New Genvoya is now available
One pill contains elvitegravir, cobicistat, emtricitabine, and tenofovir alafenamide (TAF). Ask your healthcare provider if GENVOYA is right for you. To learn more visit GENVOYA.com
Please see Brief Summary of Patient Information with important warnings on the following pages.
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Brief Summary of Patient Information about GENVOYA GENVOYA (jen-VOY-uh) (elvitegravir, cobicistat, emtricitabine, and tenofovir alafenamide) tablets Important: Ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist about medicines that should not be taken with GENVOYA. There may be new information about GENVOYA. This information is only a summary and does not take the place of talking with your healthcare provider about your medical condition or treatment.
What is the most important information I should know about GENVOYA? GENVOYA can cause serious side effects, including: • Build-up of lactic acid in your blood (lactic acidosis). Lactic acidosis may happen in some people who take GENVOYA. Lactic acidosis is a serious medical emergency that can lead to death. Lactic acidosis can be hard to identify early, because the symptoms could seem like symptoms of other health problems. Call your healthcare provider right away if you get any of the following symptoms, which could be signs of lactic acidosis: • • • • • • •
feel very weak or tired have unusual (not normal) muscle pain have trouble breathing have stomach pain with nausea or vomiting feel cold, especially in your arms and legs feel dizzy or lightheaded have a fast or irregular heartbeat
• Severe liver problems. Severe liver problems may happen in people who take GENVOYA. In some cases, these liver problems can lead to death. Your liver may become large and you may develop fat in your liver. Call your healthcare provider right away if you get any of the following symptoms of liver problems: • your skin or the white part of your eyes turns yellow (jaundice) • dark “tea-colored” urine • light-colored bowel movements (stools) • loss of appetite for several days or longer • nausea • stomach pain • You may be more likely to get lactic acidosis or severe liver problems if you are female, very overweight (obese), or have been taking GENVOYA for a long time. • Worsening of Hepatitis B infection. GENVOYA is not for use to treat chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV). If you have HBV infection and take GENVOYA, your HBV may get worse (flareup) if you stop taking GENVOYA. A “flare-up” is when your HBV infection suddenly returns in a worse way than before. • Do not run out of GENVOYA. Refill your prescription or talk to your healthcare provider before your GENVOYA is all gone. • Do not stop taking GENVOYA without first talking to your healthcare provider. • If you stop taking GENVOYA, your healthcare provider will need to check your health often and do blood tests regularly for several months to check your HBV infection. Tell your healthcare provider about any new or unusual symptoms you may have after you stop taking GENVOYA.
What is GENVOYA? GENVOYA is a prescription medicine that is used without other HIV-1 medicines to treat HIV-1 in people 12 years of age and older: • who have not received HIV-1 medicines in the past or • to replace their current HIV-1 medicines in people who have been on the same HIV-1 medicines for at least 6 months, have an amount of HIV-1 in their blood (“viral load”) that is less than 50 copies/mL, and have never failed past HIV-1 treatment HIV-1 is the virus that causes AIDS. GENVOYA contains the prescription medicines elvitegravir (VITEKTA®), cobicistat (TYBOST®), emtricitabine (EMTRIVA®) and tenofovir alafenamide. It is not known if GENVOYA is safe and effective in children under 12 years of age. When used to treat HIV-1 infection, GENVOYA may: • Reduce the amount of HIV-1 in your blood. This is called “viral load”. • Increase the number of CD4+ (T) cells in your blood that help fight off other infections. Reducing the amount of HIV-1 and increasing the CD4+ (T) cells in your blood may help improve your immune system. This may reduce your risk of death or getting infections that can happen when your immune system is weak (opportunistic infections). GENVOYA does not cure HIV-1 infection or AIDS. You must stay on continuous HIV-1 therapy to control HIV-1 infection and decrease HIV-related illnesses. Avoid doing things that can spread HIV-1 infection to others: • Do not share or re-use needles or other injection equipment. • Do not share personal items that can have blood or body fluids on them, like toothbrushes and razor blades. • Do not have any kind of sex without protection. Always practice safer sex by using a latex or polyurethane condom to lower the chance of sexual contact with semen, vaginal secretions, or blood. Ask your healthcare provider if you have any questions about how to prevent passing HIV-1 to other people.
Who should not take GENVOYA? Do not take GENVOYA if you also take a medicine that contains: • alfuzosin hydrochloride (Uroxatral®) • carbamazepine (Carbatrol®, Epitol®, Equetro®, Tegretol®, Tegretol-XR®, Teril®) • cisapride (Propulsid®, Propulsid Quicksolv®) • ergot-containing medicines, including: dihydroergotamine mesylate (D.H.E. 45®, Migranal®), ergotamine tartrate (Cafergot®, Migergot®, Ergostat®, Medihaler Ergotamine®, Wigraine®, Wigrettes®), and methylergonovine maleate (Ergotrate®, Methergine®) • lovastatin (Advicor®, Altoprev®, Mevacor®) • midazolam, when taken by mouth • phenobarbital (Luminal®) • phenytoin (Dilantin®, Phenytek®) • pimozide (Orap®) • rifampin (Rifadin®, Rifamate®, Rifater®, Rimactane®) • sildenafil (Revatio®), when used for treating lung problems • simvastatin (Simcor®, Vytorin®, Zocor®) • triazolam (Halcion®) • the herb St. John’s wort or a product that contains St. John’s wort
What should I tell my healthcare provider before taking GENVOYA? Before taking GENVOYA, tell your healthcare provider if you: • have liver problems including hepatitis B infection • have kidney or bone problems • have any other medical conditions • are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. It is not known if GENVOYA can harm your unborn baby. Tell your healthcare provider if you become pregnant while taking GENVOYA. Pregnancy registry: there is a pregnancy registry for women who take HIV-1 medicines during pregnancy. The purpose of this registry is to collect information about the health of you and your baby. Talk with your healthcare provider about how you can take part in this registry. • are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. Do not breastfeed if you take GENVOYA. – You should not breastfeed if you have HIV-1 because of the risk of passing HIV-1 to your baby. – At least one of the medicines in GENVOYA can pass to your baby in your breast milk. It is not known if the other medicines in GENVOYA can pass into your breast milk. – Talk with your healthcare provider about the best way to feed your baby. Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Other medicines may affect how GENVOYA works. Some medicines may interact with GENVOYA. Keep a list of your medicines and show it to your healthcare provider and pharmacist when you get a new medicine. • You can ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist for a list of medicines that interact with GENVOYA. • Do not start a new medicine without telling your healthcare provider. Your healthcare provider can tell you if it is safe to take GENVOYA with other medicines.
How should I take GENVOYA?
• Take GENVOYA exactly as your healthcare provider tells you to take it. GENVOYA is taken by itself (not with other HIV-1 medicines) to treat HIV-1 infection.
• GENVOYA is usually taken 1 time each day. • Take GENVOYA with food. • If you need to take a medicine for indigestion (antacid) that contains aluminum and • • • •
magnesium hydroxide or calcium carbonate during treatment with GENVOYA, take it at least 2 hours before or after you take GENVOYA. Do not change your dose or stop taking GENVOYA without first talking with your healthcare provider. Stay under a healthcare provider’s care when taking GENVOYA. Do not miss a dose of GENVOYA. If you take too much GENVOYA, call your healthcare provider or go to the nearest hospital emergency room right away. When your GENVOYA supply starts to run low, get more from your healthcare provider or pharmacy. This is very important because the amount of virus in your blood may increase if the medicine is stopped for even a short time. The virus may develop resistance to GENVOYA and become harder to treat.
What are the possible side effects of GENVOYA? GENVOYA may cause serious side effects, including: • See “What is the most important information I should know about GENVOYA?” • Changes in body fat can happen in people who take HIV-1 medicine. These changes may include increased amount of fat in the upper back and neck (“buffalo hump”), breast, and around the middle of your body (trunk). Loss of fat from the legs, arms and face may also happen. The exact cause and long-term health effects of these conditions are not known. • Changes in your immune system (Immune Reconstitution Syndrome) can happen when you start taking HIV-1 medicines. Your immune system may get stronger and begin to fight infections that have been hidden in your body for a long time. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you start having any new symptoms after starting your HIV-1 medicine. • New or worse kidney problems, including kidney failure. Your healthcare provider should do blood and urine tests to check your kidneys before you start and while you are taking GENVOYA. Your healthcare provider may tell you to stop taking GENVOYA if you develop new or worse kidney problems. • Bone problems can happen in some people who take GENVOYA. Bone problems may include bone pain, softening or thinning (which may lead to fractures). Your healthcare provider may need to do tests to check your bones. The most common side effect of GENVOYA is nausea. Tell your healthcare provider if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away. • These are not all the possible side effects of GENVOYA. For more information, ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist. • Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088. General information about the safe and effective use of GENVOYA. Medicines are sometimes prescribed for purposes other than those listed in a Patient Information leaflet. Do not use GENVOYA for a condition for which it was not prescribed. Do not give GENVOYA to other people, even if they have the same symptoms you have. It may harm them. This Brief Summary summarizes the most important information about GENVOYA. If you would like more information, talk with your healthcare provider. You can ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist for information about GENVOYA that is written for health professionals. For more information, call 1-800-445-3235 or go to www.GENVOYA.com. Keep GENVOYA and all medicines out of reach of children. Issued: November 2015
EMTRIVA, GENVOYA, the GENVOYA Logo, GILEAD, the GILEAD Logo, GSI, TYBOST, and VITEKTA are trademarks of Gilead Sciences, Inc., or its related companies. All other marks referenced herein are the property of their respective owners. © 2015 Gilead Sciences, Inc. All rights reserved. GENC0002 11/15
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Two weeks in gay ‘conversion therapy’ Atlanta man on his fateful trip, hitting bottom and true salvation By PATRICK SAUNDERS email@example.com One day, when Peter Nunn was 15 years old, his father told him they were going on a surprise trip together. He didn’t say where, leading the teenager to imagine all the places it could be—maybe New York or California? What Nunn didn’t realize was that his parents had found a men’s workout magazine in his room. It wasn’t pornographic, but it was enough to confirm for them some fears they had been having. He and his father departed from their Paulding County home to the Atlanta airport, and it wasn’t until they were headed to their connecting flight in St. Louis that his father told him where they were really going—a Christian counseling center in Iowa that practices so-called gay “conversion therapy,” so that the boy could work out what his father called “whatever weird sexual shit” he was going through. “My dad lied to me and told me we were going on a trip together and it would be fun,” Nunn tells Georgia Voice. “He took me under false pretenses and dropped me off there.” He underwent two weeks of counseling, which would end up having life-threatening effects on him. The practice has been denounced and called ineffective and harmful by major medical and mental health organizations across the country, including the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics. But it’s still legal in Georgia. That’s why Rep. Keisha Waites (D-Atlanta) recently proposed House Bill 716, which would make it illegal for licensed professionals to engage in sexual orientation change efforts with anyone under 18 in Georgia. Life at the counseling center Nunn says his days at the counseling center while undergoing conversion therapy (also known as “reparative therapy” or “ex-gay ther-
Peter Nunn at age 15, the age he was when he was sent to gay ‘conversion therapy.’ (Courtesy photo)
“I just remember this feeling of hatred toward myself—hating who I was and hating why I couldn’t be like everybody else. I felt completely hopeless and trapped like it was never going to change.” —Peter Nunn, on how he felt once he returned home to Georgia after undergoing gay “conversion therapy” in Iowa at age 15 apy”) were regimented. He was put up in a hotel where he would wake up each morning, get dressed, read his Bible and pray. Then someone would pick him up and take him to the counseling center, where he would undergo eight hours of one-on-one sessions with the adult male counselors, with a break for lunch in-between and dinner afterward. Then they would drop him off at the hotel, pick him up the next day and do it all over again. “It was terrifying to me because I wasn’t expecting any of this and it was all completely new,” Nunn says. “I was being told that something was really wrong with me and that I would die of AIDS. I thought it was the end of life as I knew it, so I was willing to do anything and everything they asked me to do to fix myself.” Nunn says a lot of the counseling was religious in nature and that he heard similar things as he did growing up in a conservative, religious family—faith, salvation and lots of Jesus. But it was the in-depth questions about his body and his sexual fantasies
that he says traumatized him. “It was very intrusive. At one point in time [they] asked me the size of my penis and how often I masturbated.” ‘I felt completely hopeless’ Arriving home, and facing being sent to military school or being sent away someplace where he wouldn’t “influence” his siblings, Nunn told his family that the therapy worked. While his time at the counseling center didn’t involve the more extreme aspects of conversion therapy, which can include food deprivation or electroshock therapy, Nunn says what he calls the “mental and spiritual abuse” he endured led him down a dark road. “I just remember this feeling of hatred toward myself—hating who I was and hating why I couldn’t be like everybody else,” he says. “I felt completely hopeless and trapped, like it was never going to change. I felt like every day that I was around, it was a lie, it was not who I was no matter how much I wanted to be the person that everybody else
told me I should be. I went to church three or four times a week and would be praying and crying and really, really wanting God to take those feelings away from me.” He struggled with depression, and at 16 he attempted suicide. While he survived, the feelings of depression and self-hatred continued for the next several years. He started dating guys right after he turned 18, but he still believed what he was doing was a sin. But then when he was 20, he went to his first Atlanta Pride parade. “I saw the PFLAG group and their signs about loving their gay kids and seeing somebody supporting somebody. Really seeing the love and support made me realize that I wanted that and I wanted to do that for myself and love myself.” It made him break down crying, then it made him have a breakthrough. He came out shortly after that, and the depression soon began to fade as he learned to accept himself. Nunn is now 29 and lives in the metro Atlanta area with his husband, Monte, and he says they have a great relationship with his mother and siblings. And in a nod to what helped him come out and begin to repair the damage of conversion therapy, he currently serves on the Atlanta Pride Committee. This is the first in a series on so-called gay “conversion therapy” in Georgia. Next, we’ll look at licensed professionals who practice conversion therapy. Have you undergone such therapy in Georgia? Email firstname.lastname@example.org with more info.
6 News February 5, 2016 www.thegeorgiavoice.com
Brian had his HIV under control with medication. But smoking with HIV caused him to have serious health problems, including a stroke, a blood clot in his lungs and surgery on an artery in his neck. Smoking makes living with HIV much worse. You can quit.
HIV alone didnâ€™t cause the clogged artery in my neck. Smoking with HIV did. Brian, age 45, California
Atlanta gay men: Dying for beauty Steroid abuse and the quest for perfection By PATRICK SAUNDERS email@example.com Body image issues have long been a topic of conversation when it comes to gay men. There’s the misguided expectation of having the perfect body, the six-pack, the bulging biceps. For many, that’s where it ends—five days a week in the gym, strict diet, etc.—but others take it a step further and develop eating disorders or, in many cases, start taking steroids. Studies have shown that gay men are more prone to steroid use, but it’s not just the adults that are partaking. A notable study from last year by the Fenway Institute showed that gay and bisexual teen boys use illicit steroids at a rate almost six times higher than straight kids. It was billed as one of the first to examine the problem and it made many wonder—will these gay and bi kids continue to use into their adult years, and continue to face the risks to their health? One gay Atlanta man who used steroids for about three years had a wake-up call after his health spiraled down to the point where he was in heart failure. He attributes the decline to his steroid use. He’s not out of the woods yet, but is on the unsteady path to recovery. Will others currently using in Atlanta stop before it’s too late? ‘They’re very easy to get’ Will Armstrong, owner of Burly Bakers, caused quite a stir in a recent Georgia Voice interview when he talked about how his steroid use caused his health issues, but he went further and mentioned how many 40-yearold gay men he’s seen die from steroid abuse. “I can name three or four people just in the last two years that have died, seeming-
“I’ll tell you that since that article came out, I’ve had a number of people approach me, especially younger gay men in their 20s, about whether or not they should do steroids. They’re wanting my input on whether or not they should make that decision and whether it’s worth it. It’s funny to me that they would ask me that.” —Will Armstrong ly healthy men but obviously gym rats who are 250 pounds and chasing the dream and they’re dead,” he said at the time. In a follow-up interview, Armstrong says he started using steroids about four years ago and it was an appearance issue. “I just wasn’t getting the gains in the gym that I wanted,” he explains. “I just felt like I wasn’t getting the results that I saw other guys getting.” He declined to go into specifics about how he went about getting them, saying that the community is small and he doesn’t want to accidentally identify someone. But he did confirm that, “They’re very easy to get, yes.” And the steroid usage was no secret. “I would say it was pretty open among the people that were doing the same thing because it becomes pretty obvious on who’s doing it and who’s not because there’s a natural gym build and an unnatural build,” he says. “It’s pretty easy to identify what comes less natural, you can tell. It’s something that guys talk about once you know your peers are on it.” Initially, after beginning to use them, the results were nothing but positive. “My stamina and my sex drive immediately increased, I’ll say that. I was able to
Will Armstrong ended up having a variety of health issues, including heart failure, in late 2014 and 2015 that he attributes to his steroid use. (Courtesy photo)
work out more often and was more driven. I started getting noticeable results at the gym for sure,” he says. As far as side effects, looking back he can tell he became much more aggressive. But before long, he would discover the true cost of his steroid use. ‘Unusual’ lab results In December 2014, Armstrong was at a routine doctor’s visit getting blood work done when his doctors found what they called “unusual” lab results. His blood was getting thick, which he later learned was common in people on high doses of testosterone. “My testosterone levels were almost 4,000, and right now they’re at like 650, which is much more normal,” he says. “My doctor warned at the time that my blood was irregular. I didn’t do anything about it. In May was when I had the heart failure.”
It was touch and go for the remainder of the year, but Armstrong finally quit the steroids, went on a low sodium diet and was prescribed several medications. He’s since lost 50 pounds and is currently on an I.V. infusion he initially used around the clock. It is considered a bridge-to-transplant drug. If he’s able to wean himself off that successfully, he may be able to avoid a heart transplant. He says his brief mention of his steroid use in the last article continues to resonate; he called steroid use in the gay community “extremely prevalent.” “I’ll tell you that since that article came out, I’ve had a number of people approach me, especially younger gay men in their 20s, about whether or not they should do steroids. They’re wanting my input on whether or not they should make that decision and whether it’s worth it. It’s funny to me that they would ask me that.”
8 News February 5, 2016 www.thegeorgiavoice.com
NEWSBRIEFS Outwrite Bookstore sign lands in Atlanta History Center exhibit The sign from Outwrite Bookstore & Coffeehouse is now on display in the “Atlanta In 50 Objects” exhibit. The sign was chosen to represent the city’s LGBT community after the Atlanta History Center solicited the public for ideas for objects that best represent Atlanta. Exhibition co-curators Don Rooney and Amy Wilson then narrowed down the list and the Outwrite sign made the cut. The Atlanta History Center contacted former owner Philip Rafshoon last spring about potential memorabilia that would be appropriate for the exhibit. “I did not expect that they would want a piece that was as huge as the sign—it is 4 feet high by 11 feet wide. It was stored at a good friend’s house and I had actually forgotten exactly what it looked like,” Rafshoon told Georgia Voice, adding, “I believe it is a fantastic way to include an LGBT landmark in this exhibit and I am very proud that it is included with other Atlanta landmarks such as the Varsity and Coca-Cola. Outwrite was not only a place for members of our community to gather, learn, and improve their lives, but our visibility helped change the general public’s attitudes about our lives.” You can check out the Outwrite sign and other iconic Atlanta objects at the exhibit, running through early July. Franklin Graham, LGBT community prepare for back-to-back rallies at Georgia Capitol Lawmakers with offices on the east side of the Georgia State Capitol will have quite a show to watch across the street in Liberty Plaza in early February, as Georgia’s LGBT community and allies converge there for a rally against a slew of so-called “religious freedom” bills on Feb. 9, followed the next day by a “prayer rally” in the same location headlined by evangelical preacher Franklin Graham that is expected to draw multiple GOP presidential candidates. First up is the Rally To Stop LGBT Discrimination on Tuesday, Feb. 9 at noon, organized by bipartisan LGBT rights coalition Georgia Unites Against Discrimination, of which Georgia Equality is a member. This year, there are six different so-called “religious freedom” bills under consideration in the state legislature that would have potentially troubling effects on the LGBT www.thegeorgiavoice.com
The Outwrite sign from the 10th Street side of the former store on display at the Atlanta History Center. (Courtesy photo)
community. On Feb. 10 at noon, Graham will appear at the plaza to rally in support of such bills as the six mentioned above. 2016 GLAAD nominations have Georgia ties GLAAD announced the nominees for its annual Media Awards on Jan. 27, and the list wasn’t without a little Georgia LGBT flair. “Bessie,” the HBO film that premiered last summer starring Queen Latifah as legendary blues singer Bessie Smith, was nominated for Outstanding TV Movie or Limited Series. It was filmed in Atlanta and also starred Mo’Nique, who taped her talk show, “The Mo’Nique Show” here during its two-season run. And there were two Georgia connections in the Outstanding Digital Journalism— Multimedia category. HuffPost Live got a nod for “Freed Trans Woman Ashley Diamond On Life Behind Bars In Men’s Prison.” Diamond was the transgender Georgia inmate who filed a federal lawsuit against the Georgia Department of Corrections alleging that she had been denied medical treatment for gender dysphoria and had been sexually assaulted by other inmates. She was freed from prison early last August. Joining the Ashley Diamond piece in the category was “Holler if You Hear Me: Black
and Gay in the Church” by TV personality Clay Cane. The hour-long BET.com documentary premiered last November and featured several of Atlanta’s churches, sights and LGBT community members, including the Lost-N-Found Youth shelter in the West End, Vision Church of Atlanta, Ebenezer Baptist Church and Victory For The World Church in Stone Mountain. Georgia LGBT groups score grants from Elton John AIDS Foundation The Elton John AIDS Foundation announced on Jan. 27 more than $5.4 million in new grants to support organizations addressing the HIV/AIDS epidemic, with several Georgia-based organizations among those to land on the list and the state hauling in nearly half a million dollars in grants alone. The Equality Federation of Georgia (Georgia Equality’s sister organization), SPARK Reproductive Justice Now and SisterLove were among the local LGBT groups that scored grants from EJAF. In this grant cycle, the Foundation renewed 38 grants and funded 32 new organizations, with 7 of those grants going to Georgia groups for a total of $455,000. The complete list of grant recipients can be found online at www.thegavoice.com. February 5, 2016 News 9
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[the Academy is] receiving complaints which I fully disregarded by the film industry, it used to be women, it’s certainly gay people to this day.” —Sir Ian McKellen on the lack of diversity in Hollywood on Sky News (Jan 25 Screencap Image)
standard. I look at all the things I’ve done in movies: I’ve drugged a guy, tortured someone, become a roller-derby star overnight. But now I’m gay, I can’t play a straight person?” —Actress Ellen Page in a March interview for Elle UK (Screencap Image)
“Small message. Big Impact. A trans woman comes up to me expressing her gratitude for @HerStoryShow ending with a kiss instead of tragedy.” —A tweet sent by Angelica Ross, trans actress and star of the web series, “Her Story.” (Jan 24/ Screencap image)
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10 Outspoken February 5, 2016
OUT IN THE WILD
By Simon Williamson
Sex and dating in the rear-view Simon Williamson lives with his husband in heteronormatively-assimilative fashion in Athens, after a year of surviving rural Georgia. Dating was my worst thing. I love my husband very much, but I am also grateful at the prospect of never having to go on another first date again. From people who arrived with their brother, to those who wore socks with flip-flops, ensuring my legs stayed together like they were cemented shut, to those who got particularly hammered and drooled on me—the entire experience of getting to know someone through the torturous medium of small talk, which has to be filtered through little obstacle courses made up of contemporary conversation guidelines—is less enticing than Rick Santorum in a bikini. The internet made this process somewhat more bearable, with the ability to see some details about a prospective date before having to deal with conversation, and it was an avenue I
“I know we’re not supposed to seek validation from other people, but sometimes it’s nice to feel like someone is looking at me like Kanye West looks at himself in the mirror.” Heartbreak is traumatizing. Heartbreak is almost unbearable when you’re mentally ill. This time last year, my life was in shambles. I made a mistake that deeply hurt one of my friends and it turned into a public spectacle. It got so bad that I deactivated my Facebook and turned my phone off for a few days because I couldn’t take the fallout. A couple months later, while in the midst of a depressive episode, I got dumped. When you’re crazy, there is no such thing as just getting over something. Depending on your situation, it can take months or even years to truly “get over it.” Sometimes, you never do. I was devastated. I thought my relationship was the one thing I was doing right in the midst of my funk and it got swept out from under me. It’s something I’m still getting over. I loved her. I www.thegeorgiavoice.com
used before I ended up meeting the man who is now my husband, Mike. But meeting him happened in a manner most people tell you doesn’t result in spouses. We met in a skanky bar through mutual friends, drank ourselves into oblivion and went home together, waking up with various parts of our anatomies clothed, to the point that it was difficult to recreate the lost parts of our memories. On our first real date a few weeks later, he proved to me he could burp the entire alphabet, and I told him I shared a flat with a gangster. We laughed at someone in the restaurant who fell over, and then we both admitted we were obsessed with Disney movies—the children’s kind—and sang the songs to each other. There was absolutely nothing cool or suave about the occasion
(for god’s sake, I was in shorts and he was in flannel), but there was a lot of genuine truth telling. I don’t know how relationships are supposed to begin—as you can tell, I hate the traditional song and dance that accompanies meeting new people—but if they all began as simply as my first date went, I’ll be happy for the young ‘uns who still have to go through it. There are many reasons my husband and I work well as a couple, one of which is extensive histories, which I don’t want to get too far into as my mother reads this paper. To use a euphemism, Mike and I both made our twenties count, which means we had a lot of practice both physically and emotionally, and were pretty good at both by the time we got together.
“Although the common wisdom will tell you that a carnal night is not really the most desirable beginning to a relationship, ours was, because we were both grown up enough and experienced enough to be able to differentiate the real feelings from the knee-jerk ones.” I have never discounted emotional maturity, and the importance of decent sex in my relationships. Although the common wisdom will tell you that a carnal night is not really the most desirable beginning to a relationship, ours was, because we were both grown up enough and experienced enough to be able to differentiate the real feelings from the knee-jerk ones. My point here isn’t to advise anyone what a romantic relationship is supposed to be like, or how it is supposed to start. But there is a lot to be said for using your god given talents when you’re twenty—horniness and stamina—and for authenticity. If that weren’t the case, I wouldn’t have spent Sunday afternoon “co-spousally” performing Under The Sea in my underwear for three unimpressed dogs, six years into coupledom.
IN THE MARGINS
By Ashleigh Atwell
Admit it: Dating can suck Ashleigh Atwell is a queer lesbian writer and organizer born and raised in Atlanta, GA. still do. As hurt and angry as I am, I still love her. When she gave me the breakup speech, she told me she loved me. Almost every day, I wonder if she meant it. We float in many of the same spaces and sometimes, I’ll catch her looking and I’ll wonder what she’s thinking. Something tells me that I will never know. For a year, I have been grappling with questions that will probably remain unanswered: What did I do? How could I not see it coming? What’s wrong with me? Is it my looks? Depression tells me it’s definitely me. The extroverted side of me wants to go out and actually meet people, but anxiety talks me out of it. When I actually go out, I’m around the same people, so much of the time I don’t
bother, because dating seems like a crapshoot. Dating, in general, is difficult. When you’re crazy, it’s another mountain that I have to climb, and I’m no athlete. Although I don’t know her, I experienced a surge of emotions when trans activist Janet Mock married her longtime love Aaron Treadwell. When their wedding photos surfaced, Mock looked so relaxed and comfortable in her new husband’s embrace. I was extremely happy for her, but I couldn’t help but feel a pang of sadness. I want that. I want someone to adore me like that. I want to feel comfortable. I want to feel desirable. I know we’re not supposed to seek validation from other people, but sometimes it’s nice to feel like someone is looking at me like Kanye West looks at himself in the mirror. I’m not say-
ing this to draw sympathy. The only party I can’t stand is a pity party. While we bask in the glow of marriage equality, we have to remember that the dating scene ain’t pretty. If you don’t look or act a certain way, you get looked over. While some of us are running to the chapel to get married, there are folks picking up the pieces of another broken relationship or trying to figure out why someone has ghosted them. I’ve finally dipped my toe back in the dating pool and it’s scary because it brings another set of questions. I like them, but do they like me? Where is this going? How long will it last? At this point, I’m trying to enjoy myself even though the thought of another heartbreak scares me. I don’t know what 2016 holds for my love life, but I’m ready for it. I think. February 5, 2016 Outspoken 11
Special delivery 5 Thoughtful DIY Sweetheart Gifts to Give to Your Valentine By MIKEY ROX Valentine’s Day can mean a pretty penny out of pocket for many couples. Jewelry, flowers and a fancy dinner at the hottest restaurant in town can add up quickly, but in a lot of ways these gifts and traditions have lost their meaning and significance. Sure, they’re the pricey options – which, for some, is the only way they know how to show their “affection” – but let’s get real here, this route isn’t very creative… or thoughtful, for that matter. In lieu of the same ol’, same ol’ this year, consider a thoughtful handmade gift. Yeah, yeah, I know – effort and all. But your significant other deserves it, if only for putting up with you all year round. Plus, I’m here to help. If you aren’t the creative type, or if you’re just stumped for ideas, here are a few craft projects to spark your inspiration. 1. The decorated candy jar Start with a Mason jar with a lid; local thrift stores or even major retailers have these available in the kitchenware section. While you’re out, pick up a bag of your boo’s favorite candy – sweets that comes in small pieces, like Kisses, or the new limited-edition Strawberry Shortcake White Chocolate M&Ms from Target. Also grab a red or pink bow and ribbon or garland to go on your jar. To assemble, wash the jar and place the
candy inside. Decorate the jar with the bow and the ribbons (or however you see fit; free printables are available at the blog The36thAvenue.com) and then add a little card with a hand-written message of fondness and maybe a sweet memory or two. 2. ‘52 reasons I love you’ cards This one requires only a deck of cards (minus the jokers), glue, and artistic paper. On separate sheets of the latter, you’ll write one thing you love about your significant other and then glue it to the back of each card. It takes some patience, but once you get through the entire deck of cards you’ve got an incredibly thoughtful Valentine’s Day gift. You can add a small ring binder to keep all the cards together and make for an easier time wrapping or handing the gift to your loved one. 3. Chocolate strawberry bouquet For this DIY gift you’ll need small wooden sticks, strawberries, melted chocolate and wrapping paper with twine. Simply dip the strawberries in the chocolate, then skewer them on the wooden sticks and let them dry. Once dry, wrap them in the paper and tie the paper loosely with the twine for a classy bouquet look and feel. 4. Cupcake in a jar The concept is similar to the jar of candy, but in this instance you get to bake! In simple terms, you’ll bake the cupcake, break it up into chunks and put it in the jar. Once that’s done, tint your frosting pink or red with food coloring and add that on top, then tie a pink spoon to the jar with a festive red-
Treat your partner to something more valuable than expensive gifts: your creativity.
and-white V-Day-inspired ribbon. 5. Simple ‘you and me’ photo album Print out a few great photos of you and your main squeeze that they haven’t seen or aren’t familiar with. Personally, I recommend pulling pictures from your phone or Instagram account using the new Fuji Instax Smartphone Printer; I got one for Christmas, and it’s perfect for a project like this. When you’ve chosen the perfect images, buy a small simple photo album – one that you can spruce up and to which you can add your own touches. Write captions for the photos too – a reminder of where you both were when the picture was taken and what the occasion was.
Going the extra mile While there’s nothing wrong with the traditional Valentine’s Day approach, going the extra mile with a handmade gift can add a lot of thoughtfulness and personality to the celebration. If you’re looking for a way to step up your game and really impress your loved one this year, let your artistic side take over and make something that they’ll know you put more thought into than money. Mikey Rox is an award-winning journalist and LGBT lifestyle expert whose work has been published in more than 100 outlets across the world. He splits his time between homes in New York City and the Jersey Shore with his dog Jaxon.
12 Valentine’s Day February 5, 2016 www.thegeorgiavoice.com
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Navigating dating app culture in Atlanta The pitfalls and solutions to help you have a worthwhile experience
MICHAEL ALVEAR’S BEST PRACTICES
By PATRICK SAUNDERS firstname.lastname@example.org
1. Do what you want people to do.
Lying. Ghosting. Persistent texting. Lack of pictures. Racism (or just preference?). Body shaming. If you use a dating or hookup app like Grindr, Jack’d, Scruff or one of the many others on the market—and if you’re a gay man in Atlanta, then you most likely do—then you’ve experienced at least one of these things. But how to navigate the world of apps in the face of such obstacles and still accomplish what you set out to? James Osborne is a 35-year-old single gay Atlanta man who has mostly used Jack’d and Adam4Adam for the last couple of years. On a positive note, he’s had a couple of relationships and made some great friends through men he met on the apps. But ask him the negatives and he’s ready with a list off the top of his head, e.g., guys who aren’t really looking for what their profile says they are looking for. “I see that just about every day,” he says, laughing. “It’s like ‘I’m looking for friends,’ but you’re not really just looking for friends, or you’re looking for a relationship and it turns out you are in a relationship, or you say you’re versatile on your page but you really just like to bottom.” Body shaming and what some would call racism but others would call racial preference are other frequent parts of the dating app experience. “I see a lot of ‘no fats, no femmes,’ I see a lot of ‘no blacks,’ or ‘strictly blacks only.’ I’m African-American and even within our race, you see ‘only dark-skinned’ or ‘only light-skinned,’ he says. “I’m not against anyone’s preferences, but if you’re looking for a date or a relationship you should be open to anything, because you see the same people looking for the same things and they’re still on the site.” Top three complaints and advice Atlanta sex and dating columnist Michael Alvear has heard it all and then some when it www.thegeorgiavoice.com
“For example, you’ve got one or two pics on your profile but you want other guys to have more than that. Well, you should have eight or ten pictures up there and just take that off the table. Have lots of different pictures because the law of reciprocity says that if I’m talking to you and you have eight pictures and I have one, then you’re much more likely to get more pictures out of me if you have them.”
2. Do not be afraid to ask questions.
“Somebody wrote me about how they arranged coffee with a guy they met on an app, showed up and he was 4-foot-3-inches tall. And this guy likes tall guys. I said, ‘Why didn’t you just ask?’ and he said, ‘Well, I just thought it would be rude to ask for height and weight.’ Well, I don’t think it’s rude. This is especially true on Tinder where you just see a picture, not height or weight.”
3. Ask very early on to meet.
“Whether it’s to hook up or just grab coffee, ask to meet that night. Because their answer is going to tell you how serious they are, because someone that’s serious will say, ‘I can’t tonight, how about tomorrow?’ The unserious person will say, ‘I can’t.’ Period. So I would post that as a qualifying question. Why go in 30 texts deep before you start to realize that this guy just wants to text? Find out up front.”
comes to dating and hookup apps. While he believes that apps have become the primary way that people meet, he has a caveat to that. “I think they’ve become the primary way of seeking mates, but I don’t think they’ve become the primary way of actually getting
There are now numerous apps to choose from for whatever and whoever you’re looking for, but they all often have the same downsides.
a mate,” Alvear tells Georgia Voice. “I think most people who have been in a relationship for the last year or so have probably have done it without the app.” Alvear says that the three most common complaints people have about the apps is lying (about anything—stats, appearance, what they’re into, what they’re looking for, etc.), ghosting (when you talk to somebody and they seem really interested, but then stop texting you out of the blue) and persistent texting. It’s this last one that Alvear says has been a recent trend in the last couple of years. “I’ve found that that has exploded. That’s the guy who persistently texts you either through the app or if they get your phone number, but every time you say ‘Let’s get together,’ they beg out and say ‘Oh I’d love to but I can’t.’ And they never offer a next time,” Alvear explains. “Why are you texting if you don’t want to get together? Why are you go-
ing through all of this? People have been lying on apps for a long time, but you’re really starting to see this idea that texting isn’t exactly a method, but the end goal.” Alvear chalks all of this behavior up to technology and how it has removed the social penalty for bad behavior, i.e. being ostracized or isolated or rejected in a humiliating way. “All of those things are gone. If you went up to somebody at a bar and said ‘Are you hung?,’ you might get a drink in your face or you might get bitch-slapped, or at the very least somebody’s going to turn their back on you and you’re going to be sitting there humiliated all along with other people seeing you,” Alvear says. “So there’s no sense of social shaming, which shapes behavior and creates a more positive social lubricant. But that’s not true with online—it not only appeals to the very worst in us but it encourages the very worst in us.” February 5, 2016 Sex & Dating 15
Bathhouse blitz A jaunt through gay Atlanta’s naughtiest hideouts
By RYAN LEE I was recently at a meet-the-neighbors cocktail party at my friend’s home in a gentrified swath of the West End when a woman started telling us about how she and her husband were headed to a swingers’ club after the gathering. I expressed enthusiastic fascination, mainly because I’ve always been curious about the heterosexual version of sex clubs, but also because most of the conversations that night centered on home renovation projects. “Well, everyone walks around in nothing but a towel,” she whispered as if she were exposing for me a forbidden underground world. My friend and I flashed each other devilish glances and I interjected, “We’re gay. You can skip the basics and get straight to the sex.” Gay culture has a long and touchy history with sex venues. In their best light, sex clubs and bathhouses are treated as our naughty little secret, but they are most often considered a political liability or public health risk. In reality, most sex clubs are sexy and shady, exhilarating and sobering, spiritual and dehumanizing, hedonistic and a huge letdown. And, undeniably, they would be the envy of most heterosexual men (if they were aware of them), who can only have wet dreams about venues where a willing, already naked sex partner is around every corner. FLEX The neighborhood gathering was on the Friday night of a holiday weekend, and our dirty talk with the kinky housewife left my friend and me tingling for some towel-wearing explorations of our own. We went to the patriarch of Atlanta’s sex play spaces: Flex Bathhouse in Midtown near Georgia Tech. My friend saved a couple of dollars by renting a locker, while I figured it was worth the extra $10 for a private room for us to be able to “host” any cute guys we came across. My friend and I disrobed and wrapped
our towels around our waists, then took a loop around the hallways of the main floor, passing other towel-clad men and glancing into a few rooms where guys were stroking invitingly or waiting with their asses in the air. There’s not much romance or small talk at bathhouses, which are almost 3-D versions of chat rooms where guys are likely to flash their manhood and ask if you wanna suck it before they say hello. By the time we made it past the glory hole setup, my friend had exchanged words with someone and whispered to me that he needed the room key, so I continued to the lower level, where about a dozen guys were lounging in the dry sauna and eyeing each other. I popped my head into the steam room to complete the cycle through Flex, and by the time I made it back to the dry sauna a couple of guys had grown bold enough to commence some action. It was about 45 minutes of cruising before I had my first connection, which turned into a foursome when my friend needed the room again for his newest conquest.
houses for 15 years, I know that some nights you leave euphoric and others you leaving saying, “Never again!” In that time, the group sex scene has definitely shifted toward private sex parties, arranged over the internet and via text messages. I’ll always have a soft spot for oldschool sex venues, which many in our community view with embarrassment or contempt, but which I celebrate as a primally unique facet of gay culture.
THE DEN A hidden gem of gay Atlanta is the “Lunch Session” that The Den hosts five days a week. While usually hopping during evenings and weekends, The Den also serves a niche of men hungry for a daytime release. The ambiance at The Den is almost perfect for a workday session, as the primary area is a maze of cubicles with mattresses for those who need them. The Den isn’t for the shy; instead of a towel, patrons are given a washcloth. As at Flex, The Den supplies free condoms, but the latter also provides complimentary lube. Another difference is the clientele, as The Den is a favorite of black and Latino men. After a few minutes of cruising, I came across a muscle bottom getting drilled while a group of guys watched. I joined the audience, exchanging knowing looks with another guy who was watching as others started to ease his hunger. Eventually, the fellow voyeur and I made our way to the communal dark room, adding our moans to the guttural chorus. Having patronized sex clubs and bath-
16 Sex & Dating February 5, 2016 www.thegeorgiavoice.com
SEX&DATING Atlanta LGBT senior groups providing space for a spark Dating, sex and making it work at an advanced age By PATRICK SAUNDERS email@example.com When Richard Rhodes’ partner passed away in 2003, the then-66-year-old gay Atlanta resident thought he was done with relationships. “I originally thought, well hell, I’m past the age where anybody will be interested in anything,” he tells Georgia Voice. So he wasn’t looking to date anyone, but he did want to get out there and meet people, so he started taking part in activities provided by LGBT senior groups SAGE Atlanta and Atlanta Prime Timers. “This man came to a SAGE meeting one day and I was very taken with him and we just started talking and I told him I thought he would like Prime Timers better,” Rhodes says. “So he showed up at Prime Timers with another man. We were friends for a year and they broke up and I moved in for the kill.” Rhodes, now 78, and William Castro, 60, have been dating for two years. And it’s thanks to programs like SAGE and Atlanta Prime Timers, which continue to provide a number of services for LGBT seniors throughout the metro Atlanta area. National organizations have Atlanta chapters SAGE is a national organization with 24 chapters in 16 states across the country. The group is open to women and men and has events like social hours and potluck dinners as well as therapeutic services like chair yoga classes, and also advocates for policies and legislation that will create a better quality of life for LGBT seniors. The Atlanta chapter is a program of The Health Initiative. Atlanta Prime Timers, on the other hand, is a men’s group whose national chapter was founded in Boston in 1987. The organization serves primarily as a social group, although it does work in the community as well. The Atlanta chapter has over 200 men involved. “We have a multitude of functions where www.thegeorgiavoice.com
“This man came to a SAGE meeting one day and I was very taken with him and we just started talking and I told him I thought he would like Prime Timers better. So he showed up at Prime Timers with another man. We were friends for a year and they broke up and I moved in for the kill.” —Richard Rhodes, 78, who has been dating William Garcia, 60, for two years now people get to meet each other and converse, whether it be a potluck, we have luncheons inside and outside the Perimeter, some people go to the symphony and have dinner before, there are theater groups,” says Atlanta Prime Timers board chair John Christensen. “This month we’re going to the Ponce City Market for a tour and a distillery in Atlanta. All of this is for the ability for people to meet each other.” Christensen says it’s a good alternative for those looking for friendship or romantic companionship and don’t want to mess with the bar scene or dating apps. “We get requests from people that are retired or new to the area and they’re not into the bar scene and they’re not into some of the so-called ‘typical’ meeting places for gay or bisexual men so they come to Prime Timers and through that they meet different people,” he says. And love does occasionally bloom, as in the case of Rhodes and Castro and another couple Christensen says met at one of the functions and just bought a house together. Apps and happiness Even if he had been looking for a love interest, Rhodes says he would have been wary about using dating or hookup apps. “I’ve always been one of these kinds of people that when you get to a certain age, I just assumed that if you were on Grindr or something and somebody showed an interest in you, that they probably thought that you had
William Garcia and Richard Rhodes, who met at a SAGE Atlanta event, have been dating for two years. (Courtesy photo)
money that you could throw away on them,” he says. “I was just happy being around people my own age in the organizations.” But just because hookup apps might not be in the picture doesn’t mean sex among LGBT seniors isn’t either. “With the people that I know in Prime Timers, it’s pretty much a going thing,” Rhodes says. “Of course I’m older than most of the ones in Prime Timers, they start in their 50s primarily, but they’re still having active sex lives.” Rhodes is just happy being with the man he’s with. “The thing that I think is great about the relationship that I’m in is that we have so many things that we enjoy doing, but I’m not jealous of him playing tennis four times a week and he’s not jealous that I go to SLCA [Spiritual Living Center of Atlanta] and I’m quite involved in their GLBT organization. Some relationships, and this is true at any
Atlanta Prime Timers 770-284-0513 www.primetimersww.com/atlantaapt SAGE Atlanta 404-688-2524 ext. 116 www.sageatl.org age, people get together and they start losing all of their other friends and it gets down to just being two people. And I think sometimes when that gets to be bad is if one of them passes away or a relationship breaks up, all of a sudden you’ve kind of shut out everybody else in your life and it makes it very difficult to start going out again. “It’s been a good relationship. We go to movies together and play cards together and we eat together a lot. It’s real companionship.” February 5, 2016 Sex & Dating 17
The queer (dis)abilities of Angela and Evan Angela Davis and Evan Wainwright “I would hope that in the continue to defy limited expectations queer community we come to a place where we can look of people with disabilities By DARIAN AARON “How am I supposed to touch you?” It’s a question that Evan Wainwright, 29, has been asked so often by romantic partners that he has an answer at the ready. “Unless I say something, just do what you’d normally do,” he says. For most men, their first impression of him in his souped-up wheelchair is one of fragility, but Wainwright is quick to remind potential suitors that his disability does not define him or inhibit his ability to give or receive pleasure. Wainwright has cerebral palsy: a neurological disorder that permanently affects body movement and muscle coordination. He tells Georgia Voice that a bad decision by his birth doctor resulted in his present condition. “Three days after I was born ... the doctor was trying to see if I could breathe on my own because I was premature,” he said. “He turned off the air in my incubator and that made me have a seizure, which caused me not to be able to walk.” While Wainwright has been adjusting to life with cerebral palsy since infancy, he says he first acknowledged his attraction to the same gender around age 13, and later made the decision to come out in college to a surprisingly supportive family. Still sexual According to Wainwright, two of the biggest misconceptions he’s encountered about people with disabilities are the notions that disabled people are uninterested in sex or incapable of being aroused. “I lost my virginity at 21 to an able-bodied person that I met online. He came down to see me one weekend and that’s when it happened,” he said. “He knew I was disabled and he was cool with it. I thought I was just going to be a top. And then he wanted to top me (laughter),” he said. With limited mobility due to his disabil-
at bodies and not judge them by how perfect we deem them to be, but that we look at bodies and think about possibilities for relationship.” —Angela Davis ity, preparing to be the receptive partner during sex can be challenging. “I don’t do it that often, but when I do they usually help me with the process,” he said. Having grown tired of meaningless sex, Wainwright says he’s now holding out for a meaningful relationship, which he believes is within reach. ‘She was the light’ Angela Davis, 45, is an example of what is possible for Wainwright and other LGBT people with disabilities. Davis is legally blind—a fact that most people find hard to believe. A career development services manager at the Center for the Visually Impaired, Davis is also an ordained minister, artist and fiancée to long-time Atlanta lesbian activist and “ZAMI NOBLA” executive director Mary Anne Adams. Davis recalls the onset of her vision loss after a trip to Namibia in 2003: “Three months after that experience I developed some vision loss. No vision in the left eye and partial in the right,” she said. “Within a matter of 24 hours I was totally blind. No light perception, total darkness. I couldn’t even tell you if it was sunny. I spent two months like that.” Diagnosed with optic nerve atrophy, Davis has lost the ability to see fine detail, but her ability to thrive professionally and romantically remains intact. As a minister, “Jesus was my Saturday night hot thing,” she says of her years-long absence
Above: Angela Davis, legally blind since 2003, continues to be a source of light for the visually impaired. Left: Evan Wainwright is an aspiring actor who has been meeting the challenge of cerebral palsy since birth. (Photos by Darian Aaron)
from the dating scene. But that changed after becoming acquainted with Adams through a Google search and subsequent emails. “I made a point to Google everything I could about black lesbians in Atlanta. The name that kept popping up all the time was Mary Anne Adams and “ZAMI,” she said. The couple met in person in 2008 at the Rustin/Lorde Breakfast, where Adams coincidentally sat at the same table as Davis. At the time, “It wasn’t about trying to date her, it was about trying to connect with the community and she (Adams) was the light,” Davis said. A new awareness Davis says Adams has never reacted negatively toward her disability, but what has been interesting is the response of people
around her. “’You know Mary Anne is dating that blind woman,’” Davis recalls comments aimed at her disability. “For her, (Adams) it was OK; she was more concerned with the fact that I was a minister (laughter),” she said. Davis rejects the myth that other senses are heightened if one is visually impaired; she believes she is simply more aware, which can also be applicable to sex. “I’m very much aware of the body and shape and texture. I think that’s more of who I am as a person than who I am as a person who is blind,” she said. “There is something wonderful about coming to understand intimacy with bodies that aren’t perfect,” she said. “I would hope that in the queer community we come to a place where we can look at bodies and not judge them by how perfect we deem them to be, but that we look at bodies and think about possibilities for relationship. That’s my hope.”
18 Sex & Dating February 5, 2016 www.thegeorgiavoice.com
Alvin Ailey dancer Daniel Harder partners Rachel McLaren (Photo by Andrew Eccles)
AT L A
The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater returns to delight Atlanta audiences during its annual residency
20 A&E February 5, 2016
BODY & SOUL
S R E VI T R
By DARYL FOSTER Perfect brown bodies, virtuosic technical feats, and “Revelations” of epic dance proportions signify the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s return on Feb. 10 to the Fox Theatre. “Ailey Week” at the Fox has become a tradition for many dance enthusiasts in Atlanta. The legendary dance company continues to fill the 4,600-seat theatre with each performance, which is no modest accomplishment for an individual star, but it’s expected of the dance company touted as the “Cultural Ambassadors to The World.” The Alvin Ailey Dance Theater’s reputation is deeply rooted in the work of its namesake, most notably in “Revelations,” a soul-stirring work that chronicles the southern black experience through movement and Negro spirituals. Robert Battle, who is celebrating his 5th season as artistic director, has crafted a delightful season and will be showcasing nine works in Atlanta, including two works of his own, “No Longer Silent,” a large ensemble work set to Erwin Schulhoff’s percussion score, “Ogelala,” and “Awakening,” Battle’s first world premiere with the company since taking over as artistic director. Other Atlanta program highlights include a return of Ronald K. Brown of “Ronald K. Brown Evidence, A Dance Company,” an Ailey favorite. Brown offers “Open Door,” a work influenced by multiple trips to Cuba, that depicts the heavy influences of that culture, set to the Afro-Latin jazz music of Arturo O’Farrill. Rennie Harris, another returning choreographic champion, brings a vital work to the repertory through hip-hop vernacular from the streets of Philadelphia for his new work, “Exodus,” underscored by gospel and house music. CONTINUES ON PAGE 21 www.thegeorgiavoice.com
! S K EE
W L INA
Members of the 2015-2016 Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater touring company. (Photo by Andrew Eccles)
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 20 Up close with Daniel Harder To get a closer look into the inner workings of the Ailey Company, Georgia Voice caught up with dancer Daniel Harder, a standout Ailey performer and former protégé of dance industry legend Debbie Allen, ahead of his trek to Atlanta with the Ailey dancers. The Maryland native provides a glimpse into the company’s Atlanta residency and insight into his experience as an openly gay dancer in one of the world’s most beloved modern dance companies. Georgia Voice: What is it about the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater that connects most with your spirit and audiences, especially LGBT audiences? Daniel Harder: What connects most with me about dancing with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater is the fact that we are encouraged to embrace our most authentic selves and share that within all of the diverse repertory that we perform. I know that Mr. Ailey often said that his dancers should be reflections of their audiences, and that notion is something that I believe in wholeheartedly. No matter what makeup or background, everyone that comes to an Ailey performance can see, feel and connect with someone or something they witness on the stage … and that’s because we fuel our craft with our own life experiences. Describe “Revelations’” universal connection from the perspective of a dancer and an LGBT person living a legacy several generations after the work premiered. “Revelations” connects with audiences all over the world because of its all-encompassing themes. The idea of a journey that begins www.thegeorgiavoice.com
Details Alvin Ailey American
© Peter Essick, Afternoon Thunderstorm, Garnet Lake, CA, 2010. Image courtesy of Lumière.
Dance Theater Feb 10-14, 2016 8 p.m. The Fox Theatre Tickets: $66-$109 www.box-officetickets.com with the deepest grief and sorrow and ends in a celebration of spirit and joy is something that anyone can relate to regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, or sexual identity (including myself ). As a dancer, I relate to the simplicity and authenticity of Mr. Ailey’s movement. Although rooted in some of modern dance’s more traditional vocabulary, I think the choreography does a brilliant job of highlighting and communicating the journey that the ballet takes its dancers on; whether it’s a contraction showing angst and pain or even the ripple of the arms and spine like water to symbolize the spirit of a baptism. It’s the honesty of the ballet and those principles that provide me the freedom to submerge into a work that has lived on for the last 56 years, and every time I try and bring my most authentic self to it. Can you share a repertory highlight from the Atlanta program? There are two works that I am very excited to share with our Atlanta audiences. Robert Battle’s “Awakening” is our artistic director’s first choreographic work since taking the helm of the company, and it explores the ideas of chaos and resolution, dissonance and harmony all to a very propulsive score. Also, Ronald K. Brown’s “Open Door” fuses his signature style of modern and African dance vocabularies with Afro-Cuban jazz music, and I’m sure it will be a crowd pleaser. February 5, 2016 A&E 21
By JIM FARMER
‘The Full Monty’ bares all in Cobb County It’s not a musical you’d expect to see in notoriously conservative Cobb County. “The Full Monty,” based on the crowdpleasing film, opens next week courtesy of Atlanta Lyric Theatre. It’s about a group of working class gents who, facing unemployment and needing quick money, decide to take it all off one evening. The musical, which retains its gay subplot, is helmed by out director Alan Kilpatrick. We recently caught up with Kilpatrick to talk about the production. Georgia Voice: Were you pretty familiar with the show before coming aboard? Kilpatrick: I had not seen the musical, but I had seen the movie when it came out and loved it in the 1990s. I really have fallen in love with the musical, too. I think it’s a great adaptation of the film. Some of the time adaptations don’t work that well. The musical can seem not to have a life of its own. But this one does. It very well stands on its own. It’s funny and quirky. How does the musical compare to the film? The big difference is that it’s been relocated from Sheffield, England to Buffalo, New York. The six men are still steel workers, though. A lot of the characters are drawn the same way. (Openly gay playwright) Terence McNally has added the character of Jeanette, a showbiz type who accompanies the rehearsals. She was not in the film and she is a great addition—very funny, very dry. She gives some balance to the male to female ratio. “The Full Monty” had some bad luck at the Tonys the year it premiered. It was nominated for a bunch of Tonys but “The Producers” pretty much swept that year. It was a shame. “The Full Monty” could have gotten a lot more recognition another year. Tell us about the gay characters. One of the surprising things in the film and the musical is that we find out late in the show about the two characters (Malcolm, played by J. Koby Parker and Ethan, played by Haden Rider) and their discovery of each other is very sweet. I think it will take a lot of
The men of ‘The Full Monty’ sing out their hearts and pants in Atlanta Lyric Theater production. (Publicity photo)
Details ‘The Full Monty’
Atlanta Lyric Theatre Jennie T. Anderson Theatre 548 S. Marietta Parkway, Marietta, GA 30060 Feb. 12–28 www.atlantalyrictheatre.com the audience by surprise. It’s treated in such a wonderful way, though. It makes a statement about finding love. One of the most beautiful songs is when Malcolm attends his mother’s funeral and he gets carried away and emotional. Ethan steps in and finishes the song with him. It’s a lovely, subtle moment, and the other men that are part of the strip act are supportive of that. This is a rather bold show for Cobb County, wouldn’t you say, with gay content and nudity? It’s going to be surprising to some of the audiences, but the characters are so charming I think they’ll love it. When we get to that moment, the full monty itself, there is a light shift. It’s kind of like Gypsy Rose Lee. It’s more about what you think you’re going to see than what you do.
22 A&E February 5, 2016 www.thegeorgiavoice.com
EATING MY WORDS By CLIFF BOSTOCK
Full hearts, full tummies on Valentine’s Day Valentine’s Day, that annual reminder of our love or lack thereof, is about to grab us by the throats again. Here are a few restaurants where you can celebrate with your beloved— or with other loveless friends who have agreed to impersonate a harem of your sex slaves. Murphy’s: I recently ate at this VirginiaHighland mainstay for the first time in many years and had a terrific experience. The restrained ambiance is just about perfect for a lovey-dovey meal. You get golden light and acoustics that don’t make you replace conversation with across-the-table texting. Love can be confusing and sometimes difficult. But Chef Ian Winslade’s cooking is uncomplicated and clear in its flavors. A good example was my choice of Guinnessbraised brisket over mashed potatoes, topped with some green beans. Horseradish gently spiked the flavors. Another option: a grilled salmon steak with winter-squash risotto and pickled-beet emulsion. Desserts are less impressive, but you can walk across the street to Paolo’s to immerse your face in the pure pleasure of super-creamy gelato. (997 Virginia Ave., 404-872-0904, www.murphysatlanta-restaurant.com) Madre + Mason: I’ve dined three times at this new restaurant opened by Calavino Donati and Doria Roberts, a married couple who have recently moved Urban Cannibals in East Atlanta Village to Midtown. Donati earlier operated the much-missed Roman Lily. Madre is a fusion of Latin and Southern flavors. For example, Donati’s turkey meatloaf (famous at Roman Lily) is a hearty portion seasoned with poblano peppers atop mashed potatoes, under a jalapeno gravy. Don’t worry. It’s not very spicy. My favorite starter is the slightly-sour fried tomatillos, served with a chipotle aioli. Killer dessert: a fat slice of pecan pie topped with caramel-drizzled vanilla ice cream. (560 Dutch Valley Rd., 404-7481498, www.facebook.com/MadreMason) The Luminary: Nothing says love like French brasserie cuisine. Luminary is my favorite spot in the Krog Street Market. It’s kind of noisy, but not unbearably so. There’s a www.thegeorgiavoice.com
Murphy’s braised brisket over mashed potatoes, topped with green beans (Photo by Cliff Bostock)
raw bar, so you can feast on oysters, famous as an aphrodisiac (and thus good for long-term couples who have lost sexual pizazz). The menu here is French-American, so you can start with pork rinds with ranch dressing or a walnut-lentil pate with candied garlic and toast. My favorite entrée is the classic, buttery steak-frites—a hanger steak with fries. I also like the crepe with braised lamb neck, lentils, and puréed carrots. (99 Krog St., 404-6006199, www.theluminary.com) El Super Pan: Want a fun, comparatively inexpensive meal? Head to Ponce City Market and check out Super Pan. My longtime favorite is the Cuban-inspired Medio Dia, a pressed submarine stuffed with adobo-roasted pork, chicharrones (crispy pork skin), clove-baked ham, Swiss cheese, chayote pickles, and pineapplehabanero mustard. It’s really like putting love in your mouth. (675 Ponce de Leon Ave., 404600-2465, www.elsuperpan.com) A few cautions: You should call for reservations before you show up at a restaurant. Valentine’s Day is on a Sunday this year, so brunch will be an option at some places. Some restaurants may have special Valentine’s Day menus. Cliff Bostock, PhD, is a longtime Atlanta food critic and former psychotherapist who now practices life coaching for creative types; 404-518-4415. February 5, 2016 Columnists 23
Our Guide to the Best LGBT Events in Atlanta for Feb. 5-18
TA N A AT L EVENT
FRIDAY, FEB. 5
Atlanta Ballet presents ‘Moulin Rouge’ tonight at 8 p.m. with various showtimes through Feb. 13, Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, www.cobbenergycentre.com (Photo by Charlie McCullers/Atlanta Ballet)
FRIDAY, FEB. 5
Sean Dorsey Dance presents the acclaimed “The Missing Generation,” featuring interviews with those affected by the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s and 1990s, including several Atlanta natives, 8 p.m. through Sunday, Feb. 7, 7 Stages, www.7stages.org
EVENT SPOTLIGHT SUNDAY, FEB. 7
Come down to the Atlanta Eagle for an art show and silent auction to see Steve Rush’s provocative paintings of the male figure, and bid on some of them. The event is a fundraiser for Rush, who will be in attendance to autograph his work, 2–5 p.m., www.atlantaeagle.com. (Courtesy image)
24 Best Bets February 5, 2016
Latrice Royale of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” comes to town for Mardi Gras at Burkhart’s, 11 p.m., www.burkharts.com
SATURDAY, FEB. 6
My Sister’s Room presents Love to Love, a lesbian singles mixer by Atlanta Womyn to Womyn, 5–8 p.m., www.mysistersroom.com Bring a great dish and plenty to talk about to the Lesbian 50+ Potluck and Social, 6–8 p.m., Rush Center Annex, www.rushcenteratl.org Be their guest! Broadway Across Amer-
ica brings the crowd favorite, “Beauty and the Beast,” to the Fox Theatre through Feb. 7, with an 8 p.m. curtain this evening, www.foxtheatre.org Written by out Atlanta playwright Margaret Edson, the acclaimed, Pulitzer Prize-winning drama “Wit” is being staged by Aurora Theatre in an excellent production, with an 8 p.m. performance today through Feb. 7, www.auroratheatre.com DJ Rob Reum anchors the Masquerade Ball 2016 at TEN Atlanta, www.tenatlanta.com DJ Alexander heats up the Jungle crowd beginning at 10:30 p.m., www.jungleatl.com
SUNDAY, FEB. 7
J Scott Anthony spins at Xion Atlanta this morning, beginning at 3 a.m., www.facebook.com/ events/1508659712763029
Authors Michael McConnell, Jack Baker, and Gail Langer Karwoski discuss and sign copies of their new book, “The Wedding Heard ‘Round the World: America’s First Gay Marriage” at Atlanta area events, including 11 a.m. at Williams Teusink Law Offices (The High House, 309 Sycamore Street, Decatur, GA 30030) and at the Phillip Rush Center (1530 DeKalb Ave. NE, Atlanta, GA 30307) at 3 p.m. The Hideaway hosts a beer bust from 2–5 p.m. benefiting the Atlanta Bucks, and then a hotdog bar beer bust from 6–9 p.m. with special guests the Armorettes, www.atlantahideaway.com Carolina Panthers or Denver Broncos? Friends on Ponce hosts a Chili Cookoff and Super Bowl watching event, 4 p.m., www.friendsonponce-atl.com Not into football? Newnan Theatre Company presents Steve Martin’s play
TELL US ABOUT YOUR LGBT EVENT Submit your LGBT event for inclusion in our online and print calendars by emailing event info to firstname.lastname@example.org “Picasso at the Lapin Agile” today at 8 p.m., with performances next weekend as well, through Feb. 14, www.newnantheatre.org
MONDAY, FEB. 8
It’s the biggest film festival in the city—the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival runs through Feb. 17, numerous area venues, www.ajff.org
TUESDAY, FEB. 9
Join Atlanta Pride and Touching Up Our Roots for the second annual “Our Founding Valentines” to recognize Atlanta’s LGBTQ trailblazers. Recognized will be Mona Bennett, Charlie Brown, Dee Dee Chamblee, Judy Colbs, Jesse Peel, Duncan Teague and Ray Kluka (posthumously). The event is free and open to the public. Hors d’oeuvres will be served and there will be a cash bar for ages 21 and over. 6:30–8:30 p.m., Bantam + Biddy, 3393 Peachtree Rd., Atlanta, GA 30326
FRIDAY, FEB. 12
SCAD FASH, the Savannah College of Art and Design’s museum celebrating fashion and film, presents ‘Be Yourself; Everyone Else Is Already Taken’—the first U.S. exhibition featuring the work of artist, stylist and designer Daniel Lismore—through April 1, www.scadfash.org (Photo via Facebook) Brent Star is the host for Twisted Thursdays at Las Margaritas, lasmargaritasmidtown.com The Pretty Girl Hideout Thursdays is tonight, hosted by Mook Dahost, Soul Bar at Pal’s Lounge, 254 Auburn Ave., Atlanta, GA 30303, www.traxxgirls.com
J’s Lounge is the home for Rainbow Tuesdays, with Dymond Onasis and Nicole Paige Brooks leading the fun and DJ Destin providing house music, 1995 Windy Hill Road #1, Smyrna, GA 30080
FRIDAY, FEB. 12
WEDNESDAY, FEB. 10
Atlanta Lyric Theatre opens the musical, “The Full Monty,” the tale of everyday blokes in England dropping trousers to raise money, with a gay subplot, tonight at 8 p.m., running through Feb. 28, www.atlantalyrictheatre.com
The Alvin Ailey Dance Theater brings its new repertoire and “Revelations” to the ATL, tonight at 8 p.m. through Feb. 14, Fox Theatre, www.foxtheatre.o rg Burkhart’s hosts the Humpday Karaoke Competition with Darlene Majewski, 10:30 p.m., burkharts.com
THURSDAY, FEB. 11
SAGE Atlanta hosts its social hour— with cards, coffee, table tennis and conversation—at 10 a.m. at the Rush Center Annex, www.rushcenteratl.org The Alliance Theatre continues the Pulitzer Prize-winning drama, “Disgraced” tonight at 7:30 p.m., running through Feb. 14, www.alliancetheatre.com
Enjoy Party Pops hits with DJ Doug from 5–9 p.m., and then the Deadly Vixens drag show begins at 11 p.m., www.blakesontheparkatlanta.com
The Heretic brings DJ Barry Harris to town for Furball Atlanta, 9 p.m., www.hereticatlanta.com
SATURDAY, FEB. 13
Cockpit Atlanta, newly re-opened, holds a beer bust for the 2016 Hotlanta softball season, 4–8 p.m., www.facebook.com/events/1697277560488127 Joining Hearts presents Love on the Rocks, a Valentine’s Cocktail party from 7–10 p.m. with beats by DJ Mike Pope;
Cantoni Furniture, 1011 Monroe Drive, Atlanta, GA 30306 Women’s Outdoor Network hosts a dance party at Amsterdam Atlanta with food and drink specials from 8 p.m.– midnight, www.amsterdamatlanta.com It’s Southern Bear Night at the Atlanta Eagle, 10 p.m.–3 a.m., www.atlantaeagle.com Legendary Children’s Black Hearts Ball, featuring Maz from “RuPaul’s Drag Race” Season 7 and DJ Male and Silk Wolf, is a dance party and drag showcase including some of Atlanta’s most talented vixens, including Arrianna Paris, Brigitte Bidet, Dynasty St. James, Kryean Kally, Lavonia Elberton and Taylor Alxndr. All proceeds will be given to Lost-n-Found Youth. 10 p.m., the Heretic, www.hereticatlanta.com
SUNDAY, FEB. 14
Lips Atlanta hosts Valentine’s Day “Love Love Love” with a special brunch and dinner, www.lipsatl.com Enjoy a playful and energizing partner yoga practice to deepen your connections followed by Thai massage techniques for sweet relaxation. Bring a
CONTINUES ON PAGE 26
EVENT SPOTLIGHT THURSDAY, FEB. 11
Do you want to read books by amazing black women writers? Do you want to discuss works from black feminist perspectives? Then the Black Feminist Book Club is for you! Charis Circle board co-chair Susana Morris will be the facilitator of this group. Tonight’s book is Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s ‘Americanah.’ The suggested donation is $5. 7–9 p.m., Charis Books, www.charisbooksandmore.com (Photo via Facebook)
February 5, 2016 Best Bets 25
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 25 friend or loved one (or come meet someone new!), a mat or towel, and an adventurous spirit. Beginner-friendly, all bodies welcome. Taught by Rebecca Holohan, LMT; Register online: sojourngsd.org/calendar, 4–5:30 p.m., Rush Center Annex, www.rushcenteratl.org
MONDAY, FEB. 15
Trans and Friends is a youth-focused group for trans people, people questioning their own gender, and aspiring allies. Charis Books offers a facilitated space to discuss gender, relevant resources, and activism around social issues. 7–8:30 p.m., www.charisbooksandmore.com
TUESDAY, FEB. 16
Art It Out Therapy Center is now offering an Expressive Art Therapy Group for LGBTQ Teens on Tuesdays. Through art, the group will explore self-identity, coping with stress, intimate and parental relationships, and coming out. 7 p.m., 255 Village Parkway (in Paper Mill Village), Suite 580, Marietta, GA 30067 Come out and enjoy Ellie’s Trivia Night at 7 p.m., Faces Lounge in Marietta, faceslounge.com
26 Best Bets February 5, 2016
WEDNESDAY, FEB. 17
Tanyla Cassadine and Trinity k. Bonet host the Atlanta Jewel Showcase every Thursday night at 11:30 p.m., Mixx Atlanta, www.mixxatlanta.com
THURSDAY, FEB. 18
Jack Daddi provides a wild karaoke show, 10:30 p.m.–1 a.m., The Hideaway Atlanta, www.atlantahideaway.com
DJ David spins tonight while the boys of BJ’s come out, 9 p.m., BJ Roosters, 2043 Cheshire Bridge Road, Atlanta, GA 30324 Mark your calendars to join MAAP (Metro Atlanta Association of Professionals) at 6 p.m. at TEN Atlanta for an evening of new connections and expanding your professional network, www.tenatlanta.com Heart2Heart: A Community Discussion About HIV/AIDS in Atlanta, hosted by Joining Hearts, is tonight at 7 p.m. at the Loews Atlanta Hotel, 1065 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta, GA 30309 Oscar winner and out actor Joel Grey visits the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta to talk about his memoir, “Master of Ceremonies,” and sign copies, 7:30 p.m., www.atlantajcc.org Charis and Cliterati pair up to present an inviting and fierce open mic & reading series on the third Thursday of every month. February’s feature is Monica Raye Simpson. Monica is the Executive Director of SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective. 7:30–9 p.m., www.charisbooksandmore.com
UPCOMING FRIDAY, FEB. 19
The Atlanta Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce has rescheduled its January Fourth Friday event to tonight. It’s a combined membership drive and networking night, 5:30–7:30 p.m., Atlanta History Center, 130 West Paces Ferry Rd. NW, Atlanta, GA 30305
LGBT writer Rashod Ollison reads from his new memoir, “Soul Serenade; Rhythm, Blues & Coming of Age Through Vinyl” at A Cappella Books, 6 p.m., www.acappellabooks.com
SUNDAY, FEB. 21
The PFLAG Support Group for parents and families of LGBTQ individuals meets from 2:30–4 p.m. today, Spiritual Living Center of Atlanta, 1730 Northeast Expressway NE, Atlanta, GA 30329
SOLUTION TO PUZZLE ON PAGE 31
SATURDAY, FEB. 20
Politics, sex, religion, loss, and beauty—all the topics that you can’t talk about over dinner but can at a museum—are open for discussion in “Art AIDS America,” an exhibition that reveals for the first time how the AIDS crisis forever changed American art. It opens at the Kennesaw State University Zuckerman Museum of Art today and is the only Southern stop on its national tour, zuckerman.kennesaw.edu
“Astonishingly creative…with a brilliant sound, fresh ideas, impeccable rhythm and an overall approach that honors tradition without being shackled to the past.” –The Wall Street Journal
As a child growing up in France, jazz singer Cyrille Aimée was captivated by the music of gypsies and would sneak out of her house to join them in song. Today, gypsy swing is only one part of the French-Dominican singer’s repertoire, which includes Brazilian songs, classic jazz standards, and original pieces. She won both the Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition and first prize in the Montreux Jazz Festival vocal competition.
“In a voice that can be confiding or terrifying, and movement that can be ugly or sinuous, she holds the show together, lending her story unexpected emotional and physical contours.” –The New York Times
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THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID By MELISSA CARTER
Enterprising sex and failing Have you ever watched a sex scene in a movie and it inspired you to try something new in the bedroom? Sometimes that adventurous spirit leads to disappointing results. I once went camping with a girlfriend in north Georgia, tent and all. Our campsite was alongside a beautiful stream, and on a sunny afternoon we took a cooler of beer to hang out alongside the water. You’ve seen onscreen couples play with ice, so as one thing led to another we began to enjoy our time together using some ice from the cooler. A few days later I had to make an appointment with my OB/GYN, because apparently water from the stream got into the cooler and spread bacteria onto the ice. You can use your imagination on where exactly my infection was. It seems to be a problem for many people. Cosmopolitan UK once held a poll of disappointing romps; several ended in injury: “I dislocated a guy’s shoulder during sex once. It was just an extra vigorous session, and I had my foot up on his shoulder. Turns out, he has weak shoulders. Who’d have known, eh?” “I was having outdoor sex under a patch of trees and thought it would be really Tarzan and Jane to try it while I sat in a tree nook. All was going OK until I felt a sharp pain in my nether regions. I kicked my boyfriend off and asked him to check it out. I must have sat on a bee.” “One time when my boyfriend was lying on top of me, I went to move my arm and somehow stabbed him really hard in the nostril with my finger. He let out a big “oww!” and then loads of blood started dripping out of his nose. He had to make a dash to the toilet whilst still completely naked and trying to avoid my mum who was upstairs at the time. Needless to say it killed the moment a bit.” Enterprising sex can be disappointing for famous people too. Jenny McCarthy told the Huffington Post about a trip she took to the
“I’ve learned that the ultimate goal of sex is not just the happy ending, but also trying to stay out of a doctor’s office in the process.” Grand Canyon with her partner. “I can say I did it in the Grand Canyon,” McCarthy said, “But the bottom of the Grand Canyon is not fun. There’s like scorpions and stones and dirt and it’s hot. It was like the strangest and worst sex of my life.” What if your partner’s personality is itself the adventure? Armie Hammer told Elle magazine about a woman who tried to stab him while they were having sex. “She was like, ‘True love leaves scars. You don’t have any,’” said Hammer. “And then she tried to stab me with a butcher knife. Of course, I promptly broke up with her. Seven months later.” The topic of sex often causes insecurity, because as a society we are made to feel inferior if the frequency, quality, or risk involved in our sex lives is not up to par with what we perceive everyone else’s to be. Don’t be fooled. I’ve learned that the ultimate goal of sex is not just the happy ending, but also trying to stay out of a doctor’s office in the process. Melissa Carter is one of the Morning Show hosts on B98.5. In addition, she is a writer for the Huffington Post. She is recognized as one of the first out radio personalities in Atlanta and one of the few in the country. Follow her on Twitter@MelissaCarter
28 Columnists February 5, 2016 www.thegeorgiavoice.com
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30 Columnists February 5, 2016
2/1/16 2:36 PM
I miss my sex life. Most of all, I miss being able to masturbate without hearing the boner-crushing creak of a door opening. When my nephew and his girlfriend moved into my one-bedroom apartment with me last fall, I made a slight misjudgment in giving them my bedroom while I camped out in the living room. Given that they were leaving the South Side of Chicago to pursue a better life, it was important to me that their new environment was comfortable and stable, rather than them feeling like transients bumming on my couches. It was also a strategic attempt to preserve a bit of privacy, so that I, and any guests, would not have to endure a walk of shame through the living room. However, in the four months they’ve lived with me, I’ve had only one sexcapade while they were in the apartment. With my nephew being 20 and his girlfriend 18, I believed they were mature enough to appreciate my request for them to remain in the bedroom while I had a little boo company. However, at the exact moment of penetration, heard the bedroom door open, causing me and my nude companion to dive under covers. Whoever opened the door didn’t come into the darkened living room, but aside from the eventual sex, the episode was unpleasant enough for me to arrange for hookups only when neither of them are home, which is rare. The more dire—daily—challenge has been trying to jack off without interruption, and is my only regret about our living arrangement. It’s easy to lose track of the frequency of one’s masturbation when living alone. I now yearn for the predawn and late-night drone of televisions, although even in those solitary hours, I watch porn on my cellphone instead of laptop because its more discreet and easier to dim, and there’s a perennial risk of hearing their bedroom door open. Blessedly, they’ve signed a lease for an apartment they’ll be moving into in a few days, but the imminent return of my sexual satisfaction ranks low in my thoughts. I’m
“I now yearn for the predawn and late-night drone of televisions, although even in those solitary hours, I watch porn on my cellphone instead of laptop because it’s more discreet and easier to dim ...” proud of the two of them—their courage to leave everything they’ve ever known, and their commitment to fighting for more than what had always been awaiting them in Chicago. They made the experience far less burdensome than I had feared, as both found jobs within a month of their arrival. All three of us have made missteps, of course, and I’m concerned they may be on the brink of their biggest thus far. I called them South Side refugees when I first wrote about them coming to Atlanta, and my nephew has the noble instinct to reach back and rescue his older brother, his girlfriend and their infant daughter by bringing them down to share their two-bedroom apartment. I’ve objected to the wisdom and timing of this immediate resettlement in the bluntest, most alarmist terms possible, but accept its inevitability. This will be their apartment, their first apartment; their lives, their young and hopeful lives; their mistakes to learn from or odds to defy. I worry about their unripe instincts, but I trust their grit. Ryan Lee is an Atlanta writer. www.thegeorgiavoice.com
LAST WORD QPuzzle HAPPY ANNIVERSARY
ACROSS 1 Part of an actor’s pay between parts? 5 R.E.M. frontman Michael 10 Israeli statesman 14 Give a good beating to 15 Fable fellow 16 Building manager, briefly 17 How some chatter 18 Jeremy of _M. Butterfly_ 19 You don’t want them in your pants 20 President from a southern state 23 Fam. docs 24 Foucault’s farewells 25 Peru’s ___ Picchu 27 Ivan of the court 28 Capone and Capp 31 Really feel for? 33 Peter Pan opponent 36 “Why would ___?” 37 Policy started by 20-Across and ended by 56-Across five years ago 42 Penetrating reed 43 Poet Edna St. Vincent ___ 44 “Over my dead body!” 46 Bridal bio word 47 Prop department jewelry 52 Leisure fabric 54 One who does it doggie style?
55 Have the blahs 56 President from a _very_ southern state 60 Lorca’s half-dozen 62 Billy Elliot portrayer Bell 63 Omar of _ER_ 64 Kinsey org. 65 Fragile layer 66 Fruit flavor for gin 67 Lambda Leg. Defense lawyer, e.g. 68 Bowling alley button 69 Gay wedding guide author Ayers DOWN 1 Like Krippendorf’s group 2 Chemical salt 3 Earn, slangily 4 Emulated Vidal Sassoon, e.g. 5 Travels with one’s first mate 6 Polo of _The Fosters_ 7 Has the stage 8 Bordeaux bridge 9 Race site in Auden’s land 10 Peruvian pronoun 11 Anal opening, in slang 12 1998 Ian McKellen film 13 Costner character 21 Part of an apology 22 Albert to Armand, in _The Birdcage_ 26 Lit ___ (English major’s class)
28 Alan of _Little Miss Sunshine_ 29 Utensil for giving “more” in _Oliver_ 30 Went to second, to Billy Bean 32 Phallic fish 34 Belief system 35 Doe in Disney’s _Bambi_ 37 Mafia figure 38 Like a slave to a master 39 Patricia Highsmith, as a writer 40 Student on _Glee_, e.g. 41 Universal donor 45 Part of Adam in a Cukor film? 48 If all goes right 49 Vibrator, to a sex toy shop 50 Beats, to Bernstein 51 Uses a rubber 53 Air Force rank of Adrianna Vorderbruggen, who advocated repeal of 37-Across 54 Shooting type 55 Tibet setting 57 Opposite of erect 58 Israeli author Oz 59 Movie theater 61 Oink pen Answers on page 26
February 5, 2016 Last Word 31
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Join us for our Sex & Dating Issue. Whether you're in active pursuit or avoiding the two: we take a look at how technology, sex clubs, disab...
Published on Feb 4, 2016
Join us for our Sex & Dating Issue. Whether you're in active pursuit or avoiding the two: we take a look at how technology, sex clubs, disab...