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That’s why starting and staying on HIV-1 treatment is so important.

What is DESCOVY ?

What are the other possible side effects of DESCOVY?

DESCOVY is a prescription medicine that is used together with other HIV-1 medicines to treat HIV-1 in people 12 years and older. DESCOVY is not for use to help reduce the risk of getting HIV-1 infection. DESCOVY combines 2 medicines into 1 pill taken once a day. Because DESCOVY by itself is not a complete treatment for HIV-1, it must be used together with other HIV-1 medicines.

Serious side effects of DESCOVY may also include:


DESCOVY does not cure HIV-1 infection or AIDS. To control HIV-1 infection and decrease HIV-related illnesses, you must keep taking DESCOVY. Ask your healthcare provider if you have questions about how to reduce the risk of passing HIV-1 to others. Always practice safer sex and use condoms to lower the chance of sexual contact with body fluids. Never reuse or share needles or other items that have body fluids on them.

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION What is the most important information I should know about DESCOVY? DESCOVY may cause serious side effects: •

Buildup of an acid in your blood (lactic acidosis), which is a serious medical emergency. Symptoms of lactic acidosis include feeling very weak or tired, unusual muscle pain, trouble breathing, stomach pain with nausea or vomiting, feeling cold (especially in your arms and legs), feeling dizzy or lightheaded, and/or a fast or irregular heartbeat.

Changes in body fat, which can happen in people taking HIV-1 medicines. Changes in your immune system. Your immune system may get stronger and begin to fight infections. Tell your healthcare provider if you have any new symptoms after you start taking DESCOVY. Kidney problems, including kidney failure. Your healthcare provider should do blood and urine tests to check your kidneys. Your healthcare provider may tell you to stop taking DESCOVY if you develop new or worse kidney problems. Bone problems, such as bone pain, softening, or thinning, which may lead to fractures. Your healthcare provider may do tests to check your bones.

The most common side effect of DESCOVY is nausea. Tell your healthcare provider if you have any side effects that bother you or don’t go away. What should I tell my healthcare provider before taking DESCOVY? •

Serious liver problems. The liver may become large and fatty. Symptoms of liver problems include your skin or the white part of your eyes turning yellow (jaundice); dark “tea-colored” urine; lightcolored bowel movements (stools); loss of appetite; nausea; and/or pain, aching, or tenderness on the right side of your stomach area.

All your health problems. Be sure to tell your healthcare provider if you have or have had any kidney, bone, or liver problems, including hepatitis virus infection. All the medicines you take, including prescription and overthe-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Other medicines may affect how DESCOVY works. Keep a list of all your medicines and show it to your healthcare provider and pharmacist. Ask your healthcare provider if it is safe to take DESCOVY with all of your other medicines. If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. It is not known if DESCOVY can harm your unborn baby. Tell your healthcare provider if you become pregnant while taking DESCOVY.

You may be more likely to get lactic acidosis or serious liver problems if you are female, very overweight, or have been taking DESCOVY for a long time. In some cases, lactic acidosis and serious liver problems have led to death. Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any symptoms of these conditions.

Worsening of hepatitis B (HBV) infection. DESCOVY is not approved to treat HBV. If you have both HIV-1 and HBV and stop taking DESCOVY, your HBV may suddenly get worse. Do not stop taking DESCOVY without first talking to your healthcare provider, as they will need to monitor your health.

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit, or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

If you are breastfeeding (nursing) or plan to breastfeed. Do not breastfeed. HIV-1 can be passed to the baby in breast milk.

Please see Important Facts about DESCOVY, including important warnings, on the following page.

Ask your healthcare provider if an HIV-1 treatment that contains DESCOVY® is right for you.

IMPORTANT FACTS This is only a brief summary of important information about DESCOVY® and does not replace talking to your healthcare provider about your condition and your treatment.



DESCOVY may cause serious side effects, including: • Buildup of lactic acid in your blood (lactic acidosis), which is a serious medical emergency that can lead to death. Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of these symptoms: feeling very weak or tired, unusual muscle pain, trouble breathing, stomach pain with nausea or vomiting, feeling cold (especially in your arms and legs), feeling dizzy or lightheaded, and/or a fast or irregular heartbeat. • Severe liver problems, which in some cases can lead to death. Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of these symptoms: your skin or the white part of your eyes turns yellow (jaundice); dark “tea-colored” urine; loss of appetite; light-colored bowel movements (stools); nausea; and/or pain, aching, or tenderness on the right side of your stomach area. • Worsening of hepatitis B (HBV) infection. DESCOVY is not approved to treat HBV. If you have both HIV-1 and HBV, your HBV may suddenly get worse if you stop taking DESCOVY. Do not stop taking DESCOVY without first talking to your healthcare provider, as they will need to check your health regularly for several months. You may be more likely to get lactic acidosis or severe liver problems if you are female, very overweight, or have been taking DESCOVY or a similar medicine for a long time.

DESCOVY can cause serious side effects, including: • Those in the “Most Important Information About DESCOVY” section. • Changes in body fat. • Changes in your immune system. • New or worse kidney problems, including kidney failure. • Bone problems. The most common side effect of DESCOVY is nausea. These are not all the possible side effects of DESCOVY. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you have any new symptoms while taking DESCOVY. Your healthcare provider will need to do tests to monitor your health before and during treatment with DESCOVY.

ABOUT DESCOVY • DESCOVY is a prescription medicine that is used together with other HIV-1 medicines to treat HIV-1 in people 12 years of age and older. DESCOVY is not for use to help reduce the risk of getting HIV-1 infection. • DESCOVY does not cure HIV-1 or AIDS. Ask your healthcare provider about how to prevent passing HIV-1 to others.

HOW TO TAKE DESCOVY • DESCOVY is a one pill, once a day HIV-1 medicine that is taken with other HIV-1 medicines. • Take DESCOVY with or without food.

BEFORE TAKING DESCOVY Tell your healthcare provider if you: • Have or had any kidney, bone, or liver problems, including hepatitis infection. • Have any other medical condition. • Are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. • Are breastfeeding (nursing) or plan to breastfeed. Do not breastfeed if you have HIV-1 because of the risk of passing HIV-1 to your baby. Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take: • Keep a list that includes all prescription and over-thecounter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements, and show it to your healthcare provider and pharmacist. • Ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist about medicines that should not be taken with DESCOVY.

GET MORE INFORMATION • This is only a brief summary of important information about DESCOVY. Talk to your healthcare provider or pharmacist to learn more. • Go to or call 1-800-GILEAD-5 • If you need help paying for your medicine, visit for program information.

DESCOVY, the DESCOVY Logo, GILEAD, the GILEAD Logo, and LOVE WHAT’S INSIDE are trademarks of Gilead Sciences, Inc., or its related companies. All other marks referenced herein are the property of their respective owners. © 2016 Gilead Sciences, Inc. All rights reserved. DVYC0019 11/16


LGBT-inclusive ‘Georgia Civil Rights Act’ introduced in state Senate Bill to prohibit discrimination based on gender, sexual orientation By DALLAS ANNE DUNCAN Georgia is one step closer to equal rights for all its citizens, including those who are LGBT. On Feb. 9, the state Legislative Black Caucus officially introduced Senate Bill 119 — the Georgia Civil Rights Act. “In 1967, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King called for civil rights and protections that reach far beyond the color of our skin. He called for systematic and economic justice and it is in that spirit that we introduce Senate Bill 119,” said the bill’s author, Sen. Lester Jackson (D-Savannah). Rep. Park Cannon (D-Atlanta), one of the state’s four openly LGBT legislators, praised SB 119, which comes almost a year after she started her time in office. “[The bill] will provide a way for us to have a better conversation about how civil rights is inclusive of LGBTQ+ rights and how we’re working together here. I hope that this is a message that comes out from us to our constituents that we hear your concerns and we’re working hard to make sure that everyone is protected here in the state of Georgia,” Cannon said. SB 119 creates full protections in public accommodations for people based on a number of factors, including gender identity, sex, sexual orientation, race, religion and national origin. It also puts in place a Public Accommodations Division, which will be charged with enforcing the law, including investigating claims of discrimination and issuing fines. Jackson said violators of the law will be fined $10,000 for the first offense, $25,000 for the second and $50,000 for the third, if the latter two offenses occur within certain time periods of the first.

The pathway to passage “This bill will go to judiciary and we’ve asked the chairman for a formal hearing so we can talk about rights and justice,” Jackson said, adding the committee seemed open to the discussion. Last year, legislators tried a similar measure that didn’t make it far. For 2017, a new strategy: there will be a companion bill

State Sen. Lester Jackson (D-Savannah), flanked by fellow members of the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus, introduces Senate Bill 119 at a Feb. 9 press conference. (Photo by Dallas Anne Duncan)

“In 1967, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King called for civil rights and protections that reach far beyond the color of our skin. He called for systematic and economic justice and it is in that spirit that we introduce Senate Bill 119.” —State Sen. Lester Jackson (D-Savannah), author of SB 119 sued in the House as well. Cannon said after the House Democratic Caucus shared its legislative priorities, concern arose that there weren’t any bills speaking up about LGBT rights. “We reminded people that we are a twopart structure and we have been working as hard as we can with the Senate to create a bill and to propose a bill that we feel will actually have movement,” she said. Public comment was key in spurring on the creation of SB 119. “Georgia’s only one of three states [without such protections], and the other states are South Carolina and Mississippi. We don’t wanna — I’m not saying anything bad about those two other states, but we don’t want to be in that number. We’re better than that,” Jackson said. “What we do here may encourage South Carolina or Mississippi to get on board.” He said the way laws are now, Georgians have “few protections against discrimination” compared to the average American, and even fewer if they identify as LGBT. He said it’s the state government’s responsibility to reinforce the idea that discrimination of any kind will not be tolerated in the Peach State.

“This is a discussion Georgians in general are ready to have and a discussion that over 350,000 lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Georgians desperately need to have happen so that we know we are offered the same protections under the law that any other group currently enjoys,” said Jeff Graham, executive director for Georgia Equality. “There is a clear gap between some of the basic civil rights protections citizens are afforded here in Georgia versus other states. It’s time for Georgia lawmakers to address our state’s outdated protections and expand them to include commonsense protection for all Georgians from discrimination.” Cannon said the bill will reach into the rural pockets of Georgia, as well as facilities such as senior centers, where discrimination is rampant. “This bill would make it so we would not have to have individual Georgians fighting their individual municipalities and their individual institutions,” she said.

‘We are not coming for your religion’ Jackson said SB 119 is a response of sorts to the push for “religious freedom” bills that allow certain religious groups and businesses

to discriminate against those they feel do not live their same principles. The civil rights bill will protect all Georgians from any sort of workplace, public accommodation and housing discrimination. “We are not coming for your religion,” Cannon said. “I personally love my god and I know that the work that we our doing in our religious spaces has an equal seat at the table. We are not trying to take anything away but we are definitely fighting for what Coretta Scott King was fighting for many years ago.” SB 119 is thorough: each section of the Official Code of Georgia that offers protections is addressed, something that adds teeth, Jackson said. He said the law will serve as a message to Congress and the White House that Georgia won’t stand for discrimination against anyone, regardless of creed, color or gender. “Civil rights has long been an important issue for this caucus and as the largest black caucus in the nation, we have a duty to fight for civil rights in every way possible and for every person possible,” said Rep. Erica Thomas (D-Austell). “We will not only continue to resist, but we will persist in the Georgia Civil Rights Act as part of that commitment.” February 17, 2017 News 5


The Otherside Lounge bombing 20 years later Former manager revisits scene of crime, patrons reflect, bomber claims success By DALLAS ANNE DUNCAN It’s a sunny day in February, just cool enough to require a jacket. The traffic hustles down Atlanta’s Piedmont Road, and occasionally a car turns into the parking lot at 1924. Most of the two-story brick building there is home to Midtown Urology. It’s hard to believe that 20 years ago, 1924 Piedmont Road was home to a bar where two bombs were hidden by a man named Eric Robert Rudolph. He didn’t like LGBT people. And he especially didn’t like LGBT people who owned bars like Otherside Lounge, putting their sexuality in the public eye.

In the beginning Long before Atlanta heard of Eric Rudolph, two women met on a blind date. Neither Dana Ford nor Beverly McMahon wanted to go. “I did it to make my friend shut up. He said, ‘You’ve got to do this. Just do this one.’ I said, ‘One time, that’s it, and it better be good,’” Dana said. Eric Rudolph Beverly was cautious of settling down, but fell in love instantly. The two began their lives in Florida, where Beverly opened up

“To this day, Eric Rudolph has never told me why he did that. He has refused. He has talked to the Olympic Park people, to the abortion clinic people. I will always wonder what really was behind it.” —Beverly McMahon, former owner of Otherside Lounge the first Otherside Lounge in Fort Lauderdale. Beverly decided to franchise it. She went to Atlanta and bought 1924 Piedmont. The family moved to the city, opened Otherside in 1990 and grew by two — Kellyann McMahon and Justin Ford. “It was very important to me early on that I would have a business, no matter what it would be, where everyone was welcome: gay, straight, black, white,” Beverly said. She loved talking to her customers. Sometimes, when they had no family left, Otherside became their family, turning the bar into a holiday feast for those who couldn’t go home.

A nightclub for the community “I don’t remember a lot, but the stuff that I do remember is kind of magical. I remember being there after hours or before hours when it was closed, my parents were doing their business and they would turn the disco ball on for me so I could play in the dance floor. I still love disco balls,” Kellyann said. Stacey L’Hoste, an Atlanta resident who

Above: Otherside Lounge’s former manager Dana Ford visits the scene of the crime 20 years later, standing next to where the second bomb went off. (Photo by Patrick Saunders); Inset: Otherside Lounge’s former owner Beverly McMahon (l) and Dana Ford at a press conference the day after the bombing. (Photo from Georgia State University Digital Collections via Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

frequented Otherside, remembers dancing under that same disco ball, drinking beer with her girlfriend and watching the late drag queen Amber Richardson perform. “It wasn’t just a lesbian bar,” Atlanta LGBT historian Dave Hayward said. “As a gay man, I felt perfectly comfortable going in there.” It was “really hard to get bored” once customers walked through the door. The Martini Room was home to music and comedians. Orchestras played in the early evenings for the older crowd, and the patio stage was the place to be on Friday nights. Ellen DeGeneres was known to visit, and Beverly remembers once telling her manager to kick off two girls singing on the patio stage — only to learn they weren’t just any two girls. They were the Indigo Girls. “It was a safe place to go, a place you could come to be yourself: period, dot, the end,” Dana said.

Feb. 21, 1997 It was a Friday, almost seven months after Centennial Park was bombed, and less than a month since a Sandy Springs abortion clinic was similarly attacked. Beverly and Dana were at home. “We heard a loud pop. I believe then our manager called and said he thought somebody was shot,” Beverly said. Dana, who had just returned home from the bar, left immediately. She’d missed the first bomb by a minute. She asked the valet to move her car, then walked inside. The fire department was triaging someone. In the Martini Room “somebody was bleeding profusely and being worked on aggressively.” Others were injured, including a woman named Memrie Wells-Creswell, who was later outed by then-mayor Bill Campbell and subsequently fired from her job.

6 News February 17, 2017

Authorities send a robot in to detonate the second device at Otherside Lounge (l), and the day after continue to investigate (r). (Screenshots via NBC)

It’s a decision part of her regrets.

‘The effect this man had on my family’

Atlanta Police Department vehicles parked across the street from Otherside Lounge the day after the bombing. (Photo from Georgia State University Digital Collections via Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

When Dana reached the smaller bar area, she saw the patio doors blown open. “Everything was strewn about and there were particles of shiny dust everywhere and holes in the ceiling of our tin roof. [The police officer] said, ‘I think it might have been a bomb.’ I said, ‘I think you might be right,’” Dana said. Emergency officials were prepared for a second bomb to go off. Dana realized the valet hadn’t moved her car, which absorbed most of the impact when a second bomb detonated. Justin and Kellyann’s car seats were in the back, covered in shattered glass. “I saw our two baby car seats on Piedmont Road with glass everywhere and shrapnel. I’ll never forget that, as long as I live,” Beverly said. Kellyann recalls her uncle picking her up that night with no explanation, and coming home to the FBI in the house. She and her brother don’t have direct memories of the bombing; only how it affected the rest of their lives. But Atlanta remembers. Hayward said having one of these bars, treated like shrines by the LGBT community, attacked is one of his greatest fears. “It was terrifying. It was really chilling,” Hayward said. “You all of a sudden break down in tears. It really just comes over you. That’s how I felt both times when the bombing happened.”

In the aftermath No one died when Rudolph bombed the Otherside, but he killed a dream. Now that people knew Otherside was a LGBT bar, some felt it was OK to send death threats. Dana remembers one that threatened to rape the women, to “make sure you like a man.” They refused to give in. They wanted the community to fight back the same way they were determined to. “What I remember about the bombing was that that was the tail end of the Lesbian Avengers,” said Sara Look, co-owner at Charis Books. “We didn’t call it a protest, but a bunch of us gathered on Piedmont with signs to protest homophobia.” Otherside reopened after renovations and Beverly hung on until 1999, but it was never the same. “I remember going back once they redid it and I remember people being like, happy it’s back and excited to be there,” L’Hoste said. “I remember being sad it closed.” The bombing cost nearly $5.8 million. Beverly also faced about 20 lawsuits, mostly from customers who felt she should have suspected an impending attack. “After a while that really got old, and I really think that was one of the major decisions of mine, saying this has taken too much out of the family,” Beverly said. “I’ll never forget when I took the keys in.”

The bombing changed Dana and Beverly. They tried to hide it, but this past Christmas as Justin and Kellyann perused home videos, they had a jarring realization. “You could hear the difference in the way that my moms spoke, or their body language was different, and that’s when it became really real for me, the effect this man had on my family,” Kellyann said. There is still speculation about why Rudolph selected Otherside. Beverly suspects her late brother, who performed abortions, could be a connection. “To this day, Eric Rudolph has never told me why he did that. He has refused. He has talked to the Olympic Park people, to the abortion clinic people,” Beverly said. “I will always wonder what really was behind it.” In his 2015 memoir, written behind the bars of the supermax prison in Colorado he’s in for life, Rudolph gives some hints. After he bombed Northside Family Planning in Sandy Springs, abortion clinics were on high alert. He chose to pick a different target, fixating on the federal hate crimes bill set to hit Congress: “I wanted to weigh in on the debate.” He looked through the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and found Otherside. “The Otherside Lounge was listed in the ‘lifestyles’ section as a ‘Gay/Lesbian Club.’ One of several Sodomite organizations in Atlanta, the Otherside was located in Midtown, which was a red-light district. Tactically, it was in a good location: heavily traveled and close to the freeway,” Rudolph writes. He placed one bomb around noon, hiding it behind bushes. A second bomb was dropped that night. “Level with the Otherside’s rear parking lot, I ducked behind the cars and headed for the screen of small trees that concealed the patio. The Otherside’s valets stood less than

20 feet away chatting,” he wrote. “I slipped past them and zeroed in on the patio, where I set the bomb down.” The bomb went off as Rudolph was making his escape. He fell, disoriented, but got away. It would be years before Rudolph would be caught and arrested while dumpster diving in Murphy, North Carolina. “All things considered, the attacks were successful,” he wrote. “Both Northside Family Planning and the Otherside Lounge went out of business.”

Beyond the bar Both Beverly, who works part-time from Florida, and Dana, now part of a nonprofit, say they’ve come out on the other side. “I hope we made the impact with the community,” Dana said. “If you want to go pencil to paper and do the finances of it, yes it was our savings; yes it was our retirement. But we’ve had two kids, we had a great life and we have a great community around us.” Beverly said they still receive letters from people who remember Otherside. They are all cherished, even 20 years later. Both Kellyann and Justin are proud of their moms. “The way they’ve kept their heads up through adversity, whether it be the bombing or previous run-ins before the bombing for being who they are, I find that incredibly inspiring. I think it’s something so admirable,” Justin said. His sister echoed his sentiments, commenting on the “tremendous strength” Dana and Beverly exhibited since that February night. “Safe space is so important, especially now in this political climate,” Kellyann said. “I hope to follow in their footsteps in that way.” Former Atlanta Mayor Bill Campbell and Memrie Wells-Creswell, who was injured in the bombing, were unable to be reached as of press time. For an extended version of this story, please visit February 17, 2017 News 7

NEWS BRIEFS Ga. Public Health Department settles lawsuit with homophobic doctor The Georgia Department of Public Health reached a $225,000 settlement this month with Dr. Eric Walsh, who was hired by DPH and let go within two weeks. Walsh was hired as a district health director for northwest Georgia in May 2014. Less than 10 days later, DPH rescinded the job offer. In addition to being a public health expert, Walsh was a Seventh-day Adventist preacher in California. Videos surfaced of Walsh preaching homophobic sermons, and he believes this is the reason he was fired. Walsh filed the lawsuit last year, alleging he was terminated for delivering sermons on homosexuality. DPH was accused of religious discrimination and retaliation. Walsh’s attorney, Jeremy Dys, told Fox News that “no one in this country should be fired from their job for something that was said in a church or from a pulpit during a sermon.” DPH officials said Walsh’s religious views had nothing to do with his offer being rescinded, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. “Georgia Department of Public Health policy requires the disclosure and written approval of secondary employment held by its employees,” according to a statement. “Dr. Walsh was extended a conditional offer of employment by DPH, subject to passing a routine background check. During the background check process, DPH learned Walsh failed to disclose outside employment to his previous public health employer, which also was in violation of California law.” In a news release, Walsh said he is grateful the trial is over. Dys called the settlement “a clear and resounding victory for religious freedom,” though DPH maintains that Walsh was fired for violating both California law and its policies on secondary employment disclosure.

Georgia Rep. Tom Price’s confirmation to HHS dismays LGBT advocates On Feb. 9, Congressman Tom Price, who represents Georgia’s district six, was narrowly confirmed as Donald Trump’s secretary of Health and Human Services. Fifty-two Senate Republicans voted “yes,” and all 47 Democrats present voted “no.” Price’s confirmation is seen as the first step to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. “By confirming Rep. Price today, the Senate voted to put healthcare for millions of Americans at risk,” said Mara Keisling,

The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) reached a $225,000 settlement this month with Dr. Eric Walsh, who was hired as a district health director with DPH in 2014 then had the job offer rescinded after videos surfaced of him preaching homophobic sermons. (File photo)

executive director or the National Center for Transgender Equality. Price’s record on LGBT rights is nothing to brag about. He voted for a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage; voted against hate crimes protection and employment non-discrimination; voted “no” on a “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy repeal; and in a conference call said a caller was “absolutely right” about the potential of negative health and fiscal effects of legislation promoting LGBT equality. “Too many LGBTQ people are still denied care, denied visitation rights and are treated unfairly by their providers,” Chad Griffin, president of Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement. “The Trump administration has floated executive order language that would allow the government to bankroll discrimination in all of those areas — and Tom Price’s alarming record shows that he’s the perfect rubber stamp for the president’s shameful proposals.”

Vandals tag Midtown car with homophobic, racist, anti-Semitic slurs The night before the Super Bowl, a car parked in Ansley Park was tagged with graffiti including the words “nigger,” “faggot,” “kyke” and “fag.” New Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields took the moment to re-affirm

her commitment to leading a city without hate, according to Saporta Report. “Atlanta is not going to be a city of hate,” Shields told Stephanie Russell in a phone call. Stephanie and her husband, Jerome — son of the late civil rights activist and builder Herman Russell — were away at a Super Bowl party when they received a call from their daughter. Her friend’s car was parked in front of their home and was vandalized, covered in racist slurs and sexually explicit drawings, as well as a misspelled reference to the Holocaust. Atlanta police sent a car to the Russells’ home that night to ensure there were no other incidents. They took fingerprints and DNA samples of dried saliva left on the car’s windows, where one of the vandals expectorated, and even brought in an investigator with Homeland Security. Police determined four teenage boys, who knew both the Russells’ daughter and her friend, were the culprits. Three of the boys apologized through phone calls, messages and letters left on the front porch. Their parents also spoke out and said this was not the way their sons were raised. The Russells hope to use the vandalism incident as a teachable moment, opening up discussion within the community to what it feels like to be African-American.

8 News February 17, 2017


Season Impromptu Pass WITH THE

FEBRUARY 22–MARCH 12, 2017 The event that shook Atlanta from Peachtree Street to Auburn Avenue And changed the city forever.



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directed by

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Generous support for this production of The Temple Bombing provided by The Temple, in honor of their 150th Anniversary. *Excludes opening night performances. Subject to availability. Excludes Kathy & Ken Bernhardt Theatre for the Very Young performances, which may be purchased as add-ons. Reservations may be made up to one week in advance of desired showtime.

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Outspoken “‘There has to be progression’ is a line that’s going to stick with me like another recent one that’s been in the news: ‘Nevertheless, she persisted.’”

PO Box 77401 • Atlanta, GA 30357 P: 404-815-6941; F: 404-963-6365


Editor: Patrick Saunders Deputy Editor: Dallas Anne Duncan Editorial Contributors: Ashleigh Atwell, Cliff Bostock, Melissa Carter, Jim Farmer, Shannon Hames, Bill Kaelin, Ryan Lee, Robbie Medwed, Matt Schafer, Dionne N. Walker, Simon Williamson


Art Director: Rob Boeger


Money matters, progress and coming out on the other side

Managing Partner/Publisher: Tim Boyd



I’ll be honest – putting together our annual financial (or “Pink Dollar”) issue is a stone-cold bummer. Taxes and money matters are important, of course, but they’re not thrilling. There are only so many different ways you can talk about tax tips and financial planning. And conveying the message of the articles and the issue visually? Even harder, as our Art Director Rob Boeger will attest to. But this isn’t supposed to be easy, and it wouldn’t be nearly as rewarding if it were, so we plow ahead each year trying to bring you interesting and timely content and introduce you to people doing interesting things in the business community. This year, we’ve got HLM Financial Group’s Tax and General Manager Mercedes Pasqualetti lined up to share some insight on what President Trump’s proposed changes in tax laws could mean for you. Spoiler alert: the changes appear to benefit who you expect they would. We also have the lowdown on a new report from the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce that shows the power of the LGBT dollar, and how strong the state of Georgia is as far as LGBT-owned businesses. And wrapping up the section is a look at eight of Atlanta’s LGBT business movers and shakers from various fields including wealth management, subscription meal services, government

Sales Executive: Dixon Taylor Business Advisor: Lynn Pasqualetti Financial Firm of Record: HLM Financial Group National Advertising: Rivendell Media, 908-232-2021

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

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10 Outspoken February 17, 2017

Otherside Lounge’s former manager Dana Ford last weekend at the site of the bar in Midtown off Piedmont Road. (Photo by Patrick Saunders)

contracting, apparel design and even dance music (hey, we are a LGBT media source). We’ve also got a special online-only piece from Paul Horning, senior vice president at Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, who gives advice on retirement planning. Though we typically dedicate the cover of this issue to our financial stories, this time around we made an exception and are devoting it to recognition of the 20th anniversary of the Otherside Lounge bombing. This is an anniversary I’ve had on my radar for a while now. We were looking to do a look back at the bombing last year for our Atlanta LGBT

history issue, but then I noticed the landmark anniversary was coming up, so we decided to wait until now. It’s also the kind of story I would have typically handled in my previous position as deputy editor, but luckily we had our new Deputy Editor Dallas Duncan in place to pick it up, and she did an excellent job marking the anniversary. It’s easy for stories like those to veer into the sensational, “if it bleeds, it leads” kind of territory, but Dallas avoided that and handled it with sensitivity without sacrificing the more difficult angles of the story that needed to be told. The story is also a reminder that we’re still fighting the same fights and facing the same fears now as we were then. Last June’s Pulse shooting confirmed that. I had the chance to meet Otherside Lounge’s former manager Dana Ford last weekend at the site of the bar, which is now Midtown Urology. I started taking her picture for the cover and noticed she was smiling. While continuing to take pictures, I told her that I wouldn’t ask her not to smile, but that it might not fit the tone of the article. “But there has to be progression,” she replied. And she was completely right. “There has to be progression” is a line that’s going to stick with me like another recent one that’s been in the news: “Nevertheless, she persisted.” There has to be progression from everything going on in the world right now, there just has to. And we at Georgia Voice intend to tell the stories that need to be told in the hopes that it helps us all get there.

OUT IN THE WILD Creepoftheweek By Simon Williamson

The price of hiding in the bubble Simon Williamson lives with his husband in heteronormatively-assimilative fashion in Athens, after a year of surviving rural Georgia.

“In terms of parallels to today, I am not insinuating that this president is going to create apartheid. But contemporary America is vulnerable to having absurd and discriminatory happenings go on as perfectly normal.” My formative years were in apartheid South Africa. I was too young to really appreciate the changes that happened in my country until I got older, and realized how incredibly easy my life was, and the severe horror of what most of my country suffered. What I do remember, quite clearly, is how incredibly normal it was to have grown up in those circumstances. It wasn’t abnormal in apartheid South Africa to never, ever see white people do menial work. It was reasonable to kill alleged criminals, or set dogs on “illegal immigrants” or for the police to do anything to protect the white population. It was normal to have a black woman clean up after you, having her do things you would never ask your mother to. It was standard to refer to adult black men as “boy,” and use racial slurs in condescending conversation with them as humor devices, jokes they were forced to laugh at because of the hierarchy they were stuck in. It was fucked up. But from my very white childhood point of view, in a very white milieu it was perfectly normal. In terms of parallels to today, I am not insinuating that this president is going to create apartheid. But contemporary America is vulnerable to having absurd and discriminatory happenings go on as perfectly normal. Just like many citizens of Atlanta never have to actually note the poverty of the city they live in, American people can insulate themselves from what their government does. Of course, this already happens. Just look at how often Obama’s record deportation numbers come up in conversation about what President Trump is doing to immigrants. But the scale

can be ramped up. Merely look at your new attorney general, who was too racist to be a judge in the 1980s, and who believes strongly in the carceral state, civil asset forfeiture (the formal term for the government taking away the belongings of the poor and selling it off to pad police budgets) and the dumbass “war on drugs,” all of which disproportionately hammer black Americans. This adds, heavily, to the continuation of decades of government discrimination upon the poor and black, much of which has only come to common light in recent years, despite generations of black Americans telling everyone about it. They weren’t listened to. In fact, the media and this nation’s politicians routinely and willfully ignored what they were being told, and campaigned on ignoring the concerns of many Americans. This can be ramped up. It is easy to live in a bubble where you don’t have to note the concerns of other people. Where police brutality and murder can be disguised as “law and order,” and where being able to throw LGBT people out of shops and hospitals can be flavored as “religious freedom.” Where the horrific care we take of our soldiers when they come home from active duty gets a cursory nod, and cutting up families dependent on their legal status is a-OK. Right now, most American voters don’t accept the premise that those are normal. But it is entirely possible to live in a society where it can happen. Being able to consume only media that fluffs your own prejudices wipes out a lot of the country talking, and hides what is happening. It can exist. Although on a different scale, I lived in it.

Milo Yiannopoulos, a racist, sexist, transphobic hatemonger By D’ANNE WITKOWSKI Milo Yiannopoulos is, essentially, a professional hate-tumor. He’s young, white and gay and says super outrageous hateful shit. And conservatives love him. College conservative groups love to invite him to come spew invective at their campuses across the country. He was slated to speak at UC Berkeley on Feb. 1 but protests, during which some protesters became violent, forced the school to cancel. You don’t have to do much digging to find racist and sexist shit Yiannopoulos has said. But a very good example is a speech he gave at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee in December 2016 where he showed the crowd the name and photo of a specific transgender student at the school and proceeded to mock her. “He got into the women’s room the way liberals always operate, using the government and the courts to weasel their way where they don’t belong,” Yiannopoulos said. He then declared that this student wasn’t succeeding in being a “passing tranny.” His argument, essentially, is that this

Milo Yiannopoulos

student was a threat to women on campus because she was trans and used the same locker rooms. Not exactly a new argument from the right, but this time it was,

literally, personal. Free speech doesn’t mean that you get a free pass to terrorize a trans student on campus because you happen to have a “differing viewpoint” about whether her life is worth anything or not. Free speech is a fundamental right, sure, but the fact that student conservative and Republican groups are paying Yiannopoulos, to spew his fascist garbage says an awful lot about what it means to be a conservative Republican these days. And by the looks of the protests against not just Yiannopoulos but also against Donald Trump, Americans will choose equality and justice over those who speak out against them.

February 17, 2017 Outspoken 11


Darlene Hudson and Craig Washington Longtime friends and activists reflect on their bond, unity in Atlanta By DIONNE N. WALKER BFFs. Peas in a pod. However you characterize it, it’s clear that well-known gay Atlanta activists Darlene Hudson and Craig Washington have a strong bond. It was evident on a recent Sunday in their wide-armed hugs, in the way they finished each other’s sentences and in their playful teasing about one another’s gray – or absent – hair. Perhaps nowhere is it more evident and impactful than in the way they came together to organize the annual Rustin/Lorde Breakfast, now marking its 15th year. Originally founded to create a safe, social space for LGBT people to gather prior to joining the annual Martin Luther King Jr. March, the breakfast has grown into a premiere event gathering some 450 activists and supporters this year alone. The event’s lasting legacy is a testament to the power of long-term friendships in the LGBT community, especially male/female ones which Hudson and Washington agree destroy stereotypes and create invaluable collective understanding. “When we talk about community and we talk about how we want to create change and how we want to really address what the social issues are, it is important for community to come together,” Hudson said. Make no mistake: Keeping up the twodecade friendship takes work, especially when you’re talking about two prominent movers and shakers. By day, Hudson works to help young adults transition out of foster care and into adult living. Washington, meanwhile, splits time between serving as a prevention program manager at AID Atlanta and working on a project documenting the history of black LGBT club life. Yet the pair still manages to connect via phone or sit down to a meal to catch up, check on one another and plot their next big effort. Their latest collaboration is something they’re calling the Southern Unity Movement. Described as a nexus of all their work thus far, the movement launching this year focuses on empowering youth to engage in social change

“As adults it’s hard, but we owe it to ourselves to make more room to connect with the people we care about. Whatever happens with the [Rustin/ Lorde] Breakfast, I will always love Darlene and I don’t want to wait until it’s too late to show it.” —Craig Washington on how two busy people make an adult friendship work

and on creating relationships between wouldbe activists in the community. It’s those types of connections, both agree, that often blossom into the most highimpact work in the LGBT community. How and when did you all meet? Hudson: It was 1994, at the National Minority AIDS Council conference. We were just kind of like hi and bye. I was still living in Arkansas [where she is originally from]. Washington: The conference allowed for someone like her and I to meet because I had never been to Arkansas. We didn’t have consistent interaction, but when she got to Atlanta, I was a co-director at Southerners On New Ground. We kept track of the local movers and shakers and her name always came up. I knew enough to know for sure I liked her and I wanted her on my board. A few years later, you reached out to Darlene to help you reinvigorate the Gay and Lesbian Atlanta Center, laying the groundwork for the Rustin/Lorde breakfast. It sounds like you all had a friendship of sorts even before you worked together. Washington: Yes, by the time Darlene joined the board, there was a relationship and trust that had already actually developed just from running in the same circles. We were oriented to talk beyond the formal boundaries. We ended up just sharing ideas to create the breakfast. We had an ease that gave us momentum because trust was there.

Craig Washington (l) and Darlene Hudson, organizers of the annual Rustin/Lorde Breakfast, met in 1994 at the National Minority AIDS Council conference. (File photo)

That type of trust isn’t always present between gay men and gay women. Why do you think there’s a bit of a wall there? Washington: Gay men aren’t necessarily any less sexist than straight men. We are still socialized as males and that is to think that we are superior to women and to also distrust or reject that femme energy within us. That sets in our heads a certain kind of lack of respect for girls period. Meanwhile, some women aren’t feeling gay men, possibly because there’s a certain male privilege even in the gay community. Add to that siloing, which just makes people become even more limited and further erodes relationships. Hudson: It’s relevant for gay men to get together and do their thing and lesbians to get together and do their thing, and trans and bi people to do the same. But it’s important for community to come together. People tend to silo themselves regardless of gender or sexuality. It’s so easy to pull into your neighborhood and pull up that garage door and not see or talk to anyone. I’m looking forward to, in Atlanta, seeing more co-gender events. It takes all sorts. Sometimes it is really boy-heavy! What are you two personally doing to pull everyone out of their subgroups and into more cross-functional partnerships? Washington: Back in the day, there was a broader unity. You had just the one or two gay organizations. There was Second Sunday [a men’s group] and ZAMI [NOBLA, a women’s group] for instance – and they interacted with each other. Southern Unity Movement is going to do some of that same community building work by creating spaces

where people can communicate. Hudson: I see it more as another vehicle in the South that’s going to be an educational or training ground through all of our partnerships. Partnership and friendship seems to be the recurrent theme that’s enabled you all to have successful collaborations for so many years. How do two busy people make an adult friendship work? Hudson: I know that he’s busy and he knows that I’m busy. We may not see each other every week, but when we do get together, we maximize those moments. He’ll ask “Are you taking care of yourself Ms. Hudson?” Then he’ll say it’s time for a meeting! We’re not really needing to talk all the time but when we do need to, it gets done. Washington: As adults it’s hard, but we owe it to ourselves to make more room to connect with the people we care about. Whatever happens with the [Rustin/Lorde] Breakfast, I will always love Darlene and I don’t want to wait until it’s too late to show it. What benefits do you think your type of friendship has beyond just enriching the individuals? Hudson: There’s a little saying – the more we get together, the happier we’ll be. There’s benefit to bringing like-minded people together, whether it’s over popcorn or stacks of ribs. We begin to talk and exchange ideas. I’ve seen it happen in my backyard and I’ve said, I’m going to keep cooking those ribs – because I see what happens. People form cohesion.

12 Community February 17, 2017

Ferbruary 17, 2017 Ads 13


FINANCIAL TIPS By Mercedes M Pasqualetti, MBA Tax and General Manager, HLM Financial Group

What President Trump’s tax law changes could mean for you “Several of the proposed changes include cutting the tax brackets from seven down to three, limiting itemized deductions for high income taxpayers, eliminating personal exemptions and eliminating AMT and the additional Medicare tax.”

Tax expert on potential middle class burden, effects of marriage on tax situation This is a time of uncertainty for all of us. Being proactive is key in these times. We know the tax law as it stands, and have some clue as to how it may change in the next four years. Several of the proposed changes include cutting the tax brackets from seven down to three, limiting itemized deductions for high income taxpayers, eliminating personal exemptions and eliminating the alternative minimum tax (AMT) and the additional Medicare tax. There are pros and cons to all of these proposed changes and there is going to be much debate about how they will change the tax situation of Americans and the market in general. Under the three tax brackets, those with a taxable income between $0 and $37,500 ($0 to $75,000 for married filers) would be subject to a 12 percent tax rate; taxable income between $37,500 to $112,500 (or $75,000 to $225,000 for married filers) would be subject to a 25 percent rate. Those with tax-

able income above $112,500 ($225,000+ for married filers) would be subject to a 33 percent federal tax rate. Itemized deductions for the wealthiest Americans would be capped at $100,000 for single filers, and twice that for those who are married. This means that wealthy couples who want to give a million dollars to charity would only be able to deduct a fifth of that versus the current 39 percent. Increased taxes for middle class families? Two changes in the plan could increase taxes for many middle class families. First, it eliminates personal exemptions, which are about $4,000 for individuals and each of their children or dependents. Second, it eliminates the “head of household” tax filing status that’s typically used by single parents. So, millions of families with many kids – and single parents – could end up with higher taxes under President Trump’s proposal, according to an analysis by Lily Batchelder of the New York University School of Law. The plan would eliminate the 3.8 percent tax on net investment income on people with incomes (MAGI) of over $200,000 for

HLM Financial Group tax expert Mercedes Pasqualetti says getting married doesn’t often translate to lower taxes for couples. (iStock photos)

single filers and $250,000 for married filers. The tax rates on long-term capital gains would be kept at the current 0 percent, 15 percent and 20 percent. The plan proposes a full repeal of the AMT and the estate tax. Under current law, estates valued at more than $5.45 million are subject to a 40 percent tax rate. Cutting the AMT and estate tax would stand to benefit higher income earners the most. Those taxpayers in the middle bracket will see a modest increase in income tax. Those in the highest bracket will see a decrease in income tax. These changes are yet to be decided and have changed significantly

since Trump became president. It is likely they will change greatly over the next 12 months. Marriage doesn’t always mean lower taxes Since same-sex marriage became legal, these tax changes will affect the LGBT community in the same was as they affect the straight community. Many of our clients assume that because they are married now, their tax situation will get better. This is often not the case. If there are two high-income earners in the marriage, you will likely see a tax increase because you

14 Pink Dollar February 17, 2017


will now be taxed on the joint income at a higher rate. You may move into the adjusted gross income bracket that requires you to pay additional Medicare and you may be subject to the AMT. It is ideal to consult with a professional to help you modify your withholdings or estimated tax payments to cover the required income tax once you are married. If there is disparaging income between the spouses, then you may see a tax benefit. If one of you works and the other stays home with the children, then there will be some tax savings now that a joint return can be filed. If one spouse works and the other does not, then you may be able to contribute to a spousal IRA for the non-working spouse. This is a tax saving strategy you may apply by April


15 of this year for 2016. If your household income is less than $184,000 and you file a joint return, you could contribute $5,500 to an IRA for your non-covered spouse under the age of 50, or $6,500 if your spouse is over the age of 50. This will save you what your federal income tax percentage is plus your state income tax. This is 6 percent in Georgia. If you have a HDHP (High Deductible Health Plan) and both spouses are on a family plan, then you could potentially contribute to a Health Savings Account. The plan must be qualified as HDHP. If you have this option through work, you can contribute $6,750 for a family and an extra $1,000 if you are over 55. This effectively removes the amount of the contribution from your tax-

able income and saves you tax. If one spouse received a tax credit for a plan purchase through the Marketplace, you will need to let the Marketplace know your combined income as the credit may be reduced or eliminated. If you do not let the Marketplace know about the change, then you may owe the credit back at the end of the year with your tax return. If you are getting married or were recently married, it is ideal to consult a tax practitioner as soon as possible to make sure you are on track with your taxes. Too often we see clients who have gotten married and end up owing income tax due to lack of planning. Whether you are a W-2 employee or self-employed, major life

changes should be discussed with your tax planner. Being proactive can greatly reduce the taxes due and the stress that goes along with filing your tax return. If you do not have a tax planner and are not sure where to begin to find one, go to and search for enrolled agents. There is a list of those in your area. An enrolled agent is licensed federally with the IRS, has passed a rigorous test covering all the volumes of tax code and is versed in the most up-todate strategies on how to minimize tax. It is essential to find a licensed professional. For more information, contact HLM Financial Group at 404-836-1120 or visit its website at February 17, 2017 Pink Dollar 15


Georgia fifth in nation in LGBT-owned businesses


New NGLCC report shows power of ‘the pink dollar’ By MATT SCHAFER Money is power, both personally and politically, and the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce attempts to quantify how much revenue LGBT-owned businesses create, and how they impact communities across the country by releasing a report called “America’s LGBT Economy.” In Atlanta, there are 44 enterprises that are at least 51 percent LGBT-owned and registered in the Chamber’s study. Dan Dunlop, vice president of the Atlanta Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, says that number is both underreported and growing. “That’s just self-reporting, we know that it’s a much, much higher number, it’s probably significantly underreported,” Dunlop said, adding that the Atlanta Chamber works actively to get more companies to participate in the next survey. Dunlop said in the current political climate, being able to show that LGBT-owned businesses create at least 33,000 jobs with an estimated $1.15 billion in earnings nationally can have a priceless impact. “I think it reflects our collective strength,” Dunlop said. “When some try to minimize the LGBT community, having assessments like this paint a very strong picture of the LGBT community, that we should not be marginalized and there is strength in our community.” HB 2, HB 757 fights showed power of dollar In March 2016, North Carolina passed the “Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act,” commonly known as House Bill 2, that made it illegal for transgender individuals to use the bathroom of their choice and overturned local anti-discrimination laws. Georgia passed House Bill 757, the Pastor

Gay Atlanta man Ernest Duncan started his first business, an Apple device repair store called Experimac, last year in Midtown. (Courtesy photo)

tection Act, another example of anti-LGBT legislation, in 2016. Gov. Nathan Deal later vetoed the bill. Deal’s veto came after North Carolina lost millions in revenue. Like most things in politics, that number, or even if any revenue was lost at all, can’t be agreed upon. The NBA, NCAA and others pulled games out of the state, and companies like PayPal and Deutsche Bank altered their expansion plans. In Georgia, companies vowed to do the same, with Disney promising to pull Marvel’s movie production out of the state, where it filmed at least part of “Ant Man,” “Captain America: Civil War” and “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.” “When our rights could be chipped away, and we’re just a few votes away from being North Carolina at any time, I think the economic muscle is a huge factor to make sure that equality continues,” Dunlop said. “I think it’s uber-critical that we continue to measure these things so that when the human rights are in question, the economic impact will not be.” Over 450 members in local LGBT Chamber For the most part, “rainbow businesses” see the same problems that any existing company or startup faces, but Chamber members say they find strength in their commu-

The NGLCC’s “America’s LGBT Economy” report showed that Georgia is fifth in the nation in number of LGBT-owned businesses. (Photo via “America’s LGBT Economy” report)

nity. Ernest Duncan started his first business at age 55 last year when he opened an Experimac franchise in Midtown. “I guess I’ve grown up in a family of entrepreneurs … my parents and grandparents own their own businesses and it’s my time to do it,” Duncan said. Duncan sells refurbished Apple devices and does repairs on-site. He is a link to the past while representing the modern face of LGBT businesses. Duncan chose Midtown because of its large number of Apple users, but appreciates being in a “gayborhood.” “As I was looking for locations I wanted to find an area where there were a lot of Apple users, because that’s where our expertise is,” Duncan said. “But, as an African-American, and also being gay, you gain a lot of persistence, a lot of creativity and a lot of ways to get noticed. As customers come in and they find out the owner is African-American and gay, they feel a lot of ownership because they can identify with me as part of the community.” Dunlop said the 450 members in the Atlanta Chamber represent all fields of business, and most serve more than just the LGBT community, which comes with a bit of risk. “I think it’s a very low percentage of gayowned and gay-focused business models. We’re

By the Numbers

The National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce certified businesses based on their willingness to participate in the survey, if they were majority LGBT majority owned and were headquartered in the United States. The following is a breakdown of its research. Total Companies: 909 Companies in Atlanta: 44 Top Sectors: Consulting 99, Marketing 90 Average Company Age: 12 years Total Employees: 33,000 Average Revenue: $2.4 million

very mainstream, wealth management and production,” Dunlop said. “I think they have the same problems that normal businesses have, capital and cash flow, but that’s inherent in any business. I think there is an added element that businesses who are LGBT need to know who their customers are. We had one member who was dropped by a client when they found out she was a lesbian… That’s an added challenge, if you will. I think we all have that one client that if they knew, they might walk.” To read the full report visit: February 17, 2017 Pink Dollar 21


Atlanta’s LGBT Business Movers & Shakers Eight forward-thinkers from various fields on milestones and words to live by

ing to die tomorrow, save like you’re going to live forever. What helped me be successful in this venture? I come from a family of successful Afro-Latinos who ingrained in us to follow the Golden Rule, have fun, stand up for what’s right, find my passion and be the best at it. What inspires me? My mother, like so many women, defied the odds and raised me to not see limits.”


Kevin Kusinski

Milestone: “Over 50 members in 2016, and our first 100+ person event at Einstein’s.” Words to Live By: “Get OUT, show up and stay connected with your community if you want to succeed.”

Owner of subscription meal service Ksquaredmeals

Tasha Reid and Natasha Ford President/CEO and vice president (respectively) of government contractor Visionary Services, Inc.

Year Started: 2010 Milestone: “Getting certified in the 8(a) program with the Small Business Administration in 2013, we were awarded a $3.1 million contract with the US Coast Guard in Miami in 2015, were requested as an LGBT business owner to attend the LGBT Pride Reception held at the White House in June 2015 and were nominated by the Atlanta Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce as Small Business of the Year in Sept. 2015. We were awarded a sole-source contract with the US Army for $1.2 million at the Detroit Arsenal in Oct. 2016.” Words To Live By: “A famous quote by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., ‘An injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’ We cannot just stand for one cause, we must stand for all. Hopefully in the future, each community will stand with each other, because we cannot expect to have what we are not giving. As a minority owning a business, it is different than it was years ago, but the people who have been able to benefit must learn to give back in order for the upward trend to continue.”

Year Started: 2010 Milestone: “Biggest milestone was last year having achieved our 1,000th client!” Words to Live By: “A Mary Tyler Moore quote: ‘Take chances, make mistakes. That’s how you grow. Pain nourishes your courage. You have to fail in order to practice being brave.’ As a business owner, it’s important to know that anything can happen; you have to roll with punches and accept that your business may not be your initial vision – and that’s OK.”

Emma I. Foulkes

Managing partner at Foulkes Steele Wealth Management Year Started: 2001 Milestone: “Every year is a milestone year for me. I’m not trying to be funny, but every year is better than the last.” Words To Live By: “Live like you’re go-

Buzz Busbee and Rodney Foster Co-founder and creative director (l) and co-founder and operations director (r) of ABETTERBUZZ Brand Goods

Year Started: 2016 Milestone: “The milestone thus far has been taking the leap to pursue a dream of creating a lifestyle brand and the amazing response we’ve had from the community. The idea is simple and our mission reflects that – create bold, high-quality, graphic design-inspired apparel and goods, while giving back to the communities we work, live and play in.” Words To Live By: “I’m inspired by people who approach us to tell us how much they love their ABETTERBUZZ gear. It’s a great feeling to have people tell you how much they are into the work that I’m so passionate about. We’re creating a culture that people feel good about being a part of.”

Jennifer Lutz and Paul Beauchamp

Co-founders of AGLCC’s OUT Young Professionals Networking Group Year Started: 2015

Terry Sartor

CEO/founder of dance music label Valiant Horizon Year Started: 2012 Milestone: “I entered the Trance Top 100 in 2013 on Beatport – which is a global online retail store – with my ‘Industry’ single remixed by Russian DJ/producer Paul Vinitsky. Also in 2013, ‘Industry’ was released with a house remix from New York City DJ/ producer Joe Gauthreaux, who has officially remixed Justin Bieber (‘Boyfriend’), The Wanted (‘I Found You’) and Ne-Yo (‘Let Me Love You’).” Words To Live By: “A quote by the late writer and art critic Ingrid Sischy: ‘Apathy is definitely not what we need. Unstoppable passion to make the world what it is capable of being is the way to go.’”

22 Pink Dollar February 17, 2017


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Dustin Lance Black (l) on the set of ‘When We Rise.’ (Photo by Eike Schroter)

With an emotionally resonant acceptance speech, Dustin Lance Black accepted the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay in 2009 for “Milk,” a powerful tribute to gay political hero Harvey Milk. Could an Emmy be next? It’s possible, even if the 42-year-old Sacramento native is too modest to admit that his latest screen ambition, “When We Rise,” the accomplished filmmaker’s tremendous seven-part undertaking chronicling the progressive uprising of the ’60s 24 A&E February 17, 2017

How was the idea for “When We Rise” first conceived? I toyed with the idea for a long time. After “Milk” was over, I started to think about other stories that need to be told, and I’m doing



and ’70s, is certainly golden statue-worthy. Partly inspired by LGBT rights activist Cleve Jones’ memoir, “When We Rise: My Life in the Movement,” the miniseries sheds light on our foremothers and -fathers who raised hell – working to combat misogyny, homophobia and racism – to create a changed world for future generations of, as the show declares, “others.” “When We Rise” is shockingly relevant, especially considering its half-century-old history isn’t just history – it’s the reality for queer people in Trump’s America.



Dustin Lance Black on his first time as an activist, the power of collective protesting and changing hearts with ‘When We Rise’


Making America hopeful again



other LGBT-themed history projects, but I always wondered, “Was there something bigger, and how would I go about doing that?” As I met people – activists – along the way, I would sort of catalog their names in my head in case I ever got the chance to do something like this, and it was ABC saying they would actually pay for a year of research to really figure out who to depict that set it in motion. So, it was always something I wanted to do, and I thought ABC was the right home for it. So then, at great personal expense, I set out on a journey. Let me just say nobody made any money off this thing. If anything, my poor agent and business manager were sweating it as we got it to year four. You have Rachel Griffiths, Mary-Louise Parker and Guy Pearce, and then a terrific




cast playing them in their youth. How did the casting process work for this? Did you have any of these actors in mind while researching the real-life person they’re playing? I never think about who will play the parts while I’m writing if it’s based on a true story because I’m working so hard to get the real people right. Certainly, by the time I was writing the finale, I started brainstorming, and I had one dream for (lesbian women’s rights activist) Roma Guy and that was Mary-Louise Parker, and I had one dream for Cleve Jones and that was Guy Pearce. Then, I got this very emotional, beautiful phone call from Michael K. Williams (who plays Ken Jones, African-American community organizer) while I was at the airport scouting locations in San Francisco. He told me how personally meaningful the scripts were to him,

and he talked about the people he lost – his friends and fellow artists in New York – when he was growing up, and I could just tell it was coming from a very personal place, so you can’t beat that personal connection. The young cast – we went out searching, and we just wanted to cast the very best people. (Transgender civil rights leader) Cecilia Chung was a really interesting one to me. I had said to my casting director that I only wanted to cast trans actors and actresses in the show to play the trans roles, and they brought up Ivory (Aquino) to play Cecilia Chung. I got a little upset with him and said, “You know, I told you it’s important we make an effort and cast trans actors and actresses for these roles,” and he said, “We think you need to get on the phone with Ivory,” and Ivory came out to me as trans on the phone call. She’s now come out to the world. We both tell stories about LGBT people, and I imagine, like me, you hope that non-queers see your work and come away with a sense of just ... humanity. That’s the key, isn’t it? Listen, this show is for ABC. As a kid who grew up watching ABC in the South in a Christian, military home I knew I could show up at the dinner table with all the laws and facts and science I wanted and I wouldn’t change a single mind. You want to change a mind in that other America? You gotta lead from the heart, and you do that by telling stories, not by arguing facts or the Constitution. So, that’s what I came armed with for “When We Rise.” I went out and did my

Oscar-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black’s miniseries ‘When We Rise’ premieres Feb. 27 on ABC. (Photo courtesy of ABC)

best to find true stories – in particular, stories of families, because the family story transcends these two Americas. There’s not a lot we think we have in common right now, but both Americas have family stories, and we can both be moved by each other’s fam-


ily stories. That’s why I mine family stories: the families we lost when so many of us were outed or came out, the makeshift families we had to build to survive and eventually the families we were able to build and raise. So, by that design, you tell an emotion-

al story, you can change a heart; if you can change a heart, you can change a mind; you change a mind, you can change the law. But it goes in that order, and so this is the first step of that. Let’s try and change some hearts.

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February 17, 2017 A&E 25

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‘Alan Cumming Sings Sappy Songs’ hits Atlanta

When performer Alan Cumming developed a musical cabaret show for a two-week run at The Café Carlyle in New York back in 2015, he thought the gig would end there. The critical response was so positive, however, and he had such a great experience doing it, that he took it on the road and stuck with it, taking the piece to Carnegie Hall and even recording an album version. The out actor, as comfortable in a film or TV role as he is in an intimate onstage show such as this, brings his “Alan Cumming Sings Sappy Songs” to Atlanta March 3. It’s the most personal work he has ever done. When he was putting it together, it took him a long time to finalize his song list. “It was all songs I wanted to sing or that people said I should sing,” he told Georgia Voice. “I said if I am going to do a show like this I want to make the stakes higher. There are some things that have happened in my life that I didn’t want to ignore.” ‘Cabaret,’ Annie Lennox songs included The setlist includes everything from Annie Lennox to Rufus Wainwright to numbers from his Tony Award-winning run in “Cabaret” as well as – in one memorable bit – his own indelible take on “The Ladies Who Lunch,” from Stephen Sondheim’s “Company,” made immortal by the late Elaine Stritch. “All the songs have this emotional connection,” he said. “I love them all. That is why I named it ‘Sappy Songs.’” The cabaret underwent some subtle changes since its 2015 run. It’s a bit more streamlined and finely honed, he said, but there are no radical changes. “No matter what you are doing, in a concert, it’s a journey,” Cumming said. “There are variations depending on the musicians I have, but I have worked out the journey.” ‘I really like to engage the audience’ Cumming, who celebrated his 10th anniversary with husband Grant earlier this year, does promise a bit of humor as well as some talk, usually about what is going on

‘Alan Cumming Sings Sappy Songs’ hits Atlanta Symphony Hall on March 3. (Courtesy photo)


‘Alan Cumming Sings Sappy Songs’ March 3, 2017 at 8 p.m. Atlanta Symphony Hall 1280 Peachtree St. N.E., Atlanta, GA 30309

in the world on that day. “I really like to engage the audience,” he said. Cumming performed in Atlanta only once before as part of for the Alliance Theatre’s “A Tony Evening” back in 2011. He promises much for an LGBT audience in “Sappy Songs,” including a number about a tattoo of a boy’s name he got that he later removed. He mixes in some Adele, Lady Gaga and Katy Perry and talks about Liza Minnelli. He also discusses his relationship with his father, which he explored in his memoir “Not My Father’s Son.” “It’s a very queer show,” he said. “I am vocal and I am glad that I am I am lucky enough to have a platform.” He will be seen later this year in two films, “The Battle of the Sexes “ – about the tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs – and the independent feature “After Louie.” Cumming returns to TV in the fall with “Dr. Death,” about a former CIA operative. He enjoys being able to flip back and forth between higher profile films and TV shows and smaller events like this. “I do go back and forth,” he said. “I think it’s important to be eclectic, but I do have an intense connection with a show like this.”

26 A&E February 17, 2017


Inspired Bangladeshi food at Purnima Surely the most colossally stupid thing issuing from the toilet formerly known as the White House these days is the vilification of immigrants. It’s stupid because we have always been a nation of immigrants. It’s stupid because our multicultural society is an asset in every way. Consider food. If you explore any culinary tradition in this country, you will likely find its roots in immigrant culture. That can be relatively explicit like Italian-American or Tex-Mex cooking. It can be less apparent, like the French elements of New Orleans cooking. Yes, we’re a “melting pot,” but that doesn’t prohibit the preservation of “uncompromised” ethnic cooking – like restaurants along Buford Highway. America at its best both assimilates and protects all of our diverse traditions. Honestly, if America has a soul, it’s to be found in these places. And if you want a taste of Bangladeshi soul food right here in Trumpland, you need to try Purnima Bangladeshi Cuisine (4646 Buford Hwy., 770-6098587,, the cozy tenant of a typical, constantly changing strip mall in the Chamblee area. Bangladesh borders India and the food is very similar. One difference, though, is a much stronger emphasis on meat, including the beef rarely used in Indian fare. I didn’t taste anything at the restaurant I didn’t like. I was surprised to see a cluster of quail dishes served with various sauces and ingredients. I chose two roasted birds with a spicy pink sauce which my server said was most popular in Bangladesh. I loved the quail – something I seldom find on menus – but it’s messy eating. Plan to floss your teeth with the little bones in order to garner the meat. Speaking of little bones, there is a starter of Bangladesh’s answer to Buffalo wings. These are cooked in a clay tandoori oven with mysterious spices, then coated with a glossy sweet-and-sour sauce. They’re good, but not much different from the Buffalos. Better starters are crispy-fried pakoras made of sliced veggies seasoned with turmeric and herbs, or triangular samosa-like shingaras

The lamb and other meat dishes are served fajita-style at Purnima Bangladeshi Cuisine. (Photo by Cliff Bostock)

containing veggies or ground chicken. Halim, a spicy stew of four types of lentils and beef, is most people’s favorite app. The coconut soup is sublimely intense and sweet – a bit too sweet for my taste, but a great choice if you’re going to have something super-spicy with it. Other entrees on the menu include chicken, shrimp, lamb, goat and beef in different forms and flavors. Some arrived at our table under heavy, aromatic sauces. One plate of lamb came out sizzling with veggies on an iron skillet, like fajitas. Another was served in something like a Mexican molcajete with a beastly face. There are quite a few vegetable dishes. Try the chickpeas with pureed roasted eggplant, tomatoes, garlic and onion. I can only urge you to explore and quiz your servers in your quest for a good meal. I asked for dishes that were distinctly Bangladeshi rather than duplicates of Indian counterparts. Sometimes, the difference is only the extras and you should try all of the chutneys and sauces you can manage. Eat adventurously and make America taste great again. Do it for the martyrs of Bowling Green and the shoeless Nordstrom shoppers. Cliff Bostock is a former psychotherapist now specializing in life coaching. Contact him at 404-518-4415 or February 17, 2017 Columnists 27






Our Guide to the Best LGBT Events in Atlanta for Feb. 17-March 2



“Somewhere Over The Rose” is a celebration of the songs, styles and stories of two incredible yet completely different American icons: Judy Garland and Bette Midler. One is long gone and one is definitely still kickin’. Written and performed by Kathy Halenda with an 8 p.m. curtain, through Feb. 22. ART Station, 5384 Manor Drive, Stone Mountain, GA 30086, DJ Paul Goodyear from Sydney comes to town for the rowdy GROWLr Roughhouse event, with doors opening at 9 p.m., Heretic Atlanta, 2069 Cheshire Bridge Road, Atlanta, GA 30324,


Please join ZAMI NOBLA today (on Audre Lorde’s birthday) to honor the 2016 Audre Lorde Scholar, Enchante Blue Lotus Franklin, with special guest speaker Dr. Emilie Townes, the only out black lesbian dean of a divinity school in the country. The event will feature Adodi Muse, a gay negro ensemble and introduce the Women Sweet on Women Trio. 12 - 3 p.m., The Commons Performing Arts Hall, 125 Ellis St., Atlanta, GA 30303, www.eventbrite. com/e/audre-lorde-scholarship-luncheontickets-31559966710 Angels Among Us Pet Rescue will hold its third annual For the Love of Paws gala tonight. The evening will consist of dinner, an open bar, dancing, a live and silent auction and more, hosted by Jeff Dauler of Star 94.1 Atlanta’s Jeff and Jenn Show. Entertainment will be provided by Celebrity All-Star Band. 6:30 - 11:30 p.m., Grand Hyatt Atlanta in Buckhead, 3300 Peachtree Road N.E., Atlanta, GA 30305, www.facebook. com/events/1089975597736218

28 Best Bets February 17, 2017


The Atlanta Rollergirls just opened their new season and have a doubleheader today at 5 and 7:30 p.m., Yaarab Shrine Center, 400 Ponce de Leon Ave. N.E., Atlanta, GA 30308, (Photo via Facebook) The celebrated Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater is in town, with different shows through Feb. 19, tonight at 8 p.m., Fox Theatre, 660 Peachtree St. N.E., Atlanta, GA 30308, The Actor’s Express version of Arthur Miller’s classic “The Crucible” – running through Feb. 19 – has an 8 p.m. performance tonight, 887 W. Marietta St., Atlanta, GA 30318, DJ Pat Scott spins at the Atlanta Eagle, 10 p.m. - 3 a.m., 306 Ponce de Leon Ave. N.E., Atlanta, GA 30308, Icon, a celebration of Britney Spears, features performances from Michael Robinson, John James, Biqtch Puddin’, Steven Glen Diehl, Peaches, Josette Pimenta, LaRico Potts, Melissa Coffey and Diego Serna with beats by Fannie Mae Beezy and photographs by the legendary Barry Brandon. 10:30 p.m., Jungle Atlanta, 2115 Faulkner Road N.E., Atlanta, GA 30324,


DJ J. Warren keeps the late-night party going, 3 a.m., Xion Atlanta, 2043 Cheshire Bridge Road N.E., Atlanta, GA 30324, events/1789658234631552/ The PFLAG support group for parents and families of LGBTQ children meets this afternoon from 2:30 - 4:30 p.m. at the Spiritual Living Center of Atlanta, 1730 Northeast Expressway, Atlanta, GA 30329 Out Front Theatre Company’s play “A Kid Like Jake,” about parents who discover that their son would rather play with dolls than G.I. Joes, runs through Feb. 26 with a 3 p.m. performance today, Out Front Theatre Company, 999 Brady Ave. N.W., Atlanta, GA 30318,


Trans and Friends is a youth-focused group for trans people, people questioning

their own gender and aspiring allies. Charis Books provides a facilitated space to discuss gender, relevant resources and activism around social issues. Whether silently or aloud, please come ready to consider your own gender in a transient world, 7 8:30 p.m., Charis Books and More, 1189 Euclid Ave. N.E., Atlanta, GA 30307, Atlanta’s award-winning Alliance Theatre and the Center for Civil and Human Rights come together to launch their new partnership: ALLIANCE(S) in Action. This quarterly series will use performance to catalyze conversations about today’s most pressing human rights issues. Each program includes a play reading by some of Atlanta’s most celebrated artists, followed by a conversation with the audience. This first installment features “In the Southern Breeze” by Emory fellow and Yale School of Drama graduate, Jireh Breon Holder and directed by Leora Morris. The play tells the story of four African-American men from different time periods (a slave, a

Show will feature performances by Lost-nFound Youth. Bubba D. Licious will serve as emcee and DJ Bill Berdeaux will spin your favorite tunes. Come out, support the youth, enjoy some entertainment and bring tip money. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and the show is from 6 - 8 p.m., Jungle Atlanta, 2115 Faulkner Road N.E., Atlanta, GA 30324,

TELL US ABOUT YOUR LGBT EVENT Submit your LGBT event for inclusion in our online and print calendars by emailing event info to

Fade to Mind presents the sixth installment of Morph ATL with DJs Leonce, Divoli S’Vere, C Poweres, Nohighs and Anonima and visuals provided by Greg Hornak, 10 p.m. - 3 a.m., Space 2, 485 Edgewood Ave. S.E., Atlanta, GA 30312, events/450000308664328/

free man of color, Huey Newton and a gay New Yorker from the 1980s) who collide in the woods. This play asks us to take a hard look at how our society has treated and continues to treat African-American men and challenges us to transform our world so that every person’s freedoms are respected and hopes are possible. 6:30 p.m., Center for Civil and Human Rights, 100 Ivan Allen Jr. Blvd., Atlanta, GA 30313,


“Moonlight” or “La La Land?” The Academy Awards are tonight and Out Front Theatre Company and Out On Film are hosting an Oscar party/fundraiser, with an Oscar pool, door prizes, food and drink and more, 7 p.m., Out Front Theatre, 999 Brady Ave. N.W., Atlanta, GA 30318,


The acclaimed Oscar-nominated documentary “I Am Not Your Negro” continues at the Landmark Midtown Art Cinema, 931 Monroe Drive, Atlanta, GA 30308,


The Harvard Club of Georgia presents Behind the Scenes of Civil Rights & Gay Rights, with local arts educator John Doyle dramatically depicting the character of Bayard Rustin during a live performance. Bayard Rustin was a co-founder and the primary strategist within the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and worked alongside Martin Luther King, Jr. in the struggle for civil rights. He was also the chief organizer of the March on Washington, where King delivered the historic “I Have a Dream” speech. However, he was often behind the scenes due to his sexual identity as a gay man. After the performance, there will be an opportunity for thought-provoking discussion on the history of civil rights as well as ideas and inspiration related to the ongoing work towards equality today, 7 p.m., PACE Academy, Fine Arts Center Auditorium, 966 W. Paces Ferry Road N.W., Atlanta, GA 30327


Do you want to read books by amazing black women writers? Do you want to discuss works from a black feminist perspective? Do you want to do it in a feminist book store? Then the Black Feminist Book Club is for you. Charis Circle board chair Susana Morris will be the facilitator of this group. This season’s theme is radical mem-


Purim off Ponce is SOJOURN’s (Southern Jewish Resource Network for Gender and Sexual Identity) annual fundraiser. Now in its eleventh year, Purim off Ponce has been known as one of Atlanta’s greatest costume parties, with great drinks, dancing and drag queens! Purim off Ponce 2017 – this year named Hollywood - honors the work of Rabbis Michael Bernstein and Pamela Gottfried. In recognition of their longtime support of SOJOURN, Rabbis Bernstein and Gottfried will receive the Michael Jay Kinsler Rainmaker Award. 7:30 - 11:30 p.m., Le Fais do-do, 1611 Ellsworth Industrial Blvd. N.W., Atlanta, GA 30318. Tickets available at (Courtesy photo) oirs by black women and the February book is “Assata; An Autobiography,” by Assata Shakur. 7 – 9 p.m., Charis Books and More, 1189 Euclid Ave. N.E., Atlanta, GA 30307,

article written by Sir Winston Churchill. 2 and 8 p.m., Druid Hills Presbyterian Church, 1026 Ponce de Leon Ave., Atlanta, GA 30306, www.voicesofnote. org/events/lifes-journey/


Come see recent expansion projects at the Rush Center Open House and enjoy birthday cake for what would have been Phillip Rush’s 63rd birthday, 2 - 4 p.m., 328 Mell Ave, Suite B, Atlanta, GA 30307,

February’s RITUAL Steampunk Party with DJs Seraph and Eschar is perfect for all Victorianaphiles and time-traveling enthusiasts. Have a go, invite your mad scientist consorts and wayward women alike. We all love tea parties, but come now… who says drinking and dancing with friends isn’t way more fun? 10 p.m. 3 a.m., Heretic Atlanta, 2069 Cheshire Bridge Road, Atlanta, GA 30324,


Voices of Note presents “Life’s Journey” tonight. In its second concert of the season, the Atlanta Women’s Chorus reflects on themes of love, loss and unity, ultimately imagining a world where every person’s story is heard and celebrated. In designing the program, Artistic Director Dr. Melissa Arasi drew inspiration from an

Come celebrate the 60th birthday of the Clermont Lounge icon Blondie. Fabulous food, margaritas, live music from Amy Smith and Maria Gabriella from the Maria Gabriella Band, Blondie memorabilia, celebrity guest appearances and the diva herself, Ms. Anita Rae “Blondie” Strange. The event is a fundraiser for Blondie to see her mother in St. Croix, who she hasn’t seen in 20 years. 4 - 8 p.m., No Mas! Cantina, 180 Walker St. S.W., Atlanta, GA 30313, events/248198718924947 The Lost-n-Found Youth Variety


Award-winning poets Karen Head and Collin Kelley will read their poetry round-robin style tonight, selecting poems on the fly to find common themes, moods and imagery. You never know what they’ll read next ... and neither do they. Georgia Center for the Book at DeKalb County Public Library, 215 Sycamore St. Decatur, GA 30030, www.facebook. com/events/1213354188717822


Celebrate Mardi Gras at the Louisiana Bistreaux Decatur, with live music from The Matt Wauchope Trio, the best hurricane cocktail east of the bayou and the restaurant’s famous crawfish, gumbo, jamabalaya and more. Grab a mask and beads at the door and join the Fat Tuesday fun all day, 6 - 10 p.m., Louisiana Bistreaux Decatur, 1496 Church St., Suite E-G, Decatur, GA 30030, events/1824059957842306/


Bring out your inner Melissa Etheridge at karaoke night at My Sister’s Room, with no cover and food and drink specials, 9 p.m., 66 12 St. N.E., Atlanta, GA 30309,


SAGE Atlanta’s social hour begins at 10 a.m., followed by a program/meeting at 11 a.m., Phillip Rush Center Annex, 15630 DeKalb Ave., Atlanta, GA 30307,

February 17, 2017 Best Bets 29

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Confessions of an infomercial fanatic Your vote comes in the form of your dollar: spend money on the things you find important and ignore the things you don’t. That is the advice my brother gave me years ago, saying anything I am offended by in this country should be punished by my lack of financial support. I have held true to that advice, and the things I tend to vote for without much thought? Infomercials. Have you ever bought anything because of an infomercial? I’m afraid I am a sucker for those spots, and have been known to sit through an entire half-hour televised pitch on the weekends imagining how much easier my life would be with fill-in-the-blank. The latest thing I first made fun of, then sat through the commercial, is the Kitty Roo. This hooded sweatshirt has a builtin compartment for your cat, much like a pouch on a kangaroo. That way, if you are chilling on the couch or waking around your home, your cat can stay comfortably warm in her or his little pocket. Cat ears attached to the hood add appropriate effect. Another item that almost had me picking up the phone to order is the Magic Tracks glow-in-the-dark racetrack. I saw this commercial many times over the holidays and wondered who would enjoy it more, my 2-year-old son or me. I mean you can turn the lights off, go crazy with wiggling the track in different directions and the lit cars will stay on the track! The commercial makes it look like you are having a rave right on your own living room floor. One thing I purchased from an infomercial, and was quite disappointed with, was the OrGREENiC Green Nonstick Frying Pan. According to the spot, nothing sticks to this pan, not even an egg. That’s when the person on TV begins sliding the said cooked egg across the surface of the miracle pan with ease. Not in my kitchen. That pan is the worst in my collection, and requires quite a scraping no matter what I cook, and eggs are

“My favorite infomercial of them all to watch is the one pimping Flex Seal. How exciting is this product?! I mean, all you have to do is spray this liquid rubber anywhere and water becomes your bitch.” the worst on its surface. It sits in the drawer unused, unless I have no other clean cookware and am forced to break it out. Much like having to turn my underwear inside out, using that pan is something I would do but not admit it to anyone. My favorite infomercial of them all to watch is the one pimping Flex Seal. How exciting is this product?! I mean, all you have to do is spray this liquid rubber anywhere and water becomes your bitch. And now there is Flex Seal tape! No need for a spray can or brush to keep in even the most stubborn leaks. I love watching that guy in his boat floating on a screen door soaked in Flex Seal. It’s a miracle product, really. I understand that these infomercials are meant to give the impression that you CANNOT live without their products, and, for some of them, it just might be true. I didn’t even mention the likes of P90X, CIZE or Star Shower. So many experiences I need to catch up on! But before I open up my own As Seen On TV store, a friend recently gave this valuable advice: Melissa, change the channel. 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

30 Columnists February 17, 2017


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Matching the supreme pettiness of old white men Donald Trump nominating to the U.S. Supreme Court a judge who colleagues and legal observers characterize as a stricter constructionist than Antonin Scalia is the first relief I’ve felt since the election. When the president summoned his finalists to the White House for a Sashay/Shante ceremony, a part of me was expecting Trump, whose lone political skill is showmanship, to announce that instead of either of the two named candidates, his nominee for the high court would be Mills Lane, who showed “tremendous” poise and jurisprudence refereeing the match in which Mike Tyson bit off a piece of Evander Holyfield’s ear. With every moment of Trump’s first three weeks as president trapped between incompetence and insanity, the selection of 10th U.S. Circuit Court Judge Neil Gorsuch was surprisingly reassuring, even if Gorsuch believes corporations have a more legitimate claim to personhood than women and free blacks. Gorsuch’s views on LGBT or reproductive rights are irrelevant to me, since I doubt he will get a chance to consider those issues before arbitrating constitutional crises that determine the survival of our republic. Though Gorsuch may be a conventional pick, the man who picked him remains delusional and dangerous, so perhaps we could do worse than having a new Supreme Court justice who believes the constitution is more static than the Bible (the Washington Post reports Gorsuch attends “a notably liberal church”). The above might be considered the liberal case for Gorsuch, except I also know that stealing has consequences. No matter how upstanding and qualified he may be, Gorsuch ought to be treated like the most significant theft-by-receiving defendant our judicial system has ever tried. If conservatives can pretend there’s a rule (or even implication) that presidents can’t name a Supreme Court nominee in the final year of their term, Democrats need to

“Progressives’ powerlessness in Washington makes stopping Gorsuch’s ascension nearly impossible, but the next president of the United States will be the senator who devises political guerrilla warfare in defense of our constitution, and to avenge the irreverence defecated upon our last president.” tend that presidents who didn’t win the popular vote are prohibited from making lifetime appointments. It’s time to be as petty as those who rode petulance to congressional majorities and the White House. Progressives’ powerlessness in Washington makes stopping Gorsuch’s ascension nearly impossible, but the next president of the United States will be the senator who devises political guerrilla warfare in defense of our constitution, and to avenge the irreverence defecated upon our last president. The GOP having its first nominee for the seat confirmed would be a disgusting continuation of this country’s defining historical narrative: white men stealing with immunity. Pettiness has strategic value beyond revenge, as the Supreme Court is the withered strand that keeps otherwise decent conservatives attached to the Trump train, folks who would be so gluttonously satisfied having Gorsuch on the Supreme Court that they would continue to ignore the ominous expressions of Trump’s (white) nationalism. These conservatives will be irate at the obstructionism it takes to stop Gorsuch, but instead of having cover to focus on his more extreme schemes, Trump will have more time to prove what an incompetent impersonator of a president he is, and an eight-member court can hear the first constitutional crisis.

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Ryan Lee is an Atlanta writer. February 17, 2017 Columnists 31

02/17/17, Vol. 7 Issue 26  

The Otherside Lounge Bombing: 20 Years Later. Former manager revisits scene, patrons recall dark day for Atlanta’s LGBT community. In the ne...