. @ Jungle Uncensored with Destiny Brooks: 11 p.m. @ LeBuzz The Fab Five with Angelica D’Paige: 11 p.m.@ Burkhart’s Charlie’s Angles with Charlie Brown: 11 p.m. @ Blake’s on the Park
Karaoke with Sasie Monroe: 11 p.m. @ Blake’s
Dragamaniacs with Phoenix and Nicole Paige Brooks: 10 p.m. @ Jungle
The Armorettes (Photo by Dyana Bagby)
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THEATER BY JIM FARMER
Facing bias in the South
‘Shakin’ the Rafters,’ ‘Headwaters’ explore triumph over bias
Although David H. Bell has moved away from Atlanta, he returns to town consistently to work. His new musical “Shakin’ the Rafters” makes its world premiere next week here, courtesy of True Colors Theatre Company. At the center of the musical are the four Davis sisters, who have been singing back-up for their mother. After her death, they decide to form a new gospel group. Taking place over three months, the musical follows the women as they face numerous obstacles — not just the inherent friction and the pettiness between sisters, but ﬁnancial difﬁculty. With their mother gone, the group’s drawing power goes down, Bell says. A bigger hurdle, though, is traveling in and around the South during the Jim Crow era, circa the late ‘50s. “There were places they literally could not eat at or stay at,” Bell says. The cast includes Chandra Currelley and LaParee Young, performers the director worked with more than a decade ago in the Alliance’s “Hot Mikado,” as well as LaTrice Pace and Adrienne Reynolds. He speciﬁcally wrote the show for Currelley, Pace and Reynolds. “I was on a bus one night for 12 hours with the Harlem Gospel Singers and started to think what it must have been like back in 1958,” Bell admits. Besides dealing with the climate of the time, the performers would have to “travel together, sleep on a bus, always be in each other’s business – it must have been aggravating and frustrating.” A few years back, Bell, who is gay, premiered his “Gut Bucket Blues” in Atlanta. It won a richly deserved Suzi Award for lead actress Reynolds, who played bisexual Bessie Smith in the musical. Unlike “Gut Bucket Blues,” however, where the score was vintage music, the music in “Shakin’ the Rafters” is completely original, with songs written by Robert Deason. Although some may compare this to “Dreamgirls,” the director/writer says it’s completely different. “There are not a lot of parallels,” he says. “The ‘50s pre-dates the days of Motown.” He notes that in the gospel community, the performers seem to focus more on praising God than becoming the next Deena Jones. Bell was the former associate at the Alliance Theatre during the Kenny Leon days and has maintained a strong relationship with
‘Shakin’ the Rafters,’ the new musical from gay director David H. Bell, follows a gospel group as they deal with family friction, ﬁnances and racism in the Jim Crow South. (Publicity photo)
“Shakin’ the Rafters” July 9 – Aug. 4 14th Street Playhouse 173 14th St. Atlanta, GA 30309 “Headwaters: Didja Hear” July 10 – 21 Sautee Nacoochee Center 283 Highway 255 Sautee Nacoochee, GA 30571
“5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche” Through July 15 at Shakespeare Tavern shakespearetavern.com Set in 1956, this comedy ﬁnds ﬁve “widows” convening for the annual Susan B. Anthony Society for the Sisters of Gertrude Stein meeting, at a time when McCarthyism is rampant and their secrets can be exposed. “The Velveteen Rabbit” Through July 27 at Serenbe Playhouse www.serenbeplayhouse.com Gay director Brian Clowdus helms a version of the classic children’s book. “The Cat in the Hat” Through July 28 Center for Puppetry Arts www.puppet.org Gay actor Aaron Gotlieb portrays The Fish in this Dr. Seuss classic. UPCOMING “Young Frankenstein” July 12 – Aug. 17 at Onstage Atlanta www.onstageatlanta.com The ﬁrst production in Onstage Atlanta’s new home is a musical version of the Mel Brooks comedy, directed by gay Charlie Miller.
skits, as well as music and puppets. According to Broom, there has been some tinkering since the 2012 engagement but it’s largely the same show. The Headwaters project started seven years ago when the troupe wanted to blend the history and folklore of the North Georgia region but with a universal theme.
Leon’s True Colors Theatre Company. He currently heads up the music theater program at Northwestern University and has gigs lined up from the day after opening night here to the time Northwestern is back in session this fall. He hopes this show and “Gut Bucket Blues” will eventually travel to other cities, but with this schedule he hasn’t had time to pursue bookings the way he’d like. Said schedule has seen him stage several productions in New York, both on and off Broadway.
‘HEADWATERS’ REVISITS GA. GAY STUDENT CONTROVERSY
A hit with audiences at its inaugural run last year, “Headwaters: Didja Hear” returns next week to the Sautee Nacoochee Center in northern Georgia, presented as part of the center’s “Headwaters” series. One of the sequences in the production involves students at a high school who are bullied and form a GayStraight Alliance. It’s based on a true story: In 2005, a few students from White County High School wanted to start a Gay Straight Alliance in order to prevent bullying, says Hannah Broom, the artistic director of the Headwaters troupe. The issue divided in the area and members of the infamous Westboro Church came to theschool to protest. One of the actors in the show is one of the actual students who helped form the Gay-Straight Alliance and is now an openly gay parent. As a whole, the play involves a half dozen
20 | GA VOICE
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Give it up for Gunshow
Pondering freaks, birthdays and marriage at ATL’s new hotspot
“Something is up in Atlanta,” Lee said to Robert. They were dining at Kevin Gillespie’s new restaurant, Gunshow, probably the hottest spot in town now. “What do you mean?” Robert replied. “There’s always something up here.” “I’m talking about the arrest of Baton Bob. I’m talking about this city’s obsession with curbing all that is off-the-beaten-path and sexy,” Lee said. “The minute Alex Wan loses his battle to close down Cheshire Bridge’s sex shops, the police cart Bob off to jail. I know the two aren’t speciﬁcally related, but geez.” Robert sighed and then looked shocked as he sampled a bowl of risotto infused with the ﬂavor of fried pork skins. “This is as crazy and beautiful as Baton Bob,” he said. “The puritanism is really nothing new,” he continued. “Don’t forget the ridiculous raid on the Eagle a few years back. Then there was Shirley Franklin’s war on the Metro bar. “And long before that, in the early ‘80s, Solicitor General Hinson McAuliffe closed over 40 sex businesses in Fulton County. Now, newly incorporated towns like Johns Creek, Sandy Springs, and Brookhaven have been on antisex rampages, too. The whole country is moving this way.” “Honestly, though,” Lee said, “I know the arrest of Baton Bob was not unprecedented, according to what I’ve read. In fact, he moved to Atlanta from St. Louis in 2004 after several altercations with police there.” “Yeah, I’ve heard that, but so what?” Robert replied. “I remember when he ﬁrst started his gig in Atlanta. I belonged to a gym near a corner where he often performed. You can probably guess how people reacted to him. Many gay men thought he was disgusting while straight people seemed to totally enjoy him.” “So it always goes,” Lee said. Just then, Gillespie, a “Top Chef” contestant and former chef at Woodﬁre Grill, rolled a cart their way. Gillespie, who is straight but has a huge following of gay bears, was carving North Carolina-style barbecued pork ribs, which he served over peaches-and-cream slaw. The restaurant’s chefs and servers bring shareable small plates to the table for consideration. Diners choose what they like, similar to dim sum meals. Be warned: if you have your eye on a particular dish, you might have to wait as much as an hour to see it come around. As Robert and Lee worked themselves through six plates, they talked about the celebration of their 50th birthdays in two weeks.
FOOD PORN BY CLIFF BOSTOCK
Chef Kevin Gillespie, who is straight but has a huge following of gay bears, serves up Southern food with unexpected twists at his new restaurant, Gunshow. (Publicity photo)
Gunshow 924 Garrett St. (in Glenwood Village) 404-380-1886, www.gunshowatl.com You’ll not ﬁnd another restaurant in our city that is so inventive. Although the service style is inspired by dim-sum dining, the food here is comfy, mainly Southern, with decided twists and unexpected bursts of ﬂavor. You’ll need a reservation. Oh, the name of the restaurant is confusing. Maybe it relates to real guns. Or maybe it relates to Gillespie’s heavily tattooed arms.
Robert founded the Atlanta Food Porn Supper Club a year earlier with the hope of scoring a boyfriend before he hit 50. Lee, a gay freak show operator with a theology degree, had appeared at a club dinner wearing makeup, looking androgynous and ﬁlling the room with the scent of a peculiar cologne. The birthday party would be held under the tent of Lee’s freak show on Cheshire Bridge. “Wouldn’t it be great, if we could convince Baton Bob to come?” Lee said. Robert vowed to hunt him down and invite him. “But what about the food?” Lee asked. “Considering the location, your freak show, I think it should be mainly odd, at least in its appearance,” Robert said. “Sort of like, um, you.” “And you,” Lee shot back, laughing. “It should be very gay.” Lee reached across the table to pat Robert’s hand. “One day, we’ll marry and you’ll join my family of freaks,” he said. “You’ll see.” Robert smiled.
Food Porn is a ﬁctional series by longtime Atlanta food critic Cli Bostock. Set in real Atlanta restaurants, it chronicles the adventures of Robert, a gay man in search of a husband — or at least a good meal. Read the whole series online at www. theGAVoice.com.
A&E IN BRIEF
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
GA VOICE | 21
Gay pool party, gay writers, gay bar news, oh my!
GAY ATLANTA’S HOTTEST POOL PARTY, JOINING HEARTS GETS WET JUNE 20
Find your sexiest swimwear or summer outﬁt and get ready to party for a purpose: Joining Hearts returns to the Piedmont Park Aquatic Center on July 20. The 26th annual event is set for 4-11 p.m. and features DJ Joe Gauthreaux, with an opening set by DJ Luis Perez. Tickets are available for $95 and $175, with 100 percent of proceeds donated to beneﬁciaries. “Joining Hearts isn’t just about a party or an event; it’s a lifesaver and a tribute to life,” organizers note. Billed as the longest-running HIV/AIDS fundraiser in Atlanta, the main Joining Hearts party was launched in 1987 by a group of a dozen friends, who held the event at the Golden Key Club and raised $10,000. After several incarnations, the pool party is the largest yearly event for the Joining Hearts organization, a non-proﬁt dedicated to helping provide housing for people with HIV. Over the last 25 years, Joining Hearts has donated almost $1.6 million to beneﬁciaries Jerusalem House and AID Atlanta.
JOINING HEARTS POOL PARTY
uled to appear at the festival in the LGBT track include Skyy, Alysia Abbott, Stacy Braukman, Jim Elledge, Linda Hirshman, Wayne Koestenbaum, David McConnell, Carl Phillips, Christal Presley, Daniel Rivers, Robert Sherer, Manil Suri, Megan Volpert and Fiona Zedde. Philip Rafshoon, who owned Outwrite Bookstore & Coffeehouse until the LGBT shop closed in 2011, now serves as programming director for the festival. ““Our mission is to encourage a love of reading and writing for people from all walks of life, and this year’s lineup exempliﬁes our commitment to that mission,” Rafshoon said.
LADY BUNNY TO JOIN ‘THE OTHER SHOW’ AT JUNGLE THIS MONTH
DECATUR BOOK FEST LINEUP INCLUDES GAY INAUGURAL POET
Gay poet Richard Blanco, selected to read at President Obama’s second inauguration in January 2013, will be among the writers attending the AJC-Decatur Book Festival over Labor Day Weekend. Festival organizers released the lineup late last month. Civil rights legend and LGBT ally U.S. Rep. John Lewis (DGa.) will be the keynote speaker, discussing his graphic novel, “March: Book One.” Other authors sched-
The Other Show, the popular Friday night drag show hosted by Edie Cheezburger at Jungle, will now expand once each month to be The Other Show XXXL — featuring drag performers from around the nation. The ﬁrst edition of the new “supersized” show is set for 9:30 p.m. July 26 with Lady Bunny. “This show has a very loyal following,” said Richard Cherskov, Jungle’s managing owner. “We want to reward that following by bringing in exciting talents, such as Lady Bunny, that will vibe well with the shows main premise of being different from any show in Atlanta.” Admission is $10. Other upcoming XXXL shows include Amanda Lepore on Aug. 23 and Alaska Thunderfuck on Sept. 20. LADY BUNNY — Laura DouglasPhoto by Brown
22 | GA VOICE
O cial ABF poster
bout Tell us aBT event your LG ays to submit your
FRIDAY, JULY 5
two w ur online There are lusion in o c in r fo t n it your LGBT eve ars. Subm ice. d n le a c t n Vvo and pri ww.theGA or@ w to fo in t even to edit ail details -m e r o m co e.com. theGAVoic
Singer-songwriter Rachel Yamagata appears at Vinyl to support her latest record, “Heavyweight EP.” Doors open at 8 p.m. with show at 9 p.m., www.centerstage-atlanta.com/shows/vinyl/ The comedic “5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche” continues through July 15 at Shakespeare Tavern, www.shakespearetavern.com
FRIDAY, JULY 5
Atlanta BearFest continues through Sunday with various activities planned, www.atlantabearfest.com
Diva/drag personality Phoenix appears at 10 p.m. at Club Rush, 2715 Buford Hwy, Atlanta, GA 30324 Angelica D’Paige hosts “The Fab Five” drag show revue with an amazing line-up of performers, 11p.m. at Burkharts, www.burkharts.com The Grown & Sexy Party heats up with DJ Smash at 10 p.m. Fridays at Mixx, www.mixxatlanta.com DJ Mike Pope spins at 10 p.m. at the Heretic, www.hereticatlanta.com
FRIDAY, JULY 12
SATURDAY, JULY 6
SATURDAY, JULY 6
DJ and producer Morabito spins tonight at 10 p.m. at Jungle Atlanta, www.jungleatl.com
P-FLAG hosts a meeting for parents of gender variant children today at 2 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Atlanta, www.pﬂagatl.org Ladies at Play hosts a Day Party from 6-10 p.m. at Aurum, www.ladiesatplay.com Glo Atl’s Liquid Culture, a collection of gestures and sensation, opens with six installations at four di erent locations throughout the city, beginning at 8:30 p.m. at the Historic 4th Ward, www.gloATL.org Help celebrate Jami ATL’s birthday with the Cancer Bday Bash, with “Now That’s What I Call Drag” at 10:30 p.m. and dance party at midnight at My Sister’s Room, www.mysistersroom.com Shavonna B. Brooks hosts Extravaganza at 11 p.m. Saturday nights at Burkhart’s, www.burkharts.com
SOMETHING GAY EVERY DAY!
Bookmark www.thegavoice.com to get your daily dose of local LGBT events.
www.atlantaeagle.com Harry Connick Jr. croons his hits at 8 p.m. at Chastain, www.classicchastain.org The inimitable Armorettes spice up Sunday night, 8 p.m. at Burkhart’s, www.burkharts.com The Lady Shabazz hosts Flashback Showgirls at 8 p.m. at 10th & Piedmont, www.10thandpiedmont.com Come out and enjoy free pool and music videos at the Atlanta Eagle from 8:30 – 9:30 p.m., www.atlantaeagle.com Knomie Moore hosts Jukebox Drag at 8 p.m. each Monday at the Heretic, www.hereticatlanta.com Angelica D’Paige hosts Blue Monday Karaoke at 11:30 p.m. at Burkhart’s, www.burkharts.com
SUNDAY, JULY 7
You’ll still be partying from Saturday night, but it will technically be Sunday morning as DJ Martin Fry spins at Xion, starting at 3 a.m., http://cariocaproductions.com/
MONDAY, JULY 8
TUESDAY, JULY 9
SUNDAY, JULY 7
A new Mr. Atlanta Bear and Cub will be crowned tonight as part of Atlanta Bear Fest, at 8 p.m. at the Atlanta Eagle,
Each Monday through Aug. 5, enjoy chair yoga with SAGE Atlanta, a group for LGBT seniors. 10 a.m. at the Rush Center, www.sageatl.org
Tuesdays, unwind with a sing-along with pianist David Reeb at 8 p.m. at Mixx, www. mixxatlanta.com Tuesdays, Thursdays and early Saturdays are Three Legged Cowboy country nights at the Heretic, www.hereticatlanta.com
The Village People take the stage at 8 p.m. at the Cobb Energy Centre, www.cobbenergeycentre.org
GA VOICE | 23
Every Tuesday, sing out at Mary-oke starting at 9 p.m. at Mary’s, www.marysatlanta.com
WEDNESDAY, JULY 10
THURSDAY, JULY 18
Find out your top choices in dozens of categories, plus enjoy free food, beverages and more at the GA Voice Best of Atlanta party, 6:30 p.m. at the Grand Ballroom of the Georgian Terrace, www.thegavoice.com
It’s “tiki” night as Bubba D. Licious and Kimora Layou lead PALS Bingo, to help people with HIV and other health conditions care for their pets. Starts at 7:30 p.m. at Jungle Atlanta, www.jungleatl.com Phoenix and Nicole Paige Brooks host Dragamaniacs, an open mic drag talent show, at 10 p.m. at Jungle, www.jungleatl.com DJ Stan Jackson hosts the Pig Dance Blackout Party at 10 p.m. Wednesdays at the Heretic, www.hereticatlanta.com
FRIDAY, JULY 12
Photo by Brent Corcoran
THURSDAY, JULY 11
SAGE Atlanta (Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders) hosts Cards and Social Hour from 10 – 11 a.m. at the Philip Rush Center, www.sageatl.org XS Ultra Lounge is the home for Turnt Up Thursday, 11 p.m. – 4 a.m., www.facebook.com/XSUltraLounge
SATURDAY, JULY 13
FRIDAY, JULY 12
Lesbian social networking group Fourth Tuesday hosts its monthly Fourth Friday social from 6 – 9 p.m. at Mixx Atlanta, http:// thehealthinitiative.org/ It’s Ladies Night upstairs at Blake’s, with special guest DJ Liz Owen, www.blakesonthepark.com The Carolina Chocolate Drops and Keller Williams perform at 8 p.m. at the Atlanta Botanical Garden, www.atlantabotanicalgarden.org
This one’s for the ladies: a foam/bikini and board shorts party and all girl femme revue show are part of the fun beginning at 8 p.m. at My Sister’s Room, www.mysistersroom.com Sponsored by Scru , The Heretic hosts Bearracuda with DJ Paul Goodyear at 9 p.m., www.hereticatlanta.com Scottish indie pop band Camera Obscura plays at 9 p.m. at Variety Playhouse, www. ticketmaster.com Hairy men cavort all over the place at the Southern Bear Bar Night at 10 p.m. at the Atlanta Eagle, www.atlantaeagle.com The new dance party “Mixx” takes place at the new Kouture Lounge in Midtown, with free entry until 11:30 p.m., www.saturdaymixx.com Saturdays, get into Pit Pop Video with DJ Diablo Rojo at Cockpit Atlanta, www.facebook.com/cockpit.atlanta
TUESDAY, JULY 16
Ruby Redd hosts Ruby’s Tuesdays at 8 p.m. at Jungle Atlanta, www.jungleatl.com Swing Out Sister performs at 8 p.m. at Variety Playhouse, www.ticketmaster.com VJ Marco Polo puts on a night of showtunes every Tuesday night at 9 p.m. at Amsterdam Atlanta, www.amsterdamatlanta.com
FRIDAY, JULY 12
Jennifer Knapp and Ste Mahan perform together at 8 p.m. at Red Clay Theatre, www.eddieowenpresents.com
Photo by Dyana Bagby
ideos m., Openly gay director David H. Bell returns to the ATL for the world premiere of his musical “Shakin’ the Rafters,” 8 p.m. at 14th Street 8 p.m. Playhouse, www.14thstplayhouse.org
WEDNESDAY, JULY 17
The gay-themed play “Headwaters: Didja Hear” opens at 8 p.m. at Sautee Nacoochee Center, www.snca.org On Wednesdays, catch the Lust & Bust Show with host Lena Lust and featuring Shawnna Brooks. 11 p.m. at Blake’s on the Park, www.blakesontheparkatlanta.com
$2 Fridays, o ering cheap well drinks, begin at LeBuzz, with a dance party to boot at the ara- Marietta gay bar. www.thenewlebuzz.com Bedlam presents “Paparazzi,” a new night out hosted by promoter Barry Brandon with “strong looks preferred,” on the second Friday of each month, starting tonight at 10th and Piedmont, www.bedlampresents.com
THURSDAY, JULY 18
SUNDAY, JULY 14
Cowboy Envy perform at 5 p.m. at Eddie’s Attic, www.eddiesattic.com Old Skool classic dance starts at 7 p.m. with DJ Rick and DJ Maestro on Sundays at Mixx, www.mixxatlanta.com
Charis and Cliterati team up for an open mic and reading series, hosted by the spoken word team of Karen G and Theresa Davis, with special guest, poet Rushelle Frazier, at 7:30 p.m., www.charisbooksandmore.com
WEDNESDAY, JULY 17
“The Match Game,” “Family Feud” and more make up The Big Gay Game Show at Jungle Atlanta, starting at 7:30 p.m. and beneﬁting Lost-N-Found Youth, www.jungleatl.com
are DJ Chris Griswold spins at 10 p.m. at the t the Heretic, www.hereticatlanta.com
CONTINUED ON PAGE 25
Catch the stars of the future as Girls Rock Camp concludes with a 2 p.m. concert at the Variety Playhouse, www.ticketmaster.com
MONDAY, JULY 15
Stars of the Century is a weekly drag tradtion at 11:30 p.m. at Jungle, www.jungleatl.com
Bedlam presents “Paparazzi,” a new night out hosted by promoter Barry Brandon with “strong looks preferred,” on the second Friday of each month, starting tonight at 10th and Piedmont, www.bedlampresents.com
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
GA VOICE | 25
FRIDAY, JULY 19
The Third Friday ﬁlm Series presents “Who Stole the American Dream?” at 7 p.m. at First Existentialist Congregation, www.ﬁrstexistentialist.org
Photo by Philip Bonneau
The great Anita Baker returns to the ATL at 8 p.m. at Chastain, www.classicchastain.com Pedro! Pedro! The new Pedro Almodóvar ﬁlm “I’m So Excited” opens at the Midtown Art Cinema, www.landmarktheatres.com
SATURDAY, JULY 20
It’s the gay party of the summer: The 26th edition of Joining Hearts, raising money for AID Atlanta and Jerusalem House, takes place today from 4 – 11 p.m. at the Piedmont Park Pool, www.joininghearts.org After the Joining Hearts pool party, Rosabel — the mega DJ duo of Ralphi Rosario and Abel — spins at Jungle Atlanta to beneﬁt the group that helps people with HIV ﬁnd housing. www.jungleatl.com Join author Kenya Jackson as she discusses her new self-help book “empty. s p a c e: Where is My Stu ? Navigating the Quarterlife Crisis with Wisdom and Skill” at 7:30 p.m. at Charis, www.charisbooksandmore.com The Atlanta Roller Girls hosts a twin bill game, with the ﬁrst game at 5:30 p.m. and the second at 7 p.m., Yaarab Shrine Center, www.atlantarollergirls.com Rebecca Loebe performs at 7 p.m. at Eddie’s Attic, www.eddiesattic.com
FRIDAY, JULY 19
Artist Phillip Bonneau’s Ugly Simple Truths, a photographic exploration of our “shadow self” and the things we do not talk about, opens at 6 p.m. at Suite Spot,
FRIDAY, JULY 26
Brandi Carlile plays Chastain Ampitheatre at 7:30 p.m., www.livenation.com
SATURDAY, JULY 27
Tylan from Girlyman performs at 7 p.m. at Eddie’s Attic, www.eddiesattic.com The Save a Breast Music Fest with Wynn Varble, Jared Munday Project and Catherine Kimbro begins at 8 p.m. at Eddie Owen Presents at Red Clay, www.eddieowenpresents. com
THURSDAY, JULY 25
The GSU Players and University Theatre present an evening of one act LGBT short plays, 8 p.m. at Dahlberg Hall at GSU, www.gsu.edu Drag Diva Jaye Lish brings her Birds of Paradise Show to Trader Vic’s Lounge at the Hilton Atlanta for two shows at 9 p.m. and 10:30 p.m., www.tradervicsatl.com Marietta Pride begins today and lasts through Sunday, July 28, http://www.rainbowgeorgia.org/
SUNDAY, JULY 28
The annual Backpack in the Park cocktail party, beneﬁtting For the Kid in All of Us, kicks o at 4 p.m. at Cator Woolford Gardens, www.forthekid.org
TUESDAY, JULY 30
“Menopause The Musical” returns to the ATL tonight at 7:30 at the Alliance Theatre, http://www.menopausethemusical.com/
26 | GA VOICE
Celebrating the DOMA decision with gay and straight friends alike
I still remember the sharp sting of pain I felt when I heard DOMA had been signed into law by President Clinton. It was September 1996 and I felt more alone than ever. In the early ‘90s, shortly after I moved to Atlanta, three gay couples sued Hawaii’s heath director to force the state to issue them marriage licenses. The case was Baehr v. Mike and Hawaii Supreme Court Judge Steven Levinson ruled the state had offered no legitimate purpose for why straight people could get married but not gay people. In response to this ruling and the threat of looming gay weddings, U.S. Rep. Bob Barr (R-Ga.) authored the Defense of Marriage Act. In May 1996, the bill was introduced in Congress. By that September it was signed into law by President Clinton. The ﬁve years of efforts by Hawaiian couples were smashed in less than four months. Last week, when the Supreme Court of the Unites States held that DOMA violated the Constitution, I marveled at the waste of time and money born from a fearful knee-jerk reaction to change. Amazingly, Justice Kennedy’s legal ruling stood on the same legal principles as the ruling issued 20 years earlier by that Hawaii Supreme Court justice. In our country, discrimination based simply on fear is just not legal. In exchange for our decades-long struggle, we have earned a victory with intensity that we can claim for ourselves. Sometimes, the fact that a win is rare is what adds the most sweetness to the occasion. In baseball terms, Red Sox fans cried more tears of happiness at their last World Series win than did the Yankee fans. I have a friend who explained it this way: “Though I had realized that I didn’t need the feds to tell me I was OK, it sure felt great to be
Melissa Carter is also a writer for Hu ngton 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
accepted by those who have been telling me I was the odd ball out all my life. I am grateful to all those brave folks before me who began this ﬁght. “Without them I’d still be locked away in a closet. I remember with great love those who have died ﬁghting, those who died of AIDS, those who were beaten, burned and murdered all over the world. Their memories and voices have fueled many, you and me, to never to give up.” The comments from my straight friends showed me how this is not simply a gay victory. This is a victory for every American who believes in love, fairness and equality and we all get to share in it: “That’s great news. I’m a heterosexual female, but I believe in the freedom to love and build a life with whoever makes you happy. I think we have so many other things to worry about as a nation.” “I really hope the states follow suit. It’s time.” “Melissa, I am so happy for you and your girlfriend, I have many gay friends and I celebrate your victory!” We all have images from last week that we will carry with us in the days ahead, images that strengthen us and inspire us as we come to terms with how far we still have to go. For me, the icing on the top of the gay wedding cake was the New Yorker’s cover. The simple, soothing visual of Sesame Street’s Bert and Ernie said it best. There they sat on their couch in a sweet embrace as the television displays the Supreme Court justices in the background. That beautiful image brought only one verse to my mind: “Looks like we found it, the rainbow connection, the lovers, the dreamers, and me.”
GA VOICE | 27
I’m so sorry
(Sorry you caught me, that is)
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 www.topherpayne.com
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I had a boyfriend who caught me cheating once. He didn’t catch me in the act: They missed each other by less than 10 minutes, like something out of a British bedroom farce. Only in those stories, the damning evidence is an errant silk stocking or an overlooked handkerchief. In my less classy story, boyfriend walked into bedroom, then walked back out, looked me in the eye and said, “Tell me why it smells like sex in there.” Any hope I had of an elaborate cover-up was ruined by the look on my face. “Boo hoo hoo,” I said, trying to make myself yawn so I’d manufacture tears. “Please forgive me (for the incident you know about). I am so, so sorry (you caught me).” I felt just awful about him knowing. Now he was going to think I was a bad person, which I was not. I was a really great boyfriend, except for the consistent and complete betrayal of his trust. “Stop saying you’re sorry,” he had demanded. “Tell me why you did it.” I, of course, knew why. Sex, when done properly, feels good. I enjoyed feeling good. My boyfriend and I were not having sex. I found someone to have sex with. I could explore why my boyfriend didn’t want to have sex with me. But that experience was unlikely to feel good. So really, I’d made the prudent choice. I could not say these things to him, because they would not have made me look like the nice person I knew I was. So instead I kept apologizing until he grew weary of my attempts at contrition and left. I quickly constructed a scenario where all of this was his fault. Not only had his lack of attention thrown me into the arms and between the legs of another, but when I gave my heartfelt non-apology, he had refused forgiveness. This proved what a terrible person I was dealing with, a heartless bastard withholding his pardon like that vengeful boy king on “Game of Thrones.” What a jerk. I think back on that, and I see how gross I
was. I see the desperate, compulsive, misplaced energies of a young man who needed to learn how to respect himself and honor others. That took a lot of work. When a person does something stupid and hurtful, and that act is borne out of a fundamental ﬂaw in the way they see and interact with the world, it takes a little while for them to fully comprehend the experience. In order to grow and move forward, they have to accept the possibility that there’s a part of them that is ugly. They are not an entirely nice person. There is growth and contrition to take on. Paula Deen isn’t there yet. Not really. Oh, she’s sorry — that we think she’s a bad person, that she got caught. But she doesn’t understand it yet. She’s looking for someone to blame, and instead of taking responsibility, she’s asking for forgiveness. Paula admits she used the word “nigger” after a man put a gun to her head. She says she said it because she wasn’t thinking very nice things about him at that moment. Look, I hate that happened to her. I’ve also had a black man hold a gun to my head, but it still didn’t occur to me to use that word. I instead referred to him as a fellow who has intercourse with his mother. But I get what Paula’s saying. She was afraid. What she needs to understand is, every time a white person has ever used the word nigger, or faggot, it was borne out of fear. It’s a base, ugly, repulsive, utterly human instinct. When someone scares us, we belittle them. And once you give in to that fear, it takes root and it grows. It colors everything you do and say, even if you’re otherwise a very nice person. If Paula is going to grow from this, if she’s going to have any sort of a comeback, she has to face the fact that there is fear inside of her, there’s a part of her that is ugly. She has to take responsibility for terrible choices and resolve to do better. Stop saying you’re sorry, Paula Deen. Tell us why you did it.
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eXamPle 2013 subaru imPreZa 2.0i Premium #dJd-02 msrP $22,502 - you save $2,000 = sale Price $20,502 + doc fee $399 = $20,901 Plus taX & tag.
Purchase or lease any new ((Previously untitled) subaru and receive a comPlimentary factory scheduled maintenance Plan for 2 years or 24,000 miles (whichever comes first.) see subaru added security maintenance Plan for intervals, coverages and limitations. customer must take delivery before 1-2-2014 and reside within the Promotional area. at ParticiPating dealers only. see dealer for Program details and eligibility. all Prices Plus taX, tag and include $399 doc fee with aPProved credit. not resPonsible for mis-Prints. not all customers will Qualify, with aPProved credit. Prices good until July 31st 2013.
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